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Monthly Archives: July 2010

New Book Introduction: Stripper Pole To Heaven

Book Introduction: Stripper Pole To Heaven

In these hard times, most of us want to believe in something; a higher power, or maybe even more in ourselves. But some of us have to learn the hard way, that getting money isn’t the answer to everything….

When Lisette Jones transforms herself into “Golden” and hits the stage as a stripper, it’s all or nothing—a dedication that’s earning her top dollar at Club Bare. With the untimely death of her ex, it’s a profession that chose her, so Lisette’s determined to make it work, even if it means chasing dollars to maintain the comfortable lifestyle that she and her teenaged daughter are accustomed to.

Being in the spotlight turns out to be downright addictive, but it doesn’t help to fill the void of losing loved ones. Meet the possible solution in Cynthia, her scripture-quoting, bible-toting best friend. It’s because of an invite from her that Lisette stumbles upon just the comfort she’s been seeking in a higher power. Comforted, yes. Cured of all fears of remaining single and becoming possibly broke? No. For Lisette it’s all about the here and now and to prevent getting stuck with nothing she’s down for juggling everything; her closeted profession, giving love another try and her spiritual walk. Unfortunately—- it’s a decision that she may have to pay the ultimate price tag for.

And

Cynthia Miller may be “scripture quoting and bible toting,” but her life is far from perfect. When she walks through the doors of Target Marketing she’s a high-ranking company manager, but just past the doorstop of her apartment, her abusive husband Clyde is the one calling all of the shots. Being both the ideal wife and consummate office exec is demanding, but the balancing act is a goal that Cynthia has set for herself; from shedding her homely image with what she believes will be a life-changing makeover, to indulging in her husband’s twisted sexual fantasies nothing’s off limits. But what will it take for her to realize that the only makeover she ever needed was the one on the inside?

Visit the Main Website: (Prologue & Sample Chapter included)
http://www.hunterhayesonline.com/

Previous Titles: Shoes On the Otha’ Foot, A Pair Like No Otha – Harper Torch Publishing

CONTACT:  Author Hunter Hayes by E-mail at Deucepublishing@aim.com

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Intimate Conversation with Joyce Fields

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Joyce Fields has been in love with reading and writing virtually all her life. Joyce coupled her love of writing with her desire to help people improve their lives, resulting in her authoring six books. Here, she discusses one: The Best Way to Keep a Man is to Let Him Go (among other things).

In The Best Way to Keep a Man is to Let Him Go (among other things), Joyce shares her experiences and observations, based on a 53-year relationship (43 years of marriage) with the same man–and the fire is STILL hot, hot, hot! Based on these experiences and observations, she thinks that 80% of the success of a relationship rests on the shoulders of the woman. The book explains why. Joyce has included 21 pages of her own recipes at the end of this 64-page book. The preview and rave reviews are accessible at the Web site that she shares with her sister, Anita Jones, who is also an author.

What inspired you to write this story?
I was inspired to write this story because so many females seem to be in love with love and don’t understand that, as young girls, many of us dream and talk of the day when we will be married and have kids, but boys don’t do this. Young men don’t dream of becoming husbands and fathers. We have to show them that the relationship is worth it.

What issues in today’s society have you addressed in the book?
The high divorce/break-up rate could be lower if more females understood that men do not mature as quickly as we do. Women must find happiness within themselves; they cannot expect a man to make them happy. Men can enhance our happiness; they cannot create it.

What writers inspire you and why?
I am inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou and Dr. Wayne Dyer because they both speak to the spirit of the individual and inform us of the immense power that we hold due to our connection to God.

What did you hope to accomplish by writing this particular story?
Based on the reviews, this book is accomplishing what I hoped it would: to give females some tips on building and maintaining a healthy relationship with their man. To get the ladies to understand that they cannot expect to make hefty withdrawals if they have not made hefty deposits into the health and peacefulness of their relationship with their man.

Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I have written and released five other books. The previews and reviews for all of them are available at the Web site. The non-fiction titles are: Mother’s Dozen: An Easy Recipe for Raising GREAT Kids! This book is also available in Spanish. The Spanish title is Madre Docena: iUna Receta Facil Para Criar a Ninos Magnificos!, THE VISION: Telling Kids That They Can Make the World a Better Place, and Line of Serenity. One children’s fiction title: Jette Black and Her Seven Friends.

Links:
Web site: http://www.GoodShortBooks.com
E-mail: http://www.goodshortbooks@yahoo.com
Blog: http://www.lineofserenity.wordpress.com

 

Meet Leadership Development expert, Dr. Daryl D. Green

Our lives continue to unravel as things we believe in disintegrate before our eyes. Institutions are failing. Personal conduct is at an all time low. Wall Street continues to prosper as Main Street bears the financial hardship for our country. What is needed, however, is a different kind of leader during these times of uncertainty.

Leadership Development expert, Dr. Daryl D. Green, lectures and writes on contemporary issues impacting individuals, businesses, and societies across the nation. With over 20 years of management experience, Dr. Green is noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, Black Pearls Magazine, Associated Press, NBC’s Alive at Five, Answerline, American Urban Radio, and BET’s Buy the Book. His FamilyVision column, syndicated through Newspaper Publishers Association, has reached over 200 newspapers and more than 15 million readers across the country.


Dr. Green
is the author of several books, including Breaking Organizational Ties, My Cup Runneth Over, and the acclaimed Awakening the Talents Within. He has published over 100 articles on the subjects of decision-making and leadership, which have been syndicated to thousands of websites.

As a social advocate, Dr. Green co-founded the Greater East Pasco Achievement Program, a nonprofit tutorial service, which assisted over a hundred students in Washington State. He received the DOE Community Service Award and the Pasco Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award for this effort.

Dr. Green is the former Vice President of the Oak Ridge Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG) in Tennessee and a BIG lifetime member. One Tennessee paper called him a “20th Century Renaissance Man” because he is a manager, entrepreneur, artist, marketer, poet, producer, personal coach, professor, and author.  As an inspiring professor and renowned lecturer, Dr. Green teaches management, marketing, strategic planning, and entrepreneurship at Lincoln Memorial University and Knoxville College. In 2009, the Lane College Black Executive Exchange Program presented him with an “Outstanding Leadership Award.”

Dr. Green has served as a keynote speaker, panelist,and presenter at the University of Tennessee, Kentucky Sate University, Federally Employed Women Training Conference, Blacks in Government National Training Conference and the Society for Advancement of Management Conference, among others.

Dr. Green holds a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University, an M.A. in organizational management from Tusculum College, and a B.S, in Engineering from Southern University. He is a member of the Academy of Strategic Management.

Connect with Dr. Daryl Green author, lecturer, and leadership coach
Website: http://www.darylgreen.org/
Blog: http://nuleadership.wordpress.com/

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Black Professionals Leveraging Corporate Knowledge

Black Professionals Leveraging Corporate Knowledge
for Today’s College Graduates

Dr. Daryl Green

Are you prepared for tomorrow’s future challenges? Do you know how to take advantage of future job opportunities? As the financial crisis continues and the US labor market continues to weaken, many college students are wondering how they will survive these difficult times. With the fierce competition for limited jobs, they wonder if they will be able to land a good job in the marketplace.

I understand and see it. Hope isn’t lost. As a professor, I frequently find myself encouraging students to keep hope and plan for their career aspirations. The mistake is that many in my generation believed that a company was looking out for their career development. They were not! Black professionals can share their experiences with young college students. In fact, today’s job market requires that college students develop their own personal strategy for employment. This article explores how black professionals can assist college graduates with job strategies.

The Economic Picture
Economic troubles in our nation and abroad continue to create an unstable and unpredictable job market. Parents across this country tell their children “get a good education and you will get a good job.” However, in this economic rollercoaster, this is not always true. US manufacturing jobs continue to evaporate as global outsourcing becomes the norm for businesses that seek to increase their profits.

According to the Forrester Research, approximately 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $136 billion in wages could be moved overseas to countries like India or China by 2015. The industries potentially impacted include electronics, computer programming, telecommunications, banking, engineering, management consulting, and other highly skilled services. Therefore, many students are concerned about their future employment.

The University-Corporate Connections
Some universities understand how to connect with corporations in order to make their students more competitive. The economic picture has caused many organizations to reduce their presences on universities across the nation. To a shrewd executive, it probably doesn’t make sense to hire young graduates when the economic picture for the company may be uncertainty. According to some business estimates, employers are expected to cut 2.7 million jobs in 2009 (2 million were cut in 2008).

Additionally, every state is predicted to end the year with fewer jobs. Only 2 industry sectors expect to add more jobs, education and health & government. However, some companies feel their support to academic institutions make business sense since it demonstrates the organizations’ social responsibility to their communities. Furthermore, some universities have been too busy attempting to shore up their economic woes to pay attention to other organizations. Yet, there are some bright signs. Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), one of the 16 constituents of the University of North Carolina , continues to make a high commitment to furthering alliances with the public and private institutions.

BEEP has a historical record of over 40 years working in partnership with corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and other institutions where black executives serve as “Visiting Professors” at primarily black colleges. The university is an active member of the National Urban League’s Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP). In March, WSSU invited several organizations to campus, including the Central Intelligence Agency, UPS, Department of Energy, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

LaMonica Singleton, WSSU Director of Career Services, understands the importance of students making a connection with corporate America : “Students can relate to individuals who have been where they are. Students can listen and relate to the professionals.” She further notes that students see positive role models and can see themselves personally in a different setting. Kevin Bryant, a WSSU junior from Goldsboro , North Carolina , sees the value in having professions coming to campus: “I think it’s important for students to broaden their horizons. Having this exposure is important.”

Bryant further adds that these professionals gave him a dose of reality in the fact of how the corporate world operates. However, the trends make it difficult for even college students to be optimistic. However, having a good plan can increase the odds for most students in landing a good job. Students should bee aware of opportunities and be prepared to act quickly on them. Derrick Craver, Vice President – South Zone Strategic Accounts for UPS, explains, “An education is the foundation [for opportunities].”

Bill Washington, Vice President, Strategic Account Sales for UPS, argues that having a plan is critical for taking advantage of opportunities: “In any area of life, it’s important to have a roadmap.” He encourages developing a 1 to 3 year plan to reach goals. Therefore, college students need to be proactive about landing a job.

The Path Forward
Although many students are feeling very pessimistic about future career opportunities, hope is not lost if people are prepared for the future. Black professionals can make a difference by sharing their knowledge. Wise students will listen. Throughout their schooling, most young people are shielded from the unpleasant realities of life. Today, students are bombarded with many obstacles. However, they can make a positive step in navigating these difficult economic times and landing their future jobs. Now is the perfect time to begin.

About the Columnist:
Dr. Daryl Green provides motivation, guidance, and training for leaders at critical ages and stages of their development. He has over 20 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, Black Pearls Magazine Online and Associated Press. For more information, you can go to http://stores.lulu.com/darygre or http://www.darylgreen.org/.


Dr. Daryl Green author, lecturer, and leadership coach

Website: http://www.darylgreen.org/;  Blog: http://nuleadership.wordpress.com/
“Helping Emerging Leaders Gain the Competitive Advantage in the Future”

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Intimate Conversation with M. Ann Ricks

M. Ann’s upbringing in Elizabeth, NJ was quite structured. She is forever grateful to her parents for their prayers and close reign over her young life. Their seemingly ever-present influence and strong inducement for her to know God, attend church and participate in every possible youth auxiliary kept her from elements that would have swallowed her whole.

Although recognizing Christ’s importance during her youth, M. Ann didn’t consider Him as her “everything”. Writing was always a “hidden” love. When she resolved to reconnect with the Master, the aspiration to write was unearthed and she became confident that it was her gift. As her need to know God on a personal level increased, her desire to write became stronger and strangely, to her surprise, a need. After receiving the needed confirmation from the Lord, she arrived at the conclusion that writing is the path that God has placed her on. She is determined to tell the world how wonderfully awesome Jesus Christ is and can be in our lives if we just allow Him to be. She is honored to be used by God to spread His message with the stories she creates with the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that He will provide her with the words that will draw all men to Him.

M. Ann is a graduate of Rider University and lives in Bear, Delaware with her loving husband and two handsome sons. She is also the author of The Son and has just completed her third novel, THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME.

Awesome Wonder: The Gift of Remembrance
Awesome Wonder, is a Christian Fiction novel that takes a look at the duplicity of the “church” through the eyes of the heroine, Paige Covington as it brings to light the hypocritical stigma that has attached itself to the “church”, specifically the African American church.

Many people are looking for answers and believe they can find those answer in the church. Unfortunately, the failure of those who “talk the talk” to “walk the walk” has kept many from a true relationship with Jesus Christ. In many instances, the people that we aspire to be or hold in high regard because of their position in the church or “supposed” knowledge, disappoint, and we find that they are not the Christians that we thought they were. Unfortunately, this may result in the babes in Christ that now feel misled, to retreat from Christ with the misconception that all Christians are bogus and that Christianity is a sham. Awesome Wonder tells an honest, triumphant and relatable story of how God never stops loving his child as the Holy Spirit speaks to us to remind us of His unending and unfailing love. It confirms that the relationship between God and man is what is most important and that man should not be used as a barometer for Godliness and holiness.

Paige Covington knows there’s a God and had accepted Christ as a young girl but witnessing hypocrisy and un-Christ-like behavior by the people in her church and family has caused too much pain resulting in her turning back on the love of Jesus. Memories from her youth begin invading her psyche and to make matters worse, she begins to hear a voice. The voice sounds familiar and tells her things as those memories and truths are exhumed. Hurt, confused but searching for answers, she decides that too much has happened. There have been too many disappointments and too many lies. Key people in her life have made it clear that there doesn’t seem to be any honor in being “Christ-like”. She hasn’t any idea that she is chosen as all children of God are. Will Paige allow the word that has been hidden in her heart provide the answers to all of her questions and give her the peace she so desires?

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
Awesome Wonder is a novel that I believe that I had to write because people need to know, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”Matt. 7:21-23.

Every other day we are hearing about a “fallen” man of God or “so-called” people of God spewing scripture and then living a lifestyle that is not honoring God behind closed doors. People are missing God because they haven’t seen Him in the people that are supposed to know Him. Now more than ever, true believers need to be walking epistles of the Lord Jesus Christ and live holy. It is up to us, true believers, to be the real example of the love of Jesus Christ. We can’t shout Hallelujah in church one minute and then curse someone out right after service. Many are saying that Christians are phony and fake because of what they see.

Believers and true followers of Christ have to understand their responsibility to live a life that is Christ-like. Someone who is unsaved or unfortunately on their way to hell may be depending on not what we say but how we live. We don’t want to cause anyone to fall because of our misdoings but day in and day out the curtain is being pulled back to show the ugliness of the “pretenders” of Christianity. Believers have been called to reconcile others to Christ and the only way we can do this is to live a life that is exemplary of the God in us. We can’t let traditions or religion dictate to us. The world is watching and we should be the “ people” that right the ship and point them in the direction toward Christ! Many realize that there is a void in their lives and are trying everything but God to fill it; just like Paige. The world is full of Paige Covingtons. A career, possessions or material things won’t make someone feel complete or whole. Only God can fill the void. I pray that when reading Awesome Wonder, the Holy Spirit begins to speak and the reader will dedicate or rededicate their life to Jesus Christ as that is my ultimate goal; augmenting the Kingdom of the Most High God.

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?
Awesome Wonder was written for the man or woman who has been hurt by “so called” Christians. I want to encourage someone through my novel, who has turned their back on Jesus because of the lack of true Godliness being exhibited by people in Christendom and in the body of Christ. That man or woman needs to know that regardless of what the world is displaying, God is in control and He does expect His people to walk, talk and behave just like Him. They need to know that there were hypocrites, liars and false prophets when Jesus walked the earth and Jesus warned us about them. If they existed over 2000 years ago, they will most assuredly exist today, even in our churches and families but we can’t let their behavior and their misrepresentation of God cause us to miss out on the truth and reality of Jesus Christ.

There are lives that are broken and people are walking around without hope, not believing that Christ is THE ANSWER because many in leadership have falsified Christ by the way they treat one another. There are lives that were eager to learn about Jesus Christ or were sold out for Christ but are now damaged, angered and even spiraling out of control because the people that they thought were the embodiment of Christ-like living have disappointed them, resulting in the disillusionment of who Christ is. People in Paige’s life seemed to be the epitome of Christianity but once she saw the truth behind the mask, she was spiritually injured like many people that I have known throughout my life.

Those wounds don’t heal easily and they begin to effect other aspect of one’s life especially when a real desire and zeal to learn more and be more like Christ is/was genuine. In Paige’s situation, it began to take a toll on her marriage, the relationship with her siblings and even her own child because at the core, something was missing. Awesome Wonder was written to tell the world that God has nothing to do with the foolishness one may see when watching the news but He is the God who is faithful. He is the God that sent His son, Jesus, to die for the world. He has nothing to do with crazy ministers that steal money from their parishioners or sleeps with the church secretary. God is LOVE and wants people to know Him in spirit and truth. Believe Jesus Christ through His word, not the world. “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

BPM: Thousands of books are published each year. What sets your book apart from other books in your genre?
It seems, “ it is, what it is” has become the statement of the year. Christians for some reason have accepted and adopted that lingo and in doing so, have allowed all matter of un-Christ like behavior to find a home in the house of God and sadly enough, into their lives. No, It is NOT ,what it is.

The world is hurting because many don’t know Jesus; not really. They think they do but really don’t. Awesome Wonder sets itself apart from other Christian fictions novels because it allows the reader to understand that many seem to think and really believe that they are Christians because they are saying and doing all of the right things; giving to the poor, visiting the sick, etc. This is done while people are watching. Who are they behind closed doors? Sadly, there is a stark contrast. Many Christians can quote every scripture in the Bible but will not demonstrate the love God to their own wife or husband or even children. It is all a show? For many, it is. No one is talking or writing about how we are losing our African American youth or youth in general. As soon as they are able, they refuse come to church because of all that they’ve witnessed when growing up in the church. They have seen the lying and backbiting. They have heard adulterous innuendo and observed unforgiveness.

Paige, is an example of the generation that has decided that Jesus was not all He was cracked up to be. Awesome Wonder, like no other novel, shines the spot light on the damage that can be done when hypocrisy is allowed to run rampant in the house of God. People are no longer being fooled by the “Sunday Saint.” Those who think they want to know Christ are being wooed by the enemy because the church and leaders in the church can’t or won’t exemplify holiness. Whether anyone believes it or wants to write about it or not, people are falling away from Christ because of the misrepresentation of Christ in the church. Traditions and arguments when not “rightly dividing the word” has caused many to walk out on God.

Awesome Wonder looks at the church, it’s leaders, family and its impact on one’s life. Awesome Wonder stands alone as it Illustrates the damage religious insincerity and unChrist-like behavior can cause while interweaving the everyday realities of life. It is a novel that is daring those who love Christ to stand up and be real. It is welcoming those who want to know Christ or reconnect to Him but have been hurt to not to look at the world but look to Him. Awesome Wonder says blatantly what no one else in the genre has said, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8.

BPM: What was the most powerful chapter or scene in the book for you?
The most powerful chapter in Awesome Wonder for me was when Paige finally receives revelation. After years of not going to church regularly, she decides to visit a friend’s church at her husband’s request. Believing she knew exactly what she would encounter because of her church history, she was initially pessimistic. To her surprise, she experiences more than she bargained for as the truth of God becomes abundantly clear to her. It’s as if the minister was waiting for her to visit so that he could speak directly to her and situation. The message communicated by the minister becomes all too personal and enlightenment commences.

The word of God is opened up to her like never before and this causes her to rethink her entire relationship with God. Had she any right to feel the way she did for so many years? Was she guilty of the same behaviors as so many others? Her issues with God become something that she must now contend with after hearing the truth. The truth begins to set her free but it would be up to her to accept the freedom. The scene is very emotional and it allows the reader to not only hear the word of God but also become a part of Paige’s psyche as she listens to what she may have already known but refused to hear from God. The Holy Spirit has been talking to many of us for years because we have accepted Christ but have fallen away. The word of God, when presented to us, has a way of making it all too clear that God has been there all time, whispering that He is just waiting for us to return to Him, our first love.

BPM: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Firstly, one must believe in their gift and talent. In this industry, it’s easy to say “forget it” or “this is not for me”. Know that rejection is part of the process but persistence is the key and faith unlocks the door. I have learned that what God has started in me, He is obligated to finish and I will be successful. If you believe that you have something to share that will change lives, then write and believe in yourself and gift that you have been given. Understand that it isn’t the money that will satisfy you. It will be the opportunity to speak into the lives of others and make a difference.

Lastly, be cognizant of the fact that everyone doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Many are in this industry, even Christian Fiction, to make a buck; plain and simple. Surround yourself with people that you can trust and who believe in you and your passion. Most importantly, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t…. because you can!

M. Ann Ricks contact information:
With regard to M. Ann Ricks Literary Creations, LLC links…the one that may be used is simply my website address and it is: http://www.mannricks.net/.  M. Ann Ricks’ e-mail is: godsauthor@mannricks.net  and may posted as well should anyone desire to contact me for literary dialogues, speaking engagements or simply to dialogue about my novels.

M. Ann Ricks’ novels may be purchased via the website and or at any literary establishment, i.e.: Borders, various bookstores Amazon.com and the like.

 

Seduction of Mr. Bradley by Minnie Estelle Miller

The Seduction of Mr. Bradley by Minnie Estelle Miller is now offered  for sale on Kindle books.

Ted Grassley adopts and mentors Bill Bradley from high school to manhood. Ted is a CEO with deep pockets. Although married for forty years, he is bisexual. Bill, caught in the throws of Ted’s lifestyle, complicates matters when he meets Jina Cook, a straight, attractive young lady. The two feel an instant attraction toward each other but both try to pretend it is not happening. Finally, Jina makes the first move and Bill knows he can’t live without this woman. Unfortunately, Bill has a big secret; he is bisexual and finds himself torn between Jina and Ted, his male lover and father figure. Deep inside Bill wants a regular life with a wife and children but guilt makes him think twice. This spontaneous and deeply gratifying tryst throws him off balance. What happens when Mr. Bradley reveals his bisexuality to the only woman he’s ever loved? An emotional war. The Seduction of Mr. Bradley is a moving and powerful story of love, humankind, secrets and discovery.

Book Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars; Down Low No More?
Review written by Donielle R. of APOOO BookClub
This review is from: The Seduction of Mr. Bradley (Paperback)

Bill Bradley is a good-looking, charming, and hard-working public relations professional but his world is about to be turned upside down in Minnie E. Miller’s novel, The Seduction of Mr. Bradley. Jina Cook is an author in need of a public relations representative and Bill wants to be all that and more. In Jina, Bill has met the woman that could turn his world inside out and make him flip the script – literally. Bill is bisexual and when he falls in love with Jina, he becomes torn between the only woman he has ever loved and Ted, the man who has not only been his lover, but his friend and mentor as well. Ted has always been there for Bill. Bill has a heavy burden. How does he deal with the guilt and choose between the woman he loves and the man who has given him so much? And will Jina stay by his side when she finds out his secret?

In The Seduction of Mr. Bradley, Minnie E. Miller weaves an interesting tale that takes us into the lifestyle of a bisexual male. The characters in this story are well developed and realistic. Even if you do not approve of a gay, bisexual, or “down-low” lifestyle, you will find yourself rooting for Bill as simply a human being trying to find what is really in his heart. The imagery and detail were on point and emotions were high in this novel. You will be glued to the page wondering how it all comes together. Be ready to be surprised. I am very interested to find out what else Ms. Miller has in store for these characters.
—Reviewed by Donielle, APOOO BookClub

Book Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars; A Very Complicated Love StoryThis review is from: The Seduction of Mr. Bradley (Paperback)

The Seduction of Mr. Bradley by Chicago author Minnie E. Miller tells a very different kind of love story, a love story complicated by preferences. These particular preferences are not always understood or accepted by society and that is where it gets complicated.

Bill Bradley a bisexual man falls in love with Jina Cook, a straight woman. Mr. Bradley had no intention of falling for Jina, but he was seduced by her good looks, her sensuality and her honesty and innocence. He was also drawn in by the simplicity of her love. Jina had no idea that Bill was bisexual. He knew that once she found out, that he could lose her forever. Would Jina trust his love enough to believe that he could change? Bill was not so sure.

The Seduction of Mr. Bradley is a relationship novel. The twist is that this work of fiction explores the complexity of bisexuality from a man’s point of view without pages and pages of illicit sex and lust. The sex scenes in this novel are done tastefully. Miller was more interested in putting a human face on men who are attracted to both women and other men,. The author did not sensationalize the subject, but sought, it seemed to explain who these men are. These men have been hated, despised and misunderstood while so many men who have been discovered on the “down low” have come out of the closet. Bill Bradley’s story is being played out all over this country, in more instances than we know or imagine. Finally someone tells the story in a way that brings truth and reality to the forefront. It’s a story told with compassion.

I found that I could not dislike Mr. Bradley; although I truly disliked his lifestyle. His character was just like any other African American male who worked hard at getting to the top of his game as a public relations professional. He was kind, gentle and caring. Bill was good people. He opened his own PR firm with the help of his older lover and mentor, Ted Grassley whom he was linked with until he met and fell in love with Jina Cook, a client who hired him to promote her book. Bill’s struggle to find the true desires of his heart is explored in this novel. It is a story that makes you re-think your opinions on alternative lifestyles.

Set in Chicago, the author took great care to detail the setting well. You could just picture the places that the characters visited, the structure of the buildings, the surroundings in their living spaces and landmark spots in the Windy City. Miller also gave you secondary characters that you came to like and care about. Bill’s best friend and confidante, Samara and her Aunt Mamie, another one of Bill clients, were well developed characters who added to the storyline.

How Bill and Jina dealt with his differences and how a family secret from her past contributed to Jina’s reaction to Bill’s sexuality brings the book to an unexpected ending. I really liked The Seduction of Mr. Bradley and I would recommend this book to those who would enjoy a love story, a love story this is full of humanity and truth.
—Reviewed by Idrissa Uqdah for AALBC.com

Connect with author Minnie Estelle Miller
Marvelously Mature Author and Essayist
http://www.millerscribs.com/
http://www.millerscribs.com/blog
http://www.msprissy-dreamweaver.blogspot.com/

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Intimate Conversation with Janks Morton

“One Man, One Camera, One Mission” — JANKS MORTON is a groundbreaking international and award winning documentarian. As founder of iYAGO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, LLC, he states “the company came into existence to reflect both the conscious and the unconscious soul of Black America. JANKS MORTON has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years and is a much sought-after teacher, lecturer, commentator and motivational speaker. He has convened workshops, seminars and served as panelist and keynote speaker at colleges, universities, prisons, conferences, churches and community centers around the world.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I constantly (and very self-deprecatingly) refer to myself as “just an ordinary guy” so I don’t consider myself as anything extraordinary and I fall very short of the word powerful, especially as a writer. Technically, I am a social, political and spiritual family advocate who expresses himself through multimedia, and the book “Why He Hates You” just happens to fall into that definition. What I will say is that the redemption I have found through my faith, has allowed me to be in tune with the direction my father wants me to pursue.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
My spiritual mentor is Pastor A.R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, NY. Between his direction and the plethora of personal stories in the Black Community, my plate stays pretty full. Our people inspire me every day.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing and my films offers the following legacy to future readers…As a student of history, I understand the sage adage “Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter” I want my works to be able to be looked upon by twenty second century Blacks as a resource for a specific reflection of what was transpiring in our community at this moment in time.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Why He Hates You!: How Unreconciled Maternal Anger is Destroying Black Men and Boys.
Black Men and Boys are angry…Why? Because they have been forced to repress and bury deep in a place never discussed a burning and fiery angst towards their parents. Stated simply, they HATE their parents. Janks Morton in his semi-autobiographical work tackles head on the taboo subject of maternal resentment in the African American community. Why specifically maternal resentment? A generation of young black children have been raised exclusively by single-mothers. Morton acknowledges while that some of these children’s antipathy may be directed towards the non-residential fathers, predominantly the object and the focus of a young black boy’s rage is directed squarely at the person responsible for their guidance, their direction, their socialization, their joy and their pain. Their primary care givers and providers – their Mothers.

Official synopsis:
Morton’s narrative of searing personal stories offers a pathway to a larger conversation that for far too long has been held sacred… Morton’s talking truth describes the traumas young boy’s experiences with angst-creating parental techniques such as negotiation, manipulation, and castigation. Parental approaches that are too often utilized in the single parent home and are the well springs to the seas of resentment. The Author’s hopes is through sharing intimate and personal details from his own life, readers can begin to acknowledge the unresolved, unreconciled, and unrecognized parental resentments that can debilitate and shackle their lives. Morton’s personal stories shake loose those things unremembered, and unrecalled to help readers understand the power of forgiveness in order to walk the path towards restoration.

BPM: Introduce us to the primary message in your book.
The primary message of “Why He Hates You” is reconciliation through forgiveness. Now if I could just encourage more women to get past the title and jump into the narrative, the story would begin a renaissance and restoration between children and their parents.

BPM: Share with us two life enhancing sections from Why He Hates You.
1. After passing through the process of forgiveness, I had to understand that I was only able to forgive those things that I was consciously aware of, and that faint sound that appeared from time to time, were the roaring sirens of the repressed. Things that are in the subconscious, things unrecalled that still echo and can trip up your walk and potentially tempt your faith.

2. If any part of your past is unreconciled and you have not made peace with those things that have hurt you, those same things someday will manifest themselves to hurt you and someone else. Hurt people, hurt people.

BPM: What led you to create this book now?
I had been on the lecture circuit for a couple of years, and strangely enough, women constantly would ask me “where is the book” expanding upon my lectures. I think the opening chapter I explain that I like to do several things, but writing is not one of them. It came to a head when a woman explained to me that my lecture had the intensity and fervor of a southern Baptist tent revival, but she couldn’t recall a single lesson I had taught. So I understood at that juncture, I needed a resource for people to consume in their own space.

BPM: Who should read Why He Hates You and why?
Men, Women, Parents, grandparents and all races. There is a crippling and debilitating cultural mantra that has emerged over the past forty years that has rendered a generation of people into permanent children who can never relate to their parents in a healthy and adult fashion. As I detail throughout “Why He Hates You” if there is any resentment residing in you towards either parent, you ultimately wil become a slave to your own bitterness. Hate your mother, marry your mother to state it simply.

BPM: What impact will this book have on the community of readers?
I have seen the power of words to transform lives. And the peculiar thing is that it was words and actions that leads too many children to harbor unreconciled parental issues. As you follow me through my journey in the book, hoefully the light of redemption that was cast upon me, will open a doorway for the reader to find their own pathway to reconciliation.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
To dismantle the old business models that take creative control, do a poor job (if any) of promotion and fully exploit any autuer of inspired works. I come from the record industry so I am biased against $2500 suit wearing exec’s who can’t tell you where middle C is on the piano.

BPM: Who did you write Why He Hates You for? Why?
I wrote it specifically for Men who have had challenges in their relationships as well as mothers of young boys, struggling trying to figure them out.

BPM: What message in your book do you want readers to share with others?
True healing, redemption and peace reside in forgiveness. The trick of the world is to keep you in a place outside of those things of good. Confucious said “before you set out on a path of revenge, dig two graves”

BPM: What makes your book different from others on the same subject?
I don’t believe I have ever seen an author approach the subject matter from my lens. Throughout the book I intertwine the clinical (psychological) with the theological and show that they are two sides of the same coin.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I am back in filmmaker mode. My next film “We Need To Talk: A Messages to our daughters” is slated for release June 29th. I am not a big hupe guy, but as I am about 80% percent complete, I see this film as an absolute game changer. It is a series of vignettes from some very reconciled women, with specific encouragement, direction, love and guidance to the next generation of women coming along. I have never cried while filming subjects, until I met these ten beautiful women.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
http://www.whatblackmenthink.com/

Why He Hates You!: How Unreconciled Maternal Anger is Destroying Black Men and Boys
by Janks Morton   Purchase books today from Amazon    ISBN-10: 1449590683

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Intimate Conversation with Katie McCabe

Katie McCabe is a National Magazine Award winner whose Washingtonian article on black surgical legend Vivien Thomas formed the basis for the HBO film Something the Lord Made, one of the highest rated original movies in HBO history and the winner of the 2004 Emmy and 2005 Peabody Awards. McCabe’s 2009 book Justice Older than the Law, co-authored with pioneering lawyer Dovey Roundtree, won the Association of Black Women Historians’ Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I believe my power as a writer derives from my lifelong love affair with words and literature, my sense of the compelling stories hidden beneath the surface of outward events, and my fascination with unsung heroes. These passions came from my late parents, John and Kathleen Burns. They exemplified for me the kind of nobility and courage I endeavor to portray over and over again in my non-fiction as I seek out heroes and heroines whose lives have profoundly altered our world but whom history has forgotten or marginalized. My goal is to portray these history-makers with the vividness of fiction, and to bring them alive for future generations.

BPM: Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration in the lives of men and women who have, through their creative brilliance and the sheer force of their characters, managed against all odds to transform society. I was inspired, near the beginning of my writing career, by the story of cardiac surgery pioneer Vivien Thomas, the African American lab technician whose improbable segregation-era partnership with the volatile white surgeon Alfred Blalock led to the creation of modern heart surgery. The 2004 HBO film Something the Lord Made that was made from my 1989 Washingtonian magazine story on Mr. Thomas was described by the American Film Institute as “a revelation….a bittersweet story that is an important tool for America as it continues to search for a public vocabulary to discuss issues of race.”

That search has defined a large part of my work, which has focused on such improbable African American heroes as former Harlem Globetrotter Walt Kennedy, who pushed past crippling multiple sclerosis to coach a ragtag Alabama high school basketball team to the state finals, and college student JoAnne Johnson, whose illness became the catalyst for transforming the prospects of minority patients in need of bone marrow transplantation. When I discovered Dovey Johnson Roundtree through a Washington Post article in 1995, I knew I had found a woman whose nobility of spirit merited book-length treatment, and over the 15 years of our collaboration I have been profoundly inspired by her faith and her wisdom.

BPM: Finish this sentence: My writing offers the following legacy to future readers:
I have endeavored to pass on to the next generation of readers the stories of men and women who have prevailed over almost insuperable odds to achieve greatness in medicine, in the law, in athletics, and in public service. I believe that my legacy as a writer is that I have brought to life some truly extraordinary examples of the triumph of the human spirit. These examples speak to people of all races and backgrounds about what is possible when one draws strength from mentors and taps into one’s own well of courage, faith and tenacity.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Justice Older than the Law.
Justice Older than the Law: the Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree tells the story of the fearless civil rights warrior who shattered Jim Crow in the courtrooms of the Nation’s Capital and the World War II military, and led the vanguard of women ordained to the ministry. In a richly voiced first-person account written with National Magazine Award winner Katie McCabe, Dovey Roundtree has created an intimate history of America that reads like a novel, capturing the sweep of nine tumultuous decades and a vision of justice that goes far beyond the law. Justice Older than the Law channels the soul and the voice of the woman First Lady Michelle Obama saluted as “an inspiration” on the occasion of the book’s release last July.

BPM: Introduce us to the primary message in Justice Older than the Law.
Justice Older than the Law is a book about love, faith, courage, law, justice, and the relationship among them. Through the story of one great soul who prevailed over and transformed the evil of a segregated society through the law and a greater justice, this book teaches us all about the redemptive power of goodness.

BPM: Share with us three life enhancing sections from Justice Older than the Law.

DOVEY ROUNDTREE ON THE LAW:
“There’s a gloriousness in the law, in its ability to bring us to the threshold of justice. And that counts for something — that chance, that hope, that open door. But if we are to cross that threshold, we must find it in ourselves, in our own hearts and minds, to live out the rulings and decrees and mandates of the courts.” (p. 176)

DOVEY ROUNDTREE ON THE NEXT GENERATION:
“Age has taken my strength, and it has robbed me of my eyesight, but I have yet a voice, and I raise it this day, at this hour, for our little children, that we may do right by them, that we who are their parents and their grandparents, their teachers and their pastors may nurture them and hold them to our bosoms, that we may baste them in love, that we may weave about them the cocoon of family…I have battled in my time for so many kinds of justice…But no battle of my half century at the bar has been so urgent as the one for the next generation. If every matter before every court in America were foreclosed this moment as a litigable issue, there would yet remain the cause of our little children. They are the case at bar. Theirs is the case I plead now.”  (p. 222)

DOVEY ROUNDTREE ON JUSTICE:
“The kind of justice I seek today is older by far than the law, and it resides in people’s hearts. It is nursed into being not primarily in the pulpit or the classroom or the courtroom, but in the home, at the fireside and the dining room table, in the thousands of intimate moments when mother and father and children weave their bond. It is in this sanctuary that the passing on takes place, that the ‘miracle in the hearts of men’ of which Dr. King spoke unfolds itself.” (p. 223)

BPM: What motivated you to create this book now?
I discovered Dovey Johnson Roundtree 15 years ago, when I picked up the Style section of the Washington Post, and was completely arrested by the photo of Dovey that appeared there, alongside an article on her collaboration with actress Cicely Tyson, who’d modeled her television character of a civil rights lawyer on Dovey. In her face, I saw wisdom, and pain, toughness and tenderness, and I wanted to know her story. And I was drawn, too, by the quote from Dovey beneath the photo: “There’s always somebody who would be the miracle-maker in your life, if you but believe.” Here was a lawyer talking of miracles, a woman who spoke in the cadences of a Southern minister, an attorney who clearly had ideas about justice that reached beyond the courtroom. The improbability of it all struck me with such force that I called her that week, and after one conversation knew that I wanted – that I needed – to write her story.

I sought her out in her tiny office in a row house in Northwest Washington, took note of her broken down chairs and the clients who filled the waiting room. I learned quickly that they brought with them not only their legal troubles, but troubled spirits. “I make my clients my children,” she’d said in that Washington Post article. “I can see stars where there’s nothing but a bunch of clay.” I followed her into the courtroom, watched her broker agreements between warring spouses and plead for “a little healing.” I saw the judges there, who had known her for decades, defer to her wisdom, and call her for advice.

Her story was much more than that of a unique lawyer, I found. For the next ten years, I spent time with her in her home, with her extended family, conducting hundreds of interviews, and continuing those interviews by phone after she retired and moved to her childhood home in Charlotte, North Carolina. In those years I learned that Dovey’s life transcends even the remarkable particulars of her achievements. Her story is one of spiritual as well as historic dimension. In the hours when she told me of her grandmother, her upbringing, her deeply nuanced view of justice, I learned that more than anything, it is the breadth of her vision that makes her who she is. Her desire to “cure the aching heart, the bewildered soul,” as she once told me, to do what she calls “fix the brokenness” is what made me know that hers was a story I wanted to tell. It is this vision – this ability to see stars in a lump of clay – that drew me, most of all, to Dovey.

BPM: What issues in today’s society do you address in the book?
Contemporary America urgently needs this book. As we contemplate at fifty years’ distance the meaning of Brown v. Board in the light of recent Supreme Court rulings, as we struggle with issues of race at every turn, there is a sense that we’ve lost our bearings. What is justice? What sort of a society are we aiming toward? How can we capture the values we seem to have lost? How do we arrest what Dovey calls “the demon of violence” that is destroying our cities? To be able to tap into the world view of a 96-year-old living legend who brought her fight into the streets, the jailhouses, the churches, and ultimately, into the hearts of the individuals to whom she ministered, is an extraordinary opportunity, I believe, for people of all races. Like all truly great stories, Dovey’s teaches us essential truths without seeming to. Indeed, this book is designedly non-political. And although Dovey is a minister, her book is not overtly religious. It simply tells a story – a story of one human being’s quest for a kind of justice far beyond the law, with all the attendant wisdom such a quest implies.

BPM: Before we end the interview, define SUCCESS. What part does GRATITUDE play in achieving success, in your opinion?
Success, in my opinion, lies in the ability to harness one’s God-given talents for the good of the world. Gratitude is central to authentic success, because no one achieves success alone. Rather, we are deeply indebted to those who raised us, shaped us, mentored us, and it’s only when we fully acknowledge that debt and our obligation to pass on what our mentors have given us that we are fully realized human beings. Dovey Roundtree’s story is one long, eloquent argument for this kind of success.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
There are no other books on Dovey Roundtree, so it’s unique in that sense. But I believe that the book is also distinguished from others of its genre – that is, other civil rights memoirs. What makes it unique is its voice, which I channeled into print from thousands of hours of tape-recorded interviews with Dovey over more than a decade. Justice Older than the Law is, in my mind and in Dovey’s, more than an autobiography of a civil rights warrior. It is an expression of a vision of justice older by far than the law, and we believe our book speaks movingly and urgently to our racially troubled times.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Dovey and I are proud that the book won the 2009 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians, which praised Justice Older than the Law for the way it “aided in connecting with the person and the pathos of Dovey” by its use of the novel format. The judges stated, “Your work enhances our understanding of the importance of storytelling as biography.”

We are also deeply gratified by the fact that law firms in Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Hartford and Charlotte have embraced the book and made it a part of their diversity programming. On July 8, a truly extraordinary event is taking place: Thirty law firms in Washington, DC will be featuring the book at a “Law Night” for the rising ninth graders at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a charter school located in Anacostia, where Dovey ministered for 35 years at Allen Chapel AME Church. The Law Night, which will be held at Dovey’s alma mater, Howard University Law School, will bring together the Thurgood Marshall Academy students with attorneys and summer associates from the 30 law firms for a program I will present on Dovey and the book.

One of the great crusades of Dovey’s later years in Washington was to find a way to quell the tide of violence among young people, to do what she called “heal the brokenness” in society and especially the black family. This book is part of her healing effort. She believes that her story will point young people to the essential truths that will sustain them amid the chaos of contemporary culture and set them on the path of goodness. At age 96, she is prevented by gravely ill health from participating in these and other book promotion events, but she continues to celebrate with me the ripple effects of the book on which we worked together for so many years.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
To learn more about the book, to see the First Lady’s letter saluting Dovey, and to contact writer Katie McCabe and watch her presenting the book on YouTube, please visit http://www.justiceolderthanthelaw.com/

To order from the University Press of Mississippi:  www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1189

To order from Amazon:  www.amazon.com/Justice-Older-than-Law-Roundtree/dp160473132X

Please also visit the “Justice Older than the Law” fan club on Facebook.

 

 

Intimate Conversation with author Joseph W. Hoffler

Lt. Col. Joseph W. Hoffler, USAF (ret) is a native of Hertford, NC. He graduated from North Carolina Central University in 1962, with a BS in Biology. He also has a MBA from the University of Missouri. Hoffler is the president of Hoffler & Associates Counseling Services. He facilitates fathering groups with incarcerated dads, is a widower with two adult children and two grandsons, lives in Colorado Springs, CO, is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Promotion: Denied reveals how Lt. Col. Joseph W. Hoffler, a former commander of the Air Force Academy’s Security Police Squadron, was the victim of a racially motivated “witch-hunt.” The book also tells the story of an unlikely duo—an older, black commander from the segregated South and his young, white captain operations officer from New York City—who came together to fight a losing battle against institutionalized racism at the academy.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
As a person it is the fact of competing and becoming a military commander. A military commander has a lot power and authority. He or she can decide promotions, assignments, level of performance. Now I am president of my own company in which I have full control over all aspects of the company. As a writer, my story is about fighting racism against a very powerful, politically connected opponent, the USAF Academy. An opponent who is in a state of denied and who for years has resisted any change or challenge of its authority.

BPM: Who are your mentors?
Without question my mentors were my parents. My father, was a strong, quiet soft-spoken Black man who taught me to stand up for is right and to earn respect. Earlier my dad worked in the Navy Yard. During my years at home, my dad was a self-employed auto mechanic. He inspired us with the knowledge that we were as good as anyone else. He repaired cars, trucks and tractors for both whites and Blacks in Hertford. That wasn’t an easy task during the 1950’s in the South. My dad taught me to watch the nightly news and read the morning papers. Two tasks which follow me today. He had that air of confidence about him. He held positions in church as Usher, Sunday Teacher and then President of the Deacon Board.

My mother was a college graduate who pushed us to do well in our school work. They knew that to earn a good living during that time period, a Black person had to earn a college degree. I had five siblings. Three sister and two brothers. My two bothers ahead of me, both earned academic scholarships and graduated from high at age 16.

ShelfLifeTV: Interview with Lt. Col. Joseph W. Hoffler, Ret

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: Do not ever feel that your civil rights as an American citizen are assured. You must constantly be aware of people (s) who attempt to deny you your basic civil rights as an American citizen. And seek to strengthen the legal structures created to protect you. The recent story about Ms. Sherrod, proves beyond a doubt that the conflict between races are not over. Even such an innocent act of giving a speech at the NAACP can create racial conflict.


BPM: Book Spotlight: Promotion Denied

‘Promotion Denied’- The Harrowing True Story of Racism, Cover-Up, Betrayal and Vigilante Justice at the United Air Force Academy.

Because he consistently achieved outstanding reviews, Hoffler found himself on a special assignment as the commander of the Security Police Squadron at the US Air Force Academy. Hoffler was among a number of Black officers send to the Academy to increase the diversity of Black Air Force personnel. During his final year at the Academy, as he was being consider for promotion, a few white enlisted members of his squadron complained to the Chief of Staff and the Inspector General of the Academy that there were ‘too many Blacks in senior positions in the squadron.’ The senior officers launched a witch hunt against him by recruiting and illegally rewarding a poorly performing white airman in the squadron to fabricate false infractions, meant to embarrass and humiliate and ultimately lead to disciplinary actions and his early retirement. Hoffler attempts at fighting this injustice lead to further personnel actions against him and he finally realized that Headquarters Air Force, valued the reputation of the Air Force Academy and the protection of racist senior officers over integrity.

BPM: Introduce us to the primary message in your book, Promotion Denied.
Although my story is about the US Air Force Academy, there is racism in the U.S. Military. And there are not strong structures for personnel who feel that they have been discriminate against because of their race, can go and feel that they will get act.

BPM: What inspired you to create this book now?
I live in Colorado Springs which is the home of the Air Force Academy. I grew tired of the hypocrisy of the Air Force Academy of failing to address its racial past and having a media blitz about trying to recruit more Black cadets. Also of requiring the cadets to live by an honor code, while not applying that same standard to its senior officers. Over the past 20 years, I tried to get the Academy, like West Point and Annapolis to address its past racial problems. However, the Air Force Academy continues to put its head in the sand. I felt that my story and those of many other Black who were discriminated again by the Academy should be told and apologies and regress made to us.

BPM: Who should read this book?
Every American who pays taxes to support an institution like the Air Force Academy. Especially military retires, veterans and their families.

BPM: What impact will this book have on the community of readers?
I hope that it will cause them to ‘force’ the military to look at racism in its ranks. And where such injustices exist, discipline should be swift and appropriate. Just like the Air Force did when investigating sexual harassment at the Academy. Old cases in which Academy personnel conducted poor and illegally investigations, were reinvestigated and action taken. When influence at the appropriate levels the same can happen in cases involving racism at the USAF Academy and throughout the Air Force.

BPM: What was your primary quest for writing this book?
My quest was to exposure the racism at the USAF Academy, bring restitution to those who suffered as a result and hope that such actions will spread throughout the Air Force. Just as sexual harassment did.

BPM: What message in your book do you want readers to share with others?
Do not put all of your faith into believing that when racism appears, all you have to do it to report the incident and the system will take care of them. In the final analysis, the system is only as good as the people in the system. Work hard to get the right people in the right positions.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
First I would like to add, there are few books about racism in the military. This book is written by me. In my own words, embracing the happy times in my life, my disappointments and frustrations. Usually, when a story which contains such emotions is envisioned by a non writer, typically the story is told to a professional writer who writes the story based on what he/she is told. To me some of the emotions are lost in translation from voice to keyboard. Not here, no one can put into words how someone truly feels. My readers have told me, they can feel me in every line.

BPM: Shares with us your latest awards, upcoming book release.
Last year I was chosen as the Juneteenth Newsmaker of the years for writing my story and bringing to the news, racism in the USAF Academy, CO. And I am very honored to participate in the Congressional Black Caucus Author Pavilion on September 17, 2010.

BPM: How can our readers reach you on line?
The readers can find out more about me at my website: http://www.josephwhoffler.com/  or by emailing me at: jhoffler@q.com

BPM: Before we end the interview, define SUCCESS. What part does ATTTIUDE play in achieving success in your opinion?
Success is when someone reaches he/her goal that they have set for themselves. It could be a promotion on the job, purchasing a new home, getting married, etc. If one hopes to be successful, one must have a positive attitude. It is nearly impossible to succeed, with a negative attitude. Success and attitude go hand in hand and compliment each other.

Purchase copies of Promotion: Denied: The Harrowing True Story of Racism…
http://www.josephwhoffler.com/promotiondenied.php
ISBN-13: 9780979468605 | ISBN: 0979468604

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Intimate Conversation with author Brook Blander

Intimate Conversation with author Brook Blander

Liken to the waves of the ocean in her hometown of Savannah, GA, Brook Blander, is a force of nature. At the tender age of five, she penned her first story and has since matured into an author, poetess, publisher, lecturer, teacher and mentor. Honesty, passion and the power of words are her weapons to proclaim love, profess healing and calm the unrest in the souls of the lost. Her personal movement includes the restoration of the hearts and spirits of women wounded by violence. Thus, she is a compassionate philanthropist to the cause. Her proudest of all accomplishments is being a mother and partner in love. She lives in Michigan where she continues to write, design and manage her companies.

Believing every artist’s vision is the truth of their work led to her founding ebonyLotus Creatives in 2009, a publishing company which allows her full creative control of her works and offers the same to poets, and authors. In conjunction, it is the revitalization of the art of journaling through her exquisite handmade journal line. Later that year, the perfect storm, quiet and mighty, arrived in her fourth book, Personal. Intimate Comforts of Reflection (2009). With her own, true and personal journal entries included, the book portrays love and exposes the horrors of physical abuse passed on by women generations before her, and in beauty with grace tells of their strength to endure. Left without choice, Detroit split wide open to make way for her and she has not refused them.

She has performed at various venues to including Artist Endeavor; Collaborative Art and Poetry (feature poet), Echoverse Poetry Series DPL Words After Dark at the Detroit Public Library, I Am Woman Expo (feature poet) in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month at Wayne State University. In addition, she has been a featured guest on Sol Searching BlogTalk Radio as well as Motown Literary Writers Radio Show. Blander was also a feature poet for the opening ceremony night for the 2009 Essence of Motown Literary Jam Conference. These opportunities extended her reach to the world and today the benefits continue to astound.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
It is my belief that every person has the power to create change. Writing is my power. I have and continue to reach many through the power of the written word. What’s important, as a writer, is to be aware of that power and use it for positive change.

BPM: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook on life?
A great deal of what I write is a reflection of my outlook on life. I vie to tell stories (through poetry, memoir and fiction) of triumph in overcoming the obstacles placed in our lives. The subject lines that I illustrate are real and it is my duty to write them authentically and as I know them.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration to write in everyday living and triumphs. To see a woman feeding her child with no worries of where the next meal will come from is an inspiration for me. I’m inspired by the many things I observe in a day. I also read the poetry of poets that I admire and am inspired.

BPM: What do you think of the increasingly fortuitous sex in African American literature?
It’s disappointing to say that least. Literature is a mockery of life as we see it, and unfortunately in all the other medias, we are seeing an overflow of the same thing…sex filled movies, sex filled songs…sex, sex and more sex. Someone told a truth long ago in the statement that “sex sells.” It does and many African American artists have taken this as an invitation to write it to sell make money. I am often thrown off by the few books of literature on the shelves amongst the overflow of other writings. To me, this is an encouragement to continue writing the literature that I write.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…Truth, in its most raw form. We, African Americans, have lost and been misinformed on so much of “our” Truth. It has been sugar-coated and watered down so much that there are as many accounts as there are people giving them. My writing removes the substitutes and fillers and bestows my own honest interpretation of the world that I see around me today to the eyes that will view it tomorrow.

BPM: now that Im here is a story filled with the joy and pain of remembrance, and the glory of a journey to the sun. Like the lotus flower, the roots of poetess, Brook Blander, settle in the muddy waters of her past. These seven chapters rearrange the mind and reach for the deepest regions of the heart. The product of a rape and molestation, the collection opens in The Basement of moist walls, singing blues and the marks the end, and the beginning of two souls. Hanging Moss is a meal to remember those gone during a season of unjust killings. Waiting for Tomorrow tells of a child deprived and Girl of a life of growth and acceptance. Making You tells of the desperation for and need for love while A Getting Society shows how selfish behaviors and laziness are inherited.

BPM: What specific revelation prompted you to write now that I’m here: lyrics from the mud to the sun?
It is my belief that at some point and time in all of our lives, we are victims of something. It is also my belief that to be a victim is not something that is supposed to be permanent. I have reached a point in my own life where the title simply does not fit anymore. I was abused, I am no longer. I was molested. It is going on no longer. I believe that those that are blessed with the chance to leave a situation that made them a victim are obligated to share their story with others in hopes of bringing another survivor through. “To whom much is given, much is required.”

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
There is a list of people that I am aiming to reach with this book. I want to reach people that are still in the situations of domestic violence. I want to reach the parents that have had a hand in causing a pain that still lingers in their adult children. I am extending my reach with the lyrics of this book to youth that are beginning the journey into their adulthood with the same strikes on their backs that I carry. It is my desire to show them that there is a higher living, a forgiving life, and a life that can move forward and away from the pain.

BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
Though we read for entertainment and information, we read to relate. When a story or a poem or a character reflects an image of our own lives, we relate and hope for a solution to follow so that we get the outcome or avoid the outcome of the one in the writing. now that I’m here is an inspiration, and hopefully a motivation, to all that read it to heal, forgive, help, and live.

BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
Now that I’m Here touches on the topics of child abuse, domestic violence, rape and molestation. It also speaks on my view of poetry, love, triumph and acceptance.

BPM: What was the most powerful (section) chapter in the book, now that I’m here?
The most powerful section of now that I’m here has to be the final one, At The Feet of Yesterday. This portion of the book tells where I am, the height of feat that I have reached, in spite of all the prior chapters, of the book and of my life. It gives honor to those that have come before me and recognizes them as my foundation and strength. It is the part of the book that invites the reader into their own triumphant existence.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
…the realization that triumph awaits….that being a victim lasts as long as the victim desires. now that I’m here is my personal story, through lyric, of all that I have endured throughout my life. It ends with my joy. It ends with me denouncing my label of being a victim of molestation, witnessing domestic violence, and physical, sexual and verbal abuse. I write because I am a survivor and a conqueror and I desire for my readers to see the possibility for their own lives.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
This is my story. Mine. And though the topics are universal, I have written them in the voice of my own Truths to challenge and compel people to look beyond their cultures, religions and beliefs and find their way out of these situations. Poetry and pain are often found together, but less often is it written in a way that shows the ‘happy ending’. now that I’m here is my happy ending that cannot and could not be written by anyone else.

BPM: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases. How can readers reach you?
Readers can visit my website at: http://www.brookblander.com/.  Latest news, lets see. I have just released “The Soul’s Expanded Edition” of Personal; Intimate Comforts of Reflection. This is a re-release of my fourth book with additional poems. I will also be starting my e(mail)-gazine, ZoeticScribe, which is an email delivered magazine about and for women writers. Readers and writers can subscribe at http://www.brookblander.com/

Book: now that I’m here: lyrics from the mud to the sun
View the full electronic presskit from Brook Blander
http://content.bandzoogle.com/users/BrookBlander/files/EPK_BrookBlander_NTIH.pdf

Purchase now that I’m here at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/now-that-Im-here-lyrics/dp/0976759233
ISBN-10: 0976759233
ISBN-13: 978-0976759232

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Intimate Conversation with author James W. Lewis

James W. Lewis is a novelist and freelance writer published in several books. After spending twenty years in the Navy, James retired from active duty and now moonlights as an assistant personal trainer while completing his studies in Kinesiology.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Sellout.
SELLOUT follows a black woman, black man and white woman who face the consequences of dating outside their race. In the quest to find what they think is missing in their lives, they encounter guilt, fear and struggles they never anticipated…including murder.

SELLOUT also offers a comprehensive look at interracial dating, revealing an inside view on how racial stereotypes and prejudice impact relationships within and outside the race. Sometimes, stereotypes influence people to “jump the fence.”

BPM: What motivated you to write the book?
While in the Navy, I worked at a duty station where about 80% of the black men were dating outside the race (about twenty of us total). I was one of the few married to a black woman. One of the guys told me about his messy divorce and he said he was never going to date another black woman again. It seemed like the brothers were running away from black women. I found this “flight to the white” disturbing and intriguing at the same time. Were these men running away? That experience gave birth to SELLOUT.

BPM: What issues in today’s society does your book address?
Although we live in the age of Obama and a multi-ethnic society like never before, we are still not color-blind. Remnants of the Jim Crow past creep up daily and some people just can not stand the sight of racial mixing, especially between blacks and whites. Still, there’s been an increase in marriages between black men and white women. And even though statistics show black women as least likely to date interracially, that trend is changing as well.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
To open a dialogue about interracial dating and uncover why some people are so quick to abandon their own race (in regards to finding a mate). I wanted to understand the difference between personal preference (for another race) and flat-out refusal to date within the race. I’ve learned these refusals mostly stem from negative stereotypes.

BPM: Who did you write this book for? Why?
I wrote the book not just for black women, black men and white women, but for anyone who may be curious about interracial dating and those who’ve done it. With SELLOUT, I believe most people will identify with at least one of the characters (including the supporting cast), even if the reader is of a race other than black or white. Attitudes toward miscegenation spans across all color lines.

BPM: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?
My main message is this: It doesn’t matter what race you are, EACH race has its bad apples. I don’t think any race is superior, especially in regards to finding a potential mate. People should not be so quick to believe in stereotypes as if they are completely true.

James W. Lewis, The Pantheon Collective
http://www.pantheoncollective.com/
http://www.jameswlewis.com/

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Intimate Conversation with author d. E. Rogers

d. E. Rogers has written five great novels  (White Lie, Color Line, Just Like Your Daddy, I Know She Didn’t, and Counterfeit Friends). His books have had increasing and incredible sales records. On every project, Rogers has taken his writing skills to the next level where few have gone. His stories are rich in reality and tell of real life love and drama that all can relate to. The characters jump from the pages and into your life as though they were long time friends. After reading one of his books, you will want to read another.

Book spotlight: Crossing Color Lines
Is your America separate, but not equal?

Segregation of races can have a powerful impact that defeats the will to fight if you’re on the wrong side. But what if YOU had a chance to choose your race? Would you stay in your own skin, or choose the race with the best benefits?

In Crossing Color Lines, Chase Cain chooses which side to live on. After seeing the brutal hanging of his father as a child and having features and skin light enough to ‘pass’, Chase Cain decides to create his own fate: Leading the life of a white man. With just a small ‘white lie’, Chase gambles with his family, friends and love, while claiming wealth, fame and fortune. Not understanding the game or knowing the players, his choice becomes a living hell and his world begins to crumble. But, just as he attempts to rebuild his life, enemies from his past resurface to remind him that certain lines should never be crossed!

BPM: Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Some of my characters personality traits are on point with people I know. In Crossing Color Lines most of my characters face some harsh realities that many of my friends and family members have been through. The inner workings of how families interact, fight and come together is read throughout my book. In all of my stories I carry with me the people who have shaped my mind and helped me grow. So in my writings they are seen but through the eyes of how I see them. Which may differ from how they might see themselves.

BPM: What inspired you to write this story?
My true inspiration to write this story comes from my love for people and how we need to strive to become equal on all things. At the heart of this story is the Civil Rights Movement. Reading about those times and knowing about the struggle that many black people had is disheartening and a terrible tragedy. Those times and years before shows the strength of a people through the hardest times in this country’s history. I kind of wanted to pay homage to that time period with a story that engulf the movement and show the affects that an unequal society has on the development of black child. With racism and integration at the core of this story I posed a question of whether or not a person would choose to stay in their race in which he/she was born or choose a race that had the best benefits.

BPM: What issues in today’s society have you addressed in the book?
A lot. This story touches upon the civil rights movement, racism, slavery, equal opportunity employment, affirmative action, stereotypes, rape and a cast of others issues that make this story a very compelling and great read.

BPM: Why did you decide to pick the African-American Fiction (Drama) genre for your book?
The story lead to me this genre. I love a story with depth in the characters. I present many obstacles for my characters that keep them on the run and the reader guessing what’s going to happen next. The challenging part for me is keeping the story fresh so that my readers appreciate my artistry.

BPM: What is your most valuable lesson about the publishing industry?
The publishing industry is just like any other industry. It’s a difficult nut to crack but the market is wide open for people to publish there books a number of ways. You just have to be smart and diligent about your work ethics and know what you want.

BPM: What writers inspire you and why?
James Baldwin – because he was such a literary genius who was able to tap into the social issues of his time and write some of the most brilliant stories that helped changed minds and social behaviors.

Zora Neale Hurston – because of her style of writing and for remaining true to what she knew. Her stories were a depiction of how race relationship were and how people interacted during those periods in time, and

Marcus Garvey – because of his spirit and belief that black people could achieve greatness with unity and self-empowerment. His vision of black Americans rising above their plight and achieving equality is still alive today by standing up for what’s right.

BPM: What did you hope to accomplish by writing this particular story?
Outside of making it to the Best seller lists, my main goal is to open up eyes to racism and begin a positive constructive discussion. I hope those discussions could lead to developments of more equality amongst races and a better understand of us all.

BPM: How can readers reach you online? Share with us your latest news.
d. E. Rogers author of Crossing Color Lines
http://www.theworldofdavid.com/
http://www.theworldofdavid.wordpress.com/ (blog)
http://www.facebook.com/crossingcolorlines

Latest News:
Crossing Color Lines is now available on Amazon, through our website, Borders, and Baker & Taylor. We also have a new network available to any and all d. E. Rogers fans. The d. E. Rogers Book Network is for fans to network, discuss issues the book identifies, and engage with one another as avid readers. Fans can join the network through our Facebook page or our website.

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Intimate Conversation with author Cleo Scott Brown

What are your most vivid childhood memories? Hopefully, they do not include seeing your father shot or watching him pull up Klan crosses. These childhood terrors are experiences of author Cleo Scott Brown, who chronicles her father’s successful fight to win voting rights for blacks in Louisiana. Cleo speaks nationally on race and reconciliation using lessons from her father’s story. She is also the sponsor of the “Mile in My Shoes” African American male writing project. She resides in Goose Creek, SC.

Witness to the Truth by John H. Scott & Cleo Scott Brown tells the extraordinary life story of a grassroots human rights leader and his courageous campaign to win voting rights for African Americans in northeast Louisiana, one of the last places in the south to allow African Americans the right to vote. Told in Scott’s own words, and recorded by his daughter Cleo Brown, Witness to the Truth recounts the complex tyranny of southern race relations.

Raised by grandparents who lived during slavery, Scott grew up learning about the horrors of that institution, and he himself experienced the injustices of Jim Crow laws. Without bitterness or anger, he chronicles almost one hundred years of life in the rural south, including his grandparents’ recollections of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, and his own recollections of migrations between the two World Wars, the displacement of African American farmers during the New Deal, and the shocking methods white southerners used to keep African Americans under economic domination and away from the polls. Chapter president of the NAACP for more than 30 years and a recipient of the A. P. Tureaud Citizens Award, Scott embodied the persistence, strength, and raw courage required of African American leaders in the rural South, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s.

BPM:  Take us inside the book, Witness to the Truth, in your own words.
“Witness to the Truth” is a book I wrote about my father who grew up in the almost all black northeast corner of Louisiana. It was a place of thriving black businesses, neighborhoods, and schools, but there was one big problem. Because of the large black majority, from the 1890s until the 1960s, not one African-American was allowed to vote. My father, who was born in 1901, chronicles almost one hundred years of life in the rural south, including his grandparents’ recollections of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, and his own recollections of sharecropping, the displacement of black farmers, and the shocking methods white southerners used to keep African Americans under economic domination and away from the polls. Although just a small-town farmer and preacher, my father ultimately was able to convince Attorney General Robert Kennedy to join him in his battle to break a system that had been in effect for over 70 years.

Although my father’s crusade took 25 years, his longsuffering reminds us that it was the persistent efforts by ordinary people that impacted the rights of blacks throughout the South. His story also reminds us that we too have the ability to make changes in our own communities and he inspires us to start making a difference.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I have personally experienced the worst of human behavior and the worst of economic conditions and I have come through all the struggles happy, sane, at peace, and a lot wiser. God has taught me how to be better rather than bitter.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
My mentors and my inspiration are my parents. From my father, I understand that no problem is too large to be tackled. It only takes one person persevering to change a whole system. Because of him, I find it hard to think small. From his life, I also learned that life’s bad experiences can either break you or make you and that I actually got to choose which outcome I’d have in my life. From my mother, I learned that you’re never too old to evolve into your better self. She finished high school when I was in high school and got to have a successful career late in life. Because of her, I strive to always be changing for the better.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… it simplifies the incredibly complex subject of race in America in a way that leads to reflection and discovery, regardless of the racial background of the reader.

BPM: Who should read Witness to the Truth and why?
History-lovers and people who like inspirational stories will want to read this rare first-hand account of the breaking of the final strongholds on voting in the south. Others will like the book simply because my father tells a great story and he has so much to share about where we’ve been and where we need to go. It is also a great historical memoir for high school students. In fact, the most consistent comment across ethnic and regional lines has been that the book should be required reading for every school student. In classrooms where it has been used in conjunction with my study guide, it has generated excellent discussion and reflection about how Americans relate to and deal with issues of race. This story has also proven to be especially thought-provoking for white readers who came of age during the time that many of the cruelties recorded in the story took place.

BPM: What issues in today’s society do you address in the book?
Many issues are addressed by my father but some key issues are: 1) How and why racial divisions are perpetuated and who gains from the divisions; 2) The results of lack of involvement in the political process—when readers discover the price paid for the vote, they develop a new appreciation for exercising their rights; 3) The gullibility of the voter to political propaganda—the story details the methods used by powerful people in the past to manipulate and control how people felt about race, voting, and the economy, with the sole objective of controlling elections and maintaining power—methods surprisingly similar to what was used in the latest elections, particularly in my state of SC; 4) What could happen if ordinary citizens got involved and did their part to stand up for what is just and right; and 5) The source of rising racial unrest—it is the story of the last generation to come of age during “Jim Crow” segregation. We are now in our 50s and 60s and unfortunately we are in charge, with all our unresolved racial issues.

BPM: What impact will this book have on the community of readers?
“Witness to the Truth” is told as an intimate conversation between my father and the reader. As readers walk the road of an elder who has seen so much, they will experience what my father called “learning by accident”, which he thought was a fun way to learn. At the end of the journey, readers will discover that they will have gained a better understanding of today’s world and they will have learned the powerful lessons that history can teach us, if we only stop to listen. His words will call out to you to leave your places of comfort and become an agent of change in your own church, school, community, state, and country.

Book Reviews:

“A moving and powerful autobiography…a sterling example of the power of an individual voice raised in protest, of what happens when one person unwaveringly insists on what is right and just.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Spellbinding…This book is so well written as told through the voice of Scott, it is difficult to put it down. Its contents also are of major importance.”
Charleston (SC) Post and Courier

BPM: What message in your book do you want readers to share with others?
I’d like for them share that the price for voting privileges was very, very high and that anyone who fails to exercise this privilege is guaranteed to lose something that was valuable to their future.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
I believe that the difference is that people really “get it” after reading this story. My father, whom I consider one of the wisest people ever, took a simple story and interwove it with the accumulated wisdom of generations of ancestors. I have received feedback from many people who after reading the story experienced change in their lives: young adults who started voting; the couple inspired to create plans to get out of debt; the southern white trucker who said he finally understood; the Asian college student whose mother had taught her to dislike all black people who would now share the story with her mother; the white female who said that for the first time, she is questioning what the media says about African Americans; the young black male who has highlighted and underlined what has spoken to his spirit and who now has a new direction for his life. Just as my father’s life positively influenced many young people in his hometown and set an example for leadership throughout the country, so does his life continue to encourage and inspire another generation.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I am working on compiling into a book the essays I received from my “A Mile in My Shoes” writing project. This project/contest for African American male students was designed to give voice to young black males who would otherwise not have an outlet for their work.

“Witness to the Truth” was selected as the Ouachita Parish Library (Monroe, LA) 2008 Summer Read Selection.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
Readers can learn more about the story, find links to purchase the book, and read the first chapter on my website: http://www.cleoscottbrown.com. Readers may also contact me directly via cleo@cleoscottbrown.com.  “Witness to the Truth”, ISBN 978- 1-57003-818-1, may also be ordered through your local bookseller, through the publisher—The University of South Carolina Press (www.sc.edu/uscpress ), or via online distributors such as http://www.amazon.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com.

Purchase your copy today!
http://www.cleoscottbrown.com/purchase.shtml

The John H. Scott Memorial Fund is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation that was established in 1980. The purpose of the fund is to finance projects that advance the ideals of Rev. Scott. The primary project is the Rev. J.H. Scott Memorial Scholarship. The Fund is supported through public contributions.

Rev. Scott was a minister and civil rights activist who was devoted to improving the quality of life for his people. He used his positions as pastor, president of the East Carroll Parish NAACP and president of the Baptist Association to help Black people find a measure of justice in their efforts to meet their physical, social, spiritual, legal and financial needs. He doggedly pursued the right to vote for over fifteen years, finally reaching his goal in 1962. Visit the website: http://www.jhsfund.org/

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Intimate Conversation with author Rupert Junior Green

R. J. Green migrated from Jamaica at age 17 to live with his grandmother in the Bronx, New York. In 1996, he graduated with top honors from Evander Child’s High School. He consequently attended SUNY Old Westbury College, earning a BS in Chemistry in 2000. Before relocating to South Florida, he continued on to Stony Brook University in pursuit of an MS in Theater.  R.J. Green is a member of the multitalented music group “SJ.”

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
The first time I discovered I can make a difference in life had me urging to be a better person. For all those friends I sat and shared my dreams with, and who got killed in the ghetto of Kingston where I spent my earlier childhood, forced me to fulfill their dreams and mine. In high school in the Bronx, NY I helped to reduced gang war, since all my peers listened to me. I encouraged drug-dealers and pimps to give up their lifestyle and introduced them to music, most of them did that. As a writer I sparked the interest of most people who hadn’t read a book in years. Now I received hundreds of call asking when the next book is going to be release — to be so well received gives the courage to try harder as a self publisher, I thank my fans and most of all the Lord for showering me with blessing.

BPM: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook on life?
My recent novel ‘TANNY ANDERSON – Barefoot, Prickle & Thorns’ reflected some of my earlier childhood days as well as other people around me. Although written by a man through the eyes of a girl, Tanny Anderson’s life is what most people experience: moments of laughter, fear, sadness, and the will to live.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
First I must say my mother Audria Nixon who had struggled to take care of her five children as a single mother, my screenplay teacher at SUNY Old Westbury College who thought I would be the greatest screenwriter one day, Dr. Lloyd who mentored me and was there for me during Chemistry BS, a professor at Stony Brook University grad school in the department of theater who told me my writing reminds him of a friend – a great American playwright.

I found my inspiration from my early childhood days growing up in Jamaica where I promised myself to be the most prosperous flowers that bloomed from the concrete jungle. I got the opportunity to further my education in the United State and I took advantage knowing I was already deemed a failure because of where I grew up.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers who are looking for stories that everyone can relates to, as well as inspirational and new ideas: “A man with a dream worth more than his counterpart with none, while they’re asleep dreaming, he’s working towards his dream.”

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters.
Tanny Anderson – Barefoot, Prickles & Thorns is a heart touching story about a Jamaican girl, Tanny Anderson, growing up in the countryside of Jamaica and the difficult journey she undertakes, even after migrating to the United States. Dreams that are shadowed by nightmares, but her will to live could not be denied. Revelations about Tanny’s life: moments of laughter, fear and sadness…

A series of books featuring the heroine, Tanny Anderson, are underway.

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?

I first began to write screenplays incorporating reality, dreams, and fantasy to produced psychological thrillers that had my teachers in undergrad and grad school thought were some of the best movie script they ever saw. As a Blackman it seemed more difficult to land a deal when you try to match, and or outdo Steven Spielberg. After turning down several mediocre offers in early 2000 I began to write books instead. A book is the easiest way to get my story across without the high budget hindering the process.

BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
Two major events taking place in chapter 9 “Rescued by an Angel:” Like an angel Carol found her way into Tanny’s life and rescued her from neglect and abuse inflicted by Tanny’s paternal family (the Wilsons). Mr. Anderson began to physically abuse his girlfriend Carol after the Wilsons plotted against her.

BPM: Who are your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Tanny Anderson is one of my favorite characters – she is the portrayal of many real individuals I came in contact with over the past years. Mr. Anderson, Kevin McKenzie, Grandma Carm, Carol, and Cur are notable characters as well. Vincent Johnson is a real character I remembered from third grade (many many years back); he will be remembered for his drastic action and how it impacted Mrs. Walker’s life.

BPM: What role do you give the “mean-spirited” characters? Do you have such characters?
The “mean-spirited” characters would be Mrs. Walker for terrorizing her first grade class with a deadly spanking, and Mr. Anderson for being very abusive.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
I want to reach readers who love to read good stories. Tanny Anderson – Barefoot, Prickle & Thorns gears toward those readers who enjoyed Harry Potter, but also needed a touch of reality. The message is to be strong for others maybe going through worst than you.

BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
Reading Tanny Anderson will help to heal readers who had being abuse physically and mentally, to open the eyes of parents who leave their children in the care of other relatives, and to motivate readers not to give up due to the many obstacles they faced.

BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in Tanny Anderson: Barefoot, Prickles & Thorns?
I love all the chapters since they are all unique, but I will recommend chapter 3 “Justice we want” that reflected the recent uproar in Jamaica. Even thought the book was published Jan 2010 its content is still relevant to current issue plaguing most societies.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
My book is different from others on the same subject because it is written by a man through the eyes of a young girl, Tanny Anderson. It blended fiction and reality, and is driven by powerful characters from start to finish. People, who read the first line, always ended up reading the whole book.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I recently did a book signing at Hue-man Book store in Harlem and I was invited to do another one. My group SJ (http://www.sjamz.com/ ) performed for the King of Ghana, and other world leaders honoring two females government representative from Miami. I am currently working to release a psychological thriller novel “Searching for the Enemies” by the end of 2010.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
Readers can reach me online: http://www.zyfex.com/  or https://www.createspace.com/3409304

Read a few pages at Amazon Tanny Anderson. Twitter: https://twitter.com/mastarecka

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Masta-Recka/643932629

Tanny Anderson: Barefoot, Prickles & Thorns
by author R J Green
ISBN 13: 1449589480 / 9781449589486

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Intimate Conversation with author Michele Tapp Roseman

Michele Tapp Roseman, M.A., writer/media specialist, has more than 20 years’ experience helping clients communicate more effectively. The principal of Communication On Tapp, she has been featured in the Washington Times, MORE Magazine, WHUR’s “Let’s Talk Money,” and been a guest on the Christian Broadcasting Network. The native New Yorker is an Elder at Faith United Ministries and resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her husband Kyle.

BPM: Who did you write Business Briefs for? Why?
This weekly devotional guide was written to encourage busy professionals. I wrote it because we know the challenge of having to bring our “A” game to work when personally and professionally we are “running on E.” I got the idea after having successfully hosted a free, weekly inspirational teleconference for three years; the name of this teleconference is “Business Briefs.” This call – like the book – is designed to provide a source of hope without disrupting important daily events. Some people’s schedules preclude them from participating in this 15 minute teleconference. With Business Briefs (the book), anyone can be uplifted at their leisure. The easy-to-follow entries, practical prayer and Scripture references can be read in less than 5 minutes. There are 86,400 minutes in a day … surely we can give 5 of them to God.

BPM: What message in your book do you want readers to share with others?
I’d like for the readers to realize that we should never get so busy that we don’t schedule time with God. I also want readers to know and share that God’s schedule is never so chock-full that He doesn’t have time for us. An appointment with God — whether 1 minute or 1 hour — is one worth keeping. Time alone with the One who made the world – helps us handle to everything that happens in our world.

BPM: Share with us a few life enhancing sections from the book, Business Briefs.

I Hate to Open The Door! – Week 22
The principal benefit of working in an office versus telecommuting is the opportunity to share ideas with others in person. When working in an office, you also have an opportunity to share things that are not pleasant – such as refrigerator smells! There are times when I refuse to place my lunch in the company refrigerator because once I open the door I can hardly stand the smell of the contents.

Does this setting sound like a scene from your life? Is there a covered area of your life that has now started to leak in the work setting? Maybe there is an old secret that you will not disclose for fear of public embarrassment. Take a risk and share your life with God so that He can begin to eliminate the old and fill it with something new.

Motion Sensors – Week 26
I recall arriving to work earlier than normal and walking into a pitch black hallway. I did not realize that the hallway lights are activated by motion sensors. Once I began to move, the lights came on and I could see where I was going.

Perhaps we should consider this question – how much closer would we be to our goals if we started moving? God’s challenge for us today is to start taking steps. You may be in the right place but if you do not move insight or inspiration may never appear. God is our “Motion Sense-er” who knows when we are moving and standing still. He is aware of missed opportunities because we gave way to fear and doubt. He is also the first one to help us when He senses we’re willing to move!

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Business Briefs is now available for purchase online and at the Christian Cultural Center book store in Brooklyn, NY (http://www.cccinfo.org/ ). I will also be featured in the Author’s Pavilion during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 40th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, September 15-18, 2010 (http://www.cbcfinc.org/ ).

BPM: Before we end the interview, define SUCCESS. What part does GRATITUDE play in achieving success, in your opinion?
In my estimation, gratitude is the thread that keeps the tapestry of success intact. I refer to success as a “tapestry” because the success of one is birthed from the assistance of many. When one views tapestry, at first glance a particular image is readily visible. Upon closer inspection, though, the various hues and textures of thread come into view. So it is with success. The successful person appears to stand alone. Upon closer inspection, the impact of an encouraging spouse, uplifting boss and a tough-loving friend are seen. The thread of gratitude ensures that we will not unravel under the heat of limelight. It is gratitude that knits us to the ones who have helped us along the way and propels us to weave someone else into what we have achieved.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
Please visit http://www.businessbriefs.info/  or e-mail me at businessbriefs@verizon.net  to learn more about Business Briefs and how to get a copy. Also tune-in to the free, Business Briefs Teleconference every Tuesday at 12:30 pm (EST) by calling (866) 576-7975 Code: 223743

Order your copy of BUSINESS BRIEFS by visiting  http://www.businessbriefs.info/

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Intimate Conversation with author Arlene R. Crenshaw

Intimate Conversation with author Arlene R. Crenshaw

BPM: Please tell us a little bit about yourself, Arlene.
I’m a 48 yr. old woman with one son and two grandchildren. I raised my son on my own. We struggled many of days but we made it. I am blessed in many ways and I’m so grateful. I lost my job about a year ago for something that was not my fault. It was difficult trying to find work after working for so many years. I prayed everyday for God to help me find something in this world that I would enjoy doing, and in a dream a voice came upon me (God) and said to me. “You are here for a purpose and it is to write and inspire people.” Something I’ve done all of my life…inspire people. Who would thought that I would be writing novels today, you see dreams do come true if you believe.

BPM: Tell us about your latest release, Twelve Roses For Uretta.
The Book is called “Twelve Roses for Uretta” This is a true story of a mother’s struggle with domestic violence, while trying to raise her eight children. This story is told through the eyes of Uretta’s daughter (Erica) who carried the burden of not being able to help her mother because she was just too young, plus Erica’s own secret she was never able to tell her mother’ before her mother’s untimely death.

BPM: What specific situation prompted you to write your book?
My story is a true story and after the death of my mother, life was never the same for me again. For years I suffered with depression and anxiety because of my past. Finally one day I decided it was time to take control of my life and by doing that it prompted me to write my book “Twelve Roses For Uretta.” The book tells of the domestic abuse my mother endured from her husbands, and the secret her daughter Erica never got to tell her before her untimely death. The more I wrote my story the more I began to feel better about life. I started to notice that all the pain that was embedded within me and even the things in my life I blocked out, was now coming out and I felt renewed, then a sense of healing within. All the adversity I had been through in my life I was now starting to live my life, and know I live my life beyond adversity.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with Twelve Roses For Uretta and the message within?
My book also brings about awareness to a problem that exists sometimes right under our noses, and many just ignore it sometimes to the point that it’s to late to recover. There are a lot of people that would like to ignore that domestic violence is present in their lives or a loved ones. I grew up around it, I’ve met many women who have gone through it and I know many who still do endure domestic violence everyday. My message is that love shouldn’t hurt, anyone who loves you wouldn’t do anything to damage you in anyway whether it’s mental or physically. Love shouldn’t hurt.

BPM: How will reading your book, Twelve Roses For Uretta, shape the readers lives?
I hope by reading my story that it helps someone to think twice about being in a relationship that involves domestic violence and my greatest hope is that an abuser reads this novel and changes his or her ways…because you know that an abuser does not always have to be male. Love shouldn’t hurt.

BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
Two specific issues are “warning signs” most abusers love to be in “control” and they’ll work day and night on your “self-esteem” trying to destroy what ever fight or little fight you have to stand up for yourself, and break you down to your lowest point. Do not allow anyone to take your power.

BPM: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
I have a new book coming out July 2010, called “Hidden Closets” a book of fictional short stories. The stories will hit close to home for many! This book journeys into the minds of people with jaw dropping hidden secrets. They never want people to know about their REAL side, for fearing of being exposed to their real truths. Visit my website for excerpts and other news.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
Readers can reach me at  arlene_crenshaw@yahoo.com, arlene crenshaw@facebook, and my website is http://www.mscrenshawbooks.com/   I also post a daily quote on Facebook and Blogger I call it “My quote of the day” which I share everyday. I try my best to inspire people to believe in themselves and to let no obstacle stand in their way, no matter how difficult life or challenges in life may seem.

Excerpt from Twelve Roses For Uretta by Arlene R. Crenshaw

For as long as I can remember, I witnessed the men in my momma’s life abuse her mentally and physically, these were men she swore to love, honor, and obey till death do them part. I was the third to the oldest of my momma’s eight children, and I started noticing the abuse on my momma when I was around four or five years old. I remember hearing her screaming from being beat up and this “boom booming,” sound as if something or someone was hitting walls or even being thrown or slammed into them, my name is Erica and this story is through my eyes. This is a true story about my momma and me together; and the years I grew up with her.

Why, did my momma have to cry and suffer so much in the name of love?

Growing up in my momma’s home was very uncomfortable, scary and traumatizing these uncomfortable feeling stayed with me day after day, year after year; these feelings were embedded deep in my mind, body and soul for a long as I could remember, not that I haven’t had my own issues to back me up, but growing up with my momma my, sisters, and brothers there were a lot of very painful times and so many memories that I’ll never forget. The things I heard, felt and saw started my life out as just plain old misery, sadness and traumatizing to my soul.

Pick up your copies of Twelve Roses For Uretta today!
ISBN-10: 0557309204
ISBN-13: 978-0557309207

Twelve Roses For Uretta can be found at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Roses-Uretta-Arlene-Crenshaw/dp/0557309204
Twelve Roses For Uretta can be found at Lulu
http://www.lulu.com/content/paperbackbook/twelve-roses-for-uretta/8309144

Twelve Roses For Uretta can be found at my website
http://www.mscrenshawbooks.com/  and  http://www.shaphire48.blogspot.com/

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Intimate Conversation with Russel Blake

Russel Blake has been a Music Producer/Professional Musician/Concert Soloist/Educator for over 3 decades. As a music producer, Mr. Blake has created a multitude of projects covering all genres of music. His last CD project entitled “Quiet Strength” is a powerful and soulful jazz project that received critical and commercial success. His next soon to be released CD project is entitled “Fierce Solitude” and is highly anticipated.

Russel Blake has also just self-published his first book entitled “Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman Volume 1.” The strength of the idea is to communicate the precious and priceless value/existence of Black Women to the minds of black men, the rights to be treated with unwavering respect and dignity in the minds of black women and the seeds of reverence to be sown by virtue of changing perception one community at a time.

If one Black Woman is thought to be expendable, then every Black Women’s immeasurable value is now diminished in the eyes of the world.

Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman” is published by Man of Psalms Publishing. It is a book of Psalms, Praises, Short Stories, and observations whose foundation are the Holy Scriptures utilizing Proverbs 31 as its central theme based on the Virtuous Black Woman.  Mr. Blake’s writings are in essence a global dedication unto African/Caribbean/African-American Virtuous Women who everyday exemplify the proverb of the wise Woman who builds her house with peaceful dignity.

BPM: What is the inspiration behind your book, Proverbs 31:The Virtuous Black Woman?
Ans: My inspiration is drawn from the resiliency and persistent determination I have witnessed in the depth of character from my own Mother to African/Caribbean/African-American Women during my world travels.

BPM: Why do you feel that the topic of this book is relevant at this time?
Ans: I feel it is arguably factual that at no other time in history have black women faced such a daunting foe of mis-characterization and victimization since the trans atlantic slave trade.

BPM: Why was this book specifically targeted to Black Women or Women of Color and not all women?
Ans: Regrettably, black women particularly in the United States still constitute the highest “negative” statistics belonging to women. Whether in the areas of health, incarceration, leading single parent households, etc;…

BPM: What is your number one desire for Black Women to take away from your book?
Ans: A renewed sense of value and purpose inspiring them to reassess themselves in the most positive light and moral worth possible in order to both endure and succeed.

BPM: How can my readers obtain a copy of Proverbs 31:The Virtuous Black Woman.
Russel Blake website address: http://www.russelblake.net/

Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman Volume 1 by Russel Blake
Price: $19.99;   ISBN: 978-0-615-34398-3

The primary subject matter is Christian Inspiration/Psalms/Spirituality/Self-Help
The primary audience is Adults, African-American, Caribbean/African Women and Men
To place an order, please order at http://www.russelblake.net/

Email Monica Hart, Director:   russelblakemanagement@yahoo.com 

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Intimate Conversation with Skyy Banks

Soul on Fire, Skyy Banks premier novel, is an exploration of the torment of abuse and the consequences of self-hatred and self-destructive behavior, and it sheds light on why so many women sabotage relationships and friendships that mean so much. Before Soul on Fire, Banks shared her work with the world through freelance writings. She is a native of Arkansas who now calls Atlanta, GA her home. Banks enjoys reading, writing, and traveling. Banks uses her writing as a platform to encourage her readers to explore taboo subjects and engage in dialogue to find solutions. She is a self-motivated woman and knows the world is waiting for her greatness.

Every woman knows Dana, the heroine of Skyy Banks’ debut novel, Soul on Fire. Dana, simply put, is a survivor. Her sexually abusive past has imprisoned her and she has unleashed her pain to a sea of devastation and damage. Not until she confronts her demons can she garner the strength to brave the journey to redemption. As she begins her journey to release herself from the shackles of her past, Dana quickly discovers the path to salvation and freedom is anything but smooth. Set against the backdrop of the corporate world of Atlanta, Georgia, Soul on Fire chronicles a young professional woman’s journey for inner peace and happiness.

BPM: Take us inside the book, Soul on Fire by Skyy Banks. What major events take place?
Dana Taylor is 29, a beautiful, well- educated, rising star in corporate Atlanta. Dana lives life on her own terms, no matter the cost. She can have any man she wants, but often finds herself in the throes of one unhealthy relationship after another. Not until she has retreated into the emotional shelter of various unavailable men, ruined a marriage, and jeopardized a friendship does she look inward to find the source of her self-destructive behavior. To reclaim herself and find redemption, she must unlock the demons of her past and confront those that stole her innocence.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
Childhood sexual abuse is a no respector of race, gender, or socio economic statuses. It is an offense that has become increasingly prevalent in our society, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. Oddly enough, I want not only to reach victims, but potential victims and perpetrators as well. I want victims to know that they can overcome the emotional scarring of the violation that has occurred within their lives and the abusers to see from a different vantage point the devastation they have caused the victim and those closest to them.

BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
Reader’s lives will be shaped in that the book offers an opportunity for self-reflection. It touches on many dynamics as it relates to intimate relationships, family, friendships, and decision making. Life is all about choices and although we are not always dealt what we deem a fair hand, we must not allow the transgressions of others against us or our circumstances dictate how we move forward in life.

BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
The book has several powerful scenes, but what I have witnessed and received from readers as being the most was a confrontation scene in which the main character confronts her abuser. The raw emotion is heard when readers read this passage aloud, tears flow, and some have said they wish they too could have done that. They didn’t or couldn’t confront the abusers yet they could identify with the hurt. Only now to be able to open up to someone else, this for some has been twenty years later.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
To survive is to thrive, mind blowing, devastating things occur in daily life. When it happens, nothing stops, not time or even life and people move right along with that flow without ever addressing or pausing to think about the situation. The bottled hurt and emotions then manifest themselves in unhealthy ways. Or on the flipside, it’s repressed and they are just living. Nonetheless, the person has survived in the physical sense, but is not thriving because mentally and spiritually they are dead.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
I can be reached at http://www.skyybanks.com/  where readers can subscribe to my blog and have the most current information on booksignings and appearances. Follow me on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.


Purchase Soul on Fire by Skyy Banks at Amazon

ISBN-10: 0981532659 | ISBN-13: 978-0981532653
http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Fire-Skyy-Banks/dp/0981532659

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Intimate Conversation with Phyllis Kennedy Brown

Phyllis Kennedy Brown is a witness for God the Father. She is the mother of one son and two daughters; the grandmother of three boys and two girls. She is founder of ‘Women About Christian Obedience’ which is a ministry from the book of Titus chapter 2. She worships as a member of the Assemblies of God Church organization. She is a native of West Virginia, graduating from Washington Irving High School. She is a retired Vice President of a major National Bank. She is the former CEO/Entrepreneur of Jubilee Cove Assisted Living Facility.

She is the author of an inspiring book about her life released September 2008 – ‘His *Time of Refreshing, Behind the Seen!’ Also, released in September 2009, ‘Forgiveness: An Offensive Weapon’.

BPM: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook of life?
My very soul is naked. I am real. I share not only my experiences, but also what I felt; what I thought; where it took me; what I learned and the assurance that God never abandoned me. It is my biography.

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the real life characters. Who are your favorite characters?
The title of my book indicates that God sustained me through some horrible things that others in the outside world could not see. My life behind closed doors was more different than they could ever imagine. I did not intend to deceive anyone, yet somehow it just happened.  It must be obvious by now that I am the main character. I am a little girl caught in a web of confusion and lies, trying to master coping skills to survive. I am a prissy little girl loving lace; bow ribbons; dresses; crinoline slips; dolls and tea parties. These things are still true to this day. However, I added truthfulness, love, faith, kindness, etc. Although my surroundings framed me and I retained a lot of it as I grew up, God pulled me thru.  

My favorite characters are my grandfather –Mr. John York; Mrs. Jackson or Aunt Callie –my godmother; Mrs. Lewis –mother of my friend, Gwen; Mamma Pauline –mother of my friend, Brenda; and Ms. Fanny Mae –a neighbor. They loved me and mentored me simply because it is how they live, yet not knowing my dilemma. I am grateful!  

BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
Yes, of course without sharing all the details. The first major event is at sixteen when a doctor tells my mother that I am a virgin. I was amazed and completely confused considering the things that happened to me from age five – ten. The confusion caused me to give my virginity to a boy whom I loved more than life hoping that he would love me. Well, that didn’t happen and the explanation to the confusion came twenty seven years later.

The second major event happened at twenty-eight years old, a mother of a ten month old daughter and a son of two ½ years. My husband cracked my left jaw and split my mouth open requiring twenty-three stitches. One week later, I discover that I am pregnant again. Trapped.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with His *Time of Refreshing, Behind the Seen?
My desire is that girls and young women will understand that they are not alone and they are not to blame. Therefore, in spite of all the obstacles, God has not forgotten. I am proof. My real life is a ‘Behind the Seen’ story. There is more to see than that which meets the eye. Therefore, what is ‘seen’ often is not reality! It all began taking shape at my birth –my life seen and my life ‘behind the seen’. Although I was regarded as a sweet; cute; little girl, those looking from the outside could not see the mental and sexual abuse starting when I was nearly five years old from the man I called ‘Daddy’.

Neither, could one see the resentment toward me from my mother for being the result of her mistake. Oh, she did all the right things, but I feel the void. Many times the mental abuse he directed to me was in her control, she was right there, yet she did nothing to protect me. So, I developed a coping strategy that to this day, it is difficult to recognize stress or anxiety until it takes a toll on my body. My childhood environment subconsciously influenced my choices even though I wanted better.

I married a professional basketball player whose ego completely consumed his 6’8” frame. From him emerged the control; the evil; and the violence that I prayed to never, ever experience again. My life seen is fifteen years of marriage; three children; a house; a boat; cars, however, ‘behind the seen’ is domestic violence; forgiven infidelity; and cruelty to our son. Therefore, divorce is eminent. Thank God for bringing us through it and opening doors of opportunity for me!

BPM: How will reading His *Time of Refreshing, Behind the Seen shape the readers lives?
The readers will be inspired to hope again and will use my experiences; my pain that have shown the results and opt not to travel the same road. Do you not know that experience is not the best teacher? Reshaping their lives through freedom! 

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
Because I acknowledge God’s working in my life story, and I was inspired to put text references of scriptures in my book to show the application of the Word in our lives today. The book covers the issues listed below that many women are not comfortable discussing, when it comes to showing their faults or weaknesses:

1) Sexual Abuse (of children). This is a very important topic that most will ignore and/or blame the victim. There are so many avenues of escape that help children cope somehow, yet it is devastating to their lives. I was nearly five years old when it began happening to me. I learned coping so well, it is difficult to identify stress because it has been the norm for most of my life. By this, I mean I went from one struggle to another. Never the less, I thank my God, my Father for hearing my cry and showing me mercy.

2) Domestic Violence. The environment of my youth subconsciously affected my choices although intellectually, it was not my desire. My marriage vows unto death were very important to me. It was eleven years of trying to shake of what I was taught and lived in by praying and searching the Word taking care not to offend my Father. After fifteen years, I got it.

3) Divorce. This is against the grain in my beliefs. I did not want to go there. My dream has always been to live in a happy family. You know the one I did not have as a little girl. I don’t know anyone that sets their heart on getting divorced. I didn’t, I was the good wife. The pain and grief is the same as experiencing a death.

4) Single Parenthood. My husband did not have parenting skills. He definitely did not have any God skills. Of course, I couldn’t tell him. I tried and it never worked. Once parenting alone, I learned that it is not the worse thing that can happen but it is 24/7 without any relief. Then there is the money/income issue such as child support which he did not want to pay. My God is good!

5) Breast Cancer. Faith works! I took a radical stand and made declaration. I am a nineteen year over-comer, a survivor! Could you believe that going through that experience, was a blessing? I believe my witness is for those who are not as radical.

BPM: How can our readers reach you for more information and to read excerpts from the book?
Readers can find everything at my author’s website, Ella:   http://www.behindtheseenministries.com/

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CURLY LIKE ME by Teri LaFlesh

CURLY LIKE ME:  How To Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long, and Strong
by Teri LaFlesh of  http://www.tightlycurly.com/

Countless women across the globe consider their hair to be as much a part of their self-identities as the style of clothes they wear and the face they present to the world each day. As evidenced in Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary Good Hair, women, particularly women of color, consider their hair to be an investment to the tune of thousands of dollars annually, rather than just a casual trip to the beauty salon.

For author Teri LaFlesh, who is the bi-racial daughter of a black mother and white father, she truly once thought that her curly locks were possessed, an unruly, time-consuming source of frustration, hate and shame. For much of her young and early adult life, Teri didn’t know how to take care of her curls, so she tried to perm, relax, texturize, Jheri Curl, and weave her tightly curly locks into submission, only to experience the isolating abyss of awkwardly styled and chemically damaged hair.

In her new book CURLY LIKE ME: How to Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long, and Strong (Wiley; May 2010; $16.95; Paperback; ISBN: 978-0-470-53642-1), Teri literally lets her hair down as she not only opens up about her own oftentimes painful journey (with photos of decades of hair disasters), but she also serves up practical, holistic tips for the millions of women who struggle each day with their curly hair.

“Ever since I can remember, I wanted long mermaid hair –hair that flowed down my back, locks that I could toss dramatically over my shoulders…It has taken me more than thirty years to learn how to have long hair falling down my back in a riot of spirals,” writes LaFlesh. “Every lesson I learned, unfortunately, was at the expense of my hair.” Teri is but one of many women whose hair has paid the price, both literally and figuratively, for their own lack of knowledge about curly hair care. But hair we love doesn’t have to cost lots of cash or hours of one’s valuable time in a salon.

CURLY LIKE ME shows readers the natural way to treat their hair right. LaFlesh addresses key issues for women with very curly hair such as, what to do when a brush doesn’t work, how to take care of curls that explode into frizz then quickly mat together, or how to handle hair that continually breaks off.

The simple secret? Eliminate all sources of damage.

For women fed up with a dizzying array of tips and techniques, CURLY LIKE ME will serve as their “one-stop shopping” resource. They’ll find information on hair structure, how to prevent damage, how to care for curls, the best products, tools, and ingredients to use, what happens when people use chemicals, as well as ideas for hairstyles that enhance the curls. The simple and streamlined advice – paired with over 250 demonstrative photos — can easily be implemented without an army of stylists to assist.

For women who don’t have the time or energy to execute elaborate, labor-intensive styles, finally there is a guide for them to become their own expert on growing long, natural hair without costly treatments, products, or stylists. “After twelve years of chemical-free growth, my hair is down to my hips. I use few products on my hair…I no longer spend hundreds of dollars and frustrated hours in stores searching for some magic potion that will fix my hair. I know that product doesn’t exist,” writes LaFlesh. “The hair I once felt so ashamed of has now become my best feature.

About the Author:
Teri LaFlesh   has spent the last thirty years working on a natural solution to curly hair issues. Her website is http://www.tightlycurly.com/.

CURLY LIKE ME: How To Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long, and Strong
By Teri LaFlesh

ATTENTION REVIEWERS
For the convenience of your readers, please include the following in your review: Wiley books are available at your local bookstore or by calling 1-800-225-5945.  In Canada, call 1-800-567-4797.

 
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Intimate Conversation with Electa Rome Parks

Electa Rome Parks currently resides outside Atlanta, Georgia. After successfully self-publishing her debut novels, The Ties That Bind and Loose Ends, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group, bought the rights. Electa signed a three-book deal with New American Library. All three books were immediately chosen as Black Expressions Book Club main selections and embraced as Books of the Month by book clubs across the country. Dubbed a “book club favorite,” avid readers have embraced Electa’s true to life characters that tackle prevalent and heavy hitting issues.

Since then Electa has become a best-selling author of several mainstream and erotic novels, Almost Doesn’t Count, Ladies’ Night Out and These Are My Confessions, with Penguin Group and HarperCollins. Her latest novel is Diary of a Stalker with Kensington. The self-proclaimed, Queen of Real, Electa has been a frequent guest on radio shows, has been nominated for many industry awards and has been interviewed by newspapers, AOL’s Black Voices, Vibe Vixen, Upscale Magazine, Today’s Black Woman, Rolling Out and Booking Matters, to name just a few. She is currently following her true passion and working on her next novel.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Diary of a Stalker.

Never judge a book by its cover. . .
Xavier Preston is tall, dark, and handsome, and the problem is that he knows it. He’s a bestselling author who is accustomed to adoring female fans, both young and old, flirting with him, throwing themselves shamelessly at him, and trying to get between more than the covers of his novels. He has always been more than willing to accommodate their needs and desires; however, his womanizing days have finally ended. He’s engaged to a beautiful woman, Kendall, and he’s decided to walk the straight and narrow. Or has he?

From outside appearances, the very stunning Pilar has it all: a great career, a beautiful home, and a trust fund that keeps her financially secure; however, looks can be deceiving. All that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Pilar is searching for her perfect soulmate, and she thinks she has found him in Xavier. She believes in going after what she wants with a vengeance . . . and she wants Xavier. That is not negotiable. She will have him, even if it kills him.

When Xavier meets his fanatical fan, Pilar, he gets much more than he bargained for. What starts out as an erotic one-night stand quickly spirals out of control into a dangerous game of obsession and pain with both parties playing to win. Think you know what goes on behind the literary scene? Think again.

BPM: Tell us about your newest release, Diary of a Stalker.
Diary of a Stalker: a best-selling male author gets more than he bargained for when he meets a fanatical female fan. What starts out as a one-night stand quickly spirals out of control and into a dangerous game of obsession and pain.

As always, I offer readers an entertaining, steamy story that is fast paced, thought provoking, relationship based with an added twist. Readers will be fascinated and appalled at what drives some people to get what they want at whatever cost. I think I have birthed characters that my readers will develop a love/hate relationship and hopefully will be talking back to the book as they experience the various emotions that my characters pull out of them. Diary of a Stalker will make for heated book club discussions across the country and readers will definitely be talking about it the next day.

Since it has been a couple of years since my last novel, Ladies’ Night Out, dropped, I wanted this new release to be something a little different from my previous novels. Yet, I wanted to maintain the core elements that my books are known for. The drama, the fast-paced nature, and the steamy relationship-based elements are still alive and well.

I have attended a lot of literary events such as conferences, signings, workshops, etc. After awhile I started to notice a pattern no matter what city or state I was in. Even though the avid readers, mostly female, poured much love my way (I love you back), I noticed the male authors received an extra dose (smile). Maybe because there aren’t as many male authors??? I noticed if I attended a large event, I would see some of the same female readers hanging out with the same male authors. Hmmm. So then, I started thinking about how groupies follow rock bands, rappers, professional athletics, actors and entertainers. Why wouldn’t this exist in the literary arena as well? Throw a few over the top “what if questions” into the mix and Diary of a Stalker was born.

BPM: Besides the actual writing process, what is the most gratifying aspect of being a writer?
Hands down, the most gratifying part of being an author has been meeting and greeting new and interesting readers who are embracing my stories and e-mailing me and writing me and meeting me at signings and telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my books! We talk about my characters like they are old friends. No matter how many times I’ve experienced this, it always makes my day. Puts a big Kool-Aide smile on my face (LOL).

Their (the readers) feedback and reactions totally validates that my craft is a gift from God! If I can touch a number of people with my stories or even if I only entertain them and they don’t walk away with a life lesson, then I’ve still done my job.

As you know, my stories are typically relationship based, very drama filled with an ounce of spice thrown in, well maybe a pound of spice thrown in, and they usually cover a topical issue that is prevalent in today’s society. Believe me, I have so many characters screaming inside my head, waiting to tell their story, that I feel like the lady from the movie Sybil (LOL). So, bottom line, I pray and claim that my readership base will continue to grow and I’ll have wonderful opportunities to meet many more fans.

BPM: If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
Don’t laugh, but if I weren’t a writer, I’d probably be a psychiatrist. I absolutely love getting inside people’s heads and seeing how or why they tick the way they do. The human psyche totally amazes and intrigues me to no end.

BPM: How do you deal with adversity and failure?
I stress out! I totally freak out, have a pity party, and take to my bed (LOL)! I’m laughing, but I’m pretty accurate. I’m so hard on myself, I’m my worst critic, and I’ve got to stop doing that. I can’t enjoy my successes because I’m too busy worrying about what I could have done better or thinking about the next venture.

After I finally pull myself out of bed and stop my pity party (this usually lasts for roughly 24 hours), I analyze my situation like I’m breaking down a trigonometry problem. After all is said and done, I learn the lesson, file it in my permanent memory bank, remember I’m still standing and move on. In afterthought, life lessons are wonderful, even the ones filled with adversity and failure; they make us stronger and wiser and who we are today.  Also, if I may add, I have a good support team in place with my family and friends. Plus, I have a solid spiritual foundation that keeps me strong and undaunted by the dream dashers.

BPM: How do you define success?
Good question. Personally, I define success as being able to do something you truly love on a day to day basis, getting paid for it in the process, giving back to the community (to whom much is given, much is expected) and being the best person you can be which enables you to sleep peacefully at night. To me, those combined elements make you a successful person. And. . . if you place God and your family first, the sky’s the limit!

BPM: What is one thing most readers don’t know about you?
Most readers don’t know that I’m moody and a real perfectionist. Well, I guess that is two things. LOL.

Author Electa Rome Parks
http://www.electaromeparks.com/
www.myspace.com/author_chick
www.facebook.com/electaromeparks
http://www.electaromeparks.blogspot.com/

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Money Can Generate Wealth or Generate Debt, Harrine Freeman

“Money Can Generate Wealth or Generate Debt, You Make the Choice”

Harrine Freeman is the owner of H.E. Freeman Enterprises which provides credit repair services to help clients restore their credit rating and develop good money management skills. She is the author of “How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free” that provides steps on how to get out of debt and improve your credit. She has appeared in Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise, Essence, Forbes and on NBC and ABC.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I love helping people and that passion has helped me in my business helping my clients overcome their financial challenges which makes happy because everyone once in a while everyone needs a little help sometimes.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
My mentors were my grandparents, they faced insurmountable odds including racism, sexism and civil rights issues and overcame them. They instilled in me good moral and financial values that I still practice today. My inspiration comes from my support network of friends and family.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers, you have the power to change your future – “Money can generate wealth or generate debt, you make the choice. “

BPM: Introduce us to your book, How to Get Out of Debt.Can you imagine how your life would change if you had good credit? Imagine the relief ? Less stress, not worrying about bill collectors calling you at home or at work, and putting an end to your fights with your partner, spouse or children that are caused by not having any money.

This comprehensive self help book provides step by step details on how to repair your credit, get out of debt, create your own flexible spending plan and maintain your good credit without having to go to a credit counseling agency or file for bankruptcy.

BPM: Introduce us to the primary message in the book.
The primary message in the book is that no matter what financial setback you have experienced you can overcome it. It may seem that there is no light at the end of the tunnel but there is because I have personally experienced it and overcame my financial struggles. It will be hard but with determination and patience you will overcome your crisis.

BPM: Share with us a few of the life enhancing sections from the book.
I bought a car for an ex-boyfriend in my name. Everything was fine for about 6 months then he stopped paying the car payment and I ended up owing $9,000 for a car I didn’t drive.

I learned a valuable lesson from this experience, don’t co-sign for anyone especially for someone who has bad credit. This may be hard to do especially if a relative, spouse or sibling asks for help. I learned that you cannot control what someone does, and saying sorry if not enough when your credit gets damaged.

BPM: What prompted you to create this book, How to Get Out of Debt?
I wrote the book because I wanted to prevent people from making the same mistakes I did and prevent people from being victims of the financial industry.

BPM: Who did you originally write How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free for?
I wrote this book for men and women ages 21-50 that have experienced financial challenges due to job loss, health issues, divorce, those who owe money from a previous relationship, college students, or those who have made bad financial decisions.

BPM: Now that the book is out, who should read How to Get Out of Debt and why?
People should read my book because it is an easy read, there are no large financial terms that you have to get a dictionary to understand. There are tons of easy to follow tips on how to overcome different financial challenges as well as information on how to create a budget, pay down debt and negotiate with creditors.

BPM: What issues in today’s society do you address in the book?
The book addresses issues such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, student loans, repossession, judgments, divorce, tax liens, collection accounts and laws that protect consumers.

BPM: What impact will this book have on the community of readers?
The book will help readers who are willing to repair their credit and get out of debt on their own. For those who hire a professional the book will confirm everything the professional advises them to do and in some instances will help detect the fraudulent companies who suggest advice that may be incorrect or illegal.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing How to Get Out of Debt?
My primary quest in publishing the book was to accomplish the task of actually writing a book. I never imagined that my book would be received my so many readers.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
The message I want readers to share with readers is that there is no gimmick to my book. I state the facts and provide information to help readers who are facing financial challenges.

BPM: What message in your book do you want readers to share with others?
The message I want to share with readers is don’t give up. No matter how bad it may seem right now you can overcome your financial situation.

BPM: Before we end the interview, define SUCCESS. What part does GRATITUDE play in achieving success, in your opinion?
SUCCESS – I define success as overcoming any obstacle and achieving an accomplishment that you did not expect to achieve and had to work hard for. GRATITUDE – Gratitude is more than just saying please and thank you. I define gratitude as a way of life, being respectful and humble in your success and in all you do.

BPM: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
I recently appeared in the June issue of Black Enterprise Magazine and appeared in an interview on Nasdaq.com.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
Readers can reach my online on at hfreeman@hefreemanenterprises.com,  by visiting my website at http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com/.


Harrine Freeman, CEO/Owner, H.E. Freeman Enterprises

Personal Finance Expert, Speaker, Freelance Writer, TV Producer

How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free
Available for Purchase at http://www.borders.com/

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In the Name of Love by Shelia E. Lipsey

In the Name of Love by Shelia E. Lipsey
Love is a many splendored thing – isn’t it?

Love is kind, gracious, not jealous or puffed up. Love isn’t selfish or envious. If love is so wonderful, so grand, so beautiful and appealing why do marriages suffer, divorces happen, abuse infiltrates, hurt erupts, deceit desecrates and hearts are broken – all in the name of love? J. Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri says, “50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.”

It’s mind boggling that love can so easily turn to disdain and pain. What once started in the beginning of time when Adam and Eve came together, has now turned to something that resembles the latest fad of fashion or technology gear. We change partners like we change clothes. If something doesn’t suit our fancies after the marriage, we are quick to run to our lawyers and before the ink is dried on the marriage certificate, the divorce papers are served.

There are some real serious reasons such as adultery and fornication that a marriage is dissolved, but there are less problematic reasons too, such as ‘he doesn’t put the toilet seat down or she doesn’t close the toothpaste cap’. To live with another human being takes hard work. It takes commitment. It takes honesty and loyalty. It takes prayer! But most of all if takes LOVE.

Next, what part does forgiveness play in a wounded marriage? Is there a time when to expect forgiveness just doesn’t cut the bread it’s made on? Much like the couple in My Son’s Wife, Reverend Stiles Graham finds it impossible to continue his marriage to his lovely, Christian wife Rena. He discovers that not only has the woman he adored lied to him, but she has carried deceit a step farther. Stiles discovers his wife’s infidelity was with his sister, Francesca Graham. In the sequel, My Son’s Ex-Wife: The Aftermath, the story delves deeper into what happens after the dirt has been uncovered, the clothes have been taken to the wash to erase the stench of cheating, the ex has been thrown aside and the preacher returns to the pulpit.

Many readers of My Son’s Wife found it difficult to understand why a man who preaches the Word of God could not forgive his wife for her actions. In the name of love, shouldn’t he have tried to rekindle the brokenness of his relationship, even though divorce occurred?

The ex-wife, Rena Graham, is caught between a rock and a hard place. In the name of love she allowed a friendship to turn ugly. In the name of love, she hid secrets from her husband. In the name of love, Rena Graham continually tortured herself because of her mistakes.

My Son’s Ex-Wife: The Aftermath reminds me of how people make decisions based on a number of things, but most often it’s because of what other people think. For instance, Stiles Graham listened to his mother, First Lady Audrey Graham. First Lady Audrey said to some of her church friends after her preacher son’s divorce, “Yes, he’ll be fine. Of course, the pain of divorce is something that takes time to heal; even more so, for a man of God like my Stiles. He tried, but it was no way to mend their marriage.” But what Audrey’s son, Stiles Graham really feels is remorse over the decision he made to divorce his wife. He says in My Son’s Ex-Wife:The Aftermath , “But I don’t have the strength, or the kind of heart that can allow her back in my life. I love her, but it’s time for me to make a fresh start. It wouldn’t be fair to Rena to have a man who couldn’t love and accept her for who she is.”

When it comes to relationships, we all make decisions, whether bad or good, and we do it all in the name of love. I believe that love, real love, true love, forever love is unconditional. However, as humans with fleshly desires, thoughts and actions it is sometimes difficult to see past hurt and pain when it seeps into a relationship. The decision is up to you the way you choose to live your life. But do remember – love is a many splendored thing. But how far do you want to go In the Name of Love?

My Son’s Ex-Wife: The Aftermath is the second book in Author Shelia E. Lipsey’s My Son’s Wife trilogy. Look for it at bookstores and online starting August 31, 2010. Pre-order your copies today at BN.com; Amazon.com and other online e-tailers including the author’s website: http://www.perfecstoriesaboutimperfectpeople/.

Meet the author


Shelia E. Lipsey is a multi-award winning Christian fiction author of four novels and one nonfiction book. She is the founder of The Word According to Shelia, a monthly column featured in a variety of formats and blogs online. Her latest Christian fiction novel, Beautiful Ugly is available nationwide. Check out the books by Shelia on Amazon today or visit http://www.shelialipsey.com/  Blog http://www.shelialipsey.blogspot.com/   Email: shelialipsey@yahoo.com

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Shackled for Life by Shelia E. Lipsey

Shackled for Life by Shelia E. Lipsey

Molestation, sexual assault, mental abuse, emotional abuse, rape-all subjects that many of us hate to talk about. We don’t want to think about it; we don’t want to say the words. We certainly don’t want to discuss it over dinner. But when is enough enough? When can it be brought out in the open? Why do some people blame the victim as if it’s their fault for being violated?

I know the subject is tender. It’s heart wrenching to hear about especially if it’s happened to someone you loved, or worse – if it’s happened to you. In the first book of My Son’s Wife trilogy, Francesca Graham has been shackled for life mentally, emotionally and physically because of the dirty secrets she has carried around since childhood – that of being molested and sexually assaulted. Because of what happened in her life, Francesca reinvents herself into a person that is not liked by many, judged by all and condemned by the church, including her own mother. Life is like that sometimes. There are people walking around every day in this world who are shackled for life because of the evil actions of another individual forced upon them. Because of their hurt whether physically or mentally, the victims often feel ostracized and unable to deal with what has happened because they are too afraid to bring it up for fear of being looked down upon.

In My Son’s Ex-Wife: The Aftermath, and the second book in the My Son’s Wife trilogy, Francesca Graham still lives with the pain of her past in more ways than one. Yet, Francesca, like many abused people tries to live her life in spite of the damage that was inflicted on her life.

Many victims don’t make it. They end up doing to others what was done to them. Some people in the church seem to believe that it’s something that can be ‘shaken off’ and a person can just forgive and forget. But it’s not that simple. God understands the hurt and the pain. I believe God understands that it takes time for healing to take place in a victim’s life. It takes time to regain strength to move forward. It takes time for the shackles that have been placed around the victim’s life to be released. What choices will Francesca Graham make as she tries hard to deal with her hurtful past? Will she find the strength to move forward like some victims of sexual assault manage to do, or will she continue to be shackled by hurt and heartache over her life like still some other victims do?

It’s not always easy being the person you are, and when you have been victimized and criticized and judged because of something that was not your fault, it makes it even harder for the shackles to be released. It takes love and understanding. It takes compassion and acceptance. It takes the love of God to bring forth deliverance.

Read Author Shelia E. Lipsey’s second book, My Son’s Ex-Wife: The Aftermath, coming to bookstores near you and available for pre-ordering now at online e-tailers, including http://www.perfecstoriesaboutimperfectpeople.com/,  bn.com, amazon.com and more.

Meet the Author
Shelia E. Lipsey is a multi-award winning Christian fiction author of four novels and one nonfiction book. Her latest Christian fiction novel, Beautiful Ugly is available nationwide. Check out the books by Shelia on Amazon today.  She is the founder of The Word According to Shelia, a monthly column featured in a variety of formats and blogs online. http://www.shelialipsey.com/  Blog http://www.shelialipsey.blogspot.com/  Email: shelialipsey@yahoo.com

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Intimate Conversation with Noni Carter

Meet author Noni Carter

As a nineteen year old upcoming sophomore at Harvard University, Noni Carter has recently published her first novel entitled Good Fortune, a slave narrative published by Simon and Schuster.

She has been featured in many articles and has been afforded the opportunity to spread inspiration and carry a powerful message of striving towards goals and learning from history to many different schools in both the Atlanta and Boston areas including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and even a few colleges. Cornell West has publicly endorsed Noni’s novel saying that her greatness has already manifested. She has been touted the next Alex Haley of her generation because of her historical fiction slave narrative story.

Noni has also been trained as classical piano, a journey she began at the tender age of four. She graduated from high school in the top five percent of her class, spending the last two years of her high school experience as a full-time student at Clayton State University. Noni maintains a high GPA. She hopes to concentrate (or major) in history and literature with a focus on postcolonial studies and its intersection with African studies.

Good Fortune description:
Good Fortune is an inspiring story of an African-American slave woman in the early 19th century. Brutally kidnapped from her African village and shipped to America, Ayanna Bahati struggles to come to terms with her new life as a slave. Rising from the cotton fields to her master’s house, Ayanna is threatened by the increasingly dangerous world of the plantation. Risking everything, she escapes and makes her way north to freedom and an education, but can she shed the chains of her harrowing past to live the life she has longed for?

She struggles with the concept of emancipation verses freedom, praying for miracles to manifest in her life, and finally understanding the importance of her homeland, engrained into her soul through her name: BAHATI, or Good Fortune.

A stirring debut novel from a young talent, Good Fortune traces one girls’ journey from slavery to liberation, and details how she finds her true self along the way. Through this account of Ayanna’s journey through slavery; through her dreams of honest freedom; through her aspirations; and through her love, sorrow, pain, joy, readers will find that Good Fortune will inspire and stimulate many to keep the memory of these ancestors alive.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I have a commitment to make every experience in life a spiritual one. I try to seek out myself in other people- to share with, and understand others by recognizing people as reflections of love. I carry these concepts into my writing- I try to connect with my readers, and impart certain aspects of life I wish to share with them through my character’s eyes. Within that- in delighting the mind, but really reaching to touch the heart (like some of my favorite authors do so beautifully and eloquently)- I feel, as a writer, very powerful.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
I have many mentors who influence different aspects of my life. For example, in writing, I consider individuals such as Zora Neale Hurston to be mentors. I turn to people who have the ability to share stories like I aspire to do. There are also people who have been a significant part of this writing and publication process, such as Kwame Alexander, who have played key roles in this journey of mine. There are, of course, the mentors that have significantly shaped me into who I am today. There are the teachers who have played important roles in my life, my sisters, my parents, most definitely, and the person I look up to- my brother.

Lastly, I have found over the past couple of years that there is a mentor inside of me that plants seeds of inspiration, that invites my ancestors into my space to move me forward, that pushes me to more challenging places, teaching me to let go of fear in writing, in creating, and in living my life!

BPM: Introduce us to your main characters.
In Good Fortune, I would say there are five main characters- Anna (or Sarah, or Ayanna), John, Daniel, Mary, and Mama. These characters, all representing family in one aspect or another, shape and carry the plot of the book.

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
When I was around twelve years old, my great aunt sat my family members and I around our kitchen table and began telling us stories in our family’s history. Now at the time, I was a writer, and a young person very passionate about learning my history and the stories that explained where I came from. I recall a story my great aunt told us that evening- one in which my great great great grandmother, Grandma Rose, stood on the banks of the Mississippi River, herself only twelve years old, and watched as her mother was sold away on a slave ship, gone forever. I recall listening intently to this story, running to my books, my paper, my computer MS document on which I had already begun what I thought would be a short story on slavery, tears streaming. I sat there, those seven or eight years ago, and made a dedication to share the spirit of Grandma Rose with others- to be the vehicle or the vessel through which readers, particular young adults, could reach out and touch a piece of the past so that this present could be made better.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within? How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
My goal is to reach as many people as possible with the book- young and old, female and male, African American as well as those of a different race and background. At the same rate, with the publication of Good Fortune in January of this year, I found an opportunity to put into action something that has always been close to my heart, and this is inspiring other young people with the messages Good Fortune has to offer.

Young people are reading Good Fortune, and not only learning about facts and aspects of culture in history, but also gaining knowledge on what it means to strive hard for something until it is accomplished, and the value of learning and gaining knowledge in this world. Walk into any classroom I have been able to speak to, and you may hear a recounting of something I like to call my 3 E’s (now expanded to 5)- three words and subsequent concepts students and scholars learn about in talks and workshops that tie in lessons from my characters lives with their own personal lives today- the significance of emancipating themselves “none but ourselves can free our minds” (Bob Marley); the importance of education; and the value of earnestness. If anything, I feel Good Fortune can and is serving as a tool of inspiration for young people.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I would love for readers to consider the value in learning about and understanding history. The West African symbol- the Sankofa Bird- represents the message of going back and taking meaning that we cannot move forward today unless we go back to yesterday and understand the lessons the past has to teach us. I hope Good Fortune inspires readers to reach inside themselves and examine their responsibilities as beings in this Universe- their relationships with others, with themselves, their willingness, however young, however old, to leap beyond the bounds of limitations, doubts, and judgments this world throws at us from time to time, and to reach out to grasp what truly moves our hearts, what inspires our souls, what makes our spirits sing. If any of these things are accomplished, I feel Good Fortune will have done its job.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
Readers can find me at my facebook fan page Noni Carter Author. Also, please feel free to visit my website, http://www.nonicarter.com, or email me at  nonicarter952@aol.com.

I have also done a few radio interviews including NPR’s OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook in January and Cover to Cover, have been reviewed in several articles including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and am currently traveling and/or skyping with schools across the country, sharing the values and lessons Good Fortune has to offer. We are looking for sponsors who will support this Good Fortune school tour. Please feel free to check out this journey, this site, and to connect with me! Blessings.


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No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl by Aarica J. Blackett

New Inspirational Read for Young Girls: No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl
 

Born in Memphis, TN, Aarica Jihan Blackett is a visual artist and the author of the book No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl.  The inspiration for writing No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl came to her while in the middle of rebuilding her relationship with her father while in college. She wanted to share her experience and lessons learned to other young girls who were going through similar experiences of growing up without a father.

Aarica is also the founder and artist of her company Art Pieces of a Dream, which is the company that encompasses all of her visual artistic products. She is an active Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization of Atlanta, and she is a board member of the Express Yourself School of the Arts organization.  Aarica earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a minor in French from Spelman College in 2008.  Visit the author at her website for more information: http://www.nolongerdaddyslittlegirl.com/

The new book, No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl, gives young girls who are growing up without a father in the household a new sense of perspective and responsibility for their own future. 

In 2008, 51% of African-American households in the United States were fatherless. The odds are stacked against children in single mother households from the onset. Children raised in these homes are:

• 63% more likely to commit suicide than their dual parent counterparts
• 71% more likely to drop out of high school than their dual parent counterparts
• 111% more likely to become pregnant as a teenager than their dual parent counterparts
• 164% more likely to be a single parent than their dual parent counterparts

Is this the only future that fatherless daughters have to strive for?
This book, No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl, will encourage young girls to take responsibility for their future by respecting themselves, their bodies, and their family. With the growing number of fatherless African-American households in the United States the author, Aarica J. Blackett, sees it as her responsibility to reach out and help where possible.

This book has three attributes that will make readers take notice:
• written for young girls by a young woman
• shares the experiences of other young women in this situation
• reads like a conversation as opposed to a dissertation so that the intended audience can readily digest the information

The author’s father abandoned her and her brother for six years while he tended to the needs of his new wife and new son. No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl is the author’s opportunity to share the diverse lessons she has learned. These lessons touch everything from forming healthy relationships with men to managing her emotions when her father made his reappearance. The combined experiences of the author and other young college women will empower all young readers to love themselves and triumph through adversity.

The book No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl is available for purchase on the book’s website, http://www.nolongerdaddyslittlegirl.com/.  To contact the author, please email her at aarica.blackett@gmail.com

BPM:  Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
I have been blessed to have a great number of mentors in my life. My mentors usually are strong individuals who have creative mindsets. I love to see people make their passion their purpose in life to help others. My inspiration from this book truly came from my grandparents. They taught me the importance of forgiveness and the impact that it will have on one’s life.

BPM:  Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
…that you are certainly not alone in this world. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone is looking to hear someone’s story. Share your experiences with others in order to help them in their situation.

BPM:  What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
After being fed up with being caught in the middle of trying to convince my mother of my loyalty to her and attempting to rebuild a relationship with my father, emotions just came out of me from every point of my body. As tears were rushing down my face and anger filled my veins, I started writing down everything that I was feeling. Every thought, every tear, every scream, every pain was written down in my journal that night. The next day, I returned to my journal in order to comprehend the thoughts that were running on my head. As I was reading, I realized that I had a story to tell. Too many young girls go through this, and no one is there to tell their story from one young girl to another.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
This book has a very unique take on this prevalent topic of daughters growing up without fathers. This book has three attributes that will make readers stand up and take notice:

· written for young girls by a young woman (written at the age of 20 years old)
· shares the experiences of other young women in this situation
· reads like a conversation as opposed to a dissertation so that the intended audience can readily digest the information

BPM: The cover of the book is very bright and different. Where did you ever find this image?
Well besides writing, I am also a visual artist. I paint positive images of African American women. The cover art was inspired by the art work of Picasso. I wanted to convey the feeling of change over time, as well multiple emotions being captured within one person. To see some other pieces of my artwork, visit my website at http://www.artpiecesofadream.com/.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?

I want young girls in any and all situations to know that despite the negative statistics that face you, you have the strength inside you to fight it. Be the exception to the statistic! In addition to that, forgiveness is a very important lesson with this book. It is important to forgive people in life because it provides closure and builds your character. It takes too much energy to hold a grudge against someone, especially when you can forgive and move on.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
The book is available for purchase on the book’s website, http://www.nolongerdaddyslittlegirl.com/,  as well as on Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. Readers can email me at Aarica.blackett@gmail.com.

Contact Info:
Aarica J. Blackett
Email: aarica.blackett@gmail.com
Book Website: http://www.nolongerdaddyslittlegirl.com/
Art Website: http://www.artpiecesofadream.com/

 

Interview with author Vonda Howard

Interview with author Vonda Howard

Mom of two, wife of 14 years, graphic designer, author and a dreamer. I make it a point to only do things that I am passionate about and only deal with positive people. I grew up in Southeast DC and have been writing since I was 10 years old. It has always been my dream to see my words in print, and this is a dream come true for me.

I love writing stories that are filled with passion, intrigue, and compelling story lines. If it doesn’t feel good to me when I’m writing it…I won’t write it. I love books that grab you, pull you in and hold you. I love story lines that keep you guessing too. I wrote my first self-published novel named “Diamond Lives, Platinum Lies” in 2007 which has received shining reviews. My second book, “It’s Always the Pretty Ones” was released in 2008 and has received glowing reviews as well. In June 2009, my dream came true when I signed on to Anexander Books.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I truly think it is my family. They are there for me when I start to doubt myself, or when I need another set of eyes to look over something. They are my biggest cheerleaders and that means a great deal to me.

BPM: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook on life?
It depends. I always feel like characters are like your kids. They all carry a bit of you in them when they are created. I agree sometimes I let a little of my views on certain things leak out through my characters, but only when it is relevant to the story.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
I would say my mentor is my publisher Torrian Ferguson. (The best publisher in the world, by the way). He has really taken me under his wing and let’s me dig around in his head whenever I need to. He is fair and honest…all the things I want to be as a writer and business woman.

I find my inspiration in everyday things; music, nature, my favorite movies, my friends and family. I truly believe that the best fiction comes from real life!

BPM:  What do you think of the increasingly fortuitous sex in African American literature?
I don’t mind the sex IF it add to or is relevant to the story. I personally am not a fan of the really XXX-rated scenes and the really harsh language, but I don’t knock anyone’s hustle. If it’s not your thing, just don’t buy it. ;o)

I love writing sex scenes that are erotic and steamy, but also fit in line with what the characters are involved in or going through in the story. I don’t think just throwing sex all over the book is good for the storyline or the readers. Just like in real life, it should mean something.

BPM:  Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
Good question! My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… That love IS possible for everyone and it can be beautiful whether it be with yourself or with that special someone.

BPM:  Introduce us to your book and the main characters.
The book series (The D-Cup Divas) spotlights the lives of four confident, successful plus size women:

Chandra, he sassy, take no prisoners, very well to-do psychiatrist that has a hard time letting her iron clad guard down in the area of love.

Rossalyn, Chandra’s little sister, who is the mediator of the group. She tends to want everyone to get along and tries to see the good I any and everybody.

Lanora, the oldest of the group, but the most active. She is a total sex kitten that loves it anyway and anywhere she can get it.

Samantha, the domestic goddess. She loves her family and her husband. An avid church-goer and “goody-two-shoes” as Lanora calls her. She loves everything in its place and is a huge perfectionist.

BPM: Who are your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I would say Lanora is my favorite. Even though I am just getting started on her book it has been so much fun writing her in the first two! She is an open book, and a bit of a trouble maker. She always has a smart comeback for anything. I would say parts of her do remind me of someone in my life. (I won’t call her out though…LOL)

BPM:  What role do you give the ” mean-spirited” characters? Do you have such characters?
The books do have antagonists. I always write the bad guys to be wake up experiences for the main characters. Just like in our real lives, sometimes we overlook or miss certain things in people we should notice. Also sometimes we want something so badly, we ignore the warnings or open ourselves up for heartaches. I want my “bad guys” to have a purpose in the main characters lives. Whether it be something they ignored by being selfish or negligent, or whether they bought it on themselves.

BPM:  What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
I wanted to write a book(s), that highlighted plus size or curvy woman the way MOST of us feel! We are not low down, on drugs, miserable, on welfare or depressed. Like me, they are all beautiful, confident and successful women! The books do not condone unhealthy living. None of my characters are huddled over cheesecake or inactive. The purpose was to spotlight the girls that will never be a size 2, 6, 9 or ever a 12 or 14. They are about seeing these women and realizing that, “hey, I’m beautiful and sexy too!”

BPM:  Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
I would say; when Chandra is confronted with the thing she wants most, but is too stubborn to accept it. Then when she is confronted with not only her bad decision making, but finding this out at a REALLY serious life or death moment in her life.

BPM:  What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
I would say in the current book, it deal with the issue of women who get all the accolades and success they want, but then turn around and say that, “They don’t need a man” or “A man can’t do anything for me that I can’t do for myself.” A lot of times we can get so hard on the outside and full of ourselves that we miss the good men you are looking for.

BPM:   What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
I would say that mine shines a positive light on plus size woman and the sex scenes go ALONG WITH the story and are not just thrown in.

BPM:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Well, aside from the huge popularity of the D-Cup Divas Series (in which all the books are set to come out concurrently), I also have The very first D-Cup Divas Dialogues coming in October of this year! It will be a showcase talent that just oozes love for the plus size figure. There will be monologues from each of the characters in the series, spoken word, poetry and short story readings. It is going to be a huge event! You can get more info about the casting calls and the event itself at http://www.thedcupdivas.com/.  I will also be writing more books that feature plus sized heroines in upcoming books under the D-Cup Divas™ line.

BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
I can be reached at my website:  http://www.thedcupdivas.com/  or  http://www.lavondahoward.com/.
You can also get in touch with me on Facebook (VondaHoward).

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Interview with Lucille O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal’s mother

Lucille O’Neal was born into a Christian home in Dublin, GA. She spent her childhood, adolescent years and early adulthood in the Central Ward of Newark, New Jersey. She often speaks of the spiritual foundation and lessons taught by her mother and grandmother as the source of her courage and inspiration for parenting. Lucille refers to them as two of the most humble and strong women she has ever known. As an active mother in the lives of her four adult children and a grandmother of fourteen, she takes her role of parenting and grand parenting very seriously!

In 1992 Lucille and her family moved to Florida where she contributed to the development of the SHAQ NETWORK as the Chief Operations Officer. She managed the day-to-day operations of the first official Shaquille O’Neal Fan Club until October 2003. In addition to the duties in her son’s organization, Lucille co-founded the Mother’s of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) and served four years as executive secretary (1996-2000).

She was very instrumental in the leadership and development of the organization’s goals and objectives. The MPBP was created to provide support to mothers whose sons and daughters were currently playing or had played in the National Basketball Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association. Since the organization’s inception the MPBP has endeavored to support the communities represented by the players and their mothers. Today she serves as the current President of this restructured organization; The Mother’s of Professional Basketball Players, Inc.

Lucille’s gratitude to God for His mercy, grace and abundant blessing on the lives of her family has motivated her passion to help others that are less fortunate. Her sincerity is evidenced by her involvement in numerous youth oriented and community projects. Lucille’s straightforward attitude and ability to adapt to any situation has equipped her with a tireless ability to serve. Whether chairing fundraising events like “Shaq’s Mama Said Knock You Out!” (an annual premier event featuring a variety of celebrity hosts, including Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Dennis Scott, to benefit The Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund; named in memory of her Mother) or rolling up her sleeves to assist other organizations at the grass roots level, Lucille gives her all for the cause.

As a newly appointed Board Member of Orlando’s Ovarian Cancer Alliance and a new member of MD Anderson’s Council of Governors, it is evident that her commitment and devotion to others is conveyed through her extraordinary volunteer efforts (past and present) and her involvement with numerous charitable organizations. Lucille’s dedication to diverse causes underscores her heart for humanity. She has made countless contributions to various charities and continues to be an inspiration to many people, young and old.

After 30 years of raising two sons and two daughters, Lucille resumed her studies in an Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (June 2003). Most recently she completed her graduate program (Master of Arts in Organizational Management) at the University of Phoenix (March 2005).

BPM:  What makes you powerful as a person, mother and a writer?
I believe the things that make me powerful as a person, mother and a writer is the fact that I lived the things I write about in my book! Today I know who I am and I know what I am capable of. As you read the details in my book and it tells about portions of my life, it is clear that the story could have been anyone’s; however, in “Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go” it tells my personal story. I learned throughout the years that sometime situations remain the same and the only thing that possibly changes is the name. In my case it a powerful thing to know that I can walk it just like I talk it today! I live the life I speak about and the publishing world calls it a memoir but I call it a testimony.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
My first mentor was my mother Odessa Chambliss who passed away in April 1996. She was the main one that helped me to see the good in every person. Next to her was my grandmother Cillar O’Neal and our Pastor, Iola Hartsfield. Although I did not know they were teaching me life lessons, I never forgot the things these women taught me about being a young lady and being a proud individual. Because of the spiritual instructions these women gave me a long time ago I have a foundation in the church. My relationship with God today allows me to want to continue to grow and mature in the ministry. My mentors today are the Mothers at my church and the First Lady. They pray for me and encourage me to keep on trusting in God while I am in this special place in my life. In addition to that, I get daily inspiration from bible scriptures and prayers which is what I use to encourage myself and start my days. In my home I keep positive plaques, photos, cards and anything that gives a positive message in eyesight. My favorite plaque that inspires me says, “This is the day that the Lord has made…don’t mess it up!”

Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go
Lucille O’Neal (Author), Shaquille O’ Neal (Foreword)
and Allison Samuels (Collaborator)

From being an unwed teen mother and creating a stable home for her children, at times with the help of public assistance; to coping with her unexpected feelings of anger and resentment towards her son’s blinding success; to battling alcohol addiction; to making the painful decision to end a marriage of nearly 30 years, Lucille opens up in her memoir, WALK LIKE YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO, about the behind-the-scenes personal dramas and triumphs which have made her the determined, compassionate and resilient woman she is today. “What’s most important to me is that young women today know they shouldn’t doubt God or their own abilities. It is important for me to talk to them about this because I doubted both for so long, and I lost a lot of valuable time questioning my self-worth,” says Lucille. “If I am able to prevent just one young person from having to spend any of her precious time or life wondering if she matters, I will have done my job.”

BPM: Introduce us to the primary message(s) in your book. What genre is it?
To be honest there is more than one message, but the primary message I want to give and which allows me to share with the readers one very important fact; it is that we have all that we need within us to strive on a daily basis and live a fruitful life! That mental wealth state of mind I talk about in the book is a place where we all could be. Happiness does not primarily come from others it is ultimately coming from within all of us. This book could fit into more than one category but I know that it fits well into the faith based genre since I call it my testimony.

BPM: Share with us a few life enhancing sections from the book.
In the book I talk about two periods in my life when my faith was tested. Throughout these ordeals I learned how to depend on God for strength. He allowed me to experience peace in the midst of a personal storm both time. When I talk about it now it may sound like it was easy for me but it was a battle every day to keep my wits about me. There were days when I really thought I would break down…but God! Another instance was when I was able to see my dream of going to college become a reality! Not only did I finish and accomplish a long time goal but I was able to achieve more than I ever imagined. I encourage young people today to dream big and set no limits! My life has been enhanced just by having to experience certain hardships and to look at me today you would never know that because I keep a smile on my face.

BPM: What motivated you to publish this book now?
This has been one of my life long goals also and we all have a story inside of us. For the past 18 years the public has known me as Shaq’s Mama and I do not mind letting everybody know that I have four children (Shaquille, Lateefah, Ayesha and Jamal) and 14 grandchildren. My babies encouraged me to write the book and Shaquille especially helped me along with Allison Samuels who worked along side me and guided me through the entire process. She is a true Godsend and helped me bring my story to life so the readers could understand it.

BPM: Who should read this book and why?
I think everyone can definitely take something away from this book. Men, women, young people and anyone truly looking to find themselves. There is a message for everyone in my life story. But that said, I do feel women of all ages will be able to relate the most to my journey. Becoming a mother at such a young age is something that happens everyday and many young women feel so alone when this happens. I felt that same way at certain points before and after Shaquille was born, so this book, I hope, really speaks to women who feel that there’s no way out of a situation they’re in at the moment. I want to inspire them to keep on going because it does gets better.

BPM: What issues in today’s society do you address in the book?
A few issues that were swept under the rug during my childhood are still going strong in this time period. Teen pregnancy, low self esteem, alcoholism, and divorce are all topics people deal with today and often just need to hear that others have fought the same battles and won. Teen pregnancy is a subject close to my heart because so many young girls face it and really need inspiration to keep on moving forward. That’s why it was so important to write the book because I had faced so many obstacles that I know other people face as well.

BPM: What impact will this book have on the community of readers?
That’s a tough question because I can only say what impact I hope it will have and that is the attitude of never giving up no matter how hard times may be. We as a community have experienced some truly difficult times for decades and it is so easy to give in to the negativity and heartbreak of our collective past. I’d like to think that my book shares with readers the meaning of hope, determination and patience. I fought so many demons over the years and it was only through the love of my family and the conviction of my faith that I was truly able to overcome and ultimately believe in myself. Our community has to do the same. Rely on the only thing our ancestors had to get them by—love and faith.

BPM:  What message in your book do you want readers to share with others?
As I mentioned, the main message is hope and I’d love for readers to pass that on to anyone they can. The importance of hope and determination can’t be overstated at any point and it’s so wonderful when we can inspire each other. You never know when just your words will change a person’s mood or perspective.

BPM: Before we end the interview, define SUCCESS. What part does GRATITUDE play in achieving success, in your opinion?
Success is feeling secure in yourself and the decisions you’ve made in your life. Success is being satisfied with who you are and how you treat others. That’s how I define success for me. Gratitude is being thankful for every blessing, every kind word and everyone in your life that you love and loves you back. Gratitude is waking up everyday and thanking God for another chance to do something good in his name.

Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go by Lucille O’Neal
ISBN-10: 159555307X   |   ISBN-13: 978-1595553072

Read a preview from the book here.

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Excerpt: Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go by Lucille O’Neal

WALK LIKE YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO
From Mental Welfare to Mental Wealth
By Lucille O’Neal; Foreword by Shaquille O’Neal

“Because my mom was just a teenager when I was born, we supported each other as we both grew and evolved over the years…We never saw her down…and she balanced our lives, as well as her own, with the precision of a well-skilled neurosurgeon. She certainly kept me away from the lure of drug dealers in our neighborhood and off street corners as a young man…Through it all, she’s never let me give up on myself, even when things seemed the most hopeless.  — Shaquille O’Neal

Lucille O’Neal is the mother of one of professional sports’ most beloved stars, Shaquille O’Neal. Fans around the country were introduced to O’Neal as Shaq’s mom in the mid 90’s during a commercial for Robitussin’s “Dr. Mom” campaign, in which she held a photograph of her famous son and one of his size 22 shoes. Witnessing her eldest child soar to inconceivable success and stardom is a source of tremendous pride for Lucille, particularly because there was a great deal of disappointment, shame and secrecy surrounding her giving birth to a baby boy whom everyone around the world would come to know as “Shaq”.

In WALK LIKE YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO: From Mental Welfare to Mental Wealth, Lucille describes how her faith, even when she did not fully comprehend or realize it, ultimately gave her the strength to endure some of the darkest, most challenging periods in her life.

From being an unwed teen mother and creating a stable home for her children, at times with the help of public assistance; to coping with her unexpected feelings of anger and resentment towards her son’s blinding success; to battling alcohol addiction; to making the painful decision to end a marriage of nearly 30 years, Lucille opens up about the behind-the-scenes personal dramas and triumphs which have made her the determined, compassionate and resilient woman she is today. “What’s most important to me is that young women today know they shouldn’t doubt God or their own abilities. It is important for me to talk to them about this because I doubted both for so long, and I lost a lot of valuable time questioning my self-worth,” says Lucille. “If I am able to prevent just one young person from having to spend any of her precious time or life wondering if she matters, I will have done my job.”

At 12 years old, Lucille was already six feet tall and a lanky 95 lbs. Feeling awkward and unloved, lacking self-esteem, and dealing with instability at home, Lucille sought refuge from her troubles by partying and drinking with friends. Despite a strict Christian upbringing, her rebellious behavior led to Lucille nearly landing in a juvenile detention center. By the time she was 17, Lucille had met a college boy whom she thought loved and connected with her in a way that she’d been missing. Several months into the relationship, the teenager discovered that she was pregnant. The relationship eventually came to an end three months after the birth of their son, with her boyfriend not wanting to be a father.

Once Shaquille was born, the 18-year-old mother took full responsibility for her son, as she sought to get a job in order to get off public assistance. Standing at a towering 6’2”, Lucille O’Neal finally started to feel more confident in herself as a woman and new mother. She soon met and married Philip Harrison, a union that would forever change the course of Lucille’s life. Although Phil was a military man whose assignments took their growing family around the world, it was still difficult to make ends meet, with the Harrisons having to depend on food stamps at times just to eat. Lucille strived to be the best wife and mother but in the process, she began to lose herself. In an effort to guide readers through her life, Lucille combines stories of her childhood, young adult years, and womanhood with inspirational thoughts and Biblical verses that have shaped and aided her as she untangled a lifetime of profound insecurity and self-doubt.

WALK LIKE YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO speaks to women of all ages who have struggled to understand how she fits into the world. Lucille courageously tells the deeply personal, at times heartbreaking, journey of the girl who experienced the pain of being an outcast and the stigma surrounding being an unwed teen mother. Yet, in due course, that same girl evolved into a woman of immeasurable substance, faith and spirit…and with no regrets. Says Lucille, also lovingly referred to as Big Lou: “These days, when I go to bed at night, I sleep on the sheets of satisfaction, the pillows of peace, and the cushions of confidence…I am rich in so many ways that have nothing to do with money, which only serves to explain the happiness I have regarding my mental wealth today.”

Excerpt: Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go

Chapter Three — Man About Town

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. – Psalm 112:4 (ESV)

My grandparents, Cillar (Mama) and Hilton O’Neal (Papa), were like a wrestling tag team in my life and in the lives of all my relatives and anyone else who knew them. They could deliver a serious one-two punch that could blindside you and knock you out before you ever knew what hit you. Although they worked quite effectively as a pair, it was without a doubt my grandfather’s hovering presence that kept us all honest and on track. To know Hilton O’Neal was to respect him. He was a man who carried himself with a purpose and a plan no matter where he was. A physically striking man at a little over six feet tall, his deep, dark, chocolate complexion was as smooth as a newborn baby’s skin, and boy, could he dress. Spectator shoes, perfectly pressed zoot suits, and fedora hats were his signature pieces, and he wore them with style and pride. My grandfather was one bad brother!

As a child, I viewed my grandfather with both awe and fear, never fully comprehending what it must have been like to be a black man full of confidence and swagger in those trying days. This was a time when African Americans were considered less than human, attacked by police dogs, and forced to sit in the back of the bus. Looking his best was the one way he could consistently show the world that he was a proud, full-fledged human being-no matter if the law disagreed. Many African-American males did the same during that time in an attempt to prove to the outside world that they were worthy of respect. It saddens me to see many of our young men today dress so sloppily, with sagging pants and an overall unkempt appearance. I often wonder if they truly understand how their ancestors, like my grandfather, took so much pride in looking their best and what it meant to them to be viewed as respected citizens. Presenting a well-kept look afforded them the chance to be at least recognized in a world where they were often dismissed.

My grandfather also had other talents that went against the grain of what African Americans were supposed to be capable of doing in those days. Though he worked in construction during the day, laying bricks and drywalling alongside his brothers and other family members, he had a sharp mind for business and owned several properties, even a neighborhood tavern and bar. His keen business savvy meant there was always food on our table and that we never went without-even during the days of profuse poverty for blacks. While my grandfather was too humble to talk about his own endeavors or his advanced entrepreneurial skills, his middle brother, Chappell, enjoyed nothing more than sitting in a big chair and detailing the early exploits of the O’Neal family for hours on end. “Uncle Chap,” as we affectionately called him, was the self-appointed griot (African storyteller) of the family, and while his tales kept us quite entertained, we weren’t always certain they were completely true.

(Continues…)

Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go by Lucille O’Neal
ISBN-10: 159555307X
ISBN-13: 978-1595553072

——————————————————————————–

Excerpted from Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go by Lucille O’Neal Allison Samuels Copyright © 2010 by Lucille O’Neal. Excerpted by permission.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

——————————————————————————–

ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Lucille O’Neal is the President of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players, Inc. and the Southeast Director of the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund. She has appeared on numerous television shows, including Oprah, Live with Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, and The View.

Lucille returned to school as a woman in her 40’s to earn a bachelors degree in business administration at Bethune-Cookman University and a masters degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. She is the mother of four children and 14 grandchildren.

Allison Samuels is an award-winning Newsweek national correspondent who has been with the publication since 1996. Samuels is the author of Off The Record (Amistad/HarperCollins), which details the behind-the-scenes stories of her interviews with celebrities such as Denzel Washington, Kobe Bryant, Halle Berry, Michael Jordan and Bill Cosby. Her first book Christmas Soul (Jump At the Sun/Disney) was released in 2003. Samuels has been a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, CNN, MSNBC, and many others.

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Reorganized Priorities by Ariel Driskell

Reorganized Priorities is the story of young woman who has been estranged from her father for several years, only to be reunited with him when she agrees to donate one of her kidneys to save his life.

Reorganized Priorities is a story about heart break, forgiveness, and unconditional love between a daughter and her estranged father. When they realize that life is all too fleeting, they reunite, creating a bond strong than ever, because in the end, family is all anyone really has. This is a story about the importance of family, and realizing that no matter what differences you may have, you have to stick together. Also, I do understand that I will not be paid if my short story is used, and that is fine with me.

The story begins…
Journey inhaled deeply trying to calm herself as she walked up the steps of the hospital. Three weeks ago, she received a call from her brother Tommy, informing her that their father needed a kidney transplant, and unfortunately, Tommy wasn’t a match. Without giving it a second thought, Journey was tested to see if she would be a match, and as fate would have it, she was.

As she entered the lobby, she was surprised to find Tommy waiting for her. “It’s so good to see you,” Journey said as she and her brother embraced. “Where’s Mom?” she asked hoping to have a moment alone with them both. She was still close to the two of them, despite what happened between her and her father. “Upstairs, I needed a break,” Tommy said, intertwining her arm inside his, and leading her into the cafeteria. “So, how is he?” “He’s Dad, still bossing people around,” Tommy replied shrugging his shoulders and laughing a little. But when he saw the concerned look on Journey’s face he knew now was not the time for jokes. 

“I have a confession to make, J,” Tommy said, pausing and taking a sip of his coffee. “The day I found out I wasn’t a match, I was relieved.”  He wiped away his tears that had unexpectedly begun to fall.Journey knew what he’d shared was hard for him. She reached across the table and took his hands into hers. “It’s okay. Surgery can be scary for anyone.” Being a nurse had its advantages and she knew her family would be looking to her for answers to their many questions about the surgery. “Daddy is going to be fine,” Journey said in her most authoritative voice. She wasn’t sure who she was trying to convince more, Tommy or herself. “That’s my J, always the pillar of strength.”

Tommy admired her a great deal and often wished he’d made more of his own decisions in life. Because according to his father, there had never been a question of whether Tommy was going to be a lawyer. And Tommy questioned if he had made the right decision after seeing how happy Journey was with her life. Journey hoped that their heart to heart had brought him some comfort.

But unfortunately, it hadn’t brought her much, and her thoughts returned to what type of welcome she would receive from her father. She said a silent prayer as she walked into the lion’s den, wearing her heart on her sleeve. Her mother was sitting beside his bed, listening to her husband complaining about one thing after the other. He stopped speaking once he saw Journey enter the room and looked at her with a blank stare.

“Journey, you’re here.” Her mother was happy to see her and embraced her ever so tightly. She hadn’t seen Journey since her last visit out West almost two years ago. And she hated that they were seeing one another again under these circumstances.            

James made a grumbling sound before speaking. “I wasn’t sure you would come.” “Of course I came.” Journey wanted to go to him, but her feet felt as heavy as concrete. Sensing her daughter’s hesitation, Ella walked over to James, and kissed him on the cheek. “Be nice,” she whispered in his ear. “She is about to save your life.” “And we gave her life, how ironic is that?” James replied, looking up at his wife. She squeezed his hand, and kissed him goodbye once more. “Despite what he says, he is happy to see you,” Ella said, hugging her daughter again. She was the glue that held them all together, and they loved her for it.  “Don’t let him break you,” Tommy whispered to Journey before opening the door for his mother. And then they were gone, and Journey was alone with her father.             

“How are you feeling, are you comfortable?” Journey asked as she slowly approached his bed.  “You look so much like your mother,” James said with a half hearted smile.  “You should see Elizabeth .  She has Momma’s smile.” Journey’s spirits were lifted by the thought of her daughter. “Why did you stay away so long?”Journey thought for a moment before answering. “You told me there was no place for me here. What was I supposed to do?” 

“You were going to be a doctor. The next thing I knew you were dropping out of medical school and getting married to a man your mother and I barely knew.”Journey could hear the pain in his voice as though it had all happened yesterday. “Daddy, Bruce is a good man, but you never gave him a chance. Once you heard I didn’t want to be a doctor that was the end of our conversation. ”

“I didn’t understand why you were in such a rush to get married. It wasn’t like you to be so impetuous.” “We were and still are very much in love, Daddy. I have a wonderful life that you know nothing about.” She instantly regretted thinking this was the time or the place to discuss their issues. 

“You need your rest. I’ll be back tomorrow.” She squeezed his hand afraid to show him any other signs of affection.As James watched Journey walk away, he knew he needed to make things right between them. “Motherhood has changed you,” he called out to her, as she opened the door. “You have always been strong, but now, you have grace. I love you, Journey.” 

“Oh, Daddy!” Journey dropped her purse and ran back to his bed. “I love you too,” she said, unable to hold back her tears any longer. For seven years that was all she wanted to hear. It was as though a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, and her world was whole again.The surgery went well and James embraced his second chance at life that God had given him. And he vowed to be a better man for his family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ariel Driskell holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Psychology from Florida A & M University. Her first romance novel, A Life Less Interrupted, is scheduled to be released in mid to late 2011.  You can reach her at  aedriskell@hotmail.com  or check out her blog http://www.frommyheart2urs.wordpress.com/

 

 

Intimate Conversation with Lutishia Lovely

Lutishia Lovely is the bestselling author of the Hallelujah Love Series, and The Business Trilogy debuting in 2011. A lover of words in almost any format, she is also an accomplished actor, and former radio DJ and talk show host. When not writing, she herself enjoys a good book, along with traveling to exotic destinations and cooking vegan cuisine. Lutishia enjoys spending time with family and friends in metropolitan Los Angeles.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
What makes me powerful both as a person and a writer is the freedom I get from a close relationship with Spirit. The absolute belief that at any given moment I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do, is very liberating. This truth gives me the ability to be myself, and fearlessly write what my characters are telling me about their lives.

BPM: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook on life?
I think in the sense that my writing is free-spirited and uninhibited, with storylines that embrace a diverse set of viewpoints from a variety of people-types, my work reflects how I think and live. However, when it comes to some of my beliefs, my more judgmental Hallelujah Love characters might think I need Jesus! 🙂

BPM: What do you think of the increasingly fortuitous sex in African American literature?
I think what we read is a reflection of life. As casual, meaningless sex has increased in our culture and our world, so too has it increased in our novels. It’s true that sex sells, but that doesn’t mean you can just throw together a bunch of body parts, positions, grunts and groans and call it a day!

Readers are becoming more discriminating, and the overcrowded literary playing field calls for authors to step up their imaginary game. I love to write (and read) intimate scenes, but only when they have a purpose in the storyline and are tastefully done. Having said that, “taste” is in the eye of the beholder. Some people view my work as obscene, and what might seem ridiculous to me could be what someone else just tried last night! In my work, I try and present what is supposed to be a sacred and giving act between two people who love each other in a way that brings beauty to the art of lovemaking…and a tingle or two to the one reading my words!

Heaven Forbid catches readers up on several past characters in the Hallelujah Love series including Stan and Passion Lee, Princess Brook and Kelvin Petersen (all from A Preacher’s Passion), as well as series regular Mama Max and her husband, the Reverend Doctor Pastor Bishop Overseer Mister Stanley Obadiah Meshach Brook, Jr.

BPM: What specific situation prompted you to write Heaven Forbid?
Heaven Forbid wasn’t so much prompted by a specific event as it was by readers asking what was going on with so-and-so or such-and-such. And it was amazing how as I began to type, the characters let me know exactly what had been happening. Believe it or not, we writers don’t always know, and are often just as shocked as you are! ::smile::

BPM: Take us inside Heaven Forbid. What are two major events taking place?
Heaven Forbid, book number six in this ongoing series, begins with Gospel Truth Church, a congregation first introduced in Reverend Feelgood, having hired a new pastor, Mama Max’s husband, Reverend Doctor Brook. He’s invited Passion Lee’s husband, Stan, to Palestine, TX, to conduct a revival because the members of GT are not trying to abide by his stringent, Christian philosophy and suffocating rules. What neither the reverend doctor nor Mama Max know, is that something else needs reviving—Stan’s marriage, or more specifically, his libido…

BPM: Who are your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I could never pick a favorite among my characters, but I enjoyed this storyline that featured “seasoned” individuals. Seventy-something Mama Max is probably a combination of every older, wise-cracking, wisdom-spouting woman I’ve ever known, including my own mother, aunts and grandmother, and the older women in the church where I grew up.

BPM: What role do you give the ” mean-spirited” characters? Do you have such characters?
Hum, good question, Ella! There were definitely some people whose motives were suspect in my last book, Reverend Feelgood, but in this one, each person is too absorbed in their own drama to create much for anybody else.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
Ella, if there are any other books out there like mine, I haven’t read them! I think this series, blatantly combining sex and religion, is a new twist in the literary mix! Yes, there are other books involving drama in the church, but I think my work pushes envelopes that heretofore have not been opened. The storyline in Reverend Feelgood is unique, and if any other novel in this genre has touched upon what Mama Max ultimately discovers about her conservative pastor husband, y’all let me know!

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I am blessed to have a full plate, and am really excited about The Business Trilogy, a new series that debuts in 2011. While I plan to write Hallelujah Love as long as people want to read it, it is refreshing to write a totally different storyline. This trilogy deals with the Livingstons, the Atlanta-based owners of a soul food dynasty. The first book, All Up In My Business, has all things Lovely—drama, humor, inspiration, multiple main characters and a layered storyline—happening in the food industry instead of the church. I’m also appearing in my first anthology, along with Cydney Rax and Michele Grant, and that novella was very fun to write. Lastly, I’m thrilled to be heading to Detroit, Michigan in October for my first panel discussion sponsored by a library. I’m so thankful for these institutions and what they mean to our communities. At various times in my life, libraries have for me been a lifeline. I am honored and humbled that my books are now on their shelves.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? I can be contacted through my website, LutishiaLovely.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Shelfari and other sites, all via the end tag — Lutishia Lovely.

Visit with Lutishia at:     http:://www.Lutishialovely.com  
Follow me on Twitter:  http:://www.twitter.com/lutishialovely

Reverend Feelgood-Available Now!
Reverend Feelgood Commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-9YKTVpry0

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Intimate Conversation with Trice Hickman

Trice Hickman, is the award-winning, bestselling author of Unexpected Interruptions, and Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies.  Prior to writing, she worked in management positions for both corporate and non-profit organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Winston-Salem State University, and a Master of Arts degree from Wake Forest University. She lives in Washington, DC, and is currently working on her next novel.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I believe what makes me powerful as a person is my love and respect of my fellow man, and what makes me powerful as a writer is my love of the written word. My love of my fellow sisters and brothers allows me to more fully realize the human condition that connects us all, and that in turn enables me to pen the stories I write, which I hope resonates with readers in a viseral way. I love the written word because it is solid and lasting. A well-written story with fully developed characters and an interesting plot can take the reader out of their every day existence, allowing them to escape into an alternate one while still examining very real issues.

BPM: How much of what you write reflects on your outlook on life?
A lot of what I write reflects my outlook on life. Like me, I think most people want and struggle with the same things–love, happiness, security, balancing work and family, and striving for a better life. I write about those things, and I add a twist to shake things up.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
I’d have to say my mentors are the women in my family who have come before me. My maternal grandmother (God rest her soul), was a great lady who showered everyone around her with love, and my mother is one of the best human beings I know. She’s a cancer survivor, and she’s a fierce warrior. I’ve learned so much from watching how she handles life. I find inspiration from both of them.

BPM: What do you think of the increasingly fortuitous sex in African American literature?
Sex is a natural part of life, and because the characters we create represent real people I think it is fitting to include intimate scenes in a story. But, writing sex scenes just for the salaciousness of it can cheapen the story. If it is germane to what’s going on with the characters and it occurs in an authentic way, a good sex scene can heighten the connection readers feel between the characters involved.

BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers a legacy of well-written, thought-provoking stories that feature multi-ethnic characters who wrestle with the human frailties and their place in the world.

BPM: Introduce us to Playing the Hand You’re Dealt and the main characters.
Playing the Hand You’re Dealt, is the story of two women who are best friends who happen to be complete opposites. Emily’s a “good girl” who plays by the rules and does all the right things. Samantha’s a rebel who does what she wants without a second thought. Yet, despite their glaring differences they share an unwavering bond that ties them closer than blood sisters. But their long-standing friendship is tested when one friend sleeps with the other friends father!

BPM: Who are your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Wow, that’s a tough question to answer because I love so many of the characters in this book. But, if I have to pick my favorites it would be the two main characters; Emily and Samantha because they grow along the journey they take from the first page to the end of the last chapter. I’m careful not to write directly about people that I know, however, my characters are a combination people, observations and my very vivid and wild imagination!

BPM: What role do you give the ” mean-spirited” characters? Do you have such characters?
Oh, yeah! I have “means-pirited” characters in all my books. As one of my characters in Playing the Hand You’re Dealt, says, “There are some people who walk this earth with a rotten spirit through and through.” It’s a sad commentary, but it’s also true. The role of these “mean spirited” characters is to present challenges to the good people around them. And those challenges make the protagonist tap into their inner-strength, which helps them to persevere in the face of adversity. I think that’s something we can all relate to.

BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in Playing the Hand You’re Dealt?
When Samantha realizes that her best friend is having an affair with her father and she confronts them.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
As with all my novels, this one evokes the theme of the redemptive power of forgiveness. This story also demonstrates that it’s not about what happens to you in life, but rather, how you recover from it.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? 
I love connecting with readers and book clubs! They can reach me several ways; through my web site at http://www.tricehickman.com/,  on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/tricehickman  on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tricehickman,  or, simply by dropping me an email at tricehickman@yahoo.com
I promise to get back to you!

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Intimate Conversation with Susan Fales-Hill

Susan Fales-Hill, a recovering television writer, was the Executive Producer of the beloved 90’s sitcom, “A Different World.” She also co-created the critically acclaimed “Linc’s” which starred Pam Grier (Showtime, 1998-2000.) “One Flight Up,” is Susan’s debut novel and second book. Her first, “Always Wear Joy,” a memoir about her late mother, groundbreaking performer, Josephine Premice, was a finalist for both the Image Award and the Hurston Wright Award for non-fiction. A graduate of Harvard, she lives in New York with her husband, her daughter and a thousand handbags.

“One Flight Up” is a romantic comedy which follows a multicultural cast of four women who’ve been friends since kindergarten through the boardrooms, ballrooms and bedrooms of Manhattan and Paris. Every woman over the age of twenty has at least fantasized about dallying with someone other than her husband or boyfriend. India, a sensuous but emotionally repressed bi-racial divorce lawyer, Abby, a gallery owner, Esme, a spoiled Colombian heiress, and Monique, a gynecologist and card carrying member of Harlem’s thriving Buppie-ocracy actually dare to “cross the line” with delicious, scandalous and surprising results. To find out who lives to regret her indiscretion, and who ends up finding the love or lust of her life, enter the world of “One Flight Up.”

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
The fact that I survived my loving but crazy family and am able to tell the tale. As the saying goes, “Good sailors don’t calm from calm seas.” I have been “tossed” on the squalls and dashed against “rocks” and it’s only made me more determined to find joy and share it with others. Writing grounds and centers me. My mother had to perform or she would die. I have to write, or they’ll cart me off in a straight jacket.

BPM: Who are your mentors?
My greatest mentors were my mother’s friends, whom I was blessed to grow up around, the OD’s “Original Divas,” : Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Carmen De Lavallade, Diahann Carrol and of course, the lady herself, my mother, the late, great Josephine Premice. These women combined brilliance, style, beauty and wit as effortlessly as they applied their false eyelashes every morning (and most of them really did wear false eyelashes EVERY morning.) They never let the racist America of their eras beat them down. They’d laugh in the face of red necks, and find a way around all the doors that slammed shut in their faces. When you grow up around “First Blacks” (the first to have a film contract, the first to have her own sitcom and on and on,) you can’t make excuses for yourself. You owe them every ounce of effort you can muster to take advantage of all the opportunities they created for you. As my seven year old daughter (my other muse) says “You know what a woman can’t do? Absolutely nothing!!! There’s nothing a woman can’t do!!”

I also have to thank Mr. and Mrs. Bill Cosby. They gave me my television career. And I’m still living off the residuals of “A Different World,” in the “house the sitcom built!!!”

BPM: Finish this sentence – My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers future readers the legacy of the diversity of the African-American experience. I was brought up in the belief that “black” was not a shade, a way of speaking or a socio-economic class but could be anything from a scientist (Charles Drew) to some of the greatest voices of the European literary tradition (Pushkin, Dumas anyone?) My writing celebrates the richness of the people of the African diaspora. We truly are the world.

BPM: What genre is your book, One Flight Up?
“One Flight Up,” my second book, is a novel. My first, “Always Wear Joy” was a memoir.

BPM: Introduce us to your main characters in One Flight Up.
For a full biography of each of my main four women, readers should visit my website, http://www.susanfales-hill.com and click on the books section. They can also click on the maps to see all the glamorous and gorgeous “destinations” “One flight up” will help them tour. Has anyone dreamed of going to Paris lately?

Not described on the website are the men with whom my characters dally. There’s Keith Wentworth, aka “prince charming noir,” he combines the physical splendor of a Wentworth Miller or Daniel Sunyata (scrumptious) with the brains and net worth of a mogul, and the sex appeal of Denzel at his steamiest. The Harvard Law School educated heir to a black corporate dynasty, he can have any woman he wants, and he wants….Read and find out!!!

There’s Julien, the dishy French chef/restaurateur who doesn’t see color, only beauty. He’s got green eyes, a beautiful body and a heart of gold. Will it be broken by our main character, India, whom he longs to marry?

For those who like a “rough neck,” there’s hottie Hector, the ambulance driver. He’s built like Sugar Ray and has the stamina of…who was your best lover ever?

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write One Flight Up?
I grew up around infidelity, and was cheated upon, over, and over, and over again by my first boyfriend, a beautiful, straight male model (I know, “staight AND a male model,” I really should have seen it coming, but I was only seventeen, so please forgive me my naivete, also known as stupidity.) The issue of “straying” always fascinated me, all the more so once I got married, and the universe, with its infinite sense of humor, started sending hotties my way to tempt me. Where were all these pretty men when I was terminally single, home alone of a Saturday night, chowing down on the Haagen Dazs? No, they couldn’t have come around then because I was actually available!!! No matter how much one loves one’s husband, fidelity is tested in the course of a marriage. And why doesn’t anyone warn us? Consider this book a warning, or perhaps an alternative to actually cheating. The reader can be an “armchair hoochie.”

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from the book?
My hope is that “One Flight Up” will offer the reader the chance to think about how they choose their partners. Are they seeking security, passion, a co-parent? Love between two people in a sexual relationship can take a thousand different forms, and it’s never as simple as the movies have led us to believe. One of the greatest compliments I’ve received about the book is from a recently divorced friend who told me the book gave her courage, particularly one line in which I wrote “Ideals are for Gods and Saints. Things don’t have to be perfect to be absolutely wonderful.” If I can help the reader find the courage to make a few mistakes, to take a risk, or to find joy in what they already have, I will count myself successful. It’s also important that they have a good laugh along the way…Oh, another reader told me this book made her “tingle in parts that hadn’t tingled in years.”  Here’s to tingling!!!

BPM: What makes your book different from other books on the same subject?
First of all, I’m not sure many books (other than the obvious classics) tackle the subject of female transgression as frankly and without judgment. In the classics, the cheating woman always ends up dead (kind of like the black people in horror movies.) And not just dead, she always meets a horrible, untimely, calamitous death: run over by a train (Anna Karenina,) overdosed and in debt (Emma Bovary,) stabbed in the gut outside the corrida (Carmen.) No one dies in “One Flight Up.” The other difference is “One Flight Up,” unlike a lot of contemporary literature for women, is multicultural. My four main protagonists are all from different backgrounds, and my heroine is bi-racial (the child of a white actress mother and a black father.) This is the contemporary reality of New York, and for many people who attended college after 1968. Though I deal with the nuances of each woman’s particular culture or cultures, at the end of the day, they’re all women and human beings: they love, they lust, they laugh, they cry, they over eat.

BPM: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
Latest news: I’m Susan, and I’m a recovering shop-aholic and I have successfully avoided retail excesses of any kind for over two years. This is my 735th day of retail sobriety (applause please.) Okay, in seriousness, I’m pleased to say I’m delving into my third book and second novel right away. It will also be published by Atria and I couldn’t be more pleased. Awards? If nominated, I will accept…

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
Readers can visit my website, http://www.susanfales-hill.com and click on “contact.” My yahoo address is right there, as well as my Face Book page and the Face Book page for “One Flight Up.”

Readers might also enjoy my blogs (about Lena Horne, or the one comparing Tiger Woods to Jack Johnson, the heavy weight champion, or my fashion tips.) I welcome comments, questions, invitations to book clubs. I want to hear from readers about everything, and I’m anxious to share my virtual world with them. It’s full of music, beauty, quotations from great thinkers and light. Come visit me at  http://www.susanfales-hill.com/!!!  I can’t wait to meet you!!!

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Without Permission: Resource Guide for Sexual Abuse Victims

Author Sharon R. Wells Draws on Her Past
to Create a Resource Guide for Sexual Abuse Victims

Last year was a landmark year for Sharon R. Wells. One year ago she created a business called Angel Wings Publications, LLC, and a website designed to empower and educate victims who suffer a wide range of repercussions resulting from sexual abuse.

Today she celebrates the one-year anniversary of her organization at the same time that she anticipates the publication of her first book, “Without Permission.” “Without Permission” is a candidly-written story of the many problems Wells has suffered, all of them the result of the sexual abuse she experienced as a child.

Book and Website Helps Victims, Friends and Families Struggling with the Effects of Sexual Abuse

The mission of her website and her book is both simple and critically important – to build the awareness that can help prevent sexual abuse in the future.

“I decided to open up and tell my story in the hopes that it may help spare others the pain of sexual abuse,” Wells stated. “I have had the opportunity to speak at a few panel discussions. I look forward to other such speaking engagements in the future. My most important goal is to encourage victims to break their silence and begin to heal. I also hope to educate and inform people so that they may recognize the various signs of potential abuse and hopefully prevent other children from becoming victims too.”

She has published her introduction along with the first chapter of “Without Permission” on her website as a free resource to people needing help. For people who wish to know her entire story, the book will soon be available at http://www.angelwingspublications.com/  for $15.

“It is my fondest hope that ‘Without Permission’ will inform people about the effects of sexual abuse and encourages sexual abuse survivors to heal,” said Wells. “I also believe my website can be a wonderful resource for victims and the people who love them. If my book and website can make a difference in just one person’s life, then it will all be worth it.”

Further information about Sharon R. Wells, her website and “Without Permission” is available online at http://www.angelwingspublications.com.  

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon R. Wells
, is a writer, entrepreneur, survivor and advocate of sexual abuse prevention and awareness. It has been her determination, unwavering faith and perseverance that has helped her to overcome many challenging obstacles in her life. She has written heartfelt, spiritual and inspirational essays during her healing journey.

This has inspired her to create Angel Wings Publications, LLC, to help victims find strength, hope and courage to begin their healing process. Sharon presently works as an executive liaison for a prestigious fortune five hundred company located in New York City. Over the past few years, she has achieved a certification in Human Resource Management and is also a certified rape crisis advocate.

Book Excerpt: Without Permission A Spiritual Journey of Healing
http://www.angelwingspublications.com/?page=news&id=977

“Without Permission” is my personal story of how I have survived child sexual abuse and my journey towards healing, forgiveness and finding inner-peace.

As I look back at the turbulence in my life which stemmed from sexual abuse, it lead me down a path of self-destructive behavior. It included drug abuse, relationship and trust issues with family and friends. Not to mention, the long list of typical effects that this particular type of abuse tends to spawn.

In addition, are stories of courageous survivors who share their stories on how they have overcome their trauma and began to heal. The stories of victims may differ in various ways, but the root of the problem is still the same. I share these thoughts with those who seek comfort and closure. This problem can torment the victim from childhood throughout their adult lives. This is a sensitive issue, and for those who have been affected, this may open a door where you find courage to seek help and support. This is an issue that must be addressed, and up until now, has had a lack of exposure. It is time to unveil the secrets without shame or fear, and trust that God will help you find inner peace.

Angel Wings Publications, LLC
Sharon R. Wells, Author & Founder
P.O. Box 96
Vauxhall, NJ 07088
sharon@angelwingspublications.com

 

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Why I Write by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Why I Write by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

I was born into a world of stories full of color and warmth and tragedy and magic and humor. I was born into a world of music and intuitive knowing and overpowering scents. But when I went to school, I was told that reason and logic were the only acceptable ways of knowing. Emotions clouded reality. Definitions had to be exact, measurable, black and white, no in-betweens. Keep it simple, I was told.

But I was not simple. I was a black, Puerto Rican female in a world that insisted that I be one or the other and valued none of those parts of me. After years of trying to fit my round self into a square world, I gave up. Those rules made no sense to me. And so I began to write my world, my way.

I write first and foremost because the stories I grew up reading in school bore no resemblance to world of my family and my community. Those stories did not tell about the way the sun fell on my grandmother’s hands as she handed me my fresh bread and butter breakfast every morning or the smell on my abuelo’s skin when he came home from the cane fields. No where did I see my family’s many shades of brown complexions or the sound of my mother’s voice when she called me mamita. I write because those images of my life will not allow me to be silent. I write because somewhere down the road, I’d like a little black Puerto Rican girl just like me to find herself in the world of American letters. And that little girl? She’s already waiting.
ABOUT US
Dahlma was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. She is a product of the Puerto Rican communities on the island and in the South Bronx. She attended the NYC public school system and got her academic degrees from SUNY-Buffalo and Queens College. As a child she was sent to live with her grandparents in Puerto Rico where she was introduced to the culture of rural Puerto Rico, including the storytelling that came naturally to the women, especially the older women, in her family. Much of her work is based on her experiences during this time.

Dahlma taught creative writing, language and literature in the New York City School system before becoming a young adult librarian. She has also taught creative writing to teenagers, adults and senior citizens throughout NYC while honing her own skills as a fiction writer and memoirist. Since her retirement, she has dedicated herself to her writing. Dahlma lives in the Bronx with her husband, Jonathan Lessuck. She can be contacted through her web page at  http://www.llanosfigueroa.com/.

 
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Intimate Conversation with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. She taught in the New York City School system before becoming a young adult librarian. Her experiences in Puerto Rico and the South Bronx, as well as her African heritage form the basis of her work. Dahlma has won the Bronx Council on the Arts ACE and BRIO Awards, as well as a Literary Arts Fellowship. She still lives in the Bronx. She can be contacted through her web page at  http://www.llanosfigueroa.com/.

BPM:  Introduce us to your book and the main characters in Daughters of the Stone.
Daughters of the Stone follows the lives of five generations of Afro-Puerto Rican women focusing on the legacy passed from one generation to the next. Fela is an African woman, captured and sold into slavery in Puerto Rico.

Mati, her daughter is a healer who needs to establish a place of safety for herself and her people. Concha has to choose between her mother’s tradition and the wider European society. Elena is the first educated in her line. She chooses a different path. Carisa grows up in NYC and has to reconcile her life with the traditions of the past.

BPM:  Who are your favorites in Daughters of the Stone?
Each one has strengths that I admire and weaknesses I can learn from. I couldn’t pick a favorite any more than a mother could pick a favorite child.

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and as a writer?
I think one thing that makes me very strong is recognizing that I didn’t get where I am by my will alone. I stand on the shoulders of other very strong and creative women. When I stop honoring what they lived and died to give me, that’s when I lose my way.

BPM: Who are your mentors?
The female members of my family to whom I dedicated the book are my first and strongest mentors. Artistically, I owe a great deal to Toni Morrison and Isabel Allende. Their work gave me permission to tell my story my way and helped me find my own voice. They also gave me the courage to speak about the unspeakable.

BPM:  Finish this sentence: My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…?
Everyone from every culture has important stories to tell–whether in the privacy of their homes or on the page. I encourage everyone to find an elder and listen. Write down the stories, collect them, pass them down to the next generation. These are the only sign posts that we can leave for those who come after us. We all need the lessons of the past so we can build a better future. It is only in forgetting that we grow weaker.

BPM:  What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write Daughters of the Stone?
There were many reasons for my book coming about. I’ll pick just one. As a child I was sent to live with my grandmother in Puerto Rico. At home in the Bronx I had the television to keep me company in the evenings. But in Puerto Rico, I remember sitting in a corner of my grandmother’s porch and listening to the women on the porch telling stories. They sat in their rockers and talked about everything that went on in the town. They told jokes, corrected each other’s memories and told and retold family tales. Years, decades later when those women were all gone, I remembered those stories and felt so connected. It occurred to me that those women’s voices were never heard in the literature that I read or the media stories that reflected only the stereotypical images of Puerto Rican life. I felt that it was time for those voices to be heard.

BPM:  How will reading your book shape the reader’s lives?
Hopefully, my book will motivate them to look at their own family stories and examine how their lives have been influenced by what came before.

BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want your readers to gain from your book?
I’d like them to understand the importance of storytelling in our lives. I’d like them to see the past as a foundation for the future and a conduit of strength and dignity.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from other on the same subject?
My book covers a journey of 150 years that most people have never thought about. This novel examines the journey of the Puerto Rican family from slavery, through colonialism, to immigration to acculturation to self identity. Many people say that they never knew we had slavery in Puerto Rico. Others are surprised by the hardships suffered by immigrants. Others see the similarities in the characters and situations with their own journeys. Still others focus on the personal voyage of the characters. I’m happy that readers can take any one of these or many other routes to reading and enjoying the book. When that happens, I know I did my job well.

Buy now from Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s website:
http://www.llanosfigueroa.com/daughters_of_the_stone/index.htm

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7 Essential Steps to Writing Your First Novel

7 Essential Steps to Writing Your First Novel
By Trevor Johnson

Many people dream of writing their own book. But it remains a dream – maybe a few kind-of started pages gathering virtual dust on a computer somewhere and eventually consigned to the digital dustbin when an upgrade arrives. So what can you do to make your dream of writing a novel come true? Here are some tips to help you.

1. Make an outline
You need a road map to follow if you are to stand any chance at all of writing your masterpiece. Start with the chapter headings and then a brief outline of what will happen in each chapter.

2. Flesh out your outline
Once you’ve got the direction of your novel worked out, it’s time to put a bit more detail together. Notice that I didn’t say start writing “for real” yet. Just add some meat to the chapter heading bones. Aim for around a dozen things that will happen in each chapter.

3. Define your main characters
What do they look like? How old are they? Are they male, female, animal or alien? Write a summary of each character – this will likely end up scattered across your book as each part of their character becomes relevant. But as the author, you need to know these details from day one.

4. Define your main locations
It doesn’t matter whether these exist in the real world or not. But these should be defined in the same way you’ve defined the major players. This crib sheet will help keep your mind on track when you’re actually writing your new novel.

5. Start writing
By now, your head should already have a very good idea of the novel you’re about to write. Set aside time each and every day to work on your novel. This can be short, ten to fifteen minute, bursts or it can be an hour or more with your hands almost tied to the keyboard. The important part is to do this every day, to help convince your unconscious mind that you’re serious. Don’t interrupt yourself with editing at this stage. That uses a different part of your brain and will kill your creativity.

6. Edit and polish your work
If possible, read your book out loud. This will raise the places where you literally stumble over your words and will bring out the parts of your book that don’t quite make sense. It’s actually quite a fun process once you get used to it!

7. Publish
Nowadays you don’t need a publisher unless you want one. You can publish your own work on sites like Amazon and indulge in your own publicity with a few press releases. The sky’s the limit – go for it!

To learn how to write a novel in a month:  http://onemonthnovel.info   Article Source  

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The Spiritual Responsibility of Fatherhood

The Spiritual Responsibility of Fatherhood
by Dwight Turner

My wife is currently in China on business, as is the case quite often these days, and my four-year-old daughter Salina is home alone with Daddy. Lately, she has reminded me on several occasions what a awesome blessing being a father is, but also what an incredible responsibility a parent faces from the time a child enters the family until the time said child goes out on his or her own. I suspect the responsibility doesn’t end there, either.

Although Salina is only four, she is already participating in the soccer program at a local church. It is a great program for children and is entitled, “King’s Kids.” The program emphasizes not only soccer, but the spiritual life as well. Salina enjoys playing and her mom and I enjoy going and watching the kids go at on the soccer pitch.

After about the fourth game of the season, I noticed that my daughter had the habit of giving the ball to the opposing team whenever they approached her. If she was running down the field “dribbling” the ball with her foot other kids, as they should, would try to intercept her and steal the ball. What I noticed was that with Salina, stealing the ball was unnecessary. If an opposing player headed toward her, she merely passed the ball to her. This, of course, drove her coach a bit crazy but, to the coach’s credit, she well understood that these were four-year-olds here, not miniature, female versions of Pele.

Eventually, I made the decision to get to the bottom of this tendency my daughter had of turning the ball over so often. “Salina,” I asked her. “I have noticed that you often pass the ball to players on the other team when they try to take the ball away from you. What’s that all about?”

“Well, Daddy,” she said with eyes filled with innocence. “You told me I should always share. I just wanted to share my ball with them.”

There you have it. From her perspective, she was doing the right thing, the noble thing. And why was sharing the right thing to do? Because Daddy told her so.

That seemingly insignificant event was a bit of an epiphany for me. Things that we adults often say with out much thought have an impact that runs much deeper than we realize. For Salina, Daddy’s lesson that she should always share evidently took hold. I am glad that this particular lesson did sink in, but it also brought to my awareness the importance of paying attention to what we teach our children, with directly or indirectly. This is especially significant when it comes to spiritual matters.

By the term “spiritual matters” I don’t just men things about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, etc. I am also referring to issues related to spiritual values like sharing, honesty, integrity, kindness, etc. What we teach our children about these things will have an impact as they grow and develop.

And please understand you fathers who may read this (and mothers) no one else is going to teach them. It is not the school’s job to teach these values, it is not the church’s job to do it, and it sure isn’t the peer group’s job. It is your responsibility to impart a solid, biblical code of ethics to your children. You cannot and should not ever abdicate this task. And, when you really think about it, you really don’t want the school and the peer group teaching your child right from wrong. Hopefully, the church does this but please remember that what the church does along these lines should only help support what you began at home, not replace it.

Being a father is not so much a task, however, as it is an honor, a blessing, and a privilege.

Another incident that brought this message of parental blessing and responsibility occurred a few nights ago. Since she was old enough to walk, part of our nightly ritual has included me giving Salina her bath, drying her and putting her to bed. This is usually followed by a bed time prayer and reading a story to her (or, telling her one that I made up.) Until a few months ago, I did the praying because Salina didn’t want to say prayers out loud. Around the beginning of the summer, she began to pray as well. She would recite the famous “Now I lay me down to sleep.” or one of the meal time prayers she had learned at her Day School. I was totally unprepared, however, for what happened a few nights later.

After we got into bed, Salina asked if she could say the prayer. I told her I would like that very much, wondering which prayer she would recite. Instead, she began to pray her own prayer, asking God to bless Mommy and Daddy and a host of others. More amazing, she began to use many of the words and phrases she has heard me use in our prayers. She used the exact words and even with the same cadence to her prayers. This just floored me.

“And Dear God, bless my Mommy and fill her heart with your light.Let the light of your blessed Spirit shine through us and touch each person we meet tomorrow.”  It is such a strange feeling when you hear your own words of prayer come back at you, especially from the lips and the heart of your child.

I was not only moved by the way she prayed, but also felt again the overwhelming impact our words can have on our children, for good or bad. All these months as I prayed with her, I felt that she was a passive participant, perhaps sitting there half asleep.

I was so mistaken!

Instead of being a drowsy participant in our prayer time, she was like a little spiritual sponge, soaking up every word, phrase, and even the rhythm of my prayers. It is difficult to put into words all the things I felt that night as I listened to Salina’s first personal prayers. Certainly joy and wonder were a part of it, but there was again, just as when I questioned her about her soccer play, the almost overwhelming sense of personal responsibility.

Think of it this way my friend. When God chooses you to be a parent; when he places a new life in the womb of your wife, he is also placing something in your heart as well. God is blessing you, a father, with the joy and the responsibility of caring for not only your child, but His child. God is entrusting to you the care, nurturance, and spiritual upbringing of one of his very own. Think about this act. I mean, really think about it. Take some time out and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to impart to you the deep understanding of what it means to be the father of one of God’s very own children. Yes, this child is also your child, but he or she is God’s child first. And God thinks highly enough of you to raise that child.

What an honor! What a blessing! And man, what a responsibility!

Friends, this parenting role that we have is a distinctively holy business. I think I was aware of this truth before last week, but somehow not in the deep sense I am aware of it now. Speaking as a father, I can say that I have come to the realization that in many ways, the first, and all too often, the lasting image a child has of God is somehow mysteriously formed in his or her interactions with we fathers. Again, the responsibility is incredible. When I really think about it, I also understand that as fathers and mothers, too, we parents are in the memory making business. We give our children many things, including mental images that remain in the mind for life. This, too, is a huge responsibility.

As I prayed about these new insights and revelations, I asked God to guide me and support me in my role as a father. In doing so, I also realized that God wanted me to be a father, but more than that, he wanted me to be a “Daddy” just as he is. I am to strive to be consistent in my ministry as an “Abba.”

Words like awe, wonder, and the like are woefully insufficient in describing the response you will have when you take this reality deep into your soul. A term I first heard used by the Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel comes to mind:  Radical amazement!

I realized in that prayer time two other important truths that are fundamental to success as an Abba. These truths are simple but foundational:

There is no way I can do this alone.  I don’t have to.

L.D. Turner 2008/All Rights Reserved. Dwight Turner is founder of LifeBrook Communications, a ministry which produces and publishes web content on a variety of faith-based themes. LifeBrook may be viewed at: http://lifebrook.wordpress.com/.   All material: (c)  L.D. Turner/All Rights Reserved  
>> Original Article Reprint Source

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Righteous Pride by Stanley Hasegawa

Righteous Pride by Stanley Hasegawa

As men, our righteous pride begins with our pride in God. We don’t want to be proud of God just in our hearts, we want to let everyone know how proud of God we are. I believe that the Psalms 44:8 passage also shows that there is some kind of connection between being thankful to God and boasting in him. It seems to me that boasting about ourselves and being thankful to God tend to be mutually exclusive:

“But the one who boasts must boast in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 10:17)
“so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'” (1 Corinthians 1:31)
“In God I boast all day long, and we will continually give thanks to your name.” (Psalms 44:8)
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:1-2)

Scripture shows that there is a place for pride in the life of a Christian. There is such a thing as doing good work and having righteous pride in ourselves. Galatians 6:4 explicitly calls each one of us to examine and evaluate our own workmanship. By implication, Galatians 6:4 also calls for us to do excellent work and take pride in our work. God just doesn’t want us to compare ourselves to others in order to feel superior to them. Such comparing and judging lead to sinful pride and sinful boasting. Righteous pride in self pertains to spiritual matters (progress and joy in the faith), as well as earthly matters.

“Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else.” (Galatians 6:4)

“And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress and joy in the faith, so that what you can be proud of may increase because of me in Christ Jesus, when I come back to you.” (Philippians 1:25-26)

Finally, we are to take pride in each other. We have to be careful here. We are to take pride in each other, not because of outward appearances, but because of what is in each other’s hearts. The stereotypical ideal for a “trophy” spouse just won’t cut it. We are to take pride in our spouses and friends, not because of their beauty, intelligence, fame, possessions, or accomplishments, but because of what is in their hearts. What we can be proud of in each other must pass this litmus test: is it something we will be able to boast of to Jesus Christ when he comes again?

“We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may be able to answer those who take pride in outward appearance and not in what is in the heart. (2 Corinthians 5:12)

“For who is our hope or joy or crown to boast of before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not of course you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

I am richly blessed in my marriage. I have two grown children. I am semi-retired. I have been a computer programmer, systems analyst, househusband and homeschool teacher. I love to walk, talk and eat, and write short articles about devoting our lives to Jesus.   >> Original Article Reprint Source

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Key Symptoms of Teenage Depression and Teenage Stress

Key Symptoms of Teenage Depression and Teenage Stress
By Kinjal S. Shah

Increasingly common problems that teenagers face are teenage depression and teenage stress. Whilst a lot of the problems like drug abuse, eating disorders and teenage problems like ADHD, learning disorders, short height etc can ultimately result in depression; there are other factors, which can cause depression. These factors could be related to family or personal relationship stress, excessive academic pressure at school or home, bullying at school or even depression caused due to hormonal changes in the body.

It is extremely important to recognize this problem at an early stage as teenage depression and teenage stress are the biggest reasons for teenage suicides or self-harm. In some cases it could also lead to reckless behaviour or violence on part of your teen. In most cases of depression the sufferer experiences low teenage self-esteem or a lack of confidence, which can severely impair a teenager’s future growth and success.

Below are some of the symptoms that can help you recognise if your teenager is suffering from teenage stress or teenage depression.

Physical Characteristics: You can tell that your teenager is suffering from teenage depression or teenage stress if they often feel hopeless and angry, cry a lot more than usual, are constantly worried, lack energy and always feeling tired, suffer from insomnia, lack appetite, feel restless, show a complete lack of motivation or enthusiasm and stop doing things they used to enjoy. Similarly if they constantly complain of unexplained aches and pains like stomachache or headache, without any medical cause, it could also indicate stress or depression.

Social Habits: Another common symptom of teenage depression is avoidance and withdrawal from relationships and friends. Your teenager might try to avoid going to school as the teachers are too strict, or they do not have friends, or others make fun of them. They may also try and avoid other social gatherings and prefer to spend and increasing amount of time alone. Teenage stress can also be manifested in the form of reduced overall communication and introvert behaviour.

Performance: Your teenager could also show complete lack of concentration and try to find reasons not to do their homework or avoid school when they are suffering from teenage stress. In these circumstances it is crucial to probe if they are having a bad experience at school which is causing them excessive stress.

In most cases teenage depression is either the trigger or a result of some of the other teenage problems. Hence you need to understand the symptoms of all other teenage problems like eating disorders or drug abuse to understand the root cause of depression. When looking out for symptoms it is therefore important to look at all of them together, rather than individually, so you can get the best understanding of the state your child is in and can take corrective action if necessary.

In the book “Solving Teenage Problems” all the possible teenage problems, their causes and symptoms have been discussed in detail. Along with this exercises are provided so that parents can understand the severity of problem they are facing and then work through various tips provided to deal with these problems.

The author is a successful marketing executive in a large consumer goods company and a mother of two boys. She has had a rough ride in the past two years and has successfully saved her family from the brink of disaster by working on her parenting techniques. She specialises in parenting tips.

You can access her free report “New Parenting Style” or buy her book “Solving Teenage Problems” on http://www.teenageproblems.newparentingstyle.com or check your “Parent Stress Intensity Quotient” on http://www.stressmanagement.newparentingstyle.com/   >> Original Article Reprint Source

 
 
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