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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.

 

EXCERPT:

 

“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.
            A
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
https://www.amazon.com/STATIONS-Changing-Your-Life-Career/dp/1478766670   

 

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:   www.lyndamubarak.com  
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011551415498    

 
 
 

 

Shattered Innocence (Shattered Innocence Trilogy – Volume 1)

Shattered Innocence Trilogy 
by Denise Coleman
https://www.smore.com/sdqhf 

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: DeniseColemanBooks.com
Website: http://www.denisecolemanbooks.com
FB: @booksbydenise
IG: authordrcoleman
Twitter: @AuthorDColeman

 

College Life 201: Sophomore Studies by J.B. Vample

College Life 201: Sophomore Studies 
by J.B. Vample

Much to the relief of many, a new school year has fallen upon the students of Paradise Valley University. Alexandra Chisolm, Chasity Parker, Sidra Howard, Malajia Simmons and Emily Harris are thrilled to officially be sophomores. With a roommate shake-up that takes some getting used to, the girls hope that it’s the only shake-up that will happen. When Alex’s high school friends, Stacey and Victoria enter PVU as freshmen, she couldn’t be more excited. Having all of her friends in one place is a dream come true. Alex’s excitement is short lived once Victoria begins to show jealousy towards Alex’s “college family”. That, on top of facing a shocking betrayal, sends Alex into a fit of anger that she is unsure she will be able to recover from.

After a scare, Chasity decides to look for her birth mother and her decision causes a major clash with someone she least expects. As if that stress weren’t enough, Chasity realizes that the growing feelings that she has for Jason Adams have become harder for her to ignore. During a blackout, the two cross a line that leaves both confused. In a fit of emotion, one makes a decision that ultimately changes the course of their relationship. Emily’s new living arrangements and mother’s constant hovering start to take its toll. Feeling helpless and lonely, Emily’s grades begin to suffer. Finding the stress too much to bear, Emily finds a way to cope. But her methods may prove to be too much for her to handle.

Mistakenly, the girls thought that after surviving the events of their freshman year; that their first semester as upperclassmen would be a breeze. With secrets, drama, and emotions at an all-time high, these unlikely friends find that on top of handling their growing course load, they’ll have to get a handle on their personal lives, both on and off campus. 

#SeducingThePenTour –  College Life 201: Sophomore Studies by J.B. Vample. Listen to a reading:  http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CP74sz4x
The College Life Series follows the lives of five young black women as they make their journey through their four years of college at Paradise Valley University. Chasity Parker, the troubled beauty, Malajia Simmons, the party girl, Sidra Howard, the prim princess, Alex Chisolm, the self proclaimed “know-it-all”, and Emily Harris, the shy mommy’s girl are five main protagonists, thrown together by chance. Bringing to college different voices, vastly different backgrounds, and different ways of confronting challenges. 


This series touches on different issues that affect college aged people; such as class pressure, family drama, personal drama, relationship issues, peer confrontations, discovery and friendship. This ill-assorted group discover in this new environment and through unlikely friendships who they are. 

More About The College Life Series by J.B. Vample

 College Life 101: Freshman Orientation (The College Life Series, Vol. 1) 

College Life 102: Social Learning (The College Life Series, Vol. 2) 

College Life 201: Sophomore Studies (The College Life Series, Vol. 3) 
 


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

BONDED FOR LIFE
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?

EXCERPT:  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?

Purchase Books by Sharon C. Cooper
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