Poetry: The Literary Step Child

Poetry: The Literary Step Child

Once regarded as a sport during the ancient Greek Olympics and a literary genre that has seen golden ages of renaissance, poetry has become a literary step child, relegated to the rear of establishments, often slammed to the ground, and shoved into dark corners.

Before we continue this disastrous cycle of ignorance, there must be an understanding of the presence and the power of poetry. Ask any poet for their definition of poetry and the answers will vary. Even the denotative meanings found in the dictionaries vary. But to all persons who claim: “I don’t like poetry” or “I’m not a poet,” think again. The truth is that poetry means beauty. If you are a beautiful being, you are a poet. Everyone has poetry. We showcase our poetry in different ways. Know that poetry is beauty.

Poetry consists of all persons, places, things, and ideas that are beautiful. Poetry includes all beautiful sights, sounds, feelings, tastes, and movements. Poetry is inner and outer beauty, spiritual and physical beauty. There is poetry of sight in the form of attractiveness. There is poetry of sound in harmony. There is poetry in the fragrance of a rose. There is poetry in the gentle back massage with hot oil. There is poetry in the bowl of hot and sour soup with extra shrimp. There is poetry in a spiritual experience. More than a literary genre that is screaming to be respected, poetry is the handy-work of beautiful beings. No longer shall we disrespect poetry by slamming it to the ground. The poets of the day, like the musicians, are the voices of the day. Allow the poets to be heard by opening the doors of opportunity. Celebrate World Poetry Month in April.

To learn more about World Poetry Month, visit www.worldpoetrymonth.blogspot.com.

by John D. Evans, Founder
Empowered by Poetry, Gaia.com


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First Class Treatment by Karyn Beach

First Class Treatment by Karyn Beach

I was in Montana for work all last week and I flew back to Charlotte last night. It had been a long day and by early evening, the only thing separating me from home was the four hour flight from Salt Lake City to Charlotte. I sat on the aisle in the first row of seats in the Coach section.

I had a perfect view into First Class where there were two very pleasant and attentive flight attendants for the handful of VIP passengers. Those in First Class had drinks before take off and just in general seemed to be having a good time being showered with extra attention. Meanwhile, just one row and a flimsy blue drape away, I sat in Coach among the crying children and cramped seats. I watched while they had snacks in First Class, more drinks and a nice hot meal with real silver and glassware.

And I waited in Coach, with over 70 people, who were also being served by two flight attendants, for almost two hours just to get a soda and pay top dollar for a cold fried chicken sandwich. When I asked for one of the Margaritas they'd been promoting, I was told they didn't have time to make one for me.

It occurred to me as I sat there eating my sandwich that we tend to treat our loved ones as if they are riding in Coach. Like those Coach flight attendants, we are often spread too thin with too many things to do and too many people to serve. No time to do anything extra.

Yet every once in a while, it would be great if we could treat those we love to a little first class treatment. Run a hot bath for the hubby after a hard day. Give the wife a day off and treat her to dinner (or cook it yourself). Spend an evening with the kids doing something they absolutely love. Go get manicures with your best friend.

Believe me, a little first class treatment can go a long way.

------

Karyn Beach is a success coach and corporate trainer. She specializes in eliminating excuses and getting people to take action.


She holds a bachelor's degree from Ohio University and is a member of The American Society of Training and Development and the National Association of Professional Women.


Currently, she is completing her Core Coaching Certification with Coach University. For more information, visit Lose the Excuses.

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Movie: AMERICAN VIOLET

AMERICAN VIOLET opens in theaters on April 17 starring Alfre Woodard, Michael O’Keefe, Tim Blake Nelson, Will Patton, Charles S. Dutton, Xzibit and newcomer Nicole Beharie.





AMERICAN VIOLET
Based on true events in the midst of the 2000 election, AMERICAN VIOLET tells the astonishing story of Dee Roberts (critically hailed newcomer Nicole Beharie), a 24 year-old African American single mother of four young girls living in a small Texas town who is barely making ends meet on a waitress salary and government subsidies.

On an early November morning while Dee works a shift at the local diner, the powerful local district attorney (Academy Award® nominee Michael OKeefe) leads an extensive drug bust, sweeping her Arlington Springs housing project with military precision. Police drag Dee from work in handcuffs, dumping her in the squalor of the womens county prison. Indicted based on the uncorroborated word of a single and dubious police informant facing his own drug charges, Dee soon discovers she has been charged as a drug dealer.

Even though Dee has no prior drug record and no drugs were found on her in the raid or any subsequent searches, she is offered a hellish choice: plead guilty and go home as a convicted felon or remain in prison and fight the charges thus, jeopardizing her custody and risking a long prison sentence.

Despite the urgings of her mother (Academy Award® nominee Alfre Woodard), and with her freedom and the custody of her children at stake, she chooses to fight the district attorney and the unyielding criminal justice system he represents. Joined in an unlikely alliance with an ACLU attorney (Tim Blake Nelson) and former local narcotics officer (Will Patton), Dee risks everything in a battle that forever changes her life and the Texas justice system. AMERICAN VIOLET also stars Emmy Award® winner Charles S. Dutton and Xzibit.

For more information - http://www.americanviolet.com



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Intimate Conversation with Kim Barnes, RN, MHSA

Intimate Conversation with Kim Barnes, RN, MHSA

Kim Barnes is the founder of Focus-Link providing workshops and personal training in communication strategies. Kim’s workshops have been called “energetic and motivating”. Kim has also written articles on communications and women’s health issues. Kim received her Masters in Health Service Administration from St. Joseph’s College and her Bachelors in Nursing from Hunter College.


Tell us about your new book.
Construct Your Conversations: Strengthening Relationships is a powerful, motivating, easy to read book that magnifies the complex intertwining of interpersonal communications and relationships. Communication and relationships are often treated as separate entities when if fact they are Siamese twins. They are distinct entities joined forever! It is not the words, but the affect of the words on our feelings that determine if relationships are developed or destroyed.



Ella: Finish this sentence for us-I am powerful because...
I am powerful because I have the ability to affect others by just being me.


Why is it important to celebrate Black History 365 days a year?
It is important to celebrate Black History every day of the year because every day of the year Blacks make remarkable achievements in every arena. The media focuses on what make sensational copy, but there are so many more dynamic achievements occurring that does not get the same attention. As a people, we are remarkable 365 days of the year!



Conversation with Ella Curry and author Kim Barnes, RN, MHSA

Q. How did my writing journey begin?
A. At one point in my tenure as a senior manager, I realized that much of my time was spent on resolving conflicts. After researching and observing, I concluded that it all boiled down to the affect of words on our feelings that often determine our messages and responses. From this came training workshops that expanded to the book because I believed I had something powerful and important to say. From the time we are born, we are part of many relationships and I hope to be able to help someone keep theirs healthy, positive, and strong.


Q. What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader to pick it up?
A. Construct Your Conversations is full of information explaining what happens in emotion filled conversations and provides strategies for deterring negative conversations that can damage or destroy relationships. Absorbing this information and putting it into practice can drastically improve personal and professional relationships.


Q. Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from the book?
A. I would like readers to understand variables that affect our communication hence our relationships. Variables such as understanding that we are in relationship because they have value to us: love, money, power, or information. Sometimes we do not speak up for fear of losing what we hold valuable so we hold our true feelings in failing to realize there is a negative price to pay for suppressing rather than expressing.

Another variable is anger. If you understand that anger derives from either an expectation not met or something we did not get, then we are able to manage anger because we realize it is not personal. The negative conversations are a displacement of feelings about our expectation not being met. We yell at the waiter because the food is cold. Yelling at the waiter is displacement. We are really upset that the food is cold. We yell at our children for getting a bad grade. It is not the child, but the lack of meeting our expectation which we placed on them to get good grades.

Choosing the best time, tone, and text when needing to address a potential or actual emotion-filled conversation is important in maintaining valuable, important relationships. Knowing how to have a “critical conversation” is key to addressing a situation without destroying the relationship. Developing “rules of engagement” prior to emotion-filled conversations can result in a win-win rather than a win-lose encounter.



Q. What advise would you give a new writer?
A. Three required tenets for a new writer is passion, patience, and perseverance. To be a good writer, you have to be passionate about your subject matter or characters. Lack of passion will be evident in your writing. The more passionate we are as writers, the more we let the reader into our world.

You must be patient with your self and your work. The devil is in the detail. Being impatience can lead to losing the small details that will enhance your subject matter or characters.

Perseverance is necessary when writer’s block sets in, others are negative about your venture, or there seems not to be enough time in your day to get the writing done. Overcoming these deterrents is necessary to becoming a good writer.


Q. What can we expect from you in the future?
A. My plan is to continue to write and about interpersonal communication and relationships; a series of Construct Your Conversations with your teen or your spouse. Each relationship require skills that will strengthen the relationship and save if from destruction.


Kim Barnes, RN, MHSA
kimabarnes@verzion.net

The book can be purchased from:
www.kimabarnes.com
www.amazon.com

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Intimate Details with author Rickey Teems II

Intimate Details with author Rickey Teems II

Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing.
My passion for writing can best be understand by turning a few pages of my latest novel, Regression. The attention to detail, the intensity, the intrigue and ability to keep my readers glued to the story, it all lends itself to the evidence of my passion.

Ella: Introduce us to your new book, Regression.
Regression is a one of a kind rollercoaster. Many stories and books may keep you entertained, but none will command your undivided attention like this social thriller. It offers the reader a chance to experience the ultimate “what if” scenario.



Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am Powerful because I am fueled by the wisdom, understanding, and Spirit of the Most High God!


Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I’m from the land where Lucifer fell when God gave him the boot, and now it’s the birthing ground for every untruth. The city of Lost Angels. My writing journey Started well before my recognition of it. Childhood poems matured to rap lyrics, and then rap Lyrics transpired to novels in 2006. But I was blessed with a gift of the pen.


Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
The main character in, Regression, is easy, my main man Aeneas Mayes. I love Aeneas. Because he has the street savvy from his past, but is smart enough to know there is so much more beyond what we think we know. He’s resilient and a man of his word. I’m not sure what character would win the silver. They are all running neck and neck!


Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
Regression stands out because it is the culmination of every racial conversation, joke and fear across America. I was just bold enough to put it in a book. It is a creative blend of entertaining education.




Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Realization. Life has never been, nor will it ever be, as simple as we would like.
So lets be real.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
How much mutual respect there is amongst talented authors. With such a saturated market, you would expect more cutthroat antics. But as we say in the hood, real recognize real.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
My most significant achievement was my grandmother saying how much she liked my book. She hates everything!

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
1) Bold Creativity
2) An honest corner
3) God’s patience


Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
In addition to the short story, Soldier Surrendered, that will be on the upcoming Bended Knee Anthology, by Hollygrove Publishing, I will also be partnering with Hollygrove to publish an insane Suspense/thriller next year. Hold onto your chest!

Contact Info for Rickey Teems II, LA’s Hottest Author:
Rickey Teems II
PO BOX 30675
Los Angeles, CA 90030
Website: www.rickeyteems.com
www.myspace.com/rickeyteems
Email: askrickey@rickeyteems.com

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Meet the Author Nishawnda Ellis

Nishawnda Ellis was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. After, graduating from Boston Latin Academy with honors, she attended Hampton University in Hampton Virginia. There, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree and went on to practice as a Registered Nurse. She left her “home by the sea” in Virginia and returned to Boston in May of 2000.

Nonetheless, Nishawnda’s passion and imagination led her to pursue another dream, writing. Her debut novel, Snowed A Lesson In Love, was inspired by a love letter written to herself, after reuniting with a past love, encouraging her to love herself more before she could love anyone else. Little did she know that letter would lead to the birth of her first, long awaited
novel.

Hence Snowed blossomed into a story of love, betrayal and finding one’s self-worth to love again. With little experience in the publishing world and after submitting Snowed to one publisher with no reply, Nishawnda decided to self-publish. Creating her own publishing company, Kindle Eyes Books and juggling full-time and part-time jobs, Nishawnda financed her life long goal of becoming a published author.

Available April 2009

In 2005 Nishawnda published Wives and Girlfriends which became a so popular amongst readers that in 2006 Nishawnda received the African American Literary Awards Show “Self Publish Author of the Year” Award and signed a two book deal with Urban Soul an imprint of Kensington Publishing House in New York.

Nishawnda currently resides in Massachusetts with her daughter, Niaomi and continues to work as a Registered Nurse. She is working on three upcoming novels, Mr. High Maintenance, Street Anthem and the sequel to Wives and Girlfriends. Nishawnda is also the founder of the Boston Book Bazaar, an annual book fair supporting literacy and authors of color.

If you have any questions or would like to contact the author for any comments, email her at nishawnda@kindleeyesbooks.com

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Intimate Conversation with Earl F. Betts Jr., Author

Intimate Conversation with Earl F. Betts Jr., Author

Tell us about your passion for writing.
I feel that writing is not something I do, it is who I am at the core. God has given me this talent and I will not waste it.


Finish this sentence:I am Powerful because...
I am Powerful because...my words will echo through my writing far beyond the sound of my voice.


Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I was born and raised in Altadena, California. Over the past few years I have lived in Arizona as well as Hawaii with my wife. I have been writing ever since I learned how to write, although it has only become my sole career recently. My wife told me to stop working in careers that only pay the bills. She told me, “Do what God has put you here to do.”



Tell us about your book. Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
"My Own Hurricane," a fictional novel- This narrative tale, told by Zeke Alexander, chronicles a terrible relationship wrought with addiction, mental illness and the dark side of codependency. Zeke explains his experiences to a friend who seems to be on the same dark path in hopes of his friend saving himself before it is too late.

In my most recent book, My Own Hurricane, the two main characters are Ezekiel “Zeke” Alexander and his friend Eli. What I like most about Zeke is his poise and humility. He is such a compassionate person, he shared the darkest part of his past with Eli just to give him a glimpse of the future Eli was creating for himself. It takes great courage to be so transparent and open. Although it was working against him in the story, Eli has this huge heart that sees everyone for who they could be at their best.




What makes your book, My Own Hurricane, stand out and would entice readers to pick it up?
This book deals with the things society only whispers about. Topics like mental illness, addiction, abuse and violence. It is a no holds barred account of the main characters’ lives from the outside in. There are many books written about mental illness and addiction which are written from the perspective of the ill or addicted. This book is written from the perspective of the people who are the willing victims of the ill and addicted.


Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I would like the readers of this book to know they are not alone with their secrets, whether they are similar or not to the characters in the book. Knowing you can get through a horrible situation and come out better for the experience is powerful medicine.


What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
The end of the writing is only the beginning of the life of a book. I have learned things that amazed me to discover. Being an author is far beyond the written page. I chose to self publish my book for the experience I would gain from having my hand in every aspect.


What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
My most significant achievement has been writing, designing, laying out and then publishing my books myself. More research was done on that process than the book itself. The story of the book, for me, writes itself. I am as excited as any other reader to see what happens on the next page. Creating an actual book was a journey all by itself.


What advice would you give a new writer?
Self publish your first book. Learn every aspect of the process. The education received will be worth all the pain, frustration and learning since you will know what it takes at each step to complete. There are dishonest people in every industry and you will be better prepared to spot them if you have an intimate working knowledge of the process. The other piece of advice I can give is to remain excited about your work. Each one is your baby. When you write new books they do not replace the previous works, they add to the collection.


Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Faith, talent and perseverance.


What can we expect from you in the future?

There are innumerable stories inside of me, so as I always have, I will continue to write. My dream is to turn my publishing company, Betts Creative Media, into a mentor driven business to help other new authors turn their thoughts into books. I want to teach writers how to become authors and give them a platform from which their voices can be heard.


Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
I have two books currently available on www.Amazon.com, www.Target.com and of course www.bettscreativemedia.com. I am a featured contributor and have articles in The Chocolate Voice magazine that can be found at www.thechocolatevoice.com .

Thank you for your time,

Earl F. Betts, Jr., Author
Betts Creative Media
earl@bettscreativemedia.com
1447 Kewalo St.
#704
Honolulu, HI 96822




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Intimate Conversation with author Raven Starr

Intimate Conversation with author Raven Starr

Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am Powerful because... I have faith.

Ella: Why is it so important to celebrate Black History 365 days a year?
I believe it is important to celebrate who we are as a race and a nation. I don't believe that only in the month of February should black people get the recognition they deserve in the shortest month of the year. Especially now with our new president this is a joyous and momentous time we all of us to overcome our differences and love and respect one another fully.


Ella: Where are you from? What type of books do you write?
My name is Raven Starr and I write Interracial Romance. I'm published with Red Rose Publishing I was born in Paris… Ha I got ya, not Paris, France but a little town in Tennessee.


Ella: How did you start your writing journey?
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a pencil in my hand. I started with poetry and then after the death of a high school friend I wrote two plays. After writing the plays I started but never finished my short stories.


Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
In my book Thieves in the Night, I love my female character Femi. She is a strong, feisty woman who isn’t afraid to be herself. She’s a fighter and I can totally relate to her. King Hansani is a strong and fearless leader. When he sets eyes on Femi she melts her ice heart. I love the King Hansani way isn’t afraid to love and share his emotions with the woman he loves.


Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
I am a true believer in love and romance. No matter if the story is Contemporary or Paranormal the reader will always find an enticing love story.


Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want my readers to gain an aspect of love. I’m a true believer in love. I want to be able to capture that feeling and past it on.


Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
I’ve learned that writing and creating a world, characters and above all a believable plot is not as easy as some may think. :o)

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
How did you do it? To date my most significant achievement is just to be blessed with my books. My very first e-book Fan-tasy is now in print and I’m very excited.


Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Read, Write and repeat. But the most important thing I could tell a new writer would be, don’t be afraid to ask questions. No matter what the question, just ask, if you don’t ask you’ll never know the answer.


Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Dedication, Drive, and Faith.


Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
More books, of course. I’m working on Vampire’s Embrace, a story about a shape-shifter who falls in love with a vampire. There are lies and untruths surrounding Kia, so together I plan on trying my hand at writing a few young adults books. I love creating worlds and characters. I truly love my job and I can’t see myself doing anything else.


Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I found out at the beginning of this year that I had won an award for Sweet Contemporary Author of 2008 from Romance Erotica Connection. As for what I’m working on now, I have a shape shifter falls in love with a brooding vampire in Vampire Embrace. I have a loving sister rivalry that ends in murder in Twisted and then I have a woman who loses her mother and her sanity but finds strength and love in To Start Again.


Contact Raven Starr
www.ravenkstarr.com
www.redrosepublishing.com
www.myspace.com/dkraven and my Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629783799&ref=profile


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Nuggets for all Couples by Jewell R. Powell


'Happily Ever After' Newsletter March 2009
Sex & Intimacy in Your Marriage


Nuggets for all Couples

Engaged Couples
The engagement time is the perfect opportunity to prepare yourself for marital intimacy. During this time you can be filling your mind with the truth of what love and marriage is all about (1 Corinthians 13) and working through any personal issues you may have, so that you can be completely present for true intimacy with your spouse on the wedding day. If you have experienced premarital sex or abuse or emotional wounds, now is the time to take these issues to God and ask for His healing in your life. Without healing, you bring these struggles into the marriage, which can hinder intimacy. So instead of focusing all of your attention on the reception, DJ list, or the honeymoon itinerary, take some time to work on your personal intimacy issues and give you and your spouse the best start possible.


Newlyweds
Each newlywed experience is so unique, especially when it comes to sex and intimacy. While one couple may be intimately in-sync immediately, for others it takes time and effort to make things click. Regardless of where you start on the intimacy chart, all newlyweds are just beginning the journey and have a lifetime together to increase intimacy and experience the marriage union the way God intended it to be.

How can you keep yourselves on track during this journey? By making an effort to put the other person first-this includes sexually and emotionally. In doing this you are fulfilling one of God's callings to regard one another as more important that yourself (Philippians 2:1-4). Also, to have a great sex life, couples must talk with one another about their desires, needs, and what pleases them. And both should be in agreement.


Couples Being Challenged
When times get hard, sex and intimacy are among the first to go out the window. There's something about stress and hardship that can suck the life out of a marriage, starting with intimacy and what happens (or doesn't happen) in the marriage bed.

Instead of giving in to the stress and allowing life's difficulties to create a wedge in one's intimate relationship, we must work hard to cling to our spouses and make the times together a safe haven-an escape away from it all. God will support your efforts and give you the strength to persevere in your relationship. After all, he has told us not to worry (Philippians 4:6) and to cling to our spouse (Genesis 2:24), so we can trust that in doing these things we are honoring God. Instead of going into separate bedrooms or going our separate ways when feeling stressed, come together in unity and love and strengthen your marriage even when times are tough. Although this may seem very hard to do, try and see how with the help of the Holy Spirit that it will destroy the works of the enemy working against you because love conquers all.



Seasoned Couples
As you approach the "golden years" of your marriage, the potential for intimacy increases, right???. After all, you have known each other longer and are much wiser. Well, this may not be the case for all seasoned couples. There are still many challenges that may come our way that create road blocks for intimacy. For example, physical limitations for some couples call for the need to be creative when it comes to sexual intimacy. However, there is no reason that increased age should be an excuse for decreased intimacy.

It's possible to experience the most intimate years of your life as you grow old together, slow down and take the time to really enjoy one another. While you can reflect on the good memories of the past, create new ones together and strive to add spark to your relationship by communicating openly about your desires and needs when it comes to intimate issues. As the Bible puts it, "Rejoice in the wife (or spouse) of your youth!" (Proverbs 5:18).

Sex & Intimacy takes time that most of us don't have because of the cares of this world. However, that is the trick of the enemy to steal time away from one another, to kill the intimacy between our spouses, and to destroy our marriages. My prayer is that you will take baby steps to rekindle the love affair, even if it is 10 minutes out of your day to spend only that time with them to help strengthen your marriage. For those that are doing well in this area, keep it up! Continue to be consistent.

God Bless,

Jewell R. Powell
Author & Marriage Coach
www.marriage101.us

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Sex & Intimacy in Marriage by Jewell R. Powell


From the 'Happily Ever After' March Newsletter

Without a doubt one of the most sensitive and provocative discussion areas when it comes to marriage is sex and intimacy. It is a topic that can easily offend and anger, but it is also a topic that can enrich relationships when discussed in the right context.
Although in the past people have had a tendency to avoid the subject altogether, marriage experts agree that healthy discussion about sex and intimacy in the marriage can lead to a closeness and honesty that make the marriage stronger and more fulfilling for each spouse. We can take hope in the fact that God created sex and intimacy between a man and wife to be a pure expression of unity and love.


What is Marital Intimacy?
Ask this question to married couples and you will get a variety of answers. Responses like "feeling close" to "having great sex life" are common, but are not entirely accurate. It makes sense that husband and wife long for true intimacy in a marriage, but if we can't even define it accurately, it is going to be difficult to achieve! Thankfully, we can look to God for the definition of marital intimacy.

As God is the creator and designer of the marriage union, we are going to have the best chance for success if we follow His blueprint and call on Him to guide us. For example, if you are building a home, you don't ask an interior designer for advice on the foundation. No, you go to the writer of the plans-the architect-who has the plan in his hand and can tell you everything you need to know about building your home. View the rest of the article here.


Unleashing the Power of Intimacy in Your Marriage
Looking for emotional closeness with your spouse? Better sex? Improved communication? Intimacy the way God intended it to be is the path to each of these goals. There may be no other aspect of one's marriage that has the potential to refresh, enrich and heal like true intimacy between husband and wife. But how can you achieve this level of oneness in your marriage when life seems to get in the way?Jobs, children, friendships, hobbies, and even church ministry involvement can hinder one's ability to truly connect with a spouse. Life is hectic. Life is full. And too often our marriage relationship is the one part that gets short-changed. Step number one for achieving intimacy in marriage is to make sure your priorities are lined up correctly. It is stated clearly in the Bible that we should...
View the rest of the article here.

Bible Verse of the Month
"The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality, the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to stand up for your rights. Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out." -1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (paraphrased in The Message)


Sex & Intimacy takes time that most of us don't have because of the cares of this world. However, that is the trick of the enemy to steal time away from one another, to kill the intimacy between our spouses, and to destroy our marriages. My prayer is that you will take baby steps to rekindle the love affair, even if it is 10 minutes out of your day to spend only that time with them to help strengthen your marriage. For those that are doing well in this area, keep it up! Continue to be consistent.

God Bless,

Jewell R. Powell
Author & Marriage Coach
http://www.marriage101.us/


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Intimate Conversation with author Zhana

Intimate Conversation with author Zhana

Ella: Hello Zhana, tell us a little about you and your work.My work focuses on the healing of humanity and our planet, with a particular focus on the healing of the people of the African continent and Diaspora. Individual and collective healing. Physical, mental and emotional healing. Healing our families and our communities. To that aim, I have written several books including Black Success Stories and Success Strategies for Black People, and I edit the More Black Success free ebooks. I also lead workshops to support the healing of our communities, the healing of our history, the healing of the legacy of enslavement and the Maafa. To do this work, I draw on ancient traditions as well as modern methods. By healing our past, we can move forward into the future we deserve.


Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing.
I wrote What They Don't Want Us to Know as a follow-up to Success Strategies for Black People. Both books came out of my healing journey. I am a survivor of childhood abuse and I have suffered from low self-esteem all my life. I have taught personal development courses for many years and both books contain material based on this work. With Success Strategies for Black People, I sat down to write and the writing just flowed. I had a similar experience with What They Don't Want Us to Know - I had planned to write a very different book. But what came out was what was in my heart.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am powerful because I was born into a mighty race and I am part of this glorious universe! My potential is boundless!

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am originally from New York City. I live in London, UK. I’ve been writing since I was nine (more than forty years).A lot of my work comes out of my own healing journey, as I am a survivor of childhood abuse.


Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
My books Success Strategies for Black People (http://www.squidoo.com/Success-Strategies-for-Black-People) and What They Don’t Want Us to Know (http://www.lulu.com/content/2571278) stand out because they are full of practical suggestions that anyone can do. They are very accessible.

I focus on writing for an African American audience and helping us to heal our individual and collective past wounding and traumas, to create the fabulous future we deserve. I emphasise the importance of celebrating our cultural heritage as people of the African Diaspora.


Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to not just read these books and think “how interesting”. They are meant to inspire you, but I have written them to help you change your life. That means you need to DO what it says in the book, and see the results you gain. I also offer free ongoing support at: http://nurturesuccess.multiply.com/


Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
The thing that surprised me was how much I had to say.With both books, I started writing and the information just flowed.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
To be a successful author, you need to 1) have something to say that’s of value for people; 2) be a good writer, be able to communicate well; and 3) most importantly, keep going! The writers who are most successful are the ones who did not give up.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I am setting up workshops for Black parents and families in London. African Americans are also welcome. For more details, visit: http://www.blacksuccess1.com/improvingcommunication.htm

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Intimate Conversation with author Linda Wright

Intimate Conversation with Linda Wright

Ella: Hello, tell us a little about you.
I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. I made and lost my first million by the age of forty. I blasted through life at warp speed searching for inner peace. I finally found it. I discovered all things are possible with God. I’ve gone from renovating houses—to renovating lives.

Ella: Where are you from?
I am originally from Chicago, but now live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia with my husband and over twenty adopted stray and orphaned animals. .How did you start your writing journey? I was absolutely overwhelmed with the desire to tell my extraordinary story.


I AM...The Power Within By Author Linda Wright
Ever wondered why you are never able to succeed at anything you attempt?

It's because you’re trying to do it all alone!
Maybe it's time to ask for some divine assistance.

With God all things are possible!

I AM is a collection of inspirational short stories filled with positive attitude tips. Learn how to empower yourself through the use of positive words to attain not only success, but inner peace and divine happiness. Stop quitting and learn how to finally surrender it all to God.

The biggest difference between this book and the rest of those positive motivation, spiritual, self-help books is that I AM will lead you straight to the truth, the existence of an all loving Creator. I AM is an instruction manual on how to renovate your life and overhaul your spirit. Unite with a divine support system through the use of positive words, and literally start walking with God.

This is a well written and extremely entertaining book, revealing the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction (spiritual science) for what it really is…the power of God! Start experiencing God by finally gaining the freedom of salvation. Discover how I restored my soul through a spiritual house cleaning by accepting this simple truth—with God all things are possible!

We are all born with an internal power cell; we just need to learn how to turn it on and charge it up. Be among the first to plug in and get energized through these inspirational insights into co-creating your new improved reality.

The plain and simple truth is that we had better start thinking about what we’re thinking about, and more importantly what we’re saying. Begin to realize the incredible power of positive thoughts and positive words, as well as the devastating repercussions of focusing on negativity through worry. Learn how to become accountable for the results of your focus, by taking responsibility for the consequences. Become empowered through understanding the effect of thoughts and the significance of words. I am happy, I am sad; I am healthy, I am sick. No matter what I choose, I am right. I literally decide what I AM.

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
I am not afraid of being open and honest. I’m willing to expose my biggest secrets and worst failures so that others might gain from them. Everyone in the world is searching for happiness and success, as well as physical health and inner peace.


Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want everyone that reads I AM to gain a true understanding of who God really is, as well as the deep spiritual freedom and satisfaction that I now possess.


Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
That an ordinary person, like myself, can not only write an entire book but can produce something good enough to be published!


Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Being inspired to produce over 300 pages of insightful information in less than two months and then going on to be published in less than a year. How did you do it? I decided to finally surrender to God’s plan for me, and then I started to listen to his endless inspiration.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Never give up. If I can write a book as interesting as I AM, anyone can!

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion? Tenacity, tenacity, and tenacity!

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on several new books with Tate Publishing, also inspired works.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
My recently aired radio interview on THE READING CIRCLE with Marc Medley will be featured on my author Web site, www.LindaWrightBooks.com , as well as some absolutely phenomenal reader reviews. I will also be featured in an upcoming issue of Atlanta Woman Magazine.

Check out my newly released book at...
www.LindaWrightBooks.com

Linda Wright Books
P. O. Box 64
Ellijay, GA. 30540

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Miracles in Action by Angela Alexander

'Miracles in Action'

On April 1, 2000 while I was in Japan on military duty, my husband and our four children were involved in a fatal car crash. My family's car fell twenty-five feet off the highway, landed upside down in the Salvation Army's parking lot on top of two other parked vehicles with people inside. The people in the parked vehicles were extremely shaken up, praise God they were all right. My husband, and our two daughters survived, however, Murice and Roger, our two sons, died instantly at the scene.

One of the many miracles was that, God allowed Murice and Roger, both only eight-years-old at the time, to independently write and leave behind incredible good-bye letters. In the letters my sons wrote, I received the peace from God that I so desperately needed to survive. Each letter answered specific questions that I would have wondered about for the rest of my life.

While I was writing my children's memorial program, God revealed to me that the letters were written to soothe my soul, but more importantly, to share.

This moving powerful testimony has strengthened the faith of believers and helped turn non-believers into believers. After listening to this story, you too, will see that no matter what your situation may look like on the surface, God is in control, and miracles are always in action. Get ready to hear and see Angela share the Glory behind the story of this fascinating, supernatural testimony from the living God we serve.

Angela Alexander, national speaker and author of "Miracles in Action:
Turning Pain Into Power and Grief Into Peace
Visit website http://www.miraclesinaction.com/


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Black History and the BAN Network

TITLE: Black History and the BAN Network


Black History
These are the ancestors of choice;
And when things were not right
They lifted up their voice;



They sacrificed in times of struggle
Took the bill in the hustle;
Made a dream for the country to wonder
Moves these people made struck like thunder;



More opportunity was open,
The chains on minorities broken;
No more limits no pressure,
From King to Obama now we go get the measure;



Black History I still treasure,
Ancestry held out in pain;
Just to make more opportunity
For minorities to do more things;



See we cannot blame,
Our peoples struggled thru some times;
And I was not even alive when they were
But I can vibe it in this rhyme;



Black History
allowed opportunity to make it thru college,
That was the reason
I got good wisdom and knowledge;



And Black History was motivation
To be a great person for the nation;
And change was already done in a sense,
President Obama hey that’s no coincidence;



Black History leaves rights open in spots,
Success is on the rise we must always keep that hot;
Yeah this heritage yes this is for me,
I am so grateful for our month in BLACK HISTORY;


Written by Math Man, Author and Poet Stanley Pitchford
Copyright 2009; All Rights Reserved!


Author of books DESTRUCTION via THE MIRROR IMAGE parts 1 and 2
Note: part 1 is red and part2 is orange and includes poetry
Readers can catch me at my www.myspace.com/slykslyvee



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Intimate Interview with author I. B. Freeman


Intimate Interview with author and speaker I. B. Freeman

I. B. Freeman was born in the Bronx, New York. At the age of thirteen, he begin to hone his writing skills while recovering from hip surgery. He later moved to New Jersey as a teen to only move back to New York City a short time later.

He later attended Touro College and studied Audio Engineering while pursuing a career as a songwriter. He is a self-taught pianist, lyricist and all around renaissance man. Author's Myspace Page: http://www.myspace.com/mrhiv


Ella: Tell us about your book.
My book Mr. H.I.V. is about an heterosexual professional black male who is infecting women with H.I.V. on purpose. He is mad at the world because he is H.I.V. positive and he wishes to pass his misery on to others. The book offers readers a chance to see how people react to certain things. It gives reader a chance to see how crazy some people are and most importantly it educates black women.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am Powerful because...I write what i want to write and I dont care about being ostracized.s


Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. My journey as a writer started from me reading so many books. After a while people suggested that since I read so many books I should write a book. I took the suggestion and just ran with it.


Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
There is one main character. His name is Darren Wade. He is H.I.V. positive and intentionally infecting women. The thing I like about him is that he is not your usual suspect. He is an professional man and he has a loving relationship with his mother. People wouldnt expect a man like that to be infecting women on purpose. He is also a complex character. That is why some of my readers feel sympathy for him, while others hate him. Some people tell me that they even cheer for him and condone what he is doing. The best thing about Darren is that he grabs the readers attention and can trigger emotions in people who read Mr. H.I.V.


Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
The title Mr. H.I.V. stands out. Its pretty raw and straight to the point. Plus there arent alot of fiction books based on the subject of H.I.V. so the plot and subject alone makes the book unique. Also the cover is scary. Its all white with the words Mr. H.I.V. in black. My book cover is my myspace picture on my webpage myspace.com/mrhiv, and some people have blocked me on myspace just because of my book cover. So the scary cover itself entices people to pick it up, and once that is done the sale is halfway complete.


Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Knowledge of H.I.V. and awareness. People have become complacent with the thought of catching H.I.V. and its not cool when society is ok with the thought of contracting an terminal disease. Some people are also nieve. Some people I have come across actually cant believe that their are people infecting people on purpose.


Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
How easy it is to publish a book. Most people don't have enough money to go to a major printer and that prevents people from publishing there novel. I found out about companies that print books at such a cheap price. There are printers who print books at $5. a copy with no minimum to print. So someone with $40. dollars can order 6 or 7 copies of their book, sell them and reinvest there money. Anyone who is interested in this method of printing should google on demand printing.


Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer? How did you do it?
Publishing my book before the age of 30 is my most significant achievement. I ended up publishing my book just based on determination. I know in my heart Mr. H.I.V. is a great novel so I constantly look for ways to get my work published till I eventually found the right print on demand company.


Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Send reviews of your book to book review companys. As a new writer people may overlook you work to purchase work by a veteran author. So I suggest you send copies of you work to book reviewers then you have someone to validate your work. If a book reviewer gives your book a great review a person may be willing to spend there money on your work. The only thing I could say is that I would have send out many more copies to book reviewers and editorial writers before I started selling my book.


Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Being unique, writing what makes you happy, be honest with yourself and give a criticial analysis of your work.


Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now im working on my new book. Its a play entitled Can I Live. Its about a suicidal man pursuing his dreams.


Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
I have some upcoming interviews lined up with a few radio stations. Right now im in the process of confirming my show dates. You can keep up to date on interviews that im doing by going to my webpage www.myspace.com/mrhiv

www.Myspace.com/mrhiv
www.shelfari.com/mrhiv

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Intimate Conversation with author Katrina L. Burchett

Intimate Conversation with author Katrina L. Burchett

Katrina L. Burchett is the third born of her parents' six children; the shy, quiet one who, to this day, expresses herself better with the written word. As far back as she can remember it felt natural to have a piece of paper and a pen or pencil in hand. In grade school she wrote a play or two that her classmates acted out for teachers and their students.


During her middle and high school years creating poems was what she loved most, and a couple of them were printed in the local newspaper.Burchett launched a small book publishing company in 2007, naming it after her teenage niece, Kapri. Choices is Burchett's debut novel. She wanted to go deeper than the teen sexual activity and teen pregnancy statistics, so she wrote an emotional, thought-provoking read exploring the reasons why some young people make the choice to become sexually active, and why others choose to abstain...


Shauntice, Angel, Bridgette, LaKeeta, and Hope are teenage girls making decisions about boyfriends and premarital sex. Choices is the first of a trilogy. The next novel will explore teen parenting and the relationships Shauntice, Angel, Bridgette, LaKeeta and Hope have with their parents. It will also delve more into the lives of the guys in Choices. And the third novel will focus on teens and drinking.Once the trilogy is complete, Lord willing, Kapri Books will publish the works of aspiring authors.



Ella: Introduce us to your new book, Choices? What subject does it examine?

Choices is a story about five girls making decisions about boyfriends and premarital sex...

Shauntice Johnston has faith in God but the world of domestic abuse she lives in has left her with very little faith in the male gender. Angel Nichols doesn’t know her earthly father, doesn’t care about the heavenly Father and feels neglected by her workaholic mother. She has had numerous sex partners since she was thirteen, trying to fill the void inside of her.
LaKeeta Wilson is a Christian, but instead of doing it God’s way and waiting for marriage she purposefully becomes pregnant out of wedlock. Bridgette Anderson practices abstinence in obedience to God and no matter what she will not compromise her beliefs. Hope Patterson is a plain dressing, soft-spoken, timid Christian girl who’s living a very sheltered life because of mother’s strict rules. The word sex isn’t in her vocabulary until she suffers a loss.


Ella: Where did you pull from to write the book?
I could write the domestic abuse scenes so well because I grew up in that same situation. I still remember that I had to get away from the story for a little while once I finished, because I was angry at Grant, tearing up for Elaine, and feeling so bad for Shauntice and Shannon. So with Shauntice’s situation and the issues Angel, LaKeeta, Bridgette and Hope are dealing with, Choices is a story that will evoke just about every emotion. And with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the mix there is a message of hope and new beginnings for the reader.


Ella: Finish the sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am powerful because I am a walking miracle with life-changing stories to tell. On August 3, 2007, a few days before Choices was released, I was admitted to the ICU suffering from severe dehydration, a staph infection in my bloodstream and failing kidneys. I was dying. Actually, I was feeling sick during the entire self-publishing process. By the grace of God I’m still here today and I will use my writing talent so that He can bless others through me.


Ella: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the city of York , Pennsylvania.


Ella: How did you start your writing journey?
I began writing in grade school. I still reflect on how classmates and I would take toy dishes and other props to different classrooms and act out plays I wrote.



Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
There are five protagonists in Choices; however, I consider Shauntice and Angel to be the two main characters. I like Shauntice’s name. I came up with her twin brother, Shannon’s, name first and when I was trying to figure out what hers would be there was a Shanice (remember the song I Love Your Smile?) cassette sitting on the stereo, so I added to her name.


I also like Shauntice’s Christ-likeness in dealing with the domestic abuse situation she’s stuck in; the way she never ceases praying, the way she stands by her mom when she’d rather run away. And Angel – plain & simple, I love her spunk! She’s not afraid to speak her mind, she means what she says, and if anybody gets in her face she will not back down. She might not make the best choices when it comes to guys, but who am I to judge? Angel is my girl!


"Young readers will identify with Burchett's realistic characters,who are true to life and spare no one, not even themselves, of their imperfections. Hip, hip, hooray to Burchett for not trying to create unbelievably perfect characters, but making a choice to give us real characters we can cheer on instead!" 4 STARS Rosalind Stormer, RAWSISTAZ REVIEWERS



Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader to pick it up?
I was searching for an image to use on the cover and I came across this guy and girl sitting on the couch talking. He looked like he was pleading his case, whatever it may have been, and it reminded me of the scene in Choices where Terry stops by Shauntice’s house and tries to get her to give him a chance. The book designer got creative and changed the image. She took away the background and made the girl the main focus. I’ve received quite a few compliments on the cover. I believe the unique image along with the earth tones catches a reader’s eye.


Quick Overview of Choices for Parents
Choices tackles the issue of teen sex in a realistic way, so some characters do have sex in the story. However, when consensual sex happens the scenes are not graphic, but left to the reader’s imagination. Sadly, there is an acquaintance rape and it is vivid. The author had a difficult time writing this scene in detail, but she wanted every girl who read this to learn from the mistake made by the character who is raped. Burchett didn’t think anything would be learned unless the reader could really feel this character’s pain.

To feel her pain, the reader needed to know everything this girl went through. The character’s mistake: She felt something was wrong. She felt she should ask this guy to leave her home, but she didn’t because she didn’t want to offend him. The domestic violence scenes are also vivid and intense, and there is a little profanity – the “d” and “b” words are mentioned once or twice.


Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I wrote the first draft of Choices many years ago. At that time, I was regretting choices I had made... Okay, I’m gonna tell a little bit of my personal business. I allowed myself to be used more than once because I didn’t know how to say no. It was good to know that God loved me, but still, I didn’t start making better choices until I learned to love myself.
My story shows that consensual premarital sex isn’t always about the sex; life’s circumstances, low self-esteem, peer pressure – there are many reasons why teens make this choice. I hope that what I wrote will help young women to make better choices than I did. There are quite a few messages in Choices for parents as well as teens, but the main message is that when we girls mess up it’s never too late to begin again.


Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
Well, I thought about self-publishing for a long time before I actually stepped out and did it. There was fear because I really didn’t know if I could do it. The surprising thing was that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be.


Dan Poynter’s The Self-Publishing Manual, Rob and Terry Adams’ Start Your Own Self-Publishing Business and The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom & Marilyn Ross were all very helpful. And there are plenty of talented book designers and professional editing services out there. All it took was a little research to find the ones I felt at peace about.


Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
There was a reader -a teen reviewer, actually - who said something like ‘I appreciate life more after reading Choices’. I knew immediately what she had read to make her feel that way. I don’t think I should elaborate, because my answer would contain a spoiler, so I’ll just say that through me God sent an important message to this teen. Glory to God!



Ella: How did you do it?
I wrote the story and then found the courage to make it available for this girl and others to read.


Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
I’d like to advise new writers to be open to “constructive” criticism. We can be so close to our work that we don’t want to change anything, but flaws that we can’t see seem to jump out at others. A writer needs a few pairs of fresh eyes to read their work. Once the manuscript has been written and then rewritten as many times as need be, let others read it, get feedback and then there may be more rewriting. After that, it’s best to pass the manuscript on to a professional editor.



Ella: Would you change anything about your journey?
I sure would. I was trying so hard to make Choices perfect that I was making changes during the interior design process. A manuscript should be ready when it gets to that point, but I always found something I just wasn’t satisfied with. I ended up paying a bit more for the service because of the changes.


Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
If an author writes a story with a message that can change a person’s life for the better in some way, whether big or small, that’s a success story. God wants us to use our gifts to serve others (1Peter 4:10). Entertaining the reader is great and necessary to gain a readership, but, in my opinion, there should be more. A lesson to be learned, some kind of knowledge to be gained, something meaningful. Sorry, that’s the only thing that comes to mind.


Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Choices is the first of a trilogy, because this premarital sex thing isn’t the only issue I have in my heart to write about. The next book will focus on teen parenting and the third will focus on teens and drinking.


Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
I have started the second novel. I’m hoping for a release date at the end of this year, but I can’t say for sure right now. When I have a date, I’ll be sure to have it posted on my website.

Kapri Books
Email: klbchoices@aol.com
Website: http://www.kapribooks.com

Katrina L. Burchett, YA Fiction Author
Choices: Five teenage girls make decisions about boyfriends and premarital sex.
Blog: http://www.emotionalreads.blogspot.com
Shelfari Bookshelf: http://www.shelfari.com/kapribooks
Shoutlife Profile: http://www.shoutlife.com/kapribooks



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The Next Best Thing by Deidre Berry

Hello!
My name is Deidre Berry, and my debut novel The Next Best Thing would be perfect for your next book club selection. It is a humorous contemporary novel, which asks:

What do you do when the life you planned, is no longer part of the plan?

Tori Carter is a sassy, multi-tasking diva who prefers for her life to run as smooth and hitch-free as the events she coordinates. No drama, no problems—that's Tori's idea of the good life. Her tendency to plan everything to the max has made her the most successful event coordinator in the business—and the number one problem solver for her family and friends. But when her perfect fiancee, Roland, chooses their wedding day to run off with the woman he previously claimed was just a good, "platonic friend", Tori is left without a Plan B-through-Z...or any idea what to do next.

During a period of post-traumatic breakup blues, Tori suddenly has the epiphany that the best way to mend a broken heart is to simply: “Get back out there.”

Against the advice of a personal Life coach, Tori dives headfirst back into the dating pool where she suffers through one dating disaster after another, while also dutifully tending to the never-ending needs of her zany, high-spirited group of family and friends; as well as a hectic career where her senior position is in jeopardy due to backstabbing and blatant sabotage.

Then there is Nelson. Tori's handsome, widowed neighbor who could possibly turn up the heat in ways she never imagined, if only he could somehow manage to get past the emotional baggage he still carries years after the tragic death of his much beloved wife.


Told candidly through the pages of her journal, The Next Best Thing chronicles Tori's daily struggle to pick up the pieces of her once perfectly ordered life, while also learning to accept that no amount of planning can prevent the curve balls that Life sometimes throws your way.

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation Pub. Date: April 01, 2009; ISBN-13: 9780758238320; Price: 14.00

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1) Would you allow your man to have close friendships with other women?
2) Is it possible for a heterosexual man and woman to have a strictly platonic friendship?
3) What are your thoughts on prenuptial agreements?
4) What do you think is an appropriate amount of time to mourn the loss of a spouse before moving on and dating again?
5) Is it ever worthwhile to reunite with an ex, or should past relationships always stay in the past?
6) Tori's DSWYE rule prohibits dating neighbors and co-workers. Is this a good rule to live by, or should everyone be considered fair game?
7) With the divorce rate being over 50%, are lavish weddings ultimately a waste of money?
8) Did Tori place more importance on planning her wedding to Roland rather than the relationship itself?

The Next Best Thing will be available in bookstores on April 1st, but you can take advantage of steep discounts, and pre-order the book via Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. I would love to discuss my novel with your book club in person, via phone, virtual chat, blog, or radio show.

My schedule is filling up quickly, so please contact me as soon as possible at: writeon777@aol.com or via Facebook where you can get additional author information, news, and other updates.

Best of everything,
Deidre Berry


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Intimate Conversation with Karen Thompkins

Intimate Conversation with Karen Thompkins
Author of Double Insanity & a Domestic Abuse Survivor
For seven years Karen Thompkins was the victim of domestic abuse. In 2002, she sought the assistance of The Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County (DAP) to change the tides in her life. Karen is a psychiatric registered nurse in Philadelphia and is focused on increasing public awareness for domestic violence nationwide. Double Insanity is based on her personal testimony.


Ella: Introduce us to your book and why you wrote it.
Double Insanity is inspired by some of your personal adversities from dealing with an abusive partner.
********

Ella: Why did you want to write a book on the subject of Domestic Violence?
My best friend told me that I had a story and should begin writing it down in a journal every day. When I began writing, I realized that not only was it self-healing, but it was a story that needed to be told. Domestic Violence is a national problem that needs awareness.


Ella: Why did it take you 7 years to get out of the abusive relationship, especially with children in the home?
It took years for many reasons. But the main two reasons are hope and fear. I kept hoping that my husband would change, and I feared that he would kill me if I left. Also, I would feel sorry for him because I thought he needed me, and guilt would make me stay. Plus, I was afraid of failure and did not want our relationship to fail.


Ella: Each chapter is headed with a fact about Domestic Violence in the United States. Why did you opt to introduce each chapter this manner?
Knowledge is power. I want readers to know how serious Domestic Violence really is by being aware of the alarming statistics.


Ella: Who is the audience for this book?
Domestic violence has many faces from different races, nationalities, religions, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It also occurs within teenage relationships and among same-sex partners. This book is for everyone who is in a relationship whether you are making six-figures or minimum wage, whether you have a law-degree or a GED. Double Insanity will shed light and bring the much-needed awareness to a variety of readers about the need to combat domestic abuse in households across the country.


Ella: You give a resource guide in the back of this book, what is the strategy behind this?
Domestic Violence Awareness month is October, but as a survivor of spousal abuse I know that there are many who do not have until the month of October to seek the much-needed help they require. I added the resource at the end because I want this book to truly help save someone's life. So I decided to discreetly give victims another outlet to gather the information and help they need to reclaim their lives before it is too late. Domestic Violence is a two-way street, the abused and the abuser.

I am hoping that seeing the information in the back of my book and knowing that I was a victim as well, will motivate all abused readers to make the call or even go to the agency office directly without hesitation and get help. I also hope that any one who is a guilty of being the abuser will seek help as well.


Ella: What was the hardest thing you had to overcome from your abusive relationship?
The hardest thing I had to overcome was forgiving myself for allowing my children and myself to live so many years with the abuse.


Ella: How long did it take you to get your life back in order after you contacted DAP?
Although I attended the self-help group and had individual counseling, I am still healing. The aftermath of Domestic Violence is a healing process that can take many years.


Karen Thompkins is available for interview regarding what people should know, what victims and abusers can do and what the general public can do to bring awareness to Domestic Violence. Contact: Dawn Michelle Hardy Office: 347-715-4921; Email: dreamrelations@gmail.com

Interesting article from author and activist Karen Thompkins

Philadelphia Author and Survivor of Domestic Violence
Karen Thompkins Speaks On Chris Brown Assaulting Rihanna


Philadelphia, PA (February 11, 2009) — Because of the recent allegations of assault by Grammy® Award Winning artist Chris Brown on his pop-star girlfriend Rihanna, discussions of domestic violence are rapidly spreading throughout the media and among fans. Philadelphia author Karen Thompkins speaks out on the importance of Rihanna and other victims seeking help and support immediately without hesitation. From Hollywood to Harlem, Domestic Violence is not confined to any one socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial or age group and knows no geographic or educational boundaries. It also occurs within teenage relationships and among same-sex partnerships.

Recent reports say that Rihanna fears for her life after being choked and threatened by singer Chris Brown who turned himself into the LAPD after an investigation was launched into an alleged domestic assault on a woman in Los Angeles on Sunday February 8, 2009. “I know how scared she is right now. I stayed in a relationship with my husband and received a broken nose, and beat in the head until I passed out. Rihanna has to move on and under no circumstances reconcile back into an intimate relationship with Chris. From my experience if a man/boyfriend hits you once, he’ll do it again.” commented former domestic violence victim Karen Thompkins. Karen Thompkins, a psychiatric registered nurse at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital was a victim of domestic violence from 1995 to 2002. For seven years, she battled with her own emotions and the unstable temper of her boyfriend turned spouse.



The cycle of making-up to get beat up, is all too common in domestic abuse relationships. Thompkins describes this as the “sick dance”. After accepting numerous apologies and pleas from her abuser Thompkins eventually married and had a child with him. Even post baby, life still did not improve for her, there was no peace in her home, mind and heart. After infidelity entered the mix, Thompkins began to see things more clearly and filed for a protection of abuse (PFA) and shortly thereafter a divorce.



Brown and Rihanna both canceled last minute on Grammy appearances Sunday night. In the U.S domestic violence cases cost businesses nearly $1 billion in lost productivity. “I can only imagine how much was lost on the night of the Grammys with all the last minute changes and scrambling to keep things as silent and discreet as possible. I too missed days of work and was embarrassed to tell my family and friends, so if the rumors are true, I pray she seeks help immediately. I’ll be praying for her peace of mind” Thompkins states.


While coverage from The Los Angeles Times and Us Weekly report that Rihanna was the victim and TMZ claimed that Rihanna filed the crime report under her birth name, Robyn Fenty, Thompkins hopes these outlets and tons of others will shine more light on the awareness of domestic violence in all communities and help save other domestic assault victims.



Inspired by President Barack Obama’s call-to-service Karen Thompkins will begin a 10-city book tour in April spreading Domestic Violence Awareness. Thompkins will release her first book Double Insanity: A Novel (Karter Publishing Trade Paperback; Pub Date: April 21, 2009; $14.95; ISBN 10: 0-9820674-9-6 ) which will contain a Domestic Violence Resource Guide of national agencies and hotlines along with her personal letter to abused women. A true read that brings awareness to domestic violence among working class women, Double Insanity by Karen Thompkins is the drama-filled, reality-inspired, contemporary debut that will surely stir readers up and have them wanting to make a difference.


Excerpt from Double Insanity by Karen Thompkins: In the morning, the Domestic Abuse Project was my first stop. I was tired of the “sick dance” and wanted Tony out of my life. While telling the counselor my story, tears poured down my face and my voice cracked. She was consoling and gave me information on their self-help group for abused women.


Karen Thompkins is available for interview and discussion on what men and women should know regarding domestic abuse.



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