Monthly Archives: November 2010
Please take a moment and visit our holiday gift guide for suggestions on great books! We have author interviews, holiday interviews, bookclub showcases and tons of inspiration for our readers. Our Thanksgiving issue of Black Pearls Magazin is one of our best ever! Go to Black Pearls Magazine now.
Happy Thanksgiving from Stacy Hawkins Adams
I issue this greeting with the hope that you’re preparing for your best Thanksgiving ever! Let’s face it, though: We’ve all got “issues”; and during this time of year, which can be the most festive and joyous, sometimes the circumstances, people, or things that challenge us most threaten to sap our gratitude.
This year, however, why not make a “Thanksgiving Pact” with yourself to find the roses among the thorns?
* When you want to complain, hold your tongue and think of something positive.
* When you’re feeling overwhelmed or gloomy, turn on some music with an uplifting beat or inspirational lyrics.
* When you’re distracted by what you lack, reflect on your life and rejoice in all the good things (material and intangible) that you do possess.
Decide how you personally want to spell “Thankful” and tuck these words on a piece of paper or in a journal that you can return to throughout the holiday season.
Here’s what I’ll be reflecting on during Thanksgiving 2010:
T = Trusting God Always
H = Honored to Share My Journey with You and Others
A = Aiming for Excellence
N = Never Alone
K = Keeping the Faith
F = Forever Grateful for God’s Love
U = Uplifted By His Grace and Mercy
L = Living Fully the Life He Gave Me
Choose your own phrases and give thanks in advance for where your transformative words will take you.
I’m thankful for YOU and for your continued support of my writing and speaking endeavors.
Here’s wishing you a Thanksgiving in which you can recognize simple blessings and be grateful that another day is yours to experience.
Happy Thanksgiving and Warm Regards!
Stacy Hawkins Adams
Bestselling Author / Inspirational Speaker
Igniting Hope that Fuels Your Dreams
About the Author
Stacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning author, speaker and freelance writer. Her six nationally-published women’s fiction novels weave faith, social issues and personal growth themes into creative plots. Her nonfiction book gives women practical tips, scriptural guidance and inspiration on how to connect more deeply with God.
Stacy’s fourth novel, The Someday List, maintained a steady presence on the Essence bestseller’s list throughout 2009, and soared to #7 on the Kindle bestseller list earlier this year. The Someday List was nominated for a Library of Virginia fiction award.
Her latest novel, Dreams That Won’t Let Go, hit bookstore shelves in January 2010 and continues to receive critical acclaim. Who Speaks to Your Heart? is Stacy’s first nonfiction book. It was released in May 2010 and serves as a devotional guide for busy women from all walks of life.
She recently launched a group coaching service called Author In You (www.AuthorInYou.com), through which she and a select group of professional authors provide personalized motivation and advice to fiction and nonfiction writers seeking to complete a manuscript. She occasionally provides personal “purpose coaching” that empowers women to recognize their relevance and purpose, and succeed at a personal or professional goal.
When she is not writing, speaking or coaching, Stacy devotes considerable time to promoting child advocacy as a writing and marketing consultant, and community volunteer. Stacy lives in a suburb of Richmond, Va. with her husband and two children.
I am a worry-wart.
I always have been and probably will remain so until the day I take my final breath. It is what it is. Ironically, I don’t worry that I am a worrywart. Possessing that title has its rich rewards. For one, I’m always on my “A” game—making sure I cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s. There is always a Plan B in place, just in case Plan A doesn’t work out.
So. . . the spill-off or residue from being a worrywart is that I’m super organized and highly efficient in most all I do. I try to retain control in all I do, as much to the degree that is possible. You guys read between the lines. Okay, I admit it, I can be picky, a control freak and a perfectionist to a fault.
Over the quickly fleeing years that pass by in the blink of an eye, as my spiritual level and maturity has grown, I have come to realize that I should always come with my “A” game, but also realize that with God all around me—guiding, leading, directing and instructing my footsteps—I can eagerly give up my title, confident in the knowledge that I’ll be alright. In fact, I’ll be better than alright, I will be safe, sound, happy and secure with my place in this world. He always makes a way, even during our darkest moments. When you think you can’t take another step, he’ll do one better and carry you.
As we move towards holidays, I pause to reflect on all the wonderful family and friends that I have in my life. I have a loving husband, children that I am very proud of, people who love and care for me with a passion, just as I am. They accept me with faults, imperfections and even when I’m in worrywart mode. Plus, I’m living my dream each and every day. I’m creating the reality of my dreams and that in itself is magic. Magic surrounds me and I bask in its glory. I have my health and my strength and my sanity. What more could I possibly ask for or need in my life?
No, my life hasn’t been without struggle and hardship. I’ve lost so many people over the years to death in my immediate family, but I’m still standing, solid as a live oak; I’ve never had anything simply handed to me on a platter, I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve achieved and appreciated it even more; I’ve had moments of doubt and uncertainty only to be given crystal-clear clarity; I’ve looked at the “other side” and thought the grass was greener only to discover it wasn’t, it wasn’t even green, more of an imitation shade; I’ve asked the question, many times, “why me, Lord?” only to receive the answer, “Why not you, my child?”
In the past, I’ve been hurt by men because I love deeply and they didn’t appreciate my true worth; hell, I’ve been hurt by my family, blood; even hurt by my so called best friends forever, but I still rise; I’ve been down, down, down, but I’ve also been up, so high I could almost reach the sky; I’ve been disillusioned to the point of despair, but I’ve also been inspired by the goodness of people who care; I’ve cried buckets of tears, but I’ve also rejoiced in splendor at the beauty of the human spirit.
The green-eyed monster of jealousy has visited me a few times and I’ve fought him off tooth and sword because I learned a long time ago to truly be happy for other’s good fortune; God has your back and your day is coming. What’s meant for you is truly meant for you and no one, no thing, no situation can take that away from you. I’ve had my moments when I took to my bed, in a state of depression, sleep as my refuge, but I always got back up stronger and resilient with a fire burning deep within my soul. I’ve been to the mountaintop and it is a beautiful thing, but I’ve also been in the valley a day short and a dollar late.
All this to say: Life can be hard. Life is full of strive and struggle. But you know what? I’m so thankful! Thankful to be counted amongst the living. I’m thankful! Thankful to have a voice, thankful to make a difference, thankful to have a platform to speak, thankful to know all I have to do is see it and believe it for it to happen.
I’m so thankful that my reality doesn’t have to be my destiny. I’m so thankful that I have a fire that burns deep within. I’m so thankful that all I have to do is listen and he will speak. I’m so thankful that all I have to do is ask and then I will receive. I’m thankful God moves through me which enables me to move people.
I AM SO VERY THANKFUL! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
About the Author
Electa Rome Parks currently resides outside Atlanta, Georgia. After successfully self-publishing her debut novel, The Ties That Bind, 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 bestselling author of several other mainstream (Loose Ends and Almost Doesn’t Count) and erotic (These Are My Confessions, Ladies’ Night Out, Diary of a Stalker and True Confessions) novels with Penguin Group, HarperCollins and 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. With a BA degree in marketing and a minor in sociology, she is following her true passion and working on her next novel and first screenplay.
To find out when and where Electa will be in your area, check out her website at http://www.electaromeparks.com/.
To share your thoughts with Electa regarding her work or to schedule an event, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a saying, “Empty the cup. Every time you empty it, it comes back twice as full.”
Thanksgiving is a time for expressing gratitude and appreciation for our many blessings. Real weath begins with giving. Here are several ways that you can make a difference this holiday season by pouring into the lives of others:
1. Give Your Time – Babysit for someone who can’t afford to hire a sitter. Take food to someone who is sick. Visit a nursing home. Send a note to brighten someone’s day. Volunteer at a local shelter for whatever cause you support – women, children, the homeless, even your favorite animal shelter.
2. Give Your Talents – What can you do that would make a difference in someone’s life? Can you knit? Style hair? Sing? Do you like to clean and organize? Extend yourself this holiday season by using your gifts to help and cheer others.
3. Give Your Blood – Every two seconds someone in America needs blood. Currently, only 3 out of 100 people give. Every pint of blood can save up to three lives. Contact the Red Cross for information.
4. Give Your Organs – Leave a lasting legacy. Register with your state and sign the donor form on your drivers’ license.
About the Author
Talayah G. Stovall, Pres., TGrace, is an author, keynote speaker, radio host, life purpose coach and Managing Director of Vision Catalyst Consulting.
For information on speaking or coaching, as well as her motivational audio CDs, “P.U.M.P. It UP! and 7 Secrets to Ignite Your Dreams, her book, Crossing the Threshold: Opening Your Door to Successful Relationships, eBook, 150 Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Say “I Do”, or newsletter “EmPOWERed to…”, please visit http://www.talayahstovall.com/.
Use Your Passion to Tap Into Your Purpose!
Talayah G. Stovall
Author, Speaker, Life Purpose Coach
Friday, Nov. 26 – Monday, Nov. 29, 2010
The 3rd Annual Black Books Weekend, hosted by Ella Curry of EDC Creations features four nights of readings and discussions with noted authors, bookclubs and poets. Our mission is to get folks to buy great books for gifts this holiday season, from our featured authors, publishers and their imprints.
Join us from the comfort of your homes, using your phones, and share the spirit of Sankofa with EDC Creations! This event is a bookclub and avid readers paradise!
We have confirmed appearances by: Carol Mackey, Mocha Ochoa, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Earl Sewell, Bernice L. McFadden, Pamela Samuels Young, Electa Rome Parks, Naleighna Kai, Moses Miller, William Ashanti Hobbs, Pat G’Orge Walker, Mari Walker, Kai, Fiona Zedde, Michelle Janine Robinson, Aleysha Proctor, Yasmine Harrison, Samara King, Jamise Dames, Dwayne S. Joseph, Denise R. Coleman, Twala Meju, Junnita Jackson and many more.
50 Book Giveaway Returns!
There are three major gift bag promotions for the readers who join us November 26-29, 2010 on the phones, in the BAN Chatroom and at the Twitter chat. Please tell your network and fans about this wonderful weekend and give them The Gift of Knowledge! Readers, call into the show nightly at 646.200.0402 and speak to the featured authors. BAN Chatroom guests are eligible to win one of the featured books, by entering here nightly: www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network
Black Books Weekend Schedule
Featured Panel Discussions, Author Showcases and Bookclub Parties.
Special holiday Twitter Chat on Monday Night 9-10pm! Details below.
* Friday, November 26, 2010 at 8-10 pm EST
Theme: Freaky Friday – Adult Books, Romance, Erotica,Gay/Lesbian
Location: Black Authors Network Radio Show
Connection: Call into the show at 646.200.0402
* Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 8-10 pm EST
Theme: Urban Lit, Thrillers, Mystery, Poetry and Mixed Genre Fiction
Location: Black Authors Network Radio Show
Connection: Call into the show at 646.200.0402
* Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 8-10 pm EST
Theme: Christian Fiction, Non-fiction, YA Readers, and Religious
Location: Black Authors Network Radio Show
Connection: Call into the show at 646.200.0402
* Monday, November 29, 2010 at 9-10 pm EST
Theme: Sankofa Bookclub Summit Twitter Chat
Location: Black Magazine Blogspot and TweetChat.com
Follow us on Twitter or at TweetChat with hashtag: < #blklitsummit >
Giving away (2) $250.00 gift bags, filled with books for holiday reviews
WIN GREAT GIFT BAGS AND REVIEW BOOKS
Readers, call into the show nightly at 646.200.0402 and speak to the featured authors. If you win a book, email Ella Curry immediately at: email@example.com, so she can send you the instructions. Listen for your area code during the show, your phone line will be opened and you can speak to the authors.
BAN Chatroom guests are eligible to win one of the featured books, by entering here nightly: www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network Join Ella and the other readers in the BAN Radio Show chatroom nightly to answer trivia questions, play games and share your thoughts. Registered chatters are eligible to win one of 5 books given away nightly. The two bookclubs with the most members in the chatroom each night will win a $50.00 gift bag!
AUTHORS AND POETS
November 26-29, 2010 we are celebrating heritage, culture and creative forces! After the broadcasts, the shows feeds out to 118,000 RSS feed listeners, creates its own newsletter, is posted to130 blog and podcast directories. I will send it out to personal database of 133,000 readers in a holiday eblast. WE will spread the word to the masses! If you would like to promote your book during Black Books Weekend visit our website and check out the packages here: http://www.edc-creations.com/publicity.htm
READERS AND BOOKCLUBS
You are invited to participate in online reading sessions, contests, bookclub giveaways, radio interviews and guest blogging sessions. Meet us online from the comforts of your home. Invite your friends, co-workers and social network members. Please consider the books showcased for your “book of the month” or to give as gifts all year long. Visit Black Pearls Magazine today to find those rare literary gems at: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/!
Ella Curry, president of EDC Creations
Black Authors Network Radio with Ella Curry
Lynda M. Johnson – Co-Founder, Go On Girl! Book Club
Willette Hill – Corresponding Secretary
Evalyn Rose Hamilton – Historian
Tracey Y. Smith – Nat’l Media & Author Relations, Founder More Than Words
Go On Girl! Celebrating the Legacy of Black Literature® — With more than 30 chapters in 12 states, The Go On Girl! Book Club is the largest African-American women’s book club in the country. Founded in 1991, members meet in their homes in their respective cities to discuss the club’s reading selection of the month. Feedback on each selection is shared with the authors and publishers. The chapters come together annually to honor authors and celebrate the legacy of Black literature. Through the years, literary luminaries such as Gloria Naylor, Bebe Moore Campbell, Jill Nelson and Pearl Cleage have come in person to receive their Go On Girl! Author of the Year award.
Blogger, Authors In Color
Shalema K. McGhee is founder and blogger of Authors In Color. Her main goal is to promote and support books by authors of the African diaspora. She is also a member of Go On Girl! Book Club, where she currently serves as facilitator of the founding chapter.
Novelist, Publisher, Filmmaker and Journalist
Websites: http://www.tinamcelroyansa.com/ and http://www.downsouthpress.com/
Tina McElroy Ansa is a novelist, publisher, filmmaker, teacher and journalist. But above all, she is a storyteller. She calls herself “part of a long and honored writing tradition, one of those little Southern girls who always knew she wanted to be a writer.” She grew up in Middle Georgia in the 1950s hearing her grandfather’s stories on the porch of her family home and strangers’ stories downtown in her father’s juke joint, which have inspired Mulberry, Georgia, the mythical world of her four novels, Baby of the Family, Ugly Ways, The Hand I Fan With and You Know Better.
In March 2007, Mrs. Ansa launched an independent publishing company, DownSouth Press, with its focus on African-American literature — fiction and nonfiction. Her fifth novel, Taking After Mudear, a sequel to her bestselling Ugly Ways, will be the lead title on DownSouth Press’s first list in the fall of 2007. DownSouth Press will publish established as well as emerging literary voices.
She and her husband, AFI (American Film Institute) Fellow filmmaker Joneé Ansa are currently adapting Baby of the Family for the screen in a feature film starring Alfre Woodard, Loretta Devine, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Vanessa Williams, Todd Bridges, Pam Grier, and Tonea Stewart. The author is collaborating with her husband on the screenplay for Baby of the Family, which he will direct and shoot in her hometown of Macon, Georgia. Mrs. Ansa is executive producer.
She and her husband, Joneé Ansa, have lived on St. Simons Island, Georgia since 1984. Together they produced and directed the 1989 Georgia Sea Island Festival, a 30-year-old grassroots festival that seeks to preserve the crafts, music, slave chants, games, food and spirit of the African-American people who lived and worked as slaves on the rice and cotton plantations along the Georgia coast. Ms. Ansa is an avid birder, amateur naturalist, and gardener. She always has collard greens growing in her garden among the black-eyed Susans and moonflowers.
Thankful by Doris Washington
Let’s be thankful for the times we come together
Not only for the holiday feast,
And the pumpkin pie,
But also to cherish the time
In seeing each other again,
Till the time we come together-Again.
Let’s be thankful
And remember it’s the moments we share,
The Love we give,
The Love of family,
The Love of friends,
Near or far.
Let’s be thankful for every moment,
For each day,
And remember as we give to others in need,
We too will be blessed.
For its the Love of family,
The Love of friends,
And the Love of Giving.
Thankful copyright (c) Doris Washington, November 2010. All rights reserved.
About the Author/Poet
Doris Washington is a spiritual writer, author, poet, and disability advocate who resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with her husband and son John. Doris takes the inspiration from her poetry from an unfortunate incident that involved her 18-year-old son with autism, and two police officers in December 1993. This incident impacted Doris’ life greatly. She was empowered to advocate for a statewide program for police officers to be aware of and recognize persons with special needs. And it was through this period of Doris’ life her writing began.
Her son is her inspiration to write. She has written over 450 poems about her closeness with God, spirituality, autism awareness, inspirations, positive thinking, social issues in our world, and greetings. She is an entrepreneur of DORIS’ POEMS. She does poetry readings at nursing homes, and residential home facilities, churches, and the community. Her poems continue to inspire many. Her desire hopes that her poetry will be an inspiration for the world.
Wife of 13 years and mom to 2, native Washingtonian (DC), Vonda Howard has been writing since she was 10 years old. She currently still resides in the DC area with her family. She has 3 books to her credit so far; her first self published novel, “Diamond Lives, Platinum Lies.”
Her second self published novella, “It’s always the Pretty Ones”, and her upcoming novel under Anexander Books, the first installment to her “D-cup Divas” series. She is currently the owner and lead designer of her own graphic design firm, Cupcake Creative Studio which services scores of well known authors and business owners. Website: http://www.cupcakecreativestudio.com/
What was your most memorable holiday from the past?
Christmas is always the most memorable for me. My younger brother and I never got a wink of sleep! We would drift in and out all night long! My mom made it clear that were not allowed to go into the living room until at least 6 am. We would always try to peek, but my mother (don’t ask me how), would always get it to be pitch black in the living room so we couldn’t see a thing! I sometimes miss sitting in the room with my brother talking about what we think we got.
How do you celebrate the holidays? What are the “traditions” for your family?
Well now that the kids are older we can really start some traditions. This year we’ll be making some cookies. We always watch “The Christmas Carol” together. On the 23rd I read “The Night Before the Night Before Christmas” by Natasha Wing and Mike Lester to them, and on Christmas Eve I read “The Night Before Christmas.”
What are you most thankful for today? What message do all your books have in common?
I am most thankful for my family. They have consistently been my soft place to land and keep me grounded. They have all been so supportive of me in pursuing my goals and dreams. I love them all so much. I think the message that stays true in all my books is: trusting yourself and your own intuition. Many times we ignore that little voice in the back our heads that God gave to us to help us make good decisions.
The Legend of Quito Road by Dwight Fryer
The Future seems to hold limited possibilities for Son Erby. The African-American child of a farm laborer in 1930’s Tennessee, his fate seems as certain as the sunset at day’s end. But when his father takes him to work at the Coleman farm and hands down the secret to making corn liquor, everything changes.
Moving from shadowed parlors of the wealthy Sawyer clan to the illegal activities in the woods along the Mississippi River, this perspective novel explores the roots of racism, and the dangerous power of secrets that will shatter every taboo in a sleepy town caught between the past and future. The Legend of Quito Road is a look at a bygone time, the sobering echoes of which can still be heard today.
Chapter 7—A SECRET SCIENCE
In the scene below from The Legend of Quito Road, Papa Gill Erby, a religious man, teaches his only boy how to make illegal whiskey and keep secrets. Are there really many spiritual or physical differences in making crack cocaine or crystal meth today and white lightning yesterday?
“Now, Son, this is serious business, awful serious for a boy. Remember when we talked about the Ghost of Quito Road yesterday?”
“Yessuh, he was a runaway slave.”
“Son, I said that and plenty folks ‘round here know it. But they don’t talk it in public. I waited five years after we married befo’ I spoke with Sarah on this. Now, I’m telling you that the Ghost wasn’t just any man. He was my daddy, Gillam Hale.”
“Gillam Hale…” The boy paused while he processed it. “Papa, why’s your daddy’s name different than ours?”
“Well, I’ll tell you that long story after we get things set up. But, for now, I need to get a few things straight. Understand?”
“Yessuh, I do.”
“Son, remember, you promised. You know Sarah gone ask, but don’t you tell yo’ momma one thing. You hear me?”
“This week, we doing the same thing that made Gillam Hale a valuable slave to the white folks.” Papa Gill looked around as if someone else was there. One of the mules snorted. He whispered, “Me and you gone make whiskey this week on the Coleman place.”
“Whiskey?” the youth said, twisting his face.
“Yeah, that’s what we gonna do. We’ll fill every five-gallon jug in the back of this wagon with white-lightning whiskey.”
“Papa, we got twenty-five jugs! What’s Mr. Rafe and Mr. Conrad gone do with all that whiskey?”
“Sell it!” Papa Gill spat out. “They’ll probably get as much as six dollars a gallon off the whiskey we fixin’ to make.”
Papa Gill placed his left hand inside his overalls and a strained silence surrounded them from the naked roadside underbrush. Only the noises of the mule team’s hooves and the slicing sound from the steel-lined wagon wheels echoed along sandy Quito Road.
Son’s breath trails thickened in the winter air as he did the math in his head and pondered the economic possibilities.
On that farm, Mr. Conrad and Mr. Rafe Coleman raised cotton, sorghum and corn—corn so sweet that Son liked to eat it straight off the cob in the field during the summer months. You could use corn for feed or you could grind it into meal. But during this third week of December in 1932, thirteen-year-old Son Erby learned you could use corn for something else.
That week, Papa Gill taught his son to make white lightning like Gillam Hale had showed him. Making illegal corn liquor changed everything for that colored boy. Son was never the same. He learned a secret science and he learned it well.
Pick up a copy today at Amazon
Meet author Dwight Fryer
Dwight Fryer has inspired audiences at universities, corporations, schools, faith communities and nonprofit organizations. His passion is to help people do all they can to succeed and use his experiences to inspire others. Fryer was diagnosed with cancer two days after a 1998 layoff. In 2001, the disease meningococcal meningitis took his youngest daughter’s life. He works as an advocate for immunization against bacterial meningitis with the National Meningitis Association. He survived a wreck caused by a driver under the influence. Contact him today for more details via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Knees of Gullah Island by Dwight Fryer
Gillam Hale was born to free parents, and his life was untouched by slavery until his preacher father took him on a trip to minister to the Virginia slaves. Gillam wants beautiful Queen Esther from the moment he sees her, but the only way to purchase her is by distilling illicit whiskey–against his family’s advice.
Though Gillam achieves his aim, his talent for making fine whiskey earns the wrath of jealous white neighbors, who kidnap Gillam’s family and scatter them to plantations throughout the South. Gillam escapes from his new owners, yet he can never be truly free until he finds his lost loved ones, and faces the legacy of his own rash decisions.
The Knees of Gullah Island follows Gillam, Queen Esther and their son, Joseph, in the years surrounding the Civil War and Reconstruction, when the destiny of a nation hung in the balance. Filled with richly drawn characters and details that bring the past to vibrant life, this is a timeless story of love, loss, hope and rebirth.
Important elements of Gullah Island:
-Gullah/Geechee culture; Language impacts of our Gullah-Geechee origins (Bubba means brother in the Gullah tongue and is usually a white male today)
-The book’s main theme is “bent knees straighten crooked deeds.”
-Violence against women-the impact of slavery on U. S. culture and the exodus of the male from our homes
-The U. S. slave trade and Charleston, “Ellis Island South”, because four of ten U. S. slaves came through its harbor
The spiritual origins of slavery as framed by the scripture the books begins:
-KJV 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
-Fine Carolina Lowcountry cuisine, including shrimp and grits and turtle oxtail and okra soup.
-The sexual temptations from slavery then and today (this is a growing problem in our country and the world)
-Children born without the blessing of marriage. Miss Grozalia told a young girl to remember that “mos times two lay down but three get up.” This storyline also deals with the sacredness of a sexual union and the importance of the “one-flesh” rule in God’s design for male / female relationships.
-Church history from the AME Church and the Episcopal Church. An actually AME bishop, Bishop Richard “Big Daddy” Cain, makes a cameo, but pivotal appearance—it was such a fun time convincing my New York based editor that the rapper stole the name from this historical figure after she tried to change it during the initial editorial process.
True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
Twenty-eight year old Kennedy Logan is gorgeous, educated, talented, and in love. Unfortunately, Drake Collins has other ideas about the true state of their relationship. Kennedy hopes to turn him around; Drake just wants to turn her out sexually. Kennedy is also searching for her biological mother, who gave her up at birth. She wants answers and she has tons of questions. The enormous weight of these predicaments leads to a failed suicide attempt.
Her overprotective and overbearing mother, Dorothy Logan, moves in with Kennedy and makes it her mission to get her daughter’s life back in order. The first step is getting rid of Drake Collins once and for all, but that’s easier said than done. Drake has no intentions of going anywhere. Kennedy’s ever loyal and fun-loving best friend, Taylor, and her absentee father join forces to help support Kennedy in her time of need.
At her psychiatrist’s advice, Kennedy uses writing as her therapy. She starts to keep a daily journal detailing the erotic circumstances and family drama that led up to her despair. Through very personal, funny, and graphic entries, readers will share her confessions. Brace yourselves for a very steamy journey!
Prologue True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
My reality is surreal and happens in super, slow motion. A nervous giggle escapes my chapped, dry and parched lips. I lick them to restore moisture. Then, there is utter, deadly silence. If I listen closely, I can hear my heartbeat beating away at an accelerated pace. My senses are heightened and I marvel over the brilliant, bold colors of my bedroom as I inhale my favorite fragrances, from their spot on my antique dresser, colliding into one another with their potent allure. Even my sense of touch is different somehow. Everything is magnified to the nth degree. It’s like I’m looking down at myself from a huge movie screen with surround sound as I ready myself for the big finale—the final shot and then fade to black.
I’ve never been good at saying goodbye, even on short, weekend trips. I keep the handwritten note short and sweet and pray to God that mother will understand, and hopefully, one day, forgive me.
I don’t mean to hurt her or cause her any fresh pain. I sincerely don’t. I hope she understands that this isn’t her fault, that I love her with all my heart and being. No matter what, that fact will never change. I’m so thankful and forever grateful that she chose me to be her daughter out of all the orphaned babies in the world. She chose me. I told myself over and over again that that made me special. I needed to feel special instead of unwanted and discarded.
I’ll miss mother the most, but the hurt I feel inside is too unbearable and indescribable. It is too painful for me to continue, day in and day out, with just a hollow emptiness that erodes and corrupts any happiness that briefly surfaces. The dawn of each new day only brings me more heartache and renewed memories. Some memories are like leeches. They latch on for dear life and slowly, ever so slowly, suck and drain all the blood, all the living out of you. You are left with just a shell of the old you and that’s no way to survive. Not for me, anyway.
When they find me, I want it to look like I’m sleeping, peacefully. Just like Sleeping Beauty who only needed a handsome prince to kiss her and awaken her from the darkness that engulfed her. However, for me, there won’t be a handsome, charming prince to wake me, save me, and ride off into eternity. All my so-called princes were monsters in disguise with their own hidden agendas that attempted to crush and stamp out my self-esteem. Yes, just blessed sleep awaits me.
I chose pills. I couldn’t subject mother to a messy, bloody scene that comes with slitting one’s wrists or shooting one’s self. I refuse to take my final breath with that heavy on my heart. I don’t think my heart could handle anything else weighing against it. As it is, I feel like I have three hundred pounds weighing me down. Crushing the life out of me.
As I settle myself comfortably on my queen-size bed, slowly pull the red, satin comforter up to my chin and stare at the full bottle of prescription pills carefully nestled in my right hand, I can’t imagine not waking up in the morning.
What will it be like to not see the rising sun? To not hear my alarm clock going off announcing it’s time to get ready for another day of work? Not hitting snooze to give myself another fifteen minutes? Not rushing to finish my morning rituals before I dash out the door and into rush-hour traffic? What will that feel like?
More important to me now, though, is will it hurt? I hope not. I have never been able to tolerate too much pain, physical, mental or emotional. Yet, that’s what Drake has caused me for the last year of my life. Pain. Intolerable suffering.
I only wanted to love him and for him to love me in return. Simple enough. Was that asking too much? My part of the equation was accomplished, effortless. Drake claimed he loved me, but he really didn’t. Probably never could. Didn’t know how to love or receive it. After what happened last week, I know he didn’t. Yet, I gave him everything: my heart, my body, my soul. Now, I have nothing left to give myself. I’m empty inside.
As tears slowly flood my weary eyes and blur my vision, I look around my cozy bedroom for the last time. Ever. It used to be one of my favorite rooms in my small two bedroom, one bath apartment. There was nothing better than lighting several fragrant candles, drinking a little white wine and cozying up with a good romance novel. Yes, that was heaven. Simple things excite me. Always have. Watching a sunrise or sunset, waking up to birds chirping in the treetops, walking hand in hand through the park with the one I love, all these things brought me great joy.
Mother will have to understand. I left her a note, propped up on the nightstand, in full view, that explains how much I love her and daddy. What will she think when she can’t reach me tonight? I would love to hear her soothing, loving voice one last time. Yet, I know I wouldn’t be able to go through with my plan if I did. I’d give away my intentions over the phone or mother would pick up on my foul mood and that would be that. I’d wake up another day with this aching, dull pain inside, tearing me apart, bit-by-bit. Pain that dulls and diminishes every ounce of my strength, all the way down to my pores.
Drake Collins. His name leaves a bitter taste on my tongue. Just the thought of him brings bile to the back of my throat. I will forever regret the day I met that man. If I could turn back the hands of time, do it all over again, I would have called in sick that day or run for the hills. I was just fine with my life the way it was. Sure, it wasn’t exciting or glamorous, but it was enough for me. Drake came with the charm, movie star looks, glitz and high drama and reeled me right in like a bass caught at sea. I gladly jumped into his net.
I say a silent prayer of forgiveness as I place one, then two colorful pills on my tongue and swallow dry. I didn’t think of getting a glass of water. I can’t think. The lump in my throat quickly diminishes. There’s no turning back now. Just like there was no turning back when Drake turned me out. The countdown begins. Ten, nine, eight. . . I’ve lived a happy life. I have tons of good memories. I’ve treated others the way I wanted to be treated.
I hope this happens quickly. I steadfastly place three, four pills on my tongue and swallow again. Hot tears start to spill forth and stream down my cheeks as I realize the final result of my actions. Seven, six, five. . . It’s for the best. I need to stop the pain. Will he even miss me? Or will he just move on to his next victim? Will all this be in vain?
I guess I’ll never have that family now. The one I used to daydream and write about in my journal. The family with the almost perfect mommy and daddy and two kids, a boy and girl. The boy would be the oldest, and he’d look out for and protect his younger sister. They’d have cute, adorable names and they’d know they were wanted and loved and cherished by their parents. They’d never feel unwanted.
Four, three. . . I swallow a handful of pills this time. I’ve lost count as to how many I’ve digested. As spittle escapes from my mouth, I gag. I wipe the overflow away with the back of my hand and keep right on shoving pills in my mouth until the orange-brown medicine bottle is empty. I look inside, in awe, shake the bottle, and can’t believe the pills are gone so quickly. Just like the illusion of love. If you blink, you’ll miss it.
I wonder if Drake even realizes how much I loved him? Now, I wait for blessed relief and peace to take away my hurt and pain. I’m so tired. Tired of loving the wrong men. Tired of giving my all, coming up empty, and getting absolutely nothing back in return. Good sex isn’t the end all to everything. Drake taught me that lesson.
Two, one. . . It won’t be long now. I faintly smile and lay back against my down pillow.
I welcome peace. In my mind, I start silently repeating Psalms 23. I shall walk through the valley of death; I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me. I’m so sleepy. I can barely keep my eyes open. I can feel myself giving in to the fog that slowly invades my mind. Maybe if I close my eyes for a few moments. Yeah, just rest them for a few minutes without seeing Drake’s face behind my heavy eyelids.
Suddenly, I feel lightheaded, like I’m floating on a big, fluffy white cloud, bouncing up and down, giddy with not a care in the world. This is a different sensation that I literally reach out my right hand to embrace and never let go of. Not a care in the world. Nothing matters but blessed, uneventful sleep. I close my tired, weary eyes as the countdown ends. Fade to black.
(continues in the book)
© 2010 All rights reserved. Book Excerpt Reprinted by Permission of Electa Rome Parks, author. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this sample from True Confessions.
About the Author
Electa Rome Parks lives outside Atlanta, Georgia and is the best-selling author of six acclaimed novels, The Ties That Bind, Loose Ends, Almost Doesn’t Count, Ladies’ Night Out, These Are My Confessions (anthology) and Diary of a Stalker. Dubbed a “book club favorite,” avid readers have embraced Electa’s true to life characters that tackle prevalent and heavy hitting issues that take them on an emotional roller coaster.
The self-proclaimed Queen of Real, Electa has been a frequent guest on radio shows, nominated for many industry awards and interviewed by numerous newspapers and national magazines. Electa is currently following her passion and working on her next novel and first screenplay.
BPM: Tell us a little about your passion for reading and your position in the bookclub.
My name is Sharon Richardson-Lucas and I am the founder and Chairperson of the Reading Divas Book Club. Though we have structure, we’ve never felt a need to elect officers but rather to draw on the individual strengths displayed by the club members.
I am a wife, mother, grandmother and a Reading Diva! I recently retired after 20 years as a District Sales Manager with Avon Products, Inc. I have read all of my life – I come from a family of readers. I do not remember a time when I didn’t read – going back to when I had to hide “True Confessions” under the covers and read after I was supposed to be asleep.
BPM: What was your first meeting like? How was it organized and structured?
After thinking about it for some time, in July 1998, I invited a group of friends to my home to review the book, “The Good Negress” by A. J. Verdelle. It wasn’t the most exciting read, but it did allow me to share my vision of a book club with the attendees and thus was born “The Reading Divas”. After more than 12 years, our basic structure remains the same: We are a group of African American women who meet monthly to review a book, share ideas, and exchange stories. Thus, we have formed a “sisterhood” of book lovers!
My initial goal was to have at least 12 members so no one would have to host a meeting more than once each year, currently there are 14 members; we meet monthly, rotating from house to house; the hostess for the month selects the book for the month. We primarily read books written by African American Authors, but do not limit ourselves to any race or type of book. By silent vote, we don’t usually read the now popular “street” books or “erotica”.
Several years ago, another charter member, Lena Tanguep, and I attended the National Book Club meeting in Atlanta hosted by Curtis Bunn. After that uplifting experience we agreed that the club needed more structure and we also needed to give something to the community and not limit ourselves to simply reading a book a month and socializing (we love mimosas and sangria). We then adopted a club charter to define our structure and we agreed to host an event to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. We weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to do, but we knew it had to be “literary” and not just a social event.
BPM: Share with us the history of the organization.
In October 2008, we successfully hosted the “First Annual Reading Divas Literary Brunch” featuring Mary Monroe – she was fabulous and so was our audience of about 100. In October 2009, when we held our second Brunch featuring Virginia Deberry and Donna Grant- we knew we had hit on something good. Virginia and Donna were “excellent” – they made themselves at home and our audience loved them. We closed this affair knowing that our event has a “following” and that we were keeping our commitment to involve the community not just through our audience participation but also by inviting local authors, many of whom are self-publishing and trying to get their foot in the door – to participate and therefore expand their reach. Please go to our website – http://www.thereadingdivas12.com/ – to read more about us or to get in touch with us.
In October 2010, we hosted our third Brunch – we have moved to a larger facility and our featured author will be Dr. Daniel Omotosho Black – Nationally Acclaimed Author of the 21st Century. Please go to Dr. Black’s website to read more about him – http://www.danielblack.org/.
BPM: What is the vision for your organization?
Our vision is to “keep on keeping on” – reading, discussing, and socializing – as we help others to realize how important it is to our culture that we read the works of African American authors and to continue to grow our own annual Literary Event.
BPM: Living your best life includes:
Living my best life includes: having books and my Kindle at my fingertips at all times – my motto is “Never Leave Home Without Something to Read”.
BPM: On your nightstand now:
On my nightstand now are: “Book Clubs” by Curtis Bunn and “They Tell me of a Home” by Daniel Black along with many books on my Kindle including “God Ain’t Blind” by Mary Monroe, “And Mistress Makes Three” by Francis Ray, and “Witch & Wizard” by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet.
BPM: What types of books did you read as a kid?
I’ve always been a mystery and suspense lover – so I loved “Nancy Drew” as a child but I soon moved on to Perry Mason.
BPM: What book would you read again to savor?
The book I want to read again and again to savor is “What Seems Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day” by Pearl Cleage.
BPM: What’s your favorite book series?
My favorite series is anything in the Alex Cross series by James Paterson.
BPM: How important is reading in your life?
I cannot imagine life without the ability to enter new and different worlds through the written words of others.
Interview presented by chairperson – Sharon Richardson-Lucas