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SORRY TO TELL YOU MR. TRUMP
YOU’RE WRONG ABOUT US
by Leah Reynolds

If you have been following the election coverage, you are probably at the point where a lot of Americans are; you simply want to get it over with and return to your regularly scheduled lives. With this election, however, we must do more than just return to our lives, we must purpose to continue educating our youth and the community on the contributions and accomplishments of the black community.

As I watched the speeches delivered by each candidate, I couldn’t help but wonder if either of them had any real knowledge of the black community aside from what they see on television. This thought was further hammered home after Trump's attempt to gain support from the black community with his, “What do you have to lose” speech. Read the article: Donald Trump speaking to African American and Hispanic voters: http://wpo.st/CKy72


According to Trump, the black community is “living in poverty” and “crime stricken” neighborhoods. Contrary to what some would like us to believe the entire black community is not in complete desolation and destruction. Based on the findings in Nielsen’s 2016 Report, African-American Millennials are driving the wave of social change and digital advancements. 
Quoting from the Nielsen website, "African-Americans are exuberant and reflective—optimistic about present-day advances in income, education, entrepreneurship and health care, and determined to forge a better future as influential leaders and catalysts of social awareness against discrimination and social injustice.

This latest report highlights African-Americans’ economic and cultural gains and continues to shine a spotlight on how African-American Millennials are forging ahead in their use of technology and social media to raise awareness and evoke a national discussion on civic and political issues. As African-Americans, particularly younger Millennials, continue to develop and expand their influence on mainstream America, companies are making changes to reach this culture-rich group."

The Nielsen Report also documents that in 2015 the African-American community controlled nearly $1.2 trillion in buying power. Considering African-American Millennials only make up 14% of the U.S. Milennial population it’s astonishing that they possess $162 billion in buying power alone. This number is expected to grow to nearly $1.4 trillion by 2020. The number of African-American’s with annual incomes over $100,000 nearly doubled to 12% in 2014 with numbers continuing to climb, while the number of households with annual incomes under $25,000 has been on a steady decline.

Nielsen has been reporting on the purchasing and consumption habits of the African-American community for nearly five years. The data presented within this report dispels many myths about the true power of the community. High school dropout rates are on a decline with 89% of Millennials graduating high school while college enrollment is increasing, especially among African-American women.  With 91% of African-Americans owning smartphones and over half report spending over an hour or more daily on various social networking sites, they are connected to each other in real-time to ban together on any cause, project or movement that moves them.

Millennials are proving the naysayers wrong and showing the world that the African-American community has been underestimated for far too long.


YOUNG, CONNECTED AND BLACK: AFRICAN-AMERICAN MILLENNIALS ARE DRIVING SOCIAL CHANGE AND LEADING DIGITAL ADVANCEMENT MR. TRUMP!
You can view and download the 2016 Nielsen Report – Young, Connected and Black, go here.
At Nielsen, they study consumers in more than 100 countries to give you the most complete view of trends and habits worldwide. According to their website, Diversity & Inclusion is very important to society and to business. "It’s not just a goal, but a global business imperative. It’s about each of us embracing the talents and ideas of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to drive our continued success in providing clients with the information they need to succeed."


About the Author

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

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

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

Check out all of the books written by Sage
http://www.amazon.com/Sage/e/B01CC290ZE 
 
 
 
12:14 AM Ella Curry
SORRY TO TELL YOU MR. TRUMP
YOU’RE WRONG ABOUT US
by Leah Reynolds

If you have been following the election coverage, you are probably at the point where a lot of Americans are; you simply want to get it over with and return to your regularly scheduled lives. With this election, however, we must do more than just return to our lives, we must purpose to continue educating our youth and the community on the contributions and accomplishments of the black community.

As I watched the speeches delivered by each candidate, I couldn’t help but wonder if either of them had any real knowledge of the black community aside from what they see on television. This thought was further hammered home after Trump's attempt to gain support from the black community with his, “What do you have to lose” speech. Read the article: Donald Trump speaking to African American and Hispanic voters: http://wpo.st/CKy72


According to Trump, the black community is “living in poverty” and “crime stricken” neighborhoods. Contrary to what some would like us to believe the entire black community is not in complete desolation and destruction. Based on the findings in Nielsen’s 2016 Report, African-American Millennials are driving the wave of social change and digital advancements. 
Quoting from the Nielsen website, "African-Americans are exuberant and reflective—optimistic about present-day advances in income, education, entrepreneurship and health care, and determined to forge a better future as influential leaders and catalysts of social awareness against discrimination and social injustice.

This latest report highlights African-Americans’ economic and cultural gains and continues to shine a spotlight on how African-American Millennials are forging ahead in their use of technology and social media to raise awareness and evoke a national discussion on civic and political issues. As African-Americans, particularly younger Millennials, continue to develop and expand their influence on mainstream America, companies are making changes to reach this culture-rich group."

The Nielsen Report also documents that in 2015 the African-American community controlled nearly $1.2 trillion in buying power. Considering African-American Millennials only make up 14% of the U.S. Milennial population it’s astonishing that they possess $162 billion in buying power alone. This number is expected to grow to nearly $1.4 trillion by 2020. The number of African-American’s with annual incomes over $100,000 nearly doubled to 12% in 2014 with numbers continuing to climb, while the number of households with annual incomes under $25,000 has been on a steady decline.

Nielsen has been reporting on the purchasing and consumption habits of the African-American community for nearly five years. The data presented within this report dispels many myths about the true power of the community. High school dropout rates are on a decline with 89% of Millennials graduating high school while college enrollment is increasing, especially among African-American women.  With 91% of African-Americans owning smartphones and over half report spending over an hour or more daily on various social networking sites, they are connected to each other in real-time to ban together on any cause, project or movement that moves them.

Millennials are proving the naysayers wrong and showing the world that the African-American community has been underestimated for far too long.


YOUNG, CONNECTED AND BLACK: AFRICAN-AMERICAN MILLENNIALS ARE DRIVING SOCIAL CHANGE AND LEADING DIGITAL ADVANCEMENT MR. TRUMP!
You can view and download the 2016 Nielsen Report – Young, Connected and Black, go here.
At Nielsen, they study consumers in more than 100 countries to give you the most complete view of trends and habits worldwide. According to their website, Diversity & Inclusion is very important to society and to business. "It’s not just a goal, but a global business imperative. It’s about each of us embracing the talents and ideas of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to drive our continued success in providing clients with the information they need to succeed."


About the Author

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

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

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

Check out all of the books written by Sage
http://www.amazon.com/Sage/e/B01CC290ZE 
 
 
 
African Americans vs. the United States of America
Can the US be sued for C-PTSD?


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as a mental condition triggered by witnessing or experiencing a single traumatic event. Symptoms of the illness include flashbacks, uncontrollable thoughts, and severe anxiety. Many war weary soldiers return from combat with crippling PTSD symptoms, making this issue a severe problem in many communities across the country.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition involving long-term exposure to emotional trauma in which a victim has little or absolutely no control over and no hope of escape.  C-PTSD is a condition involving long-term exposure to emotional trauma in which a victim has little or absolutely no control over and no hope of escape.

Anyone watching the news or scanning through their Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat feeds can tell that the United States has become a hot seat for tense racial relations. In fact, we are at a boiling point. Some are proclaiming that racial tensions are at the worst they’ve ever been. I disagree, however, racism has not changed, but thanks to modern technology, it is being exposed.

While social media and camera phones have made it easier to capture and share instances of hate and oppression with the masses, the truth is racism, hate and violence against African Americans have always been a source of fear, anger and anxiety from the moment our ancestors’ feet hit U.S. soil.

Lynching, bombed churches, beatings and murders at the hand of those who swore to protect and serve, discrimination and prejudices plaguing the working environment can have anyone reeling with strong emotions, especially those with brown skin.

For every African American who claims to have never experienced racism, there are many whose experiences haunt them months, years and even decades after the incident(s). Some have been traumatized by racism and hate to the point of no return; where they are fearful of leaving their homes or interacting with others.

How many mothers of Black boys have watched the news with an inherent fear for their sons? 


African Americans have fears and anxieties that rob them of their sleep and their peace that no other race even considers when they arise in the morning. What will happen if my son is pulled over? What will happen if my father is walking down the street and someone assumes that he is a threat?

As a parent of a teen aged child in this world, there is always a nagging thought plaguing me when he leaves from my presence. 


It seems like every week there is a story being shared through television and social media websites of an unjust killing or an issue of racial strife. Couple this bombardment of information with daily life annoyances, frustrations and tasks it is enough to drive any sane person, mad. One can actually become overwhelmed with the amount of negativity being spread online and in the news.

What would happen if a group of African Americans filed a class action lawsuit against the government for C-PTSD and emotional distress?   Would they be successful?  The African-American community has endured centuries of stress and turmoil, many of which go unaddressed and untreated. How would those years of stress translate into a monetary judgment?  
Some would argue that stress as a result of racial tensions is nothing but a convenient excuse for today’s troubles.

What are your thoughts?



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

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

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

Check out all of the books written by Sage
http://www.amazon.com/Sage/e/B01CC290ZE 
 
 
 
 
12:13 AM Ella Curry
African Americans vs. the United States of America
Can the US be sued for C-PTSD?


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as a mental condition triggered by witnessing or experiencing a single traumatic event. Symptoms of the illness include flashbacks, uncontrollable thoughts, and severe anxiety. Many war weary soldiers return from combat with crippling PTSD symptoms, making this issue a severe problem in many communities across the country.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition involving long-term exposure to emotional trauma in which a victim has little or absolutely no control over and no hope of escape.  C-PTSD is a condition involving long-term exposure to emotional trauma in which a victim has little or absolutely no control over and no hope of escape.

Anyone watching the news or scanning through their Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat feeds can tell that the United States has become a hot seat for tense racial relations. In fact, we are at a boiling point. Some are proclaiming that racial tensions are at the worst they’ve ever been. I disagree, however, racism has not changed, but thanks to modern technology, it is being exposed.

While social media and camera phones have made it easier to capture and share instances of hate and oppression with the masses, the truth is racism, hate and violence against African Americans have always been a source of fear, anger and anxiety from the moment our ancestors’ feet hit U.S. soil.

Lynching, bombed churches, beatings and murders at the hand of those who swore to protect and serve, discrimination and prejudices plaguing the working environment can have anyone reeling with strong emotions, especially those with brown skin.

For every African American who claims to have never experienced racism, there are many whose experiences haunt them months, years and even decades after the incident(s). Some have been traumatized by racism and hate to the point of no return; where they are fearful of leaving their homes or interacting with others.

How many mothers of Black boys have watched the news with an inherent fear for their sons? 


African Americans have fears and anxieties that rob them of their sleep and their peace that no other race even considers when they arise in the morning. What will happen if my son is pulled over? What will happen if my father is walking down the street and someone assumes that he is a threat?

As a parent of a teen aged child in this world, there is always a nagging thought plaguing me when he leaves from my presence. 


It seems like every week there is a story being shared through television and social media websites of an unjust killing or an issue of racial strife. Couple this bombardment of information with daily life annoyances, frustrations and tasks it is enough to drive any sane person, mad. One can actually become overwhelmed with the amount of negativity being spread online and in the news.

What would happen if a group of African Americans filed a class action lawsuit against the government for C-PTSD and emotional distress?   Would they be successful?  The African-American community has endured centuries of stress and turmoil, many of which go unaddressed and untreated. How would those years of stress translate into a monetary judgment?  
Some would argue that stress as a result of racial tensions is nothing but a convenient excuse for today’s troubles.

What are your thoughts?



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

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

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

Check out all of the books written by Sage
http://www.amazon.com/Sage/e/B01CC290ZE 
 
 
 
 
Preparing Your Work Space for a Post Trump Election
by Gregory Harris


All of us should be considering and preparing for the world as it will be after the 2016 election. The reality is that regardless of who wins or loses, the attitudes towards minorities, equality and racial relations is definitely changing and the discourse on bringing us all together will take major steps backwards.

The angry and now outspoken supporters of the Trump following and their negative, but pervasive discontent will undoubtedly continue well past Nov 8.  Now that it appears Trump has won, there will be triumphant and loud endorsement of the reversal of all things previously held as truths of racial inequities and inequality in work and life options for minorities. Implicit bias will rise to explicit action based on the current rhetoric. That rhetoric gives rise to economic anxiety. That anxiety means loss of jobs and opportunities for white America, but comes based in racial anxiety that says Mexicans, blacks and immigrant Muslims are getting all the jobs and opportunities that are left after Obama has let jobs go to China and India. Unfair to white Americans and requires a taking back of America. But back from who?
 How do you take America back from these very real statistics?
* Black unemployment: 8.8% vs 4.9 for whites (Dept of Labor 2016)
* Poverty levels: 26.2% black, 23.6% Hispanic, 10.1% white (2014 Census)
* Black children: 38% live in poverty, steady since 2011 (PEW 2015)
* Billionaires: black-2, white-500+ ( Forbes 2015)
* 1 Black female CEO in Fortune 500 ( Forbes 2015)
* 1 in 3 black men will go to prison in their lifetime (UN sentencing 2013)
* Jailed men: black 1 in 15, Hispanic 1 in 26, white 1 in 106 ( ACLU 2011)
Although the data tells a different story, minorities (black, brown, women, LGBT) will be facing a new reality. We will live in a world where the angry, racist and disenfranchised members of the majority will now believe in their own rhetoric and the beliefs and biases that they have silently held onto for years to be true in the now. Trump and his movement have given them a new emboldened voice, a new endorsement of their delusions.

However, now is not a good time for a backwards change with all of the consistent affronts to the minority population. Police killings, a justice system that targets black males and the lack of advancement opportunities in the black and brown communities, is not a good environment for further backlash. There will be reactions from the minority communities, but how each of us responds in the workplace is key to changing and managing fear and discontent on both sides.

For those of us who are employed, we have the unique opportunity to reach more civil minded or liked minded individuals who can recognize disconnects in the dialogue. It becomes our charge to change the racialized landscape and attitudes while we protect our jobs and the future of those coming behind us. Sometimes we do this ‘one naysayer at a time’ but do it we must. The alternatives are grim indeed.

When we do see opportunities to change attitudes, perceptions and fix the world we live in, we now have a challenge to (continue or start) working within the system in our work space for the benefit of us all. You and I must initiate our personal movement towards the elimination of implicit bias and racism in our workspace and educating our peers, associates, and comrades on the benefits and potentials of working together.

But first, ‘To thine own self be true’—think about the business you are in: will it be immediately affected by a change in administrations? Good or bad with Hillary or Trump? Will there be Green Company failures with Trump in office? Will interest rate changes affect your company’s ability to grow? Will social cuts loom for local, state and government employees? Although none of these changes would have effect immediately, consider what might happen in your industry and business and prepare accordingly with some thoughtful thinking and planning on what to watch for to predict and respond to impending change.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare became a reality, many medical manufacturers cut staff or benefits, etc., to protect earnings in preparation for additional taxes and cost they thought were coming. They closed plants, reduced staffing, etc. to protect earnings.

In this hostile climate, what and who may affect businesses trying to get away with cutting first? Is the business you are in secure? Are the real leaders in your organization part of the ‘Make America Great Again’ movement, or believers in civil rights for everyone?

Consider all of the above questions as you review your current occupation. Evaluate where YOU are and make your plan. This is the first step in preparing for the Post Trump Election.


About the Author

An author, a public speaker, and businessman, Gregory pens his new book Overcoming Bias and Racism in Your Workspace. Using his experiences with racism as a child raised in a military family in the poor coal and steel region/area /country of eastern Ohio, as well as his professional experiences at IBM and Wang Computers, Gregory shares tips and tools to effectively deal with the challenges of racism and bias head on.

A proud graduate of Morgan State University with over 20 years career experience as an executive, Gregory knows what it takes to survive and thrive in the world of business. A former Global Vice President Business Development and Marketing in the corporate realm, he continues to work as a consultant and coach encouraging success for all in the high tech arena.

With a passion for writing and reading, Gregory hopes to inspire and motivate others toward change. A youth sports coach in his spare time, Gregory always encourages others to be the best image of themselves and to stay true to one’s beliefs. Contact Gregory online at www.gregharrisauthors.com

 
12:11 AM Ella Curry
Preparing Your Work Space for a Post Trump Election
by Gregory Harris


All of us should be considering and preparing for the world as it will be after the 2016 election. The reality is that regardless of who wins or loses, the attitudes towards minorities, equality and racial relations is definitely changing and the discourse on bringing us all together will take major steps backwards.

The angry and now outspoken supporters of the Trump following and their negative, but pervasive discontent will undoubtedly continue well past Nov 8.  Now that it appears Trump has won, there will be triumphant and loud endorsement of the reversal of all things previously held as truths of racial inequities and inequality in work and life options for minorities. Implicit bias will rise to explicit action based on the current rhetoric. That rhetoric gives rise to economic anxiety. That anxiety means loss of jobs and opportunities for white America, but comes based in racial anxiety that says Mexicans, blacks and immigrant Muslims are getting all the jobs and opportunities that are left after Obama has let jobs go to China and India. Unfair to white Americans and requires a taking back of America. But back from who?
 How do you take America back from these very real statistics?
* Black unemployment: 8.8% vs 4.9 for whites (Dept of Labor 2016)
* Poverty levels: 26.2% black, 23.6% Hispanic, 10.1% white (2014 Census)
* Black children: 38% live in poverty, steady since 2011 (PEW 2015)
* Billionaires: black-2, white-500+ ( Forbes 2015)
* 1 Black female CEO in Fortune 500 ( Forbes 2015)
* 1 in 3 black men will go to prison in their lifetime (UN sentencing 2013)
* Jailed men: black 1 in 15, Hispanic 1 in 26, white 1 in 106 ( ACLU 2011)
Although the data tells a different story, minorities (black, brown, women, LGBT) will be facing a new reality. We will live in a world where the angry, racist and disenfranchised members of the majority will now believe in their own rhetoric and the beliefs and biases that they have silently held onto for years to be true in the now. Trump and his movement have given them a new emboldened voice, a new endorsement of their delusions.

However, now is not a good time for a backwards change with all of the consistent affronts to the minority population. Police killings, a justice system that targets black males and the lack of advancement opportunities in the black and brown communities, is not a good environment for further backlash. There will be reactions from the minority communities, but how each of us responds in the workplace is key to changing and managing fear and discontent on both sides.

For those of us who are employed, we have the unique opportunity to reach more civil minded or liked minded individuals who can recognize disconnects in the dialogue. It becomes our charge to change the racialized landscape and attitudes while we protect our jobs and the future of those coming behind us. Sometimes we do this ‘one naysayer at a time’ but do it we must. The alternatives are grim indeed.

When we do see opportunities to change attitudes, perceptions and fix the world we live in, we now have a challenge to (continue or start) working within the system in our work space for the benefit of us all. You and I must initiate our personal movement towards the elimination of implicit bias and racism in our workspace and educating our peers, associates, and comrades on the benefits and potentials of working together.

But first, ‘To thine own self be true’—think about the business you are in: will it be immediately affected by a change in administrations? Good or bad with Hillary or Trump? Will there be Green Company failures with Trump in office? Will interest rate changes affect your company’s ability to grow? Will social cuts loom for local, state and government employees? Although none of these changes would have effect immediately, consider what might happen in your industry and business and prepare accordingly with some thoughtful thinking and planning on what to watch for to predict and respond to impending change.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare became a reality, many medical manufacturers cut staff or benefits, etc., to protect earnings in preparation for additional taxes and cost they thought were coming. They closed plants, reduced staffing, etc. to protect earnings.

In this hostile climate, what and who may affect businesses trying to get away with cutting first? Is the business you are in secure? Are the real leaders in your organization part of the ‘Make America Great Again’ movement, or believers in civil rights for everyone?

Consider all of the above questions as you review your current occupation. Evaluate where YOU are and make your plan. This is the first step in preparing for the Post Trump Election.


About the Author

An author, a public speaker, and businessman, Gregory pens his new book Overcoming Bias and Racism in Your Workspace. Using his experiences with racism as a child raised in a military family in the poor coal and steel region/area /country of eastern Ohio, as well as his professional experiences at IBM and Wang Computers, Gregory shares tips and tools to effectively deal with the challenges of racism and bias head on.

A proud graduate of Morgan State University with over 20 years career experience as an executive, Gregory knows what it takes to survive and thrive in the world of business. A former Global Vice President Business Development and Marketing in the corporate realm, he continues to work as a consultant and coach encouraging success for all in the high tech arena.

With a passion for writing and reading, Gregory hopes to inspire and motivate others toward change. A youth sports coach in his spare time, Gregory always encourages others to be the best image of themselves and to stay true to one’s beliefs. Contact Gregory online at www.gregharrisauthors.com

 
How To Prepare For A Post Trump Election
by Gregory Harris


In the first article I talked about understanding and preparing for the changes that you may see in your business. That is essential to be prepared for how the marketplace may affect the direction your company is going and the opportunities that typically arise with change. It is good business to anticipate changes and have a plan that allows you to benefit from what the consequences (good or bad) are for your organization.

Many of us were surprised at the results of the election. It has slightly altered how many of us proceed (definitely slowed me down) and has given us more concern as we look for what is known and unknown in the future. Trump winning the 2016 Presidential election was not the change we were all anticipating when I wrote part 1 of this series.

Make sure you stay attuned to his revised commitments and changes versus the campaign threats. Some things may change in importance and some approaches may be altered as his administration and advisers formalize and prioritize actions.

You must consider what evolves and its effect on your market and employer.

We all expect that we will see an increase in micro-aggressions and sometimes outright racist behavior. In fact, we have seen in the news and on the Internet, negative and derogatory vocalizations towards brown and black people in schools and public places. We expected some negative comments based on the rhetoric from the campaign, however short term, there have been more emboldened individual reactions after the Trump win.

The good news is we've also seen an outpouring from American companies and their management (in very public ways) on the importance of diversity and working together. The CEO of AT&T has been very upfront in describing how he feels about maintaining efforts towards diversity, inclusion and support of Black Lives Matter. The CEO of Grub Hub was very outspoken on his post-election feelings towards people who supported the president elect and his commitment to a culture of inclusiveness in his organization (Bloomberg Nov 11). We also have seen many Fortune 500 companies stand up and speak to their employees in ways that indicated that they will continue to support the efforts to hire minorities LGBT women, etc. into their work environment and to help promote and guarantee their success (i.e., Microsoft announces diversity as a key factor in executive bonuses).

These announcements from the corporate leaders in the U.S. are very positive. We recognize that part of it is driven by the fact that much of their growth and success will be in appealing to the minority consumer and global marketplace. Minority participation in the workforce is also key if they want to have the best talent.

Likewise, their global image must have diversity efforts included as all other countries (buyers of their goods and services) are watching. Whether it's selling phones in South America or providing accounting services to the Middle East and Europe, people are watching.

The Fortune 500 companies recognize that they cannot afford to stumble in their diversity efforts and that racially diverse organization outperform non diverse ones by 35% (Forbes 2015). That's the good news. The bad news is that many of us don't work for Fortune 500 companies. Therefore, we must recognize that there are things we must do to be prepared personally and to be able to survive and thrive in this new environment.

Let me suggest three things that will make a difference for you:

1.
Make sure that you understand who the major players and decision-makers are in your organization upstream downstream and parallel to you. Org charts may not tell it all, so identify who really makes things happen. Understand where you think these major players are in their attitudes towards diversity and minorities and working together. I'm not asking you to stereotype but I am asking you to do thoughtful consideration of who those players are as they can be key as you watch changes in the business, changes in policies, changes in practices, that may affect you and others long and short term.

2.
With that analysis done look at who can be on your personal team. People who you can work with and who you can include as part of your virtual team of supporters and like-minded pursuers of doing the right thing - in policy and practice. These people become an informal network for you to make sure that the organization is moving in the right direction and is not impacted by the negative rhetoric of the outside environment. For both 1& 2 you must practice ‘Being There’ (participation in after work gatherings, lunches, informal get-togethers) to make sure you are around and present socially to hear the conversations and participate in the informal collaboration that does go on.

3.
Be prepared to handle micro-aggressions and some subtle racism that you may see. If you see implicit bias (unconsciously ingrained behaviors) - educate people who may not recognize or understand what they are doing wrong. If you see repeated micro-aggressions you should clarify for the individual(s) involved on why it is offensive and help people understand what is respectful of individuals and culture in any work environment, and the commensurate behavior that is expected from all. If you have an overt racist behavior, bigotry, discrimination, abuse, etc. you must deal with it as we always should – documenting and addressing with HR/management without hesitation.

In the last two weeks I have had multiple occurrences of people talking with me about concerns with the current environment and their relationship with management. One person was concerned with what they have seen as escalating negative attitudes towards her role and career. The current hired in expert (2 years in the job) had always been difficult but has become more antagonistic and negative towards her recently. Although she has a record of being a star performer, she has been treated with some distance and disdain by this new manager.

A black female in a very traditional white, middle-aged business structure (Commercial Financial Services) she has been with the company for almost 2 decades and has always met her management and performance goals. However, he has recently suggested that she would not be around for the long term.

We talked about her strategy for improving the relationship. First, we considered his background and the nature of his being. We recognize that he was a successful analytical social style who probably had never directly managed a woman or minority in the past. Additionally, he was a very conservative, Midwesterner with a stay at home wife and used to having his way. He did not seem to approve of her single mom status and didn’t really connect with any of the female employees or support staff. She and he had never had an informal or social interchange. She didn’t like or trust him.

I suggested that she approach him with a quid pro quo discussion. That discussion would revolve around three things. First, she recognizes his discomfort with her and understood, but her perceived differences/disadvantages actually made her a more determined and creative manager that resulted in her being successful for the organization. That he could count on. In addition, if she could spend more time with him learning big deal tactics and financing options, he could forecast more business or over-attain next year’s goals. Lastly, she would single-handedly approach the minority market to add to the organization's numbers and meet new diverse customer targets (something she wanted to do and upper management has wanted to see happen).

The discussion went well and now she is more optimistic as to her long-term success and ability to grow. They will have their first lunch meeting and joint customer visit soon. It was all quid pro quo (his time and mentoring her additional business). In fact the result is she is slowly converting him (at least in the business environment) and opening his eyes to the possibilities of working with women and minorities.

The second conversation was with a lady who had been approached by another manager who recognized her for getting things done, but did so by stereo typing her as a neck twirling, hand on the hip aggressive black female, none of which was true. She was shocked when it happened, but after our conversation, decided that if it happens again, she would very quickly address the fact that her success is based on making the right decisions and doing the right thing as any educated and prepared business person would do, period. I applauded her approach and strategy. She is more confident on what to do next. That’s how you handle micro-aggressions and the ignorant.

So in summary:

Speak up and provide simple responses and solutions that open eyes when the opportunities for education and conversion on Bias and Micro-aggressions occur.

Know and connect with the decision making structure and build your personal virtual team for success with planning and ‘Being There’.

Understand the political environment's effect on opportunities for the future for you, your market and business so you can make the right decisions and plan for your success.

We will continue to see change. We must plan and deal with change in ways that prepare us for the future. The post Trump election environment is just another opportunity for working with change for mutual success. We must always find ways to make the best of change when it happens.

Good Luck,
Gregory Harris

About the Author

An author, a public speaker, and businessman, Gregory pens his new book Overcoming Bias and Racism in Your Workspace. Using his experiences with racism as a child raised in a military family in the poor coal and steel region/area /country of eastern Ohio, as well as his professional experiences at IBM and Wang Computers, Gregory shares tips and tools to effectively deal with the challenges of racism and bias head on.

A proud graduate of Morgan State University with over 20 years career experience as an executive, Gregory knows what it takes to survive and thrive in the world of business. A former Global Vice President Business Development and Marketing in the corporate realm, he continues to work as a consultant and coach encouraging success for all in the high tech arena.

With a passion for writing and reading, Gregory hopes to inspire and motivate others toward change. A youth sports coach in his spare time, Gregory always encourages others to be the best image of themselves and to stay true to one’s beliefs. Contact Gregory online at www.gregharrisauthors.com

 
 
 
12:10 AM Ella Curry
How To Prepare For A Post Trump Election
by Gregory Harris


In the first article I talked about understanding and preparing for the changes that you may see in your business. That is essential to be prepared for how the marketplace may affect the direction your company is going and the opportunities that typically arise with change. It is good business to anticipate changes and have a plan that allows you to benefit from what the consequences (good or bad) are for your organization.

Many of us were surprised at the results of the election. It has slightly altered how many of us proceed (definitely slowed me down) and has given us more concern as we look for what is known and unknown in the future. Trump winning the 2016 Presidential election was not the change we were all anticipating when I wrote part 1 of this series.

Make sure you stay attuned to his revised commitments and changes versus the campaign threats. Some things may change in importance and some approaches may be altered as his administration and advisers formalize and prioritize actions.

You must consider what evolves and its effect on your market and employer.

We all expect that we will see an increase in micro-aggressions and sometimes outright racist behavior. In fact, we have seen in the news and on the Internet, negative and derogatory vocalizations towards brown and black people in schools and public places. We expected some negative comments based on the rhetoric from the campaign, however short term, there have been more emboldened individual reactions after the Trump win.

The good news is we've also seen an outpouring from American companies and their management (in very public ways) on the importance of diversity and working together. The CEO of AT&T has been very upfront in describing how he feels about maintaining efforts towards diversity, inclusion and support of Black Lives Matter. The CEO of Grub Hub was very outspoken on his post-election feelings towards people who supported the president elect and his commitment to a culture of inclusiveness in his organization (Bloomberg Nov 11). We also have seen many Fortune 500 companies stand up and speak to their employees in ways that indicated that they will continue to support the efforts to hire minorities LGBT women, etc. into their work environment and to help promote and guarantee their success (i.e., Microsoft announces diversity as a key factor in executive bonuses).

These announcements from the corporate leaders in the U.S. are very positive. We recognize that part of it is driven by the fact that much of their growth and success will be in appealing to the minority consumer and global marketplace. Minority participation in the workforce is also key if they want to have the best talent.

Likewise, their global image must have diversity efforts included as all other countries (buyers of their goods and services) are watching. Whether it's selling phones in South America or providing accounting services to the Middle East and Europe, people are watching.

The Fortune 500 companies recognize that they cannot afford to stumble in their diversity efforts and that racially diverse organization outperform non diverse ones by 35% (Forbes 2015). That's the good news. The bad news is that many of us don't work for Fortune 500 companies. Therefore, we must recognize that there are things we must do to be prepared personally and to be able to survive and thrive in this new environment.

Let me suggest three things that will make a difference for you:

1.
Make sure that you understand who the major players and decision-makers are in your organization upstream downstream and parallel to you. Org charts may not tell it all, so identify who really makes things happen. Understand where you think these major players are in their attitudes towards diversity and minorities and working together. I'm not asking you to stereotype but I am asking you to do thoughtful consideration of who those players are as they can be key as you watch changes in the business, changes in policies, changes in practices, that may affect you and others long and short term.

2.
With that analysis done look at who can be on your personal team. People who you can work with and who you can include as part of your virtual team of supporters and like-minded pursuers of doing the right thing - in policy and practice. These people become an informal network for you to make sure that the organization is moving in the right direction and is not impacted by the negative rhetoric of the outside environment. For both 1& 2 you must practice ‘Being There’ (participation in after work gatherings, lunches, informal get-togethers) to make sure you are around and present socially to hear the conversations and participate in the informal collaboration that does go on.

3.
Be prepared to handle micro-aggressions and some subtle racism that you may see. If you see implicit bias (unconsciously ingrained behaviors) - educate people who may not recognize or understand what they are doing wrong. If you see repeated micro-aggressions you should clarify for the individual(s) involved on why it is offensive and help people understand what is respectful of individuals and culture in any work environment, and the commensurate behavior that is expected from all. If you have an overt racist behavior, bigotry, discrimination, abuse, etc. you must deal with it as we always should – documenting and addressing with HR/management without hesitation.

In the last two weeks I have had multiple occurrences of people talking with me about concerns with the current environment and their relationship with management. One person was concerned with what they have seen as escalating negative attitudes towards her role and career. The current hired in expert (2 years in the job) had always been difficult but has become more antagonistic and negative towards her recently. Although she has a record of being a star performer, she has been treated with some distance and disdain by this new manager.

A black female in a very traditional white, middle-aged business structure (Commercial Financial Services) she has been with the company for almost 2 decades and has always met her management and performance goals. However, he has recently suggested that she would not be around for the long term.

We talked about her strategy for improving the relationship. First, we considered his background and the nature of his being. We recognize that he was a successful analytical social style who probably had never directly managed a woman or minority in the past. Additionally, he was a very conservative, Midwesterner with a stay at home wife and used to having his way. He did not seem to approve of her single mom status and didn’t really connect with any of the female employees or support staff. She and he had never had an informal or social interchange. She didn’t like or trust him.

I suggested that she approach him with a quid pro quo discussion. That discussion would revolve around three things. First, she recognizes his discomfort with her and understood, but her perceived differences/disadvantages actually made her a more determined and creative manager that resulted in her being successful for the organization. That he could count on. In addition, if she could spend more time with him learning big deal tactics and financing options, he could forecast more business or over-attain next year’s goals. Lastly, she would single-handedly approach the minority market to add to the organization's numbers and meet new diverse customer targets (something she wanted to do and upper management has wanted to see happen).

The discussion went well and now she is more optimistic as to her long-term success and ability to grow. They will have their first lunch meeting and joint customer visit soon. It was all quid pro quo (his time and mentoring her additional business). In fact the result is she is slowly converting him (at least in the business environment) and opening his eyes to the possibilities of working with women and minorities.

The second conversation was with a lady who had been approached by another manager who recognized her for getting things done, but did so by stereo typing her as a neck twirling, hand on the hip aggressive black female, none of which was true. She was shocked when it happened, but after our conversation, decided that if it happens again, she would very quickly address the fact that her success is based on making the right decisions and doing the right thing as any educated and prepared business person would do, period. I applauded her approach and strategy. She is more confident on what to do next. That’s how you handle micro-aggressions and the ignorant.

So in summary:

Speak up and provide simple responses and solutions that open eyes when the opportunities for education and conversion on Bias and Micro-aggressions occur.

Know and connect with the decision making structure and build your personal virtual team for success with planning and ‘Being There’.

Understand the political environment's effect on opportunities for the future for you, your market and business so you can make the right decisions and plan for your success.

We will continue to see change. We must plan and deal with change in ways that prepare us for the future. The post Trump election environment is just another opportunity for working with change for mutual success. We must always find ways to make the best of change when it happens.

Good Luck,
Gregory Harris

About the Author

An author, a public speaker, and businessman, Gregory pens his new book Overcoming Bias and Racism in Your Workspace. Using his experiences with racism as a child raised in a military family in the poor coal and steel region/area /country of eastern Ohio, as well as his professional experiences at IBM and Wang Computers, Gregory shares tips and tools to effectively deal with the challenges of racism and bias head on.

A proud graduate of Morgan State University with over 20 years career experience as an executive, Gregory knows what it takes to survive and thrive in the world of business. A former Global Vice President Business Development and Marketing in the corporate realm, he continues to work as a consultant and coach encouraging success for all in the high tech arena.

With a passion for writing and reading, Gregory hopes to inspire and motivate others toward change. A youth sports coach in his spare time, Gregory always encourages others to be the best image of themselves and to stay true to one’s beliefs. Contact Gregory online at www.gregharrisauthors.com

 
 
 

Eartha S. Dunston, writer, speaker, panelist and Social Worker, is the 2016 winner of the Black Pearls Literary Excellence Book of the Year Award for her debut children’s book, The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney.

Through her literary work, she aims to help children, parents, and educators, with difficult subject matters such a positive self-image, loss and grief. As a Clinical Social Worker and by triumphing through her own difficulties, including losing both parents in the same week when she was a young student, Eartha fully understands how simple, yet effective tools such as books can make a huge difference when combating these issues.

Award-winning aAuthor Eartha S. Dunston has been named honorary Board Member of  The Kidadah Project, INC. A non-profit mentoring program for girls in Atlanta, GA.

Eartha Dunston holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and graduated cum laude from ASU earning a Bachelor of Social Work from Alabama State University.

Eartha enjoys traveling, encouraging others through life’s obstacles, reading and crafting stories in all genres.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write?
I've always enjoyed writing. I started keeping a journal and writing poetry when I was in college. At the time, I never intended to share my writings publicly. I was going through a very tough time. Both of my parents were terminally ill. I was struggling emotionally, financially and every way imaginable. Writing consoled me. It was my escape. I always felt better because my journal and poems were the one place I could be totally raw and honest about my feelings. I could cry out to God and be mad at him at the same time for what I was going through; and no one was there to judge me.

One of my friends discovered a poem I had written, and he persuaded me to perform at his fraternity's poetry night. I protested with everything in me, but eventually gave in. I was determined not to cower. To my amazement, the audience loved it; and I received a standing ovation. I knew in that instant I wanted to write professionally one day. Within the next few days, several individuals and organizations invited me to perform on campus and at local spots in the city. It was an epiphany for me.

BPM: How did you advance the call for writing?

After graduate school, I settled into a comfortable career, and tucked my writing dreams away. However, the passion never died. I was visiting my brother in Atlanta one summer, when I received profound confirmation about my writing that changed my life. I dusted off all my old ideas and put work behind my faith and dreams. I started traveling the country to attend writing seminars and conferences. I ventured to New York, Houston, and Atlanta to name a few. I soaked up as much knowledge about the industry and writing process as I could. I attended seminars and writing classes featuring some of the best in the business.

A couple of the authors and I connected. One accomplished, seasoned author took me under her wings and began to motivate me with words of encouragement. Another well-known author referred me to her publicist, and things took off immediately. It got to the point where all the things I thought would be a challenge were lining up without much effort. It’s as if my dream started chasing me. I had written the Princess series of books a couple years earlier but never attempted to publish them. I had also started working on a novel. A couple of my writing mentors continued to nudge and encourage me to move forward. I could no longer mask the dream.

I knew it was time to launch my long-desired writing career. I knew all this was not coincidental, but divine connections orchestrated by God, in His timing.

BPM: Introduce your book, The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney and the characters.
The main character of the book, Princess Lindsey Sidney, admires her hair each day of the week as it transitions from straight to frizzy and all textures in between. My debut children’s book, entitled The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney, was birthed out of the struggles with my daughter’s hair. I was never good at hair. I cropped mine off years ago and never looked back. God really has a sense of humor. He gave me a beautiful daughter with the biggest, thickest, and coarsest hair I’ve ever encountered. I knew I was in trouble when it came to grooming it. I knew there had to be other parents going through the same struggles. I knew others could benefit from a book that celebrated various phases of our sometimes straight, sometimes kinky.

I would spend hours every Saturday on my daughter’s hair trying to wash it, comb it and make it pretty. It would never be as sleek or straight as I wanted. We would both be in tears. However, I noticed when her father and I told her she was a beautiful princess with the prettiest hair, she believed it! Even with a pile of untamed frizz on her head, she would stand in the mirror and admire it because we told her she was beautiful. It made me realize the power of instilling positive self-image in children at a young age. She thought her hair was beautiful in all its imperfection because we told her so.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because it’s liberating. I write because it is the one thing I will always do even if I never make a dime from it. I love writing and if my writing can help someone along the way, even better. Creating characters and giving them life is exhilarating. I ‘m driven by the power and emotion well developed characters evoke. I’ve gotten feedback from beta readers that tell me they can’t stop thinking about a particular character in my novel or they really felt as if they were there with the characters. When I hear that, I know I am on the right track. I will always have a passion for writing, whether it’s another children’s book, a simple article, or a fast-paced spy novel. I’m just getting started!
 
Interview/Speaking Engagement Requests
To schedule Eartha Dunston for an interview or speaking engagement contact: i_write@aol.com.  We welcome invitations to speak to schools, daycares, churches, libraries or home-school groups. Interviews can be in person, via Facetime or Skype. 

Website:       http://www.earthadunston.com
Twitter:        https://twitter.com/EarthaDunston
Pinterest:     https://www.pinterest.com/earthadunston
Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/earthasdunston
Facebook:    http://www.facebook.com/EarthaSDunston
 
The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney is the first in a series of children’s books entitled the Princess Series. Each book aims to serve as a dialogue with children, parents, and educators to address such issues as positive self-image and dealing with the loss of a loved one.  Parents, The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney will instill a positive self-image in your little princess. It teaches children to appreciate their hair textures from straight to frizzy and all styles in between.  Additional teaching opportunities, such as learning the days of the week, are purposely crafted into the story.  Purchase  Link:   http://a.co/bqjdGRV

Age Level: 2 - 5 years old
Hardcover: 42 pages. Dimensions:  8 x 10 x 0.25
ISBN-13: 978-0996930277.  Publisher: JD Publishing (June 21, 2016)
Children's Books > Chapter Books & Readers > Beginner Readers

Available nationwide, on Nook and Kindle eReaders. On Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Distribution: Ingram Content Group





4:39 PM Ella Curry

Eartha S. Dunston, writer, speaker, panelist and Social Worker, is the 2016 winner of the Black Pearls Literary Excellence Book of the Year Award for her debut children’s book, The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney.

Through her literary work, she aims to help children, parents, and educators, with difficult subject matters such a positive self-image, loss and grief. As a Clinical Social Worker and by triumphing through her own difficulties, including losing both parents in the same week when she was a young student, Eartha fully understands how simple, yet effective tools such as books can make a huge difference when combating these issues.

Award-winning aAuthor Eartha S. Dunston has been named honorary Board Member of  The Kidadah Project, INC. A non-profit mentoring program for girls in Atlanta, GA.

Eartha Dunston holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and graduated cum laude from ASU earning a Bachelor of Social Work from Alabama State University.

Eartha enjoys traveling, encouraging others through life’s obstacles, reading and crafting stories in all genres.

BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write?
I've always enjoyed writing. I started keeping a journal and writing poetry when I was in college. At the time, I never intended to share my writings publicly. I was going through a very tough time. Both of my parents were terminally ill. I was struggling emotionally, financially and every way imaginable. Writing consoled me. It was my escape. I always felt better because my journal and poems were the one place I could be totally raw and honest about my feelings. I could cry out to God and be mad at him at the same time for what I was going through; and no one was there to judge me.

One of my friends discovered a poem I had written, and he persuaded me to perform at his fraternity's poetry night. I protested with everything in me, but eventually gave in. I was determined not to cower. To my amazement, the audience loved it; and I received a standing ovation. I knew in that instant I wanted to write professionally one day. Within the next few days, several individuals and organizations invited me to perform on campus and at local spots in the city. It was an epiphany for me.

BPM: How did you advance the call for writing?

After graduate school, I settled into a comfortable career, and tucked my writing dreams away. However, the passion never died. I was visiting my brother in Atlanta one summer, when I received profound confirmation about my writing that changed my life. I dusted off all my old ideas and put work behind my faith and dreams. I started traveling the country to attend writing seminars and conferences. I ventured to New York, Houston, and Atlanta to name a few. I soaked up as much knowledge about the industry and writing process as I could. I attended seminars and writing classes featuring some of the best in the business.

A couple of the authors and I connected. One accomplished, seasoned author took me under her wings and began to motivate me with words of encouragement. Another well-known author referred me to her publicist, and things took off immediately. It got to the point where all the things I thought would be a challenge were lining up without much effort. It’s as if my dream started chasing me. I had written the Princess series of books a couple years earlier but never attempted to publish them. I had also started working on a novel. A couple of my writing mentors continued to nudge and encourage me to move forward. I could no longer mask the dream.

I knew it was time to launch my long-desired writing career. I knew all this was not coincidental, but divine connections orchestrated by God, in His timing.

BPM: Introduce your book, The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney and the characters.
The main character of the book, Princess Lindsey Sidney, admires her hair each day of the week as it transitions from straight to frizzy and all textures in between. My debut children’s book, entitled The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney, was birthed out of the struggles with my daughter’s hair. I was never good at hair. I cropped mine off years ago and never looked back. God really has a sense of humor. He gave me a beautiful daughter with the biggest, thickest, and coarsest hair I’ve ever encountered. I knew I was in trouble when it came to grooming it. I knew there had to be other parents going through the same struggles. I knew others could benefit from a book that celebrated various phases of our sometimes straight, sometimes kinky.

I would spend hours every Saturday on my daughter’s hair trying to wash it, comb it and make it pretty. It would never be as sleek or straight as I wanted. We would both be in tears. However, I noticed when her father and I told her she was a beautiful princess with the prettiest hair, she believed it! Even with a pile of untamed frizz on her head, she would stand in the mirror and admire it because we told her she was beautiful. It made me realize the power of instilling positive self-image in children at a young age. She thought her hair was beautiful in all its imperfection because we told her so.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because it’s liberating. I write because it is the one thing I will always do even if I never make a dime from it. I love writing and if my writing can help someone along the way, even better. Creating characters and giving them life is exhilarating. I ‘m driven by the power and emotion well developed characters evoke. I’ve gotten feedback from beta readers that tell me they can’t stop thinking about a particular character in my novel or they really felt as if they were there with the characters. When I hear that, I know I am on the right track. I will always have a passion for writing, whether it’s another children’s book, a simple article, or a fast-paced spy novel. I’m just getting started!
 
Interview/Speaking Engagement Requests
To schedule Eartha Dunston for an interview or speaking engagement contact: i_write@aol.com.  We welcome invitations to speak to schools, daycares, churches, libraries or home-school groups. Interviews can be in person, via Facetime or Skype. 

Website:       http://www.earthadunston.com
Twitter:        https://twitter.com/EarthaDunston
Pinterest:     https://www.pinterest.com/earthadunston
Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/earthasdunston
Facebook:    http://www.facebook.com/EarthaSDunston
 
The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney is the first in a series of children’s books entitled the Princess Series. Each book aims to serve as a dialogue with children, parents, and educators to address such issues as positive self-image and dealing with the loss of a loved one.  Parents, The Hair Adventures of Princess Lindsey Sidney will instill a positive self-image in your little princess. It teaches children to appreciate their hair textures from straight to frizzy and all styles in between.  Additional teaching opportunities, such as learning the days of the week, are purposely crafted into the story.  Purchase  Link:   http://a.co/bqjdGRV

Age Level: 2 - 5 years old
Hardcover: 42 pages. Dimensions:  8 x 10 x 0.25
ISBN-13: 978-0996930277.  Publisher: JD Publishing (June 21, 2016)
Children's Books > Chapter Books & Readers > Beginner Readers

Available nationwide, on Nook and Kindle eReaders. On Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Distribution: Ingram Content Group







Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She been nominated for an Emma Award, RT Reviewer's Choice Award and named BRAB's 2015 Best New Author.

When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two very special little boys.

BPM:  Could you tell us something about your most recent work?  Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
My latest book, Places In My Heart, features a pro football star who needs a new agent and a sassy attorney who wants to break into the world of sports management. This book was such fun for me because I am a diehard football fan. The chemistry between Omar and Morgan is electric from the start, but both need the other more professionally. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can keep those boundaries in place.

BPM:  Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?

My heroine, Morgan Gray, is outspoken and doesn’t back down from a challenge. She goes for what she wants, regardless of the obstacles and is fiercely loyal. My hero, Omar Drummond, has a heart of gold. While he enjoys the game of football, he has far-reaching goals that will make lives better for veterans and others suffering from PTSD or other mental health issues.

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

I’m a diehard football fan and I’ve always wanted to write a sports romance. When the opportunity came for this series, I knew at least one of the books would feature a football player. It turns out that I’ll get to explore the lives of two heroes in the game (stay tuned for Book 5 in The Grays of Los Angeles series featuring Malcolm Gray). Sports management was also a fascinating topic and I had a blast researching this for Morgan because it’s not often we see a woman in this field.


BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
My book ideas come from everywhere—life experiences, television, songs, etc. Sometimes, I wish I could turn my brain off for an hour or two because a plot line will come to me in the middle of the night. Like musicians hear music in everything, I hear plots. My books tend to be character-driven.

BPM:  Is writing easy for you? Do you feel lonely being a writer?
I wouldn’t say writing is easy for me, but it’s not necessarily difficult, either. But occasionally, some doubts creep in in when it’s time to start a new book or when I’m stuck in the middle of a story and can’t seem to find my way to the end immediately. Then it’s, “I don’t know if I can do this,” or “what if I can’t finish it?” I usually step away from my computer for a few hours or even a full day and do something else, like read, since I don’t get to do it as much as I like now. The next day, my head is clearer and I can get going again. As far as feeling lonely, I haven’t felt this way at all. I have such a phenomenal support of author friends! We hash out plot lines, critique each other and sometimes, just get together and hang out. No book talk, just pure fellowship.

BPM:  What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

In a word: football! Like I said, I love football and any chance I get to watch it for “research” is a win-win for me. I also thoroughly enjoyed Morgan and Omar’s journey to finding their forever.

BPM:  How long does it take to complete one of your books?

The time frame varies for me to complete a book. If there are no life interruptions (ha ha), then I can finish a 50K-60K word in about 6-8 weeks, and a novella of about 35K words in four weeks.

BPM:  Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
If you wait for the perfect time to start writing, you’ll never do it. Don’t wait! Read extensively in the line you want to write for. Learn everything about the craft of writing…and KEEP learning. Don’t think about writing, don’t dream about writing and don’t talk about writing… write.

BPM:  What period of your life do you find you write about most often?

Everything I’ve written so far is geared to my adult life. But, I’d love to explore the teen and young adult genre one day.

BPM:  How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
I write fiction, but I understand that not everyone will like what I write. The only thing I can do is keep telling my story.

BPM:  Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book?  If so, discuss them.
I don’t think the subject of PTSD and mental health is under-represented, per se, but the lack of services is something that needs to keep being said. Our service men and women put themselves on the line to protect our freedoms. Yet, when they return battle worn and weary in spirit and mind, there are limited avenues to assist them and their families. There needs to be more done to help them re-enter civilian life wholly. In Places In My Heart, I touch on this subject and, through my hero, share a little about one of my dreams.

BPM:  How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Though I write fiction, I tend to draw from my experiences in telling a story, but there is no direct relation.

BPM:   Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
With each book, I’m taking more risks and pushing myself beyond some self-imposed walls. I have to say that I love the growth, although it’s scary, and hope to continue challenging myself.

BPM:   Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
In researching the subject of PTSD, I came across many stories from veterans and their family members, ranging from heartbreaking to hopeful. One man had written a note saying he was tired of feeling like he didn’t matter. On the flip side, there’s the outpouring of love and support found on a site for those suffering with PTSD and their families. I also had an eye-opening conversation with my Army Veteran sister, who graciously shared part of her story.

BPM:   What were your goals and intentions in writing this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My intention, first and foremost, is always to tell a satisfying love story. I want readers to be able to relax and escape into a world where, despite the flaws of each character and the struggles each may face, at the end of the journey there is true love.

BPM:  What does literary success look like to you?
I consider it literary success every time I finish a book. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.

BPM:   What projects are you working on at the present?
Currently, I am working on books three and four in The Grays of Los Angeles series. Brandon’s story, Giving My All To You, is scheduled for release May 2017 and Khalil’s story, A Touch Of Love, is scheduled for Nov 2017. I am also working on a novella, Whatever It Takes, which is Eve Thompson’s story (she was introduced in It’s Only You). I hope to release it in the first part of 2017.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website: www.sheryllister.com
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2bF1Vau
Twitter: www.twitter.com/1slynne
Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2cerUUy
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sheryllisterauthor




4:31 PM Ella Curry


Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She been nominated for an Emma Award, RT Reviewer's Choice Award and named BRAB's 2015 Best New Author.

When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two very special little boys.

BPM:  Could you tell us something about your most recent work?  Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
My latest book, Places In My Heart, features a pro football star who needs a new agent and a sassy attorney who wants to break into the world of sports management. This book was such fun for me because I am a diehard football fan. The chemistry between Omar and Morgan is electric from the start, but both need the other more professionally. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can keep those boundaries in place.

BPM:  Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?

My heroine, Morgan Gray, is outspoken and doesn’t back down from a challenge. She goes for what she wants, regardless of the obstacles and is fiercely loyal. My hero, Omar Drummond, has a heart of gold. While he enjoys the game of football, he has far-reaching goals that will make lives better for veterans and others suffering from PTSD or other mental health issues.

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

I’m a diehard football fan and I’ve always wanted to write a sports romance. When the opportunity came for this series, I knew at least one of the books would feature a football player. It turns out that I’ll get to explore the lives of two heroes in the game (stay tuned for Book 5 in The Grays of Los Angeles series featuring Malcolm Gray). Sports management was also a fascinating topic and I had a blast researching this for Morgan because it’s not often we see a woman in this field.


BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
My book ideas come from everywhere—life experiences, television, songs, etc. Sometimes, I wish I could turn my brain off for an hour or two because a plot line will come to me in the middle of the night. Like musicians hear music in everything, I hear plots. My books tend to be character-driven.

BPM:  Is writing easy for you? Do you feel lonely being a writer?
I wouldn’t say writing is easy for me, but it’s not necessarily difficult, either. But occasionally, some doubts creep in in when it’s time to start a new book or when I’m stuck in the middle of a story and can’t seem to find my way to the end immediately. Then it’s, “I don’t know if I can do this,” or “what if I can’t finish it?” I usually step away from my computer for a few hours or even a full day and do something else, like read, since I don’t get to do it as much as I like now. The next day, my head is clearer and I can get going again. As far as feeling lonely, I haven’t felt this way at all. I have such a phenomenal support of author friends! We hash out plot lines, critique each other and sometimes, just get together and hang out. No book talk, just pure fellowship.

BPM:  What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

In a word: football! Like I said, I love football and any chance I get to watch it for “research” is a win-win for me. I also thoroughly enjoyed Morgan and Omar’s journey to finding their forever.

BPM:  How long does it take to complete one of your books?

The time frame varies for me to complete a book. If there are no life interruptions (ha ha), then I can finish a 50K-60K word in about 6-8 weeks, and a novella of about 35K words in four weeks.

BPM:  Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
If you wait for the perfect time to start writing, you’ll never do it. Don’t wait! Read extensively in the line you want to write for. Learn everything about the craft of writing…and KEEP learning. Don’t think about writing, don’t dream about writing and don’t talk about writing… write.

BPM:  What period of your life do you find you write about most often?

Everything I’ve written so far is geared to my adult life. But, I’d love to explore the teen and young adult genre one day.

BPM:  How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
I write fiction, but I understand that not everyone will like what I write. The only thing I can do is keep telling my story.

BPM:  Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book?  If so, discuss them.
I don’t think the subject of PTSD and mental health is under-represented, per se, but the lack of services is something that needs to keep being said. Our service men and women put themselves on the line to protect our freedoms. Yet, when they return battle worn and weary in spirit and mind, there are limited avenues to assist them and their families. There needs to be more done to help them re-enter civilian life wholly. In Places In My Heart, I touch on this subject and, through my hero, share a little about one of my dreams.

BPM:  How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Though I write fiction, I tend to draw from my experiences in telling a story, but there is no direct relation.

BPM:   Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
With each book, I’m taking more risks and pushing myself beyond some self-imposed walls. I have to say that I love the growth, although it’s scary, and hope to continue challenging myself.

BPM:   Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
In researching the subject of PTSD, I came across many stories from veterans and their family members, ranging from heartbreaking to hopeful. One man had written a note saying he was tired of feeling like he didn’t matter. On the flip side, there’s the outpouring of love and support found on a site for those suffering with PTSD and their families. I also had an eye-opening conversation with my Army Veteran sister, who graciously shared part of her story.

BPM:   What were your goals and intentions in writing this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My intention, first and foremost, is always to tell a satisfying love story. I want readers to be able to relax and escape into a world where, despite the flaws of each character and the struggles each may face, at the end of the journey there is true love.

BPM:  What does literary success look like to you?
I consider it literary success every time I finish a book. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.

BPM:   What projects are you working on at the present?
Currently, I am working on books three and four in The Grays of Los Angeles series. Brandon’s story, Giving My All To You, is scheduled for release May 2017 and Khalil’s story, A Touch Of Love, is scheduled for Nov 2017. I am also working on a novella, Whatever It Takes, which is Eve Thompson’s story (she was introduced in It’s Only You). I hope to release it in the first part of 2017.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website: www.sheryllister.com
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2bF1Vau
Twitter: www.twitter.com/1slynne
Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2cerUUy
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sheryllisterauthor





Omar Drummond is a pro football superstar with a body that’s a pure work of art. But Morgan Gray is forbidden to act on their chemistry, or repeat their impulsive kiss. Proving her worth as a sports agent means securing the notorious celebrity as a client, not a lover. Yet between flowers, sweet notes and heady hotel interludes, Omar is shamelessly seducing her...

Other agents—and exes—have tried using Omar as a meal ticket, and he’s closed himself off from emotional entanglements. With Morgan, it’s a whole new playbook. Smart and tough, she can negotiate a contract and turn him on all in one go, and he craves more. But in matters of trust, he’s just fumbled badly. To win her he has to show her the man he can be away from the field and the limelight, and hope that this time they’re both playing for keeps.


Excerpt: Places In My Heart by Sheryl Lister


Omar scanned the yard and saw Morgan laughing with another player’s wife. They were the only two women who had joined in the otherwise all-male football game. She had impressed him with her offensive and defensive skills. Not many women—and none he’d dated—would subject themselves to a light tackle football game and not care about being dirty or having messy hair. But Morgan was different, and that turned him on.

“Man, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Malcolm said. “Roland will make sure you stay with the Cobras as long as you want.” When Omar didn’t comment, Malcolm leaned forward. “What’s up, Drummond?”

“I can’t go into details, but I think it’s time for a change. And this time, I want to steer clear of anybody involved in league politics. I need somebody else, Mal.”

Malcolm studied him for a moment and then said, “My sister is looking to get into the business.”

“Is that right? She’s an attorney?”

“Yeah. And she’s about as far away from league politics as you can get.”

“So, she knows the game well, huh?”

“As if she’s played it all her life,” Malcolm said.

Omar had thought that was the case, but hearing Malcolm confirm it solidified in his mind that she might exactly the person he needed to help him.

“Food’s ready,” Omar heard someone say.

He came to his feet, eager to end the conversation. Omar got in line with the rest of the guests, filled his plate and crossed the yard to where Morgan sat with her food. His intention had been to talk to her about a business proposition, but as soon as he sat and opened his mouth, two other women joined them and started a conversation about some popular television show. He promptly tuned out and dug into his meal.

“What about you, Drummond?”

His head popped up, and he met Morgan’s expectant gaze. “I’m sorry. What did you ask?”

“I asked which show was your favorite—Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder?”

“I don’t watch either show.”

Morgan slanted him a look. “Let me guess. You only watch sports or sports news.”

“No. I enjoy a good comedy or action movie, but I prefer reading to television.”

Surprise lit her eyes. “Reading?”

“Yeah, you know…books.”

“Wow, really, Omar? I would’ve never figured that out,” she said teasingly and rolled her eyes. The group laughed.

Omar smiled. She’d called him by his first name, something she had never done before. Their easy rapport gave him hope that she would be receptive to his plan. They finished eating while talking, and afterward, three other guys convinced Omar to join them in a card game. He kept one eye on his cards and the other on Morgan, waiting for a chance to get her alone.

His opportunity came three hands later when he saw her go inside. It took some serious patience to finish the game, especially since his partner seemed to contemplate every round. In Omar’s mind it was simple—you either had the card or you didn’t.

Marcus Dupree, wide receiver, threw up his hands. “Grant, do you think we could finish this game before the season starts? We only have a month.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Omar mumbled.

“Patience, my brothers,” Lucas Grant said. “I have to get my strategy together.” The middle linebacker employed the same tactics when watching plays develop and stopping runs between the tackles. Though effective on the field, today it only irritated Omar.

Omar shook his head. Minutes later, he tossed out his last card and stood. “Somebody else can take my spot. I’m done.” Without waiting for a reply, he headed for the sliding glass door that led to the kitchen and stepped inside. The sight of Morgan’s long bare legs stopped him in his tracks. She had changed into another pair of shorts that stretched taut over her backside as she reached for something in a cabinet. If he could just get one touch… Omar shook himself and quickly dismissed the notion.

“I see you changed.”

Morgan whirled around. “Oh. Drummond, you scared me.”

Back to last names again. “Sorry.”

She set the glass she had gotten on the counter and went to the refrigerator. “That’s okay. I had to shower. I can only take feeling grimy for so long.”

It took him a moment to realize she had commented on his previous statement. “I hear you. But you played a good game.”

“Are you referring to the interception or the touchdown?” she asked as she poured what looked like iced tea into the glass.

“A little cocky, aren’t you?”

She leaned against the counter, wrapped one arm around her middle and took a sip of her drink. “My game speaks for itself. Yours, on the other hand, can use some work.”

Omar closed the distance between them and braced his hands on the counter on either side of her. “Is that a challenge?”

She tilted her chin and stared at him intently. “You tell me.”

Their faces were inches apart. Common sense told him he should back up, but he couldn’t. Not when her full, gloss-slicked lips were calling to him. Without thinking about the ramifications, he crushed his mouth against hers and slid his tongue inside when her lips parted on a startled gasp. She came up on tiptoe and met him stroke for stroke, causing him to groan.

A second later Morgan stiffened and tore her mouth away. She pushed against his chest. “Move.”

Omar dropped his arms. “Morgan, I—” She brushed past him, and he reached out to stop her.

She slapped his hand away and kept walking.

“Morgan, wait. I need to talk to you.”

“I think you’ve said enough,” she called over her shoulder.


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sheryl Lister. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase Places in My Heart (The Grays of Los Angeles)
Genre: Kimani Contemporary Romance

https://www.amazon.com/Places-Heart-Grays-Los-Angeles/dp/0373864701/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/places-in-my-heart-sheryl-lister/1123346427


4:29 PM Ella Curry

Omar Drummond is a pro football superstar with a body that’s a pure work of art. But Morgan Gray is forbidden to act on their chemistry, or repeat their impulsive kiss. Proving her worth as a sports agent means securing the notorious celebrity as a client, not a lover. Yet between flowers, sweet notes and heady hotel interludes, Omar is shamelessly seducing her...

Other agents—and exes—have tried using Omar as a meal ticket, and he’s closed himself off from emotional entanglements. With Morgan, it’s a whole new playbook. Smart and tough, she can negotiate a contract and turn him on all in one go, and he craves more. But in matters of trust, he’s just fumbled badly. To win her he has to show her the man he can be away from the field and the limelight, and hope that this time they’re both playing for keeps.


Excerpt: Places In My Heart by Sheryl Lister


Omar scanned the yard and saw Morgan laughing with another player’s wife. They were the only two women who had joined in the otherwise all-male football game. She had impressed him with her offensive and defensive skills. Not many women—and none he’d dated—would subject themselves to a light tackle football game and not care about being dirty or having messy hair. But Morgan was different, and that turned him on.

“Man, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Malcolm said. “Roland will make sure you stay with the Cobras as long as you want.” When Omar didn’t comment, Malcolm leaned forward. “What’s up, Drummond?”

“I can’t go into details, but I think it’s time for a change. And this time, I want to steer clear of anybody involved in league politics. I need somebody else, Mal.”

Malcolm studied him for a moment and then said, “My sister is looking to get into the business.”

“Is that right? She’s an attorney?”

“Yeah. And she’s about as far away from league politics as you can get.”

“So, she knows the game well, huh?”

“As if she’s played it all her life,” Malcolm said.

Omar had thought that was the case, but hearing Malcolm confirm it solidified in his mind that she might exactly the person he needed to help him.

“Food’s ready,” Omar heard someone say.

He came to his feet, eager to end the conversation. Omar got in line with the rest of the guests, filled his plate and crossed the yard to where Morgan sat with her food. His intention had been to talk to her about a business proposition, but as soon as he sat and opened his mouth, two other women joined them and started a conversation about some popular television show. He promptly tuned out and dug into his meal.

“What about you, Drummond?”

His head popped up, and he met Morgan’s expectant gaze. “I’m sorry. What did you ask?”

“I asked which show was your favorite—Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder?”

“I don’t watch either show.”

Morgan slanted him a look. “Let me guess. You only watch sports or sports news.”

“No. I enjoy a good comedy or action movie, but I prefer reading to television.”

Surprise lit her eyes. “Reading?”

“Yeah, you know…books.”

“Wow, really, Omar? I would’ve never figured that out,” she said teasingly and rolled her eyes. The group laughed.

Omar smiled. She’d called him by his first name, something she had never done before. Their easy rapport gave him hope that she would be receptive to his plan. They finished eating while talking, and afterward, three other guys convinced Omar to join them in a card game. He kept one eye on his cards and the other on Morgan, waiting for a chance to get her alone.

His opportunity came three hands later when he saw her go inside. It took some serious patience to finish the game, especially since his partner seemed to contemplate every round. In Omar’s mind it was simple—you either had the card or you didn’t.

Marcus Dupree, wide receiver, threw up his hands. “Grant, do you think we could finish this game before the season starts? We only have a month.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Omar mumbled.

“Patience, my brothers,” Lucas Grant said. “I have to get my strategy together.” The middle linebacker employed the same tactics when watching plays develop and stopping runs between the tackles. Though effective on the field, today it only irritated Omar.

Omar shook his head. Minutes later, he tossed out his last card and stood. “Somebody else can take my spot. I’m done.” Without waiting for a reply, he headed for the sliding glass door that led to the kitchen and stepped inside. The sight of Morgan’s long bare legs stopped him in his tracks. She had changed into another pair of shorts that stretched taut over her backside as she reached for something in a cabinet. If he could just get one touch… Omar shook himself and quickly dismissed the notion.

“I see you changed.”

Morgan whirled around. “Oh. Drummond, you scared me.”

Back to last names again. “Sorry.”

She set the glass she had gotten on the counter and went to the refrigerator. “That’s okay. I had to shower. I can only take feeling grimy for so long.”

It took him a moment to realize she had commented on his previous statement. “I hear you. But you played a good game.”

“Are you referring to the interception or the touchdown?” she asked as she poured what looked like iced tea into the glass.

“A little cocky, aren’t you?”

She leaned against the counter, wrapped one arm around her middle and took a sip of her drink. “My game speaks for itself. Yours, on the other hand, can use some work.”

Omar closed the distance between them and braced his hands on the counter on either side of her. “Is that a challenge?”

She tilted her chin and stared at him intently. “You tell me.”

Their faces were inches apart. Common sense told him he should back up, but he couldn’t. Not when her full, gloss-slicked lips were calling to him. Without thinking about the ramifications, he crushed his mouth against hers and slid his tongue inside when her lips parted on a startled gasp. She came up on tiptoe and met him stroke for stroke, causing him to groan.

A second later Morgan stiffened and tore her mouth away. She pushed against his chest. “Move.”

Omar dropped his arms. “Morgan, I—” She brushed past him, and he reached out to stop her.

She slapped his hand away and kept walking.

“Morgan, wait. I need to talk to you.”

“I think you’ve said enough,” she called over her shoulder.


( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sheryl Lister. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase Places in My Heart (The Grays of Los Angeles)
Genre: Kimani Contemporary Romance

https://www.amazon.com/Places-Heart-Grays-Los-Angeles/dp/0373864701/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/places-in-my-heart-sheryl-lister/1123346427



JOY – Jesus on You by D. Michele Jackson
Novel Based on a True Story - Travels of the Promises Trilogy (Book 2)



From the writer introduced in "Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us", D. Michele Jackson returns with questions. Is it not the right to be well in a country that offers civil liberties? This is a question Secret poses on her quest to revise the Nineteenth Amendment. On a mission to secure equality and address the social issues that plague health, Donna is chiming for change in her novel that is based on a true story, “JOY: Jesus on You”.



A native of the “City of Brotherly Love” and a registered nurse, Secret is on a mission to secure equality and address the social issues that plague health. She’ll also decide once and for all, if love conquers all.

In the midst of a bitter divorce weeks before Christmas in 2011, Secret finds herself in a small, Southern courtroom pitted in a vicious dogfight against The Paper. Secret is divorcing a retired sheriff deputy, who is working on a second career in law enforcement, who had a payroll deposit going into a bank account not listed in his name and a vehicle that he denied having, even though there was clear documentation that he is purchased the car. The Paper is a former police officer willing to break laws to protect his double life, even if it means committing perjury.

As she detangles herself in a fictional contract socially accepted as marriage, a document Secret deemed as “final,” Secret is lied to, deceived, and demoralized. What’s worst is the judge’s final verdict states clearly that Secret will also be displaced from her home. It is a home she’d won fairly. It’s a home she deserved. As the winds of change blow, Secret’s new normal is shaky, what isn’t is her sense of purpose.

Secret decides to take on the establishment, one that seems bent in destroying her. Besides her faith in God, it helps that as a nurse, Secret has had seventeen years of experience of what she recited at graduation, “I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession in the practice of my calling.” Ultimately it’s clear that the local and federal court systems and the Paper offer her a platform to argue for wellness as a legal nurse consultant.

After her observation of threats to health as it relates to marriage, divorce, and law, she begins to question the definition of health as defined by the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Over the next two years, she will submit brief after brief for judicial review, advocating for healthcare reform, especially when it comes to matters of divorce. Secret goes from that small courtroom in Georgia to argue in the United States Supreme Court. She isn’t ready or even able, but she chooses to fight the good fight—she chooses this fight, not with anger, but with heart, and she chooses this fight for all of us.

A narrative that is both heartfelt and impassioned, this novel loosely based on a true story is told in the first person from a retrospective point of view. As she offers a chronological glimpse of her journey, Secret considers her relationships prior to her marriage; each of these relationships offers health data that could be used for arguments pertaining to health in which she submitted for judicial review. Secret offers readers a biopic on sexually charged, if failed relationships, but the most telling health facts come from the man she divorces. Her experiences are reinforced by the statistical numbers presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that, “Women account for one in four people living with HIV in the United States.”

In a Congressional Public Health and Safety Report, an argument is put forth that Congress consider the country’s wellness. Secret lends her voice. A voice that echoes what once sounded to promote women’s suffrage, “…liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants….” The issues include suffrage; healthcare cost; the uninsured; decreasing transmission of HIV/AIDS; criminal justice; unemployment; education; increased divorce rates; promotion of healthy families; and holding courts accountable to judicial prudence decisions, as they have a direct effect on health. Health is a universal right, and neglect of is an offense to wellbeing.

It’s the United States Supreme Court that Secret comes up against her greatest challenge to help ensure wellness. Secret requested to introduce Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs. Secret’s stay request to an individual justice was on the grounds of Bounds v. Smith, which states, “The fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts held States must assure the indigent defendant an adequate opportunity to present his claims fairly.” Rivals against “justice for all” presented at the United States Supreme Court clerk who disregards the court rules preventing Secret’s stay application from being reviewed by an individual justice and the attorney who shows due diligence in defaming his oath that, “I offer fairness, integrity, and civility. I will seek reconciliation and, if we fail, I will strive to make our dispute a dignified one.”

Though blindsided and further disenchanted, Secret forwards a brief to the Department of Justice requesting a federal investigation pursuant to a constitutional rights violation, Section 35 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, Federal Statute 42 US 1983. She argues threat to civic danger, obligation to exercise judicial review by disregarding purported laws if they violate the Constitution, and addresses the rights of people worldwide. After being ignored by every system designed for protection against crimes, Secret writes to the 113th Congress for relief, and takes advantage of the opportunity to request policy changes as a politically active nurse requesting legislation that makes it a crime for a spouse to become infected while married related to failure to disclose sexual orientation.

Secret is currently waiting for a congressional response. It’s time for change.


Order JOY – Jesus on You by D. Michele Jackson

Novel Based on a True Story

Travels of the Promises Trilogy (Book 2)
http://www.dmichelejackson.com 

eBook Release Date: December 06, 2016


About the Author

Donna M. Jackson is an African-American woman, a Philadelphia native, Tuskegee University alumna, and a Registered Nurse. Writing as D. Michele Jackson, she now adds writer, published, politically active nurse to her accolades. Her sociology studies at Tuskegee University and twenty year nursing career enabled Donna to be prepared when the opportunity of Legal Nurse Consultant availed itself as she represented herself Pro Se in court. That experience allowed Donna to draft briefs during a historical time affording her a voice advocating for health. Donna submitted argument to Congress supporting amending the Nineteenth Amendment. Website: http://www.dmichelejackson.com


 
9:45 AM Ella Curry

JOY – Jesus on You by D. Michele Jackson
Novel Based on a True Story - Travels of the Promises Trilogy (Book 2)



From the writer introduced in "Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us", D. Michele Jackson returns with questions. Is it not the right to be well in a country that offers civil liberties? This is a question Secret poses on her quest to revise the Nineteenth Amendment. On a mission to secure equality and address the social issues that plague health, Donna is chiming for change in her novel that is based on a true story, “JOY: Jesus on You”.



A native of the “City of Brotherly Love” and a registered nurse, Secret is on a mission to secure equality and address the social issues that plague health. She’ll also decide once and for all, if love conquers all.

In the midst of a bitter divorce weeks before Christmas in 2011, Secret finds herself in a small, Southern courtroom pitted in a vicious dogfight against The Paper. Secret is divorcing a retired sheriff deputy, who is working on a second career in law enforcement, who had a payroll deposit going into a bank account not listed in his name and a vehicle that he denied having, even though there was clear documentation that he is purchased the car. The Paper is a former police officer willing to break laws to protect his double life, even if it means committing perjury.

As she detangles herself in a fictional contract socially accepted as marriage, a document Secret deemed as “final,” Secret is lied to, deceived, and demoralized. What’s worst is the judge’s final verdict states clearly that Secret will also be displaced from her home. It is a home she’d won fairly. It’s a home she deserved. As the winds of change blow, Secret’s new normal is shaky, what isn’t is her sense of purpose.

Secret decides to take on the establishment, one that seems bent in destroying her. Besides her faith in God, it helps that as a nurse, Secret has had seventeen years of experience of what she recited at graduation, “I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession in the practice of my calling.” Ultimately it’s clear that the local and federal court systems and the Paper offer her a platform to argue for wellness as a legal nurse consultant.

After her observation of threats to health as it relates to marriage, divorce, and law, she begins to question the definition of health as defined by the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Over the next two years, she will submit brief after brief for judicial review, advocating for healthcare reform, especially when it comes to matters of divorce. Secret goes from that small courtroom in Georgia to argue in the United States Supreme Court. She isn’t ready or even able, but she chooses to fight the good fight—she chooses this fight, not with anger, but with heart, and she chooses this fight for all of us.

A narrative that is both heartfelt and impassioned, this novel loosely based on a true story is told in the first person from a retrospective point of view. As she offers a chronological glimpse of her journey, Secret considers her relationships prior to her marriage; each of these relationships offers health data that could be used for arguments pertaining to health in which she submitted for judicial review. Secret offers readers a biopic on sexually charged, if failed relationships, but the most telling health facts come from the man she divorces. Her experiences are reinforced by the statistical numbers presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that, “Women account for one in four people living with HIV in the United States.”

In a Congressional Public Health and Safety Report, an argument is put forth that Congress consider the country’s wellness. Secret lends her voice. A voice that echoes what once sounded to promote women’s suffrage, “…liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants….” The issues include suffrage; healthcare cost; the uninsured; decreasing transmission of HIV/AIDS; criminal justice; unemployment; education; increased divorce rates; promotion of healthy families; and holding courts accountable to judicial prudence decisions, as they have a direct effect on health. Health is a universal right, and neglect of is an offense to wellbeing.

It’s the United States Supreme Court that Secret comes up against her greatest challenge to help ensure wellness. Secret requested to introduce Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs. Secret’s stay request to an individual justice was on the grounds of Bounds v. Smith, which states, “The fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts held States must assure the indigent defendant an adequate opportunity to present his claims fairly.” Rivals against “justice for all” presented at the United States Supreme Court clerk who disregards the court rules preventing Secret’s stay application from being reviewed by an individual justice and the attorney who shows due diligence in defaming his oath that, “I offer fairness, integrity, and civility. I will seek reconciliation and, if we fail, I will strive to make our dispute a dignified one.”

Though blindsided and further disenchanted, Secret forwards a brief to the Department of Justice requesting a federal investigation pursuant to a constitutional rights violation, Section 35 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, Federal Statute 42 US 1983. She argues threat to civic danger, obligation to exercise judicial review by disregarding purported laws if they violate the Constitution, and addresses the rights of people worldwide. After being ignored by every system designed for protection against crimes, Secret writes to the 113th Congress for relief, and takes advantage of the opportunity to request policy changes as a politically active nurse requesting legislation that makes it a crime for a spouse to become infected while married related to failure to disclose sexual orientation.

Secret is currently waiting for a congressional response. It’s time for change.


Order JOY – Jesus on You by D. Michele Jackson

Novel Based on a True Story

Travels of the Promises Trilogy (Book 2)
http://www.dmichelejackson.com 

eBook Release Date: December 06, 2016


About the Author

Donna M. Jackson is an African-American woman, a Philadelphia native, Tuskegee University alumna, and a Registered Nurse. Writing as D. Michele Jackson, she now adds writer, published, politically active nurse to her accolades. Her sociology studies at Tuskegee University and twenty year nursing career enabled Donna to be prepared when the opportunity of Legal Nurse Consultant availed itself as she represented herself Pro Se in court. That experience allowed Donna to draft briefs during a historical time affording her a voice advocating for health. Donna submitted argument to Congress supporting amending the Nineteenth Amendment. Website: http://www.dmichelejackson.com


 

Intimate Conversation with Kisha Green


Kisha Green
is a published author, virtual assistant, literary consultant, promoter and book reviewer. She's the owner of DivaBooksInc. It's motto, ‘Turning literary dreams into published realities.’, she has a strong passion for assisting authors in their writing and making their dreams come true.

Aside from having a passion for supporting authors, Kisha is a well-established author. She's been writing professionally since she was twenty-one. Her most popular novel is, ‘And Even If I did’, released in 2006.

Kisha Green is also the host of Writer's Life Chats, an online radio show where she interviews aspiring and seasoned authors. Writer's Life Chats has been nominated multiple times for Best Blog Talk Show, winning the title in 2009, 2010 and 2011. As an avid reader and book reviewer, Kisha Green’s reviews have appeared on Urban Book Source, Shelfari, Goodreads, Amazon and other notable sites.

In 2016, she was nominated for Literary Activist by AAMBC and is the recipient of the 2014 and 2016 Literary Excellence Award presented by Black Pearls Magazine.

As a firm believer in "each one, teach one," Kisha Green launched Literary Jewels in 2011, an online resource for aspiring writers interested in self-publishing. She has also participated in numerous panel discussions on the topic of publishing. Currently, Kisha resides in New Jersey and is a contributing writer for Urban Tymes, LitIsh, and Literary Jewels. She can be found on many social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

BPM: Please tell us about your blog! What is the name? How did your blog get started? When did your group begin, what year? How many members do you have?
KG: My literary blog is called Literary Jewels (www.myliteraryjewels.com) and I started this blog back in 2007 named Writer's Vibe on Myspace, which was later added to my personal website. In 2009 other writers began to write for the site and in 2011 it made it's grand debut and relaunch as Literary Jewels.

BPM: What is the purpose for your blog? Does the name of your blog or store have a special meaning?
KG: My main focus for Literary Jewels is to provide content for readers from writers and there is an assortment of topics from new releases, book reviews, author spotlights, and commentaries. The name is a true reflection of what we are about. The writers and I are always dropping literary jewels (pertinent information) for authors to assist in their pursuit of self-publishing and the business of publishing.

BPM: Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?

KG: Yes, I utilize several social networks to tell people about the books my staff or I have read.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
KG: I will read anything if it is well written. I love self-published authors, I am a self-published author myself so I understand their struggle when it comes to getting reviews on a new book when you are a newbie without dedicated readers. I do check out books from the library but not as often as I want due to the other books I have on my to be read list.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read? Have the types of books changed over time?
KG: I enjoy murder, suspense, erotica, romance, Christian fiction and some urban fiction. I believe that books have changed over time because the authors are rushing the process instead of investing in a quality editor and taking pride in their craft. Releasing a book as of lately by some authors is the new hustle and or a popularity contest as to who can put out a book the fastest. The person who ultimately suffers alongside the author is the reader since I now have to dissect the book in attempts to find out what they were ultimately trying to convey due to grammatical errors and or a poorly written book.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
KG: In my opinion for a book to be considered a good book it is because it has either struck a nerve because you have connected with emotionally accurate characters and or powerful and strong story line with a well-executed plot. Ultimately it all comes down to great character development and a well-written story line.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
KG: I post reviews on Amazon, BN, and Goodreads and in the 9 years of reviewing books, I have only had 2 authors ask me not to post their review (both were 2 stars). In those cases, I reached out to the author and spoke to them directly and we both agreed that I would not post the review.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule?
KG: I am currently reading Second House from The Corner by Sadeqa Johnson and I met this author at the National Book Club Conference and she sent me the book to review as she would be an upcoming guest on my radio show, Writer’s Life Chats. As a reviewer, I get books mailed to me all the time from various publishers and authors and I read them in the order they are received.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats, and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
KG: Yes, I would love to attend any future literary events you are having. Please keep in touch and keep me posted. You can contact me via email, social media or my website.

Kisha Green Publisher, DivaBooksInc
Email: kisha@divabooksinconline.com
Website: www.divabooksinconline.com

Twitter: @KishaGreen
Periscope: @KishaGreen
Instagram: @KishaGreen
Facebook: @AuthorKishaGreen
Snapchat: @KishaGreen732





9:44 AM Ella Curry

Intimate Conversation with Kisha Green


Kisha Green
is a published author, virtual assistant, literary consultant, promoter and book reviewer. She's the owner of DivaBooksInc. It's motto, ‘Turning literary dreams into published realities.’, she has a strong passion for assisting authors in their writing and making their dreams come true.

Aside from having a passion for supporting authors, Kisha is a well-established author. She's been writing professionally since she was twenty-one. Her most popular novel is, ‘And Even If I did’, released in 2006.

Kisha Green is also the host of Writer's Life Chats, an online radio show where she interviews aspiring and seasoned authors. Writer's Life Chats has been nominated multiple times for Best Blog Talk Show, winning the title in 2009, 2010 and 2011. As an avid reader and book reviewer, Kisha Green’s reviews have appeared on Urban Book Source, Shelfari, Goodreads, Amazon and other notable sites.

In 2016, she was nominated for Literary Activist by AAMBC and is the recipient of the 2014 and 2016 Literary Excellence Award presented by Black Pearls Magazine.

As a firm believer in "each one, teach one," Kisha Green launched Literary Jewels in 2011, an online resource for aspiring writers interested in self-publishing. She has also participated in numerous panel discussions on the topic of publishing. Currently, Kisha resides in New Jersey and is a contributing writer for Urban Tymes, LitIsh, and Literary Jewels. She can be found on many social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

BPM: Please tell us about your blog! What is the name? How did your blog get started? When did your group begin, what year? How many members do you have?
KG: My literary blog is called Literary Jewels (www.myliteraryjewels.com) and I started this blog back in 2007 named Writer's Vibe on Myspace, which was later added to my personal website. In 2009 other writers began to write for the site and in 2011 it made it's grand debut and relaunch as Literary Jewels.

BPM: What is the purpose for your blog? Does the name of your blog or store have a special meaning?
KG: My main focus for Literary Jewels is to provide content for readers from writers and there is an assortment of topics from new releases, book reviews, author spotlights, and commentaries. The name is a true reflection of what we are about. The writers and I are always dropping literary jewels (pertinent information) for authors to assist in their pursuit of self-publishing and the business of publishing.

BPM: Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?

KG: Yes, I utilize several social networks to tell people about the books my staff or I have read.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you support self-published authors? Do you borrow books from the library?
KG: I will read anything if it is well written. I love self-published authors, I am a self-published author myself so I understand their struggle when it comes to getting reviews on a new book when you are a newbie without dedicated readers. I do check out books from the library but not as often as I want due to the other books I have on my to be read list.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read? Have the types of books changed over time?
KG: I enjoy murder, suspense, erotica, romance, Christian fiction and some urban fiction. I believe that books have changed over time because the authors are rushing the process instead of investing in a quality editor and taking pride in their craft. Releasing a book as of lately by some authors is the new hustle and or a popularity contest as to who can put out a book the fastest. The person who ultimately suffers alongside the author is the reader since I now have to dissect the book in attempts to find out what they were ultimately trying to convey due to grammatical errors and or a poorly written book.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?
KG: In my opinion for a book to be considered a good book it is because it has either struck a nerve because you have connected with emotionally accurate characters and or powerful and strong story line with a well-executed plot. Ultimately it all comes down to great character development and a well-written story line.

BPM: Do you write and post book reviews to online retailers? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?
KG: I post reviews on Amazon, BN, and Goodreads and in the 9 years of reviewing books, I have only had 2 authors ask me not to post their review (both were 2 stars). In those cases, I reached out to the author and spoke to them directly and we both agreed that I would not post the review.

BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule?
KG: I am currently reading Second House from The Corner by Sadeqa Johnson and I met this author at the National Book Club Conference and she sent me the book to review as she would be an upcoming guest on my radio show, Writer’s Life Chats. As a reviewer, I get books mailed to me all the time from various publishers and authors and I read them in the order they are received.

BPM: Can we invite you to future events, social media chats, and discussions? How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?
KG: Yes, I would love to attend any future literary events you are having. Please keep in touch and keep me posted. You can contact me via email, social media or my website.

Kisha Green Publisher, DivaBooksInc
Email: kisha@divabooksinconline.com
Website: www.divabooksinconline.com

Twitter: @KishaGreen
Periscope: @KishaGreen
Instagram: @KishaGreen
Facebook: @AuthorKishaGreen
Snapchat: @KishaGreen732





Intimate Conversation with Sistahs and Friends Book Club

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: sistahsandfriendsbookclub.com
Facebook: Sistahs and Friends




 
9:43 AM Ella Curry
Intimate Conversation with Sistahs and Friends Book Club

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: sistahsandfriendsbookclub.com
Facebook: Sistahs and Friends




 
Intimate Conversation with Cilla’s Book Maniacs


Priscilla C. Johnson, aka ‘Cilla, is the founder of Cilla’s Book Maniacs. Cilla developed a love of reading and books during childhood where she would spend hours in the library waiting for her brothers and her mother while they were practicing sports.

Having friended the owners of a local AA Book store in 1999, Cilla began working there part-time just to be close to the books. It was at this time that she began building relationships with her favorite author, scheduling book events and books signings. Cilla joined Beverly Jenkins Yahoo Group where she developed friendships with the women and they began traveling together to various book events.  In 2015, Cilla began PCJ Consultant Group, LLC where she helps aspiring authors achieve their dreams of getting published, organize and build street teams, and introducing authors to new readers and book clubs.

BPM: What is the name of your reading group? 

Cilla’s Book Maniacs official began in 2010 although we have been around for several years. A portion of the group that is not on social media and they are in a Yahoo Group called Readers Who Enjoy Black Romance. Priscilla is the lead person since she knows how to keep everyone in line and up-to-date on what is going on in most literary circles.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
We are comprised of readers and authors from states all across the county. Our ages range from 25-70. We also have a few males in the group.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something that makes your group different? 
Our main purpose is to simply share our love of books, encourage and support each other and have fun. We travel together to various conferences, particularly the Romance Slam Jam Conference, where we have been named 2015 and 2016 Spirit Book Club of the Year.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
Since we are an on-line club our taste in books range from romance, historical romance, erotica, paranormal, Christian, and interracial. Generally if someone reads a good book, we will post the title and author. We also support the authors in the group.

BPM: Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 
We find new authors at events and conferences. When we find or come across someone we think everyone will enjoy, we simple post the author and book in the group or we will post the review. 
BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? 
Social media has introduced us to a lot of authors we would not ordinarily chose to read. Current Author favorites: Keith Thomas Walker, Eva J Brock, Beverly Jenkins, Brenda Jackson, All of our Club Authors (they know who they are )

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club? 
Find a group of people that you like and enjoy to be with or have similar interest. Keep everything fun – leave the personal stuff outside. Remember – every book is not for everybody and its ok to not like a book.

BPM: What has the main focus become over the years? 
The Maniacs has primarily been a private social group. Now that were have won two book clubs awards, we are beginning to branch out and try new things.


Photo: Group at the 2016 Romance Slam Jam Conference


 
 
 
 
9:42 AM Ella Curry
Intimate Conversation with Cilla’s Book Maniacs


Priscilla C. Johnson, aka ‘Cilla, is the founder of Cilla’s Book Maniacs. Cilla developed a love of reading and books during childhood where she would spend hours in the library waiting for her brothers and her mother while they were practicing sports.

Having friended the owners of a local AA Book store in 1999, Cilla began working there part-time just to be close to the books. It was at this time that she began building relationships with her favorite author, scheduling book events and books signings. Cilla joined Beverly Jenkins Yahoo Group where she developed friendships with the women and they began traveling together to various book events.  In 2015, Cilla began PCJ Consultant Group, LLC where she helps aspiring authors achieve their dreams of getting published, organize and build street teams, and introducing authors to new readers and book clubs.

BPM: What is the name of your reading group? 

Cilla’s Book Maniacs official began in 2010 although we have been around for several years. A portion of the group that is not on social media and they are in a Yahoo Group called Readers Who Enjoy Black Romance. Priscilla is the lead person since she knows how to keep everyone in line and up-to-date on what is going on in most literary circles.

BPM: Tell us about your members. How would you describe the personality of your group as a whole? 
We are comprised of readers and authors from states all across the county. Our ages range from 25-70. We also have a few males in the group.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? Is there something that makes your group different? 
Our main purpose is to simply share our love of books, encourage and support each other and have fun. We travel together to various conferences, particularly the Romance Slam Jam Conference, where we have been named 2015 and 2016 Spirit Book Club of the Year.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group? 
Since we are an on-line club our taste in books range from romance, historical romance, erotica, paranormal, Christian, and interracial. Generally if someone reads a good book, we will post the title and author. We also support the authors in the group.

BPM: Do you like to find new authors and interact online? 
We find new authors at events and conferences. When we find or come across someone we think everyone will enjoy, we simple post the author and book in the group or we will post the review. 
BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about any authors? 
Social media has introduced us to a lot of authors we would not ordinarily chose to read. Current Author favorites: Keith Thomas Walker, Eva J Brock, Beverly Jenkins, Brenda Jackson, All of our Club Authors (they know who they are )

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who might want to start a book club? 
Find a group of people that you like and enjoy to be with or have similar interest. Keep everything fun – leave the personal stuff outside. Remember – every book is not for everybody and its ok to not like a book.

BPM: What has the main focus become over the years? 
The Maniacs has primarily been a private social group. Now that were have won two book clubs awards, we are beginning to branch out and try new things.


Photo: Group at the 2016 Romance Slam Jam Conference


 
 
 
 
Intimate Conversation with Destined Readers Book Club
Tiffany Booker, Co-founder

Destiny Hawkins and Tiffany Booker are the Co-founders of Destined Readers Book Club. Destiny Hawkins is an Admin. Asst., a wife, a mother of two sons, ages 17 and 18, and the adoptive mother of two small furry dogs. Destiny enjoys attending book events.

Tiffany Booker is a children's author, a current middle school teacher, a wife, and mother to two young men, ages 19 and 9. Tiffany hopes book clubs will some day become a thing of the future where being a book club member will be as prevalent as being a sorority member. Books are Tiffany's passion of choice.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club. Where are you located? 
Destined Readers Book Club was founded in Marietta, Georgia in August 2014 by Co-founders Destiny Hawkins and Tiffany Booker. We started a book club out of the sheer frustration from attending several meetings of another book club whose club seemed, to us, to be very snooty. They did not have a sense of genuine warmth, fun, nor true friendships in their club. Destiny and I are very down to earth people and have a lot in common, so we wanted to create a book club with like minded women as well.
Destiny Hawkins is so humble that she makes it a point to ensure everyone knows that she WAS NOT responsible for creating the name of our book club. It was actually my idea to name the club Destined Readers Book Club. Due to our frustration with the other book clubs unwelcoming club culture, we WERE DESTINED to begin our own club. The rest as they say, is history or in our case HERstory. Although we are still a fairly new club, we are nine members strong with several prospective members awaiting acceptance. We want to keep our book club at a maximum of 15 dedicated members. We are still accepting applications for serious, avid readers.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 
The purpose of Destined Readers Book Club is to develop a culture for the love of books, the genuine friendship of other like minded women and to have fun while enjoying a passion for reading. Our motto "Books, Friendship, and Fun" makes us different from other book clubs because we love books. 
Our book kinship with one another has allowed us to forge ongoing, true and genuine friendships that we know will last a lifetime, all while having fun doing it. For example, one of our members took a teaching job in Japan, but she comes back every year to visit the club and facilitates a book discussion. This is a true example of what our club means to her. It's the friendships, the fun and the books that keeps her coming back. 
We invite potential members to attend as guests just to get a feel for the women whom they will spend time with once a month. If potential members do not feel comfortable at any point in our group there is no harm in not joining the club. We have successfully developed a culture of a genuine kinship.

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group?
Our members are truly fun women to hang out with, they're like sisters to us. We listen to each other and respect one another no matter the difference of opinions on a discussion or book choice. Respect is the key to our book club's success. We have members who are working mothers to retired teachers. This makes for great book discussions and a variety of opinions from various backgrounds and ages. 
The demographics of our group ranges in the Metro Atlanta area. We have members who live in Atlanta, Douglasville, Marietta, McDonough, Decatur, Lithonia, and Covington, Georgia. Whomever is the facilitator for the month selects the location where our meetings will be held, that way no one is always driving out of their way every month and not subjected to one area of Metro Atlanta.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? Do you have an online version of the group?
When we accept members into the group we first allow them to come to two meetings as a guest just to get a feel for the group as a whole. We allow other members to interact with them before Destiny and Tiffany make the final decision on allowing members to join. The beauty of founding our own club is that we make our own rules so Destiny and Tiffany are like Ying and Yang. If Tiffany is wrong about a certain persons personality, Destiny is able to see what Tiffany doesn't see or vice versa. Most times, Tiffany is a good judge of character because Tiffany is truly a people person, but when Tiffany is right about a person it's 90% accurate and when Tiffany is not right, Destiny is able to catch when Tiffany is not 100% accurate about a potential member. 
Both Destiny and Tiffany discuss whether or not a potential member is a good fit for the club. The road has not been easy to get members to stay in the group, because there have been times where some members felt it has been a challenge to stay in the group. We had to set certain standards for Destined Readers Book Club and one of our standards is although our ideal membership limit is 15 members, we are fine with having less than that, because we'd rather have 9 dedicated members than 15 drop in when you feel like dropping in and not taking our book club serious. As we continued to set higher standards for our club, some members felt it was too difficult to attend a meeting 6 times a year, which to me isn't a difficult task if you love books. But we will not allow a member to attend a meeting once a year and allow them to continue their membership. That is just ludicrous to assume that we would, but we have had past members who we've had to terminate their membership for not meeting the minimum of our standards. 
We are content with our decisions to keep growing and learning from our mistakes, but collectively, we continue to strive for greatness. Destined Readers Book Club also interviews our potential members to find out more information about them, we gauge their commitment at the time of the interview so that we find the right fit for our book club. 
Currently, we do not have an online group, however, we do have a public Facebook page where the public can find out more about the current books we are reading, various book events, new releases, or anything related to books in general. If a member is not able to attend a live discussion, we do allow them to Skpe in or answer the prepared discussion questions as a means to substitute for their physical presence at a meeting.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic or roam?
In Tiffany's opinion, what makes a good book club conversation is our unique Trivia Question segment of the meeting. It is our tradition to ask random trivia questions to our members as a good book conversation starter. This keeps members on their toes in reading the selected novel thoroughly and paying attention to key details in the book. This leads into a well prepared discussion. We either use the available reading guide the author has provided or we use our own to lead the discussions, but the key is having fun while doing it. Our trivia questions are the key to our book club discussions. Most times if the book is interesting enough, then we tend to keep the book discussion on topic, however, if for some reason we conclude that the current book was either boring or we didn't like the book, we tend to roam off topic, but our agenda keeps us on task to ensure we do not waste valuable time during the book discussions.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? 
Another great aspect to founding our own book club is the beauty of choice. We allow our members to choose the book they want to read. Since we are an African American book club we only request that members chose an African American author. We allow our members to chose the book of their choice and they are allowed to choose the location of the discussion as well. Even if a member is not into a certain genre of book, the option for our members to decide helps broaden our perspective on potential books we may have never thought to read or due to our complacency to become comfortable with the genre of our own choice. 
Destined Readers Book Club takes you out of your comfort zone, we hope to broaden members views of various styles of writing. We try to meet the needs of all our members, this gives them a voice and a choice in their club, it also gives them autonomy. Destiny Hawkins, our co-founder, maintains the calendar of book choices for our members. The book has to be selected at least two months in advance to be placed on the calendar.

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule? 
Our October book of the month is The Deal, The Dance and The Devil by Victoria Christopher Murray. This book was selected by our member of the year, Rose. She has read the book before and thought it would be a great book to discuss. Some of the books on our current calendar includes: Glass Houses By Brian W. Smith, The Book of Harlan By Bernice L. Mc Fadden, The Practice Wife By Marissa Monteilh, and WomanIsh By Angelia Vernon Menchan. 
We just finished reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, and we can never forget our most dedicated author JoDee Sanders who wrote Sugarland, and SugarFree, which we have read in the past and we will be reading his upcoming release to his new book called Sugarless next year.

BPM: How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?

You can invite us to future events, any social media chats and discussions. We welcome the opportunity. You can follow us at the following outlet - https://www.facebook.com/ DestinedReadersBookClubATL

 
 
 
9:41 AM Ella Curry
Intimate Conversation with Destined Readers Book Club
Tiffany Booker, Co-founder

Destiny Hawkins and Tiffany Booker are the Co-founders of Destined Readers Book Club. Destiny Hawkins is an Admin. Asst., a wife, a mother of two sons, ages 17 and 18, and the adoptive mother of two small furry dogs. Destiny enjoys attending book events.

Tiffany Booker is a children's author, a current middle school teacher, a wife, and mother to two young men, ages 19 and 9. Tiffany hopes book clubs will some day become a thing of the future where being a book club member will be as prevalent as being a sorority member. Books are Tiffany's passion of choice.

BPM: Please tell us about your book club. Where are you located? 
Destined Readers Book Club was founded in Marietta, Georgia in August 2014 by Co-founders Destiny Hawkins and Tiffany Booker. We started a book club out of the sheer frustration from attending several meetings of another book club whose club seemed, to us, to be very snooty. They did not have a sense of genuine warmth, fun, nor true friendships in their club. Destiny and I are very down to earth people and have a lot in common, so we wanted to create a book club with like minded women as well.
Destiny Hawkins is so humble that she makes it a point to ensure everyone knows that she WAS NOT responsible for creating the name of our book club. It was actually my idea to name the club Destined Readers Book Club. Due to our frustration with the other book clubs unwelcoming club culture, we WERE DESTINED to begin our own club. The rest as they say, is history or in our case HERstory. Although we are still a fairly new club, we are nine members strong with several prospective members awaiting acceptance. We want to keep our book club at a maximum of 15 dedicated members. We are still accepting applications for serious, avid readers.

BPM: What is the purpose for your organization? 
The purpose of Destined Readers Book Club is to develop a culture for the love of books, the genuine friendship of other like minded women and to have fun while enjoying a passion for reading. Our motto "Books, Friendship, and Fun" makes us different from other book clubs because we love books. 
Our book kinship with one another has allowed us to forge ongoing, true and genuine friendships that we know will last a lifetime, all while having fun doing it. For example, one of our members took a teaching job in Japan, but she comes back every year to visit the club and facilitates a book discussion. This is a true example of what our club means to her. It's the friendships, the fun and the books that keeps her coming back. 
We invite potential members to attend as guests just to get a feel for the women whom they will spend time with once a month. If potential members do not feel comfortable at any point in our group there is no harm in not joining the club. We have successfully developed a culture of a genuine kinship.

BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group?
Our members are truly fun women to hang out with, they're like sisters to us. We listen to each other and respect one another no matter the difference of opinions on a discussion or book choice. Respect is the key to our book club's success. We have members who are working mothers to retired teachers. This makes for great book discussions and a variety of opinions from various backgrounds and ages. 
The demographics of our group ranges in the Metro Atlanta area. We have members who live in Atlanta, Douglasville, Marietta, McDonough, Decatur, Lithonia, and Covington, Georgia. Whomever is the facilitator for the month selects the location where our meetings will be held, that way no one is always driving out of their way every month and not subjected to one area of Metro Atlanta.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person? Has it been difficult to get people to join the group or to stay in the group? Do you have an online version of the group?
When we accept members into the group we first allow them to come to two meetings as a guest just to get a feel for the group as a whole. We allow other members to interact with them before Destiny and Tiffany make the final decision on allowing members to join. The beauty of founding our own club is that we make our own rules so Destiny and Tiffany are like Ying and Yang. If Tiffany is wrong about a certain persons personality, Destiny is able to see what Tiffany doesn't see or vice versa. Most times, Tiffany is a good judge of character because Tiffany is truly a people person, but when Tiffany is right about a person it's 90% accurate and when Tiffany is not right, Destiny is able to catch when Tiffany is not 100% accurate about a potential member. 
Both Destiny and Tiffany discuss whether or not a potential member is a good fit for the club. The road has not been easy to get members to stay in the group, because there have been times where some members felt it has been a challenge to stay in the group. We had to set certain standards for Destined Readers Book Club and one of our standards is although our ideal membership limit is 15 members, we are fine with having less than that, because we'd rather have 9 dedicated members than 15 drop in when you feel like dropping in and not taking our book club serious. As we continued to set higher standards for our club, some members felt it was too difficult to attend a meeting 6 times a year, which to me isn't a difficult task if you love books. But we will not allow a member to attend a meeting once a year and allow them to continue their membership. That is just ludicrous to assume that we would, but we have had past members who we've had to terminate their membership for not meeting the minimum of our standards. 
We are content with our decisions to keep growing and learning from our mistakes, but collectively, we continue to strive for greatness. Destined Readers Book Club also interviews our potential members to find out more information about them, we gauge their commitment at the time of the interview so that we find the right fit for our book club. 
Currently, we do not have an online group, however, we do have a public Facebook page where the public can find out more about the current books we are reading, various book events, new releases, or anything related to books in general. If a member is not able to attend a live discussion, we do allow them to Skpe in or answer the prepared discussion questions as a means to substitute for their physical presence at a meeting.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation? Do you keep the conversation on topic or roam?
In Tiffany's opinion, what makes a good book club conversation is our unique Trivia Question segment of the meeting. It is our tradition to ask random trivia questions to our members as a good book conversation starter. This keeps members on their toes in reading the selected novel thoroughly and paying attention to key details in the book. This leads into a well prepared discussion. We either use the available reading guide the author has provided or we use our own to lead the discussions, but the key is having fun while doing it. Our trivia questions are the key to our book club discussions. Most times if the book is interesting enough, then we tend to keep the book discussion on topic, however, if for some reason we conclude that the current book was either boring or we didn't like the book, we tend to roam off topic, but our agenda keeps us on task to ensure we do not waste valuable time during the book discussions.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? 
Another great aspect to founding our own book club is the beauty of choice. We allow our members to choose the book they want to read. Since we are an African American book club we only request that members chose an African American author. We allow our members to chose the book of their choice and they are allowed to choose the location of the discussion as well. Even if a member is not into a certain genre of book, the option for our members to decide helps broaden our perspective on potential books we may have never thought to read or due to our complacency to become comfortable with the genre of our own choice. 
Destined Readers Book Club takes you out of your comfort zone, we hope to broaden members views of various styles of writing. We try to meet the needs of all our members, this gives them a voice and a choice in their club, it also gives them autonomy. Destiny Hawkins, our co-founder, maintains the calendar of book choices for our members. The book has to be selected at least two months in advance to be placed on the calendar.

BPM: What are you reading now? What books are on your reading schedule? 
Our October book of the month is The Deal, The Dance and The Devil by Victoria Christopher Murray. This book was selected by our member of the year, Rose. She has read the book before and thought it would be a great book to discuss. Some of the books on our current calendar includes: Glass Houses By Brian W. Smith, The Book of Harlan By Bernice L. Mc Fadden, The Practice Wife By Marissa Monteilh, and WomanIsh By Angelia Vernon Menchan. 
We just finished reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, and we can never forget our most dedicated author JoDee Sanders who wrote Sugarland, and SugarFree, which we have read in the past and we will be reading his upcoming release to his new book called Sugarless next year.

BPM: How can we follow you online? Do you have a website or social media pages?

You can invite us to future events, any social media chats and discussions. We welcome the opportunity. You can follow us at the following outlet - https://www.facebook.com/ DestinedReadersBookClubATL