Monthly Archives: December 2013

Minus One – Black Pearls Most Viewed Book of 2013

Minus One

(The Drew Smith Series) by Norwood Holland

Minus One is the prequel to The Drew Smith Series 
Back to the beginning of Drew Smith’s legal career this is a retrospective narrative of the attorney’s first case. The recent law school graduate awaiting his bar exam results Drew Smith takes a job as a Concierge in a 5 star hotel, and befriends two bellmen an Arab and a Latino, Medhat, and Julio. Medhat is a spoiled brat estranged from his wealthy father with a penchant for partying, cocaine, prostitutes and barroom brawls. Julio is a smart high school dropout and a former street gang member.

The son of peasant Nicaraguan immigrants he is forced to become the head of household when his father is killed in a construction accident leaving his mother and five siblings without a provider. This eclectic trio form a solid friendship put to the test when Medhat in his overindulgence runs up a drug tab he can’t pay. Kidnapped and rescued by Drew and Julio, Medhat becomes a prime suspect when the drug lord is found dead.

All three cope with romantic entanglements. Drew is captivated with the pretty Latina, Nina whose father objects to her dating a Black man. Julio falls head over heels and knocks up Chevy, a lovely Filipina. Medhat has a passion for blondes and night club owner Carol fits the mold perfectly.

Life takes a turn when Drew becomes a member of the bar. Medhat is caught red handed and charged with murder. Drew and Julio sleuth to uncover the real killer. Minus One captures Drew Smith’s evolution from youthful indiscretion to a professional burdened with the seriousness of purpose.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Caught Red-Handed

The officers were dispatched on a possible domestic dispute. They didn’t know what to expect when Mrs. Oliphant met the two at the elevator, one Latino the other African-American, both towering over the blue haired dowager. Nervous and animated, she spoke as rapidly as she stepped, guiding them to the apartment door.

“Are you related?” asked the stocky dark haired Latino.

“No. I’m Carol’s next door neighbor. There was a fight and I heard the disturbance,” Mrs. Oliphant sighed and shook her head as though shaking off a secret annoyance. “Mind you, I don’t eavesdrop but I couldn’t help hearing–you know thin walls and vents carry conversations. This is her apartment.” They stopped in front of the corner apartment at the end of the hall. “I have the key,” she said.

Mrs. Oliphant’s tiny trembling liver spotted hand offered it up between the thumb and forefinger. With a nod the Latino urged her to open the door. “Hard to make sense of it all,” she continued her prattle fumbling to get the key in the keyhole, “I could only piece things together. She’s so distraught almost hysterical–it had to be something traumatic. I gave her a sedative.” She relaxed with the key finally in.

“Did you go in?” the Latino asked. He reached over her shoulder, turned the knob and pushed the door open.

“No, she told me to call the police.” Mrs. Oliphant followed the two in.

A deathly silence hung in the air of the spacious and well-appointed apartment. The other officer – a tall, black, athletic man – stepped around the sofa with Mrs. Oliphant right behind him. They both nearly tripped over something crumpled on the floor, and when they looked to see what it was, they found a body, lying face down in a pool of blood that trailed to the rear of the apartment.

“Oh dear,” uttered Mrs. Oliphant, when suddenly the distant sound of running water triggered the officers’ instinctive defenses. The Latino officer, with hand on his holstered Glock, slowly made his way down the hall to investigate.

The other officer knelt to inspect the body, but his attention was distracted by his partner’s conversation with another male voice.

“Oh dear,” Mrs. Oliphant repeated, as the officer escorted a man to the front of the apartment. “Medhat, where did you come from?” Mrs. Oliphant asked. He was drying his hands with a blood-stained towel. Twice stunned, Mrs. Oliphant tilted her head like a puzzled puppy.

“This dude’s dead,” the black officer announced, after finishing his analysis of the body. On bended knee, he looked up to Medhat and asked, “Who are you?”

* * *

November, 1982

“What do you think, Smith?”

Truth of the matter was I didn’t want Detective Washington to know what I was thinking. Medhat was looking more like a serial killer, but I knew better. He had a lot of bad qualities, but homicidal he was not. My friend was a lover, not a killer; nevertheless, I had the feeling he was dragging me down a road I didn’t care to venture on. I closed the police data file and shoved it back across the desktop.

“I’m not sure what to think, Detective.”

Unit Commander of the Metropolitan Police Homicide Division, Detective Lieutenant Richard Washington, waited patiently while I digested the contents. By granting me access to privileged information he was expecting a trade-off. We were bargaining hungry for the other’s perspective and inside information. Hence my unfettered access to what would ordinarily be classified information requiring, at minimum, a FOIA request for sensitive information related to an ongoing police investigation. I was a lead – a source, or informant – and as a friend of the court Detective Washington relied on my attorney status. He gave me some of what I wanted. Now I had to return the favor.

This wasn’t the first homicide in which Medhat was a suspect. So how did I end up sitting in a police precinct reviewing a police crime scene report? It started with a phone call from Medhat in the middle of the night.

* * *

Awakened by the ringing phone, I waited for Medhat to answer it. I had just assumed that he was asleep on the pullout sofa in the living room. Since he had moved in, the phone was almost always for him. After five rings, I regrettably figured he wasn’t there, and the ringing was not going to stop.


“Drew, I need your help. I’m in jail. Come get me.” Medhat.

“In jail?” I sat up. “What happened?”

“They think I killed him, but I didn’t do it.” There was desperation in his voice. “Somebody set me up. I didn’t do it. I tell you I didn’t do it.

( Continued… )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Norwood Holland. 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.

Prequel to Sleepless Nights by Norwood Holland
(The Drew Smith Series)

Available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords
Author’s Website:


Norwood Holland
is a freelance writer, lawyer, and author of the Drew Smith legal thriller series based on the capers of an urban trial attorney. He is a graduate of Howard University School of Law with a bachelor’s degree in English from Fisk University where he studied under the renowned Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps. Holland favors D.C.’s local color in his fiction and currently writes the blog: devoted to promoting independent authors among other things.

He has served in several government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and a number of Washington’s top national law firms. In the mid 90s Holland began freelancing for the local media. Recent credits include The Writer Magazine, the Examiner, and Black Literature Magazine.

Following up on the success of Sleepless Nights, the prequel to the Drew Smith Series, Minus One is his latest and Snakehead will issue in the Spring 2014.

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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized



Black Authors Network Literary Show



The Black Author Network (BAN) Radio Show is a weekly online radio show that features authors and literary leaders three times per week to give the readers a blast of knowledge, wisdom, and empowerment. Our philosophy is one of positive self-image and community empowerment. We are dedicated to promoting the advancement of multicultural, diverse genres books in all aspects of business and social networking.

Using author interviews as the theme for each show, book lovers get a first-hand look at the “behind the book” news, as the authors and host, Ella D. Curry, share the storyline of new book releases. We respect our readers’ intelligence and strive to deliver shows and books that will enrich their lives. We come to the readers each week to invoke dialogues on increasing literacy for future generations, to enlighten the community on great books, and to empower our readers with the Gift of Knowledge!

We provide the most stimulating conversation on the planet! Join us in serving as a collective voice committed to providing quality literature to an international audience. Tune in each Monday, Wednesday and Friday night, 8-10 pm EST at:  or call into the live radio show at: (646) 200-0402.

Rebroadcast of 2013 Bonding Thru Books Festival

1/27/2013– Evening with Kimberla Lawson Roby and Friends

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  4,793

2/11/2013- Evening with Ella and Michelle Lindo Rice

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds: 4,294    

3/7/2013- Evening with Ella Curry, Mary Monroe and Friends
Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  3,217

4/29/2013- Evening with Ella Curry, Tyora Moody and CK Bedeau

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds: 1,732

5/15/2013- Evening with Anita Bunkley and Ella Curry

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  1,108

6/26/2013- Evening with Ella Curry and Cerece Rennie Murphy

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  3,111

For July We have a tie for the first time ever!
7/17/2013- Evening with Ella Curry and Norlita Brown     
7/15/201- Evening with Ella Curry, Tyora Moody and author Janell
Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  1,700

8/21/2013- Evening with Ella Curry and Mary B. Morrison

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  4,003

9/25/2013- BAN Special Turn Your Mishaps Into a Ministry Pt.1

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  5,016

Share the BAN Radio show page with readers. Here are the featured speakers

        8:00- 8:20pm – Kimberla Lawson Roby (Surviving the death of a parent and maintaining a career.)

        8:20- 8:30pm – Denise Johnson (How business owners and families can benefit from Legal Shield.)

        8:30- 9:00pm – D.A. Rhodes (Surviving child molestation or domestic violence)

        9:00- 9:15pm – Naleighna Kai (Raising a young black man and caring for a ill parent)

        9:15- 9:30pm – Mahogany Law (Surviving and thriving after breaking the ties that bind)

        9:30- 9:45pm – KS Oliver (How to handle being diagnosed with 5 diseases and Lupus before the age of 30)

        9:45- 10:15pm – Nikole Morgan (Surviving teen sons being incarcerated)

10/28/2013- Evening with Nicole M. Brown & Leslie J. Sherrod

Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  1,037

11/25/2013- Bonding Thru Books – Day 6- Leaps of Faith Panel
Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  39,649

12/4/2013- Health Special: Dr. Sheri Vie, Ph.D. and 3 Health Experts
Downloads from BTR and RSS feeds:  6,117

The BAN Radio Show aims to support an international literary community and to show people, through the radio show, that authors of color are more than just a niche. That we bring wonderful stories to the minds and imaginations of everyone. We have stories to tell, using our voice and our experiences, that cross all races and cultures. The mission of BAN Radio show is to give a platform for African American authors, but to also show the diversity of genres within our literary community.

The BAN Radio Show is a platform for authors who should be recognized as having cross-over books. We are aware that there are authors that are totally targeted to AA readers, but why not discuss that?  Why not make people aware that some books are written specifically for AA readers and some are cross-genre books meant to be enjoyed by ALL READERS, period?  We want readers, all readers to appreciate the work of Black Authors! Our stories are stories that can be embraced around the world.

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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


Inspiring Article: Ms. Clara in 2B by Debbie Sickler

Ms. Clara in 2B  by Debbie Sickler

“You have a lovely garden ma’am. Been meaning to tell you so for quite some time now.” The old woman’s voice startled me as I jabbed my key into the lock of my front door. I had grown accustomed to viewing the silent figure by the door of 2B, as a piece of furniture. Nothing more.

“I beg your pardon?” I pulled Jason’s cap down below his ears and fussed with the collar of Brian’s polo shirt. “I don’t have a garden. The patios here are too small for that. And forgive me for saying so, but if I were to have a garden, how would you know it’s lovely? I always thought you were blind.”

“There are all sorts of gardens ma’am. All sorts.” My neighbor sat rocking slowly in her wooden chair as she spoke her riddles. “I used to have me a wonderful garden, I did. So beautiful. Shoulda spent me some more time enjoying it while I had it. Drunk driver put an end to it though. Put an end to my eyes too.”

“Well, I’m sorry for your loss. Maybe one day you’ll plant another?” I was running late to get Jay to school and was too short on patience to figure out the ramblings of an eighty-year-old blind woman with imaginary gardens.

“My time for gardening has come and gone. There won’t be any more flowers springing up for this old soul. Just make sure you enjoy yours while it lasts. The blooms fade so quickly sometimes. So quickly.”

“Yes, well, I really must be going.” I tried to scoot the boys past her door and down the hall.

I had almost made it to the elevator when she called out. “The names Clara Johnson. Ms. Clara’s fine. You have a lovely day and take care of that garden now.” She continued rocking and staring off into the distance with eyes as clouded as her thinking seemed. I pushed the down button a few extra times without saying another word.

When we returned that afternoon, I was in a foul mood; Brian’s diaper had leaked all over me. I hardly noticed Ms. Clara with all the scolding I was busy doing.

“Bri, when are you ever going to learn to use the potty?” The overstuffed diaper was creating an awful stench and I couldn’t wait to get inside.

“Sounds as though you’ve got your hands full.” The crackle of her voice matched the creaking of her rocker perfectly. I hardly glanced up as I dug around for my keys, which had managed to settle to the bottom of my purse already.

“Oh. It’s this stupid diaper. It leaked all over my new blouse.”

“You have to expect a little dirt if you want to have a garden.”

“Dirt I wouldn’t mind. It’s this fertilizer that’s getting to me.” I managed a smile at my own cleverness. “If this kid would just stop being so dense and catch on. I think he takes after his father. He wasn’t too bright either.”

“Now how on earth will your buds blossom if you pelt them with pebbles like that?” A wry smile spread across Ms. Cara’s wrinkled face.  I had to stop and think about that one for a minute.

“Each one is different. Some will thrive in the bright sun, while others would simply wilt. Some need constant pruning so they won’t snap beneath their own weight. Others are meant to grow free and confident. It is up to the gardener to recognize their seedlings and apply the proper care.”

I still wasn’t sure Ms. Clara was all there, but she was starting to make sense. I looked down at my little ‘garden’ as she called it. They really were great kids and it had been awhile since I’d stopped to admire them.

Keys finally retrieved from my bag, I turned to unlock the door.

“Have a good evenin’ ma’am.”

I paused and looked back across the hall at apartment 2B. “My name’s Meg. You have a good night too Ms. Clara.” I herded the boys through the narrow doorway with a gentle, guiding hand.

Remembering the advice to enjoy my garden while it lasted, I inhaled deeply. Then I remembered Bri’s current potty emergency and regretted it. I rushed him to his changing table, but not without offering up a silent prayer for my wonderful garden, fertilizer and all.

About the Author
Debbie Sickler
, a mother of three boys, began writing as a hobby in 2005. She has since won several awards and been published both on line and in print. She is currently working on a Christian fantasy screenplay. Contact her at

© 2006 Debbie Sickler,  Article Source: Faith Writers

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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


Inspiring Article: Losing Myself by Jan Ackerson

Losing Myself  by Jan Ackerson

Dan and I married young—we were children, really—but I was charmed by the curls that played at his neck, and by his raspy chuckle. Those were reasons enough to marry, as it turns out. Years later, those same qualities still quicken my breath.

Not long ago, we waved at our darling Lily as she embarked on a new life with her own curly-haired charmer, in a flurry of lace. Dan’s arm tightened around my waist as their car disappeared, and he whispered in my ear. “We’re still young, sweetheart. Time to do something new.”

“Something new” was a spiritual itch that had plagued him for months. Dan wanted to be a missionary—had felt the call and started to research mission fields and financial arrangements while I was occupied with Lily’s wedding. I strained to hear the same voice that had reached my husband’s ears, but God was silent to me. I followed Dan anyway, transported to a distant land by the power of my love for him.

The air in my new country was richer than that of my home, thicker with exotic smells. Colors were more brilliant, the music filled with stranger harmonies. The language, when I learned it, fell softly from my tongue. The children were precious with their quick and dazzling smiles, the women sweetly shy. Yet I resisted falling in love with my new residence. My heart was home with Lily and her husband, with the granddaughter whose growth was chronicled in a well-worn photo album.

A few mornings ago, I awoke realizing that I had dreamed not in English but in my adopted tongue. I felt bemused, as if I was losing myself. The feeling intensified as I shopped for vegetables in the open-air market. Surrounded by the liquid syllables of native speakers, I was startled when an English-speaking tourist grasped my elbow and asked for directions. I blinked at her, uncomprehending, having to translate her words mentally before I could formulate a reply.

And yesterday, I sat in the front row of our cinder-block church, listening to the linguistic dance of Dan and his co-pastor, partners in the Lord. Dan spoke, his partner translated, the congregation laughed at his self-deprecating humor—and I realized that I had not heard Dan’s words at all, but had waited for the translation. I am fading away, I thought. If we stay here, I will disappear.

I spent the afternoon in something more closely resembling whining than prayer. “Your work is flourishing here, Lord. Dan loves it. But I have done nothing for Your kingdom, and I am all alone. Why did You bring me here if only to watch me evaporate? How can I serve You if I don’t know who I am?” My vaulted and chained spirit locked out God’s reply.

This morning, I kissed Dan good-bye, wrapped a colorful skirt around my waist, and prepared a cup of the local tea, spicy and sweet. While I sipped, I listened to the cacophony of accusing birds in the trees outside and explored the borders of my soul. My reverie was interrupted by a knock at the door.

It was my neighbor, a quiet woman with whom I’d occasionally shared a loaf of flat bread or a fruit-filled treat. Tears streaked her cheeks and she fell into my arms, weeping her husband’s name. He had been unfaithful to her, I learned, because of her inability to bear him a child. His mistress was now pregnant, and he had put her from their home, penniless and bereft.

I held her stiffly at first, unsure how to minister to this grieving woman, but my arms relaxed as a peacefulness settled upon me—a warmth that spread from the roots of my hair to my sandaled feet. My neighbor’s tears subsided, and she whimpered a proverb used to communicate despair: literally translated, she told me “with every rising of the sun, my teeth are broken anew.”

God’s words filled all of the empty spaces in my spirit. “He is faithful,” I said, using the pronoun that means ‘the Holy one.’ “With every rising of the sun, His mercy comes anew.”

She cradled her head on my shoulder, drawing deep breaths. The mirror on the wall reflected my mixed blonde hair mingling with her brown and golden streaked tresses, her chocolate arms intertwining with my pale ones. I locked eyes with the missionary in the mirror and smiled.  We held each other for many minutes, two women discovering grace.

About the Author

Jan Ackerson
is a Christian who has traveled though sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Contact Jan for writing projects at:

© Jan Ackerson–2006,  Article Source: Faith Writers

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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

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