Excerpt: True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks

True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
 
Introduction: True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
Twenty-eight year old Kennedy Logan is gorgeous, educated, talented, and in love. Unfortunately, Drake Collins has other ideas about the true state of their relationship. Kennedy hopes to turn him around; Drake just wants to turn her out sexually. Kennedy is also searching for her biological mother, who gave her up at birth. She wants answers and she has tons of questions. The enormous weight of these predicaments leads to a failed suicide attempt.
Her overprotective and overbearing mother, Dorothy Logan, moves in with Kennedy and makes it her mission to get her daughter’s life back in order. The first step is getting rid of Drake Collins once and for all, but that’s easier said than done. Drake has no intentions of going anywhere. Kennedy’s ever loyal and fun-loving best friend, Taylor, and her absentee father join forces to help support Kennedy in her time of need.
At her psychiatrist’s advice, Kennedy uses writing as her therapy. She starts to keep a daily journal detailing the erotic circumstances and family drama that led up to her despair. Through very personal, funny, and graphic entries, readers will share her confessions. Brace yourselves for a very steamy journey!
                 
Prologue True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
 My reality is surreal and happens in super, slow motion. A nervous giggle escapes my chapped, dry and parched lips. I lick them to restore moisture. Then, there is utter, deadly silence. If I listen closely, I can hear my heartbeat beating away at an accelerated pace. My senses are heightened and I marvel over the brilliant, bold colors of my bedroom as I inhale my favorite fragrances, from their spot on my antique dresser, colliding into one another with their potent allure. Even my sense of touch is different somehow. Everything is magnified to the nth degree. It’s like I’m looking down at myself from a huge movie screen with surround sound as I ready myself for the big finale—the final shot and then fade to black.
 
I’ve never been good at saying goodbye, even on short, weekend trips. I keep the handwritten note short and sweet and pray to God that mother will understand, and hopefully, one day, forgive me.
I don’t mean to hurt her or cause her any fresh pain. I sincerely don’t. I hope she understands that this isn’t her fault, that I love her with all my heart and being. No matter what, that fact will never change. I’m so thankful and forever grateful that she chose me to be her daughter out of all the orphaned babies in the world. She chose me. I told myself over and over again that that made me special. I needed to feel special instead of unwanted and discarded.
I’ll miss mother the most, but the hurt I feel inside is too unbearable and indescribable. It is too painful for me to continue, day in and day out, with just a hollow emptiness that erodes and corrupts any happiness that briefly surfaces. The dawn of each new day only brings me more heartache and renewed memories. Some memories are like leeches. They latch on for dear life and slowly, ever so slowly, suck and drain all the blood, all the living out of you. You are left with just a shell of the old you and that’s no way to survive. Not for me, anyway.
When they find me, I want it to look like I’m sleeping, peacefully. Just like Sleeping Beauty who only needed a handsome prince to kiss her and awaken her from the darkness that engulfed her. However, for me, there won’t be a handsome, charming prince to wake me, save me, and ride off into eternity. All my so-called princes were monsters in disguise with their own hidden agendas that attempted to crush and stamp out my self-esteem. Yes, just blessed sleep awaits me.
I chose pills. I couldn’t subject mother to a messy, bloody scene that comes with slitting one’s wrists or shooting one’s self. I refuse to take my final breath with that heavy on my heart. I don’t think my heart could handle anything else weighing against it. As it is, I feel like I have three hundred pounds weighing me down. Crushing the life out of me.
 
As I settle myself comfortably on my queen-size bed, slowly pull the red, satin comforter up to my chin and stare at the full bottle of prescription pills carefully nestled in my right hand, I can’t imagine not waking up in the morning.
 
What will it be like to not see the rising sun? To not hear my alarm clock going off announcing it’s time to get ready for another day of work? Not hitting snooze to give myself another fifteen minutes? Not rushing to finish my morning rituals before I dash out the door and into rush-hour traffic? What will that feel like?
 
More important to me now, though, is will it hurt? I hope not. I have never been able to tolerate too much pain, physical, mental or emotional. Yet, that’s what Drake has caused me for the last year of my life. Pain. Intolerable suffering.
 
 I only wanted to love him and for him to love me in return. Simple enough. Was that asking too much? My part of the equation was accomplished, effortless. Drake claimed he loved me, but he really didn’t. Probably never could. Didn’t know how to love or receive it. After what happened last week, I know he didn’t. Yet, I gave him everything: my heart, my body, my soul. Now, I have nothing left to give myself. I’m empty inside.
 
As tears slowly flood my weary eyes and blur my vision, I look around my cozy bedroom for the last time. Ever. It used to be one of my favorite rooms in my small two bedroom, one bath apartment. There was nothing better than lighting several fragrant candles, drinking a little white wine and cozying up with a good romance novel. Yes, that was heaven. Simple things excite me. Always have. Watching a sunrise or sunset, waking up to birds chirping in the treetops, walking hand in hand through the park with the one I love, all these things brought me great joy.
 
Mother will have to understand. I left her a note, propped up on the nightstand, in full view, that explains how much I love her and daddy. What will she think when she can’t reach me tonight? I would love to hear her soothing, loving voice one last time. Yet, I know I wouldn’t be able to go through with my plan if I did. I’d give away my intentions over the phone or mother would pick up on my foul mood and that would be that. I’d wake up another day with this aching, dull pain inside, tearing me apart, bit-by-bit. Pain that dulls and diminishes every ounce of my strength, all the way down to my pores.
 
Drake Collins. His name leaves a bitter taste on my tongue. Just the thought of him brings bile to the back of my throat. I will forever regret the day I met that man. If I could turn back the hands of time, do it all over again, I would have called in sick that day or run for the hills. I was just fine with my life the way it was. Sure, it wasn’t exciting or glamorous, but it was enough for me. Drake came with the charm, movie star looks, glitz and high drama and reeled me right in like a bass caught at sea. I gladly jumped into his net.
 
I say a silent prayer of forgiveness as I place one, then two colorful pills on my tongue and swallow dry. I didn’t think of getting a glass of water. I can’t think. The lump in my throat quickly diminishes. There’s no turning back now. Just like there was no turning back when Drake turned me out. The countdown begins.  Ten, nine, eight. . . I’ve lived a happy life. I have tons of good memories. I’ve treated others the way I wanted to be treated.
 
I hope this happens quickly. I steadfastly place three, four pills on my tongue and swallow again. Hot tears start to spill forth and stream down my cheeks as I realize the final result of my actions. Seven, six, five. . . It’s for the best. I need to stop the pain. Will he even miss me? Or will he just move on to his next victim? Will all this be in vain?
 
I guess I’ll never have that family now. The one I used to daydream and write about in my journal. The family with the almost perfect mommy and daddy and two kids, a boy and girl. The boy would be the oldest, and he’d look out for and protect his younger sister. They’d have cute, adorable names and they’d know they were wanted and loved and cherished by their parents. They’d never feel unwanted.
 
Four, three. . . I swallow a handful of pills this time. I’ve lost count as to how many I’ve digested. As spittle escapes from my mouth, I gag. I wipe the overflow away with the back of my hand and keep right on shoving pills in my mouth until the orange-brown medicine bottle is empty. I look inside, in awe, shake the bottle, and can’t believe the pills are gone so quickly. Just like the illusion of love. If you blink, you’ll miss it.
 
I wonder if Drake even realizes how much I loved him? Now, I wait for blessed relief and peace to take away my hurt and pain. I’m so tired. Tired of loving the wrong men. Tired of giving my all, coming up empty, and getting absolutely nothing back in return. Good sex isn’t the end all to everything. Drake taught me that lesson.
Two, one. . . It won’t be long now. I faintly smile and lay back against my down pillow.
I welcome peace. In my mind, I start silently repeating Psalms 23. I shall walk through the valley of death; I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me. I’m so sleepy. I can barely keep my eyes open. I can feel myself giving in to the fog that slowly invades my mind. Maybe if I close my eyes for a few moments. Yeah, just rest them for a few minutes without seeing Drake’s face behind my heavy eyelids.
 
Suddenly, I feel lightheaded, like I’m floating on a big, fluffy white cloud, bouncing up and down, giddy with not a care in the world. This is a different sensation that I literally reach out my right hand to embrace and never let go of. Not a care in the world. Nothing matters but blessed, uneventful sleep. I close my tired, weary eyes as the countdown ends. Fade to black.
###
True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
ISBN-10: 1601622392
ISBN-13: 978-1601622396
Purchase from Amazon.com
 
 
Purchase from Barnes & Noble.com
© 2010 All rights reserved. Book Excerpt Reprinted by Permission of Electa Rome Parks, author. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author’s website if you really like this sample from True Confessions.
About the Author
Electa Rome Parks lives outside Atlanta, Georgia and is the best-selling author of six acclaimed novels, The Ties That Bind, Loose Ends, Almost Doesn’t Count, Ladies’ Night Out, These Are My Confessions (anthology) and Diary of a Stalker. Dubbed a “book club favorite,” avid readers have embraced Electa’s true to life characters that tackle prevalent and heavy hitting issues that take them on an emotional roller coaster.
The self-proclaimed Queen of Real, Electa has been a frequent guest on radio shows, nominated for many industry awards and interviewed by numerous newspapers and national magazines. Electa is currently following her passion and working on her next novel and first screenplay.
 
 
Connect with Electa Rome Parks online at:

Intimate Conversation with author Rachel Berry

 

Intimate Conversation with author Rachel Berry
 

Author Rachel Berry grew up in Newark, East Orange, and Orange, NJ. She is a wife, proud mother of four adults, grandmother of two gorgeous girls, a published author and poet, motivational speaker, radio talk show host, columnist for SORMAG and community leader.  As founder and president of a social group, this artist juggles a full schedule. “Black Pearls United INC” (an African American sister-circle) was founded in 2000.

Rachel is an alumni of Toastmasters International where she served as Sergeant at Arms, earned her CTM and Toastmaster of The Year award. Rachel’s book ‘Family Pictures’ made the EDC Creations 2009 best books list and she is an AFLA 2010 nominee. Mrs. Berry’s speaking engagements include ILMW (The International League Of Muslim Women), Hampton Social Services, Heritage Elementary School, Healthy Family Partnership, The Red Hat Society, Norfolk Methodist Church, Sixth House and Everest College to name a few.

Rachel puts family first and enjoys life in Virginia. When she’s not writing, she also enjoys reading, dining out, traveling, and watching movies. She accredits her gain in blessings and achievements to her relationship and guidance from her creator, association with great women, positive family members, loyal friends, the upbringing of an amazing woman-her mother, and the support and love of her husband and children.

BPM: Rachel, introduce us to your book, A Slip In The Right Direction, and the main characters.
RB: A Slip In The Right Direction – The Clifton Henderson series is a coming-of-age book written especially for tween and teen boys. The story takes place in Chicago and speaks to you through the eyes of 14 year-old Clifton Henderson aka Slip. Slip isn’t happy about his recent move, or having to start all over in a new school, and make new friends.

Also, a crush on a schoolmate who in the beginning doesn’t notice him, the yearning for his father’s approval as a young man, sibling rivalry, the gift of premonition, and a certain mysterious neighbor, all add color to his daily life. However, things really heat up for this young man when he’s kidnapped by gang members and his home training and family values are tested. Slip’s parents are Evelyn and Morris Henderson, and they too find themselves dealing with a few familiar challenges of their own as a couple, parents, dealing with career changes, and personal struggles.

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
RB: I wrote this book because I want young men to have more available to read than just sports, comics, and SCI FI. I want young men to read and rise above the stigma that they don’t. I want our young boys to have someone to relate to that’s going through some of the things they’re experiencing and to know good guys have a life too and it’s alright to have values and principles. And, I want young ladies to understand some of the things young men go through.

BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
RB: One major event that takes place is when Slip is kidnapped by gang members and unwillingly becomes involved with a robbery. Since he has been raised with family values he knows stealing and robbery is wrong. But when he finds himself in a good place at a bad time, he does what he believes is in the best interest of the people being robbed and goes along with the robbery as if he’s a willing participant. Once he’s alone and in the company of this bad influence he experiences what so many youth find happens to them, he begins to question his home training.

Also another ongoing event or more of a growing revelation throughout the story is the relationship and challenges that Slip’s parents discover, face, and eventually resolve. The father is very strict and believes his wife babies their son, yet he spends very little time with him because he’s trying to make money for the family. The mother is unhappy having given up her career for the move and has become a housewife looking for fulfillment. However, I’m proud that both situations provide enlightenment and growth for Slip, his parents, and other people around them.

BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
RB: Slip is definitely my favorite because we get to see him grow. We watch him go through some of the natural occurrences of young manhood and also see him help others. I like the fact too that through him we get to witness how our young people sometimes see, feel, and experience their family life. I also like Zena, the object of his puppy love: she’s a feisty character like many young ladies her age. Evelyn Henderson I think surely portrays the thread of her family, I like her spirit. And yes, I think these characters portray people most of us are familiar with in one way or another.

BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
RB: Well this is a coming-of-age story so I wanted to address a few things 14 year-old boys go through at that age. Things like: first kiss and puppy love, sibling rivalry, wanting to be heard, recognized and understood: in this case Slip wants all this from his dad. The story also briefly addresses and without being preachy the importance of staying a virgin until married, the perils of bad association, drinking, and smoking. Also, I show how family issues affect our children whether they speak on it or not. As parents we can’t be with our children all the time and there are times our kids are faced with tough people and touch choices, but if we raise them right most of the time then can prevail over them. This story shows that and also shows how we as parents have growing to do as well.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject? Share a few of your reviews.
RB: My story is different because I chose to write it from a child’s point of view and simply show realistically that as parents and a family unit that we all have growing to do. I also feel my story is different because it also shows that while a two parent home is best for a child, providing is not all there is.

A child needs a parent’s attention and time as well. Then, to add entertainment and excitement for the young curious mind I gave Slip the whimsical gift of premonition, an asset that adds a bit of mystery to his life almost as much as his quest to discover who his mysterious neighbor is. So you have a mixture of real life issues and discoveries, sprinkled with a little mystery and suspense. I’ve also included 10 workbook questions at the end of the book to query the reader about what they got from the story and to address some things going on in their own life. Also, as a poet I wanted to entertain the reader in another way and did the synopsis poetically and included another poem at the end.

Early reviews for Young Adult Novella: A Slip In the Right Direction
 “A Slip In The Right Direction speaks to an all too familiar reality of America’s Black and Brown folk who are in a day-today struggle to survive.”
—Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam and Founder of The Bandana Republic

 “…Thought provoking and well written. Young readers will be texting their friends about the book and eagerly awaiting the sequel.”
—-Brian W. Smith, bestselling author of the novel BEATER

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer? Who are your mentors?
RB: I believe my power comes from the love of people and getting to know the “human condition.” I care about people, who they are, and why they do what they do, what motivates and drives them. I try to relay what I learn through my characters. My greatest mentor is my mother. Even now as a senior citizen she’s teaching me and showing me about how the twilight years of ones life can be. But seasoned writers like Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, J California Cooper and Zora Neale Hurston are on my list of admired wordsmiths. But trust me, that list is extended by a lot of new artists too, too long to list here.

BPM:   A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence:  My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… 
RB:  My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… write from your heart & soul, believe in yourself, and your message will touch the heart & soul of others.
 
BPM:  Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.   
RB:  I am working on a few things which include two adult novels. How Easy We Forget which is the story of a bored housewife and mother who goes outside her family looking for gratification and brings back serious problems for herself and family, but ultimately learns the lesson of being thankful for what you have or you can lose it. Also another family saga, Between The Tears And The Laughter, which takes place in Louisiana and is about the squabbles, lives, loves, and lessons of five siblings and how they gain insight into the real relation and secrets between their parents.
Also, I’m working on another chapbook of short stories and poetry entitled, It Just Ran Across My Mind. The Clifton Henderson series also continues next year with part 2 – A Stranger Called Me. This time Slip is about 16 in this story, now he’s got the girl, he’s a little cockier, a bit wiser, very popular, and just like his family and friends sometimes he doesn’t recognize who he has become or his own actions. His gift of premonition has increased and he’s weighed down with the knowledge of what to do about his neighbor who is no longer a mystery.
 
BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact information.
RB:  I can be reached at my cyber home which is  http://www.rachelberry.webs.com/  and upcoming a home for Slip and his readers at: http://www.thecliftonhendersonseries.com/blog.   I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached at: rachelwrites2@yahoo.com
 

Book Excerpt: One Who Loves You More by Andrea Clinton



Life Knows No Bounds: One Who Loves You More by Andrea Clinton
• Alisa is a money grubbing gold digger who sashays through her days wearing this title like a tiara. Feeling life’s all about the expensive gifts and money a man can give her, Alisa follows the steps of her mentor and basks in the glory of using men, until she stumbles upon Omar.



Omar is an African American Muslim trying to fight his demons and find his way back to the Islamic life he knew as a child. Distraught over disagreements that divided the Muslim community a decade prior, where many Muslims became victim to inner city chaos, Omar became a product of his environment and is at the head of that chaos.
Tired of hearing her mother rant and rave about her gold digging ways, Alisa decides to take her great grandmother’s advice, “Always get a man who loves you more than you love him.”   Stumbling upon Omar in his brand new Cadillac, Alisa decides to make him her man, or rather, her victim, or will the tables turn?   Hell erupts, splatters like geysers, while skeletons and bones fly out closets in, Life Knows No Bounds, “1 Who Luvs U More.”



Andrea Clinton: What Impact will this book have my readers? Readers will learn about a very overlooked profession on the rise, “Gold Digging.”  They’ll get to see that there’s more than what meets the eye when women toy with men’s emotions and  use them for their hard earned money.



Excerpt from  1 Who Luvs U More
My Plight: Some would say I was ungrateful, and I guess to a degree I was. But more than ungrateful, I was blind, too blind to see straight. Even now I can’t see what it is I should’ve done. I just know what I shouldn’t have done. And I know I wasn’t happy. I was unhappy with myself, with what was going on, and it was the unhappiness that drove me. It drove me to do things, drove me to where I am today, nowhere, with no one. Just sitting here playing the song, I know how it feels to be lonely by Morgana King, in my head, over and over and over again.



I was a mental-mess, and I mucked things up really bad, and now they can’t be fixed. Forgive me if my story’s scrambled, but how else can I tell it when my mind is scrambled. So, when my story sounds twisted, shaky, and unclear at times, just know, so is my mind. Why else would I be sitting here talking to a Greek statue of a white woman with cellulite thighs, barely any clothing and no pupils?  Yes, I’m really messed up in the head, and my nerves are shot. But that’s how it is when you see yourself as a casualty, and the world deems you the antagonist.   ###




RAWSISTAZ Book Review — 4 Stars
“Life Knows No Bounds: 1 Who Loves You More,”  Andrea Clinton’s first installment in the LIFE KNOWS NO BOUNDS chronicles, is a harsh realistic portrayal of urban love and life in mid-1980’s New Jersey. Alisa, a boastful, self-proclaimed gold-digger, finds herself lost in a world of love and conflict as she tries and fails to apply her great-grandmother’s wisdom to her complicated love life.



Alisa is well known in her hood for her selfish, gold-digging ways. Despite aggressive warnings from her family, she has mastered the game of getting a man for everything he has and gracefully moving on to the next. But when she hooks up with Omar, she soon realizes that she has entered into a game that she is ill-equipped to play.



Omar, a young, sexy hustler from around the way, knows what it takes to get Alisa’s attention. He uses his flashy car and genteel manners to lure her in, but he has so much more in store for her. They start a tumultuous love affair that’s riddled with gun fights, jealousy, expensive gifts, explosive arguments, and Alisa’s spoiled rotten attitude. When Alisa’s antics push Omar to the limit as he struggles with the conflict of his religion and his love for her, the future of their relationship is gravely threatened.  “Always get a man who loves you more than you love him”, the powerful last words of her dying great-grandmother which Alisa vowed to follow. When she finally understands the meaning of those words, it may be too late, as she comes dangerously close to losing what she fought so hard to gain.



With Life Knows No Bounds: 1 Who Loves You More, Andrea Clinton has created a dynamic urban love story, decorated with realistic dialogue and hard-hitting pragmatism. The story was compelling and the characters were vibrant. Although Alisa was a spoiled brat with an ugly attitude, I found her to be relatable and worthy of my empathy. I felt Alisa’s and Omar’s struggle until the very end and found myself routing for them despite their flaws and troublesome relationship. Life is no fairytale and Clinton has colorfully portrayed that truth through this novel.  I was able to thoroughly enjoy the read. I recommend this novel for those looking for an explosive urban love story with a realistic perspective. — Reviewed by Guest Reviewer Monique D. Mensah, The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers




Author Andrea Clinton




About The Author:
Andrea Clinton is a novelist, poet and essayist, and aspiring screenwriter/filmmaker. As a Montclair State University graduate, she posses’ a degree in English, Film and Journalism. She’s the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization, People Helping People; worked as Editor in Chief of AMISTAD newspaper, New Jersey; and is presently working on a biography and screenplay featuring the life of her uncle George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic and the Clinton family.  Visit with Andrea at the Around-The-Way Publishing, LLC website: http://www.aroundthewaypublishing.com/.  To request a complimentary review copy and press kit, or to purchase copies for resale, call: (973) 280-2729. Tear sheets may be sent by email: AroundTheWayPub@aol.com.   ISBN-10: 0981837638



Brought to you by EDC Creations and Black Pearls Magazine. Visit the magazine here: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/


 


 




 

The Ministry of Motherhood

CLD_MinistryMotherhood high res Meet Cheryl Lacey Donovan

Cheryl Donovan is a native Houstonian who is walking in her destiny as she ministers the word of God all over the country. Her captivating messages are delivered in a no nonsense transparent dialogue with her audiences.

Cheryl believes in the Psalms 11:25 which says, She who refreshes others will herself be refreshed; therefore, she tries to be transparent as she speaks and writes about her valley to mountain experiences.

 Cheryl resides in Houston with her husband of 16 years. She has two grown sons and a step-daughter who has a son of her own.

To learn more about Cheryl or to have her speak at your next event visit http://www.cheryllaceydonovan.com

About the Book

In a time when teen pregnancy is on the rise once more and single mothers are being blamed for all of societies problems, Cheryl Lacey Donovan presents a view of single motherhood that tears down all the excuses for why single mother’s can’t succeed.

Cheryl Donovan shares her valuable insight into the spiritual and biblical principles associated with being a good mother.

A former single mother herself, Cheryl shows readers that through the abundance of God’s grace and love along with determination and perseverance, children don’t have to become statistics.

Cheryl identifies key biblical principles and displays practical life lessons that can help to establish solid foundations upon which to rear happy, well rounded, productive children.

Cheryl provides insight the will assist the reader to look inside themselves for change. It will help them identify the strongholds of poverty, lack of education, and abusive relationships and help them tear them down with the help of the creator.

Cheryl’s powerful testimony about her journey from teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and single parenting, to award winning author, educator, and inspirational speaker is sure to empower, enlighten, and inspire mothers everywhere.

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Create a safe Loving Home Environment

Psalms 133: 1-3 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

 Kids who don’t feel safe will suffer. Children exposed to parents who fight and argue may become depressed and withdrawn. Remember to respect your kids.

 Unity in the home is called precious and a blessing. Too many outside commitments can lead to little time spent with your children. A family cannot experience wholeness until each member is willing to put the other first.

 Though many life situations are beyond our control, parents can still establish homes that are peaceful and secure. Start by rejoicing in the accomplishments of others. Encourage your children to voice honest doubts and real struggles. A consistent walk with God, established routines, clearly communicated boundaries, and traditions when consistently applied create homes that are free of volatility. Such homes become retreats; safe places of comfort and renewal.

 Our families can be a powerful witness to others for good. We can either point to God or away from Him. When our homes are havens for peace and respect for one another, people take notice.

 Make your home a place where disagreements are fair, different opinions are respected, and words are loving.

 Who is the power behind your family? What do people see when they look at your family? What traits do you admire about other families? How can you incorporate those traits into your family? What positive aspects are being built into your own family?

 Cheryl Lacey Donovan is the author of The Ministry of Motherhood. Order your copy today. She is also the founder and chief visionary officer of Worth More Than Rubies Ministries. To learn more click here

My Blessings to You in 2009

shelia-021Hello my dear friends, my sons, my grandsons, godchildren and loved ones! First, let me give thanks and praise to God for each of you, for your help, your support, your love, your concern, your prayers, thoughts and dedication to me. Many things I have taken on in 2008 would not and could not have been done without your help and commitment toward me, and your belief in the dreams and talents God has placed in my heart.

It is my prayer that as God leads us into a new beginning, with the first of many blessings, starting with President Barack Obama and the First family, that we will make many more strides, and the first steps that we take into the new year will lead to marvelous and great things. It is my earnest prayer that God’s blessings and His unmerited favor will overflow in our lives,in our careers, in the desires of our hearts, in the lives of our families and loved ones. I pray that those blessings will run us down and overtake us like a mighty rushing wind!

All that we have been through in 2008 has made us who we are today. I’m sure many of us didn’t think we’d even be here. I’m certain we each faced our own personal strugles, obstacles, trials, and storms of life. Some which seemed torn beyond repair – yet God is faithful. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. God’s word says in Isaiah 65:24 “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Just think about that and meditate on how powerful God’s words are.
In 2009, let us seek God first and set our sights on things above. Let us obey his commandments. If we fully obey what God directs us to do, He promises that we will be the head and not the tail, that we will be blessed going in and going out; that our offspring will be blessed. He says, that enemies which come at us one way, will depart from our presence in seven ways! God promises we will be above and not beneath; that we will be lenders and not borrowers…”

Let us move forward in 2009 with great expectancy. Let us declare life and not death; and most of all let us do all that will honour, glorify, magnify and praise God!

I love you all so much (But God really does love you more!)

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www.authorsden.com/shelialipsey
www.amazon.com
www.uchisglorybookclub.net
www.blackauthorsnetwork.com

My Page In History

shelia06I cannot explain the thrill of victory that I’m experiencing inside. A new day has arrived and history beyond my finite comprehension has and is being made. President Barack Obama! I’m not calling him President-Elect.

 He is President Barack Obama. Wow, what an amazing feeling. The First African American First Family. To describe the depth of this tremendous day, election, event, and historical moment in time, there are no mere words worthy to say but, Yes God Can.

Yes God Can should ring from hear on out, over every mountaintop, and every valley low. Yes God Can should ring from the hillsides to the hood, from the ghetto to the neighborhood of MTV Cribs. Not only African American children, but all children who have felt that reaching and achieving great things in life isn’t possible – now look at how the impossible just became possible!! To adults, young and old, who have all but given up on accomplishing their dreams, no matter how big or small. If it’s important to you, and it brings positive value to you, then it is worth saying “Yes God Can.”

For me, It’s Yes God Can to our people, to my people to all of those who have dreams but have come up on rough times. Hold on and don’t give up. God desires for His people to live abundant lives. He desires for us to do more than strive, God wants us to thrive.
There are times when life gets hard, the struggles get rough, the dream seems impossible, the way seems like we’ve reached a dead end. But if we place our trust in God, then His word does prevail. I am a living witness of that.

There is a blog I recently read by author, Iris Celeste. I didn’t send her a comment on it at the time because reading it made memories of what happened to me some eleven years ago resurface. It talked about the tragic death of someone she loved. Her story, believe me, is identical to mine. I became dead, lifeless, a zombie with no hope when my fiance was brutally murdered back in 1997. In the year 1999 the words I had posted in a journal came forth and transformed into my first self published book novel titled, Always, Now and Forever, which was released in 2000. That novel, though I wasn’t an experienced writer at the time, renewed me and brought me back to life again. It revealed my true purpose in life. Much like Iris, I realized that I was destined to be a writer. Two years later in 2002 I published a nonfiction book called A Christian’s Perspective -Journey Through Grief which provided further healing for me. I use it now to minister to others. In 2005 I was signed by a traditional publisher and have since published three novels with several more in the works.

I never knew from all of the pain, the heartache, the tears, the downfalls, and the spiritual battles, that I would one day make my own page in history, but God ordained that it would be so. No, I may not end up on the pages of history like the wonderful, oh so eloquent, people oriented, sincere and trustworthy man like our new President Barack Obama, who I am so extremely proud of and grateful to God for. But I have my own pages in history because the words God has placed in my spirit to write in books will never die. Somewhere, after I am long gone from this earth, I know there will be someone who will pick up a novel and the author’s name will be, Shelia E. Lipsey.

Are dreams possible? Yes. Is the impossible attainable? Yes. Can greatness be birthed from adversity? Yes. Go forth now with the sincere belief in your dreams and your purpose in life by remembering, Yes God Can!

Happy Holidays from EDC

 


Happy Holidays!


EDC Creations, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network announced the launch of their 2008-2009 Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign, bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy. In 2004, during the Christmas holidays, Ella Curry, the founder of EDC Creations, reached out to women’s groups and literary organizations to help promote early literacy by giving new books to children from low income homes. Today, the “Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign,” seeks to expand even further by giving the Gift of Knowledge daily!


Based on the “each one teach one model” our goal is to help people introduce reading and new books to their family and friends. Instead of giving expensive gifts that don’t shape lives—-let’s “Give the Gift of Knowledge” and help to strengthen our future generations!


Each year thousands of people — educators, concerned parents, community leaders, authors, poets and publishers — devote their time and resources to presenting the reader with great books! However, too many outstanding books do not get the attention and reader support that they deserve. It is our mission to connect readers with these hidden gems and bring them books that will change their lives.


Each week EDC Creations will sponsor bookclub chats, live readings from authors, podcast presentations, seminars, community relations discussions, and radio shows that deliver the best our writers have to offer. All we ask is that the readers of the world spread the word. Please share this email with 10 people in your network.


 
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EDC Creations has a new eMagazine  that we would like you to check out. This holiday season Give the Gift of Knowledge. Send a love one a book that could change their lives! Enter the special magazine by clicking here.


Give the Gift of Knowledge. Want to make a difference in someone else’s life this holiday season? Donate an a book to a child, senior or your co-workers for the holidays. EDC Creations has brought the best in today’s literature in our new magazine. Explore new book releases, audio book previews, poems, short stories and written interviews with bookclubs and community leaders by following our EDC Creations eMagazine Blog.  Click here to enter magazine



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EDC Creations 2009 Literary Weekends
It is our mission to help new authors gain exposure for their books. In the New Year, we will host weekly workshops and live readings in DC area hotels. Each session will be videotaped by Botts & Associates, there will be a theme for most genres and refreshments will be served. Please follow our blog closely to find out all the details. If you are an author or bookclub in the Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and East Coast area, reach out to us to be included in these weekly presentations. Please follow our blog closely to find out all the details.


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Holiday Book Promotions
For the month of November only, EDC Creations is offering full promotions on the main EDC Creations site and the new EDC eMagazine  for $75.00. That’s right, you can advertise on either site, on the page you select for $75.00.


However, there will only be 5 books showcased on the front pages, these are based on first come, first served basis. We are offering our eblast services for $75.00 as well. All EDC Creations advertisements are $75.00 for November. Email Ella to get started promoting your book today: elladcurry@edc-creations.com



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Every Author Needs a Website–A Control Center
MySpace is a good social network for promoting your books. It is not like having your own control center, a virtual office if you will, authors need websites. If you want to appear industry savvy and to be taken seriously in your efforts, you need a place to represent you and your books in style! EDC Creations will start offering free consulations on this subject.


In order to help new authors represent themselves in the best light, EDC Creations will now offer starter websites for $399.00, complete with the bells and whistles. Contact Ella today to start your new year off right! We will only create 5 sites per month. If you would like a new website before the new year arrives, email Ella today.


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The Black Authors Network Talk Show is looking for authors and poets to read Christmas, Kwanzaa and holiday material on the radio show. If you would like to write a short story or poem to be read on air, please email Ella Curry, the producer at: elladcurry@edc-creations.com.  Each night in December 2008, we will host a speaker reading their work live! This is a community celebration, you are all welcome to create something special and give it as a gift to the world. We would also like to host children reading their poems too!


Black Authors Network Talk Show
www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network
Meet us at:  8pm-10pm EST  Mon., Wed., and Friday nights
Authors dial-in number:  (646) 200-0402


Chat live with the guests in our chat room during the show
www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network



Warmest regards,


Ella Curry, President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder
A Good Book-Marketing Director
Xpress Yourself Publishing-Publicist
WoMEN-NPower (DC Chapter) Member
EDC Creations is on  The Black Men in America blog!

To everything there is a season(the Bible)

In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3- it states, “There is a time for everything, a time and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…”
I say now is the time to tear down and rebuild.  During this historic election, it is time we as a nation, as a people under God, as a people who have power and authority, as God’s children, to take a stand for our beliefs.  It is time we stop talking about rocking the vote, but it’s time that we actually do rock the vote!

I can’t and won’t even attempt to tell you who to cast your vote for.  All I ask is that you get up, get out and exercise your rights to vote, to choose, to decide, to help make a change.  We cannot continue to live, or ever think to thrive rather than merely survive if we don’t do something to stop the madness of the last eight years.  I know that there are some of you who say that your vote doesn’t count or that the presidential election is not decided by the people but instead by the electoral college.  Excuses, excuses, excuses.  God doee not want us to be slothful in anything.  In all things we should be who He has called us to be.  That means that He has blessed each of us with talents, with gifts with power and a sound mind.  We must not rest on our laurels. 
I proudly announce my support of Barack Obama as President of the United States. Is it because Barack has skin like mine that I’m voting for him?  YES that’s one reason.  Is it because Barack Obama stands for change?  YES that’s another reason.  Is it because Barack seems to identify with people of all classes, races, socioeconomic status and religion?  YES that’s still another reason.  Is it because Barack and Michelle look like the perfect couple who supports one another?  YES, that’s a reason for me too.  Is it because he is a Harvard Graduate, a Community Organizer, a people person, a man of many colors, races, and one who has had to wear many hats?  An Astounding YES.  Is it because he is a man who exemplifies what it means to be a true leader?  Oh Yes, Yes, and Yes again.
There may be some who read this blog and disagree with my choice for president of the United States.  That’s fine.  That’s the beauty of living in a world such as this.  That’s the reason it is of utmost importance for you, and you, and you, and me to go to the polls whether it’s raining, sleeting or snowing.  Whether the sun is shining or the clouds are hanging low that day.  Go to the polls whether your stomach aches or your head hurts.  Go, be obediet to the law of the land – Vote.  One person CAN change the world.  My Jesus Christ did it.  Now go forth and make a difference in the world.

Award winning NY Times Bestselling Author
Shelia E Lipsey
www.shelialipey.com
http://twitter.com/shelialipsey

October is an important Awareness Month

The month October touches on two very important issues. October is Domestic Violence Awareness and also National Breast Cancer Awareness. Domestic Violence is represented by the purple ribbon and Breast Cancer is represented by the pink ribbon. Are you or someone you loved affected by either?

 

Breast Cancer

2.3 million women in the United States are living with a breast cancer diagnosis. It’s a scary thing. Anyone regardless of age or race can be affected. It’s important to have regular annual checkouts and more if you have a relative or family member who’s been affected by breast Cancer. Early detective is so important.

 

Reach out to your family and friends for support and get the facts. Surround yourself by people who love you and reach out to cancer survivors.  

 

RESOURCES:
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
www.nbcam.org

 

American Cancer Society
Resource Link:
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6x_National_Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Month.asp 


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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence shouldn’t happen to anyone. Don’t settle and never feel you are not worthy of a violence-free environment. Domestic violence goes undetected behind closed doors way too often. Usually the woman or man is embarrassed that it is taken place, they are scared, and they believe or at least hope everything will get better. 

 

Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.”

Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.”

 

Both statistics were taken from http://endabuse.org/resources/facts/

 

Know that you have options and there are support groups. Don’t allow yourself and your children to continue to live in an unsafe environment. You are worthy of a better life – we all are.

 

RESOURCES:

Domestic Violence

http://www.domesticviolence.org/

 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 (Call within any 50 states. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
http://www.ndvh.org/

 

Article written by Author, Writer and Poet.
Tinisha Nicole Johnson
Visit the author at her site to learn more:
www.TinishaNicoleJohnson.com

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Domestic Violence shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you don’t think you could ever become a victim – Think again! Who can be a potential victim, you may wonder?

 

Your family member

A neighbor

A close friend

The single mother
A married woman

The strong and independent woman

Your child

 

and

 

YOU!

 

Join Authors Supporting Authors (ASA) on Saturday, October 18th at 9:00pm ET as Tinisha Nicole Johnson, Allyson M. Deese and Linda R. Herman discuss their new book, Somebody Prayed For Me. Amongst other issues that affect our society, domestic violence will be addressed on this Radio show. Although a fictional book, some of their stories are based off true stories.

 

Call into this LIVE show to listen or ask questions and share your stories. You can stay anonymous. Or you can also log into your computer and listen and chat online.

 

Date:    Sat., Oct 18
Time:    9:00pm ET

Call in number: (347) 838-9985

Log into your computer and listen/or chat live: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ASA-Blog-Talk

 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available in all 50 states www.ndvh.org
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

 

Visit Authors Supporting Authors (ASA)

http://www.asanetwork.webs.com

Visit the Authors Behind the Book
http://www.somebodyprayed4me.webs.com

 

The Super Women of the World by Tinisha Nicole Johnson


Many have several thoughts on Sarah Palin. I personally admire the woman for a few reasons. She’s married with five children, the youngest of which is challenged, but yet is able to maintain a high profile career. She’s also family focused with a good head on her shoulder, and could possibly be this country’s next Vice President.

 

However, I do want to note that there are a lot of hard working women holding down the family, some single and some married or in a relationship. So I definitely want to give due credit to ALL the women in this country who are confident, working mothers, and still have to take care of the family, and still cook and clean and help the kids with their homework.

 

Women should be celebrated in this country. They are truly Super Women. And I do not like the media or whomever questioned her capabilities on how she’s taking care of her kids. Women do what we have to do. And we certainly can’t allow other people’s opinion, the media, naysayers or critics stop us. Okay, enough on that, that sort of hit me personally, but I don’t want to go on a rampage.

 

Nevertheless, I do on the other hand think John McCain picked Sarah Palin primarily because she’s a women. I also think he wanted to make history on the Republican side, as Barrack Obama has on the Democratic side. He wanted to gain more attention to himself, because he was envy of all the attention Obama has been getting. It’s evident in his commercials when he kept calling Obama a celebrity. That wasn’t negative at all. In fact, it had me thinking, “Wow, Obama’s a celebrity?”

 

Back to Palin. From what I’ve researched on my own so far, I believe Sarah Palin is very much so a business woman with Executive experience, but I can’t help but to wonder if she was the all around top choice for a VP pick. Now Hillary Clinton – definitely yes, but then again, she’s not a Republican and that’s a different story altogether. But the reason I say this is because when she’s quoted making statements like, “I’ve been so focused on state government. I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq,” that makes me wonder. She was quoted saying this March 2007 when Alaska Business Monthly interviewed her. Read the entire interview: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-30645076_ITM If she wasn’t focused then, I assume she better get focused, if she is the next VP.

 

In conclusion, women in this country have come such a long way. However, by Sarah Palin becoming the first VP Republican nominee, it still shows there is improvement on women advancing in this world.  But regardless who wins the presidential race, although I know who I’m voting for, I hope women’s opportunity for advancement continues, and I hope there will be vast progression and improvement within healthcare, the current economic state, and the high price of gas.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tinisha Nicole Johnson is an author, writer and a poet. She resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two children. She also hosts political telconferences. Learn more about the author at her website: www.tinishanicolejohnson.com Tinisha Nicole Johnson

Author, Writer and Poet
http://www.tinishanicolejohnson.com

PassionScape by Hazel Mills: Is Monogomy An Unrealistic Expectation?

September greetings,

You know, it seems that more often than not, we hear of relationships vanishing because one or both of the partners are seeking love and affection elsewhere. Nowadays, celebrity break-ups due to infidelity are the norm. We even take bets on how long the marriage will last from the moment we get wind of the news. Sadly, this does not only apply to celebs. The same is true for everyday joes. What happened to the sanctity of the once honorable institution of marriage?

PassionScape poses the question: Is monogomy an unrealistic expectation? All month long, you will hear from some of today’s most talented authors and poets on this issue.

Author NANETTE BUCHANAN:

It is my belief that no one who truly loves is expecting anything other than a monogamous relationship.
Anyone Who Loves

Anyone who truly loves, loves with their heart and soul
Loves totally, it never grows old.
Anyone who truly loves, knows from the very start
Of all the ups and downs
Of how love can be turned around
Of how true love is hard to be found
Anyone who truly loves, gives of themselves unselfishly.
Putting their wants and desires behind those they love
Praying to God above,
for patience and understanding
and support for that undying love.
Anyone who truly loves
learns not to break, just bend
Learns who they love are also friends and will remain to the end.
Anyone who truly loves
will hurt from time to time
Looking for the signs of total peace of mind
Anyone who truly loves
will look back on the past
realizing that true love will last

For to understand true love
Is a life long task.

Copyright 2000
Thoughts & Reflections
Author Nanette M. Buchanan
visit my site: www.myspace.com/ipendesigns
                    ipendesigns.blogspot.com

 

AUTHOR TINISHA NICOLE JOHNSON:

In this day and age, the question makes you wonder, it makes you ponder on if a man can stay true and not run astray from his woman, thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, and if a woman can stick by her man faithfully. I believe less people are getting married and more seemed to be getting a divorce or separation. We are in a different era of lifestyle, personality, control and obsession. There is a lot of temptation in the world. And in the twenty-first century where more and more of us our are gaining our individual independence, networking more, socializing more, running our own business and even working more, this adds to the stress and sometimes lessens our priority on maintaining and keeping up with a healthy relationship.
 
What ever happened to true love? What ever happened to black love? Is it unrealistic to think black love is slim to none and that staying monogamous is nil? Sometimes it really does make me wonder.
 
But back to the point – If a man and woman care about each other, I mean truly love and find passion in each other than I would say monogamy is realistic. But honestly, I’m going to tell you what I really think. I think monogamy is even more realistic if you put God and prayer in your life and in your relationship. Without God in a relationship it just leaves too much room for Satan to enter and cause disruption and confusion. So there has to be some type of spiritual connection and then yes, I believe monogamy is realistic.
 

Tinisha Nicole Johnson
Author, Writer and Poet
http://www.TinishaNicoleJohnson.com

Writing for the World to Read – Forever!

Sinful revelations only a loving God can make right!

My Son's Wife -Sinful revelations only a loving God can make right!

The world of writing is opening doors that have never been opened.  I am one who has been blessed to walk through the literary door and claim my place on the podium alongside literary giants.  I see myself as a giant in a huge world where there are tens of thousands of people who wear the label ‘author.’  Yet, it is not a competitive spirit that I have when I hear this or read the statistics about new writers releasing books every day.  Instead, I know that no one can write quite like me.  Just as the word of God says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I am a unique creation and there is no one in all the rest of humanity that is like me.  Therefore, the words that God gives me to place from pen to paper are unique.  My story can only be written by me.  Knowing that I am one of a kind and uniquely created gives me a sebse of greatness and gratefulness. I am humble yet I boldly step forward with the best of the best and claim my space. A space in time that only God can give, and only God himself can ever take away. I am thankful by the very fact that God chose me to write and tell stories that pour out from Him, through my spirit and then the finished product is printed for all the world to read!  I sit among the best of the literary divas.  I fulfill a purpose that no one else can fulfill. I stand toe to toe with Morrison, Angelou, Sheldon and Cooper, MacMillan and Harris. I believe that there is a calling on my life to write, to speak, to share, to reach, to tell and to spread the words in the form of books.  A book never dies.  Though our human body decays, books, like our souls, live on. Somewhere, long after I have shed this earthly shell, my words will resonate in someone’s life. And even now, today, and on into our tomorrow, while I still wear this human shell, someone, somewhere will be moved, touched and enticed to read my books. I know it in my spirit. I have the calm assurance from the one and only one I believe is sovereign. Though bookstores and publishers say the shelf life of a new book is basically 3 months before it fades out and new  books take its place, I thank God that I have read books that are hundreds of years old.  One day, I believe that someone, somewhere will pick up one or more of my novels.  They will read stories perfectly written and executed about imperfect people like me and you, and you, and you.  They will find hope, acceptance, joy, peace.  They will find that God truly is love and that crooked paths can be made straight again.  One day, I believe that someone, somewhere will pick up a book by Shelia E. Lipsey and the answers to problems and situations in life will be answered.  One day the world will see and read.  New dimensions and being reached in the world of reading.  A new path is being paved.  A new road is being laid.  And I am totally grateful to God for choosing me as one of his servants to carry out His purpose.

www.shelialipsey.com
shelialipsey@yahoo.com
lipseyshelia@yahoo.com
http://www.myspace.com/shelialipsey
MY SON’S WIFE AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD – OCTOBER 1, 2008 (CLICK BOOK COVER TO PREORDER)

Inspiration plus Mystery


What would you do if after your loved one died, you found out they were living a double life? A life that could possibly get you killed. That’s what happened to Rahkel Williams, in the mystery novel, Searchable Whereabouts by Tinisha Nicole Johnson.

Rahkel’s beloved uncle who she treated as a father was mysteriously killed. However, afterwards she began finding clues into his life that had her thinking he wasn’t the man she thought he was. In fact, he may have been hiding a horrible family secret that affected three generations of her family.

After hiring private investigator Darrin Miller, Rahkel begins her search to find the truth aside from the police. Soon she will find she’s in over her head and it becomes evident somebody does not want her to know the truth, and they may even kill her in order to stop her from finding the truth. 

 

Searchable Whereabouts by Tinisha Nicole Johnson is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and at bookstores everywhere. Visit the author: www.tinishanicolejohnson.com

 

**********

Have you ever been in a situation where you were on bended knees because of a situation you were in? Have you ever felt alone in this world and thought no one could understand or cared about your circumstances?

 

Well there is always hope through prayer. In Somebody Prayed For Me by literary sisters, Allyson M. Deese, Linda R. Herman and Tinisha Nicole Johnson you will witness awe inspiring stories, poems and letters that may hit home and cause your emotions to filter. The power of prayer is just that: POWERFUL!

 

Somebody Prayed For Me is an inspirational book for any age and is the perfect gift for any occasion. Visit www.somebodyprayed4me.webs.com to learn more. Pre-order your copy at www.tinishanicolejohnson.com and receive a free DVD of the book trailer and personalized signed book marks.

 

What’s The News?

As Mary J. Blige would say, “What’s the 411, Hon?” Well, I am getting it done. This summer has gone so fast and I’ve had my hand in so many pots lately, it is surprising when I look back on it.

 

After a spring of fun writers conferences and book promotions on the Internet, I decided to pursue writing for real. I was tired of carving out little bits of time here and there to satisfy my literary desires. I came back from Romance Slam Jam in Chicago and decided on the life I was working toward. A life of sharpening my literary craft, mingling with other literary addicts and starting an ongoing dialogue about all things multicultural is what it’s about for me.

 

In this vein, I have begun work on my second book, Early Withdrawal and launched a multicultural blog. Thanks to my experience writing with Literary Divas, I rediscovered my passion of writing about women and culture. I will continue to write the articles I love, which involves the impact current events have on the African American community and African American women in particular. However, my blog, Sable Lit Reviews.com will allow me to broaden the focus to all cultures and all people of color. In addition to articles, which will be crossed posted on my blog and Literary Divas, I will also post multicultural events and allow visitors to post multicultural events. Lastly, I will provide multicultural book reviews.

 

Starting September 1st, these reviews will be open to all genres that possess a multicultural theme and/or a cast of multicultural characters. The book, whether in print or electronic format, can be a current release or past release. Yes, nonfiction, LGBT and Erotic themes will have a home here as well. Sable Lit Reviews wants to put a flood light on it all. Authors and publishers, if you’d like to have your book reviewed and showcased on Sable Lit Reviews, visit the site for more information. Literary addicts, please watch it all unfold at SableLitReviews.com

 

My second book, while not a sequel to Mismatched, has very similar interracial themes but with a twist.

 

Early Withdrawal tells the story of Sonia Squires, an African American marketing executive who is 18 months shy of her 35th birthday, the age by which she hopes to start a family. After a routine wellness exam and an equally habitual argument with her long-time boyfriend, Sonia realizes that having a baby is more important to her and may be more realistic than having the marriage and the white picket fence.

Leaving her boyfriend behind and against her family’s advice, she enlists the resources of a local sperm bank to reach her goal.

Newly pregnant, Sonia’s curiosity regarding the paternal benefactor intensifies. When she breaks every privacy act to find him, she discovers he is Caucasian, a detail not accurately reported in the donor profile.

Jacob Rhodes is a 35-year-old language analyst, working for the National Security Agency.  He is battling with a loss of faith in his abilities after superiors ignored his Iraqi intelligence report, which resulted in a U.S. terrorist attack several years ago. 

A man of many secrets, Jacob allows a sperm bank to use contributions to make families whole again. Will one contribution to his Ex and her new husband who also happens to be his best friend, unleash all of his secrets?

Sonia’s on a mission to find her donor. Can she still obtain the love and the family she has always wanted regardless of their differing heritage?

When Sonia’s ex resurfaces and the target of her search falls from site, what choices will Sonia make?

Find out in Early Withdrawal, where fighting your obstacles and claiming the right to your dreams will lead you to a path of the unexpected!

 

Join me on this adventure here at Literary Divas and at the Sable Lit Reviews!

 

Cool Calvin Teaches the Meaning of Being Gang-Free

Thanks to my mother for her voracious reading appetite and her willingness to let me tag along on her library trips.  Due to that experience, reading books became part of my life at an early age. Before I could even read, we would checkout books with records so I could follow along. When I became of reading age, I feasted on books about kids like me doing amazing things. I enjoyed Encyclopedia Brown’s mysteries and appreciated the Sweet Valley High twins as they took the fear of the unknown out of attending high school.

 

While I grew up in a New Jersey suburb, safe from the gangs of inner city Newark, New Jersey, I didn’t feel a deep relation to the stories I read. Luckily, with gang messages and the allure of grabbing a quick buck constantly bombarding today’s youth, Ralph Burgess and his creation, The Learning Adventures of Cool Calvin, are now on the scene. The literary adventure getting the most attention these days is Cool Calvin’s No Bandanas for Me: Staying Gang Free. Instead of being preachy, a tactic sure to turn-off young readers, Burgess allows young Calvin to carry the message of gang dangers to his audience. The peer-to-peer learning model not only encourages children to read but it allows them to learn valuable lessons about belonging. Burgess attracts readers with a likeable character and a positive message.

 

Cool Calvin not only makes an impact on his young readers, he also makes a mark on the New York City Department of Education and the self-publishing industry as a whole. Ralph Burgess, a self-publisher, recently landed a huge purchase order for 9,500 books through a distribution deal with Sussman Sales. The NYCDOE will distribute the books throughout the New York City school system. This major coup adds one more success story to the self-publishing roster, thereby removing it even further from its vanity press perception.

 

Known for its high gang population, Burgess hopes Cool Calvin can reach the Chicago and Los Angeles school systems as well.

 

For more information, about Cool Calvin and his adventures check out http://www.coolcalvin.com/.

 

Courtesy of : http://www.sablelitreviews.com

Walt’s Latest Inductee to the Princess Franchise

 Growing up in the pre-Disney video era, I never had much fascination with Mickey Mouse, his crew or his creator. In fact, I had practically missed the Mickey frenzy until I moved to the West coast. In the meantime, I was more interested in my dolls. I had at least eight Barbie dolls a few that looked like me and most that did not. It took time to amass my Barbie collection, the first one appropriately titled, ‘My First Barbie’.  She wore a yellow bathing suit with blue trim. I was seven when she became my favorite playmate.  Three years later, I received my first black Barbie. She was a Day to Night Barbie. During the day, she wore corporate attire, but her clothes could be reversed to make her presentable for an evening at the theatre.  She was the first and only Barbie I named. I called her Valine and she quickly replaced the My First Barbie as my favorite. Not only was she beautiful but she looked like someone I could grow up to be.

 

  This is what Walt Disney has deprived little black girls of for decades. Finally deciding to rectify this deliberate oversight, or seeing an opportunity to pad their pockets with a segment of the population that is steadily growing more and more middle class, Disney will release its first princess movie featuring an African American girl in the most desirable role to be bestowed on an animated character. She will be Princess Tiana. While many of the details are unclear, her story will be told within the 1920’s jazz era of New Orleans. There has been buzz of her being a chambermaid, but those speaking out against it have sent Walt’s crew back to the drawing board. Confusion also existed over the nationality of her prince, as the little information that has leaked out suggests, he will not be African American. At first, he was to be Caucasian, however, the most recent reports state he will be Middle Eastern. The tale will not run short of the snobby rich white debutante and the rich white mogul. There was even talk of a black male villain, but that’s up for revision too. Beyond that, Disney is being quite tight-lipped, probably in an attempt to give the skeptics as little ammo as possible.

 

 In a society of political correctness, Disney has received a lot of negative attention, at least within the African American community. Many wonder why it has taken Disney so long to release an animated movie with black leads who were not villains or animals. One important possibility exists in the fact that minorities do support non-ethnic media while most of the Caucasian market does not. It all comes down to availability. With plentiful media aimed at Caucasian dollars, very little reason exists for Whites to crossover to the ethnic market. On the other side, with significantly less or in some cases no options in the ethnic market, minorities had no choice but to support what was mainstream.

 

  While they could not know the release of the movie might find our country months into the first African American presidency, the timing could not be better. Although the release of the movie entitled “The Princess and the Frog” is set for late 2009, the project was announced in late 2006 putting the search for Princess Tiana’s voice in full swing. Disney granted the honor to Anika Noni Rose, supposedly beating out the likes of Tyra Banks, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keyes. Rose has such movie projects to her credit as Dream Girls and Just Add Water.

 

    With their Asian Mulan, and Middle Eastern Jasmine, the company’s attempts at inclusion have still fell short until now. Many will stand in wait to judge how Walt’s crew will pull off this long overdue addition to the Disney Princess Sorority, knowing that this is about more than just a movie. If handled like the princess inductees before her, Princess Tiana will become a franchise unto herself, with the possibility of dolls, video games and other toys. With critics picking apart the very few details that have been released, Disney will have to scrutinize every decision regarding this film.

 

  Though many question the validity of animated characters as childhood role models, none can deny the extent to which animated movies influence children. They generally teach life lessons and encourage kids to dream. Additionally, they provide them with their own viewing material, when not much else is suitable.

 

  Regardless of the details surrounding why little black girls are finally getting their Disney princess, this is a great opportunity to change the associations of black versus white and good versus evil. Black girls will have the opportunity to look at the movie screen and think, “That could be me.”  

 

A Black Nation’s Hope and Promise on His Shoulders

As one talented African American man makes history in winning the Democratic nomination, so does another in the realm of African American activism.

 

On Saturday, June 7th, 2008, 35-year-old Benjamin Todd Jealous became the youngest person elected president of the 99-year old activist organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also referred to as the NAACP. Jealous is one of the few elected to this high-ranking position without the having a professional background in politics or the ministry.

 

Having started his activism at the age of 14 with his participation in a voter registration drive, Jealous, a California native, earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s in social policy from Oxford University. Professionally, Jealous continued to support black activism through his role as a community organizer for the NAACP,  and an executive director for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which boasts to be the country’s largest community of black newspapers. Most recently, Jealous was president of the Rosenberg Foundation, an institution in the private sector supporting human rights and civil rights advocacy.

 

As the NAACP nears its centennial, it chose a new direction to regain its fading financial support. It is their hope that Jealous is the answer to many young black critics who accuse the organization of not recognizing the current challenges of young black supporters. With this new appointment, many hope the new leadership will address issues facing younger African Americans that emerged since desegregation. 

 

Just like Obama’s presidential nomination suggests a promise of new hope and fresh ideas, so does the appointment of Benjamin Todd Jealous as President of the NAACP. Both men have a lot to live up to but they each possess the passion and the intelligence to make it happen.

 

Sources:

http://www.blacknews.com/news/naacp_ben_jealous101.shtml

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/17/naacp.president/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/17/AR2008051702320.html

 

A Case for Assimilation or Separatism

Minority cultures often struggle between losing themselves in assimilation or alienating their communities with acts that suggest separatism. The majority of society assumes that their rituals, morals and traditions should predominate because in terms of sheer numbers they dominate.  As a result, we have a historical discourse that features people of color as a footnote to the generational advancements of this society.

 

While race relations have improved compared to the experiences of our ancestors, prejudice and intolerance is a rippling undercurrent that taints our relationships and our social interactions, regardless of ethnic background. This state of existence is felt and read about in every sector of life.. It is a source of entertainment, ridicule and violence.
Most recently, I find myself bombarded by this as I interact in my romantic literary circles. In April, I attended two writers’ conferences. At the first one, I was a minority face in the crowd. Many of the reactions I received in response to my multicultural/interracial platform were, “That’s actually cool,” and “That’s interesting.”  However, meeting an editor and a reader grateful for my platform made the time and money I spent worthwhile. The second conference I attended that month was Romance Slam Jam, an African American romance writer’s conference. I felt like one of the girls in this crowd. It was nice to meet others who wrote interracial and multicultural romance as well as many talented women who wrote strictly African American romantic fiction. It allowed me to enhance the relationships I had been forming with many of these women online.

 

The separatism and assimilation question came up when I got back from Slam Jam. When I went to my local Romance Writers of America meeting, I reconnected with a few women who had been absent from the most recent meetings. I reluctantly told them about Slam Jam. They had no idea what I was talking about. The women, one Caucasian and the other Hispanic, listened with mild interest.  The woman of Hispanic decent began to show a growing interest as she asked if you had to be Black to attend. To be honest the question took me off guard because it highlighted the reason for my reluctance to discuss it in the first place. Of course, you don’t have to be Black to attend, but it is a natural presumption that non-Blacks make. I’m not sure if it’s because they think we don’t want them involved or if it’s because they don’t really have an interest in being involved. Yet, it is expected that we want to be a part of whatever it is they are doing. In reality, we have fought long and hard to be included. However, the existence of separate but equal activities and organizations makes me wonder if our struggle has more to do with equal opportunity, respect for our culture and our existence as human beings rather than truly being involved in the activities of the majority. Many members of the majority say, “See, they are being separatist. They want us to include them but then they create their own organizations.” This was never been clearer to me than when I stumbled upon the debate over the Black National Anthem. African Americans on the blog condemned it for perpetuating separatism. Many Caucasian bloggers agreed, stating this is America and a Black National Anthem was disrespectful. So much for being a melting pot of ideas. Can we be a part of the majority and still claim some things as our very own?

 

This notion confronted me again when I picked up the latest RWA Romance Writers’ Report. In this issue, there was a quarter-page announcement for the recipients of the Emma Awards that took place at Romance Slam Jam. There was no information about the conference or the history behind the awards. The announcement also came three months after the awards ceremony, despite the fact that there were RWA representatives at the conference. Please note the Romance Writers’ Report, RWA’s industry member magazine, is published monthly. Hey, I guess better late than never, maybe they have really long lead times. There was also a very interesting interview about the experience of multicultural authors in the romance writing industry. It indirectly spoke to the idea of assimilation and separatism when famed author Beverly Jenkins spoke of the emergence of African American romance novels. It was clear that the publishing industry didn’t think black female dollars were significant enough to warrant a book line catering to the life and loves of African Americans. Nor did they think it was necessary, after all black women have been reading about white love stories for ages. Isn’t the point of these novels to provide fantasies and a glimpse into the lives we couldn’t possibly have the chance of living ourselves?

 

These occurrences have lead me to realize that my multicultural platform is more than about people of differing cultures and persuasions living, loving and interacting with one another. I don’t desire to create a fondue pot where the contents melt to create a blended product, but a crock-pot where all the ingredients of the stew are still distinct but the different textures compliment and coexist together.

Romance Author, Victoria Wells: PassionScape by Hazel Mills

This month, PassionScape catches up with Xpress Yourself Publishing’s romance author, Victoria Wells, to discuss her bestselling contemporary romance novel, A Special Summer. I had the pleasure of meeting Victoria in May during Afr’Am Festival held in Norfolk, Virginia. She is a remarkable woman who is very passionate about her work. Victoria is not shy when it comes to talking about her latest release or about sharing her experiences in the publishing industry.

VICTORIA WELLS is a Philadelphia native. In 1991 she graduated from Community College of Philadelphia under her legal name Gaye Riddick-Burden with an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences majoring in Nursing. She furthered her education and went on to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Nursing from LaSalle University.

Wells (Riddick-Burden) is employed as an adult nurse practitioner at a center city hospital. She has dedicated her fifteen year career as a nurse to taking care of patients with sickle cell disease.

In 2005, Wells was nominated for the Nursing Spectrum’s Nursing Excellence Award in the category of Clinical Care for her work with sickle cell patients. On May 10, 2005 Wells became the regional winner of the 2005 Nursing Excellence Award in Clinical Care. On October 24, 2005, Wells was awarded the Nursing Spectrum’s National title, “Nurse of the Year” in Clinical Care at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton. Nursing Spectrum wrote, “Riddick-Burden is a strong advocate for patients with sickle cell disease. She was instrumental in designing and implementing the outpatient Sickle Cell Day Treatment Unit for these often underserved patients. The program is driven by Riddick-Burden’s desire to provide timely and effective care to patients with sickle cell crisis, decreasing long waits in the ED and avoiding inpatient stays that separates patients from their families.”

On March 19, 2006, Wells was awarded the Movers and Shakers Award presented by the American Women’s Heritage Society, National Association of University Women, National Association of Phi Delta Kappa, Top Ladies of Distinction and Two Thousand African American Women. This recognition was bestowed upon Wells because of her dedication to the nursing profession and community outreach.

Wells has been a lover of books since childhood. As a child she would spend hours reading. To this day reading remains a favorite pastime. Wells’ favorite genre is African American romance.

While taking a creative writing course in college, Wells became interested in writing. The final assignment for the course was to rewrite the last chapter of The Color Purple. Wells received not only an A for the assignment, but for the course as well. Professionally, Wells has written and lectured extensively on sickle cell disease. However, in 2005 after being encouraged by family and friends, she decided to pick up her pen and write her first romance novel.

A Special Summeris Wells’ first novel which she self-published and will be re-released by XYP in 2008. Wells is married with three children, she and her family live in the Philadelphia area.

HM: I have just finished reading your book, A Special Summer and it is wonderful. Tell us a little about the book.

VW: A Special Summer is a romance about a love that is all consuming. It’s also truly a story of redemption and forgiveness. The heroine of the story Summer is experiencing her first encounter of being in love with Nick who happens to be a much older, powerful, successful businessman. Because of demons and unresolved family issues from Nick’s past life, Summer is literally flung into a world of pandemonium when he believes she’s betrayed him. When he finally sees things as they really are, Nick is in jeopardy of losing the only woman who has ever truly loved him unconditionally. 

HM: What inspired you to write A Special Summer?

VW: I loooove African American romance novels. After reading so many great stories over the years I wanted to write my own story about us being in love. With so many negative stereotypes floating out there I wanted to create African American characters that were strong, positive and self-sufficient. My desire was also to be another voice in this genre that let it be known we are capable of loving and respecting each other. We do work through our relationship issues and take our responsibilities seriously. Speaking from the perspective of an African American woman it was important for me to say loud and proud that our men do know how to cherish us and love us. In addition, we as women do love and support our men when all isn’t perfect in our relationships.

HM: How long was the journey from concept to publication?

VW: The process took me about a year and a half. Initially, I toyed with the idea of writing a romance novel. I got up the courage after numerous friends and family told me. “Girl, you go can do it.” After writing my story I decided to self-publish it. After receiving overwhelming positive feedback I submitted my manuscript to three publishing houses, two were interested. In August of 2007 I accepted an offer from Xpress Yourself Publishing.

HM: Who are a few of your favorite authors?

VW: I have several! LOL My all time favorites are Francis Ray, Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, Leslie Esdaile, J.D. Mason, Rochelle Alers, and AlTonya Washington. Gwyneth Bolton and LaConnie Taylor-Jones are also authors that I’ve recently begun reading this year that’s pretty good.

HM:  What three pieces of advice would you give an aspiring author?

VW: First, I would tell them not to let anyone steal their dreams. There will be a lot of folks who may pretend to be happy for you one minute and then the next discourage you in every way possible. Second, I would advise them to do research on the genre they wish to write. Finally, stay true to who you are as a person and as an author.

HM: What can we expect in the future from Victoria Wells?

VW: By God’s grace a ton of exciting romance novels! I’ve just recently completed my second manuscript, When Love Comes Around which is due for release early 2009 by Xpress Yourself Publishing.

 

Ten Victoria Wells Quick Facts

1. Hometown: Philadelphia

2. Favorite Color: Black

3. One item you can’t live without and why: My bible. I need God’s strength everyday of my life. God speaks to me through His word.

4. Last CD you purchased: Robin Thick

5. Favorite department store: Macy’s

6. Best childhood memory: Spending time with my grandmother.

7. Teen celebrity crush: Michael Jackson

8. Favorite snack: Pepperidge Farm Cookies

9. Favorite holiday: Christmas

10. Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: Stay in bed alternating every few hours between reading and watching Lifetime .

Visit Victoria Wells online at www.victoria-wells.com

Victoria Wells has set a new standard for contemporary romance with “A Special Summer”. I was drawn instantaneously into the lives of the two main characters, Nick and Summer. The storyline is dramatic and captures the essence of the joys and pains of love. I laughed and I cried with each turn of the page. This book is not the usual “cute” romance novel. Wells has artistically sculpted a very realistic view of relationships. I eagerly await her next creation.  Hazel Mills, author

Similarities For Convenience

Being an information junkie, I constantly search for interesting news stories both online and off. This morning I came across an article comparing and contrasting the first ladies of the presidential nominees. The article painted a rich picture of both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama, for their style and grace. It attempted balanced reporting by mentioning Michele’s criticism of her husband and her country on the democratic side, while revealing Cindy’s battle with addiction and her reluctance toward full financial disclosure.
Despite being a Arizona resident, I began reading this article knowing very little background about Cindy. This fact could be due to the relentless campaign for the democratic nomination, or it could be the result of Cindy McCain’s aptitude for being the quiet doting wife of a presidential candidate. Certainly, having a wife who is heir to a wealthy beer distributorship would not bolster John McCain’s campaign, especially during our current economic times.
It wasn’t until I read the second half of the article that my writer fury erupted. The context was in reference to the infamous statement Michele Obama made about having pride in her country for the first time. The article reported Cindy’s rebuttal which suggested her staunch unwavering pride in her country.
Pride stems from actions and experience. If you’ve done nothing, then you have nothing to be proud of. If you have not created positive opportunities and experiences despite the obstacles then again you have nothing to be proud of.
Being part of the African American community and being female, I can understand why Michele may not have always been proud of her country. If I were a rich member of society’s majority, I might not ever recall a time I lacked pride for my country. However, any human being who has witnessed prejudice and oppression or even recognizes it as part of American history cannot truly proclaim ever-existing pride in the actions and experiences in which this country participates.

Is Cindy proud of the Iraq war and the lies that caused it?
Is Cindy proud of racially motivated brutality that still happens in America today?

It’s interesting how we can put race aside when it suits our argument. The article made sure to inform us that Cindy is a rich, blond, blue-eyed Rodeo queen who knows when to speak and when to keep quiet. I would have had more respect if Cindy could have sympathized with Michele’s comment since not everyone’s American experience is Cindy’s rich privileged experience. I don’t want a meek first lady who can’t recognize experiences different from her own.

Patriotism is more complicated than being proud or not being proud of your country. Pride is a barometer that adjusts with each act and experience. American patriotism exists in recognizing the flaws and taking action to make a difference, thus creating a country everyone can be proud of regardless of their past experiences.

Resource:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080610/pl_nm/usa_politics_wives_dc 

Rejection Applies To Only One Opportunity

Mamie \"Peanut\" JohnsonOften rejection seems to be the final answer. In reality, it is just a temporary response. Such was the case in the baseball career of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Born in the mid-1930’s South, Johnson developed a love for baseball that prejudice could not extinguish.

At the age of 17, Mamie confronted the obstacles to playing the sport she loved at a time when professional and minor league sports practiced segregation. Since the White Female Baseball League declined Johnson the chance to try out and no Black female equivalent existed, Mamie found her place in the men’s Negro Baseball League. This being the first time Johnson experienced racial ignorance directly, she fondly looks back on its outcome instead of dwelling on the experience itself. She was quoted in an article honoring her contribution to baseball and South Carolina’s Black history, ” If I had played with white girls, I would have been just another player, but now I am somebody who has done something that no other woman has done.”

Johnson’s career lasted from 1953 to 1955, as one of three women who played in the Negro League. She won 33 games and only lost eight. “Peanut” became her nickname when an opponent doubted her pitching abilities because she “…was no bigger than a peanut”. She swiftly struck him out. While her playtime took place shortly after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, Peanut’s career quickly evaporated as females regardless of race were not included in major league play.

Mamie went on to earn a nursing degree from NYU and embarked on a 30-year career of helping others at their weakest. Although her baseball career may have ended after only three short years, Peanut Johnson maintained her link to America’s favorite pastime by managing the Negro Baseball League Memorabilia Shop in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Even though Peanut played ball in an era that did not appreciate her talent on a large scale due to her race and her gender, on June 5th, 2008, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson joined 29 surviving members of the Negro Baseball League in Orlando, Florida where several Major League Baseball teams drafted the former players in an honorary pre-draft ceremony.

Thanks to Dave Winfield and others who respect and appreciate the Negro League’s contribution, rejection was temporary and acceptance is eternal.

Sources:

http://www.minorleaguenews.com/mlnkids/articles2003/072403.html

http://www.scafricanamericanhistory.com/currenthonoree.asp?month=6&year=2001

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1164167

http://www.nlbpa.com/johnson_mamie.html

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ti-winfield060408&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Celebrate Beautiful Black Men: PassionScape by Hazel Mills

Wondering why I’m a little late posting for June? Okay, I’ll tell you. With all that is going on in the world of politics, I have been on edge because whatever the outcome, groundbreaking history was inevitable with the possibility of either a woman or a African American man as the Democratic Nominee for the 2008 Presidential Election.

 

After what was a sometimes heated race, Senator Barack Obama triumphed as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. On Tuesday night, I shed a tear as I reflected on the wealth of pride our ancestors must feel as they enjoy the view from heaven. I wondered what Harriett Tudman or Malcolm X would say if they were asked to share their thoughts on this great milestone. When I learned that Senator Obama is slated to accept the nomination for President of the United States on August 28, forty-five years to the day after our most notable Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered what is perhaps the most famous speech in American History, I couldn’t have been more proud.

PassionScape is usually dedicated to romance and erotica but it is also about the passions that fuel our everyday lives. During the month of June, we will celebrate Father’s Day. In light of the enormity of recent events, I will spend the month celebrating all Black men. Not only will I uplift and celebrate my own husband, father and sons but I will also contemplate the entrepreneurial spirit of the brother hustling on the corner, trying to make ends meet for his family or the young man imprisoned and discarded by society for a crime he may or may not have committed.

Will you join me? How will you celebrate Black men this month? Who will you pay tribute to?

I want to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the coming election and on our beautiful Black men.

 

Hazel Mills, author

Bare Necessities: Sensuous Tales of Passion

www.hazelmillsstories.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone Called Him “Nigga”

Someone called him “Nigga”, they yelled it from the door.

His grandmother heard it in her bedroom, the pet name ripped her to the core.

“Hold up”, he yelled from the window, “Need to tell Grams, I leaving.”

He approached his grandmother quietly, tears were flowing, he thought she was grieving.

“Gram, are you okay?  What has upset you so?”

She looked in her grandson’s face only hoping he could see their souls.

The souls of the heritage she knew, her raising was from the deep south,

The souls that would cringe from the pain they suffered from the whips and chains, as the Masta’s spit the name “Nigga'” from their mouths.

“Gram, why are you crying so?  Are you hurt, what can I get for you?”

The souls that took it all, in spite of it all, those who stood tall so you can do what you do.

“Gram, nod your head please speak to me, tell me what you need.”

The words of her grandson hit her heart he was a part of their seed.

She patted her face with her tattered dress, calming herself to speak.

He waited patiently, as the name “Nigga, yo Nigga” was spoken as tough it was a beat.

His grandmother shook her head and wept again, her grandsons feelings were touched.

The love his grandmother had for him had been destroyed in one word, her teachings crushed.

She taught him from the time he was able to walk he was the descendant of warriors and kings.

If he answered to the call of “Nigga” or “boy” what did her teachings mean.

She taught him that although his father and uncles were not what they were deemed to be.

God would see her in the grave before she would let the streets take  another from the family tree.

“Nigga you comin’ or what? What you want me to do”

Her grandson spoke ever so softly, “Gram you know I love you.”

“Go head man and don’t yell no more……by the way my name is Raheem.”

He returned to his grandmother and opened his arms.

“Gram, tell me more about those kings.”

A Different World

April was filled with a series of firsts in my writing career. It was the first time:

  •  I traveled to a new state alone without the intention of meeting family, friends or coworkers.
  • I attended an RWA sponsored writer’s conference.
  • I attended an African American writer’s conference.
  • I visited Chicago, Illinois.
  • I considered truly being self-employed without feeling a panic attack brewing in my chest.

 When I attended the RWA sponsored Desert Dreams conference in early April, I had every intention of comparing and contrasting that experience with my participation in the predominantly African American focused Romance Slam Jam set to take place later in the month.

 These two experiences really reflected the industry distinction between two groups who have the same appreciation  for love and romance but operate on different levels of support.

 At Desert Dreams, which was hosted by my local RWA chapter, I was the only African American author and the only author who wrote interracial romance.  Despite that fact, I felt the readers and writers in attendance really took an interest in my platform, because to them it was unique and different. One Caucasian woman took an extreme interest because her daughter was the product of an interracial relationship. Talking with an editor from St Martin’s Press only solidified my conclusions.

 While Desert Dreams was a great experience, one that I will repeat again in the future, I really felt at home at the Romance Slam Jam conference. There were a lot more readers in attendance who were hungry for great romantic stories and excited to meet the authors of those stories. Even though I was a newly published author, I was an important contributor to these attendees. It was nice to be around people who looked like me and appreciated what I was called to do. While I didn’t have any agent/editor appointments at this conference, I actually had one seek me out. She was an editor at Red Sage and she introduced herself to me because I seemed familiar to her. Upon hearing that I write interracial romance, she invited me to submit to her.

 The conference was nearly a week long and it was great to laugh, learn and party with my sisters and brothers. It was great to put names to faces and personalities. It felt like a reunion although all of those in attendance were virtually strangers to me. I was able to meet some of my virtual critique partners and it was like vacationing with sisters. I made so many contacts and so many new friends that there’s no doubt the next Slam Jam will be even better.

While Slam Jam didn’t have the exposure to the New York publishing market like Desert Dreams did, it is clear that we are garnering attention. Representatives from RWA were there as they were a low-key sponsor as well as Avon and a local Chicago book-club. It becomes obvious that we are growing in numbers and our economic power is being watched when those in mainstream start to take notice.

 On returning to the regular day to day, a raging fire was ignited in me. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Writing, reading and being around those that appreciate these endeavors is how I see my future and now I have the courage to pursue it with laser-like focus. Since arriving home, I have been up late every night writing and researching ways to freelance full time. It is still my primary desire to write novels, however, freelancing appeals to me as well. I am no longer satisfied being at the mercy of one company no matter the industry. Even in writing, I plan to write in multiple genres for various publishers and companies.

 I’ve search for many years for that one product I would market in order to stake my claim among the self employed, and these conferences have taught me to look within. The product I can promote the best is inside of me.

 As long as there are readers looking for stories that reflect their unique experiences in a world that is not just black or white, I will be striving to meet the demand.

 

 

 

 

 

The Development of Political Controversy

 

 During an election year, a potential candidate’s perceived flaws and strengths are put on display for all to see. The public scrutiny is not limited to the candidate alone, but is broadened to include the people closest to the contenders. It reinforces the meaning of the old proverb, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together.”

 

 Throughout this long election campaign, many are interested in the types of birds that flock with our candidates. Hilary is constantly haunted by the professional and personal misdeeds of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, while Barack was called to justify his friendship and respect for militant preacher Jeremiah Wright until that very friendship was fractured under the pressure.

 

 The search for controversy has no statute of limitations as even the bachelor’s thesis of Michelle Obama, which examines the changing attitudes of middle and upper class blacks in Ivy League white academia toward lower class blacks and the black community during various stages of academic attendance, was a target for ridicule and judgment. Understanding the political climate and the inevitable existence of dirt digging and mud slinging, Michelle attempted to reduce the potential impact of her racial research from 23 years ago. It is not unreasonable to investigate to whom the presidential candidates are coupled and Michelle knew her words could have an impact on her husband’s campaign. It is an example of another old saying, “you are  judged by the company you keep”. As a result, it has been reported that she requested her thesis be removed from the Princeton library until after the election in November 2008.

 

 In a respected move, the Obama campaign quickly released the thesis upon request of media outlets. Some judged this act as Obama’s attempt to capitalize on the the controversy surrounding the dated words of his wife, the very words she was trying to keep private for the benefit of his campaign.   

 

 Upon reading her thesis firsthand, I had trouble detecting the controversy. It became apparent that the point of contention rested in what the thesis might say instead of what it actually said, which explains why the Obama campaign released it. The speculation is always worse than the reality. Once it was made available, some of the silliest remarks were made regarding its validity and its ability to convey Michelle’s findings. I read comments like, “well there are no white history classes” and “that thesis was full of grammatical errors”.  I found humor in these meaningless judgments. My first thought was, there’s no white history classes because nearly all history is white history. It makes sense that at a predominantly white academic institution of the 1980s the majority of classes, clubs, and activities would spotlight white culture, placing all other cultures in the dark.

 

 What Michelle’s thesis really focused on is the attitudes of middle class and upper middle class blacks toward the black community and the white community prior to, during and after attending a predominantly white affluent Ivy League institution like Princeton. The sample was compiled of 400 names of black Princeton alumni collected by choosing every fourth name in a list of 1200 obtained from Princeton’s Alumni office. A survey of 18 questions yielded a 22% response rate or 89 respondents, which consisted of 60% males and 40% females. Ms. Obama delved into the lifestyles and the perceptions of these undergraduate alumni, considering their dating and religious practices, their friendships, as well as their comfort level with whites and other blacks. Their economic and educational backgrounds prior to admission to Princeton was also considered. She wanted to discover the following:

·  Attitudes of black undergraduate alumni and the intentions between blacks and whites.

·  The Ivy League Black’s feeling of obligation to help lower class blacks

·  Interaction with white students on campus

·  How experience at Princeton changed personal values

·  How the obligation to give back to the black community was affected by social practices while attending Princeton 

 Her research revealed that a black alumni’s loyalty to the black community had a lot to do with whether integration and assimilation took place while attending Princeton. Those from lower class families and neighborhoods felt more comfortable with other blacks and were more likely to participate in separatism, thereby not interacting with whites by choice. As far as giving back to the black community, Michelle determined that benefiting a given group had a lot to do with the time invested in getting to know that group. Those who integrated and assimilated into white culture were more likely to give back to the community of whites and blacks as a whole rather than focus on black society specifically.

Other theories such as the need to band together within the black culture before integrating into white society were discussed. In the introduction, Michelle wrote about her experience as being on the fringes of Princeton academic society but not being welcomed to embrace it. 

This study analyzed the affects of the white upper middle class academic experience on blacks and how that experience shaped their evolving views of black culture, the black community and their obligation to contribute to that facet of society during various stages of the academic experience. In the end, Ms. Obama had to derive several new hypothesis models that spoke to the general social climate between blacks and whites which were in effect regardless of economic class.

Finally, social research studies such as this are designed to encourage analysis of society, it’s effectiveness and one’s place in the evolving entity that is our environment. As with any research study, Ms. Obama posed a question that spoke to her own experiences and curiosities while attending a upper middle class Ivy League school as a black woman in the 1980’s and determined based on the responses that her hypothesis had to be adjusted as the outcome was not solely based on each person’s social history or economic status. In fact, Michele Obama’s thesis and the social scrutiny of the presidential candidates demonstrates how a person’s character and value go beyond those in their current inner circle by taking into account their past and present social environments.

Cultural loyalty is affected by the overall social climate of the period. Much is the same in our current political climate, as each candidate’s potential to successfully carry the presidency must be analyzed by their intelligence, a commitment to their values and their ability to convey and personify a sincere message of hope for all those involved both within the United States and around the world.

 ___________________________________

Reference:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/02/23/michelle-obamas-princeton-thesis-reveals-doubts-about-her-own-integration/

 

 

The Education of the Negro

        

 

 This month marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The recognition of this dark event in history is remembered amidst a series of potential political firsts. Both sides speak to the transformation King’s fight has created which brings us to this juncture. Only Rev. King had the foresight to believe that Blacks, Whites, men, women, young and old would be working toward a common good. In today’s political climate each category previously mentioned is represented in three candidates: Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain.

 

  Each of these candidates speaks to the influences of MLK and Ronald Reagan. Although political and social activism was marked by the assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evans, not until MLK was gunned down and much later when The Gipper lost his senses, have we looked to resurrect a leader to carry on those values. Undeniably, every legacy is sustained in how it is remembered.

 

  Reagan is remembered for his tough stance on drugs and his conservative political theory. While MLK is remembered for his utopian view of society’s future where we as a people would be respected for our differences and united by our longer list of similarities.

 

  Getting there requires the honest education of society and all of its members, not a candy-coated education that makes history easier to swallow, but an unbiased history reflecting every participant’s strengths and weaknesses.

 

 I can recall the uneasiness in the eyes of my Caucasian high school social studies teacher when he spotted the Autobiography of Malcolm X on my desk. Or later, the curiosity of my Caucasian coworkers during a lunch break when I pulled out a book entitled Martin, Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare which compared and contrasted the doctrines of Dr. King and Malcolm X. Education is so powerful, that a search to educate oneself about his or her own culture and the contributions from members of that culture raises the eyebrow of the collective majority. Shouldn’t the minority just accept what is said about them and their culture by the white majority?

 

  If so, what this amounts to is a lot of rosy colored reflections about history and about some of our most respected leaders. It is easier to remember MLK for his eloquent speeches and his nonviolent protests. It’s interesting how the most referenced words of Dr. King come from his “I Have Dream” and his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speeches. Little reference is made about the disappointment MLK felt toward America for its involvement in the Vietnam War as expressed in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech. King’s nonviolent stance was not restricted to the black community’s response to racial oppression. King recognized the hypocrisy of fighting oppression and violence with more oppression and violence. No disappointment could exist where there was not once pride.

 

  King’s legacy, much like history, should not be picked apart and misquoted to suit the purpose for the moment. To carry on the vision is to understand the whole man behind that vision. Not doing so is to leave very little hope in sustaining a successor for the cause. Who would dare take the charge of the demigod we have created. One that is selfless and without flaws. No one could succeed by that standard. The history of one and his contributions must be remembered in its entirety in order to do the most good. 

 

Images in Reflection

 I participated in the Grown & Sexy broadcast of the Black Authors Network this weekend on Blogtalk Radio. Amidst the sexy titles and erotic explorations came real conversations about definitions of sexuality.

·                      What makes one homosexual?

·                      Are you bisexual or just a freak?

·                     Can a person be “on the down-low” and still be straight?

·                      Why aren’t women who experiment with other women automatically considered gay and men are?  

 All those in attendance agreed that healthy sexual interest begins with some level of attraction. What interested me most was what wasn’t being discussed. Everyone assumed that finding attractiveness in others instantly leads to sexual desire. That being said,  straight people would only remark positively about specific physical features exhibited by members of the same sex in relation to body characteristics they wish to acquire. In other words, a straight man would not admire the tight ass or ripped abs of another man for the sake of the taut body part itself. It can only be recognized as an example of how the admiring man would like to fix his own self-perceived flaws. Some women on the panel expressed the same for themselves.

  That part of the conversation struck a chord with me in that we as people should be able to recognize the beauty in others regardless of gender or orientation without sexual desire or sexual preference coming into play.

            I am a heterosexual black woman and, as one panel member remarked, I am an erotic person by nature. I can see the eroticism in another female and not desire her in any way. I can recognize what makes her sexy and have no desire to possess her. I can also see the sexual prowess of a man and not want to go to bed with him. While nothing makes my panties buzz more than a man’s strong shoulders and a nice broad chest, I take pride in the fact that I can appreciate another woman’s beauty without feeling threatened and without feeling less sexy in my own right. I don’t think I am physically perfect, but I realize that there will always be someone taller, someone with a flatter stomach and longer hair.

             Once we can all view beautiful bodies of both genders without it defining our sexuality, we will come closer to understanding why we love who we love. 

            If only it were that simple. As curious children sneaking peaks at Dad’s girlie magazines and as teenagers practicing intimacy with each other, society teaches us to control our urges instead of being a slave to them. Then with adulthood comes the right to pursue those urges, even be consumed by them. Something that was meant to be so beautiful and pleasurable has become so perverted in the search for instant gratification. So much so, we can’t admire the sexual energy of others without calling our motives into question.

  The human body and its sexuality should be viewed like a piece of artwork. It should be admired, expressed and appreciated simply because it exists in its natural state. Sexuality which is as old as humanity itself holds only the connotation we assign to it. For some it’s pure ecstasy while others associate excruciating pain in its power to make one vulnerable.

            As long as we are obsessed with sex and its personification, happiness with our bodies and our sexuality will remain outside our comfort zone.