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Monthly Archives: March 2013

No Ordinary Love by Mz. Robinson

No Ordinary Love by Mz. Robinson
The Love, Lies & Lust Series Continues . . .
In the 5th installment of  The Love, Lies & Lust Series, Octavia and Damon are back and more in love than ever. Together they’ve seen their share of death and destruction. Now, with the conviction of Octavia s abductor, their lives can finally return to normal. However, there is nothing normal about being a Whitmore and trouble always seems to surface when it’s least expected. When the unthinkable happens, Octavia is faced with her most devastating tragedy yet and slips into a pit of depression where her mind seems to be her number one enemy and maintaining her sanity is slowly becoming a losing battle.

There is nothing Damon wont do for Octavia but there are some things even his love and money can t repair. The more he attempts to console her, the further she pushes him away. What is a man to do when giving his all is just not enough? As the drama unfolds, Octavia and Damon are reminded that life is far from a fairy tale and very few people get their own happily ever after.

Excerpt from No Ordinary Love by Mz. Robinson 

I slipped in and out of consciousness while everything around me appeared in a blur. I could feel myself moving, hear the sound of tires screeching, and smell the distinct smell that only came with a new car. I was in the back of a vehicle. “I need you there immediately!” I heard a woman say before I passed out again. I can’t tell you how many seconds passed, but I was later on my back with my legs up in stirrups, lying on a bed. The sounds and smells around me were notification that I was in the hospital.

“We’ve got to get her stabilized!” A man screamed. “This baby is coming now!”

“Damon,” I said softly, attempting to fight against the weight bearing down on my eyes. I looked around at the figures surrounding me, wanting desperately to be able to make out the faces and distinguish between the voices.

“Who’s Damon?” the man asked.

“Her husband,” the woman replied.

“Something’s wrong,” I whispered. I felt heavy pressure in the center of my chest while in between my legs I felt hands, then the weight of what I knew was my child’s head breaking through my gateway.

“It’s a boy.” I heard a soft hum, followed by the words, “We’re losing her!”

I slipped between the gap of life and death; thoughts flooded my brain like raging rivers overtaking unprotected lands. I thought about my husband and the life the two of us shared, of my daughter and the joy she brings, of my parents and their unyielding love, of the baby I had just given birth to, and lastly of Shontay and the last moments of her life. I closed my eyes then took a deep excruciating breath, the one that was designated to be my last.

( Continues… )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

About the Author
Mz. Robinson was born and currently resides in Huntsville, Alabama. She is a Criminal Justice major and worked as a Realtor before deciding to write full time. Although, she began writing as a child, it was not until much later in life that she began to pen short stories. After falling in love with the characters she created, she turned one of her short stories into her debut novel: What We Won’t Do For Love. After completing her first manuscript, Mz. Robinson took a break from writing to pursue other career opportunities. However, deep in her heart writing was always her passion. Five years later she decided to pursue her passion and secured her first contract with G Street Chronicles. Today Mz. Robinson has eight published novels with many more on the way.

Connect with the Author
http://www.gstreetchronicles.com
https://twitter.com/AuthorMzR
http://www.facebook.com/Mz.Robinson 

Purchase No Ordinary Love by Mz. Robinson 
Part 5 of The Love, Lies & Lust Series (Contemporary Fiction)

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Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe Prequel to the Upper Room

Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe
Prequel to the Upper Room
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If you are a fan of Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, you will love Mama Ruby and the writings of Mary Monroe!

New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe presents an unforgettable tale featuring Mama Ruby, the indomitable heroine of her acclaimed novel The Upper Room. Now readers will get a peek into Ruby’s early years, as she transforms from a spoiled small-town girl into one of the South’s most notorious and volatile women…

Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Ruby Jean Upshaw is the kind of girl who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. By the time she’s fifteen, Ruby has developed a taste for fast men and cheap liquor, and not even her preacher daddy can set her straight. Most everyone in the neighborhood knows you don’t cross Ruby. Only Othella Mae Cartier, daughter of the town tramp, understands what makes Ruby tick.

When Ruby discovers she’s in the family way, she’s scared for the first time in her life. After hiding her growing belly with baggy dresses, Ruby secretly gives birth to a baby girl at Othella’s house. With few choices, Othella talks Ruby into giving the child away and with the help of a shocking revelation, convinces Ruby to run off with her to New Orleans.

But nothing can erase Ruby’s memories of the child she lost or quell her simmering rage at Othella for persuading her to let her precious baby go. If there’s a fine line between best friend and worst nightmare, Ruby is surely treading it. Because someday, there will be a reckoning. And when it comes, Othella will learn the hard way that no one knows how to exact revenge quite like Ruby Jean Upshaw!

Introduction to Mama Ruby,  Prequel to The Upper Room

Originally published in 1985, Mary Monroe’s engaging debut novel, The Upper Room, features Ruby Montgomery, an obese, indomitable character who steals her best friend’s baby daughter and flees to rural Florida, where she establishes herself as an almost mythical figure. The dialogue and setting are reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston. The Upper Room by Mary Monroe is a candid portrayal of the cold-blooded yet fascinating Mama Ruby.  How did Ruby and Othella Mae come to be who they are today? Find out in the exciting prequel to The Upper Room. There’s a fine line between best friend and worst nightmare…but there will be a reckoning….

Excerpt from Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe

~ Shreveport, Louisiana, 1934 ~

Nobody ever had to tell Ruby Jean Upshaw that she was special, but she heard it from every member of her family, her father’s congregation, her classmates, and even the people in her neighborhood almost every day. She was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. To some black folks, that was a very high position on the food chain. It meant that she had mystical abilities usually associated with Biblical icons. But as a child, Ruby didn’t care one way or the other about being “special” like that.

She balked when people insisted that she’d eventually have “healing hands” and the ability to “predict the future” like other seventh daughters of seventh daughters. But Ruby didn’t care about healing anybody, that was God’s job, and those snake oil salesmen who rolled through town from time to time. And she certainly didn’t want to be telling anybody what the future held for them. Because if it was something bad, they didn’t need to know, and she didn’t want to know.

The bottom line was, and she’d told a lot of people this when they brought it up, she didn’t want those responsibilities. The last thing she needed cluttering up her life was a bunch of superstitious people taking up her time, and drawing unwanted attention to her. Just being the daughter of a preacher was enough of a burden.

And since Ruby was the youngest member of the Upshaw family, her parents watched her like a hawk, and tried to monitor and control most of her activities. “Why do I have to go to church every Sunday?” she asked her mother one Sunday morning when she was just eight. “I want to have some fun!”

“You go to church because you are supposed to, gal. How would it look to the rest of your Papa’s congregation if his own daughter don’t come to church?” Ida replied, giving Ruby a stern look. “Don’t you want to be saved?”

“Saved from what, Mama?” Ruby questioned, looking out of the living room window at the kids across the street building a tent in their front yard.

“Saved from the world, worldly ways. This planet is full of all kinds of pitfalls out there waitin’ on a girl like you. Drinkin’. Men with more lust in their heads than brain matter. Violence. Loud music and sleazy outfits that would shock a harlot,” Ida answered.

Ruby already knew all of that. From what she’d been able to determine; it was a lot more fun to be “worldly” than it was to be the way her parents wanted her to be. “I want to have some fun like the rest of the kids!” she pouted, knowing that she faced a no-win situation. Her parents’ minds were as nimble as concrete. Once they laid down the rules for Ruby, there were no exceptions.

 
 

A Woman Scorned 3: Deja Vu by Ericka Monique Williams

A Woman Scorned 3: Deja Vu
by Ericka Monique Williams 
In A Woman Scorned 3-Déjà vu, Brielle is still tormented by her past and still dealing with an uncontrollable rage within her. Her issues are threatening to destroy her marriage to Shawn. Brielle must keep Shawn from finding out that she is the one who almost killed him. She desperately needs to keep her husband, finally bring a pregnancy to full term, and have the family that she always dreamed of.

Those in charge of Shawn’s care are leery of Brielle and are trying to convince Shawn to leave her. Brielle has no one to support her and be on her side. Everyone continues to scrutinize her because of Dante’s death and everyone feels that she is due to get back, what she has dished out. Brielle is trying to put the past behind her and is preparing to move forward. She is comforted by the fact that Janay is in prison, but taunted by the nude pictures that Janay sent of herself in Shawn’s room.

To help her heal, mentally and emotionally, Brielle enlists the help of a psychiatrist. What she does not realize is that Dr. Nia Gray is a twisted therapist who wants to control Brielle mentally and exaggerate Brielle’s demons; instead of healing them. Dr. Gray has one goal in mind; to steal Shawn and save him from his crazy wife. However, another new addition to the series has the same idea.

The last installment to the “A Woman Scorned” series ends with a Bang!

Excerpt from A Woman Scorned 3-Déjà vu by Ericka Williams
The Shocking Conclusion to the “A Women Scorned” Series

“I’m asking you a question. What if a woman were to get too attached and then tell your wife? Or what if she feels you took advantage of her? What if she feels that you used her and that it is unfair for you to move on with your life, leaving her heart in pieces, for her to put back together?”

“I will not allow a bitch to break up my family. She knew what she was getting involved in; she is grown.”

“I didn’t. You didn’t tell me up front that you were married. You didn’t give me the right to decide if I wanted to fall for a married man or not.”

“Well, it’s not too late. Shit, you ain’t fall in love over two sexual encounters. So, maybe it’s good that you asked. Save both of us the unnecessary headaches. If you can’t handle it, it’s cool.” Gregory sat up in the bed, put his feet on the floor, and got ready to stand up.

“Not so fast. I need fifty thousand dollars,” Danae said courageously and sternly.

Gregory spun around. “What?! I ain’t giving you fifty thousand dollars. You must be out of your fucking mind.” Gregory stood up over the bed. He was confused as to where the request came from.

“Let me rephrase that for you, Mr. Married Man. If you don’t want your wife to find out about our little affair, you will need to pay me fifty thousand dollars.” Danae remained calm while Gregory began to lose his cool. He leaned in her face.

“I ain’t giving you shit. Now lose my number.” He turned around and walked toward his clothes.

“Well, let me inform you that I have you on tape from the last dinner date. Your wife will receive the tape in the mail. I know where you live. I will give you three days—” Gregory was on top of Danae before she could get any more words out of her mouth. He started choking her.

Danae was helpless. She was defenseless because she was lying flat on her back. She could not move his weight off of her. Gregory’s grip was so tight that she began to feel herself losing consciousness. Her fingers could not pry his fingers off of her. She turned her head to look for something to grab that she could hit him over the head with and get him off of her. In her peripheral vision Danae could see a pen on the night table next to the bed. Danae was gasping for air as Gregory began to taunt her.

 
 

Picking Up His Pieces by Nikole Morgan

Picking Up His Pieces by Nikole Morgan

In suburban Richmond, Virginia, three generations of up-and-coming African American families strive to overcome inherited weaknesses while establishing a legacy on which to build their faith and futures.

Pastor Ivan (Ivy) James, whose father’s life was destroyed by sexual deviance, must come to terms with his own imbalanced view of marital romance with beloved wife Yolanda. Learning to express emotional as well as physical intimacy, Ivy simultaneously struggles to father the six children borne by various women during his wild youth. A unique challenge is Ivy’s troubled twelve-year-old son Dominic who comes to live with Ivy and Yolanda when his crack-addicted mother cannot provide for him. Ivy’s sex addiction faces the ultimate test in Satan’s efforts to destroy his ministry.

Malcolm Stewart is distrait when lovely wife Telese begins divorce proceedings following yet another bout with his violent temper. Making the decision to change his life permanently, Malcolm enrolls in anger management classes and graduates with honors in hopes of winning back Telese and their two bright children. Stress sends him over the edge in a dangerous emotional spiral. But new friend Steven Hill, security guard who ministers to the homeless and hopeless on the streets, teaches Malcolm to channel his anger positively – by punching the boxing bag to release pain and frustration.

Raymond Durrant’s career path in the business world is clear and smooth as long he remains in the clutches of supervisor Amanda who will stop at nothing to break up Ray’s marriage. When he is tricked into making a terrible mistake, Ray searches for the right answers to his problem and finally makes a stand to choose God over personal success. Amanda tries everything in her power to destroy what he and wife Donae have, risking her reputation and career in an all-out quest to snare Ray for herself. Ray learns to allow God to make his name great, as promised in Scripture. He joins Malcolm and Steven to form a three-cord strand of faith that helps each man fulfill God’s purpose for his life.

These dynamic young couples build relationships on solid ground to rise above the sin natures of their fathers and mothers and the weaknesses of their own flesh to sow seeds of faith and rebirth.

Excerpt from Picking Up His Pieces

Donae walked into Ray’s office and rushed over to his bathroom to tinkle. She washed and then dried her hands on the monogrammed towels that she’d purchased for him as a just because gift. Although he hated surprises, he loved that his wife was so thoughtful. Laughing loudly at herself, she started undressing, leaving on her purple lace thong and matching bra. Grabbing her clutch purse, she touched up her make-up so she’d look irresistible from head to toe. Knowing Ray was a fragrance fanatic, she dabbed a few drops in all his favorite places. Strolling around his office in her sexy undies, she admired the photos of their children on his desk. Both were the splitting image of Ray. Donae often thought the only part she played was in the fun of making them and the pain of having them. Aggressively Donae studied their photos for a sign of her DNA, only to rediscover the one thing they inherited from her was her gleaming smile.

Spotting a photo of herself, she giggled at the snapshot Ray had taken of her with a huge afro. She’d just taken her braids out that day and her hair was tightly crinkled. As she started to pick it out, he snapped the picture. Although she hated that photo, he loved it, saying it captured her natural beauty. Donae wondered if all the pictures on his desk of her and the kids were an escape from a stressful day. She wondered if Ray had experienced any of those hectic days some of the management wives were referring to.

It was at that moment when Donae realized how truly blessed she was. She loved her life, her husband, her job, and her children, but most of all her God, for spilling so much favor into their lives. Donae was so grateful for everything the Lord had brought them through and thanked Him for giving her such a great man. Ray was an awesome protector and provider. Tonight she had celebrated his dream, and on this night, not only one dream would come true, but two.

Making a pit stop by the waste can, she made it official, and then excitedly raced to the restroom to grab her cell phone from her clutch purse. Once she was pleased with her seductive allure, she struck a pose on his soft leather sofa and snapped the shot, certain that the picture mail would speed him considerably.

The text message under her picture read: Congrats 2 U Honey! Waiting 4 u – HURRY. Before she pressed “send,” the sound of whispering voices outside Ray’s door sounded an alarm for her to hide. Racing to the bathroom, she quickly closed the door leaving only a small crack. Donae was certain that whoever was with Ray would soon be rushed out once her French manicure nail hit the “send” button.

Ray rushed into his office nervously. Behind him was an univited guest, almost on his heels.

( Continued… )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nikole Morgan. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher’s written permission. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this promotional excerpt.


About the Author
Nikole Morgan
was born and raised in Greenville, S.C. where she currently resides with her husband and children. After obtaining a Cosmetology License as well as years working in manufacturing she realized her gifts and talents didn’t rest there. Her passion for writing was a desire from within that would never die, no matter how much she attempted to surpress it. She began writing as a way to escape painful memories of life’s misfortunes and allowed her own words to minister strength to her soul.

As God worked through her she faced her fears of doubting herself, no longer believing the lie that the enemy planted in her mind of not being good enough. She trusted God and courageously embarked upon a journey to fulfill a lifetime dream of bringing words to life. She’s proven through her heart felt writing that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. Picking Up His Pieces is her first novel. Readers are encouraged to visit her website, http://www.nikolemorgan.com or e-mail her at nikolemorgan612@gmail.com. Please contact her for speaking engagements, book clubs visits or readings.


Purchase Picking Up His Pieces by Nikole Morgan

 
 

Where Did We Go Wrong Again? by Monica Mathis-Stowe

Intimate Conversation with Monica Mathis-Stowe


Monica Mathis-Stowe is a native of Washington, D.C. and lives in Maryland. She decided to become a writer because she wanted to entertain people with her stories. Monica’s novels portray the drama in relationships among families, lovers, friends, and colleagues. She likes to take her readers on a roller-coaster ride of emotions that will make them laugh, cry, gasp, think, and question people and their actions. Her series, Where Did We Go Wrong? is now available where ever books are sold.

Where Did We Go Wrong?  by Monica Mathis-Stowe
True friends help you through the consequences of poor judgment when no one else will.

In this newly released romantic suspense novel, best friends Gabby, Maxine and Joy protect each other at all costs, even if it means keeping secrets that turn their lives upside down.

Gabby has no boundaries when it comes to getting what she wants. She pulls out every trick in the book to keep her daughter’s married father out of their lives but keep his money in her bank account…

Maxine lives for her family but when her husband’s excessive spending lands them in more debt than they can handle, the stress takes a toll on their perfect marriage…

After Joy’s loyalty to her controlling mother causes her to lose the only man she’’s ever loved, she marries a man she barely knows. After her wedding, she quickly realizes she made the biggest mistake of her life and it puts everybody she loves in danger. Unfortunately, someone will have to pay the ultimate price with their life.

Where Did We Go Wrong Again? (Part 2)
Forgiveness is the pulse that sustains all friendships.

Where Did We Go Wrong?  left readers asking, “Who got shot?” Where Did We Go Wrong Again? continues immediately after the shooting. One of the beloved central characters is critically wounded and another is murdered. The bonds of friendship and love are tested after the tragedy causes all involved to make irrational decisions that complicate their lives even more. Nothing will ever be the same as everyone is forced to make monumental, life-altering decisions. Can relationships be salvaged in time to help one other through the consequences of poor judgment?

BPM:  What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
The positive feedback and reviews from readers made me realize that I’m a good storyteller. Readers contact me through my website, Facebook and Twitter to tell me how once they started reading Where Did We Go Wrong? they couldn’t put it down. When my family and friends told me they enjoyed my novel and it was a good read, I always wondered if they were trying to spare my feelings. But when complete strangers and reviewers purchased my book on Amazon and sent emails praising it and posting 5-Star reviews, I couldn’t help but to smile and pat myself on the back because I accomplished what I set out to do. I wrote an entertaining story that held the readers’ interest and left them asking for more.

BPM:  What is your definition of success?
When I think of success, I think of balance. A person who has balance in his or her life is a successful person to me. You can have more money than you’ll ever spend and a closet full of designer clothes, shoes and jewelry, or your dream job/career but if you don’t have balance, then you have nothing. My definition of success is balance in five areas: 1) Spiritual 2) Family 3) Career 4) Finances and 5) Health. Balance in these areas lead to confidence which leads to success.

BPM:  What does your work speak to?
My work speaks to my ability to develop a story line that has a large appeal to a very broad audience.

BPM:   You believe in….
I believe in the “Art of Freedom” Freedom to live, laugh, enjoy the beauty of life….. A freedom that allows me to escape into a work of make belief where I can create and reach my highest zenith of realism.

BPM:   You are humbled by…
I am humbled by the amount of people who have read and commented on my work. You can’t help but to feel humble when you read a review from someone in a country you’ve never visited.

BPM:   Faith allows you to…
Faith allows me to put everything in God’s hands knowing that He can handle it all. It is a comfortable, serene feeling that allows me to rest in knowing that with Him, all is well.

BPM:    Criticism makes you:
Criticism makes me look inward, re-assess, re-group, take a second look to see what needs to be changed in the way I see, think and act. It’s a reality check.

BPM:   A talent mind is…
A talented mind belongs to a person who has been enriched, cultivated and nourished by the diversity in the world they live in. An individual with a talented mind is not afraid to share their knowledge with others and embraces each person’s uniqueness.

BPM:   When you are afraid you will:
When I’m afraid, I become impulsive and act without thinking, which often causes me to make mistakes and wrong decisions.

BPM:   Your fondest childhood/college memory:
My favorite childhood memory is family reunions in my mother’s hometown, Magnolia, NC. There was much gaiety as family members from far and near joined to together to share family stories, feast on foods fresh from the garden, play games, laugh, talk, hug, and show much love to each other.

BPM:    What you learned from your readers:
I have learned that my readers are passionate about my writing, and highly opinionated about it. They become involved with the characters and feel free to express their thoughts with me. They are loyal and faithful and I am forever grateful for them.

BPM:    The greatest threat to literary freedom:
The greatest threat to literary freedom is not being able to speak freely because of the possibility of censorship.

BPM:    Do you view your writing as a talent or a career:
I view my writing as a talent that can lead to a career.

BPM:    What you know for sure:
I know for sure that I am going to continue writing while at the same time keeping my family balanced. While writing is a passion, my greatest love, next to God, is my family. I will not jeopardize their happiness. They mean the world to me.

Connect with Monica Mathis-Stowe Online
Website:  http://www.MonicaMathisStowe.com
Author Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MMathisStowe
Author Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/authormonicamathisstowe


Purchase Where Did We Go Wrong Again?
by Monica Mathis-Stowe

Forgiveness is the pulse that sustains all friendships.

Where Did We Go Wrong? left readers asking, Who got shot? Where Did We Go Wrong Again? continues immediately after the shooting. One of the beloved central characters is critically wounded and another is murdered. The bonds of friendship and love are tested after the tragedy causes all involved to make irrational decisions that complicate their lives even more. Nothing will ever be the same as everyone is forced to make monumental, life-altering decisions. Can relationships be salvaged in time to help one another through the consequences of poor judgment?

 

Purchase  Where Did We Go Wrong? 
Literature & Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Topics Discussed: Relationships for professional African-American women, domestic abuse, and suicide

 

Friends & Foes: Sinners & Saints Sequel


Friends & Foes – Sinners & Saints Sequel
by Victoria Christopher Murray  and  ReShonda Tate Billingsley 

Now that Rachel Jackson Adams’ husband has won the coveted position of president of the American Baptist Coalition, Jasmine Larson Bush has concocted a scheme to one-up her rival—by promoting her new community center on the nation’s #1 television talk show!

The power play won’t stop Rachel, who jets from Houston to Chicago to sabotage Jasmine’s TV appearance. But Chicago is the last place Rachel should be when one of the Coalition’s heaviest hitters turns up dead— and Rachel looks guilty as sin. Will her nemesis leave her stranded and let her take the rap? Or will Jasmine help Rachel hunt down a killer?  Could danger this deep turn the enemies into BFFs? After all, miracles do happen. . . .

Friends & Foes  Book Review

“Frenetic and deliciously slapstick sequel to Sinners & Saints…These frenemies [Rachel Jackson Adams and Jasmine Larson Bush] are drama queens at their best and smartest, a combination that will leave fans praying for their further misadventures.” (Publishers Weekly )


Sneak Peek from Jasmine Larson Bush’s Story

Chapter Two   Friends & Foes

Jasmine swung her bare legs over the floorboard of the Escalade SUV and right away, she felt the sting of the October air. New York may have been setting record temperatures with an Indian summer heatwave, but it was clear that Chicago knew what was up.  The chill of the Windy City reminded everyone that it was closer to winter than summer and even though Jasmine stood in the indoor parking lot of Harpo Studios, that reminder made her tug on the collar of her leather coat, wrapping it a bit more snug around her neck.  

“Are you ready for this?” Yvette Holloway, the PR representative for the American Baptist Coalition, whispered as she jumped out of the SUV behind Jasmine. Jasmine couldn’t hide her grin from the woman who was responsible for getting her this gig on “Oprah.”  Yvette may have been hired by Lester and the board of the ABC, but from the moment she came on, Jasmine felt as if the public relations guru had been working for her.

It had started three months ago when, at Lester’s suggestion, Yvette had flown to New York to meet the runner-up. 

According to Lester, he may have won the ABC election to become president, but he was sure that there was much the esteemed Pastor Hosea Bush could bring to the coalition.  He wanted Yvette to spend a little time with Pastor and First Lady Bush to see how the two might be able to assist in the organization’s growth.

After sitting down with Jasmine and Hosea for three days, Yvette agreed that indeed, the Bushes had much to offer.  During lunch on Yvette’s final day in town, she’d confided in Jasmine. 

“Can I tell you something?” Yvette had asked when Hosea had stepped away from their table in the Four Seasons hotel’s five-star restaurant.

“Sure.” 

“I’ve had a great time with you and Pastor.”

“We’ve enjoyed you, too.”

After a moment, Yvette had inhaled, then said, “I have a lot of contacts, but up ’til this point, I haven’t really taken the ABC onto the national stage.”

Jasmine shrugged.  “From what you’ve told us, I think you’ve been doing a great job so far.”

“Thank you.”  She paused.  “I hope you won’t think I’m conceited, but I’m capable of doing a whole lot more.  I can get the ABC all over television; I have contacts that will get us on major network shows.”

“If you can get them on TV,” Jasmine had chuckled, “do it.”

“I can, and I will, but…I’m not quite sure how to do it.”  When Jasmine frowned, Yvette gently placed her fork on her plate, and looked straight at Jasmine.  “There are lots of things I have to consider.”  

“Like?”

Yvette didn’t even blink when she said, “Like are the right people in front of the camera?”

It only took Jasmine a second to figure out the sentiments behind Yvette’s words.  

“Oh!” Jasmine had said. “The right people, the best people.”

“Exactly!” Yvette exclaimed, surprised and relieved that she didn’t have to put it all the way out there for Jasmine to understand.  “I’d actually thought about calling Cecelia and asking her to step in.”

“Cecelia?”

“Cecelia King.”

“You know her?” Jasmine had asked, her forehead creased with a deep frown.

“Yeah.”  Yvette had shrugged as if it was no big deal.

Jasmine had shaken her head, patted Yvette on the hand, and told her not to worry.  “You don’t have to call Cecelia. She and her husband may be de facto members of the board, but
technically, she’s not part of the ABC anymore.”  Jasmine hadn’t bothered to mention that she couldn’t stand that woman.  She really wanted to warn Yvette to stay away from anyone in the King family.  But all Jasmine said was, “No worries at all.  Hosea and I will be available for any appearances for you – television or otherwise.”

With a loud exhale, Yvette said, “I hope you don’t think I’m unprofessional.  I really like Rachel….”

Stop lyin’.  But aloud, Jasmine only said, “You’re just doing your job; you need someone who’s articulate, someone who’s knowledgeable about not only the Coalition, but about world events, as well.  Rachel cannot be the face of the ABC.  You can’t put a trollop on TV and expect anyone to let you come back.  You’ll lose all your credibility and contacts that way.”
Jasmine almost laughed now as she remembered the pure shock on Yvette’s face when she’d referred to Rachel as a trollop.  

But it was true and Yvette knew it.  Jasmine wasn’t talking about the girl’s looks; Rachel was attractive in a Flava-Flav-reality-show-contestant sort of way.  But that was where her assets ended.  There was no telling what Rachel would do if she was on camera.  She wasn’t intelligent enough to speak coherently.  She had no poise, no class, it was a wonder she was even able to handle her responsibilities as a wife and a mother, though if those ghetto-brats she was raising was any indication
of her skills, Jasmine needed to help the county find those children a new home.

So since Rachel was clearly not the one, it was Jasmine’s pleasure to save the Coalition.  

And save the Coalition she did.  From that point, Yvette had set up all kinds of appearances for her and Hosea: on the local morning talk shows and even a segment on “Good Morning America.”  But what was about to go down now – sitting down with Lady O – was on a whole ‘nother level.  

Rachel and Lester may have been the first couple of the American Baptist Coalition, but she and Hosea were clearly the king and queen, and royalty always trumped peasants. 

“Jasmine, are you okay?”

Her eyelids fluttered, bringing her back to the present.    Jasmine had to take a quick look around the parking lot to remind herself where she was.  “Yes,” she said to Yvette.  “I’m more than ready for this.”

Before Yvette could respond, a red-freckled face woman who was more round than curvy rushed to the car.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Bush,” she said, sounding as if she was out of breath.  “I’m Jane, one of Oprah’s producers.  I should’ve been here to meet you.”

“That’s all right,” Jasmine said, smiling.  In the past, she would’ve had a major problem waiting for anyone.  But this was Oprah; if she’d been left outside in the garage for an hour, it would’ve been all right with her.  
Jane shook hands with Yvette, then led the two women into the building.  “Will there be anyone else joining you?” she asked.

“No.” Jasmine shook her head.  “It’s just me and Yvette.”

“Actually,” Yvette interrupted, “we will have two other people joining us. Pastor Earl Griffith and Cecelia King should be here any moment.  They’ll probably be coming together.”
Jasmine spun her head around so quickly, she was sure she’d end up with whiplash.  Why in the world were they coming?

“Great!” Jane said before Jasmine could ask a question.  “I’ll have someone on the lookout for them, but in the meantime, we’re so excited to have you here,” Jane chatted as she led Jasmine and Yvette down a hallway lined with photographs of the famous and infamous who’d spent an hour or two with Oprah on her couch.  Oprah and John Travolta.  Oprah and Will Smith.  Oprah and Julia Roberts.  Jasmine shuddered as she imagined the new picture that would be gracing this wall soon – Jasmine and Oprah!
Jane’s high-pitched tone knocked through Jasmine’s thoughts.  “When we told Oprah your story, she cried.”

“Really?”

“Uh-huh.  To have your little girl kidnapped like that and then to turn it into something so positive.  We’re excited about what you’re doing with Jacqueline’s Hope.  This was just the kind of project Oprah was looking for when she had her Angel Network and that’s why she wanted you to be a part of her final season.”

There weren’t too many times when Jasmine was rendered speechless, but she couldn’t think of a thing to say.  The fact that her name had been part of Oprah’s conversation took every thought out of her head and every word out of her mouth.

“Okay, here we are,” Jane said as she stopped.  “Please make yourself comfortable.”

The moment Jasmine took the first step into the Green Room, she sunk into the plushness of the salmon-colored carpet.  The room seemed like it had been set up for a small celebration – with a spread of bagels, and fruit, and yogurt laid out on a lace cloth-covered table against one wall.  There were seven carafes with a variety of juices and a coffee machine next to that.

The rest of the room was all mirrors, reflecting the whitewashed furniture that looked like each piece had been
designed just for this space.  This may have been where many of the guests waited for the start of the show, but the room could have been a featured layout in Architectural Digest.

Jane glanced at her watch.  “We have an hour before we go live.  You did remember that today is a live show, right?”

“Yes,” Jasmine and Yvette said together.

“Great, because that means we have to start right on time.  We’ll send the make-up artist in here in just a bit, okay?”  
Jasmine and Yvette nodded.

“This is so wonderful,” Jane said with such cheer that Jasmine was sure she was about to break out in a song and dance.  “If you need anything,” Jane continued, “just let me know.  No matter what it is.”

“We will.”

“I’m going to let Oprah know that you’re here.”

“Will Mrs. Bush be meeting Oprah before the show?” Yvette asked.

“No.  She’s read up on everything and is very well prepared.  But she likes to meet her guests at the same time as the audience.  Is that okay?”

“Definitely,” Jasmine and Yvette said together.

When Jane left them alone, Jasmine wanted to jump up and down, do a happy-dance.  But that was just the kind of thing
that Rachel would do, so she certainly couldn’t do that in front of Yvette.

“Isn’t this something?” Yvette asked, spinning around slowly, taking in all four corners of the Green Room.

I guess she’s as impressed as I am.  “Yeah.”

“Listen,” Yvette said as she grabbed a banana from the table.  “I have to make a few calls before the show.”

“Wait, before you go, I have a question.”

“Sure.  What’s up?”

“Cecelia King and Pastor Griffith – why are they coming?”

“Oh,” Yvette waved her hand as if it was no big deal.  “You know how Oprah likes to do things.  She wanted me to invite a few other people from the Coalition.”

“Well, I can understand Pastor Griffith,” Jasmine said, almost gritting her teeth as she said that man’s name.  “But I told you before, Cecelia is not part of the Coalition.”

Yvette’s eyes darkened as the smile fell from her face.  “Let me handle my business, Jasmine.”

Jasmine stepped back, crossed her arms and let her eyes roam over Yvette from top to bottom and then back up again.  Who did this young girl think she was talking to?  And what was up with her defense of Cecelia King?

“Look,” Yvette said, softening her eyes and stance as if she wanted to squelch the conflict before it got started.  “I
know what I’m doing.  Mrs. King and Pastor Griffith are just in the audience; you are the star.”

The star.  Well, at least Yvette had that part right.  Up to now, she had always allowed Jasmine to be the star.  And when Jasmine thought about it, it made sense that Pastor Griffith was invited since he lived in Chicago and reluctantly, she admitted that even Cecelia might be able to add a little something to the show. 

“All right,” Jasmine said. “I just want to make sure that we do everything right for not only the Coalition, but for Jacqueline’s Hope, too.”

“I promise you this will work,” Yvette said.  And then she chuckled.  “Pastor Griffith being here is strategic.  When those women get a look at that fine man, they’ll be throwing money your way for your center.”
Jasmine had to take a deep breath.  Yvette was telling the stone-cold truth.  Pastor Griffith was a looker, but with all she knew about him, she didn’t want him, nor his poison or his money, anywhere near her, Hosea, and Jacqueline’s Hope.

“So, are we cool?” Yvette said.

It took Jasmine a second to respond as she wondered what Yvette would think if she knew what was really going on with Pastor Griffith.  “Yeah,” Jasmine replied.  Maybe one day, she’d sit down with Yvette and school her on the truth behind that
crooked pastor.  But for now, Jasmine would let this just play out.  Like Yvette said, she was the star.

Yvette’s cell vibrated and when she glanced down at the screen, she frowned.  “Look, I really have to take this call,” she said before she rushed out of the room.

Jasmine stared at the door for a moment and played over the conversation she’d just had.  Then, she inhaled deeply before she exhaled slowly.  “Calm down,” she whispered to herself.  There was no need to get worked up before her big moment.  The truth of it all was she was about to go on stage with Oprah to talk about the charity that was dearest to her heart.

As she took another glance around the room, Jasmine’s lips slowly curled into a grin.  She was actually in Chicago, at Harpo Studios, in the Green Room, about to meet the Queen herself.
Jasmine kicked up her heels and did a happy dance.  She swung her arms in the air, then broke into a little jig that looked something like the old-school running man.  She didn’t stop until her knees began to ache and then she fell onto the sofa that perfectly matched the carpet.

“I cannot believe this,” Jasmine laughed.  “Rachel Adams, eat your heart out!”

While Jasmine was absolutely thrilled to be meeting Oprah, part of the satisfaction was that she was doing this and Rachel was not.  

When Jasmine and Rachel had been forced to work together during the presidential elections for the coalition, Jasmine had actually almost, just a little bit, kinda started to care for the girl.  Yes, she wasn’t very bright, but it wasn’t her fault that she was a country and ghetto.  That had to be a hard load to carry.

At one point, Jasmine had thought that she might even help Rachel, be her mentor, give her some class through osmosis.

(  The Story Continues…  )

 Copyright © 2013 by Victoria Christopher Murray  and  ReShonda Tate Billingsley.  All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher’s written permission. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

Order Friends &Foes – The Sinners & Saints Sequel
by Victoria Christopher Murray  and  ReShonda Tate Billingsley 
ISBN-10: 1451608160
ISBN-13: 978-1451608168
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1451608160

Meet ReShonda Tate Billingsley
ReShonda Tate Billingsley
is the national bestselling author of 26 titles. Her novel, Let the Church Say Amen, has been made into a movie with actress Regina King directing and Queen Latifah among the producers.  Several of her other titles have also been optioned for film.

ReShonda’s novel, Say Amen, Again, received a 2012 NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literature. She was nominated again in 2013 for her book, The Secret She Kept. An accomplished public speaker and former TV news reporter, ReShonda is considered one of the top Inspirational Fiction authors in the country.
Twitter:  @ReShondaT
Website:  http://www.reshondatatebillingsley.com

Meet Victoria Christopher Murray
Victoria Christopher Murray
is a graduate of Hampton University and received her MBA from New York University.  She self-published her first novel, Temptation before Time Warner re-released it. Since then, Victoria has written twenty novels, including her four-book Divine Divas teen series.

Victoria is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee, and the winner of six African American Literary Awards. Her latest novel, Friends and Foes is her second collaboration with ReShonda Tate Billingsley. Currently, Victoria is in negotiations for her novel, The Ex Files and her teen series, The Divine Divas to become movies. 
Twitter:  @VictoriaECM
Website:  http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com

 
 

LIBERIA: An African-American Colony in Africa by Keleti Sanon

LIBERIA: An African-American
Colony in Africa
by Keleti Sanon

Keleti Sanon arrived from Africa with no common language, no family and nowhere to go. Twenty years later, he is a college graduate two times over, a professional aircraft mechanic and a man with a passion for bringing Africans and African-Americans closer together.
In his years driving a cab on the streets of New York City and traveling the country with United Airlines, Sanon realized that much more than a hyphen separated Africans from their black cousins. Myths, media and misunderstanding on both sides kept those of African descent in America from celebrating their culture.
After being asked by a non-black person how he felt about American blacks being called African-American when they “know nothing about Africa”, Sanon was determined to share the gift of Africa with his cousins so that no one would ever have to ask him such a thing again.
Keleti Sanon is President of Mandingo Publishing, and author of “Another Chance, Maybe The Last – Relations between African-Americans and Africans“, available at Barnes&Noble and Amazon. He has participated in African Associations across the country and continues to visit his native Ivory Coast to help bring about hope and economic change. Sanon is fluent in English, French and his native language, Mandingo. Contact him at  www.keletisanon.com  and www.mandingopublishing.com  or by email: king-samory@hotmail.com 
While President Abraham Lincoln is applauded for emancipating the American slaves in 1862, it was not necessarily because he wanted to end slavery. “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it…,” Lincoln said on one occasion. What really concerned Lincoln and the vast majority of white Americans was the possibility of a freed slave uprising.
Like most people of the time, Lincoln himself could not accept the concept of equal treatment for blacks and whites: “… Make them [Negroes] politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not,” Lincoln said in a speech in 1854. Lincoln was right. Though most slave owners had children from slave women, the thought of equality between the two races was un-thinkable. Their solution would be to send the slaves back to Africa.
In 1817, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed with the support of Kentucky politician Henry Clay; Francis Scott Key, author of The Star Spangled Banner; Bushrod Washington, nephew of President George Washington and Supreme Court Justice; and William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol. All were slave owners with moderate politics. Quakers also supported the effort, believing emancipation of slaves impossible. Land in Africa was purchased from local tribes for the purpose of creating a colony for slave owners to ship their slaves back to Africa. In 1822, approximately 86 freed slaves voluntarily boarded a ship bound for Africa. Over the next 40 years, nearly 20,000 former slaves would arrive in Liberia.
One Liberian settler, Reverend Lott Cary, left a pastorate of over 800 free blacks in Richmond, Virginia, to go to Liberia. When asked why he went, Lott replied, “I am an African, and in this country, however meritorious my conduct, and respectable my character, I cannot receive the credit due to either. I wish to go to a country where I shall be estimated by my merits, not by my complexion; and I feel bound to labor for my suffering race.” Though Cary had more than most blacks at the time, including his freedom, he identified himself clearly as African.
This same type of connection to Africa is possible for the African-Americans today. Reach out and connect with a heritage deeply rooted within. Imagine what can happen if we use the freedom we have today to help and support each other in the United States and Africa. Lack of support, conflict with local tribes, disease and dissent led to the collapse of the American Colonization Society. No one wanted to declare American sovereignty on African soil, so they declared Liberia “free” and abandoned it, making Liberia the oldest nation in Africa to gain independence. The first and seventh president of Liberia was African-American Joseph Jenkins Roberts born in Norfolk, Virginia March 15, 1809. He went to Liberia when he was twenty years old. He owned a trading store at one point and later became the president when Liberia became independent from the United States in 1847. Roberts served eight years during his first term (1848-1856).
Later, at age 62, Joseph Jenkins Roberts served as Liberia’s seventh president. In his second term, Roberts served four years. He died on Feb. 24, 1876 at the age of 66 in Monrovia, Liberia (West Africa). In Liberia today, there are remnants of those who made the voyage of their ancestors in the opposite direction. The Liberian capital is called Monrovia, after American President James Monroe.
Five percent of today’s Liberian population is descendants of the American slaves who settled Liberia, many of whom are among the nation’s high-ranking people. The Liberian flag looks much like the American flag, except that there is one star instead of fifty small ones. The hope of Liberia represents the unity and love that Africans can have again: One star, one love, and one Africa.    
Africa is a continent, not a country. There are 53 countries in Africa. It is the second largest continent in the world, both in area and population. Asia is the largest continent. Despite the perception by some in the West of one giant safari full of lions and savages, Africa is a continent rich in people (the population is over 1 billion) and resources (the oil rush continues in Africa) with many large cities such as Abidjan, the second-largest French speaking city in the world with over 5 million residents, in my native Ivory Coast.
To control a nation of people, the first step is to take away their language, then their history and sadly, their families. While many slaves were sold and separated from their immediate families, they were shamed, beaten and taught differently than their extended African families as well. For this reason, I encourage every African-American to visit some part of Africa at least once in his or her life to see firsthand the good and the bad.
Media sources and outlets have been successful at keeping Africa and the African-Americans apart for centuries. We cannot let this culture clash continue. Our connection to Africa is real and is a fact; let’s abolish mental slavery that continues a cycle of captivity long after a nation of people has been free. Some feel disconnected from Africa because media images show conditions that are not conducive as a modern society.
True enough, there are some hard things going on in Africa, but consider this: How can the African people stand so proud and meek in such adversity? Why are we [Africans] always happy to return home, once we are or become citizens in the US? We always keep Africa in our hearts. She is in our blood, in our mindsets. Perhaps it was [is] this strength and determination which kept the slaves alive under circumstances which should have killed them.
Or perhaps it is this mindset which will return African-American culture to the dignity and respect it deserves. We must not be afraid to face the legacy of slavery in this country and focus on the forgiveness required to move forward. We don’t have to dwell on the past, but we can come together and celebrate the future of both Africa and America.
As it is written in the Holy Bible, “Seek and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7, KJV). Our native hands are reaching out to our American cousins. Our roots are your roots. Use these notes and the Africans in your community to uncover the gift of Africa that is yours for the taking. Dig deeper and see the truth.  
In today’s society, relations between race is so very much better even though we still have more work to do, but all races are to be thanked for their efforts in making a better world as Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed. God is also showing us humans a sign of coming together, as in the election and reelection of the first black president, whose mother is Caucasian and father is directly from Africa (where slaves came from), he is the product of both sides and directly related to Africa.
I personally thank all races for aggressively voting the first black president in office, because without such collectiveness and support we could not do it alone. That only shows that the world is changing slowly but surely for a better relationship between all races as dreamed by Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. As we benefit today by the work of Dr. King and the civil right movement of the 60’s, lets us allow the future generations to benefit in more ways to improve relations tomorrow when we are no longer here.

My voice is for all of Africa, crying out to those who sprung from her shores. “Come home in your heart.” I truly believe, “We must give Africa and our-selves another chance.”  Let us remember our heritage as they say in my Mandingo Tribe, “it doesn’t matter how long a piece of wood is lying in the river, it will never change to a fish.”  

Another Chance Maybe the Last, Relations Between Africans Americans and Africans by Keleti Sanon  

Purchase at: www.keletisanon.com   or  www.mandingopublishing.com

ISBN-10: 0615305075     |     ISBN-13: 9780615305073
 

 
 
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