Intimate Conversation with Shaquana Jackson

Intimate Conversation with Shaquana Jackson

Shaquana Jackson was born in Lafayette, LA but currently resides in Abbeville, LA. She has a degree in General Studies with an concentration in Liberal Arts. She began writing at the age of ten when she encountered an accident that changed things in her life from that point on. However, she says it was a blessing because she may have never discovered her talent given from God above.

Sher writes short stories, poetry, TV and movie scripts, music, and novels. Her goals are to one day become New York Times Bestseller and to write, produce, and direct her own films.  Shaquana is a proud mother of a beautiful daughter by the name of Asia’Lynn Harris.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, Now That the Cover is Removed  and the main characters. 
Now That the Cover is Removed will be released on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Makeup and laughter is what Justina uses to cover up her beatings and pain that comes from within her very own home. She's living a life that she never thought she would live with her mother and the misery from her past. Along with abuse, Justina has to deal with a long lost sibling who wants her dead and seeks to carry out a wayward dream of becoming Justina. Justina’s past love interests tag along for the thrill of keeping her in despair. The past knows Justina weakness and tests her to see how long it will be before she will break free from all harm. Will she have enough strength and determination to forgive her abusers, find redemption and stare danger in the face to remain alive?

Colleen is a successful counselor who seems to have more problems than her patients. Along with dealing with family issues at home, she puts herself in harm’s way when trying to counsel someone she has a strong connection with. Getting too close to her patients opens doors that no one can seem to close. She begins to lose her ability to keep work, because she becomes too intimate with her client's lives and struggles. This also causes major problems within her marriage. Will Colleen lose what she has spent her life working for as she tries to capture what she lost years ago?

Aalisa's dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author has come true, but it brings along the unforeseen dangers of becoming famous, which opens her life up for scrutiny. On her rise to the top, Aalisa has to come to grips with the fact she doesn't know how to accept the good along with the bad. A diabolical stalker from the past finds her and refuses to leave her alive this time! Her stalker’s obsession has taken precedence in Aalisa’s life because it now involves the safety of her only child. Aalisa must find a way to destroy her past, so that she can save her child. Will she stop the stalker and continue on with her life, so that she can focus on the romance she so longs for?

To conquer all the drama and heartache the three friends face, they must confide in one another and let their damaging secrets be known, in order to help conquer their situations. Even though it’s a hard pill to swallow, telling each other the shocking secrets they have held in for years might change their lives for the better and even put their past to rest at last.

BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
At the age of ten I had an accident that changed certain things in my life. However God works in mysterious ways, so I believed by me going through my circumstances He revealed my talents that I many have never known otherwise.

BPM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family?
My hometown is one entity that supported me outside of my family. No matter my downfalls as an author they still showed me the same respect as an author. My hometown continues to support, uplift, and believe in my dreams even when I had doubts myself. I’m glad to have each and every one of them on this amazing journey.

BPM: What does “growth” mean to you?
Growth means a change from where you started or a change in a circumstance by learning from your past to embrace the future!

BPM: What does “challenge” means to you? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?
Challenge is overcoming the impossible even when no one else believes in you. Challenge is stepping out on faith knowing even if you fall you will get back up. Whatever God place within you going after it is a challenge within itself!  My writing can be very challenging because I write experiences for my characters that I have never experience or will experience in my lifetime.

BPM: Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? If you write in more than one genre, how do you balance them?
I choose Women’s fiction or Chic-lit with the intent to inspire and empower girls and women across the country even though its fiction most women can relate to anyone of the characters or relate somewhere down the line. It shows women or girls may go through many tragedies or downfalls but yet still be blessed and successful at the end.

I write in many genres which is a blessing itself! I write for the youth as well as adults and balance them quite well by switching up for readers to enjoy my books with their youth or spend time reading the adult chic-lit!

BPM: How does your book relate to your present spiritual practice or other life path?
My book relates to my present situation in more ways than one. Even though I experienced some tragedies and made some unwise choices like my characters in my youth I still pulled through with an education and endure success. However, even experiencing success it doesn’t excuse you from secrets that may have been buried or the past who continues to haunt you from time to time.

BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
My faith inspires my writing tremendously. I believe it is my calling from God himself. He instilled words in me to inspire many! I pray for his continuance in lifting others through my writing.

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to gain the fact that no one is excused from life’s mishaps and courageous circumstances that life throws our way but to have the knowledge and wisdom to learn from what hinder us and keep moving.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer?
My goals as a writer is to educate, inspire, and of course entertain! I write close as to reality as I can so that someone who maybe going through the same thing as one of my characters could maybe see a way out or go about dealing with their circumstance in a different way. Also, characters who deal with something similar issue to one’s life experience overcome that to receive a better future may inspire others to keep striving no matter the circumstance.

BPM: Do you think book sales are the only indicator of your success as a writer?
Book sales are not the only indicator of success. To have a book published is a success within itself! A published book is a tremendous accomplishment! However, just to inspire many or change one person life is an indicator of success as a writer.

BPM:  Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers….”
My writing offers the following legacy to readers are the understanding that some people’s experiences or life’s unexpected may not be the same but through faith and the coming together with family or friends you can overcome the impossible.

BPM: What can we expect to see/read from you during the next stage of your career? 
You can expect to see more series with drama and twist of women who endured the hardships and the good life whose past continues to unbury itself and pay them an unexpected visit at the wrong time!

BPM: How may your readers follow you?
Shaquana Jackson
P.O. Box 988, Abbeville, LA 70511


Without Faith by Leslie J. Sherrod

Sienna St. James Series
by Leslie J. Sherrod

Listen to the author's interview on BAN Radio Show

She’s a sleuth. She’s a scorned wife. She’s a sista on a mission. Sienna St. James is more than a sharp-witted social worker. She’s a problem solver who keeps getting pulled into life-and-death mysteries that only complicate her already complex life. With a head-strong teenage son and a missing, estranged husband - who could be anywhere on the globe - Sienna has to figure out what gets her focus first: the questions she has about her own love and loss or the dangerous quirks and dark confusion of her current clients... And then there are the current eligible men around her who are jockeying for position, waiting for her to make up her mind about it all.

Featured Books by Leslie J. Sherrod
* Losing Hope    (Available Now)
* Without Faith   (
Available Now)
* Sacrifices of Joy  (Coming Spring 2014)

About Losing Hope: 
Social worker Sienna St. James is a woman with a complicated past and an alarming Tuesday morning. In one single day, every advance Sienna has made in getting over her long lost globe-trotting husband unravels in unexplainable fashion. From a mysterious package that hails from another continent to a new teen client who claims to have a missing sister, Sienna finds herself in the middle of a city-wide scandal, all while sorting out the painful details of her personal life. At center are two suspicious foster parents, a mega-church ministry leader, and Sienna's own fragile emotions over a man who changed the direction of her life. It's a test of her professional and moral will as Sienna seeks closure from a love she never understood and answers about whether a little girl named Hope ever existed. And if she did, where is she now? In this first installment of the suspenseful Sienna St. James Series, finding hope in the midst of questions and chaos becomes essential when life takes an unexpected turn.

About Without Faith:
She’s moved forward, but has she really moved ahead? Social worker Sienna St. James is no stranger to setbacks. As far as she is concerned, her estranged husband set her back and off course over a decade ago. Now, she has reclaimed her sense of hope and purpose, set up a new therapy practice, bought a new home, and has finally moved on. Maybe. 

When a wealthy, secretive new couple she’s counseling pulls her into their very real life-and-death drama, and her long-lost husband’s whereabouts can no longer be ignored, Sienna realizes the truth about what has kept her emotionally frozen and fragile—it’s fear. Ready or not, she has frightening challenges to overcome: a kidnapping, a teenage son who’s gone AWOL, a tired-of-waiting potential new beau, and a journalist who’s made it clear that he’s interested in getting more from her than the breaking news the twists in her life are offering. Torn by professional and personal struggles that have now become a full blown war, Sienna must come face-to-face with her deepest fears—and survive them—before it’s too late.

Excerpt from WITHOUT FAITH 

“Make a U-turn. Now turn left at the light.”

His face was hidden from me, but his voice served as a menacing GPS, weaving me in and out of the suburbs and finally into the narrow side streets of East Baltimore. Any lessons I’d had about self-defense, whether to scream, whether to fight back or keep still, had gone out of the window the minute I’d felt that cold metal on my neck.

“Make this turn here. Okay, right.” His voice sounded youthful, but the gun told me he was not playing games.

After almost an hour had gone by, I found courage to speak.

“I’m going to run out of gas.”

“Shut up and turn left at the stop sign.”

We drove for ten minutes more as I wondered if these were my last moments. I looked at the people, buildings, homes, and cars around me anew, trying to savor small details that I probably would not have even noticed any other time. I counted trees that grew out of small patches of dirt in the concrete; noticed the handwritten store signs on some corner stores; listened to the loud laugh of a woman with a short, scruffy ponytail sitting on a stoop with a group of giggling toddlers; imagined Roman never knowing what ever happened to either his mother or his father; Leon never knowing that my heart wanted to love him; Laz wondering what ever happened to his beautiful silver BMW.

“Right here. Stop. The third house down,” the man’s voice interrupted. “Get out. Go straight to the door.”

We’d stopped in front of a narrow row house near East Biddle Street, I think. My mind had gone numb and my memory evaded me. All I could see were crumbling brick steps, a dingy front door, and a single potted plant on the cement porch. He used a key to open the door and used the gun to beckon me inside. My eyes adjusted to the dark interior of a living room in shambles.

“David? Is that you?” A large woman in a wheelchair sat in the darkness, an oxygen tube running from her nose, her hair done in two sloppy, graying cornrows, her eyes staring off into space. She appeared to be blind. “You picked up my medicine?”

“Yes, Grandma. I’ll get your water in just a minute.” He walked behind me, pushing me forward, the tip of the gun now at the center of my spine. His breaths were as labored as mine.

Both of us were scared.

He seemed to be pushing me toward the kitchen, toward a closed door that sat right beyond a large pantry.

“David,” the woman’s shrill voice called out again, “someone with you?”

“It’s okay, Grandma. I’m getting your water.”

He reached from behind me and opened the door, and I saw that his hands looked massive, powerful. “Go down there,” he whispered, nudging me down unfinished wooden steps. I took the first one and the door clicked closed behind me. I heard him lock it.

“I’m sorry I had to do it like this.” A voice from the crawl space behind the stairs whipped my head around. There in the shadows of the stairwell sat....

( Continues... )

Excerpt from LOSING HOPE 

“So Dayonna has been here a few days now. Tell me how things are going for each of you.” I made certain to share eye contact with all three to ensure nobody felt excluded from my invitation to talk. In doing so, I did not miss the brief moments of silence that suddenly took over the room. The Monroes looked at each other again, though I could not read what emotion passed between them.

“Everything has been quite perfect, to be honest with you.” The gap in Mrs. Monroe’s upper teeth showed through her smile.

But her bottom lip was quivering.

“Yes, indeed.” Mr. Monroe’s voice sounded louder than necessary. “No problems here.”

I looked over at Dayonna, who stared back at me with a blank look on her face. “Your thoughts on how things are going so far?” I inquired.

She said nothing, only continued to stare at me with that blank, unreadable look.

Teenagers were some of the most difficult people to navigate, even without a mental health diagnosis.

“Well . . . ?” I shuffled through some papers in my lap, trying to figure out what words would break the apparent agreed-upon code of silence suddenly permeating the living room. Despite all my training, at times I still felt like a novice. “So . . . ,” I said, beginning again, “everything is going well?”

“All is well.” Mr. Monroe gave a plastic grin.

Mrs. Monroe nodded her head in agreement, a crazed smile on her face.

“Perhaps I can talk to each of you individually.” I glanced over at Dayonna, whose lips were pursed, as if she was about to finally speak.

“Ms. St. James, we appreciate you stopping by today, but as my husband said, we need to start getting ready for Bible study. Perhaps we can finish this visit another time?” Mrs. Monroe’s smile did not waver.

There was nothing else for me to say or do. I gathered my things and casually headed for the door. “Okay. I’ll come back on Thursday, same time, okay?”

“That’s perfect.” Mrs. Monroe clasped her hands together. “We’ll have more time to talk then.”

As I stepped out onto the porch, Dayonna was suddenly next to me, walking down the steps with me. She walked so close to me that my attaché was pinned between us.

“Wh-where are you going, little Miss Diamond?” Mr. Monroe called after us.

“Just walking Ms. St. James to her car,” she shouted back. I stayed quiet, feeling like I needed to let things go wherever they were heading without my interruption. I could see Mrs. Monroe struggling to get out of her house slippers and put on her shoes. She wanted to come outside with us.

But I was already at my car.

“Is everything really okay, Dayonna?” I gave her my warmest smile. She was quiet as I opened the driver’s side door and threw my attaché over to the passenger seat. She shrugged her shoulders and turned as if to leave but then was suddenly next to my ear.

“You gotta get me out of here.” Dayonna’s voice was a sharp whisper.

“Why? What’s wrong?” I was pleased to finally be getting somewhere.

Dayonna frowned and looked me straight in my eyes. “They’re going to kill me.”

( Continues... ) 

© 2012 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author Leslie J. Sherrod. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

Raising Redemption by R. A. Russell

Raising Redemption by R. A. Russell

The author discusses the book on BAN Radio Show, go here.

Recalling such epic novels as Roots and The Joy Luck Club, R. A. Russell’s sweeping drama chronicles four generations of the Tilman family as they search for the things that will relieve the pain of the past. With its roots in 1975, Raising Redemption is a stirring and provocative story of the shame, secrets, sacrifice and struggle of an African American family who has worked to establish a name synonymous with respect, honor and dignity. Raising Redemption brings readers on a journey to discover the ultimate gift of love and the true legacy left for the Tilman women to embrace.

For Alicia Tilman, a seventeen-year-old girl on her way to Radcliffe, meeting her parents’ expectations means everything. But when Dickey Samson comes around, Alicia defies her father’s longstanding rule that she stay away from the boy, and is unprepared for the consequences that rain down upon her: a baby, a near shooting, estrangement.

Learning the dark family secret behind her father’s warning, Alicia leaves her home in Chesapeake, Virginia, and heads for San Francisco, a big city on the opposite coast, whose pictures always look pretty. Alone, pregnant, and homeless, Alicia makes a decision that will alter her relationship with her family forever: making a new home for herself at Lil’s Place, an escort service of girls who become Alicia’s confidantes, sisters.

After placing her son for adoption, Alicia realizes that success is the only solution to shame, and struggles to become worthy of the symbolic silver teapot handed down among the noble Tilman women. As the years go by, and her efforts build, Alicia is determined to reconnect with her mother, her father, and her son, whose life she had protected at the risk of ruining her own.

Raising Redemption is a sweeping tribute to the salvation we can only find from within.   More about the book and the author:

Excerpt from Raising Redemption


The Taste of Soil 1930

Mabel Tilman stooped over a wood-burning stove, stirring simmering rice. Shadows crept around her. She lit a kerosene lamp and hobbled to the front door of her three-room shanty, then peered outside as dusk settled on Chesapeake. “Marjorie?” she yelled, searching for her daughter. “Marge?”

Should have been home by now, thought Mabel. Maybe she helping out one of them teachers of hers. She gone be somebody, doing all that homework I can’t help her with no more, all them crazy numbers and letters she got going this way and that in the math she taking. She just like her daddy was, smart as a whip. She grown up, too, already fifteen, and the men done started eyeing her.

Mabel moved back to the stove and eased the pot off the fire. I better get to the outhouse ’fore it get too dark. She grabbed a walking stick and ambled outside, crunching over dried dirt and windblown leaves. When she returned to her doorstep, Mabel scanned the nearby woods, but she saw only emptiness amongst the trees. Where is that girl? she wondered, stomping off debris. Then she stepped inside and felt the presence of another. She brandished her stick, searching across the room until she found the outline of her daughter cowering in a corner.

“Marge, where you been? I been worried about you, girl. What you doing over there? Come out so I can see you. Come give your mama a hug.”

Marjorie staggered out of the shadows, her eyes cast downward. Mabel squinted at features once clean and sharp, now bloodied and swollen. She bolted for her daughter.

“What happened to you? Your face! Look at these clothes! That blood on this skirt? Oh, my God, no. Oh, no. Oh, Lordy, no! Who did this? Who did it! I said who?”

Mabel waited for an answer, but Marjorie remained mute.

“You ain’t saying, I see. Then I know who. I’m right, ain’t I? It was him, wadn’t it? Tell your mama, or give me a sign.”

Marjorie glanced at her mother and issued a sob.

“I knew it,” screamed Mabel. “That evil, low-down fucker! Lord Almighty, strike the bastard down! Strike him down, Lord. If there’s a God in heaven, strike the good-for-nothing bastard down, down, down, down, down!”

Mabel’s mournful cry pierced the walls and filled the air. The only response: sympathetic howls from neighboring dogs.

Marjorie remained silent as she dried her tears. Gone was the lively spark, the joyful smile, the trademark laughter; now, an expression of shame, regret, and helplessness.

Mabel gathered Marjorie into her arms, attempting to stroke away the pain. She had the horrible feeling that just as she had when pregnant with Marjorie, her baby girl would soon crave the taste of soil.

(  Continues...  )

 Copyright © 2013 by R. A. Russell.   All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, R. A. Russell.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

Buy the Book Today!


From the Author:

A Good Dose of Pleasure by Zuri Day

A Good Dose of Pleasure
(The Morgan Men) by Zuri Day

When artist Anise Cartier leaves Nebraska for L.A., she's finally ready to put the past and its losses behind her. She’s even taken a new name to match her new future. And she soon finds a welcoming committee in the form of one very handsome doctor, Gregory  Morgan. Their attraction is instant. So is their animosity.

Anise's goal is to start an art gallery, while Gregory is in a fierce competition for a multimillion-dollar medical research grant  . His opponent for the coveted funding is not Gregory’s only problem. The beloved artist community where Anise plans to set up shop is the same location slated to be demolished to make way for the new research center. Soon, it’s a battle between art and science—one that neither Anise nor Gregory intend to lose. Their passion is intense, but can this heated war of wills lead to a lifetime of red hot love? 

Book Review
"People pursuing their dreams is always a good starting point for love, but drama will ensue."
–RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Read an Excerpt

Dr. Gregory Morgan turned onto his street, having just finished a rare twenty-four hours straight at the hospital, almost half of them in surgery. His usual grind was twelve, twelve-hour shifts a month, but last night a seven-car pileup during rush hour traffic had occurred on the 10 Freeway,  leaving one person dead and a dozen critically injured. UCLA’s emergency room had been filled to capacity and beyond, with him and a team of four other doctors working round the clock to save lives. Fortunately, they had. Aside from the young man who’d died when his vehicle had spun out of control and been broadsided, no one else had lost their life as a result of this unfortunate accident. Yawning deeply, he rubbed his eyes, already envisioning at least eight uninterrupted hours of deep, dreamless sleep on his king-sized memory foam mattress.

He was four houses away from his own home when he saw her: a darkly tanned treat, all legs and cute behind with shoulder-length hair pulled back in a simple ponytail. Beside her was a dog that could have doubled as a Shetland pony . Gregory couldn’t ascertain whether she was walking her dog, or the dog was walking her. Hello, neighbor! He slowed to watch how her butt seemed to wink at him with each long stride, how the muscles in her calves became defined when foot met pavement, and how her arms and legs flowed in effortless synchronicity. As his pearl white Mercedes cruised alongside her, she tugged her huge dog to the side of the road and glanced over at his car.  Their eyes locked. Gregory’s breath caught in his chest. Wow. She was as beautiful from the front as she was from the back: big eyes, pert nose, big juicy lips that had him licking his own. Without realizing, he’d slowed his car almost to a stop, temporarily mesmerized by the bewitching natural beauty now half smiling, half frowning as she once again neared his car.

He was straight up busted and too tired—and interested—to care that she’d peeped his stalkerish behavior. Also missing from action was his recent decision to lay off the ladies and put all of his attention to his medical research. Right now, however, Gregory was interested in researching something else. Pressing on the brake, he pushed the button to ease down the window on the passenger side and blessed her with a grand piano smile. “Good morning.”

“Hey,” she said, with about as much enthusiasm as a nun in a porn store. The beast growled. Gregory frowned. Great. You can ride it in a rodeo and then have it guard your house. Both owner and dog kept it moving.
Undeterred, Gregory released the brake and pressed down on the gas pedal. He glimpsed a hint of smile before she turned her head. “Oh, it’s like that? You’re going to just throw a ‘hey’ over your shoulder and keep running?”
“Yes,” the stranger replied, her eyes slightly narrowed and daring as she answered. “It’s just like that.” She broke into a sprint and cut through a neighboring yard, her four-legged protector right on her heels.
Gregory turned the corner. Beauty and the beast were nowhere in sight. He peered farther down the street before turning into the alley that led to the detached garage at the back of his Hancock Park home. That was fast. Where could she have gone? After parking the car, he walked through the rarely enjoyed backyard that had been meticulously landscaped and into the two-story traditional home he’d purchased for a steal when the housing market collapsed several years ago. The back door opened into a hallway with the laundry room on one side and a mud closet on the other. A short walk and a turn landed one into the updated gourmet kitchen, which anchored the open-concept living space next to a mahogany staircase. Gregory didn’t notice any of this as he retrieved a glass of orange juice from the refrigerator before mounting the stairs and heading for the master suite. He didn’t think of his marble-encased shower with the dual rain forest showerheads as he undressed and stepped into the soothing water stream.

As he washed away the tension of the stress-filled shift he’d just finished, Gregory was only vaguely aware of his surroundings. He was too busy thinking about sun-kissed skin and a dazzling smile from the stranger who’d told him it was “just like that.”

(  Continues...  )

 Copyright © 2013 by Zuri Day.   All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

A Good Dose of Pleasure  by Zuri Day

Purchase your copy today:

About the Author

Zuri Day
is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. An EMMA and African-American Literary Awards winner, two of her novels were also finalists in the Romantic Times Best Multicultural Romance category. Along with titillating the sensual senses, Zuri loves to stimulate provocative thought on timely, relevant topics that will benefit her community of readers. She believes in true love, half-full glasses and dreams coming true. Along with writing, hearing from readers is one of her favorite things to have happen, so she’d love to hear from you! Connect via her website, or on Facebook @ haveazuriday.

One Family's AIDS by J'son M. Lee

One Family's AIDS by J'son M. Lee

One Family's AIDS
by J'son M. Lee  is the story of Gene Alexander McCoy - a young, educated African-American man who finds himself in a race for time to make peace with his family and God upon being diagnosed with HIV.

The story, told from four different perspectives, chronicles Gene's life as he confronts such issues as HIV/AIDS, family, abandonment and homophobia. With the help of his over-bearing mother, a nurturing grandmother, and an uncle who doesn't feel comfortable talking about Gene's sexuality or disease, we learn the complexities of love and relationships, the damaging results of fear and shame, and how the relentless quest for the truth ultimately leads us back to each other.

** Amazon Book 5-Star Book Review
Written by D. Roseborough

I read this book because I was diagnosed with AIDS in 2003 and enjoy being educated. As I'm reading this book I was captivated by the thoughts of the family that were detailed in a unique way. I recommend this book to AIDS service organizations and the play should be on the road enlightening the population affected and infected by this disease. Great job!

** Amazon Book 5-Star Book Review
Written by  Spelling Girl

One Family's Aids by author J'son M. Lee provides a first person account of one family dealing with HIV/AIDS. Mr. Lee offers the reader tremendous insight into personal family perspectives as each character in the story is given the chance to tell the story the way he or she sees it. The subject of HIV/AIDS even in this modern age is such a taboo topic but Author Lee manages it in such a way that the disease is a part of the family yet family is the greater focus. I truly applaud the author's choice to provide a quiz in the back that serves as another means of informing and engaging the reader. Well done Mr. Lee. This one is truly touching! I look forward to reading more from this conscientious author.

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Personal Transformation: The New 5 Agreements in the Workplace

Releasing the Human Spirit: Mastery in the Workplace

Personal transformation is a wonderful thing, but transforming the workplace requires more.
To create a successful and supportive environment we must look not only at transforming fear-based systems into love-based ones, but also at transforming the people within that environment. We must look at enhancing their personal freedom and releasing the human spirit in the workplace. If you want to change the results created in your workplace, you have to shift your systems.

Everything is created twice: first in the mind, then in the physical domain. What if we could clearly envision our businesses and organizations as centers of enterprise and learning where people became healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually? What if we could become a living model for the full and human potential of work?

If all parts of the business mind are integrated and working in a holistic manner, the business is balanced, its culture is nurturing and it is a place where individuals grow and prosper along with the business. The energy of a balanced organization is complete.

However, most American workplaces are far from balanced. They tend to be dominated by the masculine and authoritarian, operating out of the old paradigm that values masculine influences, logic, data, authority figures, rules, regulations, and policies. The other two parts of the whole that are essential to its holistic power, the feminine and the spiritual, have traditionally been suppressed or even outright ostracized. The new leaders must begin to embrace all aspects of themselves if they are to create businesses that are balanced, whole, energetic, and wildly successful.

In The New Agreements in the Workplace - Releasing the Human Spirit, David Dibble presents a simple yet powerful process any business can pursue to reach new levels of improved performance, profitability and overall success of the enterprise. Using a wealth of experience as corporate CEO, systems thinker, management consultant and teacher who studied with don Miguel Ruiz.  The New Agreements in the Workplace offers a process that integrates personal growth and personal freedom with a method of management based upon systems thinking and reexamining obsolete agreements and habits that are taken for granted in the workplace.

Practicing these five simple agreements can produce both joyful employees and successful organizations based on a revolutionary idea that focuses on something seldom seen but desperately needed in the modern workplace: love.

1. Find Your Path: 
Releasing the creative human spirit in the workplace is a journey. Before you can hope to effect change that involves other people, your workplace, or your systems, you must first and foremost find your own personal path and begin to experience the personal renaissance of a transformed life. A true inclusive path is a road map that includes practices and support along the way that ignites in you a higher purpose for work based in love.

2. Love, Grow and Serve Your People:   The workplace is alive because it is made of people. When the leader holds the energy of intent for the group, others begin to feel their own essence, which is, of course, love. When you love your people, you’ll love your work. When you grow your people by helping them increase their capabilities and expand their skill sets, you’ll grow the business or the organization. When you focus on loving and growing your people, they can focus on loving and serving your customers, your suppliers, the world.

Most important, love, growth and service to others creates an environment where you can release the creative power of the human spirit. When we replace the fear in our organizations with the emotional energy of love, growth and service to others, we will see dramatic improvements in productivity, morale, creativity, teamwork, quality, and of course, sales and profits.

3. Mind Your Mind in the Moment:  Your mind creates your reality at work and at home. In the not too distant future, the new leaders of business will operate from more of a quantum perspective – one that acknowledges and uses the energies and interconnections that exist among all people and organizations. Minding the mind in the moment means being aware of your emotional energy in the moment.

The emotional energy of an organization creates a field of energy that can be felt and experienced. When customers walk into the lobby of a business for the first time, they get a "feeling" for the business. How they will experience a particular field of energy depends on the source of the energy. Does the company radiate love or does it radiate fear? If the emotional energy comes from love, it will feel good to be there, both for the people working in the organization and the customers they serve.

4. Shift Your Systems:  
Systems are the formal and informal policies, procedures, habits and agreements that tell you how to do things in the workplace. To release your creative human spirit, you must shift from the fear and control that drives most workplace systems to ones of love and support. In organizations, stress in the business systems usually takes the form of stress on the people who work in, or are affected by those systems. Excessive overtime, making the same mistakes, frustration, anger, disruptive office politics and low morale are all symptoms of stressed systems. People operating inside such a system will generally feel agitated or stirred up. Trapped in such an environment, their frustration eventually evolves into hopelessness and results in the depression of their human spirit.

Our systems have never been more in need of repair than they seem to be now. It’s time. It’s time for transformation both in ourselves and in our systems.

Transforming dysfunctional systems can be achieved by following three key steps: 1) Examine and understand the current condition, 2) focus on the critical 20 percent of the issues, and 3) make immediate changes.

5. Practice a Little Every Day:
  To make the New Agreements a reality, you must practice a little every day. As you practice you will notice change. With regular practice you become the New Agreements. This is true mastery. The time is now. We have this wonderful opportunity to support each other and work together so that we can produce the miraculous transformations that will result in a new workplace and a new world in our lifetimes. We can. We will. It’s time.

David Dibble, author of The New Agreements in the Workplace: Releasing the Human Spirit, is a former CEO, systems thinker and management consultant. He walked the Toltec path for eight years with his teacher, don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. Then, in 1998, David and Miguel agreed it was time for David to take the teachings into the workplace.  For more information, so to

More from this source:

Being a More Empowered Woman by Louise L. Hay

Being an Empowered Woman 
by Louise L. Hay

Sharing a wonderful article about her book, source.

Purchase your copy here.

The following ideas are taken from Louise L. Hay's book, Empowering Women, Every Woman's Guide to Successful Living. Hay is the author of 18 books, including You Can Heal Your Life.  The smallest positive change in your thinking can begin to unravel the biggest problem. When you ask the right questions of Life, Life will answer!

There are many ways to make our changes.
We could also begin to honestly look at our flaws NOT by looking at what is WRONG with us, but to see the barriers that we have put up that keep us from being all that we learned in childhood. They never were true for us. We merely accepted someone else's belief system. If we learned these thoughts once, then we can now unlearn them. We acknowledge that we are willing to learn to love ourselves. And then we develop a few guidelines.

1. Stop All Criticism-  It is a useless act; it never accomplishes anything positive. Don't criticize yourself; lift that burden from yourself. Don't criticize others either, as the faults we usually find in others are merely projections of the things we don't like in ourselves. Thinking negatively about another person is one of the greatest causes of limitation in our own lives. Only we judge ourselves, not Life, not God, not the Universe.

2. Don't Scare Yourself- We all want to stop that. Too often we terrorize ourselves with our own thoughts. We can only think one thought at a time. Let's learn to think in positive affirmations. In this way, our thinking will change our lives for the better. If you catch yourself scaring yourself again, immediately say, "I release the need to scare myself. I am a divine, magnificent expression of life, and I am living fully from this moment on."

3. Be Committed to the Relationship- You Have With Yourself We get so committed to other relationships, but we tend to toss ourselves away. We get around to ourselves now and then. So, really care for who you are. Be committed to loving yourself. Take care of your heart and soul.

4. Treat Yourself as Though You Are Loved-
  Respect and cherish yourself. As you love yourself, you will be more open to love from others. The Law of Love requires that you focus your attention on what you do want, rather than what you don't want. Focus on loving you.

5. Take Care of Your Body- Your body is a precious temple. If you are going to live a long, fulfilling life, then you want to take care of yourself now. You want to look good, and most of all, feel good and have lots of energy. Nutrition and exercise are important. You want to keep your body flexible and moving easily until your last day on the planet.

6. Educate Yourself- Too often we complain that we don't know this or that and we don't know what to do. But we are bright and smart, and we can learn. There are books and classes and tapes everywhere. If money is a consideration, then use the library. Find a self-help group. They are listed under Community Services in the yellow pages of the telephone book. I know I shall be learning until my very last day.

7. Build a Financial Future For Yourself- Every woman has a right to have money of her own. This is a significant belief for us to accept. It is part of our self-worth. We can always start on a small level. The important thing is that we keep saving. Affirmations are good to use here.

8. Fulfill Your Creative Side-
Creativity can be any activity that fulfills you. It can be anything from baking a pie to designing a building. Give yourself some time to express yourself. If you have children and time is short, find a friend who will help you take care of your children, and vice versa. You both deserve time for yourselves. You are worth it.

9. Make Joy and Happiness the Center of Your World-
Joy and happiness are always within you. Make sure you are connected with this place inside of you. Build your life around this joy. When we are happy, we can be creative, we don't sweat the small stuff, and we are open to new ideas.

10. Have Integrity- Keep Your Word In order to honor and respect yourself, you must have integrity. Learn to keep your word. Do not make promises you will not keep even to yourself. Don't promise yourself you will start the diet tomorrow or exercise every day unless you know you will follow through. You want to be able to trust yourself.

Read more from the original source of this article: 

Book Review: Heels of Love by Phoenix Rayne

Heels of Love by Phoenix Rayne

(G Street's First Romance)

Edgy, Urban, Romance with a hint of Erotica...

When Cricket Hooper moves to Seattle she only has a couple of goals—find a job and an apartment near her friend Chelle, and basically to live a quiet, normal life.  However, it isn't long before life becomes far from normal.

When a mysterious man helps get her car out of the mud after she makes a wrong turn, she finds herself in his thrall. He wines and dines her, quite literally, and before Cricket can stop it, things are steamy and serious…very serious.

Cricket is thrown aback when Jyme turns out to be more than a simple fisherman, but then she isn't telling all of her story either.

About the Author
Phoenix Rayne
is a history maker!  She is the very first author to be published in G Street Chronicles Romance Division.  Phoenix parents planned for her, conceived her, and then birthed her.  After that, things got much more boring.  She didn't do much, but she did do some things.  She lived more and did more things.  Then she found that she's only happy when she write.  So now, she mostly write and is, therefore, happy.


An Amazing Debut Book - Fantastic read posted by Purpinkroses Book Corner
I would give this 5/5 stars and 5/5 for movie moments. 
Read the original review and author interview.

Cricket moves to be near her friend Chelle. She's trying to get away from her old life and start new. After taking a wrong turn while driving she get knocks down a mail box and gets the car stuck in the mud up a beaten path. A  man come to help get her out, after he gets the car out the mud, she drives off as she panic's thinking he could be a killer or something. She heads to the nearest ranger station and explains to them. They know the guy, it's Lil Samson Jyme- a native American, he's no killer.

Later on Jyme gets her number from the ranger station and calls but she hangs up on him so he calls the next day. They eventually meet up and take things from there. She's not looking for a relationship and has started a new job. He's a gentleman. But the attraction is strong.  Can they both over come the past, and the obstacles that are in their way? They are both hiding secrets and it could threaten everything they are trying to build.

OK girls, this is a MUST read. This book is an amazing debut book by Phoenix Rayne. It needs to go to the top of your "TBR" list. This is a book featuring a real size woman, at the beginning I laughed so hard at some of the comments Cricket makes about herself, as it was something I would say.

I loved this book, like seriously loved it. It was amazing. I read it in one go. I loved everything about this book. You guys know I don't do spoilers and this one is no different. I cant say too much without giving this book away. All I will say is wow. This had me on the edge of my seat. Phoenix Rayne is an author to watch out for. I loved Cricket I don't think we've heard all of her story and Jyme really never seen that coming. I loved his mum Mrs JJ.

When it got to the end of the book I gasped very loud. I can't wait for book two. This one pulls at your emotions.

Purchase Heels of Love by Phoenix Rayne


Twitter:  @hellophoenixx

Intimate Conversation with Tiffany Craig founder of Tiffany Talks Books

Intimate Conversation with Tiffany Craig
Founder of Tiffany Talks Books

BPM:  Tiffany, tell us a little about yourself and introduce us to your book blog.
I am a woman who loves books!  I am an Army wife currently living in Maryland with my husband and our two Yorkies: Lucky and Lina. I love to read all genres with the exception of paranormal. horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Indie and self-published authors as well as books that make a personal connection hold a special place in my heart!

I am a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and a minor in Linguistics. And, outside of reading, I love sports, traveling, and everything fitness/nutrition related.

It is important to note that I represent DIVERSITY on my blog!  Tiffany Talks Books (formally Read It All Book Reviews) was founded in 2010. I am an avid reader who loves ALL genres (generally, I do not read paranormal, horror, or science fiction). It is my wish to promote the lost art of reading and I take a special interest in new and self published authors. I read, review and recommend based on MY opinion.

BPM:   When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?
I decided to become serious about being a book blogger in 2011. I was living in Germany with my husband who is a soldier and I needed an outlet where I was free to express my own thoughts and feelings. I say that because as an Army wife you must always be mindful of what you say and/or what you express because it can reflect negatively on your husband. Another reason is because I have always loved to read and I wanted to share that with others in hopes that it would inspire at least one person to decrease their television time and increase their reading time.

BPM:   How did you come up with your blog’s name?
That’s quite simple: it’s my name (Tiffany) and what I am doing (talking books)!

BPM:   What makes your blog unique and/or different?
I think there are two main things I believe that make my blog unique:

1. As much as I adore authors and their craft, I speak truthfully in my reviews, so you won’t always see me posting that a book is excellent and that it receives 5 HEARTS from me. I see so many blogs that only rate books highly.

2. I represent diversity on my blog meaning I read and feature books from all nationalities which I rarely see on other blogs or in books.

BPM:    What is your “philosophy” regarding book reviews?
My philosophy is to be truthful and be you. Use your own style. And, never personally attack the author; keep your review based on the content of the book.

BPM:   What are your favorite genres to read/review, and why?
I love reading Christian fiction books because I am a Christian and God plays an important part of my life. I love reading Coming of Age books because I love to see how people overcome and/or begin to feel comfortable in their own skin. I love reading Erotica because I love sex! And, I love romance because I believe in the power of love!! (And, I know this isn’t a genre, but I always like to see some type of drama in a book as well).

BPM:   What are your biggest turn-offs in a book? How about that special thing that always wins you over?
Nothing turns me off more than horrible grammar. I do not understand if an author takes the time and effort to write a book, why wouldn’t they get it edited properly? I also am turned off by covers that do not relate to the content of the book.

The special thing that always wins me over is a book that is so well-written and unique that it absolutely captivates me and makes simply forget about life. Nowadays, most books somehow seem the same but every so often I find a gem that takes my breath away!

BPM:   Where do you see your blog a year from now?
I see it still growing and becoming a respectable name in the blogging community, one that has a reputation that authors/publishers know they can turn to for honest feedback, and hopefully my blog will become a place that readers know they can visit for some great recommendations and hopefully learn about some new (to them) authors.

BPM:   What do you think the next “big” thing in fiction will be?
I think the YA/NA trend will continue for a while. I would like to see more “dark contemporary fiction” because not everyone has lived a happy go-lucky life.

BPM:    If money were no object, how would you spend your days?
I would read on a balcony and/or beach with some wine and/or a drink with an umbrella with my two Yorkies (Lucky and Lina) running around acting crazy!!!

BPM:   How can readers and writers find you?
TTB Blog:

About the "Turn Your Mishaps Into a Ministry" Radio Programs

"Turn Your Mishaps Into a Ministry" Radio Programs

 “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.”
-- Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

If hurt people, hurt people, then healed people can surely heal people!  There are many people in need of  of love.  They might be looking for this love and compassion in words or deeds. Sometimes all a person needs is the lending of a hand or a sound example to follow.  BAN Radio Show and  producer Ella Curry want to bring people together from all walks of life, that have answered the call of giving.  Our speakers will share their journey and personal knowledge as a way to support hurting people.  You will meet authors, business owners, social change agents, survivors,  educators and more!

We invite you to join the monthly panel discussions to share your stories of triumph and survival too! 
Call into the radio programs to speak up and out!  You may not feel that you are the one to mentor or minister to others, but you never know.  Your testimony might heal a hurt person.  Your struggle might eliminate the pain in someone else''s future.  Haruki Murakami says “What happens when people open their hearts...They get better.”

Mishap to Ministry Part 1-  BAN Radio:

Authors offer hope and inspiration for those dealing with problem teens, the death of a parent, the loss of a relationships and the trials of trying to live out your dreams while working full time.

Mishap to Ministry Part 2-  BAN Radio:

Three extraordinary women share their struggles with breast cancer and domestic violence.  They each tell the audience how they were able to cope with the news and how they became survivors!

When people have hurts and trials in their lives, they tend to work on resolving them by focusing on what went wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with asking this question, but more importantly we want people to seek ways to resolve the issues!   At BAN Radio, we firmly believe that investing in our BAN community is the key to creating success for our listeners.  If we can help a few, we can save many!

Lasting change can only be achieved when people have access to both knowledge and resources.  We bring you people who are not just "talking the talk" but have been through the darkness and are now living in sunshine!  Listen to BAN Radio Show each Monday and Wednesday night at 8-10:00 pm EST, go here.

Intimate Conversation with Florence M. Howard

Intimate Conversation with Florence M. Howard

Florence M. Howard
is an accomplished, dynamic and compassionate visionary.  She obtained her first library card at the then-recently integrated Main Library on Peabody in Memphis .  Director of Community Affairs for WREG-TV, she established and ran the Knowledge Bowl quiz show and Emmy-winning Kids Count campaign for 12 years.  She obtained degrees in Journalism from the University of Memphis. Today, she is an author, publicist, event coordinator, and inspirational speaker. She opened her company, Secret Shop Communicators ( in 1999.

BPM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family.

Throughout my life, I have been supported by good people – trusted teachers, church members and friends.  Apparently, they saw something in me that I couldn’t see myself.  I am always amazed by the good things that people tell me about myself.  Thanks Goodness, I choose to believe them and not my own fears or misgivings.  I was also inspired by things that I read. Books have helped me develop my thinking, my attitudes, my hopes and my dreams.  They have helped me correct self-defeating behavior and to grow in ways beyond what I knew growing up.

BPM: What does “growth” mean to you?
Growth means changing for the better, personal improvement.  I am not the same person that I was two years ago, five years ago and certainly not 20 years ago –emotionally, spiritually, physically or professionally.  I once heard a man who was being interviewed on a talk show and applauded for his accomplishments as a scientist, inventor, writer, etc.  He answered, “All that is true but I didn’t do it all at the same time.”   That said to me that we don’t have to do everything at once to become the person that God has called us to be but we should be working on some aspect of the plan daily.

BPM: Introduce us to your book, From Sagging to Success and the primary message.

My book, “From Sagging to Success” is a message to urban youth to inspire them to be much more than what people say they are and for the people that want to help them become extraordinary.  The primary message of the book is that sagging pants might indicate a sagging mindset and how we think about ourselves influences how we act.  Urban youth are often viewed unfairly and stereotyped based on their appearance. They are misjudged due to cultural misconceptions. 

Young people need to be aware of the repercussions of sagging.  The book addresses these issues through the fictionalized account of the life of a youth named Derrick and the illustrations of Emery Franklin.  The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit.

This book will change the way you look at young people and, perhaps, inspire you to make your own dreams come true.  It also gives you talking points and tools to help other people.  Read “From Sagging to Success” and become better informed about Black history, inspired to grow and be more successful.

BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in your book? 
I was inspired to turn pictures from a Black History month art exhibit into words and motivate young people, about the world, about life in general and about Black life in particular. The first painting in the book is timed after the Emancipation Proclamation, the second painting looks at the Reconstruction Period, another focuses on the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike.  That strike is part of my history because my mother and stepfather participated in those marches in 1968.  I ran News Channel 3’s Knowledge Bowl competition from 1987-1998 and I saw firsthand how little of our history young African American know.  I have seen them drop their heads when slavery is mentioned instead of realizing that they are the descendents of survivors. 

From 2002- 2008, I worked with the local NAACP running the Voter Empowerment Campaign and the Get-Out-To-Vote effort.  It is sad to say that our children do not know our history and what they know is not in the context of our experiences. As the author, I gave history and background information to put the paintings, their time and place or subject they illustrated into context from an African American perspective. 

I bring my perspective to the topics in the book – low self-esteem, the after-affects of mistreatment, voting in local, state and federal elections, changing the way your think, educating yourself, recognizing your own genius, committing yourself to being successful – all of it.

BPM: What are the most important responsibilities of parent or guardian?

I believe the most important responsibilities of a parent or guardian is to love, respect, nurture, correct and train a child.  Whether a parent is present or away from the home, children need to know that you care and in the absence of something being said or done to indicate otherwise, children grow to believe they are forgotten and unimportant.

BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I am an experienced writer with two degrees in journalism and whatever I write is guided by my faith.  I pray over every sentence.  I recently meet a fellow author at a mutual book signing that asked me unexpectedly if I believed the Bible is the word of God.  I said, “Yes, without a doubt, I believe the Bible is word of God and that it was written by men who were inspired by God in what they wrote.”   He laughed at me and said “how do you know?”  I answered that my book was written by me and inspired by God.  That ended that part of the discussion.   My writing is inspired by my faith.  Otherwise, it would not be as clear, as insightful or as real.

BPM: How is the book being received by the readers?
The book has been well-received:  Readers love the book.  It is a must-have for anyone with children and grandchildren and for those who teach or work with them.  I am working on some workbooks for students in elementary, middle school and high school.

Here are a couple of quotes from readers:
This book is for all ages. ~  Dr. Yvonne Osborne

I got this book at the NBCC and its an amazing history lesson for our children. From Sagging to Success tells an amazing story and the artwork is gorgeous. If you have young boys in your life BUY THIS BOOK...
5 Stars ~ Debra Owsley, Amazon post

The Book is Great!! And it will be a bestseller, needs to be standard reading for every child in Memphis and through out the United States ...yes seriously.  ~ Rhonda T.

This book is for anyone who has children that need to be motivated to be all they can be in spite of the odds. The art is wonderful!! ~ Pearl, Amazon post
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?

I want my readers to recapture the dreams that they laid aside or never attempted and to accomplish them.  I want them to go from a sagging self-concept to an empowered experience and feeling of success.  I want everyone to realize that how you think is more important that how you dress.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?

Thanks to self-publication of  “From Sagging to Success,” my life-long dream of being a published book author has come true.  Writing the book made me examine my own actions and attitudes toward success and to refocus my understanding of what the Bible says – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”   Now I challenge every negative thought and loudly and intentionally practice anticipation and thankfulness.  I also think of the outcome that I want to see happen so that when God does it, He gets all the credit and the glory.
BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?

Everything that I write has its own purpose.  The purpose of “From Sagging to Success” is to educate about our history and successes, illuminate concepts of success and inspire readers to act on what they learn.  Right now, I am finishing up my family’s genealogy book which is designed to educate older and younger family members about our personal heritage and to help locate others who through marriage, distance and circumstances don’t even know they are part of the group.

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

My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: the wisdom and tools to become successful and to teach those ideas, concepts and actions to the next generation.  Unless we can foster success in the next generation, our legacy is a dead end and not a path that they can follow.  Scripture says that “a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” 

Money is not the only thing that can be inherited.  The inheritance can be a lifestyle as well as an attitude of success, responsibility, creativity and the ability, talents and skills to make your way in the world.  My mother didn’t leave my brothers and sisters a lot of money.  She taught us how to appreciate life, to be kind, hardworking and it paved the way for our successes.  Her favorite mantra was:  “You don’t know whose hands you will fall in.”   When she died at the age of 45, we were blessed to hold each other up and to stay close because we had been trained to help each other and to rejoice over each other’s successes.


Written by Florence M. Howard
Illustrated by Emery Franklin

From Sagging to Success” is a message to urban youth and the adults who want to help them become extraordinary. Young people are unfairly judged because of their appearance and cultural misconceptions.  They need to be made aware of the repercussions of sagging. Sagging pants even might be an indication of a sagging mindset or low self-esteem.  A fictionalized character in book illustrations, Derrick goes from sagging to success as he learns about Black history, reads books read and written by successful people and changes the way he thinks. 

Derrick shares his new knowledge with his parents who also embrace a positive outlook, productive behaviors and principles of success.  At the end of the book, Derrick and his parents have successfully transmitted principles of success to the next generation.  The book is beautifully illustrated and the paintings were created first as a library gallery exhibit.

The book educates readers our history and successes, illuminates concepts of success and inspires them to act on what they learn.  Readers are motivated to examine their thinking patterns, to recapture the dreams that they laid aside or never attempted and to accomplish them.  They gain the wisdom and tools to become successful and are equipped to share those ideas, concepts and actions with others.

Purchase the book for youth centers, libraries, and love ones!

From Sagging to Success: The Story of Emery Franklin by Florence M Howard
Amazon Purchase Link:  

Book Review: If I Can’t have You by Mary B. Morrison

If I Can’t Have You by Mary B. Morrison

Reviewed by S. Barnes:   If I Can’t Have You by Mary B. Morrison, an African American fiction novel, worth four stars. The writer delivered a powerful read that not only educates the reader but keeps the reader laughing and wishing for more.

If I Can’t Have You by Mary B. Morrison was a tantalizing read that leaves the reader begging for more. The leading characters of the book were three friends Madison, Loretta, and Tisha who were searching for love in the state where everything is bigger. Madison is a feisty DIVA who thinks she can tame any man which leads to a bet that will change everyone’s life dramatically. Madison is currently engaged to a man named Chicago, an arrangement that his entire family has something to say about. Loretta is sweet woman still stuck in the past but hoping for a better future. Tisha is a hard-working mother who is married to a lazy man named Darryl. I almost felt like I knew each woman individually. My favorite character was Loretta although she had her own personal issues and a baby daddy to boot, I could see her desire to become a better woman.

I enjoyed reading this book and completed the book in two days. The book reminded me of my relationships with some of my own friends although I did not see myself in any of the women, I have a few friends whose names could be used interchangeably with Madison, Tisha and Loretta in this book. I loved how the author kept the reader laughing and smiling, and even cursing throughout the entire book.

The book focuses on how obsession and betting with friends can go wrong and you have to be careful what you wish for, cause it just may come true. If I Can’t have You focused on real live situations and what can happen when you play with a persons’ heart. Madison was a true DIVA who learned some major life lessons in this this book about being honest to yourself and others. There is a scene in the book where Madison talks about a concoction she created to keep herself “sweet”,  I must admit I would like to create that concoction for myself and try it out.

My favorite scene in the book was Loretta and Chaz’s (Chicago’s brother) first date. I love a direct and confident man and Chaz was exactly that. I could almost see myself in that scene in the restaurant dining with Chaz and talking with him about my own life. I did not like Madison’s father, his constant need to have power over people was really annoying. 

Each scene in this story was full of twists and surprises that I don’t want to give away, but I will say be prepared read this book in one or two sittings. Yes, it's that much of a page turner. There are some secrets that come out in the book that will shock the reader and have the reader begging for more. I enjoyed how to writer did not try to put on airs and created scenes and situations that the reader could easily relate to. The book was very touching and honest and forced the reader to think outside the box about everyday life issues such as relationships, religion, and health.

I recommend this book to any reader who enjoys a novel that focuses on real life and not the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. This book makes you look and your own life and think about personal changes you can make to become a better you. This book would make a great book club read or a birthday gift for a friend, sister, cousin or mother. Although this was my first book by Mary B. Morrison I am looking forward to reading many more by this author.

"Reviewed for the Sankofa Literary Society. Book provided by the author or the publisher for review purposes."

Book Review: Playing the Hand You're Dealt by Trice Hickman

Dreading something is far worse  than doing it!

5 Star Book Review Written by Yolanda Maria

In this rich tale of keeping secrets from the ones you love, secrets collide causing long, lasting and devastating effects. Trice Hickman does it again with her effective, detail woven story with a rich and dynamic flair. I can't get over how well she weaves together her characters with out any contradiction to tell wonderful stories. It makes you read it slowly because you don't want it to end.

In Playing the Hand You're Dealt, we meet Emily Snow and Samantha Baldwin. The two meet their freshmen year in college while studying in Atlanta. The two are instant friends when rich but wanna be homegirl Samantha moves in the dorm room with the help of Samantha's snooty mother Brenda and her rich and fine daddy Ed. Emily is already there with her mother Lucille and the two families get along as if they'd known each other for years. Samantha and Emily are tighter than sisters and thicker than thieves. However, Miss Emily develops a secret that she carries with her for eleven years. Samantha, irresponsible yet loving and a ride or die friend, encourages Emily to move to D.C eleven years after they leave college and not to soon after Emily loses the last of her family. Her mother, Lucille. She also most recently broke up with Bradley.

Her secret would not allow her to live a lie and use Bradley to mask that lie. Emily has had some warning, that trouble would not be far from her. She first received the warning from an old lady in her neighborhood when she was a youngster; then from a little girl with that special gift shortly before moving to D.C. It was confirmed when she met her new neighbor, the flamboyant and wise cracking Ruben after moving to D.C.  After moving to D.C, life was supposed to look up for Emily. Instead, it gets real complicated. Spending time around Samantha's family makes keeping her secret that much harder. Especially, since the object of her secret; resides in that household.

Playing the Hand You Were Dealt, made me think. Would I walk away from a chance at everlasting happiness to salvage a friendship? It would be difficult to say that I would walk away from true happiness to save a friendship. It also made me think, is it okay to cheat on your spouse, if you have a bad spouse. I personally feel that if things are that bad, you should end the relationship before starting a new one. However, sometimes unbridled passion is a force to reckon with and at times things just happen. As in this novel, you just have to play the cards you were dealt. Trice Hickman did a phenomenal job, showing how reckless behavior even if warranted because of the behavior of another has devastating effects. But, does lover conquer all?  You have to read it to see!

A great read for book clubs. A lot of great talking points. Do you believe in the gift of prophecy? What measures would you go through for a friend? Is anything unforgivable in a friendship? Do damaged people make for damaged children? What is considered cheating? So many more great topics of discussion that will take you into the late night discussing.

The author obviously put a lot of time into the development of each character. Usually, at the end of a novel I'm going back trying to put names with situations. The author made it easy in the amount of background she gave us regarding the characters. I also loved how she flipped a likable character to unlike able at the middle of the story and then made her like able again. Emily.  She did the same with the character that I thought I was not going to like at the beginning, by making her my favorite at the end.Samantha. The drama started at page one, when Ms Marabelle dropped the prophesy on Emily. It did not stop until I finished the book.  Several times while reading, I put the book down in utter shock.  I had to catch my breath before moving on. A definite mouth dropper! I highly recommend this book.

"Reviewed for the Sankofa Literary Society. Book provided by the author or the publisher for review purposes."

Always With Hope: Dedication To The Survivors of Breast Cancer

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to all the survivors of Breast Cancer and to those women dealing with this, I dedicate this poem I wrote Always With Hope.  My prayer is that we find a cure for Breast Cancer.  This poem is also in my third book of inspirational poems The Joy in the Morning and a New Day Begins.  Please pray we find a cure.  I share with you Always With Hope. And please share this poem with others.   Believe what is now can change tomorrow. Believe with faith.  And always hold  on to hope. 

God's Peace  and Love to you always,
Doris Washington

Author / Spiritual Writer / Poet / Entrepreneur/ Autism Disability Advocate
Web Site:

Always With Hope by Doris Washington

In Dedication To The Survivors of Breast Cancer
Excerpt from The Joy in the Morning and a New Day Begins

Always with Hope there’s the reassurance

Things will get better.

And no matter what you’re going through

At the moment,

No matter what trials you may endure-

It too will pass.


Always with Hope you’re encouraged

To never stop believing,

You’re encouraged to hold on

To the blessings He brings to you

On any given day.


Always with Hope

There’s the reassurance

Things will get better-

Always With Hope

Always With Hope copyright © August 2013.  All rights reserved.  

Sneak Peek: Anybody’s Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young

Anybody’s Daughter
by Pamela Samuels Young

Is Anybody's Daughter Ever Safe?
Available November 5, 2013

Based on the real-life horrors faced by thousands of girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young takes readers deep inside the disturbing world of child sex trafficking in a fast-paced thriller that educates as much as it entertains.
Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She's about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she met on Facebook.  But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn't exist. Instead, Brianna unwittingly becomes the captive of a ring of drug dealers- turned-human traffickers who prey on lonely girls from dysfunctional homes. But they’ve made a big mistake in targeting Brianna because she doesn’t meet either of those criteria.

Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is determined to find the niece who is more like a daughter to him. Rather than sit back and rely on police to bring Brianna home, Dre scours the dark corners of Los Angeles looking for her. He is stunned to learn that the trafficking of children isn’t just happening in other countries. It’s occurring at epidemic levels right in his own backyard.

Dre is not alone in his desperate search. Loretha Johnson knows this world well. A social worker who previously lived “the life,” Loretha now dedicates her time to saving as many young girls as she can find. She turns out to be an invaluable resource for Dre, who ultimately gets a lead on The Shepherd, a mastermind in the trafficking world whose every move is fueled by ego and greed.  Dre vows to bring The Shepherd's reign of terror to an end, even if he has to break the law to do it.

While Brianna makes a futile effort to thwart her captors, Dre is getting closer and closer to finding her. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them in juvenile court. Angela lends her moral support and, eventually, an important clue to Brianna’s whereabouts.

As he races against the clock, Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan—one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it's too late?


Day One: 11:15 p.m.

Loretha Johnson watched the young girl wobble along Long Beach Boulevard dressed in a halter top, cut-off jeans, black stilettos and sparkly red lipstick. She couldn’t have weighed more than one hundred pounds. The awkward manner in which she forced her bony hips from side to side underscored her adolescence.

Standing in the doorway of an abandoned donut shop, Loretha waited for the right opportunity to approach. There was a steady trail of cars slowing down to check out the merchandise. She spotted two other girls on the opposite side of the street.

“You want a date, baby?” the girl in the halter top called out in a child’s voice.

A beige Camry pulled over to the curb a few yards ahead. The girl scampered over, barely able to balance herself on her too-high heels. She bent low, allowing the potential john to get a glimpse of her nonexistent cleavage. Loretha clasped her hands, then absently twirled a finger around her shoulder-length locs. She sucked in a breath, praying that the girl didn’t get in the car.

“Ten dollars!” the girl yelled, springing back to her full height. “You must be crazy! I charge fifty for a blow job.”   She tottered away cursing as the man drove off.

Loretha glanced up and down the street, making sure the girl’s pimp wasn’t watching. With a kid this young—surely no older than thirteen or fourteen—her pimp had to be close by. If the girl was seen talking to Loretha, she’d get a beating. Hopefully, the pimp was busy keeping an eye on somebody else in his stable.

Confident that he wasn’t nearby, Loretha followed the girl, remaining a few strides behind.

“You don’t have to be out here on the street selling your body,” Loretha called out. “You know that, right?”   Loretha pulled her sweater tighter across her chest and marveled at how the girl could look so comfortable dressed in next to nothing. It was barely fifty degrees.

“I’m from Harmony House,” Loretha continued. “I can help you get away from your pimp.”  Though the girl wasn’t facing her, Loretha could see her body go rigid. She took a quick glance at Loretha over her shoulder.

“I ain’t got no pimp,” the girl snapped. “So just get outta here and leave me alone. My daddy warned us about you.”   Good, Loretha thought. That meant the girl’s pimp viewed her as a threat.

“Don’t worry,” Loretha assured her. “Your pimp’s not around. I won’t get you in trouble. I know you can’t be seen talking to me. Just keep walking and I’ll stay back.”

“I told you, I don’t have no pimp,” the girl spat, continuing her stroll. “I have a boyfriend.”  It would be a waste of time to explain to the girl that boyfriends don’t sell their girlfriends to other men.

“If you ever need a place to go, you can come to Harmony House. All you have to do is call. Anytime, day or night, and I’ll come get you.”   

The girl stopped, put a hand on her hip, but didn’t turn to face her. “I already got a place to stay.”

The bravado didn’t fool Loretha either. She knew it was all an act.

“That’s fine. But if you ever want to leave, I have a place for you to go. What’s your name?”

The girl stepped off the curb and raised her hand high, trying to wave down a car that had reduced its speed. “You want a date tonight, honey?” she yelled out to the driver.

The man rolled down his window, gazed hungrily at the girl, then spied Loretha and sped off.

“You messin’ with my business!” the girl yelled. She finally turned around to get a good look at Loretha, but kept moving. “Get the hell away from me!”

“What’s your name?” Loretha asked again, matching the girl’s steps stride for stride, but careful to stay a safe distance back.

“Lady, I gotta make my quota. Leave me alone!”

“I’m just here to let you know you have options. What’s your name?”

The girl finally turned around. “Peaches. Why you messin’ with me?”

“Nice to meet you, Peaches. I’m Loretha Johnson. How old are you, Peaches?”


The streetlight provided a solid glimpse of the cocoa-colored, plump-faced girl. There was no way she was nineteen. Up close, she looked even younger than Loretha had first thought.

“Why you out here tryin’ to be somebody’s fairy godmother?”

“Because I used to walk this track myself,” Loretha replied. “I know what it’s like.”

That got the girl’s attention. She glanced back at Loretha again. This time, her expression had softened, but only for an instant.

Loretha had indeed lived this life. Every horrible second of it. Older and wiser now, she was doing everything in her power to rescue others. One girl at a time.

She understood that Peaches and girls like her saw no way out. But to meet someone who had managed to escape, meant that it was possible for them to find their way to freedom too.

“I don’t mean to hurt your feelings,” Peaches continued, “but you don’t look like you got what it takes. You must’a been out here a long time ago.”

Loretha didn’t take offense at the girl’s intended slight. “Walking the track is hard work,” she said. “Makes you age much faster than you have to.”

It had been years since she’d strolled this very block, but the memory was like a deep wound. Though healed, the resulting scar would never go away.

These days, Loretha put extra effort into not looking pretty. Her skin was no longer porcelain smooth. Her hair still fell past her shoulders, but she didn’t wear it bone straight anymore. Her locs were dyed auburn and were usually pulled back into a bun. She’d also picked up twenty pounds or so and found comfort in her bare face and loose-fitting clothes. Though her exterior appeared shabby, on the inside, she finally felt worthy. That was the kind of beauty she wanted these girls to experience.

Loretha’s smartphone buzzed. She pulled it from her pocket, instantly recognizing the number. Another child who needed her help.    

“I have to go, but I want you to call me. My number’s easy to remember. It’s 888-3737-888. Loretha pointed up the street. “I’m going to leave my card on the bus bench underneath that streetlight over there. I want you to pick it up and keep it with you. If you ever need help, call me and I’ll come get you.”

Loretha rushed past the girl, dropped her business card on the bench and turned down a side street toward her car. Minutes later, when her Prius reached the corner, the card was no longer on the bench.

She smiled and shook her fist in the air. “Thank you, Jesus!”

In Loretha’s world, that simple act was a victory.

( Continued... )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Pamela Samuels Young. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

Purchase Anybody's Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young
Available Nationwide November 5, 2013

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Genre:  Women's Fiction; Mystery;  Thriller and Suspense

About the Author
Pamela Samuels Young is a practicing attorney whose fast-paced legal thrillers tackle law and crime. Recognized for her savvy female characters, Pamela brings a taste of diversity to the legal fiction genre. Her novels include the Fall 2013 release Anybody's Daughter, Attorney-Client Privilege, Murder on the Down Low. A natural hair enthusiast, she is the author of Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide.  To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or event, email Pamela via her website at