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Author Archives: Ella Curry, EDC Creations

Growing into Greatness with God by Janet Autherine

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



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

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

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

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

Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths of Greatness for our Sons and Daughters 

Author, attorney Janet Autherine, is on a mission to empower children to see themselves as unique and amazing—already blessed with what they need to succeed in life and to achieve their dreams.

On a daily basis, children are bullied into feeling “less than.” “The truth is every child matters. Every child is unique. Every child has been created with greatness.” says Janet Autherine, Author of Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths of Greatness for our Sons and Daughters.

Kids love superheroes. But, how many kids believe that they themselves are heroes? With all the mixed messages kids are bombarded by on a daily basis—about looks, intelligence, athletic ability, and more—it can be hard for them to believe that they are special.

The book, Growing into Greatness with God teaches kids to recognize the greatness they were born with and to nourish the love, faith, courage, leadership, happiness, gratitude, and confidence planted within them as they learn to become their best selves. Referencing biblical heroes, and through actionable wisdom, offering practical ways to “grow into greatness,” this easy-to-read guide ignites hope in young readers and sheds light on their path to a bright future.

Parents are excited to find a book that will inspire and empower their children. Moms are saying the following: “I use Growing Into Greatness With God for quiet reading moment with my children. There are steps at the end of each section that you and your children can discuss and reflect upon. Growing Into Greatness With God provides the applicable tools by which children can live by. It reminds children that they are children of God and destined for greatness. Great book!”


Purchase Growing Into Greatness with God: Seven Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters
by Janet Autherine.  Amazon Link:  http://amzn.com/0991200004 

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

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

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

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

EXCERPT: The Scroll by Parrish Smith

The Scroll
Inspiration from America’s Most Revered Spiritual Leaders 

by Parrish Smith 




Life-Changing Inspiration. Unwavering Support. THE SCROLL is a true celebration of our leaders! 


“If you listen, other people will help you understand your calling in life and acknowledge your destiny. But it is important to listen. God speaks through other people. God uses people to help us identify ourselves.” —Bishop T.D. Jakes

Scrolls have always been considered sacred, filled with prophecy and direction. Realizing that today s spiritual leaders fill a similar role, filmmaker Parrish Smith created the award-winning documentary series The Scroll, featuring modern-day prophets revealing more of themselves, their journeys, and their invaluable insights than ever before. Now, Parrish Smith draws on the words of America s most beloved spiritual leaders to create a guide full of contemporary wisdom that will uplift and encourage you through life s unexpected challenges.

Finding our life’s purpose. Creating lasting relationships. Surviving tragedy. Releasing self-destructive thoughts. These are just some of the trials faced and joyously overcome in these heartfelt accounts that are as healing as they are unforgettable. Featuring illustrative Bible verses, related parables, and transformative advice, The Scroll is a timely resource filled with the faith and inspiration that will lead you to life’s greatest rewards.

Featuring:  
Bishop T.D. Jakes * Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Jr. * Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III * Rev. Bernice A. King * Rev. Al Sharpton, Jr. * Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. * Bishop George C. Searight * Dr. Marvin L. Sapp * Dr. Jamal H. Bryant * Bishop Noel Jones * Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. * Dr. Bill Winston * Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer * Rev. Wess Morgan * Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie * Rev. Jeffrey A. Johnson, Sr. * Dr. R.A. Vernon * Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. * Rev. John K. Jenkins, Sr. * Dr. Alyn E. Waller * Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. * Dr. Larry L. Macon, Sr. * Dr. Perry Simmons, Jr. * Rev. Corey B. Brooks, Sr. and  * Rev. Stanley Dumornay

CHAPTER 1 
FAITH
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
—MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:8–9
Doubt. Uncertainty. Suspicion. These are all feelings that can infiltrate our thoughts, causing us to think the worst about a situation or individual. However, faith is the light that keeps us going through the storm, through the hardship, believing that all will turn out for the best.
We need faith throughout our lives. When a stranger enters our lives, we need faith to trust that person to be who he or she claims to be, to a certain extent anyway. When an illness such as cancer or dementia enters our lives, we need faith to believe we can beat the odds and live long and productive lives.
In this chapter, you will hear different accounts about how faith was imperative to help overcome tragedy, fight injustice, achieve goals, enhance self-awareness, battle addiction, and fight the odds.

A Promise
Bishop T. D. Jakes


I think the more you learn about life, the more you recognize that you don’t know. Much like the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. l think the beginning of wisdom is recognizing that you don’t know everything.
PREACHING ABOUT THE ableness of God while his house’s lights and water were turned off was a trying season for Bishop Jakes, who was married with two children. His car had also been repossessed, so he was forced to take the bus uptown to the power company, hoping they would restore his power. The representative he spoke with was condescending, almost as if she was trying to hold this great power over him. The lady belittled and berated him, telling Bishop Jakes he was wasting his time on his appeal. Humiliation consumed him until tears streamed down his face. He left the building, and after he had walked several blocks in total frustration, the Lord spoke the sweetest words to Bishop Jakes, saying, “I will not suffer thy foot to be moved.”
God knew that Bishop Jakes was a young father and husband. At that time, he had lost his union job working for a car-manufacturing plant, and he had visions of being homeless and sleeping in a cardboard box. His church had a few people, but his salary was not enough to sustain a family. He recalls that God did not fix his situation right away, but God did not let him fall, either. Thus, Bishop Jakes learned how to live suspended, neither successful nor destroyed. He was suspended on the edge of a cliff, sustained by nothing but a promise, but sometimes a promise was all he needed to hang on. Over time the promise produced, but he learned how to hear God’s voice when he was hurting, and he learned that God is faithful, even when we are fearful.

Mustard Seed Faith:  Overcoming obstacles in a time of crisis and staying calm enough to hear God’s words are easier than they sound. However, many of us have faced challenges and seasons of hardships. In an episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass, Oprah Winfrey spoke about facing obstacles and the little bit of faith needed to pull you through.

Oprah’s grandmother raised her in the church. As a young girl, every Sunday like clockwork, she would sit in the second row, taking it all in. Listening to Bible stories, she would hear that through God all things are possible. In particular she remembers hearing the story of Jesus teaching that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains, making anything possible. It wasn’t until years later, as an adult, when actually holding a mustard seed in her hand and seeing its minuscule size, that she truly understood the lesson. Moving forward, Oprah realized that as long as she possessed the faith of a mustard seed, she would be able to live the quality of life she manifested and could overcome obstacles.

Build Faith: Having strong faith should be important in your life. Faith is the one weapon that can get you through just about any situation, no matter how tough it may seem. Faith affects all aspects of our lives, and once it is developed, it will make us better people. Following are four ways to build faith in your life.

BELIEVE.Faith is belief. As a believer in God, you have to acknowledge that God is the source of your faith.

PATIENCE.
Change is not always instant, happening overnight. You must have tolerance and patience to weather the storm and stay the course. True faith requires patience.
STUDY.Read the Bible. Attend Bible study, retreats, conferences, and meetings. Study and comprehend the scripture, so you can apply it in your life. Realize that His word is true; it is not a lie.

PRAYER.
Speak to God. Develop communication, adopting a personal relationship with God. Reflect on His word, allowing it to transform you.

Lastly, do not be hesitant to seek counsel with friends, relatives, ministers, and those who you feel have a deep faith. Ask them questions about their faith: What makes it grow? Are they ever doubtful? If so, how do they overcome doubt, allowing their faith to take charge of their lives? Many people have walked in your shoes and still face similar bouts with faith and belief. Conversation is healthy.

Reflection: Sometimes we feel we need pope-like faith to overcome obstacles. However, a tiny bit of faith mixed with work on our end can move mountains.  He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.Matthew 17:20

Overcoming
Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, JR.

Only one out of every three students who enters Mortis Brown as a freshman graduates in fur years. I looked to the person on my left and right and said you might as well go home now, because I am staying and graduating.
GROWING UP, DR. Simmons had a desire to go to college. He was one of eleven children, raised in the South, where his parents never made more than a nickel above minimum wage. Attending college was unthinkable under those circumstances, but Dr. Simmons was driven. During his senior year in high school, he received his first job, making fifty dollars a week working alongside a concrete finisher. After paying five dollars for carfare and five dollars in taxes, he was left with forty dollars. He then deducted ten percent from the forty dollars and donated it to anyone in his area in need. His father did not agree with his giving his money away, because he needed all he could earn for college. However, Dr. Simmons believed that you receive by giving.
Months later, Dr. Simmons arrived at Morris Brown in Atlanta. On registration day he got in line and signed up for all his classes. The last stop was paying tuition. He stood at the window and told the college representative that all he had was fifteen dollars but he wanted to attend the school. The representative gave him a note to see the president. As he entered the president’s office, he saw that hundreds of other students with the same problem stood in the office. Finally he spoke with the president, informing him that he had no money and that he had turned down basketball scholarships from other colleges because he wanted to attend a private Christian college.
The president of Morris Brown signed a sheet of paper allowing Dr. Simmons to finish registration without any money. Dr. Simmons got a job washing dishes in the dining hall and attended classes in between meals. When basketball season arrived, Dr. Simmons tried out for and made the team, but the coach notified Dr. Simmons that his budget for scholarship money was depleted. The coach was, however, able to assist him with buying books. As the first year came to a close, Dr. Simmons received special permission to take final exams because he still owed the college for the entire year’s tuition. The following year, he received a basketball scholarship and ultimately finished school. When he graduated, he had a surplus of money, the opposite of when he’d first enrolled.

(  Continues…  )

Excerpted from The Scroll by Parrish Smith. Copyright © 2014 Parrish Smith. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


WATCH THE SCROLL VIDEO INTRODUCTION
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-scroll-parrish-smith/1114373226  

The Scroll: Inspiration from America’s Most Revered Spiritual Leaders
Inspirational;    Self Help;   Religious;   Christian Life Guidance
http://www.amazon.com/The-Scroll-Parrish-Smith/dp/1617734551
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-scroll-parrish-smith/1114373226 


About the Author

Parrish Smith
is an award winning filmmaker whose projects have appeared on numerous networks and at film festivals. As a child and the son of a preacher, he always fell asleep in church. Nevertheless, it was the storytelling used by preachers during their sermons that engaged him, making the Word relevant to everyday life. Now, he strives to create projects that make a difference in people s lives, leaving them inspired. The Scroll is his first film and book combination that uses the stories of wise and insightful spiritual leaders as a way to assist people as they face life’s struggles. Visit his website, TheScrollMovie.com, for information about his projects.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

EXCERPT: ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground by Michelle Spady

ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground
by Michelle Spady (Author)  and  Bradford Spady (Illustrator)


Written in poem format, the book uses vibrant illustrations, and a good dose of positivity to encourage children to look at bullying from another perspective.


Written in poem format, the book uses vibrant illustrations, and a good dose of positivity to encourage children to look at bullying from another perspective.

ShoozyQ and her “crew” persuade a schoolyard bully to change his behavior without being mean and abusive themselves-something that is often overlooked in books with an anti-bullying message.

The Colorful drawings and simple, effective language all tie together to make ShoozyQ an exciting read for kids, and a learning tool for parents and teachers.   There are activities at the end of the book for parents and educators to practice with the children.


‘ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground’ is available now:  http://amzn.to/1djn5r5 


ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground
General Education-Picture Book for K-4th grade

Kindle:   http://www.amazon.com/ShoozyQ-AB-Crew-Bully-playground-ebook/dp/B00J2I039Y 
Available at Amazon.com, IBooks, Kindle, IngramSparks, CreateSpace & B’Artful.com for bulk discount.


Purchase ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground

Kindle Edition
ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground

Link: http://amzn.com/B00J2I039Y

Paperback Edition
ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground

Link: http://amzn.com/0991460014
General  Education-Picture Book for K-4th grade
Available at Amazon.com, IBooks, Kindle, IngramSparks, CreateSpace & B’Artful.com for bulk discount.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR

Michelle M. Spady & Bradford O. Spady:  The Mother and son team co-produced the anti-bullying tale.  Mrs. Spady is a former school teacher and child care center owner.  Mr. Spady is a cartoonist and character designer attending art school.  Together they formed their company B’Artful, dedicated to promoting emerging artists and writers. This is their fourth book project together.

Simply Spare Time Founder and Executive Director, Michelle Morgan Spady, believes that every moment in a child’s life is precious. With an entrepreneur’s passion to succeed and a desire to make a difference in the lives of children, Michelle first launched her childcare enterprise in 1999. An in-home state-licensed center, SpayTech Children’s Academy (DBA  Afterschool.com) served children from infancy to five years. Immediately, Michelle’s childcare program became recognized as “state-of-the-art.” Featuring a strong academic curriculum, Michelle provided her young chargers with an introduction to technology. Enthusiastic word of mouth resulted in a waiting list, and her innovative early program has now graduated into Simply Spare Time, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to stimulating the imagination of children and teens, through programs, and activities that help them to grow mentally, physically and socially.

Michelle attended Virginia State College, and graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English and a minor in Business Education.  After graduation, not sure if she wanted to teach, she completed a course in real estate.  And later, to keep up with the “changing times” studied and completed two years of Instructional Technology at George Mason University.

An avid educator with over 25 years of experience, the resident of McLean, Va. has held professional teaching licenses in Virginia, Louisiana and Utah. Her subjects include English, reading, and computer technology.  Her creativity, unique approach to learning, and love of teaching, has brought her distinguished recognition, such as a nomination from one of her schools for the Arlington Public School’s “Teacher of the Year” Award.

With a hunger for what it would be like to work for a major corporation, Michelle left teaching for a while and went to work for a major Fortune 500 company as a Network Systems Analyst, and  a short stint as a Major  Accounts Sales Representative. Upon completion of her first year at the company, she was awarded the, “Systems Analyst of the Year” award by her manager and team.

Michelle and her husband, Arnett suffered the loss of a 9 month old son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome while at his baby sitter.  In her grief during this horrific tragedy, she became a long time, award-winning advocate for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) research; Michelle is also a former President and spokesperson for the National SIDS Alliance. Once, on behalf of the Alliance, she substituted for actor Lloyd Bridges and his wife and gave a moving  testimony before the Senate Appropriations sub-committee requesting  millions of dollars for the continued  research of SIDS through NICHD. Still yearning to be parents, Michelle and Arnett later went through the Black Adoption Project with Fairfax County and adopted an infant son (their only child) who is now a junior at Langley High School. Their son diagnosed later, with Asperger’s Syndrome, introduced Michelle to another aspect of education, Special Education, and further extended her passion and love for children with special needs.

Michelle’s first taste of the “entrepreneurial” bug came when she and her husband learned of a potential opportunity for a lottery in the state of VA.  Together with two other relatives, they formed a company and named it GOVA, Inc. (Games of Virginia).  They formed a team of experts that helped them to form a partnership, and sub-contract with one of the largest gaming companies in the country. GOVA, Inc. was awarded the service and training contract with the VA State Lottery for what would become a 12 year partnership. Michelle served as VP of the company and oversaw the daily operations.  She managed all aspects of the contract, and met monthly with the VA State Lottery team to insure implementation of the multi-million dollar award, with fidelity.

Michelle is a faithful member of Shiloh Baptist Church, McLean where she is VP and sings in the choir, her husband is a Trustee and her son a Jr. Usher. She and her husband were co-chairs for Shiloh’s 135th Anniversary which brought together the Mclean community and many local and state leaders and officials.

Michelle is now working on her “bucket list”.  She is taking vocal lessons, and has dusted off the family’s piano. Other items on the list include opening a recreational center for youths and writing a book.


Some of her other accomplishments of impact include:

•    Designed, and implemented  “Mobilizing the Masses” A health forum, dealing with women and children’s health issues held on Capitol Hill involved leading politicians and community.

•    Spearheaded a “Boyz to Men” workshop with participation of leading members of the U.S. House of Representatives to focus on issues dealing with minority male teens. The workshop gathered over 100 teen boys from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area as well as House Majority Whip and other key members of Congress.

•    Designed, initiated and implemented a summer VA College and university tour for African-American male teens.  Program dubbed “The B.A.R. Academy”. (Boys about Art & Reading). The B.A.R. Academy brought together local male teens from McLean, Reston, Herndon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Supported students financially challenged. Students met with prominent physicians at Johns Hopkins University, and Presidents of universities.

•    Organized a community trip to  Alex Haley’s home and the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN. Personally supported students who were financially challenged.

•    Partnership with the Allen Etiquette Institute to teach classes to teen girls in Washington, DC summer work program.

CURRENT PROJECTS INCLUDE

•    Planning a trip during summer of 2011 for students to participate in Disney’s YES (Youth Education Series) program to “give students real-world learning experiences at Disney Theme Parks and provide newfound insights, skills and knowledge to motivate and inspire students.”

•    Co-Chairing a fundraising campaign for the National Kidney Transplant Foundation to help a friend who needs a kidney.

•    Re-launching her “for profit” business After-school.com!


NOTABLE AFFILIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS

•    The Links, Incorporated-Appointed-Eastern Area Director for Services-to-Youth Facet—Oversaw 75 chapters in the Eastern Area.  Each chapter responsible for community service and outreach and mentoring to youths in their communities.

•    National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.-President (Elected) (three terms)  National President’s Leadership Award for community service

•    Jack and Jill of America, Inc.-Team leader and coordinator for children’s activities

•    Son’s School’s PTA’s and PTO’s

•    McLean Chamber of Commerce-Member


NOTABLE PAST AWARDS, ACHIEVEMENTS & RECOGNITION

•    Alpha Kappa Alpha-Human Mankind Award for health and community service to youth
•    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome-President’s Award – Testified before Senate Appropriations committee on behalf of SIDS and NICHD requesting funding for SIDS research in amount of $17 million-grant awarded
•    TV Interview with SIDS team on Tom Brokaw Nightly News
•    Home interview with Discovery Channel for SIDS
•    SIDS Survival Guide for Parents-Authored and submitted two articles for publication
•    Marian Wright Edelman STAND FOR CHILDREN award for participation
•    She has received numerous local and national awards for her outstanding leadership and advocacy on behalf of women and children’s issues.


Michelle’s “KEYS FOR SUCCESS”

•    Integrity
•    Respect
•    Ethical Behavior
•    Positive Thinking
•    Loyalty
•    Work & Family
•    Empowerment

Michelle Morgan Spady, Author & Publisher B’Artful, LLC
B’Artful Website:  http://www.bradspadyart.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bradspadyart


 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

EXCERPT: Troublemaker by Trice Hickman

Every joy has its challenges. . .

After twenty years, childhood best friends Alexandria Thornton and PJ Brightwood have reunited–and fallen in love. Alex’s artistic nature as a spoken word artist, and PJ’s success as a talented surgeon promise a bright future. But their happiness brings unexpected complications for those they care about most. . .

A devoted wife, loving mother, and successful businesswoman, Victoria Thornton is a pillar of her suburban Atlanta community. But when her daughter, Alexandria, becomes engaged to the son of Victoria’s former lover, her past mistake threatens her orderly life. As the impending marriage reunites both families, it reignites old feelings that test all of their relationships–and all of their boundaries. . .


Praise for the Unexpected Love Series

“Trice Hickman is an amazing writer and storyteller!” –Kimberla Lawson Roby

“Looking for Trouble is a fantastic saga about family, friendship, love, status and destiny.” –RT Book Reviews

“A humorous and entertaining novel.” –Urban Reviews on Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies

“Hickman hits all the high notes in this charming modern romance where love and loyalty trump race.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Unexpected Interruptions


Read an Excerpt from Troublemaker by Trice Hickman

CHAPTER 1

Allene

“You can never go wrong doin’ right” Allene Small whispered to herself as she thought about the events that were about to unfold. She couldn’t count the number of times she’d repeated those words during the nine decades she’d lived on earth, or in the six that she’d spent as a spirit waiting to reemerge into the world she’d once known.

Allene had enjoyed a rich, full life in her day. She’d experienced ups and downs, joys and heartbreak, and eventually, the calm peace that living ninety-eight years had brought her. She’d been widowed at a young age, outliving her beloved husband and eventually all her siblings and her children, as well as some nieces and nephews. She’d witnessed fiery crosses burning in the night, emblazoned with hatred and fear. She’d endured oppression before joining activists who fought for justice, civil rights, and social change. She’d watched one decade roll into the next as presidents and heads of state came and went, by consequence of elections or death. And she’d seen men ride in horses and buggies, fly planes in the sky, drive motorized vehicles along busy streets, and then miraculously walk on the moon.

Allene felt grateful and blessed to have lived long enough to experience things that many had not. She was also thankful that for as long as she could remember, she’d known an invaluable truth most couldn’t fathom—that there was life after life. The peace she’d found in that knowledge had comforted her during times of trouble.

Now as she sat in her trusty old rocking chair, surveying the colorful flowers that graced the large wrap-around porch where she’d been sitting all morning, her heart held excitement and caution about what she knew lay ahead. She took a deep breath and inhaled the sweet fragrance of the rose, azalea, and magnolia bushes flanking the front of the house. “This old place sure ’nuff has stood the test of time,” she said with a smile. “Isaiah and Henrietta would be right proud, God rest their souls.”

Allene loved being back in Nedine, South Carolina, the small town where she’d lived out the best parts of her days. She looked out as far as her eyes could see, noting that while some things had changed, so many had remained steadfastly the same. The large, white placard displaying THE SMALL PROPERTY in black calligraphy still towered at the edge of the road a few hundred feet away, announcing to visitors that they had reached the grounds of the grand residence that her son, Isaiah Small, had built from the ground up.

At the time, Isaiah’s had been one of the largest homes in Nedine as well as the two surrounding counties, and today it proudly continued to hold that distinction. This was a huge feat for a black man, then and now. After Isaiah died, Allene had moved from her tiny house a few miles up the road, and settled into the quiet comfort of living with Isaiah’s devoted widow, Henrietta, whom Allene had loved as her own daughter.

After Henrietta passed away, John, Isaiah’s and Henrietta’s son, cared for the house with great love and attention. Even though John had moved away to Raleigh, North Carolina, to start a banking empire and carry on in his father’s successful footsteps, he’d made sure to preserve the family homestead where he’d been born and had many fond memories of growing up. Several times a year, John, along with his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Victoria, would return to Nedine to make sure the house was well maintained and that any necessary repairs were made.

once John’s age and declining health prevented him from making trips to his beloved hometown, he’d hired a property management company to oversee the upkeep. After his death, his daughter, Victoria, had picked up the torch and seen to it that her father’s birthplace was kept in good order. Allene was proud that her son’s legacy was still intact, along with much of the land, rental properties, and other real estate holdings that had been passed down from one generation to the next.

“They’re all gonna be here soon. Even the ones who ain’t supposed to come,” Allene said with reserve. “But then again, I reckon that ain’t such a bad thing, ’cause nothin’ happens by mistake. There’s a plan for everything, we just gotta play it out to the end.”

Allene nodded to herself as she looked up into the gray, stormy sky. It had been raining nonstop since early this morning. Heavy at times and light at others. Allene felt happy every time she heard the pitter-patter sound and the fresh smell that God’s liquid glory created in its wake. She remembered back to the days she’d spent in her tiny home, and how she’d loved to listen to the rain dance atop her roof and beat against her windows. The natural rhythm had been soothing, and always made her feel a sense of peace—as if whatever had been wrong could be made right by the water that came and washed things away.

Allene wished so badly that the rain could clear out the troubles awaiting her family. Having the gift of prophecy, she was able to see some of the challenges that were on the horizon, and the struggles her loved ones were surely going to face. She wanted to intervene by warning them of what was coming, and tell them what they needed to do in order to avoid the problems heading their way. But age, wisdom, and experience had taught her that some things couldn’t be interfered with, or manipulated. Only time, patience, and living through the situation could rectify whatever was wrong.

This was why Allene knew that choosing to do the right thing would never lead her down the wrong path. She’d been a witness to situations that had borne out that evidence time and time again, and she knew without a doubt that bad intentions could easily lead to devastating consequences. Conversely, she also knew that if one had good intentions and did what was fair and just, regardless of the circumstances, things would eventually unfold into a favorable outcome.

Allene knew that some of her family members were carrying heavy burdens, and to her disappointment, one in particular was plotting a hidden agenda, heading in the wrong direction by ignoring what was right. “Lord, help me guide Alexandria so she can help our family,” she whispered aloud, looking up into the sky. “I waited a mighty long time to come back, and now, I’m ready. I just hope they’re ready, too.”

It had been nearly a year since Allene had first made her spirit form known to anyone in the land of the living. She’d reached out to Alexandria, her great-great-granddaughter, because she’d known it was time to make contact. Alexandria was a special young woman, who, like Allene, and Allene’s great-grandmother before her, possessed the gift of prophecy.

The gift of prophecy was a precious ability that had been passed down through the generations, only by way of the female members of their family, dating back to the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. The gift was a sacred and valued treasure that people both revered and feared within Allene’s family, as well as the outside community.

During Allene’s lifetime, her gift had allowed her to foretell events in advance of them happening. She could discern good from bad in the blink of an eye. She could sense when danger was approaching or when peace would prevail. She knew people’s thoughts without ever having to engage them in conversation. And she could accurately declare good fortune or disappointing loss for those seeking her advice on any given situation.

Now as a spirit in the land of flesh and blood, she possessed those same abilities along with the added benefit of being able to exist between two worlds. Allene walked within the supernatural realm, able to communicate with others who shared the gift, like her great-grandmother, Susan. Even though she was able to see family and friends who’d passed on, she couldn’t communicate with them unless they possessed the gift of prophecy. The living world was much the same way, only there, things were more complicated because life was still happening, unfolding in real time, which always presented challenges.

After years of patiently watching and waiting, Allene was glad when the time finally came that she could return to the world she’d once known. She was there to help Alexandria, who had struggled with her abilities for most of her life, but had now come to terms with the extraordinary gift she’d inherited. Just as Susan Jessup had been Allene’s guide on her life’s journey, it was now Allene’s turn to do the same for Alexandria.

Allene continued to watch the sky and listen to the rain fall as she thought about what was going to happen two weeks from now. She could see the blessings, as well as the trouble that was going to ensue once everyone gathered under one roof. Tempers would flare and hearts would be hurt by deception. Long-held secrets were going to be revealed, weaknesses would be exposed, and a devious plot to steal and control was going to be uncovered. Allene could also see that there would be heated moments and tension between family members and friends.

“Sometimes people just got to go through things in order to make a change,” Allene said to herself.

She knew that hearts, minds, and loyalties would be tested when her family came together for a grand celebration two weeks from now, and unfortunately, someone was going to meet their demise before the weekend came to an end.

“I’ll see you soon, baby girl,” Allene whispered into the air, sending words of love and comfort to Alexandria. “You just hang in there and know that everything’s gonna be all right.”

CHAPTER 2

Alexandria

Alexandria smiled as she stretched her long, shapely legs across PJ’s buttery-soft leather sofa. “Now that I’ve finished cooking, it’s time to relax” she said aloud. She ran her fingers through the mass of thick curls atop her head and let out a deep breath of relief, glad she was finally able to relax after her long day. She’d been busy from the moment she’d stepped out the door this morning with a coffee mug in one hand and a toasted bagel in the other. Her life had been more hectic in the last year than she could ever remember. So much was changing so fast, but with that change she felt the hope and excitement of new possibilities that lay ahead.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she thought about the fact that this Friday would be her last day of work at a job she’d dreaded since the day she’d started. She was an attorney, on the fast track, employed with the prestigious downtown Atlanta law firm of Johnson, Taylor, and Associates. Alexandria had worked there since she’d interned with them while still in law school. Now, six years later, she was ready to step out of what she’d been academically trained to do, and take hold of the direction in which her heart had always led her, which was to pursue her passion as a writer and spoken-word artist.

Alexandria thought about her promising future as she lay on her back and flipped through one of her many bridal magazines. Even though her wedding day was just one month away, and all the major details had been planned to a tee, she still couldn’t resist looking at pictures of happy couples, replete with bountiful flowers and their wedding parties in tow, all overflowing with nuptial bliss.

Alexandria smiled every time she thought about how happy she was and how much her life had significantly changed since this time last year. It seemed as though it were just yesterday that she’d broken up with her old boyfriend, Peter, and in less than twenty-four hours, fate, along with her grandma Allene’s sage advice, had led her down a completely different path to peace, understanding, and true love. Now she was engaged to PJ, her childhood best friend who’d walked into her life and changed her world.

She could still remember her grandma Allene’s words. Speak what’s in your heart. Say what it is that you desire, and watch it walk into your life.

Alexandria had heeded those words and still lived by them today. She knew that speaking what she wanted, and then trusting and believing with indomitable faith that her desires would be met in abundance, was the reason PJ was in her life. As she looked at the beautiful gowns of silk and tulle, she raised her hand in the air, as if in praise, and gave thanks for her blessings. “Amen,” she said quietly.

She was thankful for this joyous time in her life, and she planned to savor every moment because she was all too aware of the trouble that was lying in wait on the other side. Gritty realities and unpleasant truths were about to surface, not just in her life, but in the lives of family and friends whom she loved. She knew the road ahead was paved with detours, rough patches, and a few hazard signs. But she also knew she’d get through them thanks to her faith, her grandma Allene, and the amazing gift of prophecy she now embraced.

“Thank you, Grandma Allene,” Alexandria whispered. “I love you for showing me the way.”

As soon as her words floated into the air, Alexandria knew that her grandma Allene’s spirit had entered the room. Whenever she felt a warm breeze, a gentle, unexplainable tug at her arm, or smelled the unmistakably sweet scent of magnolias—which had just wafted by her nose—she knew it was her great-great-grandmother communicating with her.

Alexandria inhaled the fragrant, uniquely Southern scent that always made her feel safe and at ease. That sense of comfort and security was very different from the turmoil and strife she’d experienced in the past whenever she thought about her gift.

Communicating with spirits and having premonitions were abilities that had burdened Alexandria since she was five years old. She’d always felt different and out of place, constantly trying to navigate where she stood in a world filled with uncertainty. Her lack of grounding and understanding of her gift had made her afraid of the supernatural powers she possessed. But all that had changed last summer when Allene had contacted her for the first time.

Initially, Alexandria had been leery, and she hadn’t want any part of the mysteriously frightening world that had been haunting her since she was five years old. Many times she could remember waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat and covered with fear, terrified of the voices that belonged to spirits from another world that she couldn’t see or touch.

She also recognized that the ability to know what was going to happen in a given situation before it took place wasn’t always a good thing, and it had quickly become a heavy weight on her shoulders. She’d worried about things that kids her age didn’t have to deal with. She’d witnessed accidents, death, and destruction, and it had made her fearful of doing something as normal as dreaming at night because of what she might see. She’d often stood helpless with her knowledge, not knowing what to do or in whom to confide, so she’d learned how to ignore her gift and block out visions whenever they threatened her peace of mind.

But once her grandma Allene had come into her life and shown her the beauty of her gift, along with the strength and infinite possibilities it held, a new world had opened up to her for the first time.

She’d been hoping that her grandma Allene would soon make contact with her again. She missed hearing the old woman’s comforting voice and the soothing, down-home Southern accent it carried. Allene hadn’t communicated with her in nearly three months, which had initially alarmed Alexandria. But then she remembered Allene’s promise—that she’d always be there to guide and protect her. Alexandria knew she’d have to wait patiently and trust in Allene’s words, which were solid and rooted in love.

The one thing that Alexandria longed for more than anything was to talk with Allene face-to-face, instead of speaking in whispered tones through visions that always seemed to end much too quickly. During one of their talks, Alexandria had asked Allene to appear to her in the flesh.

“Grandma Allene, I want to see you. Can you come visit me?” she’d asked.

( Continued… )

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


About the Author
Trice Hickman
is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice’s love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she’s not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. Learn more about Trice at http://www.tricehickman.com.

Download Troublemaker (An Unexpected Love Novel)
by Trice Hickman

[Kindle Edition]
Link: http://amzn.com/B00IKOTMC0

Purchase Troublemaker (An Unexpected Love Novel)
by Trice Hickman

Link:  http://amzn.com/0758287267


Meet the Author
Trice Hickman
is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice’s love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she’s not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. Learn more about Trice at http://www.tricehickman.com.

Author website: http://www.tricehickman.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tricehickman
FB:  http://www.facebook.com/tricehickman

Unexpected Love Novel Series – More Books by Trice Hickman
* Looking for Trouble
* Unexpected Interruptions
* Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies
* Playing the Hand You’re Dealt

Books by Trice Hickman
http://www.amazon.com/Trice-Hickman/e/B002N44944
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/trice-hickman/2106303

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

EXCERPT: Sultry Pleasure by Lindsay Evans

A hot Miami night. A glittering gala. And a gorgeous billionaire wants to spirit her away. This might be a fantasy for most women, but not Diana Hobbes. She’s at a charity event representing the nonprofit adoption agency she has poured her heart and soul into. And despite the hot body, easy charm and luxury ride of playboy Marcus Stanfield, Diana has nothing in common with him.

Marcus is unaccustomed to having women refuse him. So he is surprised by Diana’s brush-off – and intrigued. Angelically kind and devilishly sexy, Diana is worth more than a little effort…so an epic seduction campaign begins. Lavish evenings, small touches, and grand gestures all say “I want you.” The desire is mutual, the tension maddening. But which will Diana ultimately choose: holding back… or giving in?


Excerpt from Chapter One

 Marcus Stanfield walked into the party already looking for the exits. On a Saturday night in Miami, he’d much rather be on his boat or partying with friends than bleeding away the night at a charity ball he had had no real interest in attending. The music was calm and laid back, acceptable jazz that blended into the background while Miami business professionals and philanthropists wove through the crowd in their formal dinner wear—black tie and tails, cocktail dresses, diamonds dripping from necks and wrists.

As Marcus glanced over the crowd, he heard the sound of a woman’s laughter, husky and low, from nearby.

The woman’s laughter was rich and deep, with a hint of naughtiness. A combination that drew him like a bee to honey. His ears latched on to the laughter while his eyes tracked the room for the source of the sound. Soon he found it.

Two women stood together. One was still laughing, her head thrown back, a hand propped up on her hip. She was slender and pretty, light-skinned with wavy black hair down to the middle of her back.

But, inexplicably, it was the woman standing next to her that drew and kept Marcus’s attention. She had dark skin, angelic features, and straightened hair pulled back in an elegant French roll. Even from across the room, he sensed her innocence. While her friend was dressed in a purple satin dress that caught her at mid-thigh and clung to her slender but generously proportioned body, this woman wore ice blue.

She smiled faintly at something her friend said, her full mouth tilting up at the corners with mild amusement. Marcus looked back at the friend with her killer  body, white teeth and long hair that fell in thick waves over her luscious breasts. She was definitely more his type, a woman who would want him for his money, and never anything else. The safe type.

But the woman in blue was who he wanted.

“Good evening, ladies.” Marcus approached them with his charming smile firmly in place.

The laughing woman gave him a considering glance, a quick but thorough evaluation of what he was wearing, how he looked, what he was worth.

“Good evening.” She greeted him with a predatory smile. “You’re Marcus, right?”

“I am,” he said. “A pleasure to meet you.”

The woman he wanted treated him like he was intruding on their conversation. She was even more beguiling up close. Not traditionally beautiful but exquisitely made with her large eyes, wide mouth and narrow chin.

“I’m Trish,” the long-haired one said, offering her hand to shake. “And this is my best friend, Diana.” She nudged her friend, as if encouraging her to be nice to Marcus.

Diana extended her hand in greeting. “Marcus.” Her voice was carefully neutral.

“Don’t say my name like that,” he said with a grin. “So formal. Especially when I came over here intending to ask you to dance with me.”

A frown settled on her angelic face. “I don’t dance.”

“She’d love to.” Trish smiled even wider to make up for Diana’s lack of welcome, then nudged her friend again, this time directly into Marcus’s arms. “Enjoy, honey!”

Marcus took Diana’s arm and led her to the dance floor where they were playing Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.”

“Thank you for dancing with me,” he said.

She looked up at him, her eyes large and serious behind a veil of thick lashes. Her narrow chin jutted out.

“You know very well I didn’t agree to dance with you,” she said. Her full mouth glistened dark red under the lights.

“You don’t strike me as a woman who’d let herself be talked into something she didn’t want to do,” he murmured as they moved to the beat of the song. “Whatever small part of you wanted to come with me, I’m grateful for it.” He smiled, strangely charmed by her coolness. Her reaction to him was completely different from what he usually got from women.

At his look, Diana pursed her lips, the lines of her face softening. “I’m sorry. It’s just been a long day. Everyone here seems to think just because I work for a non-profit, that means I’m going to whore myself out to the one with the biggest bank account.”

Damn. She was definitely not his type at all. With other women , he knew what they wanted, and they knew what he could give. Sex for money: a transparent transaction. But he didn’t want to let Diana go yet.

“If it makes you feel any better, you don’t have to whore yourself out to me at all.” Marcus dipped his hips close to hers as they moved to the music, then pulled back. “All I want is a dance.”

She looked at him with a hint of doubt in her sparkling brown eyes. “A dance is all you really want?”

Marcus smiled. “For now.” He spun her around to the rhythm of the song, then pulled her back seamlessly into his arms. “Later I was thinking of trying to tempt you with dinner, maybe a late night walk on the beach.”

The corner of her mouth twitched. “I’ve already eaten, and I try to avoid the beach at night.”

“Why is that?”

She looked at him with a pointed rise of an eyebrow. “Sharks.”

( Continued… )

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

Purchase Sultry Pleasure by Lindsay Evans
Genre: Romance.  Amazon link:  http://amzn.to/1dzwicR


Meet the Author

Born in Jamaica, Lindsay Evans currently lives in Atlanta, GA. She loves good food and romance and would happily travel to the ends of the earth for both. She currently writes sensual love stories for Harlequin Kimani. Find out more at http://www.LindsayEvansWrites.com.

Twitter: @LindsayEvansXOX
Website: http://www.LindsayEvansWrites.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/LindsayEvansXOX

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Black Pearls Magazine Featured Books











 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

EXCERPT: Avenue of Palms by Athena Lark

Former slave and seamstress, Violet Kingsley, returns to the modern world on the eve of the first African-American president of the United States. Violet’s spirit returns while walking down the long dirt road, dubbed the Avenue of Palms, which leads to Kingsley Plantation. She knows her soul is reborn when a car barrels down the road.  A chance encounter with the driver, will forever tie the two women together as Violet realizes only certain people, things and other spirits can see her physical body.
    
With its wings in a wide arc, a wild peacock greets Violet as she enters the gates of the plantation. Now, a National State Park, Kingsley Plantation is frozen in time. Except for the White tourists with their fanny packs, cameras and flip flops the plantation looks the same as it did in its original glory. The slave cabins are still there, the barn, Kitchen House, and Big House, all restored stand as monuments of a time when Violet was enslaved. Violet’s emotions are torn between a life lived over 200 years before and a new world with cars, cell phones, and successful Black people.
     
Bewildered with modern times, Violet struggles to adapt to what she calls the “new world.” In this world she faces the daily challenges of race not too far removed from her early days on the plantation. Violet tells her story of those early days like an old grandmother sitting in a rocking chair beside you. She recounts those early days struggling to survive the horrors of the Middle Passage. Early years of helping Nat Turner revolt against slavery. Days she wept when her mistress sold her baby girl, Jane, away. Frightful but loving years spent with her husband, freed slave and revolt fighter, Ishmael Carter. Years she spent searching for her family only to find some were closest to her than she ever imagined.

Excerpt from Chapter One – Rebirth

The Kingsley Plantation, 1832
Ft. George Island, Florida

The flames rose up the barn door engulfing the frame and the only way out. Violet Kingsley grabbed her two little ones, Rachel and Benjamin, by their clothes and carried them to the far end of the barn. Quickly the fire spread to the opposite side. The children held on to her tighter, crying as the red monster got bigger. She tried to gather her thoughts and figure out a way to save them, but it all seemed to be moving in slow motion to her.

She remembered the sting of the slap from her mistress just moments before, when she told her she would first have her whipped and then sell “those little nigger bastards of yours.”

A beautiful woman, Violet’s smooth brown skin, almond shaped eyes, thick nose, and pouty lips were more a curse to her than a blessing. Standing just over five feet, there was still something about her that made her seem stronger than her slender body.

She ran to the cabin where Auntie Rae watched all the slave children. She didn’t say a word as she snatched up her kids. Instead of heading to her own cabin, she ran to the barn to hide. She hoped her master would have enough time to calm down the mistress before she came after her with the overseer and the whip.

When she heard the rustling of leaves outside the barn, she looked through a knot hole in the wood and saw Big John, the slave overseer. He had a lit torch in his hand. Looking around to see if anyone could see him, he threw the torch at the door.

Violet watched the dry timber light in a flash. The smoke instantly burned her eyes and began to fill up the barn. A sliver of sunlight on the wall led her to the direction of her salvation; a small window above the hay loft.

Her hands gripped the tall ladder to the top as she struggled with the children hanging on to her. Only minutes had gone by, yet all walls of the barn were engulfed in flames. The fire spread to the ladder, lighting her long skirts just as she made it to the hay loft. She beat at the flames until they went out.

The pain seared through her legs, but she knew she had to move quickly or they would be dead once the flames made it to the bays of hay. She stood on her tippy toes lifting five year-old Benjamin through the window onto the burning roof. With a burst of energy the fire attacked the hay stacks with ferocious speed.

So quick was the fire that Violet was holding one-year old Rachel up in the air when her whole body caught on fire. She screamed as the fire trailed up her body and consumed her baby girl.

She was a ball of fire cradling her dying baby when she looked up and saw Benjamin’s crying face and tiny hand reaching down for her. Then she left the world in ashes.

( Continued… )

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

Purchase Avenue of Palms by Athena Lark
Purchase:  http://www.amazon.com/Avenue-Palms-Athena-Lark/dp/1493109782


Cinematic Book Trailer: Avenue Of Palms by Athena Lark 

Watch NOW and be amazed:  http://youtu.be/1oxB0i8rNl4

About the Author
Athena Lark
is the author of the greatly anticipated debut novel, Avenue of Palms. She graduated from the University of California at Riverside, where she received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. She has been published in; the Literary Journals, Gently Read Literature, Hippo Reads and Whistling Fire, the Florida Times Union newspaper, Jacksonville Business Journal, Jacksonville Advocate, the Albany Herald, UNF Spinnaker, and UNF Alumni Magazine. She is currently writing her memoir, Sailor Girl about her life in the U. S. Navy.

For more on the novel, check out my website at:  http://www.athenalark.com.  Also, the cinematic book trailer on YouTube is wonderfully produced:  http://youtu.be/1oxB0i8rNl4

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Pamela Samuels Young

Intimate Conversation with Pamela Samuels Young
Pamela Samuels Young is a NAACP Image Award winning author and practicing attorney who’s taken a brief hiatus from crafting her fast-paced mystery novels to write about her newest passion: natural hair care. In her first non-fiction book, Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide to Going Natural, Pamela chronicles her transition to natural hair. Kinky Coily also provides tips and resources for other women who want to begin their own natural hair journey. A bona fide natural hair enthusiast, Pamela is excited about sharing her new found knowledge in the hope of helping other women learn the beauty and versatility of their kinky coils. You can visit Pamela’s YouTube channel, KinkyCurlyPamela, and her website, http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com, for more hair care tips and videos.

Have you been thinking about transitioning to natural hair, but don’t know where to start? Then Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural is for you. A literal treasure trove of information, Kinky Coily is a roadmap for anyone interested in beginning a natural hair journey. You’ll find the best bloggers, the best books and magazines, as well as recommendations on how to select the right hair care tools and products.

Better yet, you’ll learn how to begin your natural hair journey, how to develop a weekly hair care regime and how to track your progress. Whether you’re transitioning from a relaxer, ready to give up your weave or flat iron, or already rocking your natural locs, Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural will open your eyes to the true beauty and versatility of your naturally kinky coils.

BPM: Why did you go natural? How did you start the journey from permed hair to natural hair?
I decided to go natural after my hair started falling out from a relaxer. One day I had a head full of hair and only a few months later, I had patches of bald spots. My hair was shedding at an alarming rate every single day and neither I nor the hair stylist I was seeing knew how to stop it. A friend of mind had recently gone natural and introduced me to her natural hair mentor, Deanie. Deanie met me at the beauty supply, told me about sulfates and moisturizing, recommended conditioners and protein treatment, and gave me a list of do’s and don’ts. After the very first treatment, my hair stopped falling out—immediately. That’s when I became a believer and set out on a journey to take charge of my own hair care.

BPM: Did you go for the “big chop” or did you transition to natural hair with braids or a wig?
Initially, I refused to do the big chop. I just didn’t want to sport a teeny weenie after. So I hid my damaged hair underneath a wig. But after about three months, I got tired of putting on a wig every morning and taking it off every night. So I did it. I chopped it all off and I’m so glad I did.

BPM: How did your husband feel about your new hair styles? Was his input a major concern?
My husband does not like my natural hair!  But I do!  He prefers my hair straightened. But I know that once it grows longer, he’ll love it.

BPM: We saw your YouTube videos.  Amazing! You are so brave to share your story with millions, what inspired you?
I’ve learned so much about my natural hair. For example, I had no idea my hair had a natural wave pattern. So many people see my hair and say, “My hair would never do that.” I would’ve said the same thing. That’s because we don’t know our hair!  I’m on a mission to change that. Your readers can view all of the videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/KinkyCurlyPamela 

BPM: What three tips would you offer women who are thinking about going natural?
My top three tips are: 1) No sulfates! Either wash with a conditioner (co-wash) or find a sulfate free shampoo; 2) stay away from the heat, that means flat irons as well as blow dryers; and 3) moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Kinky hair needs moisture!  I deep condition at least twice a week and moisturize and seal nightly.

BPM: What products do you use? Share with us your favorite products.
Unfortunately, the same products don’t work for every hair texture. You’ll need to experiment to find out what works best for you. I have kinky, tightly coiled hair. So if you have a looser curl pattern or if your hair isn’t as coarse as mine, the products I love won’t work for you.

That said, my can’t-do-without products are: Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic, Kinky Curly Knot Today conditioner, Organic Roots Stimulator’s Temple Balm and Curl Refresher, and Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner. I love Herbal Essence for co washing. I also love mixing my own oils. My favorites are amla oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil and peppermint oil.

BPM: How long did it take for your hair become more healthy in your opinion?
It took about three months before I noticed my bald spots growing in. Within about six months, I really saw a change. My hair grew back much thicker and healthier.

BPM: How did you wear your hair to work during the transition?
I hid my damaged hair underneath a wig, until I finally broke down and did the big chop. I have to say, though, my Mommy wig was quite cute. I still plan to wear it sometime.

BPM: Do you think our hair has a lot to do with our body image and self-esteem?
Absolutely! I don’t care what I’m wearing. If my hair isn’t right, I don’t feel good about myself.

BPM: Research helps us learn to embrace our beautiful hair. Did you do a lot of research?
Tons of research. I recommend that everybody read The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy. That book is an encyclopedia on kinky hair. I learned so much from that book. And I lived on the internet and YouTube. My favorite bloggers are Curly Nikki, Naptural 85, KimmayTube, Mahogany Curls and African Export. I owe those sistas a debt of gratitude for everything they taught me.

 
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

BLACK PAIN: WE’RE DYING AND WE’RE HURTING

BLACK PAIN
WE’RE DYING AND WE’RE HURTING
Written by Terrie M. Williams

The senseless murder of another unarmed Black man has once again ripped open the wounds of a nation. Treated as if we are simultaneously invisible while highly conspicuous, ignored when we are in need and profiled when we are simply proceeding. The attack on the lives of Black men like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Abner Louima and Oscar Grant serves as a reminder that Black lives in America are not valued. These not so uncommon instances of police extremism often shatter the trust between law enforcement and the people they are meant to protect. It is Black Pain that is simmering under the surface of this allegedly color blind and post-racist country, it is Black Pain that inspires protests for justice, and it is Black Pain that police in Ferguson are attempting to detain and mask. Treating our fellow Americans as anything less than human, undermines the principles we fought for as a nation during the civil rights era.

We’ve seen this over and over again, where police brutality, directed primarily toward Black men, often renders the community, collectively and individually, into an extreme state of shock…it effects our men, our women and our children.  According to Dr. Dawn M. Porter, a Board Certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, the trauma that can result from these repeated experiences can lend itself to the development of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which all too often goes unnamed and untreated.  An inability to deal with the stress of witnessing blatant injustice of this magnitude, can cause people to act out of unresolved trauma and erupt in rage and anger often in response to a complete sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Whether you witnessed the murder of Michael Brown, saw the sketches of his bullet riddled body or listened to the circumstances surrounding his death (his body was left in the streets for 4 hours and then shuttled away in an SUV-an ambulance was never called), we have all been deeply scarred by the unnecessary death of this young man and others like him.

The extraordinary events taken place in the past week have re-opened many wounds and has raised a lot of questions. Are we valued in our own communities? What do we do and where do we go with the pain we are experiencing? How do we begin to heal as a people, as a community, and finally as a nation from such trauma?

The reality is, it is impossible to experience a trauma of this nature and go about our daily lives as if we didn’t just witness and experience the pain of watching the death of another unarmed brother go thus far unpunished. As you begin to deal with your reaction to this tragedy, use the strategies I provided two years ago in EBONY.com when Trayvon Martin was killed.

Seek Help: 
Consider reaching out to a professional counselor or therapist to help you process what you feel. There is no shame in getting help. I find that therapy is the gift that keeps on giving. It helps me to clarify my thoughts and process heartbreaking situations like this. Counseling can be a necessary lifeline. We cannot be or breathe properly if we don’t release the unresolved pain, wounds, scars and trauma of our childhoods. We cannot be all that God has called us to be. The trauma of racism is accompanied by post-traumatic stress disorder for many and a great, hidden sense of pain for most.
 
Redefine “Strength”:  We often confuse being “strong” with being silent. True strength lies in knowing when to ask for help, when to let the tears flow, when you are overwhelmed. The death of Michael Brown is one that has taken a great toll on our collective psyches… no time for silence. Be strong enough to be proactive in healing your heart as you work to seek justice.  

Shake a Hand, Make a Friend:  Make eye contact with someone passing by, smile and say “hello”… you may be the first person who made such a gesture towards them today. Many of us are walking around in need of love, support and communion with our fellow man and tragedies make that even more critical.

Fight the Power:  Channel your rage and anguish over the verdict effectively and get involved with local/national efforts to fight for justice for Michael Brown. Participating in rallies/protests will allow you to connect with others who are feeling the same way as you, but don’t stop there. If you aren’t already, get politically engaged! Hold politicians accountable and help your friends/family do the same.  

Say “I Love You”: 
Tomorrow is never promised and there are grieving family members  who will never have the chance to put arms around their beloved son again. In the midst of our anguish over the loss of a young man most of us never met, we must remember to show love to the people in our lives right now, while we can.


I encourage everyone to read my book, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, to fully understand ourselves as a community.
 


STAY STRONG!


EDC Creations has reprinted this article with the written permission of Terrie M. Williams. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher, The Terrie Williams Agency.

 
Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting 

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pain-Just-Looks-Hurting/dp/0743298837

Terrie Williams knows that Black people are hurting. She knows because she’s one of them.

Terrie had made it: she had launched her own public relations company with such clients as Eddie Murphy and Johnnie Cochran. Yet she was in constant pain, waking up in terror, overeating in search of relief. For thirty years she kept on her game face of success, exhausting herself daily to satisfy her clients’ needs while neglecting her own.

Terrie finally collapsed, staying in bed for days. She had no clue what was wrong or if there was a way out. She had hit rock bottom and she needed and got help.

She learned her problem had a name — depression — and that many suffered from it, limping through their days, hiding their hurt. As she healed, her mission became clear: break the silence of this crippling taboo and help those who suffer.

Black Pain identifies emotional pain — which uniquely and profoundly affects the Black experience — as the root of lashing out through desperate acts of crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, workaholism, and addiction to shopping, gambling, and sex. Few realize these destructive acts are symptoms of our inner sorrow.

Black people are dying. Everywhere we turn, in the faces we see and the headlines we read, we feel in our gut that something is wrong, but we don’t know what it is. It’s time to recognize it and work through our trauma.

In Black Pain, Terrie has inspired the famous and the ordinary to speak out and mental health professionals to offer solutions. The book is a mirror turned on you. Do you see yourself and your loved ones here? Do the descriptions of how the pain looks, feels, and sounds seem far too familiar? Now you can do something about it.

Stop suffering. The help the community needs is here: a clear explanation of our troubles and a guide to finding relief through faith, therapy, diet, and exercise, as well as through building a supportive network (and eliminating toxic people).

Black Pain encourages us to face the truth about the issue that plunges our spirits into darkness, so that we can step into the healing light.


Black Pain  Book Reviews

“Black Pain is just the conversation starter that we need to begin tackling the taboo topic of depression. Out of the discussion comes the healing.”
– Tavis Smiley, Author, Television Personality and Radio Host

“Black Pain is an immensely readable and down-to-earth book. It will motivate black people who suffer with depression in silence to seek help. This book shines a bright light on the darkness of despair”
– Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

“Black Pain shines a spotlight on the issue, getting the message out that we must identify, understand, and seek the help we need to heal.”
– Danny Glover, Actor/Activist

“It boldly confronts the reality of our pain head on, flowing like hot lyrics over the perfect beat.”
– Sean “Diddy” Combs

“Black Pain shows us that it is time that we all talk about our depression and fight with the same vigor that we fight to achieve racial justice.”
– Charles Ogletree

“Black Pain shows us how to recognize that depression that may be hidden away and deal with it. It pushes us to give a voice to the pain without passing it on to others.”
– Patti LaBelle

“Terrie dares to bring out what so many have not had the courage to confront, having learned that you can never heal until you expose what hurts you. Black Pain is an opportunity to reach your breakthrough moment.”
– Rev. Al Sharpton


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terrie M. Williams is a communications strategist,  mental health activist,  the author of “Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting” and co-founder of The New Legacy Leaders Project.  You can follow her on Facebook and  Twitter:  @terriewilliams

 
   
Terrie M. Williams Quick Links
http://www.terriewilliams.com
http://www.newlegacyleaders.com
http://www.storiesthatheal.samhsa.gov
 
To book Terrie for speaking engagements and media opportunities, please email your comments/requests to tmwms@terriewilliams.com and  rstewart@terriewilliams.com
 

Like Terrie M. Williams on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter           
The Terrie Williams Agency
https://twitter.com/#!/TerrieWilliams
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000353984765

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Love and Order of the Seers Series by Cerece Rennie Murphy

Love and Order of the Seers
by Cerece Rennie Murphy


One of my favorite things about the story of Order of the Seers is the many different types of love
I get to explore. Romantic love plays a strong role throughout the books, but there is also love of family, love of self, love of community and finally love for the world at large. Let me explain…

Love of Family
The first characters you get to meet in Order of the Seers (Book I) are Liam and Lillith (Lilli) Knight, a brother and sister whose love for each other is about to be pushed to a whole new level. At 16 and 13 years old, respectively, these young people haven’t had a lot of experience with sacrifice. While they both lost their father at a young age, they have lived a normal life in a modest, but comfortable home that their mother provided for them. I’ve always believed that sacrifice is the true measure of love. It’s easy to love someone when there is no inconvenience, no challenge and minimal effort on your part.

But when love costs you something, that’s when you know its importance in your life. At the tender age of 16, Liam sacrifices a lot for the safety and well being of his sister. The changes to his life are jarring and painful, with consequences he can’t even perceive at the start, but each time he is tested, he makes the choice to protect his sister, to love her, no matter what. And slowly, as Lilli grows and learns what love is through her brother’s selfless example, she returns his love with a commitment and sacrifice of her own.

Liam and Lilli’s story is just one way that familial love is explored in the books. Marcus Akida’s relationship with Alessandra Pino is another. At the point where you meet Alessandra, she feels as low as a person can feel. She is a slave – exploited for an extraordinary ability that she does not understand and can’t control. Every person, every interaction she can remember in her young life is about someone taking something from her. The people around her feed her, cloth her, keep her healthy only to keep her alive to exploit and she hates herself for it. When she first meets Marcus, she has no idea what to do with his kindness. In fact, she is immediately suspicious. His gentle demeanor is so unfamiliar that she runs from it, until he proves (and she realizes) that he is unlike anyone she’s ever met.

Not only does he not want anything from her, he wants to offer her something she has no concept of – a vision of herself outside of the exploitation of her daily life, a vision of her own potential, her own value, her own worth. For Alessandra, as with all of us who experience unconditional love for the first time, it is nothing short of revolutionary. Marcus becomes her mentor and friend first, then ultimately her father. And through his love, she becomes unstoppable.

Romantic Love
The first time, Alessandra catches a glimpse of Liam in her future, her entire world shifts. She sees a man who holds her gently, smiles in delight at her presence and promises love with every syllable he utters. The notion that someone could, would and WILL love her that way is intoxicating. That simple vision gives her the courage she needs to risk everything to find him.

But love, as any mature person knows, is not enough. One of the things I truly enjoy about the love story between Liam and Alessandra is the necessity of finding themselves before they finally find each other. There is a lot of awkwardness and starts and stops, which is fun (and sexy!), but there is also a lot of soul searching. I wanted my characters to walk in to their love knowing their own value and taking the risk, not out of desperation or fear, but out of a real sense of who they are and what they want. By the time our couple comes together, they are two people who understand themselves and can honestly say they want the same things from each other, which makes for a powerful bond to carry them through all the craziness and danger that follows.

Although Liam and Alessandra are the “romantic leads” in Order of the Seers, they are not the only ones. Other characters represent different phases and levels of “romantic love that take you on a journey from the heights of physical love to the depths of a truly inseparable spiritual connection.

Self-love
The journey of the Seers is absolutely one of self-discovery and love. As Seers within the Guild, they are striped of their memories, their identity, even their basic instinct to fight back. The entire context for their being is torn away. In place of these essential elements, they are given a purpose and identity that is solely about serving the needs of others. When the first of this group escapes the Guild, they literally do not know who they are, what they like or dislike or even the extent of their power to see the future. All of this they learn after they leave the Guild and are able to discover and define life on their own.

For Marcus Akida, his unique resistance to the Guild’s mind-controlling drugs allowed the natural process of his own self-discovery and awareness to remain uninterrupted and, as a result, he becomes the most powerful Seer the Guild has ever seen. Marcus never doubts his value, no matter how he is treated or what they use him for. And he doesn’t stop there. Through his optimism and understanding of his own value, he teaches Alessandra and every person he comes in contact with how to do the same. This profound sense of his own identify – outside of the one assigned to him – allows Marcus to use his gift in a way that no one ever imagined and that spark of authenticity changes the world, bringing down an entire regime. Marcus is who I want to be when I grow up.

 
 
 

One Word at a Time…
by Cerece Rennie Murphy

One of the most frequent questions I get when someone finds out that I am an author is “How do you find the time to write with 2 young children and a family?”

To this, I usually try to come up with something that’s encouraging like, “Well, I try to carve out a little time everyday” or “I write whenever I can,” but the truth is that, most days, I am hard pressed to answer that question for myself. For me, it is a daily struggle to find the time and space to get into a consistent writing rhythm with my books. And if it was “challenging” with our first child, it pretty much all went to hell with our second. There were times when I doubted that my second book, The Red Order, would EVER get finished.

Sometimes, like this very week, I will come off a snowball of unexpected school closings, illnesses and last-minute emergencies to get a whole day off during the weekend to write {insert the sound of angels singing here} only to have those plans shot down by ME catching the illness of my “was ailing, but now fully recovered” child and lying in bed the entire day sick as a dog and unable to write. (As I write this, I am recovering from a wicked stomach virus that had me laid out after throwing up for 5 hours straight).

The point is, it’s hard. You have to fight for it. Hunger for it and dream about that next chapter, that next scene. I keep a notebook by my bed so I can always get something done or sketch out a scene, even if it’s only in broken phrases. And you know what, little by little, those sentences and phrases, snippets of dialogue slowly become a book. 

I looked at my little notebook last night and was shocked to find that despite all the distractions, unexpected interruptions and mayhem that seem to make up the fabric of my life, I have outlined all 23 chapters of my next book. There may be a chapter or two added once the real writing starts, but I am done with this phase of my novel. I stared at my notebook in disbelief for a long time because I’ve literally been trying for months to get to this point. And the only reason it happened is because I didn’t give up. I wrote it down, one word at a time.

And that’s how I get it done.
View the Source on the CMG Blog


About the Author

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

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

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

Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.

Books by Cerece Rennie Murphy  http://www.amazon.com/Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/e/B008G6XXBS

 

 
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Nakia R. Laushaul



Nakia R. Laushaul resides in Houston, Texas with her lovable teenage son. She is an inspirational poet, motivational speaker, novelist and entrepreneur. She recently stepped away from Corporate America to pursue a more creative life. She is the CEO and chief designer of A Reader’s Perspective, which offers a host of literary services ranging from publishing consultations to typesetting.

Nakia is the author of, “The Truth As I See It: In Poetry & Prose,” “Running from Solace,” a 2011 USA Book News Best Books Award Winner and 2012 Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Nakia is featured in the Writer’s Digest inaugural publication dedicated to self-published authors: “2014 Guide to Self-Publishing.” Nakia is proud to present her 2014 title to readers, Locked in Purgatory.

Nakia is committed to challenging everyone within her reach to find compassion and empathy in the differences that exist among us all. Nakia truly believes that by doing what you love, you become happy! She hopes that you will go find your happiness.

For more information or to book Nakia R. Laushaul for your book club meeting or other special event, visit her website: http://www.NakiaRLaushaul.com. Check out her blog, Random Rants of Truth of a Social Butterfly: http://nakialaushaul.blogspot.com. For more information regarding publishing services please visit: www.areadersperspective.com.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I started writing this book two days after I finished writing my first novel, Running from Solace in 2010 because there was so much more that needed to be said on the topic of generational curses. I finished it in 2012 and I’ve had an interesting journey to publication up until this very day. Why now? We have got to save our families.

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Definitely. If I touch a tree limb, I am inspired. I see a character, a setting, and snippets of dialogue in everything. I have had an amazingly tumultuous and blessed life. And many of my experiences have been just so I could write from the inside out.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
A character will begin speaking to me around the same time I see a title and a new book idea is born. I think I go right down the middle between character and plot driven stories. The characters drive the plots/the plots move the characters. Both are important and need to be well-developed.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
I write Inspirational Fiction. All of my books are available in paper and digital formats.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
I have three main characters: Luther Bennett, the family Patriarch who has fallen from grace. He’s the kind of man you’ll love to hate. Maybe. Next, there’s Lynne Bennett, Luther’s misguided adult daughter. She’s the woman we all know and love who just can’t seem to get it together in the romance department. Finally, Samuel Bennett, Luther’s eldest son, a man after Luther’s own heart, but at what cost?

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Locked in Purgatory tackles the very sensitive subject of fatherlessness and abandonment from a very real perspective. It’s not just another story about a deadbeat dad, it’s so much more than that. I am still in awe that I wrote it. I feel as though I experienced an amazing level of growth as a writer and a human being and I am humbled for being chosen to deliver this message.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
If my books are being read by people I don’t know and will most likely never meet, I’ve accomplished my goal—I’m being read. I am a success.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
I want my readers to feel the emotions, to understand and have empathy for the characters who are all far too real. And after the last word has been read, and the one final sigh escapes your lips, if you are a woman reading Locked in Purgatory, I want you to pass it on to a man. If you know a father heading down purgatory road, like Luther—give him this book.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Website: http://www.NakiaRLaushaul.com
Blog: http://www.nakialaushaul.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nakiarl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nakia.laushaul
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/agirlnamedkikiwrites


Purchase Locked in Purgatory by Nakia R. Laushaul
Link:  http://amzn.com/B00KG3J9NA 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Kristin L. Mitchell


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

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 

My relationship with an ex-boyfriend was my inspiration for writing, He Wasn’t My Daddy. The demise of this relationship catapulted into a platform that is relevant to millions of women across the globe. This platform is that of being a “fatherless daughter.” This relationship allowed me to realize that I was a “fatherless daughter” and that I had, “daddy issues.” Thusly, I began to realize the importance of having that father figure in your life, and the detriment that can be caused when that presence is absent, as in my case.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?

Absolutely! In this book, I am speaking from a very personal place. I am telling, “Kristin’s story, based on Kristin’s perspective.” My story is all about my upbringing, being raised by a single mother, and being a, “fatherless daughter.” I speak to how not having the presence of a father figure in my life affected me, how it caused me to cling onto situations and people and look for that unique love in all the wrong places.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Will the book become available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

You know, this is a story about love, loss, abandonment, and restoration! It truly takes you through the journey of a “fatherless daughter.” It is written in a way that bonds “fatherless daughters” across the world. It connects us by teaching and allowing the reader to see that so many of us share the same and/or similar stories, as it relates to this platform. It provides real-life examples of how to reach a happier ending; and most importantly, it’s expression of vulnerability and emotional exposure makes it easy for readers to relieve some of the shame and/or guilt for the decisions that they might have made, as a result of not having that father figure. He Wasn’t My Daddy is honest, holds nothing back, and allows for others to witness that it is okay to expose all, in an effort to heal open wounds. Yes, it will be available on Nook and Kindle.

BPM: Give us an insight into the relationships discussed in the book. What makes each one so special? 

The two biggest relationships that I discuss in the book are the relationship with my ex, L.B. and the relationship between my father and I. Where do I begin? My relationship with L.B. was my first real, “adult” relationship. I would have moved Heaven and Earth for that man. There was something about the genuine care and concern that I believed he felt for me that drew me into him. I mean, I don’t recall ever feeling as if a man felt that type of genuine care and concern about me before. He wanted the best for me, he cared about my well being, he was interested in my finishing undergrad; he just wanted the overall best for me. No wonder I latched on! I quickly and unknowingly, placed him on a pedestal: one so tall that I left no room for him to fall – no room for error. I believe this is where I subconsciously placed him in the role of a father figure. He became my “everything!”

After L.B. and I broke up, and I began to experience an, “emotional rollercoaster.” During the aftermath, I began to realize what I had subconsciously done; but it took me four long years! I realized that I did have, “daddy issues” and all this time, I was looking fort L.B. to fulfill that role. I mean I had never had my father around growing up. He was imprisoned when I was so young. All those years that I missed out on having my father around, affected me in a very subconscious way. All this time I thought that I was just looking for and yearning for L.B.’s love; when all the while, I was yearning for the love of my father; the type of love that L.B. would never have been able to give me, no matter how hard he tried. Needless to say, the book definitely speaks to my father and my estranged relationship and the journey that we are on to build what should have always been there.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

Wow! This book delves deep. He Wasn’t My Daddy speaks to various topics, platforms. The primary one being that of, “fatherless daughters.” Additionally, I discuss mental illness, suicidal ideations, sexual promiscuity, love & relationships, and self-esteem. Writing this book was definitely therapeutic for me. It allowed me to uncover a LOT of deep-rooted baggage that I was blindly carrying around. Being able to share my story and connect with other women in the same and/or similar circumstances is a pure blessing!

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers? 
I want readers to take away that if I can make it, Lord knows they can too! I mean, the struggle is definitely real, and there will be days that seem unbearable. However, I want to be the voice that says, “You can make it. Don’t give up and stay the course.” Look at the bright side, having the opportunity to reconnect to your father, or any parent is a blessing. It allows you to learn more about yourself, repair other broken relationships, set realistic expectations and ways of being for romantic relationships, and it opens up so many doors for emotional healing.

Lastly, I want readers to realize just how much not having a relationship with a parent can affect romantic relationships. We wonder why we as women put up with so much from the men in our lives; here is a good reason why!

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released? 

To me, success can’t really be defined or measured. Success is your personal satisfaction with self, both professionally and personally. That is very different for everyone and depending on where you are in your life, it can change for the individual as well. Don’t try to be successful; if you’re anything like me, you will run yourself into the ground trying to keep up with yourself. Rather, work toward accomplishing whatever realistic goals you set out for yourself. That’s it, that’s all!

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have?

I believe that the most important quality a writer should have is transparency. I do not believe that you can truly affect change, inspire, and uplift people if you do not bring a strong sense of transparency. People want someone that they can relate to, someone who is not afraid to be vulnerable and share their story; with the hopes that someone else can benefit from it.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? 
My expectations for this book are two things. The first being to continue to spark a nation-wide and worldwide dialogue about, “fatherless daughters.” It is important for women to understand that there are millions of other women out there who understand and have fought this struggle and that they are not alone. It is equally as important for them to realize that often time their personal and romantic relationships have a great potential to be negatively affected as a result of being a, “fatherless daughter.” 

Often time we do not realize the detriment that is caused, the cycles that we perpetuate and how the decisions we make are predicated on those primary relationships we build with our parents; and as daughters with our fathers. Perhaps, continuing this dialogue will open the eyes of many to this issue.

My second expectation of this book is to travel the world, being a voice for and connecting to women like me! What a more fulfilling experience? Let’s talk, allow me to share how made it through my darkest times, my mental illness, my suicidal attempts. Allow me to share the steps that my father and I have taken to mend our relationship, and how that has tremendously benefited my life and helped to uncover so many other broken relationships; and most importantly, allow me to share how the grace of God has kept me.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? 

My primary goals as a writer are to inspire, to uplift, to share, to connect, and to restore broken women.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
The best ways to discover more about my work and me is to follow me on social media and invite me to speak at panel discussions and various events.

Connect with Kristin L. Mitchell

Website: www.hewasntmydaddy.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KrisLMitchell
Instagram:  http://instagram.com/theekristinmitchell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristin.mitchell.52 


 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Lauren Francis-Sharma

Lauren Francis-Sharma, a child of Trinidadian immigrants, was born in New York City and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in African-American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and two children. ‘Til the Well Runs Dry is her first novel.
 
BPM:  What inspired you to write this book, ‘TIL THE WELL RUNS DRY? 
A: I was not inspired as much as I was looking to understand my maternal grandmother, a woman whom I did not feel like I really knew. When she had her first stroke, I sat next to her hospital bed and realized I knew so little. She was not one to share her feelings and I had never bothered to push her on the details of her life story. I wrote this book, which is loosely based on the little I knew about her, as a way to fill that void.

BPM:  The case could be made that Blanchisseuse, a sea-side village in Trinidad, is a character in the book. What drew you to this particular town, and what effect does it have on the lives of your characters? 
A: I firmly believe that the places where we live as children are natural characters in our story, so it seemed befitting to attempt to make Blanchisseuse come alive on the page, as this is how Marcia feels about her birthplace. My grandmother’s family purchased land in Blanchisseuse in the early twentieth century, and my grandmother was born and raised there. Many of my mother’s childhood memories, her stories, are set there. To me, Blanchisseuse is a magical place, and it has been a part of me for as long as I remember.

BPM:  The chapters in ‘Til the Well Runs Dry are told from the perspective of three central characters. Why did you choose these specific characters to hold up the arc of the story? 
A: When I began writing this story, Jacqueline was the protagonist. On the first page she wakes to the sound of her mother tapping a spoon on the lip of a pot. The story should have been a coming-of-age story where Jacqueline grows to understand herself and her quite difficult mother. But as I continued to write, this mother, Marcia, began to steal scenes. And before long, Farouk also became a necessity, as someone needed to tell his story. Now I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

BPM:  Marcia, one of your main protagonists, is an incredibly strong woman – both mentally and physically. Where do you think her strength comes from, and is she an amalgamation of you and your grandmother? 
A: The circumstances, the world, into which Marcia is born makes living a challenge, but she wants to survive. And even though she can be a hard woman, many of her decisions show immense vulnerability. To me, therein lies her real strength: To choose to love. To choose to be a mother. To admit fear. To fight fear. These qualities make her strong. My grandmother faced many of the same challenges, and Marcia is who I hope my grandmother was deep down inside. Marcia is also who I hope I am or will be, though I would like to be more openly expressive about my love for others.

BPM:  The topic of parenthood – and most especially motherhood – is central to your novel. This theme deeply affects two of your three protagonists, namely Marcia and her husband, Farouk. After they have their first child, Farouk learns of a family secret on Marcia’s side, which threatens their relationship. In fact, he moves out of their shared home. Yet year after year, they keep having children. After their fourth child arrives, Farouk becomes very detached from his family. What is it about parenthood that brought them together and then drove them apart?
A: For Farouk parenthood is an extension of his love for Marcia. After the breakdown of the marriage, he is angry, and feels betrayed, and though he still loves Marcia, the children become central figures in his burning resentment—the only way he can continue to hurt Marcia for the never-ending pain he experiences. For Marcia, because of the twins, perhaps even because she is a woman, she understands that parenthood is a separate entity from marriage, though she’d like for them to co-exist. Of course, having the children means having a small part of Farouk, and though she sometimes resents the burden parenthood has placed on her life, Marcia’s commitment to them is unwavering. Farouk eventually comes to understand this kind of commitment, this kind of love.

BPM:  You manage to capture the sights, sounds, food, and – let’s not forget – the voodoo of Trinidad. How much research did you have to do in order to make this country come alive? Can you talk a bit more about the obeah women and their role not only in your book but in Trinidadian culture? 
A: I was born in America to Trinidadian parents. There are some things that come to you by osmosis when you are part of the first generation growing up away from the family homeland. But to be honest, there were more things that were fuzzy. I did my best—through asking questions, reading books, and traveling to Trinidad—to make it as alive and as authentic as possible. I know I did not get it all right, but my goal was to serve my family and the country well. As such, I do not particularly like the word “voodoo.” “Magic,” “the mystical,” “witchcraft” are used for the same purposes, yet do not carry the same connotation.

So, yes, perhaps “obeah” is simply a different label, but in my mind, obeah, the use of which was far more prevalent fifty years ago, is not always hateful and vengeful. People have used obeah to guide them in making important life decisions and to protect them from negative outcomes. In this story, Farouk simply wants to capture Marcia’s heart. It is the obeah woman, the bearer of the institution, abusing her privilege for her own gain, who throws a wrench in his plan.

BPM:  Marcia makes the ultimate sacrifice for her children when she leaves them behind in Trinidad and immigrates to the United States with the intention, of course, to earn enough money to bring them all to the States at some point. While Marcia struggles to get her footing, do you think that her home country of Trinidad and its melting-pot population gave her an advantage when she arrived in the melting pot of New York City?
A: No. I do not think anything can prepare a person for that kind of life transition. Immigration is dislocation. One’s life is completely turned on its head. Think back sixty years or more and imagine you have no television, you’ve seen maybe one movie, you know very little about the place where you will live. Then imagine that when you get there nothing goes as planned. The person who leaves her home seeking a better opportunity, who is willing to do what it takes and sticks it out despite all that inevitably will go wrong, is inherently better equipped than many of the rest of us. But she needs a chance. The only advantage Marcia has when she arrives in New York is that there are other West Indians who are willing to help her. Community is the key to many immigrant success stories.


BPM:  Is ‘Til the Well Runs Dry the first book you’ve written? 

A: I wish! No, I had two novels prior to this that I failed to get published.


Purchase ‘Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel

by Lauren Francis-Sharma
Link: http://amzn.com/0805098038  

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Lindsay Evans


Born in Jamaica, Lindsay Evans currently lives in Atlanta, GA. She loves good food and romance and would happily travel to the ends of the earth for both. She currently writes sensual love stories for Harlequin Kimani. Find out more at:  http://www.LindsayEvansWrites.com

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
LE: I’ve always loved romance. When I wrote my first Harlequin Kimani novel, Pleasure under the Sun, I fell in love with one of the secondary characters and couldn’t resist writing about him in Sultry Pleasure.

BPM:  Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
LE: Yes, my mother was an avid reader while I was growing up. She read to me when I was a child and shared with me her love of stories. Without her and her influence, I doubt I’d be a writer now.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
LE: My ideas come from many places. From my travels, conversations I’ve overheard, even songs. Usually it’s a character that attracts my attention and propels the book. After that, the plot finds itself.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
LE: My current book is Sultry Pleasure. It’s a contemporary romance novel that features a jaded playboy who has everything and a young woman who lost one of the most important people in her life at a young age. He’s hot and she’s cool. They come together and make fireworks. Sultry Pleasure is available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, and all other e-readers.

BPM:   Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 

LE: Diana Hobbes is the heroine in this novel. She has sacrificed most of the happiness in her life to take care of her younger siblings and her dependent mother. When Marcus Stanfield appears, she’d given up on having any happiness of her own, but he tempts her with his wicked sense of humor and the sensual promise in his eyes. But he’s hiding a secret that threatens to break apart the tentative connection Diana feels with him.

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
LE: Earned trust is a big theme in this novel. That and the idea of finding balance when it comes to taking care of the people you love and taking care of yourself. During the writing of this novel, I learned not to over-think the writing process. To simply enjoy the words and the characters as they come.

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
LE: To me, success as a writer is being able to live from the financial fruit of my work. That’s my ambition.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
LE: I want the readers to love the novel. I want them to fall in love with the characters and send me email and letters about their reading experience. I don’t ask for too much J.

BPM:   Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? 
LE: Yes. While Sultry Pleasure is a follow up to Pleasure under the Sun and it would make me very happy if after reading this post, people went out and bought both books, Sultry Pleasure can be read as a stand-alone piece.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?
LE: They can find me online at:  http://www.LindsayEvansWrites.com  and on Facebook
Twitter: @LindsayEvansXOX
Website: http://www.LindsayEvansWrites.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/LindsayEvansXOX

Sultry Pleasure by Lindsay Evans
A hot Miami night. A glittering gala. And a gorgeous billionaire wants to spirit her away. This might be a fantasy for most women, but not Diana Hobbes. She’s at a charity event representing the nonprofit adoption agency she has poured her heart and soul into. And despite the hot body, easy charm and luxury ride of playboy Marcus Stanfield, Diana has nothing in common with him.

Marcus is unaccustomed to having women refuse him. So he is surprised by Diana’s brush-off – and intrigued. Angelically kind and devilishly sexy, Diana is worth more than a little effort…so an epic seduction campaign begins. Lavish evenings, small touches, and grand gestures all say “I want you.” The desire is mutual, the tension maddening. But which will Diana ultimately choose: holding back… or giving in?

Purchase Sultry Pleasure by Lindsay Evans

Genre: Romance.  Amazon link:  http://amzn.to/1dzwicR

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Victoria Christopher Murray

Victoria Christopher Murray is the Essence bestselling author of more than twenty novels including: The Ex Files, Lady Jasmine, and The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil. Winner of the African American Literary Award for Fiction and Author of the Year (Female), Murray is also a two-time NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Fiction. She splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.

Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won six African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year – Female. Her 2013 NAACP Image Award nomination for Destiny’s Divas was her second Image Award nomination.

In 2008, Victoria’s first novels in her Christian fiction teen series – The Divine Divas – were published and were optioned to become a television series. She is currently in negotiations for her novel, The Ex Files, to become a movie. With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country’s top African American contemporary authors.

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing Forever an Ex? Why now?
That’s an interesting question because you would probably be surprised to know that I don’t particularly enjoy writing sequels. I love the freshness of new characters and so sequels just aren’t my thing. Now, I’m saying this after having five sequels with my character, Jasmine, and now this, Forever an Ex which is the sequel to the Ex Files.

The idea to write this book first came to me when the Ex Files was optioned to become a movie. The producer asked for more content because he liked the characters so much and hoped to be able to turn their stories into a television series. So, I had to go back and talk to these ladies again. And actually, I was glad to hear what “they” had to say.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
I’m sure it does. I would like to believe that everything I write comes from my imagination, but people tend to write what they know. So a good many of my characters live the kind of life I’ve lived. Most of my stories take place in Los Angeles or New York, the two cities where I’ve spent most of my life. And most of the women are professional women who have college and maybe even graduate degrees.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?
My books are definitely character driven and that is by choice. I used to take lots of writing classes at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival program and that is such a good school, a bit “high-brow,” if you will. It was there that I learned that most literary fiction was character driven and most commercial fiction was plot driven. So, I decided then that I wanted to be more of a character driven author. Now, don’t get me wrong — I know that I’m not writing the next GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL. Nor do my books rival any of the great contemporary literary novelists. But, I do put as much of a focus on the characters as I possibly can.

I don’t have any challenges coming up with ideas. Not at all. I think every idea for every book that I have written and will write in my lifetime was already inside of me when I was born. That’s the gift that I’ve been given. God gave me the gift to write, and that included the ideas to put down on paper.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work, Forever an Ex. We are always seeking to place the right book, with the right reader, what genre do you consider your book? 
Ugh! I almost hate that word — genre. I think a truly creative person can’t (and shouldn’t) be boxed into any category. If you go with your creative flow, one novel may be more suspense, the other may be more romance. But if I had to put myself into a box, I would be inside Christian fiction.

It’s important to note, though that I don’t write to genre rules. So many who read my novels are surprised that my characters are really flawed and they’re just trying to work it out. I haven’t written a perfect character yet because I believe there was only one perfect person to walk this earth — and they already wrote HIS story…

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
Well, Sheridan is the character where this story all began. After seventeen years of what she thought was a loving marriage, her husband told her that he’d fallen in love with a man. Of course, devastation doesn’t begin to describe how she feels, but she’s pulled her life back together and now seven years later, she’s set. But her ex is back — with a fiancee. Sheridan is shocked to find out that her ex husband is about to marry a woman…isn’t he gay? But what complicates this is that her ex’s fiancee has some questions for Sheridan….

Kendall has been living a life filled with bitterness since she found her husband in bed with her sister. She excommunicated them from her life, but now that her father has been diagnosed with cancer, Kendall finds herself back in touch with her sister and her ex — who are now married and expecting a baby. But then a man enters Kendall’s life and she finds herself and her inability to forgive being tested in ways she never thought….

Asia really needs to grow up, but though eight years have passed since her ex left her to go back to his wife, Asia finds herself longing to have him back in her life. She puts together a plan to get him back — this time permanently. But the plan may come at a high cost, and Asia finds herself having to choose between her man and her daughter.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed in Forever an Ex? 
The characters discuss lots of things, but the primary lesson I think is forgiveness. Not that we have to forgive, but what may happen if we don’t…

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Oooooh, this is a hard question. Success as an author, like success in life can be defined in so many different ways. And in today’s times, success is just having a contract with a major publisher. My career has been touch and go for a few years now, and so I’m still hanging on. Of course, I want to see progress in my career…I want to see my career continue to grow, continue to build. And who knows…one day, I just might be a New York Times best selling author…

BPM: What are your expectations for this book, Forever an Ex? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
I don’t like to write books with messages. I like to write books that entertain and then if anyone gets a message, I’m happy. But this book right here? This book is all about forgiveness. I think it’s a slap you right in your face book about forgiveness that may have you sitting down and thinking about who in your life do you need to forgive…

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and your work?
On my website, I have the first few chapters of every single book I’ve ever written — this is my 22nd and I am so proud that after all these years — I’m still here! So if anyone wants to do a test-read first, http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com is the place to go.

Also, I’ve very active on Facebook and Twitter. I love interacting with readers. Both my readers and I believe these characters are real so we have some great discussions. LOL! Thank you so, so much.

BPM: What’s next for Victoria Christopher Murray?
Sheridan has to deal with an ex husband who once was gay, but now he’s not — at least, that’s what he says. Kendall has to find a way to accept that her ex husband and her sister (who are now married) are having a child, and Asia has decided that it is time to steal her ex-lover from his wife — this time for good! FOREVER AN EX coming June 17th. Visit my website at: http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com/novels.html to read the first few chapters.


Forever an Ex by Victoria Christopher Murray

Three Los Angeles women who’ve helped each other overcome heartbreak are reunited eight years later when their troublesome exes come back into the picture in this follow up to Victoria Christopher Murray’s bestselling novel The Ex Files.

Sheridan, Kendall, and Asia first bonded when they met seven years ago at a church prayer support group and now, their friendship has blossomed into a strong sisterhood. They’ve helped each other through the tragedies of their breakups and together, they’ve celebrated their triumphs. But now, their exes are back, wreaking havoc on lives they’ve work so hard to rebuild.

Sheridan has found love again after her ex-husband left her for a man. But old wounds are reopened when her ex-husband appears with his fiancée–a woman! And all of Sheridan’s insecurities and doubts come rushing back. Kendall’s former husband is now married to Kendall’s sister, Sabrina. And though Kendall has refused to interact with either one in the last seven years, she’s forced to reunite with Sabrina when their father is diagnosed with cancer. Asia has done her best to move away from her married boyfriend, a former star with the LA Lakers. But when they share a kiss, old desires are rekindled and Asia decides that it’s time for her and Bobby Johnson to get back together again.

With her trademark writing that “has the kind of momentum that prompts you to elbow disbelief aside and flip the pages in horrified enjoyment”(The Washington Post), Forever an Ex is Murray’s best novel yet.


Purchase Forever an Ex: A Novel
by Victoria Christopher Murray
Link: http://amzn.com/1476748853

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Cerece Rennie Murphy

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

She earned her master’s degrees in social work and international relations at Boston College and Johns Hopkins School for Advance International Studies, respectively, and built a rewarding 15-year career in program development, management and fundraising in the community and international development arenas all while appreciating the stories of human connection told in science fiction through works like Octavia Butler s Wild Seed, Frank Herbert s Dune and The X-Files.
In 2011, Cerece experienced her own supernatural event – a vision of her first science fiction story. Shortly after, she began developing and writing what would become the Order of the Seers trilogy. Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.


BPM: What moved you enough to sit down and actually start writing this book?

When I got the idea for Order of the Seers, it felt like a blessing to me, this incredible gift and I just didn’t want to waste it. The story came to me in such a complete way, with character names and backstories, plot lines – even the title of the story came to me. I felt convicted to try and bring it to life. To me, each story is a gift and the journey to telling that story is a privilege. It was never a question of *if* I would write it. It also helped that, in the beginning, I had no inkling of trying to publish Order of the Seers as a novel. I think if I’d had that notion from the start, I would have been too intimidated. Instead of worrying about if my story was “publishable”, I was able to focus on writing.


BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?

Absolutely, though I have to say that I don’t do it intentionally. All my questions about God, what our true purpose is on this earth and what we are truly capable of and meant for as a species are in Order of the Seers. My own struggles to find and protect my identity are reflected in characters like Alessandra, who has so much self-doubt when you first meet her, and Liam whose guilt weighs him down to the point where he becomes a different person. Self-discovery and determination are big themes in Order of the Seers because they are themes that I relate to on a very personal level.

Family is also very important to me and, in retrospect, I can see how I got to explore the idea of family in a variety of ways throughout the book. I’m not someone who grew up with a lot of family around me, but I learned that family doesn’t have to mean people who are related to you by blood. Someone who knows you and loves you for exactly who you are can be family, too. Family can be the people you claim and those who claim you. The story’s main villain, Crane Le Dieu, is basically an amalgamation of all my worst fears. Almost every aspect of his personality terrifies me. I think I would faint if I met him in the street.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  
So far, my book ideas come from questions that are on my mind that I would like to explore, but I also have at least two books planned that came to me in a dream, so who knows. I’ll take inspiration anywhere I can get it! I read one reviewer who described my books as “very character-driven” which I took as a compliment because it said to me that she liked the book because she cared about the characters and that’s ultimately what defines a good story for me. All kinds of cool stuff can be happening in a book, but if I don’t care about the characters then I can check out of almost any story pretty quick.

But to be completely honest, I don’t think about any of that when I’m writing. In fact, I try not to come with any personal agenda. I believe the story exists already. As a writer, I think my job is to see that story clearly and try to describe it to the readers as best I can. I’m following the story that is taking place in my head and trying to write it down as true to that vision as possible.
My only exception to this rule is when I chose not to expound on a particular aspect of a story because I am trying to keep the pace of the book pretty tight. At the end of each chapter, I want there to be a reason why you need to turn the page and I try very hard to keep the story from meandering into territory that might compromise the pace. Other than that, the characters and the story are in charge and the more I can keep my own agenda out of it, the better the story turns out.


BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

Right now I am working on promoting the final book in the Order of the Seers Trilogy, which is about a group of people who can see the future and are enslaved for that ability. The entire trilogy takes you on a journey as they escape the group that hunts them, rebuild their lives and start fighting back. Through books 1 and 2, you watch these characters evolve from a group of people who are just trying to survive to a community that answers a much larger calling to restore a legacy that was broken for every man, woman and child on earth.

Order of the Seers falls solidly into the science fiction genre, but if you enjoy a lot of action, mystery and suspense in your stories, you could still enjoy this book even if you aren’t into science fiction.  All of the  books are available in Kindle and Nook. Book I is also available in audiobook.


BPM: Introduce us to your book! Take us inside the world of your main characters. What makes each one so special? 

Sure. The book starts out with Liam and Lilith (Lilli) Knight, a brother and sister who are about to have their world turned upside down when they discover that their parents died to hide a secret so powerful the people hunting them will stop at nothing to get it. Before this happens, Liam and Lilli are your typical American teenagers, living life day-by-day without a care in the world. What makes these characters so special to me is how they come together to create this safe haven for each other. The adversity they endure could have easily torn them apart, but instead they form this incredible bond of familial love that helps them weather all the storms in their lives.

Marcus Akida is another main character that I love. Before he was captured, he had a wife, a son and was a leader in his community. In some ways, he is the character who’s lost the most in the book, but he is anything but bitter. His spirit is gentle, optimist and kind, despite everything that has been taken from him. He never losses himself to the brutality around him and as a result becomes the most powerful Seer. His character was very much inspired by Colin Powell and Nelson Mandela, people I deeply admire for their compassion and integrity.


BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

You know, even though Order of the Seers is science fiction, at its core this is a story about the importance of self-discovery and finding your true purpose. The story is set in the real world for a reason. Now more than ever, we need to encourage people to unleash their greatest potential so that it can be used to heal this world. The Seers in this story are doing the same thing, and while the powers may seem a bit extreme, the potential for each and every one of us to change the world is VERY real.

The journey of writing this story has taught me so much, but I think there are two main things that I discovered about myself. The first is that I can write a full-length story (and then some). Before this book, I never knew that about myself. In fact, I used to tell myself that I couldn’t write anything longer than about 5 pages. So, to be working on my 3rd book with another 5 books in varying stages of development is just incredible to me. People ask me if this is a dream come true and I tell them, “No,” because I never dreamed of doing anything like this. This experience is literally, beyond my wildest dreams.

The second thing that I’ve learned about myself is just how afraid I am of putting myself in front. The fear factor for putting my self, my work and even my picture “out there” for the world to judge and criticize is huge for me. It’s gotten better since I started, but only be degrees. (The fear used to be enormous, now it’s only huge.) Two years ago, when I published my 1st book, I hid under the covers the entire day, sick with worry. By the time I released my second book less than a year later, I actually had the presence of mind to go have lunch with a friend to celebrate. I may have felt a little queasy, but I kept everything down. That’s progress!


BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I have many levels of success that I hope to achieve with my writing. The first and foremost is to write each story I am given to the best of my abilities and to be obedient to God’s will for them. I know that if I can do that, then someone will read my books and enjoy them, be inspired by them and maybe even change a little bit for the better. If I can achieve that, then I would have accomplished a great deal.

For the next level of success, I would like my writing career to be financially self-sustaining. It’s a very competitive market out there, but I would like my publishing business to be profitable. Ultimately, I would like to make enough money from my writing to retire my husband. I have the best partner in the world and I would love to see us both have the financial freedom to pursue our passions.


BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 

You know, I don’t have expectations for the book because you never know how a story will (or won’t) impact a reader. It’s such a subjective experience. On the most basic level, I’d like them to have been entertained by the story and satisfied by the conclusion. On a deeper level, I hope that after finishing Order of the Seers, readers will be more curious about the limits of their own potential and examine their own spiritual relationship more closely as it relates to their unique purpose and calling.

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I definitely want to say THANK YOU for the opportunity to do this interview! It’s given me a great chance to reflect on my journey as a writer and I so appreciate that. If anyone would like to learn more about my upcoming projects, you can visit my website at www.cerecerenniemurphy.com.  You can also visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/205753729546299.


The Last Seer (Book 3 in the Order of the Seers Trilogy)
 
http://www.amazon.com/Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/e/B008G6XXBS

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Dr. Sherine Vie, Ph.D.

Born in South Africa, with roots in India, Dr. Sherine Vie, a former Swiss-based medical device scientist changed her career to natural health after losing her father to heart disease and helping her mother recover from breast cancer. Facing heart-breaking challenges while living solo in six countries, in 2004 Dr. Vie Research pioneered Dr. Vie SuperFoods™ in the North Americas, and since 2007 Dr. Vie SuperKids mentors children and recently, Dr. Vie Academy with Dr. Vie Radio helps all ages globally. Dr. Vie is focused on restoring the link between humanity, nature and the source of all life. Dr. Vie is a mountain-lover and has trekked many ranges including the Himalayas.

BPM:  Your background is an unusual one for a female! How did you leave everything that you knew behind, to live on your own in six countries?
It just seemed like the natural thing to do at that time! In the introduction to the book, I talk about my Life Express program that shows up each time I have a burning question about life. I pose a question and shortly thereafter I board the Life Express. I’ve enjoyed finding my way in foreign countries- not knowing anyone, finding a place to live in, learning about the people, cultures and languages, and discovering more about myself with each challenge. The advantages of being single I suppose! I find no need for a holiday because life is an adventure on its own, as long as you stay neutral. 

BPM:  You’ve been a scientist and entrepreneur with a vegan food factory, what led to the idea of a book?

Well, I’ve lived alone in over 22 cities world-wide and traveled to more than 100, experiencing quite a bit over the decades. After the sudden loss of my father and helping my mother recover from breast cancer, I changed my career from medical device scientist to researcher of life potential. I then plunged into the world of poverty. But found my inner strength to survive through daily meditation and running at dawn.

As I developed the factory, I created Dr. Vie SuperKids and gave my earnings to children, four of whom, five years later won bronze medals at the London Olympics. I’ve seen it all as a female woman in the business world. One thing I know for sure, even though there is rapid progress in technology and wealth on the one hand, there is much suffering and poverty on the other hand, right at home and around the world.

Money can never buy happiness or solve eternal problems, because happiness is not for sale and the problems are mostly human made. As you know I ‘m a mountain lover, so while trekking in the Himalayas last year desperately seeking the answer to the question: “Why is there so much heart-ache around the world?” all I can say is that “I received the needed guidance.” When I returned to South Africa with my mother, I began to ponder about how to convey my revelations to the world. So after moving to yet another place in North Americas, I automatically started to write.

BPM:  How did you come up with these intriguing characters, and the idea for mixing fantasy, you call it “fable,” into such controversial content of the book?
I lived the writer’s life sleeping on a yogi bed, surviving with just one plate, one cup, and a few folding tables and chairs! But, I did have a spectacular view of the mountains and water all around me! So as I wrote, the characters started showing up in my Life Express and I enjoyed having them around me, and they came to life. Thereafter my mind was on a roll, and so the game developed. The characters are really the messengers to help both children and adults to truly come to grips with how to use the power in the Magical Weapons to tap into their life potential and achieve joy in their daily lives, and help the world also.

BPM:  So tell us about these Magical Weapons and what are they for?
The Weapons of Veedinti are divine weapons that do not cause harm but actually create love and miracles. They are used in the seven main areas of life, sexuality, family, nourishment, friendships, work, relaxation and introspection.

In the book, the Magical Weapons are revealed to one of the characters, through a lost Book of Secrets- with a set of eleven Books. Through the eleven Books she learns to recognize the problems in each of the seven areas, and discovers their root causes. Then the Magical Weapons transform the problems into miracles.

BPM:  Can you lead us through some of the key points in the Book of Secrets?
Book One, of the Book of Secrets, dives deep into the root cause of all the world’s problems, which are in fact your and my personal problems, that we face each day, some more than others.  Let’s be frank, if we lived our lives well, we would not need the police or laws or rules to control our behavior. We would enjoy being good and doing good naturally, as we love everyone without discrimination. As that is not the case, the book starts off by diving deep into the first most important question: who am I?  You question your own identity.

BPM:  You say that we must understand the root cause of the problem before we can learn how to change it, tell us more.
Book One The Secret Crime Of All Time, takes the bull by the horns and reveals the root cause of all the pain in your life, your home, your communities, your nation and throughout the world- be prepared for it will shock you.  Then in Book Two you learn about how women were brave enough to try and overcome the problem, but unknowingly dug a deeper grave that is now swallowing up the rest of the world.

BPM:  Oh no, but how can we change that?
Book Three is the key to changing and shaping the future, even when everything that can possibly go wrong does, sometimes all in the same day. It makes you understand how people take the wrong decisions and sometimes end up harming or killing others. Parents will understand things like teen rage and teen suicide. Those who have lost loved ones at an early age, or have experienced hardship, begin to understand why such things happened. Then the Book becomes your companion as you make choices whenever you find yourself at crossroads in your life.

BPM:  But everyone is so different, how can your Magical Weapons work for everyone?
Brilliant question: Book Four unravels what makes each of us so unique and why we must get to know our unique powers, so that we can learn how to keep both our body and our mind naturally at peace, no matter what the situation. You learn why the same solution cannot be as effective even on identical twins! You come face to face with what makes you tick. Mental illness, depression, loneliness and unhappiness are really big problems these days, I write about this also.

In Book Five, you enter the first of five Battlegrounds, in which you need to use the Magical Weapons to win the battle, before the final Battle in Book Eleven.  Book Five unravels the mysteries of the powerhouse of your life- your brain and gives you the first two of the Magical Weapons of Veedinti, and a bag of secret tools to protect your brain from mental illness, depression and unhappiness. You learn to keep the brain working at your beck and call, as your own magical genie in a bottle!

BPM:  Are there any Magical Weapons for sexuality and intimate relationships?
That’s the hot button for sure!  Book Six is an eye opener as it leads the characters through the throes of infidelity, sexual abuse, prostitution, sexual deviance, addictions and human trafficking.  Then you learn how to be fully equipped to win the war in this Battleground, if you want to enjoy blissful sexual intimacy with your partner while at the same time erasing sexual crimes world-wide.

BPM:  Can the Magical Weapons be used to improve relationships, marriage, and family life?
Book Seven reveals how to prepare for a relationship, how to select a mate using the Magical Weapons, and how to enjoy a soulful, lifelong relationship with your mate without distrust, infidelity, sexual abuse, incest or domestic violence as you enter the Battleground of the family.

You learn how help your children win their battles too, during the important time of childhood. Parents learn how to guide their kids to adulthood and have joyful relationships with them throughout life, even as parents get older. Singles, aging, becoming in-laws, grandparents and seniors are also major topics here. You learn why there is a rampant escalation in childhood disorders like bullying, gangs, drug use, violence, depression, delinquency and how do to guide our kids to protect themselves against it?

BPM:  Dare I ask: are there Magical Weapons for food?
Book Eight takes you into the Battleground of food, and unravels the mysteries of the complicated world of food, energy, alertness, weight loss, anorexia, and food related illnesses. You learn the three main secret weapons of food, how to select foods, how to prepare them and also how to eat food so that your body naturally shapes itself so that your mind is at peace whether you are on your own or with others. Having the perfect weight becomes a no brainer!

BPM:  You have an interesting chapter on how to select your friends and change your life?
Yup, you cannot choose your family, but you can surely choose your friends! For most people, friends influence their future and their life. On the other hand, friends can become your worst nightmare, and may even be the cause of your early death! So the Battleground in Book Nine, is an important one, and is war that you must win if you want to decrease stress in your life and feel inner peace knowing that you can trust your friends with your life and the lives of others in the world.

You discover why mind-related illnesses such as, depression, loneliness, memory loss and loss of self-confidence are on the rise at earlier ages and how can you can reclaim peace of mind by surrounding yourself with the right people. You learn why we depend on drugs, alcohol, smoking, food, money or sex to bring us happiness and how we can empower ourselves with an endless, internal, regenerative supply of happiness?

BPM:  Are there any Magical Weapons for us in the work place?
Book Ten is the toughest Battleground before the final one.  You learn how to use the Magical Weapons to prepare for and choose the best job of your life, and discover how to be successful and feel at bliss while you are working and making a difference not just in your life but around the world. The Magical Weapons here are very powerful, whether you are a homemaker, the head of your family, a CEO or a leader of a nation.

BPM:  So what is the final Battleground?
Now, you will need to wait to read the book for this important nugget in Book Eleven, the Final Battle. But I can tell you, that you will have less need for psychiatrists, psychologists, or therapists after winning the final battle!  You discover how to deal with the issues of aging with dignity from middle age to elder, and leaving this body with immense grace. You also learn how to deal with the death of a loved one and at the same time help the departed rest in peace. You learn how tap into your precious Gift and use it each day. Your life will be changed forever and you will feel bliss as you enjoy living life fully each day from a center of peace.

BPM:  What about children can the Magical Weapons help them?
Absolutely, this Book of Secrets is called the beginner’s guide, to give you a quick introduction to all the Magical Weapons, the nine characters and the seven Battlegrounds where you must win the battles. The book is excellent for teens through seniors, and for both men and women. It has important tools to improve your life no matter what phase you are at. Even though it is focuses on the dilemma of three females it addresses pivotal issues that face men in our society today. The Magical Weapons are the same for both genders. The Great Rescue- entry level one can be used by both kids and adults, and levels two and higher Taming the Human Impostor Game, are for adults. You learn to practice the use of the Magical Weapons in everyday life and learn how to make better decisions under any circumstance.

BPM:  You also continue the interaction and training in the Dr. Vie Radio show. Tell us more.
Yes, the show is aptly named after the title of the first chapter in the book: Who, Do You Think You Are? The show addresses the dilemma of us juggling identities in the seven areas of our life and how we struggle to keep them all together. It is a fun filled light hearted show that addresses important topics.  You can call in live or interact with us in the chatroom and also rank actual life situations on the infamous Life Scale that I have created. Go online to take the express Life Profile for free. The Dr. Vie Academy offers different training packages also.

BPM:  When readers buy the book they also get the Life Profile gift, tell us more.
Go online to: http://www.DrVie.com  click on the link for the Book, input your receipt for the book and you receive the full Life Profile so you can know your current life rank on the Life Scale and track it over time as you age and as you make decisions in your life. I have several online and live-event trainings through Dr. Vie Academy to help you along the way. Follow us on our social media to keep abreast of all our contests, invitations and special events, where you get to taste our foods as well.

BPM:  How do we get the vegan, chocolate, gluten-free foods?
You can order Dr. Vie SuperFoods online. Oh, yes, if you are have mastered Book Ten, are dedicated, and looking for an opportunity to expand our fresh food family business in the USA, then send me an email.

Author website:  http://www.DrVie.com
Dr. Vie Radio:  http://drvie.com/dr-vie-radio/


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https://twitter.com/drvie  or  @DrVie
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COMING TO A BOOK STORE NEAR YOU!

Taming The Female Impostor:  Book of Secrets to Rescuing Humanity
Read more about the book:  http://drvie.com/tamingthefemaleimpostorsummary

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Titus Joseph



Titus Joseph
has a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in religious studies and a Master’s degree in counseling. Mr. Joseph has worked throughout his life as a counselor and at present, he develops group homes for individuals with disabilities. Titus identifies most as a philosopher – which is to say – a lover of wisdom. Though grateful for his formal education, above all else, it’s the love of wisdom that motivates him and I think you will find out why as you read Our Curious World of Mirror Images (www.21cphilosohy.net).

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I became motivated to write this book due to the times that we are in. Our sense of reality has changed a lot due to the history that we are experiencing. Reality has become more fluid and we have witnessed some amazing history play out. The book actually began sometime in the 1980’s. This means that I grew up from my mid-20’s to middle age, marinating and thinking about this new holistic concept while witnessing history play out and also, keeping up with the science as it hits the news. Incorporating the science comes naturally to me because of my educational background. My mind thinks in holistic terms so because of the maturity in the time since its’ been over 25 years now, the abundance of scientific evidence, and personal development, and also because the Mayan calendar’s change of time that occurred at the end of 2012. This resonates with me as true so I’m thinking, write the book.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Absolutely, there is nothing that I can write that is not informed through daily experience. Our thoughts are formed in our experiences. The experiences are types of thoughts and the way we reflect on them forms a meta-layer of thought that involves how we reconcile ourselves to it. But of my background, I was born by the sea and my father was a fisherman. My mom came to America seeking a better life for us meaning a more materialistic life. Life was good living by the sea, eating fresh delicious food. Good food, but materialism is demanding. My mom got a job doing domestic work at a home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I went to one of the best high schools in the country and I was always a good student, particularly in biology. Today I am a father and a husband to my wife, and frankly because of that family context – I have the resources and I am able to write. Of course, I have to thank the universe for being and providing.

BPM: Do you write full-time? Do you write every day? Do you have a special time to write?
I do not write full-time and I would only be writing every day if I were in the midst of a creative period of time. My special time to write is definitely in early morning. I develop group homes for individuals with disabilities; this work keeps me grounded and provides the balance that I need to sustain the faithful process in writing a book.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Absolutely! This is a very important point. The creative process involves time itself. Yes, we have an impulse, a thought, a creative moment, but the telling of a story is determined by the ending, so time has to be accessed. Sometimes I can feel that spinning wheel sensation when I am waisting time trying to “do,” when for now, it is time to rest.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? 
Book ideas come from subconscious thought processes. There is an ongoing level of consciousness that transcends one’s own conscious mind. The subconscious mind transcends individuals and incorporates whole societies. It is from these sub-conscious thought processes that new events emerge in consciousness, including books.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
“Our Curious World of Mirror Images: Reflections on how Symmetry Frames our Universe, Empowers the Creative Process and Provides Context to Shape our Lives” (published by Balboa Press), opens up our eyes to a spiritual way of thinking that is relevant because it uses hard science as well as ancient philosophy to confirm an amazing new idea. The seamless interplay between science and spirituality demonstrates that space and time exist in the meaning of the words Alpha and Omega. This book is available at all local resellers, directly from the author’s website at http://www.21cphilosophy.net, and is available as a digital book, hard cover edition or soft cover.

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your book dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
In science today, there is great excitement and controversy about where the science is leading. Here’s an example of what I mean when I say that the science informs the spirituality in this book. www.21cphilosophy.net/spectular-realization/ 

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
The main topics of this book include spirituality, metaphysics, philosophy, cosmology, relativity, quantum mechanics, symmetry, and being. I have learned a lot from writing this book but in terms of personal development, I have learned more humility.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers? 
If you are serious about your life, and read through this book with an open and thoughtful mind, you will experience signs in your personal reality that will confirm for you, in your private views, that this new paradigm is real and thus very meaningful to your life. Your way of thinking will change as a consequence of experiencing meaningful perceptions affirming the knowledge disclosed in this book.

After reading this book you will have a clear and concise understanding of how space and time exist and how symmetry frames the universe. This new paradigm, though deeply spiritual in its implications, is presented with compelling scientific evidence and thus the implications are profound, leading potentially to a true foundation for meaning in life.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released? 
Success for me would mean that the concepts brought to light in this book become universally known.

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have?
Perseverance, faith, and trust in time because there are many challenges to surmount in the process of writing a book. As mentioned, the challenges include one’s own literary skills, the need to research, logistical and economic challenges and along the way psychological challenges as you manage to cope with balancing these demands with the ordinary demands of everyday life.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book?
I hope to be a part of history unfolding to inspire a generation of new thinkers whose minds attain to higher levels of consciousness.

BPM: Finish this sentence – My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors. 
My hope is that this book will increase their consciousness in a manner that brings added value and meaning to life.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Visit my website at http://www.21cphilosophy.net. I have contact information there, a blog, a comment section designed to engage anyone interested in talking not just metaphysics, but also spirituality, politics, social change, music, etc. Looking forward to hear from you.

 


Our Curious World of Mirror Images
by Titus Joseph


Reflections on how Symmetry Frames our Universe,
Empowers the Creative Process and Provides Context to Shape our Lives

Titus Joseph uses mirror image symmetry to explain existence. ‘Our Curious World of Mirror Images’ combines science seamlessly with philosophy to propose new concept.

In his new book, “Our Curious World of Mirror Images: Reflections on how Symmetry Frames our Universe, Empowers the Creative Process and Provides Context to Shape our Lives” (published by Balboa Press), philosopher Titus Joseph draws on concepts from ancient philosophy, science and even religion to unveil a new model of the universe that explains how all things come into existence.

“Today, with all the advances in science, including cosmology, quantum mechanics and relativity,” Joseph says, “I am prepared to demonstrate using advanced science and philosophy, a new theory that explains how things come into existence through the curious symmetries found everywhere in nature.”

The central concept of “Our Curious World of Mirror Images” is called positional symmetry (requisite mirror image). The book begins by introducing readers to the beauty and universality of symmetry, and the paradox of duality. Joseph outlines ancient holistic philosophies, past ideas about space and time, new concepts from Einstein’s theory of relativity, and recent discoveries from the science of cosmology.

After providing a broad overview of the universe and a brief background in quantum theory, “Our Curious World of Mirror Images” explains the new concept using illustrations and examples from everyday life. The new paradigm serves as a lens to conceive how things come into being and illustrates a new holistic model of the universe, all in an accessible manner for most anyone to read. The end result reconciles many polarized views and brings considerable amounts of added meaning to life.

• Introducing a whole new way of looking at our world

• Combines science and philosophy seamlessly to explain the cosmos of space and time in an engaging way leading to a spiritual impulse

• Reconciles eastern paradigms with western views, and the intractable problem of duality that polarizes our lens on reality

• Demonstrates how all things come into being

• Provides a broad overview of the cosmos as a whole entity

• An eye-opener to the meaning of God

Chapter excerpts including graphics are available at  www.21cphilosophy.net/excerpt/ , includes the table of contents, bibliography and pages 1-10 of the book.


The Arche: Western History on Metaphysics
Excerpt 1 – [ pgs 13-14 ]


Science Rocks! It leads the way in the path of knowledge due to its many successes. Yet, even for the sciences the fundamental theories have proven to lead to very strange places. So, what of the rest of us searching for a foundation of truth? Many have discovered their own truth in astrology, numerology, the occult, or through faith is some type of spirituality. These alternative and universal types of beliefs have existed since the beginning of human history, and have enabled many different types of peoples, around the world, to feel as though their consciousness reaches beyond the physical limits of the immediate senses. These so-called “mystical beliefs” exists to provide a foundation in the form of an underlying truth in all reality.

The search for the underlying truth to reality is the holy grail of philosophy, referred to as the philosopher’s stone. It is the long sought after elixir of life. It is also the overriding goal of empirical science to determine one grand unified theory that accounts for everything in reality.

The spiritually inclined have actively turned their attention to a higher domain or for many people, an underlying principle, in the pursuit for meaningful answers to master life’s travails. This principle can be viewed as supreme, and when personified, viewed as a supreme being.

Consider that if we have something so ineffable as consciousness and intelligence in our finite seemingly meaningless lives, why not then propose of more consciousness at higher cosmic scales? The question is what would consciousness be like at cosmic scales. Well, consider that the galaxies of the cosmos are interconnected forming the cosmic web – the highest known structure in the cosmos. Inflationary theory demonstrates that the cosmic web originates from infinitesimal quantum fluctuations at the beginning of the universe.

“…in a quantum world, nothing is ever perfectly uniform because of the jitteriness inherent to the uncertainty principle…such nonuniformity can be stretched from the microworld…providing the seeds for the formation of large astrophysical bodies like galaxies (Greene, 2006, 307).

This observation by one of the world’s leading authorities on cosmology gives assent to the ancient proverb, “as above, so below.” Dr. Greene demonstrates that the highest visible structure of the universe is a direct extrapolation of the infinitesimal jitteriness that is the inherent nature of the quantum realm…Taking this observation to a natural conclusion, I see no real differences between scientific theories, as represented by Western science and justified as legitimate, and the ideas of a supreme principle that is alive and conscious does not seem alien to me, because we are alive, conscious, and intelligent, and presumably derived from this same principle.


Introducing the Wavicle
Excerpt 2 – [ pgs 56-57 ]

In the early 19th century, Thomas Young demonstrated that light acts as a wave using what is now commonly called the double slit experiment. The double slit experiment was designed by shining a beam of light at a screen with two pinholes in it. Young noticed that the light created alternating light and dark vertical stripes when it arrived on the second screen. These stripes demonstrate the waves of light spreading out from the two pinholes and overlapping with each other, creating an interference pattern. This showed that light acts as a wave.

Conversely in 1905, Albert Einstein showed that light is composed of particles that we now know of as photons. Stephen Hawking explains, There is thus a duality between waves and particles in quantum mechanics: for some purposes it is helpful to think of particles as waves and for other purposes it is better to think of waves as particles (Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 75).

In the quantum world all particles, and not just photons behave as waves, and waves can behave as particles, but there is something significant about the wavelike nature of particles. The pulse of the wave does not occur purely within an atom, but throughout the universe. Dr. Brian Greene says that an electron can also be described as a wave whose existence is spread throughout the universe (Green, The Fabric of the Cosmos, 90).

Consider the paradox in the observation that fundamental particles are simultaneously waves and thus, spread throughout the entire universe. How can this be? We can separate a drop of water from the ocean but when it is in the ocean, that drop becomes ocean. So it appears then that the wavelike behavior of fundamental particles is a feature of the quantum world, and therefore demonstrates non-spatial properties because the wavelike functions are spread throughout the universe. Yet paradoxically, particles can also be measured as a point with some specific position or speed. 

The objects that we experience in daily life have spatial location. They exist in a specific place during some time. We live in a “24 hours in a day” scale of space and time. The quantum world however, has no space and no time, so events are very jittery and short-lived. Events in the quantum world have lifespans in the billionths of a second. Spacetime, therefore, is not a relevant concept in the quantum world. This means that it is very difficult to predict with precision what will happen at the subatomic level and ‘probabilities’ become more relevant than predictions. 
Dr. John Gribbin, British astrophysicist and one of the most prolific writers in science, explains:  Probability lies at the heart of the mystery of quantum reality, because the quantum world obeys strict probabilistic rules…Quantum probability can be seen to be at work at the level of individual atoms, photons and electrons (Gribbin, Q is for Quantum, An Encyclopedia of Particle Physics, 291).

Dr. Greene explains that the quantum norm is a “fuzzy hybrid reality” because it is composed of probabilities. These are possibilities that have not been realized. Take your time and pause here.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Titus Joseph. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Publisher’s website: http://www.balboapress.com


Change the way you see the world!
Titus Joseph website: www.21cphilosophy.net 
Facebook: Titus Joseph;  Twitter: Titus
Joseph@Iamtjoseph
 
 
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Pamela Samuels Young

Pamela Samuels Young is a NAACP Image Award winning author and practicing attorney who’s taken a brief hiatus from crafting her fast-paced mystery novels to write about her newest passion: natural hair care. In her first non-fiction book, Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide to Going Natural, Pamela chronicles her transition to natural hair. Kinky Coily also provides tips and resources for other women who want to begin their own natural hair journey. A bona fide natural hair enthusiast, Pamela is excited about sharing her new found knowledge in the hope of helping other women learn the beauty and versatility of their kinky coils. You can visit Pamela’s YouTube channel, KinkyCurlyPamela, and her website, http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com, for more hair care tips and videos.


Have you been thinking about transitioning to natural hair, but don’t know where to start?
Then Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural is for you. A literal treasure trove of information, Kinky Coily is a roadmap for anyone interested in beginning a natural hair journey. You’ll find the best bloggers, the best books and magazines, as well as recommendations on how to select the right hair care tools and products.

Better yet, you’ll learn how to begin your natural hair journey, how to develop a weekly hair care regime and how to track your progress. Whether you’re transitioning from a relaxer, ready to give up your weave or flat iron, or already rocking your natural locs, Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural will open your eyes to the true beauty and versatility of your naturally kinky coils.

BPM: Why did you go natural? How did you start the journey from permed hair to natural hair?
I decided to go natural after my hair started falling out from a relaxer. One day I had a head full of hair and only a few months later, I had patches of bald spots. My hair was shedding at an alarming rate every single day and neither I nor the hair stylist I was seeing knew how to stop it. A friend of mind had recently gone natural and introduced me to her natural hair mentor, Deanie. Deanie met me at the beauty supply, told me about sulfates and moisturizing, recommended conditioners and protein treatment, and gave me a list of do’s and don’ts. After the very first treatment, my hair stopped falling out—immediately. That’s when I became a believer and set out on a journey to take charge of my own hair care.

BPM: Did you go for the “big chop” or did you transition to natural hair with braids or a wig?
Initially, I refused to do the big chop. I just didn’t want to sport a teeny weenie after. So I hid my damaged hair underneath a wig. But after about three months, I got tired of putting on a wig every morning and taking it off every night. So I did it. I chopped it all off and I’m so glad I did.

BPM: We saw your YouTube videos.  Amazing! You are so brave to share your story with millions, what inspired you?

I’ve learned so much about my natural hair. For example, I had no idea my hair had a natural wave pattern. So many people see my hair and say, “My hair would never do that.” I would’ve said the same thing. That’s because we don’t know our hair!  I’m on a mission to change that. Your readers can view all of the videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/KinkyCurlyPamela

BPM: What three tips would you offer women who are thinking about going natural?
My top three tips are:  1) No sulfates! Either wash with a conditioner (co-wash) or find a sulfate free shampoo; 2) stay away from the heat, that means flat irons as well as blow dryers; and 3) moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Kinky hair needs moisture!  I deep condition at least twice a week and moisturize and seal nightly.

BPM: What products do you use? Share with us your favorite products.
Unfortunately, the same products don’t work for every hair texture. You’ll need to experiment to find out what works best for you. I have kinky, tightly coiled hair. So if you have a looser curl pattern or if your hair isn’t as coarse as mine, the products I love won’t work for you.

That said, my can’t-do-without products are: Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic, Kinky Curly Knot Today conditioner, Organic Roots Stimulator’s Temple Balm and Curl Refresher, and Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship Conditioner. I love Herbal Essence for co washing. I also love mixing my own oils. My favorites are amla oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil and peppermint oil.

BPM: How long did it take for your hair become more healthy in your opinion?
It took about three months before I noticed my bald spots growing in. Within about six months, I really saw a change. My hair grew back much thicker and healthier.

BPM: How did you wear your hair to work during the transition?
I hid my damaged hair underneath a wig, until I finally broke down and did the big chop. I have to say, though, my Mommy wig was quite cute. I still plan to wear it sometime.

BPM: Do you think our hair has a lot to do with our body image and self-esteem?
Absolutely! I don’t care what I’m wearing. If my hair isn’t right, I don’t feel good about myself.

BPM: Research helps us learn to embrace our beautiful hair. Did you do a lot of research?
Tons of research. I recommend that everybody read The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy. That book is an encyclopedia on kinky hair. I learned so much from that book. And I lived on the internet and YouTube. My favorite bloggers are Curly Nikki, Naptural 85, KimmayTube, Mahogany Curls and African Export. I owe those sistas a debt of gratitude for everything they taught me.

BPM: What was the most rewarding part of this experience?
All the compliments I get about my hair. Women always come up to me to ask about the products I use and I’m always glad to share.

BPM: How will your book Kinky Coily motivate women to consider moving toward natural hair care?

I think when they see other women taking charge of their own hair, they will feel free to do the same.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book and your how-to-videos?
I want them to have the confidence to take charge of their own hair care. I’m not trying to put hair stylists out of business. But I want women to know they can remedy their own hair care problems. If I’d known everything I know now when my hair started falling out, I could have stopped my shedding. My hair was damaged from the heat and badly needed moisture. I was also getting touch ups too often. But I didn’t that because I knew nothing about the care of my hair. Now I do!

BPM: What advice would you give a person who wants to tell their hair care story?
Take good notes during your hair care journey. I keep a journal and took pictures every three months. After you finish your book, ask for constructive feedback from family and friends.

Connect with Pamela Online
http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com
http://www.twitter.com/pamsamuelsyoung
http://www.youtube.com/kinkycurlypamela
http://www.facebook.com/pamelasamuelsyoung


FOLLOW HER BOOK TOUR HERE:
http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com/tour-dates/index.html 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Candy Jackson



Candy Jackson is a long time resident in the Washington D.C. area. In the early eighties with the outbreak of African American authors, she became an avid reader, reading nearly a book a day for many years.

She had been a artist of the spoken word for growing up and loved to write then happened to find herself writing stories but never having the time to finish. Busy with working, raising children and attending school she put both the poetry and writing on the back-burner and dug into reading when the time allowed. Well, as life would have it, (she likes to say) her children grew up and gone were the days of hustling and bustling kids to and fro’ so she was able to jump back into her first love of writing.

After under going a minor surgery, she had a chance meeting with one of her favorite authors who encouraged her to step up her game and convincing Candy that she had talent and great stories to share.

She’s the mother of three, Nicholas, Chase, and Jourdan. She also has one daughter-in-law, Tiffane and one grandson, Dominic. Candy says now that she has the time and (energy) she has penned her first novel; Pink and Patent Leather….When the Fall From the Pedestal isn’t Far Enough.

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I have been writing since I was a child and I’ve always loved telling stories growing up, but one particular Sunday, I was at church and the pastor was saying how women always come to him and say, “The Lord told me that you’re suppose to be my prayer partner.” I thought it was hilarious at first, but once I got home I thought about it. I know when I hear from God, I go with it, but is it God telling me all the things I hear? I felt the story brewing.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven and why?
Ideas for me just drop in my lap!  But, there’s a story I’m working on now that I had to write. It’s close to my heart and I felt like for a while that if I didn’t tell it, it wouldn’t let me rest. Most of my stories are character driven, however as I said before, Pink and Patent Leather was story driven because of what the pastor had told the church.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers?
I want readers to escape from their everyday lives, even if it’s just for a little while. We get so caught up in life’s ups and down’s, the kids, the jobs the people who surround us, heck, folks need relief! I want them to fit inside the story and ride it out. I’m very new in the business. Although I’m social networking, heck, I called Ella!

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing? 
YES!  The title Pink and Patent Leather came directly from the way I was brought up. The character Sasha or “Pink” kept saying that she is special, she’s not average and that she was an only girl. I knew that girl. Growing up, my parents and brother all made me feel very special, mostly because I was the baby of the bunch, but I was also the only girl and my mother literally dressed me in pink everyday. Today, it’s my favorite color, back then I would beg her to buy me a different color clothing or paint my room white or something. lol!

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released?
I’m expecting to move into my further as a full time author. This book for me is a miracle. I say this because I had given up on living my dream, and then in the mist of all of my failures, I decided to trust God, and since then, my life has blossomed into a wonderful journey. I wake each day with great expectations and lay my head now at night knowing that I’ve had a great day, everyday.

After my book is released, I hope to gain a following of readers who think outside the box, because I want to write stories that make you laugh, cry, shout, root for the underdog and celebrate life.

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/candygirlcan 
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/candy.jackson.756
Available from the BGP publisher:  http://browngirlspublishing.com 



Pink & Patent Leather 

by Candy Jackson

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

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

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

* Book Excerpt:

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

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


* Book Excerpt:

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

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

Because now, I was a woman.


* Book Excerpt:

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

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

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


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

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Naleighna Kai

Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, with a spin-off titled, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage.  She independently published her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with Brown Girls Publishing—the offspring of mega-successful national bestselling authors—Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley.

Naleighna is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller and the E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction.  Naleighna is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago.  Find her on the web at www.naleighnakai.com  and www.thecavalcadeofauthors.com 

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing your latest book? Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
I’ve had a ring-side seat to an Open Marriage that had, what I felt at that time, to be a horrible beginning and a painful middle. I can’t say end, because as far as I know, it’s still going on. I got off that merry-go-round of pain and grew up enough to realize that the w

I love catchy titles, but I love writing about complicated relationships even more. But why would I write this type of novel? What influenced me to explore the outcome of three unlikely people entering into an open relationship such as the one in this novel?  Because I’ve had a front seat to one that—in my honest opinion—was the most painful intimate relationship that I had ever witnessed in my life. The only person who seemed to benefit was the man—who was not the primary breadwinner.

Actually I never saw him slide in a crumb. The women brought home the bacon, the eggs, the grits, and even the plates, utensils and everything else that landed on the table. It took nearly two decades for me to wise up and realize one basic thing: these folks are grown and you need to mind your business. The women chose to stay for whatever reason, regardless of his inability to maintain them financially; regardless of how unhappy they seemed or how unfair I thought it was.

When I stopped seeing the legal wife as the “victim” in all of this, it drastically changed, not only how I perceived her, but also our friendship. Not that I didn’t love her, but when I exercised my right to say “no” it was clear that she hadn’t learned that declaration. But what I also learned about myself is: no matter how much I love someone else, I will always love myself more. Hence, I no longer put band-aids on self-inflicted relationship wounds. Am I saying that Open Marriages can’t work? Absolutely not! What I’m saying is, that it should be something that is fair to everyone involved. If you like it, I love it. If you don’t like, then pack your bags, pull up stakes and make another choice. A choice that’s fair to you. Bottom line.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
My ideas come from “what if?” Like for Every Woman Needs a Wife, my question was, “what if I caught my husband cheating?” Well, most men think there’s only two options that they’ve given their wives: leave or stay. Well, I put a third option on the table. Stay, and bring the mistress home to earn her keep the honest way: on her feet helping the wife, instead of on her back servicing the husband. Infidelity has been done to death, but that’s what made the novel unique. In  Open Door Marriage, I wanted to explore the concept in a different way than the one that I knew of in real life. What if the man did have money and actually could afford to support more than one woman. Would it work? That’s what drove me to write the novel.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 
Open Door Marriage, is the first contemporary fiction work to launch mega-powerhouse publisher, Brown Girls Publishing created by national bestselling authors, Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. The story centers around three people caught up in an all too familiar triangle. When the love of Dallas Avery’s life disappeared, she resurfaces years later at the most inopportune time. Oh, he still loves Alicia Mitchell, an older woman who captured his heart, but it’s unfortunate that he’s now engaged to a woman he learns—is her niece. When his fiancée, Tori, lays a proposition on the table, it seems that everyone will get a little of what they want, but maybe a whole lot of what they don’t. The stage is set for them to learn one valuable lesson: There’s no right way to do a wrong thing.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
The reasons why women would choose to be in an open marriage. I learned plenty, mostly that I need to mind my own business!!!  I learned not to judge what three grown adults decide to do–as long as it doesn’t come spilling over in my life–if it’s floating your boat, keep rowing in that ocean.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? 
I want them to be taken on an emotional journey. I want them to identify with the characters or even understand their reasoning or motivation. They might not make the same choices in real life, but I want them to put themselves in the character’s mindset. An overall theme in most of my novels, are healing and forgiveness. That too, is something I want them to have a sense of when they read my work.

BPM: What are your ambitions for your writing career after three books?
In the beginning it was national bestselling author. I achieved that. But I found it amazing that I could practice writing those words–national bestselling author–but I couldn’t write New York Times bestselling author until just recently. My mind couldn’t wrap around that and see that level of success. But what had happened was (don’t you love sentences that start that way?), I finally grew up last November and stopped giving my energy to people who were taking, taking and taking and didn’t realize I was giving. THAT’S when all the good things started lining up. And that’s when this new book deal landed on my plate. So now I’m seeing New York Times bestselling author. I would also like to see Pulitzer Prize for Slaves of Heaven when it releases.

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire your readers? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? 
My goal as a writer is to evolve. I didn’t grow up and say that I wanted to be an author. I kind of fell into it and it was something I do well. I want to keep learning the craft from people who are much better at it than I am (such as Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley who are mentoring me at this point because I’m now under their publishing umbrella). In that way, I give readers a polished work that has been through their standards of writing honed by years of being edited by a major publishing house. 

Every book I write, I do look for it to be entertaining, but also that the reader can take away some life lesson as well. And it is my hope that my journey from being a self-published author to an author who has landed not only one deal, but yet another with a mega-powerhouse publisher, that it will inspire those who have a story to tell to quit sitting on it and take that chance.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? 
Once, a reader was so moved by my work that she came to Chicago to meet now only me, but the minister/sexual abuse counselor that was mentioned in the book. It sparked her own healing. We’ve been good friends to this day. Success has not been monetary before now, but more spiritual in the opportunities that it has given me to heal; and the wonderful readers and fellow authors I have met along the way. Each person is another brick on my road to releasing pain, anger, and onto healing and forgiveness; because in sharing my stories, they share some connection with me. 

Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to be writing at a level where I can just do that for a living, but when the money is put aside, what else is there?  The people. The experience. The sharing. The healing. That has been very important to me.

BPM: Where do you see publishing going in the future? In your opinion, will ebooks continue to reign?
I’m a die-hard trade paperback woman. But there were two books that made me give in because I didn’t want to wait for them to come via snail or hell mail. I think readers have a problem now that wasn’t around fifteen years ago–they’ve run out of space!!  E-books make a lot of sense. But for me, I still buy it in trade paperback if it’s a book that I’ll read a second or third time. With so many authors flooding the market and readers soaking up good books like they’re biscuits and gravy, yes e-books sales will continue to climb.

BPM: What can expect from you in the future? How can readers discover more about you and your work? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Brown Girls Publishing  has picked up some of my other novels. I’m excited to see what will happen with those as they did a phenomenal job with Open Door Marriage. From here on out I believe I’ll be releasing at least two books per year. Readers can connect with me on www.naleighnakai.com  or on Facebook and Twitter. The novel is available in all digital formats and in trade paperback as well. I have sample chapters of all of my work on the website.

BPM:  Finish this sentence – “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors… ”
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors in that I have used writing as a medium for healing from child abuse and sexual abuse and it, in turned, has helped me to forgive those who have harmed me. It has given me the opportunity to connect with those who also need the kind of healing that I desired, and that they, in some way, can see themselves in my characters, or if they can look at my life and say, “I don’t have to carry the weight of what someone else did to me all of my life. I too, can be free. Yes, I deserve to be free.”

Purchase Open Door Marriage by Naleighna Kai
Download Link:  http://amzn.com/B00I5VFS3K 

Available in Print and on eReaders:  Nook and Kindle
Primary Topics:  Open Marriage, May-December Romance and Polyamorous relationships

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Melisa Alaba


Melisa Alaba is a thought leader, sought after speaker and life coach that expresses her gifts through healing, coaching, teaching. Melisa is a graduate of Roosevelt University, Chicago, with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Psychology. Melisa received special training in meditation and stress management.

Melisa empowers her clients to take control of their destiny. With over 12 years experience as a counselor and coach, Melisa has assisted hundreds of clients in reaching their goals and fulfilling their dreams. Melisa has also taught students at Joliet Junior College, Morton College and University of Phoenix in Psychology and Sociology courses. Melisa has been affectionately called “The Vision Coach” because she has assisted many clients in reclaiming and discovering their vision and purpose.

Melisa Alaba is the founder and CEO of Vision Works Counseling and Coaching and The Pure Life Club. Melisa is also an international Wellness speaker with Cool Leaf Inc., one of the largest corporate wellness providers in the country.

Melisa has presented to companies such as: Alere (Fortune 500 company), Cobb County Social Workers Association, Woodward Private Academy and many community groups and organizations across the country. Melisa currently teaches workshops and leads retreats on Mindful Meditation, Emotional healing, Purpose journey and writing.

Additionally, Melisa has been featured as an expert in Ebony Magazine, featured guest on 1380 AM Radio and in many other notable publications and broadcasts. Melisa was honored by Stiletto Woman in Business (SWIBA) with the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year for Health and Healing.

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
After having a life changing car accident in 2008. I was forced to look at my life in a different manner. Over the period of two years I got my life back after suffering devastating loses. I wrote this book to help people who have gone through similar experiences or who are lost or just stuck and what to get free.

BPM:  Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes. Indeed. I write about life. I believe we are all on a beautiful journey in which has many turns and twist. It is up to us to embrace it all.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  Why?

I write self-help books which often include rich and funny stories from life and the lives of thousands of people I have encountered over the years. I am a great observer and I learn through watching. I always include the latest research but I make it palatable with storytelling which explain concepts that will benefit you.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Live Out Loud, 52 Ways to Reawaken Your Spirit and Live a Life of Purpose is your gate way to living a life you will love. We live in a society where we equate money and things to success and I have learned that truly living on purpose is so much more. This books opens you up to simple exercises that will put you on the path to living your life full out and on purpose!

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

Live Out Loud: 52 Ways to Reawaken Your Spirit and Live a Life of Purpose introduces you to 11 keys to living a fully awake life: abundance, acceptance, balance, commitment, connection, discovery, forgiveness, giving, gratitude, organization, and purpose. I present exercises that are easy to follow that will move you from being stuck to embracing your power and overcoming disappointments or setbacks. The exercises can be done individually, with a partner, or in a group. The 52 mindful exercises are short and extremely powerful. Many are based on my firsthand experiences and biblical principles. They will move you to take action and gain the life you were created to live.

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Success for me has been having my readers contacting me and tell me that this book caused them to shift in their being. I wrote this book to impact the lives of others so they could impact the world. To that point I have already experienced success in that endeavor. I will continue to write books that empower people to find their voice, live authentically and deliver their gifts powerfully to the world.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
So many of us have been conditioned since youth to dim our light. We have been told that our gifts are not good enough or worthy to be shared. We have been conditioned to believe that safety should be our main concern. I believe that this book will guide readers in being liberated to discover, explore and claim their gifts so that they can transform lives.

BPM:   Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Recently, my book was selected as the feature book for the cast of 72 Hours a film set to release in early 2015 by Christopher Nolen.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Subscribe to my newsletter and receive my free Live Out Loud Toolkit which includes meditations and a few copies of the book at http://www.melisaalaba.com. You can also check out the many courses that I offer on living your best life.


Purchase Live Out Loud by Melisa Alaba
Kindle Edition: http://amzn.com/B00IT69V0C



 
 
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Colette R. Harrell


Colette R. Harrell the author of the debut novel The Devil Made Me Do It is passionate about the written word. Holding a master’s degree, she is a director of human services. Her creation and implementation of a health and energy medical program stands as a best practices model. As a motivational speaker, she specializes in customer and human service workshops on state and national levels. She is co-founder of COJACK Productions, a Christian entertainment company. As an active member of her church, Kingdom Christian Center, she serves in several ministries.

Colette is a wife, mother, author, poet, songwriter, and playwright. Her novel is a delectable read, where romance, suspense, humor, and the supernatural all come together to entertain, educate, and inspire. A Detroit native, she currently resides in Ohio, writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
When I was sixteen years old, I had chicken pox. Now, I’m not sure if you know, but the older you are when you get chicken pox, the worse you look. I defined UGLY. I wouldn’t even let my best friend see me. But, I was bored. A shoot-me-now,-’cause-this-ain’t-getting-any-better-type of boredom. Every day my friend would phone and tell me what happened at school, and I would share what happened on the soaps. After two days of watching that paint dry, we decided to write our own soap opera—only nobody was singing. I mean nobody . . . but it opened the door to a dream.

From then on, I knew that someday I would write a book. I started writing The Devil Made Me Do It when I saw a writer’s contest on the Internet. You needed one hundred pages of a story. I wrote the pages to see if I could do it, and I was superamped to find out I was one of the winners of the contest. It encouraged me to continue writing and to finish the book.

The story of  The Devil Made Me Do It resounded in my spirit because I always wondered what would happen if the heavens (or hell) rolled back and we could see what was happening in the supernatural. There birthed my trilogy, the Heaven over Hell series.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Absolutely. I’m this down-home chick with a Southern twang from the hood of southwest Detroit. I was raised in a two-parent household with four siblings. My parents were all about reading versus television consumption. I think we were the last household in the neighborhood to purchase a color television. What we did have were books, magazines, and newspapers. I was still in elementary school when I walked to the River Rouge Library (a good mile away) to borrow books. Many times I walked alone. But at that age, reading was my passion, and it still is.

For me, a good book is like good gossip—you just have to share it. In sharing, I began to want to tell my own story, my own way. As a result, I have always loved to tell a good story—I promise there weren’t any lies—sometimes making it up as I went.

Growing up in Detroit, I found myself in some tight spots, just by the nature of being in the vicinity of something “going down.” It’s a wonder I never woke up dead. When that happened, I would call on my praying mother, begging her to pray just one more prayer. Eventually, those times taught me how much God must love my hardheaded, tryna-get-it-right foolish self. Now, there are always two sides to every coin. And some of the spots I was graced (Mama was praying hard!) to wiggle out of were pretty tight—persuading me fully that the devil must hate me. I know I really hate him and his modus operandi. Hence, my story, The Devil Made Me Do It, and how I decided to tell it.

BPM: Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write?
Trust me when I say as a full-time director of social services, every day something occurs that inspires me to whip out my pen. If I’m not laughing, I’m crying. Who wouldn’t want to write about it? Consequently, I’ve learned to write something every day, if just for a little while; maybe a page or two. Now, that’s not an absolute, because I don’t want to be a prisoner of anything but hope. So, there are those days that I manage to do . . . nothing.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew—leave it for months, and then come back to it?
Maybe not months. I can’t leave my child alone that long (that would be child abuse). But, yes, I have had to leave it. To let fresh eyes take another look at it later, and create, once again, from the heart. To pray that God gives me an understanding of where my characters are headed and how they will get there. In the meantime, I’m working on something else. Eventually, I will go back to the book and complete it; after all, you have to give the child you birthed a happy ending . . . or maybe not.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
My book ideas evolve from my conversations with others. My friends and I tend to have these deep conversations that result in my getting this animated lightbulb over my head. Its bright glow and halo effect asks the question: “What if?” My stories answer those questions.

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
Wow . . . I think a little of both. I start out with the light shining over my head, and I take that idea and begin writing without thought, and then a plot unfolds and the characters in the plot begin to take shape and demand to tell their story. I let them have their way. And, there are times when even I’m surprised at the choices they make. In The Devil Made Me Do It, Briggs’s and Esther’s journey totally amazed me. Even though each book in the Heaven over Hell trilogy stands alone, the next two books will continue their saga.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? 
I consider the book Christian fiction with an edge. I say that because, yes, my characters are Christian (well, most of them), but they aren’t perfect, and they don’t part the Red Sea or walk on water (although I do believe that miracles and wonders still occur). My characters sometimes make poor choices, and they have to face the consequences of those choices.

My main character, Esther, as a child, believed she was special. I once heard someone say that African American parents tend to tell their children not to think more of themselves than they should. They went on to explain that this schematic stemmed from slavery, when thinking too much of yourself could get you killed. As years passed, we reinforced these beliefs with negative thought patterns that belittled rather than built up. We’ve all heard: “You think you’re so cute” . . . “Stop getting a big head” . . . “Stop acting like you all of that!” And, these utterances of wisdom were from family members!

I wanted to explore what happens when the devil comes for your sense of self at a young age, and he didn’t just stumble on to you; he’s on assignment. The scripture pertaining to the devil wanting to kill, steal, and destroy you is not only speaking of a physical act, but it is also mental and emotional in origin.

The book’s glimpse into the supernatural provides a twist that is “cover-your-eyes scary,” and in the next chapter “slap the table, fun and humorous.” Esther Wiley is one of three childhood friends who are joined at the hip from kindergarten to college. In college, Esther meets Briggs Stokes, and they fall in love. But, life throws all the friends a shocking curve ball that causes a ripple effect that lasts for years.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Esther dares to believe, even from a young age, that she is special. As African Americans, we are so conditioned not to speak well of ourselves less we be called prideful. Sometimes we become so conditioned to not think ourselves wonderful that we end up with self-esteem issues. Esther dared to believe and to act on that belief.

Briggs is a son of privilege, but it’s that same privilege that makes him come to believe that in his truest self he is invisible. It’s not just about his inherited money, but about who he really is. He struggles with the question: How do you grow up around God’s anointed superstar and still be seen for yourself?

The devil uses both of these issues to destroy the destiny God has for each of them. When they allow the spirit of lack to decide their futures, both lose. Identity theft was committed long before the computer age. My pastor has always taught that if you fail to know the purpose of a thing, you are destined to abuse it.
This first book in the trilogy shows the hidden agenda of those who should be for you and how making the right decision when you come to spiritual forks in your road will decide your destiny. And, for the record, it doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger. LOL.

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
Yes, they deal with suicide—a taboo subject in most communities. They also deal with lust and adultery. And . . . the question: Is it adultery if you don’t consummate it? The Bible states if you sin in your heart . . . But, what does man say? And when adultery is committed, how and can you forgive? All of America is hooked on a television show built around adultery with one of the most powerful men in the country. It’s entertaining; it’s riveting . . . but is it biblical?

There’s an intimacy to sharing yourself with another person that I wanted to explore. You don’t just cheat physically, but you cheat in every area of your life. You have to lie . . . to create a separate life—so you become spiritually schizophrenic—one way with one person, another with someone else.

Also, I deal with fraud on the job, a phenomenon that is occurring more and more. I deal with abuse—verbal and physical. And I deal with obsession. We see more and more stalkers today.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
I discuss all of the above. I also discuss how choices affect our lives. I ask and answer the question: Can one childhood incident shape the rest of your life?

There’s an area in the book where I discuss the male African American youths of today, and what they need. It was eye-opening.  I did learn . . . Some of the pearls of wisdom that came out while writing also ministered to me. It’s something to reread your own work and know that the Holy Ghost was your ghost writer.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?
I want them to be entertained. I want them to have Aha! moments that set them on the road to self-discovery. I want them to draw closer to a God who loves them unconditionally.

BPM: How do you go about reaching new readers?
Three avenues:  First, tell a good story. The best compliment I received was from someone stating that their friends who were not Christians would read The Devil Made Me Do It because it was so entertaining.

Second, in an excerpt reading with men (who were coerced to come by their wives), their feedback was that it wasn’t the normal chick-flick literature they thought it was going to be, and they all asked me to keep reading. Tell a good story that others can relate to.

And, third, hopefully, people who read this interview will be inspired to run out and buy The Devil Made Me Do It, and then tell others to buy it too. Tell a good story and it promotes itself!  (See how I keep mentioning the name of the book? Subconsciously, you’re hearing—buy the book, buy the book . . . LOL.)

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author?
Well, here is where I get very philosophical and state that I’m not in this for the money. NOT! This is a time-consuming, not-for-the-fainthearted venture. So, maybe not first, even though it’s listed here as first, I’d like to make a living at this. That would be one form of success.

Another would be for others to enjoy the story so much that they reread it. And that they sit in anticipation for the next book. Those both would be a form of success. Last, but most important, I would define success as something on the inside of the reader that transcends the mundane and spiritually enhances their life. That would be the ultimate form and definition of success for me as a published author.

BPM: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Up, up, and away! I would love to do this when I am retired and old, sitting on my screened-in porch, sipping on a mango lemonade under a blue summer sky, typing away. You gotta love it!

BPM: What is your favorite positive saying? Where do you find your daily inspiration or muse?
For Love Alone. I think it speaks to the motivation of why people do what they do. I’ve had people do the right thing for the wrong reason, and even though it was needed—it wasn’t wanted due to the intent of the person’s heart. You think you’ve made a friend, but what they really want is to use and manipulate your gifts.

I have so many places I receive my inspiration. From my husband and children; my daughter is a singer and songwriter so she can say some things that blow me away. My best friend and partner in my production company is very good at inspiring me; iron sharpening iron. Of course, my pastor is a great teacher, and I can eat on his message all week. And the Holy Spirit drops pearls of wisdom in my spirit that humble me beyond belief. I’ll go back and read something I wrote or said to someone and do an Urkle—“Did I say that?”

BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
There were a lot of challenges. It took keeping hope alive to believe that one day this book would be read by people beyond my social circle. It took faith to bring this to fruition.  I am still challenged to hone my skills; writing is a craft. I’ve learned more about this art after I submitted my book and had it accepted by my publishing company than I ever knew before. Thank God! I might have given up if I had any idea how much I didn’t know!

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released?
Best Seller, baby! I would love to have created my second career . . . and that twenty years later, I’ll still be writing, sitting in my rocking chair in a sunny place, sipping on my mango lemonade. So, you, your cousin, brother-in-law, and your hairdresser run out and buy the book or download the book. Just . . . Get the book!

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? 
I set out to inspire and entertain. I think that the way to do that so that it is lasting is to educate. When we learn something, it changes our thinking on a given subject; therefore, we carry it in our spirits. Anything that is part of your spirit is part of you. Entertaining allows the education and inspiration to be like medicine going down with a spoonful of sugar. I am always trying to illuminate the goodness of God. This message continues to provide light in dark places.

BPM: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
I didn’t self-publish. However, I would think one advantage of self-publishing would be that you would be the captain of your own destiny, making your own decisions . . . your way. I would think the one disadvantage of self-publishing would be that you would be the captain of your own destiny, making your own decisions . . . your way. LOL. As a new writer, you could be separating yourself from boundless amounts of expertise and assistance by doing it yourself . . . especially if you’re new to the game.

BPM: Where do you see publishing going in the future? Will e-books continue to reign?
I really do think e-books will reign, especially for those who are older. Being able to customize fonts, read in the dark next to your spouse without bothering him/her is major for those of us who read constantly. Carrying around two hundred books in a lightweight tablet is no small feat . . . Yeah, it’ll be here. And I’ll keep buying too. Now my parting words are . . . I miss books—the feel of the paper, writing along the blank spaces, and still being able to read it when the battery dies.

BPM: Finish this sentence: “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers . . .”
“My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors who dare to be different. To go down the path less traveled. Trust your imagination and the story that you want to tell. Others DO want to hear it.”

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My goal is to continue writing beyond my trilogy. I have a “small ideas notebook” where I write down dynamic characters and interesting plots. So I plan to be around.

I have a website called Writespirit that can be read by going to http://www.ColetteHarrell.com. I will provide my calendar of events, book excerpts, and current works on the Web site. My blog will also be accessed through the web site. I have developed a fictional character by the name of Mother Maku Sweat, and her husband is Bishop Mo Sweat. She’s a feisty evangelist full of the wisdom of the ages. I plan to have Mother Sweat’s video advice column on my Web site as well.

The Devil Made Me Do It, Colette R. Harrell

The voluptuous Esther Wiley has always known that she is special. She’s a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying kind of Cinderella princess in disguise. The problem that her very own Fairy Godmother, the Prophetess Mother Reed, struggles with is getting her to live like it.

Briggs Stokes is the reluctant heir to his father’s worldwide, multimillion-dollar televangelist ministry, yet he yearns to be his own man. His past mistakes have caused him a private life of hurt and loneliness.

Esther and Briggs meet and develop a deep soul connection, until tragedy strikes and the two are thrust apart. Their separation leads each down a different path scattered with emotional minefields. While each step they take brings them closer to who they were always meant to be, the devil is on assignment. He sends in reinforcements to usher in confusion and create chaos, and soon no one is safe. The members of Love Zion church reel from the rumors, innuendo, and downright sabotage that is going on around them.

When others devise evil schemes to seek the destruction of Esther and Briggs through jealousy, greed, and murder, only divine intervention can save them. As an all-out battle for dominion breaks out in the heavens, will Esther and Briggs become a casualty of war?

Christian Fiction, topics include: suicide, abuse, adultery, company fraud, and obsession. Available at Amazon: 
http://www.amazon.com/The-Devil-Made-Me-Do/dp/1601627823   

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with William Fredrick Cooper

William Fredrick Cooper Uplifts The African-American Community With His Novels

William Fredrick Cooper is the author of the critically-acclaimed SIX DAYS IN JANUARY, the Essence/Black Expressions Bestselling novel THERE’S ALWAYS A REASON and the author of ONE SEASON IN PINSTRIPES, a sports memoir chronicling the 2009 championship season of the New York Yankees. A dynamic speaker known for giving enlightening radio interviews, he has edited several award-winning novels and contributed to New York Times bestselling anthologies and national periodicals such as Ebony Magazine.

His fourth book, UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) is scheduled for publication on March 18, 2014. (All books were published through Strebor Books/Simon and Schuster). A Brooklyn native and the proud father of Maranda Nicole Cooper, stop by Cooper’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/wfcooper, listen to some great music and say hello.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? What road did you travel?
Ella, I traveled the road of self-publishing. Back in 2000, when I received my 72nd and last rejection letter, one that actually said my writing was “too emotional for a black man,” (sigh) I decided to do this on my own. So I went to First Books Library (Currently known as Author House), a print-on-demand company.

In 2001, I was speaking at the University of Maryland at College Park about the struggles of my literary journey and little did I know God had put someone in that audience that was listening to my every word. After the conference the woman and I put books up for a vendor. She me told her vision then asked me to tag along. At first I rejected her, but she never forgot about me, even as she grew in stature. Through her, I received my first computer (when I wrote the lead story in the book Sistergirls.com), and the rest is history. I owe her a bit, and love her in my own special way. Thanks, Zane.

BPM: What is your definition of success? Does money play a part in how you gauge success?
My definitions of success are broad and none of them have anything to do with money. That we are contributing pebbles in the vast ocean of African-American Literary History makes us successful. That a person can maximize their potential in any area of light at a high level defines success.

BPM: What books or authors made a difference in your life?
So many books have inspired me. Terry McMillan and “Waiting to Exhale” was one, because it started the current literary phenomenon. The literary works of David Halberstam (Summer of ’49, October of 1964, The Best and the Brightest) have influenced my flow, as I love his intellectual rhythm with words.

The romance writers (Donna Hill, Rochelle Alers, Brenda Jackson, Cheryl Faye) taught me narrative imagery, James Baldwin’s diversity, Timmothy McCann’s books passion, Eric Jerome Dickey’s usage of commas in paragraphs, Cornel West, Earl Graves and others for social content, and of course, The BIBLE, for faith.

BPM: How many books have you written? How has your writing style evolved over the years? What stimulated your growth the most? 
Ella, I am blessed to have done four books. Three of them novels, and a fourth was a sports book. God has really blessed me with a versatile pen: In my early days, I wrote novels and steamy erotic short stories, but I would always challenge myself in writing short op-ed pieces on diverse issues. That would eventually pay off when I wrote my sports memoir ONE SEASON IN PINSTRIPES.

Good writers stimulate me. People like Robert Fleming (Cole Riley) influenced me so much as a writer, because they can do anything with a pen. Intellectually stimulating and articulately-driven, I admire his range. I think he’s one of the most underappreciated writers of our generation. GIVE HIM HIS DUE!!!

BPM: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, STUDY YOUR CRAFT! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE STUDY THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THIS. A LOT OF GREED!!  TOO MUCH GREED!!

BPM: Introduce us to your latest book. What genre is the book? On Kindle or Nook? 
My fourth book is entitled UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD). The novel is classified as fiction, but I think it’s so much more. Scheduled for release on March 18, 2014, it will be available online as well as in many bookstores, and will be available in paperback, Kindle and Nook.

BPM: What compelled or inspired you to write this book? Why now? Ever experience writers block?
Can I be completely honest? I wrote UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) with a sense of urgency. Sometimes, that mental clock in your brain tells you that you’re running out of time to maximize certain gifts in order to fulfill God’s promise on the life He wants you to have. I felt like the wheels of artistic progression were spinning in place, and something in my spirit told me that this may be my last opportunity at forward progress.

 Additionally speaking, I wanted to write another William McCall story (SIX DAYS IN JANUARY, THERE’S ALWAYS A REASON ) with the hopes that he might find the one thing he has coveted: LOVE.

BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
Ella, I wrote UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) as if I were composing a musical score or recording an album. Like an artist given complete creative and production control, my imprints are EVERYWHERE. For starters, the love story pays tribute to the legacy of Michael Jackson, the creative engine of my dreams. And there are transparent statements about my life through original lyrics of Jackson songs. Lastly, there are inspirational pieces with words that I hope might help us all with Love.

BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message enclosed?
UNBREAKABLE (A LOVE BALLAD) has an appeal that might reach both a fiction and romance reader, and strong socially informative messages of that might cause a debate or two amongst intellects. Trumping all that is the book’s primary initiative: LOVE, It can be intense and enduring, but at day’s end it’s just that… LOVE. God’s most precious gift dwells within us all, if we look close enough. And contrary to popular belief, it conquers all.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book? 
I’m praying that it gives readers hope to trust LOVE with their hearts after reading this. If not, then I better give up writing and follow another vision, because that means I didn’t deliver the message God gave me effectively.

BPM: How do you avoid the temptation of interjecting your own value system in your writing?
I’m gonna challenge that question. While we don’t want to sound preachy, I think all writers sprinkle nuggets of their belief systems into their stories. Christian Fiction writers believe in God, or they wouldn’t write in that genre. (PICTURE IT: A beautiful book of faith written by a salty- mouthed person who’s openly admits that he enjoys sex shops and pornography.- That like a person with no eyebrows looking amazed – LOL!!!)

As far as other areas of the craft, you have to be careful not to force opinions. If done properly, a well-developed character can’t help but speak not only their value system, but a small portion of the writers as well through a careful gamut of emotions. Unless of course, you’re writing from a character that’s not your gender.

BPM: Share with us a quote brief excerpt from one of the most powerful chapters. 
You really want me to? I mean… are you sure? Well…um, okay… (The author says warily.)

“Darling, don’t we have a black man in the White House?”

Carl answered, “One they attempted to humiliate by offering millions of dollars for his birth certificate and college records? One they have called ‘indecisive’ because of the scenario in Syria? And don’t get me started on the economy. America’s been borrowing millions-a-day for years from other countries, and now that they’re having trouble paying it back, it’s his fault? What a bunch of crap. ”

“You forgot about the Republicans and their fight against the Affordable Care Act. For crying out loud, they shut down government operations for sixteen days.” Keisha added. “Do you see the lengths ignorant people will go to prove a point? It’s like the GOP wanted to see America fail, so they can say ‘We handed The Magic Negro a mess and he made it worse.’ Sometimes I wonder if he was merely a figurehead put in place to keep us in the dark, a neat little trick by Charlie.”

“I’ve wondered that too, Keisha, especially with the way he’s being treated. In so many ways it parallels what Jackie Robinson endured. He absorbed so much hatred being “The First” that he died only sixteen years after his playing days. The abuse took years from his life. Then I look at Barack and worry. I mean, have they blatantly disrespected any other President like this? It’s ‘keep him in his place’ bull**** of the worst kind, and it doesn’t matter that he came from the womb of a white woman.”  ###

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
There are so many messages I’m trying to deliver in UNBREAKABLE, but if I had to pick one, it’s the obvious. LOVE still exists because it’s in us, and we shouldn’t forget this. I just hope people appreciate the story.

BPM: How much does “word of mouth” has play into the success of your book? What grassroots strategies have you used to spread the word about your book? 
“Word of Mouth” is critical with my books, because I’m not a writer that comes out with a book a year. (It takes me a good 12-16 months to write one.). So far, the hype was been tremendous. Makes me a little nervous.

To promote UNBREAKABLE, I’ve been posting excerpts of the story online, as well as playing a great deal of Michael Jackson on my Facebook page and distributing flyers at major events and functions. As we get closer to the release date, I’ll intensify the buzz by utilizing a marketing team.

BPM:  Finish this sentence- “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… ”
My writing offers an honest, heartfelt attempt to reach greatness with a pen. I owe that to all that came before me, and those who will throw it down on those pages long after I’m gone. Only God knows the final word on my humble contribution, but its sure fun trying to carve a great one out.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online? 
I’ve begun outlining my next book. That one will probably be ready by March of 2016. And I’m getting ready to tour UNBREAKABLE throughout the country. My new website should be up and running by April, but readers can reach me always on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wfcooper.  I have a Twitter account, but I don’t go there as much as I should. I can also be contacted via email at unbreakable006@yahoo.com  or areason006@yahoo.com

BPM: Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself, your journey and your book with our readers!
God Bless You, Ella.

Unbreakable: A Novel
by William Fredrick Cooper
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Link:  http://amzn.com/1593094876 
All other books can be purchased on Amazon.com




 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Michelle Lindo-Rice


Michelle Lindo-Rice enjoys crafting women’s fiction with themes centered around the four “F” words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness. Her first published work, Sing A New Song, was a Black Expressions featured selection. Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner.

She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Teachers College, Columbia University. When she moved to Florida, she enrolled in Argosy University where she completed her Education Specialist degree in Education Leadership. A pastor’s kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship. Feel free to connect with her at michellelindorice.com

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
After writing Walk A Straight Line, readers wrote me asking questions about Keith and Gina. They felt the love between these two was so powerful. I, too, believed the characters still had more to tell. In Walk A Straight Line, Michael appeared too gullible. I wanted to delve more into his psyche and find out exactly what he would do when he found out about Keith and Gina’s betrayal. Boy, do we find out. Michael Ward evolves in this story.

BPM:  Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
My upbringing as a Pastor’s daughter inspire my writing because I do feel that since God gave me the gift, I should write to honor Him. Most of my inspiration comes from reading, television, conversations. At any moment, I can be inspired to write a story. I think it was what I was meant to do. My close relationships with family and friends may influence my writing but my work is fiction.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  Why?
My book ideas come from the news, nature, conversations – really anywhere and everywhere. I have learned to carry a post-it note or have a pen handy so I can jot my ideas down. I then save them on my computer and I’ll read through before deciding which character is ready to speak. My books are primarily character driven. The characters shape my story and often take me into unchartered territory. When I’m engulfed in writing, I allow them to speak and lead. Yes, I do plot, but the characters will often throw some curve ball in my plans. I think people relate to character-driven story lines. They really get to know them and root for them.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My current work is My Steps Are Ordered. It is the second in the “On the Right Path” series. Like the series title suggest, each of the characters face situation that may lead them astray, but we soon realize that was the path God meant for them to take. All roads lead to Him. I consider my book Christian fiction, meaning fiction appropriate for Christians to read. It’s not lacking in drama or edge, but does not have profanity or sex scenes. I also consider my work women’s fiction. It is available in Paperback. I’m not exactly sure when Urban Books will release it in digital form.

BPM:   Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Keith Ward goes through some changes. He keeps his distance, but he can’t shake his feelings for Gina. When Keith becomes saved, we see his struggle with pleasing God, being a man of God and just being a man—very much human. Keith is strong-willed and used to getting his own way but we will see him make some tough decisions that are uncharacteristic. Michael transforms in this second novel. He is a smart businessman but too trusting in his personal relationships. When the truth of his brother’s love for his wife hits him, Michael’s fury is unequaled. He is not someone you want as an enemy. Gina bears the guilt of coming between two brothers. She tries to do the right thing but her heart wants Keith. The only thing that trumps her love for him is her devotion to her son, Trey. We will share her joy and pain of motherhood especially when Trey falls ill.

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Topics and themes covered in My Steps Are Ordered are illness of a child; betrayal, unrequited love, family, forgiveness and trusting in God. He knows best. What I’ve learned from writing My Steps Are Ordered is that God has a way of working everything out for our good in His time and in His way. I learned God is able to take us through anything. I’ve learned I need to trust Him more and to be patient. My walk with Christ is stronger because of my writing.

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
For me, success is being able to bless others because of my work. I love when readers contact me to talk about my characters. I love when they say they’ve made some changes because they’ve read my work. Success is when they recommend it to someone else. Isn’t that a huge compliment? My ambitions are high, but I submit to what God has planned because I have no other choice. I would love to see my book on bestseller list or on the big screen, but honestly my ambitions are to keep writing. I hope I always have a story to tell.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?
My expectations for My Steps Are Ordered are for readers to laugh, cry and rejoice at God at work in the characters lives. I hope they will sit for hours with eyes wide open until they get to the last page, then regret they’re on the last page, lol. I would like for readers to be drawn closer to God. I would love them to tell five or more friends about it. I want their hearts singing at the love story.

BPM:   Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I am grateful for the opportunity you provide for authors to reach more readers. Please join my mailing list and tell someone. Also, please keep me in your prayers. I need them.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers please reach out to me on social media, I’m everywhere. Please join my mailing list at http://www.michellelindorice.com to keep up with my latest releases. On my website you’ll learn more about me and can read sample chapters for all the books.

http://www.michellelindorice.com
https://twitter.com/mlindorice
https://www.facebook.com/michelle.lindorice


My Steps Are Ordered by Michelle Lindo-Rice

What happens when your husband finds out you’re in love with his brother?

Team Keith?  Team Michael?  How about Team God?

Gina Ward has it all: a husband, a child, and all the finer things life have to offer. She doesn’t see herself as one of the less fortunate who needs God. But, what happens when her only son, Trey, falls ill? Will she rely on the only one who holds the world in His hands?

Keith Ward is a respected minister, but he cannot shake his inappropriate feelings for his brother’s wife. When his nephew falls ill, Keith knows he has to drop everything to be by her side. Will he finally find healing for his broken heart?

Michael Ward is living the dream life, but life as he knows it changes drastically when his son falls ill. Everything he thought to be truth will be brought into question. What will he do when he realizes he is living one big lie?

The Second Installment of the “On the Right Path” series promises to keep you turning the pages until the stunning end.

Michelle Lindo-Rice Amazon Page
http://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Lindo-Rice/e/B009EX7RZA
YouTube Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENikq32SMk4

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Love and Order of the Seers by Cerece Rennie Murphy

Love and Order of the Seers
by Cerece Rennie Murphy


One of my favorite things about the story of Order of the Seers is the many different types of love
I get to explore. Romantic love plays a strong role throughout the books, but there is also love of family, love of self, love of community and finally love for the world at large. Let me explain…

Love of Family
The first characters you get to meet in Order of the Seers (Book I) are Liam and Lillith (Lilli) Knight, a brother and sister whose love for each other is about to be pushed to a whole new level. At 16 and 13 years old, respectively, these young people haven’t had a lot of experience with sacrifice. While they both lost their father at a young age, they have lived a normal life in a modest, but comfortable home that their mother provided for them. I’ve always believed that sacrifice is the true measure of love. It’s easy to love someone when there is no inconvenience, no challenge and minimal effort on your part.

But when love costs you something, that’s when you know its importance in your life. At the tender age of 16, Liam sacrifices a lot for the safety and well being of his sister. The changes to his life are jarring and painful, with consequences he can’t even perceive at the start, but each time he is tested, he makes the choice to protect his sister, to love her, no matter what. And slowly, as Lilli grows and learns what love is through her brother’s selfless example, she returns his love with a commitment and sacrifice of her own.

Liam and Lilli’s story is just one way that familial love is explored in the books. Marcus Akida’s relationship with Alessandra Pino is another. At the point where you meet Alessandra, she feels as low as a person can feel. She is a slave – exploited for an extraordinary ability that she does not understand and can’t control. Every person, every interaction she can remember in her young life is about someone taking something from her. The people around her feed her, cloth her, keep her healthy only to keep her alive to exploit and she hates herself for it. When she first meets Marcus, she has no idea what to do with his kindness. In fact, she is immediately suspicious. His gentle demeanor is so unfamiliar that she runs from it, until he proves (and she realizes) that he is unlike anyone she’s ever met.

Not only does he not want anything from her, he wants to offer her something she has no concept of – a vision of herself outside of the exploitation of her daily life, a vision of her own potential, her own value, her own worth. For Alessandra, as with all of us who experience unconditional love for the first time, it is nothing short of revolutionary. Marcus becomes her mentor and friend first, then ultimately her father. And through his love, she becomes unstoppable.

Romantic Love
The first time, Alessandra catches a glimpse of Liam in her future, her entire world shifts. She sees a man who holds her gently, smiles in delight at her presence and promises love with every syllable he utters. The notion that someone could, would and WILL love her that way is intoxicating. That simple vision gives her the courage she needs to risk everything to find him.

But love, as any mature person knows, is not enough. One of the things I truly enjoy about the love story between Liam and Alessandra is the necessity of finding themselves before they finally find each other. There is a lot of awkwardness and starts and stops, which is fun (and sexy!), but there is also a lot of soul searching. I wanted my characters to walk in to their love knowing their own value and taking the risk, not out of desperation or fear, but out of a real sense of who they are and what they want. By the time our couple comes together, they are two people who understand themselves and can honestly say they want the same things from each other, which makes for a powerful bond to carry them through all the craziness and danger that follows.

Although Liam and Alessandra are the “romantic leads” in Order of the Seers, they are not the only ones. Other characters represent different phases and levels of “romantic love that take you on a journey from the heights of physical love to the depths of a truly inseparable spiritual connection.

Self-love
The journey of the Seers is absolutely one of self-discovery and love. As Seers within the Guild, they are striped of their memories, their identity, even their basic instinct to fight back. The entire context for their being is torn away. In place of these essential elements, they are given a purpose and identity that is solely about serving the needs of others. When the first of this group escapes the Guild, they literally do not know who they are, what they like or dislike or even the extent of their power to see the future. All of this they learn after they leave the Guild and are able to discover and define life on their own.

For Marcus Akida, his unique resistance to the Guild’s mind-controlling drugs allowed the natural process of his own self-discovery and awareness to remain uninterrupted and, as a result, he becomes the most powerful Seer the Guild has ever seen. Marcus never doubts his value, no matter how he is treated or what they use him for. And he doesn’t stop there. Through his optimism and understanding of his own value, he teaches Alessandra and every person he comes in contact with how to do the same. This profound sense of his own identify – outside of the one assigned to him – allows Marcus to use his gift in a way that no one ever imagined and that spark of authenticity changes the world, bringing down an entire regime. Marcus is who I want to be when I grow up.

 
 
 


One Word at a Time…

by Cerece Rennie Murphy

One of the most frequent questions I get when someone finds out that I am an author is “How do you find the time to write with 2 young children and a family?”

To this, I usually try to come up with something that’s encouraging like, “Well, I try to carve out a little time everyday” or “I write whenever I can,” but the truth is that, most days, I am hard pressed to answer that question for myself. For me, it is a daily struggle to find the time and space to get into a consistent writing rhythm with my books. And if it was “challenging” with our first child, it pretty much all went to hell with our second. There were times when I doubted that my second book, The Red Order, would EVER get finished.

Sometimes, like this very week, I will come off a snowball of unexpected school closings, illnesses and last-minute emergencies to get a whole day off during the weekend to write {insert the sound of angels singing here} only to have those plans shot down by ME catching the illness of my “was ailing, but now fully recovered” child and lying in bed the entire day sick as a dog and unable to write. (As I write this, I am recovering from a wicked stomach virus that had me laid out after throwing up for 5 hours straight).

The point is, it’s hard. You have to fight for it. Hunger for it and dream about that next chapter, that next scene. I keep a notebook by my bed so I can always get something done or sketch out a scene, even if it’s only in broken phrases. And you know what, little by little, those sentences and phrases, snippets of dialogue slowly become a book. 

I looked at my little notebook last night and was shocked to find that despite all the distractions, unexpected interruptions and mayhem that seem to make up the fabric of my life, I have outlined all 23 chapters of my next book. There may be a chapter or two added once the real writing starts, but I am done with this phase of my novel. I stared at my notebook in disbelief for a long time because I’ve literally been trying for months to get to this point. And the only reason it happened is because I didn’t give up. I wrote it down, one word at a time.

And that’s how I get it done.
View the Source on the CMG Blog


About the Author

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

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

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

Cerece lives just outside of her hometown of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda.

Books by Cerece Rennie Murphy  http://www.amazon.com/Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/e/B008G6XXBS

 

  
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Trice Hickman

Trice Hickman is a self-proclaimed Southern girl, and award-winning, bestselling author. Trice’s love of reading and the power she recognized in the written word inspired her to become a writer. After receiving rejection letters from every agent and publisher she submitted her work to, Trice was determined to bring her stories to life. She self-published her first three novels to great success, and shortly thereafter, landed a multi-book deal with Kensington (Dafina Books) where she is currently published. When she’s not busy writing and reading, Trice enjoys cooking, traveling, decorating, and meeting good people. Learn more about Trice at http://www.tricehickman.com.

BPM:   What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
The motivation to write, TROUBLEMAKER (which is the fourth book in the Unexpected Love Series) was inspired by the characters from, LOOKING FOR TROUBLE.  I had to finish telling the story of these complicated, vibrant people who have given readers so much enjoyment throughout the series. Some of the things that happen in this book are also inspired by real life. This family saga explores the many facets of love, heartache, betrayal, and addiction, which are all things I’ve personally witnessed in my own family. I hope readers will take away a spiritual lesson from this book-that love and forgiveness can mend whatever is broken.

BPM:   What motivated you to become an indie author?

I initially self-published my first book, UNEXPECTED INTERRUPTIONS, because every agent and publisher I submitted my manuscript to turned it down. I knew that if I wanted my story to be published and widely read, I would have to take control and do it myself. Self-publishing was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was a great learning experience and the insight I gained taught me so much about how the publishing industry works. Although I’m now signed with a publishing company, I still utilize many of the same grassroots marketing and promoting techniques I used when I was self-published.

BPM:  Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
I believe my upbringing and life experiences have directly impacted the subjects about which I write. Most people write what they’re familiar with. I grew up in a small, Southern town, and my writing is starting to reflect that more and more.

BPM:   Do you write full-time?  Do you write every day? Do you have a special time to write?
I’ve been writing full-time since 2007, which is a real blessing. I make every effort to write each day, even if I’m only re-writing what I’ve already written; I consider that writing. Sometimes it’s hard to write every day though, because there are so many other things a writer has to do, like market, promote, and sell our books. That part of publishing can be more challenging and time-consuming than actually writing. I’ve found that my most productive and creative writing takes place at night and during the wee hours of the morning. I’m a nighthawk and that helps.

BPM:   Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  Why?

My ideas for my books come from a combination of real life experiences, insight, and my vivid imagination. I love coming up with interesting twists on ordinary situations. I think that’s how most things unfold in real life. My books are definitely character driven and the characters carry the plot of the story based on their actions. I create a detailed biography for each one of my characters so that I know them inside and out, which also allow me to write in their voice and not my own.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My current novel TROUBLEMAKER, takes readers on a fast-paced ride with the Small family during the course of a weekend trip that reveals hidden secrets, betrayal, blackmail, and an addiction that threatens to tear them apart. I believe one of the things that sets TROUBLEMAKER apart from many other books in the women’s contemporary fiction genre, is the setting. Most storylines in the genre are set against the backdrop of big cities and even exotic locales overseas. This book is set in a small, sleepy Southern town that has a personality all its own.

As one who hails from a small town in the South I can attest first-hand that the juiciest twists and most salacious scandals take place in small towns…’cause folks don’t have much to do but cause or get into trouble! My books are available in paperback as well as ebook, and some are also available in audio.

BPM:   Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?

My main characters are beautifully flawed women and men who are searching for what we all ultimately want, which is love, happiness, and peace of mind. They are good people who sometime make bad choices, but in doing so they always search for the best way of recovery, as that’s what life is about. I believe the beauty of what makes my characters special is that they genuinely care about the larger world and have a deep love for humanity.

BPM:  Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
One issue that the family in TROUBLEMAKER deals with is the struggle of addiction, and in particular, substance abuse. Christian, who is Victoria’s and Ted’s son, is struggling with drug addiction. He’s a functioning addict, and while he presents a nice looking package on the outside, he’s torn up on the inside. I don’t know one single family that hasn’t been affected by addiction of some kind, or know of someone who is struggling with it. I provide information in the back of the book that lists resources people can contact for help.

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

The topics discussed in TROUBLEMAKER range from infidelity, to blackmail, to dealing with addiction. The primary topic or theme of this story that I believe readers will take away from the book is the ability to love unconditionally and forgive with an open heart.

BPM:  What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?  How do you go about reaching new readers?        
I always want readers to feel as though they were entertained while reading my books and when they finish, I want them to have gained a new or different understanding of how to look at life from with a broader view that dispels stereotypes.  I love meeting new readers and I’m constantly seeking ways to grow my audience by utilizing social media and good ol’ fashion face-to-face hellos. I love attending book club meetings and literary events where I can meet people up close and personal. There’s nothing like the personal touch!

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released?

Success for me as a published author means developing a literary career that will give readers enjoyment for decades to come. When I hear readers say that they enjoyed my books so much that they read them over and over, or that they can’t wait to introduce my work to their daughter, or niece, or friend, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction and lets me know that my work will live on. That’s an awesome feeling!

BPM:   Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this story to life?
My biggest challenge in bringing this story to life was finding the time to write it. Writing a book requires discipline, daily commitment, and hours upon hours of uninterrupted time. Many days I didn’t leave the house, phone calls didn’t get returned, and errands were not done because I had to write. Exercising focused discipline is the only way you’re going to complete a book. When you have a busy life filled with activities that can easily distract you, it can be challenging to find the time to write each day. I had to prioritize and develop a writing schedule that allowed me to divide my time between living my life and writing my book. Balance is necessary.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this series of books?

I would like to see this series become a #1 Book Club designated read across the country, and eventually make it to the big screen. The nuances of family dynamics, race relations, and class stratification all make for interesting discussion and jaw-dropping drama that I’m sure readers and audiences will enjoy. Also, I throw in a little steamy romance that adds spice to my stories.


Books by Trice Hickman

http://www.amazon.com/Trice-Hickman/e/B002N44944

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/trice-hickman/2106303

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Nika C. Beamon – TV News Producer

Nika C. Beamon is a TV News Writer/Producer in New York. She pursued a BA in Communications and a BA in Sociology at Boston College in Massachusetts.

Beamon has been credited as a reference in the several books on television news and has also won many awards throughout her career including a Peabody Award for ABC News’ coverage of the September 11th Attacks.

In 2009, Chicago Review Press published her well-received non-fiction book: I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak Out. In 2000, she published her first mystery novel, Dark Recesses. In 2002, her second mystery novel, Eyewitness was released.


WHY BEAMON’S MISDIAGNOSED IS A MUST READ

Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House by Nika Beamon  sheds light the experiences of African American and other minorities who have a well-documented history of getting substandard or inadequate medical treatment in the U.S. A research study cited in a February 14, 2010 Daily Beast article said “race-related differences in health care cost the country 229 billion between 2003 and 2006” alone; a fact that “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called ‘just stunning and shocking.’”

Misdiagnosed serves a cautionary guide to anyone who falls ill or has a loved one suffering with an ailment in the US. A recent John Hopkins study found that hospital errors lead to as many as 40,500 patients dying annually.

The Mayo Clinic found 26 percent of cases are misdiagnosed; this number rises to a staggering 44 percent when it comes to some types of cancer according to the Journal of Clinical Onocology. These mistakes cost nearly one third of the 2.7 trillion spent in the US on healthcare. A study published in April showed one in every 20 people or 12 million per year are misdiagnosed at outpatient clinics in the U.S.   [  Source  ]

WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK:

Anyone who has not had a chronic illness.
Anyone who has a chronic illness. 
Anyone who has cared for someone with a chronic illness. 
Anyone who has treated, or attempted to treat, someone with a chronic illness. 
Anyone who influences health policy in the U.S. or other countries. 


BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

I sat down to write this book after having my first lymph node biopsy and realizing the delay in my diagnosis may have led to my illness progress to the near terminal stage. Family, friends and co-workers encouraged me to share my story to inspire others.  Months later, the first draft of Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House was complete.

BPM:  Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Certain my life experiences have taught to me to embrace myself, flaws and all, so that I can keep growing and sharing who I am with the world.  My upbringing taught me I’m capable of succeeding, despite my limitations, with the help of my support system.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  Why?
My book ideas are influenced by the stories I read about or come in contact with every day.   I’d like to think my books are character driven; that readers connect with someone in the story and go on the journey with them. However, I believe the social themes I address are equally as important to grasp.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My new book is my first memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House.   I work in television and am a self-professed TV junkie so naturally I was a fan of the show, “Dr. House, MD.”  When my own illness seemed to baffled doctors, I searched for a doctor, like the one on the show, who could help figure out what was wrong with me.  It takes me 17 years and nearly 22 doctors to find an answer but thankfully I survived to get it. The book will be available a paperback and in all e-book forms starting August 1st.

BPM:   Give us some insight into your main speakers. What makes each one so special? 
The main speakers in the book real people: me and my ex-boyfriend. You gain great insight into our nearly decade long romantic relationship and the toll my physical decay takes on it.  Additionally, you are introduced to my parents and several close friends that form a village to take care of me when I am unable to do so myself.

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House deals with a variety of topics including: being sick and single, dealing with chronic illness, the plight of medical misdiagnosis, the financial toll prolonged illnesses take, the role of the caregiver in the lives of the chronically ill and the strength of the human spirit, as well as the role of faith in healing. Reflecting on the various bouts with illness in my life taught me to appreciate where I am in my life right now and all those who have aided me.

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
The only real ambition I have as a writer is to tell stories that entertain and enlighten readers about subjects, persons or thoughts they don’t often consider.  I define success as anytime I reach anyone outside of my circle of friends, family and co-workers.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?

I truly hope this book as used as a resource to aid other people struggling with illness.  I provide tips at the end to help others avoid the pitfalls I ran into so that they can focus on getting well.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can find out more about me and my other books by logging onto my website:
http://www.nikabeamon.com
https://twitter.com/NikaBeamon
https://www.facebook.com/NikaCBeamon


Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House by Nika Beamon

Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House is the tale of a Nika Beamon’s quest to find the correct medical diagnosis after years of getting false assessments. This frank and engaging story takes the reader on journey through her various hospital trips, and procedures, as well as her feeling and emotions that are as real as they are raw. It also introduces them to a quirky cast of characters who go through this 17 year odyssey with her until she finally finds out that she has an autoimmune disorder.

Misdiagnosed gives a voice to the 30 million Americans diagnosed with rare diseases, who have struggled to figure out what ail them. It gives people suffering with chronic conditions, rare or not, tips on how to continue to get the best medical care possible. I also provide tips on how to care for someone who is chronically ill and the things all single chronically ill people should do to make things easier for their family and friends.

Also, Misdiagnosed serves a cautionary guide to anyone who falls ill or has a loved one suffering with an ailment in the US. A recent John Hopkins study found that hospital errors lead to as many as 40,500 patients dying annually. Also, a study published in April showed 1 in every 20 people or 12 million per year are misdiagnosed at outpatient clinics in the U.S.

Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House  has been endorsed by bestselling authors Wes Moore, Marya Hornbacher and Richard Cohen (Meredith Vieira’s husband) as well as Dr. Robert Lahita of UMDNJ and the Nation Women’s Health Network.

Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House available on August 1, 2014  on Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble.com and in all e-book formats.

Purchase at Smashwords. Available formats: epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt
Link for the book:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457341


Advance Reviews for Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House 

 
“Misdiagnosed is an eye-opening, fascinating account of a brave journey through the labyrinth of American medicine. Beamon draws the reader in skillfully, and gives us a close up view of the power of human persistence.”
—Marya Hornbacher, a Pulitzer Prize and Pushcart Prize nominated author. Her bestselling books include: Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia; Madness: A Bi-Polar Life and Waiting: A Non-Believer’s Guide to a Higher Power.

“How long can my body endure all the invasions by doctors?   Nika Beamon’s cry is heard throughout Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House. That doc does not exist, of course, but the author’s journey across hazardous terrain in the medical jungle did.  Her misery being mangled by modern medicine provides lessons on arming ourselves for the battles many of us face.”
—Richard M. Cohen, New York Times Best Selling author of Blindsided and Strong at the Broken Places.

“This is a book is a “must read” for all doctors and healthcare professionals…  Enigmatic to most physicians, devastating to patients, the stuff of science fiction, and limitless in presentation; autoimmune diseases are the frontier of medicine in the 21st century.  They demand an understanding of complex science and while practicing the art of medicine with compassion…Read Nika’s story to understand why patients long for a diagnosis.”
—Robert G. Lahita MD, PhD, FACP, MACR, FRCP,  Chairman of Medicine and VP, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Professor of Medicine, UMDNJ

“Misdiagnosed” is a gripping medical detective story. It could be a fictional episode of “House” from the patient’s perspective, but this story is real. It is a raw telling of Nika Beamon’s journey through high-tech American health care. Just as she recounts stripping naked for doctors’ probes and surgeons’ scalpels, Beamon bares hers physical and emotional tribulations to readers.”
—Andrew Holtz, MPH Editor-In-Chief, HoltzReport and author of The Medical Science of House, M.D.

“Nika’s book is a well written, eye opening, call to action. An inspiring, yet alarming story that lets us know that even in our darkest and most alone moments, that we are not alone.”
—Wes Moore, Bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore.

“…Everyone with an invisible illness, whether named or not, will relate to Nika Beamon’s hidden dramas in her life, dealing with the daily frustrations of a mysteriously uncooperative body — and then, often worse, with an ill-equipped, punishing medical system…”
—Paula Kamen,  Author of All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache

“…I truly enjoyed reading this book, not just because it was relatable to the stories I hear a lot from women, but because you incorporated your personal trials into it as well.”

“…I believe it will truly help someone as they are on the quest for their own.  More people need to realize that doctors truly don’t know everything and that doctors can be learning about a patient’s illness right along with them!”
—Shaniqua D. Seth, Health Communications Manager, National Women’s Health Initiative

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Ann Jeffries



Ann Jeffries is a native of Washington, D. C. She is an only child who enjoyed the benefits of a private school education at Allen in Asheville, NC, and a public education at the University of Maryland. She began writing fiction for her own amusement. She is currently writing novels in her Family Reunion: The Wisdom of the Ancestors series.

Ann is the recipient of many awards for leadership and public service. A speaker at colleges, universities, conferences and conventions, she has extensively traveled the North American continent, Asia and Europe. Among other things, she is an entrepreneur, an avid viewer of public television and a voracious reader of fiction.
Ms. Jeffries’ pride and joy are her family, particularly her Fabulous Four grands. She lives in Maryland and South Carolina. Website address: http://www.newviewliterature.com; Facebook @Ann Jeffries; and Twitter @newviewlit

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
Ann: Boredom. I had hundreds of cable television channels to choose from and plenty of books in my library, yet I was still bored. So I picked up a pen and paper and Southern Exposures was born. I enjoyed the writing so much that several books followed.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Ann: Yes, to a certain extent it does. My ancestors were born and raised in a small country town in Sumter County, South Carolina. As a child, while my parents worked, my maternal grandmother would take me to South Carolina during the summer to visit with our rather large family there. I would listen to the stories that they told about their youth in the south that were so different from my northern experiences and the stories that they remembered from their parents and grandparents. Some of that history is reflected in the personalities of my characters. It’s like the old souls showing up and reminding me of what I recall from my childhood coupled with my adult life experiences.

One such life experience was listening to former Congresswoman Barbara Jordon deliver the “Who Speaks For The Common Good” keynote address at the National Democratic Convention. Her words to me were even more riveting than Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech. I encourage readers to listen to her blueprint for a better society.

BPM: Do you write full-time? Do you write every day? Do you have a special time to write?
Ann: Yes, I write full-time, every day and most days, all day. If the story is flowing for me, I do not stop until all of the voices that show up are captured on the printed page.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Ann: Always. I complete my manuscripts and then put them aside and work on another part of the series. Then I go back and re-read my stories to insure that the theme of the series is still on course. It may be months before I get back to a story that I’ve completed.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
Ann: I have short and long term plans for my books and each character that walks into my story can bring a new idea or twist to the story that I ultimately want to tell from different perspectives in this series. There are currently twenty-six books in the series in various stages of completion. Some of the manuscripts are plot driven while others are character driven.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Ann:  Yes, Southern Exposures is available on Amazon’s Kindle and in paperback format.
Southern Exposures is the introduction to the Alexander family of Goodwill, Summer County, South Carolina. Dr. Bernard Alexander, an educator, and his wife of thirty-plus years, Sylvia Benson Alexander, a nurse, are successfully raising five young adults. Kenneth and Benjamin Alexander are brothers and best friends, but as different as night and day. Kenneth, the older, the cool, calm, and collected is a highly trained electronics engineer and businessman, President of his San Francisco-based computer hardware, software and telecommunications company. Captain Benjamin Staton Alexander is the dashing, young US Air Force jet fighter pilot, stationed in San Diego. Yet they came to the same conclusion: They were both falling in love with the same woman—the beautiful and alluring JeNelle Towson, a businesswoman who owns INSIGHTS, a Santa Barbara emporium.

Next in the family line is Vivian Lynn Alexander, a Georgetown Law School student who comes to the conclusion that she could no longer be in a relationship with her college sweetheart and be a successful lawyer. She becomes friends with former basketball icon Chuck Montgomery; an interracial relationship ensues until she meets Chuck’s best friend, Derrick “Dunk and Jam” Jackson, who was an even more celebrated basketball star. Both medical doctors now, Chuck and Derrick find that they have no protection from falling hard for the former basketball Olympic Gold Medalist turned law school student.

Two more Alexander offspring, Gregory, a high school student, and Aretha, a young genius, are a part of the story, but have their own novels later in the series. We watch as the Alexander offspring grow and move out into a society so very different from the principles that their parents and ancestors laid out for them. They encounter people along the way who challenge them on so many levels. Life is hard, but these characters continue to work for what former Congresswoman Barbara Jordon called “The Common Good.”

I believe that it’s for my readers to say what they believe separates these stories from the mass market literature available on the shelves. For certain my stories have triumphs and trials, love and hate, humor and horror, suspense and mystery, and plots and pleasures to serve the taste of most adult readers. Of Southern Exposures, author Jessica Tilles wrote: “Ann Jeffries definitely has a skill for storytelling. There is vitality and high drama in Southern Exposures. The author did an excellent job with honing in and focusing on the three main, important characters of which the drama surrounds. I fell in love with the Alexanders.” Attorney Brenda Irons LeCesne wrote: “Loved the way Ann described the activities. I felt as though I was there witnessing everything.

The book is very warm and the characters have to face challenges each in a different way. Loved the focus on loving family.” Karen R Thomas, President of Creative Minds Book Group wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I think that Ann’s ability to create emotion is a true talent. She did a great job creating suspense. The characters stories seemed most authentic and entertaining. Language and dialogue overall is a strong area for Ann.” I could not have described Southern Exposures better than these three readers.

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Ann: Kenneth James Alexander has a strong, but unassuming personality who believes in the theory that he is his brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. He’s an electronics genius, astute businessman and a bit of a nerd who is oblivious to the attention his good looks and fine physique accord him. He sets the high, moral standards as an example for his siblings to follow and is willing to sacrifice his own needs and desires for his family’s happiness.

Benjamin “Benny” Staton Alexander has always wanted to fly jets and rejects opportunities that he had to play professional basketball in order to pursue his dream of one day piloting missions to outer space. He is a brilliant pilot who gives new meaning to the term “Benny and the jets” and rises through the ranks of the Air Force effortlessly. Still, unlike his older brother, he takes time to maintain an active social life. He is just a dedicated to his family as Kenneth, but he loves his life as a bachelor and does not deny himself the creature comforts that his single lifestyle affords him.

Vivian Lynn Alexander has been a bright, energetic and dynamic leader since her early childhood when her parents read great speeches to her as bedtime stories. One such speech was the Barbara Jordon’s “Who Speaks For The Common Good” speech that set the framework for Vivian’s decision to become a lawyer. She was the first to volunteer to champion causes for which she feels a great deal of passion and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Like her older brothers she is athletic and was picked to be on an Olympic basketball team that won the gold. 

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
Ann: Vivian, although a busy law school student, volunteers time at a family homeless shelter where she meets a destitute Peruvian woman, Signora Anna Menendez-Gaza and her two young children, Angelique and Miguel. She helps Anna’s family by bringing them to live in, Benny’s, (her brother’s) huge brownstone, where she rents rooms to other law school students. All of her housemates pool their resources to help this family find out what happened to Anna’s husband who has mysteriously disappeared.

Homelessness is a fact of astronomical proportions in current society. It is often rare to see the extent of human kindness up close and personal as we do in this aspect of the story.

In another part of the story, Kenneth and Benjamin learn that JeNelle has been the victim of spousal abuse during her former marriage. Again, a current day issue that has yet to be solved. Kenneth and Benjamin both address this situation in an effort to help JeNelle work through her issues.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Ann: With Vivian and the other law school students, the current political climate runs the gamut. One of the housemates, William “Bill” Chandler is a former male prostitute and high-priced, high fashion model, who comes from a dysfunctional family in the heart of Little Italy in New York City. Bill’s backstory is fertile ground for an airing of issues related to sexuality.

Another housemate and law school student, Alan Lightfoot, is a full-blooded Navajo Native American and former US Marine who is fighting to preserve his heritage and his ancestral home. There is quite a scandal that is uncovered about the powers-that-be who continue to mistreat Native Americans and the reasons for it.

I learned that I love to write from going through this process and that even the research that goes into the details is a lot of fun.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers?
Ann: There are a lot of “take aways” from my novels; however, perhaps the most poignant is Amanda Wheeler’s words in her book Arms of the Magnolia. She wrote: “I have this love-hate relationship with the South. Some of my best and worst experiences took place there. I believe that African Americans who have never had southern exposure have a limited prospective on racism. They think it’s all about jobs, but it’s not only about jobs. It’s about land, ownership and self-sufficiency. Our story might be different, if we had gotten our forty acres and a mule. People who can grow their own food and live independent of salaries are the ones who will survive. Everything else is fleeting . . .”

If I say something that is relevant to my audience, I trust that they will remember it and pass it on. Word of mouth may be a low-tech means of reaching a small audience, but some of the great authors started that way. However, regardless of whether I ever reach the New York Times best sellers’ list or have my series optioned for a movie or television show, I will have thoroughly enjoyed this process.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released?
Ann: Success for me has already been achieved. I have three books on the market with twenty-three to go . . . so far. I also have a mystery series that I’m actively working on. There are three books currently in that series. In early 2015, I want to start releasing The Jenna Baker Mystery series.

BPM: Where do you find your daily inspiration or muse?
Ann: I certainly don’t want to freak anyone out or bring my sanity into question, but my characters just show up and beg to have their stories told. Sometimes I ignore them until I have the right vehicle to showcase their stories. Other times I create them because they are the right fit for what I want to say. Men who can cook and women with a strong sense of who they are, are often my inspirations. Couple that with the incredible personalities that I read about in magazines, like Black Enterprise and/or Essence, and I never go wanting for inspiration or muses.

BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
Ann: My biggest challenges were keeping my characters in line and trying to manage the extraordinary number of people and personalities involved in the backstories and arcs. Each novel in the Family Reunion—Wisdom of the Ancestors series sets the stage for the next to follow and then the next. Although each book is a stand-alone story, characters do reappear in other story lines.

BPM: What are your expectations for this series of books?
Ann: My expectations for the series are not grand. Once I identify where I’m going, getting there may be the easiest part. I may take some detours along the route, but ultimately I want to share something that I enjoy reading with my family, friends and fans.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject?
Ann: I have simple goals as a writer: Tell a good, entertaining story that people will enjoy; never put a story to bed with regrets; and leave my audience demanding more.

BPM: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
Ann: Self-publishing allow the writer to use all of the creative tools in the tool box without debilitating interference or influence. I do not seek to appeal to everyone’s taste. However, in my view, the best gauge of an author’s work product comes from the audience reviews whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
Ann: Yes. I regret not taking the advice of my family and friends much sooner. They encouraged me to publish my stories long before I actually made the effort.

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Ann: Thank you for providing this forum to address your audience. It’s been a teachable moment for me.

BPM: Finish this sentence – “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors…”
Ann: “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors that you, too, have a voice that should be heard in the literary arena.”

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Ann: I welcome readers to follow my efforts and submit comments through my publishing house, New View Literature (see, http://www.newviewliterature.com), Twitter @newviewlit, and on Facebook @ Ann Jeffries.

Books in the Family Reunion — In The Wisdom of the Ancestors series:
http://www.amazon.com/Ann-Jeffries/e/B00HFX3FIE

Southern Exposures: Family Reunion 
Purchase: http://amzn.com/099150030X

Touch Me In The Morning 
Purchase: http://amzn.com/0991500377

An Unguarded Moment
Purchase: http://amzn.com/0991500334

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with E.W. Brooks

Growing up in a small town fueled E.W.’s desire to see more and led her to larger cities where she always kept abreast of events via the nightly news and local newspapers. E.W. Brooks was intrigued by the stories of those who made an effort at a better life; on the wrong side of the law. Her curiosities led to much research and her writing, Mafietta.

E.W. Brooks is an Army wife, big sister and mentor with a big imagination. She is the founder of the Campbell Sisterhood, a group of women who support and empower each other as well as other Army Wives. Brooks also donates 10% of book proceeds to the Military Matters Project. However, she says her greatest joy comes from spending time with her family and seeing the smiling faces of those she’s helped to find a bit of light along their journey.

BPM: Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in a small North Carolina town with only two stop lights. My desire to see more led me to larger cities where I always kept abreast of events via the nightly news and local newspapers. I was intrigued by the stories of those who made an effort at a better life; on the wrong side of the law. My curiosities led to much research and my writing, “Mafietta” in hopes of shining a light on what the women who aspired to date these types of men would face when they were shipped away.

BPM: When did you first start writing?
I’ve always written. My grandmother communicated with me in letters for as long as I can remember and it ultimately helped me to express myself through writing. Then, after living a bit of life, it was important to me to share the struggle of the single woman and urban community, so writing a novel seemed to be the natural next step.

BPM: Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck because it explains that you may overcome evil. I also enjoy anything written by Maya Angelou.

BPM: How often do you write?
I write daily. Whether it is keeping a journal, working on a blog. or my next project. I have to get it out.

BPM: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I spend a lot of time volunteering. There is nothing like the feeling you feel when someone finally gets it!! I am just honored and humbled that I can sometimes be used as the tool that brings enlightenment Writing gives me a larger platform to do just that.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
I always let my books stew. I usually write the first few chapters to establish the characters’ position at the beginning of the story. After that I may wait months before coming back to write anything. Doing this gives me time to sort of work out a starting point for the next chapter in my head. Once I get to that point and the writing takes over – I have story lines that came out completely different than I’d imagined, but this is one of the things I love about writing.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? For the Mafietta Series, what came first the characters or the idea?
The idea definitely came first. Then it was up to me to create characters that were consistent with it.  I am intrigued by those who choose to get ahead on the wrong side of the law. I love movies like The Godfather, In Too Deep, American Gangster, and Belly. However, none of these movies really delve into the effects this type of lifestyle has on women.

Consequently, I decided to present a situation where a woman would head this illegal enterprise; so for me the story line is character driven. It is important that Clarke and Errol begin with a pure and innocent love. Creating plots that coincide with that are significant to me.

BPM: Where do you find your daily inspiration or muse?
My favorite positive saying is, “Everyone wants to be loved.” This is somewhat of a prevailing them throughout both novellas. Believe it or not, Jay-Z and Beyoncé were mere my muses in developing the love between Errol and Clarke. For example, both couples share a visible connection and genuine love while being beasts in business.  Clarke and Errol are just going about it a bit differently. In other words, let’s tilt the thought and have The Carters be the same powerhouse couple on the other side of the law – Now, that couple is the one in my book. That couple is Errol and Clarke.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released? 
I expect Mafietta 2 to generate interest in the series as a whole. I expect this quick read to please readers from everywhere and leave them wondering what’s going to happen next and how long it will take me to come out with the next one. After the book is released, I would love to see Mafietta as a television show.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject?
As I writer, I want to always write content my audience will enjoy. I want my work to, of course entertain, but it is important to me that it also educate and inspire. Each of my characters offer a life lesson. I want the reader to understand the lesson.

BPM: I love the opening for your previous interview on BAN Radio. Readers, here it is:
“I hope to continue to put out content that people want to read. If something I write can take someone away from the stresses of their day, I’ve accomplished my goal. I don’t seek to change the world with my books, I have a blog for that, but I do hope to entertain it.”

BPM: What is the most important message you want the reader to learn?
I would love for the readers to look at these characters and take a self-inventory of sorts. Many times, we change who we are and become someone we don’t even recognize for the sake of a relationship. This could be good or bad, but either way, I wanted readers to use these characters to examine their own lives.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
As a published author, success for me, would be defined by the number of people interested in reading my stories or appreciating some other derivative of it. Becoming a published author allowed me to see if I was really any good at my long time hobby. I read each book review as it came in and overall I was pleased. That was one of the greatest feelings in the world for me because ultimately; my goal is to take my writing to the next level and become the female Tyler Perry that Chris Rock wants to work with. I want to get my Streisand on.

BPM: What websites can readers visit in order to discover more about you and your work?
http://www.mafietta.com
https://twitter.com/Mafiettaishere
https://www.facebook.com/EWBrooks
http://instagram.com/ewbrooksbooks
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+EWBrooks/posts



 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Shelia E. Bell

Shelia E. Bell, formerly known as “Shelia E. Lipsey” and also known as God’s Amazing Girl, is a nationally acclaimed, multi-award winning author with fifteen titles to her credit thus far. She was bestowed the 2013 OOSA Book Club Female Author of the Year Award; 2012 Disilgold Magazine Editor’s Choice Book Award for four of her ten titles; nominated for a 2013 and 2012 Christian Literary Award by Joy and Company; recipient of 2011 Book Clubs Unite Literary Award; 2011 Kindle Awards for Literary Contribution; 2010 Pink Diamond Literary Award; 2009 SORMAG Readers’ Choice Awards for My Son’s Wife, 2009 Black Pearls Magazine Top Book Shelf Award, 2009 Urban Reviews Top Shelf Award and 2008 Author of the Year by Conversations Book Club.

Shelia is the founder of BWABC (Black Writers And Book Clubs) Literacy Festival (www.bwabcliteracyfestival.com), acquisitions editor for Bonita And Hodge Publishing Group, LLC (www.bonitaandhodgepublishing.com). She is a sought after inspirational speaker who shares messages of empowerment and overcoming obstacles with audiences all over the USA.

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
My Wife My Baby…And Him is Book V in the My Son’s Wife series. I wrote it because, first, my readers wanted to know more about the Graham family.

Second, I wrote it because the Graham family had so much more to say that I couldn’t resist writing about their continuous drama!

BPM:  Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
I believe my upbringing, prior relationships, and life experiences ALL inspire my writing. Because I write ‘perfect stories about imperfect people,’ I believe anyone can identify with the characters and/or story lines in some shape, form, or fashion simply because of the various things we experience in life. As for myself, past relationships, mistakes, failures, ups and downs of my life are perhaps all woven in my writing.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  Why?
My ideas basically come from everyday life, events and situations that occur. The My Son’s Wife series of books now has taken on a ‘real life’ of its own so the characters dictate the storyline.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
I market my work as contemporary fiction, dramatic faith-based fiction and women’s fiction. Yes, multiple genres!!! My books are available at an unlimited number of online eTailers as well as on my website (sheliaebell.net) They can be downloaded to your favorite eReading device (Nook, Kindle, Ipad, Ipod, Smashwords). They can also be read and downloaded with a subscription to Scribd.com. All of my books can be purchased from your favorite brick and mortar bookstore.

BPM:   Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 

The main character in My Wife My Baby….And Him continues to be none other than Pastor Stiles Graham. His not so lovely wife and First Lady Detria Graham plays an essential and central role in Book V as does Stiles’ good friend Skip Madison. My Wife My Baby….And Him also introduces readers to Associate Pastor Hezekiah McCoy and his wife Fancy. I believe readers will enjoy the new twist this couple brings to Holy Rock.

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
There are a number of topics discussed. Betrayal, lust, deceit, infidelity, grief, anger, forgiveness and the ultimate – payback! I believe I always learn something personal from writing my books. Sometimes they serve as a cleansing of the spirit for me. Other times, they make me realize my own shortcomings and force me to look within to see if I am being the best person that I can be. Because my books discuss real life issues, I sometimes feel that God uses the stories He gives me to write as a teaching tool for ME to learn and to live my best life now!

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Wow! This is a tough one because I believe I am still wrestling with the definition of success as it equates to the literary industry. I most definitely have a desire to become a New York Times bestselling author, as well as see my books on the big screen! This industry is tough and success I guess means a continuous visible presence among the fierce competition for readers. In a world that has literally millions of authors and tens of thousands that write in the same genre(s) as I write, and who may have a bigger budget, more publicity, more of everything….it gets hard. So to be honest, I don’t know if I have attained true success in my own eyes. I’m constantly striving to attain it. I want my books and my stories to remain relevant, but it’s not easy, at least not for me. Yet, I continue and I do not believe in giving up or giving in. 

As for my ambitions, I long to continue to do what I do each day and that is write in some form. I am also one of the acquisitions editors for a boutique publishing company called Bonita And Hodge Publishing Group. We are bringing on new and talented authors. My desire is to see this company play a positive and pivotal role in the ever evolving literary arena by helping authors live their dreams now.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
My expectations for My Wife My Baby…And Him, umm, I would say first that I want it to entertain the readers to the point they will tell others about it. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement, so of course I would love for readers to spread the word about not just this book, but all of my books! I would love to reach the highest pinnacle of literary success, with readers wanting more of the types of books I write.

BPM:   Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? 
I want readers to know Shelia E. Lipsey and Shelia E. Bell are one in the same. However, since I have returned to my maiden name, all of my future books will be written under Shelia E. Bell . I have ventured into writing young adult books too. My first young adult book is House of Cars. The second book will be released later this year. It is called The Life of Payne.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Readers can find me all over the web. You can Google Shelia E. Bell, reach me via email at sheliawritesbooks@yahoo.com or sheliawritesbooks@gmail.com You can find me on social media as Shelia E. Bell and via twitter @sheliaebell My website address is sheliaebell.net

Website:  Sheliaebell.net
Twitter: @sheliaebell 
Instagram: @sheliaebell

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Jamila T. Davis

Jamila T. Davis, author of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series is a self-help expert, motivational speaker and a women’s prison reform activist, who is currently a federal inmate. At age 25, she was a multimillionaire, high-flying real estate investor with ties to the hip-hop world. At age 31, she was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for her role in a multimillion-dollar bank fraud scheme. While imprisoned, Davis has helped to change the lives of many through her inspirational books and cautionary tales based on her real-life experiences. For more information on Jamila T. Davis and to check out her latest memoir The High Price I Had To Pay visit http://www.voicesbooks.com or www.facebook.com/authorJamilaTDavis.
BPM:   Introduce us to your book, She’s All Caught Up and tell us what makes it unique. 
Hello, my name is Jamila T. Davis. I am the author of She’s All Caught Up, which is a memoir about my childhood. My book is a cautionary tale that exemplifies the early influences in my life, which ultimately swayed my thinking and turned me into a die-hard “money-chaser.” Unlike typical urban books that glorify street life through a fictional character, my story is told from a true perspective. And, most importantly, it reveals the severe consequences of living life in the fast lane.

Here is the official introduction we are using to promote the book:  She’s All Caught Up is a real-life cautionary tale that exemplifies the powerful negative influences that affect today’s youth and the consequences that arise from poor choices. Young Jamila grew up in a loving middle class home, raised by two hardworking parents, the Davises, in the suburbs of Jamaica Queens, New York. Determined to afford their children with the luxuries that they themselves never had, the Davises provided their children with a good life, hoping to guarantee their children’s success.

At first it seemed as though their formula worked. Young Jamila maintained straight As and became her parents ideal “star child,” as she graced the stage of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in dance recitals and toured the country in a leading role in an off-Broadway play. All was copacetic in the Davis household until high school years when Jamila met her first love Craig- a 16 year old drug dealer from the Southside housing projects of Jamaica Queens.

As this high school teen rebels, breaking loose from her parents’ tight reins, the Davises wage an “all-out” battle to save their only daughter whom they love so desperately. But Jamila is in too deep! Poisoned by the thorn of materialism, she lusts after independence, power and notoriety, and she chooses life in the fast last to claim them.  When this good girl goes bad, it seems there is no turning back!   Follow author Jamila T. Davis (creator of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series in her blazing memoir, She’s All Caught Up!

BPM:   If you had to describe your book in one word, what would you call it? Why?
I would call my book a mirror, because it was written to cause readers to go within and reflect. At least one experience of Young Jamila will cause readers to relate to her struggles, regardless of their background, color or creed. I didn’t hold back any of the truth of the events that occurred. I shared my strengths with my audience, as well as my weaknesses. I exposed the inner turmoil that kept me chasing inner fulfillment. My book reveals my dark secrets and my insecurities. I believe the pureness of my story, and its common similarities to the experiences of other females, will cause readers to reflect and explore their own characteristics, past influences and choices.

BPM:   Tell us a little about your life and your upbringing. 
I grew up in Jamaica, Queens- New York, in a middle class home. I was raised by both my parents, who were hard workers that migrated from the South. They overcame the barriers of poverty and racism and made a good life for themselves. Because they lacked certain opportunities growing up, they were determined to provide my brother and myself with the opportunities that they didn’t have. I guess you could say my mother was like a stage mom. She had me enrolled in every activity you could think of from singing, dancing, and acting, to swimming, judo and tennis. She was determined that her kids would be well-rounded and successful. She raised me to have a ton of drive and ambition, because every day she had something different planned for us to do.

All was well in my household until high school years when I rebelled. I was introduced to the hood by my first boyfriend, a well known drug dealer, and that was all she wrote! I was hooked into life in the fast lane. I guess you could say, overnight I turned into the ultimate hustler. Instead of pursuing the plans that my parents had established for me, I choose to live a ghetto fabulous lifestyle. That’s how I got caught up.

BPM:    Tell us why many people refer to you as a “get-money” chick? 
I grew up around many of my friends who became successful rappers, music industry executives, and just plain die hard hustlers. During my era street-life was glorified. I was mesmerized by this lifestyle and became determined to get a piece of the pie. I always had a knack for business, so it was easy to jump in the game. When I got my first taste of money and I saw the notoriety that it brought me, I fell in love with money. My passion caused me to quickly flourish, so I did a lot in a short period of time. By the time I was 25 years old, I was a multimillionaire and a lead financial go-to-person in the hip-hop music industry. 


Seeking after the accolades of my peers, I hung out with gangsters, rap stars and professional sports figures. I drove fancy cars, rocked all the latest fashions, and I had a blinged out jewelry collection that would put a seasoned, materialistic, rapper to shame. I became driven by material gain. If a new car came out, I had to be the one amongst all my peers to have it first. I drove a Maybach way before Rick Ross was ever a rapper. When I came through, I made it my business to turn heads. Besides the fact, I was a female doing big things. That was rare, so I stood out. My insatiable drive kept me shooting for the stars. That’s how I became referred to as a “get-money” chick.

BPM:    How did She’s All Caught Up come about? 
On July 16, 2008, I was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for my role in a 30 million dollar bank fraud scheme. Stripped of my notoriety and the external props that I used to cover my insecurities, I was left depressed and hopeless. With my back up against the wall, I had to do some serious soul searching to find my true “self.” The question that kept repeating in my mind was: How did I get here?

As I examined my life, I begin to write my life story. That’s how I started my healing process. Writing down my experiences helped me to pinpoint all the influences that swayed my way of thinking. This process also helped me to remove the mask of fake self-esteem that I hid behind for years, discover the beauty of my true “self,” and dethrone the negative thinking patterns that I unconsciously picked up from others. My writing helped me to clearly see that I shared the same dilemmas as many other women. I wanted desperately to be loved and accepted. It was this strong desire that led me on a never ending chase, seeking fulfillment in all the wrong places. The chase caused me to make several poor choices that I would later regret.

A couple of years ago, I joined this public speaking group called C.H.O.I.C.E.S, at the prison where I am housed at. We go out into the community and speak to “at-risk” youth about the bad choices we made that led to our imprisonment. I recognized the power of my story after seeing the reaction it had on youth in the community. At the end of the engagements, teens would come up to me and tell me how they could relate to my story. They also expressed that they would take heed to my message and deter from crime. Some of them even had tears in their eyes. Watching their expressions enabled me to see that my story had the ability to change lives. This caused me to go back to the drawing table and reframe She’s All Caught Up as a cautionary tale, pinpointing the bad choices I made and how they ultimately affected me.

BPM:   Does your faith or education inspire your writing? 
Yes my faith and my “street” education inspires my writing. After living the high-life and hitting rock bottom, I had to find a place of refuge. I gained inner peace from studying the Bible and spending time with God. Locked behind bars, I quickly realized that all the things I was chasing after weren’t all they were cracked up to be. In prison, I was abandoned by many of the very people who I tried so hard to please.

Through my personal experiences, I got a real serious education, learning life’s lessons about people. With the help of my family and a few friends, I was able to document the road map that that I used to obtain emotional healing and restoration, in prison, and I created the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series. It is a three book, nondenominational, faith-based book series geared to empower incarcerated women to heal, recognize their potential and recapture their dreams (www.vocseries.com). Imprisoned women across the country have said my books have been essential in helping them heal and develop the faith they need to successfully transition back into society.

The Bible is the main source I utilize to gain wisdom and knowledge. It teaches that all sin comes with consequences, whether immediately or in the future. Ultimately, we reap what we sow. I share this message with my readers in hope that they won’t take the same route that I once took.

I believe God is using me in this season to be a vessel to educate and to enlighten His people to the severe consequences of living life in the fast lane. I pray that my book will be an instrument that empowers others and saves lives. I hope that by reading about my life and the ultimate result of my poor choices- imprisonment, my readers will avoid crime at all costs!  Prison life isn’t fun or easy! Although movies and music videos often glorify the life of men in prison, I assure you there is nothing cool about being locked behind bars. What I experience from day-to-day is real and very painful, especially as a woman who is a single mother of two children. It is very important to me to get that point across to my audience!

BPM:   What legacy does your writing offer to future readers? 
I believe future readers will be enlightened to African American culture during my era. This is very important because it is a part of our history. Through my story, future readers will be able to go back in time and see the customs, practices and influences of the early hip-hop generation. At the same time, they will recognize that even though times have changed life lessons and experiences remain the same. Therefore, I believe future readers will learn the same valuable lessons gained by today’s readers in many years to come!

Visit Voices Books:  http:/www.voicesbooks.com 
Follow Jamila on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/jamilatdavis
Like Jamila on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorJamilaTDavis


The High Price I Had To Pay by Jamila T. Davis

Nonfiction Book » Biography » Political biography
Free Download:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/324608 

Purchase books at Amazon:   http://amzn.com/0985580798 
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Every child matters. Every child was born with greatness says Janet Autherine

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



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

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

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

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

Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths of Greatness for our Sons and Daughters 

Author, attorney Janet Autherine, is on a mission to empower children to see themselves as unique and amazing—already blessed with what they need to succeed in life and to achieve their dreams.

On a daily basis, children are bullied into feeling “less than.” “The truth is every child matters. Every child is unique. Every child has been created with greatness.” says Janet Autherine, Author of Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths of Greatness for our Sons and Daughters.

Kids love superheroes. But, how many kids believe that they themselves are heroes? With all the mixed messages kids are bombarded by on a daily basis—about looks, intelligence, athletic ability, and more—it can be hard for them to believe that they are special.

The book, Growing into Greatness with God teaches kids to recognize the greatness they were born with and to nourish the love, faith, courage, leadership, happiness, gratitude, and confidence planted within them as they learn to become their best selves. Referencing biblical heroes, and through actionable wisdom, offering practical ways to “grow into greatness,” this easy-to-read guide ignites hope in young readers and sheds light on their path to a bright future.

Parents are excited to find a book that will inspire and empower their children. Moms are saying the following: “I use Growing Into Greatness With God for quiet reading moment with my children. There are steps at the end of each section that you and your children can discuss and reflect upon. Growing Into Greatness With God provides the applicable tools by which children can live by. It reminds children that they are children of God and destined for greatness. Great book!”


Purchase Growing Into Greatness with God: Seven Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters
by Janet Autherine.  Amazon Link:  http://amzn.com/0991200004 

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

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

Her personal journey is discussed on the website:www.GrowIntoGreatness.com, in the post, MY STORY.    Read more about the author’s journey and join her mission to empower children at http://www.GrowIntoGreatness.com.   Contact the Author: JanetAutherine@GrowIntoGreatness.com;  Contact the Publisher: gdmahon@diasporavibes.com 

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

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Janet Autherine


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

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

Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths of Greatness for our Sons and Daughters 

Author, attorney Janet Autherine, is on a mission to empower children to see themselves as unique and amazing—already blessed with what they need to succeed in life and to achieve their dreams.

On a daily basis, children are bullied into feeling “less than.” “The truth is every child matters. Every child is unique. Every child has been created with greatness.” says Janet Autherine, Author of Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths of Greatness for our Sons and Daughters.

Kids love superheroes. But, how many kids believe that they themselves are heroes? With all the mixed messages kids are bombarded by on a daily basis—about looks, intelligence, athletic ability, and more—it can be hard for them to believe that they are special.

The book, Growing into Greatness with God teaches kids to recognize the greatness they were born with and to nourish the love, faith, courage, leadership, happiness, gratitude, and confidence planted within them as they learn to become their best selves. Referencing biblical heroes, and through actionable wisdom, offering practical ways to “grow into greatness,” this easy-to-read guide ignites hope in young readers and sheds light on their path to a bright future.

Parents are excited to find a book that will inspire and empower their children. Moms are saying the following: “I use Growing Into Greatness With God for quiet reading moment with my children. There are steps at the end of each section that you and your children can discuss and reflect upon. Growing Into Greatness With God provides the applicable tools by which children can live by. It reminds children that they are children of God and destined for greatness. Great book!”


BAN: When and why did you begin writing?

I was a very shy child so the only way that I could express myself was with a pen. I excelled in classes that were graded based on writing skills. I had a vivid imagination and would create elaborate stories. I promised myself that one day I would write them all. Over the years, I have written many stories but Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons & Daughters is the one that I had to give birth to before I could publish the others. It was inspired by my experiences growing up in a small, relatively poor town in St. Thomas, Jamaica. This book is a “thank you” to God; it is an acknowledgment of how he blessed and sustained me in good and bad times, and a testimony to other children that he can do the same for them.


BAN: What was the inspiration for your book, Growing into Greatness with God? 

In the book, Growing into Greatness with God, the words of wisdom that accompany the stories are inspired by all the advice given to me by my mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and all the “old souls” that entered my early years. I grew up in a house where family, faith, good food and hard work were celebrated. A two bedroom house was home to three generations. It wasn’t unusual for an 11 year old to walk 1/2 mile to fetch water before school, walk home, get ready for school, walk at least 1/2 mile to school, be respectful and attentive, participate in field day, take the long walk home with friends (not forgetting to stop and say hello to all the neighbors), pick fruit or dig yams for dinner, complete homework assignments, and end the day by having dinner and fellowship with family. That was my daily life growing up in Jamaica. I didn’t fully appreciate it back then, but I certainly do now. I want children to have confidence in the fact that they are unique, amazing, born with greatness and can overcome any obstacle.

BAN: What is your spiritual background?
I gained my confidence in a little church in St. Thomas, Jamaica, called the Hampton Court Seventh Day Adventist church. That church was the cornerstone of the community and it was where I learned and recited bible scriptures, sung gospel songs and recited poetry. It is where I made some of my best childhood friends, picked cherries from the best cherry tree in town and listened to the sermons that inspired me to keep God the center of my life. Love the Lord God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself is my guiding principle in life. My family currently worships at a beautiful Episcopal church in Florida.

BAN: How does your new book, Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons & Daughters, relate to your spiritual journey?
The book, Growing into Greatness with God, was born from those early bible study groups in church. The stories of young David (the boy who defeated the Giant), Daniel (a man who stood without fear among lions), Solomon (the wise king) and Ruth (the loyal friend), as well as many others, all resonated with me. We were too poor to afford the latest toys and there was no television in our home, so these characters became my heroes. We were poor but it didn’t define our lives; we were rich in love, faith and community, and we had big dreams.

BAN: Your book is titled, Growing into Greatness with God. How do you define greatness?
We are all unique beings, so greatness will mean something different to each person. I think greatness is finding your natural talent, fueling it with passion, planting it in well nourished soil, and toiling in the garden until it breaks through the earth and reaches for the stars. You must then use everything that you have achieved to serve others. Service is the heart of greatness; for me, there is no greatness without service.

BAN: What do you think about the culture of bullying in our schools?
It breaks my heart that fear instead of love is consuming some of our children. I say fear because most bullies are acting based on their own fears and insecurities. They seek to feel better about themselves by hurting others. When children feel whole on the inside, there is no need fill that void in their spirit by hurting others. Unfortunately, we cannot always protect our children from mean-spiritedness, but we can empower them with the knowledge that they are unique, their thoughts and feelings are important, that God is with them even when they feel alone and they can overcome any obstacle. I hope that in some small way Growing into Greatness with God can help children shine a positive light on themselves.

BAN: How can parents use your book, Growing into Greatness with God, to inspire their children?
As a parent, I know how helpful it is to have a book that sparks discussion with your children. Each chapter of the book offers stories, practical advice that kids can relate to, and actionable wisdom. As an example, the chapter, Growing in Love, teaches kids not to focus on their outward appearance but the love and beauty in their hearts. Kids are encouraged to identify the things that they love and to follow their dreams. Parents can help their children with the “action” items in the book, such as – perform an act of kindness for a stranger, write 3 things that you love about yourself or establish a pen-pal relationship with a child in another country. The book ends with 24 questions kids and their parents can answer together, or teachers in a classroom setting or bible study group can moderate.

BAN: What challenges did you face as a student?
In 1982, I moved from Jamaica to Philadelphia to live with my mother and my brothers. I had to adjust to a new country, a new household and the typical middle school anxieties. I was a shy, introverted child and I struggled to find my voice; it didn’t help that my voice had a very strong Jamaican accent. For many years, I didn’t speak up as much as I needed to – I feared saying the wrong words and getting into trouble; I feared being teased because of my accent; I wasn’t familiar with the sound of my own voice. Fortunately, my upbringing gave me a quiet confidence; I was raised to believe that I was a good person, a good student and that I could achieve anything if I was willing to work hard. This is why I believe that we should empower kids with the confidence to believe in themselves and their strengths at a very early age so that they can face any challenge.

BAN: We are all on a journey to realize our dreams, what has been your path?
I went to Murrell Dobbins High School, a vocational high school and followed the business track. With my typing and short-hand skills, I was prepared to be the best administrative support staff member in Philadelphia. That was my plan B. College was not an option for me; it was a requirement. I always knew that I was going and when my older brother, Mark, encouraged me to attend Penn State University, I jumped at the chance to follow in his footsteps. I connected with the Caribbean Student’s Association, joined a vibrant church and happily settled into life in Happy Valley. It was there that I discovered that, at heart, I was a peacemaker. I ditched my Business major and chose Labor and Industrial Relations, a choice that would lead me to law school at Boston College- I discovered that I wanted to help people solve problems and a legal education enabled me to do so. Writing is allowing me to share my journey with others.

About 8 years into my legal career, I was blessed to be appointed as an Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia government. It was the dream job that allowed me to hear cases, issue decisions, and participate in mediating disputes. My voice was heard in the courtroom and in written decisions but in a quiet, substantive manner that would make any introvert happy. When you find that thing that you are passionate about, it frees you up to live a well-rounded life.  I now spend my time raising my three boys, writing and reading inspirational books, practicing law, participating in religious and community life and running as often as I can.

BAN: Growing into Greatness with God focuses on empowering children; what lasting message do you want to leave with children and parents who read this book?
Growing into Greatness with God is about finding the unique talent that God has blessed you with, nourishing that skill and using it to be of service. My journey began in a small town in Jamaica and is being realized in the United States. It started with the wonderful bible stories that allowed me to believe that with God everything is possible. It began with the principles of faith, family, hard-work, community and bonding over good, healthy food. I hope that the book reflects those principles and that everything that I have learned on my journey, thus far, can help a child realize that he or she was born with greatness. I love to spread that message so when my schedule permits, I gladly speak to children’s organizations, non-profit organizations, and the children’s ministry at churches at no cost. Please do not hesitate to contact me. I would like every child to know that regardless of your circumstances, you can become all that God has ordained for your life.

BAN: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? 
You are a writer because you write, not because someone publishes your book or your articles. The title is yours to claim and once you claim it, the pressure is off and you have the freedom to be your best, most creative self. Write everyday. If you have writer’s block, write “Thank you God for blessing me with pen, paper and a love for writing; you have given me everything that I need to succeed.”  Gratitude is the greatest motivator!


Purchase Growing Into Greatness with God: Seven Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters
by Janet Autherine.  Amazon Link:  http://amzn.com/0991200004

Connect with Author Janet Autherine
Twitter: http://www.Twitter/Autherine
Pinterest: http://www.Pinterest.com/Autherine
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/GrowingIntoGreatness
Growing into Greatness: http://www.GrowIntoGreatness.com

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

CALLING ALL BOOKCLUBS: Read the First Three Episodes of The Last King

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

Available for download now:  The Last King: Book 1, Volume #4 by A. Yamina Collins
 http://www.amazon.com/Last-King-Book-Yamina-Collins-ebook/dp/B00M9AU9QE

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Black Pearls Magazine Featured Books

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

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Michelle Morgan Spady

Before beginning her writing career about two years ago, Michelle was an educator for over 25 years. She has held professional teaching licenses in Virginia, Louisiana and Utah. She taught English, Reading, Business Education, and Computer Technology. Her creativity, unique approach to learning, and love of teaching, has brought her distinguished recognition in the field, such as being nominated for a Teacher of the Year Award in Arlington Public Schools. Her analytical skills and passion for business during her first year at the Xerox Corporation earned her their Regional “Systems Analyst of the Year Award”.

Forming a company, bidding on, and winning a multi-million dollar, service & training contract with the Virginia State Lottery, allowed Michelle to work alongside her husband for 13 years as owners and operators of that company.

Continuing that entrepreneurial drive, she later Found a not-for-profit child care center that she operated for 10 years, and with all that behind her, she is now working for her 20 year old son, who is a cartoon artist.  Upon his high school graduation, they together formed HIS first start-up company, named B’Artful, LLC. A company that promotes emerging artists and authors. They have self-published 3 books together as a mother and son team and are working on a 4th. The “4th” is Michelle’s adult novel, ENOUGH WAS NEVER ENOUGH. Release scheduled for March of 2015 during Women’s History Month.

Michelle is very active in community service organizations. She is a member of The Links, Incorporated and currently serves as the Eastern Area Program Chair. She is a former member of the Reston Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.  As a member of the NOVA Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, she served as President for 6 years, and this November 23, she will be acknowledged at their 30th year Luncheon Forum.

She is a very active member in her church, Shiloh Baptist, of McLean, VA, and sings in the church choir. Michelle lives in McLean, VA with her husband and son.

Michelle’s “KEYS FOR SUCCESS”:
•    Integrity
•    Respect
•    Ethical Behavior
•    Positive Thinking
•    Loyalty
•    Work & Family
•    Empowerment

BPM:   What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I work with children all the time, and throughout many of my interactions with them, I am always conscious of the way they talk to each other and the way the solve their problems.  I used to get very involved when my son would come home with stories of how he had been “over-powered” or “bullied” by some kid. One day this poem came to me and I wrote it down.  I found some of my son’s characters that he had drawn that I thought would fit the story perfectly.  That’s what got me started on the idea of writing and publishing a book.

BPM:   What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like challenges, and I have been keeping journals for years saying that one day I was going to write a book. I still have not penned the book that I have had in my heart. for years  There is a story that I want to tell. Right now, I’d like to help my son launch his career for storytelling and drawing.

BPM:  Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes, all the books that we have published so far have some relevance to either his or my upbringing.
The book 7 Days 2 Tell about college groups and hazing, is more about teens having to make a moral decision as to whether they should snitch on the fraternity and what they witnessed, more so than the act of hazing. ShoozyQ about bullying and An Artist and his Obsession is about relationships and friendships.

BPM:   Do you write full-time?  Do you write every day? Do you have a special time to write?
No, I wish I could write every day.  I love writing, but because of our business there is so much more to do once we’ve finished a book project.  The publishing process can be daunting and overwhelming, then there’s the marketing.

BPM:   Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  Why?
My son, Bradford came up with the idea of his first book “An Artist…”. ShoozyQ…” and “7 Days…”
 were my idea.  We write about what we’re interested in.  We don’t want to be “pigeon-holed” into any one category.  He likes to draw characters first and then write stories around them.  I help him a lot with the writing, so it is challenging for me sometimes to have to come up with a story that he has already “drawn”. He is of course, visual and he can draw a whole story.  I have find the narrative.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Well ShoozyQ and the AB Crew is a book about a group of kids who play on the playground every day and there is a bully who taunts them.  One day ShoozyQ decides to stand up to the bully and she gathers her friends and tells them to follow her, she has an idea of how to get the bully to change his ways and just play with them instead.  Without giving away the whole book, she uses positive words.

What makes our book different is that it is “written in poem format, the book uses vibrant illustrations, and a good dose of positivity to encourage children to look at bullying from another perspective. ShoozyQ and her “crew” persuade a schoolyard bully to change his behavior without being mean and abusive themselves – something that is often overlooked in books with an anti-bullying message.

“We include activities so that educators can get the discussions going with children. It’s important to keep the ball rolling after the story is over, and really get to the root of what the kids have learned from ShoozyQ’s experiences.”
It is available on Kindle and IBooks.

BPM:   Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Because our characters are “cartoony” their very fun. My son, allows me to name them most of the time, so by the time we have completed a story we feel as though we know each one.  My favorite character in the ShoozyQ book is the little African American girl named Kiana.  She’s got personality and she wears red cow girl boots.  I went out and bought me a pair the character motivated me so. Actually, we have plans to promote Kiana little more after we get the ShoozyQ book off the ground.

BPM:  Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
In this book it’s all about bullying, even hazing is about a form of bullying. ShoozyQ shows that children on both sides of bullying incidents need help. Everyone wants to help the victim or the kid who’s been bullying, but not a lot of attention is shown to the bully or the bystander.  As adults we should openly talk to our children about bullying before it happens.  Studies show that children between 3-5 are most impressionable, and this age sets the foundation of how we will interact with people in general as we grow. Parents should never ignore bullying behaviors, and should model and teach their children about empathy, (the number one emotion most bullies don’t have), kindness, compassion and positivity.

BPM:   What topics are primarily discussed?  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

On a personal level I felt it an honor to work with my son.  He never ceases to amaze me.  He has always struggled with learning differences, and before we started working together, I did not realize how creative, and smart he really is. He knows a lot about a lot of things.  It is truly a joy to work with him.  We both challenge and learn from each other.

BPM:  What would you like for readers to take away from your writing?  How do you go about reaching new readers?
First and foremost for our last book we’d like for them to leave with a better understanding of what bullying is all about and how taking a different approach to resolving conflicts can be very beneficial to the bully, the bullied and the bystander. I hope that the awesome illustrations that my son provides will motivate people to want to check us out.

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released?
This is like a third, maybe fourth career for me already. I was a former teacher, a systems analyst and major account sales rep in a Fortune 500 Company and my husband and I have owned a company which once had a multi-million dollar contract with a state lottery for 13 years.  At this stage of the game, success for me is seeing my son accomplished at whatever it is he’d like to do.  We want to continue writing books for awhile and I’d like to see us accepted as serious authors and illustrator in the business. My son would like to see some of his characters in an animated featured film production.

BPM:   Where do you find your daily inspiration or muse?
 My son is my daily muse.  He is so passionate about what he loves to do and that is drawing.  He draws from the moment he wakes up in the morning (afternoon) till the wee wee hours of the night (morning).
He makes me want to produce something, and help him.

BPM:   Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this story to life?
No, everything went pretty smoothly since this was my second self-published book.  The process wasn’t as daunting as the first, but yet challenging to dot all of your “i’s” and cross all of your “t’s”. It makes it easier when you write the story yourself, illustrate the book yourself, and publish. You have total creative control over everything.  There are some pros and cons to that.  Of course, in self-publishing you are totally responsible for the product that you put out.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  You can’t blame anyone for mistakes.  No margin for error.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this series of books?
My son is working on another book now and we are thinking of making it a series.  As far as this one goes, we’ll just market it and its message for as long as we can.  Anti-bullying!

BPM:  What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject?
My goal is to inspire other writers and my son other artists. Our business B’Artful LLC hosts workshops and events for emerging authors and artists to enhance their creative skills. We talk about it on our website.

BPM:   What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
I think the major advantage is that you have total control over your product. You can get it out as soon as you want or as late as you want.  The disadvantage is, if you don’t know the process you can miss some steps and then NOT have a quality product.  It is up to you to find graphic designers, editors, copyright your material, buy all that you need to publish in paperback, hardback and ebook.

BPM:  Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change?

Not yet, I do wish that I had started sooner in my life.  I think I would have many more books published by now.

BPM:  Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Just that, if there are any parents reading this I’d like to say to them to always listen to your children.  I found some papers from when my son was in kindergarten he wrote that he would be an artist when he grew up. He used to draw “stick drawings”, but look at his work now.  I’d like to think a lot of his growth came from us as parents nurturing his interest in art, and it hasn’t stopped.  He’s 20 years old now, and we are still following him and his dreams.  If you have a book you’re thinking of writing, don’t hesitate, go for it! You never know.

 Michelle Morgan Spady, Author & Publisher B’Artful, LLC
B’Artful Website:  http://www.bradspadyart.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bradspadyart

ABOUT THE BOOK
Written in poem format, the book uses vibrant illustrations, and a good dose of positivity to encourage children to look at bullying from another perspective.  ShoozyQ and her “crew” persuade a schoolyard bully to change his behavior without being mean and abusive themselves-something that is often overlooked in books with an anti-bullying message.

The colorful drawings and simple, effective language all tie together to make ShoozyQ an exciting read for kids, and a learning tool for parents and teachers. There are activities at the end of the book for parents and educators to practice with the children.

ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground

General  Education-Picture Book for K-4th grade

Purchase ShoozyQ and the AB Crew: Bully on the Playground

Kindle Edition
ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground
Link: http://amzn.com/B00J2I039Y

Paperback Edition
ShoozyQ and the AB Crew in Bully on the Playground
Link: http://amzn.com/0991460014

General  Education-Picture Book for K-4th grade
Available at Amazon.com, IBooks, Kindle, IngramSparks, CreateSpace

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

Intimate Conversation with Kristin L. Mitchell

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

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book? 

My relationship with an ex-boyfriend was my inspiration for writing, He Wasn’t My Daddy. The demise of this relationship catapulted into a platform that is relevant to millions of women across the globe. This platform is that of being a “fatherless daughter.” This relationship allowed me to realize that I was a “fatherless daughter” and that I had, “daddy issues.” Thusly, I began to realize the importance of having that father figure in your life, and the detriment that can be caused when that presence is absent, as in my case.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?

Absolutely! In this book, I am speaking from a very personal place. I am telling, “Kristin’s story, based on Kristin’s perspective.” My story is all about my upbringing, being raised by a single mother, and being a, “fatherless daughter.” I speak to how not having the presence of a father figure in my life affected me, how it caused me to cling onto situations and people and look for that unique love in all the wrong places.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Will the book become available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?

You know, this is a story about love, loss, abandonment, and restoration! It truly takes you through the journey of a “fatherless daughter.” It is written in a way that bonds “fatherless daughters” across the world. It connects us by teaching and allowing the reader to see that so many of us share the same and/or similar stories, as it relates to this platform. It provides real-life examples of how to reach a happier ending; and most importantly, it’s expression of vulnerability and emotional exposure makes it easy for readers to relieve some of the shame and/or guilt for the decisions that they might have made, as a result of not having that father figure. He Wasn’t My Daddy is honest, holds nothing back, and allows for others to witness that it is okay to expose all, in an effort to heal open wounds. Yes, it will be available on Nook and Kindle.

BPM: Give us an insight into the relationships discussed in the book. What makes each one so special? 

The two biggest relationships that I discuss in the book are the relationship with my ex, L.B. and the relationship between my father and I. Where do I begin? My relationship with L.B. was my first real, “adult” relationship. I would have moved Heaven and Earth for that man. There was something about the genuine care and concern that I believed he felt for me that drew me into him. I mean, I don’t recall ever feeling as if a man felt that type of genuine care and concern about me before. He wanted the best for me, he cared about my well being, he was interested in my finishing undergrad; he just wanted the overall best for me. No wonder I latched on! I quickly and unknowingly, placed him on a pedestal: one so tall that I left no room for him to fall – no room for error. I believe this is where I subconsciously placed him in the role of a father figure. He became my “everything!”

After L.B. and I broke up, and I began to experience an, “emotional rollercoaster.” During the aftermath, I began to realize what I had subconsciously done; but it took me four long years! I realized that I did have, “daddy issues” and all this time, I was looking fort L.B. to fulfill that role. I mean I had never had my father around growing up. He was imprisoned when I was so young. All those years that I missed out on having my father around, affected me in a very subconscious way. All this time I thought that I was just looking for and yearning for L.B.’s love; when all the while, I was yearning for the love of my father; the type of love that L.B. would never have been able to give me, no matter how hard he tried. Needless to say, the book definitely speaks to my father and my estranged relationship and the journey that we are on to build what should have always been there.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

Wow! This book delves deep. He Wasn’t My Daddy speaks to various topics, platforms. The primary one being that of, “fatherless daughters.” Additionally, I discuss mental illness, suicidal ideations, sexual promiscuity, love & relationships, and self-esteem. Writing this book was definitely therapeutic for me. It allowed me to uncover a LOT of deep-rooted baggage that I was blindly carrying around. Being able to share my story and connect with other women in the same and/or similar circumstances is a pure blessing!

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers? 
I want readers to take away that if I can make it, Lord knows they can too! I mean, the struggle is definitely real, and there will be days that seem unbearable. However, I want to be the voice that says, “You can make it. Don’t give up and stay the course.” Look at the bright side, having the opportunity to reconnect to your father, or any parent is a blessing. It allows you to learn more about yourself, repair other broken relationships, set realistic expectations and ways of being for romantic relationships, and it opens up so many doors for emotional healing.

Lastly, I want readers to realize just how much not having a relationship with a parent can affect romantic relationships. We wonder why we as women put up with so much from the men in our lives; here is a good reason why!

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released? 

To me, success can’t really be defined or measured. Success is your personal satisfaction with self, both professionally and personally. That is very different for everyone and depending on where you are in your life, it can change for the individual as well. Don’t try to be successful; if you’re anything like me, you will run yourself into the ground trying to keep up with yourself. Rather, work toward accomplishing whatever realistic goals you set out for yourself. That’s it, that’s all!

BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have?

I believe that the most important quality a writer should have is transparency. I do not believe that you can truly affect change, inspire, and uplift people if you do not bring a strong sense of transparency. People want someone that they can relate to, someone who is not afraid to be vulnerable and share their story; with the hopes that someone else can benefit from it.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? 
My expectations for this book are two things. The first being to continue to spark a nation-wide and worldwide dialogue about, “fatherless daughters.” It is important for women to understand that there are millions of other women out there who understand and have fought this struggle and that they are not alone. It is equally as important for them to realize that often time their personal and romantic relationships have a great potential to be negatively affected as a result of being a, “fatherless daughter.” 

Often time we do not realize the detriment that is caused, the cycles that we perpetuate and how the decisions we make are predicated on those primary relationships we build with our parents; and as daughters with our fathers. Perhaps, continuing this dialogue will open the eyes of many to this issue.

My second expectation of this book is to travel the world, being a voice for and connecting to women like me! What a more fulfilling experience? Let’s talk, allow me to share how made it through my darkest times, my mental illness, my suicidal attempts. Allow me to share the steps that my father and I have taken to mend our relationship, and how that has tremendously benefited my life and helped to uncover so many other broken relationships; and most importantly, allow me to share how the grace of God has kept me.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject? 

My primary goals as a writer are to inspire, to uplift, to share, to connect, and to restore broken women.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
The best ways to discover more about my work and me is to follow me on social media and invite me to speak at panel discussions and various events.

Connect with Kristin L. Mitchell

Website: www.hewasntmydaddy.com 
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KrisLMitchell 
Instagram:  http://instagram.com/theekristinmitchell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristin.mitchell.52 






 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Meet the Author

 

VIDEO – The Scroll: Inspiration from America’s Most Revered Spiritual Leaders


Watch the Video Introduction with Parrish Smith discussing The Scroll. Watch here: http://youtu.be/SyEQR-ZQl2Q. Order your copy of The Scroll by Parrish Smith: http://amzn.com/1617734551



Life-Changing Inspiration. Unwavering Support.


The Scroll: Inspiration from America’s Most Revered Spiritual Leaders – coming August 26, 2014, view here: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/29983

Scrolls have always been considered sacred, filled with prophecy and direction. Realizing that today’s spiritual leaders fill a similar role, filmmaker Parrish Smith created the award-winning documentary series The Scroll, featuring modern-day prophets revealing more of themselves, their journeys, and their invaluable insights than ever before. Now, Parrish Smith draws on the words of America’s most beloved spiritual leaders to create a guide full of contemporary wisdom that will uplift and encourage you through life’s unexpected challenges.

Finding our life’s purpose. Creating lasting relationships. Surviving tragedy. Releasing self-destructive thoughts. These are just some of the trials faced—and joyously overcome—in these heartfelt accounts that are as healing as they are unforgettable. Featuring illustrative Bible verses, related parables, and transformative advice, The Scroll is a timely resource filled with the faith and inspiration that will lead you to life’s greatest rewards.

Featuring
Bishop T.D. Jakes * Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Jr. * Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III * Rev. Bernice A. King * Rev. Al Sharpton, Jr. * Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. * Bishop George C. Searight * Dr. Marvin L. Sapp * Dr. Jamal H. Bryant * Bishop Noel Jones * Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. * Dr. Bill Winston * Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer * Rev. Wess Morgan * Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie * Rev. Jeffrey A. Johnson, Sr. * Dr. R.A. Vernon * Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. * Rev. John K. Jenkins, Sr. * Dr. Alyn E. Waller * Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. * Dr. Larry L. Macon, Sr. * Dr. Perry Simmons, Jr. * Rev. Corey B. Brooks, Sr.  and * Rev. Stanley Dumornay


About Parrish Smith

Parrish Smith
is an award winning filmmaker whose projects have appeared on numerous networks and at film festivals. As a child and the son of a preacher, he always fell asleep in church. Nevertheless, it was the storytelling used by preachers during their sermons that engaged him, making the Word relevant to everyday life. Now, he strives to create projects that make a difference in people’s lives, leaving them inspired. The Scroll is his first film and book combination that uses the stories of wise and insightful spiritual leaders as a way to assist people as they face life’s struggles.


Read an Excerpt from The Scroll

CHAPTER 1

FAITH

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. —MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8–9

Doubt. Uncertainty. Suspicion. These are all feelings that can infiltrate our thoughts, causing us to think the worst about a situation or individual. However, faith is the light that keeps us going through the storm, through the hardship, believing that all will turn out for the best.

We need faith throughout our lives. When a stranger enters our lives, we need faith to trust that person to be who he or she claims to be, to a certain extent anyway. When an illness such as cancer or dementia enters our lives, we need faith to believe we can beat the odds and live long and productive lives.

In this chapter, you will hear different accounts about how faith was imperative to help overcome tragedy, fight injustice, achieve goals, enhance self-awareness, battle addiction, and fight the odds.


A Promise
Bishop T. D. Jakes

I think the more you learn about life, the more you recognize that you don’t know. Much like the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. l think the beginning of wisdom is recognizing that you don’t know everything.

PREACHING ABOUT THE ableness of God while his house’s lights and water were turned off was a trying season for Bishop Jakes, who was married with two children. His car had also been repossessed, so he was forced to take the bus uptown to the power company, hoping they would restore his power. The representative he spoke with was condescending, almost as if she was trying to hold this great power over him. The lady belittled and berated him, telling Bishop Jakes he was wasting his time on his appeal. Humiliation consumed him until tears streamed down his face. He left the building, and after he had walked several blocks in total frustration, the Lord spoke the sweetest words to Bishop Jakes, saying, “I will not suffer thy foot to be moved.”

God knew that Bishop Jakes was a young father and husband. At that time, he had lost his union job working for a car-manufacturing plant, and he had visions of being homeless and sleeping in a cardboard box. His church had a few people, but his salary was not enough to sustain a family. He recalls that God did not fix his situation right away, but God did not let him fall, either. Thus, Bishop Jakes learned how to live suspended, neither successful nor destroyed. He was suspended on the edge of a cliff, sustained by nothing but a promise, but sometimes a promise was all he needed to hang on. Over time the promise produced, but he learned how to hear God’s voice when he was hurting, and he learned that God is faithful, even when we are fearful.

Mustard Seed Faith

Overcoming obstacles in a time of crisis and staying calm enough to hear God’s words are easier than they sound. However, many of us have faced challenges and seasons of hardships. In an episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass, Oprah Winfrey spoke about facing obstacles and the little bit of faith needed to pull you through.

Oprah’s grandmother raised her in the church. As a young girl, every Sunday like clockwork, she would sit in the second row, taking it all in. Listening to Bible stories, she would hear that through God all things are possible. In particular she remembers hearing the story of Jesus teaching that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains, making anything possible. It wasn’t until years later, as an adult, when actually holding a mustard seed in her hand and seeing its minuscule size, that she truly understood the lesson. Moving forward, Oprah realized that as long as she possessed the faith of a mustard seed, she would be able to live the quality of life she manifested and could overcome obstacles.

Build Faith

Having strong faith should be important in your life. Faith is the one weapon that can get you through just about any situation, no matter how tough it may seem. Faith affects all aspects of our lives, and once it is developed, it will make us better people. Following are four ways to build faith in your life.


BELIEVE.  Faith is belief. As a believer in God, you have to acknowledge that God is the source of your faith.

PATIENCE.  Change is not always instant, happening overnight. You must have tolerance and patience to weather the storm and stay the course. True faith requires patience.

STUDY.  Read the Bible. Attend Bible study, retreats, conferences, and meetings. Study and comprehend the scripture, so you can apply it in your life. Realize that His word is true; it is not a lie.

PRAYER.  Speak to God. Develop communication, adopting a personal relationship with God. Reflect on His word, allowing it to transform you.

Lastly, do not be hesitant to seek counsel with friends, relatives, ministers, and those who you feel have a deep faith. Ask them questions about their faith: What makes it grow? Are they ever doubtful? If so, how do they overcome doubt, allowing their faith to take charge of their lives? Many people have walked in your shoes and still face similar bouts with faith and belief. Conversation is healthy.

Reflection
Sometimes we feel we need pope-like faith to overcome obstacles. However, a tiny bit of faith mixed with work on our end can move mountains.
He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20


The Prophetic New
Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer

God says I want to do something in your life that is new The word “new” means unprecedented. It means “new in kind.” It means “brand-new”; something that’s never been done before. And if God is calling me to do something that has never been done before, how do I recognize it? I think God calls me to have faith beyond a point of reference.

A PROPHECY IS a prediction, a forecast of a situation that has not happened yet; we do not know when it will happen, but it will. Believing in prophecy can be extremely difficult because acquiring that belief is a journey that requires faith to assist with the travel. We can sometimes visualize the prophetic word or phrase, and sometimes we have no clue what the prophetic word means. This is because it is brand-new. It is so new that without God’s revelation we will not see the prophecy.

Bishop Ulmer refers to situations that will happen in our lives for the better; however, at first we will not be able to grasp the prediction because it is new. It is a prediction that we never heard anything about before in our lives. The word “new” is synonymous with “unfamiliar.” Thus, how can we accept and prepare ourselves for a prediction in our lives when it is not familiar to us? That statement sounds almost impossible. Furthermore, Bishop Ulmer speaks about how we naturally cling to ideas or concepts that are familiar to us, for which we have a point of reference. He explains that our natural tendency is to dream, see, and expect only that which is at best a variation of what we’ve already dreamed, already seen, or already expected. God wants to do something in our lives that we’ve never seen before. Therefore, we need the faith of God, the kind of faith only God has. It is not our faith. God gives us that faith to recognize the prophetic new as it surfaces in our lives. It is that prophetic new that we’ve never seen, but God says, “Trust Me to do what I have never done in your life before.”

Be Open to Change
Growth requires change. Without change we are standing still and only aging physically. I am sure many of us have desired to make a change in our lives and have asked God to help impart that change. However, remaining stuck in the same thought, the same path, the same speech, is not accepting the true nature of life. To improve our lives, to mature, to reap the benefits of what God has in store, we need to abandon the wrong way. We are all capable of change, regardless of our age. The saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not true. If you desire change, you can change. Following are five techniques to help you make the change you seek.

REFLECT.  Think about or write down your likes and dislikes. You need to connect with yourself, understanding your positives and negatives.

CONFRONT OBSTACLES.  Many times people are reluctant to change because they foresee roadblocks. Figure out the challenge and define what is holding you back. Once the issue is realized, you can make a solid plan to overcome it.

STRATEGIZE.  Once you realize where you are and where you want to go, make a plan and develop a strategy for how to execute the plan.

BUILD HABITS.  Form positive habits that will allow you to stay on course. For example, if you wake up late in the morning, become an early riser. If you are easily distracted, identify the distractions and eliminate them from your daily activity or from certain days of the week.

KEEP AT IT.  Continue to work at the change every day. It will take a while before it becomes a part of you. If you find yourself reverting back to old ways, figure out where you slipped, and return to the basics to get back on track.

Look for the Unfamiliar
Change that we personally seek is easy to accept. But what happens when God has a path for us that is unfamiliar? It is difficult to embrace the kind of change that our minds cannot perceive. Bishop Ulmer spoke about remaining open so that God can implement change that is new and unprecedented in our lives. This kind of change usually catches us off guard, because we expect to head in one direction, only to be redirected in a different direction that we did not know existed.

For example, a few years ago I read a story about a middle-aged woman named Tracy who kept seeking a husband. Tracy would date often, and a few times she came close to marriage, but it never happened. The closest she came was engagement, but soon after, the relationship took a nosedive. Like clockwork, Tracy always asked God for help in finding a good man. Tracy’s process for finding Mr. Right was always the same. She had a list of qualities and physical attributes the man needed for her to be attracted to him and to take him seriously. Tracy’s list was pretty extensive and intensely precise. It was so precise, Tracy was blind to any man that did not match or look similar to anything on her list. After a string of disappointments, Tracy discussed the situation with her girlfriend Robin, and Robin’s advice was to put the list aside for a while and try something new, because Tracy’s way of finding a husband was not working.

Tracy asked Robin a common question: “If I do not have my list, how will I recognize the right man for me?” Robin told Tracy to keep her eyes open and trust that she would recognize Mr. Right, even though he probably would not resemble anything on her list—and he shouldn’t, anyway. Ten years later, Tracy was happily married with a family, and the man she married was not similar to her list in many ways. However, Tracy trusted Robin’s advice and kept herself open and accessible to something new. Chances favor the open mind.


Reflection

To make a change in life, we need to accept new ideas and practice new ways, even if we do not initially recognize the change entering our lives because it is unfamiliar. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Overcoming
Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, JR.

Only one out of every three students who enters Mortis Brown as a freshman graduates in fur years. I looked to the person on my left and right and said you might as well go home now, because I am staying and graduating.

GROWING UP, DR. Simmons had a desire to go to college. He was one of eleven children, raised in the South, where his parents never made more than a nickel above minimum wage. Attending college was unthinkable under those circumstances, but Dr. Simmons was driven. During his senior year in high school, he received his first job, making fifty dollars a week working alongside a concrete finisher. After paying five dollars for carfare and five dollars in taxes, he was left with forty dollars. He then deducted ten percent from the forty dollars and donated it to anyone in his area in need. His father did not agree with his giving his money away, because he needed all he could earn for college. However, Dr. Simmons believed that you receive by giving.

Months later, Dr. Simmons arrived at Morris Brown in Atlanta. On registration day he got in line and signed up for all his classes. The last stop was paying tuition. He stood at the window and told the college representative that all he had was fifteen dollars but he wanted to attend the school. The representative gave him a note to see the president. As he entered the president’s office, he saw that hundreds of other students with the same problem stood in the office. Finally he spoke with the president, informing him that he had no money and that he had turned down basketball scholarships from other colleges because he wanted to attend a private Christian college.

The president of Morris Brown signed a sheet of paper allowing Dr. Simmons to finish registration without any money. Dr. Simmons got a job washing dishes in the dining hall and attended classes in between meals. When basketball season arrived, Dr. Simmons tried out for and made the team, but the coach notified Dr. Simmons that his budget for scholarship money was depleted. The coach was, however, able to assist him with buying books. As the first year came to a close, Dr. Simmons received special permission to take final exams because he still owed the college for the entire year’s tuition. The following year, he received a basketball scholarship and ultimately finished school. When he graduated, he had a surplus of money, the opposite of when he’d first enrolled.

(  Continues…   )


Excerpted from The Scroll by Parrish Smith. Copyright © 2014 Parrish Smith. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


WATCH THE SCROLL VIDEO INTRODUCTIONhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-scroll-parrish-smith/1114373226?ean=9781617734564

The Scroll: Inspiration from America’s Most Revered Spiritual Leaders
Trade Paperback; Inspirational; Self Help; Religious; Christian Life Guidance

http://www.amazon.com/The-Scroll-Parrish-Smith/dp/1617734551

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-scroll-parrish-smith/1114373226

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Intimate Conversation with Renee Daniel Flagler


Renee Daniel Flagler is an award-winning writer, creative writing teacher artist, and an award-nominated author of six novels. Her latest books are Raging Blue, the sequel Still Raging and the upcoming, Society Wives, which has been optioned for film. Renee is currently at work on her next novel, The Second Wives Club and is scheduled to release her first romance series in 2015 through Harlequin’s Kimani Romance imprint under the pseudonym Nicki Night. Find Renee online through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or at ReneeDanielFlagler.com.

Renee’s work has been described as “deliciously dramatic.”

BPM:  Introduce us to your latest book in the Raging Blue series. What genre are the books? Blue Holiday reaches the end of her rope, her marriage, and her long-time friendship with BFF, Mia Reynolds. She’s ready to move on but now her husband, the infamous bad-boy baller, Jaylin Mack, is cut from the team because of his erratic behavior and without Blue he’ll be broke. Their chances of reconciliation are doused the moment a salacious secret is revealed. As far as Jaylin is concerned, if he can’t have his wife, living off her trust fund will do just fine. Problem is, he forgot a woman in love will put up with a lot. But a woman enraged…will make you pay.  Raging Blue is Contemporary women’s fiction and is available as an e-book, wherever e-books are sold.

In Still Raging, the rage escalates in this fast-paced sequel to Raging Blue as the battle between ex friends, Blue Holiday and Mia Reynolds, takes a new turn when inexplicable things begin to happen that could potentially destroy Blue and Gavin Gray’s relationship. Blue suspects that Mia is behind the bizarre happenings and is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Peyton King, Blue’s friend and wife of star basketball player, Kendrick King, is dragged into the mayhem when Mia shows up on their doorstep to drop the staggering bomb that Kendrick could be the father of her infant daughter. Mia isn’t interested in breaking up their marriage; she just wants Kendrick’s money so she could recover her lavish lifestyle.

Peyton and Kendrick’s marriage has finally gotten on track but Mia’s news threatens to rock the happy foundation they built. Peyton resorts to desperate measures to regain a semblance of peace and to get Mia and that illegitimate child of hers out of their lives for good.


Still Raging unravels a newly tangled web of secrets, deception and desperation.

BPM:   What topics does this series address?  Why?Raging Blue addresses various relationship issues, as most of my books due. However what’s interesting about Raging Blue is that it touches on a popular issue in our society today and that is the dynamic women making more money than men.  The New Yorker magazine featured an article on this topic earlier this year. Many woman are ambitious and ofter make more than their spouses or significant others. But this dynamic is changing relationships and marriages in many ways and begs many questions. I like dealing in the realm of relationships because everyone can relate to them. The two things that people in life are always in search of, or want are love and money.

BPM:   Who does your work speak to?I think my work speaks to the modern woman mainly but there’s something in there for men as well.

BPM:   You believe strongly in: My Lord, family and living a fabulous and passionate life.

BPM:   You are humbled by: Too many things to count. The one thing I never had was a big ego. It humbles me when readers enjoy my work. It humbles with fellow authors appreciate what I bring to the table.

BPM:   Faith allows you to: Do anything I set my mind to!

BPM:   Criticism makes you: MAD! Just joking. It makes me take a second look and think about where I could make improvements. It helps me to grow as a person and as a writer.

BPM:   A talent mind: A talent mind: …is a terrible thing to waste!

BPM:   Three artists on your playlist:  Tamela Mann, Jay Z and Eric Benet

BPM:   What writer would you consider a mentor: I can only pick one? Darn…Eric Jerome Dickey, Victoria Christopher Murray…Okay, I cheated. There’s more but I’ll stop here.

BPM:   Your  fondest childhood/college memory: Back in high school, My best friend and I created a video tape along with some other friends. In the tape we re-created the “Oh Diane,” commercial, made music videos to Keith Sweat’s song I Want Her, Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Stephanie Mills, If I Was Your Woman. It was horrible and hilarious at the same time!

BPM:   What surprised you the most about becoming…The biggest surprise about become a parent was the natural way I fell into being a mother. No mother is perfect, but I didn’t things to fall in place like it did. Instinct is an amazing thing.

BPM:   If  you weren’t a writer, you would be: Still working as a marketing professional in corporate America. However, I used to dance—actually I still do—but back in the days, I wanted to be the next Debbie Allen. Fame was my movie!

BPM:   What you learned from your readers: Patience and how to work harder.

BPM:   The greatest threat to literary freedom is: Cookie cutter stories that don’t stretch the imagination.

BPM:   How has your writing evolved: I’ve always written and loved to write. However, I can clearly see the growth in my writing from my first book to my most recent one. I love taking workshops and classes to learn more. The biggest challenge was doing in the MFA program and learning from my professors about how to work at becoming a better writer. This program has had a tremendous impact on my writing. I learned new techniques and put much more thought into story outcomes, characters and plots. My craft has improved with every effort that I’ve engaged in to improve it.

BPM:   The first thing you do when a book is released: Plan a slammin’ book release party!

BPM:   Your favorite promotional tool: As a professional marketer, I engage in many effort. I’m not sure if I have a favorite but I stay on Facebook like it’s nobody’s business.

BPM:   Advice you would give a new author: Learn the business inside and out and continue to hone your craft—always.

BPM:   Your greatest accomplishment as a writer: Being able to and being considered qualified to become a teaching artist and teach writing to children in public schools.

BPM:   What you know for sure:
Is that I would be where I am in my writing career without the blessings I’ve received from God.

BPM:   Will the printed book ever become obsolete: Hard core book lovers who enjoy having a book in their hands would like to believe that it won’t. (Like me.) However, I do believe that it’s quite possible. Think about it, when’s that last time you listened to a cassette? How many people download music to their mp3 players as opposed to buying a CD these days. I believe that value of the physical book will increase overtime because there will be less of them. Sometime in the future, they will be like collector’s items. Even my kids are using computers more as opposed to getting everything from a textbook. We have some time to still love on our beloved books but a day will come when seeing someone with a book in their hand could be a rarity.

BPM:   What legacy do you wish to leave future generations of readers: The understanding that they all have a voice that’s worthy to be heard. The understanding that pasts don’t dictate futures & lastly, life is meant to be lived in color.

Connect with the Author
http://www.ReneeDanielFlagler
http://www.Twitter.com/ReneeFlagler
http://youtu.be/vawVysnyaqs

http://www.Facebook.com/ReneeDanielFlagler
http://www.amazon.com/Raging-Blue-ebook/dp/B00954M38Y

RAGING BLUE SERIES
Multicultural Fiction. Subject matter: Relationships, friendships, addiction.

Purchase Still Raging (Raging Blue) by Renee Daniel Flagler
Romance. Contemporary Women Fiction. People & Cultures

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Raging-Renee-Daniel-Flagler-ebook/dp/B00N81F1X4

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/still-raging-renee-daniel-flagler/1120257211


 
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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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