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Sweet Heat Rising by Nicki Night 

Sweet Heat Rising by Nicki Night

Love Like It’s Hot Celebrates Independence Day – a day celebrated around the country – and will never be seen quite the same as six of today’s contemporary, nationally best-selling romance authors bring the heat in this box set filled with unique stories of impassioned love and intense romance!   The Fourth has never been hotter – be sure to Love Like its Hot! Available at Amazon & B&N.

Featured Authors in “Love Like It’s Hot!” Book Set:

* Love for Liberty by Ann Clay

* Heat at First Sight by Barbara Keaton

* Best Laid Plans by Deatri King-Bey

* Summer Sizzle by Donna Hill

* Sweet Heat Rising by Nicki Night

* The Fourth by Xyla Turner


Sweet Heat Rising by Nicki Night

Erin Isaacs is at the point in her career where she’s paying her dues. She’s giving her PR career everything she’s got even if it means having to deal with a harsh and intimidating boss. She’s doing all she can to prove herself in this company and the industry, which is dominated by a few who all seem to know one another. And her boss is very well known across the industry.

When Real Estate Developer and luxury hotel owner, Noah Lucas becomes her PR firm’s newest client, Erin immediately deems the sexy billionaire off limits because fraternizing with clients is a no no! Erin is supposed to go on vacation but that boss of hers makes her cancel it to take on a new assignment on short notice. Noah just happens to be the client.

Erin must travel to the pre-grand opening of Noah’s new luxury hotel to explore the resort and spa and gather research for their PR campaign. Sweet heat rises under the tropical sun heating up Noah and Erin’s desire for one another. An affair with him could jeopardize her career, but their inability to resist one another takes them on an exploration of paradise and the possibility of love. There’s so much at stake for Erin. Winning would mean that she could have Noah and her career but was winning even possible?

 


Excerpt from Chapter One:  Sweet Heat Rising by Nicki Night 

“Who is that?”

Erin Isaacs looked up just in time to get a peek at the gorgeous man walking into the conference room with her boss.

“He’s beautiful,” her co-worker Janel continued in a dreamy voice as she leaned against Erin’s desk.

Erin’s hand was back on her keyboard. “I have no idea, and with all the work piled on my desk I don’t have the time to find out.”

She pretended to be unfazed, but she saw the man. She saw every inch of his tall, dark, handsome presence, with skin that looked as though he’d been freshly dipped in caramel. The Douglas Group had a strict rule about fraternizing with employees and clients. So, whoever he was, it didn’t matter. He was off limits. Besides, with the hours they worked, who had time to date anyway?

Despite Erin’s dismissal of the gorgeous stranger, Janel folded her arms and continued to stare in the direction of the conference room. By now the door was closed.

“What are you trying to do, use x-ray vision to see this guy?” Erin teased.

“No, I’m trying to fasten the image of him to my mind so I can see him in my dreams. That’s as close as I’ll get to having a man in my bed. Ha!” Janel barked out one of her short, high-pitched laughs.

Erin shook her head and couldn’t help but smile. Janel was always good for squeezing a laugh out of her. She was also one of the few fellow public relations associates Erin believed she could trust. PR was a competitive environment with one associate constantly trying to outdo the other.

“I guess I’ll get back to work. Hopefully, they’d be out of there before I go to lunch. I need to see him one more time to perfect the impression of him in my mind.”

Erin looked up from her computer and tilted her head. “Really, Janel, you need to get out more. That way you won’t have to imprint images of good-looking men on your mind at work.”

“Pfft. Like you have a life.” Janel playfully waved her off.

“We’re so pathetic.” Erin slouched her shoulders into a dejected posture to emphasize her point. Both women burst out laughing.

“No, but really,” Janel said through her laughter, “we are pathetic.” She pushed away from the side of Erin’s desk. “Just let me know when that door opens up.” She rounded the short wall dividing their cubicles and sat down. “I want my last glimpse. I have to get my excitement somehow.”

Erin shook her head. She knew Janel’s life because she lived it. Every now and then, she’d get out to a movie or dinner. Other times, she’d invite her besties over to binge watch shows with her. “Dammit!” she feigned anger. “Could we be more pathetic?”

The women laughed again. Janel took a loud bite of an apple. “Nope. I don’t think so,” she said through a mouthful.

After more laughs both women set their attention back on work, but Erin’s mind wandered to her lonely existence. She spent a lot of time alone, but wasn’t necessarily lonely. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d gone out on a date. Erin allowed her mind to wander back to the many woeful attempts at dating she’d endured before taking a hiatus from those misadventures; back to the beginning when she’d put her profile on a dating site and was notified she had a match.

She’d excitedly tapped through the screens to see who it was, wondering if he was good-looking. Was he American? She loved men with accents—loved men of different cultures. And there he was, pictured next to her profile shot with the app encouraging her to respond to him before time ran out. Below that encouragement was a red ‘X’ and a green heart. Later she found out she’d been matched with a cheater and went back into the site to delete her profile. This time she jabbed the red ‘X’ under his picture so hard she almost broke a nail. Erin wondered if his new wife knew he was married but still looking.

If it weren’t for Erin’s two closest friends, Simone and Tori, she would hardly leave the house. Erin kept long hours and by the time she got home all she wanted to do was eat and sleep. And then there were the events. In PR, there were always events to attend—breakfast events, lunches, meetings, receptions, cocktail parties, galas, launch parties, grand openings. When she first started at The Douglas Group—one of New York City’s premier full-service PR firms, those events excited her. But now the honeymoon was over. It was work. The non-stop, overly competitive environment sharpened her skills but proved to be exhausting at times. It was a good thing loved her job and the world of PR in general. Her calendar was filled, which was why she didn’t stress over not having a boyfriend. She simply didn’t have the time.

“Focus,” Erin mouthed to herself and returned to the work in front of her. An endless list of unread emails awaited her attention.

Every few seconds her cell phone buzzed with text notifications. Erin zoned out the noises of the office—telephone conversations, easy listening music flowing from the built-in speakers, employee chatter, nails clicking against keyboards—and dug into her current assignment. She was working on developing a few media pitches for a new client. After cranking out a few more emails to media contacts and finishing up changes to a contract her boss had requested, Erin was about to stand when Janel popped up from her cubicle. Erin craned her neck toward Janel’s towering body.

“Shh!” Janel put her finger to her lips but kept her eyes on the conference room. “The door is opening.” A hush came over their side of the office.

Erin shook her head. “I can’t believe you, Janel.” Erin waved her off, collected the documents sliding out from her printer and placed them in a folder.

“I hear them. He’s coming out!” Janel whispered.

Erin chuckled, stood, and gathered the folder along with some other papers in her hand and walked through the cubicle city toward her boss’s office. After placing the files where she’d been directed to put them, Erin walked out of the office hoping her boss wouldn’t demean her changes too much. She’d been hailed as a great writer by everyone but her Kristin Douglas. That woman had never uttered a nice word to Erin since the day she said, ‘You’ve got the job.’ With her mind on the condescending feedback she anticipated, Erin failed to see the conference room door open wider.

Before she could stop herself, she had collided into the gorgeous man Janel had been waiting to see. His body was so taut she bounced off him. The man reached out and quickly caught her by her arms to keep her from falling back. The feel of his strong hands sent a jolt of energy squiggling down her arms. Embarrassed, she jerked away, apologizing profusely. In her peripheral, she caught Kristin’s annoyed expression—eyes so tight they narrowed to slits.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you.”

“It’s no problem at all.” His voice…low and velvety. The accent. Caribbean. Melodic. Beautiful. It seemed to travel slowly down Erin’s spine. She could close her eyes and listen to him all day.

Erin’s core tightened. She swallowed. Until this point, she had yet to look into his face. She lifted her eyes and the next apology caught in her throat. His eyes, brown, kind, seductive, held her hostage. For a moment she couldn’t look away. Her gaze slid down the rest of his perfectly set face. Dimples deep enough for her to place the tip of her finger in. Lips that framed teeth resembling precious pearls. This dude was a masterpiece. And he smelled amazing. Erin wanted to take a long whiff but was afraid her eyes would involuntarily close.

Erin cleared her throat and stepped back. “Again, my apologies. I didn’t see you coming out of the door.”

“Again, no problem.” His cadence was like a song.

The glare Kristin tossed in her direction made Erin want to hide under a desk somewhere. She started walking away.

“Noah Lucas.” The beautiful stranger held out his hand.

“Oh!” Erin let out a nervous chuckle. “Erin. Erin Isaacs.” She shook his hand. Behind him, Kristin glowered. “Pleasure to meet you Mr. Lucas. If you’ll excuse me.” Erin hurried back to her desk, plopped down and huffed.

“Wow!” Janel leaned over the top of the cubicle. Erin could tell she was on her toes on the other side. “You touched him. How did it feel?” Janel giggled.

Erin snickered. She needed that laugh. “Great, actually. He’s muscular. Kristin gave me the look of death though.”

“Of course.” Janel scoffed and rolled her eyes. “At least you got to touch him.” She chuckled.

“And it felt amazing,” Erin said. The women snickered together. “I need to get back to work.”

Janel remained standing, her eye trained in the direction of Kristin and the guy, Noah. Erin turned back to her computer. She refused to look. She didn’t want to see Kristin’s nasty glares. She’d hear enough about it once the man was gone. Kristin would find just the right words to express how inappropriate that situation was. If her student loans weren’t so much…if this wasn’t the top PR company in the city…if her rent to live in this expensive city didn’t cost a mint…perhaps she’d quit.
PR was a small world, so she couldn’t afford to mess up her chances of moving up the ladder at The Douglas Group or other prospective agencies. She dealt with Kristin’s antics and chucked it up to paying her dues. One day, she would no longer have to answer to Kristin or any other unbearable boss.

Moments later she noticed Janel was no longer standing.

Kristin appeared by her cubicle with Noah at her side. Through a slick grin, Kristin introduced Noah to each of them and proceeded to parade him around the entire office as if she were introducing her new fiancé instead of The Douglas Group’s newest client

Erin waited until things quieted before asking, “Is he gone yet?”

“Unfortunately.” Janel slid her chair back and peered around the wall. “That was awkward, don’t ya think? Kristin seemed a little sweet on him, huh?”

“A little.” Erin nodded, playfully waved Janel off, and braced herself for Kristin’s return. Once Noah was gone, she knew Kristin would round her cubicle spewing her discontent for bumping into their new client. But time passed—nearly a half hour. Erin kept her head down and her eyes on the screen of her laptop. Then she heard Kristin’s voice, muffled loudness carrying itself through the walls of her father’s closed office door. Janel stood and looked at Erin. Erin shrugged. They had no idea why Kristin was so upset. Her yelling wasn’t new to them. Erin sighed, knowing she’d soon have to deal with the brunt of whatever made Kristin mad.

Another few minutes passed and Kristin still hadn’t shown up at Erin’s desk. Just as Erin’s shoulders started to ease from the anticipation of Kristin’s pending tirade, she heard the woman’s harried footsteps. Erin knew that walk—short, hard strides meant she was livid. Here it comes.
Kristin appeared like a harsh wind, slamming a manila file onto Erin’s desk. “Your new assignment,” she said, folding her arms across her chest. “Have Ariel make your travel arrangements. You’ll need to fly out on Friday morning. Got it?”

“This coming Friday?” Erin’s eyes widened.

Kristin tilted her head, seemingly annoyed by the fact that Erin inquired about the day. “That’s what I said.”

“But my last day is Thursday. I leave for my vacation Friday morning.”

“Cancel it!” Kristin spun on her heels and marched away.

( Continued… )

© 2019 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nicki Night. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

 

 

 


Meet Nicki Night

A born and bred New Yorker, Nicki Night delights in creating hometown heroes and heroines with an edge. As an avid reader and champion for love, Nicki chose to pen romance novels because she believes that loves rocks and she delights in writing contemporary romances with unforgettable characters and just enough drama to make readers clutch a pearl here and there.

Nicki has a penchant for adventure and is currently working on penning her next romantic escapade. Nicki is a member of Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) and the New York City Chapter of Romance Writer’s of America.

 

BPM: How was writing a short story different than writing a full-length novel?
Writing short stories and full-length novels is completely different to me. I’m definitely a full-length kind of girl. It took work and lots of maneuvering to make the story happen and make their love unfold in a shorter length. I ended up enjoying these characters immense and love the story, but it was challenging for me.

 

BPM: Do you prefer full writing length-novels?
Yes! I definitely prefer writing full-length novels. I like getting into the stories, digging into the backgrounds of characters to reveal interesting and telling details to make them real. I have another novella that I’m working on, but my preference is definitely full-length novels.

 

BPM: What inspired you to become a romance writer? How long have you been writing?
I love writing and love being able to write about love because I feel that it doesn’t get enough spotlight. There’s also no secret that romance is still the highest earning genre of all book genres.

 

BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
You can say that. It’s what I was put here to do besides work with kids. It’s my gift and operating in my gift is gratifying and it glorifies my God. There’s so much that is spiritual about it, but I don’t think of it that way. It’s simply part of who I am.

 

BPM: How has writing romance novels impacted your life?
I love these stories because they highlight the fun, beauty and chase of finding love. As far as the impact, my novels and I have been well received and that’s humbling. It’s such a blessing.

 

BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your body of work?
That my voice with regards to writing novels is completely different than my voice when writing regular fiction.

 

BPM: How do you find or make time to write? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I’m a mixture of plotter and panster—I’m a plotster! I plot and sometimes, run off the plotted road allowing my characters to surprise me. I try to stick to writing in the evenings and on weekends because my schedule is so busy. I lock myself in my home office or head to a local Starbucks, plug my years with headphones and disappear into my story for several hours at a time. All of my books have their own playlists.

 

BPM: Sweet Heat Rising by Nicki Night is your story on the boxset. What is your story in Love Like It’s Hot about?
Erin Isaacs is at the point in her career where she’s paying her dues. She’s giving her PR career everything she’s got even if it means having to deal with a harsh and intimidating boss. She’s doing all she can to prove herself in this company and the industry, which is dominated by a few who all seem to know one another. And her boss is very well known across the industry.

When Real Estate Developer and luxury hotel owner, Noah Lucas becomes her PR firm’s newest client, Erin immediately deems the sexy billionaire off limits because fraternizing with clients is a no no! Erin is supposed to go on vacation but that boss of hers makes her cancel it to take on a new assignment on short notice. Noah just happens to be the client.

Erin must travel to the pre-grand opening of Noah’s new luxury hotel to explore the resort and spa and gather research for their PR campaign. Sweet heat rises under the tropical sun heating up Noah and Erin’s desire for one another. An affair with him could jeopardize her career, but their inability to resist one another takes them on an exploration of paradise and the possibility of love. There’s so much at stake for Erin. Winning would mean that she could have Noah and her career but was winning even possible?

 

BPM: What inspired the story Sweet Heat Rising?
I’m a work-acholic that loves to travel and love stories the provide complicated work situations and amazing locations. I like writing about different places because it’s like traveling to those locations.

 

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters in Sweet Heat Rising. What makes each one special?
Noah is rich but didn’t always have billions. He’s handsome, smart, hardworking and has a dream. Erin lives in a tiny apartment in NYC and works at one of the city’s top PR firms. Having come from near poverty and a troubled family he’s determined to succeed. She doesn’t mind working hard and has already sacrificed so much to be successful and now she’s finally on her way.

 

BPM: What was your hardest scene to write, the opening or the close?
The closing scene is always harder than the opener. I always like to close in a way that leaves a little something to the imagination, while bringing some closer in a way that is satisfying to the reader.

 

BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
Traveling. I love traveling. It’s so cool to explore locations through books and I do lots of research especially for locations that I haven’t had the pleasure of traveling to personally. As much as I love traveling, having to do it for work can sometimes be challenging.

I don’t always get to go to places I really want to go. I don’t get to choose when I can go and it’s difficult to have to travel for work at time when you’d prefer to be home or somewhere else. I’ve had to travel for work around family member’s birthdays, my anniversary and if I had my choice, I wouldn’t leave my family. I’ve had to travel for work at times when my girlfriends were away on girls’ trips.

Erin had a vacation planned and had to cancel her vacation with her friends for this business trip. I can totally relate to that.

 

BPM: Is there a specific space/state that you find inspiration in?
It varies. I love being isolated to allow my ideas to flow and I can even act things out. Yes, I do that.

 

BPM: Do you want each book to stand on its own or do you prefer to write series?
I like both but do prefer to have books stand on their own.

 

BPM: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
Hmmm, Paranormal is not my strong suit. You will never see a paranormal book by Nicki Night.

 

BPM: What’s changed in publishing and how are you responding to those changes?
The list of changes goes on forever and constantly changes itself. How much people read, the way they read, how publishers interact with authors, how authors interact with readers—all of this has changed. At the end of the day, I’m a writer, and I must write. I hope to remain agile and savvy enough to manage the changing tides and remain relevant and published. One key is staying informed and close to the industry to know what’s happening so you can best navigate the trends. It’s also important to know that it’s important to roll with the changes or be pushed out.

 

BPM: What else are you working on as Renee Daniel Flagler?
So many things. I have a new book out July 1st along with this anthology. It’s a double book with Donna Hill and our last book with Harlequin Kimani. The title of my book in that double set is Sealed With a Kiss.

After that my future books with Harlequin will be released under their Desire line. I also have a nonfiction book coming this summer called Dream Journey: 7 Steps for Professionalizing Your Passion. It’s about using your gifts, talents and passions to create a career path so that you can get paid for doing what you love.

 

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present as Nicki Night?
I’m working on several projects at once. Most importantly, I’m working on the next romance book for a 2020 release.

 

BPM: Tell us about your most recent work beyond this collection.
I write romance as Nicki Night but everything else under Renee Daniel Flagler. My first audio book came out this year and I’m excited about that. My book Society Wives is now available in audio. I’m also working on Dream Journey: 7 Steps for Professionalizing Your Passion will be out this summer as well and I have several other novels in the works. Dream Journey means a lot to me because it’s all about teaching people how to make a career path out of their passions. I do a lot of speaking engagements on this subject and I’m so excited about finally getting the book out there.

 

BPM: What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you?
I’m available on social media, (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and via email at http://nickinight.com
Readers can connect with me and find out more about me through social media and my website: http://nickinight.com

 

Love Like It’s Hot Featured Authors

* Love for Liberty by Ann Clay
* Heat at First Sight by Barbara Keaton
* Best Laid Plans by Deatri King-Bey
* Summer Sizzle by Donna Hill
* Sweet Heat Rising by Nicki Night
* The Fourth by Xyla Turner

 

Catch up on Nicki Night’s work while you wait for the release of Love Like It’s HOT!
 

The Author in You: New Writers Searching for a Theme by Dr. Lynda Mubarak

The Author in You: New Writers Searching for a Theme by Dr. Lynda Mubarak

What Is the Theme In a Story and Why Does It Matter? Dr. Lynda Mubarak has the answer in her new publishing guide: http://a.co/d/5oTwihA

Having trouble deciding on your topic or subject? Too many choices? You are torn between several subjects and you need assistance deciding what’s best. Take a few minutes to investigate some areas of interest with this short guide to planning your book.

The Author in You will save time and provide some insight on selecting a theme that works for you and offer some simple steps on getting it done!

 

The Author in You: New Writers Searching for a Theme by Dr. Lynda Mubarak
Kindle Download:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JYLGL9M

 

Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul: Poems and Inspiration to Live and Love Harmoniously by Janet Autherine

Books by Janet Autherine

 

Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul, is a beautiful collection of poems that tell the stories of strong, vulnerable, courageous women who love deeply, sometimes fall hard but always lead with their hearts. It is a deep and gritty, fresh and robust look at the thrill of loving unconditionally, as well as the mental and physical toll that it takes when peace and harmony are sometimes lost in the process. Drawing on personal experiences from her own journey of the past 30 years, J Autherine delves into the vulnerable hearts of women from around the world, including from her early years in Jamaica.

 

Growing into Greatness with God, 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons and Daughters is inspired by her own experiences growing up in Jamaica, as well as her experience raising her three sons to recognize and nourish what God has planted within each of them. Her goal, through her writing, is to empower adults and children to see themselves as unique and amazing, already blessed with the ability to succeed in life and achieve their dreams.

 

About the Author
Janet was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica, and immigrated to the United States when she was twelve. She grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Pennsylvania State University and Boston College Law School. Janet continues to practice law but wakes up at 5am almost every morning to cultivate her inspirational writing and introduce readers to great books through her publishing company, Autherine Publishing. She is a proud introvert and running and reading are her peaceful passions. Her books are available on Amazon and she blogs at http://www.JanetAutherine.com.

Twitter: @LoveAutherine
IG Poetry: @J.Autherine
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JanetAutherine
Website: http://www.janetautherine.com/wild-heart-peaceful-soul

 

 


 

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Why I Wrote About Josephine Baker by Sherry Jones

 

My novels tell the lives of extraordinary women in history who overcame formidable obstacles to achieve their highest potential—which, for me, always involves making a positive difference in the world. I delve into these women’s lives in hopes of inspiring others and myself.

And yet when I first considered writing about Josephine Baker, the African-American performer who hit it big in Paris in the 1920s, I expected a romp. I wanted it, in fact. Having wept as I wrote The Sharp Hook of Love, my tragic novel about the 12-century French lovers Abelard and Heloise, I was ready for some light-hearted fun. A pretty woman who danced and made funny faces wearing nothing more than a skirt of bananas seemed just the ticket.

But Ms. Baker, as it turned out, was a lot more than a nude, comic Parisian dancer.

Josephine Baker was a woman who lived life on her own terms, fearlessly and with heart. Raised in poverty by abusive parents, she dreamed big, pursued her goals with passion, and succeeded beyond even her wildest imaginings—and then risked all, even her very life, to make the world a better place.

First as a World War II spy for the French Resistance and then as a trailblazing U.S. civil rights activist, Josephine Baker used her power and her platform to fight for justice and equality against the forces of tyranny and hatred, prefiguring the anti-colorist activism by current celebrities including Colin Kaeparnick, Oprah, and Rihanna.

From the 1917 East St. Louis race riots to the 1963 March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the adoption of a “Rainbow Tribe” of 12 children of various races and cultures, Josephine Baker dedicated most of her life to eradicating racism. Although she felt encouraged by the changes that occurred during her lifetime, she knew the struggle for “her people” was only beginning. She was a fighter to the end, and also a lover—not just of individual men and women, but of all humanity.

When I feel overwhelmed by the vitriol and violence rearing its ugly head in America today, I draw on Josephine Baker’s courage, strength, and determination for the power to persevere. I wrote JOSEPHINE BAKER’S LAST DANCE with the hope that it will inspire others to keep fighting the good fight—to, as she said in her 1963 speech, “light that fire in you, so that you can carry on, and so that you can do those things that I have done.” Given her many remarkable accomplishments, it’s a tall order, indeed.

 


About Sherry Jones

Author and journalist Sherry Jones is best known for her international bestseller The Jewel of Medina. She is also the author of The Sword of MedinaFour SistersAll QueensThe Sharp Hook of Love, and the novella White Heart.

Sherry lives in Spokane, WA, where, like Josephine Baker, she enjoys dancing, singing, eating, advocating for equality, and drinking champagne. Visit her online at AuthorSherryJones.com.

Website: http://authorsherryjones.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sherryjones
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sherryjones
Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sherryjonesfanpage
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cybersecuritytechnologywriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

 

 

Worth The Ride (Gumbo Love Book 4) by Ann Clay

Catch up on the Brooks Family with the GUMBO LOVE Series. The series kicked off with the oldest brother, Travis’s story in Blue Autumn in the Bayou, followed by middle brother, Michael in The Perfect Blend. The last and final chapter of the Brooks siblings end with the youngest, Trisha Brooks, as she heads off to Texas in Worth The Ride.  

Trish Brooks shocks her family when she jets off to Texas to pursue a veterinary degree. The New Orleans City girl in a small town is not the only adjustment she makes. How about trading her Stelios for worn cowgirl boots, or even better, falling into the arms of the handsome rancher, Denver Baldwin. He’s dangerously handsome and at first, wants nothing to do with her.

Denver Baldwin is put off by the mouthy, know-it-all city girl he finds mucking his barn. Yet, when he decides she doesn’t have a clue, the flame she ignites has him changing his tune. And just as things heat up, Trish’s three linebacker brothers challenges his worth. For Trish he will wrestle with any bull, any day.

The heat of Texas can’t contend with the fire brewing between Trish and Denver, and their journey, although rocky at first, ends ups a voyage neither will forget. A bumpy journey turns city lights to moonlights, and a love worth the ride.

Purchase Gumbo Love (4 Book Romance Series) by Ann Clay
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CWW3BY8/

 

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My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One by Glenn W. Powell

My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family, and Friendship by Glenn W. Powell

Sergeant Glenn W. Powell’s MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL is the story of a most unlikely young man who leaves his working-class environment of Toledo, Ohio, to become a soldier. Seeking excitement and a way to “make something of himself,” Glenn Powell’s journey exceeds his wildest dreams—a journey that began in basic training in Fort Hood, Texas ends at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue—the most important address in the world.

MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL is about so much more than Glenn Powell’s military journey, but about poignant memories of family, friendships, sacrifices, and love—central to his story is Ronda Holloway, the beautiful young woman he falls in love with in Manheim, Germany, and, who joins him on his life journey as wife, soulmate and mother to their two sons.

MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL offers readers a glimpse into Sergeant Glenn Powell’s 30-year transformation from the much-beloved boy who seeks more in life…to the man, who discovers it—in adventure, in friendships, and in service to three American presidents. a service he delivered with pride, unquestioned loyalty, distinction and in the end, great admiration.

Purchase My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family, and Friendship by Glenn W. Powell
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Baggage-Call-Aboard-Force/dp/1986878406/
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/LAST-BAGGAGE-CALL-ABOARD-FORCE-ebook/dp/B078KQ9Z89
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-last-baggage-call-aboard-air-force-one-glenn-w-powell/1128407880

 

 

 


 

Black Pearls Magazine Conversation with Sergeant First Class (SFC) Glenn W. Powell 

 

Sergeant First Class Glenn W. Powell (Retired), is a native of Toledo, Ohio. He enlisted into the United States Army in 1982, and retired in 2002. During his military career, he served as a heavy vehicle driver, a squad leader, and non-commissioned officer.

In September, 1991, SFC Powell joined the George HW Bush White House as a chauffeur, and in 1992, was promoted to transportation coordinator for the white house Press Corps, serving in the Clinton Administration. In December 1995, he assumed the duties of transportation supervisor for Air Force One. In January, 2001, during his service under President George W. Bush, SFC Powell was transferred to the White House Military Office, Customer Support and Organizational Development where he served as deputy director.

SFC Powell retired with distinction from the Military in 2014. He received numerous awards and decorations throughout his service, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the United States Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He received U.S. Service Ribbons for both domestic and overseas service. Glenn and Ronda Holloway Powell have been married for 25 years, and have three sons, Darius, Warren, and Glenn, II. They reside in Virginia.

BPM: How does a man go from basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey to a prestigious career at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a Deputy Director in the White House Military Office?
ANSWER: The journey wasn’t easy but it all boiled down to hard work, dedication, and individuals seeing your potential for success.

BPM: Entering the military at an early age can be challenging for some young people. What was your experience like and looking back would you do this all over again?
ANSWER: At first that experience was very hard. It was my first time being away from home and being in an environment that I couldn’t control. It forced me to grow up quickly and provided the additional resources and discipline that I needed to become a man. Without question, I would do it all over again.

BPM: Tell us about your new book, MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family, and Friendship.
ANSWER: The book is about my personal journey from being a teenage father in Toledo, OH. Making the hard decision to leave my son in order to provide for him. Serving my country that I hold in high regards. Finding love and building a family. Constantly leaving my family to fulfill my military obligations while serving the Office of the President, and establishing lifelong friendships.

BPM: What was it like to be in service to three American presidents?
ANSWER: It was one of the greatest honors that an individual in the military can aspire to have. It isn’t the norm for a military person to be able to serve three Presidents, due to the fact that we relocate after four years on that assignment.

BPM: Being aboard Air Force One had to be amazing! What is one of the most beautiful places you visited?
ANSWER: The first place was South Africa, where I was afforded the opportunity to go on safari, but more importantly to tour Robin Island during President Clinton’s visit, and have the pleasure of meeting Nelson Mandela. The other place was China, and being able to walk the Great Wall of China, and standing in Tiananmen Square.

BPM: What was your most interesting chapter to write in your book MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL?
ANSWER: For me, the most interesting chapter to write was Chapter 15, Second Chances. Writing this chapter allowed me to be vulnerable with how I felt during 911 and multiple health issues that I had faced.

BPM: Were there ever times you wished you could share your story with the world before writing the book?
ANSWER: Yes, there were, but because I’m such a private person and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share my story.

BPM: What made you want to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
ANSWER: I have been writing my story my whole life. Keeping notes in my head internally. I just never knew that I was a writer. It wasn’t until my cancer diagnosis, that I decided it was time to put the thoughts and feelings to paper.

BPM: How has writing MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL impacted your life?
ANSWER: It has allowed me to be more open with regards to my personal life. It has allowed me to share the upbringing that has made me what I am today.

BPM: What advice or bit of wisdom would you share with the young man leaving home for the first time seeking adventure?
ANSWER: I would say, try not to be afraid but open for opportunities that came your way. Your destiny has been pre-determined, so follow your heart.

BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
ANSWER: I would view writing as an outlet, as everyone has many views on spiritual practice and I don’t want to offend anyone with my views.

BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned from this project?
ANSWER: The one thing that was most surprising, was finding out my family history. Everyone isn’t always able to trace their family origins.

BPM: Share one specific point in your past that is resonating with your present situation or journey.
ANSWER: To always treat others the way that you want to be treated.

BPM: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
ANSWER: It is both energizing and exhausting. It energizes me by allowing my creative juices to flow. It is exhausting because you really don’t know just how much work goes into bringing a project to life.

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The Legend of Diddley Squatt: A Novella from a Brother Fella 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.

 

Listen to a reading from The Legend of Diddley Squatt – http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/C758D31k

 

5-Star Book Review Written by Ernest Hamilton
A story of overcoming life’s oddities and the ability to persevere by finding the best that humankind has to offer. I Loved this funky tale of bullying and hope. It took me back to the days of the chitlin circuit when blacks could only stay in certain areas, YET THEY HAD A BALL! I love the various characters and how they each had a hand in making sure Diddley made it through his initial life years. This story needs to be made into a movie!!!

 

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!

Didd was putting some of the leftovers out on the rickety back fence for the animals. 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 around. My friends will talk to you, you’ll see.”

“Wow” said young Diddley. “I love all animals. I mean I really like animals more than people. Animals always let you know how they feel.”

“You’re welcome” said the possum. “My name is Percy Possum– and I’ve been hanging back here in Momma Squatt’s backyard for years. Lots of action at this whorehouse, so there is always a lot of extra discarded food in the garbage. I hope we can be friends.” Percy extends his free hand while holding onto his food with the other.

Young Diddley had seen this before from the johns, the shaking of hands, and knew he must respond. So, he shifted over to the back of the fence and shook Percy’s free hand. The bond was set!

Before he left, Percy said, “You don’t happen to have any fresh food on you young Didd- do you?”

“I have my lunch, a tomato sandwich. Sorry, but I don’t eat meat. I could never eat something that once breathed like me. One of the johns said that makes me a “VE-GEE-TARIAN. You are more than welcome to my sandwich,” said Didd as he pushed the sandwich into Percy’s paws.

Percy switched his tail in happiness. “Thanks, I can share this fresh tomato sandwich with the rest of the animals. We possums eat anything – we even have a few ‘vegetarians’ that I’m aware. I knew you were special; and keep playing that harmonica. We animals sense something magical when we hear you playing. See you later young Diddley,” said Percy.

“I’m sure we will be talking more in the future. Like I said, you are one of the exceptional ones.” Percy slowly crept back into the woods; his teeth holding the bag of discarded food and the tomato sandwich bag in his hands.

“Wow!’ was all Diddley could say.

( Continued… )

© 2017 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Duane Lance Filer. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase The Legend of Diddley Squatt: A Novella from a Brother Fella
Science Fiction & Fantasy > Magical Realism > Paranormal & Urban Life
https://www.amazon.com/Legend-Diddley-Squatt-Novella-Brother/dp/1532033842

 

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Our Time to Rise Up By Raye Mitchell

Our Time to Rise Up By Raye Mitchell

The Urgent Need to Reconfigure Leadership Platforms for Black Women and Girls

Make no mistake. Young Black women and girls are under siege. We are being silenced and we are losing generational connections, intra generational connectivity, and our visibility. The gender uprising that is calling for more women in leadership and access to the c-suite is not about increasing the number of Black women or women of color in leadership. The fight for gender equality is not about us. We are supplemental to the conversation and perspectives at best and left out of core leadership decisions for the most part.

 

About the Author
Dr. Raye Mitchell is an award winning humanitarian passionate about supporting women and girls. She is a Harvard Law School and University of Southern California graduate who commits her time, energy and creativity to public speaking on women and girl as global leaders. She is a published author and entertainment producer. Dr. Raye Mitchell is a real-life “fixer”, and innovation expert who helps people create breakthrough impacts. As an inspirational speaker, Dr. Mitchell works with individuals and corporate clients to train and inspire women to lead forward as next generation global leaders.

A successful entrepreneur, Dr. Mitchell is now acclaimed as an entertainment producer and social entrepreneur recognized for her contributions in mentoring girls and young women to become global leaders. She is the author of several books, most recently “Invisible No More: Empowering Young Black Women and Girls to Rise-Up as Leaders”, “When They Go Low, We Go High: How Women of Color Master the Art of Persuasion to Win Big Battles”, “How Women Negotiate From a Position of Strength: Protecting Branding and Intellectual Property Rights”, “Obstruction of Justice: Finding Grandma’s Bible”, and “The Laws of the New Game Changers: How to Make Breakthrough Impacts That Take You Forward”.

Dr. Mitchell is developing new entertainment projects and writing her next book on how women and girls can advance themselves, our community and as global leaders.

 

Media Kit for Dr. Raye Mitchell: https://www.drrayemitchell.com/media-kit-1

 

Books by Dr. Raye Mitchell
https://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Raye-Mitchell/e/B0061ONNV2

 

Website: http://www.DrRayeMitchell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rayemitchell
Twitter: @drrayemitchell or https://twitter.com/drrayemitchell
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/NewHopeNewReality
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/author/rayemitchell

 

Black Women How Did We Get Here? By Raye Mitchell

A word of caution, my thoughts are intended to be provocative and to spark difficult follow-up conversations.

First, the march toward “multiculturalism” and the inviting term “women of color” has allowed our identities to be superseded and lost. The use of such aggregated words suggest unity and that we are stronger together, but in fact we may be weakening our negotiating positions. When we consistently merge under a group identity, we risk losing our unique and individual contributions and voices.

Second, while we have mastered the art of the “mass conference, we have failed to master the art of continuity, increased touch points, and on-demand interventions. Major conferences can be well crafted, enormous in production value, fabulous in esprit de corps, and well stocked with high-profile celebrity and big-name panel members and prestigious keynote speakers. The downside is that a mass conference can silence individuality and is one point in time with no known touch points until the next annual conference. Conferences are grand; continuity is preferred to enable lasting changes and transformations, and to keep the conversation and action plans moving forward.

Third, our needs are being filtered and translated for us as opposed to building our own platforms, agenda, and forging alliances where we have a seat at the leadership table. I call this the law of “well-intendedness.” Many majority women’s group’s conference leaders are or want to appear well intended and focused on diversity inclusion.

However, mere diversity inclusion does not translate to diverse leadership platforms or targeted agenda. We are included, but often lack power and control over the look and feel of the very programs that are supposed to empower us. We are both visible and highly invisible at the same time.

What are your thoughts on diversity inclusion? Share with us ways to master the art of continuity, increase touch point support and on-demand interventions.

 

About the Author and Speaker
Dr. Raye Mitchell is the founder of the New Reality Foundation, Inc., and CEO at the Winning Edge Institute Inc. She is a power and influence expert, attorney, author, speaker and activist. Mitchell is a member of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund network providing legal support for women and girls affected by harassment. Mitchell has received national acclaim for her work mentoring women and girls of color to beat the odds and excel as leaders.

Mitchell is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the University of Southern California (USC), the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy (B.S.) and the USC Marshall School of Business (MBA). She is a native of Los Angeles, California.

 

Books by Dr. Raye Mitchell
https://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Raye-Mitchell/e/B0061ONNV2

 

Website: http://www.DrRayeMitchell.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/drrayemitchell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rayemitchell
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/rayemitchell
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rayemitchell1
Twitter: @drrayemitchell or https://twitter.com/drrayemitchell
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/NewHopeNewReality
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/author/rayemitchell

 

How Do We Change the Status Quo? By Raye Mitchell

Our Time to Rise Up By Raye Mitchell

The Urgent Need to Reconfigure Leadership Platforms for Black Women and Girls

 Make no mistake. Young Black women and girls are under siege. We are being silenced and we are losing generational connections, intra generational connectivity, and our visibility. The gender uprising that is calling for more women in leadership and access to the c-suite is not about increasing the number of Black women or women of color in leadership. The fight for gender equality is not about us. We are supplemental to the conversation and perspectives at best and left out of core leadership decisions for the most part.

 

How Did We Get Here?

A word of caution, my thoughts are intended to be provocative and to spark difficult follow-up conversations. First, the march toward “multiculturalism” and the inviting term “women of color” has allowed our identities to be superseded and lost.  The use of such aggregated words suggest unity and that we are stronger together, but in fact we may be weakening our negotiating positions. When we consistently merge under a group identity, we risk losing our unique and individual contributions and voices.

Second, while we have mastered the art of the “mass conference, we have failed to master the art of continuity, increased touch points, and on-demand interventions.   Major conferences can be well crafted, enormous in production value, fabulous in esprit de corps, and well stocked with high-profile celebrity and big-name panel members and prestigious keynote speakers.  The downside is that a mass conference can silence individuality and is one point in time with no known touch points until the next annual conference. Conferences are grand; continuity is preferred to enable lasting changes and transformations, and to keep the conversation and action plans moving forward.

Third, our needs are being filtered and translated for us as opposed to building our own platforms, agenda, and forging alliances where we have a seat at the leadership table. I call this the law of “well-intendedness.”  Many majority women’s group’s conference leaders are or want to appear well intended and focused on diversity inclusion. However, mere diversity inclusion does not translate to diverse leadership platforms or targeted agenda. We are included, but often lack power and control over the look and feel of the very programs that are supposed to empower us. We are both visible and highly invisible at the same time.

 

How Do We Change the Status Quo?

I focus on assisting young Black women and girls master the ability to rise-up and brand themselves in their authentic leadership persona.

R.I.S.E.-UP™ is a solution-based concept founded on building our personal brands, increasing touch points and forging new alliances for young Black women and girls. RISE-UP is a branded rallying call not dissimilar to Lean-In. RISE-UP stands for reclaiming our obligations to mentoring and training the next generation of young Black women and girls by leveraging research to increase impact, real world solutions, and continuous engagements.

RISE-UP is an action-based concept to nourish a new generation of Black female leaders and speaks to the needs of Black women and girls who do not seek the traditional corporate c-suite career path. In reality, the true “c-suite” for these millennial young Black women is connected to another set of Cs—the ability to be competitive, confident, and competent and to contribute as change leaders and independent entrepreneurs in charge of their own futures.

R.I.S.E.-Up is about presence, persistence, and the power to lead change, to resolve conflicts, to negotiate deals, and to build personal brands as highly visible leaders and influencers. Recognizing that young Black women influencers want to be at the top of their game, we know that mastering grace under fire is both skill and art. Rise-Up is about enhancing our ability to trade inside secrets and build collaborations in real time so that we can maintain our integrity when locked in tough negotiations and critical battles that we encounter every day in a wide range of power struggles to advance ourselves.

We have reached a tipping point where we need to reclaim our agenda, reengineer our personal brands, and set our own leadership platforms on a path forward. We cannot continue to subsume and merge our needs into majority organizational programs in hopes that they will meet our needs. Black women do not need to lean-in. Black women have been leaning in long before the concept became popular. We cannot continue to follow advice and counsel that are not based on our root experiences. We have to be more protective of our intellectual capital and our personal brands by being willing to invest in and believe in our own programs before we invest resources in other platforms. It is time for young Black women to replace the call to lean-in with the drive to rise up, supporting our unique personas, needs, challenges, and opportunities.

 

You have the power to drive your personal brand, how will you rise up?  Here are some thoughts to consider:

  1. Before registering for that next mass conference or Black women empowerment conference in 2018, ask the organizers to outline their maintenance and continuity programs. If they do not have one, are you prepared to build your own?
  2. How can you revise your personal brand in the context of inventing a vibrant new plan to rise-up?

 

 

 


About the Author

Raye Mitchell is on a mission.  Mitchell is committed to being part of the amazing journey and united efforts to help young Black women and girls assert their power and their presence.  For far too long their voices have been muted, their stories ignored and their experiences have been rendered invisible.  Mitchell wants to help build bridges and lend to a positive effort to find peace and common ground based on mutual respect, equality and share visions of justice and inclusion.

Mitchell is the founder of the New Reality Foundation, Inc., and CEO at the Winning Edge Institute Inc. She is a power and influence expert, attorney, author, speaker and activist.  Mitchell is a member of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund network providing legal support for women and girls affected by harassment. Mitchell has received national acclaim for her work mentoring women and girls of color to help them beat the odds and excel as leaders.

Mitchell is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the University of Southern California (USC), the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy (B.S.) and the USC Marshall School of Business (MBA).  She is a native of Los Angeles, California.

Website:  www.DrRayeMitchell.com

 

 

PURCHASE BOOKS BY RAYE MITCHELL – https://amzn.to/2sfIfSp

 

 

Intimate Conversation with Dr. Raye Mitchell


Dr. Raye Mitchell is a social entrepreneur working to change the way change is made.

She is an award winning humanitarian and both a trainer in the field of leadership as a social entrepreneur leadership and a practicing social entrepreneur as the Chief Social Entrepreneur (“CSE”) of The New Reality B-Corp, a California benefits corporation. (“NRB”) a Certified Social Impact Enterprise™, a boutique legal and business firm providing expertise and services for social entrepreneurs and social impact ventures.

Dr. Raye Mitchell is the founder of the New Reality Foundation, Inc., and CEO at the Winning Edge Institute Inc. She is a power and influence expert, attorney, author, speaker and activist. Mitchell is a member of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund network providing legal support for women and girls affected by harassment. Mitchell has received national acclaim for her work mentoring women and girls of color to beat the odds and excel as leaders.

She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the University of Southern California (USC), the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy (B.S.) and the USC Marshall School of Business (MBA). She is a native of Los Angeles, California.

 

BPM: What made you want to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
I have considered myself a storyteller and writer all my life in one form or another. In spite of this, a different question is when did I decide to go public with this passion and persistent drive to be a writer of non-fiction and fiction works and why?

As a marketing and branding professional and litigation attorney in the entertainment industry, I was always involved in persuasive writing, storytelling and trying to get others to listen to the stories of my clients. But, several years ago, my inside voice that craved to be a writer succeeded in overtaking my outside voice that consistently focused on perfecting my skills as an entrepreneur, businesswoman, and an attorney. Upon reflection, it is now clear that I had been fully engaged as a creative writer all the time by merging my professional commitment to advocating, justice, and fairness by writing about my experiences with the civil justice system and persuading juries to return justice for my clients in situations of injustice.

 

BPM: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think I have evolved creatively by honing my craft as a writer in multiple sectors by and expanding my creative decision-making zone-which is my way of saying I have permitted myself to write. outside of my comfort zone. I am always yearning to learn how to write better and how to take unique writing skills from one sector and apply to another. It is my way of shaking myself up to find a new perspective on a familiar storyline.

 

BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Yes. I went public with my creative writing projects in about 2010. I gained my courage when I was so humbled and yet inspired by my humbled encounter with an apparently homeless woman, Margie, I began assembling a collection of words of self-respect and success from notable female role models, past and present and produced an anthology based on quotes to inspire and inform. The story of Margie first appeared in my first significant book entitled, The Evolution of Brilliance: Voices Celebrating the Importance of Women“.

The story of Margie began outside a high-profile restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Margie approached me outside of this very expensive restaurant. For some reason, Margie, who appeared to be homeless, singled me out of a group of at least twenty people. Looking me directly in the eye, she said, “Can you help me?” She was carrying a cup meant to collect loose change. Assuming myself to be polite and assuming she only sought money, I turned to leave and simply said, “Sorry. I cannot help tonight.” I turned to leave. Margie stepped in closer, and the men in my group started to make a protective move, but we all stopped. Margie then said, “Can I ask you something?”

“Yes,” I replied. Without hesitation, she added, “How can you say you cannot help me when you do not know what help I need?”

I stopped, and for the first time that night, I looked into Margie’s eyes and made a personal connection, realizing that she may have just been trying to advance her life utilizing the only tools she had at her disposal. I said, “You know, you are right. What help do you need?” All Margie wanted was prayer and the chance to be counted as a person in this world as she strived to rebuild her life. Even though I was a stranger and she knew nothing about me, I was humbled that she entrusted me with her simple request for help. Margie’s story and my decision to be a published writer thus came to life in 2011.

I turn to my writing to tell stories about experiences and stories that sometimes you just want to share with God because God has no judgment. I want to write stories about our experiences as Black women and girls being judged and how we deal with that burden and opportunity to rise above the judgment.

 

BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
My writing has helped me be a better person. My quest to shift gears from being a full-time entertainment attorney with my law firm to being a full time humanitarian and writer has not been easy. I thus began translating these challenges, hurdles, setbacks and disappointments into my creative energy to tell the story. I then discovered the personal power of telling the story, no matter how difficult the journey. My writing has transformed my sense of well-being and wellness. My writing has also helped me find another way to merge my passion for helping others, especially women and girls with my technical skills as a writer, storyteller, and even a persuader.

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Multicultural Children’s Books by Quentin Holmes

Multicultural Children’s Books
by Quentin Holmes

Quentin “Q” Holmes has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth. His books are filled with colorful characters, rising action and page-turning suspense.  “I want to inspire young readers to think “outside the box” and realize that teamwork and individuality is the greatest formula for success.” ~ Quentin Holmes

Author, entrepreneur, and brand creator Quentin Holmes (known to his friends as Q) has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media, and fashion. The son of a hardworking father whose career advancement moved the family to nearly every region of the country, Quentin gained exposure to people from a wide range of different social, economic and racial backgrounds. In the end, the family’s economic status was greatly improved and the Holmes children were afforded opportunities that previous generations did not have. Rooted in a family tradition that valued education, Quentin earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Michigan. Taking classes and socializing with young people from all over the world enriched Quentin’s already well-rounded perspective of social diversity. Suburbanites, children of farmers, inner city kids, and people from Third World countries were all striving for the same goal of a college degree.

Quentin began to realize that for the students he went to college with, the kids he grew up with, and even for himself, life is not as much about where you’re from as where you’re AT and where you’re going. Drawing on his firsthand experience with young people from a wide range of different social backgrounds, Quentin developed his first brand, At Wear apparel. Since its launch in 2003, the brand has gained national attention; Quentin marketed At Wear for five years and was featured in Slam Magazine, Dime Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, BlackVibes.com and the feature film, The Reunion.

Since 2009, the Real Street Kidz Multicultural Book Series has brought a much-needed voice and powerful cultural influence to the preteen book genre (ages 7-12). The life long lessons of hard work leading to success that Quentin learned during his upbringing are beautifully illustrated through his characters. The theme of teamwork echoes at the very heart of the entire series, calling on preteen readers to embrace these indispensable lessons.

Likewise the main characters in Johnny Skip2 and Sporty Lou bring vital multicultural characters to life, but this time for his younger readers (ages 3-6). Both picture books; like their Real Street Kidz predecessor, diligently seek to inspire, embolden, and entertain a brand new generation of children.

Learn more about the Multicultural Children’s Books by Quentin Holmes
Author Website | http://www.quentinholmes.com
Amazon Author Page | amazon.com/author/quentinholmes
Facebook Author Page | fb.me/AuthorQuentinHolmes
YouTube | http://www.youtube.com/c/QuentinHolmes
Quentin Holmes email: quentinholmes@hotmail.com

 

 


 

New Multicultural Picture Books from Author Quentin Holmes

Parents, teachers, and youth workers know all too well the joy of finding reading material that both educates and inspires children through great story-telling and eye-catching artwork. Sporty Lou, and Johnny Skip2 are the kind of books that parents seek out, due to its conscious duality in design to both entertain, and educate, while always appealing to the heart. Both books diligently seek to inspire an entire generation of children to dream and strive for greatness.

About Sporty Lou: Soccer King by Quentin Holmes
The Sporty Lou picture book is for kids 3-to-6-years old and adults who LOVE sports! Sporty Lou is a spunky determined kid with a big heart and bigger imagination. At the feet of his ‘mighty dad’, Sporty Lou is taught the basics of soccer. He struggles and falters but his little body holds a giant heart that won’t back down from a challenge! Cheer along as Sporty Lou’s imagination turns his backyard into a stadium full of roaring fans. Will he ultimately give in or take his first steps towards becoming a true sports legend?

About Johnny Skip2: The Amazing Adventures of Johnny Skip 2 in Australia
Johnny Skip2 is a world traveler; a collector of small things, and an adventurer all wrapped up into one little kid. But he needs your help. Come travel with Johnny and his little dog Grounder as they journey to the wonderful land of Australia in search of native muntrie berries. Adding to the adventure is a mother kangaroo that has lost her ‘joey’ and this leads Johnny on a quest to find her. The Johnny Skip 2 adventure offer new sights and colorful Aussie phrases from ‘The Land Down Under.’ Johnny Skip2 is a great interactive read-a-long that kids will love reading over and over again.

Purchase All of the Multicultural Early Reader Children’s Books by Quentin Holmes
– Easy-to-read, empowering and entertaining stories for young children
– Picture Books & Coloring Books. Available in hardcover, softcover & eBook

For more information please visit: https://www.amazon.com/Quentin-Holmes/e/B00J1QJ1FO
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There Is Sunshine After The Rain Making It Through Life’s Struggle by Patricia A. Saunders

There Is Sunshine After The Rain Making It Through Life’s Struggle by Patricia A. Saunders

Sitting there with the pieces of your life around you, there seemed to be a pattern. There was faith, love, deceit, lust, and loss—in that order. You didn’t think you were deserving of love. That is why everything was being taken from you, and you were ready to give up on life. Through your poetry, faith, and learning from your past, you can rewrite the story. It was after coming through all the experiences and being stronger, you realized there is always a new chapter.

There Is Sunshine After the Rain will take you on the journey of a young girl growing up in Connecticut, who had to take some stumbles along the way to come into her own and realize instead of tearing herself down for the decisions she made, there is a lesson.

Love is greater than anyone can imagine and can warm you like the sunshine after the rain. You went from the beginning, the journey, the test, and the testimony to say, “There Is Sunshine after the Rain.”


Purchase There Is Sunshine After The Rain: Making It Through Life’s Struggle

Genre: Poetry > Biographies & Memoirs > Women
https://www.amazon.com/There-Sunshine-After-Rain-Struggles/dp/1543918662

 

 

Chapter Excerpt from There Is Sunshine After the Rain

There were men who came into my life that I loved with all my heart over the years. One man after another disappointed me for specific reasons. I found some had wandering eyes, cheated on me with my best friend while I was away at school, or I found out that they said all the right things, but their actions spoke another.

My wall went up to protect my heart and my new love became my job. I strived to be the best at whatever position I had. The people at my job were my friends, my family, and my child that I never had. There was something still that I felt missing, and it was on a trip to California that I felt my calling. I came back to tell my elderly parents that I was leaving, and it was my father who looked in my eyes and said, “I won’t always be here.”

Something in his tone let me know that it was the right decision because I needed to become independent. I had family in California, so I had support. Within two months I had given notice at my job, packed two suitcases, sold my belongings and had a one-way ticket to California.

I knew no one except my family, and I slowly began to venture out to the unknown. I was working sometimes two jobs to make ends meet. Because I couldn’t go back to Connecticut. Because I didn’t want to fail.

My father’s health was declining and I would come back annually to see him. I had so much excitement to see him that I would just lie on the covers next to him. Just listening to him breathe and feeling protected from the storm. I remember like it was yesterday I came home after he had surgery. It was snowing and I went outside to shovel the snow. Being that I was the youngest, a girl, and my parents always paid a neighborhood kid to do this. Well the kids had all grown up and moved out of the neighborhood. I never had done this task of shoveling. Something that my father had done for years and made it seem like the snow was as light as a feather.

He sat and watched me and I struggled, but he stayed in the window from afar. It felt like the muscles within my chest had exploded and I was in so much pain, but I couldn’t let my parents down. I thought I had done a good job. While I was inside recovering from the ordeal, my father had changed clothes and slipped outside. Shovel in his hands and as the man of the house—no matter if he had a hole in his side, wasn’t to lift anything, and was supposed to be recuperating—he was still going to be the man and complete the task.

When I saw what he was doing, I lost it because of the fear he would injure himself. We got into the biggest argument. I was leaving the next day and we were still mad at each other. I kissed him goodbye and sat on the shuttle crying all the way to the airport. It was something within my being that knew that it was the last time I would see him. I wanted to become the protector and do everything in my power to show him I could be strong, I could provide, and I was the woman he raised me to be. He, being the proud African American patriarch of the family, not wanting to be seen weak, even in the months before his death wanting to be remembered as strong. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Broken Conditions by Jo Lena Johnson

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

Broken Conditions is about peeling through the pain in life, love and relationships. Get encouraged through thought-provoking stories from one woman’s life as she shares how relationships made her and broke her.

Broken Conditions (Clean Colored Girl Chronicles) by Jo Johnson
Available in print ebook and audiobook: http://a.co/aFqJ8FM

 

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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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 »

 

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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The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues: A Novel by Edward Kelsey Moore

When a late life love affair blooms between Mr. Forrest Payne, the owner of the Pink Slipper Gentleman’s Club, and Miss Beatrice Jordan, famous for stationing herself at the edge of the club’s parking lot and yelling warnings of eternal damnation at the departing patrons, their wedding summons a legend to town. Mr. El Walker, the great guitar bluesman, comes home to give a command performance in Plainview, Indiana, a place he’d sworn—and for good reason—he’d never set foot in again.

But El is not the only Plainview native with a hurdle to overcome. A wildly philandering husband struggles at last to prove his faithfulness to the wife he’s always loved. And among those in this tightly knit community who show up every Sunday after church for lunch at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, are the lifelong friends, known locally as “The Supremes” —Clarice, facing down her longing for, chance at and fear of a great career; Barbara Jean, grappling at last with the loss of a mother whose life humiliated both of them, and Odette, reaching toward her husband through an anger of his that she does not understand.

Edward Kelsey Moore’s lively cast of characters, each of whom have surmounted serious trouble and come into love, need not learn how to survive but how, fully, to live. And they do, every one of them, serenaded by the bittersweet and unforgettable blues song El Walker plays, born of his own great loss and love.

 

Edward Kelsey Moore Book Reviews

“This lusty novel sings with life, saluting friendships through dreams, marriage and long-held secrets.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Summer Books”

“Moore’s bluesy, breezy novel takes readers through life’s highs and lows and in-between times when no one knows what is coming next; its air of folksy optimism should appeal to fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Fredrik Backman.”
—Library Journal (starred review)

“Edward Kelsey Moore, besides being laugh out loud hilarious, has a profound understanding of human nature. This gift, combined with his clear love and affection for his characters, makes him a truly remarkable writer. This book is a joy to read.”
—Fannie Flagg, author of The Whole Town’s Talking and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“Spending time with the Supremes is like slipping into a warm embrace of love and laughter, soul-searching and sass. There’s nothing these three strong women can’t handle, and that includes the legacy of the pain inflicted by fathers to sons, mothers to daughters. Edward Kelsey Moore has crafted a novel that beautifully illustrates the healing power of forgiveness.”
—Melanie Benjamin, author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife

“The arrival of Edward Kelsey Moore’s new novel had me singing anything but the blues. Even better cause for celebration? Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean are back . . . and what a supreme encore it is!”
Julia Glass, author of A House Among the Trees and Three Junes

 

Chapter 1 (Excerpt)

It was a love song. At least it started out that way. The lyrics told the tale of a romance between a man and the woman who made his life worth living. Being a blues song, it was also about how that woman repeatedly broke the man’s heart and then repaid his forgiving ways by bringing a world of suffering down on him. The beautiful melody soared and plunged, each verse proclaiming rapturous happiness and gut-wrenching pain. Here, in a church, this piece of music couldn’t have been further outside its natural habitat. But the tune’s lovely mournfulness echoed from the back wall to the baptismal pool and from the marble floor to the vaulted ceiling and settled in as if the forlorn cry had always lived here.

As the song continued and grew sadder with every line, I thought of my parents, Dora and Wilbur Jackson. The blues was Mama and Daddy’s music. Nearly every weekend of my childhood, they spent their evenings in our living room, listening to scratchy recordings of old-timey blues songs on the hi-fi. One of those might have been as sorrowful as the dirge ringing through the church, but I couldn’t recall hearing anything that touched this song for sheer misery.

Mama preferred her blues on the cheerier and dirtier side—nasty tunes loaded with crude jokes about hot dogs, jelly rolls, and pink Cadillacs. The gloomy ballads, like this one, were Daddy’s favorites. I never saw him happier than when he was huddled up with Mama on the sofa, humming along with an ode to agony. He would bob his head to the pulse of the music, like he was offering encouragement to a down-in-the-mouth singer who was sitting right next to him, croaking out his hard luck.

Sometimes, before sending me to bed, my parents would allow me to squeeze in between them. They’ve both been dead for years now, but their bad singing lingers in my memory. And, because I inherited their tuneless voices, I remind myself of my parents every time I rip into some unfortunate melody. Whenever I hear a melancholy blues, I feel the roughness of Daddy’s fingertips, callused by years of carpentry work, sliding over my arm like he was playing a soulful riff on imaginary strings that ran from my elbow to my wrist.

I’d be ordered off to bed when Mama’d had enough of the dreariness and wanted to listen to a record about rocking and rolling and loving that was too grown-up for my young ears.

Even though the song rumbling through the sanctuary would have been a bit dark for Mama’s taste, she’d have loved the singer’s wailing voice and the roller-coaster ride of the melody. And she wouldn’t have let this song go unnoted. If she had been in the church with me, she’d have turned to me and declared, “Odette, your daddy would’ve loved this song. Every single word of it makes you wanna die. I’ve gotta write this in my book.”

My mother’s “book” was a calendar from Stewart’s Funeral Home that she kept in her pocketbook. The cover of the calendar showed a gray-and-white spotted colt and a small boy in blue overalls. They were in a meadow, both of them jumping off the ground in an expression of unrestrained bliss. Above the picture were the words “Jump for Joy,” and below, “Happy thoughts to you and yours from Stewart’s Funeral Home.” Whenever Mama ran into something that she felt was remarkable enough to merit celebration, she wrote a note on that day’s date so she’d never forget it. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Turning Trials into Triumphs by Members of Victorious Ladies Reading Book Club

Turning Trials Into Triumphs by Michelle Chavis, Nichole Page, Shavonna Futrell, Venita Alderman Sadler, Patricia Alston-Tapp, Asha Jones-Wade and Tracey Burwell Deshazo

Trials are an inevitable aspect of life and come upon us in many different ways. Ways which may include the death of a loved one, an illness, disappointments, betrayal, or parental abandonment. GOD has allowed us to endure many trials, situations and tribulations. When planting a tree you have to consider the soil. Not all trees can grow or thrive in the same dirt. Certain soils produce different fruit. Therefore, the various types of trials we go through yield different results as well.

Turning Trials into Triumphs is an anthology of events that could have left the contributors bitter, but instead their circumstances evolved for the better. The ladies of VLR believe that the attitude we display through trials , will determine whether an individual will emerge victorious. Out of our greatest trials, comes the defining moments of life that lay the foundation for building the strength of our character.

 

About the Authors

Turning Trials into Triumphs was written by seven members of Victorious Ladies Reading (VLR) Book Club who wanted to encourage others to conquer every problem or situation that may arise by trusting GOD even when you can’t trace GOD. Watch him turn your TRIAL into a TRIUMPH! To learn more about each author visit our website WWW.VLRBOOKCLUB.COM

 

Purchase Turning Trials Into Triumphs by Michelle Chavis, Venita Alderman Sadler and Co-Authors
https://www.amazon.com/Turning-Trials-Triumphs-Michelle-Chavis-ebook/dp/B01M017I6J


Category – Non-Fiction/ Self Help
Online Book Sellers Amazon.Com and BarnesandNoble.com

 

A Calm Heart Effect: Minding My Heart Business by Lola C Booker

A Calm Heart Effect: Minding My Heart Business by Lola C Booker

 

“A Calm Heart Effect” is a book of poetry and prayers about life’s relationships of love and friendship. The poems are earthy with emotions exposed, and they hit at the heart of relationships with friends and family. The author’s wit and wisdom come through the verses which evoke an emotional response that is delightful and satisfying to the reader. The author’s premise is “a heart needs to be whole to hold love”. She also believes that “minding your heart business” will help to turn your life and love right side up. This book is for adult readers who are seeking answers with a spiritual basis to help them cope and heal from relationship issues.

“A Calm Heart Effect” was written to bring true feelings to the light in order that peace of mind can be achieved. The author’s hope is that the readers can also experience a calmness of heart as they engage their minds into something other than the BIGness of life’s problems.

 

Purchase A Calm Heart Effect: Minding My Heart Business by Lola C. Booker
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1548024317
Poetry > Inspirational > Transformational literature

 

About the Author
Lola C. Booker is the mother of two grown children and a retiree from the Talladega County School System in Alabama. She has been a full-time writer for most of her life. Nothing has separated her from the pen and paper, and she hopes it never will. “A Calm Heart Effect” is her first published book of poems and prayers. She is a prolific writer, having written hundreds of poems and prayers over a span of years. Her poems are earthy with emotions exposed and they hit at the heart of relationships with friends and family.

She is a skilled wordsmith, weaving her wit and wisdom through the verses which evoke an emotional response that is delightful and satisfying to the reader. Her belief is that “when life and love are turned upside down, minding your heart business ll help to turn your life and love right side up”. Her hope is that the reader will be able to relax with her book and relate at a heart level. Her premise is that “a heart needs to be whole to hold love”. Her book of poems and prayers is designed to help the reader with their own “heart business”.

 

Pamela Samuels Young’s Tips for Pursuing Your Passion

Pamela Samuels Young’s Tips for Pursuing Your Passion

1. Put in the Time
I meet people all the time who have a dream, but expect that dream to come to fruition at the snap of their fingers. The reality is, it takes time. I completed my first novel by getting up at four in the morning to write for a couple of hours before work. It took me three years to finish my first book, and then I couldn’t find an agent. I didn’t give up. I wrote a second novel, Every Reasonable Doubt, which kicked off my writing career. Anything worth having is worth working for.

 
2. Master Your Craft
Concentrate on learning your craft. When I finished my first book, I just knew it was going to be a bestseller. I still have that manuscript and it sucks! It took time and study to learn how to properly craft and plot a mystery novel. Take courses, research your passion online and practice, practice, practice. Make sure you’re really as good as you think you are.

 

3. Join Professional Organizations
Surround yourself with others who share your passion. There are hundreds of professional organizations whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and realize their business goals. I belong to Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. These groups have been very instrumental in my success as a writer. No matter what your passion is, there’s bound to be a networking group you can join.

 
4. Ignore the Naysayers
People who don’t have the motivation to pursue their own dreams will often try to derail yours. People repeatedly discouraged me when I told them I planned to give up my law career to write mystery novels. I also received over a dozen rejection letters before finally landing my first agent.

Once I finally landed a book deal, there was still more rejection. After Harlequin published Every Reasonable Doubt and In Firm Pursuit, which were both Essence magazine bestsellers, nine publishing houses rejected my third book, Murder on the Down Low. That left me no option but to self-publish, which was the best decision I ever made for my writing career.

My novel Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction against four bestselling authors at major publishing houses (Walter Mosley, Terry McMillan, Sistah Soljah and Victoria Christopher Murray).

Later, two publishing houses who’d previously rejected my work, were now interested in publishing me. Their outreach was a major validating moment. All the rejection I experienced taught me to take charge of my own writing career. I’m now happily self-published and writing full time.

About Pamela Samuels Young
Pamela is an attorney, anti-trafficking advocate and award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers. Her mystery Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top Ten pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. The former journalist and retired lawyer is also a natural hair enthusiast and the author of Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide. Pamela received her bachelor’s degree from USC and also earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. The Compton native is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion.

To invite Pamela to a book club meeting or speaking engagement or to read an excerpt of Abuse of Discretion and Pamela’s other books, visit her website at http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.

 

Read book excerpts at: http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com
Follow me on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/pamsamuelsyoung
Follow me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pamelasamuelsyoung

 

 

Intimate Conversation with Sistahs and Friends Book Club

Intimate Conversation with Sistahs and Friends Book Club


Founders of Sistahs and Friends – Yvette Barrett, Malinda Burden and Priscilla Myers. In December, 2014 we lost our 4th founder, Theresa Jackson.


BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started?  Does the name of the club have a special meaning? How many members do you have? 

Sistahs and Friends Book Club started in 1997, in Chicago, when 4 young professional co-workers, Priscilla Myers, Theresa Jackson, Malinda Burden and Yvette Barrett discovered they shared a common passion. That passion was the love of reading and the desire to share their thoughts with each other. We had our first book club discussion in a conference room during our lunch hour. It was such a great experience that we decided to continue and called ourselves, Sistahs Bookclub. Later on we had a male that wanted to join us. So in fairness to him and other potential males, we changed our name to Sistahs and Friends Bookclub. We started with 4 and currently have 12 members.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group different from other groups? 

Sistahs and Friends unites mature women and men from diverse backgrounds together in sister and brotherhood. We promote spiritual, motivational and intellectual development and awareness through the reading of fiction and non-fiction books, embracing the style and diversity of each member and each author. What we thought would be just a past time, for getting together among friends and sharing views on literature, led to so much more. We increased our membership, produced a mission statement, elected officers, created by-laws, paid dues, and 19 years later we are still Sistahs and Friends Book Club.

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?

Sistahs and Friends exemplify the true essence of sisterhood. Our legacy will be that true Sistahs support, lift and motivate each other not tear them down.

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group? How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 

Our members are mature professionals who all grew up from various backgrounds and areas in the city of Chicago. We started this group 19 years ago as “Bubbies” and have grown into mature outgoing, outspoken women who love a great book, with a great meal, a great glass of wine and a great discussion. These is no room and no tolerance for pettiness and or catiness. We may not always agree on the rating of a book but we will always have a great debate regarding the merits of our selections or lack thereof.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? Do you have an online version of the group?

We look for someone who will fit in our circle and have the passion for reading as we do. When a vacancy occurs, we invite the potential member to a meeting to ensure that their personalities mesh with the current membership. We have never had a problem attracting members however in the beginning we had problem retaining them. Some members were not committed to reading which lead to the creation of bylaws which have proved to solve the problem. Our current members have been active 10 years or more.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?

By everybody sharing their own opinion of the book it leads to great conversations. Sometimes we can walk into the meeting ready to give a low rating and after much discussion it can easily be adjusted higher. Our sistahs are definitely not shy, they are very outspoken and will tell you like it is with no regrets. Many authors have experienced the brutal truths of Sistahs and Friends. Sometimes a reading guide is helpful but we don’t always use. We have very creative members who come up with games, quizzes, etc. to engage the group and stimulate conversation during the meeting.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers? 

Sistahs and Friends Book Club’s season is from September – May. During the May meeting members randomly select a month to host for the next season. It is the responsibility of the host to select the book for the month which she is hosting. Most of the members make their selection based on recommendations from family and friends, reading over the summer or just reading reviews on-line. There have been times when some of us have read another book and discussed it outside of the book of the month for the bookclub. We share our book selections (2011 to present) on our website.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?

In the early years of Sistahs and Friends we only read books by African American authors. However over the years we have developed an appetite to broaden our horizon and not limit ourselves. During the years we have supported all authors as well as self-published authors and invited some of them to attend our bookclub discussions (via in person, Skype, FaceTime and conference call). Yes, a few of our members still borrow books from the library but the majority have Kindle or a Reader.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? Have the types of books changed over time? 

The types of books we prefer to read has changed over the years, in the beginning we read books by authors like E. Lynn Harris, Michael Baisden, James Patterson, Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillan, Zane and J. California Cooper. The books dealt with short stories, sex and relationships respectively. As we have matured so have our books. Today, we read books by authors like Brandon Massey (Don’t Ever Tell), Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner), Pamela Samuels Young (Anybody’s Daughter), Dwayne Alexander Smith (Forty Acres), and Daniel Black (Perfect Peace) and Naleighna Kai (Every Woman Needs a Wife). As you can see our selection of books have expanded and our members have welcomed all authors regardless of ethnicity.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?

Here are a few that received the highest rating that we give – (5stars) Good To The Last Drop.
Standing at the Scratch Line – Guy Johnson
Forty Acres – Dwayne Alexander Smith
Perfect Peace – Daniel Black
Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skoot
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
My Soul to Keep – Tananarive Due
Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers
The Douglass Women – Jewell Parker
No Regrets – Patricia Haley

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?

Sistahs and Friends started out doing a grab bag each Christmas but decided that we wanted to give back to the community instead. So now we do just that. We have worked with Chicago Public Schools, DCFS, and St. Joseph Children’s Hospital. Through them we have provided children with everything from clothing, school supplies to toys. This year we decided to change our focus gave to a domestic violence shelter. We provided them with purses filled with all the day to day necessities. We are very proud of our accomplishments and it fills us with such satisfaction to see the smiles. Sistahs and Friends have an outing once a year in the summer (during our break) to do something fun with each other (dinner, painting, plays, and architectural tours). We have also hosted a luncheon, had weekend trips to Wisconsin, San Francisco and next year our 20th Anniversary (TBD).

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or who might want to start a book club?

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t start out with committed members. It took us at least 10 years before we had truly committed members. We had to develop bylaws to vet out serious readers versus those who were only in the club to eat, drink and be merry. As a result, some members have come and gone. Also, don’t look for members who are all exactly like you. You will end up with the Stepford Book Club and this will make for very boring conversations. What has kept us going over the years is our passion for good reads, our like of each other and our mutual respect of each others differences.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? Do you have a website or social media pages?

We would love to receive an invite for future events, chats and discussions. You can follow us below on our website, email and Facebook.

Website: sistahsandfriendsbookclub.com
Facebook: Sistahs and Friends

 

 

What’s in Your Mouth by Hazel Mills

What’s in Your Mouth by Hazel Mills
Commercials, talk shows and even social media will have us thinking that the yellow brick road to that new life is paved with weight loss, making more money and even finding love. However, one of the most important bricks is often overlooked. The words we speak to ourselves along the journey is just as critical as the journey itself. “What’s in Your Mouth” seeks to inform the reader of the important role words play in the life we seek to create and in how we relate to those around us. The article offers tips on how to begin to change your words to change your life. I believe this article embodies our mission to encourage, uplift and inspire people from all walks of life.

The late great author and poet, Maya Angelou once said, “Words are things.” You can put certain words together and cause someone to fall in love with you. String another set of words together and you can start a war. The Bible teaches us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Words are things. Powerful things. As we begin a new year, we are resolving to lose weight, make more money and maybe find love. But perhaps the most critical change we can make is one that can have the most prolific and valuable effect on every area of our lives. We should begin to pay more attention to what comes out of our mouths instead of focusing on what we put in it. The old adage we were all taught as children that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” is not true. Words hurt. Words can cut deeper than any knife; inflicting wounds that can last a lifetime. Want to change your life? There are three ways changing what you say can bring about the transformation you desire.

* BECOME AN ENCOURAGER. The first place to practice being an encourager is with yourself. When faced with a challenging task, pay attention to what you say about yourself to yourself. Instead of saying, “this is too hard for me” or “I can’t do this,” say “this may be hard but I can do it.” Often times we defeat ourselves with words before we have even begun the work at hand. Encouraging is simply a pep talk to inspire courage. It doesn’t require a lot but it could mean the world to you or to someone who is doubting themselves or their abilities. Another way to practice being an encourager is to give compliments. Complimenting someone on their hair or verbally admiring their shoes can go a long way to make them feel good and you may find it gives you a mood boost as well.

* EMPATHIZE. To be an effective encourager, you must develop empathy for the other person. Seeing a situation from another’s perspective will help you learn what is important to them; what they value. Once you learn this, you can offer verbal encouragement to communicate that you care and understand how they feel. This is not the time to be critical, condescending and condemning. Your positive and inspiring words may be just the catalyst someone needs to change direction in life and reach their full potential.

* PUT SOME SUGAR ON IT.
Have you heard that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? Absolutely true. It is not what you say, it is how you say it. A scowl on your face and a grunt in your voice can turn even the sweetest phrase sour. You may have the other person’s best interest at heart but the message gets lost in the nasty translation. Most often, people hear and interpret the message based on the tone in which it was delivered. The way you express your feelings and desires is very important. No one responds well to harsh language and demands. The goal is to draw people to you and create healthy, meaningful and positive relationships.

Don’t get discouraged if none of the above comes naturally to you. It’s okay. We are all shaped by our experiences and unfortunately, everyone has not had the experience of being encouraged, receiving empathy or being spoken to sweetly. These concepts may appear foreign and seem impossible to some. The good news is you can learn! All that is required is a willing spirit and practice.

Meet the Author
Author Hazel Mills
, has written several short stories, novels and articles for publication. Hazel has been recognized as a part of Who’s Who in Black Birmingham (2009) and Who’s Who in Black Alabama (2014). She was the recipient of an AAMBC Literary Award in 2009 and was a contributor to the African American Literary Award winning anthology, Mocha Chocolate: Taste a Piece of Ecstasy, as well as a nominee for her own book(2008). Hazel’s latest novel series, Mr. Wrong After All and Mr. Wrong After All: Second Chances, was released in 2015 by Mahogany Red Books. She enjoys writing and being a wife and mother of three sons.

http://www.hazelmillsstories.com
http://www.twitter.com/hmillsstories
http://www.facebook.com/hazelmillsstories


 

Intimate Conversation with Chicago Sistahs and Friends Book Club

Intimate Conversation with Chicago Sistahs and Friends Book Club

Founders of Sistahs and Friends – Yvette Barrett, Malinda Burden and Priscilla Myers. In December, 2014 we lost our 4th founder, Theresa Jackson.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club! How did your club get started?  Does the name of the club have a special meaning? How many members do you have? 

Sistahs and Friends Book Club started in 1997, in Chicago, when 4 young professional co-workers, Priscilla Myers, Theresa Jackson, Malinda Burden and Yvette Barrett discovered they shared a common passion. That passion was the love of reading and the desire to share their thoughts with each other. We had our first book club discussion in a conference room during our lunch hour. It was such a great experience that we decided to continue and called ourselves, Sistahs Bookclub. Later on we had a male that wanted to join us. So in fairness to him and other potential males, we changed our name to Sistahs and Friends Bookclub. We started with 4 and currently have 12 members.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something in particular that makes your group different from other groups? 

Sistahs and Friends unites mature women and men from diverse backgrounds together in sister and brotherhood. We promote spiritual, motivational and intellectual development and awareness through the reading of fiction and non-fiction books, embracing the style and diversity of each member and each author. What we thought would be just a past time, for getting together among friends and sharing views on literature, led to so much more. We increased our membership, produced a mission statement, elected officers, created by-laws, paid dues, and 19 years later we are still Sistahs and Friends Book Club.

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?

Sistahs and Friends exemplify the true essence of sisterhood. Our legacy will be that true Sistahs support, lift and motivate each other not tear them down.

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group? How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 

Our members are mature professionals who all grew up from various backgrounds and areas in the city of Chicago. We started this group 19 years ago as “Bubbies” and have grown into mature outgoing, outspoken women who love a great book, with a great meal, a great glass of wine and a great discussion. These is no room and no tolerance for pettiness and or catiness. We may not always agree on the rating of a book but we will always have a great debate regarding the merits of our selections or lack thereof.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? Do you have an online version of the group?

We look for someone who will fit in our circle and have the passion for reading as we do. When a vacancy occurs, we invite the potential member to a meeting to ensure that their personalities mesh with the current membership. We have never had a problem attracting members however in the beginning we had problem retaining them. Some members were not committed to reading which lead to the creation of bylaws which have proved to solve the problem. Our current members have been active 10 years or more.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic, or roam? Does the availability of a reading guide help with the discussion?

By everybody sharing their own opinion of the book it leads to great conversations. Sometimes we can walk into the meeting ready to give a low rating and after much discussion it can easily be adjusted higher. Our sistahs are definitely not shy, they are very outspoken and will tell you like it is with no regrets. Many authors have experienced the brutal truths of Sistahs and Friends. Sometimes a reading guide is helpful but we don’t always use. We have very creative members who come up with games, quizzes, etc. to engage the group and stimulate conversation during the meeting.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? Do you read and discuss books outside of the book of the month? Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers? 

Sistahs and Friends Book Club’s season is from September – May. During the May meeting members randomly select a month to host for the next season. It is the responsibility of the host to select the book for the month which she is hosting. Most of the members make their selection based on recommendations from family and friends, reading over the summer or just reading reviews on-line. There have been times when some of us have read another book and discussed it outside of the book of the month for the bookclub. We share our book selections (2011 to present) on our website.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?

In the early years of Sistahs and Friends we only read books by African American authors. However over the years we have developed an appetite to broaden our horizon and not limit ourselves. During the years we have supported all authors as well as self-published authors and invited some of them to attend our bookclub discussions (via in person, Skype, FaceTime and conference call). Yes, a few of our members still borrow books from the library but the majority have Kindle or a Reader.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? Have the types of books changed over time? 

The types of books we prefer to read has changed over the years, in the beginning we read books by authors like E. Lynn Harris, Michael Baisden, James Patterson, Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillan, Zane and J. California Cooper. The books dealt with short stories, sex and relationships respectively. As we have matured so have our books. Today, we read books by authors like Brandon Massey (Don’t Ever Tell), Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner), Pamela Samuels Young (Anybody’s Daughter), Dwayne Alexander Smith (Forty Acres), and Daniel Black (Perfect Peace) and Naleighna Kai (Every Woman Needs a Wife). As you can see our selection of books have expanded and our members have welcomed all authors regardless of ethnicity.

BPM: Can you share a few 5-star books that have expanded your horizons?

Here are a few that received the highest rating that we give – (5stars) Good To The Last Drop.
Standing at the Scratch Line – Guy Johnson
Forty Acres – Dwayne Alexander Smith
Perfect Peace – Daniel Black
Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skoot
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
My Soul to Keep – Tananarive Due
Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers
The Douglass Women – Jewell Parker
No Regrets – Patricia Haley

BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?

Sistahs and Friends started out doing a grab bag each Christmas but decided that we wanted to give back to the community instead. So now we do just that. We have worked with Chicago Public Schools, DCFS, and St. Joseph Children’s Hospital. Through them we have provided children with everything from clothing, school supplies to toys. This year we decided to change our focus gave to a domestic violence shelter. We provided them with purses filled with all the day to day necessities. We are very proud of our accomplishments and it fills us with such satisfaction to see the smiles. Sistahs and Friends have an outing once a year in the summer (during our break) to do something fun with each other (dinner, painting, plays, and architectural tours). We have also hosted a luncheon, had weekend trips to Wisconsin, San Francisco and next year our 20th Anniversary (TBD).

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or who might want to start a book club?

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t start out with committed members. It took us at least 10 years before we had truly committed members. We had to develop bylaws to vet out serious readers versus those who were only in the club to eat, drink and be merry. As a result, some members have come and gone. Also, don’t look for members who are all exactly like you. You will end up with the Stepford Book Club and this will make for very boring conversations. What has kept us going over the years is our passion for good reads, our like of each other and our mutual respect of each others differences.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events and discussions? Do you have a website or social media pages?

We would love to receive an invite for future events, chats and discussions. You can follow us below on our website and Facebook.

Website: sistahsandfriendsbookclub.com
Facebook: Sistahs and Friends

 

 

#WritingWithPurpose: The Butterfly Memoir Series by M.J. Kane

The Butterfly Memoir Series by M.J. Kane
Butterflies symbolize change, evolution, the shedding of the old and bringing out the new. A memoir is a story, a narration told first hand, of someone’s personal experiences.
Like butterflies in the spring that disappear into cocoons and emerge, completely changed, my characters are no longer the same when their story ends.
The Butterfly Memoirs are stories told by the characters themselves. It is Women’s Fiction, Contemporary and Interracial Romance.  Each story addresses  the realistic trials every woman and man face in a relationship. My goal is to inspire hope, comfort, and encourage anyone who may be able to relate to these stories.


Download A Heart Not Easily Broken by M.J. Kane
**Download for FREE on major ebook retailers**

A Heart Not Easily Broken is a Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance, African-American Literature & Fiction, African-American Women’s Fiction, and Romance

Butterfly Memoirs Book 1 – Amazon Bestseller
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016QAXZ04


A Black Pearls Magazine Conversation with M.J. Kane

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

BPM:  How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
MJ:  Life experiences and curiosity. I learned first-hand that you can’t look at someone and assume you know what’s going on in their lives or what type of experiences they have had that make them react to situations the way they do. That motivates me to write stories that explore how and why people react to life changing events, good or bad.

BPM:  Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
MJ:  I write for the reader who is looking for a story that deals with the reality of life. I don’t do fantasy or unrealistic stories. It’s all life…an exploration of relationships between family, friends, and lovers. It’s about discovering yourself, and evolving into something better. I write stories my readers can relate to, see themselves in, and hopefully find peace or motivation to try something new. Do I consider authors as role models? Of course! If it weren’t for my love of reading and discovering authors who have taken their talent and created stories that touched me, I would never have been able to discover how to find my writing voice, much less get brave enough to put my work in the hands or readers.

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
MJ:  I wanted to take a conventional idea of a BW/WM romance and explore the reality of what it would be like realistically for two people to open their minds and hearts and look beyond skin color to discover a love neither of them were looking for. I also wanted to see what would happen when the relationship was tested by outside forces that had absolutely nothing to do with race. In today’s society people are finding love openly in relationships some of us may not be able to relate to, I thought it would be good to recognize that despite the external differences a couple has, when it all comes down to it, we all face the same issues and problems.
 What makes us strong is the way we address them.  How we handle them is shaped by our beliefs and past experiences. I don’t write un-flawed characters. We are imperfect and we make bad decisions…its how we learn and grow. If we’re lucky, we survive the journey and come out on the other side as stronger individuals.

BPM:  What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
MJ:  This is the first book I’ve ever written, so the entire experience was wonderful! I had the most fun diving into the heads of the characters and for once, allowing my imagination to run free and listen to the ‘inner voices’ that became my characters. Each one is like a real person to me, so I guess it’s like having family that will never leave!
BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?  Why?
MJ:  The ideas for my novels come from watching and listening to people around me. It can be something I’ve heard in the news or an idea I’ve seen in a movie. My stories are definitely character-driven. I will take a ‘what if’ scenario and see what would happen if two people from various social, economic, and racial backgrounds fell in love and had to face a life changing situation.
BPM:  Could you tell us something about your most recent work?  Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
MJ:  The series I am writing now is called The Butterfly Memoirs. The first novel in the series is A Heart Not Easily Broken. My most current release is the fourth novel, Nobody’s Business. For this part of the series, I decided to flip the script a bit and focus on a male character and the issues he faces when he discovers he has a two-year-old son with a past girlfriend, and his son is ill. To make matters worse, he has an eye on a women he met during a one-night stand, but is fighting an internal war with his heart. Should he rekindle the romance with the mother of his child and build the perfect family for his son, or should he follow his heart and seek out the woman who’s captured it. All of my novels are available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Smashworks, as well as paperback. A Heart Not Easily Broken can also be found on Audible.
BPM:  Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
MJ:  My goal with all of my novels is to allow readers to hear the characters voices as they go about their lives. By writing in first-person narrative, you get a chance to see inside of them, to know what they are thinking and what motivates them to make the decisions they do. It’s so much easier to ‘experience’ emotions and feelings instead of being ‘told’ how someone feels. It draws readers into the story on a true emotional level and allows them to learn and grow along with the characters. One recent reader told me that she had just finished ‘walking’ with the character and loved it!
Butterflies symbolize change, evolution, the shedding of the old and bringing out the new. A memoir is a story, a narration told first hand, of someone’s personal experiences.
Like butterflies in the spring that disappear into cocoons and emerge, completely changed, my characters are no longer the same when their story ends.
The Butterfly Memoirs are stories told by the characters themselves. It is Women’s Fiction, Contemporary and Interracial Romance.  Each story addresses  the realistic trials every woman and man face in a relationship. My goal is to inspire hope, comfort, and encourage anyone who may be able to relate to these stories.
BPM:  Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book?  If so, discuss them.
MJ:  No, but what I do have are themes that deal with real-life issues faced by men and women, regardless of race or background. I try to represent each characters race and background to the best of my ability.
BPM:  How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?
MJ:  I like to write characters I could imagine becoming friends with, characters that could be you or me, the neighbor next door, or your cousin. I come from a middle-class family, so do my characters. I don’t try to represent a lifestyle that I am not familiar with. I’ve either had some personal experiences that have inspired scenes and conversations, or I have done research on them. I try to keep an open mind with my characters and let them be who they want to be. I don’t try to push any of my personal feelings or beliefs into their lives. Writing this way makes it easy to create real people who come from various walks of life and easier for all readers to be able to relate to at least once character in some way.
BPM:   Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
MJ:  Honestly, the most interesting person I’ve met along the way has been myself! I know that sounds crazy, but as a mother of four kids who, at the time I started writing the first novel in the series, were between elementary and middle school, I needed something to keep me grounded and allow me to have something that didn’t revolve around children’s’ school activities. I’ve learned that I have a talent for storytelling and the ability to affect readers in ways I never would have expected. Since then, two of my kids have graduated high school, and my youngest are both in middle and high school. Now that I have my writing to focus on, I don’t have to worry about empty nest syndrome!
BPM:   What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
MJ:  My first goal was to write a story, period. I didn’t exactly have dreams of getting published, but as friends and family read the book, I got encouraged to pursue it. I’d written book two, Jaded, and three, Lonely Heart, as an afterthought to see if I could continue telling the stories of the main character Ebony’s best friends. And what do you know, I did! I feel proud of my accomplishments as an author. I have been blessed to have readers reach out to connect with me both online and in person. I’ve been able to have the paperback copies of my novels available in the Barnes & Nobel store in my area.
And recently, the first three novels of The Butterfly Memoirs have been added to the library collection in the county where I live which means readers in Georgia who are connected to the Pines Library System have access to them. I’ve been able to accomplish the two major goals I’ve had since the day I signed my publishing contract. What’s left? Signing a movie or TV deal and talking with Oprah!
BPM:   What projects are you working on at the present?
MJ:  My current project is the fifth novel in the series, Alone. When I was signed to 5 Prince Publishing, it was for a six book deal. From there, I have ideas of other stories I want to write. I am also looking forward to having the next three novels turned into audio books. One step at a time…
BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?
MJ:  Readers can find me anywhere on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more! Just search MJKaneBooks and you’ll find me. To learn more about my books and writing tips, visit my website, MJKaneMedia.com.

 
Books by M.J. Kane, The Butterfly Memoirs
Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, Interracial Romance

Order all of the Books in this Series (4 Books)
*  A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)
*  Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs)
*  Lonely Heart (Book Three of The Butterfly Memoirs)
*  Nobody’s Business (Book Four of The Butterfly Memoirs)

Connect with MJ Kane Online
Twitter:  @MJKaneBooks
Website: http://mjkanemedia.com/about-me
Books:  http://www.amazon.com/M.J.-Kane/e/B009DN708U
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MJButterflyBooks
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mjkanebooks/

 

All That Glitters By Tumika Patrice Cain

All That Glitters By Tumika Patrice Cain

All too often I see women lay aside the truth of who they are to receive the lies or misguided opinions of another.  And they accept those lies as truth.
The truth is women were created to be a gift to their partner, to their children, to the body of Christ.  To the world.  Life bearers in body, in speech, in actions, in deeds.  And so it appalls me when I see the callous disregard by which we are treated, that we accept as the norm.  We have forgotten who we are.  That it was the Lord’s own hands that formed us and presented us in the form of Eve to Adam.  Eve who stands symbolically as all womankind, she was his gift.  Even as we today are gifts to this world.  But we don’t see it.

Too many days of being disregarded.  Too many nights of being abandoned.  Too much time between a gentle touch and a kind word.  Just too much.  And we have internalized it to mean that we are not worthy of anything more…despite the silent screaming going on inside of us that begs to be heard, saying that we do.

And so instead of looking in the mirror and reminding ourselves that we are wonderfully and fearfully made, we criticize the minuscule pimple and magnify the imperceptible blemish.  Instead of hugging ourselves tight and crooning words of love into our own selves, we belittle ourselves and speak ill about ourselves…regurgitating the foul words that have been spewed at us from people who were at the very least unaware.  Having forgotten that none of us is perfect, including those who are trying to push the idea of perfection on us.

Myles Munro said it best, “when you don’t know the purpose of a thing, it is inevitable that you will abuse it.”  To abuse is to abnormally use something.  How does this apply to what I am saying about you, about me…it is in our not knowing our own purpose, not knowing our own selves that we invariably end up mistreating ourselves or allowing others to mistreat us, too.  That mistreatment comes in so many forms: unhealthy relationships, poor diet, lack of exercise, allowing folks to bring their drama into our inner sanctum….you name it.

It is not necessary to make ourselves over to be some idea or image that a man has in his mind that he wants.  Who you are, just as you are, is enough.  In fact, it’s more than enough.  How do you compete with a fantasy?  Fantasies aren’t real.  All you can do is be the best you that you can be.  So often we see people go for the spectacular and sensational.  While the quietly brilliant gem is right there in plain sight.  All that glitters is not gold.  Sometimes it’s tinsel….and you can get that from the dollar store.  It is not necessary for you to make yourself over to shine as bright and sparkly as tinsel when it is not an item of substance or value.  Nothing precious in it.  It stands as an illusion…giving the appearance of brilliance and glamour.  But a gem is precious.

Even a diamond in the rough is STILL a diamond….a priceless treasure that has been produced by much pressure over time.  And it takes a skilled artisan to pull out ALL of the beauty that lies in that mass of rock.  It takes someone who is skilled, who knows just what to look for and who has the patience of a trained eye to find it.  Someone with a quiet spirit to hear that which has not been spoken but which speaks so clearly.

Ladies, it is time to stop throwing your pearls before swine.  To stop giving up your power to someone who isn’t worthy to have it.  Love yourself just as you are, right where you are.  And despite what men say….let a woman fully come into her own, where she feels wonderful and lovely and valuable and precious in her own right, according to her own terms, and he will seek her out.  In the midst of that, he discovers that SHE (in all of her natural and rare beauty) is his fantasy…not anything he has been fed from the media, not what he has seen in a Playboy magazine.  Not even anything his mind may have conjured up.

The greatest gift to the world we can give, is to be the very best that we can be.  So go ahead and embrace your brilliance…whether you are a diamond, a pearl or an emerald….or maybe even one of those rare stones we hardly ever hear anything about.  There is beauty in each one…as they were created to be.  Just as there is beauty in each one of us…just as we were created to be.  Define your life today and if you don’t know where to start, start with a conversation with your Maker and ask him to show you yourself through HIS eyes.  Then ask him to help you get rid of any thoughts or images of yourself that are tied to lies or untruths that others have fed you.  And begin to build from there.

You are a rare and precious gem…embrace your power and own it!


Changing lives one word at a time…Tumika Patrice Cain

Meet the Author

Tumika Patrice Cain
is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life.  She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights.  In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies.

A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited.  Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. 

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. 

To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015).  Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

 

The Princess Within By Tumika Patrice Cain

The Princess Within
By Tumika Patrice Cain

Inside every woman is an inner princess.  That place which beckons to be pampered, adored, adorned, and treated with the kidskin gloves of royalty.  It is not in the fantasies of little girls because Disney created Cinderella and a host of princesses thereafter.  Instead it stems from a reality that we are from the stock of true royalty.  Divinity, even.  We are the result of having been created from the ultimate King.  The Most High, the most royal, the most divine is our Father. 

And just like in the fairytales, we earthly princesses have come across evil witches, possessed octopuses, and bitten into poisonous apples given by beguiling serpents who have planned our demise.  All in an attempt to strip us from our rightful place in the kingdom.  All in an attempt to convince us that we are not who we were born to be; created to be.  All in an attempt to persuade us that the only life that lies ahead for us is that of a pauper.

And for many years, many of us choose to believe these lies.  We begin to attract men who tear us down with their harsh words, hard hands and complete ignoring of our needs.  In our attempts to get our needs met, we chase them.  Chase them hard.  We think, I don’t want him to forget me.  Maybe if I call him more, buy him what he wants, make myself available to his beck and call, then he will be willing to stand up and be the prince I know I need.  It is with each attempt that we lose more and more of our layers of divinity.  No longer do we walk with our heads held high.  The straight ramrod posture we used to have is replaced with slumped shoulders.  The princess has begun to carry burdens she doesn’t have the strength, the stamina or the stature to hold.  She wasn’t created to; we weren’t created to.  What was once a sparkle in her eyes falls away to a dull glimmer and eventually the light extinguishes altogether.  In the midst of all of this, she has forgotten who she is; we have forgotten who we are.  She doesn’t dress the same, walk, talk or move the same. 

Meanwhile the evil one plotting her demise sits along the sidelines laughing, convinced she will lay down and die.  Convinced we will lie down and die.  But princesses are strong.  We are made that way.  For how can you care for the needs of others and make life better for those who haven’t tapped into their inner power if we are weaklings.  No, the call of a princess is to offer a better chance for those who have not yet found their way.  Truly things look as if there is no answer in sight.  There appears to be no knight in shining armor or prince whose kiss is so potent it can withstand the walls of darkness, but I remind you again that we come from the root of all royalty.  And our champion is there to save, to heal, to rescue and to set us on the right course leading back to our rightful place.  That is, if we are willing to do the work.

This is the piece the fairytales fail to mention.  There is work involved in getting back to a place of wholeness.  But as the old adage goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”  There are times it feels we will never reach the end from all the damage that has been done.  But truly we are able.  One step at a time, albeit however slow those steps might be.  Slow and steady.  That is the key.  And, of course, obedience to the One who knows the very path we need to take in order to get out of the enchanted forest and back onto the palace grounds.

Like Esther who went through a year of beauty treatments before being presented to the king, our lives should reflect that same level of care.  Our skin should glow from the delicious, healthy foods that have been placed on the earth for us to eat.  We should be rubbed with the finest oils as the tension is massaged out of our bodies.  Our teeth should gleam because we take the time to take care of them.  There should be so much bounce in our hair that a slight breeze causes it to lift and fall right back into place.  And our eyes should sparkle like starlight because we get enough rest.

As daughters of the King, it is important for us to take time to reflect; to figure out if we are on course, and if not, design a plan to get us where we want to go.  Everything in the universe was designed to help us maximize our life’s experience.  It is not for the kingdom princesses to be burdened down with relationships with those who cause stress, discord and unrest. 

The life of a princess should be easy.  Easy on the eyes, easy on the mind, easy on the body, easy on the spirit.  And of the ladies in waiting, we have no time for jealousy, backbiting, or rude attempts to tear down.  Not everyone will be where we are and that is okay.  But it is not for us to sacrifice the life we are destined to have to those who have not stepped into their own kingdom position.  Living the life of a princess means embracing who we were created to be.  It may be necessary to cut some people loose, but don’t lose heart, dear one.  He who sees all, created all, will send others to fill that place.  Keeping our hearts open and full of light is our only job as it pertains to this part of life.

Love those who have hurt us – even if we have to love them enough to let them go and love them from a distance.  Whatever was done isn’t worth the turmoil and lack of peace it takes to keep reliving the experience.  Hurting people hurt people…and they hurt themselves, too.  Since we know who we are and we know what we give, it is a hurt to their own selves when they mistreat us and have the access to our lives severed.  Their leaving is not a reflection on us, no matter what evil words they let spew from their own mouths.  It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.  So we love them and pray blessings of healing and love, direction and deliverance, health and prosperity into their lives – never forgetting the kiss that woke us up out of a terrible slumber and started us on the road to our own place in the kingdom.  We don’t forget, but we don’t have to be part of everyone’s journey either.

So, today go and get pedicures, after all we cannot have chipped toenails while wearing glass slippers.  And when we step out, it is with confidence and assurance in who we are and what we deserve.  We are daughters of the Most High, princesses in our own right.  If perhaps we have not been willing to truly accept our role, today we make the decision to step into our rightful  place.  If we have accepted that we are princesses, then we take some time to reflect to make sure all is as it should be.  Either way, there is an amazing life awaiting each one of us.  Today is the day we decide will not live beneath our privilege.  Others are waiting on us to take our rightful place to see by example that they can do it too.  This is our role as princesses:  to encourage, uplift and help others realize their own potential for greatness.

Changing lives one word at a time…Tumika Patrice Cain

 Meet the Author
Tumika Patrice Cain
is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life.  She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. 

In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited.  Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. 

She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015.  To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015).  Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

 

ARE YOU AWARE OF LOVE-BITES? by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

ARE YOU AWARE OF LOVE-BITES?
by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

 Hey, everybody my name is Re’Gena Bell-Roberts, author of Walking on Thin Ice.

Today I’d like to share with you my personal experiences on what I thought was true love.  But what is true love? What does it look like… feel like?

Well I believe we can all agree that love is food for the soul…tasty and satisfying right? But what happens when love goes sour? Well, if you fall head-over-heels in
love like I did, it can bite you in the butt.

Before I was blind-sided by love, I didn’t know the chances were likely that he’d cheat on me, lie to keep the peace, and while he cheated, he’d lie to keep that other relationship going as well.

Now, when I confronted him about the other woman, it triggered a cycle of abuse. The assaults came in the form of physical, emotional and psychological pain. I call these “Love-Bites” because his brand of love literally bit me in the butt.

When he dished out these sugarcoated morsels I was either: savored with pleasure and affection, chewed bittersweet, and used to satisfy a specific desire, or nibbled on for awhile then tossed aside.

All three portions of love-bites were harmful and lead to explosive consequences for me. In light of this little scoop, have you ever been bitten by love? Read my memoir, Walking on Thin Ice. It will peel  your eyes wide open.

About the Author
Re’Gena Bell-Roberts
earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California at Los Angeles. She is an award-winning playwright and author whose published work includes a collection of prose and poetry.  

She has released her memoir entitled “Walking On Thin Ice.”   The book shares her journey starting at the age of 21, Re’Gena gave birth to a set of triplets on Memorial Day May 30, 1972.  Exactly 2 1/2 years later she was shot in the neck at the age of 24. The doctors were unable to remove the bullet and told her she would never walk again, she was paralyzed from the neck down (diagnosed as a quadriplegic). The doctors even suggested that since she was unwed that she put her children up for adoption. She never once considered that as an option. She was a very strong, driven and determined woman, refusing to be a victim. She hopes that her story will inspire people, encourage them and to give them strength and hope in the face of adversity.

Prior to the shooting, Re’Gena was an aspiring actress, play writer, producer, director, singer and honor student at the University of Washington. She was a resident member of Black Arts West Theatre & Touring Ensemble where she performed leading roles. 

Re’Gena has served her community in many capacities over the years:

She served 2 years on the Governor’s Committee for Disability Issues & Employment.

Re’Gena served 7 years as member and vice-chair on Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and was appointed the National Housing Commissioner (NAHRO). She also served as Chair of Department of Social & Health Services Committee-youth detention liaison.

Re’Gena served 3 years as Convalescent Ministry Leader and on the Women’s Prison Ministry.

Re’Gena served 4 years as a cabinet member and secretary for the Women of Worship for Mountain View Community Church.

Bell-Roberts lives in Murrieta, California, and has four grown children.

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/rlbroberts
Website: http://walking-on-thin-ice.com
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/regena.bellroberts

Order Walking on Thin Ice by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts
Link:  http://amzn.com/1491764759

True Story > Non-fiction > Biographies & Memoirs

 

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A SLAVE TO LOVE? by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A SLAVE TO LOVE?
by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

 When I revisit my past and recall the beatings I suffered by the hands of a man who constantly professed his love for me, I shudder.  How is it possible for one to inflict pain on another and call it love?  On the flip side, how is it possible to love that person back? But I did … I was madly in love and I held on to the belief and trust that he loved me too.

That man, on occasion, had a way of making the pain his foreplay. His words dripped with honey, and his touch was gentle with sweet caress. His powerful arms held me tight, his thick, sweet lips kissed me right and our passionate sex set my soul on fire.

Was I stupid? Was I naïve? Was I blinded by love? Honestly, I’d go with all three and toss in the most important answer––I was uninformed and uneducated.  And I was a slave to loving that man, no matter what he did, no matter how much pain I experienced, no matter how many times he broke my heart.

I wrote my memoir, Walking on Thin Ice for anyone who is a slave to love. I re-lived the pain and trauma to get your attention and help you in ways that I couldn’t do for myself, back when it could have made a difference. I wrote my book as a warning and a wake-up call. I hope you hear it!

When you’re a slave to love, you think you can take any and all kind of pain that your beloved inflicts upon you. When you’re a slave to love, you give your power away in the name of that love.

I wrote the book to send a message to you: If you are in an abusive situation, walk away. Now, don’t wait! Regain your freedom and spread you wings! Maybe if I’d done that, I would not have experienced the tragedy that changed everything for me and my family. Maybe if I’d known that, I’d have been spared years of heartbreak and grief. Maybe if I’d listened when people tried to tell me…

My hope is that if you’re in this kind of situation, where the love is so overpowering that you override your own survival instincts, your own common sense; where you hear your loved ones’ warnings, but choose not to listen because you’ve chosen to be a slave to love…. that you will listen this one time. That you will understand. And that you will empower yourself and learn from my experience. Read my memoir, Walking on Thin Ice. It could save your life. Or your sanity. Or both.


About the Author

Re’Gena Bell-Roberts
is an actress, poet, award-winning playwright and author whose published work includes a collection of prose and poetry. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California at Los Angeles and raised her four children as a single parent while continuing to pursue a career.

Re’Gena won the Rockefeller Foundation award for her play “Eclipse”; and a Prose award from Culver City Community College. She produced and directed an NAACP Martin Luther King Day celebration event; and received numerous awards for her community service. She was featured on the Steve Harvey Show and honored as one of “Steve Harvey’s Hero.”

Re’Gena resides in Murrieta, California.

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/rlbroberts
Website: http://walking-on-thin-ice.com
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/regena.bellroberts

Order Walking on Thin Ice by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts
Link:  http://amzn.com/1491764759

True Story > Non-fiction > Biographies & Memoirs

 

#WritingWithPurpose: Introducing the Black Bird Detective Series by Sage

Introducing the Black Bird Detective Series by Sage

When you begin to read Assumptions Abound you step inside of the book and journey along with the characters. Assumptions Abound will keep you on the edge of your seat as you ride every twist and turn.  Assumptions Abound is a murder mystery, thriller and thought-provoking novel combined into one.  This novel is told through the words of Monét Worthington.

Monét is a naïve girl with a tumultuous past and a troublesome childhood. Subjected to rape, mental and physical abuse, Monét is terrified to think about her future. Her terror continues as she finds herself running for her life!  Lucky for Monét she has Victoria to protect her. Victoria loves Monét and she is willing to do anything for her, including commit murder.

Only Monét has no idea that Victoria exists. Monét tells her life story as her loved ones and those around her are brutally murdered.  The plot twists and turns as the murder investigations ensue. This psychological thriller has all of the key ingredients to create an explosive literary masterpiece.

Detective Nina Kelsey is also introduced in this series. Detective Kelsey is not who she appears to be. A complex person with her own dark past, Detective Kelsey is always searching for more. She is determined to solve the Cold Creek murders before another life is lost. Fireworks will ignite when Detective Kelsey and Monét Worthington meet and someone may end up dead.

Through this story, the Black Bird Detective Series is born. Assumptions Abound is the first book in the Black Bird Detective Series Trilogy This series features characters from Assumptions Abound, including Raven Carter. Raven is a young African-American detective. She is determined to solve murders in the small town of Cold Creek.

As she solves mysteries, she also works to uncover the truth about her past.

The series continues with Seeking Truth, Sweet Revenge and The Butterfly.


The Black Bird Detective Series is a bookclub favorite!

Listen to the author reading:  http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CRSH3Htk
 


Assumptions Abound Available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Assumptions-Abound-Black-Bird-Detective-ebook/dp/B00642W77M

Seeking Truth Available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Truth-Black-Detective-Mystery-ebook/dp/B008D2ZARA

Sweet Revenge Available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Revenge-Sage-ebook/dp/B012P17C1Q

The Butterfly Available on Amazon: 
http://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Sage-ebook/dp/B01BVLG8RK

Lost and Turned Upside Down on Amazon:  
http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Turned-Upside-Down-Sage-ebook/dp/B01CBY45P8

About the Author
Sage
was born and raised in Huntingtown, MD. She has been married to her best friend, for over ten years and they have two amazing sons.  She is also an Autism advocate and a parent of an autistic child, which inspired her to write a non-fiction book on raising a child on the Autism spectrum, The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony.

Sage also writes mysteries centered on characters that are close to the heart. She has vowed to produce books that encourage the reader to deliberately read; not just for entertainment but to read with the intention of solving the mystery along with the Detective.

Her belief that, “if you don’t see the books you’re searching for write them” has inspired her to write with a purpose and a passion.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sage.inspires
Sage’s author website: http://www.blackbirddetectiveseries.com

 

#WritingWithPurpose: The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony by Sage

The Optimistic Autistic is a testimony of how love, dedication and faith guided our family in the midst of adversity.  Nearly 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism. The moment we received our son’s diagnosis our lives changed. As parents of a special needs student the odds were stacked against us.  There were times when we felt like giving up, but God kept us standing. When our 6-year-old son was expelled from school for 9 months, we decided to take charge of our son’s education. Through Jordan’s struggles and our faith, we found our strength.

Read about our story and learn how you can fight for your child’s education.

Join us on our journey of faith as we share our testimony.

The Optimistic Autistic: Our Testimony by Sage
Non-fiction.  Order Link: http://amzn.com/B01BZEY65O

Kindle Short Reads > Nonfiction > Parenting & Relationships > Special Needs > Disabilities

 

#WritingWithPurpose: We’re All Wearing the Racial Lens by Lydia E. Brew

We’re All Wearing the Racial Lens
by Lydia E. Brew

It is hard for African Americans to be totally objective when it comes to race United States. It is equally hard for White America huh? We all are wearing the racial lens on our eyes and we can’t see straight.

When thinking of how the United States was founded it was based on freedom, especially freedom of religion. The United States was to be the picture of a beautiful “world” where everybody would free. All men would be equal. However, here we are at the end of 2014 and we’re still not there yet.

I believe some of the Founding Fathers did want everyone to be free, but the slave owners needed their slaves. Believe it or not slavery was about money NOT one’s skin color or the intelligence of the Negro. The Founding Fathers needed the Southern colonies to ratify (approve) the Constitution that would abolish slavery, so the Negro became three-fifths of a person. Perhaps the Founding Fathers thought that eventually all citizens of the United States would be free.

Instead many were told that the Negro was from Africa and that they ware inferior to the White man. Africa is the cradle of humanity.  Native Americans who were here first, and later forced on reservations, when they rebelled, the United States went to war. People were told that Native Americans were not civilized, so they were treated badly.

The list of what people are told about other races goes on and on.  Even after the Civil War, the Emancipation of the slaves, the Civil Rights movement, and even now with an African American president, there is still something we can’t quite get together.

Many White Americans and African Americans can’t seem to understand that there is just one race. We are confusing race with culture. We need to remember the past by trying to let each and every person, black, white, homosexuals, whoever live the American Dream. The racial lens needs to be removed from our eyes. Somehow we have to stop letting the history of racism control our future existence together.

Shortly after President Obama was sworn in, a college professor lost his keys and broke into his own house. The man was an African American professor and the officer who showed up on the scene was White. The professor was under stress and had his racial lens on. The officer was trying to get the facts. He was doing his job – he did not know that the man lived there. The professor did not see that the officer was investigating a crime. All he saw was the racial turmoil history that the United States can’t seem to find a solution for continuous racial problems.

The racial problem is a human condition and it affects everybody in a different way. We need to take off our racial lens and see the problems in society. Ferguson and the “I Can’t Breath” cases are not just about racism, but point to a United States that can’t seems to be the nation that the Founding Fathers envisioned.


About the Author
Lydia E. Brew
was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement. She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha0 Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Under the leadership of one of her journalism professors, Miss Brew penned her first book Edith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D. about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine. Upon finishing college, Miss Brew worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.

Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write. LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation. Winning writers received cash prizes.

Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Dr. Jones. It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other. There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.

Purchase Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew
Link: http://amzn.com/1425798918 

 
 
 

When Black Women Fall in Love by Ines Johnson


When Black Women Fall in Love by Ines Johnson

 Heartspell Media would like to welcome you to When Black Women Fall, a week long promotional tour of romance novels featuring African American heroines in the contemporary, historical, paranormal, new adult, and erotica genres.

Romance novels are increasingly featuring heroes and heroines of color, from Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series to Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. As society and its citizens increase in diversity so does the market. With more and more authors bypassing publishers and uploading these colorful romances on their own, starved readers now have a buffet of books to choose from.
On this tour, you will find that when black women fall in love it’s a sign of the times in these contemporary offerings.
In Farrah Rochon’s “All You Can Handle” love was the last thing professional pastry chef Sonny White was looking for, but she finds it in a sleepy town with a motorcycle riding hottie.
In Lena Hart’s “Because You Love Me” when an old desire is reawakened Sabrina will discover that even an imperfect love can triumph over all.
In Xio Axelrod’s “Falling Stars” Hollywood actress’ Val Saunders finds her career skyrocketing which makes her real-life attraction to her on-screen love interest come at the worst possible time.
In Ines Johnson’s “Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story” having given up on fairytales after falling for her toad of an ex, Pumpkin is afraid to take a chance on a prince charming who comes to her rescue.
In Kim Golden’s “Maybe Baby” Laney must choose between the man who offers her financial security and the one who makes her mind and body sing.
In Victoria H. Smith’s “The Space Between” Lacey has dreams of the opera, but life has its obstacles, namely a man  who lights a fire inside of her that challenges everything she thought she wanted.
In Christina C. Jones’ “Inevitable Conclusions” Friends? Lovers? Both? For Kora and Tariq, those lines have been blurred for a long time.
When black women fall in love it’s a magical affair as you’ll find in these paranormal stories of love.
In L Penelope’s “Angelborn” he gave up eternity for love… and lost. Will Maia be his second chance?
In Laverne Thompson’s “Angel Rising” Thalya, a soulless creature, meets her match when she hungers for the love of the man assigned to hunt her.
When black women fall in love it’s a defining moment as you’ll find in this historical romance.
In Piper Huguley’s “The Preacher’s Promise” Amanda Stewart aims to teach newly freed slaves, but meets with the resistance from the town preacher. Can these two put aside their differences and come together?
When black women fall in love it’s full of growing pains as you’ll see in this new adult romance.
In Twyla Turner’s “Chasing Day” Daylen is the shy cellist who falls in love with her best friend who also happens to be the popular quarterback.
When black women fall in love it can get a little spicy as you’ll find in this erotica novellete.
In Harper Miller’s “Entwined” trouble finds Gabby when she meets an ex-marine looking to release a little tension.
From February 8-14, the intersection of Valentine’s Day and Black History month, check out one of these romances at a discounted price and enter for your chance to win a giveaway basket that includes a Kindle, along with a few quintessential romance novels featuring black heroines, and a gift certificate for the beauty and cosmetics company Carol’s Daughter!

To find the books, get a free excerpt book, and enter the giveaway, visit http://whenblackwomenfall.com


 

#BlackLove: Walking on Thin Ice by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

Walking on Thin Ice by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

Re’Gena Bell-Roberts was featured on the Steve Harvey Show as one of the Harvey’s Heroes!

Walking on Thin Ice, a memoir of love, hate, envy, and greed traces a young woman’s pursuit of stardom down a dangerous road that leads to shattered dreams and a harrowing fate.

Re’Gena Bell-Roberts found herself staring down the barrel of a revolver, and a wave of disbelief rippled through her. An explosion blasted her into a nightmare. The room swirled slowly. Click––click. The sound reverberated each time as the shooter pulled the trigger. She realized this woman was trying to kill her!

In Walking on Thin Ice, Re’Gena Bell-Roberts shares her riveting story against the backdrop of a childhood sexual molestation. She is one, among a few young girls from the small town of Pasco, Washington, who harbored dreams of fame, fortune, and a craving for the love of a powerful man.

After high school graduation, Re’Gena’s life transforms. Despite myriad warnings, she falls for the charming Max Clayton, a thirty-three year old streetwise hustler who entices her into a dark underworld of illicit sex and drugs.

When Max betrays her, their life takes a fateful turn. The gripping saga explodes in the Mount Baker area of Seattle, Washington; and depicts Re’Gena’s struggle to deal with a tragic life-changing event that threatens her very existence. But she fights back with unshakable strength, courage, and a will to survive.

5-STAR BOOK REVIEWS

By Brenda Bentley Parrrish 
This book is an awesome read. The determination and persistence of a woman with the willpower to begin productive and purposeful living after bad decision making based upon her love for a man almost cost her, her life. The story paints a picture of a beautiful woman of inner strength with her children giving her courage to become a champion. Her love for her man Max, consumed her very existence: mind, body, heart, soul and spirit. Finally she realized that she was starring in a role that was intended to be her final curtain call. After a near death experience she triumphant and find that God will sometime take you down a long winding road when he is teaching you a lesson to get you where he ordained you to be in this life. The story has several valleys and peaks and even a cliff. I am looking forward to the sequel. Great job ReGena Bell Roberts. Your bravery, persistence and determination are a powerful testimony to many who have fallen head over heels in love. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

By Lionel Mitchell

This was a story that I could not put down. Re’Gena is so courageous to write her story. I pray that some young women will read it , so that they may not go down the same road. The words on those pages were so descriptive. Drawing you in and making you feel all the life in the story. There is love, laughter, and pain. As a first time author this story should be a best seller.

By Verlean Gladney 

This book made me laugh and cry. It made me happy, sad, angry and a host of other emotions. This book gave me strength and hope. Very well written and totally gripping. I could not put it down. A must read for all you ladies from any walk of life. This book could literally save your life. I thank the author for sharing her life with me. I can hardly wait for her next book!


The San Diego Union-Tribune Featured Story on Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

Re’Gena Bell-Roberts has a life story full of tragedy, pain and redemption. Confined to a wheelchair after she was shot at the age of 21 by a woman her fiance was seeing on the side, Roberts found a way to overcome her disability and, against considerable odds, create a nurturing and supportive environment in which to raise her triplets, who were just 2 years old at the time of the attack.

“You know, God gives you strength to do what you need to do,” Roberts said.

These days Roberts, who was an aspiring actress when she was shot, and managed to do some stage work even after she was confined to her wheelchair, is working on her autobiography and hopes to one-day see her story on the big screen.

In the meantime, she will get a little time on the small screen. Roberts will be featured Wednesday on the Steve Harvey Show in a segment called Harvey’s Heroes. Roberts’ daughter, LyNea Bell, one of the triplets, nominated her mother for the recognition.

Bell, 40, works as a talent agent for Media Artists Group in Los Angeles.

“We never had an excuse,” Bell said. “We couldn’t have an excuse because the example was right there. So it made it a lot tougher. You couldn’t cry, ‘No, I can’t.’ It was, ‘We have to.'”

The other triplets are Bell’s two brothers — McClain, an entrepreneur who lives not far from his mother in Southern California, and DeShae, who now lives in Seattle and is hoping to become a welder.

After she was shot in Seattle in 1974 while attending the University of Washington, Roberts briefly moved back home to Pasco, Wash., and in with her mother to rehabilitate from her injuries and get help with the children. But she quickly saw that was not going to be a long-term answer.

“My mother was working full-time and, you know, she’d (have to) get up all the time at night,” Roberts said. “And I saw this painful look in her eyes, like it was killing her. She was tired. And I made a decision that I was moving.”

Eventually, Roberts landed in Los Angeles, where her best friend from home, Cat Gibson, was living with one of Roberts’ sisters. Roberts was able to support herself financially on money she was eligible for through the Washington state crime victims compensation program.

Still, she had to cook, clean and manage the triplets, whom she called little rascals.

“They were a handful,” she said. “… plotting, doing what kids normally do.”

Roberts is a quadriplegic, but has limited use of her hands.

As the kids got older she enlisted their help, teaching them how to put the coins in the machines at the laundromat, and help her with the folding. After she arranged for an automobile with hand controls, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, she trained the kids to collapse the chair and pack it in the trunk.

“We had a whole system,” Bell said.

Once the triplets got going in school, Roberts had more time on her hands and she went back to college, eventually graduating from UCLA with a history degree. Her mother came down from Washington to attend the ceremony.

“It was an accomplishment,” Roberts said. “My mom was very happy. She wore my cap and gown after I took it off. She didn’t graduate from high school. So she was very proud of me.”

Roberts was the first in the family to graduate.

The second act of her life, which followed, featured a move back to Washington where she jumped into producing, taking part in community theater and putting on gospel showcases. For a few years, she produced and directed the local Martin Luther King Day events.

She and Gibson formed their own production company. Everything was fine, as long as Roberts wasn’t part of a committee.

“I didn’t have the time to sit around in meetings,” she said.

But within a few years, that was exactly what she was doing. After moving the family to Seattle, she dove into government and politics, serving on the Governor’s Committee for Disability Issues and Employment, and later as a member of the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

For Roberts, acting and producing were replaced by organizing and advocating, although she still performs occasionally under the stage name Re’Gena Bell.

“What goes on behind the scenes in the city, that just mesmerized me,” she said.

She ran twice unsuccessfully for the Seattle City Council, on a platform of helping the disenfranchised.

Today, she sits in her comfortable, nicely appointed home in Murrieta, where she has lived with her husband since 2004, and muses about her bucket list. A hot air balloon ride is next up.

A new van would be nice, too. She lost her last one in an accident. The ever-resourceful Roberts is an entrant in an online contest to win just such a vehicle. Anyone interested in voting, can visit http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com.

Bell considers the full depth and breadth of her mother’s story, and marvels.

“This is why she’s my hero,” Bell said. “This is why I wrote in (to the Steve Harvey Show), because I look at all the things of this world, and I look at how much that she’s influenced our lives, and I am just so proud. And it’s right in front of me every single day.”


Original Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune Feature Story on Re’Gena Bell-Roberts

Photo credit: Regina Roberts of Murrieta was featured on the Steve Harvey Show in a segment called Harvey’s Heroes. Behind her are her children: DeShae Bell, LyNea Bell, Steve Harvey and McClain Bell.  Courtesy photo — Steve Harvey ShowCourtesy photo


Order Walking on Thin Ice by Re’Gena Bell-Roberts
Download Link:  http://amzn.com/1491764759 
Genre:   True Story. Non-fiction. Memoir 

 

Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice by Marian L. Thomas

Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice
by Marian L. Thomas 

Author Marian L. Thomas delivers a hilarious, yet candid discussion of why she made the life-long decision to remain childless. This chapbook has the perfect blend of non-fiction and fictional elements that make it the perfect recipe for a delightful read.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “Millennial-focused media is just beginning to recognize this emerging mindset and celebrities are popularizing and glamorizing this path, too, with powerful women like Chelsea Handler, Zooey Deschanel and Cameron Diaz leading the charge.”

Thomas said it’s a myth that she just doesn’t like children. “It’s like saying, I don’t like ice cream. I don’t want to make it, but I certainly enjoy it on occasion. Similarly, I don’t want children, but I certainly do love children…I don’t want to babysit them either (just in case any of my friends are reading this book). I’m okay with being childless!”

Another article from the Huffington Post reported the happiest couples are those without children– at least, that’s according to research out of the United Kingdom’s Open University. The study titled “Enduring Love?” found that childless married and unmarried couples reported being more satisfied in life and feeling more valued by their partners than did pairs with kids. Unmarried parents were found to be slightly happier than married parents.”

Thomas was also quoted as stating: “Being childless, is not a revolution. Being childless can be a good decision for you. Your decision to remain childless doesn’t need validation from others.”


For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website:  http://www.theemptycarriagelife.com 

Order on Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Way-Life-ebook/dp/B00P16OFYA

Print Edition:
http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Life-Chapbook/dp/0984896783

 

Article: Childless by Choice: Why I’m More Like Oprah Winfrey, Than I Realized

Childless by Choice: Why I’m More Like Oprah Winfrey, Than I Realized
By Marian L. Thomas

Yes, we both have beautiful black skin, strong hearts, and are great at multi-tasking. It seems we both enjoy natural hair, the bigger the better. Yet, there is something deeper that connects the Oprah Winfrey’s outlook on life to my own: our childless by choice decision.

It’s a tough decision for many to accept. Hard for many to fathom that a black woman who has much to give would consider not giving. I am an educated black female. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Communications. I have written five fictional books that have received some level of recognition including one that was a recommended “must-read romance” by Michele Monkou, USA Today book reviewer. Of course, not on the Oprah Winfrey level, but nonetheless, each book was a dream that I had to work hard to accomplish. Reaching dreams and accomplishing goals is highly important in Oprah Winfrey’s eyes. As an author, she has written articles, conducted national conferences, and spoke very highly and boldly on the subject of attaining goals. She also has spoken about her decision to remain childless by choice; a term I refer to as being an ‘empty carriage woman’.

Empty Carriage Woman: a strong, loving, kind, unselfish woman who has decided to forgo pushing the baby carriage.

While the term ‘empty carriage woman’ may not be familiar to many reading this, it is in fact not a new concept. A report posted by the Pew Research Center back in 2010 showed that 24% of women between the ages of 40-44 who held a higher-education degree, had not had children. The study also reported that the while white women are more likely to not to have children, the childless rate among black women had risen rapidly over the past decade.

Can an empty carriage woman really be deemed unselfish? Absolutely! Oprah is a classic example of this. Years back, she opened a beautiful school for young females. She gave unselfishly of her time, energy, and love to each of them. No, I haven’t opened a school, but I do give my time, energy, and love to volunteer work that I know benefits others, young girls and the like.

So, while I don’t have millions. Oprah and I do have more things in common, than even I realized. We both have made the decision to put on our empty carriage t-shirt, so to speak, and wear it out in a society where being childless by choice is still unthinkable.

Isn’t that how dreams are accomplished? Doing the unthinkable?


About the Author
Marian L. Thomas
is the award-winning author of the new book: Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life, see here.
She is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations.

Her latest title, “Blue Butterfly” recently scored top honors as one of the 2014 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS Fiction/ African-American Finalist. Each of her contemporary fiction books have reached a bestseller position on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Visit the Author’s Website: http://www.marianlthomas.com 

 

Featured Article: Rid Yourself of Procrastinating Ways by Daryl D. Green

Rid Yourself of Procrastinating Ways 
by Daryl D. Green

Can you afford the same procrastinating ways in 2014? Why aren’t you pursuing your dreams? At some point, we have all procrastinated, not wanting to move on an action. You say, “Now is not the right time.” Yet, you take no action. People have different motivations for taking action. Taking action means taking risk. Taking risk may cause you fear. This process creates self-doubt. Self-limiting beliefs are doubts that you create about your abilities. They cause you to feel inferior. You feel like you don’t deserve the best. You allow others to set your expectations. When you think like this, there is no way to win. You create negative ideas that you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, connected enough, creative enough, or powerful enough. “I can’t” becomes your motto. This article discusses how to overcome procrastination.

The Impending Landslide 
With the current economic situation, people can afford to procrastinate on critical actions. Employment and sheer survival may be at stake. In August of 2011, America posted no job gains. This economic slump is historical since it’s the first time since World War II that the economy has shown precisely zero net job creation for a month. Retail, manufacturing, information services, and construction all lost jobs. With over 15 million people unemployed in America, individuals must be internally motivated.

Most people want to accomplish something in life. A new year could spark a new beginning; however, it gives most people time to make excuses for unfulfilled dreams. The more you repeat these self-limiting thoughts, the more you become trapped in your ways. Remember the definition of insanity: “doing the same thing that you always do and expecting something different to happen.” That’s a crazy way for anyone to live. Some people get caught up in this vicious circle. For example, look at the vicious cycle of New Year’s resolutions. Are you one of these procrastinators?

 

Featured Article: Is Stress Damaging Your Marriage? by Jewell R. Powell

Is Stress Damaging Your Marriage?
by Jewell R. Powell

Life is busy. Life is stressful. These are facts of life, but how we handle that busyness and stress makes all the difference in our lives and especially in our marriage. A common scenario for busy couples is for the husband and wife to get wrapped up in their individual projects and issues. Instead of managing the stress together, they may find themselves trying to deal with it all alone, which can actually create space between husband and wife, rather than creating unity. Being able to identify when stress may be damaging your marriage is the first step for taking control, so you and your spouse can work together to focus on protecting and strengthening your relationship. 

The Bible actually addresses stress and anxiety many times and for good reason. Our human side, our flesh has a tendency to give into stress, so we NEED the reminders and promises from God to help us keep our Godly focus and know where to turn when challenging times come. Can you identify certain issues in your life that create the most stress? Whether they are problems within the marriage itself or external stressors, the same promises from God apply.


Stressors Are To Be Expected

In Isaiah 40: 30,31, we can read,

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This verse shows us that YES stressors will come, you will grow weary, you will fall, but when you place your trust in the Lord, your strength will be renewed and you will soar.

So don’t get down on yourself or your marriage if you and your spouse are experiencing stress. This is normal and to be expected. However, allowing stress to damage your marriage relationship is where you have to draw the line. While we cannot control the stressors we encounter in life, we can control our responses.  Choosing the right responses to stress will minimize or even eliminate problems it can create in marriage.


5 Ways to Deal with Stress as a Couple

Whether you are newly married or have been married for years, learning how to deal with stress as a couple is a learned skill. Rarely is it something that people just know how to do intuitively. Instead, it is a choice that one must make. However, it is never too late in the marriage to begin making good choices and learning new coping skills.

Unfortunately, too many people rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms that do not strengthen the marriage and in most cases do nothing to alleviate stress and may even cause MORE stress. Alcohol, drugs, sex, affairs, gambling, overeating and shopping are some of the activities that may seem to improve stress levels for a moment, but the repercussions can be devastating. 

READ MORE HERE

 
 

Featured Article: HEART AND SOUL by D. A. Sears

HEART AND SOUL
by D. A. Sears

There are approximately 2.2 billion children who live and play in the global village we know as Planet Earth. We are connected to each of them. And they are connected to us. They are our children – the heart and soul of our global village. Their melodious laughter, incessant inquisitive banter, and irrepressible enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring. We feel their joy. The village – our global village – would be a desolate place without them. Can you imagine living in a world devoid of laughter, joy, and irrepressible enthusiasm?

Yet, we allow approximately 1 billion children in our global village to live in poverty.  We allow 640 million children in our global village to live without adequate shelter. We allow 400 million children in our global village to live without access to safe water. We allow 270 million children to be denied access to health services. And every year, death silences the melodious laughter, incessant inquisitive banter, and irrepressible enthusiasm of approximately 1.4 million children – our babies — because they do not have access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in our global village.

How will living in poverty and not having access to adequate shelter,  safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation shape these children’s perception of the world outside of their immediate environment and their place in it?  Will they see a world that offers unlimited opportunities? Will growing up in abject poverty without access to adequate shelter, safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation shatter the souls and break the spirits of these children – our babies – and the global village’s Next Generation of Husbands, Wives, Mothers, Fathers, and Leaders?

Then there is the issue of the education of our children – the heart and soul of our global village.
The number of children throughout our global village who are not attending school is shocking and tragic. At least 67 million primary school-age children are not attending school. Approximately 45% of these “out of school” children live in sub-Saharan Africa and approximately 24% of “out of school” children live in South and West Asia. Forty percent of “out of school” children in South and West Asia were previously enrolled in school but dropped out of school at some point.

 
 

Featured Article: Overcoming Personal Stress with Pending Uncertainty


Overcoming Personal Stress with Pending Uncertainty

Do you know what the future holds in 2014 for you? Are you now dreading the new year with more demands on the job, an unconcerned boss about your personal welfare, and new threats of pending layoffs? All of these things create stress and anxiety for working professionals as the new year begins. Many smart buyers do not want to overspend in this economic crisis, creating a situation where the economy recovers even slower. Leadership strategists offer advice to working professionals to reduce stress related to all the uncertainties in 2014.

Sadly, our standard of living is eroding. Families cannot make ends meet despite working multiple jobs. Companies are demanding more. It is no surprise that folks are stressed out. According to the third annual Work Stress Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College, more than eight in 10 employed Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. Additionally, the study showed poor pay and increased workloads were top sources of concern for many employees (1,019 surveyed by phone). The results produced a significant increase (73% to 83%) from last year’s survey, which found that more employees were stressed at work.

Another holiday season has come and gone. After the presents have been given out and the year comes to a close, many people will reminisce about the past year. Sadly, some people’s lives will be filled with many defeats, broken relationships, and unfulfilled dreams. These many setbacks may be relatively minor in nature.

Depression can happen to anyone. Christian Maslach and Michael Leiter, authors of The Truth about Burn-out, explain how stress can burn out people and impact their mental state. In fact, many professionals are succeeding in the corporate environment while failing miserably at their own personal relationships. If you are human, you will experience some disappointments. It does not take a genius to understand how someone can get depressed. Some call it a “Pity Party.”

 
 

Featured Article: Everything Old, Is New Again by A. Yamina Collins

Everything Old, Is New Again 
by A. Yamina Collins

If Amazon’s recent Kindle Serials debut back in 2012 is any indication of current publishing trends, then releasing a novel in episodes may be the hottest new thing publishing has seen in a while – even though there is actually nothing new about the serialized format.

Years ago, it was the print novel that was being serialized rather than digitized works of today, and no less than Charles Dickens helped to establish the format with the release of his first novel, The Pickwick Papers back in 1836. In fact, that book is largely considered to have been the prototype of all serialization and indeed most of Dickens subsequent novels were originally published serially as well – in both weekly and monthly magazines, and often in as many as twenty monthly installments.

And make no mistake – Charles Dickens was not the only famous author to have tried his hand at serialization. French author Alexandre Dumas dolled out his Count of Monte Cristo in eighteen parts in the Journal des Débats, with publication running from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846, while Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the American classic by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was serialized beginning in June 1851, over a 40-week period in an abolitionist periodical called National Era.

It’s true that serialization sputtered in the early to mid-twentieth century and pretty much died. It’s also true that now days audiences seem to have the attention span of two-year olds, making it difficult to hold readers interest in books that are dolled out slowly for public consumption. Yet it should not be assumed that there is absolutely no consumers for the serialized format.

In fact, one could make the argument that series books such as Harry Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games, are themselves episodes told in larger, lump sum quantities (seven novels for Potter and three for Twilight and Hunger Games respectively).

There have been even success stories of authors actually serializing a single novel in this day and age. In 2011, for example, author Hugh Howey wrote the indie sci-fi book “Wool”. The book had been conceived as a stand-alone shorty story, but as its popularity increased, so did Mr. Howey’s need to expand on the story, and thus a series was born – and a wildly successful one at that.

 
 
 
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