Monthly Archives: December 2010

Shelia M. Goss: Delilah – When Love Deceives Online Tour

Intimate Conversation with Shelia M. Goss
Shelia M. Goss is the Essence Magazine & Black Expressions Book Club Best-Selling author of My Invisible Husband, Roses are Thorns, Paige’s Web, Double Platinum, His Invisible Wife, Hollywood Deception and the teen series The Lip Gloss Chronicles. Delilah is her tenth novel and first Christian fiction novel. To learn more, visit her website:
BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
My passion for writing blossomed after meeting Maya Angelou my freshman year in high school. I was shy growing up and writing was one form of me expressing myself. Writing is a part of me and even if I didn’t have any books published, I would still be writing. I want my books to inspire and encourage others on this journey we call life.
BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
It’s a doorway into relationships during my time period. It shows, via the characters, how to overcome life’s trials and tribulations.
BPM: Introduce us to your latest book, Delilah, Christian fiction.
Behind every successful man is a good woman. The downfall of a good man is a woman up to no good.
Thirty and fine, Samson Judges is preacher of the Peaceful Rest Missionary Baptist Church . He’s beloved by his congregation, but temptation is about to strike in the form of divalicious beauty Delilah, and only the Good Lord knows if Samson will be able to keep his head on straight with her. Especially considering he’s about to be married to Julia Rivers. Julia helped shape Samson into the man he is, but Delilah wants to knock him down. He doesn’t know she’s been hired to distract him by real estate developer William Trusts, who wants to acquire the land where Samson’s church stands…. Samson feels like his relationship with God puts him above it all, but his weakness for Delilah may just cause him to lose everything. ~ Black Expressions Book Club
Delilah is an entertaining novel with a Christian message that is not preachy but allows the readers to see how our choices can affect our lives. The characters face many temptations but there is room for redemption. I think even if you don’t normally read Christian fiction, you will be able to enjoy Delilah and hopefully it will lead the reader into reading other books in the genre.
BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
I wrote Delilah because I kept hearing people trying to blame others for their transgressions instead of taking responsibilities for their own actions. I decided to take a tragic love story from the Bible and give it a modern day twist.
Delilah is the first book in my “Bad Women of the Bible” series. I’ve chosen women, who from mere appearances, was the cause of several great men downfall. But when you dig a little deeper, you realize the men had choices; just like we have choices in our life. It’s up to each individual to weigh their options before acting or reacting. Our decisions can lead to life or death.
BPM: Give us a little bit of the back story on Delilah.
Delilah is the main character. She makes the mistake of falling in love with her pastor, Rev. Samson Judges. Delilah hasn’t had luck with men in the past but feels her luck has changed when she meets Samson. In her eyes, Samson’s perfect and can do no wrong. Delilah feels if given the chance, Samson could grow to love her. She doesn’t care he’s already engaged to marry someone else.
Samson was called to preach at a young age but he ran from his calling until after college. During his college years, he was what most would call a player but once he decided to dedicate his life to the Lord, he became celibate. Samson feels that his relationship with God is so strong that he can withstand any form of temptation. Up until he met Delilah, he was able to deal with the temptations of the flesh.
Both characters are dealing with deception in one form or another.
BPM: What are two major events taking place in Delilah?
The first major event is when Samson succumbs to Delilah’s temptation. He’s at a crossroads and the decision he makes at this point will not only affect him, but his family and church.
Another major event occurs when Delilah realizes that she’s been deceived by her concept of love.
BPM: Were there things from “your world” incorporated into this storyline?
I don’t write about my real life. All of my books are fiction; any resemblance to anyone real is purely a coincidence.
BPM: What was the most powerful chapter for you to write in Delilah?
There were several, but there was one chapter where Samson prays to God to forgive Delilah for her sins, but Samson failed to acknowledge his own sins. While writing that chapter, it reminded me of how sometimes we are quick to judge others, but fail to examine ourselves.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
No one is perfect and we all fall short, but even with our imperfections, God gives us grace and shows us mercy.
BPM: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
I’m celebrating book #10 with Delilah’s release. I write in multiple genres, so I’ll have a suspense novel coming out on March 1, 2011 called Savannah’s Curse. I’m also working on the rest of the books in my “Bad Women of the Bible” series.
BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
Readers can reach me via the contact form on my website:  or friend me at
Book Reviews
“Many stories that include preachers are over-the-top, but the author’s creative nature blends this topic along with deceit and betrayal into the story, making it just right.” ~ Review by Teresa Beasley-APOOO Book Club
“The book was highly entertaining, yet never lost sight of the Christian message. I recommend Delilah to those who love Christian fiction and to all readers who enjoy great writing and storyline.” ~ Angelia Menchan, Author and Avid Reader
Delilah by Shelia M. Goss
ISBN-10: 1601628854
ISBN-13: 978-1601628855

Add Black to Your Shopping Cart

Add Black to Your Shopping Cart this Holiday Season
By Shelia M. Goss

This holiday season why not buy books for gifts. Whether the person likes Christian fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, mysteries, science fiction or non-fiction, there’s a book out there to fit a variety of tastes. While doing your shopping don’t forget about picking up books by people of color. Many books by African-Americans and other nationalities sometimes go unnoticed unless it’s part of pop culture. Gems can be overlooked simply because you may not be familiar with their works.

How can you help spread the word about books by African-American authors?
Simple. Just tell a friend.

•Link to the authors website

•Link directly to the book

•Mention some of the books on your online network–i.e., Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.

•Discuss alternate books at your book club meetings

•If you have a blog, do link exchanges or guest blog posts.

These are just a few suggestions. Be creative.

Black Pearls Magazine ( ) showcases a variety of books, so be sure to browse around. There are plenty of good books out there by African-American authors. Happy Holidays and have fun book shopping!

About the Author
Shelia M. Goss is the national best-selling author of six multi-cultural romance books: His Invisible Wife (2009), My Invisible Husband, Roses are thorns, Paige’s Web, Double Platinum and Hollywood Deception (2010) and three young adult books: The Lip Gloss Chronicles series: The Ultimate Test, Splitsville, and Paper Thin (2010).

Delilah (Jan 2011) is her tenth novel but first Christian fiction book.

For more information, visit her website:


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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in Featured Articles


Thankful to be Counted by Electa Rome Parks

Thankful to be Counted Amongst the Living!
by Electa Rome Parks

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 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 the 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.


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,  or

To share your thoughts with Electa regarding her work or to schedule an event, please e-mail her at

Connect with Electa Online:

True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
ISBN-10: 1601622392
ISBN-13: 978-1601622396

Purchase from Barnes &

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Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Featured Articles


REWIND: Summary of Black Books Weekend Events

Black Books Weekend opened Black Friday, November 26, 2010 with live readings and live Twitter/Facebook chats with 80+ of the most talented writers on the shelves, from all genres.

This was one of our best bookclub appreciation weekends yet!  We showcased several bookclubs at Black Pearls Magazine for the December, Christmas/Holiday Edition. Check out all the bookclubs, here.

Summary of the Weekend Events:  We had exactly 747 live callers, a total of 397 chatroom guests and visitors and a total of 19,781 RSS feed downloads of the shows as of Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010. I would like to personally say  “thank you”  to each of you who posted to your network about the show and included Twitter, Facebook and Myspace in the coverage!  You Rock! We did it!

Listen to the Black Books Weekend archive, HERE.

The 3rd Annual Black Books Weekend, hosted by Ella Curry of EDC Creations featured four nights of readings and discussions with noted authors, bookclubs and poets. Our mission was to convince folks to buy great books for gifts 365 days a year as gifts, from our featured authors, publishers and imprints.

Find Black Books Weekend Rebroadcast on iTunes here.

Explore all the nights of Black Books Weekend. Meet the featured bookclubs and the authors.

Please tell your network and fans about this wonderful showcase and give them The Gift of Knowledge!
You can view the archive of author readings, here. WE will spread the word about great book gifts to the masses!



Excerpt: Captured Hearts by Sherlyn Powell

Captured Hearts by Sherlyn Powell

Sylvia Masters is a hot fifty-two year old widow and CEO of The Masters Investment Group. After her husband passed, her focus turned to raising their three children and getting the company her husband started ranked among the Fortune 500.

Lieutenant Julian Reynolds is on the scene to inform her of the murder of her former fiancée, Addison Lockwood. When the Lieutenant goes to the Masters’ home to question Sylvia he is blown away by her beauty. Her looks and strong personality inspire Lieutenant Reynolds to solve the case and pursue the woman of his dreams.

When Sylvia offers the Lieutenant a cup of coffee their hands touch and their eyes lock. After a tumultuous beginning, Julian summons up the courage to ask Sylvia to dinner. Problem: Julian is ten years younger and Sylvia isn’t interested in being labeled a Cougar.

Refusing the Lieutenant’s invitation, Sylvia is flattered that this much younger man who is also fine is obviously interested in her. The undeniable chemistry is hard to resist. What would her family say?  Can Sylvia have a future with Julian?

Excerpt from Chapter 1 Captured Hearts

“Where is she?” The young woman looked at her watch and sighed. “She should have been here by now. Where is she?”



“You need to give the carpet a rest. You’re going to take unnecessary pounds off that five foot ten inch model thin body.”

“Ha ha—funny. I can’t help it.” She frowned and folded her arms. “Where is she?”

“I don’t know. She’ll be here.”

“How can you be so calm Alexis? A man has been murdered and our mother is no where to be found.”

“A man?” The dark haired beauty shrugged her shoulders as she turned up her glass.

“You know what I mean.” Lacy looked out the window, “Mother could at least call us. Why hasn’t she called?”

“You know Mother; she answers to no one.”

“I can’t stand not knowing if she’s all right. Did she say anything to you at work?”

“The only thing she said was she had an appointment, she would be leaving early and she’d see me at home tonight.”

Lacy spoke softly. “She’s not even answering her phone.”

“Maybe she hasn’t heard.”

“I hope not. I don’t know if she was really over Addison.”

“She’ll be fine. Mother always lands on her feet.”

Lacy frowned as she stopped pacing long enough to turn and look at Alexis. “You say that with such malice.”

“No—just stating the simple truth. You forget we’re talking about Sylvia Masters. She’s one of the most powerful and most admired women in Northern Virginia. She didn’t get to the top by being timid.” Alexis smiled as she poured another glass of wine and drank until her glass was empty.

Lacy stared when she picked up a bottle of chardonnay and refilled her glass. “Alexis, that’s your third glass of wine.”

“And ….”

“You’re not a drinker. It’s obvious you’re worried too.”

“Don’t be ridiculous Lacy.” Alexis stretched out her arms as she slid back on the sofa and crossed her long shapely legs. She felt the turbulent movement in the pit of her stomach as she thought of where her mother was. What if she had found out about Addison? Would she really be okay?

“All that wine couldn’t be good for that curvy figure,” Lacy said. “It will go to your middle and you’ll lose that tiny waistline you’re so proud of.”

“Alright Dr. Masters, I thought you were studying to be a Psychologist. Are you turning to internal medicine too?” Alexis turned up her glass and stared at her baby sister.


Alexis laughed. “Lacy you’re shivering are you cold?”

“No, I’m fine.” She rubbed her arms and tilted her head back.

Alexis looked at her glass and sat it down. Lacy sat down but a minute later she bounced from her seat and paced the floor again. The only other sound in the room was a slight ticking sound that came from the clock that sat on the intricately carved mahogany mantle nearby. The two young women were determined to wait for Sylvia to come home. They wanted reassurance that she was okay.

Lacy looked at her watch. “It’s after six. If she left work early for her meeting how long do you think it would last?”

“I don’t know, she didn’t say much. Maybe she just decided to go have dinner or go shopping.”

“I doubt it.”

“Well at least the weather has cooled down. The humidity was a killer.”


“Sorry, poor choice of words. I still can’t believe someone would kill Addison”

“I know. They didn’t say very much on the news. Oh this is so sad.” Lacy held out her trembling hands.

“Lacy, you’ve got to calm down.”

“I’m trying.” She sat down and let out a long deep breath.

The doorbell rang and they looked at each other. Lacy stretched her eyes. They both walked to the door. Alexis opened it and smiled.

“Oh Marcus,” Lacy breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’m sorry if I startled you ladies. I take it your mother isn’t home yet.”

“No,” Lacy said, “and we haven’t heard from her either.”

“I’m glad you stopped by. You’re always here when our family needs you. How are you Marcus?”

“Fine Lacy, how are you doing?”

“Very well thank you.”

“Come on in let’s talk,” said Alexis. “We need to catch up,”

“You’re looking very beautiful Alexis. Your hair is getting long.” Marcus tried to distract them. “Are you going to cut it again?”

“No, I think I’ll let it keep growing.”

“You’re looking more and more like Sylvia every day—long hair or not.” He turned to Lacy, “you are still the beautiful female version of your father,” he smiled. “Are you stressing?”

“Alexis thinks I’m worrying for nothing.”

“I’m sure she’s right. Sylvia will be okay,” Marcus said. “I’ve known your mother for many years and there is one thing I know for sure. Sylvia Masters is a strong woman capable of handling herself in any situation. Just try to think positive and relax.”

“I know Marcus but if you really felt that way why are you here?” Lacy asked.

“Lacy; that’s cold,” said Alexis.

The three of them walked into the library, Marcus poured himself a drink and they sat passing the time. Marcus was able to distract them as they waited on Sylvia.

Thirty minutes later Marcus sprang to his feet and stood at attention. He adjusted the jacket of his dark gray Armani suit as he watched a shapely dark haired woman stroll into the room.

Alexis and Lacy turned around.

Sylvia Masters stopped just inside the door way; she raised her brows when she looked at the concerned tightlipped faces in the room. All three pairs of eyes stared back at her.

“Mother! Thank goodness.” Lacy exhaled a long sigh of relief. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine Lacy. Why do you ask? Why is everybody looking so glum?” She frowned when she locked eyes with her devoted friend. “And why are you here Marcus?”

He sat his drink down and walked toward Sylvia. “Where have you been?”

“Out.” Sylvia snapped as her brows drew closer together.

Marcus knew that response was typical of Sylvia. She didn’t owe him an explanation, friend or not.

“Did you hear?” Marcus looked at Sylvia. “Addison Lockwood was found dead earlier this evening.”

Sylvia’s eyes popped, “Addison? Dead?” She froze, chills ran through her body as her Louis Vuitton pursed dropped to the floor.

“Yes Mother, it’s true.” Alexis pushed back her long dark hair out of her face. We were concerned about you because we didn’t want you to hear about Addison from some stranger on the street.”

“We were both concerned you may find out before you got home and how you’d take it if you did,” Lacy said.

Sylvia’s limp body nearly collapsed as Marcus caught her by her waist and held her up; he walked her to her favorite chair. She took a deep breath as she slumped in her cushy oversized throne that sat in a corner of the library positioned so she could see everything that went on around her.

She placed her hand over her forehead. “That can’t be,” she frowned. “I don’t believe it. What happened?”

“We don’t have the details,” Marcus answered, “but it’s all over the news.” A Lieutenant Reynolds gave a brief interview to the media. According to his statement, Addison was found lying on his living room floor. Apparently he was struck in the back of his head.”

Lacy sat on the ottoman by her mother’s chair and squeezed Sylvia’s trembling hand as she looked at her. “Mother, I was so worried about you. You should have phoned. We tried to call you.”

Sylvia let out a deep breath as she released her hand from Lacy’s grasp; she stroked Lacy’s cheek as she looked into her gentle brown eyes. “I’m not accustomed to phoning in my whereabouts and I won’t start.” She sighed and sat up straight to regain her composure.

The sheer curtains that hung from the tall windows filtered the sun that peered through a small opening as it slowly slipped away.


© 2010 All rights reserved. Book Excerpt Reprinted with Permission of Sherlyn Powell, 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 chapter.

About Sherlyn Powell
Sherlyn Powell is an Author, Speaker and Publisher. She majored in Business Management at Northern Virginia Community College. Although Powell has a business background she has always loved writing. Her vivid imagination led her to creative writing classes to craft her highly praised debut novel, Something Desirable, released in May 2008. Sherlyn has been called an extraordinary writer. Her second novel, Captured Hearts is now available and has already gotten her one of the most rewarding five star reviews from one reviewer.

Sherlyn loves family and has strong faith in God. She writes about strong independent women, family loyalty and friendships. Creating believable characters and positive images her readers can identify with while maintaining a page turner is her ultimate goal when she writes.

A native of Virginia, Sherlyn always dreamed of being an author and a playwright. She dreams of seeing her characters come to life one day. She remembers a reading library her grandmother bought her when she was a child. Growing up she spent a lot time reading stories ranging from nursery rhymes, to Tom Sawyer to great literature like To Kill a Mockingbird. She also enjoys non-fiction, loves true stories and documentaries.

Though writing is her passion since childhood, she enjoys traveling, networking and photography.

Powell is the mother of two and resides in Virginia with her husband. She is a member of James River Writers, National Association of Professional Women, The Riverside Writers and The Virginia Writer’s Club.  Contact Sherlyn via her website  or at Facebook


Excerpt Completely Whole by Paulette Harper

Completely Whole by Paulette Harper

 Life’s daily struggles can often leave us perplexed and bewildered on how to cope with hard issues. In COMPLETELY WHOLE, Paulette Harper offers keys to help those who are searching for answers that can lead to a life of complete wholeness: Spirit, Soul and Body. COMPLETELY WHOLE focuses on how to overcome suffering caused by alcoholism, substance abuse, poverty, and other obstacles blocking the path to a life of wholeness.
Praise for Completely Whole by Paulette Harper
Completely Whole was written with a hint of personal experiences, meant to create a lasting touch on the hearts of those who read the pages. As I read through the book, I got the sense that Ms. Harper wanted everyone to know that there is a process to becoming whole, and there should be a desire to becoming  Completely Whole.  In times as such as we live, will the need arise for us to check in with ourselves, and see what level of authenticity we are operating from?  Ms. Harper weaves these types of questions and answers throughout the entire book giving you a way to see yourself as you are and to appreciate the passion to do something different. It is a great read, and it’s truths will follow for days and months to come. As it is Ms. Harpers desire for you to reach your place of wholeness, I too say, that wholeness is a great place for change to begin. — Dr. Lakita Long, Author
4 Stars by Readers With Attitude Bookclub, Richmond, VA
Completely Whole is a self help manual for the Christian Woman (while men could still read it, it’s more geared towards women). Scriptures, prayers and even personal affirmation and testimony fill the pages with the desire to want to live a better life.
This book would be perfect for the Christian who has become complacent and need an inner revival to refresh their spirit. I can see someone allowing their spirit to be renewed as they discover things about themselves along the way that will allow them to become a better person. I enjoyed the prayers and the scriptures riddled throughout most of the book.
I would have to say that I would have liked more from the narrative. I felt that once the authors testimony was introduced it was quickly pulled away as though the reader shouldn’t know the full extent of what they’ve been through. Writing can be a healing process and many testimonies are shared and I can’t but help to think if the full story was given it could help to free someone else in a similar situation. Also while I recognize the audience for this book is for a Christian base, to anyone who maybe on the edge of wanting to become a Christian may feel this book teetered on the boarder of being preachy.
I would recommend it for Christian readers and bookclubs who feel that there may be something missing in their lives and want to reach that next level. — Reviewed by: Nikkea Smithers, RWA Bookclub President
Excerpt Completely Whole – Chapter 1
Lord, I Am Made Whole by My Experiences
Wouldn’t life be so much better if we could tell God how to do His job? Or maybe we could assist Him or give Him some advice on how to deal with our issues? Wouldn’t we simply make sure we avoided much of the pain, sorrow and disappointment life brought? The answer is a resounding yes! Avoiding hardship, pain and heartache would be our primary solution in dealing with everything that life brought our way. If we could just sit back and live in complete harmony and joy, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Who wouldn’t want this kind of life?
Unfortunately, the world in which we live doesn’t allow this type of ease. We call this kind of world imaginary—make believe—a fairy tale. Fairy tales are fables created for children with the illusion that the world is an ideal and wonderful place—a place where there are no cares?a place which is free and exempt from outside influences. The truth of the matter is the world in which we live can be disappointing and cruel, with plenty of let downs. Yet, depending on our attitude, the world can also be a place of limitless successes, great achievements, abundant blessings and untold happiness. Each day that God blesses us to experience is a day in which some type of lesson is going to be taught. The question is: are we willing to learn?
Many times we ask God, “Why ?why must we endure the things we do?” By nature, we do not embrace new experiences because most experiences require us to give something of ourselves. The truth is, we don’t want to give anything without a guarantee of a return. We are not willing to surrender, submit and give God what He asks for in the midst of our circumstances.
We must remember that when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we placed ourselves under His authority, His care and His direction. Laying down our will and yielding to God must come from a heart that has complete trust and confidence in His ability to sustain every situation, and resolve every conflict
When we face a trying dilemma, our question should be, “What is God trying to say to me and teach me?” In life’s experiences, if we learn the lessons that God is trying to teach and convey to us, we will gain valuable understanding, which in turn makes us comprehend more clearly what is happening and why.
Often times, we do not like how God picks those experiences for us. There are some experiences in life that I can’t go through, because God knows my makeup, temperament and personality—same with you. Some experiences are more difficult to handle than others, yet God in His infinite wisdom knows exactly what experiences each of us can bear.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Book Excerpt Reprinted by Permission of Paulette Harper Johnson, 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 Completely Whole.
Completely Whole by Paulette Harper
ISBN-13: 978-0615331010

 About the Author Paulette Harper Johnson
A sought after speaker, certified life coach, minister and author. As an inspirational and motivational speaker, Paulette’s desire is to motive women to reach their God given potential through conferences, workshops and seminars. Combining enthusiasm with an energetic speaking style, audiences describe Paulette’s presentation as inspiriting, enriching and encouraging. She is committed to speaking a message that is always uplifting and edifying.
As a writing coach, Paulette is the visionary behind “Write Now” (releasing the word in you) literary workshops designed to coach aspiring writers in the areas of creativity, development and publication of Christian books. God has given her a desire for writers especially those who want to write for the Lord. Through these workshops it is her aspiration to provide information that will help aspiring writers dream come to reality, by providing tools, resources and opportunities to help them succeed.
As a certified life coach, Paulette’s mission is to challenge you to define your purpose, and passion so you can discover your full potential for living your best life now. Paulette completed her coaching education at New Life Coaching, Inc and is a member of International Coach Federation.
Paulette has authored such books as That Was Then, This Is Now and Completely Whole which was published under her own publishing company Thy Word Publishing and is the co-author of Victorious Living for Women. Her next book For Such a Time as This will be released in 2011 in addition to Victorious Living for Moms.
Paulette Harper Johnson serves in ministry with her husband Sr. Pastor Tony E. Johnson at Word of Faith Worship Center in Bradenton, FL.   Paulette is available to speak, train and facilitate at your upcoming event or conference.  Ministry location:  

Excerpt: True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks

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(Erotic Fiction)

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.


True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
Order your copy today!

© 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 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,  or

To share your thoughts with Electa regarding her work or to schedule an event, please e-mail her at

Connect with Electa Online:


STAY IN YOUR LANE: Judge Karen’s Guide to Living Your Best Life

Judge Karen Mills-Francis: Guide to Living Your Best Life

Ballantine One World is thrilled to publish Judge Karen Mills-Francis’ first book, STAY IN YOUR LANE: Judge Karen’s Guide to Living Your Best Life  (One World Hardcover; September 7, 2010), a collection of life lessons culled from her more than thirteen years of experience as criminal defense attorney, a respected family court judge of Miami-Dade County, and the star of the popular syndicated program, “Judge Karen.” She will launch a new nationally syndicated courtroom program, “Judge Karen’s Court,” produced by Litton Entertainment, set to air in all major markets across the country.
Fans of Judge Karen know the phrase “Stay in Your Lane” is one of her favorites, and she believes that within us all sits the moral compass to find our direction when we are lost. In STAY IN YOUR LANE, Judge Karen delivers a collection of tried-and-true advice in her signature witty, practical, compassionate style that made her a successful judge and a trusted courtroom TV arbitrator. She offers sound advice on how to move past the hand we may have been dealt, dispel our feeling of victimization, and turn our lives around. Her no-nonsense talk will give you a push in the right direction—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
STAY IN YOUR LANE is packed with powerful and to-the-point lessons on everything from cultivating positive relationships and avoiding collisions of the heart, to learning how to move on from a painful past, to being a good parent, neighbor and citizen, to creating positive images to the world through dressing to express, etiquette, and making your home a personal sanctuary. Judge Karen shares anecdotes in these areas not only from her professional life but also her personal life, revealing her own struggles with depression, relationships, and weight, among other things. As the second African-American woman to be elected family court judge of Miami-Dade County, a passionate advocate for disadvantaged youth and victims of domestic violence, and a foster parent, Judge Karen shares her wisdom in five major life aspects:
• The Past
Learn from past mistakes, take responsibility for yourself, drop emotional baggage and personal hang-ups, and keep moving forward with a positive outlook.
• Family and Friends
Surround yourself with people who are positive and who make you feel stronger, and put your children’s safety and well-being first at all times.
• The Heart
Love and respect yourself first, because without self-love, someone else cannot love you. Stop looking for someone else to validate who you are.
• Reconstructing You
Focus on finding activities and interests on your own, not relying on others to provide entertainment for you. If you always wanted to do something, go do it!
• The Future
Your personal style of dress conveys how seriously you want to be taken. Play host/hostess often because it teaches you to be gracious and sharpens your conversation skills. See only clear skies ahead and embrace life’s possibilities.
And after going through the pages of this unique, uplifting book, you’ll learn that you already have the power within you to find your direction when you’re lost. Because Judge Karen tells it like it is. And you’ll be glad she did.
“This book is a must-read. Judge Karen expertly shows how to go outside of your comfort zones and seek your own truth.”  —Suzanne de Passe, CEO, de Passe Entertainment
“Judge Karen has written a powerful guide to creating a purposeful life. This book belongs in the collection of every self-respecting renaissance woman.”  —Sylvia Rhone, president, Universal Motown
“In Stay in Your Lane Judge Karen delivers advice with spice!” —Amy Goldson, entertainment attorney
About The Author
Judge Karen Mills-Francis is the star of TV’s syndicated shows Judge Karen and Judge Karen’s Court. Judge Karen was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and is the oldest of five children.  She practiced criminal defense law for thirteen years both in private practice and as a public defender, and was elected twice as Miami-Dade County Judge, only the second African American woman ever to serve in that position.
She is a respected advocate for disadvantaged youth and victims of domestic violence and often speaks around the country on those issues. Judge Karen is a graduate of Bowdoin College and Levin School of Law at the University of FL.

Intimate Conversation with author BJ Brown

Intimate Conversation with author BJ Brown

A graduate of NC A&T SU,  BJ Brown began his amateur writing career penning reviews for BJ has published individual poems with The Poetry Place,, and Poet’s Ink. In 2007 he published his first poetry book entitled Diary Of An Affair via PublishAmerica. He recently released his first chapbook, Grey/Blue, on As a freelance critic, he also writes for, Heed Magazine, and
What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
All my life, I’ve written poetry as a way to express the emotion that I am experiencing at any given point and time. In the past it was typically how I expressed my love or infatuation with someone. Well, when I went through my divorce and my affair, I was filled with more emotion than I could have ever wished for. I found myself writing poetry just to keep my sanity at times. At the same time as all of this was reading different poetry books by Saul Williams, Dead Emcee Scrolls more specifically.
While I was reading, I noticed the unique structure of his book. It wasn’t all poetry. It was a compilation of poems, thoughts, and writings all centered in around his central theme. Once my affair and divorce were done and I could focus on pulling my poetry, thoughts, and discussions together into a similar piece of work about my experiences. I found that structuring my book in that way would allow me to tell the emotional story of what I went through without fully chronicling the story itself. It seemed to be an intriguing way to tell my story. Doing so also turned out to be quite therapeutic.
Take us inside the book. How did you decide to structure the chapters?
Suppressive Fire is a chapter explaining how my emotions built up to my breaking point. Digitized Emotion is a chapter showing how my affair with an old flame began from a supposedly innocent email. Decaying Eternity showed the dynamics of how my marriage failed. She Still Lingers Within goes through how the affair began. Self goes through how both my affair and my marriage ended. In each, I tell the story through poetry, clips of actual discussions, and thoughts.
Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
This book is an exploration of love, passion, relationships, depression, and everything in between. It is meant to reach anyone who has experienced the hardship of failed love, the difficulty of being and staying in love, as well as any curious about the mind state of one within an affair. I hope it provides insight into how someone views or values love and their partner.
What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
Rather than explaining the details of the affair as a novel would, my poetry book explains the emotion. It’s intended to make the reader feel rather than simply observe the situation the story tells.
How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
I hope this book helps people evaluate love and relationships in a way that causes them to be more caring about their partner’s emotional needs as well as be more aware of their own. Sometimes we all tend to get so caught up in simply getting by with the day to day responsibilities that we forget how passion really feels with the one we love.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Other poets such as Jon Sanders (author of Ordinary Poems For Extraordinary People In These Ordinary Times) and Saul Williams were the main influences. Aside from them I found that listening to music was a great catalyst for a number of lines I came up with in my poems. Artists like MeShell N’DegeOcello, Prince, The Foreign Exchange, Janelle Monae, Sia, Dwele, Goapele, and Amel Larrieux were the common soundtrack to my writing sessions.
What else to you have in store for future books?
Well, I recently released my first poetry chapbook entitled Grey/Blue on It is kind of me flexing my poetic muscle and tackling a number of different subjects like Obama getting elected and how historic that event was. I also included a few poems where I simply challenged myself to describe something or someone like a memorable character from a movie.
I am also working hard on another poetry book entitled ExIsT. I’m hoping that this book turns out to be more than just a compilation of poetry much like Diary Of An Affair. It is to be themed around self discovery and reflection. I’d like for it to be kind of an emotional handbook for those times when we find ourselves questioning where we want to go or be in life. I’m really excited about finishing this one since I think this effort could have a more broad affect on people than my previous work.
Of course this is all in the midst of the music and video game reviews and articles that I write for, Heed Magazine, and
Relevant Author Links:
Author Facebook site –
Author blog on poetry and writing –
Author poetry compilation (with free samples) –

Poetic Expressions: The World Goes Around by Allen Kai Ho Reyes

The World Goes Around  by Allen Kai Ho Reyes

As one continues to meet new kinsman
Some of the new become good companions
Others become mere associates and acquaintances
Still others are passerby in life maintenance

Whatever the being
Whatever your actuality
Whatever the eventuality
Whatever your reality
Whatever your spirituality

Thank the Creator for allowing us to touch each other
Thank God for allowing us to learn about self through others
We’re spirits and souls in time and space passing one another

We’re in a shared journey as one world brood
Keep the peace as our stream flows one blood

One love blanketing one ground
As the world goes around.

© Allen Kai Ho Reyes


Poetic Expression: Happiness by Opal Craine

Happiness by Opal Craine

It’s when you know how to enjoy the small moments in everyday; it’s appreciating the randomness of it all in every way.

It’s the jolly you feel from a good hard laugh, the refreshing feeling of a good hot bath,

It’s good conversation over dinner for two, it’s someone you love saying I love you too.

It’s being enlightened by a beautiful mind, expressions of gratitude towards an act that’s kind.

It’s the cataract victims’ brand new sight-enjoying the beauty of a full moon’s light.

It’s cancer hiding its face in remission, a good man taking your daughter’s hand with permission.

It’s working hard to lose the excess weight, finally getting compliments and being asked out on dates.

It’s conception for the woman who’d been unable to conceive or a goal that was reached that seemed impossible to achieve.

It’s the experience of staring death straight in the face, renewing your strength and finding you place.

It’s a timely sermon from your favorite preacher, the sense of accomplishment of a mentor or teacher.

It’s the excitement of catching you first fish, thankfulness for a love one cooking your favorite dish.

It’s finding an old friend and feeling home again, it’s swallowing your pride and making amends.

It’s Dad with girls when he finally gets a son, it’s appreciation for family and special loved ones.

It’s the joy of a parent on graduation day, after struggles, and trials-they turned out okay.

Happiness is accepting that situations will come your way-believe in someone greater who can make the storms obey.

Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved. Poem written by Opal Craine, Ladies of the Round Table Bookclub


Terrance Dean Straight From Your Gay Best Friend

Q&A with Terrance Dean, author of Straight From Your Gay Best Friend

About Straight From Your Gay Best Friend by Terrance Dean
A sassy, funny, and soulful advice guide for straight women from the vantage point of a gay man.
In today’s society every woman needs a gay best friend—someone who gives it to her straight about life, clothes, sex, and relationships. From the inner city to suburbia, a gay best friend has become the new must-have for women.
Terrance Dean can be your new gay best friend. In Straight From Your Gay Best Friend he gives women terrific insights and advice on some of life’s most challenging issues—family, friends, career, love, sex, and intimate relationships. Dean offers direct and to-the-point perspectives, mixed with a little sass, wit, humor, forwardness, and spirituality, as only a gay man can do.
Dean also dedicates a chapter to the most controversial topic in the black community—down-low gay men. He writes, “I am often asked by women, ‘How can I tell if my man is on the down low?’ Or, ‘What are some signs I need to look out for so I do not end up in a relationship with a down-low man?’ This chapter will help women identify if the man they are in a relationship with or considering dating may be on the down low.”
This book will help women discover the power they need for a life of abundant success, prosperity, and happiness with loving relationships. It dispenses practical advice and tips on creating healthy relationships with themselves and any man they desire. And it’s all done from a place of love.
Terrance Dean lives in Los Angeles and will be promoting the book with appearances in New York; Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Atlanta; Los Angeles; and Chicago, among other cities. He is an anthologized fiction writer and his memoir, Hiding In Hip Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry from Music to Hollywood, was an Essence best-seller.
Terrance is the gay best friend here to stay or is it a passing societal whim?
The gay best friend is here to stay. We’ve always been around. It’s just that now we are getting more recognition and visibility thanks in part to television programs, movies, and the internet. People will be amazed at the number of women who rely on their gay best friends for advice about everything, from relationships and fashion to dealing with their family members.
What does the gay best friend have to offer a woman that her girlfriends don’t?
First and foremost, we are men. We know men. We know how we act, and what we will do in various situations. We’re the best ally for a woman who needs advice on her relationships and love life. Trust me, we are not going to steer women wrong.
We can also be that go-to person for a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and the straight truth about everything. We’re not in competition with our good girlfriends, nor do we have an ulterior motive. We are not trying to sleep with our girlfriends, and we certainly won’t borrow your best fashions and not return them.
What do you hope your readers will walk away with from this book?
I hope readers will walk away with a sense of empowerment and inspiration. Women are naturally powerful, fabulous, and intelligent. In my book, I only reinforce what they already know, and remind them of who they are. Sometimes we forget who we are and what we are here to do, especially when it comes to dealing with other people. My book is intended to provide women with some assistance on their journeys, remind them of their inheritance of what is good and true. I also want every woman to know that no matter what, no one can take away your true divine place in this world. You have a purpose, and your whole life and whatever you desire all depend on you recognizing your purpose.
In your opinion, what are the biggest mistakes women make when entering a relationship?
One of the biggest is giving their power over to men, in the process forgetting who they are and allowing their emotions to take them over. Men think with their brains. Women think with their hearts. Also, women have forgotten how to date. We live in a day and age where people are too eager to hook up instead of taking the time to get to know one another. Another mistake is that women forget that men like to pursue; they like to hunt. A woman has to make the man pursue her and not give in so easily to her (or his) desires. Women have to own their power and virtues.
Another mistake is the failure to listen. Women must listen to men and observe their behavior. Pay attention to what he is saying and doing. If he is not living up to your standards and he is not doing what he says he will, then that woman must reevaluate that man and make him accountable, responsible, and integral. Finally, women tend to date the potential in men. They see who he will become, or what they want him to become, and they fall in love with that man instead of the man they meet. When he doesn’t become who they want him to be, women become disappointed, frustrated, and angry.
If you had to sum up in four sentences your career advice for women, what would you tell them?
Do what you love. Whatever you feel deepest in your heart, whatever brings you the most joy, that is what you are supposed to be doing. Whatever you think about before you go to bed, and think about first thing when you wake up, that is what you should be doing. Your career should bring you joy, peace, and happiness. Don’t do something just for money. If you love what you do, and it provides fulfillment beyond anything you’ve ever experienced, the money will come.
Your book talks about the down-low phenomenon—in your view, how prevalent is the issue of down-low gay men in the black community?
Well, the down-low phenomenon is not just prevalent in the black community, but in all communities, including whites, Latinos, and Asians. Unfortunately, when people hear the term down-low, they associate it with the black community. I feel there should be more open discussions in all communities around sex and sexuality.
We’re so afraid to have those discussions, though, that it’s crippling us—as a result, we have an alarming rate of HIV infection among women. People are scared to talk about gay sex, bisexuality, and down-low. If we talk about it then we have to admit it exists. As long as we avoid talking about it, we are keeping it in the closet, and we are keeping ourselves in the dark.
What is the most important ingredient to living a fabulous life?
Loving yourself. If you love who you are, then others will love you. If you don’t appreciate you, then others will not. If you don’t show yourself respect, then others will not. It’s all about love. And that means loving everything about yourself from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.
Where do you go from here? Do you have plans for other works or projects?
Yes, I have plans to develop a  “Straight from Your Gay Best Friend” series. There are so many topics to address and so many wonderful opportunities to share with people who need support, advice, inspiration, and empowerment in their lives. So, I plan to continue providing material that uplift and encourage people to be their fabulous and fierce selves. People should be who they are and get what they deserve.

Workshops: Empowering Single Mothers Raising Male Children Alone

Raising Him Alone Workshops for Single Mothers Kick-Off Philadelphia, PA

The Urban Leadership Institute, Residential After-School Program and the Institute for Interactive Instruction are pleased to announce the Raising Him Alone Campaign (RHAC). The campaign seeks to create a larger community dialogue around the importance of supporting single mothers who are raising boys. With generous funding from the Open Society Institute’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement the Raising Him Alone Campaign has created a national platform to support single mothers raising boys in some of the toughest communities throughout this country.

On Wednesday, November 17, 2010 the campaign kicks off the first of many workshops to be held in Philadelphia, PA and will continue through June 2011. The campaign has partnered with a host of recognized organizations in the area to help mobilize mothers who are raising sons. BAEO- Philadelphia, Black Male Development Symposium and The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color are just a few of the campaign’s strategic partners who are support our work to improve the social and academic outcomes among boys of color.

Raising Him Alone Kick-off Philadelphia PA: Securing Our Sons Future Workshops:

» Saturday, Dec 18, 2010
Keeping Him Alive & Free
Co-Parenting Young Black Males
(Northwest Community Coalition for Youth)
Imhotep Charter High School
6201 N. 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19138
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Kwanzaa Celebration to Follow

» Friday, March 25, 2011
10 Rules of Survival When Stopped by the Police
Special host organization: Institute for the Development of African-American Youth (IDAAY)
Temple University
1801 Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

» Thursday, April 21, 2011
Monitoring Your Son’s Technology
Police Athletic League (PAL)
2423 N. 27th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132
6:30p.m. – 8:00p.m.

» Saturday, May 14, 2011
Black Male Development Symposium
7th Annual Symposium
Special Panel: Mothers Raising Sons
Cheltenham High School
500 Rices Mill Road
Wyncote, PA 19095
8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.

» Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Parent Retreat
FOP Lodge #5
1336 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.

All workshops will provide a licensed child care provider, lunch or dinner and great giveaways. Attendees must R.S.V.P by contacting 215.851.1795,   215-572-8510   OR   877.339.4300 or visit us at

Raising Him Alone (RHA) is dedicated to researching, designing, and implementing a campaign to support the social well being of single mothers raising boys. Through a series of intense community forums, workshops and support group initiatives, RHA seeks to increase access to resources in the areas of Health & Well Being (Mental Health), Educational Support & Advocacy, as well as Financial Literacy.

About The Raising Him Alone Campaign
The Raising Him Alone Campaign is the vision of David Miller and Matt Stevens. It is based on Miller and Stevens’ collective work to improve the life chances of African American males. Miller and Stevens were compelled to join forces to create an advocacy campaign that focused specifically on supporting single mothers raising boys.

The campaign is based on numerous conversations with local and national organizations on ways to better support African American boys. Additionally, Miller & Stevens hosted a series of focus groups and interviews with single mothers raising boys across the U.S. to determine the successes and challenges which confront these families. Overwhelmingly, mothers indicated issues related to understanding male development, issues with their sons father’s and financial constraints as major challenges in their lives.

The campaign acknowledges that nationwide several groups are doing an exceptional job working with African American boys from an academic and social developmental standpoint, however few organizations are working with the parents of these boys.

The Raising Him Alone Campaign recognizes that there has been a total disregard for the voices of single mothers living in urban communities. Such neglect of mothers raising boys has created some alarming trends among African American boys. To this end, the campaign believes that by increasing awareness around the need to connect single mothers to greater access to services (mental health, financial literacy, strategies for parenting a male child and strategies to support school achievement of male children) we can produce more positive outcomes for African American boys.


CONTACT: Lee McDonald

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