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Author Archives: Ella Curry, EDC Creations

Intimate Conversation with Angie Ransome-Jones

Intimate Conversation with Angie Ransome-Jones

As a new author, Angie Ransome-Jones has already made her mark in the literary world since publishing in September 2015. Her self-published book entitled “Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life After Losing a Loved One,” chronicles her journey or finding peace after the sudden and devastating loss of her father in 2013. Now she has made it her mission and ministry to help others suffering the loss of a loved one, by providing advice on how to prepare for the inevitable and coping in the aftermath. After undergoing what she refers to as “the process,” Angie discovered that there is much more to death than laying a person to rest and outlines in the book, practical steps to not only dealing with loss, but preparing for it financially, spiritually and emotionally.
Since its release, “Path to Peace” has received wide acclaim – Angie has been a guest on both the Good Morning Texas and Local Memphis Live morning shows. “Path to Peace” was also recognized as a Good Read by the Arkansas Times and included in its 2015 Holiday Gift Guide and was on Amazon’s bestseller’s list for several weeks in 2016. Angie was also a featured author at the 2016 National Book Club Conference (NBCC) in Atlanta.

She holds an MBA and full-time position as a Banking Vice President and Project Manager and serves as a freelance yoga instructor, and has her own non-proift 501C-3 organization (Magnifying our Mothers M.O.M.).

When not traveling across the country sharing her message, Angie is spending time with her husband and two sons. 
Lastly, Angie is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Toastmasters International.

Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life After Losing A Loved One,” chronicles one daughter’s journey of finding peace after the devastating loss of her father. In the midst of grieving, Angie Ransome-Jones was suddenly faced with laying her father to rest, settling his financial affairs and reconciling her unresolved feelings over the loss of her mother. Watch as Path to Peace author Angie Ransome-Jones talks about preparing for the inevitable on WFAA- Good Morning Texas. To watch the interview replay, go here.  Death is difficult but inevitable. Path to Peace provides practical steps for preparing for the inevitable and coping after death – it should be on every bookshelf!  

BPM: Who is Angie Ransome-Jones?
Wow, great question! First and foremost, I am a Servant of the Lord; but I’m also a servant to those who need me. I am a mother a wife, a friend, a sister, a free spirit, a volunteer, and a yogi. I am many different things to many different people! My legal name is Angela D. Jones. I became Angie Ransome-Jones in 2015 after my Dad passed away and I published my first book, dedicated to his memory. Prior to that, only my friends and family knew and referred to me as Angie. Now, the masses know me as Angie and I’m ok with that because now I feel more free to be the same person in both worlds – personal and professional; although I still choose to keep both worlds very separate.

BPM: Have you always known you wanted to be an author? 

No, I never had great aspirations to be an author. Writing a book was on my long Bucket List; but I never imagined that my book would be centered around such circumstances and would lead to this wild, but rewarding ride that I’m now on!

BPM: What led you to write: “Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life After Losing a Loved One”?

The sudden death of my father, Albert D. Ransome, in 2013 caused me to write the book not only as a therapeutic outlet and a “release” for myself; but also as a tool to educate others on the numerous things that I learned during the process of laying him to rest and settling his earthly affairs. As a bonafide “Daddy’s Girl,” my father was the closest person to me after my mom passed away, so as you can imagine, losing him so suddenly was truly devastating for me.

BPM: Why did you choose this title?

My editor and I considered a number of different titles and covers, but this one best described my journey in terms of the path that I traveled, which eventually led to an evolving peace for me. This same “peace” has allowed me to look at life very differently than I did before.

BPM: What were some of the benefits you experienced writing the book?
The book has allowed me to connect with thousands of people from all walks of life who have either had an experience similar to mine, know someone who has or are preparing themselves for the experience losing someone. It has also allowed me to travel the country speaking to and educating others on the subject and the necessity of preparing for the inevitable, which is death. The money I receive from doing what I consider to be “God’s assignment,” is just icing on the cake for me!

BPM: What were your most challenging moments writing the book?

Trying to separate my raw emotions from the facts and information that would be beneficial to readers dealing with loss. My editor revised it at least 7-8 times to ensure that it was transparent, without being too revealing in terms of my personal life.

BPM: Can you share one specific point in your book that resonated with you the most?
I think it would have to be the necessity of having what I refer to as a “Control Book.” in place. Having a Will and Life Insurance are necessary also, but just having something documented; a roadmap, if you will, for your family in case of your death, is just as critical!

BPM: Death is such a sensitive topic and is widely avoided, what are some ways survivors can effectively prepare for their own death to give their family peace when they leave this earth?
You’re absolutely right. My job is very tough in that my book is not something that all people are receptive to, because it deals with such an uncomfortable and taboo subject. But I can’t stress enough the importance of having those conversations, as difficult as they are, with your loved ones about your wishes. It should be a two-way conversation so that everyone is on the same page. And ensuring that those you entrust to carry on your legacy after you are gone are well-prepared; both directionally and financially.

BPM: What is it like to read the reviews of strangers who have read your book?
It is THE THING that keeps me going. Hearing my words repeated in context to how they affected a person’s life in terms – whether they related to it or reacted to it – is the most rewarding piece for me.

BPM: How has writing about your story impacted your life now?
I have definitely been busier than I have ever been in life, but in a great way!! I never imagined that the book would take off; let alone be a bestseller! I have been interviewed a number of times, featured in numerous magazines and recently appeared on Good Morning Texas, which was my first live TV appearance. I will appear again live on the Local Memphis Live show, which is similar to GMT. I feel blessed and honored and humbled that God has chosen me to deliver such an important message.

BPM: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write about their story?
I truly believe that everyone has a story in them; no matter if it’s a trial they’ve been through or a story of triumph or lessons learned they want to share. I used to consider myself an “accidental author” but then I stopped calling myself that because I realize that all of this was by design. God turned my pain in losing my father; actually both of my parents, into my purpose. In the words of the late, great Elie Wiesel, I encourage anyone who “survives a test, whatever it may be,” to tell his/her story because “it is his duty.”

BPM: Do you have any other organizations you are part of? If yes, please share.
Yes, I have a non-profit 501C-3 organization that myself and my Vice President Renea Mewborn started in 2010 called Magnifying our Mothers (M.O.M.). For years after my mother’s death from cancer in 2002, I struggled with Mothers Days and holidays in general; so founding M.O.M. came out of my desire to break that cycle and do something positive instead, that would not only help people who were bereaved, but also change my mindset about her death and make her very proud! M.O.M. assists the bereaved, including children who have lost one or more of their parents through the offering of donations to other local/nationwide charities, grief counseling resources, financial support (funeral expenses, etc.) and we are in the process of setting up scholarships for bereaved children under our Legacy Keeper Kids umbrella.

BPM: What else can we expect to see from you? 
Another great question! My plan is to take a break to focus on my youngest son, who will be leaving home to attend college out-of-state. However, I want to continue to be led by God and let Him continue to order my steps, whatever that may be. I do have plans; however, to publish a companion Control Book that will accompany Path to Peace, which will come out sometime in 2017.

BPM: Please tell everyone how you can be contacted to support you by purchasing your products/services, book you for their upcoming events, or partner with you in your vision.
I’m more than happy to partner with others, answer questions, come and speak, etc.! People can reach me via email at:  info@authorangiejones.com  or  through my Author Angie Jones Facebook page

My website is http://www.path-2-peace.com  and they can purchase copies of my book there or via Amazon.com
 
Thank you so much for the opportunity Ella – I love and admire you more than you know for your loving kindness and authenticity and for executing your God-given vision!

Website: http://www.path-2-peace.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorARJones

 
 

 

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Path to Peace by Angie Ransome-Jones

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

Death is difficult but inevitable. This book provides practical steps for preparing for the inevitable and coping after death – it should be on every bookshelf!

“Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life After Losing A Loved One,” chronicles one daughter’s journey of finding peace after the devastating loss of her father. In the midst of grieving, Angie Ransome-Jones was suddenly faced with laying her father to rest, settling his financial affairs and reconciling her unresolved feelings over the loss of her mother.

After learning what she refers to as “the process,” it’s now her mission to share practical steps to picking up the pieces and finding peace, after the loss of a loved one. In this book, Angie provides a comprehensive guide that yields advice from an attorney, financial advisor and grief counselor.

“Path to Peace” is one daughter’s story of reclaiming her life, realizing her purpose and finding inner peace along the way.

What People Are Saying About Path to Peace

Path to Peace is a wonderful book used as a source to go to time and time again if you are going through the process of grieving after losing someone. It is well researched and written, and is easy to absorb all while letting the reader take what they need at different times during the grieving process.

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

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

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

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

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


Excerpt Chapter One

Until a year ago, I had always equated Election Day with colorful yard signs, cooler weather and National Angie Ransome-Jones Day, also known as my birthday. Now, I equate it to my Daddy’s passing. It was a normal day, just like any other for me. I ran my mouth with Evelyn while trying to get some semblance of work done at home. The day before, I worked an election with my good friend, Janis, like I had for the past few years and was trying to play catch up like I always do, whenever I take off from work. Coming off of a great weekend, I was on cloud 21!

Dad came down to celebrate my 44TH birthday and I basked in the possibilities of another year as Myles, my son, prepared for his first semester of college. There were so many things to be thankful for. Little did I know what was to come. If not every single day, it was at least every other day that I talked to Daddy. Usually, we had a typical 2-minute conversation. “Hey Daddy, what you doing?”

“Oh, nothing girl, just sitting here relaxing.”

Depending on whether I caught him half asleep or fully awake, the conversation could go one of a million ways. Mostly we would get off the phone immediately with a casual goodbye.

“Okay, just checking on ya. Daddy, go back to sleep.”

We often shared any number of long, drawn-out conversations on everything from gas prices to somebody on his job getting ill, or something pertaining to a distant relative I had no memory of. But on this particular day, something was different. Something was off. I tried calling him the night before while I was still at the election site, just before I knew he would be taking a nap to get ready for work at midnight. I tried again when I closed the polls about 10 or 11 p.m., on my way home, hoping to catch him fresh out the shower before he got dressed and jumped into his truck for work. Daddy had the same pattern every day. It usually started with him laying or piddling around all day until dusk, when it was time to prepare for his part-time “sleeping job” at the local bowling alley; the midnight shift. When I didn’t catch him, it wasn’t surprising. I knew for sure I’d catch him the next morning. After I failed to catch him for the umpteenth time, I did the one thing I dreaded most. Fearing a sharp reprimand, I called his job. Because I knew he hated his job and was just counting the days, even minutes, until re-retirement; I was doubtful he was still there. And, as it turned out, he wasn’t. 

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

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

Step 1: Making the Call

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

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

( Continued… )

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

About the Author
Angie Ransome-Jones is a wife of 20+ years and mother of two young men, all currently residing in Texas. A banking Vice President and MBA, Angela has her own non-profit (501C-3) organization, Magnifying our Mothers (M.O.M.), which she founded in 2010, in memory of her mother, who lost her battle with cancer years earlier. In her spare time, Angela enjoys serving as a volunteer in her church and community, along with practicing and teaching yoga, and she is an active member of both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Toastmasters International.  Wesite: http://www.path-2-peace.com

Purchase Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life After Losing a Loved One
https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Guide-Managing-After-Losing/dp/0991220919


“Path to Peace, A Guide to Managing Life After Losing A Loved One,” chronicles one daughter’s journey of finding peace after the devastating loss of her father. In the midst of grieving, Angie Ransome-Jones was suddenly faced with laying her father to rest, settling his financial affairs and reconciling her unresolved feelings over the loss of her mother.

Path to Peace author Angie Ransome-Jones talks about preparing for the inevitable on WFAA- Good Morning Texas. Watch the interview replay, go here.  Death is difficult but inevitable. Path to Peace provides practical steps for preparing for the inevitable and coping after death – it should be on every bookshelf!  

 
 

 

 

Intimate Conversation with Leron Young

Intimate Conversation with Leron Young

Leron Young moved to Washington, DC with his mother from South Carolina when he was six years old. His mother gave him a guitar when he was eight years old and he taught himself how to play it. Later in life he met a singing group called the Unifics at Howard University and started performing with them during the late sixties and early seventies. He also played guitar with the Five Stairsteps and Luther Ingram at Stax Records.

Leron studied electronics at a vocational high school in Washington, DC and studied electrical engineering in college. He worked as an engineer in corporate America, servicing CAT scanners and MRI machines in the medical field.

After starting his own business in1989, Leron mentored young musicians for the next twenty-six years. Music is his first love, but he saw a need to encourage better health and wellness in his community. He wrote his first book, “How Is My T.E.D.D.Y. ” Asking the question “How is My Teddy”? will help readers stay focused on the important things in life. T.E.D.D.Y. Is a tool used to help develop a life of joy, good health, and well-being. The Teddified brand is catching on with people seeking a path to wholeness.

In August, 2016, a new compilation CD of Leron’s best smooth jazz, blues guitar and inspirational instrumentals was released on CD Baby. The music can be downloaded from CD Baby here: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Laron. His books are listed on Amazon.

BPM: Can you share a little about your life in the music industry with us?

I started player guitar professionally with a local group called the Unifics back in the late sixties. They had two national records called “Court of Love” and “ The Beginning of my End”. I was able to perform with many artist at that time with the Unifics. Artist such as James Brown, Gladys Night and the Pips, The Delfonics, David Rufin of the Temptations, Kool and the Gang, Roberta Flack, The Stylistics, The Isley Brothers and many more. While touring with the Unifics I got to meet and became friendly with another group called “The Five Stairsteps”. I eventually became a part of their organization for a short while. They had a popular record out during that time called “Oo Child”.

Later during my career I got another opportunity to play guitar for Stax Records. I was performing with the artist name Luther Ingram who was with Stax Records. He had a hit record at that time called “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right”. I’m in the movie called Watts Stax that was filmed in 1972 at the LA Stadium. I was playing guitar with Luther Ingram. Isaac Hays, The Bar Kays, The Staple Singers, The emotions, Rufus Thomas, Richard Pryor and others were in the movie.

I became dissatisfied with the traveling and the lifestyle in the entertainment field and decided to come back home to Washington DC. I wanted to raise a family and not be on the road as much. When I returned to Washington DC I recorded on an album with Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. Chuck and I had been friends for a while. Chucks Producer at that time was a person name James Purdie. James asked me to go in the studio with them to record the album “Bustin Loose” in which I did. After recording the album I went back in the field of Electronics. I worked as a technician, CT & MRI System Specialist in Corporate America and eventually started my own business.

BPM: Introduce us to your book. Share any pertinent details about the development of this book.

The book grew out of my wanting to change some of my habits that were not serving me well or getting me the results I wanted and needed in order to be happy and successful. I got the idea for Teddy while attending a conference in Orlando Florida. After the conference, I was in my hotel room resting, reading and reflecting. The idea came to my mind, what question could I ask myself, the answers for which would give me directions for improving my quality of life. What question could do the same for others. The acronym teddy came to mind, and the question “How is my Teddy” was born. Following the acronym Teddy, the meaning of each letter manifested. T standing for thinking, E represent eating and exercising, D stands for drinking plenty of water, D represent doing what brings you joy and Y stands you loving you.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on a personal and professional level. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?

I discovered my real worth when I was working as a System Specialist Engineer with Corporate America. I realized then what I didn’t want any more in my life. I was thankful for the opportunity to learn CT and MRI in Corporate America, but I wanted now to apply that knowledge in my own business. I wanted to use my musical ability along with the technology that I learned in Corporate America. I felt that my calling now was to use all that I had learned up to that point.

BPM: How can one live authentic life, true to self, personally and professionally?

It starts by paying more attention to yourself. Pay attention to your thoughts and your awareness of your thoughts. Focus on what’s bringing you joy and not the things that are giving you unpleasant emotions. Start trusting in God and yourself. Realize what your gifts are and start using and develop them to a higher level. Everyone have a book within them. Find that book that is within and write it. It will benefit the writer and possibly many others. You will become authentic.

BPM: Do does your book impact black men and people with chronic illnesses?

Many of my Black brothers have low self-esteem and we use food as one of the things to satisfy the craving that we have to empower ourselves. Unfortunately the food is doing more damage than it is helping us. We are eating the wrong kinds of food. A lot of the foods we eat are acidic and cause lots of different diseases to manifest in our bodies. We need to eat more foods that are alkaline. Diseases can’t live in an alkaline environment. By reading this book and applying all of its principals will give black men and people with chronic illnesses the opportunity to experience self-awareness and unlock the power of their mind, body and spirit. My book Teddy gives them a tool that can be used to reverse some of their illnesses by positive thinking, eating the right foods, getting more exercise, drinking plenty of water and staying focused on what brings them joy.

BPM: What advice would you give a new business owner?

Chose a business that will utilize their gifts. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Ask many questions about the business you want to pursue. Get advice from those who maybe in the same business. There are many resources on the internet. Develop the skills needed to run the business and surround yourself with talented people and don’t be afraid to let an employee go if they bring no value to your business, Trust your instinct and don’t be afraid to take chances. Have fun and listen for the directions from God that you should take and have faith that you will succeed following your dream.

Order How is My “T.E.D.D.Y” ? by Leron Young
Kindle Link:  https://amzn.com/B01BTJL6US 

 

 

Intimate Conversation with Ally Fleming

Intimate Conversation with Ally Fleming

Ally Fleming’s world is one where the imagination is fueled by the suspense of fiction, the allure of romance, the depravity of villains and the potency of those who oppose them. Her work is influenced by an infatuation with powerful heroes, irresistible heroines, gritty story-lines, intriguing villains and the heat those forces generate.

She’s an award-winning author, with over 14 years in the business. Her writing creds span the historical and contemporary romance genres as well as contemporary and paranormal YA. She also dabbles in erotica. Ally Fleming is her pen-name for interracial (BWWM) suspense fiction. She’s more widely known as AlTonya Washington. Visit Ally Fleming’s Website

BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle? 

My most recent work is entitled “Intoxicated” and readers can find it on the Kindle and Nook platforms as well as a host of others. It’s an Interracial (BWWM) romantic suspense piece that features a couple who meet under seemingly normal circumstances but come to discover that their worlds are far more intimately connected than either of them can imagine. For our heroine Etienne Shaw, it’s a connection that’s she’s not at all comfortable with.

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

The main characters are our hero Mercuri Nikolaides and our heroine Etienne (Tee) Shaw. I just had the best time creating this couple and their backstories. ‘Special’ is such a tame word to use when I describe them, I guess because they struck such a chord with me from the moment I envisioned them, their circumstances and what it would take for them to be together. I suppose if I had to pick the most special thing about Mercuri (aside from the fact that he’s to-die-for gorgeous), it would be the level of devotion he has for those he loves. At the onset of the story, that devotion only extends to his 4 best friends, but eventually comes to include Tee in a really powerful way.

As for Tee, readers immediately see that she’s a very small person physically. That was an aspect I enjoyed playing around with especially since Mercuri is-as the subtitle states- a giant, at 6’7 and well over 260lbs. Tee’s a really little thing, but you quickly see that she’s a force. It’s Tee who initiates the actions that set the stage for our story. She’s the last person you’d expect to do what she does to avenge what she’s perceived to be an injustice. I loved taking someone who would otherwise be underestimated and making them the most dynamic person in the book.

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

As I state in the reader letter at the end of the work, I was in the process of getting ideas together for another project when this one just hit me. As I stated earlier, it’s an interracial romance and writing one of these has always appealed to me. Given that, when this idea came to mind and I knew that I wanted it to be an IR Suspense title it just seemed like the perfect time to get started on it. I’m not sure why this time was any different from any other time especially since I’ve crafted IR couples before. (Kraven DeBurgh and Darby Ellis in Lover’s Allure and A Lover’s Sin.) The fact that the desire to do this story hit again and so powerfully, just made me push everything else aside and dive in. So that my readers will know that it’s an interracial romance, I’m writing under a new pen name- Ally Fleming.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed so much, but I suppose it’s the sense of freedom I experienced. Aside from wanting to write an IR title, I also wanted to try my hand at a new series that could be read as a standalone. “Intoxicated” is the first of 4 and it was so freeing to be crafting new circumstances, new drama, new couples. In a sense, starting with a clean slate. I just completed the Ramsey Tesano series which has run for about 10 years. I’ve enjoyed every moment of crafting that saga, but it took a lot out of me. It was great to move into new territory.

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

My ideas come from so many places. Something as ordinary as a couple walking down the street can and has sparked inspiration. I’ve even gotten ideas simply from hearing (or coming up with) a new name and have been inspired to craft a story about the sort of person who might have a name like that. I would say my books are character-driven. Some might argue they seem plot-driven, but for me it’s the characters who drive the majority of how the plot is crafted. I’ve had chapters outlined just the way I wanted them, but once I actually wrote up to that point, things changed. The way I’ve imagined a plot usually doesn’t play out that way once the characters have come alive for me during the writing.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Yeah…for this one, yes. I often say that I don’t attempt to give a lesson in my stories. If that happens, it’s not intentional. When I sit down to write, I just want to tell a story. For “Intoxicated”, yes the events that take place do fix on underrepresented groups and themes. For Tee and her friends, they are four young women who make a decision out of desperation. Financial distress can bring about a lot of bad decisions that only make the problem worse. In this book a very bad decision is based on a need for money. The girls get drawn into a situation and, for a night, are labeled as something no woman wants to be labeled as. We tend to look down on such women, without ever knowing their motivations. We simply label these women as trash and keep moving.

On the flip side, Mercuri and his friends are attempting to distance themselves from an organization that raised them to be mercenaries. Here, we see these men who were taken as children with no one to fight for them and no way to fight for themselves. Once they are free, they don’t look back. Eventually, circumstances become such that they have to look back and finish what they started by destroying the organization they’ve killed for.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?

Well I’m a single mom and that’s tough especially when you’re doing it on your own. I’m a librarian and an author and many times I find myself in situations where my finances can be called into question. While writing this story I couldn’t help but wonder what my reaction would be to someone offering me a ‘bail-out’ like the one Tee and her friends received.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

I think it’s more accurate for me to say I reacquainted myself with things I already knew instead of learning new things. We all know you can’t judge a book by its cover and Tee blew that misconception right out of the water. If I learned anything, it was how to craft a total bad-ass out of the most unlikely character.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

Oh this answer is so easy. I met no one while writing or researching this book! I was in my cave the entire time.

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

I can say with a resounding yes, that I achieved my goals and realized my intentions with “Intoxicated”. I wanted to craft an IR Suspense title that wasn’t focused on the fact that this was a story about a white man and black woman falling in love, but of a man and woman falling in love amid a slew of villains and dangerous circumstances and oh, by the way, he happens to be white and she happens to be black. I didn’t want their race to be the overarching theme so much as the themes of desperation, revenge, desire and love that shape the storyline. Additionally, I wanted to craft a story that could be part of a series and also act as a standalone. I believe that effort was realized as well.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

So right now, I’m working on another story that kicked me in the gut out of nowhere. This has been happening a lot lately and I’m running with it. This is slated to be an African American contemporary romance, but the storyline holds historical significance. The heroes and heroines of this trilogy will face a dark truth about the history of the island outside of Charleston that their families settled (or were given to settle) prior to the Civil War. The revelations they will uncover stretch into the present. They shed light; on not only the history of the island, but the truth behind what brought an end to their personal relationships before they had the chance to really begin. I’m looking at a Christmas release for the work tentatively titled “Tradition.”

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

My readers can find me mostly anywhere! Below are my social media links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ramseysgirl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/altonyaw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/novelally/ 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/337210.AlTonya_Washington

 

 

Intimate Conversation with Nichol Bradford

Intimate Conversation with Nichol Bradford


Nichol Bradford, a proud Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister, is fascinated by human potential, and has always been interested in how technology can help individuals expand beyond their perceived limits to develop and transform themselves to the highest level.

She spent the last decade exploring these ideas in the online game industry, serving as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations and marketing for major brands that include: Activision Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. Most recently she managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China.

Now, as the CEO of the Willow Group, Nichol is applying those same skills to the realm of elevating psychological well-being. Willow is a transformative technology company focused on employing rigorous scientific research to develop training protocols, hardware and software that can produce a reliable and positive change in the human experience. She is also a member of the African-American MBA Association

Nichol has an MBA from Wharton School of Business in Strategy, and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston. She is a fellow of the British American Project, currently serves on the board of the Brandon Marshall Foundation for Mental Health, and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I wrote the book I wanted to read about strong yet vulnerable and intelligent black women committed to a great and grand goal — mental freedom and empowerment for all. I was tired of not seeing heroes that looked like me. I wanted to see someone like me save the world, not as a side-kick or agency head, but as the actual, certifiable central hero. I wanted to read about Olivia Pope back then, but since she didn’t exist yet, I wrote my own. I also wanted really well-developed characters who had something on their minds other than men. So some of the characters are happily married, and some are single, but most of all their focus is not just on their men (or lack thereof) but on their friendship and common goals. I also love technology and so wanted the women to be deeply immersed in that world.

I am deeply motivated by the memory of my mother, Vivian Jones Bradford. My mother is the model for the visionary leader of the Sisterhood, Vivian Delacroix. My mother was an entrepreneur. She was completely committed to helping women and supporting the efforts of black women in particular. She believed most in defending the defenseless and used her legal education to do so. I started volunteering by her side when I was a child and she made sure that my values included service to the betterment of society.

Like the CEO on the book, my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly (months after I graduated from college). She was a young fifty, healthy, and we were very much alike. My last conversation with her was the morning of her death, and I’m so grateful for that. I was devastated. It took at least a year for me to reorient myself. The shock of losing her shaped the way I approach life. It instilled a sense that there’s plenty of time, but no time to waste. I believe in being passionate about the work that you do and who you do it with, because none of us knows how much time we have. I believe in being mission driven. I have the loss of my mother to thank for what I feel is a highly effective approach to a full life.

I’m deeply motivated by the idea of empowering people to free their minds in order to create choice and options in their lives. That thread runs through most of what I’ve done — from writing the Sisterhood, to working at a senior level in the video game industry, to launching an online meditation course, to pioneering the transformative technology sector.

Transformative Technology is about making the technology in our lives support our well-being and not just our productivity. The last decade found me exploring the idea of transformative technology in the video game industry, where I served as a senior executive with responsibility for strategy, operations, and marketing for games internationally for major brands that include: Activision/Blizzard, Disney, and Vivendi. 

Most recently I managed the operations of Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, in China. During this time, I also began to meditate and saw interesting parallels between it and gaming. Both enable delight, flow, and access to dynamic states of consciousness. Meditation, though, goes even further and can profoundly and positively impact well-being. It seemed logical to me that technologies that directly impact human experience could do so as well, but no one seemed to be seriously working on it. So, I left Blizzard to pioneer Transformative Technology.

BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
My books are for women who want to make a difference with their lives — women who care about their communities, families, and lives and want to make positive change. Black women have a beautiful heroic nature, and I wanted to show that you don’t have to be wearing head-to-toe spanx to be heroic. The “Superwoman” meme sells us short. It makes us think that there’s something wrong with our heroism. We believe that our heroic nature will ensure that we are single and have nine cats so we reject our nature in order to not be alone.

Or we believe that we can’t be heroes and also be vulnerable so we build walls around our hearts while we work ourselves to death. Real heroism is the flexibility to be strong AND vulnerable AND all of those things – while keeping focused on our wider mission. As far as role models go, I think that anyone who is positive and lives with integrity can be a role model — so if an author is doing that, then yes — she or he is a role model.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The Sisterhood started on a late night drive home from a success workshop I gave during college. That night, I had this group of beautiful young black women stand in a circle and tell each other, one at a time and by name, that they were smart, beautiful, and could have anything that they wanted and worked for. It was a hard session, each and every young women cried when the group told her that she could actually have what she wanted. And I realized that we don’t know this…not really (even I didn’t always believe this and still have my moments where I don’t).

As I drove home, I felt really inadequate. I know that workshops can help, but they don’t last long enough to really shift someone…or help someone shift themselves. I started thinking about how I could show what it would look like, to be women who believed they could have what they wanted and worked individually and together to make that a reality. So I decided to write the Sisterhood. I conceived of an organization of women, who faced a series of challenges. Addressing those challenges would allow me to show versus tell how an individual can be successful. I went home and jotted the basic plot down which today is more or less the same.

However, it was another eight years before I actually started writing. The events that prompted me to write the book in the Fall of 2000, to actually sit down and type the first word was a break-up that triggered a recommitment to myself. I was in business school and had been dating a sweet man, who though wonderful in many way, was not the right person for me. I also had been interviewing for jobs that truthfully, I was only interested in for the security and the salary. Essentially, I was headed towards a life that was not aligned with my inner North Star. Luckily, the man did something break-up worthy (and so we did) and none of the jobs came through (thank goodness).

I’m a Virgo baby, so every September I do an assessment on my life — where am I mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally. During this period, I also try to clean things up — I ask forgiveness, forgive, clean out my closets, and think about what my goals are for the following year. As a part of this, I had been thinking about my goals, and realized that I had put “write the Sisterhood” on my list for eight years — and I just refused to start another year without having taken an action. Taking that action, after all the difficult things that had happened that year, was a proxy for a commitment to myself, to my intuition, to the life that I truly wanted to lead. It took another eight years to write the entire book, and then two more to publish it.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special? 
All of the Sisterhood characters are smart and strong…yet flawed like all real human beings. They aren’t perfect — but by working together they complement one another and accomplish great things. Tonia Rawlings is the main character that you follow and I just love and admire her. She’s the head of security for the Sisterhood and carries the weight of her best friend’s death on her shoulders because Vivian, the CEO of the Sisterhood, is assassinated on the first page.

Vivian’s death triggers a chain of events where Tonia is tested more than ever — which is saying allot given a life story that includes an abusive husband, a drug conviction, and the death of a child. In order to navigate the danger, she has to change herself. Watching her wrench a new version of herself from the old is a powerful illustration of how to do the same thing.

The nine leaders in the book are based on ALL the women I know – from the amazing women I grew up around, to those I pledged AKA with in 1990, to the women I met at in the African-American MBA Association at business school, to all the women I’ve met along the way . One of the things I love about this book is that it represents the full diaspora – every size, shape, and hue of black women.  The women come from all backgrounds, educations, and geographies but they share a common bond through their desire to positively impact their world. They are all women who have integrity with themselves and with their Sisterhood, showing what that looks like and the real possibilities it can create in our lives.

 

Intimate Conversation with Joan Early

Intimate Conversation with Joan Early

Following a lengthy career in Mortgage Banking and Mortgage Law, Joan Early focused on the love of books she developed as a child, both reading and writing. Her first writing effort won first place in Ebony Magazine’s literary contest, and enriched her desire to pen her thoughts. She continued writing historical fiction and stories based partly on stories told by her ancestors, but changed to contemporary romance. Sara’s Reward, NightSweats, Heartstrings, A Tangled Web are available in eBook, as are her first novels, Look Both Ways, Fireflies, Oak Bluffs, Friends in Need, and Separate Dreams.

Joan’s latest novel, The Other Two-Fifths, is a walk back in time, and chronicles events that led to the formation of the NAACP. It also features events taken from her early life in Mississippi, where Joan affirms learning “the best and the worst” of what we can expect from others. Joan continues writing both genres, while enjoying her husband and family, traveling, and her current career in Real Estate. Joan and husband Dale currently reside in the Beaumont, Texas area, while also maintaining a home in Houston.

BPM: Tell us something about your most recent work.  Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?

Joan: The Other Two-Fifths is a story I began writing over ten years ago that details events of the past, which now seem glaring relevant with the strong focus on race relations. The book is available in paperback and eBook at bookstores, from the publisher, Argus Books, and on amazon.com.

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

Joan: Characters in the early part of the story were taken from tapestries of my early life, and show the depths to which many will go when they feel threatened. The also show how both love and hatred motivate our actions. The characters working voter registration drives typifies college age blacks in 1969, recent Vietnam veterans who returned to a world that didn’t embrace their sacrifice. The character of Tuck, the young white freedom rider, is taken from a young man I had the pleasure of meeting in Mississippi in 1968, who wanted to be involved. Both the protagonist and the heroes, the good and the bad are part of life. The two young women, Darlene and Camille, are patterned after myself and my “road-dog” back in my early life. We wanted to be change the world, fall in love, and do everything young adults seek on the way to happiness.

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

Joan: I began the story in 1969, which was one of the most signifiant years of my life, and my last year living in Mississippi. I wanted to leave a piece of our journey, as the sacrifices and risks many took to bring about a change. When Senator Obama announced his presidential candidacy in Springfield, Illinois, I revised the beginning to reflect a race riot in Springfield 100 years before Senator Obama’s historical announcement. The events of which were a springboard for the NAACP.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

Joan: I enjoyed reflecting on the past and following the progress this country has made toward equality, as well as the strides needed to make the playing field even.

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

Joan: My ideas are taken from current events, historical occurrences, and even vacation trips to places of inspiration, such as Martha’s Vineyard, my inspiration for Oak Bluffs. My stories are driven by characters more than plot, as I do not work from an outline. I try and create memorable characters who will remain in the reader’s hearts long after the book is read. It’s the job of those characters to move the story along. I have, from time to time, totally changed the natural progression of characters and placed them on another path as the story takes shape.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them. 

Joan: The story is mainly about the struggle for equality that was and still is an uphill battle for minorities, especially those of African descent. It also shows how the immigrants who settled America after slaughtering the natives who dwelt here, created exactly what most of them were running from, religious persecution, and unfair practices of the ruling class. Here in America, the mostly European settlers became the ruling class, using slave labor to achieve wealth and status.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey? 

Joan: The story relates to present struggles for racial equality that will determine this country’s future. Much has changed for me, and for all Americans. The changes I outlined for my life have been fruitful and greatly rewarding, which I owe, in part, to the wonderful teachers who instilled a strong thirst for knowledge. I was also told that any education taken only from classroom experience alone is not enough, so I read everything I could get my hands on back then. Reading, learning, knowing more than what’s encased in your immediate sphere and focusing on the world as a whole.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 

Joan: I learned a lot from my research and how the past had helped shape my thoughts, dreams, and my way of life. It also made me more aware of the omissions in our history books, and again, of the necessity to read.

BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? 

Joan: I met a very accomplished and interesting journalist whose relentless coverage of a murder in my hometown of Woodville, Mississippi made me shudder.

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

Joan: My goal in writing The Other Two-Fifths was to showcase the efforts that have been made for the freedoms we now enjoy. Our youth is severely lacking in understanding of our culture and the sacrifices made for the advancements we now see. My continued goal is to speak to the curiosity of those who could benefit from knowing these facts.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present? 

Joan: I usually work on more than one book, either completing or editing. I have several I would like to have published, and I’m also working on the sequel to The Other Two-fifths.

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

Joan: Connect with me on Facebook and my Facebook page, Joan’sBookNook. Visit my website http://www.joanearly.net, leave a message at http://www.joanearlybooks.com, follow me on https://twitter.com/JoanJEarly, Google and LinkedIn.

In addition to all book stores and the publisher at http://www.a-argusbooks.com, The Other Two-Fifths is available on Amazon, along with my other books at:  https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Early/e/B004HNCQ0I

The Other Two-Fifths by Joan Early:  Link: http://a.co/6Vsqk4f 

 

 

Intimate Conversation with Paulette Harper

Intimate Conversation with Paulette Harper


In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. She has a passion to coach aspiring authors and speaks into the lives of women from every walk of life. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.  Paulette resides in Northern California.

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

Secret Places Revealed is an inspirational romance story. Both characters have experience pain from past relationships that makes it difficult to get past and embrace the possibility that love is possible the second time around.

BPM: Is Secret Places Revealed available on Nook and Kindle?

Yes. Secret Places Revealed is available on Nook, Kindle and Paperback.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers.

The hero, Aaron Blackman has been hurt from a previous relationship and now he has vowed not to be in another one. While the heroine, Simone is slowly recovering from a traumatic loss that has left her still bruised and unwilling to move past the pain to discover a second chance at love.

Aaron Blackman is not looking for love, in fact the only thing he has on his agenda is adding to his real estate development portfolio, while Simone Herron has her own internal battles with trust and abandonment. One decision on her part leads her to meet the eligible bachelor who is smitten by her, but has made a vow to himself not to get involved.

BPM: What makes each one so special?

I believe what makes Aaron special is the fact that he knows his weaknesses and he is willing to own up to them to make the changes he needs in his life. What makes Simone special is her ability to face her challenges and accept that it’s okay to move forward and experience love again.

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

The inspiration behind SPR comes from a desire to write a fiction book. This is my first novel and it has been such a learning process. Crossing over to another genre has been rewarding, challenging and it has stretched me beyond my own imagination. But I have loved every moment.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing Secret Places Revealed?

What I enjoyed most about writing Secret Places Revealed was I finally understood what other writers meant when they said “Those characters in my head keep talking.” These characters had a mind and will of their own and they pretty much give the direction of the story.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?

Being that I am a romantic at heart, reading romance stories comes easy for me. I wanted to write something that I could identify with and share with readers who also love reading inspirational romance stories.

Most of my books are inspirational non-fiction but I wanted to write a fiction love story for quite some time. It was just a matter of how was I going to put two people together, cause friction in their relationship and cause them to be reconciled again.

BPM: Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? 

Secret Places Revealed is my first novel and it is character driven. Although these are fictional characters, their personal struggles are real. Aaron and Simone are two individuals whose hearts have been shattered and their experiences in life have left them broken. Not broken beyond repair, but broken enough that it will take an intervention to bring them together.

BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?

Personally my book relates to me. I’ve taken these characters and tried my best to develop them in ways that readers can find themselves identifying with. Although these are fictional characters what they experience in life is real. I believe it’s these kind of stories that will build my reader base, speak to readers and cause readers to keep coming back.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?

Yes. I did. Personally, I found that I do have the ability to write a fiction story that readers can fall in love with. Sometimes life and people can discourage you from going after your own dreams. I’m very thankful to God for the ability to pen and write stories for both nonfiction and fiction readers.

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

I love to mix real life stories into my fiction. Although each story is unique, we experience some of the same feelings, situations and challenges in life in which the reader can identity. With the ability to craft fiction books, it gives me the opportunity to live through each character. I believe I have achieved my goals with SPR.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

Currently, I’m working on a Christmas romance novella. It’s in its early stages with the development of the characters and story line.

Website:  http://www.pauletteharper.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/pauletteharper
Amazon author page:  http://amzn.com/e/B004FEJKCQ
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorpauletteharper
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/pauletteharper1 
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5824102.Paulette_Harper

Purchase Secret Places Revealed by Paulette Harper
Genre: Inspirational Romance.  Clean Fiction.
Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/0989969150 

 

 
 
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