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Category Archives: #SeducingThePenTour

Create Crown Holders Sisterhood Audio Presentation

Hello!
I would like to invite you to create an audio presentation for the Crown Holders Sisterhood. I want to showcase 100 women during Black History Month and Women’s History Month in 2020!

We are looking for uplifting, motivating stories of over-coming obstacles or lessons that will empower women! We want to learn from 100 women who inspire, motivate and entertain audiences with their stories…their voices!

Your presentation will be posted on the Crown Holders Transmedia website. Also, I will play your podcast on BAN Radio Show. The recordings will become part of our Crown Holders web-series that will be live-streamed to Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

There are NO fees for this service. But, this can not be used solely to promote a product or service. We are truly seeking to pour into and uplift the women in our community.

I understand we are all busy women, so I created a simple way to share your story on the webinars. Here’s a way for you to pre-record your message on your own schedule. Listed below are the details on how to create the audio campaign and the materials needed. We look forward to showcasing your service, company or your book. Read this entire page to answer most of your questions.

I will need your recording back before December 30, 2019. This page is long, but I want you to have all of the information to make the process seamless. This email breaks down the process of recording to the finest detail.

Speakers call into the recording center and record your message!
Call this number to record (201) 283-9143    PIN: 158-535-351#
— To record message, select option (1) when prompted.
— Press the (# Key) to STOP and SAVE the recording when you are finished talking and reading.

Suggested Topics for Your Women of a New Sisterhood Podcast

Becoming a Visionary
Business Strategy
Career Development
Care-giving for Terminally Ill
Caring for Aging Parents
Coping with Depression after Losing a Child
Diversity in the Workplace
Empowerment for Divorced Women
Entrepreneurship Inspiration & Tips
Finance & Money Management
Finding Hope After Losing a Child
Harnessing the Power of Prayer
Health & Wellness Tips & Advice
Helping Women Return to Work after 50
How to Survive Domestic Violence or Adult Bullying
Living a Vision Driven Life vs. a Condition Driven Life
Living an Intentional Life
Recovering from Addictions
Relationships for Single & Saved
Social Media Influencing
Starting Online Brands & Business
Surviving a Cancer Diagnosis

Practice or plan what you want to say before recording. Do not mention a time- sensitive offer or discount because this recording will be re-purposed several times over the next few months.

 

HOW TO CREATE THE PODCAST
1.  Select a topic that’s important to you and prepare a speech for our audience. Create your webinar in the TED TALK fashion of presentation. You can record up to 20 minutes. Do not go over this time.

Introduce yourself, give the title of your session. Next, explain what we will learn today. Give a 1-minute intro into how you can serve the Women of our New Sisterhood Community and what your company/book/wisdom offers the audience. Let the audience be sold on your expertise!

Next move into your planned speech. Imagine them right before you! Ask them questions. Give them a call to action. Pull them into this ‘conversation’ and really show them how much you care about their success.

2.  Try to keep it entertaining and informative. Do not use this like a sales advertisement. The first 10 minutes are crucial to holding the online listener’s attention for the entire session.

Please do not make multiple recordings. If you make a mistake simply STOP the recording by pressing the (#) pound key. You can re-record as many times as you like, just don’t hang up to stop recording. Multiple recordings will slow down the entire process for ALL of the other speakers.

3.  At the end of your lesson/speech feel free to discuss your products or services and include ways to reach you. Please keep your advertisement to 1-2 minutes at the very end. At the end of your presentation, share your websites, blogs and all your social media info.

You can gently promote your services, charity, book, product or signature program. If you have any books, please tell the audience WHY your wrote it and HOW it shapes their lives.

4.  Please do not mention any dates, times or any events. Do not advertise any events or special occasions! If you mention release dates or events it limits what I can do with the recordings. It limits your presentation’s visibility on future programs.

DO NOT MAKE MULTIPLE RECORDINGS. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!

Hit the (# key) to STOP the recording and re-record. You can keep re-recording the same session over and over until it’s correct. Do NOT hang up to start over. If you need a do-over, immediate press the (# Key).

Create Your Crown Holders Sisterhood Podcast
Call this number:   (201) 283-9143    PIN: 158-535-351#

— To record message, select option (1) when prompted.
— Press the (# Key) to STOP and SAVE the recording when you are finished talking and reading.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM

I need your information back as soon as possible. Email me if you have questions: edc_dg@yahoo.com. Please submit all of your information in the body of ONE email. Do not send any type of text file, Word document or PDF file. My assistants will not open any text related files for security reasons. You can attach images as .jpeg or .png files only!

1. Give me the title of your session.
Email me the title of your session and the promotional material. You are free to discuss any topic that will educate, entertain and uplift women. We would like to shy away from topics on politics and disciplining children. Other than that…go for it!

2. Submit your bio written in 3rd person, 200 words, no more.
Include your website address and other information about your company, book or service. Select ONE service or product and submit the material needed to promote it.

My goal is to drive people to you with the interviews/podcasts. I will promote your product or service online for 7 days in 2020. Submit your confirmation and promotional material as soon as possible. Deadline: December 30, 2019.

3. I need the following information about the speakers:
— Title of the presentation and subjects discussed
— Recorded speech/class and the promotional text for your product or service
— Bookcover art or eFlyer (Large: at least 360 x 504 pixels)
— Speaker’s personal head-shot only (Large: 300 x 300 pixels)

4. Links to connect with you on social media websites. Give the full URL:

Website:
Twitter Link:
BookBub:
Periscope Handle:
Instagram:
Facebook:
Anchor:
Youtube:
Snapchat:
Blogtalkradio:
SoundCloud:
Zoom, Loom, Live Leap or Expertise.tv:

Thank you in advance for joining us. I will do my very best to help increase your exposure and to provide the community with tools to better their lives! Our goal is to keep this to a bare minimum of emails.

Warmest regards,

Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
About Me: http://about.me/elladcurry
Black Pearls Magazine Online-Founder
Black Authors Network Radio-Founder
Social Media Expert – Internet Publicist – Brand Strategist

 
 

Book Club Interviews

Black Pearls Magazine Book Club Edition

Hello  All Social Clubs and Readers,

Black Pearls Magazine  is celebrating the rise of  social clubs, book clubs, author circles and literary groups!   We would like to showcase all member, presidents, social club creators, and book reviewers on the front page of Black Pearls Magazine

Bi-Monthly, we will publish a printed version of Black Pearls Magazine!  It would be an honor to include you in the next edition.  If you do not belong to a specific group, you can still answer the questions as an avid reader!   We want to hear your story as well! We are dedicated to the promotion of quality literature. 

This email seems long, but it includes the interview questions too.  There is still time to get  you and your club on the front page.   There are no deadlines; submit the interview when  you have the time.  

Please send photos of the group AND of the president alone, so that the readers can really enjoy the organization.  Feel free to share this interview with as many readers or bookclubs that you know!

 

Book Club Questions for Legacy Book

Please select at least 6-7 of the questions to answer.  You may answer them all if you like.  Submit the actual questions AND the answers back in the BODY of a email.  Include the names of all the officers in the interview.

Q:: Give us the history on your organization or blog. Share with us your leader’s name and any other officers in the group. What year did you start? Where are you located?  How many members do you have?

Q:: What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year or provide services for the community?

Q:: As a loyal reader, what are some of the things you want to see more of or less of in books?

Q::  Has there been any books that helped shape your life or gave you inspiration during a trying time in life? Q::  What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?

Q::  Are you satisfied with the legacy black books will leave our future generations?  Do you think the writings of today’s authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? If so, who?

Q::  Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the books you read?

Q::  Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of ebooks play a big part in the purchase?  Would you ever stop buying printed books?

Q::  What are some of the changes you have seen in the last 5 years, in publishing, that you dislike?

Q::  Speak directly to the writers of the world, what advice would you offer them on capturing a reader’s attention and keeping it?

Q::  How may we find out more about you or your group?  Please share your FB link, website address and public email address. 

*** We Appreciate YOU! ***

Let us share a new book with you!  To show our appreciation, we will provide all the people who share their story with us a book gift.  Please email us your home mailing address and we will send you a new book for review purposes!  Books are mailed out each Saturday via media mail, arriving to you in 10-16 business days.  The books are from all genres and all types of writers and poets.

 

*** How to Submit the Interview ***

1.  Send the interview questions AND the answers back in the body of ONE email. We will send back all interviews that do not fit these requirements!  Do not send any type of text or Word document. The only thing you need to attach are photos. Send all interviews to this email address ONLY:  edc_dg@yahoo.com.  Follow all of the instructions please.

2.  At the beginning of the interview, include a bio written in 3rd person, 80 words or less. At the end of the interview include your email address, Facebook, Twitter and website information.

3.  Spell and grammar check the interview BEFORE sending it to EDC Creations.  Make sure all hyperlinks are correct.

Thank you in advance for considering a spotlight in the Black Pearls Magazine. We look forward to promoting you and your group to our 165,000 opt-in EDC Creations Newsletter readers too!  

Ella Curry, President of  EDC Creations Media

Black Authors Network Radio-Founder

Black Pearls Magazine Online -Founder

 
Comments Off on Book Club Interviews

Posted by on November 15, 2019 in #SeducingThePenTour, Bookclub Spotlight

 

Books by Cheryl Mattox Berry

Memphis Blues by Cheryl Mattox Berry

Set in the powerful backdrop of the 1960s civil rights movement, Memphis Blues will test the loyalty and strength of three people whose dreams were deferred.

Will the women and the handsome doctor who controls them find their true callings? If so, at what price?

Nadine was looking forward to getting her first real job, then starting a business. But when she finds herself pregnant before she even finishes high school, the young man’s mother forces them into wedlock. It was not the life she had planned.

Carrie also saw her plans for a better life derailed after a fling leaves her pregnant with twins. At the center of their angst is Cyrus, a man not yet ready to be a father…with his wife…or his girlfriend. Still, Cyrus manages to keep the two lives separate while coveting the life he really wants.

What’s Done in the Dark
Secrets don’t stay buried for long. Years later, when the three of them accidentally meet at a protest rally, everything changes. The fireworks that ensue suddenly alter the dynamic of these relationships forever.

Purchase Memphis Blues by Cheryl Mattox Berry
https://www.amazon.com/Memphis-Blues-Cheryl-Mattox-Berry-ebook/dp/B078PNG3QC

Get your paperback copy of Memphis Blues SIGNED by the Author!
$15 plus Shipping and Tax – http://www.cherylmattoxberry.com/memphis-b

Memphis Blues by Cheryl Mattox Berry
Book Signing: https://youtu.be/6xNbejAbD8Y
Interview: https://youtu.be/4LP51A9ueM4


Capital Sins by Cheryl Mattox Berry

Lust…Betrayal…and Dirty Deals

Savvy newswoman Jan Malone finally earns a coveted anchor spot at a Washington, D.C., television station when unforeseen circumstances turn her world upside down.

To regroup, she and her best friend Kelly Mahoney take an adventurous African vacation where they meet wealthy businessman Abdou Nyassi. He and Jan begin a hot and heavy romance that has him talking marriage.

Jan’s socially connected mother does some digging and gets a tip about Abdou that sets off alarms. Her warning prompts Jan to put her investigative skills to use.

Soon, Jan unravels a nefarious plot that thrusts her into a world of crime, corruption, and political deceit. She turns to Kelly and street hustler Darius Hooks for help, but will their motives be pure?

CAPITAL SINS exposes dark truths about ambition, greed, and human nature.

Purchase Capital Sins by Cheryl Mattox Berry
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733252401

Get your paperback copy of the NEWLY RELEASED Capital Sins SIGNED by the Author! $15 plus Shipping and Tax at http://www.cherylmattoxberry.com


CHAPTER 4

Tonight, I really wasn’t in the mood to go clubbing, but Darius said a change of scenery would be good for me.

When the elevator door opened, I heard Darius’s rap music blasting from his black BMW 730i in the driveway. I opened the door quickly, hoping no one in my building saw me getting into the car. He switched to the radio soon as I got in.

“Hey,” he said.

“My gawd, you’re going to go deaf with the volume turned up that high. You know the folks over here aren’t used to all that noise and cussing.”

“Sorry, I didn’t realize it was so loud,” he said, pulling into traffic. “You look nice in your gold dress.”

“Thanks. I’m feeling rather royal tonight. You don’t look too shabby yourself. Is that the leather jacket you got in New York?”

“Yeah,” he said. “My tailor did a good job taking it in.”

“That’s a pretty color, reddish brown. It goes nicely with your skin tone.”

“The color is called whiskey.”

“I’d love a tote bag that color.” I sighed. “Maybe I’ll get one when I get a job.”

Darius turned to me and said, “If you’re nice, I might get it for you.”

“That depends on what you mean by nice,” I said. “So, tell me about this band. Have you heard them play?”

“No, but I read that they play a little of everything.”

“As long as it’s not rap,” I said, turning up my nose. “Some R&B would be soothing right about now.”

“What’s wrong?” he asked, turning to look at me.

“I’m feeling a little discouraged about finding work.”

“It’s going to take time. That’s hard for someone like you, who’s impatient. I know because I’m like that.”

His cell phone rang, and the initials KJ popped up. Darius declined the call and turned up the music.

“You can take it. I don’t mind.”

“It’s business, and I don’t feel like being bothered right now,” he said a little agitated. “I’ll deal with it later.”

The car was a little stuffy, so I cracked my window. “My agent said some journalists are going to Dubai and other countries to work because there are no jobs over here.”

“You thinking about that?” he asked, sounding alarmed.

“No, but I’m going to have to look outside TV to find work.”

“You got skills,” he said. “Just think about who else can use ’em.”

I adjusted my seat and turned toward Darius. “Actually, I’ve started making a list. The good thing about D.C. is that it has a million agencies, associations, and foundations, not to mention the whole federal government. It’s just a matter of finding the right one.”

“You will.”

“You know what? I’m sick of talking about being laid off.” I waved my hands from side to side, snapping my fingers. “I just want to dance and have a good time tonight.”

“We can do that.”

When we got to the club, Darius scanned the street, looking for a parking space. “You feel like walking a couple of blocks? I don’t want no punk valet up in my ride.”

“I don’t mind. The weather is nice. I don’t remember it ever being this balmy in October. I’m ready for the temperature to drop.”

“Never mind. The car up ahead is leaving.” Darius moved forward quickly and waited for the driver to pull out. Before we got out of the car, he said, “I’m actually looking forward to your kind of music tonight.”

“Really?” I said, drawing back. “You want to listen to music without racial slurs, that doesn’t objectify women, and makes you want to beat up somebody?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said, opening the door.

When Darius came around to my side of the car, I continued messing with him. “Music that soothes your soul and makes you feel like dancing?”

“Yeah, I’m in the mood for all of that.” I hooked my arm through his, and we walked toward the club. “Just don’t talk the whole time, Jan. I want to enjoy the music.”

“Not a problem,” I said, making a zipping motion across my lips. “Just don’t ask me any questions.”

There was a long line of people waiting to get inside the club, but we walked past them right up to the entrance. When we reached the bouncer, he stuck out his arm.

“The end of the line is back there,” he said, tipping his head.

Darius pushed the man’s arm aside and said, “We got reservations.”

“Everybody got reservations. Take it to the back.”

“We ain’t standing in no long line if we got reservations,” Darius bellowed.

The man stood up and intentionally brushed against Darius when he motioned for two more people to enter the club.

“Bitch, don’t be touching me.”

From the look in Darius’s eyes, I knew things were about to get ugly. “Let’s go, Darius,” I said, tugging at his arm. “We can go somewhere else.”

The bouncer got in Darius’s face. “Who you calling a bitch?”

“You, muthafucker.”

“Come on, Darius.”

“You better listen to shortie before you get your punk ass whipped,” the man said.

“What did you say, nigga?”

Darius hauled off and punched the guy in the face. The man tackled Darius, and they rolled on the ground, arms flailing. I tried to break up the fight but got knocked to the ground. The crowd egged them on.

“Stop, y’all! That’s enough!”

They kept throwing fists. No one tried to intervene. When Darius broke free and got on his feet, I stepped between them. “Darius, let’s get out of here before —” All of a sudden, it felt like someone dropped a boulder on my head. Everything went black.

( Continued… )

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

Cheryl Mattox Berry’s New Novel, Capital Sins, is Now Available

Author Cheryl Mattox Berry’s second novel, Capital Sins, takes readers to Washington, D.C., for a tale of lust, corruption, betrayal and blackmail that befalls a TV anchorwoman and a U.S. Senator.

Jan Malone has finally landed her dream job at the top-rated TV station. She’s living her best life when unforeseen circumstances send her into a downward spiral. She recoups with the help of Sen. Finn Thornton, a Republican from Texas with a shady past.

Things are going so well that Jan decides to take a vacation to Africa with her best friend, Kelly Mahoney. In Senegal, they meet Abdou Nyassi, a handsome, smooth-talking businessman who falls for Jan. A few months after their vacation, Abdou arrives in D.C., with grandiose business plans and continues pursing Jan. She eventually warms up to him.

Jan’s mother, Della Stevens who is suspicious of everybody, does some digging and finds out that Abdou might not be who he claims to be. Jan enlists the help of Kelly and street hustler Darius Hooks to help her find out who Abdou really is and his real reason for coming to Washington.

Will her friends’ motives be pure? Will Jan follow her gut instincts? Is there a connection to Capitol Hill?

Capital Sins exposes dark truths about ambition, greed and human nature. It also shows the remarkable resiliency of women; how self-love should precede romantic love; and the depth of a mother’s love.

To get your copy of Capital Sins, go to https://amzn.to/2YQtBm9

Intimate Conversation with Cheryl Mattox Berry

Cheryl Mattox Berry has been writing stories since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Memphis Blues was her debut novel followed by Capital Sins. A Memphis native, Cheryl earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Her diverse career has included stints as a press secretary for a U.S. congressman; television reporter in Ft. Myers and Tampa; reporter for USA Today; and an editor at the Miami Herald.

She has also taught journalism at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Northwestern University, Florida International University and the University of Miami.

Cheryl and her husband, Jim, a CBS4 sportscaster, live in Miami. They have two adult children.

Read more of the Cheryl Mattox Berry’s Story at her website:
http://www.cherylmattoxberry.com/about-me

BPM: Please, share something our readers wouldn’t know about you.
CMB: I love foreign movies. They allow me to escape to another country and experience a different culture for a couple of hours.

BPM: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
CMB: Eclectic, adventurous and an ambivert.

BPM: Is writing your full-time career? How much time do you spend writing?
CMB: Writing is my full-time career. I usually write three hours a day, four days a week for six months until I get a first draft. Then dive back in, writing three hours a day until I’m satisfied with the manuscript.

BPM: Tell us about your first published book. What was the journey like?
CMB: It was disappointing. I started writing Memphis Blues in 1995, on a cold, windy night in Chicago. My agent shopped it, and when it didn’t get picked up by a publisher I got discouraged, put it on a shelf and went about my life. In 2014, I got the writing bug again and decided to give it another try. I hired an editor who gave me suggestions to improve the plot. The new version didn’t get picked up either, so I decided to self-publish in 2017.

BPM: Introduce us to your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
CMB: Capital Sins is my latest novel, available on Kindle. It is a tale of lust, corruption, betrayal and blackmail that befalls a TV anchorwoman and U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. The main character, Jan Malone, has finally landed her dream job at the top-rated TV station. She’s living her best life when unforeseen circumstances send her into a downward spiral. She recoups with the help of Sen. Finn Thornton, a Republican from Texas with a shady past.

Things are going so well that Jan decides to take a vacation to Africa with her best friend, Kelly Mahoney. In Senegal, they meet Abdou Nyassi, a handsome, smooth-talking businessman who is smitten with Jan. A few months after their vacation, Abdou arrives in D.C., with grandiose business plans and continues pursing Jan. She eventually warms up to him.

Jan’s mother, Della Stevens who is suspicious of everybody, does some digging and finds out that Abdou might not be who he claims to be. Jan enlists the help of Kelly and street hustler Darius Hooks to help her find out who Abdou really is and his real reason for coming to Washington. Capital Sins is available on Amazon.

BPM: Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
CMB: Jan’s best friend, Kelly, is White. They seem to have a deep friendship until Jan realizes that she has been betrayed by Kelly.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
CMB: Jan is ambitious. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She might encounter setbacks, but she keeps moving toward her goal. The only thing missing in her life is a man. Kelly has led a privileged life. She’s used to getting what she wants by simply asking for it or taking it. She doesn’t live by the girlfriend code, and that proves costly.

Capital Sins by Cheryl Mattox Berry
Listen to a reading: http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CppmVQHX/

BPM: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart?
CMB: Jan is my favorite character. In some ways, I was like her when I graduated from college and got my first job in television. I had a career plan and a personal plan, but life intervened and changed all of that.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
CMB: It re-enforced what I’ve discovered throughout my life – that women are resilient. We get discouraged and have our pity party but get right back up and make another plan.

BPM: Is there a specific place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
CMB: I live in Miami, and there are so many beautiful beaches in South Florida. My favorite is Hollywood Beach, where I ride my bike on the broadwalk, stop at scenic spots along the way and admire God’s beautiful work.

BPM: When developing a new book, what comes first, the plot or characters?
CMB: Most of the time, the plot comes first. However, in Capital Sins, one of the characters, Darius, seems so interesting that I’m going to write my fourth novel about him and his move to South Florida to start a new life.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
CMB: My ideas come from my experiences, observations and discoveries; historical events; and stories that people share with me. The books are character-driven.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing and developing the characters for this book?
CMB: I enjoyed reliving my days in Washington, D.C., and at the same time becoming familiar with the new D.C., where my daughter lives. It’s no longer Chocolate City – more like a swirl – and that makes it an interesting place to live these days.

BPM: Is writing easy for you? Do you feel lonely being a writer during the creative process?
CMB: Because I’m a former journalist, writing comes easy. However, creative writing is very different. I was used to sticking to the facts, and it took me a while to get used to making up stuff and using a bunch of adjectives. Writing is a lonely pursuit. I’m at home, in my tiny office, and there are no co-workers to break the silence. I make a point of scheduling meetups with friends so that I have contact with the outside world.

BPM: Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you use a computer or write out the story by hand?
CMB: Journalists are trained to compose at the computer. My thoughts flow through my fingertips and onto the keyboard, and the words appear on the screen.

BPM: When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene how do you get in the mood?
CMB: I concentrate only on that scene for my writing that day, and I do it early in the morning. I’ve usually thought about how I want to set it up before I fall asleep the night before. After it’s done, I do something fun, like take a fitness class or shop, then return to it later in the day and tweak it.

BPM: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips self-care for creative folks?
CMB: Exercise is my release. I go for long walks, ride my bike, take Zumba and spinning classes, watch TV and read fashion magazines.

BPM: How do you personally deal with emotional impact of a book as you are writing the story?
CMB: I let the emotions flow as I’m writing. If a character dies, I cry along with their loved ones. Violent scenes are hard for me. I can’t imagine being physically abused by a man, but I’ve had to figure it out and do so convincingly.

BPM: How much planning goes into writing a book in general? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
CMB: First, I develop a plot. Next comes an outline for the entire book with a description of the characters. Then, I outline each chapter. When I start writing, I often revise the outline because I might get an idea for a new character or sequence of events. It takes me about nine months to complete a book.

BPM: How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?
CMB: With my first two books, I knew that universe from having lived in it. Of course, things change, so I did a lot of reading to make sure what I remembered was accurate. For example, in Capital Sins, I discovered that the South African Embassy had been renovated, but my description of it was accurate for the book’s time period.

BPM: What period of life or topics do you find you write about most often?
CMB: I switch back and forth from my childhood to adulthood. Things that happened in the 1960s and 1970s make good fodder for books.

BPM: How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
CMB: I’m used to criticism and having my work ripped apart. That’s what happens often when you’re a reporter. Actually, I’m surprised when a reader says she likes my book. If they don’t, I tell myself that readers have different tastes, and this story wasn’t for them.

BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
CMB: What resonated most with me was that you must be willing to re-invent yourself when Plan A collapses. I’ve had to do that several times during my career because we moved to another city for my husband’s job; TV stations didn’t want a husband and wife working in the same market; and I lost a contract because management changed.

BPM: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
CMB: Staying upbeat and focused. My mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly in December 2017. I spent a month in Memphis with her while she was in the hospital. My husband, two children and I were mourning her death throughout 2018 while I worked on Capital Sins.

BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
CMB: It has made me more grateful for my life’s journey and all the experiences I’ve had, good and bad. I incorporate them into my writing. Having to dissect a character so that the reader will understand her/him has also made me more empathetic.

BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
CMB: I would love to see my books turned into films.

BPM: What are the 3 most effective tools for sharing your book with the world?
CMB: First, readers have to get to know me through speeches, TV and radio appearances, and book signings. I’m good at connecting with people and explaining what they can get out of reading my books. I want them to see themselves in one character or another. After that, social media – all platforms – is the most effective.

BPM: What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project when so many ideas are running together?
CMB: Don’t overthink things. Write your outline and follow it. Rework the first draft, then hire an editor when the project is complete.

BPM: Do you have anything special for readers that you’ll focus on this year?
CMB: My goal this year is to introduce by books to more readers.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
CMB: I’m working on my third novel, Mississippi Justice, which is set in Greenwood, Mississippi.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
CMB: My author website cherylmattoxberry.com has everything you need to know about my books and events.

About CMB: http://www.cherylmattoxberry.com/about-me

Explore Women’s Lit by Cheryl Mattox Berry: https://amzn.to/2YQtBm9

YouTube Events: https://bit.ly/2NP3J2a
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cherylmattox.berry
Twitter: @GirlIamAllThat and https://twitter.com/GirlIamAllThat
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/cherylmattoxberry

Capital Sins by Cheryl Mattox Berry
Listen to a reading: http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CppmVQHX/

 

Books by Karen Sloan-Brown

The Designated Ones: From Jerusalem to Ethiopia by Karen Sloan-Brown

It’s 2014. Grieving the loss of family members and friends killed in a plane crash, renowned megachurch pastor Priscilla Sinclair sits on her patio, prepared to take her own life. But before she can end it all, a stranger shows up at her Virginia home and changes everything.

Trying to strengthen her faith, the stranger challenges Priscilla to lean on God’s promises and on the examples of faith left to her by her ancestors. He tells her a story she has never heard before. The story goes back over 3,000 years, beginning with Aaron, God’s designated high priest during the Exodus, and explores the line of designated ones through the times of King David, Solomon, the exile in Babylon, the crossing of the Arabian Desert into Saba, the migration across the Red Sea into Axum, the birth of Christ, and the lives of the generations that have followed.

In this thrilling journey through history, Priscilla is given a chance to go from failure to faith and live to fight another day. But will she accept the stranger’s challenge?

Purchase The Designated Ones: From Jerusalem to Ethiopia by Karen Sloan-Brown
https://www.amazon.com/Designated-Ones-Jerusalem-Ethiopia/dp/1944440143

The Struggle: From Kenya to Jamaica by Karen Sloan-Brown

In part two, The Struggle, in the year AD 490, her ancestors battle in religious wars for 1000 years until the beginning of the Transatlantic slave trade. They are sold as slaves and shipped to a sugarcane plantation in Jamaica. Two hundred years later, Adam is sold and shipped to a tobacco plantation in Virginia.

In this thrilling journey through history, Priscilla is given a chance to go from failure to faith and live to fight another day. But will she accept the stranger’s challenge?

Purchase The Struggle: From Kenya to Jamaica by Karen Sloan-Brown
https://www.amazon.com/Struggle-Kenya-Jamaica-Karen-Sloan-Brown/dp/1944440151

The Last Tribe of Levi: Richmond, Virginia by Karen Sloan-Brown

In part three, The Last Tribe of Levi, her ancestors gain their freedom in Virginia. Her great- great-grandfather, Thomas Freeman begins to build on the legacy that she hoped to continue. Except her father won’t accept her calling to preach God’s word.

In this thrilling journey through history, Priscilla is given a chance to go from failure to faith and live to fight another day. But will she accept the stranger’s challenge?

Purchase The Last Tribe of Levi: Richmond, Virginia by Karen Sloan-Brown
https://www.amazon.com/Last-Tribe-Levi-Richmond-Virginia/dp/B07Y1X5CMP


Chapter Excerpt

Prologue

I wanted to get on my feet and shout, rock this plane with praises. Instead I whispered, “Thank you, Lord” as I read Ephesians 4:8: “Just think! Though I did nothing to deserve it, and though I am the most useless Christian there is, yet I was the one chosen for this special joy of telling the Gentiles the glad news of the endless treasures available to them in Christ.”

The revival was over, all said and done, and I still couldn’t grasp the idea of it. I took off my glasses and leaned back against the cool leather of the headrest and closed my eyes. I could still envision the mass of people filling the expansive room and feel their rising anticipation of hearing me bring the Word. It buoyed me to the stage, and I rode it like a wave. There I was, standing behind the podium, preaching from the Book of Joshua, trying to be a source of encouragement to this great gathering, and my own faith was renewed. If only Daddy could have been there to see it, to experience it all with me, I know it would have made a difference. My thoughts flashed back to the day he had his first stroke.

“It’s God’s way, not ours,” he told me in slurred words.

“Times have changed, Daddy. We’re almost through the 20th century. Women can preach God’s Word as well as any man.”

Daddy grabbed the straps of his suspenders as if they held him up instead of his pants. “I only know what my father and his father before him and his father before him and as far back as we can recollect have been told. God ordained the men in our family to be caretakers of His Word. I can’t change the Word or His ordinances just because the times have changed.”

My jaws tightened. Why did he have to be so stubborn, so stuck in his old-timey ways. “My call is real. Nobody can tell me otherwise,” I replied with conviction, trying to control my emotions.

“In our teachings, it’s not in God’s plan for a woman to be a steward of His Word,” Daddy answered slowly, straining to form each syllable, “Her responsibilities to her family are too demanding for her to minister to the people.”

He would repeat that to me on more than one occasion, sometimes pensively, other times in protest. It was plain that I couldn’t convince him with my words. I would have to prove it to him with my actions. Even now, I can’t believe that it has been 19 years since we had that first conversation. So, still after preaching at the Christian Conference in Toronto before 30,000 people as the keynote speaker, I wondered if he’d approve of me.

I was about to put my glasses back on and continue reading my Bible when the plane wobbled like a car rushing over a speed bump. I shot a questioning glance toward James, who was sitting in the aisle seat, one over from me. He closed the magazine he was browsing through, but he didn’t look up. I could see his brow was furrowed and he was wearing the expression he wore whenever he was unsure about something.

Timothy, our son, who was seated directly across the aisle, turned toward us with wide worried eyes. “What was that, Mama?”

“I don’t know, sweetheart,” I answered, trying to sound confident. “I guess it was some turbulence. We may have run into that storm they were talking about.”

James remained quiet. The chattering of the choir members seated behind us had gone eerily silent. Then we heard something that sounded like pieces of metal spinning around in a blender. The murmurs in the rear started again and were getting louder with each passing second.

“Pastor Priscilla, lead us in prayer!” Kenny, our choir director, called up to me earnestly.

I’d heard him say those words so many times, but tonight they made my heart skip a beat. I stood up to face them and was interrupted.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts!” the flight attendant at the front said urgently, speaking through the intercom, even though the plane was small enough for us to hear her without using it. “We’re passing through some rough weather.”

She was attempting to remain composed, but I detected a tremor in her voice. That let me know that we were in trouble, serious trouble. I clenched my hands into a fist to keep them from shaking, ignoring the pain of my nails digging into skin. This can’t be happening, I thought. My head rushed with regrets. This is my fault. Why did I charter this flight? We could have waited and flown on a commercial airline. It was my vanity and anxiousness to get back home to let Daddy know about how well things had gone.

The plane rocked and dipped.

“Help us, Lord!” somebody in the back shrieked.

Then I heard voices crying in harmony. My distress shifted into panic.

“James, I’m scared,” I said only loud enough for him to hear.

“Pray, Princess, that’s all we can do. It’s in God’s hands.”

( Continued… )

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

Explore Books by Karen Sloan-Brown
https://www.amazon.com/Designated-Ones-Jerusalem-Ethiopia/dp/1944440143

https://www.amazon.com/Struggle-Kenya-Jamaica-Karen-Sloan-Brown/dp/1944440151

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Tribe-Levi-Richmond-Virginia/dp/B07Y1X5CMP


Intimate Conversation with Karen Sloan-Brown

Karen Sloan-Brown, Ed.D., grew up Philadelphia, a middle child in a family of six children. Despite dreaming of being a writer or a lawyer and being a practical person, after high school Karen attended Tennessee State University in Nashville as a Chemistry major. After graduating, she married her first love, began a career in biomedical research, and had three daughters. Her life was typical until the tragic loss of a child threw her world into a tailspin. Trying to get recover and get her life back on track, she went back to school and earned a master’s degree and then her doctorate degree. It was during that time that her love of writing was reignited.

In 2009, after the election of Barack Obama, she was inspired to write a black history book. Several readers recommended that she write a fictional history book, and that opened the flood gates and the words poured out. Her upbringing as the daughter of a civil rights activist and minister has been a major influence in her writing. She is the author of A Reflection: What a Difference a Day Makes, What About 100 Years? and several novels.

BPM: Please, share something our readers wouldn’t know about you.
If I could get over my stage fright, I would try to do stand-up comedy.

BPM: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Resilient, peaceful, and determined.

BPM: Is writing your full time career? How much time do you spend writing?
I consider writing as my full-time career and my passion, but I have a full-time job as well. I write every day. On the weekends I spend most of the days writing.

BPM: Tell us about your first published book. What was the journey like?
My first published book was a black history book called “A Reflection: What A Difference A Day Makes, What about 100 Years.” It was inspired by the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first black president. I had just finished writing my dissertation but the research for that project was more than I had ever done before. I learned so much, and I found out that finally I was doing what I was born to do.

BPM: Introduce us to you most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
My recent project, the three-book series, “The Designated Ones: From Jerusalem to Ethiopia,” “The Struggle: From Kenya to Jamaica,” and “The Last Tribe of Levi: Richmond, Virginia,” took my research to a whole other level. It made the 100-year project seem so easy.” It follows a line of men of God for more than 3000 years until the lineage ends with a woman of God. The books give history across continents and the trials of this family. The first book is being converted to an e-book. The others will be done soon as well.

BPM: Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
The premise for the books is being able to triumph after tragedy. It is biblical and historical, but restoration is the theme that flows through all the books.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
There are so many characters over the generations of the story, each having their own struggle. The book begins and ends with Priscilla the first woman in the lineage to preach the Word. She struggles with her ambition, balancing her family responsibilities, and then the grief for the decisions she made.

BPM: Does one of the characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
I feel a bond with Priscilla’s mother. She is the steady person through whatever happened. That person you can count on. She is strongly grounded and is the support for all if her family. I can relate.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing the book?
I discovered that I continue to deal with the tragic losses in my own family. When I finished the book, I felt self-conscious about the death of a character, as if I was writing too much sorrow. Then I had to realize that is a part of life as well as the joys we experience.

BPM: Is there a special place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
It’s easier to write in places where I have lived. Nashville and Philadelphia are the settings for a lot of my writing. Although, with historical fiction I’ve ended up writing in places all around the world. It also takes a lot more research.

BPM: When developing a new book, what comes first, the plot or characters?
It varies. Sometimes the story is written about a subject, and other times your write around a character and their circumstances. In either case, there is a message you want to get across.

BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing and developing characters for this book?
With the range of history there were so many things to write about and so many characters. It was satisfying to write about black people on so many different levels, from kings and queens, priests and pastors, slaves and successful, over so many generations. It gave me a sense of purpose to add so much history to the story.

BPM: Is writing easy for you? Do you feel lonely being a writer during the creative process?
Some days the writing flows effortlessly and you can fly through the pages and then there are days when you can’t organize your thoughts into words you are happy with, and you’re happy to put down a few sentences. I never feel lonely during the process because my family can see I’m writing and they still feel free interrupt me, talk to me, and pull away from my computer. I take it in stride though and have been able to be pretty productive without shutting myself away.

BPM: Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you use a computer or write the story by hand?
For the most part I use a computer, but I jot down notes on paper when they come to me and I’m not at the computer. I keep paper in my purse, on my night stand, and on the kitchen table.

BPM: When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene (filled with violence, drama, sex or sadness, etc.), how do you get in the mood?
I have to imagine that I am the character and I am going through the scene. Like an actor, for a moment you have to become that person.

BPM: Writing can be an emotionally draining pursuit. Any tips self-care for creative folks?
Always take time to relax and have fun. Creativity isn’t a race against time. Take breaks to enjoy your family and your life.

BPM: How do you deal with emotional impact of a book as you are writing the story?
You feel the emotions in your own writing if it reflects real life. I make myself laugh and cry. The most important thing is that I be honest in my writing, be true to the characters and don’t white wash the story.

BPM: How much planning goes into writing a book in general? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
It depends on the subject. If it requires a lot of research that adds time to it. If it’s a complicated story, it may have to have an outline. I’ve written a book in three months; my last project took more than two years.

BPM: How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?
I don’t do much world building. I write my stories within factual situations. I try to blend fiction with as many facts and actual history as possible, like the style of Forrest Gump.

BPM: What period of life or topics do you write about most often?
I write mostly about adult life, grown men and women.

BPM: How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
We all have our own perspectives. That’s not a problem. I write about a wide range of things. I’m sure I have something they can relate to.

BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
The role of black people in the Bible is under-represented. The role of black people in organized religion is under-represented. The positive black man and black woman and their history are under-represented in stories, written and on the screen. I wanted to bring the connection of black people to the Bible to the forefront. I consciously write to bring the stories of real black people and their experiences to balance some of the negative images.

BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
That would be restoration. The example of experience difficulties, even tragedy, and fighting back from it. As Maya Angelou said, “And still I rise.”

BPM: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
The greatest challenge writing this book was trying to write in so many different millenniums, different cultures, and being maintaining some authenticity. The research at time was overwhelming, and so many times I doubted I would finish this project.

BPM: Can you share some stories of people you met while researching this book?
The idea of this project was born at my uncle’s funeral. His wife’s priest stood up and said, “I think you all are the last tribe of Levi.” He had noticed that so many people in our family were ministers, preachers, and evangelists. A few days later I googled the tribe of Levi and saw a reference to a tribe of people in Kenya and Zimbabwe. They are called the Lemba people. I saw more references to Hebrews in Jamaica and the United States. I thought it might be interesting to write a story that followed the migration of these men of God from Jerusalem to the United States. It didn’t occur to me at the time that this took place over 3000 years.

BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
Finding my passion has made my life more satisfying and fulfilling. It has given me a renewed purpose after my children were grown. Putting my thoughts and ideas to words had given me peace.

BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
That would be finding the audience that loves my writing. My dream is seeing one of my books brought to the little or big screen.

BPM: What are the 3 most effective tools for sharing your books with the world?
I’m not sure about that. Getting my books out to be read has been my greatest challenge.

BPM: Have any of your books been made into audio-books? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audio-book?
None of my books have been made into audio-books but I would love the opportunity to have them available that way.

BPM: Do you write multiple books for a series? Do you have any series planned?
My latest project is a series and I have previous written another book series called “The Fortunes of Blues and Blessings” and A New Season: Fortunes of Blues and Blessing Book Two.”

BPM: Do you find it more challenges to write the FIRST book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?
For me, the first book in a series is the hardest to write. That’s where you have to develop the story and the characters. The second book flows a lot easier. The ending is a challenge as well because it’s hard to know where to end a longer story.

BPM: What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project when so many ideas are running together?
I would remind them that it’s not necessary to put all of their ingredients in one entrée. They can save some of them for another project. Don’t feel obligated to produce your greatest masterpiece when you’re writing, just tell your story. Write it down and then polish it after you’re done. Your greatest book is the one you haven’t started yet.

BPM: Do you have anything special for readers that you’ll focus on this year?
Promoting my latest project is enough for me to focus on right now.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I’m working on the biography of Edmonia Lewis.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
They go to my web page karensloanbrown.com

 

Failure to Protect by Pamela Samuels Young


Failure to Protect
by Pamela Samuels Young

The author of the award-winning thriller Anybody’s Daughter is back with an addictive read that tackles bullying and its devastating aftermath.

What Really Goes on Behind School Doors?

When the classroom is no longer a safe space for her child, a grieving mother is determined to seek justice for her bullied daughter. Enter hard-charging attorneys Angela Evans and Jenny Ungerman. From the very start, the two lawyers face more than an uphill battle.

An ambitious school principal is far more concerned about protecting her career than getting to the truth. She flat out denies any knowledge of the bullying and prefers to sweep everything under the rug. But just how low will she go?

As the battle enters the courtroom, the attorneys fight hard to expose the truth. But will a massive coverup hinder their quest for justice?

Excerpt from Failure to Protect by Pamela Samuels Young

Prologue 

Nobody cares about me. Not even God.

Just because I’m a kid, grown-ups think I don’t have problems. They tell me stupid stuff like, Bailey, you have to learn to stand up for yourself. Or Just ignore them and they’ll leave you alone. And the lamest one of all, Just pray about it. God’ll handle it.

I tried that last one about a thousand times. But like I said, God don’t care about me.

Even if I reported Kenya Jackson to my new teacher, it wouldn’t help. Mrs. Phillips is really nice, but all she’s going to do is send me to the principal’s office. Then Kenya will be even meaner to me for getting her in trouble.

That’s what happened when I told on a girl at my old school. After she got in trouble, she waited until there weren’t any adults around and pushed me into a restroom stall and stuffed my book bag in the toilet. I never told anybody about that.

I want to tell my mom what’s going on at my new school, but she’s got enough to worry about. She just got promoted to be the first black marketing manager at her company and now she works even harder than she did before. After she gets home, she still has more work to do on her laptop. The other night, she fell asleep right in the middle of helping me with my science project.

Since we moved to our gigantic house in Baldwin Hills with the dope view and a supposedly better school, she thinks everything’s all good and that makes her happy. I’m glad to see her smiling again. We were both super sad for a long time after my dad died. I guess she hasn’t noticed that I’m not smiling yet.

At my old school in Inglewood, when the principal told her that maybe I’d be “more successful in another environment,” my mom almost lost it. I was ready to lose it too. Anybody would be more successful if they weren’t being  bullied all the time.

I wish my mom could understand what I’m going through. She wants me to be more like her, but I can’t.  Sometimes she says stuff that really hurts my feelings.

I just don’t understand why you can’t make friends.You have to try harder to meet other little girls. When I was nine years old, everybody wanted to be my friend.

Well, nobody wants to be friends with me.

One time, I almost told my mom what was going on at Parker Elementary. But then I got scared that she would say it’s my fault because I don’t know how to make friends. So, I just keep it to myself. Every morning, right before I walk into school, I get the worst stomach ache you could ever have. It feels like a bunch of hot rocks are playing foosball in my stomach.

If my mom knew about Kenya spitting in my face, it would be one hot mess. She’s usually very professional, but if she found out what was really going on, she would turn straight ghetto and go off on everybody at the school. Then she’d end up in jail and I’d have to go into foster care. That’s what happened to my friend Trey in first grade when his mom slapped the cashier at Walmart.

Okay, I wouldn’t really have to go into foster care. I would probably have to go live with my granny in Oakland or my Uncle Marcus in Atlanta.

If I had my choice, though, I’d rather stay with my Uncle Dre. He’s really my godfather, but I pretend like he’s my uncle. One time, when he picked me up from school, I tried to tell him about Kenya always roasting me. I was surprised that he didn’t even know what roasting was. After I explained that it means dissin’ you real hard, he just hugged me and told me I had to toughen up.

You’ll be okay, he said.

But he’s wrong. I’m definitely not going to be okay.

Chapter 1

“Please, Uncle Dre, let me stay home with you today. Maybe you can homeschool me. Please!”

Dre scratched his shaved head and laughed. “Unfortunately, I’m not smart enough to homeschool you or anybody else.”

“I’m serious,” Bailey pleaded, her face twisted in terror. “Please don’t make me go!”

As his Jeep inched along behind the line of cars doing drop-offs in front of Parker Elementary School, Dre looked over his shoulder at the cute little girl sitting in his back seat. Bailey’s stress level was way too high. She’d had a few run-ins with a bully at her old school, but he assumed the transfer to Parker had fixed everything.

“What’s going on? Why don’t you want to go to school?”

Bailey hugged her book bag to her chest as if it was a life raft that might slip away. “I just don’t.”

“C’mon, talk to me. Is somebody bothering you here too?”

After a long beat, Bailey slowly raised her head up and down.

Dre had intentionally used the word bothering, not bullying. He was tired of hearing all the hoopla about bullies. Kids getting picked on was nothing new. It happened in his day and would keep happening until the end of time. Sometimes life is just hard. Kids need to know that sooner rather than later.

Truth be told, today’s kids were just too damn soft. People turned backflips to protect them from the realities of life. Like everybody getting a trophy just for participating. That was the stupidest crap he’d ever heard.

“Please don’t tell my mom,” Bailey begged, her brown eyes glassy with tears. “She’ll fuss at me for not standing up for myself.”

Dre reached back and gave Bailey’s foot a playful squeeze. “No, she won’t. But you do need to learn how to stand up for yourself. If somebody’s being mean to you, you have my permission to be mean right back.”

He wasn’t condoning violence, but if another kid started some mess, the only way to show ‘em you weren’t no punk was to clap back twice as hard. Most bullies were nothing but wimps anyway. Once you stood up to them, they backed off. That’s what he’d taught his son to do and Little Dre had never had a problem. He just had to teach Bailey to do the same.

“You don’t get it,” Bailey huffed, her shoulders drooping. “That won’t help.”

They were almost at the drop-off point, when Dre steered his Jeep out of the line of cars and made a hasty U-turn in the middle of the street.

Bailey sprang forward in her seat. “We’re going home?”

“Nope.” Dre pulled to a stop along the curb across the street. “I’m walking you inside. I want you to show me the kids who’re messing with you.”

Bailey flopped back against the seat, her lips puckering into a stiff pout. “That’ll just make it worse.”

Turning off the engine, Dre hopped out and jogged around to open the back door. “Let’s go.”

He took Bailey’s hand as they stepped into the crosswalk. The closer they got to the school doors, the slower Bailey walked. By the time they reached the entrance, Dre felt like he was tugging a sixty-pound bag of potatoes behind him.

“Please, Uncle Dre,” Bailey whispered in a panic, glancing all around. “Please don’t make me go!” Her tiny hand clutched two of his fingers.

Dre took Bailey off to the side, squatted until they were at eye level, and caressed her shoulders.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s no reason for you to be this stressed out about going to school. If somebody’s messing with you, I need to know about it. What’s the kid’s name?”

Bailey hung her head as a tear slid down her right cheek. For a second, Dre thought she was finally about to come clean.

“It doesn’t matter,” she mumbled, hoisting her book bag higher on her shoulder.

“Yes, it —”

Bailey jerked away from him and dashed inside the school.

He was just about to go after her when a woman took a side step, blocking his path.

“I’m sorry, sir. May I help you?”

Dre flinched at the suspicion in the woman’s caustic voice. He pointed behind her, growing anxious as he lost sight of Bailey. “I was dropping off Bailey. Bailey Lewis.”

Lifting her chin, the woman folded her arms at the waist.  “And you are?”

“I’m Bailey’s”— he paused— “uh, I’m Bailey’s godfather.” He’d started to introduce himself as her uncle to make himself sound more legit.

“Your name?” Her tone conveyed all the warmth of an ice chest.

“Andre Thomas.”

Dre pegged the woman to be in her early-forties. Her straight black hair fell just below her chin in a blunt cut that matched her funky disposition. She was wearing a sleeveless, form-fitting red dress that hugged every inch of her curvy frame. Actually, she was kind of hot. Taraji P. Henson with a bad attitude.

“Bailey’s mother didn’t tell us someone else would be bringing her to school today.”

She looked him up and down like he was some pedophile on the prowl for a new victim.

Dre couldn’t seem to pull his eyes away. Despite an innate seductiveness, the woman still managed to carry herself with the spit-shine polish of a CEO. If professionalism had a smell, she would reek.

“Erika had a meeting in Irvine and asked me to drop her off.”

Dre shifted his weight from one foot to the other. It was rare for someone—especially a female—to make him feel this degree of uneasiness. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”

“I’m Ms. Freeman. The principal.”

He should’ve guessed. A sister with a little power.

“I’ll be dropping Bailey off and picking her up from time to time,” Dre said, anxious for the chick to move out of his way so he could go after Bailey. “Erika just got a big promotion. So her job’s a lot more demanding now.”

“Is that right?”

“Yep, that’s right.” What’s up with this chick?

“Please ask Ms. Lewis to email Bailey’s counselor to verify that you’re authorized to pick her up from school.”

Dre nodded. “Will do.”

He still wanted to go inside, but the woman stayed put like a queen guarding the gates of her castle.

Without saying goodbye, Dre pivoted and headed back across the street. As he opened the door to his Jeep, he made a mental note to have a talk with Erika. She’d been thrilled about getting Bailey into Parker Elementary because of its stellar reputation. But the place might not be any better for Bailey than her old school.

Dre also couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. And not just with Bailey.

( Continued… )

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

Dre Thomas Series (4 book series) by Books by Pamela Samuels Young – https://amzn.to/2oSex7o

About the Author
Attorney and award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young writes fast-paced mysteries that tackle important social issues. Her thriller Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction. A former journalist, Pamela also writes sexy, sassy romantic suspense under the pen name Sassy Sinclair. Visit her website at http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.


ARTICLE:  Black children commit suicide at twice the rate of white kids

Suicide rates for children ages 5 to 12 are roughly twice as high for black children as for white children, according to new data. But for adolescents ages 13 to 17, the pattern flips, with white kids having higher suicide rates, researchers report online May 21 in JAMA Pediatrics.

The new study is based on an analysis of suicide rates among children ages 5 to 17 from 2001 to 2015. Suicide was relatively rare among young children, the scientists found, but rates for both black and white kids in the United States increased with age.

Suicide rates have traditionally been higher among white individuals for all age groups in the country. That trend does hold for older children in the study. From ages 13 to 17, black teens had a roughly 50 percent lower rate of suicide compared with white teens.

Known risk factors for suicide — such as depression, previous suicide attempts, alcohol and substance use and family history of suicide — “are likely to be risk factors across the board,” Bridge says. But little is known about social risk factors that might underlie the racial disparity seen in younger kids, such as feeling unsafe playing outside, having little to no access to health care or having lost an older sibling to violence.

 
 

The Last Thing You Surrender: A Novel of World War II by Leonard Pitts Jr.

The Last Thing You Surrender: A Novel of World War II by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Could you find the courage to do what’s right in a world on fire?

 

Pulitzer-winning journalist and bestselling novelist Leonard Pitts, Jr.’s new historical page-turner is a great American tale of race and war, following three characters from the Jim Crow South as they face the enormous changes World War II triggers in the United States.

 

“The Last Thing You Surrender” is the intertwining story of two families from the Jim Crow South – one black and poor, the other wealthy and white – through the carnage of World War II, an ordeal that will threaten their faith and challenge everything they know about race hatred and love.

 

An affluent white marine survives Pearl Harbor at the cost of a black messman’s life only to be sent, wracked with guilt, to the Pacific and taken prisoner by the Japanese . . . a young black woman, widowed by the same events at Pearl, finds unexpected opportunity and a dangerous friendship in a segregated Alabama shipyard feeding the war . . . a black man, who as a child saw his parents brutally lynched, is conscripted to fight Nazis for a country he despises and discovers a new kind of patriotism in the all-black 761st Tank Battalion.


Set against a backdrop of violent racial conflict on both the front lines and the home front, The Last Thing You Surrender explores the powerful moral struggles of individuals from a divided nation. What does it take to change someone’s mind about race? What does it take for a country and a people to move forward, transformed?

 

Nora Jean M. Goodreads 5-Star Customer Review for The Last Thing You Surrender 
This is a POWERFUL read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is an avid reader. The language is beautiful although the story is haunting. The character development is very real, and it makes the reader hurt even more for these people who become important to the readers’ lives. This is an area of history that we do not learn in school, and the author has provided an imitate portrait of this time. Read this book!

 

Reader Review from Grayson Hugh
5.0 out of 5 stars | A New Classic

The best novels not only entertain us with good characters, an interesting story and skillful prose; they show us something about what it means to be a human being. Tolstoy, Joyce , Faulkner, Hemmingway, Updike, Morrison, Baldwin, Wright, Momaday, to name just a few, have created timeless works that are timeless stories of the human experience. With “The Last Thing You Surrender”, by Leonard Pitts, Jr., we have a new classic.

It is fitting that it is a story about race, as it would seem the brains and souls of men and women, especially in America, need to continue to evolve. But this book, The Last Thing You Surrender, is more, much more, than a dry treatise on that subject. It is a love story, a human story, a story of war and peace, it is a story about the love, pain, the joys and sorrows that pass between a parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, sister and brother.

It is the story of what is learned and lost between forces of good and evil. It is eloquent, heartbreaking and beautiful. It is a new classic. Read it, America; read it, world. And learn some more about that most tremendous gift of all that the Creator gave us: the ability to see things through another’s eyes, to care deeply about someone other than one’s self, in short, to love.

 

 

Reader Review from Sheila Boyce
5.0 out of 5 stars | Powerful, compelling and important story

Since first reading Leonard Pitts, Jr.’s columns in the Miami Herald almost 18 years ago, I have found that if Pitts has something to say, I want to read it. . . in fact, I need to read it. He can put complex, often difficult, ideas into beautiful words that show the reader his point of view, educating and helping the reader gain empathy and understanding.

I ordered Pitt’s latest book, #TheLastThingYouSurrender, as soon as it was released – and it was everything I expected and more. It is a deeply researched work of historical fiction, with a compelling story that is hard to put down. I tried to keep from racing through the book, as I didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters who became friends, and who showed me the world through their eyes – which is why we read!

Yes, there are parts that are very difficult to read, but part of the power of this book is to show us, to remind us of the brutality of parts of our history that get glossed over as some of us extol the “good old days.”

I highly recommend this book, and hope Mr. Pitts will write a sequel to show us how they carry their inspiration and motivation into battles to come.

 

 

Editorial Review: The Last Thing You Surrender
Leonard Pitts, Jr., a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, turns again to America’s fraught history of race relations in this unflinching, gritty WWII saga. It centers on a trio of finely drawn characters, two black and one white, all from Alabama, whose worlds collide because of Pearl Harbor.

Marine Private George Simon—wealthy, religious, white—survives the sinking of his ship because Eric Gordy, a black messman, rescues him. Eric dies, and while George recuperates, he pays a condolence call on Eric’s widow, Thelma. Thelma and her brother, Luther Hayes, a bitter alcoholic, are living with the memory of their parents’ lynching 20 years earlier.

George and Thelma begin a correspondence after he returns to active duty; she takes a job in a shipyard. Luther, deciding this is a white man’s war, tries to evade the draft but ends up serving with a tank battalion in Europe. George endures horrific conditions in the Pacific as Thelma faces growing racial hostility at work, culminating in a brutal moment of violence that compels her to make a difficult decision.

While remaining true to his characters, Pitts brings the story lines to realistic conclusions even as he holds out hope for the future, resulting in a polished, affecting novel. —Janelle Walden Agyeman, Agent Marie Brown Assoc.

 

 


Chapter Excerpt: The Last Thing You Surrender

Luther stood on top of the tank. He felt his mouth fall open. He felt his mind fumble for language. But there were no words.

It was a camp of some sort, barracks arranged in neat rows. And hobbling, shuffling, tottering toward them from every direction came an assemblage of stick men in filthy black-and-white striped prison suits. Maybe some of them were women, too. It was hard to tell. The creatures seemed sexless.

Dazed, Luther dismounted the tank. His mouth was still open.

The creatures swarmed the colored tankers. It was difficult to believe they were even human. Their eyes were like those of small, frightened animals, peering out from the caverns their eye sockets had become. Their mouths were drawn tight against their bony jaws. You could look at them and see where tibia met patella, count their ribs by sight. They were little more than skeletons wearing rags of flesh.

And their eyes gleamed with a madness of joy, an insanity of deliverance at the sight of the colored tankers. They shook clasped hands toward Heaven, they smiled terrible, toothless smiles, they looked up at the Negro soldiers like penitents gazing upon the very throne of God. A woman—at least he thought it was a woman—took Luther’s hand and lifted it to her cheek. Her grip was like air. She held his skin to hers, which was papery and thin, almost translucent. Her face contorted into an expression of raw, utter sorrow, and she made groaning sounds that did not seem quite human. It took Luther a moment to realize that she was crying because her eyes remained dry, no water glistened on her cheeks. She had no tears left in her.

And Luther, who had never touched a white woman before, who had never so much as brushed against one in a crowd, who had avoided even that incidental contact with a kind of bone-deep terror accessible only to a Negro man in the Deep South who grew up knowing all too well what messing with a white woman could get you, could only stand there, stricken and dumbfounded, as this woman pressed his hand to her cheek. He was a man who had seen his parents tortured and burned to death before his very eyes at his own front door by white people. It had never occurred to him that their capacity for bestial cruelty was not limited to the woes they inflicted upon Negroes.

But here was the proof, this poor thing whose gender he had to guess, this creature whose age might have been 16, might have been 60, holding his hand in her airy grip, crying without tears.

Luther looked around. The place reeked of death and shit, a stink of putrefaction that surely profaned the very nostrils of God. Naked and emaciated bodies lay stacked in piles exactly like cordwood, only their gaping mouths and sightless eyes attesting to the fact that once they had been human and alive. Flies droned above it all in great black clouds, a few of them occasionally descending to walk in the mouths and eyes of the dead.

At length, the crying woman got hold of herself. Luther gently took back his hand. She gave him a shy, weak smile, touched her feathery hand to his shoulder—some sort of thank-you, he supposed—and wandered slowly away. Luther watched her go, still dazed, still failed by language. And he still struggled to understand. It had never occurred to him, not even in his angriest, most bitter imaginings, that something like this was possible.

How could white people do this to white people?

How could anybody do this to anybody?

( Continued… )

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

Purchase The Last Thing You Surrender: A Novel of World War II by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Last-Thing-You-Surrender-Novel/dp/1572842458

Barnes&Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-thing-you-surrender-leonard-pitts-jr/1128941167

Publisher:
https://www.agatepublishing.com/titles/the-last-thing-you-surrender

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38225249-the-last-thing-you-surrender

 

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Carolina Soul: The Down Home Taste of the Carolinas by Chef Rome

Celebrity Chef Rome Pays Homage to His Culinary Roots with New Cookbook

Celebrity chef, Army veteran, and health correspondent Jerome Brown celebrates his Southern roots with his new cookbook Carolina Soul: The Down Home Taste of the Carolinas. In the book, the Personal Chef to the Stars showcases a compilation of family recipes, client favorites and low-calorie meals indigenous to North and South Carolina.

Chef Rome makes it no secret that he loves his home state of North Carolina, so it should be no surprise that his newly released cookbook is a celebration of sorts to the state’s cuisine and culture.

In the book Carolina Soul: The Down Home Taste of the Carolinas, the Personal Chef to the Stars showcases a compilation of family recipes, client favorites and low-calorie meals featuring frog legs, oxtails, marsala meatloaf, and other Southern delicacies indigenous to North and South Carolina.

“I put everything I could into this book, and I did it with love,” said Chef Rome, who has cooked for athletes and celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Colin Powell, Byron Cage and Cam Newton. The former Food Network Star and featured Epcot International Food & Wine Festival chef prides himself on putting a healthy spin on Southern cuisine, helping many of his clients, like former NBA great Shaquille O’Neil, lose weight.

Similar to his bestselling cookbook, Eat Like a Celebrity: Southern Cuisine with a Gourmet Twist, Chef Rome included stories of his family and the influence that Carolina has had on his life and on the country as a whole.

“If you loved Eat Like a Celebrity, you’re absolutely going to love Carolina Soul,” Rome said. “I talk about the origins of Pepsi and some of my favorite restaurants along the Carolina coast. This book is nothing more than being authentic, giving readers what is within me.”

He added that Carolina Soul is especially special because his family contributed to bringing the book into fruition. For instance, he prepared many of the recipes in his sister’s kitchen, and he added the meatloaf recipe because it was specially requested by his nephew. Additionally, the book celebrates everything related to the history of North and South Carolina from its college-related color scheme to the photos placed throughout the book.

Carolina Soul has already amassed tremendous sales through social media. Carolina Soul was published by Prosperity Publications, LLC and is currently available for order on both Chef Rome’s and Prosperity’s websites.

Explore the Cook With Rome website: http://www.cookwithrome.com
Chef Rome ranked #8 in the world. Co-owner of Rhema Restaurant Group. US Army Trained.

 
 
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