Heart Breaker by Briana Cole

Heart Breaker by Briana Cole


Sexy and voluptuous, Jayla Morgan believes a woman can hook any man as long as you have "the right bait". The fact that Jayla IS the right bait, puts her in a dangerous position. Managing a profitable and successful business as a Heart Breaker and labeled a borderline prostitute by her family, Jayla does all she can to ignore the death threats of disgruntled lovers, while trying to secure a love life of her own. 

Unfortunately, success has its consequences and all that Jayla has managed to conceal may cause her to leave the luxurious lifestyle behind. But before Jayla can taste happiness, she has to untangle the dangerous web of twisted lies and deception she’s weaved. However, when Jayla’s scandalous ways are exposed, what results is an orgasmic infusion of love and drama beyond her wildest dreams. Readers beware!


Chapter Excerpt: Heart Breaker by Briana Cole


Jayla leaned in closer, pushing her body against him. She glanced at his full lips, then back up to his eyes.

“You want to take me home?” she whispered. She felt his body stiffen. Before he could pull away, she leaned in and pressed her lips against his.

Reggie snatched away. The abrupt withdrawal had Jayla stumbling to catch her balance.

“I…” A combination of fear and embarrassment tinted his face. “I’m sorry I--,”

“What’s wrong? I want you Reggie. You are so sexy and I want you. Don’t you want me?”

“I have a girlfriend,” he said. “This is wrong.”

Jayla hadn’t expected the confession and she bit her lip in consideration. Next move, next move. What to do? What to do?

His cell phone went off, slicing the sexual tension like a knife. He fumbled for the device before pulling it from his pocket. Wiping his lips, he answered, “Yeah?” He glanced back to the bar.

Jayla rolled her eyes. His friends were hating. Probably jealous she was all but throwing it at him all night and not them.

“I’m coming,” he said and hung up. Reggie looked at Jayla again and mumbled a short “get home safe” before turning and trekking it back across the parking lot.

She sighed. The regret was more than prominent in his voice. Fine. Next time she saw Reggie, she would pull the apology card. Weak, vulnerable… that would probably turn him on even more than the direct approach.

Jayla had just slid behind the wheel when her own phone rang. She already knew it was Heather before she picked up. “Hello?”

“How did it go?”

“It will be in my final report,” she said, exasperation bringing on a slight headache. “If you want to discuss details prior to that, remember it must be done in person.”

“I know, I’m sorry.” It was Heather’s turn to sigh. “I don’t know. I just. . . you’re right. Guess I just got a little anxious when Reggie didn’t come home and didn’t call.”

“I’m not done yet,” Jayla said. Pause.

“Ok, um…” It was too obvious she had something else to say.

“What is it?” Jayla prompted, slightly irritated. “Do you want me to stop?” Another pause.

Heather’s voice was soft as she spoke again. “Once you’re done and he doesn’t cheat with you, is it safe to say he passed?”

“I don’t think I understand the question,” Jayla said, frowning.

“Like, you can report he is faithful.”

“Um…” Jayla thought back a minute and had to stifle a smirk. Now that was funny. “I’ve yet to have that happen,” she admitted. “But I guess we’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.”

Heather’s disappointed silence wanted to tug on her heart. The truth hurt, she knew. But it was a matter of choice. Either she wanted to know, or she didn’t. Simple as that.

When they hung up, Jayla laid her head back on the rest. Any man can be hooked. You just need the right bait. Jayla closed her eyes at the thought. She had proven the concept true thus far. It was only a matter of time.


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Briana Cole. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase Heart Breaker by Briana Cole

Adult Spiceual Romance, Uncensored
Genre: Urban; Contemporary Erotica
Link: http://amzn.com/1943174016  


About the Author

Briana Cole
is an Atlanta native and proud mother of two. Having graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2009, she immediately began working for the federal government. Briana enjoys acting and public speaking but writing is her first passion. She has coined the term 'spiceual' to describe her style of writing; a mix of spicy and sensual romance that stimulates the reader mentally, physically, and emotionally. Tired of reading the same type of books in the urban industry, Briana prides herself on bringing unique plots and a distinct voice to the bookshelves. Her debut novel, Heart Breaker, is only the beginning in, what Briana considers, ‘a new experience’ in African-American literature. Her motto and ultimate drive towards success is a famous quote from Mae West: "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." For more information on Briana Cole, please visit her website at www.brianacole.com.
 
 
 
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A Sad Soul Can Kill You by Catherine Flowers

A Sad Soul Can Kill You
by Catherine Flowers 

Sequel to Yesterday's Eyes



After reconciling with her mother and grandmother, Tia Sparks has made a new life in Chicago with Lorenzo, her husband of thirteen years. Still, overcoming the trials and tribulations from her past has not prepared her for this latest set of disheartening challenges.

Lorenzo has been harboring a secret for years and it’s threatening to physically destroy him. It’s turning him into a man that Tia no longer recognizes. With her frustrations continuing to mount, Tia makes a decision that she quickly finds herself regretting.

Serenity, their thirteen year old daughter, struggles to find her place amidst her own low self-esteem and the distance of her parents. With nowhere to turn, she makes an irrational choice that places her directly in the path of an unstable neighbor.

Soon all of them begin to realize the high price they must pay for their discontentment, and Lorenzo fights to relinquish the nightmare he’s been holding onto.

With God all things are possible. But can each of them find redemption and deliverance before a marriage is destroyed and lives are changed forever?
Excerpt from A Sad Soul Can Kill You

Tia pulled the hood of her coat on top of her head and got out of her car. She shuddered as she moved swiftly up to the door. She stopped to catch a glimpse of herself in the reflection of the large office window. The white fur that trimmed the hood of her coat made her think of the storybook character, Little Red Riding Hood . . . only Tia wasn’t going to Grandma’s house.

Just as she put the key in the lock, the door swung open and Scamp, the nickname she’d given him, stood before her.

“Hello,” Scamp said expectantly.

She smiled nervously as she entered the sparsely furnished room. The only source of light was an old bronze lamp mounted on the wall. Its silhouette cast an indistinguishable shadow over the built-in desk below it. A chair accompanied the desk, along with a queen-size bed as the room’s only d├ęcor. Tia noticed a Bible prominently displayed on the center of the desk, and she quickly looked away.

Scamp closed the door behind her as a feeling of disappointment slowly began to creep into her. She hadn’t expected to walk into a luxurious suite, but she’d expected a little bit more than these shabby surroundings.

He removed her coat, throwing it across the chair. She smoothed the layered sections of her hair down with the palm of her hand and looked around the room again. She sighed heavily. This room was little more than a meeting place for—

“I’ve missed you,” Scamp said as he gave her a big hug.

He hovered a full eight inches over her five foot four-inch frame, and Tia closed her eyes and let her head rest on the center of his chest. She allowed herself to enjoy the pleasure of his embrace, and the light, airy scent of cologne that wafted from his shirt made her forget the disappointment she’d felt when she’d first walked into the room.

She remembered how they’d first met right after the New Year—a little over a month ago.

“Excuse me,” Scamp had said to her while she had been picking through a bushel of apples in the produce section of the grocery store, “don’t you live on Cooper Circle?”

She’d looked up, startled by his approach. She had been prepared to brush him off when she looked into his hazel eyes, and whatever she was going to say disappeared from her thoughts.

“The cul-de-sac,” he’d said. “I live one house down from the entrance. I’ve seen you driving by on occasion. You have a daughter, right?”

At first she’d been hesitant to answer since she wasn’t in the habit of divulging her personal information to every stranger who approached her. “Yes,” she’d finally answered.

She remembered how awkward she’d felt just standing there talking to him. Now she couldn’t decide which felt more awkward—standing before him in the grocery store or standing alone with him in this room with her head resting on his chest.

She remembered inhaling the sweet scent of his cologne he’d had on in the store; it was the same scent he wore now, and she should have known then that she might be in trouble. . .


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Catherine Flowers. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase A Sad Soul Can Kill You by Catherine Flowers
http://www.amazon.com/Sad-Soul-Can-Kill-You/dp/1622868056




About the Author
Catherine Flowers
is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel.

To learn more about the author, please visit www.freefrombondage.com or e-mail her at authorcatherineflowers@aol.com. You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers

 

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Justin's Body of Work by Janice L. Dennie

Justin's Body of Work
by Janice L. Dennie

A Woman in Denial
Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.

A Modern Day Knight
Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes.

But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?

Order your copy today!

http://www.amazon.com/Justins-Body-Work-Underwoods-Valley-ebook/dp/B00U54S8IC 



THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY SERIES 

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, has dubbed each one of her five grandchildren with a character trait.

As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the hotshot civil rights attorney who carries his family with his strength in the court of law. He fights, in court, to protect the woman he loves.

But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes place in a romantic setting that enhances love, passion and relationships, and changes personalities forever.


CHAPTER 1
Unedited Book Excerpt: ARC version


Ashley Jacobs drove her Mazda Miata convertible in the warm morning sun humming to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. She was happy because she’d just read an online review in the Napa Register News about her spa. Ashley’s Day Spa in Napa Valley is a hidden jewel that provides its customers with a tranquil and healing environment to rest and rejuvenate.

Her day spa was a jewel because she trained her employees to create a peaceful and harmonious environment at work. She taught them to approach customers with an even-tempered attitude, at all costs.

Ashley drove up the circular driveway and listened in horror as Christina, her female masseuse, and India, her top hair stylist, argued with voices so loud that she could hear them from her car.

Ashley entered her spa through the elegant glass doors and stopped at the receptionist desk. The arguing immediately stopped.

“What’s the matter Chris?” Ashley asked her best friend in a soothing voice.

“India is calling me names.” Christina held her hands on her hips.

Ashley placed her briefcase and purse on the reception desk and walked over to Christina. Taking her by the hand, Ashley led Christina to the massage chairs in the manicure room.

“Have a seat Chris. I want to talk to you.”

Ashley and Christina met each other in middle school when both of their father’s served in Desert Storm, and a time in their lives, when they were both awkward tweens. When they turned sixteen, Ashley had developed into a beautiful young woman, but Christina developed into a unattractive young woman with bad skin, that she concealed with heavy makeup.

“India come and have a seat with me. I want to talk to you.” Ashley took India by the hand and led her to the massage chairs in the manicure room. She sat between the two women.

“This is a place of healing. Our priority here is to provide our customers with a peaceful and relaxing environment, so we cannot have any arguing.”

“But Christina is always flirting with every man that walks through the door.” India barked out.

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the new barber I just hired, would it?”

“That’s what this is all about,” India said. “Christina is already dating the man.”

Christina gave India a cool look. “You’re just mad because he didn’t ask you out.”

“Ashley’s Spa has standards of conduct. I had gone over all of that with both of you before you started working here. I’ll remind you again that arguing in this establishment is off-limits. If you two must argue, wait until you are off work and away from these premises. Do you both understand me?”

Christina turned away and inspected her nails. India nodded and turned her face away from Christina.

Ashley’s voice had a soothing effect on them.

“Now, while both of you are at work, I expect you to respect each other. No cursing or gossiping or loud voices. Why don’t you both come into the kitchen and have a cup of chamomile tea with me? There are some positive things that I want you to know about each other.”

The two women acted cordially toward each other in front of Ashley, but Christina cut her eyes at India, giving her an evil look, indicating that this fight was not over. Ashley put the entire incident behind her. She shared her thoughts on some of their positive attributes over a cup of tea. After the discussion, both women went back to their workstations, with a better attitude.

Ashley walked into her office and sat down at her desk. She twisted in her chair thinking about the changes she wanted to make to expand her spa. She wanted to add three more workstations, two more shampoo bowls, two hair dryers and another massage room in the back of the spa near the whirlpool.

An hour later, a man delivered an envelope requiring a signature to Amara, the receptionist, and water therapist.

“I need a signature for this letter.”

Amara looked at the letter and thought it looked important. “Please wait while I get the owner.”

Ashley came out and signed the letter. After opening it, she saw that it was a personal injury lawsuit naming Ashley’s Spa as the defendant and Kimberly Lewis as the plaintiff suffering from a neck injury caused by a massage at the spa.

She and Christina were the only masseuses at the spa. Ashley’s mouth went dry. She tried to remember, but the plaintiff’s name didn’t ring a bell. She’d never met a client named Kimberly Lewis. She picked up the appointment book and took it with her to her office.

“Everything okay?” Amara’s eyes clung to Ashley when she removed the appointment book.

“I’ll bring it back. I want to check something.” Ashley walked away from Amara. “I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.”

Ashley sat silently for a long time on her white leather sofa in her office. She had a tendency to bottle up her feelings, in an effort to remain even-tempered. Crossing her legs, she leaned back and continued to read the document. She saw that the plaintiff was claiming damages in the amount of $250,000.


( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Note: Unedited Book Excerpt. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase Justin's Body of Work by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 2




About the Author

Veteran author, JANICE L. DENNIE, has returned with a heartwarming new romance set in California’s lush Napa Valley. Kenton’s Vintage Affair, book 1 in the Underwood’s of Napa Valley series, introduces the reader to the fictitious Underwood family, owners of a successful winery in Napa Valley. Justin's Body of Work (The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 2) will be available on May 15, 2015.

Janice began her her writing career in 1997 with her debut novel, The Lion of Judah. Her second novel, Moon Goddess Queen of Sheba, was published in August 1999.

Janice was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Northern California. After graduating from college, she began working for a federal agency. However, writing has always been her passion. Janice services her community through various charities, and non-profit organizations. She currently writes full-time and lives in Northern California with her family.

Visit Janice's website at:  www.janicedennie.com
Find her books here: www.amazon.com/Janice-L.-Dennie/e/B000APUISO 
 
 
 

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WHAT’S SO ROMANTIC ABOUT NAPA VALLEY? By Janice L. Dennie

WHAT’S SO ROMANTIC ABOUT NAPA VALLEY? 
By Janice L. Dennie





JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK
, Book 2,  in The Underwood's of Napa Valley series  is scheduled to be released on May 15, 2015.   I decided to describe the wine country for those who have never heard of Napa Valley. It is a region in Northern California filled with vineyards, wineries, fine restaurants, quaint bed and breakfasts, spas, boutiques and art galleries.

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, wants to marry off all five of her adult grandchildren to loving spouses. She has dubbed each one with a character trait. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart.

The next brother, Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the passionate civil rights attorney, a modern day knight in shining armor, who fights to protect the woman he loves in the court of law. But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. There are three more siblings in the series who have their stories to tell.

The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes a look at a family that enhances love and relationships in the wine country, and changes personalities forever.

Amazon.com Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janicedennie 







Kenton's Vintage Affair
by Janice L. Dennie
 


Unemployed chef, Briana Rutledge, inherits a cottage on one thousand acres of land in California’s Napa Valley, making her a millionaire. She sets out to turn the cottage into her dream restaurant. But others have agendas to destroy Briana and her plans.

The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting women and children. As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood has been betrayed and no longer believes women need his protection. He has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart. But Briana harbors a deep seated fear that prevents their future happiness. Kenton has also been scarred by an obsession that fuels his competitive behavior. Can their relationship survive Kenton’s obsession and Briana’s fear?


Excerpt from Kenton's Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
Listen to the author reading from the book:
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CPT6vSfx 


“Want some wine?”

“Sure, I’ll have a glass.”

Kenton walked over to the butler’s pantry to select a bottle of wine. He grabbed two red wine glasses, a corkscrew and walked back to the sofa. After leaving the wine bottle on the coffee table, he walked over to his Bose docking station and selected the John Legend song, Best You Ever Had from his iPod. As the music began to play, and the base thumped, Kenton sang along with the song. Baby tonight’s the night….

The excitement of hearing Kenton’s melodic voice singing along with the music added shine to Briana’s eyes. She watched Kenton hold out his hands beckoning her to dance with him. He pulled her up from the sofa. “Come on baby let’s dance.” A faint light twinkled in the depths of his eyes when he pulled her up, holding her around her waist. He pressed her body to his, spinning, swaying and dipping her. Briana realized he was stepping Chicago style. Determined to keep up with his pace, Briana felt dizzy following his lead. She hadn’t stepped in a long time, but the movements came back, like riding a bike. Briana felt alive dancing, spinning, swaying, dipping and twirling in Kenton’s arms.

Kenton complimented her. “You’re a good dancer,” he said, holding her in his embrace. He continued to sing along with the song. I don’t wanna brag…. Briana grinned and leaned her head back in delight. He slowed down, and sang into her hair I’ll be the best you’ve ever had….

“You remembered my favorite artist.” Briana closed her eyes as she laughed. The sound of the music, the smoothness of Kenton’s dancing and singing fascinated Briana. Kenton was the best man she’d ever known.

“How could I forget?” Kenton said in between words to the song.

Briana began to sing along with Kenton. They sang her favorite part simultaneously with loud voices, the best you ever had…. They both paused for a few seconds which felt like an eternity. Within seconds, Briana snapped back into real time, although she felt as if she’d been hanging in space for hours. Looking into Kenton’s eyes, she melted in the tenderness of his gaze.

Kenton twirled her around and then pulled her close. Staring into her eyes, he gave Briana a smoldering look. “How did you like that?”


( Continues... )

Copyright © 2014 by Janice L. Dennie. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. 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 like this promotional excerpt.


Purchase Kenton's Vintage Affair by Janice L. Dennie
The Underwood's of Napa Valley Book 1
Contemporary African American Romance
Print or eBook:   http://amzn.com/B00NS4KW0I 





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Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters by KAI

Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters
by KAI
When animosity rains down like lava spewing from a volcano, even the Waters can't extinguish the fire!
Ricardo's twisted plans to snatch the Waters' empire from Armand have create unexpected results. While Pete executes his final plan, Armand is left gathering the remains of TW2: Monique and Michelle. As secrets tumble out, the Waters wage a battle that might cost them everything. This time, it's every man and woman for themselves. Game Over.


Excerpt: Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters


Monique's phone vibrated. It was her study alarm. She glanced around the room. The sun was fading. Armand was still knocked out asleep.  Monique looked at his body. There were two new tattoos. He had turned on his side, and the silhouette of his mother, grandmother and sister, were still there.  She moved closer, noticing that he had another new tattoo on his back. It was a roaring wave, crashing into the sea shore like an explosion. Waters. It was a monument to being with the Waters.  Armand was part of the circle, too. He was part of her strength and protection also.  She leaned in closer, careful not to touch him, her eyes following the intricate detail of the water exploding on his back. Suddenly, he shouted in his sleep. The sound was deep and painful. Monique jumped back, expecting him to yell at her for being so close. But he wasn’t awake. She watched as he coughed and clenched his fists. Monique had forgotten about his nightmares, about how vivid they were, so much so that he would start fighting and she would have to jump out of the bed to keep from being pummeled. She had been accidentally elbowed more than once.

Monique started to return to her chair when he shouted again, this time screaming out in agony. The sound made her spin around and look at him, wondering what he was reliving that was so awful. Tears ran down his face. Armand didn’t cry awake. In fact, his eyes were always dry. But, in his sleep, he flinched, shouted and cried. Crying meant the nightmare was an emotional one, not a survival one. He wouldn’t throw blows tonight. But he would shake, clench, moan and be in turmoil. The fighting ones were better for her to endure, at least they didn’t show how much pain Armand was really in, deep down within him.  The tears on his cheeks made her feel so sad. Whatever he was dreaming, Monique didn’t want to ever experience it. Whatever made his eyebrows twitch, his lips curl and his jaw clench was something she knew she couldn’t handle.

He flinched again, clenching his fist, and shouted, “No…please, no.”

Monique grabbed him, laying down next to him and wrapping her arms around him. “It’s okay, Army. I’m here. It's all right.”

After a couple of minutes he relaxed. She held on to him, rubbing his back.  Monique couldn’t help herself. She kissed his cheek, the taste of his tears on her lips. His eyes opened and met hers, but they were blank. His mind wasn’t there, it was still in the dream world. She wiped his face and kissed his forehead. She rubbed his arm. “It’s okay, Army. I’m here.”

He focused on her. She could tell when reality came back to him and the black pupils actually registered her. For an awful second, Monique thought that he was going to send her back to the chair. He flinched. A second later, he relaxed. As her lips brushed his cheek, he sighed. He shook his head, as if he wanted to stop himself, but then he let go. She felt his entire body relax against her. Armand lifted her up, slowly and gently, and wrapped her in his arms, holding her tightly. He tucked her body into his, pressed his lips against her neck, and fell back to sleep.

This time his breathing was steady, no ragged, jarring snores. This time the eyebrows were relaxed instead of furrowed, his jaw was slack instead of gritted.  This time his sleep was peaceful.

Monique lay awake as long as she could and swore to remember each and every second of feeling his heartbeat against hers. Being with Armand was more than a notion, it was a privilege. When someone so guarded actually allowed a window to their soul, it was an honor. Monique had taken that lightly, so used to being around warriors with steel cages walled around their emotions. But, she realized in the split second when he looked at her and let her kiss him, let her rub him, and allowed himself to yield to her, that loving him was a gift that she would never again undervalue.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, KAI. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase Daughter of the Game III: Burning Waters  

(Book 3 in Daughter of the Game Series)



About the Author
KAI
is the author of the critically acclaimed Daughter of the Game series (Daughter of the Game I, II, III and Prequel) and The Loudest Silence. KAI's story Twisted Loyalty is featured in Gutta Mamis, published by Strebor in the Streetz (Simon and Schuster). She is also a contributing author to Solo Shivers and That Good Grind by Wilson.

She is a nationally recognized poet and was named AAMBC's 2013 Poet of the Year for her Peaceful Resolution collection. Her poem Pre-Destiny, was featured in the April 2008 issue of Essence Magazine.

KAI has served as a Guest Reviewer for RAWSISTAWZ Reviewers. An alumni of Hampton University, SUNY Brockport and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a licensed attorney in two states and a proud parent.
Books by Kai on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/kai 
 
 
 
 
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How to Get Out of Debt Get an “A” Credit Rating by Harrine Freeman

How to Get Out of Debt
Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised
by Harrine Freeman


Do you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, stop harassing creditor calls, get out of debt or increase your credit score? Do you have a financial advisor or financial coach? Well now, you can be your own financial advisor. The fastest way to your financial success is getting advice from someone who has experienced the same financial issues you are going through – losing a job, considering filing for bankruptcy, working two jobs, bad credit, debt, repossession, and more.

I was once $19,000 in debt only making $21,000 a year and was successfully able to get myself out of debt without filing for bankruptcy. Each day you procrastinate is one more day you go deeper into debt and one more day closer to legal action being taken against you.

My book, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free will give you new insight, a plan for managing your finances and provide clarity on how to improve your financial situation. Credit affects several aspects of your life and is used for employment so it is critical that you maintain good credit. Credit should be used as a secondary not a primary form of payment.

You will learn how to repair your credit for free and get out of debt without filing for bankruptcy or going to a credit counseling agency. The book includes: strategies to increase your credit score, methods to get out of debt, practical ways to manage your money, sample letters to fix errors on your credit report, sample letters to negotiate with creditors, financial worksheets, financial tools and much more!


Book Reviews for How to Get Out of Debt
"Like many Americans, Harrine Freeman, has been through credit difficulties. But not only has she turned her situation around, she has gone on to help others do the same with her straightforward guide to better credit, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free. Her book is here at a time when so many people need this kind of help."
--Gerri Detweiler, consumer advocate and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook


"How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating For Free by Harrine Freeman is full of practical advice on where to file complaints, sample letters, spending plan spreadsheets, statute of limitations time periods, and much more. For the past five years, Ms. Freeman has been the CEO of a credit repair and money management company, so she knows what she is talking about".
-- Alan Caruba, Editor, Bookviews.com
“This is a must read…that will empower readers to reevaluate their spending habits and become focused on securing their financial future”.
-- Books2Mention Magazine


"When I first opened it, I sighed, wondering how it could be any different from the advertisements that come on after hours, promising all the information in the world for just $19.95, and offering you no more than what you already knew and never implemented. As you can tell from the review, I have struggled from undergraduate debt; I know this merry go round well. Three hours later, I had devoured Ms. Freeman's guide, tucking it on my shelf of "very necessary day-to-day living" reading. No doubt, folks, this one is a keeper".
-- Read Zone Book Reviewers


I have read several books on this subject, and this is the first one that actually offers a reasonable and achievable solution. Harrine Freeman talks about the ‘grand scheme’ but actually uses small and attainable goals. Essentially you can ‘Nickel and dime’ your way out of debt.
-- Simon Barrett, Author Blogger News Network

Chapter Excerpt: How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free Revised

The country experienced another financial crisis in October 2013 - the government shutdown which lasted for 2 ½ weeks causing approximately 800,000 employees to be furloughed. The shutdown also affected small business owners, contractors, consultants, social service companies or nonprofits that receive federal funding, social service programs, and state governments.

We can no longer depend on the government for assistance. As individuals we must take accountability for our actions. We spend the most money per person/family than all the others countries in the world. We have become so obsessed with things and using credit that we have become addicted to shopping. No one would ever admit to it but we have.

What happened to the days when you only purchased items that you could afford? These are the things our parents and grand-parents are familiar with. If you wanted to buy a home you had to save your money for a down payment and have a really good credit score otherwise you would be quickly escorted out the doors of the bank for wasting their time.

Money can make people do crazy things. A major factor of the mortgage industry failure was due to greed. I would like to ask Wall Street and the mortgage and banking industry professionals, was it worth it, was the greed and fraud used to make millions of dollars’ worth it. No, it was not. The saying “an honest day’s work for an honest pay” no longer applies to America. Other countries now look down on us and laugh. Our country is the butt of many jokes.

It is disappointing that a catastrophic event like the recession and government shutdown had to occur to bring the country back to reality. Unfortunately, some Americans are still in denial about their financial situation and are holding on for dear life to their “things”. If you own a home, car, boat or investment property and can’t bear the thought of losing it because you can’t afford to make the payments. Stop, take a deep breath and just let it go – let go and rid yourself of the stress, headache, heartache, worry and anxiety of trying to figure out how to make the payments or catch up on payments you have missed. Losing “things” should not make you feel sad, depressed or angry. Losing “things” should teach you a valuable lesson – things have no value, but your life does so live your life to the fullest.

Do things that have value such as community service, spending time with you family, getting an education, learning a new skill or hobby, starting a business that provides a desperately needed service, and focusing on what’s really important - knowing yourself and loving yourself. No matter what method you choose to change your lifestyle and spending habits you must make a permanent lifestyle change.

( Continued... )

© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Harrine Freeman. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free
http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Out-Debt-ebook/dp/B004KKXR5Q 



Meet the Author

Harrine Freeman
is an authority on personal finance. She is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book that provides a step-by-step plan on how to get out of debt, increase credit scores and plan for the future.

She has impacted the lives of thousands through speaking engagements and counseling. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice to steer clients in the right direction. 
She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association.

Harrine has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Woman’s Day magazines.


 
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Childless by Choice: Why I’m More Like Oprah Winfrey, Than I Realized

Childless by Choice: Why I’m More Like Oprah Winfrey, Than I Realized
By Marian L. Thomas

Yes, we both have beautiful black skin, strong hearts, and are great at multi-tasking. It seems we both enjoy natural hair, the bigger the better. Yet, there is something deeper that connects the Oprah Winfrey’s outlook on life to my own: our childless by choice decision.

It’s a tough decision for many to accept. Hard for many to fathom that a black woman who has much to give would consider not giving. I am an educated black female. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Communications. I have written five fictional books that have received some level of recognition including one that was a recommended “must-read romance” by Michele Monkou, USA Today book reviewer. Of course, not on the Oprah Winfrey level, but nonetheless, each book was a dream that I had to work hard to accomplish. Reaching dreams and accomplishing goals is highly important in Oprah Winfrey’s eyes. As an author, she has written articles, conducted national conferences, and spoke very highly and boldly on the subject of attaining goals. She also has spoken about her decision to remain childless by choice; a term I refer to as being an ‘empty carriage woman’.

Empty Carriage Woman: a strong, loving, kind, unselfish woman who has decided to forgo pushing the baby carriage.

While the term ‘empty carriage woman’ may not be familiar to many reading this, it is in fact not a new concept. A report posted by the Pew Research Center back in 2010 showed that 24% of women between the ages of 40-44 who held a higher-education degree, had not had children. The study also reported that the while white women are more likely to not to have children, the childless rate among black women had risen rapidly over the past decade.

Can an empty carriage woman really be deemed unselfish? Absolutely! Oprah is a classic example of this. Years back, she opened a beautiful school for young females. She gave unselfishly of her time, energy, and love to each of them. No, I haven’t opened a school, but I do give my time, energy, and love to volunteer work that I know benefits others, young girls and the like.

So, while I don’t have millions. Oprah and I do have more things in common, than even I realized. We both have made the decision to put on our empty carriage t-shirt, so to speak, and wear it out in a society where being childless by choice is still unthinkable.

Isn’t that how dreams are accomplished? Doing the unthinkable?


About the Author
Marian L. Thomas
is the award-winning author of the new book: Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life, see here.
She is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations.

Her latest title, "Blue Butterfly" recently scored top honors as one of the 2014 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS Fiction/ African-American Finalist. Each of her contemporary fiction books have reached a bestseller position on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Visit the Author's Website: http://www.marianlthomas.com





Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life: Childless By Choice
by Marian L. Thomas 



Author Marian L. Thomas delivers a hilarious, yet candid discussion of why she made the life-long decision to remain childless. This chapbook has the perfect blend of non-fiction and fictional elements that make it the perfect recipe for a delightful read.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “Millennial-focused media is just beginning to recognize this emerging mindset and celebrities are popularizing and glamorizing this path, too, with powerful women like Chelsea Handler, Zooey Deschanel and Cameron Diaz leading the charge.”

Thomas said it’s a myth that she just doesn’t like children. “It’s like saying, I don’t like ice cream. I don’t want to make it, but I certainly enjoy it on occasion. Similarly, I don’t want children, but I certainly do love children...I don’t want to babysit them either (just in case any of my friends are reading this book). I’m okay with being childless!”

Another article from the Huffington Post reported the happiest couples are those without children-- at least, that's according to research out of the United Kingdom's Open University. The study titled "Enduring Love?" found that childless married and unmarried couples reported being more satisfied in life and feeling more valued by their partners than did pairs with kids. Unmarried parents were found to be slightly happier than married parents.”

Thomas was also quoted as stating: “Being childless, is not a revolution. Being childless can be a good decision for you. Your decision to remain childless doesn’t need validation from others.”


For more information on how to order the book, please visit the website:  http://www.theemptycarriagelife.com 



Order on Kindle: 

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Way-Life-ebook/dp/B00P16OFYA 

Print Edition: 

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Empty-Carriage-Life-Chapbook/dp/0984896783 






Intimate Conversation with Marian L. Thomas

Award-winning novelist, Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations.

Her latest title, "Blue Butterfly" recently scored top honors as one of the 2014 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS Fiction/ African-American Finalist. Each of her contemporary fiction books have reached a bestseller position on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Visit the Author's Website: http://www.marianlthomas.com

BPM: Tell us about the book, Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life.
Living the Empty Carriage Way of Life is my first non-fiction, chapbook. It's a quick easy-to-read, hilarious ( I hope) but candid take on my decision to remain childless. Some call it, CBC (childless by choice).

BPM: What can readers expect to get out of the book? 
The book covers some common misconceptions about me and why I made the decision to remain childless. It also gets into some interesting topics that I think would make for a very lively book club discussion such as:
a. Do women without children take freedom for granted.

b. Is it a myth or fact that women who make the "childless" decision do so because they don't like children.

c. Do women who decide to be childless do so because they feel they aren't parent material.

d. Is there really such a thing as being "Phobic" about giving birth?

Readers have to keep in mind that I can only speak for myself. I don't claim to represent every woman out there who has made the decision to be childless.

BPM: What's your favorite chapter in the book?
Well, Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life  is broken down into situations that I have found myself in over the years. I added some elements of fiction in each one, but then I give you my candid and honest take on it afterward. My favorite chapter is on the subject of a woman's biological clock. I cracked up just doing research on it.

BPM: Do you think that women who decide to remain childless seek some sort of validation from others?
In 2008, 24% of women between the ages of 40-44 who held a bachelor’s degree, refrained from entering into the nine-month birthing cycle. So, I think that women are finding that it’s okay to be childless. That making the childless by choice decision is not some type of a movement and it’s certainly not a revolution against motherhood. In fact, being childless can be a good decision and that decision doesn’t need or require validation from others.

BPM: Where can readers get a copy of Living The Empty Carriage Way of Life?
Readers can order now on Amazon and get the book delivered to their front door within days. It's also available for most digital readers too. The reader can check out the book immediately. To learn more about the book, you can also visit the website, www.theemptycarriagelife.com  or my author website at www.marianlthomas.com





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Author KAI Speaks on Love & Poetry

Author KAI Speaks on Love & Poetry
Poetry is my first love because writing starts with an emotion. Normally, there is an indescribably emotion that I seek to form into words or thought and it becomes a poetic idea or phrase. And from there a character or storyline is born. But, when I don't have time for a fully developed story, I can still explore that emotion, encapsulate it into a poem.
The following poem is heartbreak, at its peak. I included this in Daughter of the Game Prequel-In the Shadows:

Toxic Love by KAI

How do you stop love’s rollercoaster, when there are no brakes?
How do you get off, when he won’t slow down?
Steady accelerating with each loop and every dive
Spinning and shaking, twisting and turning

Transforming the thrill into a continuous nightmare
Repeating the same pattern over and over and over
Each time more exaggerated and delirious
Each time more dangerous than before

Excitement turns to dread
Adrenaline rush turns to fear
You finally realize that he can’t stop
Won’t ever stop
Making you sick, dizzy, nauseous

Something once so intriguing
Is now nothing more than a death trap
How do you escape?
There is no safe way out, nothing to save you

When you’re finally thrown, or your heart finally gives out
When the spin finally snaps your neck, or your sanity finally breaks
Because on his ride, your death is inevitable
Accept that there is no safe escape

You have only one option
When love’s rollercoaster is at its lowest point
Tuck in your chin, close your eyes, pray
Jump
And hope you survive the fall

© 2014 All rights reserved. Toxic Love poem reprinted by permission of the author, KAI. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Check out Daughter of the Game 3 by KAI

Link: http://amzn.com/0985438681 




About the Author

KAI is the author of the critically acclaimed Daughter of the Game series (Daughter of the Game I, II, III and Prequel) and The Loudest Silence. KAI's story Twisted Loyalty is featured in Gutta Mamis, published by Strebor in the Streetz (Simon and Schuster). She is also a contributing author to Solo Shivers and That Good Grind by Wilson.

She is a nationally recognized poet and was named AAMBC's 2013 Poet of the Year for her Peaceful Resolution collection. Her poem Pre-Destiny, was featured in the April 2008 issue of Essence Magazine.

KAI has served as a Guest Reviewer for RAWSISTAWZ Reviewers. An alumni of Hampton University, SUNY Brockport and Georgetown University Law Center, she is a licensed attorney in two states and a proud parent.

Connect with KAI online: 

Website: www.discoverkai.com
FB: facebook.com/authorkai
Twitter: twitter.com/authorkai
IG: instagram.com/authorkai1



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God’s Timeline by Catherine Flowers

God’s Timeline 
by Catherine Flowers



Often, we look for solutions outside of God’s plan.
We have an urgency that is not compatible with His timeline. It becomes a challenge to wait on God. And so without consulting Him, we make choices that turn out to be mistakes.

And then we expect God to bless something that He has never played a part in, something He has never condoned.

Psalms 127:1 tells us, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” That means if God is not a part of our plan, we’re going to have some problems with it whether it be in the execution of it, the structure, or the maintenance.

Waiting on God’s timing is sometimes hard to do. But I have faith in His wisdom that surpasses mine. And it’s worth it because God (the One who created us) knows what’s best for us (His creation). Likewise, He knows when it’s best for us. And I can testify that the reward for waiting is well worth it.

I had been waiting a year and some months for God to answer a particular prayer of mine. While He did not answer my prayer directly, He indirectly answered it by not opening any doors for me or allowing any alternatives that I could see. That clearly said to me, “wait”. And so I did.

Sometimes, though the enemy will throw a distraction at you in the midst of your waiting period. It becomes unclear whether the distraction is God answering your prayer or whether it is from the enemy.

This is when wisdom and spiritual discernment become invaluable tools. As a believer, I asked myself the following questions in order to discern whether the answer I received was from God or was a distraction from the enemy.

– Am I ready and in a position to receive that which I have been praying for?
– Is the answer I’ve received going to require much difficulty and discomfort on my part?
– Does the answer appear to be logical or does it create a whole new scenario of unanswered questions?
– After receiving an answer, is there still a sense of uncertainty within me?

It was clear that the answer I received was from God. It was clear because what once seemed impossible had now become quite achievable. Everything fell into place and the door that had been shut was thrust wide open for me to walk through.

So just when it felt like the last minute was upon me, it wasn’t; it was just God working on His own timeline. He had answered my prayer, and the thing once withheld from me was now mine to have.

Some have no desire to wait for Lord. They exclaim “I know what’s best for me!”, as if they are truly the captain of their own ship…well, to some extent they are. We all are when it comes to the ability to make choices – and even that is a gift from God.

So we can choose not to wait on God and execute our own plans, but if we wait on the Lord and let Him guide our footsteps, we’ll always have a 100% guarantee that everything will turn out fine.

If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, consider turning your life over to Him.
Come before Him in repentance, and stop trying to do it all on your own. It’s okay to look to the Lord for your direction. It’s okay to wait for His guidance. He will never steer you wrong.  Nothing offers a 100% guarantee on all things at all times…but waiting on the Lord truly does!

About the Author

Catherine Flowers
is the creator of www.freefrombondage.com, a Christian blog where she shares the word of Christ through her encouraging words and experiences. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys writing on-line content for multiple websites as well as editing the creative works of others. Her leisure activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. A Sad Soul Can Kill You is her second novel.

To learn more about the author, please visit www.freefrombondage.com or e-mail her at authorcatherineflowers@aol.com. You can also contact her on Facebook: Author Catherine Flowers


A Sad Soul Can Kill You by Catherine Flowers 
Link: http://amzn.com/1622868056


Yesterday's Eyes by Catherine Flowers
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/C7Q4pGvx




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Save for Retirement or Pay Down Debt by Harrine Freeman

Save for Retirement or Pay Down Debt
by Harrine Freeman

Your financial, family or health situation can change at any time so it’s better to have little to no debt. Here are 5 ways to help you plan for retirement and pay down debt. 


1. Downsize or downgrade. Scale back temporarily by making adjustments to your lifestyle by moving to a smaller home or trading in your luxury car for a compact or mid-size car.

2. Retirement. Contribute the maximum amount towards your retirement.

3. Debt. If you’re in debt due to credit cards, student loans or late payments paying those off should be a priority. Focus on one bill at a time starting with the smallest bill.

4. Peer Pressure. Avoid peer pressure from your co-workers, children and friends to buy things you can’t really afford. This behavior results in financial disaster.

5. Automate. Get organized and automated your finances. Use tools to help track your money and pay bills online or use automatic paycheck deduction. This will prevent you from paying late fees, help you easily keep track of your money and help you achieve financial goals.

Here are some helpful links regarding personal finance from Harrine Freeman:
 http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com/resources.html 


Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an a Credit Rating for Free
http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Out-Debt-ebook/dp/B004KKXR5Q 



Meet the Author

Harrine Freeman
is an authority on personal finance. She is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book that provides a step-by-step plan on how to get out of debt, increase credit scores and plan for the future.

She has impacted the lives of thousands through speaking engagements and counseling. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice to steer clients in the right direction. 
She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association. Harrine has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, and Woman’s Day magazines.



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Intimate Conversation with Lloyd Johnson


Intimate Conversation with Lloyd Johnson

Lloyd Johnson
was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although he has dabbled in the creative arts since elementary school, he rediscovered his passion for writing in 2004, and has been working on his craft ever since.

Lloyd has traveled both domestically and abroad, having visited 14 countries. Besides the relaxation traveling has afforded him, he has found much of his creative inspiration. An avid reader, he enjoys African-American fiction and biographies.  Lloyd Johnson is currently working on his third novel. He lives in New England.


BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?

I think just experiencing life has brought me through to where I am today. I like to think that my 20s were the time to mess up in the world; my 30s was intended to learn from my 20s; and my 40s allows me to hit the reset button and take all the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn and move forward.


BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?

I consider E.Lynn Harris a role model. He defined a genre. He had a very simple, unpretentious style of writing. I have secretly coveted his demographic: 60% women; 20% gay men; 20% other, all within the 18-49 age brackets. I’ll be happy if I can crack those demographics.


BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?

I saw the movie “Precious” and subsequently read the book, “Push” by Sapphire. I was blown away and decided to write a book with a female protagonist who encounters adversity, but manages to come out on the other side. Why now? Why not now?


BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, The Dog Catcher?

I enjoyed two things: The art of creating and secondly, writing the story was very cathartic for me. I was able to get a lot of anger out.


BPM: Could you tell us something about your recent work, The Dog Catcher?

The Dog Catcher is the story about Cheryl Greene’s choices in men, and how those choices dismantle her life. She’s someone to root for because her intentions are good. She doesn’t dive into drama just for drama’s sake. There is a lot of growth in her arc. It takes her time, but she gets there eventually.

Plez Jackson is evil personified, though that isn’t what we see when we meet him. But he is beguiling enough to make this woman lose herself to him. He has a method to stripping Cheryl down. Plus, his brutality, anger and unpredictability keeps the reader on edge. I had fun writing this villain because he’s one that many women have known. He stays with you.


BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Sexuality is addressed in this book. Cheryl has two gay friends. Her dealings with them inform her views on homosexuality when the issue hits close to home.


BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?

One thing I’m proud of is Cheryl’s spiritual arc. When we meet her, she is completely turned off to religion and spirituality because her mother is very hardcore. But as Cheryl moves through the story, she develops her own relationship with God, and calls upon that faith throughout her journey. But she does so in what I think is a realistic way. She doesn’t go from zero to ten, but does the best she can.


BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, The Dog Catcher?

I learned that I held a lot of stuff inside and the emotions connected were still very raw. For example, much of what transpires between Cheryl and her eldest son, Lawrence, is based from events that happened to me. To draw from those memories and create fiction was painful at times.


BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

I think the characters in the book are composites of people I’ve known in my life. People I went to school with and worked alongside with.


BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I had three objectives, really. First was to write in a consistent female voice. I think I accomplished that. Secondly, I wanted to write a good book that would allow people to get lost in the characters. I think I did well on that also. Thirdly, I wanted to bring awareness to domestic violence. People still behave as though this is something that happens every day, but with other people. Especially in light of Chris Brown and Ray Rice who have sort of become the poster boys for men who like to beat up women . But I think that if people really stopped and paid attention they could find people close to them. In fact, some people need only hold a mirror up.


BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?

I have a computer filled with files of things I could work on. Some things I work on more diligently than others. I have a story called, “The Broken Dolls Club” which I’m debating whether to leave it as a novella or if I could legitimately stretch it into a full novel.


BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

This is the best part. I enjoy interacting with the readers. They can go to my webpage, www.lloydljohnson.net; author Lloyd Johnson on Facebook; and my Twitter handle is @lloydjohnson19.

Purchase The Dog Catcher by Lloyd Johnson

http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Catcher-Lloyd-Johnson/dp/0990432432
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dog-catcher-lloyd-johnson/1110155407






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Intimate Conversation with Benilde Little

Intimate Conversation with Benilde Little

Benilde Little
is the bestselling author of the novels Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out and Who Does She Think She Is? She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Jet, People Magazine, Heart and Soul, More magazine, among many others. She has had numerous media appearances including NPR, the Today Show, and Tavis Smiley.

The Go On Girl Book Club selected Good Hair as the best book of the year. Natalie Cole bought the film rights. Benilde’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Honey Hush and About Face. She was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

A former reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Star Ledger, People and senior editor at Essence, she has been a creative writing professor at Ramapo College. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, two children and dog.


BPM: You are known for your novels, Good Hair, The Itch, Who Does She Think She Is?, Acting Out, why nonfiction, why now?
It wasn’t a conscious, creative choice to write a non-fiction book. It was the place I was emotionally in, where this was all I could write. The feeling of hopelessness, grief and sadness was so all consuming that I had to get it out of me. I suppose I could’ve approached those feelings in a fictional form, but that never even occurred to me; wasn’t a thought. It was not the write format. Toni Morrison has said to write the book you want to read. I believe that, but I also know that this was a book I had to write and I did write it for me.


BPM: Welcome to My Breakdown, the title of your new book suggests a light tone, but the book is anything but. You write that when your mother died you weren’t sure how you would survive. Was it difficult for you to write about your depression? 
Sometimes, but not as much as one might imagine; I wrote this book in pieces, so sometimes when I was writing about it, I wasn’t consistently living with it. When I’d research other writers talking about their depression, William Styron and David Forster Wallace, in particular, but also Terrie Williams, in her book Black Pain (in which she writes about her own depression and others’), I felt less alone. Feeling less alone helped me to feel somewhat better. What was hard was re-reading the descriptions of that time. There were times when I’d scan it and other times when I’d cry and sometimes I could read it at a remove.


BPM: Do you think that this book might encourage candid conversations in all communities, but particularly the African American community about depression? 

That is my sincere hope. I think it will. It’s been said that the book is honest and bare and I think that will give some people permission to take a deep look at one’s self in an honest, and hopefully compassionate, way.


BPM: Clara Little is the beating heart of this book. What a remarkable woman your mother was, a loving, devoted mom, a wife, a political activist, community organizer, a feminist before the word had currency. What was it like to be the center of that much love and affection? 

You don’t know what you don’t know. I thought all mothers were like her. It wasn’t until I was in adolescence when I began spending lots of time at the homes of friends where I got to see other moms, who were very different than mine. I realized and appreciated her as an adult and especially when I became a mother and I could finally realize what sacrifices she made and what a difference in my life all that love and affection made. It’s why I could grow up in Newark and have the life I have now. Her expectation of my brothers and me was that we become productive, college educated citizens of the world. She’s why we didn’t become teenage parents or get addicted to drugs or crime. And we weren’t put in a bubble, either. The downside of all that intense love and affection is that I have a very high bar for what I expect love to feel like. It’s another reason my grief was so great--knowing that no one will ever love me like she did. It’s a somewhat hybrid blessing.


BPM: Clearly you and your husband are more affluent than you were growing up, you live in a wealthy suburb, and enjoy many material possessions that were beyond your parents’ reach. There are hints here that you are an old school, hands on mother like your mother was. Do you consider yourself the same kind of mother as your mother? What’s the same, what’s different? What’s your most important job as a mother in your view? 

To me the most important thing a mother can give her child is a solid sense of self. I’m not sure it’s possible to do this completely but if you can instill in your kids that they are good just the way they are, then they can do anything. They can be fulfilled, they can be secure and can find their purpose. I don’t think our parents were thinking much, if at all, about our psychological health. 
I think my mother was ahead of her time and she was very intuitive, but I know she wasn’t consciously thinking about it. She didn’t belittle us; she would never slap us in the face because she believed that was demeaning (although she did get that strap and put it on the butt). I’m similar in how I’ve raised my kids in terms of being fiercely in their corner, advocating for them, loving them fiercely, but no spanking. I believe that that diminishes them and it’s not effective. I don’t want to rule from a place of fear. I think if they respect you, they want to please you. This is not to say that they won’t mess up and that they won’t do things that hurt and disappoint you, but ultimately disappointing a good parent is not something a child will want to do. When I got older, college age probably, it was hell to me to disappoint my mother. I see a lot of that in my daughter. It’s there with my son, but buried, I think because he’s a teenager. I believe in punishment for bad behavior. Like my mother, I hate lying and go nuts when my kids have.


BPM: Readers will welcome your candor about dating, marriage, family, and children. You are in a long marriage with a child in college and another in middle school. Can you tell us succinctly how the dream of having it all, like your character Alice in Good Hair reconciles with the reality of family, marriage, and children? 

Well, what I know for sure is that there is no such thing. There have been tradeoffs. I began writing fiction shortly after we got married in anticipation of having children and wanting to be home with them. I began a career I could have and still be home with my kids. I quit my job at Essence because, for me, it was too demanding to do and be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I don’t know if I’d make the same decision today, but that’s what I was thinking at the time. There’s no easy, right answer. You give up your job, you give up part of an income, which impacts your lifestyle, which can impact your relationship. I don’t know if one ever truly reconciles. You might be able to “have it all,” but not at the same time.


BPM: We lose our parent, that’s an inescapable truth. Is there anything about the grieving process that you can share with others to help them through grief? 

Give yourself time. There’s no one-way to grieve and there’s no time limit. There are those stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, sadness, acceptance. Those things can show up in different order or you may not experience each one. For me, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. It was a wave that simply knocked me down and I was in an undertow. The best was to recover in an undertow is to give in to it. I gave over to it. Now, I didn’t have a job in an office where a boss was expecting me to perform everyday. For people who have to get back to work, I would still advise them to give the grieving process as much time as you need. Do your work and go home and give yourself permission to feel like crap, to cry, to rail, all of it.


BPM: In the end, would you say that there was anything beneficial or redeeming about your depression? 

It made me more compassionate, less arrogant, but also less tolerant of people who sit on the sidelines of their feelings. It helped me get clear about who I wanted in my life. I got in touch with my need for gentleness, gentle people who are also willing to be vulnerable and real. I’m no longer close to people who are disconnected from their feelings, because they can’t truly be aware of others.


BPM: What’s the takeaway? What do you want people to get, to do?

To take off the mask. I look forward to having honest conversations about some of the topics in the book, grief, motherhood—staying home/having a career, depression, mid-life, perfection pressure. So much of what we do in this culture is to soothe our wounds: we buy too much, eat too much, and drink too much. Don’t get me wrong, doing the work, looking at one’s self and examining all those warts is not easy. But I believe, in the long run, it’s the only option.

The epigram I used in Good Hair says this beautifully: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will destroy you.”—Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas

Order Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-My-Breakdown-A-Memoir/dp/1476751951
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Welcome-to-My-Breakdown/Benilde-Little/9781476751955

  





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