Monthly Archives: April 2016

#PowerReads: Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Best Friends Forever
by Kimberla Lawson Roby

In this page-turning marital saga, Roby tells the story of a woman who, only days apart, learns that she has breast cancer and that her husband is having an affair—yet this doesn’t stop him from leaving her for the other woman.

After being rejected by numerous literary agents and publishing houses in 1996, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby started her own company and self-published her debut novel. Now, Roby is releasing her 23rd family drama, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, which centers on a wife, her husband, breast cancer and infidelity. Roby has sold more than 2.6 million copies of her books and is the 2013 NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER tells the story of Celine Richardson, her husband, Keith, and their 10-year-old daughter, Kassie. But this once loving marriage and happy family unit turn devastating when, only days apart, Celine is diagnosed with breast cancer and learns that Keith is having an affair. Worse, Keith still leaves her for the other woman. Celine then wonders how she’ll navigate the difficult process of surgery and additional cancer treatment, but comfort and support come in the form of Celine’s best friend, Lauren. They’ve been attached at the hip since they were children, and it is Lauren who’s there for Celine in her darkest moments. Of course, Keith may want to come back home, forcing Celine to consider some tough decisions relating to the marriage and otherwise—and for the very first time in her life, she wants to give up. Lauren vows to help her best friend in any way she can, but will it be too late?

Roby can discuss issues covered in this thought-provoking read that many also face in real life via Skype, video chats, teleconferences and over social media chats or in person meetings:  “Regardless of what family we’re talking about, breast cancer affects all colors, nationalities, and social status in a heartbreaking fashion—and sometimes so does infidelity in a marriage,” Roby says. “So, in BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, I wanted to show what happens when, only days apart, a woman discovers she has breast cancer and learns her husband is having an affair. Additionally, I wanted to explore how the family is affected when a husband leaves his wife for the other woman, and the woman’s best friend is forced to step in.”

Roby’s novels—which address true-to-life issues—have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, ESSENCE, and Publishers Weekly magazines,, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and many others.

Chapter 1: Best Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby 

“Keith, do you know what time it is?” Celine Richardson asked her husband as he walked into their bedroom. She’d just turned on her lamp and was sitting against two pillows.

“Five a.m.,” he said, clearly sounding as though this was no big deal.

“And you think you can just leave the house and waltz back in here whenever you feel like it? You must be out of your mind if you think I’m going to put up with this kind of crap. I almost called the police to report you missing.”

Keith pulled his short-sleeve knit shirt over his muscular shoulders and dropped it on the chair. “Time got away from me.”

Celine folded her arms. “Where were you, Keith?”

“At a friend’s. A bunch of us guys played cards and had a little too much to drink. And I fell asleep.”

Celine laughed out loud. “And you think I believe that? You think I’m that naïve?”

“Believe whatever you want. That’s on you.”

“You have a lot of nerve staying out till the wee hours of the morning and then acting like you’re the one who’s upset. How dare you.”

“I’m upset because anytime a wife decides that her work is more important than her husband, she shouldn’t worry one bit about where he’s going…or what he’s doing.”

“Excuse me? So you’re now staying out late and sleeping with only God knows who because you feel neglected? Please.”

“I’ve been telling you this for months. More like a whole year. But nothing’s changed.

You spend all your time online doing work for your clients, and that’s basically where things end with you.”

“That’s not true, and you know it.”

“Well, actually, you’re right. You spend lots of time with Kassie, but with the exception of our daughter, everything else revolves around your business. Which means there’s no time for me.”

“Why is it that you can spend all the time you want focusing on your career, but I can’t?

It took a lot of hard work for me to build up my client list, and it’s completely unfair for you to ask me to give that up. Especially since I’ve never asked you to give up anything.”  Keith was vice president of sales for a health care insurance company, and Celine had always supported him and encouraged him to excel every step of the way. So none of his complaints about her spending hours on her social media marketing business made sense.

It was as if he now despised the fact that she was finally seeing some real success with her career. She’d started her business five years ago, and she’d worked her behind off, doing everything she could not only to get it off the ground, but also to gain as much exposure as possible with small companies and major corporations. It was the reason she now sometimes had to pass on projects or refer clients to some of her colleagues.


#PowerReads: LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions by Bridgett Renay

LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions
by Bridgett Renay

Bridgett Renay unleashes a political drama that would make all Presidential front-runners take cover.

With her having a fairytale upbringing, no one could blame Essence St. Clair for expecting every entitlement seen fit for the beautiful and elite. But it only takes one vice to wreak sheer havoc. And it’s going to take more than a fairy godmother if she wants to survive corporate America; even though she’s the daughter of the ultraconservative Marshall St. Clair, patriarch of Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest religious empires. But no longer in the comfort zone of daddy’s like-minded tribe, Essence is thrust into a world where black liberalism is the definitive.

Not only was she groomed to head a Fortune 500, Essence craved it. And she was used to getting what she wants, including whichever man she desires. But after the untimely death of her mother, a very distracted Essence became the cause of a devastating family secret. And the one thing she didn’t count on was being blackmailed because of that youthful indiscretion.

Now it seems everyone’s out to get her. She doesn’t know who she can trust. The walls are closing in and Essence has to act fast if she wants to preserve her sanity along with her family’s noble reputation.

Does daddy’s little girl have the street smarts it takes to crush her enemies? Will she overcome one distraction after another to fulfill her goals of corporate dominance? Can she keep the love of her life, the captivating Dex Dunnavant, from learning about her tainted past?

Anyone standing in her way is about to find out.

Prelude:  LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions 

Once upon a time after a long and nefarious civil war was fought that ended in 1964, there survived a land where a gargantuan Golden Dome sat at its center. Its settlers were frequent visitors of the huge, beautiful park where forbidden lovers openly danced and children played with joy. Exotic birds of prey roamed free. Hawks soared through the air while Falcons glided on the surface. Brave gladiators defended their title as the toughest adversaries while Bulldogs protected the terrain with a rich history of total domination. It was called The Land of Opportunity and a new movement had begun.

Hidden in the outskirts lived a Nubian child who dreamed of greatness. She was the hardest working girl in school and knew one day she would triumph amongst the elite. All of the other children were jealous. They knew she was deserving of greatness so they tried every distraction they could to convince her she was not worthy of such – scandalizing her name, exposing youthful indiscretions, and even unfairly politicizing her world views. But the Nubian child’s thinking stood out from the rest, and therefore, she often stood alone. She paid no attention to such antagonism and just kept working harder and harder.

Then came the day she waited all her life for. She went to the ruler’s palace with a satchel full of accolades. With confidence in her stride and a huge smile on her face, she stood in front of the ruler and his servants and boldly stated, “I have come for my opportunity.”

The ruler looked over her proof as his servants held their breaths and patiently waited for him to respond. He scanned document after document taking notice of how she excelled to the top of her class in everything. Her academic scores were that of a genius, she set new standards with regards to community service, and her refined stance and beauty could only be matched by that of angels. He then raised his head staring intently at the Nubian child for what seemed like an eternity.

Giving her a glimmer of hope, the ruler began to smile. It soon turned into roaring laughter. He pierced into the Nubian child’s eyes and lashed out, “How dare you try to enter my kingdom with your dreams of grandeur! How dare you come to my face and ask me to grant you opportunity! Have you not looked into a mirror all your life? Do you not see that I am of pure white flesh while your flesh is muddied like dirt?”

He continued to taunt, “You think because we allowed that one muddied King to excel we will allow the same for you?” He flung his hand in the air as to swat away a pest, “Why he was just a fluke!” His eyes pierced even deeper as a more disdainful smirk appeared on his face, “And as for you…go back to the jungle where you belong.”

And they all laughed and laughed as the ruler raised his scepter and pointed it in the direction of the exit. Huge golden doors opened to display the most spectacular view of the land. The Nubian child looked across its rich acreage knowing she was unfairly denied the opportunity to frolic amongst the elite. She lowered her head in anguish.

Suddenly, after a burst of crackling thunder, a dark cloud appeared. It hung seemingly over only the Nubian child’s head. Rain drops the size of fairy pebbles could not compare to the tears drops that tumbled down her sculptured cheeks. As she turned around in despair, she slowly walked away and proclaimed to herself, “Vengeance shall be mine…and vengeance shall be sweet”.

And as told by the conservators of the land, this is her story.

Order LLP – Lust, Lies & Propositions by Bridgett Renay
Fiction, African-American, Drama, Political Thriller

About the Author 

The only thing best-selling author Bridgett Renay loves doing more than writing is breathing. If you let her tell it, the first spoken words from the quiet but observant Navy veteran were, “I should really write this down”.

As a young girl she undoubtedly had the gift. Everything from poetry to short stories filled her PeeChee folder with fantasies as well as the realities of life growing up in south central Los Angeles. And her talents didn’t go unnoticed. A Thanksgiving poem she wrote in elementary school found its way into the neighborhood newspaper, but it wasn’t a sign of what was to immediately come.

Before pursuing her dream of becoming an acclaimed novelist, the pragmatic Bridgett Renay believed she had to first make good on a promise she made to God. That promise revolved around the pursuit of higher learning and community service and was made after He healed her from a traumatic childhood incident.

The years of personal triumphs earning a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication and a Master of Business Administration, as well as professional growth as a corporate operative and Navy Reservist, tells the story of a journey that took her to faraway places, introduced her to intoxicating people, and shaped the way she viewed the world and her place in it.

Now that she has reached the top of her pyramid, per se, Bridgett Renay is ready for the novelistic spotlight. The pen is back, the passion never left …another journey begins.

Author’s Blog:


#PowerReads: Into The Mist by Lynn Emery Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series

Into The Mist by Lynn Emery
Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series

Children are missing in ever increasing numbers. LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard have to make sure their child isn’t next. After a series of gruesome murders, LaShaun has to answer one critical question to stop the bloodbath: are the children victims or weapons?

LaShaun Rousselle finds herself and her young family at the center of a devious and deadly series of crimes once more. A girl goes missing, bad enough. Yet when LaShaun follows the threads, she discovers the six year old is only one of many. What’s the connection to a string of attempts to get at LaShaun’s own child, Joëlle? She must help sort through the facts and evidence to convince level-headed law officers that supernatural forces are at work. Her life and the lives of those she cherish depend on LaShaun making a way out of no way.

LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series – A Darker Shade of Midnight is the first book in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. The second book is Between Dusk and Dawn. The third book is Only By Moonlight. Into The Mist is the fourth title in the LaShaun Rousselle mystery series.

NEW FALL 2016 – Into The Mist by Lynn Emery

Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series 

Topics: Faith, Supernatural forces, Family loyalty, Redemption, Creole and Cajun Culture
Available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Audible, and Smashwords

Excerpt from Book 1: A Darker Shade of Midnight

LaShaun went to her. She kissed the hand that had guided her through childhood. Now the knuckles were knotted, the tapered fingers weakened by arthritis. Yet, the skin appeared strangely smooth.

“Bon soir, Monmon. You should be in bed.” LaShaun kissed her forehead. She breathed in the familiar scent of Cashmere Bouquet. The fragrance of lavender and chamomile came from another era.

“So, you finally come home. To watch me die, eh?” Monmon Odette patted LaShaun’s cheek.

“To celebrate your life, sweet mother,” LaShaun whispered. A tear slipped down her face. No need to make pointless protestations otherwise. They both knew Monmon Odette’s time on earth was growing shorter.

Monmon Odette shushed away her sadness with a soft hiss. She produced a scented lace handkerchief from the pocket of her robe and dabbed away the tear. LaShaun sat on the floor and rested her head in Monmon Odette’s lap.

“Don’t grieve just yet, Cher . The blood is still runnin’ warm in these old veins. I’ve got just enough time left I think.”

“Time for what?” LaShaun toyed with the hem of her grandmother’s cotton gingham robe.

“You’ll know soon enough. But tonight you need rest after a long journey. You’ve come back home through time and space I think,” Monmon Odette murmured.

LaShaun looked up at her. “Has anything changed here?”

Monmon Odette patted her shoulder as a signal she wanted to stand. With a short grunt from the effort, and a hand from LaShaun, she rose from the chair. Monmon Odette held LaShaun’s arm as they walked down the hallway to her bedroom.

“Some things are eternal. The movement of the wind, the heat on the bayou when summer comes. All that is the same.”

“The land stays the same if people don’t ruin it. Like they ruin a lot of things,” LaShaun said softly.

“Human nature doesn’t change either, Cher .” Monmon stopped and gave LaShaun a sideways glance. “The same deadly sins rule a man’s nature.”

“And women,” LaShaun added raising an eyebrow back at her.

Monmon Odette laughed and started walking again. “True. But age does make a difference. When you get to be old you look at things differently.”

They arrived at the door to her grandmother’s bedroom. As they entered, LaShaun let her go in first. Then she fluffed the down pillows as her grandmother sank onto the bed. LaShaun helped her remove the robe and ease back onto the pillows. Once she’d tucked the vintage quilt around Monmon Odette’s chest her grandmother sighed.

“Thank you, sweet girl. Now sit with me awhile.”

LaShaun sank onto the cushioned seat of a large oak rocking chair next to the bed. A Bible was on the nightstand. “Of course. Shall I read to you?”


Monmon Odette closed her eyes after a few moments. LaShaun watched the slight rise and fall of her grandmother’s chest. After a while, she gazed around. Monmon Odette had redecorated. Her grandmother had a fondness for antiques, history and tradition. Yet, Monmon Odette was no old lady clinging to the past. LaShaun smiled when she saw the combination radio and compact disc player on the other wide nightstand. The high tech device didn’t clash with the country style décor. Curtains with a lovely old rose pattern on a cream background matched the quilt, the rug and pillow shams. An overhead cane ceiling fan looked old enough to have come from one of the plantation homes along Vermilion River. Then LaShaun saw the family photos on a round table. She left the rocker and went to it. Several pictures were sepia toned, taken before the turn of the last century. “Celie LeGrange, 1866-1932” was written at the bottom of one. Monmon Odette’s mother. Jules Paul LeGrange, husband to Celie and Monmon Odette’s father, stared stone-faced from another photo. An even older picture of a lovely woman dressed in a long dress and button top shoes sat next to it. LaShaun did not have to read the faint letters to know her. Acelie LeGrange stared at her descendant across time, two hundred years to be exact. LaShaun’s mother stared from a photo taken in 1982. She looked beautiful in a flowered sundress. Francine stood next to a five year old LaShaun. Both wore forced smiles trying hard to look happy for the camera. LaShaun didn’t remember that particular day, but she remembered her mother’s overwrought disposition. Still in love with Antoine St. Julien even five years after he married another, Francine never found happiness.

“I’m glad you’re home, Cher . Have you forgiven me?”

LaShaun looked up to find her grandmother’s dark gaze fixed on her. “I didn’t blame you for anything that happened to me, Monmon.”

“Maybe you should have, and for your maman, too. So many mistakes and no time to fix them. But I may still have time to do some good for you.” Monmon Odette inhaled deeply causing a rattling sound deep in her chest. She breathed out slowly then closed her eyes.

“I made my own choices, and my own mistakes.” LaShaun blinked away tears.

Monmon Odette nodded without opening her eyes. “Maybe Le Bon Dieu will have mercy on this old woman.”

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. A Darker Shade of Midnight is the first book in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lynn Emery. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase books from the LaShaun Rousselle Series 


A Darker Shade of Midnight – Book Review Written by Beverly Jackson VINE VOICE 

In A Darker Shade of Midnight by Lynn Emery, LaShaun Rousselle is returning home to Vermillion Parish, Louisiana because her grandmother is dying. Shortly after crossing the county line, LaShaun finds herself sitting in the sheriff’s station wondering what bogus charges warranted her being detained. Yes, she has a scandalous past that caused her to leave home ten years ago, but that is the past. When the sheriff department finds nothing but a broken taillight, feisty LaShaun cannot help shaking up the sheriff and the department by issuing them a challenge, knowing some fear her voodoo powers. With that settled, LaShaun is looking forward to making peace with her grandmother, Monmon Odette, and catching up with family. Unfortunately, life will be anything but peaceful for LaShaun – greedy relatives, a sadistic ex-lover, an attraction to a deputy, an evil force and murder all come into her life. Fearing that mayhem and evil are a curse she cannot overcome, LaShaun starts to despair that she should not have returned home. Will LaShaun be able to trust her psychic powers, and accept help from unexpected sources, or will the demon win this round for her soul?

A Darker Shade of Midnight is a tale of revenge, deceit, betrayal and political corruption. This combination makes for a juicy murder and the plot serves up several victims. Drama of the family fighting among themselves adds another layer of tension and intrigue to a plot with all kinds of twists. Emery is known for her love of Louisiana, a setting she vividly brings to life in this story. I enjoyed how the paranormal elements were skillfully woven into the storyline with grace and ease, being a natural part of the locale.

LaShaun is an alpha female who fights back at the least challenge, but over the course of the story she learns to accept who she is and how to accept genuine help. It is a nice touch to see her interact with the sexy deputy, Chase Broussard, as the attraction between them allows the reader a respite from all of the mayhem in the story. While fans of the author will love visiting with old friends and new readers will be entertained by the characters, they might be slightly confused by references to previously mentioned events.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy paranormal mysteries and fans of Lynn Emery. A good read for a summer night, as the forces of good and evil battle with each other.

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Reviewed by Beverly, APOOO Literary Book Review

Purchase books from the LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series 


Meet the Author

Mix knowledge of voodoo, Louisiana politics and forensic social work, and you get a snapshot of author Lynn Emery.  Lynn’s recent titles include murder mysteries set in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana featuring a Creole psychic and a Cajun deputy. The titles in this series are: A Darker Shade of Midnight (#1), Between Dusk and Dawn (#2), and Only By Moonlight (#3). Into The Mist (#4) continues the harrowing case files of LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard. Into the Mist will be released in fall 2016.



#PowerReads: Life & Love: The Journey In Verse by Pat C.

Life & Love: The Journey In Verse
by Pat C.

Life and Love – The Journey in Verse speaks from the heart of the author as she revisits, observes and fantasizes the beauty of love. It immediately becomes apparent that the reader will be personally escorted by verse to observe and to understand the language that only love speaks. The couplets and the tone capture the beauty of the soul, the mindset and compatible lives being joined together in unity by the power of love. The mood has been meticulously established for reading. I was captivated.” – Dr. Claudia Wells Hamilton Secondary School Principal

Excerpt from Life & Love: The Journey In Verse

Romance Section/ Pg 36:  This poem was written about two soul-mates, who had met again years later. This was written as an invitation to embrace the gift of a second chance by sealing it with marriage.

~A New Song~ 

I want to write a new song with you.
The harmony will be tighter,
The tone deeper, the melody richer,
The chorus louder and it shall repeat itself more than before.
The rhythm will be mellow and sure.
Our new song will remain a classic,
A love story second only to our first.
Come, let’s write the final version,
‘Til death do us part.

Pg 31:  This poem was tells of love and intent of an affectionate relationship, leading to a well rounded marriage. It express hope, delight and commitment.

~Please Allow Me~

For all the years I loved you and was not present,
Please let allow me to love you… more and more each day.
For all the kisses I didn’t get to place on your sweet lips,
Please allow me to kiss you… slow and long.
For all times we missed holding hands,
Please allow me to hold your hand gently in mine…’till the end of time.
For all the laughter we missed sharing,
Please allow me to laugh with you…on and on.
For all the moments we missed in each other’s arms,
Please allow me to hold you tight…never letting go.
For all the moments we missed,
In the bliss of us,
Please allow me to give all of me to you now…until the end

Pg 28:  This poem was written after the breakup/separation, in attempt to get the attention of a mate, letting them know the importance and necessity of their love.

~My Table~

My table for two will soon be our table.
A place where we will enjoy the blessing of each other,
Eat great food, and drink fine wine.
A place where we will look into each other’s eyes,
And see the reflection of a love we’ve waited a lifetime for.
A love that will grow and get sweeter with time.
At our table, we will discuss
Family, friends, foe, and current events,
It will be our sanctuary of love,
The bridge to our blissful bed of love and back.
A place of prayer and romance,
Telling each other secrets, sharing hopes and dreams.
The realization of a divine love made in heaven,
With continual renewal and verbal profession
Of our love for one another.
A love built on mutual love and adoration.
Our table will always be an extension of our love
For family, friends, or a passerby in need.
This my love, is my table.
Soon to be our table.

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of Pat C., author of “Life & Love: The Journey In Verse”, a collection of poems. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase Life & Love: The Journey In Verse by Pat C. 

About the Author

Pat C. was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pat is a mother, grandmother, poet, trainer, a certified life coach and now author. Pat C. possesses a natural gift for coaching and encourages all to live and love to the fullest.

Pat C. can be found on social media at:




#PowerReads: One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy

One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy

What does crazy look like? Let Deborah tell it, it’s the reflection that looks back at her in the -mirror. She has a career she loves, two beautiful children and a handsome and successful husband. Her life seems to be the blueprint almost every woman she knows would kill to live. But working full-time, being a full-time mother, full-time wife and a full-time Sunday only Christian seems to be taking its toll on her. With all the scheming and shenanigans Deborah orchestrated to get this lifestyle, she might have to come up with a whole set of new ones to maintain it.

Lynox is Deborah’s husband who she thanks God for putting back into her life after a game of cat and mouse that defies the laws of romance. He feels that all Deborah needs is to let her hair down, maybe make some new friends and live a little. When Deborah agrees and then suspects Lynox of having an affair with the woman that he suggested she form a friendship with, will he live to regret his own advice?

Excerpt: One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy 


“You can’t leave me!” Deborah yelled at Lynox, spittle flying from her mouth. She looked like a madwoman. She felt like a madwoman. Her hair was in disarray, and perspiration had beaded up on her forehead. It was a wonder she didn’t have foam caked up in the corners of her mouth. She was acting rabid, like the victim in a science fiction horror movie who had failed to escape the vicious plague that was attacking all of Earth.

She needed help; that was no longer the million-dollar question. The question now was, why hadn’t she gotten the help she so desperately needed, or rather, why hadn’t she continued getting the help she’d once been receiving? For a minute there she had felt that she’d been doing so well that she didn’t need any help. There had always been the possibility that if she fell back into her slump again, she could just pick up where she’d left off in her treatment. Not only had some of her old traits reared their ugly heads, but she was far worse off now than she had ever been before. What had started off as a manageable snowball was now an avalanche. If Lynox didn’t get out of the way, he’d be buried alive underneath it.

“I can leave you, I am leaving you, and I’m taking the kids with me,” was Lynox’s reply to his wife’s statement.

So now not only was her husband leaving her, but he was also taking their two sons with him? The rage that welled up in Deborah’s being was uncontrollable. That didn’t come as any surprise. She’d lost jurisdiction over her emotions a long time ago. At first, when her life had seemed to be getting hectic, she had managed somewhat. She’d hidden the darkness under the beam of an invisible flashlight. Outsiders couldn’t see the darkness or the object projecting the false lighting. But then, emotionally, it had felt as if one thing was piling on top of the other. Anger issues. Depression. Anxiety. The need to be in control. Compulsion for order.

There had been times, after researching the term, when she’d even thought she might be bipolar. Heck, maybe she had been experiencing a little bit of all of them, which was a recipe for disaster. With her husband standing in front of her, a suitcase in hand, and threatening to leave her, it looked like the recipe had been followed to a tee, and now the timer on the oven was sounding. It was done. Over. Finished. Kaput.

“Why are you doing this?” Deborah cried out. “Why are you hurting me?” Deborah stood there, blocking the closed bedroom door. She’d already told Lynox that he was leaving over her dead body. Those hadn’t merely been desperate words flung out of her mouth. She’d meant it.

“I was hurting you when I was pampering and pacifying you, instead of making you go do something about it,” Lynox told her.

“So now what?” Deborah raised her arms and then allowed them to fall to her sides.

“You call this helping me?”

Lynox shook his head. “No. I call this giving you the opportunity to help yourself.”

Lynox slowly walked toward his wife. It pained him so much to see her like this. He didn’t understand how a person’s emotions and behavior could shift so erratically. Why was it that he and Deborah could experience the best night in the world, but then Deborah would wake up mad at the world? Or how could one little thing that threw her off schedule or was out of order send her on a rampage?

Although Deborah loved her job as a literary agent and an editor, it was hard for Lynox to tell sometimes. Getting steady, good-paying projects was every freelance editor’s dream. But as an agent, sometimes Deborah could get overwhelmed by submissions or needy authors. So when all her projects collided or piled on top of one another, she often operated out of fear of not getting done what she already had on her plate before another healthy portion was served up. When Deborah was working on one project, her mind would already be on the next one, and the one after that. God forbid Lynox or the children needed her to do something for them. She’d bite their heads off just for asking.

For Deborah, there were instances when she felt pangs of guilt for feeling as though she’d put her job before her family. She’d be regretful, which would make her feel like less than a good wife and mother, sending her into a bout of depression. Everything about her life was like a double-edged sword, and now she was cutting up. Lynox had already received one wound too many. It was time for him to go, but Deborah wasn’t going to allow that without putting up a fight.

“I promise I’ll be better,” Deborah pleaded, looking into her man’s eyes. “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” Deborah bounced up and down like a child begging her parent to buy her something from the ice-cream truck.

Lynox rested his hands on Deborah’s shoulders. The gesture was both to comfort her and to make her stop bouncing. He could see that his leaving was eating her up. He was afraid. He really didn’t know what his wife would do after he walked out that door, but he was more afraid of what might happen if he didn’t.

“Don’t you get it, baby? I don’t want you to do whatever I want you to do. I want you to do what you need to do. You need help, and unless you feel that you need help and you get that help for yourself, things won’t get better.”

Lynox was right. The way Deborah stared into his eyes with no rebuttal was silent proof that she agreed. Still, if she did get help, she wanted him to be there by her side during the process.

“I will be getting help for myself because I want to,” Deborah said. “But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t doing it for the family too. I know if I’m better, then you guys will be better,” she said. Made sense too, because when she wasn’t happy, nobody was happy. Her misery seemed to eject from her pores, bringing everyone in the house down or forcing them to walk on eggshells. Even her nine-month-old son was whiny and cranky when Deborah was having a bad day or just a bad moment even.

“I will support you,” Lynox said. “For the sake of our children and our marriage, I will support you.”

Deborah exhaled a gasp of hot air. “Oh, yes. God, thank you!” Deborah threw her arms around Lynox and cried. This time hers were tears of joy and relief. She gripped his shirt, holding on to him as if she never wanted to let go. She didn’t want to let go.

“But I’ll just be doing it from another address.”

Instantly, Deborah’s demeanor changed. She stiffened, and her tears of joy seemed to stop midway down her cheeks. She pulled back from Lynox but still gripped his shirt.

“You’re dying to go out there and be with her, aren’t you?” Deborah glared at Lynox.

“That’s what your leaving is really about.”

“Be with who, Deborah?” Lynox noticed that Deborah’s eyes were turning wild. “No.

You know what? I’m not even about to do this with you. Not again.” Lynox removed Deborah’s hands from his shirt and walked over to the door. He turned to face Deborah. “Call me when you get some help . . . for real this time.” He opened the door, his back now to Deborah.

He should have thought twice about turning his back on Deborah. The Beats Pill speaker crashing against the door, missing Lynox’s head by inches, was proof of that. Lynox held the doorknob. He gripped it tightly, causing the palm of his hand to turn red. The veins in his hand were pulsating. He squeezed his eyes shut so hard that he got an instant headache. It was like déjà vu all over again from only a couple of months ago. He had to get out of there before things got physical, like they had the last time. He still carried far too much regret from that night to pile on more. He opened his eyes and took two steps out the door.

“You took vows. You said you would be with me until death do us part,” Deborah shouted at Lynox’s back.

Deborah’s words stopped Lynox in his tracks. He turned around and faced his wife.

“The death of what, though, Debbie? The death of being in love? The death of trust? Given how our marriage is disintegrating, the death of one of us? How many things have to die, things that are supposed to be the foundation of our marriage, before the marriage itself dies?”

Deborah had no reply for her husband. Sure, the vows they’d each read from the Bible and exchanged included the words “till death do us part.” But Lynox was right. Their vows didn’t specifically say that this death was the physical death of the husband or the wife. So many things had already died, some that probably couldn’t even be resuscitated. Deborah was willing to ride this thing out, though, until the wheels fell off. That was easy for her to say, considering that she was the one wearing them down until they did.

How had things gotten this bad? They were at the point of no return. And now she feared that once Lynox walked out that door, he wouldn’t return. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself knowing that she was the cause of her marriage being over, the cause of her family being split. She couldn’t live like that. She couldn’t live without Lynox. She couldn’t live without her family together as one. She couldn’t live. She wouldn’t. So allowing Lynox to walk out that door and go on with his life, leaving her on her own to bear such devastation, wasn’t an option. So Deborah did what she had to do to stop the pain before it ever hit.

( Continued… )

Meet the Author

BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the five book series, “New Day Divas,” the three book series, “Still Divas,” the three book series, “Always Divas,” and the forthcoming three book series, “Forever Divas,” which have been coined “Soap Operas In Print.” She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY.

This award winning author has been sharing her literary expertise on conference panels in her home town of Columbus, Ohio as well as cities across the country. Her children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide.

In addition, she is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. She pens original songs, drama skits and monologues for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying.

You can visit BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy at or email her at

Purchase One Sunday at a Time by E. N. Joy
(Christian Fiction)



#PowerReads: Praying My Way Out of the Struggle by Sierra J.D.

Praying My Way Out of the Struggle
by Sierra J.D.

Most people have a special place in their hearts for their hometown, but with 18-year-old Trina Capone, it’s the complete opposite. Trina despises Baton Rouge, where she has been born and raised. Following the divorce of her parents, Trina has had to take on the responsibility of being the woman of the house, including raising the siblings left to her when her mother becomes addicted to drugs. All Trina wants to do is graduate high school. But one thing after another happens that could either break her or make her into the woman she desires to be – all things opposite of her crack-fiend mother.
Little does Trina know, the very city that she couldn’t wait to get away from becomes the city she doesn’t want to leave. As a person who has never accepted that life could either break her or make her into the woman she desires to be – all things opposite of her crack-fiend mother. The love of God the Almighty leaves her speechless and craving for more of his tender love and mercy.

Praying My Way Out of the Struggleis the first installment of the seven-novel Family Matters series. The Family Matters novels brings you into the lives of individuals who are members of or are connected to Kingdom Bound Church. The series sheds light on marriage, drugs, addictions, teenage pregnancy, abuse, suicide, identity, racism, sexuality, gangs, crime, the laws of the United States, and more.

Excerpt: Praying My Way Out of the Struggle 

What’s up? It’s your girl Trina. So, I heard through the grapevine that you heard about me and wanted to see what all of the hype was about for yourself. Good for you! I’m so delighted that you believe that my story is worth your precious time. Do you honestly believe that you can handle all of my drama though? Do you, really? Well, let me give you a lil’ introduction so that you can prepare yourself better for what is to come.

Well, to start off, today is my 18th birthday. You would think that I would be going out to the club and enjoying myself, but I’m not. Unlike other 18-year-olds, I have real responsibilities to tend to other than wasting a wad of cash to get pretty and stand up in a club all night. My responsibilities are not “normal” things like doing chores around the house and finishing homework before I can ask for permission from my parents to go somewhere. My responsibilities includes studying hard to pass all of my classes, so that I can graduate high school in eight months, working to pay household bills and to keep food in the house, making sure everyone in my house has decent clothes to wear to accommodate this bipolar Louisiana weather, making sure that my mama doesn’t do anything crazy to get me evicted from my apartment, and taking care of four children in addition to myself and my unborn baby. So no, I’m not celebrating the birthday that I’ve always looked forward to celebrating by club-hopping like most of the girls in my senior class gets to do. Don’t get me wrong. There ain’t nothing wrong with shakin’ ya rump-shaker and getting wasted if that’s what you like to do.

You don’t have to worry about me judging because the Bible says let he that is without sin cast the first stone and baby I am nowhere near to being like Jesus just yet. So keep on doing what you do just as long as you get it right before the second coming of Christ. But as for me going out to the club, I was never really able to do that even if I did want to. It seemed like every time I was given the opportunity to experience the night life, another baby that I had to take care of was getting ready to pop out. When you have four kids at home who need you to watch over them, you can’t be risking their safety to sweat your weave out in a hot club and walk out smelling like marijuana.

And heck no, they ain’t my kids! But, you might as well call ’em mine, though, because my mama sure ain’t taking care of ’em. Ol’ good for nothing, nappy-headed a-…Hold up, let me not get started on her just yet and bring it back to me because I could write a whole ’nother book about the mother I ain’t had since I was around two years old. Speaking of, you know what I would really enjoy doing on this birthday? Taking a walk with Jesus to that birthday. I don’t remember much about it. Based on what my daddy says and the pictures that I have, I feel as if it was one of the most exciting days of my life…other than finding out that I was going to be a mother. The pictures from that day proves that everything was as happy and peaceful as my daddy describes, too. In every picture of me, I am smiling hard and clinging to my mama and daddy, surrounded by family that I haven’t seen since before my parent’s divorced.

The pictures shows a side of my mama that I don’t remember. She was happy. She looked healthy. She looked like a real mother. My mama was thick as a milkshake with silky black hair pulled up into a high ponytail with a bang. She was a showstopper, dressed in a Coogi shirt, black high-waist pants, and kitten heels. Her smile is contagious in those pictures, but then I am reminded of what the reality is when it comes to her, and I start to cry. My daddy said that she was even a tongues-speaking, prayer warrior back then. A mixture of being hurt by family and the church took a toll on her heart, and she turned to the devil for healing.

Now, her sins cause my hell. But not today Satan! I will not allow you to get me emotional on my birthday. I work tirelessly every day taking care of what she should and today, one out of 365 days, I choose to be happy.

My introduction is probably scaring you off, so let me switch gears. This story is about me, Trina Capone, and the people that takes a part of making me all that I am. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a cool chic. I respect you if you respect me. I’m ’bout my business. I’m a fashionista, I’m a hairstylist in the making. I value my free education. And, currently, I am preparing myself to be a born again Christian. I know where I have been, and I know where I am headed. This Christian thing is new to me, so I ask that you bear with me through it all as I try to conquer the old me and defeat the enemy. I’m far from perfect, and you are, too, so keep that in mind as you are strapping on your six-inch heels. While you’re at it, you might want to grab a bag of popcorn, turn your cell phone on silent, log off of all of your social network accounts, and buckle up and get ready. It’s time you let go of that wall you’re holding onto. My life is pure struggle. And, in the struggle, there are no training wheels to stable you up; you just have to keep getting up until you get your balance. I don’t know how this story will end, but I know that God is in control. The elders at the church that I recently became a member of told me that when God wants you to grow, he makes you uncomfortable. I’ve been uncomfortable with my life for a while. Well, my growth must gonna be phenomenal because my discomfort has been severe and as long – the entire span of my life.

Chapter One


“Twenty dollars at pump one,” I told the cashier as I handed her Josh’s gas money.

Josh, my boyfriend, claims that he has a special day planned for my birthday, which started out with a shopping spree. Since I’m four months pregnant, there isn’t too much that I can do now a days, but clap and shout in church. So I’m really looking forward to seeing where else we’ll go. I know you’re probably thinking about how big of a hypocrite I am right now for being pregnant by my boyfriend, but I just recently started building a relationship with God, and he ain’t done working with me yet. I wasn’t worrying about what God thought about me back then, but I surely thank him for carrying me through all that I go through now.

“Well how you been, son?” a dark skinned, heavy set woman was asking Josh as I was walking back to the car. Son? What the heck does she mean “son”?  We’ve been together for a good year and some months and I’ve met everyone in Josh’s family…well, except for his mama. The only thing that I know about that situation is that his daddy raised him because his mama wasn’t being a good role model in his life, whatever that means. His parent situation is screwed up, and so is mine. So, I don’t judge. I guess that’s why our relationship is as strong as it is.

I looked at Josh and the woman crazy as I opened the passenger’s door to his white Camaro and got inside. The music was so loud in the car that I couldn’t even get my ear hustle on. All that I could see was Josh getting angry, walking towards the passenger’s door. When he opened the door, I got a lil’ scared.

“What?” I asked, like I was minding my business the whole time.

“Man…Trina, this my mama. Mama, this is my girl,” Josh introduced.

“Hey,” I said as I waved to the lady that stood on side of him. With that attitude, I don’t know whether to be happy or not. Obviously, all of his good looks came from his daddy, because she is nowhere near being as good-looking as Josh is. She bit her lips in a manner that oozed sex and dirty, inappropriate thoughts as she stared back at me, making me feel very much violated.

“I know you from somewhere,” she said.

“No, you don’t know me because I surely don’t know you,” I said, nodding my head no.

“Yeah…You one of Tina girls, huh? The oldest one, right?”

“Yeah. How you know my mama?” I said with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

“Everybody knows your mama, baby girl… You pregnant?” She said, pointing in the direction of my stomach. I know you see I have a lil’ pudge in my stomach huh?


“For my son?”

Who else would it be for woman?


“Uh huh, you a fine lil’ thing,” she said right before Josh slammed the door and got into the car. I know she felt hurt when he drove off, leaving her there looking stupid all by herself.

“What’s up, bae, talk to me,” I said, as we turned into Sherwood Lane apartments, where I live.

“I ain’t like the way she was looking at you,” he replied, parking in front of my apartment building.

“Yeah, I ain’t like that either. She’s a lesbian or something?”

“Yeah, and one of my ex-girlfriends is her girlfriend right now.”


“I know right…and I’ll be damn if I let her take you,”


“Don’t do it. Don’t let that situation make you curse. You haven’t cursed all day, so don’t do it,” he said as soon as he saw me rolling my neck about to go into a cursing binge.

“Jesus, please be my tongue,” I said, holding my chest and nodding my head, like I was out of breath. “Oooh, Lord, thank you because you know I was about to put you in your place, right? But, bae, why are we here? I thought we were going somewhere else?” I said getting out of the car, after him.

“I have to get this sell right quick,” he replied, opening the back door.

“While we’re supposed to be celebrating my birthday? Are you fu- freaking serious?”

“Yeah, I promise we gon’ go where I wanted to take you in like a hour or two,”

“Man forget it, whatever!” I yelled, as I started walking up the steps to the apartment that I was forced to call home.

My mama, my lil’ siblings, and I live here and I hate it, but it’s better than living how we use to live, with the crack man. After I saw him beat the living day lights out of my mama, I called my daddy so fast, and he moved us into an apartment the next day. We left her behind since it seemed like she didn’t mind having the crack man go upside her head, not if it meant she got laid, as well as supplied with goods she craved.

The new apartment my dad moved me and my siblings into was decent at first. I could tolerate it being near the hood and having the lil’ wannabe drug dealers roaming around the apartment buildings because nobody bothered me. But, the intolerable drama began when my lil’ sister Kayla brought Mama home with her after school one day. She made herself right at home and went ahead and moved in. It hurts living with the fact that I have a fiend for a mother and that she cares more about drugs than her own kids. It’s a good thing my parents were married when I was born into this messed up world, or I would be just like my lil’ sisters and brother. They don’t know who the heck their daddy is.

So I guess you’re wondering what happened to my daddy, huh? Well, he divorced Mama after she had the first two kids by men she didn’t even know, just for crack. Daddy accepted the first child, Kayla. But when Mama got pregnant with Nina, he had enough of Mama’s problems. Who the men are? We have no idea. She doesn’t even know her own self. If you happen to know, please shoot them in the groin area for busting inside of my mama. I bet that’ll hurt! Oh, Lord, I didn’t really mean that. Forgive me, Jesus! I know, I know. The power of life and death lies in the power of the tongue. I’m sorry.

Anyway, my daddy tried taking me, and Kayla and Nina, who were then babies, to live with him in Houston, but my mama carefully broke into my daddy’s apartment and took us back to Baton Rouge in the middle of the night. Since then, she has given birth to two more virtually fatherless kids for crack! I don’t know how they came out healthy, though. I guess God must’ve really been watching over her during her pregnancies.

I’m glad that she tied her tubes after the last one, though, because she doesn’t even take care of the kids that she has now. And, I’m pretty sure that the good Lord knows that I can’t bear taking care of anymore of her kids. She’s so lucky that I take care of us well enough that everyone around the ‘hood hasn’t ever bothered to call Child Protection Services on her. But, I can’t take all of the credit because my daddy helps me out a lot. If it wasn’t for having a man like him as my daddy, I don’t know what I would do. It’s been him assisting me in teaching my sisters about hygiene and my brother about guy things. If it wasn’t for my daddy, I wouldn’t have known that my brother and baby sister were only supposed to eat certain food as babies. If it wasn’t for my siblings, I would’ve been got away from here and moved to Houston with my daddy. But, here I am playing a mommy of four while my mama waste her life away.

Most people love their hometown, but I could care less about this messed-up city. How can I love my hometown when the people here are helping my mother kill herself? They don’t call it Jigga City for nothing. Whoever thought of that nick name, knew just what they were talking about. I don’t know how much more I can take living around this mess. That’s why my daddy helped me get a lil’ townhouse because I can’t take the thought of having to raise my child around this mess. It’s not too far from where we live now, but it’ll be just enough of distance for me to finally be at peace and to better work on my relationship with God. At the apartment with my mama, it’s so hard for me not to cuss or want to fight my mama and fast-tail 16-year-old sister. The townhouse is on a better street, near the schools that my siblings and I attend, and surrounded by couples who have been living there for decades. I’ll take the nosey neighbors and quiet streets over going outside and seeing people make drug deals in the open and prostitutes walking around at night. It’s enough my lil’ sisters and brother got exposed to that life. But, I refuse to expose my unborn baby to this whenever he or she gets here.

It is a shame that my daddy has to call me every day, worried about if I’m gon’ lose my mind and kill myself one day. I don’t know what put it into my mind to finally take my godsister Larissa’s offer of going to Kingdom Bound Church with her that day, but I haven’t been the same since I left. So as long as I continue to take a walk with Jesus, I know that I’ll be alright. Taking those walks has saved so many females, including my mama, from getting their butts whooped these last few months. The good Lord knows if it had not been for me trying to turn my life over to him, I would have been knocked out about two of those females for picking with me behind my man, and I would have been slapped my mama upside of her head for all that she does to make my life more difficult than it already is! But, God! They better thank the Lord that I’m trying to change and get my life together before my baby gets here.

In a couple of months I’m gon’ have my own little one, and I’m gon’ be the best mother a child could ever have, the total opposite of my mama. It kind of sucks that it looks like I’ll be raising my child as a single mother, though, because, at the rate that Josh is going with selling drugs and all, our relationship will not last much longer. Our bond is strong, but the way that my God is set up, I can’t have one foot in the church and the other foot in the world. Although I love him with all of my being, I have to do what’s right. If marrying me and getting our lives right for the Lord isn’t in the plans, we will just not be together.

“What’s good Trina?” Carl, one of the ‘hood young drug dealers, asked. This dude picks with me every day, knowing dang well I can’t stand his black behind. I don’t even know why he continue to bother talking to me when he knows he’s going to get ignored, just like I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. I guess he’ll never learn.

“Uh, huh, there you go ignoring me again,” he added, after watching me open the door without acknowledging his presence.

“Get a life, lil’ boy!” I said as I walked into the apartment.

“I’ight, I’ll leave you alone. You lucky you’re JJ’s girl because I would’ve been tapped that there just like Trey doing your lil’ sister right now.”

“What?!” I yelled, stepping back into the doorway.

“Awwww, girl, cut that s*$%out.”

“No, dude. You cut that cursing out. You’re lucky I’m even letting you talk to me right now, so check your mouth.”

“Awwww, that’s right. They say you a lil’ church girl now. But, I was just saying, don’t try to act all surprised n’ sh-stuff. You know that’s nothin’ new. When ya’ moms ain’t got no money for her goods, you already know the deal. It’s either Nina or Kayla to spread them legs, and Lil’ NiNi wasn’t home. You know Roscoe been wanted her lil’ fine a- self.”

“Mess with Nina, and y’all will mess up y’all life. And, I promise you that I’ll have y’all family dressed in all black. Take it how you want to!” I said, before slamming the door in his face.  I locked the door and turned around to a real messed-up scene that I’m tired of witnessing: my lil’ brother rocking my baby sister to sleep on the couch while my mama is getting high in the kitchen. Yeah, she’s one bold woman, and she doesn’t give a rat’s behind when or where she’s getting her fix at because, in her mind, that’s her only purpose in life. Nope, she doesn’t even care that she is contaminating the minds of her young children. I really think that she wants us to be just like her. Broke, with no goals, just wasting our lives away, while we’re strung out on a crack addiction.

My mind is officially made up: I can’t take this mess no more; I’m moving into my apartment today, and I’m taking all of my siblings, except for Kayla, with me. I’ve been around drugs practically my whole life, and I’m just tired of it! Father God, work on my tongue, Lord! Don’t curse, Trina, don’t curse, Trina, don’t curse!

“And, you call yourself a woman?!” I said, standing onside the couch, facing the kitchen.

“And, I hear that you are so say calling yourself a Christian now, huh? Walking around here, pregnant for a dope dealer, and talking to me any kind of way you want to. You ain’t no woman! The Bible says to honor your mother, and what you doing?” she boldly told me back.

“God still working on me, and you of all people doesn’t have any room to judge me, woman. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have a couch to sleep on or a pot to pee in, so watch it. I’m more woman than you’ll ever be, that’s for sure! I didn’t ask for this life or to grow up earlier than I was supposed to. YOU made me! And, don’t you find it kinda’ hard for me to honor you? You don’t even give a fu- you don’t even care that Scooby and Bunni are right there watching you get high!”

“You better watch who you talking to like that, lil’ girl, before I make you mad and call on your lil’ Joshy boy for my goods. And, don’t worry about what I’m doing! They alright!” she said as she began to clean up her lil’ drug shop on the kitchen counter.

“You’re bold. Call him, and see me pop out the lil’ bit of brains that you have left.”

“Just for that, I will call him, and I’ll show him what it feels like to be with a real woman,” she said, twirling her hips around.

“You washed up piece of trash! If I find out that you ever even try to put your finger on him, I’ll make you wish you never had me! C’mon, Scooby, and take Bunni with you!” I told my little brother as I began walking towards the bedroom.

( Continued… )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sierra J.D. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

About the Author

Author Sierra J.D. is a wife and mother, living in her home state of Louisiana. Sierra found her love of writing at twelve years old when she was first introduced to poetry in Junior High School. She enjoyed crafting stories into poems and a few years later wrote her first novel. Writing allowed Sierra to escape depression during her adolescence and she has since created a goal to make a career out of her passion of writing. With her collegiate degrees giving her the skills and foundation needed to be a successful business woman, Author Sierra J.D. has decided to enter the literary world as an author and Independent Publisher. With the assistance of her husband, Dion, the couple founded Destined Eloquence Publishing. The Mission of Destined Eloquence Publishing is to publish works that will bring awareness and help to various issues of our day and time as well as inspire, uplift, and motivate.

Purchase Praying My Way Out of the Struggle

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#PowerReads: All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude by Skywalker Payne

All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude
A Quest for Wholeness. A Creative Non-Fiction book
by Skywalker Payne

Now is the Only Time to Begin Your Mindfulness Practice

Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and registered nurse, Skywalker Payne unites spiritual and health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. Using a conversational style, she shares scientific studies, spiritual insights, personal stories, and poetry to reveal how these practices can enrich your life. You not only share one woman’s journey, but also learn techniques and approaches to integrate mindfulness and gratitude into your daily life.

* You can end overwhelm.
* You can live a fulfilling life of health and vitality.
* You can be aware and appreciative of every precious moment.

A profound book that sets the reader thinking about big subjects, all within the context of mindfulness. Skywalker introduces the idea of how mindfulness could transform more than just individual’s lives, but also how we as a society govern ourselves. She includes her own process through a mindfulness course, demonstrating commitment and insights that are useful for anyone considering learning about mindfulness. A thought-provoking and inspiring read. – Jane Duncan Rogers, Author of Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth

Book Reviews for Skywalker Payne 

An honest, authentic look into the wonderful mind of Skywalker Payne. If you are working on improving or perfecting your mindfulness practice, pick up this book.
– Tom Morkes, CEO of Insurgent Publishing

“All That Is” – a beautifully written book. It’s meant for all peoples. Before I got a copy my perception of gratitude and mindfulness was guided by my Christian teachings and knowledge acquired as a scientist. After I immersed myself in the read, I became reeducated and had a deeper appreciation of the themes gratitude and mindfulness. Through Skywalker’s stories – some personal – I learned ways by which I could make that deep profound connection with my inner self, with nature, and ways to express gratitude – not just to others, but for everyday living and situations. One mustn’t be rich or famous to attain contentment. All one needs, as Skywalker projects via her book, is to search within and adopt a simple yet wholesome approach.”
– Uzoma Okoroafor,

Excerpt from All That Is


I practice Tibetan Buddhism. Vipassana, the meditation technique that led Jon Kabat-Zinn to develop MBSR is from this tradition. Today was the day for me to practice Gutor in preparation for Tibetan New Year.

My teacher, Dungse Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche explained, “In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Gutor Reversing Practices work for future prosperity in general and help in removing obstacles to life in particular.”

Of course as a solo practitioner, my practice is limited but I do my best. Another important practice on this day is house cleaning. And once again, in my unmindful manner, I took on more than I should have. But, I achieved my most important objectives.

Mindfulness was not in my thoughts as I worked but I did pay attention to each task and worked as efficiently as I could. The sun shone brightly and when I stepped on the porch to shake out the dust mop, the temperature was comfortable without a jacket. So, I said to Brian, “Do you want to go for a walk?”

“I don’t know, I’m still going through my Facebook newsfeed.”

“Well, I might go by myself.”

After doing a little more work, I prepared lunch. I was aware of my preparation. I speeded up the process by tearing several leaves of spinach instead of tearing one leaf at a time. As I prepared the food, I offered it to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is a form of Buddhist prayer and blessing. Eating was as enjoyable as yesterday. The sun streamed through the window and its reflection sparkled over the bay.

I watched four small motorboats speed over the water. This spinach salad was easier to eat than the kale and lettuce of the day before, the tastes and textures smoother. I heard the crunch as I chewed the walnuts and sunflower seeds. And even though I talked with Brian, I maintained attention on the food I ate. I looked at the water and felt the warmth of the sun on my face. A walk called to my mind but my body, and my legs particularly, felt sore and tired. Brian wanted to finish his Facebook news feed, vacuum, and take a bath before we left.

“What time is it?” I asked.


“Why don’t we just plan to go for a walk tomorrow because you’re not going to be ready in time.”

I didn’t tell him that my legs were too sore for me to try and walk the rocky beach. But, I could not resist the seductiveness of the bright sun and clear blue skies that come so infrequently I treasure them like discovered gold. So, I used taking the grocery bags to the car and checking the mailbox as my brief escape into the sunshine.

Homer is a tourist town with a permanent population of over 5,000. It has a reputation for being an artistic and free-spirited, creative community. This reputation was developed in the sixties by a progressive group of people called the Barefooters. Yes, they walked barefoot. But, in actuality, Homer is like any other small town. People are initially welcoming and superficially friendly. And, as in any small town, developing true friendships is a slow process.

We came to Homer with the hope of making it our home. I was recruited by the local hospital to be a labor and delivery nurse and also to work on the medical-surgical ward. During the brief phone interview with the unit manager I told her my medical-surgical experience was limited to a four-bed ward in the Hopi Health Care Center in Polacca, Arizona. The center did not perform surgery and only cared for low level, acute illnesses, elderly, and dying patients. The manager told me the Homer hospital had similar patients. Furthermore, I told her I had spent the last year as a school nurse. So, any discerning person would know my medical-surgical nursing skills were limited considering I’d only been nursing for six years. But she offered me the job.

So, Brian and I trekked off to the last great American frontier and drove to Alaska. That is I drove and he navigated. Brian does not drive. I was willing and up to driving through the states, but the thought of driving through Canada did not appeal to me. We were fortunate to get a cabin on the Alaska Ferry in Bellingham, Washington and ride through the beautiful northwest waters. The ferry ride was the most enjoyable part of our travel. We traveled from Washington State, through the northern waters, passing most of Canada, ending in southern Alaska at a small town called Haines.

Driving kept me in a state of constant stress. The car was packed to the hilt and the weight caused it to accelerate going downhill. Unfortunately, the roads going west and northward are along mountainous areas. So the drive was a continuous succession of steep ascents and descents.

But we survived the journey and arrived without mishap. We have a beautiful view of Kachemak Bay ringed by snow capped mountains and glaciers.

( Continued… )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Skywalker Payne. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

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