Meet Life Changing Books Authors

Meet Life Changing Books Authors
and the CEO Azarel Smallwood

Life Changing Books
, better known as LCB, established in 2003 is quickly becoming one of the most respected Independent Trade Publishers amongst chain stores, vendors, authors and readers. LCB offers a variety of African-American literature including Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Urban/Street Literature, Erotica, and a host of other fiction categories.

CEO, Azarel, launched the company with the release of her self-published title, A Life to Remember, and from there she has continued to add best selling authors onto her label. Currently, LCB has sixteen authors and offers outside distribution to selective projects. The success of LCB is a team effort combined with our outgoing authors, and management team.

As of 2008, LCB has joined forces and constructed progressive relationships with both wholesale and retail establishments across the United States of America and abroad. We’ve topped the charts with some of our Essence Magazine best-selling titles such as Millionaire Mistress, Secrets of a Housewife, Bruised 2, and Deep.   In addition, LCB is progressive in contributing to children in need. Visit the Life Changing Books Website: http://www.lifechangingbooks.net/

Life Changing Books presents 4 Urban Literature Sensations!
View the interviews, videos and book excerpts here: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/lcbauthors.html


Video Introduction: One Night Stand by Kendall Banks


Video Introduction: Snitch by VegasClarke


Video Introduction: The Dirty Divorce 2 by Miss KP


Video Introduction: Money Maker by Tonya Ridley


Purchase all the books from the Publisher's website - http://www.lifechangingbooks.net/


   



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Intimate Conversation with Dr. Natalie A. Francisco


Intimate Conversation with Dr. Natalie A. Francisco

Dr. Natalie A. Francisco serves as Co-Pastor alongside her husband, Bishop L. W. Francisco III, and Minister of Music at Calvary Community Church (Hampton, VA). She is author of Wisdom for Women of Worth & Worship: Lessons for a Life of Virtue, Value & Victory and founder/executive director of the Women of Worth & Worship (WOWW) Conference and Institute.


Ella: Dr. Francisco, tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I developed a love for reading and writing in grammar school and excelled at it throughout my educational pursuits and career. My passion has always been centered around educating and empowering others, particularly women, and my writings have been in alignment with my heart's desire to serve others.


Ella: 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... Women of all ages who read my book will discover it to be a resource that will motivate them to uncover their dreams and desires in order to live a quality of life that is honorable to God, self-fulfilling and of service to others.



Ella: Please introduce us to your book Wisdom for Women of Worth & Worship.
Wisdom for Women of Worth & Worship: Lessons for a Life of Virtue, Value & Victory is a wealth of information tailor-made to address the questions that women have regarding spirituality, relationships, marriage, parenting, maintaining balance and so much more. I share the triumphs, tragedies, and lessons learned from my life to captivate women and catapult them into their destiny. Biblical principles, self-reflective journal exercises and practical wisdom intermingle to create a mentoring memoir that readers will enjoy time and time again.






Intimate Interview
Ella: Where are you from? What is your favorite genre? How did you start your journey?
I am a native of Hampton, Virginia who loves to travel. Being in full-time ministry has afforded me the opportunity to visit many nations as well as to establish and assist ministries across the United States and around the world for which I am extremely grateful.

My favorite genre of books to read would be the categories of Inspirational and Self-Help. Michelle McKinney Hammond, who happens to be one of my favorite authors and a personal friend, inspired me by her own writings to launch out and do the same. I have helped to write and edit books as well as church, leadership and Christian school manuals for our church, Christian schools and other organizations, but had never given much thought to publishing my own works until I was encouraged to do so by another friend, Rev. Connie Jackson. I will be forever grateful to her, Michelle and my family for the gifts in me that they have helped to nurture.


Ella: Who are the main characters in your book? Can a non-fiction title have a character?
I am the main character and serve as the storyteller to introduce the reader to the profound moments in my life that helped to define who I am and what I was created to do. The transparency and candor utilized allow women to see themselves within the pages as they identify with real life issues that we often face. I have even included anonymous women who have asked questions of me concerning relationships, parenting skills, career choices and the pursuit of purpose in their own lives. I love the fact that the lessons I've learned and the wisdom shared have proven to be helpful in the lives of countless women, and men for that matter, that have benefited from reading my book.


Ella: How does you book shape or add value to the reader's life?Many who have read my book have already expressed how it has impacted them to the core, causing them to re-evaluate their perspective, relationships and habits while rediscovering who they are and pursuing what brings them joy. Here are just a few comments from others:

"In a time when many have abandoned the call to “teach the younger women…” Natalie Francisco emerges as a true Titus woman. As a modern day Proverbs 31 woman, she proves we can all be the women God created us to be if we are armed with the right truths to work with. So take the time to read, to absorb and then apply these rich lessons to your own life. But don't just stop there. Share the wealth with others. Wisdom for Women of Worth and Worship is a jewel of a book that has the potential to change the world one home at a time." - Michelle McKinney Hammond

"Your book is really wonderful. To be honest I have so many friends releasing books that I just had the opportunity to read yours. I thoroughly enjoyed it!! This is not a read through in a few sessions. It is a life manual that one needs to take the time to soak in. Kudos my dear! Love it! Love it!" - Pastor Tracie Davis

"I have been truly blessed by this book. It has helped me to understand that some of the things I felt I was dealing with alone, I'm really not alone. It helped me to realize that you have to let go of any fears that you have and be able to step into whatever your calling is with boldness, knowing that your worth and value as a woman of God is very important. The lessons in the book help to strengthen you and help you to be able to deal with some of the issues that are going on in your life. Also, I think men can read this book. The principles don't change. The lessons can help men understand what their wives or significant others are going through." - Rita LaVeist

"Your book is a wonderful resource for all women -- the cover alone is very impressive. I've added it to my collection of suggested reading for the women's groups that I facilitate weekly. I'm running a series of therapeutic support groups called Healthy Women/Healthy Relationships. We are delving into a lot of the topics that you cover and I'm sure that the ladies' experience will be enhanced by reading this book. I especially like the moments of meditation -- they really help to re-focus the mind and deepen self-awareness. GOD has blessed you with great insight and a beautiful gift of expression through writing. May the LORD continue to richly bless all that you do for HIS glory. May HE enlarge your territory and keep you in HIS perfect peace." - Minister Pamela LaVeist-Bell, LCPC




Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?My greatest accomplishment would be for my book to contribute to the positive transformation of women who are empowered to excel beyond their wildest dreams personally, spiritually and professionally after reading it. God-consciousness, self-discovery and service to others would be the three-fold cord that I would desire for readers to hold onto without ever letting go.



Ella: Who would this book really "speak to" and why?I initially wrote the book as the curriculum for my Women of Worth & Worship Institute classes. I soon realized that women regardless of age, race, ethnicity or socio-economic status should read, learn from and enjoy it. I have even been told by husbands, fathers and brothers of those who purchased the book for the special women in their lives that they have learned much from reading it and that the principles I share are also applicable to them.


Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
I was pleased to find out that my book was listed as number 13 on Black Christian Book Company's Top 50 Bestseller List of Black authors and Independent publishers soon after its release. In retrospect, however, I would have to say that receiving emails and reviews from others concerning their perspective of my book and how it has left an indelible mark upon them, fills my heart with unspeakable joy.


Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
It is important to write about whatever moves you, for in doing so, others will be moved as well. I have found that people readily identify with fiction or non-fiction stories with subject matter that will speak to the heart and feed the mind. Writing then must be passionate and intellectually stimulating, and the writer must be first partaker of what he or she desires to communicate to others.


Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion.
In order to be a successful author, one must enjoy reading and writing, networking with others, and consistently promoting one's own book.


Ella: What book already published is similar to your book in its writing style?
A number of books written by my friend Michelle McKinney Hammond are similar to my own in that the writing style is transparent, candid and thought-provoking, causing the reader to have an epiphany of sorts after encountering the book.


Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?My next published book will be my dissertation written in 2000 entitled The New Demand for Christian Education: Targeting the Urban, African-American Community. I am also planning to write a book about effective parenting in the near future. In the interim, I will continue to offer year-round mentoring classes and seminars both onsite and online, as well as annual conferences and community outreach efforts to educate, encourage and empower women as well as middle and high school young ladies.


For more information regarding Dr. Natalie A. Francisco and the ministries in which she is involved, contact:
Dr. Natalie A. Francisco, Founder/Executive Director
Women of Worth & Worship, LLC
P. O. Box 9853
Chesapeake, VA 23321
Email: wowwi@nataliefrancisco.com
Website: http://www.nataliefrancisco.com/


Book Details

Wisdom for Women of Worth & Worship: Lessons for a Life of Virtue, Value & Victory by Natalie A. Francisco, Ed. D.
(Foreword by Michelle McKinney Hammond)

Websites: www.wisdomforwomenofworthandworship.com or http://www.wowwithebook.com/

Purchase the paperback version or eBook format at: http://www.nataliefrancisco.com/.

(Also available at www.Amazon.com, www.Target.com, www.BlackCBC.com, and http://www.gospellightbookstore.com/. (Coming soon online to Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Borders and wherever fine books are sold.)
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Intimate Conversation with Miss KP

Intimate Conversation with Miss KP
The Dirty Divorce Trilogy


Miss KP began writing in high school as an outlet to express her emotions as a teenager. She would write poetry and has even written unpublished songs. However, after feeling as if she had much more to say, she decided to purchase a laptop and began working on her first novel, which we now know as Dirty Divorce, Part 1.

Just months after a good friend introduced her to publisher, Azarel; Miss KP’s dreams came true. She became a published author with the Life Changing Books (L.C.B) family with a #1 hit behind her name. Along with being an author, Miss KP works in the fashion industry as a Merchandise Manager in prominent department store.

A native Washingtonian, Miss KP currently resides in Maryland with her eight year old daughter, and is awaiting the release of her second and most anticipated novel of 2010, The Dirty Divorce- Part 2. For more information on Miss KP or her books, visit her website at: http://www.misskp.com/


Ella: Introduce us to your book, Dirty Divorce 2 and the main characters.
Drugs turn out to be a way of life for Rich, a powerful, sexy Drug Lord hailing from Washington, D.C. His desire for fast money and the extravagant things that it brings puts his family in harms way. Soon, his ego forces him to leave his castle and empire to expand business on the West Coast. His decision to leave his love ones behind at the mercy of his enemies turns out to be catastrophic. One by one, each of Rich's children spiral out of control.

Pregnancy, rape, and abduction all hit the family structure one day after another. With Rich putting his focus on money, sex, and insignificant things in life his wife Lisa, throws some new drama into the relationship as well; a side-piece and divorce papers. This creates an even bigger wedge between Rich and Lisa. The hate that Rich and Lisa develop for each other causes the divorce to get down- right dirty. Can their love out way their hate to save their family or is it too late?
  

Meet the Main Players in Dirty Divorce 2
Rich- Handsome and definitely a lady's man. Father and husband that is ruthless and some think he's heartless but he's real. He lacks respect for women and his infidelity causes major issues in his home. His only love is for his money and his daughter. He keeps his son and wife on the back burner which causes major problems.

Lisa- Rich's wife. A docile, fragile wife and mother that struggles with what's important in life-- the love of money or her happiness. She deals with Rich's infidelity for the finer things in life but realizes when it's too late the price of street life has a hefty price tag.

Juan- Rich and Lisa's son. Has extreme hate for his dad due to his lack of respect for Lisa but doesn't realize he's more like his father that he knows.

Denie- Rich and Lisa's daughter. Teen girl that loves her father no matter how much he neglects her. He can do no wrong until it effects her and their relationship is tested.

Carlos "Los"- Rich's Cousin. Handsome street Colombian that holds rank in the street. His father Uncle Renzo makes things happen on both coasts and is the reason for the major cash flow that Rich and his family benefits from. Carlos and Rich's loyalty is tested by the ultimate betrayal and causes the family to dismantle.

Marisol- Carlos' wife. Beautiful but ruthless. A true ride or die chick. Will do anything for her husband.
A close friend to Lisa.


Ella: Who are your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I would have to say that Lisa would be my favorite character in Part 1 because of the transformation of her character. It was intriguing to have her go from being this gullible wife to this deranged woman that was lost and willing to do anything for revenge. The characters of the book are fictional characters but the situations are real.


Ella: What role do you give the mean spirited characters? Do you have such characters?
The mean spirited character in the book is Rich, but he is consistent. Sometimes we have to look inside to see what makes people tick and why are they the way that they are. When people treat others with lack of respect and there are no consequences, do we blame the victim for allowing it and not standing up for themselves.

Ella: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write a book?
As a teenager I would write as an outlet because I experienced a lot at a young age. My father’s absence through my teen years contributed to a lot that I went through. One of good friends was going through some relationship issues and made a powerful statement, she said, “I feel as though I’m being punished for everything my father did wrong to women, why do my relationships keep failing?” From there I said I want to write a book with a storyline that speaks to the troubled black family.


Ella: Who do you want to reach with your book and what is the message within?
The Dirty Divorce I feel anyone can relate to. Everyone either knows someone who has been through a divorce or has been through one themselves, even if they are a product of divorce. Everyone in the family is affected by the break up, whether dirty or not. The abuse in the home becomes a way of life and you take the risk of your off springs either becoming a product of their environment or finding a way out. I want people to see that even though this book is fiction, it’s somebody in this world going through the same things and what are we going to do differently in our lives to make a change in our current behaviors.

The one thing I always say is, I don’t want anyone to lose the message. The cars, the money, and the big house might seem all good but we need to know the consequences that come with it. The streets are always watching and you have to live a life in fear of the day it could all come to an end; whether if it’s the Feds or the next man trying to get on top it eventually comes to an end. Infidelity comes with the territory as well.

Know that these are all the things you sign up for street life, but the main message is not only what I just mentioned, it’s the effect on the family and the children. It’s a vicious cycle because we are teaching our children that this is the only way, and as young girls we choose the hustler as our boyfriend, and as young men we choose street life as the way because this is all we know.

Ella: What are some of the specific issues or problems addressed in this book?
Divorce has been such an easy way out these days, the younger generation doesn't fight anymore for their relationships so this is definitely a topic everyone can relate to. Also the relationship between a mother and her son as well as a father and their daughter. How the decisions that we make as parents and how they affect our children.


Ella: Share with us your upcoming releases and online contact info.
The Dirty Divorce is a trilogy and Part 2  was released on November 24, 2010 and for updates on future release information or to contact me I can be reached on Twitter: www.twitter.com/misskpdc.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/misskpdc   or visit my website at:  http://www.misskp.com/  


Purchase Dirty Divorce 1 and 2 written by Miss KP, HERE.

Publisher: Life Changing Books
ISBN-10: 193423074X
ISBN-13: 978-1934230749
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Intimate Conversation with Yayoi Lena Winfrey

Intimate Conversation with Yayoi Lena Winfrey


Born in Tokyo to an African American father and Japanese mother, Yayoi Lena Winfrey grew up on three continents. A resident of California most of her adult life, she’s also lived in Alaska, Hawai’i, Washington State, and St. Thomas U.S.V.I.

After attending art school, Yayoi freelanced as an illustrator and graphic designer before turning to journalism for the past 13 years. In 1998, she began working in the film industry and made a feature film, Watermelon Sushi, based on her life as an AfroAsian woman. She was a finalist for FIND (Film Independent) Project Involve, Fall 2005-Spring 2006. Besides contributing to numerous publications, Yayoi was twice nominated for journalism awards, and is referenced on Wikipedia. In 2000, she published an anthology of 28 black women writers and a chapbook based on her film.

Today, Yayoi plans a reshoot of the film while writing a weekly blog, Watermelon Sushi World, featuring cross-cultural stories. She’s also created a Facebook group, Hip Hapa Homeez, which addresses multiethnic experiences, as well as a Facebook fan page for Watermelon Sushi. And, she's working on a collection of erotic short stories and a novella featuring multiracial characters and interracial relationships, as well as a novel about an AfroAsian family living in the Caribbean.


Featured Book Brothers and Others Anthology
compiled by Yayoi Lena Winfrey

Brothers and Others is an anthology of 28 black women authors writing about black men. Because I was tired of seeing the same old stereotypical images of black men as drug dealers, gangsters, prisoners and rappers, I sent out a call worldwide requesting stories about black women's relationships with black men. Over 500 submissions were received including essays, poetry and short stories about black men in their roles as grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews, husbands, sons, friends, neighbors, celebrities, lovers, brothers and others.  A magazine-style book, Brothers and Others contains pieces ranging from poetic tributes like a woman's poignant poem about her HIV-positive gay brother to a cute and classy short story about a man (from his POV) incredulous over his former big-breasted girlfriend having her bosom surgically reduced.


Book Review:  Brothers and Others
5 Stars! Reviewed by Heather Covington

"Brothers and Others is a collection of essays, poetry and short stories written by Black women from around the globe about Black men in their roles as grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews, husbands, sons, friends, neighbors, celebrities, lovers, brothers and others." Shocking and down to earth poetry from woman poets who hold nothing back!


BPM:  Yayoi, are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
A: The characters in Brothers and Others are both fictional and non. They range from a real-life HIV-positive gay man to a fictional character who is incredulous at learning his former big-breasted girlfriend had her bosom surgically reduced.

BPM: What inspired you to write this story?
A: The inspiration for me taking on this anthology as an editor and publisher was because I was tired of seeing the same old stereotypical images of black men as drug dealers, gangsters, prisoners and rappers. I sent out a call worldwide requesting stories about black women's relationships with black men. Over 500 submissions were received including essays, poetry and short stories about black men in their roles as grandfathers, fathers, uncles, nephews, husbands, sons, friends, neighbors, celebrities, lovers, brothers and others. The real challenge was selecting only 28 women's stories to publish. Another reason I wanted to publish this book was to get my father's story of growing up in Jim Crow Texas into print.

BPM: What is your most valuable lesson about the publishing industry?
A: I learned that the publishing industry, like the film industry and so many others, is simply not interested in stories about people of color unless they fit into some preconceived notion of what it means to be that based on the thoughts and ideas of people who are not of color. Unable to interest any publisher in this anthology about black men written by black women, I forged ahead and published it myself.

BPM: What writers inspire you and why?
A: Besides being an independent journalist, I also write fiction. Because I'm a huge fan of prose and interesting, complex characters, I'm heavily influenced by Caribbean women writers like Edwidge Danticat and Jamaica Kincaid. Of course, I also love Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston. And, I've been moved by black American novelists like Earl Shorris (Ofay) and John A. Williams (The Man Who Cried I Am). I also enjoy African authors like Nigeria's Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart). Because of my strong Japanese cultural roots, I'm also attracted to works by author Mishima Yukio as well as many Asian women writers. It's believed that the world's first psychological novel ever published was Tale of Genji which was written by Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the 11th Century. I've seen an anime version of the story, and it rocks!

BPM: What did you hope to accomplish by writing this particular story?
A: I hope to bring a greater awareness of just what it means to be a black man in this world as interpreted by their biggest fans--black women.

BPM: How may our readers connect with you online?
A: Brothers and Others is currently available by contacting the publisher, Yayoi Lena Winfrey, at lenastarwheels@me.com  or  esianthology@juno.com.


For more information, check out the Brothers and Others Fan page on Facebook where we support all independently published works by people of color. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brothers-And-Others/145195676524   As for me, I'm busy working on a collection of erotic short stories about multiracial people as well as a novel about an AfroAsian family in the Caribbean.


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



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Intimate Conversation with Gwendolyn Zepeda

Intimate Conversation with Gwendolyn Zepeda


Gwendolyn Zepeda began her writing career on the Web in 1997 and has won praise and awards for her short stories, poetry, and children’s books. Her first novel, Houston, We Have a Problema was critically acclaimed for its wit and upbeat story. Booklist calls Zepeda’s latest novel, Lone Star Legend (Grand Central Publishing, 2010) “fresh and smart” and Publishers Weekly says she “gives readers a funny and smart heroine that readers will easily pull for."


Ella: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer? Who are your mentors?I am of mixed ethnicity (father Latino, mom white) so right off the bat that prepared me to see more than one perspective in any given situation. And I’ve lived a lot of lives – I’ve been an inner-city “at-risk” youth and a housewife, an artist and a mother, a college student on full scholarship and a country bumpkin in a mobile home. So I’ve packed a lot of experience into my years so far, and I feel like my family taught me to use that experience well. My mentors have always been my dad, various bosses at the corporate day jobs I’ve worked, and women in my community who run non-profits and raise strong families. 


Ella: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... My writing offers future readers an accurate depiction of the women around me and how they live their lives today. When readers look back on novels of the 2000s, they’ll see a lot of books about what women wanted – fantasies in which we’re famous and rich and we score fabulous men. And when they read my books, they’ll see how not (yet) famous, not (yet) rich women worked with what they had to get closer to those goals. 


Ella: Introduce us to your book, Lone Star Legend, and the main characters. Sandy Saavedra, the main character in Lone Star Legend, is the first woman in her family to attend college, and she’s earned a B.A. in Journalism that she wants to put to good use, writing positive stories about her people. That becomes difficult when the news site she works for is purchased by an organization that specializes in “snarky” gossip blogs broken down by various cultures. There’s “Don’t Call Me Sassy” for African Americans, “Banana Nation” for Asian Americans, and “Nacho Papi’s Web Site,” the site for which Sandy is expected to produce content about Latino celebrities.

Sandy gets grief from her boyfriend, who thinks Nacho Papi is trash and she’s too good to write for it, and from her mom, who thinks Sandy’s makeup and hairstyle are more important than her writing credentials. So she vents about the two of them in her secret, anonymous blog, where she’s sure they’ll never see it.

But nothing is private on the Internet, as Sandy will soon find out. A wise old man teaches her another lesson: that once a crab starts to climb out of the bucket, all the other crabs will try to pull her back down. Can Sandy deal with other writers writing snarky gossip about her? And can she pull free of the claws and get out of the bucket once and for all?


Ella: Take us inside Lone Star Legend. What are two major events taking place? In Lone Star Legend, Sandy is becoming a celebrity. Her audience loves her and wants to know more about her, her friends and family pay her more respect, and she gets a lot of perks. With all that, however, comes a loss of privacy, anti-fans who hate her, and professional jealousy. So Sandy has a rocky road, learning to deal with that.

At the same time, Sandy finds Tio Jaime, a grandfatherly figure who connects her to her past and helps her find peace within herself. On the one hand, Sandy wants to share Tio Jaime with her audience. On the other hand, she has to protect him from the negative aspects of fame when she barely knows how to deal with them, herself.


Ella: What do you want readers to gain from your book?The obvious lessons are that people need to be mindful of what they put online, and that fame isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. But I hope readers also see that Sandy makes a difference in strangers’ lives with her honest, thoughtful writing. Despite all the drama that goes down on the Internet, it’s still a way to connect people who wouldn’t have been able to find each other before. I hope that if readers are considering sharing their stories on the Internet, this book will inspire them to go ahead and do that.


Ella: How can our readers reach you online? Readers can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and my official author site by searching for my full name, Gwendolyn Zepeda. They can also see me sharing my stories on  http://www.gwenworld.com/  





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Intimate Conversation with Patti Lacy

Intimate Conversation with author Patti Lacy

Hello Patti! Welcome to Black Pearls, tell us a little about you and your family.
I’m Patti Lacy, a displaced Southerner who was gifted with teacher parents and a passion to read. In 2006, I left my beloved community college halls to set up a writing “room of my own” in the home I share with my teacher husband and a dog named Laura.

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I was born in the back seat of a Buick in Waco, Texas , grew up in the South, and now live in Normal, Illinois. I devour literary fiction, penned by Austen, Kingsolver, Morrison, Dostoevsky, Stegner, Hemingway, Gaines, and many, many more. Unlike many writers, I didn’t put anything on paper, except maudlin poetry and embarrassing love letters, until 2005, when Mary’s story refused to settle into my brain and keep quiet.

Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
In 2005, God gifted me with a wonderful story about Mary, a brave Irishwoman who’d for years kept the secret of how she’d been betrayed by not one but two dysfunctional families.

I became obsessed with the secrets women keep and why they keep them. When the Still Small Voice kept whispering for me to capture Mary’s story on paper, I finally obeyed and penned my first novel, An Irishwoman’s Tale.

Why do I write? Because I HAVE TO! Stories and images bang on my skull and refuse to stop until I release them into a computer file. Hey, I’m 54 and want to share these stories for as long as God allows. That may be for another thirty years. Or it may be one…more…day.

Ella: What Legacy do you want to leave future readers?
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: When a heart festering with pus-laden secrets is cut open and exposed to light and air, healing begins. Healing brings health. Healthy women can share with others to promote well-being.

Ella: Give us the synopsis of the book being discussed, What the Bayou Saw.
Sally Stevens, a chatty Midwestern college instructor, smothers her secrets with drawly talk, chocolate, and big-toothed smiles. Then the she-devil Katrina threatens her brother and Ella Ward, Sally’s former best friend, and three of Sally’s students are accused of assaulting a fourth student, Shamika Williams.

When a bigoted cop, Shamika’s mama tiger aunt, and Sally collide in Shamika’s hospital room, the past, which has been buried under Louisiana bayou mud, begins to bubble to the surface. Racism, sexual dysfunction, and the traumatic aftermath of assault reach across the span of time and threaten to destroy Sally’s tranquil life in Normal , Illinois . Dare Sally share her secrets with a hurting Shamika and risk exposing her own prejudices?

Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.

Sally Stevens, the 52-year-old college Humanities instructor whose friendly drawl and bubbly personality mask deep-rooted scars from a childhood rape. I admire Sally’s fierce devotion to her family and to her students.

Ella Ward, Sally’s middle-aged childhood friend who teams with Sally to kill a rapist and later faces betrayal at the hands of Sally. I love Ella’s professionalism, gift of healing, and ability to forgive an awful wrong.


Ella: How does this book shape or add value to the reader's life?
What the Bayou Saw emphasizes the importance of exposing the prejudice all of us harbor, in varying degrees, to the light of truth so that healing can begin. This my second novel also deals with the terrible aftermath in the souls of young girls because of sexual assault and the chilling statistic that even in homes with “good” communication, many crimes continue to go unreported. I also hope my book entertains the reader with a good story and a satisfying ending.


Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?The need for dialogue about race issues in America to continue. The terrible human stain left by racism, sexual assault…and lies.

Ella: Who would this book really "speak to" and why?
My target audience is readers, especially women, between the ages of 25 and 100! Women have traditionally stoked the home fires, have shouldered abuse and misuse throughout the ages. By bonding with other women and honestly sharing our past, we put our heads together to better problem-solve. Think of cultures where women gather at the well to chat and chew. I hope to “chat and chew” with my readers!


Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
The humbling opportunity to reach out to one reader at a time. I love each one of you and appreciate your investment of time and money in my book.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Write for the Audience of One. Write because you’ve been given a talent. Work at it with your heart, your soul, and your mind. Read books. Study the great writers. Become a professional writer, no matter what other people say. Yes, you can.

Ella: Name three things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion.
The blessing of God. A crazy passion to read and write, knowing this passion will cost you dearly in other areas of your life but will give tremendous joy and sense of purpose. A solid foundation in crafting words, whether self-taught, through reading the works of literary giants (hopefully a combination of both).

Ella: What book already published is similar to your book in its writing style?
It’s hard to know something like that about one’s own work. I like to think that my voice is fresh and can’t be duplicated. That idiotic thought off my chest, perhaps the frame idea and regional dialect of Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg and the visual imagery of Ella Cather.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?My Name is Sheba, another framed story that begins in the rollicking Age of Jazz in New Orleans and ends in the red light district of Bangkok.


Contact information:
Patti Lacy

patti@pattilacy.com
www.pattilacy.com

Books can be purchased anywhere books are sold, including Barnes & Noble, Borders, LifeWay Christian stores, and http://www.amazon.com/.










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Intimate Conversation with Lisa Douglass

Meet Author Lisa DouglassA graduate of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland , Lisa Douglass earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, and continued her education at Loyola College in Maryland , where she earned a Master of Engineering Science degree. Currently, she is a software development consultant for the United States Federal Government.


Ella: Give us the synopsis of the book being discussed.
Lisa: BaloneyBooks.com, offers a series of children’s books I’ve written all about five-year old Gwendolyn BALONEY Lomax. These stories recount childhood remembrances told to me by my mother, who grew up as the youngest of eight siblings in a four-story row house in Baltimore . I love these stories because they are simple, timeless, wholesome tales about childhood and family. I think readers will find the main character, BALONEY, to be both familiar and likeable. Each story unfolds through her eyes. My goal with these books was to write stories that are tenderly written, without being overly sentimental. They deliberately steer clear of moralistic themes, relying more on basic notions of love, youthful spirit, neighborliness, and the natural development of childhood awareness.


Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing.
Lisa: My enthusiasm for writing stems from my excitement for storytelling. I’ve always loved to hear a story being told and am thrilled to be able to tell a story that would be as exciting to the reader as it is to me.


Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
Lisa: I am powerful because I can express myself artistically.


Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
Lisa: I was raised in Baltimore County , Maryland . I started my writing journey in the classroom, taking creative writing courses. I loved the idea of creating characters and telling fantastic tales. Although I put that endeavor aside for a while, as I pursued my education and embarked on my career – that interest had never left me. Writing these books sort of brought me back to my first love. I feel like I’ve come full circle.


Ella: Who is the main character and what is most interesting about him or her?Lisa: Five year old Gwendolyn BALONEY Lomax is the main character of each book in the series. BALONEY’s mother plays a significant role in her life, reinforcing the nurturing environment that is critical to the context of each tale. The character, BALONEY, is one that both children and adults can relate to. I love that there is innocence in her lifestyle and purity in the basic relationships she has with her family and members of her community. Everyone in young BALONEY’s environment has a hand in cultivating a positive and loving environment. It truly does take a village.




Ella: What makes your book stand out and what would entice a reader pick it up?
Lisa: The world we live in today is so fast-paced, full and complicated. Yet underneath it all, we still have some very basic needs and values. Baloney Books takes the reader back to a simpler and less complicated time. Readers will be drawn to the relationship between mother and child and may quietly assess their own home environment and family relationships. While BALONEY’s environment is somewhat idealized, there are aspects of it that are very relatable and realizable to children and parents today.


Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Lisa: Above all else, I want readers to have a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. When they put these books down I want them to do so with smiles on their faces. I want them to appreciate the simple yet lasting values that Baloney Books conveys.


Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
Lisa: While writing these books was a very personal experience, I was surprised by how other people responded so enthusiastically to the books and the characters and how they were so willing to share their excitement with others.


Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Lisa: My biggest achievement has been ensuring quality through the writing, editing and publishing process. These books are dear to me. While they are fictional works, they are based on factual events from my own mother’s life. The person that my mother is today is largely a result of her experiences in family and society, notions that are at the core of each story. It was important to me to maintain quality throughout the entire production.


Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
Lisa: Select a subject that is authentically your own, express it with zeal, and have your work professionally edited!


Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Lisa: You can expect more short stories about the five year old main character, BALONEY, hence the Baloney Books slogan, “More BALONEY, Please!”


Ella: How may our readers contact you online?
Baloney Books Web Site & Online Bookstore: http://www.baloneybooks.com/
Author’s Email: lisa@baloneybooks.com
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baloney-Books/40940843876
MySpace Fan Page: http://www.myspace.com/baloneybooks
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Meet the Imani Literary Group

Meet the Imani Literary Group of Metro Atlanta




Ella Curry: Hello Angela, thank you for sharing a moment with the Sankofa Literary Society. We want readers to meet our fantastic bookclubs and literary groups. The publishing industry could not stand without the support of reader's groups. Share the history of the Imani Literary Group.

Angela Reid: Rashida Sule' Sloan had the brilliant idea to start a reading group when she realized that she and several of her coworkers were reading the same book--Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale. She suggested that they meet and discuss their book, the Imani Literary Group was born!

Established in 1992, the Imani Literary Group of Metro Atlanta is a dynamic group of Black women who come together once a month to engage in literary discussions about books by and with the authors we love, we encourage and we promote.

Imani, the seventh principle of Kwanzaa means faith, for Imani has faith in our authors. Meetings are held at members’ homes, African American-owned restaurants, libraries and bookstores. Imani Sisters are serious about our books! One must read at least one of the monthly selections to attend a meeting. Yes, we usually read and discuss two books each month. We also occasionally host a meeting with our teenage little sisters to read and discuss a book with them. Presently, Imani has twelve active members with two frequent visitors and a poet-in-residence.

Over the years Imani has transitioned from a book club to a sisterhood of women who enjoy the company of each other, support each other through rough times and celebrate with each other in monumental times.


EDC: Share with us books that you would define as Literary Hallmarks.
Angela Reid: Here are a few books that I define as "Literary Hallmarks."

Song of Solomonby Toni Morrison
Love by Toni Morrison
Blood on the Leaves by Jeff Stetson
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
Standing at the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson
The Douglass Women by Jewell Parker-Rhodes
Tumbling by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Song Yet Sung by James McBride
The Hand I Fan With by Tina McElroy Ansa
Another Good Loving Blues by Arthur Flowers
The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
In Search of Satisfaction by J. California Cooper
Wake of the Wind by J. California Cooper
Kindred by Octavia Butler
The Sacred Place by Daniel Black
What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage
When Rocks Dance by Elizabeth Nunez
Do Lord Remember Me by Marita Golden
After by Marita Golden
Cotton Candy Don’t Come in Gray by Roslyn Carrington
No Easy Place to Be by Steven Corbin
One Day I Saw a Black King by JD Mason



EDC: What do you define as Quality Literature?
Angela Reid: I have been a lover of lyrical beauty since my mother read to me while I was in her womb. I used to read with a flashlight under my covers when my parents turned off the lights at bedtime. When I finally had access to books about and by folks who looked like me, I had my heaven on earth! I now spend the most of my income on BOOKS for me and those I love. A book is the most precious and thoughtful gift I can give, especially to the children in my life.

So my thoughts on Quality Literature are: Writers owe those of us who love to read. I believe that excellent writers, as well as all artists have been GIFTED with the talent to write and many have been gifted with their stories. They owe us the time and care of telling their stories well, of consistently developing their craft so that everything they publish makes us proud to add their offerings to our collections. To quote Nathan McCall, “One must first decide if he/she wants to be a good writer or just wants to be published.” I want, deserve and expect good writing!



EDC: What is the primary mission of the group?
Angela Reid: Imani is the seventh principle of Kwanzaa and means faith. Imani Literary Group reads books by and about us (BLACK PEOPLE) because we have faith in OUR authors. Our mission is to support our authors and to promote reading and literacy among all with whom we are connected.


EDC: Do you have outreach programs or events that we can support?
Angela Reid: Imani members have participated in literary retreats and conferences around the country. Since many of us have children, we have begun reading and discussing their books with them at a yearly meeting. Imani also donates books to children who live in group homes, shelters and detention centers, and recently to the New Orleans Public Libraries. We have a yearly fundraiser, selling African American Expressions’ cards, calendars, etc., to support our efforts to put books by us in the hands of our children and teenagers and to bring authors to our meetings.

Since I taught in a diverse, multicultural, low-income public high school in Norcross, GA—recently I retired and work part time elsewhere--- five years ago I decided to orchestrate a yearly literary festival for the school and community. Local authors and local book club members have supported my efforts each year with no monetary compensation. One year Jewell Parker-Rhodes was our featured author and last year Nathan McCall came.


EDC: What happens at a typical meeting for the members?
Angela Reid: A typical Imani meeting happens in stages: We never all arrive on time—smile. If the meeting is at a member’s home, usually the meal is ready when we arrive, so we greet each other, peruse the agenda, share a moment of thanks, fix our plates and get comfortable. As we eat we conduct a little business, highlight announcements and catch up on each others’ lives. Then we seriously begin discussing our books. If we are hosting an author or have guests, we begin with introductions, then share a moment of thanks, fix our plates and get comfortable. As we eat, we discuss the book(s) and usually drill the author with questions, but also praise what we loved about the work(s). Next and throughout, are pictures, presentation of our gift to the author and his/her signing our books.

Then after the author leaves, we handle business and some of us stick around to help the hostess clean up, unless she insists that we don’t. If we meet at a restaurant, of course we don’t have to clean up--smile. All in all, it is a full Saturday afternoon or evening, monthly time spent with each other and cherished by all who actively participate, whether we enjoyed or hated the month’s reading--smile.

We absolutely love having authors visit with us and hosting book events with them. We are fortunate to have so many willing to interact with us in Metro Atlanta (Pearl Cleage, RM Harris, Travis Hunter, Kendra Norman-Bellamy, Hank Stewart, Tavares Stephens, Margaret Johnson-Hodge, Dr. Daniel Black, Marissa Monteilth, Franklin White, etc—will meet with Nathan McCall in November and Victor McGlothin in December) and some who come to us from outside of Georgia who travel here or visit with us via speaker phone like: Grace Edwards, Mary Monroe, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Timm McCann, Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Patti Rice, Tina McElroy Ansa, Suzetta Perkins & Michelle Bowen.

Nia at Medu Bookstore has asked us to host several signings at her store and we have: DeBerry & Grant, Angela Bassett & Courtney Vance, and will do so with SIstah Souljah. We traveled to Charleston, SC and Memphis, TN to celebrate anniversaries and meet with Erica Turnipseed—A Love Noire and Arthur Flowers-Another Good Loving Blues. Several of us have traveled together and alone to SC, NC, MD and NY for literary conferences and book signings.


EDC: Do you have an open membership? How can one join your network?Angela Reid: Imani maintains an open membership for women who love to read. One must visit with Imani at least three times before joining and beginning to pay dues. All members and guests must read one or both of the two monthly offerings to attend a meeting. We also invite our menfolk to join us several times during the year when we would like their input about the books we discuss and when we host a male author.


EDC: What advice would you give a new organization forming a network?
Angela Reid: Invite serious readers to help organize your book club. Once book club is started, spread out the responsibility—everyone should contribute to book choices, hosting meetings, setting guidelines for the operation of your book club.


EDC: Would you change anything about your journey?Angela Reid: I have been president of Imani since Rashida transitioned in 1997 for I was vice president then. I wasn’t sure if I could fill her shoes, but before she left us, she told me how appreciative she was of the new energy and ideas I had already brought to the book club. I realized that I didn’t have to fill her shoes, that I could be myself. Imani has entrusted me to lead the group since ’97 and I have worked tirelessly to make sure that our members enjoy and participate in our book club events.

I love these women and enjoy being with them, as we who love Imani and the time we spend together, continue to sustain Imani in our seventeenth year. So no, I wouldn’t change the journey for I can’t imagine the journey NOT including my reading sisters of Imani!


EDC: Ultimately, what do you want members to gain from your union?
Angela Reid: Ultimately, this is what Imani members have gained from our book club experience: We are not just a book club however; Imani celebrates our beautiful moments, hosts all-nite Black movie marathons, attends theater and dance performances, hosts literary events for our favorite authors, and participates in community service activities like Relay for Life Cancer Walk in honor of two Imani members who succumbed to cancer. Our group, ranging in age from mid-thirties to mid-sixties, has seen changes during our sixteen years; members have come and gone, death and serious illness have touched us, the rigors of maintaining at home at work, and in school are a constant struggle for some. Yet, in spite of these difficulties, or perhaps because of them, we have truly become a Sisterhood and Support System for each other.



About Angela Reid

I am Angela Reid. Originally from Maryland—Army Brat whose family, my mama, five brothers and my sister, traveled with my dad, when we could from Baltimore, overseas to Germany twice, instate to Oklahoma twice and finally settling in NC after Pop retired at Ft. Bragg. Migrated to Metro Atlanta twenty years ago from NC after a divorce. Raised a teenager who graduated, went to med school, married and now resides in CA with her husband.

Retired in May 08 after teaching and sometimes coaching, in VA, NC and GA for thirty-two years and a year as an active-duty Army reservist during Desert Storm. Now teaching part time and building my business--Color Me Purple, offering my services as a manuscript editor, literacy consultant, and literary event planner.

I am still, as I always have been, an active participant in the arts and spectator sports—had to hang up my volleyball kneepads after playing USVBA ball for eleven years here and in NC. I attend and volunteer for literary, jazz, film, and theater events around town; I am active in my church; want to travel to snow country to learn to ski, and enjoy the company of my family and friends near and far. I particularly enjoy hearing from and keeping up with my former students who inform me of the impact I made on their lives.
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Unwrapped: How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly

Intimate Conversations with author Connie May Fowler

New York Times bestselling writer Connie May Fowler is an essayist, screenwriter, and novelist. She is the author of five novels, most recently The Problem with Murmur Lee, and a memoir, When Katie Wakes. In 1996, she published  Before Women Had Wings, which became a paperback bestseller and was made into a successful Oprah Winfrey Presents movie. She founded the Connie May Fowler Women With Wings Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding women and children in need. Connie lives in Florida.


BPM: Take us inside How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly.
The book tracks a day in the life of Clarissa Burden, a woman who wakes on the Summer Solstice with the knowledge that her life must change because she is wracked with spousal death scenarios and writer’s block. Concurrent with her story is that of Olga Villada. Villada and her family are ghosts, their souls unable to move on from the place where they were brutally murdered. Their stories converge, resulting in a startling and life-changing chain of events.

BPM: What specific revelation prompted you to write your book?

I was reading up on pre-Civil war Florida history and discovered that when Florida was a Spanish territory, women could be property owners and slavery was outlawed. But Spain and the United States signed an agreement that would change all of that. The Florida Purchase Treaty of 1819 guaranteed that the United States would lay claim to Florida in 1821. With a stroke of a pen and strike of a clock, suddenly all women and blacks would have their rights stripped away. That haunted me and I walked around with that kernel in my head for a few years before I sat down to write the novel, which takes place in 2006 but is populated with ghosts.


BPM: Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
I think this book will have a broad appeal. The book, at its core, is about freedom—individual and universal—and it’s wrapped up in a story that is both comedic and dramatic. I think readers of many ages and races will identify with the struggles of Clarissa Burden and Olga Villada.

BPM: How will reading your book shape the readers lives?
One, I hope it will make readers laugh even amid a few tears. But if there is one message I want readers to gain, it’s that how easy it is for the course of history—the course of one person’s individual day—to go suddenly very, very wrong. There are bad people in this world—sometimes bad people have all the trappings of kindness—and they are capable of terrible things. So we have to be vigilant for ourselves and for one another. Casual prejudices and ordinary meanness can, in the blink of an eye, become lethal. So we have to learn to be pro-actively kind and relentless protective of our rights.

BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
Women’s issues, race, personal empowerment, marital relations, and Florida history.

BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in the book, How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly?
I think that once Clarissa decides—in a fit of rage—to kill her husband, this book takes a major turn and all the chapters that follow are highly entertaining, shocking, and ultimately satisfying.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I recently wrote a story for Slate’s online women’s site DoubleX about how the Haitian earthquake has severely impacted their women’s movement. How Clarissa Burden Learns to Fly was released to stores April 2, 2010.

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.
My website is http://www.conniemayfowler.com/.  I blog at http://blog.conniemayfowler.com/.   Readers can also follow me on Twitter and friend me on Facebook, where I’m very active. There is also a Facebook fan page for How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly.  In honor of Clarissa and those pesky spousal death scenarios that haunt her, I launched the Clarissa Burden Postcard Project  in which I will be asking readers to anonymously send me one secret they cannot tell their spouse or partner. The secrets can be silly or serious, and will be posted on my website.


Please share this discussion with your network too! Leave your thoughts below.
Return to Black Pearls Magazine Online
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BLACK GURLZ ROCKS! by Louise Rutherford

Dear Reader,
This is a MUST READ! This article will have you in tears!  No, it wasn't written by me. This was sent  to me in a email forward. I'm just forwarding it on. We searched the web over to trying to find the original author. We found a Mrs. Louise Rutherford, on MingleCity and I hope this is her article. The author deserves a much larger media coverage of this wonderfully thoughtful commentary. The author in my opinion was right on point!  The author asks us to pass this on to as many women as we can, to let someone know that you believe they are somebody special. You are special so here you go...


 BLACK GURLZ ROCKS!
by Louise Rutherford on November 11, 2010
Posted to Mingle City, view original article here.

When I first heard of the movie "For Colored Girls" I got so excited. I had the idea of getting as many women together that I could think of to go see this movie. I had visions of group discussions and moments shared with one another that would lead to healing and growth, I guess I kind of imagined a Women’s Empowerment Conference type of setting.

Well after I shared my idea with a few women, reality set in and I realized that so many of us wouldn't be willing to participate for various reasons: You don't like me, you don't care for somebody I might invite, you only hang out with certain people, you don't understand the big deal about Tyler Perry making yet another movie about black people and our issues for all the world to see, you don't like crowds, so n so is too ghetto, such and such is too uppity etc... It has ALWAYS amazed me that we as black women are each other’s biggest critics. We are the quickest to bring each other down, find each other’s faults and nitpick at a sister until she has nothing left, nothing left to give and then we step over her and call her worthless.

We take the prettiest women and tear them down for thinking "they are cute" but turn around and dog the average sista because "she know she should take better care of herself than that - can't believe she got a man!" We call strong women female dogs and accuse weaker women of riding somebody else's coat tails. We tell a big sista to put down her burger and turn around and criticize a skinny woman for not picking one up. We ride the loud mouth woman for "talking to darn much" and likewise torment the quiet woman for "Being too quiet and needing to take up for herself" Sad part is we don't discriminate, we talk about everybody!!!

I've watched women dog out everybody from Oprah for catering to white people and Halle Berry for not being able to keep a man to young Willow Smith for acting to darn grown in her recent video. All of these females are successful and there is something about each one of them to be proud of but a lot of us can't seem to see that. I have to wonder since we all share a common thread (whether we want to admit it or not) is there something about ourselves that we don't like, what has happened to us that we cannot seem to get along. Why is that we fight amongst ourselves, backstab & steal each others men(only to find out we should have left him where we found him). We cannot seem to be unified to support and stick up for one another. Everybody seems to be out for themselves while other groups unite against us but nobody else has to bring us down because we trample on the spirits of each other daily.

Even if you live in a mini mansion, drive a luxury car, have good credit, rich handsome husband etc, this does not mean that should look down your nose at the woman with 4 kids, no husband, living in income based housing struggling to keep her lights on.

We ALWAYS think the grass is greener on the other side, I had a woman who's child father is MIA tell me that I should never complain because I receive a decent amount of child support and I laughed and let her know that I would gladly give every dime back if he would come relieve some of this overwhelming pressure of feeling inadequate as a parent. If I could get just one full night of sleep or not always be on the verge of losing my job because I'm the one that has to call off or leave work for one reason or another to accommodate my child - yeah he could DEFINITELY have his money if I could have some peace!

Money alone doesn't make you happy (not true happiness), good credit doesn't keep you satisfied, beauty doesn't make you any less insecure, fame doesn't make you less vulnerable or cause you to be a good judge of character and being stuck up and mean doesn't keep you warm at night or prevent you from being lonely.

You don't know how the sista sitting right next to could have carefully put on her make up this morning to hide the beating from last night. The teacher you handed your child over to this morning could have sent her children off to school from a dark house with empty bellies. The teller you just got rude with at the bank could know that today is her last day on her job and have no idea how she is going to survive past next weekend.

The sista at the office that appears so busy could be typing her goodbyes to all the people that she loves because she plans to blow her brains out tonight after she tucks her babies into bed. The woman you pass in the hallway could be on her way to have an abortion because she fears what others might think or how the woman that sent you this e-mail may drink an over abundance of alcohol every night to mask the nightmares of an abusive childhood.

Ladies we HAVE TO DO BETTER!   I'm not suggesting that we all like each other and be phony, but I am asking that we all try to respect each other.

You HAVE NO IDEA what the next woman is going through, you don't know what past or current hurt and pains have shaped her into who she is today. We spend so much time trying to be as strong and hard as we are expected to be that we end up cracking from the inside out piece by piece. If we would spend 1/3 of the time we spend tearing each other down to build someone up, encourage someone, show someone some love, we could truly make a difference and save someone's life. PLEASE don't be the straw that breaks another woman's back. Believe me when I tell you that there is a woman out there that needs your smile, your hug, your support, your prayer.

I hope that you read this and get something out of it other than a laugh and that you pass this on to as many women as you can to let someone know that you believe they are somebody special and that if need be you are available to listen. Nothing bad is going to happen if you don't forward this e-mail, but I'd like to think that something positive will happen if you choose to pass it along. May favor be extended to each and everyone of your lives, keep your head up and know that someone somewhere cares!

BLACK GURLZ ROCKS!
by Louise Rutherford on November 11, 2010
Posted to Mingle City, view original article here.
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Meet C. Jay founder of the Risque Cafe

Meet C. Jay founder of the Risque Cafe




The Risque Cafe's  purpose is to create an outlet that will bring more awareness to the Art of Literature, extend authors craft abroad, and promote unity within the literary community. We plan and promote events to bring readers and authors together plus facilitate activities pertaining to an intimate yet fun setting.


Ella: What exactly does your company do for the client?
One of our primary services is literary event planning/management. We at The Risque Cafe are very big on themes and getting the participants to be interactive at the events. This allows them not only to attend the event but to be apart of the event which in return creates a memorable experience for them as a guest. One of our goals is to change the perception people have when it comes to book signings, readings, or pretty much anything pertaining to literature....reading can be fun. We showcase authors and their books as well as advertise and promote events everywhere through several creative productive outlets.


Ella: What's coming soon for The Risque Cafe?
The Risque Cafe and its partners are hosting a national campaign called Losing 4 Literacy. This campaign will bring more awareness to the literary arts and healthcare plus bring communities together on a local as well as national level. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who is a philanthropist at heart to give back and experience a positive life change.

Losing 4 Literacy is a 12-week weight-loss/wellness challenge organized with the purpose of helping establish a nonprofit organization that will empower inner-city and troubled youths to express themselves in a positive manner, bring awareness to the literary community and promote healthier lifestyles.

At the end of the 12-week challenge, the top 3 teams with the highest percentage of weight loss will be awarded a cash prize, products, books, and more. We even have a surprise celebrity helping with the project. I can't release that information until all the paperwork has been completed and signed.


Ella: How would you describe your experience as a Entrepreneur?Great, I would not change it for the world! I have had my challenges like anyone else but for the most part, GOD has been good to me. I've been blessed to meet some great people throughout my journey, like you, Ella and a lot more. So again, the experience has been great.


Ella: What advise would you give someone just starting out?
Be ready to work. Nothing is going to be given to you. It takes time to build but with persistence, late nights, and hard work anything is possible.


Ella: What's new in your company?The Risque Cafe is planning on doing some road trips. We want to spread the experience of being a part of a "literary event" to people everywhere. Plus our non-profit organization will be established and we will be collaborating with authors, publishers, and other literary base companies on different joint business adventures and workshops.


Follow The Risque Cafewww.therisquecafe.com, www.myspace.com/therisquecafe
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Bookclub: Judy Stewart and Essence of Knowledge

Meet the Essence of Knowledge Book Club Louisiana


 
Essence of Knowledge Book Club was founded in September 2003, by a group of co-workers who loved reading books. They invited family and friends to join for group sessions.

From that point on, we became a book club and started meeting once a month discussing books with refreshments and going to different outings. At that time, Judy Stewart was nominated as president of the book club, along with other officers.

We started with 18 members, but due to Hurricane Katrina, most of our members were displaced. We currently have 10 active members. We still consider our displaced members as our honorary members of the club. When they are home in Louisiana, they are welcome to attend our meetings.

The name "Essence of Knowledge" has a meaning of African American, educated women who strives to accomplish our goals of life. We are a group of African American women that supports literacy and decided to use literacy as a tool to support one another and share life experiences that will allow us to make wiser choices and gain knowledge within our circle.


Vision of Essence of Knowledge Book Club Our vision is to expand our reading level to a new level. We would like to have many meet and greets with various authors. Our goal is to continuously volunteer and donate to organizations and to our community. Some of the organizations we have participated with are Samaritan Purse and the Covenant House. We also strive to support new authors around the nation and in Louisiana, especially New Orleans.


How important is reading to you?Reading is important because it is knowledgeable. Reading can broaden your mind and ideas. It can give you a deeper understanding on how to explain your feelings and experiences that you have encountered through your life. Reading also meditates your mind from a long day at work.


Finish this sentence: Living your best life includes... Living your best life includes...being happy and prosperous in whatever you may want to accomplish.


The book all readers should own besides the bible: "The Child of God" by Lolita Files.


The book that changed your life: "The Penny" by Joyce Meyers and Deborah Bedford and "The Power of Being a Women" by McKinney Hammond.


Favorite Series: Curtis Black series by Kimberla Lawson Roby and Dutch by Kwame Teague/Terri Woods


Name your top 3 authors and why.
Noire, Zane and Kimberla Lawson Roby - Each author writes their books as a page turner, which are full of action and suspense.


Three authors you would like to do a phone chat with this year.Terri Woods, Zane, and Steve Harvey


News and Event:We are planning to attend the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta, for the first time.


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Bookclub: Only One Key Stroke Away (O.O.S.A.)

Meet Only One Key Stroke Away (O.O.S.A.) Book Club



 Only One Key Stroke Away (O.O.S.A.) was founded in January of 2005 by a group of readers, wishing to share their thoughts and opinions with others. We started out as a group that simply read together. Eventually we moved to inviting authors to chat with us about their books. Shortly thereafter, we decided to review our selected reads.

Our reviews are posted at several sites including: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, MySpace and GoodReads. The rest is … OOSA! Our resume includes hundreds of titles of varying genres as our motto is: OOSA Gets It Read!


Ella: What is the vision for your organization? We do not have a president. We are a team and there is no “I” in team. We each have responsibilities and tasks that make OOSA what it is. We are an online book club and reviewing team that focuses on African American authors. We wish to further promote African American literature by taking special interest in new and self published authors. We read, review and recommend.


Ella: How important reading is to you? It’s cliché, but reading is fundamental. It’s the corner stone to life. We read everyday in our lives, whether we want to or not. Because literacy is so important we believe in starting as early as possible. The Ladies of OOSA are mothers, grandmothers and aunts. We promote literacy within our families first. When our children see us reading and enjoying ourselves, it encourages them to read. They learn reading is not a chore but something fun to do. What better method than to teach by example.


Ella: Favorite couple from a book: Nina and Dutch (Dutch - Kwame Teague), Yuri and Britt (The Sweetest Taboo - Risque), Portia and Jay (A Dollar Outta Fifteen Cent - Caroline McGill), Clark and Devin (Caught in the Mix - Candice Dow) and Natalia and Shawn (Triangle of Sins - Nurit Folkes).


Ella: Favorite genre, series or sequels:
We are a group of avid readers with various tastes in literature. As such, we really don’t have particular preferred genres. We welcome and enjoy all genres. Some of our favorite sequels include: Little Black Girl Lost by Keith Lee Johnson, the True2Life series by Al-Saadiq Banks, Dutch by Kwame Teague, Naughty by Brenda Hampton, the Vernetta Henderson legal thrillers by Pamela Samuels Young and the Dilemma series by Reign.


Ella: Name three authors you would like to chat with this year. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had phone chats this year with several of our favorite authors including Mike Sanders, Torrian Ferguson, Kwame ‘Dutch’ Teague, Anthony Fields and Al-Saadiq Banks. We’re hoping to get in a few more before the year comes to an end.


Ella: Share your news or events with us.
What’s next…more Author Spotlights and contests.. And as always, we read, review and recommend. It’s what we do.

Book club and contact info: Website: http://www.oosaonlinebookclub.com/   
www.facebook.com/oosaonlinebookclub
  


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