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Black Hearts White Minds: A Novel by Mitch Margo

The year is 1964 and Carl Gordon is an ill-prepared New York Assistant U.S. Attorney who has lied his way into a transfer to Stockville, Alabama, where he is supposed to monitor and enforce the Civil Rights Act.

In a matter of days, the Ku Klux Klan takes aim at him, the outside agitator. Carl has agreed to represent Oleatha Geary, a black family matriarch who has inherited a mansion in an all-white, race-restricted neighborhood. Carl and Oleatha are engulfed in litigation that turns deadly. It’s anyone’s guess who will survive multiple assassination attempts, let alone whose integrity will remain intact.

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




Praise for Black Hearts White Minds and Mitch Margo

“As I read Black Hearts White Minds, I was reminded by turns of Harper Lee, Willie Morris, and John Grisham. Like Grisham, Mitch Margo is an attorney; like Morris, he’s a former journalist, and like Lee, his writing is evocative with a moral center straight and true.”
-Richard H. Weiss, Former Daily Features Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

“The early sixties are often thought of as a time of lost innocence. Margo reminds us that the era was anything but innocent in the American south. His novel rings with authenticity and his characters’ struggles in the fictional town of Stockville, Alabama foretell the problems we still face today. Stockville is not really so far from Ferguson.”
-Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

“Mitch Margo enriches his story of the institutional and personal conflicts during the Civil Rights era with characters whose responses are always felt and are at times surprising.”
-Kenneth J. Cooper, Pulitzer Prize Winner

 

“Black Hearts White Minds transports readers to a time and place in American history when the Civil Rights movement was slowly gaining traction, and segregationists, including the Ku Klux Klan, would stop at nothing to trounce the efforts of blacks and whites fighting for justice. Margo has crafted a narrative that is equal parts engrossing, heartbreaking and hopeful, populated with richly drawn, compelling characters, and an overarching essence that captures the enduring nature of the human spirit, no matter the obstacles.”
-Ellen Futterman, Editor, St. Louis Jewish Light

 

“At once magical and poignant and terrifying… You will be enchanted by this powerful story.”
-Michael A. Kahn, Award-winning Author, Rachel Gold Mysteries Series

 

“Mitch Margo sets his first novel in one Alabama town, allowing him to explore the era on a distinctly human scale through ordinary people and not so ordinary events. Margo has a knack for dramatic structure and a sharp eye for contrasting, engaging personalities. And his plot twists manage to be simultaneously startling and entirely credible, no mean feat.”
-Eric Mink, Writer, The Huffington Post

 

“I simply loved this book, the story, the characters, and of course the basketball concept on his first time out, Mitch Margo scores a triple double.”
-Ron Himes, Founder and Producing Director St. Louis Black Repertory Company

 

“Mitch Margo did an awesome job making me feel the joy, pain, frustration and passion of each character. I felt like I was right there in Stockville experiencing the story myself…”
-Sharonda McMullen Director, Create A New You

 

“Black Hearts White Minds is a lively, engrossing novel about two families struggling with the brutality of Jim Crow, one black, the other white. The plotting is deft, the characters vivid, and the ambience as thick as Southern humidity. Mitch Margo knows how to tell a story.”
-David Carkeet, Author, The Full Catastrophe

 

“Mitch Margo tells a story that combines love, painful history, politics, childhood innocence, prejudice and courage. You will want to read it more than once.”
-Lenora Billings-Harris, Author, The Diversity Advantage: A Guide to Making Diversity Work

 

“Black Hearts White Minds is an important book that lances the boil of prejudice, peels away the crusted layers of historic bigotry, and reveals a purer sense of what’s possible when we see ourselves and each other as whole and valid. Mitch Margo’s own life experiences coupled with his mastery of story puts him in a league with John Grisham and Taylor Branch.”
-Mara Purl, Bestselling Author, What the Heart Knows and Where the Heart Lives

 

About the Author
A former reporter for The Detroit News and Los Angeles Herald Examiner and a syndicated columnist for 14 years, Mitch Margo is a native New Yorker and St. Louis trial lawyer. He’s witnessed the clash of cultures which are woven into his first novel, Black Hearts White Minds. Much of the story is drawn from his personal experiences, interviews, and hundreds of hours of research. He credits his eclectic law practice for a new storyline every few days.

As general counsel to the Missouri Valley Conference, and a former youth coach, Mitch has an insider’s view of basketball that enables him to write about it authentically. He’s also a member of the Washington University Sports Hall of Fame, at one time holding the school record in just about every baseball statistic. He’s proud of his days as a student/athlete, but hasn’t lost sight of the fact that you can’t get too much farther from Cooperstown and still be in a hall of fame.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BLACK HEARTS WHITE MINDS
https://mitchmargo.com/#Book

 

 

 

 

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The Wicker Diary by Wil Harris

From three generations of diary entries, follow the drama and intrigue in the lives of two families as they look to the future in a sometimes unfair America.

 

The Coffey family begins with black Civil War soldier Tanin Coffey, and his son, Tanin Jr., who struggled to survive as they came to grips with a postwar South, the failures of reconstruction, and the Great Depression.

The story continues with Darius Coffey, a World War II veteran, who moved to Florida to work for a group smuggling drugs from Latin America to the United States. His wife, Leona Mihan Coffey, reveals her family’s lies and secrets.

Daryl Christopher was raised by his Cuban mother and served in the Vietnam War before returning to Miami. After he becomes involved in organized crime, he meets Darius and Leona’s daughter Valarie and both of their lives are forever changed, as the next generation finds a place in the world, while making sense of their family’s tangled web.

Watch the video introduction for The Wicker Diary by Wil Harris, go here.

 

 



Excerpt: The Wicker Diary by Wil Harris

Hand of the Lord
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you. -Zechariah 3:1-2

 

Darius D. Coffey: Part I

My name is Darius D. Coffey, and I was born in the heart of the segregated south on September 12, 1923, in Opelika, Alabama. I entered this world disposed to debt bondage, where acquired liability passed from one generation to the next. My story begins with my granddaddy Tanin Coffey Sr. He signed his name with an X on the contract for a piece of land that he would never own but would finally, one day, rest his body in.

My father always spoke of my granddaddy and the wisdom his life left behind. He was a slave who fled the Alabama cotton fields in 1863 after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation left the South in an uproar.

There is no record of his birth, but it is believed he was between fifteen to seventeen years of age when he escaped slavery. He made his way to Ohio by underground trails and safe houses, dodging slave trackers, and Confederate soldiers along the way. After shuffling through northeast Ohio for a few months, he found himself in West Virginia, where he got by on Christian charity and the efforts of a local abolitionist movement.

He slept in a bed for the first time in West Virginia. Before that it had been dirt floors and hay. He never knew his mother and father or any other family. He grew up among other slaves, who all spoke with different dialects from their region of the African continent and who all suffered the lash and worked at the pleasure of their owner. Granddaddy often thought about Boss Tom, who, as the overseer of the plantation in Alabama, was a brutal white man. Described as tall and burley, he had no troubles hanging any slave-man, woman, or child.

As rumor of the Emancipation Proclamation spread, revolt was at hand. More than 130 slaves rose up, including my grandfather, and killed the master and his family. My grandfather would tell the story of the main house going up in flames while white bodies hung burning in the apple orchard by the dozens. It was Boss Tom’s death that brought the most pleasure. He was alive when they castrated him with broken glass. Someone cut out his tongue and shoved his gentiles down his throat with a stick. He was finally hung from a banister of the main house before it was set on fire.

By this time the North was losing the war, and there was talk that President Lincoln would be raising a black regiment. When my granddaddy heard this, it was all he could think of. He reckoned if he and other black men fought bravely to end the war and bring the country back together, they could have a new and equal start in America. It was as though the ancestors were calling to him from the other side of the sun. Though he could not visualize it, he knew that it was there. Freedom. He had no one who had gone before him to prepare the way so his path was a mystery.

In 1864 he joined the all-black Twenty-Seventh US Infantry. My father would speak proudly of the time granddaddy heard Frederick Douglass speak at an army assembly: “Your granddaddy told me that when Frederick Douglass walked into the hall, there was a hush throughout. With his fiery-white hair and beard, he looked like a king. He told those in attendance that now was their time, and the future of all Negros rested on their shoulders. And those words had an effect on your granddaddy and he never forgot it.”

My granddaddy’s initial experience with army life was that of manual labor. In four months he went from cooking to digging graves for slain white soldiers. The carnage and blood he witnessed heightened his eagerness for glory and honor. There was a fear growing among the black soldiers that the North may lose the war before their opportunity to prove themselves would come. There was skepticism among some Northern white soldiers on how their black counterparts would fair in battle. Many said they didn’t have the discipline to stand and fight in an organized way or the sense to take and follow orders. Everyone got their answer in Virginia in 1864. My grandfather’s first skirmish was fought on a hillside.

A fresh snow had fallen the night before, which made it difficult for him to get his footing while shelling from the Confederate guns tore through the tall trees ahead as they advanced. Men were being shot down all around him as he marched forward. A Confederate bullet passed through his shirt, nicking his left side. He went down to one knee as the burning sensation took over. They were ordered to load weapons. He had done the drill hundreds of times but never to the thud of bullets hitting flesh. He tore open the powder and poured it down the rifle shaft. After dropping a single ball, he quickly packed it. “Fire,” the officers ordered, and he did. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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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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To Find You by Cerece Rennie Murphy

Two Souls
One Desire
To Find Each Other…Again
How many times would you die to find your one true love?
The journey begins with Ama and Ekow ~ Two lovers betrothed, then torn apart by an enemy disguised as a friend. And in the midst of an unthinkable bargain, their freedom is sold for a bag of gold.

But what their enemies thought would break them only unleashed a power greater than life itself.

From the ancient shores of Ghana to the streets of pre-colonial India,

From the burning embers of Oahu to the heart of a nation’s capitol,

Their souls risked war, death, and betrayal to bend destiny to their will.

Will they survive? Will they succeed? Join them on this timeless journey and see…

Listen to a reading from the Historical Romance, To Find You by Cerece Rennie Murphy
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/C7GN8vWk/

 

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Destiny’s Dilemma by Karen J. Anderson

Destiny’s Dilemma, a historical novel, tells the story of an African American woman in 1912 having to choose between a life of segregation with her family or leaving them to experience freedom the rest of the world offered.

Zorida Hughes Williams moved home to take care of her dying mother and found that some things had changed in her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. Some things had stayed the same, like Hells Half Acre, an area where saloons, prostitution and gambling ran wild. Like most of the residents, she wanted to keep her head down and stay away from trouble, but trouble came in an unlikely form of an Anglo Baptist preacher.  He set out to fight corruption and almost got them all killed.

Does she stay in the one of the most racist sections of the country and care for her dying mother while fighting for something she believes in or does she go back to her “good life” back east to escape it all?  If Zo leaves she will have peace and the luxury she has grown used to. If she stays she will have the final days with her mom, but also have to fight through Hell’s Half Acre.

Purchase Destiny’s Dilemma by Karen J. Anderson
https://www.amazon.com/Destinys-Dilemma-Karen-J-Anderson/dp/1514209616

 

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