Women, Don't Forget Your Worth

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their
family and friends..
Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.

Note: the author is unknown to me. This came to me as an email forward. If you know the author, please have them contact me for an interview. This was a brillant poem!

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Summer Romance Selections

Happily Never After by T. Wendy Williams
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pub. Date: April 2009
ISBN-13: 9781933967813

To family and friends, Dorothy and David Leonard's marriage appears to be one made in heaven. While David is one of Houston 's most prominent physicians, Dorothy is a loving and carefree housewife. It seems as if life couldn't be more fabulous for this couple who appear to have it all: wealth, social status, and a loving union.

However, looks can be deceiving. Happily Never After tells the story of what really happens behind closed doors when the eyes of the community aren't watching. Find out what happens when the flawless veneer begins to crack. Buy the book here.

The Last Prejudice by David Rivera Jr.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pub. Date: April 2009
ISBN-13: 9781593092351

From the bestselling author of Playing in the Dark — an erotic and romantic novel about how real love is measured by the size of your heart and not the size of your hips.

The three plus-sized women in The Last Prejudice find support in one another during the ups and downs of their juicy romances and chaotic lives. Noreen Klein is more than comfortable inside the smooth curves a size-24 frame enables. She's an empowered diva who gets what she wants — including hot men.

On the other hand, Dahlia Ortega is a beautiful woman who is extremely insecure with her thick body. Recently coming out of an abusive marriage, the docile Dahlia is left with a raging thirst for dominance. Kat Davis once had a perfect body, but now has to contend with the additional sixty pounds she put on during her tumultuous pregnancy. She wrestles with releasing herself from a self-imposed emotional prison, to embrace the love she deserves. Follow these three women as they fulfill their insatiable sexual appetites and overcome the disheartening emotional challenges that trouble many full-figured women.

Fresh, thoughtful, and endlessly provocative, The Last Prejudice proves how biases against voluptuous women don't exist when love and lust is in the air. Readers will be riveted by Rivera's fast-paced and passionate writing style — a must-read for women of all sizes. Buy the Book

A Private Affair by Donna Hill
Publisher: Kimani Press
Pub. Date: July 01, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780373831623

A successful business woman in the New York world of publishing, Nikita Harrell refused to settle for less than a picture-perfect life. This decision had cost her the only man she had ever loved, because Quinn Parker was a man struggling against poverty and despair. Now, he's back--the author of a hot new novel that could propel Nikita's company to unimaginable success. But unexpected rivals and a sudden crisis will force Nikita and Quinn to gamble for one last chance to reconcile their dreams. Buy the book here.

Fools Rush In by Gwynne Forster
Publisher: Kimani Press
Pub. Date: August 01, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780373831654

Justine's search for the daughter she placed up for adoption leads her to a divorced journalist, who happens to be looking for a nanny. It isn't long before Duncan Banks realizes something's not quite right about his daughter's new nanny. Things get complicated when passion consumes the new relationship between father and nanny.
Order the book here.

Intentional Mistake by Michele Sudler
Publisher: Genesis Press, Incorporated
Pub. Date: July 01, 2009
ISBN-13: 9781585713479; 288pp

Synopsis: Sometimes in life we make what we believe to be the right choice when in fact it turns out to be our most dreadful decision.Tia Avery comes face to face with her past when her ex boyfriend Jeff Daniels comes to town after five years to manage her cousins' bar. Jess and Tia rekindle their relationship but everyone except Jeff knows that his is the father of Tia's son.Tia must decide whether to confess her past sin or face pushing the man she loves away. But before she could decide her course of action destiny takes over and Jeff discovers that he is a father.Hurt and betrayal and love and passion do tug of war with their hearts until the fate intervenes. Can their love survive life and death? Buy the Book here.

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Book Spotlight: Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies

What would you do if the secret you were keeping could set you free, yet ultimately devastate the ones you love?....

Victoria and Ted are the ultimate power couple. She's a beautiful, business savvy sister who owns one of Atlanta ’s most sought after event planning companies. Ted's a powerful, blue-eyed CEO who knows how to take care of business in and out of the boardroom. But their seemingly happy life begins to unravel in the blink of an eye when long-held desires and decades old secrets come back to haunt them. As they journey down a road filled with uncertainty, they're forced to take a hard look at themselves and confront their hidden fears. Can they repair the damage before it's too late, or will they follow a path headed for destruction?

Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies, is filled with interesting, three-dimensional characters and a juicy, thought-provoking storyline that will have you discussing it long after the story ends!

Title: Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies
Author: Trice Hickman
Publisher: Platinum Books
Publication Date: June 23, 2009
ISBN: 9780979561818
Paperback: 285 pages

Book Trailer URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOvT-LQgHH0

Buy the Book: http://www.tricehickman.com/buythebook.html

Trice Hickman, author of Unexpected Interruptions

Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies....Available June 23, 2009!

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Intimate Conversation with author Recha

Intimate Conversation with author Recha G. Peay

At the age of five, the gift of a Barbie Doll typewriter from a family friend sparked Recha’s interest in the written word. For hours she’d sit in front of her toy typewriter and peck away occasionally stopping to greet the public and sign autographs. Throughout her childhood and early adulthood she held on to her dream even though career choices lead her in a different direction.

In 1996, The Mystery of a Woman was born and manifested as a small collection of poetry. To no avail, and many rejection letters later they were never published. Recha didn’t stop there and asked herself what would make her poetry unique. During a moment of meditation the answer was clear, a novel. In 1997, the collection of poetry became the premise of her first novel. Just like so many aspiring authors she worked tirelessly then packed it all away.

In 2003, the unfortunate news of a job closing inspired Recha to 'think outside of the box.' So she did just that. With the encouragement and support of two children she unpacked her storage box and breathed new life into her project. Her steps were ordered as God allowed her to make contact with Kimberly Matthews of Kissed Publications, who tirelessly assisted her through several edits finally seeing it through to completion. The rest is a ‘Mystery’.

Recha wants all of her readers to know with God’s divine guidance dreams do come true. So remember the three P’s prayer, persistence and patience.

Ella Curry of EDC Creations sits down for a one-on-one chat with Recha

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I'm a native Memphian. I smile whenever people ask about my journey as a writer. Since the age of five I've been pretending to write and sign autographs. My love for the spoken word began in church as I recited the work of others. Two poems in particular that come to mind are William Herbert Brewster's 'I'm Determined To Be Somebody Someday' and Maya Angelou's 'Still I Rise'. Having to recite their work only sparked my creativity and prompted me to write my own.

Ella: Recha, tell us about your book and the characters.
Illusion of Love Synopsis: At an annual Christmas party an image of perfection stepped into Tatiana's life. From the outside looking in, Courtney McAdams appeared to have it all; career, good looks and charming personality. Nine months later they were married, moving into a suburban dream home and planning to start a family. His request for her to quit teaching art at the elementary school to become a full-time wife and mother seemed ideal when he revealed plans to convert an extra bedroom into an art studio. With all they'd accomplished she felt obligated and realized a child would be the most perfect gift any wife could give a husband. Courtney, on the other hand had a different agenda. Overcome by greed, Courtney and his best friend record sexually explicit adult videos and sell them on the internet. Having children was never in his plan and marrying Tatiana was only a cover to protect his image.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
In 'Illusion Of Love' you see that 'everything that glitters ain't gold'. We have to acknowledge our gut instinct as woman's intuition and pay attention to the signs no matter how impressive the physical package.

How many times have we been approached by someone who appeared to have it all then find out a few weeks or months later you met the representative? Sistah's may I hear an 'Amen'! It has happened to me and I'm certain it has happened to you. Whether we choose to admit it or not I feel that the entire plot is realistic.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Being successful in this business shouldn't be measured by your financial gain but by the lives you touch. Many people have this false perception that you write a book and overnight you're a millionaire! Hmmm...? Well that isn't my testimony. For me writing is a passion. I'd rather write than eat a meal. Now that's serious.

My advice to other writers/authors--hang in there and don't let go of your dream. All of us have a story and whether through traditional/non-traditional publishing it needs to be told.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm excited about "Losing 4 Literacy" a twelve week weight loss competition/literacy awareness project originated by C. Jay of The Risque Cafe. Being involved in a project of that magnitude is giving me the opportunity to promote weight loss/healthy living, encourage literacy and reiterate the importance of education. As an author I feel obligated to give back to my readers and the community.

I'm also very excited about the release of my fourth novel 'Table for Three' in October 2009.

'Table For Three' is a fiction novel that explores the lives of three women with three very different personalities and three lifestyles. You may ask when did their paths cross and how did they manage to become best friends?

Shiquanna Alize Jenkins, A.K.A. Fantasia is an exotic dancer, performs at a local gentleman’s club but prefers private audiences. She has no morals, is alcohol dependant and curses like a sailor.

Yvonne Miller, Certified Public Accountant never married and has no children. She’s a devout Christian waiting on God to deliver her soul mate who she believes to be her minister.

India Rasheed, the earthy spiritualist of the trio, is a full-time student who finally declared a major after ten years. Her self-appointed purpose in life other than persistent unemployment is to make a global impact by spiritually awakening lost souls.

Is Shiquanna happy showcasing her body to pay the rent? Despite hours of Bible study and prayer does Yvonne really have a dark side? Is India as spiritually grounded as she portrays? Other than a weekly girl's night out what is the tie that has bound three apparently different women together as friends for so many years?


Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you and your readers. I want to thank you for the support and encouragement. Please feel free to email any comments/questions to me at http://www.rechagpeay.com/. Stay encouraged and keep in touch.
Recha G. Peay, Author

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Intimate Conversation with author Matthew Aaron Goodman

Intimate Conversation with author Matthew Aaron Goodman

Matthew Aaron Goodman earned a BA from Brandeis University and an MFA from Emerson College, and benefited from the tutelage of Dr. Derek Hyra, Jay Baron Nicorvo, Arisa White, and asha bandele. Working hand and hand with formerly incarcerated men and women, he helped to create The Leadership Alliance, a community empowerment project with The Doe Fund that unites recently freed people and volunteer partners.

In 2006, he had the privilege of writing about the painter Clintel Steed’s work as well as study the artistic process and share summer corn with the visual artist Michael Dopp. His brother Joshua Goodman is an expert fly fisherman and habanero horticulturist in Colorado. His brother, David Goodman,is an artist and writer whose most recent work and writing has been exhibited in conjunction with Human Rights Watch’s Red Hand Day Campaign. Matthew now lives with Nadia, his wife, in Brooklyn, New York. Currently, he leads a literacy program for exalt, a nonprofit organization that assists youth on the spectrum of criminal justice involvement. You can visit their blog: http://www.exaltscholars.wordpress.com/.

Ella: Matthew tell us about your passion for writing.
I write because I don’t know how to play an instrument; writing is my outlet. I’ve got a trumpet and a guitar, and I’ve taught myself how to play the piano a little by planting myself in music stores and picking at the plastic keys of synthesizers and keyboards, but to date, writing is the only place I can make music, sit down and play a song so to speak. Of course, as with playing a song well, writing requires one to sit down and rehearse the song again and again, manipulating the phrasing so how I feel is conveyed in the notes as much as the harmonious intentions of the composer. So I also love the depth and precision writing affords. Writing is an act of refining, of sculpting and discovering ways of speaking, creating connections between perceptions that cause visceral reactions. So it’s the pursuit of writing, of composing that phrase in a song, that succession of notes that makes you nod your head and say “hmmmm…” that has captured me and that I am passionate about.

Ella: Please introduce us to your new soul stirring book, Hold Love Strong.
Born to a thirteen-year-old in the bathroom of his family’s small apartment, Abraham Singleton enters a world laden with the obstacles inherent in an impoverished community. In spite of the crack epidemic and the HIV crisis that ravages his neighborhood, his family, the Singletons—cousins, an uncle, and aunt, Abraham and his mother—are held together by Abraham’s heroic grandmother, whose deep faith and stoic nature have always given them a sense of wholeness and hope.

But when the family goes through several harrowing losses, not even his grandmother may be strong enough to lead them through. At the center of this story is Abraham, the youngest of the Singletons. Deeply intuitive and cerebral, he is determined to thrive in a place that has destroyed the dreams of so many around him. College means opportunity, yet it also means leaving those he loves behind. Abraham’s journey into adulthood will break his heart but ultimately offer the possibility of redemption.

In this haunting, lyrical, and evocative novel, Matthew Aaron Goodman composes a paean to the power of family and belonging in the African-American community. Hold Love Strong is a spellbinding coming-of-age tale about love, hope, and the will to survive, and a stunning universal story about the incredible capacity of the human spirit.

Ella: What does Hold Love Strong offer the reader?
Hold Love Strong offers the reader an opportunity to invest themselves in the championing of a young man’s innate potential as he navigates and overcomes the harrowing conditions of his community. It is the chance to cheer for someone, to cry for them, to be reminded that all things are possible through love and hope.

Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am powerful because I question my power, because I know that individual strength, my independent capacity—be it to love or to lift or, god forbid, to hate.. I am powerful because I believe in our innate, universal potential to be humane. I am powerful because I understand that every day is a blessing that I share with everything that breathes air. I am powerful because I am not afraid to speak my truth.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I grew up in a small town an hour north of New York City which because there were only a handful of Jews was, for all intents and purposes, the very far reaches of the Jewish Diaspora. This experience made me understand my difference, my otherness. It also afforded me the chance to love and appreciate people who—culturally, ethnically, and religiously—were unlike myself. Then, when I went off to college—at Brandeis University—I learned how important it is to be proud of my culture and identity. These two lessons, both forms of isolation because of difference, took time to navigate and unite into one formed identity and so had a tremendous amount to do with my journey as a human being and thus, this journey of writing. As for how I began writing, I don’t know. I do know that when I was a child I was very, very quiet, and to get me to talk, my mother would sit me at the kitchen table and have me tell her the stories of the people in the pictures in the magazine opened before me. So, I think it was there, participating in the oral tradition of storytelling, that I first began to write.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
For me, the two main characters in Hold Love Strong are Abraham and his cousin, Donnel. How much they love each other, the lengths they will and do go to fortify and champion each other cannot be measured or described.

Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
Writing a novel is something you must pour your heart into. Afterwards, it becomes a business. I think a writer must never lose sight of writing as an art form, and accept that the business related to creating a book is not their realm of expertise.

Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Although the quick answer is the publication of Hold Love Strong, the truth is my most significant achievement is the fact that I have loved and remain very much in love with writing. It’s like a marriage. What is more significant? The day one gets married or all of the years one remains faithfully wedded?

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Never let doubt infect you. Never let yourself think that what you are writing is more important than those you live and love with.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
The. Belief. In Love.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or recent book reviews.
“Matthew Aaron Goodman’s Hold Love Strong is a powerful and poignant story of the gallant Abraham who struggles on the night side of American society yet exudes a light of genuine hope…” -Dr. Cornel West, author of Race Matters and Democracy Matters

Book Reviews for Hold Love Strong
“The urgency of reading Matthew Aaron Goodman’s work is that he complicates what is too often made unrealistically simple: our understanding of ourselves and our neighbors. That he does so with such profound beauty only makes the experience of Hold Love Strong ever more incredible…” -asha bandele, author of The Prisoner’s Wife and Something Like Beautiful

“What a poignant book. The younger generation offers a wonderful writer!” -Nikki Giovanni, Poet

“Matthew Aaron Goodman writes with tremendous heart and gorgeous lyricsm. He loves the characters whose lives he chronicles, loves them in all their flaws, through all their missteps. He’s with them, celebrating their glories in ecstatic, ebullient riffs, and mourning their defeats with an unflinching compassion…” -Thisbe Nissen, Author of The Good People of New York and Osprey Island

“Goodman delivers a commanding investigation of love, family and freedom set in a New York City housing project…” –Publishers Weekly

Matthew Aaron Goodman,
author of HOLD LOVE STRONG: A Novel

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Business Spotlight: Rhonda Crowder, freelance editor

Intimate Conversation with editor Rhonda Crowder

Offering developmental, content, and copy services to authors and publishers, Rhonda Crowder is a freelance editor who has worked on seven novels in less than three years with two appearing on the Essence bestsellers list. Currently, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio and is a general assignment reporter for the Call and Post Newspapers as well as a contributing writer for magazines and trade publications. Rhonda is also an aspiring novelist and has been featured in Who's Who in Black Cleveland.

Ella: How did you get your start in this business/industry? After interviewing and writing an article about Triple Crown Publications CEO Vickie Stringer (which she loved), for the Call and Post Newspapers, she asked me if I edited manuscripts. I said yes, submitted my resume, completed a sample edit, and went on to work on three novels. Two became Essence bestsellers. After that, I signed up on myspace and found there was a huge market for this service. From there, I established myself as a freelance editor and authors began to reach out in need of my services.

Ella: Did you have any formal training?
Yes I do. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing, editing, and publishing from Cleveland State University.

Ella: What separates you and your firm from the competition?
I believe I have the ability to view a manuscript from four different perspectives: as the average reader, a student of literature, writer, and editor. Then, when it comes to street or urban lit, I got some 'cred.' LOL. Also, I understand psychology and logic. That's important when reviewing stories because stories must make sense.

Ella: How would you describe your experience as a entrepreneur?
One word, chal-len-ging. And, that's because I'm a one woman show. There's so much to be done other than the actual work. Records and taxes. While, I enjoy doing the actual work more so than doing the business. There's a difference between the two. But, I refuse to give up. My goal is to perfect the business. I've finally got the work load under control.

Ella: What do you like most about your profession?
I enjoy reading. I love working with words. And, although I may sometimes become extremely frustrated during the process, I get a rush when witnessing a story come together in the end. Also, it's a shear pleasure to hear the sound of an author's voice or see the look on their face once that book is in print. I love helping people make their ideas and dreams come to life.

Ella: What is your biggest challenge in business? How did you overcome it?
Transforming what I do as a side job into a company. But, this year, I plan to use the resources available through organizations such as the Urban League and others to ensure that the business aspects is in order and can thrive.

Ella: What advice would you give someone just starting out in your industry?
You have to do this work for the love, the passion, not the money. It's a slow grind in the beginning. But, if you love it, never give up. The rewards will eventually come!

Ella: What do you hope to offer your clients or customers to shape their lives?
In addition to a well-edited manuscript that will sell forever, the tools they need as to survive as writers with or without me.

Ella: What are 3 things all leaders possess?
An ability to listen, generate ideas to solve problems, and communicate effectively.

Ella: How does your mission or vision keep your business growing?
By helping others communicate effectively, the have a better chance at stay in business. With that, I remain in business!

Rhonda Crowder can be contacted at paydapiper@aol.com.Visit her on-line at Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Intimate Conversation with author Eugenia O'Neal

Intimate Conversation with author Eugenia O'Neal

Eugenia O'Neal is a true woman of the Caribbean - her mother was from the Dominican Republic and her father was born in Cuba. She, herself, grew up in the British Virgin Islands and went to high school in Barbados before studying journalism in Philadelphia. She's currently living and working in London while working on several manuscripts.

Three of her short stories have been published in The Caribbean Writer and, in 1995, she participated in the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami. One of her more recent short stories appeared in the Black Expressions Anthology, The Heart of Our Community. Her first book was From the Field to the Legislature: A History of Women in the VIrgin Islands, which was based on her master's thesis for the University of the West Indies and was published by Greenwood Press in 2001. Her first contemporary romance received rave reviews as has Dido's Prize, her latest offering. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and From The Heart Romance Writers. Her Website is http://www.eugeniaoneal.com/.

Ella: Introduce us to your new book, Dido's Prize.
Dido, a slave on a Jamaican sugar plantation, runs away to join Henry Morgan's privateer fleet and find the treasure that will allow her to buy her family's freedom. What she doesn't bargain on is falling in love with El Negro, a pirate captain with no particular yen for a long-lasting relationship. As Morgan sails the Spanish Main, sacking first, El Puerto del Principe in Cuba, and then the great city of Porto Bello in Panama, Dido becomes a valued member of El Negro's crew. After the ships return to Jamaica, Dido thinks she will never see the pirate captain again, but he comes to her rescue when she is in peril. They flee deep into the Blue Mountains, but El Negro knows he will never be safe on the island. Together, Dido and her pirate, head back out to sea to find a place where they can live and love in freedom.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I started writing when I was very young - I love writing as much as I love reading. I started my first manuscript before I finished college but I never completed it, I just shelved it and didn't bother trying to polish it up. Then when I was in my early thirties I thought about it and decided to have another go - the manuscript that became Just an Affair looked very different after all my revisions than it had when I first wrote it. I hadn't known anything then about conflict and dark moments and those sorts of things.

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
Dido's Prize tells the story of a young slave girl determined to find freedom for herself and her family who runs away and joins a pirate ship. Dido and El Negro are the two main characters of Dido's Prize. Dido is great - very determined, very resolute, very brave. She also doesn't pay much attention to her looks even though she's a beautiful woman, that's one of the things I like about her.

El Negro is the perfect match for her - a man's man - also very brave, he doesn't take s--t from anyone. He was once a slave but he fought his way out of that condition while not losing his compassion for others.

Dido finds the treasure she dreamed of and more, but can she and her pirate lover escape the violence and turbulence of their times? You have to get the book...LOL

Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
Dido's Prize is set in an era and in a region that many people don't know a lot about yet it's completely based on facts - Henry Morgan was a real privateer and the raids on Cuba and Portobello that Dido and El Negro participate in really happened. There have also been black pirates in the Caribbean, probably ever since there was piracy - not too many were captains but el Negro is a plausible character. Many readers have told me that they love the history - love learning about pirate life, about the Maroons (free black communities), about the Tainos (the indigenous people).

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
A sense that they've learned something about the lives of people who lived just a few hundred years ago who had to surmount incredible odds just to be together and to live their lives as they wanted.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
It's advice you hear everywhere but that's because it's so useful - to read a lot and to write a lot. The more you read the better you become at understanding what works and what doesn't and the more you write, the better you will be at incorporating what you've learned in your own writing. I'd also add to get out there and experience as many new and different things as you can - taste new foods, travel to new countries or communities, attend different festivals and fairs - keep your mind and your eye open to different and learn how to describe what you're seeing so others can see it too without being there.

Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Persistence, hard work, lots of patience!

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
I've sent in a new historical novel that I'm very excited about. It's set in two different eras and tells the story of two women who appear to be very different on the surface but who have more in common than you might first think. And I'm working on a couple other manuscripts as well so I'm trying to keep busy while taking my own advice and enjoying life.

Ella: How may readers connect with you online:

Website: www.eugeniaoneal.com

My Facebook page

My Shelfari page

Book Reviews:

Eugenia O'Neal author of Dido's Prize, Parker Publishing

"an exciting, fast-paced story with runaway slaves, swashbuckling pirates and a slave uprising..." Leslie Frohberg, Romantic Times BookClub

"[Dido's Prize] is full of history, an excellent love story, humor in the face of adversity and some really well done suspense..."
Dee Dailey, The Romance Studio

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Intimate Conversation with Terri Schlichenmeyer, Book Reviewer

Intimate Conversation with Terri Schlichenmeyer, Book Reviewer

The Bookworm Sez is a book review column for newspapers or magazines of any size or market. Over 3 million readers around the country and internationally read The Bookworm. You can, too! Just contact your local newspaper or magazine and tell them, "I want to read what The Bookworm Sez!" The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

Ella: Hello Terri, how did you get your start in this business/industry?
My then-husband was loudly complaining about my "book habit". I was working at a radio station at the time, so I thought maybe I could put my books to good use. I asked if I could do radio reviews. A couple months later, a friend-of-a-friend asked me to do a newspaper article. I saw that there was a market for low-cost, reliable book reviewers so I started marketing myself and here I am...

Ella: Did you have any formal business training?
I spent 5 years as the copywriter at that radio station. Because I was considered a part of the sales dept., I was expected to attend all sales training (even though it had no direct use for my job at the time). After I started writing my column, I took what I learned from my former job and applied it to my own business.

Ella: What separates you and your firm from the competition?
I have a style all my own. I'm reliable and professional. I can churn out four or five quality columns each week, ON TIME and within word count, spell-checked and ready to go. Because I offer so many options, editors can choose what they want to run. And I'm inexpensive.

Ella: How would you describe your experience as a Entrepreneur?
Freelancing isn't for the faint of heart, but I've learned to think so far outside the box that I can't even SEE the box sometimes. Being an entrepreneur often means nudging your brain in a different direction and pouncing on small things that nobody else notices.

Ella: What do you like most about your profession?
A couple things: I work with some fantastic people! Every one of my editors knows I'm approachable... and they approach me. I love that. I also like working at my own pace and setting my own hours. Oh, and I love working barefoot... it's one of the better perks. (grin)

Ella: What is your biggest challenge in business? How did you overcome it?
I'm an impatient person since birth (I was born 6 weeks early, so....) I have a few close, trusted friends who remind me all the time that things are cyclical and that I need to remember to breathe deep and hang loose. They ground me and make me see real.

Ella: What advice would you give someone just starting out in your industry?
Failure should never be an option. Always be prepared with a Plan B, but never give up on Plan A. And remember that freelancing is HARD WORK. Don't kid yourself by thinking you're going to skid by; you're going to work harder than you ever have before, but you'll love it twice as much.

Ella: What do you hope to offer your clients or customers to shape their lives?
I am FIERCE about literacy!! I hope - through my column - that I can entice someone to read more, which will enhance her life, teach him something, give them something to share.

Ella: What are 3 things all leaders possess?
Perseverance, tenacity, and the ability to switch gears when the situation warrants.

Ella: How does your mission or vision keep your business growing?
I get really excited when I can tell someone about my product. THAT is what wakes me up. When I'm having a not-so-good day, I know I need to make some cold-calls. It really gets me revved because I know there are people who share my enthusiasm and it's up to me to find them.

Ella: What's new in your company for 2009?
I'm branching out! I now work with several different niche markets and am always on the lookout for new ones. This year, I've added parenting publications to my client list, as well as medical publications and more.

Always Double-Booked...
Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Bookworm Sez, LLC
Twitter ( @bookwormsez )

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Black Book Clubs Rock Awards, June 20, 2009

The Black Book Clubs Rock Awards is the only show of its kind that honors excellence in the literary community for book clubs and other literary entities.

Hosted by the Sistah Confessions Book Club and radio show, # 1 in Inspirational and Christian Fiction, this event will take place in the beautiful Radisson Hotel in Largo, MD June 20, 2009. Be a part of this wonderful event by purchasing your tickets today!

What to expect:
· Featured author discussions and signings
· Book Club awards
· Door prize drawings
· Catered lunch
· And More!

When and Where:
June 20, 2009
Radisson Hotel
9100 Basil Court
Largo, MD 20774
Ph. 301.773.0700

There is still time to register! Get your tickets today! A special discount will be given to those who register before May 1, 2009. Contact bbcrawards@gmail.com for more information.

Tifany Jones
Founder and Coordinator
Black Book Clubs Rock Awards
(Ph.) 641- 715-3900 ext. 76644#

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Black College Sabbatical: Fall Quarter

The Black College Sabbatical: Fall Quarter
by Tracie E. Christian

The Black College Experience: Underrated, Underestimated and Unappreciated. Venture on a journey with an Angel to feel the real 'Tricks behind the Bricks". See why H.B.C.U's should be Forever Celebrated!

About the Book
BLACK COLLEGES: Underrated, Underestimated & Unappreciated until NOW! The Black College Sabbatical - FALL QUARTER is a new school, coming of age story chronicling the experiences of four young ladies of different cultural, economic and social backgrounds, each beginning her first year at Heritage State University.

Kyla Mansfield, is attending Heritage in line with her family's long-standing tradition. While somewhat bourgeois, Kyla's Integrity and warmth will show all that this prim and proper, young woman is more than just the younger sister of the most popular girl on campus.
Ananda Harris, is academically gifted with natural athletic abilities. Growing up with an overbearing father, this over achiever is no stranger to hard work. Her Perseverance is put to the test as she works to live up to her father's high expectations, while embracing the freedoms of college.

Tina Hutchins, a Home Girl full of attitude and quick wit; attends Heritage on a full Journalism scholarship. A loner by nature, her Courage is challenged as she works to smoothly blend her fly girl style with her non-African American descent and new surroundings.

Cierra Folsom, is a chocolate angel in disguise that grew up dirt poor, with an addict mother and a huge sence of Loyalty. Grandma's guidance and love finds Cierra trail blazing through Heritage on a partial Dance scholarship with the HSU Marching Band family...Cierra's first.
I am the Guardian Angel sent here on a quest to protect. I have Courage, Integrity, Loyalty and Perseverance for survival. I also brought bits of Betrayal, Drama, Secretes and Sex just to keep things interesting. Now, all I need is a traveling companion. Someone to help figure out which of our ladies needs me most! Why not YOU? Together, let's bask in the truth's light reading The Black College Sabbatical * FALL QUARTER.

348 pages; quality trade paperback (softcover)
catalogue #07-0988
ISBN 1-4251-2836-X

Tracie E. Christian is the Founder and President of KTE Foundation for Literary Discovery Incorporated - a 501 c 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the concept of Revitalizing Excitement Around Literacy for youth throughout the metropolitan Detroit area through innovative, entertaining, as well as, creative programming and special events celebrating exposure to the Literary and Communication Arts. She attended Central State and Wayne State Universities respectively. A wife and mother, Tracie resides in her home town of Detroit, Michigan with her family.

Tracie E. Christian, Author of: The Black College Sabbatical - FALL QUARTER (www.trafford.com/07-0988)
The Black College Sabbatical - WINTER QUARTER (www.bbotw.com)
Urban Verses: Poetry To Make You Say Hmmm.... (www.publicbookshelf.com)

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Watch Me by Brenda Novak

Watch Me (Last Stand Trilogy Series #3)
by Brenda Novak

Teenagers Sheridan Kohl and Jason Wyatt were parked at the lake in Whiterock, Tennessee, when a stranger wearing a ski mask shot them both. Sheridan lived but Jason died—and the stranger was never caught. Even though Sheridan's family moved away right afterward, she's never been able to put the crime behind her.

And now that someone doesn't want her to come home. Because of a new development in the case, Sheridan returns to Whiterock. But when she's attacked a second time, it's only because of Jason's stepbrother, Cain Granger, that she survives—and Cain's the last person she wants to face. If not for their history, if not for her, Jason wouldn't have been in that parked car.

Cain knows that whoever killed his brother probably isn't a stranger at all. But figuring out that person's identity is easier said than done—especially since the killer seems to be taunting them both: watch me.
ISBN: 0778325261
ISBN-13: 9780778325260
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 440pp
Publisher: Harlequin

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Parenting: Miracle of Me: From Conception to Birth

Miracle of Me: From Conception to Birth
by Amy B. Pedersen, Betty Hood (Designed by

Discover life in the womb from the babys perspective!

The news of a baby on the way can bring a range of emotions! For some immense joy and happiness, and for others mixed emotions. Because not all expectant parents are inclined to pick up technical manuals and brochures about fetal development, the author uses simple language and poetry to help foster an early bond between mother and child. While the book is written in a way that is both entertaining and educational, the real brilliance of this work is that it is relevant to a variety of audiences it's simple enough for children, and informative for expectant parents as well.

Written from the unborn baby's point of view, The Miracle of Me underscores the reality that life begins at the moment of conception and gives the child a voice. It features a weekbyweek account of how the baby grows and develops using rulers and scales as well as real inutero photography, including famous photos from Lennart Nilsson;s collection to visually mark the baby's progress making it easy for the expectant parents to connect with their baby. And because the contents of the book are medically sound, it has been endorsed by many in the medical field, including Dr. Gerry Sotomayor, OBGYN and Founder of Babies for Life Foundation.

The Miracle of Me is an entertaining yet educational resource that captures the wonder of human life in the womb.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 1598727389
ISBN-13: 9781598727388
Format: Other Format, 40pp
Publisher: Marian Press

Amy B. Pedersen Biography
Amy B. Pedersen received a Bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Georgia and a Master's degree in Marketing from Georgia State University. She has worked at several advertising and promotional agencies in Atlanta. She is an active member and volunteer of St. Ann's Catholic Church in Marietta, Georgia. She has been married to Jonathan Pedersen for eleven years and they are the proud parents of their own two young miracles.

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Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Jack Travis leads the uncomplicated life of a millionaire Texas playboy. He makes no commitments, he loves many women, he lives for pleasure. But no one has ever truly touched his heart or soul. Until one day, a woman appears on his doorstep with fury on her face and a baby in her arms.

It seems Jack is the father and this woman is the baby’s aunt. The real mother has abandoned the child to her more responsible sister. And now, Jack is being called upon to take responsibility for the first time in his life. With delicious romantic tension, characters so real they walk onto the page and into your heart, Lisa Kleypas delivers the kind of novel that makes you laugh, love; cry and cheer.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 0312351666
ISBN-13: 9780312351663
Format: Hardcover, 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub. Date: March 2009

Publishers Weekly
Ella Varner grew up with a troublesome mother and an insecure sister, but she has managed to come out of it reasonably sane, with a good (if vegan) boyfriend, Dane, and a job as an advice columnist. All of this gets turned upside down when her sister disappears and sticks Ella with her newborn, Luke. Determined to find Luke's father, Ella tracks down a likely suspect-millionaire playboy Jack Travis. The encounter results in Travis and Ella unexpectedly engaged in an irrepressible attraction. Meanwhile, Ella grows fond of baby Luke and fears what will happen when Tara returns. As Ella grapples with conflicting desires, she learns some important lessons about love and trust. Though Kleypas has trouble breaking her male characters out of archetype and the arc is familiar, Ella's familial dysfunction distinguishes her from other heroines, and her self-awareness draws her out of a stereotypical shell. This will please romance fans, even if it hews a bit too closely to genre conventions. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Lisa Kleypas Biography
Lisa Kleypas is the RITA-Award winning author of 20 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington with her husband and two children.

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Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl

Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way
by Ruth Reichl

Bestselling author Ruth Reichl examines her mother's life, giving voice to the universal unarticulated truth that we are grateful not to be our mothers

In Not Becoming My Mother, bestselling author Ruth Reichl embarks on a clear-eyed, openhearted investigation of her mother's life, piecing together the journey of a woman she comes to realize she never really knew. Looking to her mother's letters and diaries, Reichl confronts the painful transition her mother made from a hopeful young woman to an increasingly unhappy older one and realizes the tremendous sacrifices she made to make sure her daughter's life would not be as disappointing as her own.

Growing up in Cleveland, Miriam Brudno dreamed of becoming a doctor, like her father. But when she announced this, her parents said, "You're no beauty, and it's too bad you're such an intellectual. But if you become a doctor, no man will ever marry you." Instead, at twenty, Miriam opened a bookstore, a profession everyone agreed was suitably ladylike. She corresponded with authors all over the world, including philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, political figures such as Max Eastman, and novelists such as Christopher Marlowe. It was the happiest time of her life.
Nearly thirty when she finally married, she fulfilled expectations, settled down, left her bookstore behind, and started a family. But conformity came at a tremendous cost. With labor-saving devices to aid in household chores, there was simply not enough to do to fill the days. Miriam—and most of her friends—were smart, educated women who were often bored, miserable, and silently rebellious.

On what would have been Miriam'sone hundredth birthday Reichl opens up her mother's diaries for the first time and encounters a whole new woman. This is a person she had never known. In this intimate study Reichl comes to understand the lessons of rebellion, independence, and self-acceptance that her mother—though unable to guide herself—succeeded in teaching her daughter.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 1594202168
ISBN-13: 9781594202162
Format: Hardcover, 128pp
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: April 2009

Publishers Weekly
The slender size of Reichl's memoir of her late mother's life belies its powerful tale of a young woman, Miriam Brudno, who bowed to societal and familial pressure to become a wife and a mother over pursuing a fulfilling career. While Reichl, editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, is well known for writing about her culinary adventures (Tender at the Bone; Garlic and Sapphires), this beautifully crafted homage follows a more personal path as she pushes past "Mim Tales"-stories she told about her mother to entertain her readers and friends-to dive deep into her mother's diaries and letters, paying tribute to a woman who was raised when "good women didn't work if they didn't have to." So Miriam Brudno struggled to fit the mold of the perfect housewife, until she finally told a friend, "Who cares about menus... when there are so many more interesting things to think about?" When Reichl discovers an unopened letter to herself, she reads that her mother "was cheering me on and pointing out that I had an obligation, both to myself and to her, to use my life well." Reichl has created a masterful portrait of a mother-daughter relationship that will resonate with readers across generations. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Ruth Reichl Biography
Take equal parts family history and food history, simmer with humor, and you get Ruth Reichl’s irresistible, self-styled genre: the culinary confessional (recipes included). In her two bestselling memoirs, Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, renowned restaurant critic turned editor-in-chief at Gourmet magazine Ruth Reichl proves she understands herself -- and human nature -- as well as she does food.

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Blind Fall by Christopher Rice

Blind Fall by Christopher Rice

From three-time New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice — whose novels have been called "bold and ambitious" by The New York Times, "chillingly perverse" by USA Today, and "shocking, sexy...intricate" by Glamour — comes this startling psychological thriller about an Iraq War vet who seeks redemption and revenge when a fellow Marine he failed to protect during the war is brutally murdered.

John Houck became a Marine to become a hero. But his life changed when he failed to notice an explosive device that ended up maiming the captain of his Force Recon Company, a respected Marine who nearly sacrificed himself to save John's life.

Home from Iraq, John pays a visit to his former captain, only to discover the captain has been gruesomely murdered. John pursues a strange man he sees running from the scene, but he discovers that Alex Martin is not the murderer. Alex is, in fact, the former captain's secret male lover and the killer's intended next victim.

When it becomes clear that local law enforcement has direct connections to the murder itself, John realizes that to repay his debt of honor, he must teach Alex Martin how to protect himself, even if that means teaching Alex to kill. In the process, John confronts the painful truth about the younger brother he was unable to protect and the older sister he always felt he failed.

Blind Fall is a story of honor and integrity, of turning failure into victory. It is a stunning departure for Christopher Rice: the story of two men, one a Marine, one gay, who must unite to avenge the death of the man they both loved — one as a brother-in-arms, one as a lover — andto survive.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 0641946031
ISBN-13: 9780641946035
Format: Hardcover, 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group

Christopher Rice Biography
Christopher Rice is the author of the New York Times bestsellers A Density of Souls and The Snow Garden. The son of author Anne Rice and the late poet Stan Rice, he lives in Los Angeles.

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Pursuit by Karen Robards

Pursuit by Karen Robards

New York Times-bestselling author Karen Robards weaves a complex tale of political conspiracy and a steamy love affair, in her sizzling new novel Pursuit.

W hen rookie lawyer Jessica Monaghan gets the call from John Riordan, the senior partner at the illustrious law firm for which she works, she thinks the plum assignment he offers her might be a life-changing moment. And she's right, it is-only not in the way she hopes. It's late on a Saturday night, and Riordan is busy-and, Jess can tell, well on his way to being drunk. He needs Jess to meet First Lady Annette Cooper, for whom Riordan is a personal lawyer, at a Washington, D.C., hotel. Jess is thrilled: This high-profile assignment must mean she's on her way to bigger things. But bigger isn't always better.

Jess doesn't remember much; only that in the course of the meeting with Annette Cooper she ended up in the backseat of a speeding car. All she knows is that the car crashes en route, killing the First Lady. Badly injured, Jess is the only survivor of what is trumpeted around the world as a tragic accident.

Although she has no memory about the events leading up to the accident, Jess still wonders: Was it really an accident? The FBI agent on the case, Mark Ryan, senses Jess is hiding something. As Ryan's suspicions grow, Jess's world starts falling apart. Riordan suddenly dies of a heart attack, and his personal secretary also dies in a car accident on the way to his funeral. In fact, everyone who might possibly know the details about the First Lady's meeting is dead. And then Jess understands: if she remembers that night, she'll be dead too.

Terrified and certainthe First Lady's death was no accident, Jess has only Mark Ryan to turn to. . . .

Buy the Book
ISBN: 0399155422
ISBN-13: 9780399155420
Format: Hardcover, 384pp
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: March 2009

Publishers Weekly
Jessica Ford is a young lawyer trying to rise in a powerful Washington, D.C., law firm. Her life gets thrown for a loop when she gets into a car accident that kills the first lady. Jessica wakes in the hospital to find someone trying to kill her as well-tipping her off that the crash wasn't just an accident and she never should have survived it. In steps Secret Service agent Mark Ryan, the head of the first lady's security detail. As bodies start piling up around Jessica, she and Mark have no one to turn to except each other, and as the conspiracy begins to point to some very high places, the duo begin to realize the key to saving their lives is locked away in Jessica's memories. Jessica and Mark make a superb team, and even if their romance feels tacked on and the big twist contrived, Robards's fans will enjoy this fast-paced and action-packed romantic thriller. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Karen Robards is the author of more than twenty-two novels, most recently the New York Times bestseller Guilty.

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What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

How did this happen? Georgie York, once the costar of America's favorite television sitcom, has been publicly abandoned by her famous husband, her film career has tanked, her father is driving her crazy, and her public image as a spunky heroine is taking a serious beating.

What should a down-on-her-luck actress do? Not go to Vegas . . . not run into her detestable former costar, dreamboat-from-hell Bramwell Shepard . . . and not get caught up in an ugly incident that leads to a calamitous elopement. Before she knows it, Georgie has a fake marriage, a fake husband, and maybe (or not) a fake sex life.

It's a paparazzi free-for-all, and Georgie's nonsupporting cast doesn't help. There's Bram's punk-nightmare housekeeper, Georgie's own pushy parent, a suck-up agent, an icy studio head with a private agenda, and her ex-husband's new wife, who can't get enough of doing good deeds and saving the world—the bitch. As for Georgie's leading man, Bram's giving the performance of his life, but he's never cared about anyone except himself, and it's not exactly clear why.

Two enemies find themselves working without a script in a town where the spotlight shines bright . . . and where the strongest emotions can wear startling disguises.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 0061351504
ISBN-13: 9780061351501
Format: Hardcover, 400pp
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: January 2009

Publishers Weekly
Phillips (It Had to Be You) makes old Hollywood gossip new again in this over-the-top, hot-under-the-sheets rom-com. Sitcom Skip and Scooter co-stars Georgie York, who like her character exudes spunky charm, and Bram Shepard, whose upbringing couldn't be more different from the nice boy he plays, hate each other even before Bram's offscreen sexual escapades lead to the sitcom's cancellation. Flash forward eight years: his career has cratered, and her biggest accomplishment has been briefly marrying hunky star Lance Marks, who abandons her for sex-goddess-turned-international-do-gooder Jade Gentry. So when Bram and Georgie wake up from a Vegas bender and find themselves married to each other, they make the most of it: Georgie aims to undo the damage Lance has done to her heart and her public image, while Bram is gunning for a second chance at life, love and stardom. It's a blast to watch the hate-each-other-yet-made-for-each-other couple as they duck paparazzi or spar before falling into bed. In this massively entertaining romp, redemption is always possible, and even a fake Hollywood couple trapped in a pretend marriage might find true love. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips Biography
Called “the crown jewel of romantic comedy writers” by Book Page, Susan Elizabeth Phillips has become famous for her sparkling plots, colorful secondary characters, and protagonists’ obstacle-ridden paths to true love in books like This Heart of Mine and First Lady.

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Paradise Valley by Robyn Carr

Paradise Valley (Virgin River Series)
by Robyn Carr

Marine corporal Rick Sudder is home early from Iraq—his tour ended abruptly on the battlefield. The carefree boy is gone, replaced by a man who believes his future is as bleak as his mirror image. But can the passion and commitment of a young woman who has never given up on him mend his broken body and shattered heart?

As the people of Virgin River rally around Rick, another recent arrival tests the tightly knit mountain town's famous welcoming spirit. Dan Brady has a questionable past, and he's looking for a place to start over. He'd like it to be Virgin River…if he can find a way in. But he never expects to find it in the arms of a woman who was as much an outcast as himself.

For a favorite son returned from war and an outsider looking for a home, Virgin River offers them a chance to make peace with the men they once were…and to find the dreams they thought they'd lost.

Kristin Ramsdell - Library Journal
Lance Corporal Rick Sudder returns from Iraq missing a leg and his sense of perspective. Angry and not wanting to be a burden, he tries to drive everyone away-especially Liz, his high school sweetheart and the girl he had planned to marry. But Liz is not about to give up on him, even when he breaks her heart all over again. As compelling as Liz and Rick's story is, it is just one of many woven into the rich tapestry of the tightly knit Virgin River community. Seventh in the warm, realistic, Northern California-set series, this complex story revisits familiar characters in a town that both welcomes fans and invites new readers to stay a while. Las Vegas-based Carr (Temptation Ridge) has hit her stride with this captivating series.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 0778326640
ISBN-13: 9780778326649
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 416pp
Publisher: Mira
Pub. Date: April 2009

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The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship

The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music
by Steve Lopez

From the Publisher
A moving story of the remarkable bond between a journalist in search of a story and a homeless, classically trained musician-destined to be a major motion picture from DreamWorks, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

When Steve Lopez saw Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' skid row, he found it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliard-ambitious, charming, and also one of the few African-Americans-until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless, paranoid, and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there.

Over time, Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayers's life. Lopez collects donated violins, a cello, even a stand-up bass and a piano; he takes Ayers to Walt Disney Concert Hall and helps him move indoors. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. In the process of trying to save Ayers, Lopez finds that his own life is changing, and his sense of what one man can accomplish in the lives of others begins to expand in new ways.

Poignant and ultimately hopeful, The Soloist is a beautifully told story of friendship and the redeeming power of music.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 0641997051
ISBN-13: 9780641997051
Format: Paperback, 304pp
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: September 2008

The Washington Post - Daniel J. Levitin
Lopez is a natural storyteller, giving us a close-up view of the improbable intersection of musicianship, schizophrenia, homelessness and dignity. The result is a surprisingly lively page-turner, propelled by the close friendship developing between these two men and filled with eloquent passages…The Soloist goes a long way toward explaining the workings of the musical mind, albeit one tragically touched by madness. It doesn't shy away from exploring the failures of governmental programs and mental health services for the needy, but it does so without preaching and finger-pointing. It doesn't editorialize; like good music, it just is.

Buzz Bissinger
Written with elegant spareness, there are no punches pulled in this portrait of Nathaniel Ayers, but God do you root and hope and pray for him. Many books claim to be about redemption and the affirmation of the human spirit, but they are false gospels. The Soloist is singularly and unforgettably true in all respects. (Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights)

Publishers Weekly
Perhaps the fact that William Hughes is an accomplished musician and a political science professor allows him to slip so easily into both the voice of free-associating, schizophrenic, homeless musical prodigy Nathaniel Ayers, and the more professional voice of LA Times columnist Lopez. Lopez stumbles across Ayers playing his violin on the street a few blocks from his downtown office and writes a column about him that piques the public's interest. This begins an inspiring tale of a friendship rife with triumphs, disappointments, and human kindness. Hughes reads Lopez's narration with the casual authority of one telling his own story. When the dialogue is Ayers', Hughes makes a subtle but effective vocal shift to make him sound more loose and free, but also more anxious. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 18). Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Barry Zaslow - Library Journal
By turns harrowing, winsome, and inspiring, this work by novelist (In the Clear) and Los Angeles Times columnist Lopez relates the first two years of his friendship with Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. A budding string genius at Juilliard in the early 1970s, Ayers succumbed to paranoid schizophrenia and became homeless, yet he continued to play the violin as a way to keep the demons at bay. With the help of Lopez and others who responded to his columns, Ayers took steps to recovery, residing in a group facility, making trips to Disney Hall for concerts, and achieving the dream of having his own music studio. The tangle of mental health policies and government priorities comes in for a thorough drubbing, as does the callous disregard for students' personal situations at many elite institutions, at least at the time Ayers was enrolled. Lopez's newspaper experience serves him well, and both he and his subject come across as fully developed individuals. A deeply moving story; highly recommended for all collections and of special interest to those dealing with the intersections of music and psychology or therapy. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/07; The Soloist is being made into a DreamWorks film starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.-Ed.]

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Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend

Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend
by Bill Russell, Alan Steinberg

In the tradition of Tuesdays With Morrie and Big Russ and Me, basketball legend Bill Russell pays homage to his mentor and coach, the inimitable Red Auerbach; it's the story of an unlikely and enduring friendship set against the backdrop of the greatest basketball dynasty in NBA history.

When Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics in 1957 as the nation's first prominent black basketball star, he was not expecting much from coach Red Auerbach. Despite two national college championships and an Olympic gold medal, Russell's previous coaches-all whites-had barely spoken to him. Russell's style was unorthodox, redefining the meaning of defense and offense, and many scouts dismissed him.

Yet Auerbach, the Jewish outsider in Irish Boston, immediately took to Russell, the African American from Louisiana and Oakland, and he was a coach like no other. Auerbach listened to his players, experimented freely, and knit together a team based only on results. Together they made sports history, winning 11 championships in 13 years. Along the way, Auerbach elevated Russell to player-coach, the first African-American coach in league history. Together, they battled prejudice both on and off the court, and created a team chemistry for the ages.

Even this glory is surpassed by another, little known aspect of their relationship: they became lifelong friends. As Russell explains, they were prepared for each other by their fathers, both strong men who loved their sons unconditionally. They both intuitively understood the dynamics of male friendship: there are many things left unsaid, but there is always understanding and respect. Over the many years since Russell retired from the Celticsand moved to the west coast, they saw each other rarely but spoke on the phone regularly. They were always there for each other. As Auerbach fell ill and declined, Russell was there, knowing how to reach out while respecting his former coach's privacy. When Auerbach passed away in October, 2006, Russell refused to speak publicly about a relationship that was so deeply personal. Here, he offers a tribute greater than any speech.

This is a book not just for sports lovers, not just for fathers and sons, but for male friendships of all shapes and sizes.

Buy the Book
ISBN: 0061766143
ISBN-13: 9780061766145
Format: Hardcover, 208pp
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: May 05, 2009

Bill Russell Biography
Bill Russell has had a Hall of Fame basketball career. He won eleven championships in thirteen seasons with the Boston Celtics and coached the team to two of those championships. He was named the Twentieth Century's Greatest Champion by Sports Illustrated, and is the subject of an HBO documentary.

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