Monthly Archives: December 2014

Radio Replays from Bonding Thru Books Literary Festival

Bonding Thru Books Literary Festival

Celebrating Our Legacy 365!
November 19-25, 2014

Share this Hashtag: #BondingThruBooks
Hosted by Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group

Bonding Thru Books Weekend, is a totally ONLINE book festival hosted by EDC Creations Media Group.  Every year we present a very diverse author showcase with live readings, writer’s workshops, book club panel discussions, and several awesome book giveaways. Join BAN Radio Show host Ella D. Curry, avid readers, book bloggers and publishing industry insiders.

If we are to survive in this nation, we all have to learn to recognize and respect the fundamental differences between races, cultures, and our diverse socio- economic human rights. It is our hope that through the community  panels we can highlight the differences in our ideas and attitudes, yet still embrace a sophisticated dialog. We aim to share life’s exhilarating variety, while eliminating much of the assumptions and fear surrounding our lives.

It is our mission to connect readers with the authors of quality books, written with a purpose. We offer  books that will change their lives!  Instead of giving expensive gifts that don’t shape lives, let’s Give the Gift of Knowledge, pay it forward and help to strengthen our future generations by sharing our wonderful literary legacy!


Night 1, Nov 19:

Night 2, Nov 20:

Night 3, Nov 21:

Night 4, Nov 22:

Night 5, Nov 23:

Night 6, Nov 24:

Night 7, Nov 25:


Bonding Thru Books Literary Festival
Share this Hashtag:  #BondingThruBooks
Hosted  Ella Curry, EDC Creations Media Group
BTB Official Bookstore: 
Chatroom for readers:


Wednesday Night,  November 19 at 8:00-11:00 pm (EST)

Defenders of the Heart: Fiction Authors Showcase


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 1, Nov 19:

*8:00 – Deborah Johnson –  The Secret of Magic

*8:30 – Renee Daniel Flagler, Society Wives

*9:00 – William F. Cooper, Unbreakable

*9:15 – EN Joy, More Than I Can Bear

*9:30 – Ann Jeffries  and  Gracie Hill  (pre-recorded)

*9:45 – Leiann B. Wrytes, Virtuous Deception

Join us in the BAN Radio Chatroom at 8-11pm EST:  Tell at least 10 people about this online event. We have great book giveaways each night in the chatroom! Spread the word! Thank you!


Thursday night, November 20 at 8:00-11:00 pm (EST)

We’re celebrating mind, body and spirit on DAY 2 of the Bonding Thru Books Festival. We have an awesome author lineup and the community panel discussion is titled: 1000 Steps: Overcoming Life’s Obstacles Panel Discussion!


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 2, Nov 20:

* 8:00 – Lauren Francis-Sharma, ‘Til the Well Runs Dry

*8:30 – Lutishia Lovely, founder of A Lovely Day Experience

*8:45 – Pamela Samuels Young, Anybody’s Daughter

1000 Steps: Overcoming Life’s Obstacles Panel Discussion

Thursday night, November 20 at 9-11:00 pm EST

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.  —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Turning Mishaps to Ministry: 
The importance of learning to love yourself!  We are discussing finding solace from within first!  The panelist will discuss how your health determines your leadership abilities and the importance of balance in our lives. We are discussing  the power of forgiveness, clean eating, health, fitness, mental health, meditation & healing, depression & recovery and  financial literacy.

How We Love: Health, Marriage & Family Ties:  Life coaches, ministers and authors will talk about their motivation for writing books that teach, guide and empower our community on how to achieve overall health and wellness, as we build stronger leadership roles in our personal and professional lives. This unique radio opportunity will provide valuable information on how to achieve balance between mind, body and spirit. Finding balance in life is real!


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 2, Nov 20:

*Cheryl Donovan, founder Cheryl Lacey Donovan Ministries

* Kristin L. Mitchell, He Wasn’t My Daddy

*Lá Tanyha Boyd, International Host of Spiritual Food for Thought Global Radio

* Villa Powell, Thirty Day Journey Toward Transformation

* Makasha Dorsey,  First Family Secrets (The Church House, Book 1)

* Lisa Renee Johnson, founder of I Got Sunshine. women’s empowerment movement

* Live Out Loud, 52 Weeks to Reawaken Your Spirit and Live a Life of Purpose By Melisa Alaba


Friday Night, November 21 at 8:00-11:00 pm (EST)
The Lies Lovers Tell Author Showcase


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 3, Nov 21:

*8:00 – Trice Hickman, Troublemaker

*8:15 – Victoria Warren Jackson, Untraditional Love In The Dark

*8:30 – RM Johnson, My Wife’s Baby: I’m Not a Murderer

*8:45 – Electa Rome Parks, These Boots Were Made for Stalking

The Pleasure Principles Panel Discussion
Friday Night,  November 21 at 9:00-11:00 pm (EST)

Topic of Discussion – The Pleasure Principles: Truly adult conversation!  We are discussing the art of writing Erotica, Urban Lit and Fantasy novels. The relationship panel discussion will include topics New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory-multi-partnered relationships;  maintaining monogamy in a digital age;  online & long distance dating;  alternate lifestyle choices; tips for building long lasting relationships.


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 3, Nov 21:

  Shakir Rashaan, author of the Nubian Underworld series, including The Awakening, Legacy, and Tempest

Co-host:   N’Tyse, National bestselling author of  Twisted Vows of Seduction and executive producer of the documentary series, Beneath My Skin.

*Lutishia Lovely, founder of A Lovely Day Experience,  Author of THE PERFECT DECEPTION

*Denise Bolds, Raising Princes to be Kings; A Single Black Mother’s Guide to Raising Her Black Son

* Shana Johnson-Burton, Flawbulous

*Valarie Prince, Novel: The Virus: When Love Turns Deadly

*Naleighna Kai, Was it Good For You Too  and  Open Door Marriage

* Lorna L.A. Lewis, co-author Signed, Sealed, Delivered…I’m Yours


Saturday night, November 22, 2014 at 6:30-9:30 pm (EST)
Get Ya Read On- YA Readers and Fiction                

We are celebrating National Family Stories Month!  We all have family stories, tall tales and folklore based on our communities. They are entertaining, yet powerful because they serve to connect our families through the ages. By telling our family stories, we can preserve family history and unlock conversations that can become history lessons too.

Beacons For the Future – Fiction Book Showcase
Five remarkably talented, authors will talk about their motivation for writing, how they prepared to be an author, how they crafted their unique stories.

Topic of Discussion:  How to promote a book for children in the digital age. We are discussing ways to engage young readers.  Speakers will share their journey as children’s book writers.


Listen to the Show, Night 4, Nov 22:

* 6:30 – Janet Autherine Mahon, Growing into Greatness with God:7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters

* 6:45 – Michelle M. Spady, ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground

* 7:00 – Shelia Goss,  Jasmine: Lip Gloss Chronicles

* 7:30 – Necole Ryse, The Missing – play legacy recording

* 7:45 – Jean Love Cush, ENDANGERED

Speculative Fiction, Mystery and Thriller Showcase
Saturday night, November 22, 2014

Each author will read from their book and share how they went about getting their fiction books published. Readers will experience surreal speculative fiction, post-apocalyptic YA novels, spy thrillers, and the wild dystopian trilogies!


Listen to the Show, Night 4, Nov 22:

* 8:00 – SD Skye, A No Good Itch (A J.J. McCall Novel) Book 3

* 8:15 – Alexandra Lane, A Vision of Angels:  The Battle Begins

* 8:30 – Nakia LaShaul, Locked in Purgatory

Author Readings Pre- Recorded
* Cerece Rennie Murphy, Order of the Seers Trilogy
* The Last King: Book 1 by A. Yamina Collins


Sunday night, November 23 at 8:00-11:00 pm EST.
Our Cup Runneth Over:  Good Health and Peace of Mind

Bedrock Faith: Christian Fiction Author Showcase

FEATURED AUTHORS AND SPEAKERSListen to the Show Here,  Night 5, Nov 23:

* 8:00 –  Ella Curry Give Out Tips and Advice; Introduce Crown Holders

* 8:15 –  Ruth Watson, An Elderberry Fall

* 8:30 –  Colette R. Harrell, The Devil Made Me Do It

* 8:45 –  Julia Blues, The Last Exhale

* 9:00 –  Tyora Moody, Oven Baked Secrets

* 9:15 –  Bonnie Taylor-Williams, With These Hands: A Country Girl Came to Town

Shaking the Tree: Publicity & PR Pros Panel Discussion
Sunday Night,  November 23  at 9:30-11:00 pm (EST)

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind!” — Jim Morrison

Topic of Discussion – Shaking the Tree: Marketing and PR in the Digital Age

Shaking the tree means taking action that makes something happen! We are discussing innovative ways to market and promote any product in this digital age.  We will also discuss the different services each magazine or company offer authors, business owners and readers.  With ebooks and digital music becoming all the rage, how do you capture the attention of  bookclubs and readers? How do you stand out?  How are your supporting the arts?  How are we mixing traditional marketing with social media marketing?

The challenge for book lovers today is discovery. How do readers find out about new books and plays by established and emerging writers? What books are they reading and reviewing now?  How do the readers grade the publishing industry?  We will address all of these questions during the panel discussion.  Meet established reviewers, book bloggers, virtual tour hosts, radio hosts, bookstore owners and book club members. During this panel, we will show listeners how books can open your universe!


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 5, Nov 23:

*Tonya Shirelle, ES Communications Agency & Infinite Xpression Publishing

*Tyora  Moody, The Literary Entrepreneur Toolkit

*TaNisha Webb, Publisher of Book Club 101 Magazine

*LaShaunda Hoffman, Shades Of Romance Magazine

*Renee’ Sunday, M.D. is the founder of Sunday Publishing Company,  Host of Good Deeds Radio & TV Show

Monday night, November 24 at 8:00-9:00 pm EST
Books Without Borders Author Showcase

Topic of Discussion – Books Without Borders: We are discussing the art of writing historical fiction and writing books that are in settings or take place outside the USA.

Books by African American writers should be read around the world, which is our belief! We bring wonderful stories to the minds and imaginations of everyone. We have stories to tell, using our voices and our experiences, that speaks to all races and cultures.  During the Bonding Thru Books Literary Festival, we will introduce readers to cross-genre books meant to be enjoyed by ALL READERS, period!  We want readers, all readers, from all races, to appreciate the work of authors of color!


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 6, Nov 24:
* 8:00 – Breena Clarke, ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE

* 8:15 – Marlene Banks, Gunmen Have No Sabbath

* 8:30 – Piper Hughley, The Mayor’s Mission

* 8:45 – Navi Robins, Walking Among the Shadows: Awakening

* 9:00 – Sherryle K. Jackson, Submissionary

* 9:30 -The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale By J. M. Lominy

Behind the Curtain: Balancing Life, Weight, Career and Care-giving
Monday night, November 24 at 9:00-11:00 pm EST

Igniting the Power Within:  Define Yourself, Redefine the World

Our guest speakers represent greatness and courage as they share their moving testimonies. We invite you to join the discussion to share your stories of triumph and survival too!  Call into the radio programs to speak up and out. You may not feel that you are one to mentor or minister to others, but you never know. Your testimony might heal a hurting person. Your struggle might eliminate the pain in someone else’s future.


Listen to the Show Here,  Night 6, Nov 24:

*Renee Wiggins, Being Fabulously Fit in God’s Kingdom: A 40-Day Journey to Wellness

*Brittani D. Williams, It’s Not a Piece of Cake Nutritional Coaching and Education

*Tess Tims, author of The 3C’s System: Your One Evening Guide to Health and Wealth Creation

*Dr. Sheronda Orridge, PH. D. – Life Coach / Life Coach Trainer, Loving Spirit Life Coach Academy LLC

*Joyce A. Brown, Getting Away With Everything

*Martha Kennerson, author of Consequences


Tuesday night, November 25, 2014  at 8:00-11:00 pm EST
 Who Motivates the Motivator:  The importance of women empowerment and balance in our business lives. We are also discussing the personal protection of women, mental & physical wellness,  financial literacy and hospice and caring of elders in the home.

Listen to the Show Here, Night 7, Nov 25:

* 8:00 – Nika Beamon, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House, a medical memoir

* 8:15 – Annie Brown, My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey

* 8:30 – Charmaine Galloway, author of Golden

* 8:45 – Andrea Foy,  author of Hire Power – How to Find, Get and Keep a Job

The Black Pearls Bookstore is now fully stocked. Please browse all of the shelves, we have some awesome book selections for you! Keep our authors in mind for your holiday gifts and for your Books-of-the-Month coming in 2015. Bring all of your friends to the BTB Official Bookstore:


 Read the ebooks on your smartphone, tablet, device,  or computer by downloading the FREE Kindle reading app from here:

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 12, 2014 in #BondingThruBooks


#SantaHelpers: Eye of the Beholder by Elissa Gabrielle

Eye of the Beholder
by Elissa Gabrielle

The true measure of our existence begins with the way we view the world…

Jerusalem “Jay” Jones, Iraq war veteran is a hero to most as he’s bravely put his life on the line to serve his country. His second tour of duty has ended and Jay lies in a veterans hospital bed recovering from injuries he sustained while at war. His present circumstances should be a cake-walk for Jerusalem considering the tragedies he experienced as a child. Love, laughter and life have always seemed to elude Jerusalem, unfortunately, from his early days as a child growing up abused and terrorized on the tough streets of Newark. Vulnerable and reclusive, Jerusalem must now face the world in which he escaped, seeking a more fulfilled life, albeit, with dark secrets that burden his psyche as well as his physicality.

Jill Lopes, a hospital social worker who recently made a career change, longs to heal the broken. But, before she can heal the sick, she must first break through inner battles of unhappiness and resistance. When fate boldly enter Jerusalem’s and Jill’s life, they realize that the challenges we meet in life hold the power to open us to higher consciousness. Will Life become both meaningful and joyful when Jerusalem and Jill know the greater truth of who they are?

Does beauty really lie in the eye of the beholder? Experience the power of love on this redemptive journey where the purpose of the problems in one’s life, will be empowered to uncover the gifts they bring.

USA TODAY recommends EYE OF THE BEHOLDER! Read full recommendation:

“The beauty of Gabrielle’s voice is the deep emotional cadence as we enter each character’s point of view. In those special worlds, she writes with the talent to keep you immersed so that you can understand and empathize with their motivations and the conflicts that may overwhelm. Skillful and full of artistry, Gabrielle shares a powerful romance worthy of its resolution.”
~ Michelle Monkou for USA TODAY

“If the moon and the stars align Elissa Gabrielle will be a literary rock star. Eye of the Beholder marks in stunning fashion the return to readers the craft of writing that book lovers eyes should be awarded. A heartrending endorsement of losing trust, crossing lines and seeking forgiveness, Eye of the Beholder is a story of emotional deprivation beyond one’s control, and searching for inner soul sustenance. Elissa Gabrielle has penned word by word and line by line from the beginning to the end poetic justice poetically in this novel. Eye of the Beholder is comparable in scope, texture, and depictions with the classics because of the strong wit and passionate intelligence.”
~Alvin L. A. Horn?, author of Perfect Circle

“Elissa Gabrielle’s Eye of the Beholder takes you to another place and time. Vulnerability and hope are the backdrop of this riveting novel. Gabrielle’s words are like cool water for a thirsty soul, each one dripping with lyricism and purpose. Eye of the Beholder will cause you to experience firsthand the transformative power of love.”
~J’son M. Lee, Author/Editor

Excerpt: Eye of the Beholder

“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups … I want to speak to their souls.” ~John Coltrane

Chapter 1



I wake to the sound of my own voice howling a blood-curdling scream into the cold, brisk air which fills my bedroom. The sound, even though it comes from my own body, startles me; causing me to sit up straight to regain my mentality and composure. I’m scared beyond belief; to the point of feeling my own body shake and tremble in fear beneath me. “It’s a night terror, not current reality,” I tell myself, but my mind could care less about the distinction as it relives the pain.

The chill in the air is offset by the warm beads of sweat dripping from the terror-filled adrenaline pumping through my body, drenching me from head to toe while warming me and causing my temperature to rise. My heart races and I inhale deeply, trying to catch breath that escapes me. The source of my screams, sweat, and tears is the same recurring invader plaguing my mind, from time to time, over the years without rhyme or reason. It is a mental sensation I have not been able to shake since the day I saw her in the hospital more than two decades ago. A mind-altering intruder of mine is more vivid and real than any nightmare a person could ever have, simply because it is my reality instead of being a product of an over-active imagination. Even in the realm of dreams, reality trumps fantasy. It is my mind’s way of reliving the beginning source of my pain and my soul’s way of reminding me never to forget.

The Evian water bottle on the nightstand next to me finds its way cleverly and productively into my hands, as it routinely does when my mind starts playing tricks on me during the night. I gulp down its purifying contents without missing a beat. Yet, no matter how hard I try to soothe the savage beast of my past, the water cannot drown the images that linger in my head no matter how fast or how hard I choose to swallow. Even as I quench the fire of my exhausting night thirst, I can’t extinguish the fire ignited by my dreams-the contents of which refuses ignoring.

I still see her. I smell the scent of her Chanel No. 5, as if she is standing right next to me and I remember that day, as if it were today. I’m lost in that moment in time. My night terror ensures that I will never forget that day or her for that matter; despite how many minutes, hours, days, years or decades that pass. That day will always be today and she will always invade my dreams.

When the beginning of my end began, I was ten years old. That is the moment in time that changed my life-the point of definition known to me as the history of my life.

A ten-year-old does not possess the wherewithal to appreciate the blessings that make up life. A ten-year-old lives in the here and now; unaware of the need to smell the flowers of life along the way, or of how good life really is. If I had have known then, what I know now, maybe my life wouldn’t be attacked routinely by night terrors clubbing me over the head while begging me to be thankful for what I currently have. Maybe, if I had have been a little more grateful, she would still be here. My dreams impose that mentality on me. They make me pose that inquiry to myself each time I awake in cold, night sweats remembering that day. Even as an adult, I know that rationale has no basis in fact, and was not the case then or now, yet my nightmares still make me wonder. In the instance of wanting to blame someone other than God for the fact that sometimes shit happens in life, my dreams still make me want to point the finger of blame at myself. That is what children do. Their minds often place blame on themselves instead of on the foundations concerning the cycle of life.

Even though I am an adult, remembrance of my mother is still through the eyes of a child. I do not see her weaknesses; a mother is Wonder Woman in the eyes of her child. Mothers are invincible; as such, I will forever see her in that manner. I couldn’t see that she, just like all human beings, had the capability of being vulnerable. My mind cannot comprehend that her life was what it was intended to be-as God made it.

I look at things concerning her through the eyes of a child missing his mother; and all I can see is invincibleness; as such, all I can do is wonder what I did wrong that might have caused her to be taken away from me. Through the eyes of a child is how I see things when it comes to my mother. The view lies in the eye of the beholder, and the day it all began and ended still invade my dreams.

It began innocently enough. There was a carnival at school and Mom agreed to make cookies. I sat in the kitchen as she pulled the cookie sheets out of the oven, one by one. There were at least five dozen, if not more, and the aroma filled our house in a manner that only home-baked sweets can. I could not sit still because the smell was making my mouth water. I reached for one as she placed the cookie sheets on the top of the stove to cool.

“Can I have one?” I asked, as my hands hung midair in an attempt to have the first bite of what I knew would be pure, sugar-filled heaven. She had a way of making the best cookies in town; at least in my opinion, even if I was a little bias.


My Mom was the epitome of grace. I realized it then, I yearn for it now. The King of kings kissed her and turned her skin bronze; it was always aglow. Her deep, dark, penetrating almond-shaped eyes made my father weak. Full, thick, jet black hair; she wore it in a side sweep on special occasions, but mainly tied it up under a soft, satin scarf. Dad loved that. The sight of her face alone was enough for him.

Her lips were full, like the upper petals of an orchid flower. Dad’s eyes danced with excitement whenever she pecked him on his cheek. He loved her so. We all loved her so.

And, when the kiss was planted on him, he would always reply, “A kiss from my angel, sweet love of my life.”

“Can you have one?” She raised her eyebrow, as if she had been waiting for the exact moment in order to put class in session. “What have I told you about that word, ‘Can’? ‘Can’ means do you have the ability to have a cookie. We both know you have the ability to have one. What you really want to ask me is, ‘May I have a cookie?’ By asking, ‘May I have one?’ you are really asking if I will allow you to have one. That is what you really want to know, isn’t it, son? You really want to know if I will allow you to taste one-not if you have the ability to taste one-isn’t that right?”

Mom smirked while continuing to stir batter for the next batch of cookies for the oven.

Hungry and wanting a cookie instead of hearing her insistence of teaching me something at every twist and turn, I rolled my eyes. I just wanted a cookie. She could have kept the English lesson to herself. Sorrowfully, I looked down at my Buster Brown shoes and beige corduroy pants. I smile when I think about how my mother dressed me in the early eighties.

“I guess so. So, can I have one, Ma?” My response was respectful, but to the point.

“Yes, you may have a cookie. However, as you eat it, I want you to remember the difference between the two words, son. Just by virtue of being alive, you can do many things in life. In addition, while those things are important and satisfying, recognize that what’s more important are the things at which you may have to be a trailblazer; the things that life may restrict or dictate because of who you are. Those are the things in life that I want you to concentrate on, and not the things that life says you ‘can’ have, but the things that life takes a pause in telling you that you ‘may’ have.”

At the time, I didn’t hear anything she said other than, “Yes, you ‘may’ have a cookie.” Now that she’s gone, I wish I had paid more attention to everything she had to say. I wish I had lingered a little while longer at the feet of her wisdom.

Bending over the counter top, I reached for a chocolate chip cookie cooling on the tin sheet in front of me. As I did, I noticed her closing her eyes and rubbing her temples with the tips of her fingers. I gobbled the cookie quickly as crumbs fell from my mouth. I didn’t want to give her a chance to change her mind.

“You okay, Ma?” My words came as an afterthought, as I reached for another cookie. Instead of the usual smile that she normally gave me, she collapsed. Hearing her plump frame hitting the kitchen floor, scattering kitchen table chairs in the process, was startling. She shook uncontrollably on the floor and my feeble, ten-year-old mind tried to comprehend what was happening.

“Ma! Ma! Are you okay?” I screamed, awaiting a response, but none came. My eyes grew big and I gnawed at my fingers contemplating what to do. I picked up the phone and fumbled with the cord to the headset, which always seemed to tangle right at the moment that it needed to be straight. Taped to the side of the refrigerator was Dad’s office number for emergency purposes and even at ten years old, I knew Mom lying on the kitchen floor constituted an emergency.

In all of what a few seconds had to offer, I saw everything in my life flash before my eyes as I called Dad. President Reagan was on television, interrupting Mom’s soap operas with a special news report. The wood paneling and drop ceiling in our kitchen, wow, I saw every one of them. The brick that covered the back wall to our stove and the yellow, linoleum floors in our cozy kitchen; I saw it all, in slow motion, as my heart raced.

Crumbling before my eyes was my safe haven in Newark, where Mom and Dad kept the outside evils away and the goodness of heaven in. Ripped from my ten-year-old hands was life, as I knew it, as she lay helpless with only me to rescue her.

Life as I knew it, was being ripped from my ten-year-old hands as she laid there, helpless.

Seeing her body shake and contort on the kitchen floor, was the beginning of my end; it is the sight that introduces my night terrors, and the vision that causes me to sit up straight in bed, screaming and sweating profusely. My memory fast-forwards from that moment to the next memory like a badly edited movie. The next image I have is of standing at her bedside in the hospital, as the doctor told my father that my mother had a brain tumor and only had days to live. Cold and callous were the doctor’s words as if reciting items on a dollar menu at a fast food restaurant. I don’t remember much about seeing her lying in bed dying, but I do remember the tubes in her nose, the sounds of machines keeping her alive, and the sound of Dad’s voice saying, “Make sure she is comfortable so that she can go in peace.”

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Elissa Gabrielle. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Copies of Eye of the Beholder  

Google Play:

#SantaHelpers: Yesterday’s Eyes by Catherine Flowers

Yesterday’s Eyes 
by Catherine Flowers

Catherine Flowers brings readers the powerful story of three generations of women who must come to terms with the past and learn how to forgive one another if there is any hope of healing.

When Ida is sent to prison for the negligent homicide of her infant son, her six-year-old daughter, Tia, ends up in the custody of her grandmother, Mavis Dolittle. It’s a heartbreaking situation, made even worse when Ida claims that the boy was the son of Mavis’ husband, Henry, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.

Emotionally detached from the granddaughter she’s never really known, guilt-ridden about the way she raised her daughter, and reeling from her husband’s dalliance with his stepdaughter, Mavis faces the biggest crisis of her life. Brutality, coldness and indifference have shaped three generations of women, and to be healed, they will have to learn how to care, to love, and to forgive one another.

Praise for Yesterday’s Eyes by Catherine Flowers

WOW While reading this book I frequently had tears in my eyes… The characters, the mother alone could have filled a thousand pages. I could identify with a certain individual within these pages. As a young adult this book took me to a place that I had pushed out of my mind. A place that was so real, when the mother was in her room with the kids showing them her box that was to NEVER be touched it sounded sooo familiar, I could picture them in that room, & if they were actual people they would never ever forget that moment. Again WOW…
Review written by Tye Cooper

I bought this book because of all the positive reviews I read. This book captured my attention from the very beginning. The storyline and characters were realistic and the forgiveness that occurred between Tia, Ida and Mavis was really amazing. This book is definitely a great read, well worth five stars!!!
Review written by Lovely Lady

Having waited for months for her new book, Yesterday’s Eyes, to be published, I was thrilled to get my hands on it and start reading! I really enjoyed this book. It was intriguing, exciting, breathtaking and thought-provoking from the very beginning. The author paints a vivid picture of the characters to help the reader identify with each character.

Yesterday’s Eyes was more than I could have imagined. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. I’m going to have such a hard time waiting to read your next book. In fact I honestly feel like I am going to explode from anticipation!!!

Without reservation, I whole heartily recommend this book! In my humble opinion, this is a bestseller book!!!
Review written by Ms Spirituality

Excerpt: Yesterday’s Eyes

Ida was on her way back home when she saw the ambulance and the squad cars parked in front of her house. Halfway down the block, she could see the white woman escorting Tia out to a car, and she began yelling out Tia’s name while running toward the house. By the time she made it to the steps, the police officers were waiting for her with their questions and handcuffs ready.

“Are you the mother?” one of the officers asked.

“Yes, I am,” she answered in between short and heavy breaths.

“Ma’am, are you aware that one of your children is dead?”

Ida thought about the hundred dollars she had accumulated that night. She thought about all the things she had done and tried not to remember what she’d felt while she was doing them in order to get what she’d needed. But the nausea in her stomach began to rise, and all the dollar bills in the world were not going to be able to settle it. She turned sideways and hunched over. If only he could have held on a little longer! The foul-smelling liquid spewed out of her mouth as the police officer jumped backward. She had the money now! She had enough to buy food and milk that would get all three of them through until the end of the month! She gasped for air before the next round found its way onto the ground. Exhausted from the liquid heaves and other activities no woman should have to engage in, she sat down on the curb next to the squad car.

She held her breath. “Where’s my daughter?”

“She’s being taken to a safe place for the night.”

“Where?” She stood up. “A shelter?” She could not keep her voice steady. “A foster home? Where?”

“Might be either one, ma’am. But I’m going to need you to calm down, turn around, and put your hands behind your back.”

“For what?” She was screaming now. “I just went to get some money so I could feed my kids! Do you know what I had to do to get this money?”

“Ma’am,” the officer raised his voice, “you left two kids alone in the house with no food, and one of them is dead.” He snapped the second handcuff around her slim wrist. “We’re going to have to take you downtown.” He led her, struggling, to the backseat of the squad car.

“Watch your head getting in,” he said.

Ida smirked at the irony of going back to the area that she’d just come from, and she couldn’t decide which was worse-going downtown to sell her body for money or going downtown to sit in a jail cell charged with the death of her baby. As the squad car drove away, she looked up at the window across the street, and just as she suspected, there stood her mother, a distant shadow, doing nothing as always.

( Continued… )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Catherine Flowers. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Sequel: A Sad Soul Can Kill You, coming in May 2015!
Purchase copies of Yesterday’s Eyes


#SantaHelpers: My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey by Annie Clara Brown

My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey
by Annie Clara Brown

“Life is uncertain, but death is sure” is a saying that I heard many years before I started my professional journey in social work. Death is a bleak subject; who wants to discuss dying? Even though the Holy Scriptures speak much about the subject, it is not one of those subjects that the average person is comfortable about discussing. While God is a healer, it remains a mystery why some people with certain illnesses live longer and others die sooner. In the midst of the whys and how comes, many things we will not have an answer to until the return of Christ.

As we have moved from generation to generation, we have learned new ways to take care of a person who has a terminal diagnosis and has been given a time limit on their life. When I was a child people died at home, but they did not have the comforts that have come into existence for people in the twentieth century. So what has changed? It is called hospice…

Annie Clara Brown is passionate about her work in hospice. It is gratifying to have embraced the social work profession in this manner. She cares deeply for her patients and caregivers, and she has developed a healthy sense of humor working in an area that can be demanding physically and emotionally.

My Little People is educational, informative and can be used as a self-help tool/resource for the terminally ill, caregivers, social workers, clergy, counselors, friend of a loved one, and other healthcare professionals. The primary subject matter is hospice and the benefits of having hospice involved in end of life care.

My Little People Book Reviews

My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey is a self-help and educational hospice resource.

“If you are searching for answers about Hospice care this is an extraordinary read. This book not only defines who, what, when, and where of Hospice, but also tells the heartfelt stories of a humbled medical social worker making the best of heart wrenching situations. Ms. Brown addresses many of society’s questions regarding Hospice in general. She ties in her personal experiences to make an informative, yet personal, story to educate individuals and families on Hospice. I enjoyed reading about the various encounters Ms. Brown has experienced. These experiences, most of all, enlightened me to a deeper journey in Hospice Social Work. This book is a must read!”
—Amanda Johnson, MSW

My Little People is a virtual gift to those who read it, in that its author has managed to successfully interconnect valuable, historical hospice social work information for its use in a professional forum and for the sake of the individual battling terminal illness. This book serves as an invaluable tool for any caretaker or loved one navigating the end of life process.
— Marta James Harris, LBSW

Excerpt: From Introduction Part 1

Even with today’s sometimes unfathomable advances in technology, many terminally ill persons and their family members believe that chasing curative care is their only option, and are unaware of both the benefits and accessibility of hospice care. In her new book, Social Worker Annie Clara Brown tells her own story of working with hundreds of terminally ill patients, and provides a vital guide to those considering hospice care for themselves or a loved one.

My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey‘ is part memoir and part guidebook; a game-changing text for those exploring options for making someone’s final days pain-free and harmonious.

So why do I consider it important to write a book on hospice care? One reason is because I believe it is important for social workers, patients, and caregivers to understand how rewarding it is to be able to assist families at one of the most critical times in their lives as the patient is preparing to make a transition from earth to eternity.

Another reason is that as the generation of baby boomers are aging and suffering from terminal diseases, there is going to be a greater need for compassionate social workers to take care of us. Also patients’ caregivers need to understand that they have help available to them so they do not have to take the journey alone. I have witnessed that having hospice in the home and being spared some of the stress of trying to get the patient to a doctor’s appointment or go for tests is invaluable.

Finally, in earlier years, I was a caregiver for several of my family members who suffered from a terminal illness and I had no idea that the option was available to have my family members cared for at home; therefore, it is my personal mission to help educate others about such a vital service to patients and their families. In hindsight, if only I had known some of the following information, some of the wear and tear on my body and unnecessary trips late at night to the hospital could have been avoided. I did not know, but I want you (the readers) to know.

Purchase My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey



#SantaHelpers: My Wife’s Baby by RM Johnson

My Wife’s Baby
by RM Johnson

Does the love for a wife and the jealousy for an infant, warrant murder? 

After ten years of bad dates and worse relationships, Stan is in heaven for he has finally found his soul mate, Erica—a beautiful, caring woman who shares all his beliefs, to include not wanting children. They discussed this over bottles of red wine the night they met and promised, if ever they became a couple, they would remain childless and forever the other’s priority.

One year after being married, Erica tells Stan she’s pregnant: news she’s very happy about. Stan considers talking Erica out of it, but that would mean aborting her child, something he knows Erica would never do.

Two months into the pregnancy, Stan notices changes: times he and Erica enjoyed as a fun-loving childless couple are no longer; Erica’s attention is occupied with all things related to the forthcoming baby, and Stan has gone without sex for months.

The child arrives and things get even worse; Stan feels like an outsider: a stranger living among his wife and her son. Erica gives all her time, attention and love to the infant, leaving none for her husband. Stan becomes envious; he looks at the newborn as a threat, tells himself something must be done—but what? He fights his jealous thoughts, knowing horrible things would happen if he were ever to act on them. But one night while drunk, Stan attempts to make love to his wife but is once again rejected. His pride hurt and feeling disowned, Stan stumbles into the baby’s room with intentions of eliminating his problem once and for all, knowing there can only be one man in Erica’s life. That is the promise his wife had made him on the night they met, and it is the promise he intends to make her keep.


5.0 out of 5 stars written by Paula Wheeler
This book will have you on the edge of your seat like all of his books. RM Johnson you did it again. This book make you reflect on relationships, marriages and most of all promises that was made but never kept.

5.0 out of 5 stars written by Amazon Customer
Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Wow!! Mr. Johnson you truly got me with this story! I was so upset with Stan, through out the entire book, and then…you got me, I never saw that coming! I can’t believe you wrote this story the way you did! Readers, you just HAVE TO read this book! Just get ready, and hold on tight, you will be in for a real SHOCK!!

I don’t like to give away any parts of a book, but just this one time, I am really tempted! I feel like reading it again, now that I know what happened!! Great job Mr. Johnson!

Excerpt—My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer

Twenty stories up, the harsh, cold wind swept across my face, tested my grip, tried to rip them from my hands. Sweat spilled from my brow in large round beads, plopped into the eyes of my wife who dangled from one of my arms. From the other, my thirteen year old daughter clung, crying, begging, “Daddy, daddy! Please don’t let go!”

I can’t remember how we found ourselves here—me hanging, waist deep out the window of our high-rise condo, the two people I loved most in the world, swinging from my ever loosening grasp. My palms were coated with hot sweat, the tendons in my shoulders felt as though they were on fire, would be ripped from their sockets if I didn’t free myself of the weight pulling on them.

Squinting against the pain, so far below us, like tiny diligent ants, I saw the men file from the fire engine—red lights flashing on its roof, attempting to extend some giant ladder, rig a safety net, proposing to catch my wife and child as they plummeted toward the hard concrete. The thought comforted me only momentarily, because I knew those men could not make it happen, that ladder would never reach, the net would never open, at least not in time; a decision had to be made now.

I loved my daughter from the day she was born, from the moment her mother smiled in my face, pressed her warm cheek to mine, whispered in my ear that we were pregnant. I never thought I was the father she deserved, that she was worthy of, but she triumphed in spite of me, always telling me I was her hero, snuggling up to me nights when we watched TV, as though I were her favorite blanket. She made me the best man I could be, forced me to never stop trying to be better. Now hanging from my arm, my little girl glanced down, screamed then turned back to me, wind whipping her hair into her face. I saw the certainty in her eyes; she knew she’d die. I cursed God for putting me here, for making me chose.

“Stan…” my wife moaned, her hands wrapped tight around my wrist, her nails drawing blood from my skin; I saw the red lines crawling down, spiraling around her forearms, but her eyes were calm, she was content, ready to face what she knew was inevitable. “…I’ll be fine. Just let me go.”

My daughter heard her mother, cried out, begged her mom to stop talking like that.

“Dad, you can’t! You have to pull us back up!” My child said. But there was no way that was going to happen, and her mother had to have known the decision I was going to make.

It had taken me a lifetime to find my wife, and when I did, I felt as though I was freed from a search filled with frustration and disappointment, loneliness and uncertainty. After meeting her, I no longer looked back at my mistakes, looked forward to the good I could do, the wonderful life we would have, the beautiful child we would make. We did that.

I kept telling myself we could do it again. The love my wife and I shared could produce another example of our undying devotion to one another, and in that child, we’d see glimpses of the one I had to sacrifice in order to hold onto to my soul mate, to that one in a million I could never recreate or replace. This line of reasoning occurred in a fraction of second, my wife staring up—and knowing me better than anyone alive—she surmised the decision I had reached. Her eyes flashed wide with horror and in her attempt to save our child, she released her hold on me. But I caught her wrist before she fell, held her tighter than I had before.

“No, Stan! No!” My wife cried, begged. “Let me go! Just let me go!”

I turned to my daughter blinking against the tears that practically blinded me. “I love you so much,” I told her.

“Dad?” My little girl said.

“I love you, baby,” I bawled, staring into her eyes, trying to imprint her face forever onto my brain. “I love you so much! God, please forgive me,” I said, shaking my daughter lose, and as punishment for not being strong enough to save them both, forced myself to watch her sink to her death, her eyes filled with terror, one hand stretched out to me, as though I wasn’t the coward that released her, but the hero she had always mistaken me for, that would save her.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, RM Johnson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase My Wife’s Baby: I Am Not A Murderer


RM Johnson
is the author of twenty novels to include, The Harris Men, The Million Dollar Divorce, and the soon to be released, Hate the Air series. He holds an MFA in creative writing, is the recipient of the African American Arts Alliance Award among many others, and he resides in Atlanta, GA.


#SantaHelpers: Virtuous Deception by Leiann B. Wrytes

Virtuous Deception
by Leiann B. Wrytes

Only one thing stood between Frank Mason and his $20 million inheritance — a wife. When he found, Lisa, he didn’t waste any time marrying her, but their fairytale romance was not built to last. Lisa’s infidelity doesn’t go unnoticed, but Frank has his reasons for maintaining his silence. That’s until he uncovers some new information about his step ford wife that lands him in jail. Only then does their picture-perfect life start to unravel, dragging every last skeleton out of his closet.

Lisa Raine was an exotic dancer desperately seeking a way out. Frank Mason posed as the perfect escape. However, Lisa’s ex-lover, Lewis, was not willing to let her go without a price. After years of paying Lewis to keep her past a secret, the money soon dries up, and both Lisa and Lewis are forced to alter their arrangement. Things take a turn for the worse and only one of them may make it out alive.

Michelle Lewis, a private investigator, has managed to avoid mixing business with pleasure until an assignment sends her world colliding into the Mason’s. When Brianna Mason is kidnapped, it is left to Michelle and her boyfriend to find her. Michelle unexpectedly stumbles across startling evidence that will irreversibly alter her and Brianna’s life. Desperate for the truth, Michelle sifts through their families past, ripping old wounds, exposing forbidden relationships, and breaking years of silence to get it. Will the truth set them free or is it only the beginning of their parents arranged virtuous deception?

Excerpt: Virtuous Deception

Lisa inhaled deeply, the cold autumn air filling her aching lungs. This moment had been a long time coming. She wondered if the earth felt her vibration, if he knew how much she needed this. She rose to her feet anxiously awaiting her turn. Lisa had not intended on sharing this moment with so many, but out of all the people present, his was the only familiar face. The soft ground was porous, its delicate constitution nearly mirroring her fragile state of mind. Even in her flats, it was difficult to keep her feet from sinking into the earth during the walk. The air felt different as she drew near to his side, each step speaking to the miracle of her living. Before long it was time as she stood beside the man she had loved. She brazenly ran her fingers across his cold, full lips, and etched them along his square jaw line. He was beautiful lying there.

As tears filled her eyes, she let them roam over his six-foot frame and drink in his chocolate features. It was certainly worth the wait. His wife had chosen well; his navy blue suit was impeccable. The brother was designed for Tom Ford. She stifled a moan as memories flooded her mind. She could still feel him. For a moment she longed for more time before dismissing the thought as quickly as it came. As she turned to leave, she shot a quick glance at the weeping widow. The poor girl didn’t know the man she married. She chuckled at the thought and raised her face to the peaking sun. The rays highlighted her caramel complexion. A smile found its way out as she departed the funeral grounds. She sighed with relief. The bastard was dead and Lisa was free.

…Three weeks earlier

Lisa sat on the edge of the bed and fumbled with the zipper on her dark denim jeans. She had spent the better half of the last thirty minutes, vainly, trying to repair it. She looked out the window and admired the view from the penthouse suite. She was impressed. The soft white sand against the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea made for a truly breathtaking scene. Charlie caught her by surprise with this but the trip was only prolonging the inevitable. Their getaways were becoming too commonplace, risky, but Lisa could never turn down a trip to Saint Maarten. She felt like the air wrapped itself around her there. She could only guess that was why Charlie suggested it.

Charlie began as a random Instagram snapshot and it would’ve ended with their drunken dance beneath sheets had Lisa not received a special request every day for three weeks. Though she should have probably been alarmed by the persistent, nearly stalker, vibe, she was turned on by it instead. Giving up on zipping her jeans Lisa walked out onto the balcony. There was something about the water that gave her peace. She lost her thoughts in the waves. Frank. She was missing Frank, her husband. For a second she wondered how she had arrived at this intersection in her life, a point where no available direction seemed optimal.

Lisa hoped it was not too late to go back. Charlie might have had her singing a sweet melody in the early morning hours, but Charlie was no Frank. Frank alone had the power to alter her soul, if he cared enough to try. Lisa loved Frank but he failed her. Frank lost his ambition, his drive. She had big plans before she met Frank. Plans before her heart nestled with his and on the eve of the big “4-0,” she felt like her life was losing its hue. Frank had only managed to provide her with moments of greatness when she wanted a lifetime.

Those two words, “I do,” changed everything. They changed Frank. Frank was a six-foot-four inch bronzed demigod. He was gorgeous, and for two decades she’d been waiting for her husband to WOW her, waiting for the all-consuming fire that she dreamt her marriage would be. Frank was the kind of man movies were made of, the kind that melted in your mouth. She was convinced her life would be amazing, but that fire never really blazed. The memory was still fresh, still hurt. After only one week of marital bliss, Frank made a decision that changed their lives forever.

The Mason’s weren’t ready to be parents and since they had planned to honeymoon for a year via a private cruise around the world, they were obviously aware of this truth. Their parentage was a stipulation, a business move. It may have seemed cruel, heartless, but their lifestyle was one they individually and, in this case, collectively, went to great lengths to maintain. Frank proposed after a mere three months of dating but Lisa didn’t mind. She was relieved. Lisa Raine had plans had for that twenty million, falling in love simply sweetened the deal.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Leiann B. Wrytes. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Meet the Author
Leiann B. Wrytes
is an author, poet, and playwright. Leiann found a love for words early on as a spoken word poet and was inducted into the International Society of Poets at 15 years of age. She went on to become a staff writer for her high school newspaper, editor of her church’s newsletter, and that of the local Key Club, a volunteer organization on campus. Leiann has since then performed spoke word poetry at numerous events and had a stage play performed to a modest audience which received good reviews. Leiann’s background is in customer service but writing has always been her first love. Leiann B. Wrytes currently resides in Dallas, TX with her family feverishly working on her sophomore novel.

Virtuous Deception by Leiann B. Wrytes
Genre: Contemporary Romance


#SantaHelpers: Tyree’s Love Triangle by Charmaine Galloway

Tyree’s Love Triangle
by Charmaine Galloway

Things aren’t always what they seem and that’s certainly true for Tyree Bell, a handsome and successful businessman with a wife and child who adores him. On the outside it appears he has it all together. On the inside he’s holding onto something so immoral, if ever it’s revealed his perfect family could be forever destroyed, but only after he lost his life. How long can Tyree keep his skeletons in the closet? Will he let go of his sin and let God take care of him? Or will he carry his secrets to the grave and go insane in the process?

Excerpt from Tyree’s Love Triangle

The house was dark, quiet, and it seemed empty, but still he maneuvered carefully, not willing to relax until he got to the bottom of things. So he continued searching for her, searching for anything and anyone that could have been the source of her hysteria.

He’d rushed to the house after receiving a call from her, a call in which she was crying hysterically. She has to be in serious danger from the way she screeched, was all he could think as he drove through stop signs and sped through yellow lights to rescue her.

With sweaty hands a rapid heartbeat, he drove as fast as he could to get to her and save her from whatever was causing her to be in such a traumatic state of mind. He hadn’t known what to expect when he arrived.

He entered the living room with caution, that’s when he saw her, sitting on the loveseat in the dark staring at the wall. Her face twisted in anguish. She’s alive, thank God!

“What’s going on?” Tyree squinted his eyes as he stared at her, watching her rock back and forth like an addict fiending for their next hit, his vision trying to adjust to the darkness.

Realizing that she was okay, his heart began to beat at a steady pace. He knew she was there alone and he could now put his guard down. But as soon as he made his presence known, she rose from her seat like her butt was on fire and Tyree’s guard immediately went back up.

“Tyree, how could you?” she spoke as if she was mentally tormented. “How could you lie to me and hurt me this way?” Anguish poured from her voice. She charged towards him with rage pumping through her veins. She was furious as she glared into his eyes.

Tyree was silent. He looked at her with his forehead creased with confusion. He was caught off guard at her rage towards him. He had thought that someone harmed her, but he saw that the commotion was all because of him.

“I loved you,” she spat with fury rumbling in her chest. “You are the only man I have ever loved,” she declared as she looked at him with venom in her eyes. “I can’t believe I gave myself to you and you took advantage of me you filthy bastard!” She shouted so hard that it sounded as if she would bust a blood vessel, so hard that it made her lose her voice. “Why me, Tyree?” Her heart thumped against her chest as she waited for him to answer.

Tyree looked at her with sorrow in his eyes.

He knew that she had been upset with him since they had their last conversation a week ago, but now he could see why she was sobbing uncontrollably over the phone. She was hurt, hurt from the pain he had caused her.

All he wanted to do was to comfort her and to tell her that he was sorry for hurting her. “Please calm down and stop crying.” He pulled her close and caressed her head against his chest. He had been a fool, a reckless and careless fool, and he prayed that she would somehow find it in her heart to forgive him. He cared for her deeply and hoped they could work things out.

Intense anger made her push away from him. As she took a step back she wiped her eyes with her sleeve and said sharply, “Calm down?” “Don’t you dare tell me to calm down! You hurt me to the core and you have the audacity to tell me to calm down!”

She stepped closer to him and continued her rant through clenched teeth as she pointed her finger in his face. “You lied to me. You used me you… You selfish, good for nothing…” She paused in mid-sentence, realizing her words were not enough to express the pain she was feeling.

She was sure that she wasn’t getting through to him with the daggers she threw at him with her words. She wanted him to hurt like she hurt. She wanted him to feel the pain that he caused her deep down in her soul. She then turned her neck, her eyes darting around the room in search of something. That’s when it hit her. Then she staggered towards the kitchen.

Tyree was filled with anxiety as he watched her search a drawer next to the stove in the kitchen. He knew what that drawer contained and his mind immediately went into shock. Then she turned her body towards him and charged at him with a butcher’s knife. He wasn’t ready for her attack.

Fear distorted his face as he looked at her, at the tears falling from her eyes, the thick, black mascara running down her cheeks. Her mind was gone. He looked back at the knife in her hand and realized that her intent was to hurt him, if not kill him.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Charmaine Galloway. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Listen to the author reading from Tyree’s Love Triangle:

Purchase Tyree’s Love Triangle by Charmaine Galloway


#SantaHelpers: Golden by Charmaine Galloway

by Charmaine Galloway

Twenty year old Golden Brown was a complete mess. On the outside she was cool, calm, and collected. On the inside she was hiding secrets so deep and so dark that thoughts of them made her sick to her stomach and often sent her spiraling into a psychosis that required medication to pull her out. She trusted no one, had faith in no one, got close to no one. But when Marquis Jones, the man of her dreams, came along, everything began to change.

No longer was she able to bury the past in the dredges of her mind. Now it was time to face the demons that had been plaguing her since she was a child. But could Golden do it? Could she conquer a past so sinister it almost killed her just as it had killed another. Or was she destined to let it defeat her and destroy life as she knew it?

Book Review from Amazon Customer – 5 Stars by KAH

This is a beautifully “MUST READ” written story about a woman who has been through a very traumatic childhood and has a strong God Fearing man that stood by her every step of the way without knowing the horrible secrets she fought with everyday of her life. This story hit home for me in so many ways that I felt Ms. Galloway was inside my head that I cried reading some parts. You are a very talented God Fearing woman, I loved how you took us through the life and struggles of Miss Golden Brown, you made us as readers feel her pain and happiness and incorporating God’s word to let us know that with him you can make it through ANYTHING. Keep doing what you’re doing and may God continue to Bless You, your mind, body and soul to produce the work that will touch others lives in a special way. God Bless KAH

Book Review from Amazon Customer – 5 Stars by Alisha

I loved every page of this book. Charmaine Galloway never disappoints me. When I pick up one of her books I know that the book will in some way touch me. I can’t say much because I don’t want to ruin the book for others but I have to say Golden is a strong woman and she deserved everything she got at the end. Charmaine, I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us readers in 2014, I hope to see many more books written by you in the near future. You have a gift to not only tell a great story but to send a message after all your books. This is a 5 star book and I will be recommending this book to everyone I know that reads!!!

Excerpt from Golden

“Who did this to you?” Ms. Thomas cried out. She continued without waiting for me to answer. “Golden, your face is busted up pretty badly, you are going to need medical attention. Ms. Jones call the paramedics and when they arrive, direct them to my office.” Ms. Jones didn’t say a word as she walked out and followed Ms. Thomas’ demands.

“Golden, please talk to me, Sweetie, you know you can confide in me,” she said as she held me in her arms.

It had been a long time since I had felt a warm, tender, caring touch and not a touch that would scar me or leave me with guilt and humiliation. I held on to her tightly and sobbed in her arms as I thought of all I had been through the past year. When I finally built up the strength and courage to talk to her, I pushed away from her and that’s when I saw the blood from my face all over her shoulder.

“Ms. Thomas, I’m so sorry for ruining your shirt. I didn’t know I was bleeding that bad.”

“It’s okay, Golden,” she said reassuringly. “What I need from you right now is for you to tell me what happened to you,” she said as she looked me in my eyes.

Something about the sincerity in her voice made me believe she could help me, let me know she was trustworthy. Before I could stop my mouth from moving, I spoke, “I came here because you are the only one I can trust, there is no one else I can talk to. I need you Ms. Thomas. I have so much pain inside of me and I need to let it out before I go crazy. Uhhhhhhh”, I yelled as I felt the pressure in my chest.

“Ok Golden, just breathe. Take a seat and just calm down. Here, let me wrap my coat around you, you’re cold and wet from being in the rain. You don’t have to talk right now. I am going to get you to a hospital and I’m going to go with you. I don’t want you to work yourself up, so just relax,” she said, trying to make me comfortable.

“Ms. Thomas, you don’t know the life I’ve been living and I want out. Promise me that I will never have to enter my home again! Please, promise me,” I begged.

“I’ll make sure you’re in a safe place, I promise you. Just breathe girl, before you pass out,” she said, full of concern.

She placed my head against her chest and gently rubbed the back of my head. I swallowed hard as a lump of fear rose from my stomach to my throat. What would I say to anyone who asked me what happened? I began to shake. I didn’t know what was going to happen.

The EMTs came into the office and checked my vitals before putting me on a stretcher and pushing me to the ambulance. Ms. Thomas stayed by my side the whole time. But I could never tell her or anyone the whole truth because he would kill me.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Charmaine Galloway. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Golden by Charmaine Galloway

Her Pain, Her Secrets, Her Story
Watch the Book Trailer:

Books by Charmaine Galloway


#SantaHelpers: Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice

Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice
by Marian L. Thomas 

Author Marian L. Thomas delivers a hilarious, yet candid discussion of why she made the life-long decision to remain childless. This chapbook has the perfect blend of non-fiction and fictional elements that make it the perfect recipe for a delightful read.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “Millennial-focused media is just beginning to recognize this emerging mindset and celebrities are popularizing and glamorizing this path, too, with powerful women like Chelsea Handler, Zooey Deschanel and Cameron Diaz leading the charge.”

Thomas said it’s a myth that she just doesn’t like children. “It’s like saying, I don’t like ice cream. I don’t want to make it, but I certainly enjoy it on occasion. Similarly, I don’t want children, but I certainly do love children…I don’t want to babysit them either (just in case any of my friends are reading this book). I’m okay with being childless!”

Another article from the Huffington Post reported the happiest couples are those without children– at least, that’s according to research out of the United Kingdom’s Open University. The study titled “Enduring Love?” found that childless married and unmarried couples reported being more satisfied in life and feeling more valued by their partners than did pairs with kids. Unmarried parents were found to be slightly happier than married parents.”

Thomas was also quoted as stating: “Being childless, is not a revolution. Being childless can be a good decision for you. Your decision to remain childless doesn’t need validation from others.”

Pre-orders for this entertaining new book started on November 7, 2014 and the official release date is January 20, 2015. For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website: 

Order on Kindle:

Print Edition:


#SantaHelpers: A Vision of Angels: The Battle Begins by Alexandra Lane

A Vision of Angels: The Battle Begins
by Alexandra Lane (2nd Edition)

What happens when you’re born into a world of darkness where there are no choices? Where the undercurrents of evil are so strong you can’t fight your way out. What do you do?

Minty, a slave, was born into a world that offered no solace, no happiness but more than anything, no hope. But on a cold, bitter night, Minty will be forced into making one of the hardest decisions of her life; to leave everyone that she knows and loves behind. Her decision will bring forth an evil that will stop at nothing to keep her from reaching her destiny. For it knows, it sees what Minty does not.

Jack, a loner with a dark past, and a few men will pursue her in the dark swamps of Maryland, along with Red, a sinister gray-eyed man who is the perfect embodiment of evil.

Unaware of what’s waiting for him at Little Canyon, Jack will be faced with unbelievable events that will cast him into some of the most frightening experiences of his life. A weary search, wrought with unexplainable happenings, will begin to take its toll. Fateful choices will be made. Choices that will bring about an unimaginable outcome.

This story is a looking glass into the world of angels and the incredible feats they performed for the sake of these two lives. To understand why, you will have to read the story. This is about hope in the face of hopelessness and redemption when one feels there is none.

Chapter Excerpt: The Beginning

Minty has just suffered a horrific beating by one of the slave masters who believed she and a few other slaves were trying to escape. She’s lying on the ground unconscious because the pain was unconscionable. Zacharius, one of the young male slaves picks her up and takes her to her mother, Old Rit. This is a pivotal moment in the book.  (Readers, please keep in mind these are slaves, so they will speak differently.)

Zacharias quickly carried Minty to her mother’s quarters and stood before the door, kicking it and yelling for Old Rit to let him in. Old Rit opened the door with concern etched in her face. When she saw her daughter’s flaccid body draped in the young man’s arms, her eyes immediately reflected the fear that rose up inside her.

“She ain’t dead! She jus’ passed out,” said Zacharias.

Old Rit looked up at the young man to make sure she heard him correctly.

“She ain’t dead,” he repeated.

“Take her and lay her in dah bed.”

Old Rit scrambled around the room looking for salve and clean rags.

Zacharias gently laid Minty on the bed and then turned toward Old Rit with the front of his shirt soaked with her blood.

“I’s kin fetch some water from dah well fo’ ya, but den I’s gotta go and work dah fields befo’ old man

Brodess finds out where I is.”

Then Zacharias grabbed a small tin bucket on the floor and ran out the door.

As many times as Old Rit had seen her daughter like this, it never got any easier, for tears would still well up in her eyes, but this was the worst she had seen.

Almost immediately, Zacharias returned with the bucket, and with water spilling everywhere, he fretfully placed it on the floor in front of Old Rit then quickly left out running toward the lumber yard.

As she sat cleaning Minty’s cuts, she began to think about her daughter’s plight and what her end would be on this earth. Minty thought she had a right to humanity and to freedom, and because of that very thought, she was subjected to many beatings. She knew Minty’s stubborn nature, along with her illness, would either get her killed or sold, for she was as rebellious as a wild stallion.

However, some of the younger slaves didn’t agree with her ways. They said she was a twenty-seven-year old married woman, and she should know better. They never quite understood why she just wouldn’t humble herself and simply follow the master’s rules as they did.

After regaining consciousness, Minty realized she was lying on her mother’s bed, naked and bleeding. With her jaws tight and her face stern, she secretly promised herself and God that Ben would never beat her again.

“Ouch!” Minty yelled as her mother sat by her side spreading salve on the open wounds. But the constant writhing from the sting of the herbal ointments was making it difficult for Old Rit to apply.

“Now you’s gotta try and lie still why I’s fix yo wounds ‘cause you’s got quite a few of dem dis time,” she said.

“It hurts, Momma!”

“I’s know, baby, but you’s gotta go through dah pain to get to dah healin’.” Then silence filled the room as Old Rit worked on her daughter’s body like a skilled doctor.

“I’s had enough, Momma,” Minty suddenly said, breaking the silence. “I’s can’t take no mo. Two days ago, Zacharias told me ’bout a white man, a abolishnist that was helpin’ slaves scape ta dah North. So ’bout three months ago, I’s went to ’im, and he gave me a map showin’ me how ta get ta dah river where’s a boat would be waitin’ that would take me up north, close ta a place called a safe house,” she explained.

“Is that what got ya like dis? Minty, ba—”

“No, Momma!” Minty shouted. “I’s got no choice.”

“Minty, you’s can’t trust ‘im, baby. You’s don’t know nuttin’ ’bout ’im.”

“If I stay, I’s gonna die.” Minty paused. “I’s gonna die, Momma. And I don’t wanna die. Not like dis… not like dis.” Then Minty broke down and began to cry.

Old Rit tearfully looked at her daughter then reached down to embrace her, but she quickly let her go when Minty screamed out from the painful touch.

Then she leaned back and looked at Minty’s body. She saw the deep bloody cuts, her bruised and busted lip, and the welt marks that were grotesquely displayed on her body. She realized that her daughter survived, once again, but the day would come when she would not. She gently rubbed Minty’s head and began to slowly shake her head in agreement.

Old Rit could see that Minty’s once vibrant spirit was slowly fading, not only from the beatings but from the struggle to be free. She knew that it was out of her hands and that it was now in God’s.

Then suddenly the door to Old Rit’s quarters violently flew open. Minty’s husband, John, burst into the room. Minty raised her head. Then she strained a little harder, looking into his eyes. Her face quickly changed.

John, a tall, average-built man, stood in the doorway breathing heavily with his chest visibly heaving up and down. He had run all the way from town when he heard the news of Minty’s savage beating. Seeing her battered body and her blood-soaked clothes lying on the floor next to the bed was more than he could take. He was neither happy nor thrilled at the fact that Minty was still alive. Instead, he was furious.

“I’s told you you’d get a beatin’ if you didn’t learn ta shut yo mouth!” he said. “Sneakin’ round here, always talkin’ bout escapin’. Where’s ya gonna go? You’s need ta stop thinkin’ you’s better than everyone else. Thinkin’ you’s kin say or do whateva you’s want. Have ya forgot that you’s a slave?” Then he slammed his fist against the door, making a small dent. “Well, let me help ya! You’s a slave, dammit!”

John abruptly turned to leave out the small quarters, but he turned back around and pointed his calloused finger at Minty.

“You’s best start thinkin’ ’bout how you’s gonna change yo ways befo’ you get both o’ us kilt.”

Then he turned and walked out the door, slamming it behind him. He slammed it so hard that it rebounded off the framed doorway and swung back open.

“Minty, he’ll neva understand how you’s feel. He be a free man, bone that way. You’s runnin’ away and gettin’ yo freedom means him losin’ his wife and bein’ alone. Ya see how he acts when you’s talk ta him ’bout bein’ free. You’s kin see it in his eyes. He don’t want ya ta leave, and he’ll do whateva he can ta stop it. Even said he’ll tell ole man Brodess if you’s kept talkin’ bout it. You knows dis ta be true.”

Minty slowly laid her head back down and blankly stared at the open doorway. Something was changing…something in her.

Then unexpectedly, in the midst of staggering summer heat, the whisper of a cool breeze blew in through the open doorway and encircled Minty’s face and body. The breeze felt as if God was blowing his divine breath upon her battered and bruised body. So Minty closed her eyes and welcomed the comfort that the cool breeze bestowed upon her stinging wounds.

Old Rit looked at her daughter and smiled as she gently rubbed her head, for as the old folk would say, God was whispering to her soul.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Alexandra Lane. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase A Vision of Angels: The Battle Begins

Historical Fiction, Suspense, Inspirational, and Christian Fiction

Barnes and 


#SantaHelpers: Black Pearls Magazine Featured Books

Black Pearls Magazine Featured Books
Click the covers to HEAR authors read from the books or to view excerpts.



#SantaHelpers: Christmas Greetings by Pat Simmons

Christmas Greetings by Pat Simmons

For every bad holiday memory, there are good ones waiting to be created. And maybe, just maybe, all it takes is a greeting card to mend broken hearts.

Saige Carter loves everything about Christmas: the shopping, the food, the lights, and of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without family and friends to share in the traditions they’ve created together.

Daniel Washington is no Scrooge, but he’d rather skip the holidays altogether than spend them with his estranged family. After one too many arguments around the dinner table one year, Daniel had enough and walked away from the drama. As one year has turned into many, no one seems willing to take the first step toward reconciliation.

Saige is extra excited about her line of Christmas greeting cards hitting store shelves right before the holiday. As Daniel reads one of her cards, he’s unsure if words are enough to erase the pain and bring about forgiveness. Daniel and Saige’s story will stay with you long after the tree is taken down and the Christmas lights are turned off.

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

Sneak Peek from Christmas Greetings by Pat Simmons

“Okay, ladies, remember, we’re all are going undercover,” Saige Carter reminded her accomplices with glee at the thought of being scandalous. From her home computer, she stared at her five friends that were in the video chat room with her, one of them her childhood and closest—Maxi Winters.

They all had pledged their allegiance to her cause—staking out their area retails stores to spy on customers. “Remember, be subtle. Whatever you do don’t bring attention to yourself or our mission.” They were to target three cities, more if she had more commitment, but still Saige would take any volunteers she could get. At thirty years old, she was about to see her dream come true.

The covert operation would take place at three retail stores within the St. Louis area; the other two in their respective cities of Indianapolis and Kansas City. Saige noted the time, “We better get to our locations. Let’s get our party started!” She grinned and raised her arms in the air like a cheerleader.

“Let’s not get arrested,” Maxi countered.

This was the day she hoped to make her mark on the art world like Brenda Joysmith had with her figurines, Annie Lee with her paintings, and Harriet Rosebud with her stylish hats on miniature mannequin heads. True, Hallmark’s Mahogany greeting card line was one of the first choices for African-American cards, but she wanted her cards to have such a personal touch that people could pick them out in a line up, or in a bin with hundreds of others.

But this was more than about her. It had been the Lord Jesus who nudged her in this direction. Bowing her head, she whispered a quick prayer, “Thank you for this is a talent You’ve given me, but in the end let my work be a blessing to someone in need, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Shutting down her computer, Saige stood and surveyed her attire in her bedroom mirror. She had to dress the part just right. She wanted to look like any other consumer walking in off the street, so as not to draw attention to her subtle methods of persuasion. The black turtleneck always complemented her high cheek bones on her brown sugar skin tone whenever she brushed up her hair into a ball on top of her head. Saige smoothed down her long denim skirt, then slipped her stocking feet into leather boots that added a couple of inches to her five-feet-seven inch height.

With her car keys in hand, she put on her black jacket and wrapped a colorful scarf around her neck. “Ready.” She took a deep breath and left her second floor, two bedroom apartment that was twenty minutes from her parents’ spacious home in Hazelwood, Missouri, a suburb in St. Louis County.

Crossing Whispering Cove’s parking lot, she climbed into her Elantra. Although she loved living on her own, Saige hoped to be married one day and fill her home with children—three to be exact. Maybe it was wishful thinking as an only child. But the man-picking was in God’s hands. Until then, she had a mission.

She had memorized her schedule as she headed to her first destination: Walgreens, Target, then CVS. According to Sunshine Greetings, her company, those stores should have received their batches of new Christmas greeting cards that morning, which should include hers.

In less than thirty minutes, Saige had arrived at her first location. “Yes.” She smirked as she circled the crowded parking lot at Walgreens in North County. Hopefully, the greeting cards aisle would be swamped. Getting out of her car, she strolled through the automatic doors. She took a couple of glances down various aisles before making a beeline to her destination.

Walgreens should have twelve of her cards in various categories whether it was sympathy, anniversary or Merry Christmas—Saige had done them all. However, the Lord had led her.

If she did well, she would have a freelance commitment at Sunshine Greetings, a small, but top twenty greeting card line with Hallmark Cards and American Greetings dominating the market.

Despite the store teaming with customers, no one was milling around in the greeting card aisle. Her shoulders slumped and her steps slowed. Now, what? She couldn’t possibly go and drag people from the pharmacy or cosmetic section to the greeting card aisle.

Okay, regroup, Saige Adele Carter, she coaxed herself. Quickly shaking off the disappointment, Saige regrouped and began to browse through the cards for hers. Her eyes misted as she reached out and fingered the 3-D image on her card that served a dual purpose as a Christmas/birthday celebration. The artwork of a snow scene inside a snow globe seemed so real. Opening it, Saige stared at the words she had penned.

The world rejoiced when Jesus was born. God gave us a King on your birthday, so walk in royalty as the prince or princess you are. She turned the card over and stared at her name Saige Carter. She patted her chest in awe and mumbled a soft, “Thank You, Jesus” when she really wanted to commandeer the store’s PA system like in a Kmart commercial and direct everyone to her aisle as if there was a red tag sale on greeting cards.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pat Simmons. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Christmas Greetings

Meet the Author
Pat Simmons
is the multi-published author of several single titles and eBook novellas, and is a two-time recipient of Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

As a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth, Pat is passionate about researching her ancestors, then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.

Currently, overseeing the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions, Pat has a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.

Pat has converted her sofa-strapped, sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and her administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.


#SantaHelpers: Kenton’s Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie

Kenton’s Vintage Affair
by Janice L. Dennie

Unemployed chef, Briana Rutledge, inherits a cottage on one thousand acres of land in California’s Napa Valley, making her a millionaire. She sets out to turn the cottage into her dream restaurant. But others have agendas to destroy Briana and her plans.

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting women and children. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood has been betrayed and no longer believes women need his protection. He has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. But Briana harbors a deep seated fear that prevents their future happiness. Kenton has also been scarred by an obsession that fuels his competitive behavior. Can their relationship survive Kenton’s obsession and Briana’s fear?

Excerpt from Kenton’s Vintage Affair 

Author reading:

“Want some wine?”

“Sure, I’ll have a glass.”

Kenton walked over to the butler’s pantry to select a bottle of wine. He grabbed two red wine glasses, a corkscrew and walked back to the sofa. After leaving the wine bottle on the coffee table, he walked over to his Bose docking station and selected the John Legend song, Best You Ever Had from his iPod. As the music began to play, and the base thumped, Kenton sang along with the song. Baby tonight’s the night….

The excitement of hearing Kenton’s melodic voice singing along with the music added shine to Briana’s eyes. She watched Kenton hold out his hands beckoning her to dance with him. He pulled her up from the sofa. “Come on baby let’s dance.” A faint light twinkled in the depths of his eyes when he pulled her up, holding her around her waist. He pressed her body to his, spinning, swaying and dipping her. Briana realized he was stepping Chicago style. Determined to keep up with his pace, Briana felt dizzy following his lead. She hadn’t stepped in a long time, but the movements came back, like riding a bike. Briana felt alive dancing, spinning, swaying, dipping and twirling in Kenton’s arms.

Kenton complimented her. “You’re a good dancer,” he said, holding her in his embrace. He continued to sing along with the song. I don’t wanna brag…. Briana grinned and leaned her head back in delight. He slowed down, and sang into her hair I’ll be the best you’ve ever had….

“You remembered my favorite artist.” Briana closed her eyes as she laughed. The sound of the music, the smoothness of Kenton’s dancing and singing fascinated Briana. Kenton was the best man she’d ever known.

“How could I forget?” Kenton said in between words to the song.

Briana began to sing along with Kenton. They sang her favorite part simultaneously with loud voices, the best you ever had…. They both paused for a few seconds which felt like an eternity. Within seconds, Briana snapped back into real time, although she felt as if she’d been hanging in space for hours. Looking into Kenton’s eyes, she melted in the tenderness of his gaze.

Kenton twirled her around and then pulled her close. Staring into her eyes, he gave Briana a smoldering look. “How did you like that?”

( Continues… )

Copyright © 2014 by Janice L. Dennie. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. 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 like this promotional excerpt.

Purchase Kenton’s Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood’s of Napa Valley Book 1
Purchase your copy: 


#SantaHelpers: A CHRISTMAS PRAYER by Kimberla Lawson Roby

by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Alexis Fletcher hasn’t had a merry Christmas in five years-not since her mother passed away. Every December she remembers the joy her mother brought to everyone during the holiday season and feels the pain of her absence, even more so now that she and her sister are barely speaking. More than anything, Alexis wishes her family could be whole again.

However, with her wedding fast approaching, Alexis might just be ready to make some holiday memories with a new family of her own. Alexis’s fiancé, Chase Dupont, is everything she ever dreamed of. He’s kind, handsome, fully supportive of Alexis’s career, and the CEO of a large company. But outside forces threaten to derail this happy couple from ever reaching the altar.

As tensions rise, a dramatic event causes Alexis to question everything. Will fate give her what she needs to finally embrace the season that has brought her so much pain? Will Alexis get her wish for a happy holiday? Or will her Christmas prayer go unanswered? 

Chapter 1 – A Christmas Prayer 

It was Black Friday, and while millions of folks were out chasing some of the most colossal deals of the century, all Alexis wanted was for this whole Christmas season to be over with. There were times when she wished she could feel differently, but ever since her mom had passed away five years ago, she hadn’t wanted anything to do with it. Of course, she did still recognize and mentally rejoice at the beautiful birth of Christ, but when it came to huge family celebrations and festive gatherings, she wanted no parts of them. What she did instead, mostly, was pray that New Year’s Day would come as quickly as possible so she could get on with her life.

Alexis curled her body into a tighter ball, picked up the remote control, and looked toward the flat-screen television on her bedroom wall. It was shortly past one in the afternoon, yet she still lay in her dark mahogany sleigh-style bed with her pajamas on. She just didn’t feel like doing anything, and the fact that almost every news channel she turned to showed massive shopping crowds and footage of customers and workers being trampled, well, that made Alexis want to turn off the TV altogether. As it was, she had already been trying her best to avoid every one of those sappy Hallmark Christmas card commercials, and she’d certainly been staying clear of one of her personal favorites—the Hallmark Channel itself, since they were doing what they did every year: airing those depressing Christmas movies day in and day out, twenty-four seven .

If only her mom were still here, Alexis would be so much happier. Even now, she couldn’t help thinking about how much her mom had loved, loved, loved Christmas. It had been by far her favorite holiday, and she’d adored it so much that she would immediately begin decorating the day after Thanksgiving. She would celebrate in various other ways, too, the entire month of December, including playing some of her favorite Christmas carols, such as “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger,” and “The First Noel.” Then, on the twenty-fifth, she would host a huge family dinner. She bought gifts for everyone, she baked and cooked and baked and cooked some more, and on Christmas afternoon, she would say, “I almost hate to see the sun go down, because Christmas will be just about over.”

This was how it had always been, and it was because of these kinds of sentiments that Alexis was full of happy childhood memories. She even had fond memories from her adult life…that is, until her mom had passed. Now her heart was consumed only with sadness.

Alexis flipped through more channels, sighing heavily. But then she came upon one of her favorite movies, This Christmas, starring Loretta Devine, Regina King, and Idris Elba. She could tell the movie had been on for a while because Chris Brown was already walking toward the front of the church, preparing to sing…“This Christmas.” Alexis watched and listened, though she wasn’t sure why she tortured herself this way, because not once had she ever watched this scene without breaking into tears. It was such a reminder of her mom and the way she had loved and doted on her family. It also reminded Alexis of how her mom had taught her children exceedingly strong Christian values. She’d raised Alexis and her younger sister, Sabrina, to treat all people the way they wanted to be treated and to keep God and family first in their lives. The two of them had been very blessed to have such a loving, caring, and compassionate mother—and it meant everything.

Alexis watched Chris Brown singing from the depths of his soul and then saw family members standing and walking into the church aisle, embracing one another. It was after this that Alexis’s eyes welled up with tears, and she cried uncontrollably. She missed her mother so tremendously that her chest ached. Then, to make matters worse, the next scene showcased the entire family gathered around the dinner table. They looked as though they couldn’t be happier, and Alexis couldn’t help thinking how this was the way she’d once felt, too.

But as the saying went, that was then and this was now. Her mother was gone, and as far as Alexis was concerned, there wasn’t a single thing or person that could make her feel better about it, not even the people Alexis loved. Paula, her best friend since childhood, had been trying to lift her Christmas spirit for years, and so had Alexis’s fiancé, Chase, for the time he’d known her. But if anything, Alexis seemed to feel sadder with each passing year. In fact, this year she’d begun dreading the whole idea of Christmas as early as September. She wasn’t sure what had set her off, exactly; all she knew was that not long after Labor Day, the thought of Christmas had entered her mind and she’d become depressed. It was as if the simplest anticipation of it all had been enough to ruin Alexis’s day, which was the reason she’d taken that particular afternoon off. This hadn’t been hard to do, since she was self-employed as a motivational speaker and her hours were flexible, but she still hated that mere thoughts of Christmas affected her so gravely.

It also didn’t help that she and her sister, Sabrina, were usually at odds about one thing or another. Alexis and Sabrina had never gotten along the way sisters should. They were just too different, she guessed. But at least when their mom had been alive, they’d worked harder at it and tolerated each other more. Now, Alexis practically had to beg to see her niece, Courtney, and there were times when Sabrina still told her no just to be spiteful. The two of them had a lot of bad history, but that was a whole other story and one Alexis didn’t want to think about because it was far too distressing.

As one thought after another raced through her mind, Alexis wept like a child. She was miserable, and she wished she could sleep for the next week. She knew this wasn’t logical, but she just wanted this awful pain to go away. She wanted to be at peace, and before long, she glanced over at the bottle of amitriptyline on her wooden nightstand. Her doctor had prescribed it for insomnia, and although she only took one ten-milligram pill at bedtime, and sometimes only half a pill, she contemplated taking much more. Or maybe all she needed to do was take two of them, because she knew one woman who took twenty-five milligrams for unexplained abdominal pain and another who took more than that for depression. If Alexis only took twenty milligrams, she wouldn’t be overdoing it, and she also wouldn’t likely wake up until many hours from now—meaning she wouldn’t have to think about the loss of her mom or anything relating to family or Christmas. She would simply be able to sleep away her sadness, and by tomorrow, Black Friday and all the hoopla surrounding it would be over. She was sure the media would continue covering all the shopping stories throughout the weekend as well as on Cyber Monday, but at least the biggest shopping day of the year would have ended, and she’d be one day closer to January 1.

All she had to do was bide her time, and things would return to normal. They had to, because after all, she and Chase were getting married in June, and the last thing she wanted was to be an unhappy bride. She was engaged to the man of her dreams, and she looked forward to becoming Mrs. Chase Dupont III. This was what she kept telling herself, anyway—especially since her future mother-in-law was the most heartless woman she’d ever met. Still, what woman in her right mind wouldn’t be thrilled about marrying a man like Chase? He was gorgeous, well educated, and CEO of a Fortune 500 company called Borg-Freeman Technologies—which, interestingly enough, was the same position his father had held for years before his passing. He’d also placed a five-karat ring on her finger, and he truly loved her. By most people’s standards, Chase was everything a woman could hope for, so Alexis tried to remember that.

But for now, she reached over and picked up her pill bottle, opened it, swallowed two pills with water, and lay back down. She closed her eyes and smiled. In a few moments, she’d be sound asleep and wouldn’t have to think about Christmas at all…and she certainly wouldn’t have to think about Chase’s mother—or the disastrous time she’d had with them yesterday during Thanksgiving dinner. She wouldn’t have a problem in the world, and just knowing that made her feel better already.

(  Continued…  )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. 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.

Purchase A Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby


View the full list of places and bookstores  to purchase A Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Meet Kimberla Lawson Roby

Kimberla Lawson Roby has sold more than 2,000,000 copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Barnes and Noble,, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, and The Austin Chronicle to name a few, and both BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and CASTING THE FIRST STONE were #1 Blackboard bestsellers for four consecutive months in both 1997 and 2000. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was the #1 Blackboard Best-selling book for paperback fiction in 1997.

Kimberla is a 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Author of the Year – Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York, the recipient of the 2014 Literary Excellence Award from Black Pearls Magazine, the recipient of the 2014 AAMBC Award for Female Author of the Year, the recipient of the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, the recipient of the 1998 First-Time Author Award from Chicago’s Black History Month Book Fair and Conference, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).

Each of Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues, including corruption within the church, drug addiction, gambling addiction, infidelity, social status, single motherhood, infertility, sibling rivalry and jealousy, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, care-giving of a parent, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, and overweight issues to name a few.

Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. Her 21st title, A CHRISTMAS PRAYER will release on October 28, 2014.


#SantaHelpers: Growing into Greatness with God by Janet Autherine

Growing into Greatness with God
7 Paths to Greatness for Our Sons & Daughters
by Janet Autherine 

“Every child matters. Every child was born with greatness!” — Janet Autherine

Every child is created in the image of God, and every child carries this amazing gift of greatness inside himself or herself. But children hear mixed messages on a daily basis—about life, about the world, and about themselves. In Growing into Greatness with God: Seven Paths to Greatness for Our Sons and Daughters, author and mother of three boys Janet Autherine encourages kids to see themselves as unique and amazing—already blessed with what they need to succeed in life and achieve their God-given dreams.

Readers learn how to grow in love, faith, courage, leadership, happiness, gratitude, and confidence through the inspiring stories of Bible heroes such as Abraham, Sarah, David, and Hannah. Each chapter includes a brief summary of two Bible stories, with reflections on each, and concludes with three action-oriented suggestions on how to put the lesson into practice.

Dreams are essential to life, and kids need to be inspired and encouraged to live life to the fullest. Growing into Greatness with God offers biblical examples of how people have nurtured what God has planted in them and teaches kids how to do the same in their own lives.

Excerpt of Growing into Greatness with God 

The Journey Begins
Samuel was a man of God. One day, God sent Samuel to anoint a king. Samuel went to the house of Jesse. Jesse had seven sons that he thought had a “kingly” appearance, but when he took them to Samuel, God told Samuel that they were not the chosen ones. Reluctantly, Jesse took David to Samuel. David was a shepherd and a small boy. However, God looked beyond David’s outward appearance and focus on the boy’s heart. In David’s heart, God saw a boy who was strong, courageous, and loyal and who loved God above everything else. God saw that David was growing into his greatness.

You Have a Beautiful Heart

What is in your heart? Is it filled with love for everyone, even those who do not look or act like you? Would others describe you as someone who loves God above everything else? Do you have dreams of being a doctor, a firefighter, an astronaut, or even the president of a country? Dream on! When you can, add to your dreams concrete steps to achieve your goals. There are people who will try to define you by your outward appearance and your worldly possessions, but only you and God know the contents of your heart. And it is those contents that will lead you to greatness.

Three Ways to Grow in Love
Step outside of your inner circle. Perform an act of kindness for a stranger. Sit or play with someone new at lunchtime. Tell someone something that you like about them.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janet Autherine. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


5.0 out of 5 stars By Gladis Griffith

Growing Into Greatness with God is a very inspirational and motivational read. A bedside must have, which can be read over and over, as you will discover nuances with every reading. I recommend this book for kids and adults alike!

5.0 out of 5 stars By Monica Mitchell

Completed reading Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons and I love it. Okay so I am an adult but the book is a great read for adults and should be ideal for children of all ages-including myself. Seriously, this book does convey the message that Every child matters, that Every child is valued no matter his or her race or economic background. The book also has lessons of love, kindness and friendship. The biblical stories and characters used to teach the lesson is unique and does get the job done. All parents, teachers and Sunday school teachers should read this book to their kids

5.0 out of 5 stars By Sarah Whittle Spooner

This a beautiful sweet book that provides an opportunity for all to have a discussion with their children of any age about spirituality and the importance of developing a sense of greatness within! And it is a book for all faiths — even those (like my family) who don’t identify with a particular religion but want our children to grow up knowing that there is more to the world than what they can see and that they possess a strength and power within themselves! Thank you to the author!

5.0 out of 5 stars By Quanita Pokolo-Hassell
I use Growing Into Greatness With God as a devotional and quiet reading moment with my children. There are steps at the end of each section that you and your children can discuss and reflect upon. It’s so good to see a book that tells the story of the Bible in a way that children can understand. It provides the foundation in which children can grow in their relationship with God, and in a way that they can relate to. Growing Into Greatness With God provides the applicable tools by which children can live by. It references great people of the Bible, how they live, and the choices they’ve made. It reminds children that they are children of God and destined for greatness. Great book!

Purchase Growing into Greatness with God by Janet Autherine 

Juvenile non-fiction; Children and Young Aadult inspiration

Meet the Author
Janet Autherine
was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica, and immigrated to the United States when she was twelve. She grew up in Philadelphia and she went on to study at the Pennsylvania State University and Boston College Law School. After launching her legal career in Washington, D.C., she was eventually drawn back to the sunshine, and she now lives in Florida with her husband and their three sons.

Her juvenile nonfiction book, Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters is inspired by her own journey from poverty to a successful legal career. She believes that every obstacle can be a stepping stone to success. The book teaches children and young adults to recognize the greatness they were born with and empowers them to nourish the virtues of love, faith, courage, leadership, happiness, gratitude and confidence within themselves. Her book conveys the following message: Every child matters. Every child is unique. Every child has been born with greatness. Her personal journey is discussed on the, in the post, MY STORY. 

Read more about the author’s journey and join her mission to empower children at
Contact the Author:;  Contact the Publisher:

Janet is available to speak to both children and adults regarding how to recognize their unique talents and grow into their greatness. Do not hesitate to suggest other topics of interest to your organization. She is also happy to speak to book clubs using Skype. Please contact her at


#SantaHelpers: He Wasn’t My Daddy: My Road to Restoration and Redemption

He Wasn’t My Daddy
My Road to Restoration and Redemption
by Kristin L. Mitchell

He Wasn’t My Daddy
is a memoir that speaks to several different platforms, which I have personally experienced, throughout my life. Fatherlessness, promiscuity, mental illness (depression) and suicide are all issues that have plagued my life in very negative ways. After several stints in psychiatric wards, I came to the realization that I was tired of being alive and not living. I decided to begin the journey of taking my life back and really doing the work to uncover the hidden truths behind why I was so broken. I realized that not having the love of my father, led me to suffer through a long road of depression, try and commit suicide twice and I coped with it all through sex.

I wrote this book for two reasons – the first, for cathartic purposes and the second, to help others who have struggled through the same or similar issues. I have become keenly aware of so many hidden truths, of my own, and have been able to help to heal those wounds. I wish to share the knowledge that I have learned, the healthy coping skills that I have developed, and the skill-sets that I have developed, in order to help women to gain the knowledge and do the work, required to heal themselves.

Although the title of the book is, He Wasn’t My Daddy, I want people to understand that this book is not just for people who did not have a father in the home. Do understand that being fatherless doesn’t mean that your father is not in the home. You can be fatherless with a father who comes home, daily. Your father can be emotionally and mentally absent. More than that, he can be physically absent, while he is in the household, because he can be non-participatory.

Aside from fatherlessness, this book discusses depression, in detail. It also discusses suicide, which is a symptom of depression, and promiscuity, as well. I want people to understand that just because you come from a dual parent household, with a favorable socio-economic status, and a favorable educational background, does not mean you are exempt from the issues that are discussed in this book.

I want to touch the lives of many, and spark a dialogue about these issues so that optimal healing can take place.

Excerpt: He Wasn’t My Daddy: My Road to Restoration and Redemption 

Chapter 17

My Ah-Ha Moment

“I learned that I had depended on the approval of other people to validate my self-esteem and worth.”

It is necessary to sit in your discomfort in order to break unhealthy attachments. Whenever I feel weak, I pray, I journal, I read previous journal entries, and I remind myself of things I have discovered and why I am doing this. Sometimes, we have to make difficult decisions in order to save ourselves.

While revisiting pages of my journal, I came across an entry that I wrote to myself. This journal entry was an ah-ha moment for me. This was a time in my life when I decided to live for me and me alone.

Dear Lonely Kristin:

I notice you tend to surface when nobody is around. When you are not in a relationship and when you are not around friends and family. You always need someone around, or to know they are coming back and distinctly yours in order for this emotion to be suppressed. This is evident that you have not built a satisfying relationship with yourself. You believe you are not good enough for certain people because you have yet to learn how to be good enough for yourself. This revelation makes you want to begin the process of building that satisfying, enjoyable relationship with yourself. But how? Perhaps spending time alone and doing fun things alone. This way, you may discover more of your positive attributes. Once you discover them and believe them, you will rely less on others being around you to make you feel comfortable and secure. Being alone or without a relationship should not make you feel lonely. I wish you did not have to be with someone romantically in order to not feel lonely. This notion evokes another emotion—sadness. Being lonely makes you feel sad because it’s an empty feeling. Your goal is to strive to be satisfied with self, as not to need anyone around for companionship (a man) to feel complete, secure, and not lonely. Love, date, and truly take care of yourself as you would expect a man to.

Signed, Lonely Kristin

I learned that I had depended on the approval of other people to validate my self-esteem and worth. How people reacted to me and what they thought of me was what I was excessively dependent upon because I validated myself through other people’s eyes. Growing up, I never received validation from my father. Yet, from Lenny, I received validation at every turn. I also learned a lot about being a fatherless daughter. While living in Fatherless Land wasn’t a big Disneyland, it taught me a few things about myself and why I gravitated toward Lenny. Without realizing it, Lenny took over the role of being my father. He did everything a father does for his daughter. He protected me. He made me feel loved. He motivated and inspired me toward my goals. He nurtured me and taught me about relationships. 

While our relationship was muddy at the end, in the beginning, we were like a hand and glove. He took care of me. Everything I missed from my father, I gained from Lenny. He cherished me and he put me first. Something I never got from my father. My relationship with my father is slowly building, but the choices he made in life to keep his family in a certain lifestyle jeopardized my life. It made me fatherless. My father’s absence in my life caused a natural reaction, which was to constantly blame myself and become fixated on my shortcomings. I suffered from low self-esteem, which then affected other aspects of my life. This negative sense of self resulted in depression that still comes and goes. I was a fatherless daughter who sought a father’s love through a man who took on the responsibility of being my father.

That was yesterday. Today, I can honestly say I am whole because I have two fathers—Ray and Dad—and I know what a father’s love genuinely feels like.

Chapter 18

Restoration and Recovery—It Comes Full Circle

“Time will reveal.”

Restoration brought everything full circle. I thank God for the order He restored in my life, the relationships He mended and the positive way He allowed me to move

forward, leaving so much pain behind, putting peace in my heart and opening doors and opportunities for me to share my story. I chose the subtitle: My Road to Restoration to show how my life has come full circle, and relationships mended because of this journey. All of this aided in a new and better me. I am not perfect, but I am on my way to being a more complete and fulfilled me.

My road traveled has not been easy. However, I was willing to put in the work and the results are so with it. I committed myself to restoring Kristin. I put my mental health and me first.

I have a team of people that help keep me together—two therapists and a psychiatrist. Some people in the African- American community shy away from therapy. For some reason, there is a stigma associated with therapy. Why is that? Just as it is important for us to be physically and spiritually healthy, it is also important to be mentally healthy. There is nothing wrong with therapy. It allows you to heal from past wounds, making sense of things that you may be unclear about, learning more about yourself, finding a direction for your life that will positively propel you forward, and so much more. We must invest in our mental health….

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kristin L. Mitchell. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

About the Author

Kristin L. Mitchell, M.Ed. is a native Washingtonian. She graduated from Spelman College and George Mason University, with high honors and degrees in education and special education. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and enjoys a career as a special education teacher with the District of Columbia Public School system.

He Wasn’t My Daddy: My Road to Restoration and Redemption by Kristin L. Mitchell 

Kindle Edition-

NOOK eBook-


#SantaHelpers: Relentless by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill

Relentless by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill

Scarred by a childhood betrayal, Attorney Maxwell Montgomery vowed never to let his fate be dictated by anyone – not his parents, or God, and definitely not the church. He doesn’t need anyone including the woman who’s put her life on hold for him. He’ll be successful, powerful and rich enough to avoid ending up like his father. Maxwell’s on top of the world and isn’t ready for what’s heading his way.

The Redeemed Series is comprised of modern stories, loosely based on the attributes of the Apostle Paul and struggles he encountered with churches in the New Testament. Relentless is the first book in the series.

Excerpt from Relentless

Adrenaline surged. Maxwell couldn’t think of a greater satisfaction than hearing the jury foreman echo those melodious words, “We find in favor of the plaintiff.” The sum of the judgment didn’t quench his legal thirst, although four million dollars wasn’t bad for a day in court. Best news was that there were plenty more to come. So long as there were churches on earth, the exhilaration surfing through his body was a sensation he could ride indefinitely.

Maxwell saw the wave of reporters waiting on the courthouse steps. He jiggled the knot on his tie and straightened his Armani suit coat. “Are you ready to face the crowd,” Maxwell asked his client.

She grabbed his arm, shaking. “Do we have to go out there? Now that we’ve won, I just want to get out of here.”

Absolutely not is what he should have told her, but there was no need for further convincing. He’d proven that his plan worked best. She was walking out with a civil case victory against the almighty Reverend Morgan, the so-called anointed leader of one of the largest ministries in the tri-state area. Whatever he was supposed to be, reverend, doctor, Bishop, the well-deserved label of being a bona fide predator could also be added to his bio. No way was Maxwell going to pass up a prime opportunity to shout their victory over the airwaves. He’d send a message to the rest of the perpetrators that there would be no rest as long as Attorney Maxwell Montgomery was alive and breathing. Churches were on notice and they’d better take him serious.

He expeditiously ushered his client towards the door. She gave some resistance which didn’t deter his movement. Six months ago she was deemed a fired disgruntle employee who was pressing false charges against one of the most prestigious ministers in Philadelphia . He kept pulling her towards the door, with the media closing in. Thanks to him, her indiscretions had been legitimized. It was no longer her fault, and on top of it, she was going to get four million, less his forty percent cut. So, as far as he was concerned, she didn’t get a say in how the rest of the day was going to play out of course. He forcefully pushed open the door leading from the courthouse and braced against the gust of wind.

The clicking sound of cameras, microphones shoved near his face, onlookers lining the steps, and incoherent chants equaled mayhem for most. But the controlled chaos was a work of beauty to Maxwell. His client was squeezing his arm so tightly that he had to peel a few of her fingers back to loosen the grip.

“Do you feel vindicated?” one reporter blurted out.

As his client stammered, Maxwell jumped in. Microphones honed in. “Justice was rendered today. The past six months have been a pure nightmare for my client. Her reputation has been maligned. She’s been hounded by church members simply because she was willing to come forward and expose the truth. She should be praised for her courage, not hounded, and today is the first step towards her getting back to a normal life.”

“Were you really expecting to win such a substantial settlement from a church?”

“It’s the only fair outcome, doesn’t matter if it’s the church or the Vatican , wrong is wrong, and we have the court of law to right those wrongs,” Maxwell echoed, fueled with satisfaction.

“Do you see this as an indictment against religion?”

“No one is above the law.” Maxwell broke the grip his client had, and raised his arm. He knew which network had the largest viewing audience and intentionally pointed his finger directly into their cameras and said, “I’m serving notice to the corrupt leaders out there. If you think the church is going to save you, you’re sadly mistaken. I’m coming for you and you and you.” Maxwell was charged, ready to sail out of the crowd and whisk back to his office to start the next case. He reclaimed his client and began maneuvering through the crowd.

“Attorney Maxwell, is that a threat to all local clergyman?” a reporter asked.

Maxwell screeched to a stop. “I don’t make threats, only promises.”

“How many more lives are you going to ruin,” a voice shouted from the crowd. The mob was thick and Maxwell couldn’t see who was speaking. “You have ruined my family and our church.” As the woman got louder, it was like a pebble rippling in a pond. The crowd backed up and the media swarmed to her. “Who do you think you are, God?”

Suddenly there was a thumping sensation smothered by oos and ahs. The air felt light and the sky hypnotic. He seemed to be floating to the ground. Screams and a bunch of chatter faded out. Maxwell could see the people crowding around him. Every action was in slow motion. He wasn’t sure but guessed that this must be what peace felt like, being oblivious to pain, shielded from the chatter, naysayers, and circumstances. As he was instantly jerked out of the clouds of euphoria, Maxwell’s thoughts crashed back to reality, wielding a powerful headache with it. He placed the palm of his hand against his forehead, pressing in and feeling the coolness right above his eyebrow. He didn’t need to see the blood to know it was there.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the authors, Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Relentless by Patricia Haley and Gracie Hill 

Redeemed Series Book 1; Released on October 28, 2014
Genre: Drama, Faith Based; Clean Fiction with adult issues

Meet the Authors
PATRICIA HALEY is a trailblazer in the modern-day Christian fiction genre. She is an award winning, #1 Essence national bestselling author of twelve faith-based novels and two anthologies. She’s a senior project manager, born again believer, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Patricia lives with her loving husband and precious daughter in the Chicago, IL area. Visit her on Become a Facebook friend at Patricia Haley-Glass or join her fan page at Author Patricia Haley.

is the award-winning author of five faith-based novels. She has also contributed to a book of anthology and written for several magazines. Gracie is an entrepreneur and a Spirit filled woman of God. She is a member of the Chicago Writers Association and lives with her husband and children in the Chicago, IL area. Visit her at Follow her on Facebook and become a Facebook friend at Gracie Hill.

Contact Gracie Hill:,
Contact Patricia Haley:,


SantaHelpers: FREE! Read Three Episodes of The Last King

FREE: Read Three Episodes of The Last King

The Last King by A. Yamina Collins 

A. Yamina Collins is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan. The Last King is her first novel, and it has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science-fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature. Check out her blog at

Available for download now:  The Last King: Book 1, Volume #4 by A. Yamina Collins

In episode #4 Emmy accepts an invitation to the home of Gilead and Markus – and when she enters their home, a whole new world of wonder opens up to her.

Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in—she’s six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel 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 whose Great Ancestor 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 because 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” of immortality 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.


#SantaHelpers: The Last Seer by Cerece Rennie Murphy

The Last Seer
by Cerece Rennie Murphy

The Seers face the ultimate challenge in The Last Seer, the third and final book in the Order of the Seers trilogy.

When the fall of one nemesis unleashes an even greater danger into the world, Lilli, Joel and the Lost Seers must stand against a new enemy with the means and the will to destroy all of mankind, starting with those they hold most dear.   As the Seers mobilize to confront this new evil, the Guild tries desperately to uphold the crumbling world order on which it depends. When their attempts to manage the crisis fail, the members of the Guild are forced to place themselves at the mercy of an unlikely ally.

But the Guild isn’t the only one interested in maintaining control.

An agreement made in secret threatens to destroy any hope of a peaceful alliance before it can be made and as the betrayals unfold, no one is safe against a power that will stop at nothing to get what it wants. To defeat this threat and ensure the survival of the human race, the Seers must push the boundaries of their abilities beyond any limits they have known and risk crossing the line between life and death.

How far would you go to protect what matters most?

Praise for The Last Seer

“Once enemies the Seers and Guild now have to come together to end a new reign of terror… I can’t say too much as I was already kindly scolded on Twitter for my excitement of the book…, so what I will say is the book series closes with much praise, “That each of us is infinite and capable of wonders.”  — Reviewed by Black Girl Nerd

Excerpt from THE LAST SEER


The Cover of Darkness

Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan

The high-pitched wail of the creatures was deafening as their black wings beat against the red sky. From the caves scraped out of the mountainside, the valley looked desolate, a place of ruin. Beasts ruled the heavens as the damned lay broken below.

And in between, Ghazal, and what was left of her village, huddled, trapped between two hells.

Whether anyone else in the world was aware of what was happening to them, Ghazal had no way of knowing. With the preparations for her dowry, her family didn’t have the money to replace their old TV when it died and the radio they had was gone-smashed to pieces in the rush to escape the creatures that now held them confined in their cave.

Barely half an hour before, while the watchmen were catching their first glimpse of something on the horizon, Ghazal’s neighbors had only just entered her home, carrying news of strange sightings from around the world-Geneva, London, Paris-places she had read about, but was sure she would never see.

Though at first their forms were little more than blotches against the setting sun, the screeching sounds that echoed before them erased any question in the watchmen’s minds about the nature of what approached. Whatever it was meant them harm. They sounded the alarm. Her betrothed, her father, and all the other men of the valley ran forth to set a perimeter and face the threat head on.

The clerics, the women, and the children were left behind to run and endure as best they could. It was just as in her vision.

At the time, Ghazal had called after the men wildly, telling them it was useless, but no one listened. She had to be dragged away in her grief as she saw her vision unfold-bodies thrown, fires burning, and the sound of bones crushed under the weight of merciless feet.

Clarity came at the mouth of the precipice. She looked back at those who had carried and comforted her up the mountain one last time before stepping out onto the cliff’s edge. The blue draping of her burka billowed and soared in the hot air as she leapt off into the unsuspecting clutches of a beast that had no hope of surviving what she could do.

Chapter 1: Set in Motion

They drove back to Geneva in silence, each consumed by the dread of what was to come. Occasionally, you could hear the soft vibration of Joel’s thumb tapping his phone screen as he made arrangements for a plane to take them back to London, but
otherwise, no one made a sound. Though unspoken, each of them understood that they were listening for the screeching sounds that had been echoing in their ears ever since they left Crane’s castle.

“I’m sorry,” Lilli finally said to no one in particular as she stared out of the backseat window. Joel tried to bring her closer into his one-armed embrace, but she resisted,
feeling unworthy of the comfort.

“You did everything you could, Lilli. Everything,” Joel whispered.

“Yeah. Maybe I did too much. Look at what’s happened. There are more, you know, so many more. ‘Legions’, he said, and I can feel them. I know Maura can too, like a darkness spreading.”

“This wasn’t your fault,” Joel tried again, but his words made no difference.

“He was their leader. He kept them…contained,” Lilli continued. “But now…I’ve unleashed them. They follow no one.”

“How do you know this?” Joel asked. He had no choice but to focus on her words. Her mind was moving too fast for him to comprehend.

Lilli turned from the window to face him. For an instant, she wondered why he didn’t know the answer, just as she did. But then she felt it, the incongruence in their thoughts.

For the first time since they’d met, she realized that her consciousness had become somehow separate from his, and the new distance hurt her deeply.

“Because I know.” Lilli answered with tears burning in her eyes.

As Joel watched them run silently down her cheeks, he understood what she was trying to tell him. From the place she now inhabited, she could sense them clearly. She could see and understand more than she ever had before.

It won’t be long, he thought. I will join you whenever we decide.

Lilli nodded her head slightly after shooting a quick glance at Liam in the driver’s seat.

Closing her eyes, Lilli willed her thoughts to slow until she could feel her connection with Joel restored.

Yes, she answered in relief, after we tell him. We’ll wait until then.

Having resolved at least one of the many problems that plagued her mind, Lilli finally allowed herself the comfort of Joel’s embrace. She’d just begun to release the tension in her body when Liam spoke up.

From the driver’s seat, Liam had been listening in on their conversation, hoping to glean something that would explain what they’d witnessed. But just as she and Joel had finally gotten to the heart of his questions, they fell silent. As the quiet stretched on, Liam risked an impatient glance in the rear view mirror to find them engrossed in silent conversation.

“Ah, you guys mind sharing with the rest of the class?” Liam asked. “Who or what was that back there? I’d like to know what we’re dealing with.”

“The demon you saw was Crane,” Lilli explained. “I killed him, but in doing that I think I’ve unleashed something worse. Something that was at least partially under control before, but now…now, they are more dangerous.”

“The creatures…” Liam said.

“Yes, they were with Crane. But those were just a few. There are more-many more-that have been unleashed because of me.”

Liam squinted at his sister in the rearview mirror. “Why do you keep saying that-‘because of me’? Even you have blind spots, Lilli. How could you have known? You were fighting for your life.” When she didn’t immediately disregard what he’d said, Liam seized the chance to ask one of the questions he really wanted to know.

“And how did you kill him, by the way? You didn’t even lift a finger. You just…spoke to him. I’ve never seen you do that before. When did you learn that?”

As Liam was talking, Alessandra turned in her seat to look back at Lilli. She had seen the difference in Lilli as soon as they broke down the castle door. In the heat of the moment, Alessandra hadn’t given it any thought, but looking at her now, even the feeling of Lilli’s presence in the Collective was different. Brighter, but somehow more dispersed.

Don’t say anything! Please! Not yet.

Alessandra heard Lilli’s pleading words in her mind clearer than she ever had before. Not spoken through the Collective, but directly into her thoughts.

Why? She asked silently.

Because I am becoming something different…

Alessandra eyed Lilli and Joel suspiciously, but said nothing as she processed the warning in Lilli’s words-the clear notion that “different” was not a good thing in this case. Liam, she realized. This is about protecting Liam.

Yes, Lilli answered while keeping her outward attention on her brother.

Alessandra hesitated for only a moment before turning back around in her seat. Whatever Lilli had to say would hurt Liam and as far as Alessandra was concerned, there was no need to do that now.

Before her silent exchange with Alessandra was over, Lilli answered her brother aloud, as if theirs was the only conversation taking place.

“No, I didn’t know this would happen, but I should have tried to see it. I was just so focused on him not hurting me or you guys that I just wanted him gone.”

Liam was quiet again, considering the few facts he knew with the guilt he could still hear in Lilli’s voice.

“Listen, you did what you had to back there. Demons, flying creatures, whatever-this whole thing is crazy. Crazy. I don’t think any of us could have imagined how deep this thing really is. We still don’t even know exactly what we’re into now, so let’s just try to make it home, regroup with the others, and figure this out. We’re going to figure this out, Lilli. Don’t worry.”

As Liam watched her from the rearview, Lilli made sure she gave him the small smile he was looking for even though she wasn’t at all sure that what he said was true.

Satisfied that Lilli seemed a little more settled, Liam shifting his attention to the shaken man directly behind him.

“What about you, Christof?” Liam asked. “Should we drop you somewhere or are you coming with us?”

Christof turned his weary gaze away from the blurred landscape outside his window to meet Liam’s eyes in the mirror.

“Where else am I going to go?”

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Cerece Rennie Murphy. 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.


The Journey Begins with Order of the Seers – Book I in the Order of the Seers Trilogy

The Journey Continues with The Red Order (Book II in the Order of the Seers Trilogy)


The Journey Ends with The Last Seer (Book III in the Order of the Seers Trilogy)



#SantaHelpers: What If It Feels Good by D. J. McLaurin

What If It Feels Good by D.J. McLaurin

In this story of love, betrayal, and revenge, bonds are tested, friendships are challenged, dark secrets surface and an epic romance blossoms amidst a media circus.

Michael Bagley, street savvy and beautiful, learned the art of the con and sleeps with older women to survive. When an accidental shooting sets off a citywide manhunt and thrusts Michael into certain danger, his mother, a stripper at a local nightclub, is finally forced to confront the biological father who didn’t know Michael existed. Soon, Michael finds himself whisked off the streets of Detroit and into a world of champagne dreams with more money at his fingertips than he ever thought possible.

But Michael’s life takes a bizarre turn as he bonds with his newfound father’s best friend. Chachi is a charming, down-to-earth ladies’ man, who awakens sensations Michael can’t explain, throwing him into identity turmoil. When the dust settles, Michael learns that neither riches, fame, nor age has anything to do with love.

As Michael struggles to find his place in a new world, he hopes the streets have toughened him enough to hold on to a secret relationship that may be against the odds and out of his league, and win the fight for the love of his life.

Book Review Written by Minnie E Miller

Looking for love, wherever!

In “What If It Feels Good?” D.J. McLaurin makes it clear in her opening that Michael Bagley is not your typical teenager. McLaurin’s skillful mapping of Michael’s life would seem to some “unspeakable.” Conversely, to Michael it was a matter of survival. Michael runs head-on with his mother’s boyfriend because of his abuse, which leads to a near fatal conflict between the two, causing the 14-year-old kid to escape into the streets, and live among the homeless. Legal trouble lands Michael into a home for adolescent boys. A friend of Michael’s biological father begs and threatens him into rescuing his bastard son, and taking him into his established family. Michael goes from rags to riches under Joe’s roof. The mixture is not mixing well, however. 

Young Michael’s needs overpower his logic, and he falls in love with an older man, who is fascinated by the young boy’s wit and wisdom, feels he is 14 going on 30. The odd couple receives constant blows to the stomach about their relationship, especially from an ex-girlfriend. This novel makes it even more evident that the need for love does not go away unless it’s satisfied, no matter the age. As I sat glued to D.J.’s novel, my emotions were on a roller coaster ride. I felt fear, anger, happiness, and sadness for Michael.

D.J. McLaurin is a professional author with undeniable talent, depth, and perception. She made a believer out of me, a seasoned woman, and author. I give the novel 5 stars.

Review written by Minnie E Miller, Author

Book Excerpt: What If It Feels Good 

The phone rang. Michael ran to it.

“That little fool!” Sarah screeched. “He hung up on me!”

“Who?” Michael asked.

“I called the number you gave me and respectfully asked to speak to Joe, right? Why did that little prick ask me how I got the number? Like it was any of his business!”

“Who, ma?”

“I oughta hop a plane right now and go beat the crap out of him! I see what you mean now, honey! I don’t want you there anymore!”

“Ma, what are you talking about? Who hung up on you?”

“David! I asked to speak to Joe and he told me he couldn’t take my call, and just hung up on me–”

Michael dropped the phone and headed for the door.

“Uh, Oh,” Eric muttered. He and Leah scurried after him.

“What’s going on?” Leah asked as they descended the staircase. Michael ignored the both of them.

“Look man, this is just ridiculous!” Eric put his hand on Michael’s shoulder but, with a shake, Michael sent him sailing down several stairs before Eric was able to stop his fall by grabbing hold to the banister railing.

Michael searched rooms, kicking doors open, until he found David in Joe’s study, reading an investment magazine. David spun around in surprise.

“You hung up on my mother, you little prick?” Michael growled.


Michael’s fist made contact with David’s jaw, knocking him backward out of his chair.

“Daaaad! Daaaad!” Leah shrieked.

Michael grabbed David by his shirt collar and punched him over and over again.

Eric made a fruitless attempt to separate them before Joe and Dominic came rushing from the adjoining office.

David’s shirt was already splattered with the blood oozing from his nose and mouth when Joe reached them.

“Stop it!” Joe demanded. He wrapped his arm around Michael’s neck and attempted to pull him away from David. He underestimated Michael’s strength and all three of them went toppling forward.

Dominic wedged his body between the two boys to help separate them. It finally worked.

“What is your problem?” Joe yelled at Michael.

“You too!” Michael spat at him.

Joe touched his hand to his face and watched the wet stuff drip down his finger in disbelief. “He did not just spit on me…” he said, his eyes widening then shrinking as his face darkened.

“I hate all of you!” Michael shouted. His chest heaved, his eyes were red with anger. “You think you’re gonna treat my mother like a piece of shyt, you good-for-nothing, stuck up–”

Joe dived on top of Michael.

They tussled on the floor before Michael twisted from underneath his father. He sprang to his feet with the agility of youth, fist raised and ready.

Joe stood too, aghast with shock. “How dare you,” he snarled, seething with anger.

Eric, Leah, and David huddled behind Dominic, watching helplessly.

“Oh, you’re a man now?” Joe challenged Michael, his chest laboring. “You think you’re man enough to take me, Michael? Cause if you think so, let me know, and I’ll beat your ass like a man!”

“I swear,” Michael panted, “you hit me, I’ll kill you.”

Joe slapped Michael’s face with a force that sent him reeling.

Michael responded with a right hook, grazing Joe’s chin. Stunned, Joe cradled his face. He’s dealing with no ordinary boy. Michael darted across the room and headed for the stairs as soon as Dominic was able to detain Joe.
Joe shook himself from Dominic’s grip. Leah ran for the phone.  Michael raced for his bedroom, attempting to push the door closed behind him, but Joe was already at the threshold. Using his foot and shoulder, Joe pushed his way in, slamming and locking the door behind him.  Michael retreated to one side of the bed, Joe the other, out of breath, gazes locked.  Outside the door, Lydia and Dominic pleaded with Joe.

“So, whatcha think now, Michael?”

Michael’s shoulder’s sagged. “Just leave me alone!” he pleaded.

Joe lunged across the king-sized bed and grabbed him.

“What’s wrong?” Joe asked, his face distorted and close, his breath coming fast, “Something wrong?”

Michael shook his head frantically.

“Oh, you’ve decided you don’t wanna be a man now, huh? C’mon Mike, make up your mind! You’re a man or a boy!”

Michael shut his eyes tight and lowered his head.

A key turned in the door.

Joe yelled, “Don’t come in here!” He turned back to Michael “I didn’t hear you.”

“I’m not a man,” Michael whispered, humiliated. He just wanted it to stop. This dude had gone mad.

“Oh, now I hear you,” Joe’s eyes were shining. “You’re a boy now. Good.” He shoved the boy onto the bed and unbuckled his belt, removing it from his pants loops. “Now I’ll just beat your ass like a boy.”

Joe sat in his office and swiveled in his chair. He could hear the commotion outside his door. Lydia, crying, begged for him to come out. Jake’s voice trailed toward the staircase. More muffled voices, then Dominic was at the door making his appeal. Joe knew he screwed up. He was upset with himself for losing control, but he was not crazy and he knew he had not done enough harm to cause Michael any permanent damage. The phone on his desk rang. He figured it was Chachi or maybe Sarah, or whoever. It didn’t matter. He was going to handle this his way. It wasn’t until Steven showed up, furiously banging on the door that he decided to emerge.

“Come out you crazy bastard! You coward!” Steven shouted.

Joe yanked the door open. Steven stared at Joe with rage-inflamed eyes. Joe leaned casually against the frame.

“You beat that little boy like that?” Steven yelled.

Joe waved a hand at Steven. “He’ll be okay.” He turned back into his office.

Steven stormed in behind him. “Okay? Are you crazy? That boy is up there hanging by a thread! You almost killed him!”

Joe walked over to his desk and sat down. “If I was trying to kill him, he’d be dead.”

“You think this is a game, don’t you?” Steven bent over Joe’s desk to meet his face.

“What’s your point, Steven?”

“My point? I’ll show you my point!”

Dominic and Jake had come in quietly. Steven had almost run the two of them down storming out of the office.

“Where are you going?” Dominic grabbed Steven’s arm.

“I’m taking him out of here!”

“Don’t you touch him!” Joe shouted. Steven turned to look at him. “He’s my son, and I say don’t touch him!”

Steven breathed deeply. “I’ll file a motion in the morning to have this child snatched from you so fast it’ll make you dizzy!”

“Do what you have to do,” Joe warned. “But don’t you touch him.”

Steven spun around, but Jake blocked his path.

“Wait a minute!” Jake pleaded. “Joe, what’s going on?”

Joe exhaled. “I know I lost it.” He shot a hot glance in Steven’s direction. “But I’ve got it under control now.”

“You need to see a doctor!” Steven charged.

“I need to see a doctor?” Joe flushed. “The boy spit on me! Spit! And he punched the shyt out of my face!” Joe turned his head to the side to display a bruised chin. “And yes, I beat his ass, and nobody is gonna come into my house and tell me how to raise my kids–not you,” he pointed at Steven, “not the judge, not the police!”

“You’re sick!” Steven shouted.

“Is he gonna be okay, Jake?” Joe asked as coolly as if he were asking about the weather.

“He’s got a bloody nose and some cuts as well as some bruising. He’ll be sore but he’ll be okay,” Jake said.

“Good.” Though Joe smiled, his eyes did not. “See?” he said turning to Steven with a sneer. “Now get the hell out of my house!”

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, D.J. McLaurin. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this sneak peek.

Purchase What If It Feels Good by D. J. McLaurin
Contemporary, Alternative Fiction 


#SantaHelpers: An Elderberry Fall by Ruth P. Watson

An Elderberry Fall 
by Ruth P. Watson

This sequel to the historical bestseller Blackberry Days of Summer reunites the people of Jefferson County, Virginia, with yet another murder and the resurrection of an evil thought to be dead and gone.

As she adjusts to a new beginning in Richmond, Virginia, Carrie Parker finds herself juggling motherhood, work, school, and increasing strains on her new marriage to Simon. Carrie and Simon are happy parents, but sometimes Carrie feels there’s something dark and evil about her little baby’s eyes, and it scares her. She vows he will not be anything like his real father—a beady-eyed womanizer now long gone.

But the past has a strange way of creeping back into the present…

Just as the dust is settling on the murder of Carrie’s stepfather, Herman Camm, everybody in Richmond is shocked to find out his memory is not yet gone. Did he really die? And what part did Carrie play? Soon she is forced to answer questions and return to a past ridden with abuse, corruption, scandal, and deceit. Will she be able to move on with her life, or will the past follow Carrie and her family wherever they go?

An Elderberry Fall – Chapter 1

On February 4th, 1921, I gulped a breath of fresh air before I took the last step down the train steps onto solid ground. The brisk wind caressed my skin, and alerted me to a new reality. “So this is Richmond, Virginia,” I said to myself, gazing around at the cobblestone sidewalks and cars. My six-month-old son, Robert, had his head resting on my shoulder as I struggled with my overloaded suitcase, straining every muscle in my body, but I could not have cared less. Who would have believed a young girl like me would be here—in the big city, with streetcars and tall buildings and with colored people strutting around in fine, fashionable outfits, like the kind white folk wore in Jefferson County on special occasions? The coloreds appeared proud, like they owned the town. It felt good, and I fought to slow my heart down from the rush of anxiety. It was certainly different here. Most of the folks I knew probably thought I would live forever in Jefferson County amongst the sour memories and shame from the child I bore out of wedlock. But I was not so ready to stay there. When Simon asked me to come to Richmond, Virginia, my real transformation began.

• • •

My child, Robert, is beautiful. He is almost flawless. Each day I study the ridges around his little fingers, waiting to see if his tan color and fine features and that innocent, charismatic smile will remain. He favors me for the most part. However, there are times when his eyes seem dark and mysterious, and it sends chills throughout my body.

Robert, Simon and I live in a small apartment on the west side of Richmond—Jackson Heights, they call it. It’s the colored section of town. It is a fine neighborhood, with shrubbery and flowers planted tastefully in front of well kept tenement houses and single-family row homes. Our place is a small, brick, two-story house with a cast-iron fence around it. Alongside the yard is an elderberry bush, which reminds me of the sweet jam Momma made in the fall. Most of the neighborhood residents are colored and oblivious to the surrounding communities. Everything seems to be within walking distance—the grocer, tailor, the cobbler, and the feed and seed store. The corner store has everything we need. Farmers are unloading crates of vegetables every day, and hanging inside are hams, and there is a meat counter where slices of select meat can be packaged. It is well stocked, and I am overwhelmed that I no longer have to work in a field with the hot sun beaming down on me. Simon has a rooster and two hens in the backyard, mainly for eggs. But, I can imagine them on the table stuffed with cornbread dressing.

We share our backyard with a couple downstairs. They are on the front porch every day sitting in a porch swing with wide smiles swept across their faces as if the stresses of life had floated past them even though they are different from others in the neighborhood. Most people stare transfixed by their difference. The lady is white, very pale, and the man is colored. Most feel their living together is a disgrace to everyone around them. It is alright with me because they seem happy. And from where I come from, happiness is the center of life and satisfaction. 

The man is tall and very dark, almost as dark as a midnight sky. He is clean, somewhat handsome and solid in build. She is a petite lady of normal height, a brunette, with barely any frown lines or wrinkles and sky-blue eyes. The Halls are at least sixty years old, but they don’t look it. Directly across the street from us is another strange, but beautiful couple. The man is rugged in appearance like most railroad workers. He has long lashes like those of a woman, thick bushy hair and flawless caramel skin. Though handsome, he is never well-groomed. His wife is also attractive. She is dark chocolate with a lot of hair that falls to her shoulders, and bounces as she walks; her pouty lips are the kind the old people swear are sexy. Those neighbors have two children. Simon and I are getting used to the newness of city life, the sounds of the streetcars, the pinging of the church clock, and the whispers of voices walking down the street. On steamy summer nights, the neighborhood seems to explode. Vague voices and outbursts of laughter are heard from blocks away. It’s a jovial place. The sounds of crickets chirping are drowned out by the hissing of the steam shooting out of the trains and streetcars starting and stopping along its route through town. The action is hypnotic. I find myself loathing going to sleep, because I relish the sounds of city life so much. It is invigorating.

I can’t help wondering about Momma and her life in a world shadowed with trees. She is alone now, with painful memories about a time all of us would love to forget. But, somehow the past always come back to you in some form. Carl, my brother, is still in Jefferson County, and yards away from my mother. He is just like my papa, strong-willed and no-nonsense. He is the strength she needs right now. When Camm was murdered, I’d waited for her to lose it all—break down in tears—but instead her face appeared less tense, relaxed. Just like for me, a burden had been lifted from my mother’s shoulders.

Simon is all I need right now. He is such a handsome man, physically and mentally strong. He is truly mine in every form, something I never thought would happen; and I adore ever inch of his being. I quiver sometimes just thinking about how complete he makes me feel. “Oh, Lawd, is this right?” I say to myself, and feel warm chills travel over my skin. He says he loves me, and acts like it, too. He is so attentive to me and Robert. Along with most women we are around, the lady across the street is always staring at my husband. I smile shyly at her, knowing she’d better stay in her place, because he has chosen me.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Ruth P. Watson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

About the Author

Ruth P. Watson
is the author of Blackberry Days of Summer. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and son. She divides her time between being a business owner, writer, and educator. She has a master’s degree and is currently working on a new novel and documentary.

Purchase An Elderberry Fall

Barnes & Noble


#SantaHelpers: Untraditional Love In The Dark by Victoria Warren Jackson

Untraditional Love In The Dark
by Victoria Warren Jackson

Samantha learns a valuable lesson about self-love after Isaiah, her future husband, jogs into her life one windy morning. On the rebound, Samantha marries Isaiah to later discover he has a violent temper. He is physically abusive, lazy, and has a naughty secret. Samantha is about to face the fight of her life when she discovers Isaiah is bisexual. As her life unravels, Samantha faces death and must triumph over adversity to rebuild her life. The conclusion is a definite surprise.

Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers’ Favorite

In Untraditional Love In The Dark by Victoria Warren Jackson, Samantha is a successful college graduate with a busy and prospering boutique that she owns, but her personal life has many faults. Sam has been through many unsuccessful relationships in her 30 years of life. One after another seemed to have their own way of causing her grief, embarrassment, and complete sadness. Sam has dealt with a disease-inflicting boyfriend, a ‘married with kids’ boyfriend, and then the winner of them all, a bisexual husband. Sam needs to learn how to love herself and not just love and want to love men.

Author Victoria Warren Jackson entertains readers with her realistic, suspenseful and dramatic romance novel. The story plot created within this novel is one most readers can relate highly to, knowing someone in the same position or being in the same position themselves. For a woman though, Sam’s experiences with men could possibly be the worst nightmarish thing to happen in a relationship. Victoria writes with such emotion and description that readers can feel themselves being mesmerized by the sequence of events told. The book is a nonstop read and a page-turner.

Untraditional Love In The Dark is a great novel, especially for women. The author provides highly relatable characters and scenes within each chapter. It is like reading a friend’s diary. The book has some R-rated content and language within, and therefore is more suited to mature readers.

Book Excerpt: Chapter 1 – Untraditional Love In The Dark

It was December 19, and there I was strolling down the beach. I don’t truly know what had possessed me that morning. I had been awake, crying practically all night long. My heart was heavy and overflowing. I wanted to leave my body, to escape it all. I had only gotten about two hours of sleep. Those two hours were not a peaceful sleep. I had a nightmare. I dreamed I was driving across a bridge in New Orleans. The bridge suddenly collapsed. Within seconds, my car was covered with water. I tried to continue driving. The car would not move. The engine made a clicking sound. I saw other cars floating on by. I saw what appeared to be seaweed or some type of plant. I could not get my car door to open. I used the heel of my shoe to kick the window’s glass. It did not break. My eyes opened wide as I struggled. It was to late for me to escape.

I awoke from the dream gasping for air, almost as if I had swallowed some seawater. The water engulfing me was a sign of how I felt about my life. I was in too deep. My body was totally drained after the dream. I guess I was physically struggling while I was asleep. I could not get myself to relax. I was so angry and bitter. My emotions were out of control. It felt worse than being trapped in a tornado. I was stuck in a miserable life based on the lies fed to me by a man.

I was tired of wasting time pretending I was going to get some sleep. I wanted to sleep, to dream, to be held, but I was far from getting any of the three. I decided to go out on the beach, just to think for a while. I thought being near the water would work magic on my situation.

If it didn’t, I could always have jumped in and got my clothes wet. That was a stupid thought. Not to mention, sharks are known to swim close to the shore before dawn. Sharks are more prone to attack if a swimmer is alone as opposed to being in a group. A kid was attacked by a shark three weeks beforehand. The shark devoured the child’s arm in one bite. Beach-goers were being more cautious. Besides, I had enough problems already to add pneumonia and a shark bite to the list.

The water is extremely fierce on the beach early in the morning. It was around six-thirty a.m. The wind was kind of chilly but not too cold. The sky was a medium shade of gray with bits of white peeking through the center. I could smell salt water and fish. Around Christmas time in Miami, it always gets windy. The change in weather signals Christmas has arrived.

Usually when a person is depressed, the first thing to go is their appearance. Depression has a way of making a person forget about materialistic things. I was bundled up in a cream colored sweater, an old sweatshirt, and a pair of jogging pants. I didn’t want to get cold when the waves blew in towards the shore. I was having a bad hair day. I used my fingers to comb my hair towards the back.

Living in Miami kind of spoiled me as far as the weather is concerned. I was accepting of the brief visits of wind during the holiday season mainly because Miami is mostly sunny year round.

On my feet, I wore a pair of Nike Tennis and regular cotton socks. It would not have been a wise idea to wear open-toed shoes especially if I didn’t want to get sand on my feet. And God knows. I did not want any jellyfish finding a resting place on my feet. Those little things have a sting strong enough to send you to the hospital. Better yet, the poison from their sting can swell your feet bigger than a grapefruit. I once had a jellyfish to land on my feet while I was walking near the shore. I did not realize it was there until a sharp pain shot up my leg. I started running and screaming, “A shark got me. Run everybody, run.” I worked myself up so bad. I nearly fainted. I got weak in the knees, and I collapsed on the beach.

The lifeguard pushed his way through the crowd of people who had circled around me. I assumed he looked at my legs and did not see any torn skin or ligaments, so he knew it was not a shark attack. He laughed as he rubbed my right leg. “You are not dead. I think a jelly fish bit you,” he told me.

Yes, I was embarrassed. There I was lying on the beach. Thank God I had a sense of humor. I lowered my head and smiled. Through all of the commotion, I noticed the lifeguard’s muscular build. If the circumstances were different, I probably would have flirted with him.

The beach-goers were irritated when he said jellyfish. They grunted and walked away. I heard a teenage boy tell his friend, “She got everybody all worried. She knew she was lying. She thought they were going to put her on the six o’clock news or something.”

Fresh mouth kid. He was lucky I was not his relative. I had the mind to take my shoe off and give him a good whipping. I was not worried about getting on the news. I honestly thought I had been attacked by a shark. How was I supposed to know it was only a jellyfish?

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Victoria Warren Jackson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Book Trailer: Untraditional Love In The Dark Youtube
Watch now – 

Untraditional Love In The Dark
Available from and Barnes & 

%d bloggers like this: