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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Everything Old, Is New Again by A. Yamina Collins

Everything Old, Is New Again
by A. Yamina Collins

If Amazon’s recent Kindle Serials debut back in 2012 is any indication of current publishing trends, then releasing a novel in episodes may be the hottest new thing publishing has seen in a while – even though there is actually nothing new about the serialized format.

Years ago, it was the print novel that was being serialized rather than digitized works of today, and no less than Charles Dickens helped to establish the format with the release of his first novel, The Pickwick Papers back in 1836. In fact, that book is largely considered to have been the prototype of all serialization and indeed most of Dickens subsequent novels were originally published serially as well – in both weekly and monthly magazines, and often in as many as twenty monthly installments.

And make no mistake – Charles Dickens was not the only famous author to have tried his hand at serialization. French author Alexandre Dumas dolled out his Count of Monte Cristo in eighteen parts in the Journal des Débats, with publication running from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846, while Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the American classic by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was serialized beginning in June 1851, over a 40-week period in an abolitionist periodical called National Era.

It’s true that serialization sputtered in the early to mid-twentieth century and pretty much died. It’s also true that now days audiences seem to have the attention span of two-year olds, making it difficult to hold readers interest in books that are dolled out slowly for public consumption. Yet it should not be assumed that there is absolutely no consumers for the serialized format.

In fact, one could make the argument that series books such as Harry Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games, are themselves episodes told in larger, lump sum quantities (seven novels for Potter and three for Twilight and Hunger Games respectively).

There have been even success stories of authors actually serializing a single novel in this day and age. In 2011, for example, author Hugh Howey wrote the indie sci-fi book “Wool”. The book had been conceived as a stand-alone shorty story, but as its popularity increased, so did Mr. Howey’s need to expand on the story, and thus a series was born – and a wildly successful one at that.

But what are some of the benefits of serializing a book today? For starters, serialized formats can help build up readership for unknown authors, and help create greater interaction between an author and his or her audience (it has been said that for Charles Dickens, this format created greater intimacy between he and his readers).

Another advantage is that authors can revise the novel even after it is serialized, in preparation for its stand-alone publication. As recent as 1984, Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities, ran in twenty-seven n parts in Rolling Stone magazine for which he was paid $200,000 for and yet, Mr. Wolfe went on to heavily revised the work before it was released in full form.

Yet another advantage, As Mr. Howey once explained in an interview with Wire.com, is that stand-alone books might remain invisible in a sea of books, but with a serialized novel one gets the same strange title sprinkled throughout the charts together, and that “sorta build(s) on top of each other like individual ripples growing into a much larger wave.” In other words, ten entries of a book title are better for that book’s chart hopes then just a single entry.

It is for all of these reasons I am releasing my two-book novel “The Last King” in a serialized format. I want to engage my readers even during the on going writing process; I want have a chance to correct some things I might miss down the road; and I want a chance build up an audience before the full, stand alone novel is released in late 2014.

It’s also helpful that with Amazon’s Kindle Serials, readers save money. When readers buy a Kindle Serial, they receive all existing episodes on their Kindle immediately, followed by future episodes as they are published at no additional cost. This will prove to be cheaper than buying all eleven episodes at separately.

I can’t wait to see how serialization will change and grow throughout the next coming years. It’s a totally new way for authors to think about publishing – even though it’s also a very old idea.

About the Author
A. Yamina Collins
is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. She has written for publications such as New York Resident magazine, Our Town and the Manhattan Spirit. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan. The Last King is her first novel.

The Last King  (Book I, Serial #1) 
Link:  http://amzn.com/B00HJZVMJW
Science Fiction, African-American, Romance, Religious
Follow Yamina’s Blog for more news:  http://www.yaminatoday.com

 
 
 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

What I Have Learned From Publishing My First Book by Cerece Rennie Murphy

What I Have Learned From Publishing My First Book 
by Cerece Rennie Murphy, author of the Order of the Seers Trilogy

A year ago, I published my first full-length story EVER– a sci-fi novel called Order of the Seers. It took me about a year to write and almost as long to get up the courage to publish it. But on September 4, 2012, I took the plunge, hit the send button, uploaded my file to Amazon and waited for the masses to collectively shudder in awe at the little piece of my heart that I sent out into the world. It has been quite a journey since then, and ever since I got my head out of my you-know-where and started using it, its been kind of fun too. How hard this journey has been hasn’t exactly been a surprise to me, but watching myself slowly evolve into a publisher has. This is a short list of some of the things I have learned so far.

1) Welcome to the REAL world AKA you are NOT an overnight sensation. The day my first book was published, I spent the entire day sick in bed with worry and fear. After a week, I think I had only sold about 20 ebook copies. I was devastated. I told myself my book was horrible and I shouldn’t have even tried to publish it. It took me a week to start THINKING about what I might have done better or differently. That’s when I really started to move into the new career that I have chosen.

The Lesson: If you don’t become a bestseller your first week out, it’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s just where you started. Where you end up is up to you. 


2)
One blog tour and one eblast does not a marketing plan make. Seriously – that was pretty much my marketing plan for the release of my 1st book. Yes, I was very naïve about what it would take for people to find out about my book. Most of my reluctance to developing a marketing plan had to do with  a) my fear of putting myself out there and  b) my general ignorance about what methods and resources were available to me. I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that for a while. Some things worked (I built my mailing list by going to comic/sci-fi conventions, did a cover reveal blog tour for the 2nd book along with a $.99 week long sale promotion for the 1st book) and some things didn’t (spent a ton of money on a Christmas ad campaign that cost way more than I sold in books).

The Lesson: If you have the guts to publish a book, have the guts to market it. One barely makes sense without the other. One of the best marketing pieces of advice that I have gotten so far is, “pick a monthly budget, no matter how big or small and do something every month to promote your book. Keep writing and keep marketing. Consistency will pay off.” It has taken me over a year, but I am finally seeing the maturity and wisdom of these words. For most writers, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.


3)
Guard Your Headspace AKA Read Reviews Sparingly. I have read this time and time again from accomplished veterans of the writing profession, but this advice is so hard to heed. In the beginning, I used to check my reviews every day. It would stress me out so much that, at one point, I was literally afraid to go on Goodreads. A glowing review would be met with relief, quickly followed by skepticism. A strong, but not effusive review would be picked over to death for the rest of the day. Neither one helped me write any better, but one could shut me down for a good 24-48 hours.

The Lesson: Everyone isn’t going to like your book. That’s a fact and it’s ok. Find some people you trust and respect. Get them to read and critique your work. Modify as needed, then let it be. Periodically, I will check the number of reviews I have when I am in the middle of a promotion. Sometimes, if it appears that I’ve gotten a few good ones, I’ll chance a glance and feel happy, but I don’t let myself linger. It’s just not that helpful to my state-of-mind.


4)
Building Buzz Takes Time AKA Give yourself more than 4 month before you publish your 1st novel. I decided to publish my book at the end of May 2012 and I published my 1st book in September. This was stupid. The process of trying to learn what I was doing while I was doing it was so stressful and crazy. At the time, I didn’t want to give myself the chance to chicken-out, so I think I just tried to plow through it, but in the process, I missed opportunities for reviews and using other promotional resources that might have made my first release more successful.

The Lesson: Don’t do what I did. Give yourself time to learn the business before you dive in. (But don’t use your research as an excuse to procrastinate!) 


5)
The doubt doesn’t go away, but it gets more manageable as you go. I wish I could say that, a year later, I feel like a super-awesome self-published author, but I don’t. Most days, I feel the weight of all the things I still need to learn and do, but I can also acknowledge how far I have come. The release of my second book in the Order of the Seers trilogy this summer was a bit less personally traumatic and much more thoroughly planned out and executed than my first release. This was made possible only with the help of an author’s assistant, street promotion team, 3 book blog/promotion services running simultaneously, a small, but positive, collection of pre-release reviews, a week-long free sale of the 1st book and an uber-coordinated mailing list, Facebook and twitter campaign. The result – my second book stayed on Amazon Kindle’s best-seller list for over a month in the sci-fi/genetic engineering category and made it into Amazon’s Hot New Sci-fi releases list.

The Lesson: Believe in your story enough to work on writing it, honing it and sharing it, every day that you can.

About the Author
Cerece Rennie Murphy
fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven, watching “Empire Strikes Back” at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., with her sister and mom. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. As an ardent fan of John Donne, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut and Alexander Pope from an early age, Cerece began exploring her own creative writing through poetry.

She earned her master’s degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas – all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler’s “Wild Seed,” Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and “The X-Files.”

In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event – a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the “Order of the Seers” trilogy.

Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.  Books by Cerece Rennie Murphy, see here.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Is Stress Damaging Your Marriage? by Jewell R. Powell

Is Stress Damaging Your Marriage?
by Jewell R. Powell

Life is busy. Life is stressful. These are facts of life, but how we handle that busyness and stress makes all the difference in our lives and especially in our marriage. A common scenario for busy couples is for the husband and wife to get wrapped up in their individual projects and issues. Instead of managing the stress together, they may find themselves trying to deal with it all alone, which can actually create space between husband and wife, rather than creating unity. Being able to identify when stress may be damaging your marriage is the first step for taking control, so you and your spouse can work together to focus on protecting and strengthening your relationship. 

The Bible actually addresses stress and anxiety many times and for good reason. Our human side, our flesh has a tendency to give into stress, so we NEED the reminders and promises from God to help us keep our Godly focus and know where to turn when challenging times come. Can you identify certain issues in your life that create the most stress? Whether they are problems within the marriage itself or external stressors, the same promises from God apply.

Stressors Are To Be Expected

In Isaiah 40: 30,31, we can read,

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This verse shows us that YES stressors will come, you will grow weary, you will fall, but when you place your trust in the Lord, your strength will be renewed and you will soar.

So don’t get down on yourself or your marriage if you and your spouse are experiencing stress. This is normal and to be expected. However, allowing stress to damage your marriage relationship is where you have to draw the line. While we cannot control the stressors we encounter in life, we can control our responses.  Choosing the right responses to stress will minimize or even eliminate problems it can create in marriage.

Signs Stress May Be Damaging Your Marriage

None of us is perfect, and the human side of us may allow stress to do some damage. Below are some warning signs to look out for in your marriage relationship:

* Arguing or “snapping” at each other
* Tension that seems to hang around continually.
* Rarely spending time with each other.
* Difficulty communicating without arguing or disagreeing.
* Decreased intimacy, both sexual and otherwise.
* Financial struggles.
* Critical comments or even just critical thoughts about each other.

If one or more of these seem to be a common occurrence in your relationship, it is time to seek some spiritual healing for your marriage as well as the Godly insight to help you learn to cope with stressors together as a couple. The good news is that God is more than capable of helping you through this stressful time. Trust in Him, connect with God and each other through prayer, and you will find your relationship bond is strengthened and you have the firm foundation you need to withstand the storms that life can bring.

5 Ways to Deal with Stress as a Couple

Whether you are newly married or have been married for years, learning how to deal with stress as a couple is a learned skill. Rarely is it something that people just know how to do intuitively. Instead, it is a choice that one must make. However, it is never too late in the marriage to begin making good choices and learning new coping skills.

Unfortunately, too many people rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms that do not strengthen the marriage and in most cases do nothing to alleviate stress and may even cause MORE stress. Alcohol, drugs, sex, affairs, gambling, overeating and shopping are some of the activities that may seem to improve stress levels for a moment, but the repercussions can be devastating. 

READ MORE HERE

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Pink & Patent Leather by Candy Jackson

Pink & Patent Leather
by Candy Jackson


Sasha “Pink” Jansen has heard the voice of God. He spoke loud and clear at her purity ceremony, when she was just sixteen years old and Pastor Malik Stroman placed that ring on her finger. And He was just as clear when He told her that purity ring would someday be replaced with a wedding ring from the same man . . . all Pink had to do was save herself.

Dreams of a life with Pastor Malik were enough to keep the privileged princess committed to her vow, dodging all kinds of temptation, resisting every romance, and the whole time, keeping her eyes on the prize –the day she would become first lady. There’s just one problem – Pastor Malik already has a wife. But Pink is accustomed to getting what she wants – by any means necessary. With her grace and virtue on the line – and what she thinks is God’s word in her head – Pink is on a mission no one understands.

She’s determined to show Pastor Malik that they belong together – and come hell or high water, she plans to get the good reverend to agree. Candy Jackson has penned a page-turning tale of one-woman’s quest for love and the spiraling descent she’ll take to get it…


* Book Excerpt:

“True love waits,” he said, as he gently slipped the platinum band with diamond chips onto my finger. “I am proud that you have decided to save yourself for marriage.”

That’s when it happened, right then, at that moment, in that instant. It was like I was being washed in this overwhelming feeling that God had a message for me.


* Book Excerpt:

As if I had an audience watching me, I sauntered over to my bed in nothing but my bashful colored Le Pearle lace thong and matching demi-bra. When I laid down, I let my thoughts wander to him.

I pictured his reaction when we’d finally come face to face once again tonight. It had been so long since he’d seen me. He was going to be surprised, mesmerized, and hopefully hypnotized with what he saw.

Because now, I was a woman.


* Book Excerpt:

Now, I was a grown girl, with my Bachelor of Arts degree from Spellman and my high-rise condominium located in the great metropolis, formerly known as Chocolate City. With my fancy little 525 BMW with custom wheels and personalized tags. I truly was a long way from where I used to be.

Many might think that I am spoiled, but heck, I worked hard in college. I remained a permanent fixture on the Dean’s list each semester, spent my summers abroad, and graduated magnum cum laude with a degree in journalism.

Now, I was a young, rising junior editor at Power Play Magazine, where even though I’d only been there three months, I was on the move. I was flirting, teasing, and proving to my boss that I had beauty, but it was my brains that was going to get me to the top without sleeping with him or any man.


About the Author

Washington, DC author, Candy Jackson is a cosmetology teacher who loves to create poetry and short stories. Her reading rose to a brand new height with the discovery of many black writers whose work exploded in the ‘80’s. An avid reader, she began to tap into her own creative side and decided to write stories of her own.  Candy is the mother of three young adult children and one grandson. She can be reached at pepperedpages@hotmail.com.

Purchase Pink & Patent Leather by Candy Jackson
Purchase today:  http://amzn.com/099153221X 
BGP Publisher:  www.browngirlspublishing.com

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Last King by A. Yamina Collins

The Last King 
by A. Yamina Collins


The Last King went #1 on the Free Amazon kindle bestsellers list in three categories:
African American literature, historical fantasy, and African-American romance.

Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in—she’s six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being an Elf from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore—she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.

Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George’s newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people who marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.

But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings. Indeed, God considers the Edenites’ possession of immortality to be theft and for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a “Glitch” —an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen “property” and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead’s Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead’s vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.

Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite’s greatest threat—they’re also their greatest love.


Excerpt The Last King: Book I – Series 1

Chapter 1

It is doubtful the Master will ever hear of what is about to take place, Markus thinks, standing at the bank of this deserted lake. The branches on the trees around him sway peacefully, and the evening air hums a lullaby.

Markus does not suppose that the Master will hear about this and, really, what difference should it make if he does? It’s just an old homeless guy that is going to die: Markus feels no guilt about it, so how could his thoughts give him away?

In a moment, he removes his hand from the old man’s mouth because he knows the poor fool is too stunned to scream anyway—people are always speechless when they first see Markus’s wings, stretched out as they are, twenty feet on either side of him, and tonight the old man simple blinks and lets spittle hang from the corners of his lips.

Markus does not know his victim’s name, but his victim certainly knows it: Johnnie is what they call him, Johnnie Kubrick, and his very soul seems to have unzipped itself from his body and stepped outside of him. He is not just rigid but catatonic, and he longs for this to be some terrible dream he will soon wake up from.

But this is no dream, this is reality: there is a man standing before Johnnie who looks human, yet has glass wings on his back that are yellow and whose edges taper off to a thin, razor like end. The wings make a sound like metal crashing against metal as they flap – it is a harsh sound, a cold sound. And yet the wings themselves do not frighten the old man as much as what is attached to the wings do.

Johnnie’s pale lips tremble.

“Wha—what are you?” he finally stutters. He does not mean to ask questions. He means to beg for his life because he does not want to die like this—not in these shabby clothes, near a bed of water where he can easily be disposed. He wants to die in a warm room, with someone who loves him holding his hand; Johnny Kubrick wants to die with dignity, different from the way he lived.

The old man chokes on his tears, wishing he was important again, the sort of man who would be missed in death, and he tries to recall how he ever became the sort of person other people diverted their gaze from on the streets. How had he become nameless, faceless, and useless to the world? When he was a boy, he never imagined the day his red hair, so straight and neat, would be constantly matted against his head.

Johnnie wants his mother here with him, so he could take in the soapy smell that was always on her, and smile at the sight of her emerald green eyes. If Johnnie’s mother were still alive she would shield him from this boogeyman, and sing to him, like she did that Christmas morning when the cold of winter snapped at his bones but he happily cradled a shiny new firetruck in his arms.


READ MORE HERE

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

If You Don’t Know Me by Mary B. Morrison

If You Don’t Know Me
by Mary B. Morrison


MOVE OVER REAL HOUSEWIVES…



If you can’t get enough of all things reality television get ready for the drama like only New York Times bestselling author MARY B. MORRISON can bring it!  New York Times and #1 Essence best selling author Mary B. Morrison knows how to write stories that will have readers on the edge of their seats. 

Her critically acclaimed debut series Soul Mates Dissipate explored the topic that puzzles most of us: how to find— and keep — your soul mate. The series did so well that Morrison received a multi-film development deal. Publishers Weekly noted Morrison’s sensual novels “pack in dozens of juicy episodes” in her “high drama page turners” and described her as “prolific.”

Her new series which introduced readers to sexy vixen Madison Taylor and a whole cast of juicy new characters has continued to keep readers panting with Elev8.com noting “Mary is at the top of the African-American fiction genre” and Library Journal praising the second installment and encouraging readers to “buy in anticipation of high demand.”

Mary returns in April with IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME;  the third installment of the If I Can’t Have You series being published by Dafina Books in hardcover original.

Two women, a sizzling wager, and the fallout that would turn their lives upside down, that’s exactly what readers will find in Mary B. Morrison’s newest release. Sindy Singleton isn’t about to lose Chicago DuBois to Madison again. But getting him to open his heart once more won’t be enough to satisfy her. Enlisting the help of Chicago’s worst enemy is the fastest way she knows to expose Madison’s most brazen deception yet. But Madison has more than one devastating card to play.

If there’s one thing Madison has learned from her disastrous bet, it’s how to turn catastrophe into opportunity. Playing on Chicago’s fatherly instincts will maintain her access to the DuBois fortune—and keep her family’s empire successful. Using sweet Sindy’s niceness against her will knock her out of the running. And the cherry on top: Madison’s got the perfect scheme to finally take care of her ex-lover, her rivals, and the husband she’ll never let go.

EXCERPT: IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME

CHAPTER 1

Sindy

“When he walks in, you’ll walk out.”

“Are you sure?” Nyle asked me after the prison guard closed the door to our private glass-enclosed room.

We sat facing each other. The chill from the stainless steel chair made me sit on the edge of my seat. The rectangular-shaped metal table was cold enough to keep my favorite butter pecan ice cream from melting. Three feet of space separated us.

I stared into his crystal-blue eyes as I said, “Help me get Granville Washington back behind bars and you’ll be discharged the same day he’s booked. The remaining two-and-a-half of your three-year sentence will be dismissed. You’ll be on a one-year probation with an officer that you’ll meet face-to-face one time. After that you’ll check in over the phone. A few people owe me favors. If you complete the assignment to my satisfaction, your early release is guaranteed.”

Nyle sighed heavily. His neatly arched brows drew close together. His eyes darted to the left. He blinked. When he opened his eyes, they were intensely on me. Instantly, I became motionless.

“I’ve already done what you’ve asked of me.”

“Not exactly.”

“Not exactly my ass.” Veins protruded from his neck. His voice escalated in anger. “The outcome isn’t what either of us anticipated but I did my part. Now you want me to do you another favor? Fuck the money you paid me. I want out of here today.”

That wasn’t happening. When we left this room, I was going home; he was headed back to his cell. I did not influence him to commit a crime. That was his choice. Helping him get out was mine.

“What if what you want now isn’t what you expect later? Then what? You walk away and leave me to do all of my time?”

Precisely. In my mind, I nodded, but didn’t move my head. He had nothing to lose. I did. I needed him to calm down so he could focus on what was important to me.

I softened my tone. “Fair enough. Regardless of what happens this time, I’ll keep my word.” Not sure if I were lying, I extended my hand and shook his. I had to tell Nyle what he needed to hear.

Getting men to do whatever I wanted—with the exception of my father—that was my strength. Loving another woman’s husband was my weakness.

Better for me to pursue the man I wanted than to allow my dad to arrange for my husband the way he’d done with Siara. I missed her. Skype was nice but I hadn’t seen my sister in person in twelve years. Her being sold by our father wasn’t my fault but she didn’t feel the same. Occasionally, she still says, “You are my big sister. You were supposed to protect me.” I think our father or her husband told her not to come back to America and not to let me visit her in Paris. I wasn’t sure how or when but one day we would reunite.

Trust your gut instincts. That was how I lived. My word used to be a firm commitment. Since I was a little girl, when Sindy Singleton made a promise, I kept it. Truth or lie, right or wrong, my love for Roosevelt “Chicago” Dubois was gradually overruling my senses. Lately I’d been doing what was in my best interest. When things didn’t go my way, I didn’t hesitate to change my mind.

This morning I’d smoothed back my long straight cinnamon hair and coiled it into a bun that sat at the nape of my neck. My cream-colored pants, which I only wore when I visited the Federal Detention Center, were loosely fitted. A simple short-sleeved matching blouse draped my hips. Comfortable leather flats clung to my feet. No lipstick. No perfume. No jewelry. My purse was in the trunk of my Bentley that I’d parked in a downtown lot a block away. My keys were secured in one of the small lockers in the lobby. My Texas driver’s license was left with the guard at the security entrance.

Sitting in a room reserved for attorney/client visits, I was the attorney. Nyle Carter was my protégé. I needed this inmate’s help the same as he desperately desired mine.

“Let me get this straight. I have to find a way to bring Granville back to prison before you’ll get me out of here?” he lamented.

Peering through the glass door, I scanned the visitors’ room. There was a handful of folks who had come to see what I called “the mentally ill and prayed up.” Prison made grown men ask the Lord, Buddha, Allah, Jehovah, or whatever higher power they believed in to set them free. Forgiveness wasn’t practical for repeat offenders. I wished repentance wasn’t an option for them either.

A lot of the criminals I represented were guilty but the majority of them had raised their right hand and sworn on the Bible that they were innocent. I was paid to defend, not to judge. Ultimately, that was God’s job.

Nyle had pleaded the Fifth on his charges and still had to do time. He’d become known to those on the inside as G-double-A. Some youngster by the name of No Chainz had given Nyle the name saying it meant “Got All the Answers.” I wished that were true for me. I wouldn’t be sitting in this cold room trying to convince a man to entrap another man so that I could be with the man I loved.

“I said you were to make sure he never got out.”

Nyle remained quiet.

On a scale from one to ten, Nyle was handsome above average. Put a suit on him the way he used to dress prior to getting locked up and no one would believe he was forty years old when he was arrested. Not that there was a better age to be charged but with his thick blond curly hair and smooth pale skin he could easily pass for thirty.

“I paid you twenty thousand to give Granville advice that would get him convicted with two consecutive life sentences.”

He slid his hand from his forehead to the nape of his neck. No response.

Nyle could benefit from a daily dose of natural vitamin D. The inmates didn’t get much sunlight. Everything was indoors, including the gym. The few windows they had were high above the basketball court. Nyle deserved to be here but didn’t belong. There were some people you never envisioned behind bars. Others you knew it wasn’t if they were going to do time. It was when and for how long?

“Why did the judge overturn the jury’s decision?” I asked.

Getting myself this involved, I could risk being disbarred and losing Roosevelt if he thought I was part of the conspiracy to kill him. I was undoubtedly determined to have that man.

Secretly, I was attracted to Roosevelt well before we’d met. A schoolgirl crush, more like college, was what I had. We didn’t go to the same university but I’d gone to his football games. Unlike some of the other players, Roosevelt never had a bunch of groupies tailing him. For me it was one of those situations where I liked him, but never thought we’d meet. After his engagement was announced on the news and he married Madison, I’d given up on my fantasy of being with him until his brother came to my office one day for business. Chaz suggested Numbiya and I stop by Eddie V’s. Roosevelt was there. Instantly, we hit it off. Initially, I wasn’t, then I was, then I wasn’t saving my virginity for him but now that I knew him better, I’d decided Roosevelt—not the billionaire who had paid my father for my hand in marriage—was the one.

How long was Nyle going to hold out without answering me? I refused to say another word. If he was done, so was I.

My father was a self-made multimillionaire. If Charles Singleton owned all the gold in Fort Knox, it wouldn’t be enough and it’d never make him happy. He was so driven by greed he didn’t know how to enjoy life or value people. Money was his god.

I still didn’t believe my mother accidentally fell down the stairs. Never saw her insurance policy but knowing my father he’d probably collected a hefty seven figures. My father told us he had our mama cremated. Her family begged for a memorial service. They had no legal rights. Jasmine Singleton had no funeral. Dysfunctional as we were, until the day Mama died and Siara was sold, we were a family. Shortly after Mama’s ashes were scattered over the Gulf of Mexico, my daddy became richer. My gut told me there was no wake because there was no death. Perhaps that was my wishful belief.

The man that I wanted couldn’t be bought. If I were more like my father, I’d pay Roosevelt’s wife to leave him alone. If she’d refused, I’d hire a hit man.

Nyle had ten minutes. If I stood, I was leaving and not coming back.

I was thirty. Ready to walk down the aisle and eventually breastfeed Roosevelt’s children. Unlike my father, I knew how to be happy. I think.

Tired of Madison Tyler-DuBois interfering with my getting her husband, I added her to Sindy’s shit list. I was about to strip that bitch of her last name like she’d lost an all-or-nothing game of poker. It was time for her to find herself another man. The horrible things she’d done, she should’ve petitioned for their divorce.

Madison was responsible for her husband having been shot, then she’d taken him off the respirator hoping he’d die. God had a different plan. Her soon-to-be ex-husband had survived. And rather than her letting him love me, she’d prefer to keep him and smother his generous forgiving spirit. Her having his baby was the last lucky charm I was going to snatch from her.

Roosevelt had no idea what to do with Madison. Keep her? Let her go? Stay for the baby? Men generally embraced the “Do as I say” philosophy. The women, “Do as I do.” Neither gave a damn about how the other felt as long as the other obeyed. Madison wasn’t the conforming type. Neither was I. I was a true Southern belle born and wrapped in a Republican cloak of cutthroat confidence.

I was soft, only on the outside.

Three minutes.

When I saw on the news that Roosevelt “Chicago” DuBois had been shot three times, I had to find out who wanted him dead and why. Granville pulled the trigger but that imbecile could never mastermind an execution. Right now, I was getting involved with every aspect. That was why I was sitting in this freezing room instead of being outside in the sunny eighty-degree weather.

Nyle stared at me. “Welcome back,” he said.

“Same to you.” I’d drifted into my own world but where had he gone?

“Granville is so dumb he’s actually smart. Tell me what I need to do to walk out of here. I’ll make sure it’s done.”

Nyle’s son was in my I’m Not Locked Up nonprofit program for kids with parents in jail. His son was an amazingly brilliant child. Landry was so impressive that six months ago I accompanied him on a visit here to the Federal Detention Center to meet his father.

I had to know what kind of man could have single-parented a brilliant child then end up behind bars. I’d learned that Nyle had an office downtown. He represented hundreds of clients for a decade. Problem was, he’d never passed the bar. His degree was real. His credentials weren’t valid. How could people retain a lawyer without certifying if the attorney was legit?

I agreed. “Granville is the smartest dumbest person I’ve witnessed as well. Do you know how many inmates represent themselves and get off? Almost none. Hearing Granville question Chaz, watching him get Loretta arrested, seeing him present that sex tape of Madison, made me realize we cannot underestimate this guy. When he degraded Roosevelt on the stand. Made a mockery of my man. That was it. We’ve got to get him to state and I’m not talking about a high school championship. Prison is where Granville belongs.”

“What do I need to do this time?” Nyle asked.

“Tell the guard to inform the warden that Granville Washington is attempting to kill Roosevelt again. Then—”

Shaking his head, Nyle interrupted. “How do you know this?”

“Trust me. I do. All I need you to say is Granville told you this in confidence before his release. Then you must insist that they issue a search warrant for all of his property. His apartment, his car, his mama’s house, and her grave.”

Leaning back, Nyle said, “Her what?”

I was the type of woman who believed in staying three steps ahead of all men. Perhaps Granville wouldn’t do such a thing but the gun hadn’t been found after the shooting. He either knew where it was or now that he was out of jail he had it in his possession. The guy had proven he wasn’t dumb. Playpens, cemeteries, cereal boxes, diaper bags were just a few of the countless places I’d discovered where criminals had hidden weapons.

“You heard me right. Her grave. Her services are tomorrow. If Granville has that gun, he’s going to get rid of it. Tell them to dig up Sarah Lee Washington, search the soil, and her coffin. Roosevelt’s life is dependent on you.” I’d make a few calls later today and have someone secretly videotape Sarah’s funeral from beginning to end.

Roosevelt was a good man. He was the youngest vice president/general manager in the league and we were blessed to have him for our football team. After all the wrong his wife had done to him, he did all the right things for her. A man that wonderful deserved a wife like me.

I didn’t disclose to Nyle the details of what the authorities would find. What my father had done, I was about to undo.

(Continues…)

Excerpted from If You Don’t Know Me by Mary B. Morrison. Copyright © 2014 Mary B. Morrison. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.


If You Don’t Know Me (Book 3: Series If I Can’t Have You)
Books by Mary B. Morrison:  http://www.amazon.com/Mary-B.-Morrison/e/B001ILIDYU 

About Mary B. Morrison  
New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison believes that women should shape their own destiny. Born in Aurora, IL, and raised in New Orleans, LA, she took a chance and quit her near six-figure government job to self-publish her first book, Soulmates Dissipate, in 2000 and begin her literary career.

Mary’s books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, and she’s a frequent contributor to The Michael Baisden Show. Mary is also actively involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors, and in 2006 she sponsored the publication of an anthology written by 33 sixth-graders.

In 2010, Mary produced a play based on her novel, Single Husbands, which she wrote under her pseudonym, HoneyB. In addition to her novels and play, Mary has a multi-film development deal with Codeblack Entertainment for her Soulmates Dissipate series.

Mary currently resides in Oakland, CA, with her wonderful son, Jesse Byrd, Jr., who is following in his mother’s creative footsteps and pursuing a career in TV/film and writing. Visit Mary’s website at www.marymorrison.com

The Series in Order of Publication
Book 3: If You Don’t Know Me
Book 2: I’d Rather Be With You
Book 1: If I Can’t Have You

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Free Ride to College A Guide to Grooming Your Kids For a Full Academic Scholarship

Free Ride to College

A Guide to Grooming Your Kids For a Full Academic Scholarship
by author and educator N. J. Richards

What if I told you I have $200,000 in scholarship money sitting in a bank ready to give out to a qualified student, and all you have to do is present a compelling argument as to why I should give it to you and not the next student?  Are you ready to take full advantage of this scholarship opportunity? What would you show me or say to me to get the money? That is exactly what is being offered to you right now!  Millions of dollars in scholarship money is up for grabs. You should be getting your share of that money.  In Free Ride to College: A Guide to Grooming Your Kids For a Full Academic Scholarship, I show you how to put everything in place.

What are scholarship committees looking for? What will make your application stand out? If you don’t know where to start or which turn to take next, you’ve made the right stop at Free Ride to College: A Guide to Grooming Your Kids For a Full Academic Scholarship.

Free Ride to College: A Guide to Grooming Your Kids For a Full Academic Scholarship is a decade of hard work, research and experience of how I raised my children-one who was labeled as a candidate for special education, another labeled as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the youngest who was almost legally blind-to earn full academic scholarships to college. Despite what my children were labeled as or tried to be labeled as, they all became writing and math whizzes and matriculated in engineering at college.

So my book is part of a series of books that take you from pre-school and elementary, to middle school, to freshman through junior years of high school and finally the last book in the series ( which I wrote first) rising senior and senior year of high school. I started with the last book first because I wanted parents and students to know how to end up with a competitive student profile, and how to market it to universities and scholarship committees. And last but not least, Free Ride to College features lots of unconventional ways to earn money for college.


MEET THE AUTHOR

N.J. Richards’
experience as a parent and teacher working in several types of school settings, has given her a unique perspective on how to prepare and market students to colleges and scholarship committees. She teaches parents, guardians and students how to prepare for college academically and financially! She is the author of a book that I will be promoting heavily for the next few months:

N. J. Richards has been married to Mr. Wonderful for over 20 years.
· 6 children/ 3 biological
· 4 grand children
· certified science teacher in the State of Ohio
· Graduated form Howard University with a degree in Microbiology and Chemistry

The most important message for me to share from N.J. is what kinds of scholarship are currently most abundant. You can find out more about her work with young adults heading to college here: www.FreeRidetoCollege.com

Purchase Free Ride to College: A Guide to Grooming Your Kids For a Full Academic Scholarship (Rising Senior/Senior Year) by N.J. Richards.  Purchase mulitple copies today: http://amzn.com/B00GV268VQ


 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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