Unwrapped: Yesterday’s Promise by Vanessa Miller

 Intimate Conversation with author Vanessa Miller

Vanessa Miller of Dayton, Ohio, is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. Her stage productions include: Get You Some Business, Don’t Turn Your Back on God, and Can’t You Hear Them Crying. Vanessa is currently in the process of turning the novels in the Rain Series into stage productions. Vanessa's latest release, Yesterday’s Promise, was #1 on BCNN April 2010 bestsellers list. View here.

Vanessa has been writing since she was a young child. When she wasn’t writing poetry, short stories, stage plays and novels, reading great books consumed her free time. However, it wasn’t until she committed her life to the Lord in 1994 that she realized all gifts and anointing come from God. She then set out to write redemption stories that glorify God.

To date, Vanessa has completed the Rain and Storm Series. She is currently working on the Forsaken series, Second Chance at Love series and a single title, Long Time ComingYesterday's Promise, a Christian romance, was released in April 2010 by Whitaker House Publishing.  Vanessa believes that each book will touch readers across the country in a special way. It is, after all, her God-given destiny to write and produce plays and novels that bring deliverance to God’s people. These books have received rave reviews, winning Best Christian Fiction Awards and topping numerous Bestseller’s lists.

•Best Christian Fiction Mahogany Award 2003
•Red Rose Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction 2004
•Nominated for the NAACP Image Award (Christian Fiction) 2004
•Essence Bestseller’s List March 2008; May 2008 (Former Rain)
•Essence Bestseller’s List September 2008 (Rain Storm)
•Black Expressions Book Club Alternate Selection 2007, 2008 & 2009.

Vanessa originally self-published, then in 2006 she signed a five-book deal with Urban Christian/Kensington. Her books can now be found in Wal-Mart, and almost all major bookstores, including African American bookstores and online bookstores such as Amazon.com.

Vanessa is a dedicated Christian and devoted mother. She graduated from Capital University with a degree in Organizational Communication. In 2007, Vanessa was ordained by her church as an exhorter. Vanessa believes this was the right position for her because God has called her to exhort readers and to help them rediscover their place with the Lord.  Most of Vanessa’s published novels depict characters that are lost and in need of redemption. The books have received countless favorable reviews.

BPM:  Vanessa, introduce us to your book and the main characters.
Yesterday’s Promise is a Christian romance about Melinda Johnson and Steven Marks. Melinda feels called to the ministry, but Steven doesn’t believe that women should preach. This disagreement between the two causes Steven to break off their engagement. But now, after ten years, Steven is back in Melinda’s life as the new bishop over her fellowship and he wants a second chance with Melinda. However, Melinda can never marry a man who doesn’t respect the call of God on her life. To love one another, the two must knock down the walls that separate them. But can the bishop finally do that for his lady or will Melinda be forced to leave Omega Christian Church?



BPM:  Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I loved Melinda’s character because she was so complex. She was a preacher with issues of unforgiveness that stemmed from broken promises that had been made by her mother, ex-fiancĂ© and her father. She was an interesting character study. I enjoyed watching as she resolved her issues and gave love a second chance.

Although Yesterday’s Promise is not about real people, it does deal with a real controversy in the Christian community. Not everyone believes that women should preach, but Melinda Johnson is determined to change minds and win souls.

BPM: Where do you find your inspiration to write?
I find inspiration for my novels in stories that I read in the Bible, conversations that I have with family and friends, or something that I watched on the news. I have awakened from dreams with the beginning of a storyline for a novel… inspiration comes from many different sources, but my main goal is to make sure each of my books glorify God.


BPM:  Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
Since all of my novels a meant to lead the reader back to or closer to God, I believe my legacy will be that I spread the good news of the gospel with thousands upon thousands of people… and many of them found strength in the inspiration they found between the pages of my books.


BPM: What specific revelation prompted you to write your book?
I was doing a book signing at the Indiana Black Expo and the lady next to my table was signing copies of her book that talked about the struggle for women to preach. Since the bishop of my church is a woman and we have women preach at my church all the time, I had never thought anything about any struggle that women faced when it came to preaching. But then a man walked into the room where we were signing our books. He took one look at Pastor Notoshia Howard’s book and started screaming at her. He told her that she had no business trying to preach to men and that women were not allowed to preach. That’s when the idea of Yesterday’s Promise was dropped in my spirit. I wanted to write a book that details the struggles women who have been called by God have to deal with in order to preach the gospel.

BPM: What are two major events taking place in the book?
The major events in this book deal with Melinda’s struggle to preach. In several scenes she is forced to fight against her father and her ex-fiancĂ© to prove that God has called her to preach. Yesterday’s Promise also deals with the issue of broken promises. Melinda struggles with this issue and finally allows God to heal her heart.

BPM:  Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
Women between the ages of 35-65, Christian women and Christian women in ministry would enjoy this story of romance and ministry.

BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives? I believe that Yesterday’s Promise will give readers a better understanding concerning women in the ministry and will also help them understand a little bit more about the benefits of forgiveness.


BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
Although there are many chapters in this book that will speak to the reader, in my opinion, chapter 22 is the most powerful because this is the chapter where Melinda learns to forgive.

BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?I want readers to close the book on Yesterday’s Promise believing in themselves and in love again. Sometimes the world beats us up so much that we put aside the things we know we should be doing, in order to do the things that make the most sense – but if God called you to it, He will bring you through it.


BPM: What do you think makes your book stand out?Although Yesterday’s Promise is Christian romance, it is one of the first romances to address the issue of women in the ministry. So, I believe that readers will find that aspect of the book interesting as well as the romance between Melinda and Steven.


BPM:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I have four books releasing this year and another book due into my publisher by September. So 2010 is pretty busy for me. My 2010 titles are as follows:
Yesterday’s Promise April 2010
Forgiven June 2010
A Love for Tomorrow September 2010
Long time Coming November 2010

BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
My web address is: www.vanessamiller.com my facebook page is: www.facebook.com/vanessamiller01  or readers can check out my Facebook fan page by typing in Vanessa Miller.




2010 Book Club Contest
Book clubs and ministry groups have been a lifeline for my novels. Therefore, I am constantly trying to think of ways to say thank you for your continued support. I have begun a new contest for the release of my new novel, YESTERDAY’S PROMISE and this contest is only for book clubs and ministry groups.



YESTERDAY’S PROMISE releases April 6, 2010. I would like for your book club or ministry group to add Yesterday’s Promise to your April, May or June reading list.

If your book club or ministry group adds YESTERDAY’S PROMISE to your reading list from April thru June 2010 here is what you will receive:


1. Group entered into a drawing to receive book discussion and dinner w/Vanessa Miller – you bring the questions and I’ll pay for the dinner.

2. Group entered into a drawing to receive FREE T-shirts with all my 2010 books on the T-shirt.

3. Group entered into drawing to receive FREE 2010 book release tote bags

To be entered into the drawing all you need to do is email a few details to: vmiller-01@earthlink.net.  Vanessa will need to know: Book club name, number of members, date you plan to discuss YESTERDAY’S PROMISE, city/state and contact info such as telephone number and email address.

Winners will be announced in late April, 2010 so hurry and enter here today. There is still time!

Also, if I’m not coming to your town during my tour in 2010, I can still attend your book club meeting. Simply Skype me in. If you are not familiar with video conferencing through Skype, click this link ( http://www.skype.com/ ) to find out more, join Skype then email me with the date of your book club meeting.




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Unwrapped: My Mother’s Child by Dwan Abrams

Intimate Conversation with Dwan Abrams


Dwan Abrams is a full-time novelist and freelance editor. She currently writes for Urban Books/Kensington. She’s the award-winning, best-selling author of My Mother’s Child, Married Strangers, Divorcing the Devil, Only True Love Waits, and The Scream Within. Her sixth novel will be released by Urban Books/Kensington in 2011.

She’s the founder/facilitator of the Just Write! Workshop. Additionally, she’s the founder, publisher, and editorial director of Nevaeh Publishing, a small press independent publishing house. She was inducted into “Who’s Who” in Black Atlanta in 2006 and again in 2010.



BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?

My relationship with God makes me powerful.


BPM: Who are your mentors?
I have some literary big sisters, namely Kendra Norman-Bellamy and Marissa Monteilh. Where do you find your inspiration? My inspiration comes from so many things. I’m inspired by fascinating people that I meet, my marital relationship, and close friends and family members too.


BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...that I was here and I had something to say.


BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters.
My Mother’s Child is the standalone sequel to Divorcing the Devil. Nigel Fredericks made his debut in Divorcing the Devil, and he will give readers insight into his psychotic world. Lyric Stokes has the misfortune of becoming the object of Nigel’s obsession. Lyric’s husband, Michael, finds himself going through great lengths to protect his family. Ultimately, someone pays with their life.


BPM: Who were your favorites?
My favorite character in My Mother’s Child was Lyric’s dad, Henry. I liked him because he took ownership of his past mistakes and changed his life. He also loved his daughter. Are your characters from the portrayal of real people? Not in this book.


BPM: What specific situation prompted you to write your book?
Divorcing the Devil prompted me to write My Mother’s Child. Readers wanted to know more about Nigel, so I gave them what they wanted.


BPM: What are two major events taking place?
Two major events in My Mother’s Child are Nigel stalking Lyric, and Lyric’s pregnancy. A whole lot of drama surrounds those events.


BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
I want to reach as many readers as possible. My Mother’s Child takes readers on a suspenseful journey that will have them wanting to flip to the end just so they can see how it’s all going to pan out.


BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
I actually had a reader state the lessons they got from My Mother’s Child. The reader’s opinion was so insightful that I thought I’d share…

• You must be very careful who you let into your life
• Just because somebody seems nice doesn't mean they are.
• God will fight your battles if you let Him.
• True love conquers all.
• Everything that glitters isn't gold.


BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
Lyric Stokes seems to have a charmed life, yet she’s unfulfilled. No matter what she has materially, it can’t fill the void inside of her. She has daddy issues that she hadn’t addressed, and to top it off, she’s having a hard time getting pregnant. My Mother’s Child will make readers believe that unconditional love does exist.


BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Be careful what you ask for. And don’t ever lose faith.


BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others in the same genre?
The plot twist for sure. There’s nothing predictable about the story. Also, one of the topics isn’t something that a lot of people even knew was possible until recently. If there’s another fiction book that has addressed the topic, I haven’t heard about it.


BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I’m conducting a workshop on quitting your day job at the 2010 Black Writers Reunion and Conference. I’ll be representing my publishing company, Nevaeh Publishing, at the 2010 Faith and Fiction Retreat pitch session. We have three books being released in April, including a children’s book. I’m also releasing an ebook on publishing.


BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
I’m all over the web. My author site is www.dwanabrams.com, and my publishing web site is www.nevaehpublishing.com. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. My books are available wherever books are sold, including online at Amazon.com, bn.com, and Black Expressions.


Connect with Dwan Abrams
Best-selling Author/Freelance Editor/Publisher/Speaker

My Mother's Child Available wherever books are sold
Divorcing the Devil Available wherever books are sold
Married Strangers Available wherever books are sold

Follow Dwan Online:
http://www.dwanabrams.com/
http://www.nevaehpublishing.com/
http://dwanabrams.blogspot.com/
http://nevaehpublishing.blogspot.com/
http://nevaehpublishing.ning.com/


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Unwrapped: The Only Way is Up by Folake Taylor MD

 Intimate Conversation with Dr. Folake Taylor


Folake Taylor, MD was born in the United Kingdom to Nigerian-born parents in the early 70s and was raised in both countries before settling in the United States to live the American dream. She is a 2006 graduate of the Internal Medicine Residency Program of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. Taylor obtained her initial medical degree from Nigeria. Taylor is a member of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

She has always loved to write but never dreamt of actually writing a book. She would write sixteen page letters to her friends in boarding schools as a teenager which was always eagerly anticipated by the recipient and shared with those around! Perhaps being the daughter of a writer had something to do with it. Prior to her debut as an author, she had medical publications and conference presentations to her credit.

Folake loves to have fun, especially with her favorite people, her husband and little girl. She loves to travel, loves water sports (though a non-swimmer) and she loves to read and watch great movies. Guess what else she loves? Go carts and Six Flags!  She believes in making the world a better place, one person at a time, one good deed at a time. And she has faith that it is possible if only we try. She communicates this message as she debuts on the literary scene with "The Only Way is Up: The Journey of an Immigrant." This is a book about empowerment and hope, especially but not exclusively for women.

She hopes to embark on more writing projects in the future. Her website is http://www.theonlywayisup.net/  and she can be reached at ft@theonlywayisup.net.



The Only Way is Up: The Journey of an Immigrant
Genre: Non-fiction; Culture; Immigrant Overview
EDC Rating:  4.0 / 5 stars

This book features the author's experiences and views on pertinent life issues as an immigrant to the United States. The objective is to empower women though the greater part is of relevance to a general audience. The book provides insight and solutions for a variety of common issues in our society including issues with identity, weight, health, nutrition, finding a mate, relationships in general and gender roles. It also gives insight into borrowing from other cultures. 
Buy the book at Amazon today.


BPM:  Folake, what makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I would say my global exposure and my background as a medical doctor makes me powerful as a person with my message. As a writer, I would say the fact that I have written all my life and always gotten positive responses. I have always been able to capture people’s attention with my writing but I just never planned to do it on this scale. Also, my mother is a writer. She’s written 3 books, one of which was published by Africa World Press and was read in American Universities (Womanism and African Consciousness). It is still listed on amazon.com today. I must have inherited those genes!


BPM: Who are your mentors?
My parents most importantly, especially my mother who taught me to be a strong black woman but still keep a marriage and family together. They are still waxing strong. If anyone had told me twenty years ago I would someday name my mother as my mentor, I probably would have said, “Shoot me”! But we live and learn. I also admire Michelle Obama for what she represents for women in general but most especially the black woman, how she supports her man, how she stands by him and uplifts him.


BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: Empowerment and family values.


BPM:  Introduce us to your book, The Only Way is Up.  How does society, history or current affairs influence the story?


The Only Way is Up is a book mainly about the restoration of family values. The book also gives a proper perspective on what our priorities should be in life. It manages to do this without being boring or judgmental. Though non-fiction, it is a fun and easy read that touches on both triumphs and personal failures as well as everyday events that we can relate to. It even has elements of humor scattered throughout; a reflection of my spirit, regardless of the surrounding circumstances. It of course also has information about other cultures, tolerance, continual self-reflection and introspection. It chronicles how I learnt from my mistakes–it does not tell you about a perfect life at all!

Being well aware of the fact that people do not necessarily want to read a memoir about a previously unknown author except you just discovered the cure for AIDS or something like that, I did not set out to write a biography or memoir. It was however necessary to introduce me, who I am and what I do so the book does start off with that. I also often draw on my life experiences and upbringing in different parts of the book so as to draw a parallel and paint a picture of what could be if certain decisions and choices were made differently. In other parts of the book, I am purely expressing an opinion and linking to events around us that we can all relate to. I in no way just throw lists of things to do or not to do at you. It has been described to me as reading like a laid back conversation between friends about life. As a person who would not typically buy how-to or self help books, that exactly was my aim.

BPM:  What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
I believe God gave me the inspiration, however. It came primarily from watching my husband and daughter interact which took me back in time to my relationship with my father and his role in my success as the man in my life from the beginning. Not to underestimate the value of a mother in one’s life which is not quantifiable but I believe a lack of understanding of the role of fathers in their children’s lives (both male and female alike) is responsible for many of the downward trends in our society now. Kids grow up without the balance from both parents and for the most part, both sexes.

Also, having a responsible male role model while growing up painted a picture of what a man should be in my life and I was not going to settle for less. It became clearer to me just how much young people growing up without both parents are missing. 70% of African American families presently are single parent homes. Staggering statistics such as this make me ask myself questions like “How do we fix this?” and “What can I do to help?”

This was buttressed by a Larry King Live special titled Women & Self Worth: Defining One's Self Could Be the Key to Complete Success. That was the magical moment. “I have a message,” I thought. It was literally like “Ding, dong!” I picked up my Blackberry and started to type....

Having a happy childhood that was full of love has a direct relationship to who I am today. I make the distinction between wealth that is superficial (material), and wealth of the mind and spirit in the book. It saddens me as I look around daily and realize certain life lessons I took for granted growing up were not taught to many and the so called “common sense” is actually quite uncommon.

Being an MD, I frequently share these views with my patients. I just never dreamt I would be a published writer. I have always written for fun however. When I was young, I would write sixteen page letters to my friends in boarding schools and they would report back to me that they eagerly awaited my letters and read them with their peers. More recently, it was Facebook notes and the likes.


BPM:  Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
My target audiences are women, African Americans and immigrants. That however does not preclude someone outside of those demographics from benefiting from the book as my readers have demonstrated. The message of hope is of relevance to a general audience. All the men I have heard feedback from have had a very positive response to the book. My reviewer from Midwest Book Review was actually a man.


BPM:  How will reading your book shape the readers’ lives?
It will shape their lives by giving them the confidence to start to take control of their situation and stop feeling like victims of circumstances, regardless of their background or their past. The book communicates a can-do attitude. It’s about empowerment, hope, faith, possibilities and constantly improving ourselves in life, hence the title: The Only Way is Up. It paints a picture of just what we can achieve if we start by conceiving it in our minds and then taking action which ultimately brings about a change in our situation. It’s really more about an initial change in attitude which then translates to a renewed confidence and an eventual change in actions. It’s uphill from there.


BPM:  What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?

To give a clearer picture, some of the issues that are the focus of this book are:
· Identity & Gender roles
· Health & Preventive medicine
· Finding a mate
· Relationships & Family
· Single parenthood
· Teenage pregnancies
· Diet & Nutrition
· Global exposure
· Positivity & Loving yourself
· Spirituality and faith
· Life outside the United States


BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
I think that’s different for everybody. For me, it was the parts of the book where I discuss my past failures, be it in relationships or otherwise. But it really depends on who is reading it I would say!


BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want them to feel empowered. I want them to feel they can do anything and everything because they can. I want them to take control of their situation and make things happen because they can. Yes we can!


BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others in the same genre?
I believe these are mainly two things. I have not come across any self help book that addresses as many issues as I do in this book that is written by an immigrant. There are a lot of amazing self help books out there written by wonderful people but usually, there's a 400 page book about dating, or a 300 page book about spirituality or another separate book about finance. Also, the books I have seen written by immigrants are mostly either a biography or fiction. What I have done is like a summary book so to speak. It's about a change in attitude and perception. For that person that does not have the time or the resources to buy ten different books on each subject matter, my book is it. Another factor is the fact that I was born in the UK, raised in both the UK and Nigeria and have lived in the United States for 10 years. It gives me a global view; a view from within and without. Now, that's priceless wouldn't you say?


BPM:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Midwest Book review gave me 5 stars. I had a free book giveaway contest on Goodreads for a week (I just joined actually) and 616 people were interested. My signings are going well and the bookstore workers often make comments like, “I have never seen an author sell that many books in an hour.” This happened on a day after we had 3 inches of snow in Atlanta which meant most people never stepped out of their house! So yes, the response has been very positive and the challenge is getting the word out there about my book. I already know there is a huge market for my message. I just need to continue to strive to connect to my audience better.


BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
ft@theonlywayisup.net
http://www.theonlywayisup.net/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/F-Taylor/238094610556
http://twitter.com/folaketaylor


Empowering You, the official blog for The Only Way is Up: http://theonlywayisupblog.blogspot.com/

This ‘n’ That blog, my writer’s blog: http://folaketaylor.blogspot.com/


MBR review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3KLKIOVHL4BKP/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Amazon.com link:  http://www.amazon.com/Only-Way-Up-Journey-Immigrant/dp/1448618010?&camp=212361&linkCode=wey&tag=thnthwrsbl-20&creative=380725



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Intimate Conversation with Tamika Newhouse

Intimate Conversation with author/publisher Tamika Newhouse


Tamika Newhouse is the award winning selling author of The Ultimate No No. She is also known as the creator and President of African Americans on the Move Book Club, which is an online book club catering to avid readers across the nation. She is currently the CEO of Delphine Publications and literary consultant. In March 2009 Tamika was announced the Women of the Year by Alive Magazine. She recently won Author of the Year with African American Literary Awards.

Tamika can be heard on the syndicated AAMBC Radio, where she interviews new and seasoned authors. The show showcases many of the author’s talents and their current projects.

Tamika created the national tour group called Literary Sistah's, where she and authors tour all over the nation. She is currently living in San Antonio with her husband son, and daughter and attends University of Texas. She is currently working on her third novel Cookie: A Fort Worth Story and plans to release her fourth novel He was a Bad Idea following Cookie.


EDC: How did you get your start in the publishing industry?
In February 2008 I was sitting on the bed watching my husband pack for his second tour to Iraq. Already staying in a new city of San Antonio, I felt alone and bored. I simply stated to him I wish I was in a book club. Just out of nowhere in that instance an idea of starting a MySpace page and to post up books I read came across my mind. I thought it would be a great idea to just talk with people over the internet. In that same month I started to get emails from authors I had never heard of who wanted me to read their books. I said to myself, wait I should read their books and post my thoughts on them. Not knowing that it was going to grow into something so large. This is how African Americans on the Move Book Club were birthed. I later birthed AAMBC Radio and Delphine Publications.


EDC: Did you have any formal business training?
I had absolutely no business training. I didn’t know anything about blogs, book reviews, how to publish, how to market, or any of that. I started with posting up my views on the author’s book and I asked people to read them. I believe this totally came from God’s doing. I was blessed to have met so many authors through MySpace and learn from all of them all at once.


EDC: What separates you and your firm from the competition?
I honestly didn’t know of any other format when I started my company. So the fact that I launched something clueless to the industry excites me. The ideas and concepts I started in which I continue to do all began when I knew nothing or no one.

EDC: How would you describe your experience as a female entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is tough, time consuming, and adventurous. You take complete control and meet so many people. To think that I am here in this position is a blessing because I didn’t start to read novels until 2006. But I was always a writer since the day I could write a sentence. Being your own boss has its blessings and sometimes I find myself so obsessed over my work that I can’t stop. Ideas come one after the other. So I enjoy being an entrepreneur because I control my destiny. Well me and God that is.


EDC: What do you like most about your profession?
I design my concepts, I promote my concepts, I develop my concepts, and I can stop when I want to. I enjoy having control over what I do, when I do it, and how.


EDC: What is your biggest challenge in business? How did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is that with success come trials and tribulations. I am a fan of myself but somewhere down the road you meet others who are not. It can be because of what you do, what you’ve accomplished and so forth. I use that as my motivation. So how I overcome the negativity is to use it as my gas to keep it moving. A business such as any other industry requires tough skin so I put my game face and enjoy my work.


EDC: What advice would you give someone just starting out in your industry?
To never enter an industry you don’t know anything about. I know that’s funny seeing as though I was an ammeter when I started. Thing is I took a crash course and learned the industry through others and research. Google is a great engine. Use it. Go to seminars and conferences and speak to veteran authors. Always research and as long as you’re living there is always something to learn.


EDC: What do you hope to offer your clients or customers to shape their lives?
I hope to give people I work with skills and knowledge. Anyone can show you how to do it but learning it for yourself empowers you. Within AAMBC I give authors exposure and I explain how to self promote. On my radio show I offer authors the opportunity to speak on the things they love while exposing themselves to potential readers. With my publishing house, Delphine Publications, I teach my authors how to hustle and grind. If you love who you are you would work as hard as you can to make sure you reach your highest potential and, even then, shoot for more.


EDC: What are 3 things all leaders possess?
A Strong foundation, common sense, and a creative mind.


EDC: How does your mission or vision keep your business growing?
I simply want to help others. My mission is to expose the independent writer so that they too can have a national fan base. Although I do converse and speak to national best sellers my main focus is the new authors. Because of this I have grown in more ways than I could ever imagine. I expect my reach for my company to reach more than triple the current reach within the next year with keeping the same mission and goals. When we started I could count the amount of members AAMBC had and with our new website I am able to keep track of over 1200 members worldwide.


EDC: Tell us about the people you help. How is your organization or company impacting the public? What social issues or causes do you want to address?
The authors I connect with on a daily bases are usually new authors on their first book or have recently self published and want more exposure. I offer them that. The purpose of getting your book exposed is very important. You want your name and novel to become a familiar product. My goal is to help them become more familiar. Some issues that occur are when an author knows to little about the industry and marketing. It can delay the process of promoting their novel. All authors must know that they have to self promote whether they are with a publisher or not. I always state that the author must self promote and do a lot of research. This is always important to any writer who wants a long term career in writing.


EDC: What's new in your company?
AAMBC has become more active in virtual tours since last spring; our radio show has a consistent concept with on average two shows a week. We started annual events such as Holiday Book Bash, Valentine Showcases, Holiday Book Drive, College Scholarship Fund, April is our Poetry Month, and we have our annual conference which will make its home in Dallas starting in 2011. AAMBC Radio has a new co-host Anna Black who is also signed to my label Delphine Publications. I am constantly thinking and developing new concepts and online events for our members. I will never rest I know that for sure.


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Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman

Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman
by author Tinisha Nicole Johnson


Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman is a book into the culture of black women. The author addresses key issues such as: self-worth, self-love, what some black women tend to think the definition of true happiness is, and the five most common types of black women. "I wanted to create a book that addresses the most top ten lessons that I've personally had to deal with and overcome, or issues I saw other black women struggling with. I wanted to let the world know regardless of how it was perceived, that black women are beautiful, unique, and are excelling more than ever. Statistics alone don't tell the true story behind the black woman. And although this book is catered towards a specific race of women, the concepts in my book would benefit most any woman."

About the Author
Tinisha Nicole Johnson resides in Denver, Colorado with her family. Besides a career in writing, she also hosts political teleconferences. She began writing as a hobby at the age of eleven; mostly poetry, which in later years turned into short stories and then novels.

Her debut novel, Searchable Whereabouts was released February 2008 by Xpress Yourself Publishing. Tinisha also collaborated in the poetry anthology, Step Up To The Mic: A Poetic Explosion, which included some of HBO's Def Poets and in the inspirational anthology Somebody Prayed For Me released December 2008, Xpress Yourself Publishing. In addition, her short story, "Mother and Son Moment," was published in the Chicken Soup for the African American Soul. Her non-fiction, self-help title, Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself as a Black Woman was released in February 2010.

Learn more about Tinisha and her books at her official web site. While you're there, you can also sign up for her free newsletter: http://www.tinishanicolejohnson.com/.




Tinisha Nicole Johnson was interviewed LIVE on Chicago's major TV station WGN-TV on the Midday News. (Channel 9 in Chicago).  She discussed her non-fiction, self-help book Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself as a Black Woman. The book addresses ten life lessons into a woman's most intimate and professional life. The book is being called "The Revolutional Book into a Culture of Women." Although the book is catered towards black women, most any women can benefit from the tips and inspirational message the book conveys.

Here is the Link: http://www.wgntv.com/videobeta/7f648802-be9d-40d4-9899-2b8afad7a2dc/News/Author-Harvey-Mackay


Purchase your copy today at XYP

http://xpressyourselfpublishing.org/lessonslearned.htm


Xpress Yourself Publishing, LLC

P.O. Box 1615
Upper Marlboro, MD 20773
http://www.xpressyourselfpublising.com/


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Unwrapped: Five Thin Slices of Truth by Adolphus Herndon

 Intimate Conversation with author Adolphus Herndon


Meet Adolphus Herndon, author of Five Thin Slices of Truth. Born and raised in northeast Texas, Adolphus Herndon spent many years of his adult life doing nothing but surviving day to day. Working mediocre jobs and reared in an environment where people thought a couple of dollars above minimum wage was “making it”, he wasted time doubting his abilities of becoming an author. When his frustration factor finally eclipsed his fear factor, he said a little prayer and started scribbling and scrabbling to fulfill his life-long passion. Five Thin Slices of Truth is his first published book.


BPM:  What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I love this question!  What makes me powerful is my stubborn, persistent attitude. If any of my family and friends hear this, they would laugh and nod their heads in agreement. Also, my faith. True-to-life example: I am a new self–published author. Before I realize all the work that it takes to get published, I truly believe that my book will do very well. Now one may call that over confident, but I understand that in order for me to back those words up, I will have to be on my grind.

To be totally honest, I have discovered that the real work was not the creation of my stories, (the editing, re-editing, rewriting, photo and cover designs, structure and organizing). No, no, no, the real work is the business side of getting it out to the masses. This means I will have to uncomfortably meet with media, attend events, and speak out to do all the PR and marketing that is totally essential for success. The bottom line, I believe all artists prefer to do their art more so than all the administrative, managing, accounting and all the pieces of business. Business is not the art, it is the necessity to continue the success of the art. Self-publishing is very fatiguing and cumbersome, however, I sometimes don’t realize it because I am so on fire, doing that which I actually like.

BPM:  Who are your mentors?This leads me to the second part of the question as to what makes me a powerful writer. Simply, I love to write good fiction and I like to image where in the world, time of day and type of persons actually reading my works of fiction. As of now and as an independent writer, I have more of a lee-way to write without much big-publication interference. Now I cannot say that will always be the case in the future. What makes me a powerful writer is my desire to write and the fact that I am motivated by readers who are tantalized for more of my talent.  My mentors: My unofficial mentors are, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, and the legendary author, Walter Mosley.

BPM:  Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... insatiable and  “edu-taining”  fiction.


BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters.
Five Thin Slices of Truth is not your typical novel because it is not a novel. It comprises three short stories plus two novellas. Each story is independent and exclusive but the entire project is spawned from controversial real-life issues dealing with sexuality, religious dogma and faith, psychotic behavior, self-denial, racism and patriotism.


BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Of course since this is not a typical novel it would be unfair to say which of “my children” are my favorites. My sister and mother have read my book—and they are not avid readers period—anyway, throughout their readings they’d call me and ask if this situation of that character is real, or if it was me. I laugh it off because I believe all fictional stories derive from [to pun] “slices of truth” from all authors, whether that truth is direct, tanglible experience, or indirect. I must say that I have an extremely vivid imagination and have been blessed with the ability to grossly exaggerate a situation, an event, a news story, or even a phrase. For the sake of my book, Five Thin Slices of Truth, all my characters, situations and settings are by and large fiction.

BPM:  What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
To write has always been a desire. I feel it has been a calling that I have been ignoring for years. I believe it was when I turned thirty that I practically woke up everyday asking myself, “Is today the day you will began to write?” Some years later after thirty, I went to the church at the time I was a member and I received my revelation. I was sitting in the pews amongst approximately 200 congregates, and I could almost swear the preacher was speaking directly to me. His sermon or teaching was about staying focused, conquering fears and fulfilling life destiny. He stated that too many Christians are satisfied with less and denying their God gifted talents, yet they are eewing and ahhing over people whom they believe are lucky and more fortunate.

He broke it down and basically said, while most people would watch the idiot box for hours, run the streets, or gossiping, those who did not indulge in those unproductive behaviors became successful because they worked what God had placed inside of them, their gifts. Therefore, we are in awe of their results when it should be us.


BPM: Take us inside the book, Five Thin Slices of Truth.
When you crack open the book, I intentionally created stories that would make it difficult to put the book down. Instead of just two major events, the reader will journey into five different worlds dealing with sexuality, self-identity issues, spirituality and faith, racism and stereotypes and patriotism. All five stories are exclusive and independent. They have their own alphas and omegas.


BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
I created the stories based on situation that I desire to influence an outcome: Story 1, Me and My House: Upon the conclusion, one would have to question their own spirituality and religious commitment.  Story 2, Before the Morning After: The bottom line is be yourself or else face the consequences.  Story 3, The Rant of Roymon Bivens : The reader will interpret many different messages from this is story. However, the bottom line is don’t be quick to judge because the enemy can use those stereotypes to deceive the masses.
Story 4, Purple Hurt: This novella has two messages.

First, it is about patriotism and heroism from an unlikely person. Second, the don’t ask, don’t tell policy doesn’t matter. How ironic that I’d write a story and publish at a time where our President of these United States is working on a plan to repeal the policy. This story is chic and hot, and I really believe it is unique to the current political climate.

Story 5, Angel on a Fire: This story is basically about doing for others results in the ultimate pleasure and satisfaction. To deny that fact means picking up bad habits, addictions and bad philosophies about life and people.


BPM:  How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
People will either see themselves, someone they know, or both. Either way, they will enjoy it because it is in-your-face entertainment.


BPM:  What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
Religious dogma and faith, self-denial and trying to play cards that have not been dealt to you, the desire to serve this great nation should not be limited based on sexual orientation, and there’s no reward in being self-centered behavior; and be careful when judging people.


BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
To be entertained and to understand that although the issues are based on slices of truth, please enjoy good fiction.


BPM:  What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
For a debut publication, I have a compilation of various genres and subject matters: thrill and suspense, dark comedy, melo-drama all into various subject matters (sexuality, religious, identity, etc.).


BPM:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
This is just published, approx. 3 months ago and I pray for its success and I pray for it to be nominated for awards. We have also released an eBook version of this book that can be read on a Kindle, PC, iPhone, and iPod touch. The eBook is titled Five Thin Slices of Truth: Kindle eBook Edition and is available at Amazon.com for only $9.95 compared to $14.95 for the print edition.


BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
You can reach us through  www.adolphusherndon.com, buy the book and post comments on amazon.com and follow me at  www.twitter.com/AdolphusHerndon   and  www.myspace.com/adolphusherndon


Contact Information
Adolphus Herndon
c/o Czar Struck LLC
P.O. Box 2254
Center, TX 75935
info@adolphusherndon.com
http://www.adolphusherndon.com/


Purchase from Amazon.com:  http://amzn.com/1449571670
eBook edition:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0030ZRMP8
Website estore: http://www.adolphusherndon.com/e_store.html


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Unwrapped: What a Woman’s Gotta Do

Intimate Conversation with author Evelyn Coleman

Evelyn Coleman, the Edgar nominated, award winning author writes across genres from pictures books, young adult novels to adult thrillers. Her latest books, Freedom Train and the American Girl doll Addy’s new mystery, Shadows on Society Hill have garnered rave reviews. Visit “storylineonline.net” to watch James Earl Jones and Amber Rose Tamblyn reading her books, To Be a Drum & White Socks Only. Coleman is a former Georgia Author of the Year, Atlanta Mayor’s Fellow, Parent’s Choice Award and Carter G. Woodson Honoree and past President of Mystery Writers of America, SE and a member of International Thriller Writers.



BPM:  What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
Hmmm the word “power” doesn’t always appeal to me because it implies other ideas I don’t much like but I prefer to think of myself as meaningful. As a writer I hope to bring energy to readers to accomplish things they dream of doing in their own lives. To understand that change is going to happen whether you do what you want or not, so you have nothing to lose when you take chances.


BPM: Who are your mentors?

My mother, my deceased father, my daughters….my granddaughter and grandson, many, many “play” sisters and brothers have all mentored who I am.


BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... to look behind closed doors, to think deeply about your environment, to take nothing at face value and to know your own path.


BPM: Introduce us to your book, What a Woman’s Gotta Do, and the main characters.
What a Woman’s Gotta Do --- Trying to find out why her man did her wrong and who did him in, this woman isn't waiting to exhale--she's ready to fight back.

Patricia Conley considers herself to be a brother's worst nightmare. A lifetime of hurt has made her fierce. A lifetime of victories has made her proud. And a whole lot of hope keeps her going. Now Patricia's most daring stab at happiness has come up bad: The man she was supposed to marry has stood her up. Last seen holding hands with another woman, Kenneth Lawson has vanished.

Still reeling from Kenneth's disappearance, Patricia is stunned by a series of macabre discoveries. Her car is found bathed in blood. A woman is found dead. And another too-good-to-be-true brother is offering his services. Suddenly the tough-talking Atlanta journalist doesn't know who to trust. Because in a collision of murder, religion, love, and race, Patricia has learned some extraordinary secrets--some about Kenneth Lawson, a few about herself, and one that the whole world needs to know.


BPM: Who were your favorites in What a Woman’s Gotta Do?
All the characters appealed to me in one way or the other. Are your characters from the portrayal of real people? No, not really, they are all made up, of course, they are similar composites of people that I have known in my life on some level reflected in this story.

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
I have always loved “espionage thrillers” and that has been the books I read the most but when it came time to write my own book it seemed everyone was in love with Terry McMillan’s style….(not to infer that this was her only style) so I sat out to mimic that style. When I gave it to one of my best friends and readers Pat Carr, she scoffed. “You are so far from Terry McMillan – sorry but you have penned another thriller type story.” At first I was sad that I couldn’t do the more popular type book, but then I shrugged and begin to just write what I know…. Espionage type thriller books.


BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
Patricia Conley, a journalist doesn’t believe in love or marriage so when she falls for her live-in lover and accepts a proposal of marriage, she is as surprised as her friends… But on her wedding day, her lover stands her up and is spotted shortly after in a restaurant holding hands with a woman…. This begins the spiral of betrayal, mystery and adventure for Patricia as she tries to unravel all the obstacles to find her man. The second major event is her going to the monastery.


BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?

I want to reach all people who love a good thriller. One of the best compliments I received was from a dissatisfied reader on Amazon. I paraphrase here but essentially she complained that the book moved too fast, too many twist and turns and you don’t find out what is the problem until the end of the book. Duh.


BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
Hopefully it will open minds to all the scientific experiments and discoveries that are taking place under the radar, ones that will ultimately affect their lives.


BPM:  What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
How science affects our daily existence. How much the Dogon in Africa contributed to our understanding of the world. And how important it is to pay attention to not only what you do but what others you don’t know do as well.


BPM:  What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
Hmm. I suspect the last chapter because until that chapter I doubt you can guess the full ramifications of the events of the book and how they could change the world.


BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Insight, inquisitiveness, thoughtful reading habits and a better understanding of martial arts and the Dogon of West Africa.


BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
There are no other thrillers on this subject. In fact when I contacted Marcel Griaule’s daughter Genevieve (both French anthropologists who studied the Dogon extensively) she cried, stating she had been waiting all her life for an African American to take more interest in the Dogon. Of course, she meant popular interest I’m sure as there were already a few African American scholars who studied the Dogon. And one of the happiest moments of my career was to hear from a Dogon scholar who said I truly “nailed” the Dogon in this book and their cosmogony.


BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I am pondering what to write next. I have to have a subject matter that is not widely known, intriguing and has the potential to affect the world at large. It has been over ten years since I wrote What a Woman’s Gotta Do and I still hear from readers asking me when I am writing another book. All I can say is when the time is ready the story will come….I sure hope it’s soon though.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
Share with us your online contact info. http://evelyncoleman.com/Evelyn_Coleman_Thriller_Pages.htm  or http://www.evelyncoleman.com/

There are still great reviews about What a Woman’s Gotta Do online at http://www..writerswrite.com/journal/apr98/coleman.htm  and at  http://aalbc.com/books/whata.htm


My latest book, The Freedom Train is available in bookstores. Get your copy today! Also pick up, Shadows on Society Hill, American Girl, Addy's new mystery....nominated for an Edgar Award. What a Woman's Gotta Do, my adult thriller, is still available at http://www.randomhouse.com/.  White Socks Only, To Be a Drum and the Riches of Oseola McCarty all are also availabe.

Also check out my friends Angela Benson, Angela Medearis, Nancy Tolson, Linda Trice, Eleanora Tate, Irene Smalls & Margaret Johnson Hodge's books. Looking for a storyteller try LaDoris Bias Davis at ladorisstoryexpress.com. If you get a chance pass on the word about my granddaughter's group and visit Vistoso Bosses.

For artwork or opportunties for wonderful music played/guitar and original songs, see Sankofa (my daughter).  One more thing, check out my jewelry Ekstasi Designs and my friend's jewelry at Lady Lucia Designs.  Need something for your hair Saniyyah Naturally provides the best hair care ever. Want something manufactured.... Atlanta Sewing and Patternmaking Service.


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Breaking Organizational Ties by author Dr. Daryl D. Green

Breaking Organizational TiesHow to Have a More Fulfilled Life in Your Current Job
by author Dr. Daryl D. Green

(Peek inside the book and read a few chapters)

Over 9 million people want to work full-time but can only find part-time employment. According to a Yahoo survey, a third of American workers are anxious about their job security. Breaking Organizational Ties provides practical strategies for employees attempting to cope in jobs or environments which they hate.

While most managers are only concerned with the bottom-line, they leave their employees vulnerable to the casualties of competitive markets. This book will enable readers to (a) learn how to survive and even enjoy your time at work even in a hostile environment, (b) gain greater confidence in your ability to grow while in a downsizing organization, and (c) discover the insight to go beyond your limitations by breaking the barriers of your self-doubt.

Look at what others are saying:

"Many issues affect why we don't reach our fullest potential. As a human resources professional myself, Daryl Green has hit the nail on the head."
---Daphine Glenn Robinson Human Resources Manager and Inspirational author of Brotherly Love and Betrayal


"...I recognized sound validity in Dr. Daryl Green's business insights and the resulting impact change has on its workers." ---Dr. Stephen M. Doty Strategic Initiatives Manager National Grid USA


"Simply a must read." --- Marcus J. Glasper Executive Manager Washington State

"This is a must read for those who continue to work for others but have entrepreneurship dreams."
---H. Frank Shanklin, Jr. President/C.O.O.


Product Details
Paperback: 124 pages
ISBN-10: 1450511317
ISBN-13: 978-1450511315
Purchase the book today at Amazon.com


About the Author
Dr. Daryl Green has helped thousands with his lectures, seminars, and columns. He has been noted and quoted in such media organizations as USA Today, American Urban Radio, The Bev Smith Show, BET, The Hallerin Hill Show, Black Pearls Magazine and Ebony Magazine.


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Unwrapped: Heaven & Earth by J.M. Benjamin

 Intimate Conversation with author J.M. Benjamin

J.M. Benjamin is an award winning and Essence Best Selling author from Plainfield, New Jersey. In 2006, he quickly made his presence felt in the fast growing genre of Urban Literature with his freshman novel Down In The Dirty published by Flowers In Bloom Publishing. In Feb. 2007 he released his sophomore novel My Manz And Em independently. His third novel, Ride Or Die Chick was released Dec 2007, earning him a spot on the Essence Best Seller’s list and Black Expressions. In addition, in Oct. 2008 his book Ride Or Die Chick was released through iTunes on audio book. He is currently working on several projects including Ride Or Die Chick 2, Heaven & Earth, and a non-fiction motivational book titled From Incareration To Incorporation.

J.M. Benjamin is the founder and CEO of A New Quality Publishing. Since being introduced to readers in the anthology, Menace II Society with the short story titled Keeping It Gangsta he has secured a position in the Urban Literature genre and become a major asset when it comes to making a difference in the minds of his readers. He is also a contributing author to the anthology presented by Nikki Turner, Christmas In The Hood, and a non-fiction book titled Changin’ Your Game Plan.  J.M. Benjamin still resides in New Jersey and is a motivational speaker. Visit J.M. Benjamin on www.myspace.com/jmbenjamin_author.


BPM:  JM, tell me about your publishing company?
A New Quality Publishing was launched to attract an array of aspiring and talented writers and authors of quality. Not only quality material- but quality workers. We seek writers and authors who are passionate about and will be dedicated to their work and A New Quallity Publishing's plight. Our goal is to publish titles by writers and authors who will stand by and get behind their products that A New Quality will publish for them. We intend to contribute to the saying, "No one can push your product better then you," in the literary world of all genres. A New Quality Publishing intends to build a T.E.A.M.(Together-Everyone-Acquires-Money), of not only authors, but hustlers who know the true meaning of the word. And Most Importantly...Represent in a professional manner... Quality!


BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write professionally?
I started writing while I was incarcerated in federal prison. Writing started out as therapy for me. A means to learn about myself and contribute to bettering myself. Ultimately something which was intended to be therapeutic wind up becoming my profession and life.


BPM:  Introduce us to your new book, Heaven & Earth.
Meet Heaven- (The Brains) & Earth (The Muscle). Heaven inherited her beauty from her mother but her inheritance from her father, which was her street smarts, was more valuable to her.

Earth was raised by her mother, who was a gay single parent and a force to reckon with in the streets. Impacted by their upbringing the two find themselves in prison where they meet and form a bond that spills over into the streets of New Jersey.


BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I equally enjoyed creating them both. They are both a combination of women I’ve encountered and continue to. All of my characters are based on real people-I write reality fiction.


BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?

Something happens to one of the main characters and the all throught the book you're trying to figure out who did it, but you don't find out until you get towards the end. Meanwhile there is a relationship building between the other main character and a co-character that forces her to make some quick decisions towards the end of the story.


BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?This is a reader for both genders of all walks of life from teens to adults. If you come from this, then you'll be able to empathise with the charcters more and possibly re-evaluate your own life style and if you don't come from this the you will learn valueable lessons without having to go through what the characters had in their lives.


BPM:  How will reading your book shape the readers lives?

This story like al of my other stories are wake up calls. I call what I write edutainment, educational and entertaining at the same time.. I'm sure whether my male or female readers actually experienced what takes place in the story they will still walk away with the substance of the story. You have, struggle, money, love, choices, decisions, betrayal, loyalty, lust, murder and death all incorporated into this book. The same things that makes the wrold go around.


BPM:  What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
Probably the epilogue of the book. There are so many chapters that have meaning but when you get to the end I feel readers will be left with dep thought.


BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
I don't think too many male urban lit authors create female characters with roles that male characters normally possess. you would expect this type of story line to be lead bymale characters.


BPM:  What makes you powerful as a person and a writer? Who are your mentors?
I pour all of me into my writing. I hold no punches so that my readers may feel what it’s like almost to the point of living it themselves. Not to take away from anyone else, but I write from the heart and soul. I am inspired by writers like Claude Brown, Sydney Pointier and Donald Goines for many different reasons.


BPM:  A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... a testimony to the fact overcoming life's adversities is possible, doable and that there are no limitations to creativity.


BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I just released my second author FiFi Cureton's book Have You Ever...?  under my publishing company A New Quality Publishing.

I also just opened a lit lounge and accesory boutique for women called A New Quality Literary Lounge & Boutique located downtown in my home town of Plainfield New Jersey 112 Watchung Ave.


BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
A New Quality Publishing,  PO Box 589,  Plainfield NJ  07061
Website:  http://www.anewqualitypublishing.com/  or facebook.com/jmbenjamin.author  or  Amazon.com


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I STILL DO - A Celebration of African-American Weddings

Intimate Conversation with author Kea Taylor

Kea Taylor is the founder of Imagine Photography, a professional photography studio in Washington, DC specializing in special event, portrait and architectural photography. Her work has been featured in the British News and Observer, Black Enterprise, Ebony/Jet, The Source Magazine and various newspapers, book covers and publications.



I STILL DO - A Celebration of African-American Weddings
ISBN 9780615313207
EDC Review Rating:  Beyond Excellent  5+ / 5 stars

This new coffee table photo book showcases photographer, Kea Taylor's most beloved images from ten years of photographing African-American weddings. The 120+ page book features over 300 full-color photos of African-American weddings from all over the United States and Caribbean. Includes glossary of African-American cultural wedding rituals and anecdotes from married couples about challenges and triumphs of building a successful marriage in the new millennium.
 
 
BPM:  Kea, how do you feel about marriages today?
I think that the institution of marriage in the U.S. is truly being threatened. Not just in the Black community, but in every community. I think we are turning into a more misogynistic and narcissistic society than we’ve ever been—and that doesn’t suit marriages well.

But I believe in the power of love and I am committed to promoting love and encouraging love in spite of what anyone else is doing. And I’m encouraged in my line of work because I’m reminded constantly that I’m not alone. There are lots of people that feel the way I do.


BPM: What makes you powerful as a person, mate and a writer? What makes me powerful as a person is that I have God in me and I believe that I can do anything God puts on my heart to do if I put my mind to it. I’ve always been that way. 

As a mate, I think my power comes from my faith and my open-ness to change and genuine desire to want to be a better person and pleasing to God and my husband.

As I writer, I think I’m most powerful when I’m being honest. I think that’s when I have the most power to inspire and truly touch other people.


BPM: Who are your mentors or loyal supporters?
My mentors, as photographers, are my photographer friends—local photographers in the Washington area. As a self-published writer, Trice Hickman (who is one of my clients) has helped and inspired me tremendously.  I’m sad to say that I don’t really have many mentors, in the traditional sense of having an ongoing relationship with someone for the sole purpose of helping me develop my skills. There are many photographers that I have admired from afar for different reasons…James VanDerZee, Addison Scurlock, Gordon Parks, Kwaku Alston, Sharon Farmer, Carrie Mae Weems, Annie Leibowitz, Henri Cartier Bresson. I’ve also learned from other photographers and people that I’ve worked for.

My former boss from my  “past life” working in the world of finance, Michael Hodge was a great mentor for me in terms of teaching me how to carry myself professionally. There are countless older women that I admire and attempt to emulate with respect to their class, femininity, strength and humility. But I would have to say that my only long-term mentors have been the women in my family. My mother, Cynthia Prather…my grandmothers, aunts and cousins who always possessed those traits I mentioned above.


BPM:  A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... proof of a legacy of commitment to family, community, mutual respect and love.

BPM:  Introduce us to your beautiful book and the message you created with photos.
It’s truly a pleasure to introduce my book, “I Still Do – A Celebration of African-American Weddings”. This book gives the reader a rare opportunity to see Black love in the new millennium through my eyes as a professional wedding photographer. It’s a keepsake, coffee-table book of the most inspiring moments, images and couples from my nearly ten years capturing African-American weddings that truly speaks to that place in all of us that needs to be reminded that Black love still exists.

The photos in the book are so powerful that I couldn’t begin to put into words the message they convey. The images truly transcend, inspire and demonstrate the beauty of Black love and that despite seemingly insurmountable odds, we are still falling in love and getting married.


BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
Well really, I would have to say it was a series of prompts. I believe when God wants you to do something, you start getting these hints…they start out small and just get bigger and harder to ignore. So there were a series of prompts, but perhaps the largest was during now-President Obama’s campaign when images of he and First Lady Obama started popping up all over the media and they looked so genuinely in love. People were forwarding these images to me almost daily, sharing how nice it was to see a Black couple in love. I was amazed that their images seemed to have such a transformative power.

It was painfully clear to me after the ninth or tenth email that we, as Black people, have been bombarded with depressing images and messages about the state of our relationships for so long, we were just starving to see that there was at least one happy Black couple in the world somewhere. And don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the images. (I mean, the Obama’s are an undeniably a handsome couple and they clearly share mutual respect and tenderness for each other—and we knew their story). But these images were nothing particularly new to me because as a photographer that shoots weddings, I see Black people in love all the time. But I had an “aha moment” and realized, that my experience seeing Black people in love is actually quite rare. And it really got me thinking how blessed I am to be exposed to such beauty on a regular basis and how it positively shapes my view of the world and my own marriage.

So ultimately, I wrote the book because I really wanted to share the beauty that I see in our people and inspire Black people to continue to believe in love.


BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
There are two wonderful things going on simultaneously in the book. You have these stunningly beautiful, romantic, truly heartwarming images of Black couples in love and getting married all over the world. And Ms. Curry, images are powerful. They effect you viscerally in ways you can’t imagine or control. So without reading one word, anyone that picks up the book will feel the excitement, happiness, pride, anticipation and sheer joy that each of these couples and their families felt on their wedding day.

Opposite these powerful images, are candid interviews with some of my most inspiring couples. And they are so honest and real, they’re really refreshing and funny and they truly ground the book, making the images even more real. You start to actually put stories behind the images. You hear couples talking about how they couldn’t afford their wedding ceremony but wanted to get married so bad, they secretly eloped until they could save up for an actual ceremony…women being honest about how they didn’t want to date their husband initially because he was too young or didn’t have a college degree. They talk about the fights they had in the first years of their marriage over not answering the cell phone, growing up in a female-dominated household, feeling guilty about not being able to cook.

But what’s most inspiring, I think, is that each of them shares how they’re overcoming and learning to love in spite of the challenges. And that makes the pictures even more meaningful.


BPM:  Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
The very first page of the book is the dedication page and it reads, “For little brown girls everywhere who have never seen themselves in love.”

I meant that dedication literally and figuratively. This book is for women of color of all ages. For the young women of color who have been raised on a misogynistic diet of music videos, reality shows, and don’t have examples of a successful marriage in their circle of life – I just wanted to present an alternative. For new brides and married women, I wanted to show how beautiful we can be when we just smile, humble ourselves and commit the act of loving and being loved. I can’t think of anything more powerful in our community than a Black woman with a genuine smile that radiates love. For the older women who may married or want to pass on the values of commitment and family to their children - I wanted to provide a piece that they could pass on to their children and grandchildren/nieces and nephews without preaching.

Most importantly though, I want this book to speak to the little girl in every woman and remind them that in spite of the negative statistics and seemingly insurmountable odds, that Black people still are falling in love and getting married.

At the risk of complicating this answer too much, I think it's important to point out that I was very careful not to imply that marriage is for everyone (a theme mentioned multiple times in the book), because I think it’s cruel to indoctrinate little Black girls with the vision of their Black prince coming to rescue them because statistics do show that that may not happen. But I also think it’s equally as cruel to deny our little girls the right to have that dream. A minute percentage of our little boys will become professional basketball players, but we don’t stop them from dreaming. For many little girls, their dream of being married will still come true.

For a coffee table book, we really touch on some profound and, I think, common and universally challenging issues for Black women. The importance of communication, personal responsibility, professional and income disparity between couples, defining relationships, sexual promiscuity before marriage…are all discussed in the couples’ interviews.


BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
I think each chapter will resonate more powerfully to different readers because every Black woman will see herself in at least one of the interviews. But if I had to choose, I would say the last chapter is the most powerful and it’s called, “Completing the Circle.” It’s an interview with a couple that just encompasses so much. The groom had seen six divorces between his parents, the bride grew up in a single family home, but this couple talks about how, in each other, they found someone with a shared purpose. And that purpose was ending the dysfunctional cycles in their family…of failed relationships, uncompleted education, lack of financial planning…So years later, they’ve committed to staying married no matter what, they’ve both completed graduate degrees, they started an asset acquisition company together called NexGen, LLC (for Next Generation) and they have a beautiful son with possibly another on the way. Their story alone demonstrates how powerful we are when we commit to seeking and following our purpose and richly successful and fulfilling it can be when we decide to do it with a partner.


BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I just want people to be inspired to love. I want to remind people that Black love is still alive.


BPM:  What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
Well I think whenever we hear about Black marriages these days, we usually are discussing how few people are getting married or trying to identify who to blame for why that is so. This book is markedly different. There are over 300 images of undeniably happy, married Black couples. As one of my readers wrote me, “The whole concept of Black love is nothing new to us, but you’ve so eloquently captured it in a way I have never seen.”

It’s also different from other wedding idea books, guides or magazines because when we’re normally featured in those publications, we are marginal. We’re thrown in to add a little color. It’ll be us and an Indian couple. And they write as though jumping the broom is the only tradition African-Americans celebrate. My book will tell you the history of the Electric Slide and the Soul Train line to the Yoruba tasting ceremony and the symbolism of cowry shells in your bouquet.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
Please drop me an email and let me know what you think about the book at: kea@istilldoweddings.com 
or check out the website for the book at: http://www.istilldoweddings.com/. Send me a tweet. I’m @ ImaginePhotog


Kea Taylor owner of  Imagine Photography
Kea Taylor (Author and Lead Photographer) is the owner of Imagine Photography, a professional photography studio in Washington, DC specializing in event, portrait and construction photography (http://www.imaginephotographyonline.com/).


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Unwrapped: From Vixen 2 Diva

Intimate Conversation with author Marlon McCaulsky

Marlon McCaulsky, originally from Brooklyn, New York, is the best-selling author of The Pink Palace and the novella Love & Life and contributing author on the anthology Romance For The Streets. His goal is tell entertaining stories and to become a full-time novelist. His new book From Vixen 2 Diva is his second full-length novel. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer? Who are your mentors?
Wow… I’m not sure I’ve reached the level of being called a powerful writer yet. But I do have a unique voice and point of view when I write and I try to express that with every story I create. The author I think I look up to the most is Eric Jerome Dickey. I admire his work and his career as an author.

BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... of my generation. I mean my generation wasn’t really thought to read books for enjoyment. That’s why we had TV, video games, and movies. There weren’t to many books that spoke to us or that we could relate to so we didn’t read. People say to me “I don’t like to read books” but that’s not true. They just haven’t found something they would enjoy reading. And I hope with my books I can relate to not just book lovers but folks who have never considered reading a book for enjoyment.


BPM: Introduce us to your book, Vixen 2 Diva, and the main characters.

My new book “From Vixen 2 Diva” is what I consider to be a Hip-Hop love story. It stars Beata Douglas an up and coming video model from Harlem with desires to get into the music industry. She runs into a familiar man from her past called Kane who’s trying to get a record deal. Because he’s not already successful Beata disrespects and dismisses him until he actually gets a record deal and becomes a multi-platinum rapper. Beata tries to seduce Kane in order to get a record deal but ends up getting played. Without giving too much away she finds away to get on and now these two music stars are on the same label and can’t stand each other.

BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Beata was my favorite character to write. She was based on a few people like Ashanti, Karrine Steffans, and Beyonce. But I also gave her, her own flavor. Beata being a video model automatically makes folks judge what type of person she is and in some ways she does live up to those stereotypes. But I also wanted to dig deeper into her character and show she has layers like an onion that you have to peel away to see the real person she is. She really grows a lot from the little girl she is in the beginning to the grown woman she is by the end of the story.

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
The situation that prompted me to write “From Vixen 2 Diva” happened while writing “The Pink Palace”. Beata and Kane had a small part in that story and I knew that they had a story to tell as well. Plus I always wanted to write a story that had Hip-Hop as a backdrop and FV2D provided me with that perfect setting.

BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
The first major event is the murder of a main character by Beata’s ex boyfriend Roc. Roc is also a friend of Kane who becomes an unwilling participant and witness to the crime. This starts a rift and rivalry between them that plays out until the end of the book.

Another major event that takes place is with Beata making a sex tape with her boyfriend that comes back to haunt her later on. I think a lot of young women do things when they’re young and don’t think about what the long term affects of their actions will be on their lives.

From Vixen 2 Diva by author Marlon McCaulsky
EDC Book Review Rating:  3.75/ 5 stars
Purchase the book today from Amazon

Contact info: mccaulskymarlon@yahoo.com


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