SLS Intimate Conversations: Linda Mayfield-Hayes


Afrocentric Poetry that

Educates & Motivates

 Linda Mayfield-Hayes

Afrocentric Poetry that Educates & Motivates by Linda Mayfield-Hayes (Book) in Poetry

SLS Intimate Conversations Showcase

Recently Ella Curry, CEO of EDC Creations ( and founder of the Sankofa Literary Society (  had the opportunity to talk with the author of book Afroetry, Linda Mayfield-Hayes.


SLS Intimate Conversations Interview Questions

Tell us your latest news?
I haven’t been very active lately, but this past summer, I was invited to be the featured guest at a poetry event held in Greenville, South Carolina. After the event, the church pastor asked me to read a few of my poems at his church, and set up a table and chair for me to sell a few books. Not only did I sell all 50 copies I had carried with me, but I received several more orders through the mail. This was very exciting experience, and I met so many wonderful people.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My father died of a brain tumor when I was 14 years old. Shortly after, I retreated into my own little world. There, the only thing that comforted me was writing poetry. I found it to be very therapeutic.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I haven’t written a novel yet, but I have published three books of poetry. I was inspired by a group of co-workers. My place of employment was celebrating Black History Month, and various employees were being asked to participate by reading the poems of famous black poets. When I was asked, I said that I would rather write a poem of my own for the occassion. That’s when I wrote a poem entitled, “Freedom Torch”. After reading this poem for the group, they encouraged be to continue writing and I eventually was encouraged me to publish my poems in the form of a chapbook. That’s when I wrote my first book, “Life is a Roller Coaster”.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I used to love listening to the poetry of Nikki Giovanni on the radio years ago, but my writing style is my own. I enjoy wrting acrostics and rhyming poems. I especially like the challenge of writing acrostics that rhyme.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
Well, my first book. “Life is a Roller Coaster” is about various situations that I have personally lived through in one way or another. My last book, “Afroetry” is basically about the black experience.

What are your current projects?
I’m not working on any new projects at the moment, but I have been knocking around the idea of publishing a children’s book.

Do you feel that the explosion in African-AmerDo you feel that the explosion  in African-American writers is a fad or another renaissance?
Fad? No. The African-American writer is here to stay!


Do you feel more African-Americans are reading? If not, how can we help increase this?

I think African-Americans have always been reading, only now more African-Americans are writing thanks to the internet and self-publishing.

Linda Mayfield-Hayes (Salter)
Afrocentric Poetry that Educates & Motivates

AFROETRY: Afrocentric Poetry that Educates & Motivates

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Is it self defense or excessive force when you kill someone breaking into your neighbors home?

by: Cheryl Lacey Donovan
Joe Horn, a 61 year old caucasian resident of Pasadena, Texas, killed what he perceived to be two African American males that were breaking into his neighbors’ home.IT turneed out that the suspects were Columbian.
The problem, he was on the phone with 911 at the time. The dispatcher told him to stay away from the crime scene. The dispatcher repeatedly warned Mr. Horn to stay inside. Horn told the dispatcher that he was going to kill the two would be thieves and all of this was caught on tape.

Now, there are some who would have us believe that he was acting in self defense, even though there was no sign of any weapons and the suspects were shot in the back. There was also no indication that Mr. Horn or his property was in immediate danger.

Self defense or excessive force, what do you think?

Caught Between Two Worlds

MismatchedIn the midst of that first literary milestone, my book cover is out, my first round of edits are in and it’s time to update my promotional web sites. My personal site was easy, just tweak the color and add the book cover, but my Myspace page proved to be more of a challenge.

Previous to being offered a contract, I went with the pizazz of a black, white and gray color scheme plus lots of glitzy glitter hearts and stars. What my site was about was a little ambiguous until you read the content.

Now with my book cover exhibiting interracial love, it was time that my promotional page reflected my writing niche. When I was done, I didn’t just have a ode to interracial love, but more specifically, an tribute to the love between a black woman and a white man.

By writing in this area, am I turning my back on the pride of my race? Am I getting in bed with the devil? I’ve often pondered these same questions in the few interracial relationships I’ve had. They are few because of the struggles they tend to carry, but my same race romantic relationships are even fewer. I have no objections to my beautiful brothers. People just tend to date what and who they know, in my case I grew up in predominantly white neighborhoods and went to white schools.  It was not unusual for me to be the only black child in the classroom.

As I promote my interracial romance, I realize more and more how many couples resonate with the experiences of my characters.

Just the other day, a bi-racial co-worker (Mexican and Caucasian) who is an avid romance reader, remarked how until she read the rough draft of my newly contracted novel, she didn’t notice how few interracial romances were on the bookshelves. She claimed to never notice the race of the characters she enjoyed reading about. After reading my book, she was compelled to search for more books that reflect her experience only to come up short.

So I ask again, am I turning my back on my heritage? No, we love who we love and we deserve to enjoy stories that reflect the uniqueness of that experience.

I look forward to fulfilling that need and also the need to write positive African American literature that reflects our strengths and how we overcome our weaknesses.

My goal isn’t to join one world and reject the other, but to create stories that will be enjoyed by both worlds and hopefully create a bridge where each world’s inhabitants can share and respect each other’s experiences.

Black History is Important to Author Daphne Clarke

 Finding Peace Through Faith


Why Black History is Important to Author Daphne Clarke

Do you yearn for peace? Hope and reality for peace can be attained through your faith. If you desire to have peace, prepare yourself for a journey that shows the Holy Spirit directing the author of Finding Peace Through Faith – A Personal Experience, in the midst of daunting challenges.

Through the power of the supernatural, peace prevailed, which inspired and motivated Daphne Clarke to communicate that, indeed, God is a Master of the impossible. Ms. Clarke uses examples of individuals in the Bible who walked closely with God, and received breakthrough to promises by having the impossible become reality.

Vivid portrayal of divine intervention persists throughout the book and peace permeates as a force. Prepare to see your faith energized when reading this book. You can discover that peace is possible even though contrary forces battle to prove otherwise; you can see that the teachings of Christ have great impact on manifesting His promises.

Brace yourself for the ride-it is one of faith and you too can receive peace, even when the woes of this world whistles whirlwinds on your horizon. Daphne Clarke is committed to exhorting, encouraging and motivating individuals to achieve their God-given destiny. She is the author of The Triumph of Louise Laurel & Successful Parenting/Nurturing: By the Hand of God.

Waking Up and Meeting the Day with Courage- (Column: Motivation Extends My Soul)

How important is it to reflect on our hero’s and people we look up to?

Very important. Sometimes we do have to look in the past for answers to our future. And we have to learn to ask for help when we need it.

How important is it to stop and smell the roses and look up into the sky to see what image you can make out, while breathing in the air; maybe hug someone and smile as we’re walking into the world to begin our day and just feel truly blessed? 

Gratitude is everything, and if we don’t stop and take a break and recognize what is going on before our very eyes, we could be lost and find ourselves not even knowing what direction in life we are even going.  

 Maya Angelou said, “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.  Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.  We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” 

Wow, how amazing and true those words are from Maya Angelou. Yes courage is what it takes to be different, to strive and achieve what you’ve always wanted. Just step out and take a chance. You can either live a life that you will regret or take some chances and at least be able to say, “You tried.”

 Earl Nightingale who was a great thinker, inspirational speaker and some called a ‘great philosopher’ said, “…if you’re not standing on the edge, you’re liking taking up too much room.” 

Great things comes to people who take calculated risks, who step out of there comfort zone, who believe in themselves and who persist till the end regardless of how current situations may appear.

Written by author, Tinisha N. Johnson
Visit her website:

Birthday Message from Samara – Read Between the Sheets

Normally, I do not radiate the message of my birthday, but this year is different. On this day, my mother gave birth to a premature baby girl of two pounds, two ounces, who wore doll clothes. I stayed in the hospital for months, doctors not knowing if I would make it or not, I was baptized twice just in case. I was born into this life striving. So my message today yields from my beginning.

I don’t proclaim to know all or be some high priestess, but I do proclaim to be ME. For it is this day, that my inner spirit has confirmed what it is I am to be doing: touching others with my words.

The fact that I am here, surrounded by so many wonderful people is a testimony of survival. So to those who care to read, thank you for the honor. This is what I hold most true:

People will tell you that you can’t, you won’t, and you shouldn’t, will walk away, will say one thing and do another, make promises they know they will never keep. People will look at you judge you, criticize you, demean you, your personality, your body, your spirit, the color of your skin. The world will try to take you out, everyday life will try to steal your dreams, obstacles, bumps and curves that will have you running to keep up only to be left…breathless.

Within us all, is an inner spirit. That voice, that calling, that regenerative force that will propel you forward, if you listen to it. For some, this comes easy, for others, it does not. I’m somewhere in the middle (all right, I tend to have a hardhead.) LOL. I digress. There is no right or wrong here. The only wrong would be that you do not get back up and fight back – take back that which was naturally born of you, gifted to you. Because guess what? In the words of Ms. Chaka Khan, “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Do It Better!” Keeping doing you, because Miss. King sho’ll enough will be doing her!

Much love!

Samara (who turns 26, did I tell you all? LOL.)

2008 Infini Awards

The 2008 Infini Awards will be held on  Friday, April 11,20o8 at 7:30pm in Orland Park, Illinois.  Winners will also have a book signing at Da Book Joint on Saturday from 10:00am-7:00pm.

Nominees for the awards include yours truly Cheryl Lacey Donovan and my book Women What the Hell are You Thinking.

 Visit to cast your votes in all three polls. You can also visit this site to obtain information about becoming a vendor.


Missing You and You and You…

luvme_front_web.jpgThe major body of this post is something that I previously wrote. I was going to change the title to Born To Die, but decided to it leave as is. My rehashed thoughts for this come from Nix Mary Brown. She was the little girl who was killed by her mother and stepfather after repeated abuse. After she was killed the questions came. Why didn’t anybody help her? Why didn’t anybody know what was happening to this child? It made me think. My answer – she was born to die. 

Martin Luther King – he was born to die. We are all born to die. Our living comes from not knowing how, who, or when. Lessons come from tragic deaths. Death is always tragic to someone, but is a lesson always learned? 

We say they died to young – that shouldn’t have happened. Accidents, humans kill humans, animal’s attack…your steps are ordered before birth and as I grow older I pay attention to the rank and file. 

The morning I heard the new Gerald Levert song is the day that began to cement my burgeoning mold.  My mold that will carry me until my ordered steps stop. The Steve Harvey Morning Show played it as the last song on his show. The intro was Eddie Levert speaking about his son and then Gerald began singing. Gerald’s song, In My Songs, treats us to Gerald singing about how he wants to make love/fall in love, get married and do all of these wonderful things while he’s listening to his songs. I was at work when I heard it and stood up for the entire song – like I was pledging allegiance – and damn near cried as the song played. It is a Gerald Levert song, which means it is good.I looked forward to his CD. It’s weird, but I never bought the Luther Vandross CD because I didn’t want to buy the “last” CD Luther ever made. I wanted to always think I could purchase Luther’s latest CD. WEIRD. I bought the CD by Gerald Levert, though. It was released when I was 40 years old. Gerald Levert died at the age of 40. I guess I feel like I grew up with him – I owe him.

Death makes you grow up. Lord I can’t stand it. I can’t tell you how many times I have stared at pictures of James Brown lying in his coffin. Is it really him? I watched a few old film clips of him. Boy could that man MOVE. I watched the services of Gerald and Luther. Did they really happen?

I’m speaking about celebrities – people that lived their lives to entertain. I know death happens everyday to ordinary people like me. I always try to figure out what are the reasons for my posts. Well, after a LONG day I was driving home FAST to pick up my Poopah from the childcare center. I cursed because the traffic became heavy and I had to slow down. I was angry about the traffic and cursed because I just wanted to go. My heart hurt when I saw the reason for the slow down. A man lay dead in the middle of the Grand Central Parkway. I saw this. I rode past him. I couldn’t believe I saw a dead man lying in the middle of the street. It was dark. The 11 o’clock news would have to verify this for me.

The story wasn’t on the 11o’clock news, but instead on the morning news. A man had been wandering and was hit by two cars. I did see a dead man lying in the street. I saw that man all day long today. I had to ride by the same spot the next evening. I saw him again. I also heard Gerald Levert’s song again. Death was just talking to me…telling me it’s real.

This post is about spoken love, showing love, feeling love. When you die who do you know will love you? If you weren’t married to your husband or wife, or if your children weren’t yours would you like them? Do you love them? Lord, confusion surrounds me right now. Young death – old death – unnecessary death – or at least that’s what we say. Death is a part of the living process. 

Children don’t know what death is. Some parents teach children about death. Why? Because children die and they need to know. Why?  Do you live your life for today or for a legacy – for remembrance? Born to die…hmmm, if you accept that theory does it seem so bad?

I’m rambling, but my heart is heavy right now for those that are gone and for those that are still here. For those that are missing you – and you – and you…I love you. And there is nothing more for me to say.

The Dream Lives On! – Read Between the Sheets



martin_luther_king_upperI have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!

Double Platinum – One Writers Ode to Women in Music

I am proud to present to you my fourth novel – Double Platinum. This book was written to celebrate my love for music. My goal was to show that celebrities are people just like you and I. I’ve interviewed various singers over the past few years such as Mary J Blige, Lisa Marie Presley, India Arie, Teena Marie and the list goes on and on. Although their backgrounds are different, each one of these women have one thing in common–they did not give up. They pursued their dreams so that we now have countless hours of music to listen to.

I listened to every thing from Sade to Janet Jackson while writing Double Platinum. The title of each chapter is purposely used to ignite your memory of classic songs.

Here’s what Double Platinum is about in a nutshell:

To the world, R&B mega star Parris Mitchell has it all: fame, money, jewelry and several gold and platinum records to go along with it. But now, with her singing career declining, she struggles with depression. Her last few albums were disappointments not only to her record label because of low sales, but to her devoted fans.

Casper Johnson is one of the hottest and most sought after producers in the music industry. All of the media attention has garnered “The Hit Maker” a playboy image. He’s getting tired of the same old sound and he’s looking for the right voice to help take his career to the next level. Parris agrees to give Casper a chance to revive her career.

When they get together, their working relationship quickly crosses the line and their drama from groupies and people from their past becomes the source of plenty of print for the paparazzi.

What others are saying about Double Platinum:

“Double Platinum moves at break neck speed and is a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a novel that successfully combines glamour, suspense and intrigue with a highly charged love affair then this is the novel for you.” ~ Janice Spence, Freelance Music Journalist (Gossip/News columnist and former contributor and Don Diva UK , etc.)

“An evocative look at the music industry from the inside. Double Platinum is a gripping portrayal of one woman’s quest to climb back to the top of the charts while overcoming personal obstacles”. ~ Vonnie Woods –

Entertainment writer Shelia M. Goss provides an exciting, unique and insightful look in to the music industry through the eyes of heroine Parris Mitchell in her fourth novel Double Platinum (Kensington Books; March 2008; ISBN: 1599830299; $6.99 U.S.).

Visit her website:

Should We Spank Our Children?

publicity-photo-2.jpgA few months ago I posted this very question on my blog. I am reposting it again amidst the recent frenzy over a proposed law that would ban the ability of parents to discipline their children with spanking. Also on my talk show Worth More Than Rubies, this Friday we will be speaking with Sydelle Richards and Stacey Patton, both of whom were abuse as children. Please tune in to at 11:00am CST on Friday to hear what they have to say.

Here is the original post.

When I had my first son, I can remember declaring that no one would ever lay a hand on my child. His grandparents of course thought that this was the most hillarious thing they had ever heard.

I soon realized that there comes a time when some form of physical punishment may be necessary to communicate the seriousness of a particular action.

The old folks use to say “If I don’t whip him the policeman will.”

Not only do I believe that spanking is necessary, it is also Biblical.

The Bible is clear when it provides us with direction about children. First of all Jesus let’s us know his feelings about children in these scriptures.

“Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” (Mark 9:37);

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Mark 10:15)

These scriptures tell us that Jesus has placed high importance on children and their place in the kingdom. Therefore it is safe to say that childrens’ wellbeing is of utmost importance to Him.

God later gives us guidelines to follow with regards to rearing our children. He says that we should train them up in the way that they should go so that when they are old, they will not depart from it. He further says that if we spare the rod we will spoil the child.

It is clear that He intends for us to find a balance between the two. Neither of these methods is independent of the other.

I believe that if you take the time to train your children properly, then spanking them will only need to be done sparingly. My rule of thumb was to use spanking only when the offense would result in physical harm to the children or to others.

Furthermore, extension cords, broom handles, and such go far beyond spanking. They are abusive.

The problem with the proposed law is that it will not deter an abuser. Much the same way that restraining orders and various laws that are in place for those that abuse women do not deter them from their course. This law would only limit discipline options for concerned parents.

The system is not ready for the ramifiactions of children gone wild. We have already seen some of these consequences as a result of banning spanking in schools.

What do you think?

A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Today the nation celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968). Although Dr. King spoke against racial injustice over forty years ago; sadly, we are still dealing with racial injustice today:

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his speech at the DC Civil Rights March.

Excerpts from the “I Have a Dream” speech:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”

“Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

To read more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, visit

Fast forward to 2007/2008 and here we are dealing with some of the same issues of the past.

In this day and time, we shouldn’t be dealing with racial issues, but we are. In this day and time, our children should be free to live in a society that will accept them on their merits, not the color of their skin.

Whether you’re Black, Hispanic, White, etc…it shouldn’t matter. What should matter is your character? How can we develop the character of our kids if we’re always having to explain the ignorance and hatred of some people’s actions?

Do you think our society will ever be color-free?

To add some food for thought, here’s a poem I wrote on the subject.

© 2007 by Shelia M. Goss

The color of my skin shouldn’t define me
Because when I go out of this country,
American is all they see.

My Brown-sugar, Caramel, Ebony, Hershey-chocolate,
Mahogany, Mocha, Vanilla complexion
Is only an outer shell.
You have to dig Deeper,
If you want to know
What’s embedded in my mind.

My skin color might hint to my Races
Past struggles and pain,
But don’t lose the fact that we’re
Individuals and not all the same.

One day I hope we can all
Be one big happy family
In the meantime, I’ll leave a legacy
To the younger generation.

Show by example on how to get through
Life’s complications.
I will teach them how to love
Through my own interactions.

I will show them how to give
And not wait for someone’s reaction.
I will encourage them to dream and not
Let society dictate who they can be.

I will show them the benefit of believing in
Oneself, but most of all in a Higher Being.

I hope to see the manifestation of my vision
A society that’s COLOR-FREE.

Are you a dream killer or dream builder?

Some men see things as they are and say, “Why?” I dream of things that never were and say, “Why not?”                                           George Bernard Shaw

Have you ever thought you had the million dollar idea? Once you implemented it, you would change the world and become filthy rich. Then you happened to tell a close friend about the idea, only to be told that it wouldn’t work. The high you felt when you thought about the idea banished. What happened? You met a dream killer.  Your friend consciously or unconsciously sabotaged your idea based on his or her own belief system. Not all people intentionally try to destroy your dream; most will have your best interest at heart. They may be looking at the time, money and effort it takes to make it happen. Good advice is priceless and practical; however, we must remember that our dreams are gifts from the Divine. So before you go tossing a dream out based on someone else’s knowledge and advice, you might want to consider doing this simple but powerful exercise: Sit on it for awhile, and I don’t mean forever; write down the pros and cons; and ask yourself do you have the passion for it. Once you have answered the above questions then share your idea, if you are seeking support for it and not validation. The next time someone shares a dream or idea with you, don’t shoot it down. Praise the idea and suggest that the person do the above exercise. This way you won’t be a dream killer; you will be a dream builder.

 JJMichael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Path to Truth, Life is Never as It Seems, and It’s Not Over Yet. JJ is also the publisher of Path2truth ezine that promotes self-realization and world peace.  Find out more about JJ at 

Echelon Books is looking for upcoming book releases for review.

Echelon Logo 

Echelon Books is looking for upcoming book releases for review.  Books must be categorized as Christian fiction, spiritual, self-help, inspirational or romance. All books must be inspiring, motivating and encouraging in nature and content. 

Please submit the following information to

1.      Author Name, Email, Website

2.      Title of Book; Genre

3.      .Jpg photo of book cover

4.      Synopsis/Description of Book

5.      Publisher, # of pages, release date

6.      Retail availability

Benefits of having books reviewed by Echelon Books:

Authors’ books chosen for review will have the benefit of having their book exposed to several social networking sites, book lovers, magazines, book clubs and literary outlets.  Echelon Book reviews are also posted at,,, Shelfari, Facebook and more.  Echelon Book reviews are also published in both Key of Gee and Exodus magazines, as well as Motown Writers Network and The Sankofa Literary Society.

There is no fee for Echelon Book Reviews; however, the author is expected to pass the review along to their network and provide a link exchange with Echelon Books.

We look forward to hearing from you and happy reading!

Tavares S. Carney, reviewer – Inspire, Motivate & Encourage

Embracing your words-Being more descriptive: Rhonica’s Notebook by Rhonica

Unlike on the silver screen, when a reader has curled up into a corner to read your book, they are not fed the action. Instead, they have to sit and use their imagination. This could be the reason why so many people admit that they don’t read much. Those same people will not be embarrassed to admit they are an avid movie watcher. This is why when it comes to writing you must be able to hold your reader’s interest with descriptive scenes, paragraphs, and over all creativity. First, I want us to take a look at a few things. Just to get us started on being more descriptive and creative.

Lesson 1

People: Removing the stick figure image.

There are a few ways to write sentences one being very bland and simple, the other being bold and spicy. When describing people, if you’re not very observant you may have trouble at first. Look around you. No one is the same. They aren’t all just plain tall, skinny, short or fat. Everyone has something unique about the way they look. You can almost always notice it right off the bat. You may even say, “She looked like… He reminded me of….” Let’s take a look at the first sentence and then compare it to another that is written more descriptively.

Dylan was tall, with big eyes, muscles, and a nice haircut.

Doesn’t really give the reader anything to go on, right? Let’s take that same sentence and break it apart to create a new bolder desciption of Dylan.

Dylan was tall .

That’s great that we know he’s tall, but how tall exactly is Dylan. Tall could be six feet, or seven. We don’t know because we have not been given full detail. Ask yourself, what you see when you see Dylan in your head. It may be someone you already know, or it may be someone you conjered up with your imagination. Let’s pretend Dylan is Six foot four. The sentence revised would look like.

Dylan stood six foot four.

Ok, wonderful now we at least know how tall he REALLY is.

With big eyes.

Imagining someone with wildly bold eyes, is not excatly what you wanted your readers to do. They don’t know, so they picture what comes to mind. Let’s say you were aiming for the fact that he looked like an innocent school boy. The sentecnce would read;

His eyes were wide, like those of a curious schoolboy.

Now so far we have:

Dylan stood six foot four,His eyes were wide, like those of a curious schoolboy.

Excellent! we now atleast have a clearer picture of Dylan. We know that he is precisely Six-foot four, and has wide eyes like a school boy. Let’s move on to the rest of the sentence.


Just muscles…? Where are these muscles? Are they in his biceps, triceps, calves? Let’s say he has the whole package, but is not too muscular. How would that sentence look?

Dylan was slender, but his muscles were firm and sculptured proportionately.

You may always go further into detail. If you want you can give him Abs, just not abs of steel, you are the artist paint him how you wantl. The Abs and buns of steel thing is just so worn out.

He was slender, but his muscles were firm and sculptured proportionately,along with his finely, detailed Abs.. (Even I want to date Dylan).

Now that gives us this;

Dylan stood six foot four,His eyes were wide, like those of a curious schoolboy. He was slender, but his muscles were firm and sculptured proportionately,along with his finely, detailed Abs.

That’s quite a bit of information about him. I can already picture Dylan. Can you? The last part of the sentence can be made to describe all types of men. Haircuts vary by race. For an African-American male it could be a Fade that’s wavy, an Afro that’s brillo. For a Caucasian male it could be long and silky, or short and spikey. It depends on what you have in mind. In my vision Dylan has a close haircut, with deep waves and a perfect edge.

and a nice haircut.

And the award for BLAND goes too…? Let’s remix it a little. I will put my personal touch on it.

Dylan had a clean cut, all even with soft textured deep waves to set off its perfect edge.

Now we have a paragraph full of detail. Let’s see what we have.

Dylan stood six foot four,His eyes were wide, like those of a curious schoolboy. He was slender, but his muscles were firm and sculptured proportionately,along with his finely, detailed Abs. Dylan had a clean cut, all even with soft textured deep waves to set off its perfect edge.
We went from;

Dylan was tall, with big eyes, muscles, and a nice haircut.

To the more descriptive paragraph above. Remember when you are describing someone or something make sure you include full detail. Leaving out one thing can hinder your whole vision. If your character has Brown eyes, you don’t want to say just brown. There are so many colors that coincide with brown it’s a shame. What about chestnut brown, or mocha? Don’t forget Pecan and Hazel. There are so many ways to doctor-up your sentences. It is up to you as the artist to figure out how you want to go about it. Though you do not have an easel or paint brush, just like the painter or sketch artist you must paint a picture for your readers. They need to be able to see your character so that they can relate to his/her situation.

If you are reading the newspaper, and see the story of a woman who went missing. The woman being described as an African-American Female with short black hair and a slender frame has no picture, so you turn the page. You would not turn the page if there was a more detailed description and perhaps a picture. You want to be able to sympathize and relate. You can’t do that if you can’t see an actual person.

Play around with different descriptions until you find one that is suitable to you. Avoid bland words like Tall, slim, pretty, beautiful, cute, short, fat. If you are going to use these words spice them up.

She was tall enough to reach the top of an oak tree. There was not a slender bone in her body; Her body was set up just right. She was not just pretty, but beautiful and bright as a daisy in springtime. Her set of pouting lips were cute on her short round face. Her back side was plump, or as the brothers said, “Fat.” Spelled Phat.

Now, that’s just how I do things. Everyone has their own style. Utilize your imagination and don’t be afraid to use it, Because a picture is worth a thousand words.

Stay tuned for Lesson 2 -Scenery:Running through open fields

Visit me at-


Meet Author Sheritha Bowman

Tell the readers about yourself:

I love God. After that I love cheesecake. Ok maybe not immediately after that. I love my family. I’ve been a wife for nineteen years and I’m the mother of two teens and one young adult. I love Gospel music, jazz music and the theatre. In my spare time, which is five minutes before I fall off to sleep, I enjoy reading.
The Diary of a Woman Pastor is an interesting title. How did you come up with it?
Growing up and even aas my time as a pastor, I’ve always kept a journal to document my joy, pain, ups and downs. God gave me the title way before I even knew what I would write in this book.
What inspired you to write the Diary of a Woman Pastor?
I needed to write the book for my own personal healing and growth. In order to get to the next level God was calling me to. I had to get the hurt, guilt and the heaviness off my heart. And the only way I knew to do it was to write. Secondly, I wanted to write this book because I believe many Christians fail to tell the truth. I wanted to tell a truth that many wouldn’t expect some one to tell. Nobody wants to talk about why they step down as pastor or why they leave the church or whatever. I believe as Christians we keep way too much hidden for sake of appearing like anything less than sheer perfection. Then we end up presenting an image that is so far from who we are and then we have people aspiring to that false identity we presented. We need to share more and not be ashamed of our missteps and mistakes. We’re all human and there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Jesus forgives. So we need to forgive ourselves, move on and help somebody else.
I’ve read the book and realize that you were very transparent. Was this cathartic for you and do you think transparency is important when you’re writing?
Very much so. Our loves are not our own. Especially when we become Christians. We’re representing the Master. The word of God says, “sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” We want to tell our most honest and sincere story so that God gets the glory.  
You discuss relationships in your book. Can you give us some insight as to why some women remain in unhealthy relationships?
Half of us don’t know any better. The rest who do know better and stay have convinced themselves they don’t have a choice in the matter. We have to know God’s word for ourselves. I respect Pastors, counseling, and the advice of Mother Davis and Aunt Florence, but when it’s all said and done you have to know what the word of God says concerning you and your situtation. We’re not a cookie cutter people. We’re unique, fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s not a one shoe fits all deal. We must be Spirit-led in ALL things. Some people choose to forgive and work it out. Some people choose to forgive and move on. What did God tell you to do? The deicisons we make have to be well with our soul.   
Generational curses seem to be a part of your story. Could you explain how this affected your life?
High tolerence runs in my family. Especially with the women. It has been both a blessing and a curse. As I have grown up, I’ve watched the women in my family tolerate so much from the men in their lives. There is some stuff that we as women just ought not put up with, but we do. I had put up with some things in my marriage for a long time until I decided to trust that God really would have my back if I took a stand. Once I got bold enough, started loving on God, and then loving myself, I’ve since received the kind of love and respect that I deserve in my relationships.
The book discusses your departure from the ministry. How did you end up a pastor and what was it like when you had to step down?
I was first ordained as a minister and then pastor. I believe it was overzealousness that landed me in the pastorate. At one time you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t able to save the whole world! But after a while reality hit. I realized that although I can do all things through Christ Jesus, He hadn’t called me to do all things. Stepping down as pastor was one of the hardest things I have had to do in all my life. Yet I believe that each and every day we are learning and growing wiser. Just as we can’t be afraid to step out on faith, we can’t be afraid of falling on our faces. Even in front of folk. We must be confident in knowing that God will be right there with us every step of the way. He will never forsake us and He is faithful and just to forgive. We have to stop being so hard on ourselves. We need to let go and move on in the grace and favor of our God. 
What message do you want our readers to get from the book?
I pray this book inspires readers to make the necessary changes and decisions in their lives. Changes and decisions that are long overdue. Many pastors, employees and every day people stay in positions that were over for them seasons ago. Many dare step away out of obligation, fear, pride and even greed. But there comes a time where you have to stop serving two masters. Either you’re going to serve the Master of the truth which is God or the master of lies which is the devil. We have to be courageous enough to tell the truth and live the truth. It is the truth and only the truth that shall set us free.
What’s next for Sheritha Bowman?
More books and plays. Right now, we’re in rehearsals for my fourth drama production entitled, “GIRL. TALK.” Hopefully, it’ll tour nationwide.
How can our readers purchase a copy of your book>
All of my books are available through and or they can visit my website
God bless you Cheryl, thanks for allowing me to share my heart.
With love,

Michelle Larks adds a spin to Christian Fiction

Keeping Misery CompanyEssence Cafe introduces to the literary readers an author who is putting a major spin on Christian Fiction. Chicago native, Michelle Larks writes compelling, real to life novels that fully captivates her audience with a spiritual uplift. With four novels to her acclaim, her writing career is on an upward journey. If you are looking to feed your senses with a soul stirring novel, then look no further. I caught up with Michelle just recently and here’s what she had to say.
DG: Michelle, you have just released your fourth novel. Congratulations. Share with us the plot from your new novel, Keeping Misery Company.
ML: Thanks Dorothy, Keeping Misery Company is about a minister’s daughter, Ruth, whose husband of 35 years leaves her for a younger woman. Ruth’s family is estranged from her brother Ezra, he’s the black sheep of the family. So Ruth, invites her brother to live with her. He’s in the final stages of AIDS. A lot of family drama ensues as Ruth tries to reconcile her family, and cope with her divorce, while dealing with menopause.
DG: You have received some rave reviews since your novel’s release. What motivated you to write this novel? Is there anything in particular that drives this story?
ML: Yes, the reviews have been great for Keeping Misery Company and I am grateful to the reviewers for getting what the message I was trying to impart. Actually, an older woman asked me to write the story about a woman’s husband leaving her for a younger woman. My overall message is about families accepting each other despite their differences.
DG: You write in the genre of Christian Fiction. Is this a genre you will continue to write in or can we expect to see you in any other genres?
ML: For now, I will continue to write in the Christian Fiction genre. I hope one day to do some contemporary novels.
DG:When did you first realize writing was your passion?
ML: I think I always knew writing was my passion, but just not to this degree. I’ve always written in some shape, form, or fashion since I was in 3rd grade. My sister gave me a gentle nudge back in 2002 and I’ve been on a writing tier since then.
DG:What type of message do you feel your novels portray or is it just a development of a situation for the character you’re writing about that ignites a message?
ML: As far as messages goes, it’s more of a development of a situation about a character. I know in my head what I want to write, but when I actually get into the flow that can change.
DG: What is it about your style of writing that sets you apart from writers who are categorized in the same genre?
ML: I think I can effectively write about emotions people feel when dealing with adversity and I think that what sets me apart from other writers in the same genre.
DG: You recently landed a book deal with Urban Christian….talk about little about the emotions you imparted when you received your offer?
ML: I was at work when I opened my email sand I saw an email from Joylynn Jossel the editor at Urban Christian. At that point Urban Christian Books was considering Keeping Misery Company for publication. I got a little nervous, because I didn’t expect a response from them until about December, and it was only August. So I assumed it was a rejection.
When I opened the email, Joylynn said Michelle you didn’t put your telephone number on the manuscript and she offered me a contract for two book. I was so happy, I think I said, YES aloud, pumping my hands in the air and then I called my husband and mother. After I finished talking to them I went into the ladies room shed a few tears, and thanked God for the opportunity. Later I shared the news with one of my close friends and she gave me a much needed hug. That day was definitely one of the high points of my writing career. I still have the email.
DG: What can the readers expect next from Michelle Larks?
ML: My second book with Urban Christian Books will be released in August of this year, and it’s tentatively titled, The Legacies.
DG: Thanks Michelle for allowing myself and the avid readers a chance to learn about you and for taking the time to share with us a part of your world.
ML: Thanks Dorothy, I appreciate it!

If you would like to stay abreast of what is happening next with Michelle Larks, please visit her website or join up with her on her MYSPACE page.
mlarkpic.jpg Michelle Larks,
Author of Keeping Misery Company .

On The Path to Truth/ W Author J.J. Michael: Rhonica’s Notebook

By Rhonica Wesley

Combining both her love of writing and studying metaphysics, author and Spiritual Diva J.J. Michael is living out her wildest dream. Her genre includes both fiction and non-fiction metaphysical/spiritual books with a touch of Christian fiction and romance. The RAWSISTAZ Review states, “IT’S NOT OVER YET by J. J. Michael is an engrossing novel about spirituality, love, mystery, intrigue and suspense. It is well written and the many characters are developed into unforgettable people who push the story forward with magnificent speed. Each person has his/her own story and intrigue. It is a book that once you pick it up, you can’t put it down”

A graduate of Howard University and the University of Maryland, Ms. Michael worked for many years as an administrative librarian. She loves traveling to sacred sites around the world collecting ancient and historical artifacts. A certified Chios Master Teacher and Healer, she does intuitive numerology and healing when not writing. Intriguing enough, Ms Michael’s story goes a lot deeper.

In her first book, Path to Truth, she describes how at the age of fifteen years old she discovered a book on reincarnation. “At that time, I had no idea that The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein would unlock a door to a wealth of spiritual information that set the course of my life. I have spent my lifetime pursuing spiritual wisdom. It is who I am,” says Ms. Michael.

It’s no secret that when you speak with author J.J Michael she can hold your attention, and pique your interest with her love and dedication to the subject matter of spiritual wisdom and metaphysics. For most of us when it comes to the world of metaphysics we don’t completely understand the big picture. As explained by Ms. Michael, a simple definition for metaphysics is anything beyond the physical world. For example, if one is able to see into future, he or she is clairvoyant. This would fall under metaphysics. Furthermore, subjects such as astrology, numerology, palmistry, energy healing, and mediumship would fall under metaphysics. Spiritual wisdom is the esoteric knowledge or truth laws that govern the world. You can lean more about the spiritual laws such as the Law of Attraction in Ms. Michael’s nonfiction book: Path to Truth.

If asked why she picked the subject of metaphysics and spiritual wisdom to write about, Ms. Michael states, “I find it exhilarating to take a ‘truth concept” and weave it into a fictional story. I have received many letters from readers telling me how Life is Never as It Seems, was a page-turner and full of life lessons that made them think about their own lives. It is gratifying to know this because my purpose in writing psychic fiction is to offer the reader an entertaining but thought-provoking book.”

A resident of Washington, D.C., author J.J. Michael enjoys spending time with her family and is active in her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. It’s Not over Yet, Life is Never as It Seems, and Path to Truth: a Spiritual Guide to Higher Consciousness can be purchased from:, Barnes and Nobles, and (Path to Truth only). The ebook version of Path to Truth may be downloaded from Ms. Michael’s website. For more information on events, and book signings please visit her site at

Interview W/ JJ Michael

R.W. – What exactly is Metaphysics?

J.J. – The term metaphysics is the study of that which transcends physics especially dealing with the nature of reality. Metaphysics also represents the mystical and occult. This definition of metaphysics serves as a bridge between the physical reality and the mystical reality.

R.W. – . I understand that you write fiction and non-fiction metaphysical books. what set you on this path?

J.J. – I come from a family of storytellers and people with great imaginations and intuitive abilities. To gather at my grandmother’s home on Friday nights to dance, sing and tell stories played a significant part in the creation of my works. Since early childhood, I have always been involved in metaphysics/spirituality. I combined my two most important dreams: writing and metaphysics— into my books.

R.W. – I read that you love traveling to sacred sites. What are some of the sites that you have travel to in the past?

J.J. – As a student of many years of metaphysical principles and spirituality, I had always wanted to visit the sacred sites of the world and experience the energies of these places. One of my first trips was the Teotihuacan pyramid in Mexico. Later I visited and climbed the vortices of Sedona, Arizona. While vacating in Puerto Rico, I found an Islamic designed platter full of sacred Masonic geometries. Two months later, I was in Scotland visiting the Roslyn Chapel built in 1446 by the Knights Templar. Two of my favorite sites are Machu Picchu (Peru) and Stonehenge (UK). I am planning to go to Kemet (Egypt) and return to the UK to see the crop circles and the oldest church in Glastonbury (UK). One day I hope to get to Tibet, India and Easter Island.

R.W. – You are a certified Chios Master Teacher and Healer. What exactly does this involve?

J.J.-Chios is a relatively new Energy Healing modality that treats the root causes of energetic illness in the human energy field (aura and chakras). It also includes an integral meditation method (Chios Meditation), which is especially designed to bring out the psychic abilities necessary for a healer practicing this type of healing. As a medical intuitive, I see colors and energy patterns surrounding a person indicating his or her physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges. Using the Chios Healing Modality, I unblock, release, or move the energy to create health. Find out more about Chios at

R.W. – What are your plans for the future? What projects are you working on?

J.J. – I plan to continue writing, traveling and living life to the fullest. I am working on the third book in the trilogy and an anthology of short stories.

Path2truth Ezine

The Path 2truth ezine celebrated ten years of publication in 2007. It is one of my major accomplishments. I even have readers who have been with me that long. The ezine promotes self-realization and world peace. Readers can sign up for it on my website:

More Quick Info on “Author and Spiritual Diva” J.J. Michael

  • First book, Life is Never as It Seems, is being released as a mass market paperback in March 2008, with a hot new cover.
  • Promoting Life is Never as It Seems and the sequel, It’s Not Over Yet.
  • Participating in the United Black Writer’s Guild annual Black History literary affair on February 23 in Md.
  • In February, readers can chat with J.J through the Sankofa Literary Society Black History Book Fair.
  • The last of April, she will be participating in the Romance Slam Jam in Chicago.
  • Flying to Houston, Texas for the National Black Book club Fair in May
  • Orlando in July for the Delta Sigma Theta’s annual conference.

Readers can check for more events and updates at

Double Platinum Book Contest featuring Mariah Carey

To help celebrate the upcoming book release DOUBLE PLATINUM by Shelia M. Goss, you now have a chance to win a 2 DVD set showcasing live performances by one of the top-selling female artists of all time – Mariah Carey – The Adventures of Mimi. to enter: Answer the following question:
What is the name of the record executive who delivered the bad news to Parris Mitchell – either she record a hit CD or the record company would be giving her the boot? The answer can be found in an excerpt from Double Platinum at
Send your answer to and put Double Platinum in the header. You have until 11:59 p.m. est on January 30, 2008. All correct answers are eligible for the drawing.
Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. Contest open to U.S. residents only.

THE ADVENTURES OF MIMI offers Mariah fans a must have all-access exclusive VIP pass to Mariah’s most successful tour. Shot in high definition and recorded in digital surround sound, this large scale, sold-out arena production, produced by legendary award winning producer Ken Ehrlich, is a chance for fans to see Mariah belt out power ballads, hip-hop tracks and pop classics with a special guest appearance by Boyz II Men who join Mariah to perform their record-breaking hit duet “One Sweet Day”. For her fans, it is a fantasy come true to see her and hear her famous five octave voice.
Also on the DVD, a Spike Lee original mini movie called “Lovers & Haters” starring Carey as herself. The fifteen minute spoof chronicles a day in the life of Mariah with the “lovers and haters” she encounters along the way, and how she overcomes those obstacles to still be one of the most talented and loved musical sensations in history.
Check out THE ADVENTURES OF MIMI trailer and buy link here:

Mariah Carey official site:
And MySpace page:


Double Platinum “Double Platinum moves at break neck speed and is a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a novel that successfully combines glamour, suspense and intrigue with a highly charged love affair then this is the novel for you.” ~ Janice Spence, Freelance Music Journalist (Gossip/News columnist and former contributor and Don Diva UK , etc.)

An evocative look at the music industry from the inside. Double Platinum is a gripping portrayal of one woman’s quest to climb back to the top of the charts while overcoming personal obstacles”. ~ Vonnie Woods –

January’s Hot Spot Question – Read Between The Sheets

Welcome to Read Between the Sheets first Hot Spot question! Our participants this month are: Shon Majette, Author and Owner of Big Bone Publishing  and Roi Evans, Writer and Musician.

Hot Spot Question:

 Sex Sales…We’ve all heard that. Some of us write about it! Society feeds off of sensual pleasure in just about every market. Author: do you feel in a personal relationship it is necessary to “keep up with the joneses” as it were with the capitalization on sensuality? Do you ever feel the heat is on in the world of relationships between the sexes?

Shon says…
 I will preempt myself by saying that I have various views on this question and here they are: 
I feel that as a woman in this society where “Sex Sells” it is overkill on the senses to have a product sold to me using sex or something seen as sexy.  I feel like at times we have lost the ability to be creative as producers and we have accepted that loss of creativity as consumers and don’t require non-sexual forms of advertising to support supply and demand. 
As a voluptuous woman, I feel like we aren’t represented in a sensuous manner often enough!  I see “Sex Selling” but with the understanding that the outfit must be a size 10 or smaller and for those who love and adore the curvier woman -who by the way represents more than 65 % of the women in the US- this just doesn’t jive! 
As an author, I don’t feel like I have to have sex in my work to sell the work but the industry and buying trends of readers and industry professionals say otherwise.  Since “Sex Sells,” I am going to make sure that the 65% of US female readers in double digit dress sizes have a choice of reading about women who look like them or look like the women their admirers, husbands, boyfriends, and or boy toys like waking up to!
Roi Says…
I don’t think “keeping up with the Joneses”  is as important as keeping up with your partner.  Europe has been sexually free forever while the U. S. of A has been repressed and guilted into feeling bad about, well, feeling good!    The bedroom is between you and your partner, so if they want to get down and dirty, strap on your safety belt and enjoy the ride!  The only reasons I could see checking on other folks would be if you’re feeling experimental, want to add something new to the repetoire, or you’re simply in a rut.  See what you’ve been missing, read the Kama Sutra upsidedown, take a “tour” of your house, one room at a time, just make the experience worth coming back for more!  We know sex sells, we just have to remember to carry exact change!
What’s your opinion?

Focus on Achievement-#3 in a Series of Discussions

Focus on Achievement-#3 in a Series of Discussions

   By Joan E. Gosier, CEO of HBCU kidz, Inc. 

 Definition of GAP [a problem caused by some disparity] Pronunciation: \gap\ Function: noun 

Science +Math +Artifacts of Culture +Reading +Test Taking Tips=Gap Closure

It is a brand new year with a clean slate of paper to begin a new chapter in 2008.

We have so much to reflect upon and build upon that it would take a page just to list those blessings.  However, I am inspired by the events that shaped my life in the month of December.  I reached outside of my comfort zone and made an attempt to connect with over 800 people and 250 black parents via the internet.  It was a very uncomfortable gesture but one that I felt compelled to do.  Last month, I received a chilling and tear jerking testimony from a distraught single mother of five children.  Three of the five are handicapped.  She is at wits end just trying to cope with her broken life.  She wishes she had the motivation and energy to spend with her children to do homework.  She confided that she would rather spend a day in prison vs. spending a day listening to her screaming children.  So this month of January and the first day of our new year, I want to discuss the risk factors our nation’s munchkins face in academic achievement.  Why are there such glaring gaps between black students and white students?  What are the political, economic, sociological, and technological implications for today and tomorrow?  What can we do to close the gap for a more even playing field?


There is a 42% gap in having 1 or more risk factors for hindering school success between black students and white students.  These risk factors cited by experts are the following:

  1. Having a mother who has less than a high school education
  2. Living in a family on welfare or receiving food stamps
  3. Living in a single-parent family
  4. Having parents whose primary language is a language other than English

Source: US Department of Education NCES Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks


  1. Determine at home what risk factors apply to your child
  2. Determine at home what impact this has on him or her being able to enjoy learning
  3. Determine at home what information God has placed in your heart to teach a child
  4. Determine how your child feels about these risk factors and what resources in the community could help overcome this challenge
  5. Determine how others who are consistently around your child feel about the above ideas/options


Compare how you grew up and whether you faced any of the 4 risk factors as a child.  Looking back, in my home growing up, I did not have any of the above risk factors.  However, that was unusual in my neighborhood.  Most of the parents in my neighborhood seemed to marvel at the fact that my older parents really seemed to care about my educational opportunities.  After spending a summer in Baltimore visiting with relatives, I vividly recall telling one young parent how much fun I had.  She sadly looked at me and said, “Joanie, you just don’t know how lucky you are.  Your parents see to it that you get out of New York every single summer and see other places.  I am 22 years old, and I have NEVER been across the George Washington bridge.”  Those words ring in my ear as if it were only yesterday.  Whenever I cross a bridge, I see that pained look and I hear those haunting words echoing.  So I am sensitive to the fact that exposure to the risk factors is prevalent in many communities.  However, it is important that we realize, celebrate and appreciate that there are survival tactics that have enabled many to be successful and beat the odds and shame the naysayers.


In your opinion, what factors made you beat the odds?  Who helped U see a new life , a new possibility and a new dream for your life?  What did he or she tell you that made it believable in your mind’s eye?  How did it make you feel to know that he or she felt that way about you?  When did this happen for you and what made it stick in your mind?  Why do you think this worked for you?  Chances are the exposure to a mentor, a neighbor or concerned relative’s breath of life in your vision was a key ingredient to your current day success.  Isn’t it a great feeling to inspire another soul during your time on earth?


This month, why not call the kids in your immediate and extended family who have 1 or more risk factors? Breathe some more life into their vision.  “Anthony, what do you want to be when you grow up?”  Listen carefully.  A response of indecision or indifference may be a sign of acceptance of one’s status in life.  My two year old daughter taught me a valuable lesson.  Children are gifts from God.  They know what they are purposed to do.  They just don’t have the vocabulary to explain it.  When I jokingly asked what she wanted to be when she grew up.  The munchkin pointed to the sky and began to flap her wings.  Two years later at age four, she excitedly explains to me that she wants to be a pilot first and then an astronaut.  In fact, I actually learned who Bessie Coleman was by searching for an inspirational role model for my baby to see online photo images.  So I learned from my two year old’s motions that Bessie Coleman was the first black woman in the world to hold a pilot’s license in 1921.  This historical accomplishment also made her the first African American to hold a license.  She actually flew planes before the famous Tuskegee Airmen.

How about selecting a gift that will inspire a love of preparing and investing in a better future from  Of course the gift that I selected for my munchkin was the one of a kind Bessie Coleman Aviator Doll which we have in stock just in time for Black History Month.

Present your special gift with a written note of what you hope to inspire in the recipient.  I wrote a little note to my munchkin that expresses my confidence that regardless of what she ultimately chooses to pursue as a passion, she has our 100% love and support.


So yes the experts say that the risk factors can play a role in limiting the success of our children, but I believe that we can play a greater role in removing the barrier through our thoughts, our gift giving and our outreach to the little ones in our lives.  This series is intended to be a work in progress.  What I am doing as an individual, and what others are doing as well.  Together we can learn some new things and reinforce some things we already knew.  What do you think?  Can we work together?

The Achiever in Training(TM) and S.M.A.R.T curriculum are exclusive copywritten and proprietary programs developed by HBCU kidz, Inc.


For more statistics about this problem, please visit and click on “Resources.” To comment on this article, visit the HBCU kidz blog. To communicate with other concerned Black parents, please go to


For more information about the program or the limited edition gift collection visit The site contains information and ideas to proactively promote positive images for African American children and their families.


Contact Joan Gosier at 1-888-HBCU-kid.


HBCU kidz, Inc.


Do you have a divine parntership with God?

A Divine Partnership

Mon Jan 14, 2008

Have you ever been happy and felt proud for some wonderful
thing that happened that you predicted and helped to bring
about? Did you ever have anyone dampen your experience by
saying, “You didn’t do it, God did?”

When that happened to me, I felt terrible. One spring day
my friends were concerned about their washed-away road. The
entrance to their property had to be repaired in order for
them to offer winter workshops at their non-profit center.
I reassured them that donations would supply the needed

On a Sunday morning in October, a contractor my friends had
previously spoken to about the road unexpectedly knocked on
their door. He explained that he happened to be in the
neighborhood and thought he would stop by to give an
estimate, and to offer them the option of fixing the road
Monday or in a few months.

Miraculously, the much needed donation appeared that
evening. The next day the crew “paved the way” to the
center. The crackling sound of my tires rubbing against the
gravel was music to my ears. I was especially excited
because I had been instrumental in connecting the generous
donor with my friends.

A few weeks later, I was telling a male friend of mine,
“I’m more powerful than I had realized. I predicted that
the road would be repaired with donations in time for the
winter months, and it was.”

My bubble burst when my friend replied, “You didn’t do it,
God did.” However, I recovered as I thought about it and
said, “God alone couldn’t do it. It took my friends who own
the center, the donor, the contractor with his crew to
complete the project, and me. We were all important pieces
to the puzzle.”

It became very clear to me that God needed us as much as we
needed God. Working together as a team, we can accomplish
great things on this earth plane.

For example, I believe that God wants me to write this
article so that you can receive this message that you are
important in the design of things. In order for God to
reach you, He needs my body to sit in front of the
computer, my mind to put this article into literary form,
and my emotions to get excited about doing it. Together, we
make a great divine team.

Where does the issue of humility fit into all of this? I
still do feel humble because I know that my intuition and
creative ideas ultimately come from God.

Ironically, that night I received a phone call from a
friend who was reaching out to me for emotional support. As
I shared this new concept with her, she also felt relieved.
In the past she had been taught that she was nothing and
that God was everything. That negative, limited thinking
caused her to feel unworthy and unimportant.

Quite the contrary, I believe that we are all worthy and
very important. We are all co-creators of our lives. We are
truly in partnership with the all loving, all knowing
Divine energy in whatever form that takes for you.

So stand tall and proud and take credit for your
contributions on this planet. Remain humble and know that
God is always there to work with you and through you in a
divine partnership.

About the Author:

Copyright 2007 by Helene Rothschild, MS, MA, MFT, Marriage,
Family Therapist, speaker, and author of “ALL YOU NEED IS
HART! Create Love, Joy and Abundance~NOW. ” A Unique Guide
to Holistic And Rapid Transformation. She offers
international phone sessions, books, e-books, MP3 audios,
teleclasses, and a free MP3 Audio, “Healing Your Body,”
E-book, “Truths Set You Free,” and newsletter.
http://www.lovetope , 1-888-639-6390.


You have permission to publish this article electronically
or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are
included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be
appreciated – send to helene@lovetopeace. com.

Title: A Divine Partnership
Word Count: 558
Author: Helene Rothschild
Email: helene@lovetopeace. com
Category: Self-improvement/ motivation

Interview with Author Gwyneth Bolton – Read Between the Sheets

Thank you, Gwyneth for spending time to be interviewed on Read Between The Lines. Could you tell us how you got started writing and what you like best about your chosen genre?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But I didn’t always know I wanted to be a romance writer. It was only after I wrote and published a nonfiction book that I remembered that I used to have a dream to one day write a novel. It didn’t take me much longer to realize that my love for reading romance would turn into a love for writing them. I love so many things about the romance genre. I love handsome heroes and happily ever after the most though.

Please tell us about your latest release?

My latest release is Sweet Sensation. It’s a novel that melds my love of hip-hop with my love of romance. It’s the second book in my Hip-Hop Debutantes Trilogy that takes the classic “secret child” and “lovers reunited” story lines and gives them a hip-hop remix. At its core it is a pretty traditional romance story with lots of flavor, some spoken word and music. It also has a few steamy scenes and some intrigue thrown in for good measure.

 What is your favorite book/ and scene from one your books?

My favorite books of mine so far as If Only You Knew  and my forthcoming  Protect and Serve. And then there’s that scene in the dungeon between Kara and Darwu the Warrior Prince… I really loved that scene.( smile)

   Do your books tend to have an overall theme?

Not that I know of.

How would you describe your writing?

I just came up with the tagline “Sexy Romance With Urban Flair…” I like that a lot and really see my work, especially my contribution to the Cuffed by Candlelight  anthology and my Hightower Honors series fitting that tag. But I also think that my all my work is a mix of deep emotion, passion and dose of funny for good measure. I think my novels take readers through a wide range of emotions… a read you can feel.

 Which character in one of your books can you relate to and why?

Hmm… good question. I ‘d have to say that I probably have to say Alicia Taylor from I’m Gonna Make You Love Me and Penny Keys from my forthcoming novel Protect and Serve.  I think I relate to Alicia because of her attitude and drive. She’s the character that my husband always says, “That’s you. She reminds me of you.” And I relate to Penny because she comes from where I came from.

  If you could picture yourself having a wild affair with one of your characters which one would it be?

Hmm… That’s a hard one. I could teach that little young boy Darren Whitman in  I’m Gonna Make You Love Me  a thing or two. And I think I could tame those overbearing alpha men, Carlton Harrington III in  If Only You Knew  and Darwu the Warrior Prince in Divine Destiny. And it would be kind of interesting to see what that DEA Agent Lance King could do with those handcuffs of his… And Lord, what I wouldn’t do to get my hands on one of those Hightower men from my forthcoming Kimani Series Hightower Honors. Those men are, strong, fine, honorable, protective and did I say fine? Did you say pick one? Because I want them all…

 What’s your writing routine? Music? Candles?

Pulling out the laptop and letting it flow. I don’t do anything special like music or candles while I’m writing. But music does inspire me and get me in the mood to write. I’m feeling blocked I can sometimes play a certain song that makes me think of the character and then I can write again. For example the heroine in  The Law of Desire  is from Los Angeles and she has lost her brother and is on the run for her life. She ends up hiding in New Jersey. And for some reason Tupac songs inspire me to write her when I’m stuck. All I have to do is listen to “To Live and Die in LA” and “Pour Out Some Liquor” and I’m back in her feisty, tough-girl frame of mind.

 Who were some of your role models when you started writing?

I admired the work of lots of writers. I of course give the most credit to those early African American romance writers who paved the way: Sandra Kitt, Rochelle Alers, Gwynne Forster, Leslie Esdaile, Frances Ray, Angela Benson and Brenda Jackson. Seeing those first romance novels penned by black women about black women in the early nineties changed my life. At the time, it gave me something to read that I hadn’t had before. And know I realize that they planted the seeds or me to one day realize my own dream of writing these kinds of novels. They are trailblazers and I look up to them all.

 In your opinion, what is your definition of sensuality and how do you display this in your writing?

 Sensuality makes you feel sexy, not just sexual, although it can make you feel that too. It can arouse your sense of self and it can arouse you in a way that makes you desire some one else. In high levels, it can make you fan yourself as heat rises to your neck. It makes you feel. It’s about language and phrasing. But it’s also about images. It’s the way the characters talk to one another. What he says to her when he’s wooing her, putting his mack game down… It’s about her inner thoughts and wildest desires… I think that in order to best convey sensuality a writer has to tap into all of these things. Hopefully I do it in my novels…

Who are your must-read authors?

There are too many to name and I’m always adding to the list. It’s one of the perks… or drawbacks depending on how you look at it… of being a certified bookaholic. Here’s my short list: Brenda Jackson, L. A. Banks, Jennifer Crusie, Christine Feehan and Adrianne Byrd to name only a few…

What is the perfect get-away day for you?

Sitting with a stack of books and reading one after the other uninterrupted…

 Do you have a guilty pleasure? If so, what is it?

Reading. Reading romance novels. Reading erotic romance novels. Watching the soaps and the Food Network comes in a close second though. (smile)

 What are you currently working on?

The third and forth books in my Hightower Honors Series, The Law of Desire  and Sizzling Seduction. The series is billed as “HIGHTOWER HONORS Four brothers on a mission to protect, serve, and love….” The Hightower family has a legacy of public service and the men are usually either cops or firemen. These brothers have two of each, two cops and two firemen. The cop novels have a little intrigue, some drama and lots of passion. The firemen stories are hot, sexy courtship novels.

 What future releases do you have coming up?

PROTECT AND SERVE, Kimani Romance, July 2008


Police detective Jason Hightower is flooded with memories when Penny Keys comes home to New Jersey. After fifteen years, he still wants to understand why she loved, lied and left him. And he needs to know before she disappears from his life again….

 Penny came home for family reasons, not to face her difficult past… or the man she still loves. But Jason is determined to have answers, answers that it breaks her heart to give. And it seems that nothing will keep Jason from the truth this time. Or, hold him back from what he wants to protect and serve the most… their chance for a future together. 

MAKE IT HOT , Kimani Romance, September 2008


After a career-threatening injury, brooding firefighter Joel Hightower’s only hope of regaining his cherished livelihood is a sassy spitfire named Samantha Dash. As the by-the-book physical therapist helps Joel get ever closer to achieving his professional goals, Samantha also ignites a sensual spark in him that he finds impossible to ignore!

 THERE’S FIRESamantha is totally unprepared for the sizzling attraction that intensifies each time she is near “Tall, Dark and Surly” Hightower. As she helps Joel get better, their relationship goes way beyond patient and therapist. It flares into full blown passion. But when it threatens to end her career, Samantha must decide if a future as the partner of a risk-taking hero is really worth fighting for? 

THE LAW OF DESIRE, Kimani Romance, December 2008

 Blurb:GUILTY PLEASURESDecorated police detective Lawrence Hightower’s instincts click into high gear when a beautiful but suspicious stranger appears in his stakeout zone. Soon he realizes Minerva Jones is in danger and needs protection. He can’t trust her. But he can’t get this tough, feisty, stubborn siren out of his head.Desperate to keep a low profile, the last thing Minerva needs is a sexy cop getting too close for comfort. Not that she’s guilty of anything, except her own intense attraction to the too fine detective. But she’s got a few secrets, and trouble is closing in. Dare she surrender to the promise this sensual hero holds in his strong, protective embrace? SIZZLING SEDUCTION, Kimani Romance, October 2009

 What advice would you give to aspiring authors out there? 

Write everyday. Learn the publishing business. Watch out for predators. Read. Always work on writing a better novel than the last.

 To learn more about Author Gwyneth Bolton’s work, check out her website at:

Focus on Achievement-#2 of a Series of Discussions

Focus on Achievement-#2 in a Series of Discussions

By Joan E. Gosier, CEO of HBCU kidz, Inc.

Definition of GAP [a problem caused by some disparity]

Pronunciation: \gap\ Function: noun Science +Math +Artifacts of Culture +Reading +Test Taking Tips=Gap Closure

Last month, we began our Focus on Achievement discussion about the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the largely published gaps between black students and white students. We had a lot of feedback from people who would like to see racial comparisons disappear. There was also a great testimonial from a concerned aunt for her nieces and nephews who had indifferent fathers.

I have a testimony that I would like to share. I had on my list of things to do was to check in with my daughter at school and to check in on one of my out-of-state relatives. I certainly had a great half day eating lunch with my munchkin. It made me so proud observing her and her kindergarten classmates learning how to work and play basketball together in phys ed. As I watched them, I realized that a good education should be well-rounded. Those little munchkins gained so much confidence just by hearing the words “Way to go!, Try again!, You almost have it!, You can do it!, Now help someone to do it too!” This month, I also had a quick and inspiring discussion with the father of a 5-year-old cousin who confessed that “my long distanced phone call out of the blue” gave him confirmation in his soul to move forward on some thoughts. He plans to go ahead and enroll his child in a special after-school camp next week. He seemed to appreciate just knowing that someone else in the family shared an interest in seeing his son succeed in life.

So now before we get too caught up in the shopping sprees, we are ready to tackle our topic for the month of December. This month, we would like to begin our discussion on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam. The AP exam seems to be not as well known to many parents. So we will begin with a little background on what it is, why it is important and why would there be such a sizeable gap in the # of black students and white students opting to take this exam. Most importantly, we will conclude with action steps that we can specifically take to close this gap within our sphere of influence.

There is a 55% gap in AP exam sittings between black students and white students Source: US Department of Education NCES Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks

The Advanced Placement Program is a program that offers college level courses at high schools across the United States and Canada. The College Board is a non-profit organization that has offered the AP program since 1955. It is responsible for developing and maintaining college level courses in various subject areas.

1)According to the college board’s website, “the AP can change your life.” Through college-level AP courses, you enter a universe of knowledge that might otherwise remain unexplored in high school; through AP Exams, you have the opportunity to earn credit or advanced standing at most of the nation’s colleges and universities. The website that will provide the cost, deadlines and process for students to take AP examinations is here:

2) Have you compared the college cost savings from AP course acceptance lately?  The 2007 state fee for each exam is $84.00. However, there are various deductions that can reduce the final fee for needy to be $54 per exam! Each state has different programs to help out. Here is the link to look up your state: For example, if the cost for a single college-level course is $300.00. By successfully completing the requirements, a child can potentially save $246.00 per class. Those credits might enable the student to get a stronger start right into his or her major courses. As you can see, it truly is worth looking into and encouraging more college-bound black students to register and sit for the exam.

3) There is a lot on the plates of most high school seniors right now. Right this minute, there may be some kids in your immediate and extended family who need to have this information. Please don’t assume that they are on information overload and will not appreciate hearing from you. Why not check in with them to see if a college plan is already in place. You can be very helpful with just a simple inquiry, “Anthony, what year will you probably finish college?” Any child born in 2006 could be graduating from a 4-year undergraduate program in 2028. Sometimes, just hearing an outside family member?s voice of support and encouragement can make a big difference in someone?s life. “Anthony, are you aware that an acceptable AP exam score could potentially save you hundreds of dollars?” Although each school has its own policy and procedures, there is a link that shows you what scores each school will accept:

For example, according to Hampton University’s website, the institution grants credits for acceptable performance on the College Board administered Advanced Placement Examination. A minimum score of three (3) is required in all subject areas

4) You can select a unique gift that will inspire a love of preparing and investing in a college education. There is a list of ‘10 Things that Every Child Should Know About HBCUs’ located at Click on Family Resources . In addition to this top 10 list, it could also be fun to find out what information your child already knows about college/university life. College paraphernalia is a great way to get him or her thinking about and imagining the future.

There is a host of choices available for holiday delivery at Be sure to take a quick tour of the local college campus and point out the basic facilities. Visiting a college football game can be an experience in itself that could spark positive life changing memories.

5) Most importantly, have fun sharing and exploring with a young soul. The earlier, the better. This series is intended to be a work in progress. What I am doing as an individual, and what others are doing as well. Together we can learn some new things and reinforce some things we already knew. What do you think? Can we work together?

The Achiever in Training and S.M.A.R.T curriculum are exclusive copywritten and proprietary programs developed by HBCU kidz, Inc. For more statistics and academic resources please visit and click on “Resources.” To comment on this article, visit the “Blog”

To communicate with other concerned Black parents, please visit For more information about the program or the limited edition gift collection, visit

The site contains information and ideas to proactively promote positive images for African American children and their families. Contact Joan Gosier at 1-888-HBCU-kid. CONTACT: Joan E. Gosier 954-302-4540

Don’t Let a Setback or Disappointment Stop You.

Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.                                                                                                               Les Brown 

I was disappointed last week when Barack Obama didn’t win the New Hampshire primary. It became personal. I spent a lot of time on the phone and net with family, friends and other Obama supporters trying to figure out what went wrong. I was stressed. Meditating is my way to debunk the stress and to get answers from a Higher Source. I wasn’t finding peace from those stimulating conversations. Besides the campaign was just getting started and I needed to get grounded in my truths and not buy into all the combative energy of the campaign. Obama stated that the lost of the primary was more valuable at this time in the campaign, because it taught him that America was not going to hand him the nomination, he had to work for it. And that’s the truth. You have to work for whatever you desire.  As a writer, I have received many rejection letters and critical reviews of my work. I didn’t give up. I realized I had to work for it and not give up based on someone else’s perspective. I did what Les Brown said: Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead. I plowed ahead and I am now a published author.  Setbacks and hurdles are put in our path as lessons. They teach us strength, perseverance, concentration, self-improvement, and humility.  It’s not always about the outcome, but about the effort you put forth. Your job is to give it your best and leave the rest to God. For all those with goals and dreams put your head down and plow ahead.  

JJ Michael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Life is Never as It Seems, It’s Not Over Yet and the Path to Truth. She is also the editor of Path2truth ezine that promotes self-realization and world peace.  

The Evoloution of Luv

 luvme_front_web.jpgAhhh, to GET IT is a divinely magnificent feeling! To actually see it, touch it and to feel it is breathtaking. When situations occur we always ask why. Sometimes we want to know the answer, others…well, I’m sure you havefelt the same as I, so you know what I mean.

The post 6 Degrees of Seperation made me think about this. I wrote this in 2007, and it enforces the belief that this world keeps on turning and turning, and that we have to hang on.

In 2006 I posted a blog that detailed my feelings titled, Return To Sender. I was a bit more than aggravated that I wasn’t chosen for a position with the Post Office. My aggravation came from the fact that, and this is only MY belief, I wasn’t chosen because of a previous termination from a job over a bookmark, not soley on my job qualifications or experience.If I had gotten the JOB a part of my writing CAREER would be over.

I write short stories that fit the erotic genre. The advertising of these stories on a bookmark is what got me booted in the first place. Well, if I had gotten the JOB there would be no more stories in this genre again. No more submissions to see if I had what it took to run with the dogs that bark deep. Actually, I think all writers have bass, but that is another post coming soon to a blog near you:-)

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I have heard that being told no isn’t always a bad thing. Of course we all hate rejection, and hate to hear another door will open and the rest of the perfect clique’. Listening without responding can be bright gold – or is the in thing platinum? Whichever it is, it can work.

I submitted some short stories for inclusion in upcoming anthologies. I can bark deep now. My stories were accepted. Do you see what I see? If I was an employee of a certain agency I never would have taken a chance on this wonderful opportunity. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiit! Tell me no again!

One anthology is Zane’s , Succulent – Chocolate Flava ll, scheduled for release in February of 2008. Another is Ms. Kisha Green’s, A Mental Seduction, which is available now. The next, Zane’s Missionary No More: Purple Panties 2, which will be available in November of 2008. Then there is LuvMe, my very own collection of erotic shorts due February 2008.

I was upset of the impending loss of my job due to an erotic bookmark. No naked people on it, just words that made you want more. No one wanted more of those words then. Wrong submission. Can you imagine how I feel now?

Using some of those words has given me the opportunity to smell my career – to chew it and swallow it – to gain weight from it that doesn’t land on my thighs! This feels like validation, and that’s all we ever want. Somebody to say we matter. Somebody to say I luv you. Somebody to always care.

The word no seperated me from a JOB. The word no connected me to my career. My paychecks that keep my lights on and a roof over my head come from my position as a technical wrter. Somebody gave me a chance….saw potential that the bookmark didn’t list. There would have been no thought of Miss Luv’s Books, LuvMe – the book, or LuvMe – the fragrance if my mind was preoccupied with no. WOW

Am I rich monetarily rich now? Nope. Can I quit my job and live comfortably? Nope. I can take less stress filled breaths. That’s what I’ve been striving for. That’s what I can taste. That’s what I get. It is my IT. I haven’t stopped turning or progressing. You know ya gotta keep on pushin’.

Ahhhh, The Evolution of LUV is a beautiful thing, along with a a few degrees of being separated from no. 

Keep It SEXY

Everybody Needs A Little Luv – get some of your’s Wanda’s Way

A Black Girl’s Story

Do you believe in the 6 degrees of separation?


Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person he or she knows and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is an average of six “steps” away from each person on Earth.

Several studies, such as Milgram’s small world experiment, have been conducted to empirically measure this connectedness. While the exact number of links between people differs depending on the population measured, it is generally found to be relatively small. Hence, six degrees of separation is somewhat synonymous with the idea of the “small world” phenomenon.

 Do you believe in the 6 degrees of separation?

I totally believe in the concept!

I was at the Harlem Book Fair in Summer 2007.  In the midst of promoting authors JJ Michael and Anita Ballard-Jones, I saw a gentleman carrying a video camera shooting the authors of the book fair.  When he came close enough I asked him to please videotape the authors at my table. Well, he politely brushed me off at that time. Later on he came by the table and shot the authors on tape. At the time I was really excited and wondered how would we see the footage back home in MD. The camera man disappeared into the crowd before I could ask him any questions.

Here it is Jan. 2008 and the camera man is now one of my new business partners! By meeting 3 other people who are actually his closest friends, I was not only able to meet him and  to become close friends.  Also to partner with him on a number of special ventures! Small World, huh?! 

That is exactly why I think we should be really carefully of how we treat the people we pass by each day. You never know how you may come into contact with that person again! That person might just be the person who will impact your life in the future….let’s just hope in a positive way, based on the outcome of  your initial meeting. I was later given a CD that this gentleman produced and it has footage with my authors on it!

 So, have you ever met someone in a strange way and it turned around being one of those “small world” experiences?