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Category Archives: Book Excerpts

Broken Conditions by Jo Lena Johnson

Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of the Clean Colored Girl Chronicles Book Series by Jo Lena Johnson

Broken Conditions highlights the author’s college years and chronicles key relationships, which lead to drama, adventure, hurt and poor choices into her 30s. See how growing up affects and influences almost every decision, relationship and behavior. When what she learned wasn’t working, she did something about it … sometimes!


Reviews for Broken Conditions by Jo Lena Johnson

Broken Conditions is an honest account of the life experiences of a “clean colored girl.” The author doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here. She simply tells the stories that many women, colored or otherwise, can relate to. The stories that shape who we become over and over again; growing up a product of divorce, the struggle of the mother-daughter relationship, and MEN! These are stories of failure and brokenness and growth and resilience. Johnson’s storytelling is such that you’ll place yourself in the back seat of that Cadillac with the trumpet player’s friend as he starts to urinate in a cup. You’ll experience the terror of hiding in the bathroom as a drug-addicted man kicks in the back door. You can taste the excitement of living out your dreams in Los Angeles and the fulfillment of finding God and purpose. This is a good and quick read that will leave you wanting Volume 2.” – Faith Conner, Host, The Platform 314 Podcast

 

Broken Conditions is fantastic! It reminds me of books like Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert or Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan. It’s real and keeps you reading. How lucky Jo Lena is to have an amazing and interesting life. She was always starting “projects,” i.e. relationships, endeavors, etc. in the book that weren’t always necessarily for the betterment of her soul. Just her filling the holes. Channeling this book into a movie; now that’s a better project. Everyone is soul searching and will connect with her story.” – Shannon Tocco

 

Broken Conditions is the perfect book for a quick weekend read. Jo Lena does an excellent job of being relatable and real. In fact, I almost felt like she and I were sitting on my couch with a cup of Joe while she told me about her life. From struggles as a child and rocky relationships in her 30s to triumph as a business woman, Broken Conditions takes you on a journey that shows you exactly why Jo Lena Johnson is the “Absolute Good Resilience Coach.” – Katy Beigel

 

“I’m sorry, but then again, I’m not sorry, because God has a way of using us and our stories for his good. In reading Broken Conditions, I saw myself, my mother, the stepfather and men in my own life. As a child, we are in a play called “Life” and it just happens. After growing up in a whirlwind, I had to make conscious decisions not just for myself, but for my three sons. I didn’t want to succumb to drinking, drugs, and being a whore. The love and respect I had for my kids made me respect me. I have this survivors guilt, how did I go through so much in life without going crazy, going to jail, or even dead? My discovery is, I’ve been kept by God to share the only truth I know. This life doesn’t belong to me, and I must share his grace and mercy even when I don’t fully understand the purpose or plan of the journey. I love you so much for sharing, and allowing me to be a part of your journey.” – Delena Evans

 

“Reading Broken Conditions made me feel like I wasn’t alone, not that I would want someone to ever go through my situation of life, but the reality is that these issues are more prominent than mentioned. The book made me think about the many ladies and gentlemen like me going through obstacles and over hurdles of life because of the dysfunctional conditions in which they were raised has an adverse effect on their being. Their normal adaptation has repercussions for their tomorrow.” – Robin Thomas

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Audio Excerpts from Black Hearts White Minds by Mitch Margo

 

Black Hearts White Minds (A Carl Gordon Legal Thriller) by Mitch Margo is Black Pearls Magazine featured book of the month. Jo Lena Johnson, Publisher at Mission Possible Press, shares audio book reviews from Black Hearts White Minds by Mitch Margo, listen here: http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/WH1DrKWL

 

The year is 1964 and Carl Gordon is an ill-prepared New York Assistant U.S. Attorney who has lied his way into a transfer to Stockville, Alabama, where he is supposed to monitor and enforce the Civil Rights Act. In a matter of days, the Ku Klux Klan takes aim at him, the outside agitator. Carl has agreed to represent Oleatha Geary, a black family matriarch who has inherited a mansion in an all-white, race-restricted neighborhood. Carl and Oleatha are engulfed in litigation that turns deadly. It’s anyone’s guess who will survive multiple assassination attempts, let alone whose integrity will remain intact.

Carl’s 12-year-old son, John, is unwelcome on Stockville’s white basketball team because of who his father is, and it seems there’s nowhere else for him to play. But ever-resourceful and impulsive Carl makes other plans for John, unwittingly putting John’s life, and the life of his new teammates, at risk. Ultimately, the young players don’t care as much about color lines as they do the lines on the basketball floor.

Visit https://mitchmargo.com to explore your options to purchase the book. Black Hearts White Minds is available in print, Kindle ebook and audio book. Published by Mission Possible Press. Distributed from Ingram and Baker & Taylor. 

 

 

Black hearts and White minds?

Carl Gordon is nothing if not impulsive.

He’s a New York Assistant U.S. Attorney who tries to escape the nightmares of his wife’s death by lying his way to Stockville, Alabama to enforce the Civil Rights Act. He arrives unprepared for life in the segregated South, where the Ku Klux Klan controls the town. It’s not long before the Klan turns its attention to the outside agitator, him.

Oleatha Geary wants no part of it.

She’s the tough and tender Black family matriarch, who inherits a grand home in an all-white, race-restricted neighborhood called Northwoods. She doesn’t want the home, but she’s pressured by her adult children to fight Stockville’s most powerful white citizens.

Stockville, Alabama is about to explode.

It’s the summer of 1964. Stockville is Alabama’s 5th largest city and its powerful white citizens think they’ve got “their coloreds” under control. Not so fast. Segregation is crumbling. Nonviolent protests have started and a clandestine group of Malcolm X disciples is planning its revenge against the KKK.

Come decide for yourself…Black Hearts White Minds.

 

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Sneak Peek at Black Hearts White Minds A Carl Gordon Legal Thriller by Mitch Margo

 

Sneak Peek at Black Hearts White Minds
A Carl Gordon Legal Thriller

CHAPTER 2

Oleatha Geary stared out her front picture window waiting for 3 o’clock. That’s when three generations of her family gathered for Sunday supper at her modest home. Attendance was mandatory. At 54, the family matriarch maintained much of the elegance she had as a young woman. Carrying an extra 20 pounds with flair, she had a fondness for flower patterned dresses, most of them made by her own hands on the Singer. Oleatha adjusted her shortly cropped, chemically relaxed hair and beamed at her three children and five grandchildren coming through the front door.

Her first born, Micah, was a tough, muscular auto mechanic and part-owner of a Sunoco service station. Much taller than the other Gearys, Micah had calloused hands, earned dismantling and reassembling car engines. His neatly trimmed mustache, sprinkled with grey, covered his entire upper lip, nearly hiding a one-inch scar at the corner of his mouth, which he refused to discuss.

Lenore Geary, Oleatha’s second child, was 33 years old and beautiful as art. She had Oleatha’s curvy outlines, high cheeks, hazel eyes and buttery cinnamon skin. She had earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from Ohio State University. Convincing her parents to let her go North to attend Ohio State over a full scholarship to Spellman took unrivaled logic and steadfast perseverance, strong points for the young woman who was so much like her mother they could hardly stand each other. Lenore had a teaching job lined up in Ohio, and Stockville firmly embedded in her rearview mirror, when her father suffered a massive stroke two weeks after her college graduation. Within days of the funeral, Oleatha contracted tuberculosis. Lenore moved back home temporarily to cook, clean and nurse Oleatha back to good health.

“You know she did this on purpose,” Lenore said to her brothers at the time.

“People don’t will themselves into tuberculosis,” said Micah.

“I thought you knew Mama,” said her other brother, Thomas, agreeing with Lenore.

Lenore became a substitute teacher at George Washington Carver High School while she tended to her mother. In less than a year Oleatha recovered while Lenore was teaching social studies and humanities full-time. She was the most popular teacher in school with both students and faculty.

The youngest son, Thomas, grew to appreciate the formality of being called Thomas rather than Tom. Where Micah was big and powerful, Thomas, age 31, was lean, quick and compact. He earned a scholarship to Hampton Institute in Virginia where he majored in political science and returned from Hampton with informed and confident opinions, the charming optimism of his father and a wife named Evie. Thomas was the assistant executive director of the United Negro College Fund, and he started the Stockville chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Read the rest of this entry »

 

The Legend of Diddley Squatt by Duane Lance Filer

The Legend of Diddley Squatt: A Novella from a Brother Fella by Duane Lance Filer

Sometime during the middle of the twentieth century, a black child is born in Rundown City, Mississippi, to rundown parents. After Diddley Squatt’s sixteen-year-old mother splits the scene and leaves him in the care of his grandmother, Momma Squatt, Diddley settles into a new life within her three-story hotel/brothel, the Copp-A-Squatt Inn.

As he grows older and is nicknamed Young Didd, the boy is unfortunately bullied because of his unusual name and life circumstances. Luckily Diddley develops a thick skin and learns that love is better than hate, thanks to the nurturing, lessons, and mentoring provided by his grandmother and the strong ladies who, along with a goo-gaggle of Inn customers that include famous musicians, soldiers on leave, and politicians, visit the brothel.

While on his unique coming-of-age journey, Diddley also uncovers the mystical powers behind a magical harmonica that allow him to bond with creatures he never imagined could become his best friends, and who could somehow lead him to a new destiny. In this urban novella, a black boy growing up in the south must somehow learn to find his way in life after his mother abandons him, with help from well-meaning people.

Excerpt The Legend of Diddley Squatt by Duane Lance Filer

Didd was on the back porch of the Copp-A-Squatt; just sitting on the porch looking out into the back woods with his trusty harmonica in his mouth – playing this old blues tune known as “Squirrel Meat Stew” he had picked up. These old houses really never had any back fences, and backyards just ran out into the woods. This was good, because deer, possums, raccoons, and rats – all these different animals would run up to the end where the brown grass part ended – and you could bond with the animals. Didd loved to just sit on the porch and watch and feed the animals. When nobody was looking, he would rumble through the trash bin where Oscar (one of Momma’s house men others called a “pimp”) and the other help would throw the garbage after eating. He’d dig through the trash and get the leftovers – squish them in a paper bag and place it out on the edge of the backyard/woods area. He’d sit there and watch the animals come eat. They loved the food.

Then, one day, something really strange happened? As he was putting some of the leftovers out on the rickety back fence for the animals – today he put out some pork-chop bones, some un-eaten grits, some egg remnants, burnt toast – all just laid it across the fence; when this possum came up and acted like he wasn’t scared at all. Then, to Didd’s amazement, the possum started talking: “Thanks young Diddley. All the animals have been watching you from afar and we appreciate all the food you bring out here to us. It all tastes good and keep it coming.”

“Possum’s can’t talk?” Didd said.

“Why not? Why can’t we?” said the possum, “you humans just think we can’t talk because you can imagine the trouble we would be in if humans knew we could talk. We just choose not to talk. But to some few humans that we feel comfortable with – we will talk. Diddley Squatt- you are one of the few humans we feel comfortable talking. My friends will talk to you, you’ll see.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

A View from Harlem by Tracey Fagan Danzey

A View from Harlem by Tracey Fagan Danzey

Life makes the distinction between lasting or lust and forever or not. Nearly five years ago, the contrasting lives of these unlikely friends became cemented. Through all their differences, they toiled through the grit of building friendships and finding love. Now it truly begins. Perry and Robert Nichols have finally transitioned from living a lie into living that life.

Despite her once-pretentious facade, Perry now touts a coveted life—one she never apologizes for. What matters is her marriage, her two children, and the success of her upscale business, Lux Body & Soul. Perry’s wrath abruptly becomes unleashed once being betrayed, causing her life to quickly unravel. When everything she holds dear is put at risk, Perry must call on Harlem Brooks.

Harlem Brooks, the good boy gone bad, has returned to the city. He has cleaned up his act and is no longer the judge’s prodigal son. Harlem is back at the firm, committed and living a more suitable life. As his determination increases to spare Perry from ending up behind bars and keeping her family intact, he is unknowingly blind-sided by what is awaiting his own. When he returns to the office late one night seeking any crucial evidence to turn around a plummeting trial, Harlem makes a shattering discovery. Now more than ever he longs for what his brother has . . . his own family.

Like many men, Harlem hasn’t quenched his insatiable needs. What he desires most is the one thing he can’t have. Erika Townsend’s beauty is alluring to Harlem, but what intrigues him most is her resilience. That unshakable strength is what Harlem needs now more than ever.

Torie Matthews is finally settled and happy after marrying Quinn, her best friend and kindred spirit. In the face of their marital bliss, there has been immense heartbreak. When their marriage receives yet another devastating blow, Torie questions whether their bond is strong enough to endure.

 

Editorial Review for A View from Harlem by Tracey Fagan Danzey

The storyteller is back! It’s been two years since Jaspers Café on the Boulevard was released, and the time away has served Tracey Fagan Danzey well. This natural storyteller has returned with a punch delivering a strong story that blends humor, drama, action and of course, unforgettable characters. A View From Harlem centers around Harlem Brooks, a handsome, successful lawyer with no interest in settling down with one woman. It appears that Harlem has life in the palm of his hand until an unexpected discovery about his family leaves him questioning everything he holds dear. But it doesn’t stop there!

In true storyteller form, Tracey has woven in several engaging plotlines that deal with love, faith, loss, infidelity and redemption. Tracey’s characters both supporting and main come to life and have you feeling like you’ve known them forever. (Trust me when I say that you’re going to want to invite Aunt Dot to Christmas dinner!) If you’re looking for a modern read that seamlessly has you laughing one minute and wiping away a tear the next then A View From Harlem is one you won’t want to miss.
— JT Belangela -Blogger and Goodreads Reviewer

 

Purchase A View from Harlem: A Story of Redemption by Tracey Fagan Danzey
(Cafe Hearts Book 2)  Link: http://a.co/0rqMbhY

About the Author
Tracey Fagan Danzey is an author and occasional blogger who has been described more than once as a natural storyteller. It is her passion for writing that allows her to create an experience, conjure emotions and share vivid views for her readers through her pictorial descriptions. To further pursue her craft and aspirations of becoming a published author, Tracey elevated her commitment by becoming a member of the Westport Writers’ Workshop, critique groups and book clubs.

“Where Is The Box For Someone Like Me?” is a project that advanced in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and has since developed into Tracey’s debut novel, “Jasper’s Cafe On The Boulevard”.  https://www.authortraceyfagandanzey.com

 

 

 

FOR YOU WOMAN: Spirit Jewels by Author/Poet ME

FOR YOU WOMAN: Spirit Jewels by Author/Poet ME

For You Woman: Spirit Jewels introduces an innovative creative writing style of Poetic Intellectual Art that incorporates a mix of profound insights and spiritual wonders of Love, Life and Relativity. Its central subject matter of Love is forged upon the FOUR ways we experience Life: Mind, Spirit, Body and Soul. For You Woman: Spirit Jewels manifest as Creative Masterpieces of Poetry, Prose, Short Stories and Propositions. That is capped with a chapter on The Art of Love.

Spirit Jewels is a phonetic metaphor of a ‘Spiritual’ adventure of enchanting philosophical visions and revelations of our most intimate, intense and powerful needs with shrewd poetic twists that seduces the senses. Majik and mysticism permeates the avant-garde life-force that this book generates. It’s a truly unique, gourmet, reading experience.

 

Is Love the True Religion?

What if a normal young man were kept away from women for thirty years? Meet ME, a man who loves women with the same innocence and passion he had when he was forced to give them up thirty years ago. During those years, he wrote about women and love, bestowing flesh on his dreams, and out of that struggle to remember and keep alive the passion of youth has come a unique volume of stories, poetry, and articles aptly titled, For You Woman: Spirit Jewels. Raw, optimistic, and powerful, For You Woman helps readers remember how it was to love without restraint or caution, believing that love is sacred, the gateway to God.

Time stopped for ME when he was shut away from women, and his musings on life, God, Goddess, love, passion, eroticism, and fulfillment provide the reader with abundant food for thought. Framed in the Black English of the ghetto and the prison, For You Woman loses nothing in translation. While the language is raw and untutored, the subject matter is love in all its forms and all its faces, written of with great passion and delight. Grammar police, of which I am one, may not approve, but as Marshall McLuhan, professor, philosopher, and public intellectual suggested, “The medium is the message,” and it is proved in this case.

The author, calling himself ME, is a philosopher of love and truth whose writing skills and insights were honed in the belly of the underworld. As a retired bank robber, ME is, in his own words, an intellectual thug, a spiritual gangsta whose crystallized experiences provide shrewd twists, unique perspectives and visions. He is an artistic scholar, a hopeless romantic, a mystic voyager, and a spiritual awakener of and for mankind’s destiny.

 

Book Review written by Dan Neumann  

An Inspiring, Engaging, Entertaining, Enlightening Book

Nathaniel Thurston (ME) wrote a body of poems, essays, and micro-stories that you’ll end up reading like a devotional. Each poem is typically only a page or two long at the most, but you’ll be tempted to digest and reflect on its truths for a time before going on to the next page. The elephant in the room, of course, is Thurston’s 30-year residency in jail. For some of you purchasing “For You Woman,” that may be the reason why you’re interested in the book in the first place.

I’ll tell you now that it comes through strongly that these writings amount to a legal prison break. He has broken through the bars and the bondage of incarceration by communing with the spirit of God/Goddess/Love– freeing his mind and soul. This book reminds the reader that sex shouldn’t be sought for carnal lust, but for the unparalleled spiritual connection it can afford if we’re in the correct state of mind.

Thurston is more-or-less speaking to females in general in his poetry, but don’t let that discourage male readers. These poems will inspire you to recognize the divinity in women (and even woo them). Due to the maturity and the unadulterated veracity of the message, “For You Woman” is NOT bedtime reading for youngsters.  –Review Written by Dan Neumann

 

 


MESSAGE FOR THE READER

The contents of this book are designed to appeal to your HIGHER MIND, to your elusively hidden divine intelligence. Its subject matter is designed to advance maturity. As Intellectual Spiritual Art it is NOT by editorial protocol. Whereby you will notice the author’s SIGNATURE Imprint is his lower case i’s. In order to absorb the maxims of profound truths that is contained herein, it is suggested that you re-read very carefully these contents. You will marvel in what you discover and will be inspired in the way it grows on and with you. So study the concepts and the wisdom it offers, while enjoying such artistic wonder. It’s all you.

For You Woman is a tribute, a celebration of you Woman for that female essence – the Soul of our existence. That other half of ‘godness’ that’s so special, beautiful, so precious to we men. Me salute you, ‘cause you’re ‘like that!’ You deserve to be enshrined in your Immortality.

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A Touch Of Love by Sheryl Lister


A Touch of Love (The Grays of Los Angeles) by Sheryl Lister: http://amzn.to/2xM4eQV

Lexia Daniels can’t deny that her café’s most loyal customer is as tempting as any of the delicious treats she bakes. Burned by a bitter divorce, she tries to keep her desire in check around Khalil Gray, but the gorgeous ex-model is intent on seduction. Then a devastating accident reveals the complicated man behind the perfectly sculpted body… A man she can’t seem to resist.

At first, Khalil sees Lexia as a sexy challenge. But after an explosion shatters his world, she becomes the only person he can’t seem to push away. And every sign around him is telling him he needs her close. Khalil is happy to explore their erotic chemistry as long as it means resisting real emotion. But playing by his old rules could cost him the love he never thought he’d find…

 

Excerpt: A Touch of Love by Sheryl Lister

Chapter 1

“What the hell do you mean they were charged twice?” Khalil Gray stopped in his tracks. He met the disapproving glare of a grandmotherly woman and offered up a tight smile. Lowering his voice, he repeated the question.

“I have no idea,” Felicia McBride answered. The twenty-six year-old college student worked as the assistant manager at his fitness center, Maximum Burn. “There’ve been four calls since you left with members saying their accounts were debited twice this month. They’ve already been corrected, but I have no idea why it happened in the first place.”

He ran an agitated hand down his face. “Thanks, Felicia. I’ll check it out when I get back.”

He ended the call, still trying to figure out what was going on. He had owned the gym for five years and never had a problem before. Khalil continued through the lobby toward the elevators and jabbed the button with more force than necessary. He toyed with stopping in Oasis Café for his favorite low-fat apple cinnamon coffee cake, but because of traffic and construction across from the Wilshire District office building, he was already fifteen minutes late for the Wednesday morning staff meeting at his family’s home safety company. The elevator doors opened and he stepped back to allow the stream of people exit before boarding and riding the car up to the sixth floor.

Khalil greeted the receptionist and walked briskly down the hallway to the large conference room. He slid into a vacant seat and turned his attention to what his older brother, Brandon was saying. Brandon had taken over as CEO of the company nine months ago. Their father, Nolan Gray, had started the company upon his discharge from the Army after being disheartened by the difficulty in getting services and accommodations for the disabled. He’d decided to do something about it by designing them himself.

Their father’s best friend, Thaddeus Whitcomb—who had lost the lower part of his leg while serving—joined the company as a minor partner and vice president. The two men had a long-standing agreement that there would always be a Gray at the helm as CEO and a Whitcomb as vice president. Currently, only Brandon and their older sister, Siobhan, worked for the company. He listened as each department gave updates. After the last person finished, Brandon directed his attention to Khalil. “Khalil, you’re still going to be meeting with production about your equipment, right?” Khalil nodded.

“Next week. The second gym is scheduled to open in June and I don’t want any delays.” They had broken ground a year ago on the now three-level center and the building would be completed in four weeks, barring any problems. He wanted all the equipment to be ready for installation.

“So, roughly three months until opening day. Let me know if you run into any difficulties. Is there anything else?” Khalil glanced at the wall clock. It was almost eleven. Any hope he had of getting that coffee cake dissipated. When no one spoke, he pushed the chair from the table and started to stand.

“I have one quick thing.” He dropped back into his seat and groaned inwardly. He loved his sister-in-law, but couldn’t she table her comments until the next meeting? Brandon had met Faith Alexander when he’d come to her rescue after a car accident. Unbeknownst to either of them, Faith was the long lost daughter of Thaddeus Whitcomb, and rightful heir to the VP position. Uncle Thad, as they affectionately called him, had been looking for his daughter for twenty-eight years after his wife divorced him.

Khalil smiled inwardly remembering all the fireworks that followed when Brandon found out the woman he had rescued and begun dating was actually going to be his second-in-command. Brandon hadn’t been too happy since he’d grown up thinking he would head the company alone—a fact that Brandon had reiterated several times. Things had worked out between Brandon and Faith and they had married six weeks ago. Khalil tuned back into Faith discussing the new intern program. It gave him an idea about doing something similar at the gym. A few minutes later, the meeting ended.

“Hey, Khalil. I want to talk to you before you leave.” He shot a glare at Brandon. Another five minutes passed before his brother made it over to where Khalil stood impatiently waiting.

“Why are you frowning at me like that?” Brandon asked.

“Because it’s after eleven and my coffee cake is probably gone by now.” He strode out of the conference room, leaving Brandon to follow. “If you want to talk, we need to do in on the way downstairs.” Brandon chuckled.

“Weren’t you grumbling about that three weeks ago when you were here?” He pushed the down button on the elevator. Khalil only attended the weekly staff meeting when he had something on the agenda.

“Yeah, and you’d better hope it’s not all gone again. Dad’s staff meetings never ran this long. You’re taking this CEO thing way too far.”

“Well, we have two new products in the design phase and have to finalize plans for our interns who’ll be starting soon, so there’s a lot to discuss.”

When the elevator arrived, they joined four other occupants and rode down to the first floor without speaking. As soon as the doors opened, Khalil hurried across the lobby to Oasis Café. The only things left in the display case in the spot where the coffee cake usually sat were the tipped over sign and crumbs. Behind him, Brandon laughed softly. “Guess you’ll have to get here early next time.” Before he could tell his brother where to go, a tall, pretty woman approached. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 
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