Monthly Archives: January 2017

TABOO TREE by AlTonya Washington

TABOO TREE (Family Saga, Fiction)

Rivalries, secret romances and scandals fed the feud between the Gwaltneys and Augustines for decades. The two families shared an uneasy co-existence, until terrible tragedy touched the Gwaltneys. Years later, the two eldest Augustine children, chose to chart their family history. In doing so, they made a devastating discovery. Their family shared more than hatred with the Gwaltneys. They shared blood. The kids decided to cover the explosive revelation. The decision would have consequences none of them could have foreseen.

Many years later, tragedy struck again. History would repeat itself as new romances bloomed amidst the pain of the loss and vows for revenge. The truth would have to be revealed. Whether the secret would ruin the families forever or finally unite them, was a chance they would have to take.




“Did ya’ll come across something in your research that upset you?”
“Upset us?!” The siblings cried, looking as though they were horrified.
Chick only shrugged, his onyx gaze sliding from one child to the other.
Suddenly Steph pushed the book from her lap and turned to face her father more directly. “Daddy, could you let it go?” She pleaded, her fingers stretched wide. “We started coming up with too many loose ends on the thing and there was no way we’d have it done before the deadline.” She declared, her expressive brown eyes widening with desperation.
“Shh…Baby, it’s alright.” Chick soothed, raising both hands to calm his daughter. When she leaned back against the headboard and bowed her head, he chuckled. “Lord, you are just like my great aunt sometimes.” He sighed, closing his eyes as he envisioned the outspoken, humorous, excitable woman. “Miss Lulabay Augustine Godfrey. Did you come across her name in your research?” Chick asked, nodding when the kids smiled.
Chick grinned and folded his hands across the front of his green, short-sleeved sport shirt. “I remember the day I announced to the family that I was marrying Ophelia. It was very important to Auntie Bay Bay that I was truly happy and in love with your mother. She went on to say that she knew what it was like to want a love you could not have and settle for what you did not want.”
“Smart woman.” CJ couldn’t help but remark, as his own situation came to mind.
“Very smart.” Chick confirmed. “And very hurt.” He added.
“How?” Steph asked.
Again, Chick closed his eyes and rested his head back against the wall. “Your great great aunt was a strong-willed lady. She always said what was on her mind and you could love it or hate it. She really didn’t care. I think it was personality more so than her beauty-which was stunning-that really interested most men.”
“But she still got hurt?” Stephanie inquired hanging onto her father’s every word.
Chick nodded, without opening his eyes. “She got hurt, when she fell in love with the wrong dude.”
“Josiah Gwaltney.” CJ provided, easily recalling the name from research.
fter a while, Chick looked across the room. “Exactly. You see…in those days, the Augustines and Gwaltney’s biggest upset was over the land. When Auntie and Josiah got together…Did you two get past my aunt and her…man?”
Steph looked at her brother, and then shook her head at Chick. “We stopped there…too afraid of what we’d find, I guess.”
“Well, lemme finish puttin’ the pieces together.” Chick decided, “Aunt Lula Bay and Josiah realized it couldn’t work. Besides the dislike between the families, Josiah was way older than she was. That didn’t stop them from enjoying a brief, but productive relationship. My aunt got pregnant and wanted to keep her son James, but knew it would be impossible. She was a child herself. Josiah took the boy, gave him his name and the Gwaltneys raised him. No one knew about the mother. It was to protect my aunt from anyone knowing she’d had a child out of wedlock.”
“Then how were we able to find out about your Aunt and Josiah at all?” CJ asked.
Chick shrugged. “The Augustines and Gwaltneys have been powerful families in this town a long time. I honestly can’t tell you how this all came to be recorded. I didn’t even think you two would get so far in your research.”

Steph leaned forward. “There’s more, isn’t there Daddy?”


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This Too Shall Pass: Poetry by Patricia A. Saunders

This Too Shall Pass: Poetry
by Patricia A. Saunders

This book of poetry spans the journey of life, death, grief, love, and weathering all storms. When life has thrown you curveballs and you think that it’s over, no one is there for you, or no one can love you, it is in those moments when you have to hang on. There is hope, there is love, and there is a second chance. You just have to believe that this too shall pass!

Purchase This Too Shall Pass, Poetry by Patricia A. Saunders   

POEM:  I Melt
When I see your eyes
I fall in love all over again
Never thought I would feel like this
Though I carried you
Saw you grow within me
Seeing you lie on my chest
I Melt
When you open your eyes
Looking at me as you nurse from my breast
I smile because I love you
You are my legacy
You are my world
I Melt
The blessing of the birth of a child
Some take for granted
Some don’t want to go through it
I look at you and I can’t imagine
Your tiny fingers touch mine
And I …
I Melt

A 5-Year Sentence

You had the cancer scare
You had it cut out
You had treatments
You learned how to breathe again
You were exercising
Being healthy is what you always were
Doctor said you have a 10% chance it can come back
5 years is what they told you
Let’s count together 1-2-3
So as your friends were dying off
From different types of cancer
Your mortality was in question
You started saying you lived a good life
You needed to finish everything you put on your bucket list
You were scaring your spouse
Where was your faith?
A tear ran down your cheek
You said, “I have 5 years!”

( Continued… )
© 2016 All rights reserved.  Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Patricia A. Saunders.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

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STATIONS: Changing Your Life Changing Your Career by Lynda Mubarak

STATIONS: Changing Your Life 
Changing Your Career  

 by Lynda Mubarak
Is your child a first generation college student? Are you a first generation college student? If you are a school counselor, Student Affairs Coordinator, Upward Bound student, high school student, parents of elementary students, teens, young adults, or a newly hired worker, STATIONS is the quick resource guide that offers suggestions and time-proven recommendations to parents and professionals as they interact with children and young adult workers in a 21st century environment. 

STATIONS is a collection of essays that provides food for thought as we make our way through the different situations, events, stages, circumstances and parental decisions that will ultimately affect personal lifestyles and career options. STATIONS examines childhood academic and social skills, and addresses the challenging task of teaching children to be healthy and financially sound while preparing them to thrive and survive in a global workforce driven by cutting edge technology and ongoing competition. 

STATIONS is concise, amusing, informative and frank in its discussion of life’s everyday circumstances, including social media and proactive workplace practices that affect all of us from childhood through adulthood.

Life Has an Assignment for You… Do You Know What It Is?

To live a vibrant and successful life, you must embrace two truths: everyone’s life path is about change, and each phase of life offers opportunities that we often overlook. No matter where you find yourself in life, you have unexplored talent, un-imagined resources, and the ability to make the most of the station you are occupying at the moment, while still looking down the road to your next assignment.


Chapter 13 Excerpt
The Plastic Dollar

This may be hard to believe, but at one time in this country, there were no credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks, online shopping or any other types of paperless financial transactions. Money actually moved from one pair of hands to another, a receipt was written (if paper was available and someone could write), a handshake was exchanged and the deal was sealed.
Well, the honeymoon is over! Somewhere along the banking highway of installment plans and lines of credit things got way out of hand. Now, checks are bouncing, credit scores are crazy, and we’re all wondering how we arrived at this strange, penny pinching destination. And to make matters worse our children seem to manage, or mismanage money and all that goes with it in the same way.
Living in a digital society means that many of our financial transactions are electronic, invisible, and are done quickly with the swipe of a plastic card including phone calls, debit, and credit or gift cards. As a result, our children do not see large amounts of money changing hands very often. It’s no wonder that money seems magical and everlasting to them.
While we smiled our way through images of Hollywood lifestyles, fast food, overpaid athletes, overpriced coffee houses, attitudes of entitlement and weight loss commercials, we forgot to teach our children the fundamentals of money management. Not only did we neglect teaching them the basics of financial stability, we also overlooked the importance of instilling the responsibilities involved with day to day living.
Do your children believe that money grows on trees? Do you ever wonder why? Maybe we need to teach our children financial responsibility early so that their lives won’t fall apart later. It’s not too late to implement a few money basics and the best time to start is now.
Show and Tell 
When children learn early that a home operates like a small business, they will be better prepared to deal with the biggest challenge faced by all businesses or homes – daily operating expenses. Begin your money discussion by telling your child that nothing, absolutely nothing is free and use the material things in your home to demonstrate your point. Next, select a room in your home or begin with his or her bedroom. Finally, sit down with your child while both of you calculate the total cost of the room. If you have a teenager this will be quite interesting.
Your calculated items should include furniture, curtains, carpet, clothing, TV, computer, stereo, linen, shoes (and sneakers), cosmetics, yearbooks, iPod, iPad (all versions you have purchased), cell phone updates, high end headphones, sports gear, and the leftover French fries in the McDonald’s bag under the bed.
Finally, after you have recovered from the shock, calculate how many work hours or paydays it took to cover the cost of the room. Discuss the expenses truthfully and completely, including the heating and cooling costs. If it doesn’t impress him or her, I’m sure it will take your breath away and increase your heart rate when you realize just how much you have invested in one room.
Fixed and Flexible 
It’s never too late for high school seniors or too soon for elementary aged children to learn the basics of fixed and flexible expenses and it’s best to use familiar physical examples to illustrate your straight talk. Emphasize that fixed expenses such as rent, car payments, or student loans are specific amounts that occur at same time, weekly or monthly, and must be paid on time to avoid penalties. In the same manner, stress that flexible expenses are those things that occur infrequently, never cost the same, and include items like a doctor’s visit, car repairs, or a new prescription for granny’s meds. Other flexible expenses are those we want, but can live without such as summer vacations, eating out frequently, concert tickets, and CDs. And yes, it’s a horrible thought, but it’s also good for them to learn that life goes on without satellite or cable TV.
Whatever happened to pay yourself first? 
There is nothing more precious to a child of any age than a personal container in the bedroom or some other secret place quietly holding their hard earned savings. When a child saves money he or she learns patience, persistence, and delayed gratification. While it may be perceived as an old school practice, saving for a rainy day also teaches your child to prepare for future emergencies and set long term goals. In short, saving money has its own rewards and instills a sense of power. 
Try to teach a money lesson each week if possible. In addition, remind your children that labor experts are already telling us to be prepared to work until or past age 70 if personal savings are not in place and to guarantee the best return on social security.
So, help your child find a jar, box, or can. Give it a name, decorate it and watch your child slowly fill it with pride. Isn’t life grand as you watch your child count coins and know there are no annual percentage rates, finance charges, pin numbers, passwords, grace periods, late fees, or text alerts from the bank staring you in the face?

In the end it does not matter if your child saves 10 cents or $10.00. It’s the lessons learned and the effort that really counts. It’s priceless!

Purchase STATIONS: Changing Your Life – Changing Your Career by Lynda Mubarak

Parenting, Elementary & High School Student Success, College & Workplace Readiness   


Intimate Conversation with Dr. Lynda Mubarak

Dr. Lynda Mubarak is a native Texan, Army veteran, and grew up in Waco and Ft. Worth. She is a retired teacher and special education facilitator with 37 years of experience in special needs instruction, ESL education at Tarrant County College, and developmental writing at Strayer University. 

Lynda is a graduate of P.L. Dunbar High School, Ft. Worth, TX. She earned her BS in Elementary/Special Education from Texas Christian University, M.Ed. from Texas Wesleyan University, and Ed.D in Higher Education from Nova SE University. 

Dr. Mubarak is an active volunteer with several Ft. Worth organizations. She loves crossword puzzle competitions, live theater and contemporary music history. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her husband, Kairi, and Ebony, their rescue dog.

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?

STATIONS is my debut novel. It is available on Kindle and also published in paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The book is composed of essays I have written over the years. Each essay covers a phase, decision, transition, pathway, or challenge that ordinary people experience during the course of a lifetime as children and later as adults.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?  
I have always wanted to write a book, but only discussed it briefly (and quietly) with a few friends over the years. I assumed that my thoughts and ideas had been written and discussed many times over and there was no need to ‘repeat’ what others had done. I began to write down my observations and thoughts several years ago and decided to publish them after a chance meeting with a former colleague in a restaurant. She and I were teachers at the same middle school over twenty years ago. During those years, she told me weekly about her desire to write a children’s book. When I asked if she had accomplished her dream, she explained that she had published four books and that I should move forward and contact a publisher. I did, and the rest is history!

BPM: Where do you book ideas come from? 
STATIONS: Changing Your Life – Changing Your Career relates to the various circumstances that families face when raising children from early social skills and financial responsibility to proactive soft skills and behaviors required of students, new workers or tenured employees.

BPM: Are there any under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? 

Yes. STATIONS addresses many issues and concerns for young parents, first generation college students, adults in job transition, and ex-offenders in re-entry programs. Some persons have not been exposed to the nuances of a college campus, support group interaction, workplace protocol, or even networking practices. STATIONS attempts to cover these areas in a simple, but practical manner.

BPM: How does your book related to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?
I think my book is a condensed version of the positive and negative experiences of my life and the lives of persons I have encountered over the years. The topics I selected were the ones that had the most profound effect on me as a child, parent, educator, college adjunct, observer, confidant, advisor, and caretaker of aging parents. 

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
The personal lesson I learned from writing this book is acknowledging that we often have things (gifts) in us that we do not investigate, promote, develop, or expand. Many times the hesitation stems from fear and doubt. My husband had been trying to persuade me to publish for over 20 years. I simply had one excuse after another to delay my dream of writing a book. After my parents died, and I talked with my former teacher/colleague, I realized that I had run out of excuses. Finally, I learned that often when it is time to act, we create reasons or hurdles to slow down or hinder the decision to move forward. My excuse had been my parents’ declining health.

BPM: What were your goals and intentions in writing this book and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My goals and intentions of this book were to encourage and inspire others to move forward while making better decisions, utilizing time wisely, and identifying those skills and competencies necessary for living a life filled with achievement and personal success. Most important, teach all children the concepts and behaviors required to survive in a fast moving world that becomes more competitive each day. In the end, they will be working on jobs that were not created during your lifetime. I think I wrote in a way that was thought provoking and parent friendly!

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am currently working on a book about my childhood memories of living in segregated Waco, TX during the 1950s. The name of the book is “Carver Park”. Carver Park is an African-American community area east of the Brazos River and downtown Waco that was designed years ago by public officials for people of color.

Readers can find out more about my work at:  



Shattered Innocence (Shattered Innocence Trilogy – Volume 1)

Shattered Innocence Trilogy 
by Denise Coleman 

The Shattered Innocence Trilogy chronicles the lives of the Kyle family. The twins, Angel and Teek, and their cousins Troi and Keisha. They are four vibrant, bright, talented and dynamic young women with a wonderful future in the music industry ahead of them. However, their lives take a dramatic turn when they are forced to defend themselves against a group of bullies, which subsequently leads to the Kyles being sent away from their home.
Moving to a strange city with family they barely know, begins to alter the girls’ characters and personalities.  The absence of stability, familiarity and support manifests itself in the worse way.
Throughout the series, the Kyles face lies, secrets and betrayal which threatens to destroy the close-knit family bond they once shared.
Trying to maintain that bond while attempting to recapture their personal happiness and desires for their adult lives, proves to be more difficult than any one of them could imagine. 

Shattered Innocence Trilogy by Denise Coleman 
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
* Shattered Innocence (Shattered Innocence Trilogy Volume 1)  
* Shattered Innocence 2: The Drama Continues (Shattered Innocence Trilogy) 
* Shattered Innocence 3: Keisha’s Betrayal (Shattered Innocence Trilogy) 

Purchase Denise Coleman Books 


 Shattered Innocence (Shattered Innocence Trilogy – Volume 1)

Teek and Angel Kyle and their cousins, Troi and Keisha are beautiful and talented girls on the verge of living exciting lives. However, they find out early in life that the beauty and talent they possess is more of a curse than a blessing.

Faced with being harassed and bullied by a group of haters, the girls defend themselves viciously and are forced to leave their home and family. They find themselves living in a strange city with family they barely know.

They each try to make the best of the situation amid homesickness, uncertainty and a secret one cousin feels she needs to keep to herself. Just when each believes she will finally live a life that will make her happy, everything changes.

Having not had the proper guidance, each girl is ill equipped to deal with the broken hearts, stalkers and unforeseen nemesis that enter their lives.

In the midst of the chaos and turmoil of their young adulthood, each tries desperately to find out who they are and who they’re meant to be before they lose everything.

Excerpt: Shattered Innocence Trilogy – Volume 1

The first half of the school year went by pretty quickly for the girls. Keisha spent every waking moment preparing herself for basketball tryouts. She ate, slept and breathed basketball. Without it she didn’t exist. Without being a basketball player, there was not one other thing she knew about her own self to be true.

Troi spent her time doing cheerleading activities and trying to convince Angel, who focused on her studies, to join. Eventually Angel gave in and tried out for the squad. Teek on the other hand, didn’t seem to be interested in anything at all, in or outside of school. She just went through the motions, trying to rush the time.

Jackie and her cohorts seemed to pull back after that first incident. They reduced their drama to minor bumping in the halls, name calling and eye rolling whenever they ran into one or more of the cousins.

This all changed during home coming week however. Although the girls weren’t allowed to run for home coming queen or her court, they were allowed to take part in the talent show.

The aunties had the girls rehearsing for weeks for the show. That was their thing! As their Aunt Hillie would say, “These girls can blow!” As much as the girls didn’t like working as hard as their mothers made them, they did enjoy performing, and they each knew how happy it made their parents to see them shine.

The night of the talent show, the school’s auditorium was packed. The girls had to sit through an hour of other kids singing, dancing, reciting poetry and playing violins and such, before it would be their turn.

They used their grand parents’ sir name – Marchon- as their stage name. When announced, they stepped out onto the stage ready to tear the house down. The girls looked like seasoned professionals. Their Aunt Hillie had designed their dresses; Two gold and two silver sequined halters which stopped at mid-thigh.

The dresses were paired with matching stilettos and they wore their hair flowing straight down their backs. The look was completed with faux diamond jewelry and their makeup, while subtle, enhanced the cousin’s young beauty.

The DJ cued the music and when the first cords of Teena Marie’s Square Biz filled the auditorium, the cousins broke out singing and dancing like stars. Angel sang the lead and together with her family, they sang the hell out of that song. By the time they’d gotten to the rap portion of the song, the crowd was going wild. When they were done, the audience erupted in thunderous applause. Hands down, the girls were the best in the bunch. They received the only standing ovation of the evening.

While the cousins were winning over the crowd, Jackie and her cronies were sitting in the front row, shooting daggers with their eyes. The girls had no idea that the next few months would completely change the course of their futures.

( Continued… ) 

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

Purchase Denise Coleman Books 


Shattered Innocence 3: Keisha’s Betrayal by Denise Coleman 
Shattered Innocence is the saga of the Kyle family. Four strong, talented, beautiful women who face betrayal, secrets, destruction and murder. Happiness is always elusive for them, yet they continue to push through with the desire to finally find peace, love and joy, no matter how painful the journey.
Purchase Denise Coleman Books
Intimate Conversation with Denise Coleman 

Denise Coleman was born and raised in Camden, NJ where she still resides. As an avid reader, her love of the written word has grown into a passionate desire to share her stories with the world.

Although she has penned four novels to date,  continues to work tirelessly at her craft, as she wants to grow as much as possible into a better writer and story teller with each work she creates.

As a former student of Woodrow Wilson High School, and the parent of four, it is her hope that the young people of Camden believe enough in themselves to dream big… And, in doing so, go after the best that this life has to offer.

Her first novel, Drama with A Capital D, is doing very well. Also, her most recent release, Keisha’s Betrayal, is the finale of her Shattered Innocence trilogy. She looks forward to putting out many more books in the near future.

BPM:  Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The main characters, twins Angel and Teek Kyle, and their cousins Troi and Keisha, who early in the series are forced to eave home to live wit relatives they hardly know. Each girl has her own distinct personality. We have Angel, who is the nurturing leader of the group. Teek is the perpetually confused, yet supportive twin. Then there’s Troi, who is sneaky, selfish and almost always up to no good. Keisha, the baby of the group, is unsure of herself, and oftentimes, finds herself trying to figure out where she fits in.

BPM:  Is there a specific place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
I actually find my inspiration in people. A look, a conversation, a mood, a feeling. other human beings seem to spark something in me at any given moment.

BPM:  Tell us a little about your creative process. What brought about the title “Shattered Innocence”?
My creative process is always fa more difficult for me tan I intend. Whenever I have an idea, I start with an outline. However, every story I’ve ever written develops organically. I allow the characters to take over. The title Shattered Innocence literally comes from the circumstantial effects of the main characters’ displacement.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-drive or character-driven?
The idea from this particular series came from witnessing some of the issues our young clients have at my place of business. I work in child protection services. Although I am more interested in the plot, I do allow the character’s personality to take over. They seem to always drive the story forward.

BPM:  Is writing easy for you? Do you feel lonely being a writer?
I find that writing sometimes difficult for me because, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to be considered a great writer. I am continually pushing myself to do better and be better. Yes, I always feel that being a writer is a lonely business. The creation process is a singular experience for each writer.

BPM:  What did you enjoy mot about writing this book?
The most enjoyable part bout this series was seeing where each character went, and how they evolved more with each installment.

BPM:  How much planning goes into writing a book? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
The only planning I do is, taking notes about the situations I want to place the characters in, and how I want to resolve the issues created. It can take me anywhere from a few months to a year to complete a book. it depends on so many external factors.

BPM:  What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project?
Well, because I feel that writers ae dreamers to a degree, I would say never give up on your dreams! Write, write, and write some more. we all get discouraged, but the end result is pure joy.

BPM:  What period of life or topics do you find you write about most often?
I am focused on young adults in this particular series. I simply wanted to understand how adults get to be who they are, how they are, and here it all began.

BPM:  How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
I actually use different opinions to gain a different perspective into the human condition. If I do find myself offended, I try to turn that around to be useful for my growth as a writer.

BPM:  Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
If I had to say there was an under represented group in my series, it would have to be the LGBT community I felt that it was important to have at least one character who was the extreme opposite of the rest of the family. I wanted to explore her emotional perspective on being gay.

BPM:  Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
The one point that resonated most with me was learning how to accept myself as I am. In doing so, I learned how to recognize when changes in my own behaviors need to be made.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Writing “Shattered” actually taught me how much I’ve grown over the years. As well as, how much I am still very much that girl I once was.

BPM:  Can you share some stories bout people you met while researching this book?
Because the business I work in is strictly confidential, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to share specific stories. I will say that I’ve witnessed and had conversations with clients which inspired the thoughts behind how very specific events can change the trajectory of one’s life.

BPM:  How has writing impacted your life?
Writing has opened me up to a whole new world.  Where I was once shy, I am now outgoing and more personable. Meeting people and engaging with them brings me joy.

BPM:  What does literary success look like to you?
For me, literary success would be to create works that make people think, feel, talk and want more.

BPM:  What are the 3 most effective tools for sharing our book with the world?
Social media, word of mouth and participation in literary events whenever possible.

BPM:  What projects are you working on at the preset?
Right now I’m working on a piece about the loss of a child to gun violence. Being from a city like Camden, so many of us have loss someone in this manner. I feel I have to write about it.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Contact and comments can be sent to my website:
FB: @booksbydenise
IG: authordrcoleman
Twitter: @AuthorDColeman


BONDED FOR LIFE by Tesa Erven (The Loose End Series – Book 3)

by Tesa Erven
(The Loose End Series – Book 3)

In the third installment of The Loose End series, we find Renee and Bradsen attempting to move past the adulteress relationship, turned down proposal and trust issues. While Bradsen remains optimistic, Renee fears that her scandalous past is a hindrance toward their future.

Meanwhile, Renee’s best friend Sabrina is overjoyed with her relationship with NFL rookie Derrick St. Jermaine. All is well with the two until photos mysteriously surface on the internet.

Derrick’s sister, Sonya, finds herself in a love triangle. During a lull in her longtime on-again, off-again relationship with her sexy firefighter, she begins to date the deejay of a popular nightclub she frequents. It’s all fun and games with Sonya until she finds herself in an unforeseen situation.

Which bonds are temporary and which are bonded for life?


“I can’t believe that just happened,” Bradsen said to himself as he pulled his car out from in front of his twin brother, Jacksen, and his wife, Cynthia’s house. He glanced over at Renee who had a stunned expression on her face.
With a concerned tone he asked, “Are you okay?” He watched as the glistening tears in her oval-shaped eyes threatened to spill over.

Renee’s voice quivered as she replied, “I’m fine. Although, it’s not every day I have a drink thrown in my face.”
Sabrina, Renee’s best friend and former roommate, chimed in from the backseat, “I can’t believe she did that. There was way too much tension in there.”

Renee lowered her head. “Yeah there was. But, Brenda has every right to be angry with me. I was knowingly having an affair with her husband. I’m glad she was able to release some of her anger. It could have been worse, you know. She could have pulled out a gun and shot me,” Renee added, attempting to make light of the situation.

“That’s not funny, Renee.” Bradsen glared at her. “Okay, you cheated with her husband. I get it.
But, I thought we were past it. Apparently not.”

“Let’s face it. It was too soon. I had a feeling we shouldn’t have gone there tonight.”
“Yep,” Sabrina said.
Derrick joined the conversation. “I agree.”
Renee cleared her throat and laughed at them. “Really now? So, earlier when we were in the car contemplating on whether or not we should go into the house, no one bothered to say, ‘Oh, there’s a small possibility that you may get your butt kicked.’ You guys are unbelievable.”

“A drink thrown in your face. But your butt kicked? That wouldn’t have happened. At least, not with me standing there,” Sabrina assured her.
Bradsen hadn’t said much. Renee looked over at him and noticed tension on his handsome face. “Are you alright?”
Bradsen looked at her and softly uttered, “We’ll talk about it later.”
Silence filled the car until Derrick asked, “You two still coming to my game, right?” The six three, well-built rookie linebacker would be starting in his first game on Sunday. Sabrina nudged him in the side. “What?” Derrick mouthed.
“Yes, we’ll be there,” Bradsen said as he pulled into Renee’s apartment complex. Once they said their goodbyes, Sabrina and Derrick headed to his car and Bradsen and Renee went into her place.
“Now do you want to tell me what’s wrong?” Renee asked when Bradsen closed the door.
“Baby, I’m so sorry about tonight. I feel terrible. I should have never pressured you into going.

Me and Jacksen kind of thought enough time had passed. I really wish there was a way we could all get along.”


Love At Last by Sharon C. Cooper

Love At Last by Sharon C. Cooper

Carolyn Jenkins has never had a problem getting a man, but keeping one is another story. After two failed marriages and numerous short-term relationships, she’s ready to wave the white flag and give up on love. Yet, with Christmas quickly approaching, she dreads spending the holiday alone. Will a chance encounter with a handsome stranger make all of her Christmas wishes come true?

After thirty years of a nearly perfect marriage, widower Lincoln Richwood struggles to move on with his life. The idea of dating at his age seems daunting … until he meets the vivacious Carolyn Jenkins. Normally a straitlaced kind of guy, there’s just something about the woman that tempts him to walk on the wild side.

Opposites attract, but will their differences derail their relationship and keep them from embracing the love they both desire?

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Mercy’s First Semester by W.M. Bunche

Mercy’s First Semester 

by W.M. Bunche

Mercy’s First Semester is about the ramifications of war and the perplexing impulses which lead to obsession and peril in the lives of all. 

Set in Brooklyn, “Mercy’s First Semester” brings together four improbable individuals: Mercy, an Iraq war combat veteran suffering from PTSD; Mr. Mina, a compassion fatigued social worker who refuses to give up on his patients even when his livelihood threatens his marriage; Dr. G, an atheist professor, who is fond of Mercy in ways he cannot comprehend; and Eva, Mercy’s childhood crush who reconnects with him on Veteran’s Day.

Mercy saved his men. Can he save himself?”   
How do combat vets re-integrate back into society after deployment?

How important is faith in a combat soldier’s life before, during and after deployment?

How do families make adjustments to returning vets who have obviously been affected by the war?

A Message from the Author
I was granted the opportunity to understand the perspective of a combat veteran (“Mercy”) who was trying to get back home. What is home? In Mercy’s case, home meant not only the physical locale but the mental and spiritual states of normalcy. Through writing Mercy’s First Semester, I learned firsthand that for combat veterans, returning home can be complicated.

Mercy offered to help me complete a writing assignment by sharing his experiences. He was battling PTSD and felt that sharing would help him heal. We hit it off right away because as we shared our respective military experiences, we realized that we worked together on several joint service operations.

Emotionally, it was difficult to digest Mercy’s graphic and detailed combat experiences. As I replayed hours of our interviews, I wondered how does anyone get back to normal after combat. I had a vague idea of what my grand uncle experienced during World War I. I cannot imagine what my great grand uncle experienced during the Civil War. Today’s weaponry is far more sophisticated than the Civil War. However, the carnage of war was probably very similar. Sitting with Mercy, I learned teamwork on a whole new level.


About the Author
WM Bunche is a cold war veteran and Commendation Medal recipient. He attended public schools in Brooklyn. He is a fourth generation veteran and his military roots trace back to the Civil War. A wannabe athlete, he will compete in the 41st Marine Corps Marathon. He is an honors graduate of Columbia University. For more information, please visit Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Goodreads. Mercy’s First Semester is his first book.  Website:

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Places In My Heart by Sheryl Lister

Places In My Heart by Sheryl Lister 
Other agents-and exes-have tried using Omar as a meal ticket, and he’s closed himself off from emotional entanglements. With Morgan, it’s a whole new playbook. Smart and tough, she can negotiate a contract and turn him on all in one go, and he craves more. But in matters of trust, he’s just fumbled badly. To win her he has to show her the man he can be away from the field and the limelight, and hope that this time they’re both playing for keeps.
Excerpt from Places In My Heart 
Omar scanned the yard and saw Morgan laughing with another player’s wife. They were the only two women who had joined in the otherwise all-male football game. She had impressed him with her offensive and defensive skills. Not many women-and none he’d dated-would subject themselves to a light tackle football game and not care about being dirty or having messy hair. But Morgan was different, and that turned him on.
“Man, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Malcolm said. “Roland will make sure you stay with the Cobras as long as you want.” When Omar didn’t comment, Malcolm leaned forward. “What’s up, Drummond?”
“I can’t go into details, but I think it’s time for a change. And this time, I want to steer clear of anybody involved in league politics. I need somebody else, Mal.”
Malcolm studied him for a moment and then said, “My sister is looking to get into the business.”
“Is that right? She’s an attorney?”
“Yeah. And she’s about as far away from league politics as you can get.”
“So, she knows the game well, huh?”
“As if she’s played it all her life,” Malcolm said.
Omar had thought that was the case, but hearing Malcolm confirm it solidified in his mind that she might exactly the person he needed to help him.
“Food’s ready,” Omar heard someone say.
He came to his feet, eager to end the conversation. Omar got in line with the rest of the guests, filled his plate and crossed the yard to where Morgan sat with her food. His intention had been to talk to her about a business proposition, but as soon as he sat and opened his mouth, two other women joined them and started a conversation about some popular television show. He promptly tuned out and dug into his meal.
“What about you, Drummond?”
His head popped up, and he met Morgan’s expectant gaze. “I’m sorry. What did you ask?”
“I asked which show was your favorite-Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder?”
“I don’t watch either show.”
Morgan slanted him a look. “Let me guess. You only watch sports or sports news.”
“No. I enjoy a good comedy or action movie, but I prefer reading to television.”
Surprise lit her eyes. “Reading?”
“Yeah, you know…books.”
“Wow, really, Omar? I would’ve never figured that out,” she said teasingly and rolled her eyes. The group laughed.
Omar smiled. She’d called him by his first name, something she had never done before. Their easy rapport gave him hope that she would be receptive to his plan. They finished eating while talking, and afterward, three other guys convinced Omar to join them in a card game. He kept one eye on his cards and the other on Morgan, waiting for a chance to get her alone.
His opportunity came three hands later when he saw her go inside. It took some serious patience to finish the game, especially since his partner seemed to contemplate every round. In Omar’s mind it was simple-you either had the card or you didn’t.
Marcus Dupree, wide receiver, threw up his hands. “Grant, do you think we could finish this game before the season starts? We only have a month.”
“My thoughts exactly,” Omar mumbled.
“Patience, my brothers,” Lucas Grant said. “I have to get my strategy together.” The middle linebacker employed the same tactics when watching plays develop and stopping runs between the tackles. Though effective on the field, today it only irritated Omar.
Omar shook his head. Minutes later, he tossed out his last card and stood. “Somebody else can take my spot. I’m done.” Without waiting for a reply, he headed for the sliding glass door that led to the kitchen and stepped inside. The sight of Morgan’s long bare legs stopped him in his tracks. She had changed into another pair of shorts that stretched taut over her backside as she reached for something in a cabinet. If he could just get one touch… Omar shook himself and quickly dismissed the notion.
“I see you changed.”
Morgan whirled around. “Oh. Drummond, you scared me.”
Back to last names again. “Sorry.”
She set the glass she had gotten on the counter and went to the refrigerator. “That’s okay. I had to shower. I can only take feeling grimy for so long.”
It took him a moment to realize she had commented on his previous statement. “I hear you. But you played a good game.”
“Are you referring to the interception or the touchdown?” she asked as she poured what looked like iced tea into the glass.
“A little cocky, aren’t you?”
She leaned against the counter, wrapped one arm around her middle and took a sip of her drink. “My game speaks for itself. Yours, on the other hand, can use some work.”
Omar closed the distance between them and braced his hands on the counter on either side of her. “Is that a challenge?”
She tilted her chin and stared at him intently. “You tell me.”
Their faces were inches apart. Common sense told him he should back up, but he couldn’t. Not when her full, gloss-slicked lips were calling to him. Without thinking about the ramifications, he crushed his mouth against hers and slid his tongue inside when her lips parted on a startled gasp. She came up on tiptoe and met him stroke for stroke, causing him to groan.
A second later Morgan stiffened and tore her mouth away. She pushed against his chest. “Move.”
Omar dropped his arms. “Morgan, I-” She brushed past him, and he reached out to stop her.
She slapped his hand away and kept walking.
“Morgan, wait. I need to talk to you.”
“I think you’ve said enough,” she called over her shoulder.
( Continued… )
© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sheryl Lister. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

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Genre – Contemporary Romance

Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life After Losing a Loved One By Angie Ransome-Jones

Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life 
After Losing a Loved One
By Angie Ransome-Jones
Path to Peace is a wonderful book used as a source to go to time and time again if you are going through the process of grieving after losing someone. It is well researched and written, and is easy to absorb all while letting the reader take what they need at different times during the grieving process.

It does a comprehensive job of touching on the many types of loss, and offers helpful suggestions for coping and moving forward. From the moment I first started reading it, I knew the perspective is coming from well-informed person who has been through the grieving process.

I highly recommend buying it when you or someone you know is faced with the death of a loved one as it guides you forward with practical guides on what to do as well as emotional help. Give the book to someone you know who needs it. You will be able to help them when they need it most on their own time. By owning the book yourself, you will be able to understand and anticipate the needs of the people you care for who may need your help during a difficult time.  This is simply an amazing, well-written book that exceeded my expectations.

“This book is a compassionate and poignant reflection of the premise…everyone grieves differently. It is simply heart-warming!”  ~Dionne Anglin, News Reporter, KDFW-TV 

This guide provides practical tools to manage the business affairs after losing a loved one.”  ~Victor McGlothin, Essence Magazine Bestselling Author 

“What an incredible show of strength and courage in the middle of grief and loss…..Angie presents a very practical roadmap for all of us to follow!”
~Dr. Tracey Brown, Author/Speaker/Counselor Supervisor-Dallas ISD 

Purchase a copy for you and one to share with friends & family

Excerpt Chapter One

Until a year ago, I had always equated Election Day with colorful yard signs, cooler weather and National Angie Ransome-Jones Day, also known as my birthday. Now, I equate it to my Daddy’s passing. It was a normal day, just like any other for me. I ran my mouth with Evelyn while trying to get some semblance of work done at home. The day before, I worked an election with my good friend, Janis, like I had for the past few years and was trying to play catch up like I always do, whenever I take off from work. Coming off of a great weekend, I was on cloud 21!
Dad came down to celebrate my 44TH birthday and I basked in the possibilities of another year as Myles, my son, prepared for his first semester of college. There were so many things to be thankful for. Little did I know what was to come. If not every single day, it was at least every other day that I talked to Daddy. Usually, we had a typical 2-minute conversation. “Hey Daddy, what you doing?”
“Oh, nothing girl, just sitting here relaxing.”
Depending on whether I caught him half asleep or fully awake, the conversation could go one of a million ways. Mostly we would get off the phone immediately with a casual goodbye.
“Okay, just checking on ya. Daddy, go back to sleep.”
We often shared any number of long, drawn-out conversations on everything from gas prices to somebody on his job getting ill, or something pertaining to a distant relative I had no memory of. But on this particular day, something was different. Something was off. I tried calling him the night before while I was still at the election site, just before I knew he would be taking a nap to get ready for work at midnight. I tried again when I closed the polls about 10 or 11 p.m., on my way home, hoping to catch him fresh out the shower before he got dressed and jumped into his truck for work. Daddy had the same pattern every day. It usually started with him laying or piddling around all day until dusk, when it was time to prepare for his part-time “sleeping job” at the local bowling alley; the midnight shift. When I didn’t catch him, it wasn’t surprising. I knew for sure I’d catch him the next morning. After I failed to catch him for the umpteenth time, I did the one thing I dreaded most. Fearing a sharp reprimand, I called his job. Because I knew he hated his job and was just counting the days, even minutes, until re-retirement; I was doubtful he was still there. And, as it turned out, he wasn’t. 

Next, I did the second thing that I knew I would live to regret if he had merely overslept. I called his neighbor, Ms. Effie.  After knocking, peeking through windows, and calling his name repeatedly, Ms. Effie called back to tell me that she had no luck but thought he may have been home because she saw both cars in his garage. After what seemed like hours of Ms. Effie knocking, calling out my Dad’s name, “Al! Al!” and trying to calm me down hundreds of miles away, she decided to call for backup in the form of her daughter Erica; who I had also known for years. After a few more hours of knocking on windows, doors, and anything she could find, she called Dad’s phone repeatedly. Eventually, Erica heard his phone ring from inside the house. It was then, I knew he was gone. Daddy always carried his phone on his person, in either a pocket or on a chain attached to his hip.

The authorities wouldn’t tell me much except that he didn’t suffer. The room was left virtually undisturbed, which suggested there was not a struggle. Instead, they said he was sitting upright in a chair with his breathing machine by his bedside and appeared to have passed peacefully. He presumably had an asthma attack but the death certificate recorded it as “death by natural causes” and I’m okay with that. I had always imagined that I’d be there with him, like I was when my mother took her final breath but in this case, it wasn’t a part of God’s plan.

Step 1: Making the Call

Notification Process: The first step and one of the most difficult of the ten I will outline, is the notification process. Instead of contacting our immediate family first, I notified people I knew would kick into full gear to do some of the heavier lifting that I was neither mentally nor emotionally prepared to do yet. I recommend appointing a “go-to-man” from the outset. You will need assistance in making dreadful phone calls while navigating through what will seem to be an endless list of people to notify; otherwise known as your “Call List.” 

Handle with Care: In retrospect, after helping with the deaths of close friends, an important part of the process is to “Handle with Care.” This is important for those who meant the most to your loved one and would want to hear the news directly from you. I caused irreparable damage in my neglect of a relative that was near and dear to me, and my Dad, when he heard the news of his passing via word of mouth. Remember, word of mouth travels faster than the front page news. 

( Continued… ) 

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Angie Ransome-Jones. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. 

About the Author

Angie Ransome-Jones is a wife of 20+ years and mother of two young men, all currently residing in Texas. A banking Vice President and MBA, Angela has her own non-profit (501C-3) organization, Magnifying our Mothers (M.O.M.), which she founded in 2010, in memory of her mother, who lost her battle with cancer years earlier. In her spare time, Angela enjoys serving as a volunteer in her church and community, along with practicing and teaching yoga, and she is an active member of both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Toastmasters International.  Website:

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Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion Prayers for the Creative Christian and Entrepreneur by Nigeria Lockley

Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion 
Prayers for the Creative Christian and Entrepreneur by Nigeria Lockley 

Wheatley Award Winner and entrepreneur, Nigeria Lockley explores how to use the power of prayer to strategically manage your business and keep the faith in the process. Learn how to make God the CEO of all your endeavors and connect with Him on a deeper level with, Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion.

Christians are often taught that God must be involved in all that they do. Yet there is little guidance on how to get God more involved in our business ventures in a meaningful way. In Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion, author Nigeria Lockley explores areas of struggle that creative Christians and entrepreneurs must overcome in order to excel.

Pursuing Your Passion in a Godly Fashion will address topics like:

* Alignment of Purpose-what you want must be His will.

* Finance-understand that you should not feel guilty about earning money using your gift, however money, money, money can’t be your mantra.

* Networking-who you know may be important, but God has already ordained divine connections for you.

* Discretion and Discernment-know the difference and use them both.

Through transparent testimony, biblical guidance, and a prayer strategy pulled from the book of Nehemiah, Lockley provides believers with prayers to take the pursuit of their passion out of this world.  The paperback edition includes space for readers to develop their own prayers for each issue dealt with in the book.     



Excerpt from the Chapter on Balance

There are some who say living a balanced life while chasing your dreams is a myth. You’ve got to relentlessly throw yourself into the work, striving day and night to get things done and make it happen. Then there are those who believe you need to be balanced instead of busy. I spent three years throwing myself relentlessly into the work. I was on for twenty-six hours a day (yes, I added extra hours to the day). Every day melded into one day until I found myself in the middle of my seventh period class clutching my chest. The next day, I was determined to prove God was able and I still made the trek from Manhattan to Brooklyn. However, before the bell for first period rang, I was out the door and on my way to the emergency room. After a battery of tests and several trips to every doctor under the sun to find out what was the catalyst of my chest pains, I discovered that my body was basically falling apart. I had low iron and a cyst.  
It seemed like I needed to lock myself in a closet and say that strength prayer over and over again until I saw it fulfilled, but what I needed was balance. Every day I was trying to give one hundred percent of me to my writing, to my students, to my children, to my husband, and to God. I was trying to be everywhere at once, and that’s God job.

The order of the situation was all off. God has to be first every day and above all things. The same amount of time that we willingly devote to our passion must be allotted to God. He must be a part of all of our workings to maintain balance. Look at how He created the world-one day at a time and everything in order.

To pursue your passion in a Godly fashion means putting God first and everything else in its proper order. Does this life require long nights? Yes, especially when you’re just starting out; however, bouncing around like a balloon whose air has just been let out is not a requirement. Don’t live an unbalanced life that will have you everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Is this possible? Your gut is telling you it’s impossible to achieve balance and run a business. 

But it is possible. God was busy establishing the whole entire world as we know it, and He was never as frazzled as we are. We’re just trying to build brands, write books, and open new businesses. We just have to follow the blueprint He left us. The only true way to find balance is to seek God. God worked on a different aspect of creation each day. He built the whole world one day at a time.

( Continued… )

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



Alone by M.J. Kane (The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5)

Alone by M.J. Kane  
(The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5)  

When Derrick’s brother drives the family business into bankruptcy, Derrick is left without a job and only one choice: start over. With a new job waiting in Atlanta, the only other thing he’s looking for is a woman who’s willing to fit his no-strings-attached relationship policy. But then he runs into Kelli, a woman with a smart mouth who challenges him in every way. She’d be perfect … if it weren’t for the fact she had kids.
Shortly after giving birth to her son, Kelli’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce. Forced to move in with her newlywed sister, Kelli is faced with raising two young children on her own, finding affordable housing, and landing a job that will pay her bills. The last thing she needs or wants is a man in her life. But when her brother-in-law’s best friend shows up for dinner, it’s impossible to ignore the sexual attraction.
Fate and finances have another plan, though, forcing them into living under the same roof. Despite their differences, Derrick finds himself breaking his own relationship rules. But as his luck would have it, just when he thinks he’s ready to make a commitment, tragedy strikes close to home and, with it, issues from his past that force him to risk it all.

Excerpt: Alone by M.J. Kane 

“Mr. Derrick, look!” Christina waved a drawing in front of me.

“Leave Mr. Derrick alone, sweetie. I’m sure he doesn’t want to-“

“Hold on,” I interrupted. “You don’t speak for me.” I waited for Kelli to get my point, then turned my attention back to the young girl before me. I examined her drawing. “Not bad. You can draw a lot better than I can.” I winked; she laughed. I made my way to the washing machine and turned on the water. “What is it?”
“It’s a house.”
I sat at the table across from her while waiting for the wash tub to fill and looked at the drawing again. “Nice house.”
“My daddy draws houses,” Christina said with pride. She laid the picture flat on the table and selected another crayon.
“Does he now?” I looked over at Kelli for an explanation.
“He’s an architect.” Her expression went flat, so did her voice. Her attention went to the pot she was stirring. “Can you draw a house?” Little brown eyes the same shade of brown as her mother’s looked up at me.
I chuckled. “Not as good as you, but I can build a house.”
“With sticks and rocks and stuff?”
On the other side of the kitchen, Kelli laughed.
“No, I build with wood and blocks and stuff.”
“Legos!” Her enthusiasm was infectious.
I laughed. “No, I build real houses, like this one.” I held my arms out, pointed to the walls and ceiling of the room we were in for emphasis.
Christina’s eyes grew wide as she looked around the kitchen. “Ooo…,” then her face scrunched up in thought. “If you can build it, you can draw it, too!”
Words of wisdom from a five-year-old kid.
She slid a blank sheet of paper in front of me. “You can use my crayons if you want.”
“Christina…,” Kelli shot her daughter a look of warning.
“It’s okay.” I met Kelli’s expression with one that encouraged her not to stop her daughter. “She’s right, let me see.” I slid the paper in front of me and selected a black crayon, then stared at the paper. My mind went blank.
When was the last time I’d drawn something? Feeling stupid, I scratched my head, then looked over at the little artist. She’d started adding windows and doors.
Christina looked over at me. “What are you waiting for?” She giggled. “It’s easy. Mommy can do it. Mommy, draw a house!” She waved a blank sheet of paper in her mother’s direction.
Kelli wiped her hands on her pants, then joined us at the table. I looked at her, but she refused to meet my gaze. Within minutes, Kelli had lines on paper that took the shape of a two-story house. The details were proportioned to the point of perfection. This picture seemed to have come from memory and not imagination. I glanced at Christina’s paper. It was a crude version of her mother’s.
They must have been drawing the house they used to live in.
“See, Mommy’s good, too!” Christina got up from the table, walked to her mother, and kissed her cheek. “Mommy, can I watch TV?”
“Sure, baby.” She hugged her daughter.
“Mr. Derrick, you and Mommy can use my crayons. I’ll get them when you’re done, ‘k?”
Christina skipped out of the room, leaving us to sit in silence.
I drew a few lines on my sheet of paper. Instead of a house, the blueprints from my current job came to mind. I went with that and decided to see exactly how much I remembered.
Kelli continued her picture. Details such as windows, doors, and landscaping emerged.
Damn, she was good.
“Looks like she gets her artistic skills from you.” I leaned forward a bit. “Lots of details. I don’t think I could imagine all of that.”
“It’s easy to do when it used to be reality.” She sat her crayon down, stared at the image, then ripped it to shreds. The expression on her face was hard.
I focused on my paper and gave her a moment to move past her dark place. Once the image was confetti, I figured she would be able to talk.
“I’m sorry about earlier.” I didn’t look at her. “I was tired. It won’t happen again.” I risked a peek and saw Kelli had stopped moving.
“Thank you for cleaning up.” Her eyes stayed on the scraps of paper in her hands.
“No problem. Like I said, I didn’t ask you to do anything. I don’t expect you to do anything for me either. I know you’ve been through a lot and being here and not there,” I indicated the pile of paper. “Can’t be easy. Now I’m here, too. I don’t know what you have against me. If I’ve done something to offend you, I apologize. But I’m not him. Don’t take your anger and pain out on me, okay?”
Kelli looked up at me. It was obvious she was trying her best to control her emotions, but I could still see the damp corners of her eyes. “Sorry.”
I nodded. “I’ll stay out of your way as much as possible, but if you need help with anything around here, let me know. Contrary to what you believe, my mother didn’t raise an animal.”
Kelli squeezed her eyes shut, put her hands on her face. “Sorry about that, too.”
“You get a free pass…this time.”
Kelli laughed a little and looked me in the eye.
I found myself staring as she wiped those cat-like slits with her knuckle. Sad eyes, but beautiful just the same.

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


Alone by M.J. Kane  (Book 5 of The Butterfly Memoirs) 
Interracial Romance, African-American Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Purchase Alone by M.J. Kane (The Butterfly Memoirs Book 5) 




A Perfect Caress by Nana Prah

A Perfect Caress by Nana Prah

Chapter One
Tackling a person to the ground in order grab the last piece of cake would be wrong. Lanelle Murphy had trouble convincing herself of this little truth. Maybe not so much wrong as bad and kind of depressing. Unless it ended up being the best cake ever baked.
Her gaze never wandered from the prize while a suspected perpetrator remained in the periphery. At five feet eight inches, Lanelle increased her already long stride to eat up more of the ground at a faster rate.
Their hands landed on the clear plastic container hold­ing the triple-layered moist chocolate cake covered with scrumptious, rich chocolate icing at the same time.
Since Lanelle’s palm touched the container with his warm fingers wrapped around hers, it meant she’d gotten to it first. The cake belonged to her. The stranger’s resign­ing breath pushed away any idea she may have had of el­bowing him in the ribs before running toward the cashier and dropping money on the counter without stopping.
Lanelle tilted her head to the man without deigning to look at him. If she gave him her full attention, she’d do the kind thing and relinquish the treat. After receiving a disappointing update about a project close to her heart, she deserved it.
After almost two years of planning and fund-raising to build a new neonatal unit in the hospital, Lanelle felt like giving up. Dealing with the other members of the hospi­tal board had proved tedious.
The problems creeping up with the construction set their timeline back and deepened the financial ditch. The funds they’d raised had run out faster than expected, and she couldn’t understand how it had happened. They’d been meticulous in their calculations. After going through the books with her personal accountant this past week, they’d found nothing amiss.
Maybe she should’ve accepted her father’s help when he’d offered it, but she figured it couldn’t be difficult to construct a hospital wing. It wasn’t like they were building a whole hospital from the ground up. It turned out that more went into it than she’d researched.
Lanelle had been trained by the best to ensure things happened the way they should, but this project was draining the life out of her.
She needed this cake. “Hi,” she said instead of telling him to get his paw off her pastry.
“Hello. It looks like we both want the same piece of cake.”
The deep rumble of his voice enticed her but wouldn’t detract her. “Looks that way.” Didn’t this man know not to get between a woman and her chocolate? She turned her head to get a good look at the enemy. They stood so close she had to angle her head back in order to see his face.
Great. The guy who threatened her sanity turned out to be at least six-two. She could’ve picked a better day to wear her cutest pair of Tabitha Simmons ballerina flats.
More than his height caused her breath to hitch. His sienna-brown eyes, contrasting with skin almost as rich and dark as the cake, made for a gorgeous man.
“Would you be interested in the vanilla, by any chance?” His grin drew her attention to full lips covering a set of even white teeth, adding to the squishy feeling in her stomach.
“As tempting as it looks with those rainbow sprinkles, I’d prefer the chocolate.” She’d finished playing nice with the handsome stranger sporting the cutest little Afro she’d seen in a while and pulled the cake toward her. “Since my hand is on the container, it means I reached it first, so technically it’s mine.”
“On a normal day I’d agree, but I need this cake.”
She snorted. “Let me guess. You have PMS and you’re about to take down anyone who gets in the way of get­ting your fix.” Her frown melded into a grin at his burst of laughter.
“No. My niece is about to find out if she’s still in re­mission from the cancer she beat last year. She asked me last night to pick her up a piece of chocolate cake from this cafeteria when I came to join the meeting after her MRI. She insisted no other would do.”
Lanelle squinted in an attempt to assess if he’d given her a line. Detecting no guile in his expression, she re­leased the box. He didn’t let go of her hand.
Sliding her fingers out of his grasp, she crossed her arms over her chest. “I hope your niece is healthy.”
“Thank you. I know she’ll appreciate that I almost got beaten up for her cake.” He held out his right hand. “I’m Dante Sanderson.”
“I wouldn’t have fought you. Maybe just taken you down,” she mumbled as she placed her hand in his. She pulled it away at the bizarre sensation of tingles racing up her arm to her scalp.
She tucked her hand behind her, confused at her body’s reaction.
He raised an eyebrow. “You think it’s a possibility?”
“A fact.”
Text Copyright © 2016 by Nana Prah. Cover Art Copyright © 2016 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved.  ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Second House from the Corner: A Novel by Sadeqa Johnson

Second House from the Corner: A Novel
by Sadeqa Johnson

In the tradition of  I Don’t Know How She Does It,  Second House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood.
“A captivating tale to savor about a woman whose buried past threatens her picture perfect family life. Felicia is a wonderfully flawed, compelling main character, one who has stayed with me long after I finished the book. A winning novel from a writer to watch.” -Benilde Little, bestselling author

Felicia Lyons, a ­­­­­­­ stressed out stay-at-home mom, struggles to sprint ahead of the demands of motherhood while her husband spends long days at the office. Felicia taps, utters mantra, and breathes her way through most situations, but on some days, like when the children won’t stop screaming her name or arguing over toy trucks and pretzel sticks, she wonders what it would be like to get in her car and drive away.

Then one evening the telephone rings, and in a split second the harried mother’s innocent fantasy becomes a hellish reality. The call pulls her back into a life she’d rather forget. Felicia hasn’t been completely honest about her upbringing, and her deception forces her return to the Philadelphia of her childhood, where she must confront the family demons and long buried secrets she thought she had left behind.

From a phenomenal fresh voice in fiction, comes the compelling story of what happens when the dream falls apart. Sadeqa Johnson’s Second House from the Corner is an unforgettable tale of love, loss, rediscovery, and the growing pains of marriage.

Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can’t help but cheer for her in Johnson’s engaging and well-written novel.


“A captivating tale to savor…Felicia is a wonderfully flawed, compelling main character, one who has stayed with me long after I finished the book. A winning novel from a writer to watch.”  —Benilde Little, bestselling author of Welcome to My Breakdown and Good Hair

“Sadeqa Johnson is one of those authors you rarely find these days. Her gift of writing sings on every page. When reading her second novel, Second House From the Corner, you can’t help feeling like you just received a letter from an old friend…. or an old lover. It is a must read!”  —Here’s the Story Bookstore in Union, NJ

Excerpt from Second House from the Corner: A Novel


To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings— all in the same relationship. — Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The Witching Hour

That four-hour window between after-school pickup and bedtime?  It’s like walking a tightrope with groceries in both hands. The slightest hiccup will land any mother in a quagmire with her legs in the air. For me the whole afternoon was a fail. I locked myself out when I went to pick the kids up from school, but didn’t notice the missing house keys until I pulled into the driveway. The snacks had been demolished at the playground, so the hunger meltdown began on the drive to my husband’s office for the spare key (a drive that usually takes seven minutes, but ended up being twenty round-trip because of traffic). Things got even shoddier once I discovered we were out of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. My children will not eat baked chicken unless I dip the pieces in buttermilk, roll them in cornflakes, and bake until crispy. The oven was preheated, the potatoes were boiling for the mash, and I was thirty-three minutes off schedule without the magic cereal that makes my chicken finger-licking good. No time to change the dinner plan. So I swap in seasoned bread crumbs and cross my toes that they won’t notice.

“Mama, this doesn’t taste right.” My son, Rory, frowns.

“Just eat it. There are children right down the street who are starving.”

“But it’s disgusting,” whines Twyla.

How does a four-year-old know what disgusting is?

“Just eat.”

“I have to go pee pee and poo poo.”

“Stop smiling at me. Mommy, she’s smiling.”

“Can we just have dessert?”




Like a song on repeat. Like it’s the last word in the English dictionary. They call “Mommy” until my lips pucker, eyebrows knit. And it takes all my strength not to respond with that inside voice that nobody hears, that you wish would stay quiet, that tells the truth you don’t want anyone to know. That damn voice is hollering. Shut the fuck up!

At what point do I get to shout What the fuck do you want from me? I wouldn’t drop an F-bomb in front of the mommy crew at the park, and I hate to see parents on the street cursing out their kids. But here in my kitchen with everything working against me, I would like to liberate myself just once and let the profanity rip. It’s the nipping at my nerves that gets me. The feasting on my flesh like starved sea urchins. Them, fighting like thieves for their individual piece of me. Me feeling like I have nothing left to give. Any mother who says that she has never felt like her whole life was being sucked out through her nostrils is a damn liar. I feel it every day. Especially when I don’t get at least five hours of shut-eye, like last night.

Twyla (whom I call Two) walked her four-year-old self into my room every hour complaining about being scared. Scared of what? The curtain, the bed, the wall—she had an excuse for each visit. Never mind that she had to walk past her father to get to me. They never bother him. It’s always Mommy. So I upped and downed all night while he slept like a hibernating black bear. 

I hate when I feel like this. My chest rising and falling. Momentum of failure piled. Anxiety has swept through my belly and is curled against my organs like a balled fist. Just one happy pill would make it all better. But I’ve been on the happiness-comes-from within kick for a few months, so no more pills. Instead I’ve started tapping.

Tapping out my emotions so I can get back to feeling right. It’s that new technique where I say what my issue is and use my fingertips and hit my meridian points until I’m back to even. It usually takes about five minutes and several rounds before I feel centered and strong. My husband, Preston, calls it woo-woo, but he’s not at home with three children all day. I am, and I have to use what I’ve got to carry me through. I turn my back to the kids at the kitchen table, take two fingers, and tap the side of my hand while whispering my setup statement.

“Even though I feel stressed out, anxious, and tired of being alone and responsible for my kids I love and accept myself.”

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Calming down.” I try whispering the statement again but Tywla is out of her seat.

“My stomach hurts.”

Rory puts his fork down. “I’m full.”

My fingers stop. I haven’t made it through one minute, much less the five I need. I take a deep breath and usher everyone upstairs. Maybe Preston will surprise me and come home early. Thedamn voice laughs. When was the last time he did that? He never makes it home before their bedtime and I bet that’s on purpose.

Rory moans. “That’s my boat.”

“Dad gave it to me.”

“No, he didn’t.”

Breathe. “Cut it out and get undressed.”

I run their bath and sneak in a quick tap. Repeating my setup statement, I move from my hand to my forehead, to the side of my eye, under my eye, under my lip, under my chin, full hand on chest, bra strap and top of the head. Fill my lungs with air and exhale. Twyla and Rory are back. I read my body. Better.

“Can I bring this in the tub, pretty please?” Twyla clutches the mesh bag with their toys.


They climb into the bathtub and play. This should give me a few minutes alone with the baby.

“Guys, I’m going to change Liv into her pajamas. No water on the floor.”

“Can we have more bubbles?”


“Awwww, man,” Rory replies, imitating Swiper the Fox. “You only gave us a little bit.”

I cut my eyes in the direction of my six-year-old and hold his gaze for a beat longer so that he knows I mean business.

The upstairs of our house is small, and it only takes three long strides to the girls’ bedroom. Liv, the baby, squirms in my arms and I find solace burying my head in her neck. I could sit and smell this child all day. At ten months old, she still has that fresh-to-the-earth smell that forces me to slow my pace. It’s hard to look at her without feeling deep sighs of relief. She is our miracle child.

When I was twenty weeks pregnant with Liv, a routine sonogram found something suspicious. I was sent to the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick to see a pediatric cardiologist. There was a pinch in her heart that could hemorrhage. Her chances of being stillborn were high. When the doctor suggested that we terminate the pregnancy, I was bilious. By then I had already heard her heart beat, felt her flutter and kick, loved her. Preston didn’t even look my way when he simply told the batch of white coats that we would take our chances.

On our way home, the traffic on the Garden State Parkway held us hostage. I slobbered and blubbered against the passenger seat window, trudging through my past, knowing which karmic act brought this down on our family. My husband kept patting my hand, but when that didn’t work, he pulled our ice-cream-truck size SUV over to the side of the road and pressed the hazard lights.

“Foxy, look at me.” He is the only person who calls me Foxy, and even with hearing my personal pet name, I couldn’t bring my eyes to his. Tilting my damp chin, he forced eye contact. “This is not your fault.”

But it is.

“You trust me?”

I shake my head, of course, because there really is no other response when your husband asks you that question.

“So the baby is healed. It’s done, no more worries.” Preston clapped his hands, as if he had just entered a contract with God.

“Now stop blaming yourself, you didn’t do anything.”

As our vehicle crawled up the Parkway, he informed me that we’d name her Liv.

“Not short for anything. Just Liv.”

I knew what I had done to deserve this even though my husband did not. I wanted it to be all right. Needed something to cling too, so I agreed to everything that Preston offered because the only hope I had for a favorable outcome was him. I had burned my bridge with God a long time ago.

( Continued… )

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

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About the Author
SADEQA JOHNSON is a former public relations manager who spent years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, LOVE IN A CARRY-ON BAG was hailed by as “this summer’s hottest read.” It was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. SECOND HOUSE FROM THE CORNER is her second novel.  For more visit: 

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