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Black Pearls Magazine is a free digital magazine committed to inspire, encourage and empower a international group of readers. Our mission is to provide information that is essential, enlightening and entertaining. Every issue of this monthly published magazine will celebrate the accomplishments of authors and writers from around the globe, honoring proud traditions and spotlighting ways to enhance the reader's everyday life.

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Think you Know how to Handle a Stalker?
DO's  and DONT's 

by  author Electa Rome Parks

DO  List

Be firm -- This is one time you should not be kind or gentle! Be Firm! Tell your stalker NO once. And stop any other contact by you, the stalker feeds on contact! Trying to be nice allows the obsessive stalker to hear what he/she wants to hear, not the NO. 

Cut off all contact -- Stalkers don't care what kind of attention they get, as long as it's SOME attention. Firmly reject the stalker, and cut off all contact. 

Pay attention to all early warning signs, that indicate that over bearing annoying attention may soon turn into full blown stalking! 

Keep your address private -- Use a postal box instead of residential address on everything. Give your address only to your most trusted friends. 

Get an answering machine that records on a cassette -- If you are being harassed put a beep tone on your line and let the caller know that the call is being recorded. 

Guard your e-mail -- If you are being cyber stalked, change your e-mail to something that is hard to guess, and do not put any personal information on on-line profiles. 

Keep a diary -- Record every stalking incident and names, dates, and times of contact. Save a tape of all the phone messages and packages sent to you by the stalker. 

Secure your home -- Trim the bushes around your house. Always lock the doors with dead bolts. Use window locks on basement and ground floor windows. 

Secure your vehicles -- Always lock your cars. Look carefully inside before entering. When you travel to and from work, vary your schedule and route. If possible, get a gas lock, and lock your gas tank. Never be afraid to sound your car horn to attract attention. 

Do take the stalking seriously. It is better to play it safe. There are stalkers that stalk for years, and never physically harm the person. Then there are stalkers that can turn the stalking deadly. Use Caution, and don't minimize the act of stalking. You can obtain a restraining order, although there are pro's and con's with restraining orders too. The bottom line is, a restraining order is simply a piece of paper! Keep your senses, protect yourself! Be alert! 

Do Believe that a stalker can be violent, even if they have NEVER demonstrated violence! 

Do listen to your intuition! 

Do enlist the support of family, friends, etc.  Everyone who knows and loves you should be alerted, and know these stalking Do's and Don'ts! 

Do Clearly REALIZE that the stalker is seeking YOUR attention, negative attention is better then none, and this is clearly how the stalker thinks! Do completely ignore any conversation, words, etc.   Just DON'T Respond at all! 



DON'T List

Don't give out your telephone number -- get an unpublished and unlisted phone number. Never print your phone number on checks. If asked for a phone number, give your work number. 

Don't try to reason or plead with the stalker, it doesn't work, and will only edge him/her on more! 

Don't accept packages you did not order -- This includes flowers, gifts, and other things that you didn't order and sent to you by people other than your friends or family. 

Don't agree to meet the stalker in person -- Never, ever, agree to meet the stalker in person, even if he/she says it's to say good-bye for one last time. 

Don't have anything shipped to your home address -- Have packages delivered to your work address. 

Don't inflict self-blame! This is not your fault!  Stalkers do not understand NO. They thrive on the shame and embarrassment you feel, they know this is how they keep their control! 

**Visit the The AntiStalking Web Site for more information**


Diary of a Stalker by Electa Rome Parks
When best-selling author, Xavier Preston, meets his fanatic fan, Pilar, he gets more than he bargained for. What starts out as an erotic one-night stand quickly spirals out of control into a dangerous game of obsession and pain. . . with both parties playing to win.

Think you know what goes on behind the literary scene? Think again.

Contact Electa Rome Parks
novelideal@aol.com 
www.electaromeparks.com 
www.electaromeparks.blogspot.com 





Tips For Touching! 3 Ways to Improve Sex 
For a Better Marriage 
By Addison Prescot 

I have always said that better sex, makes for a better marriage. Tips for touching, can be extremely helpful in all kinds of ways. It was said that someone who is in tune with the power of touch could actually cause a woman or man to orgasm by touching only one square inch of their body without even going 'Down There'. This may be hard to believe but as far as medical science is concerned, its absolutely possible.

If you and your partner are experiencing any difficulties, or just want a better marriage in areas of sexual performance and climax; touching without having actual sex can help. Sex therapists recommend this as a technique for prolonging sex and improving your relationship all around. These tips for touching are easy to follow and simple to apply. They are also excellent for achieving results too.


Tips for touching!

1. Try to explore some sexual activity without having intercourse and without making orgasm your focus or goal. Reaching an orgasm can often become the sole focus or only aim of sex in our society. This is just plain wrong and not to mention too simple. This adds unnecessary pressure which will very likely result in performance anxiety and become an obstacle for both men and women.

Sex therapists often suggest this as a positive route to take in treating performance anxiety, sexual dysfunction, intimacy issues, stress, relieving tension and all kinds of other things that can alter your relationship negatively.

2. Learning the art of non-sexual touching. Non-sexual touching again helps with performance problems by taking pressure off the focus of orgasm and performance. This also rebuilds a pathway to reconnecting with each other emotionally and mentally. It helps you to feel good about each other and more comfortable with touching. It also helps boost confidence and self esteem. I always recommend facial touching, before during or even after sex.

Usually as a result the new, more relaxed attitude that couples achieve brings more enjoyment and they can more thoroughly understand each other sexually. Sexual understanding helps to achieve heightened levels of sexual enjoyment and understanding all around.

3. The art of Message. This is where it gets more intense. Everybody loves a good message but not everyone know how to give a good, adequate message. The thing is it can be learned like any skill. There are certain tricks to this trade that can be learned by both watching a professional message and getting one too. I recommend finding a good masseuse got together and each get a message from the same person. Only when your getting your message pay special attention to what they are doing. Be more observant whenever you feel yourself getting lost in it.

Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. Take notes if you can and find out the best techniques. In the end though, the best way to learn something is by getting some good information on the subject and DOING it. There is no substitute for direct experience.

There are many other ways of improving your sex life and this ultimately makes for a better marriage in the long run. Sex is a great way to express your love for each other and defeat stress and anxiety. Well, touching can help you improve in those areas too. Plus, sex is definitely touching. Learning the art of touching is fun and there are vast amounts of information in this particular area.

Better sex is definitely one way to a better marriage. Learn from an expert sex & relationship therapist that was featured on Oprah. Learn the best kept Secret Sex Tips that will heat up your marriage.

Find out how simple steps can help you to find Happiness in Marriage no matter how bad it might seem. Even if you are the only one trying, it can be turned around. With the right attitude and the right information nothing is impossible. You can make A Better Marriage for both of you if you learn the proven steps!   Article Source 


How to Have Casual Sex Responsibly 
By Rachel Goodchild

What? You can have casual sex responsibly? Let's face it- so many people have it at least once or twice. It can be an incredible experience that leaves both people feeling great, or it can be a time of your life that can make you feel awful. So much of that is how you look after yourself before, during and after.

If you're not feeling emotionally resilient you're a train wreck waiting to happen. If you are going through a periods in your life where physical intimacy is the way you are band aiding up your heart while it's hemorrhaging everywhere else and having sex with randoms, waking up, regretting it, then doing it all over again week after week, you're not doing anything good for yourself

It's best to be sober, or at the most just a little tipsy. If you're completely blotto, catch a taxi and go home ALONE. We've all had friends who've woken up next to someone with no memory of how he got there. Which also means she can't normally remember if they used condoms. That is not having casual sex responsibly! Sex is good enough to have when sober, or slightly relaxed with one glass of wine- and you're more likely to have it with someone you actually find pleasant!

If you really like the guy, and they suggest you sleep with him, then you probably shouldn't risk it unless there is a relationship around it. Otherwise feelings are going to get all the more worse. If he's your top crush, and you've not gone on a date, or he's never asked you out, but suddenly wants to get in your pants, it's tempting. But it's really not going to do your heart any good.

It's best to verbally set up some rules before you have sex. One night stands with mates are far more problematic as you both have to have a fair amount of emotional maturity to cope with the next day pangs. Setting good boundaries is really important for your own emotional health

Always, always, always use protection. Carrying a condom in your handbag doesn't make you look like a slut. It's far less painful than having to slide into the chemist for the morning after pill, or getting checked for STD's.

A good One Night Stand buddy  is someone you aren't going to be embarrassed to see again socially. Our lives are full of accidentally bumping into people. Make sure anyone you sleep with is mature enough to be pleasant with socially after. Sex with a grown up is far better than having it with a 12 year old trapped in a 30 year old's body. And chatting afterwards is always nice and good.

Have it with someone completely attracted to you. And vice versa. That's the whole point really isn't it? You want to feel good after it. If you pick well you'll be feeling sexier, happier and more attractive for days.

If it's something you are doing with random people  on a very regular basis take a look at why. For some it's a stage in their life. But if it's the only thing making you feel good, it's probably good to take a wee break for a bit. Everyone needs a good hobby. Having casual sex responsibly once or twice however is different from compulsive random shagging which is perhaps not the healthiest hobby you can have.


About the Author
Got a problem you need help with?  Rachel Goodchild, modern day agony aunt might be able to help! Pop along to her website http://www.askrachel.co.nz  for all things sex, dating, love and relationships related. Rachel is a frequent guest on television and radio, advising on all things relationships, and the author of Eighty Eight Dates, a book on internet dating.  Article Source  

 


Dealing With Infidelity - To Pardon 
Or Not to Pardon is the Question
 
By Emma Audley 

Dealing with infidelity is a major area of concern in any marriage, even when promiscuity, in several developed cultures is as commonplace as brushing your teeth. Some protagonists of extra-marital affairs say that infidelity is a great ego, confidence and performance booster, and it is perfectly acceptable, so long as you do not get caught!

Even when you know what to expect, infidelity, every time it happens, creates ripples around the people concerned, bringing shame and infamy to the families concerned. Of the people who are directly involved with infidelity, it is difficult to say who suffers most - as they are all dealing with infidelity in their own way, trying to bring sanity into their own little worlds.

Over and above the people who are directly involved in the 'affair', there are scores of others who try to barge in - giving advice, offering counseling help and so on. Of course, there are the inevitable other lot, who simply add their bit to the story and make it the juiciest topic for the next cocktail party in office.

You can either cheat or be cheated up on. While both the situations demand dealing with infidelity, the only change is in the perspective. In this article, let me talk about dealing with infidelity, when you have been cheated and now suffering from the eternal dilemma, which every victim of infidelity has to face: to pardon or not to pardon.

Though every individual has his or her own life story regarding how and why the extra-marital affair happened, etc., these hardly matter when it is ultimately a matter of making a choice. You too could be having your own rationale regarding dealing with infidelity. Nevertheless, you cannot deny that no matter whether you pardon or not, the 'affair' would impact your life in a number of ways in the future. Therefore, it is up to you to decide whether you can handle the post-infidelity era of the relationship maturely and with grace. Here are some points to ponder:

When you pardon:
•  By pardoning the errant spouse, you have undoubtedly shown your undying love for your partner, as well as your forgiving attitude. However, dealing with infidelity would also involve how you handle your life with the same errant partner in future. Can you pardon unconditionally? 

•  Can you completely forget the episode while dealing with infidelity? 

•  Be very sure why you are pardoning. Is it because you feel pity for the 'helpless and distressed' spouse? Or is that you feel that everyone deserves a second chance? 

•  Are you prepared to walk that extra mile, making the necessary compromises in your behavior and attitudes, so that you can continue with the relationship?

When you do not pardon:
•  First of all, you need to have very good reasons why pardoning the errant spouse is out of the question. Repetition of the same deed is a good reason; permanent incompatibility is another. 

•  Be prepared to face some ugly aftermath, depending on the kind of person your spouse is. Things can turn nasty, legally as well as emotionally. 

•  When dealing with infidelity, the question of not pardoning only comes up when you fail to see eye-to-eye with your spouse regarding the reasons for the affair to happen in the first place.


At the end of the day, dealing with infidelity requires a tremendous amount of patience, fortitude, grace and of course immense amount of love in case you want to continue living with the errant spouse. It is your call, what you want your life to be.

Whether you are still together and and trying to deal with infidelity or you are already separated and want to save your marriage... the next step is absolutely crucial!

Don't make the mistake of saying or doing something that will kill your chances of getting back together with your spouse. Visit my site to find out what you need to do to save your marriage and emotionally reconnect with your spouse again.   Article Source  

 
About the Author Emma Audley 
I am the author of "Loneliness to Happiness - the simple guide to getting your ex back" as well as numerous publications and articles about relationships and marriages in crises.

I have a degree in psychology and years of experience as a therapist in couples and marriage counseling.  I gave up my career as a therapist when my older daughter became ill soon after she was born. Fortunately, she is perfectly healthy and a very happy child today.  I have since moved to another country and I have no plans to resume my career as a therapist. However, I still enjoy helping rejected lovers put their derailed relationships back on track.

Author Links 
Business URL:  http://www.lonelinesstohappiness.com  


Fables Regarding Cheating - The Facts and the Fictions 
By Elaine Turner 

"Men deceive greater and greater than females." "Cheating is simply and solely about coupling." "If he cheats one time, he'll certainly cheat again."

If you've anytime been involved in a relationship, you've heard a million varying facts about cheating. But are they all correct? Whereas most actually are, society - markedly when it is in regards to films and television shows -bolsters numerous "truths" regarding cheating that, in reality, are not accurate at all. Let's take a peek at a handful of the more common facts and fictions:

Cheating Myth #1 - Men cheat more than females: At one time this was true, however these days studies have confirmed that men and women cheat with appreciably proportionate frequency. They do, although, tend to have distinguishable rationales for their infidelity, and women are more inclined to feel sorrowful for their conduct (granted they are altogether more disposed to get away with it, as women have been ascertained to be better fibbers than men).

Cheating Myth #2 - Cheating is merely about intercourse: Clandestine coupling is an exhilarating idea for abundant people, but reasons for cheating basically tend to change between men and women. Men are better at separating the notions of love and sex in their thoughts, so it's positively possible for a man to have an affair that is solely pertinent to carnal enjoyment. Women, on the other hand, tend to affiliate the two ideas, and naturally have relationship because they are searching for some kind of emotional fulfillment that they feel they do not receive from their spouse.

Cheating Myth #3 - If he deceives once, he'll dupe again: Sorry girls...this one is undoubted!

Cheating Myth #4 - It is not cheating if there was not sexual intercourse: Emotional infidelity can be found even when bodily infidelity has not occurred. A person - male or female - can develop a profoundly, impassioned devotion (platonic though it may be) that transitions into emotional love whether or not sex is associated. This type of cheating frequently applies to open partnerships as well.

Cheating Myth #5 - Cheating implies he doesn't adore you: Being cheated on is a heartbreaking event, but it doesn't relentlessly mean that you aren't loved. As men are more capable of separating sex from romantic feelings, they find it simple to have a physical affair with somebody that doesn't impede with their emotional relationship with someone else.

Cheating Myth #6- Cheating can be a positive thing for a relationship: Nearly always false. All personalities entangled might learn a lot about themselves, their connections, and the type of people they want to date, but basically adultery means that one spouse didn't revere the other adequately to stick to an understanding - to be monogamous - they made with the other, and instead felt that lying and sneaking hereabouts were appropriate courses of action.

While it's expedient to retain these 6 ideas in mind if you happen upon infidelity, the most vital thing to consider is your own feelings. Do you surmise that he cheated? Are you pained by his actions? Do you feel that sexual union and adoration do not have to go hand-in-hand and therefore that multiple varieties of relationships are conceivably possible at once? You choose what comprises infidelity, and then react suitably.


About the Author
Elaine Turner is a Writer who specializes in the subject of infidelity in relationships and more accurately dating tips and relationship advice to receive more helpful tips and advice, visit this link.      Article Source  



Intimate Conversation with
Marissa Monteilh 
aka Pynk

Marissa Monteilh (Mon-tay), a former model, talk-show host, Fox-TV news reporter, and commercial actress, is the best-selling author of eight mainstream novels and two novellas. Marissa also writes erotica, Erotic City, and Sexaholics, under the pseudonym, Pynk. Originally from Los Angeles, she lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit Marissa at www.marissamonteilh.com  or at www.authorpynk.com 

Ella:  Introduce us to Sexaholics by Pynk.
Miki, Valencia, Teela Raye, and Brandi share one thing...they are all addicted to sex. United through  Sexaholics Anonymous, these women try to recover from their dependence on wild, spontaneous, and even sometimes, dangerous sex. From whips and chains, to sex in public, they have done it all! Led by Dr. Rachel Cummings, each woman takes the first step to recovery by sharing her biggest sexual act with the group.  Sexaholics, set in Los Angeles, takes readers through the outrageous experiences of four sex-drunk women, on their long path to rehabilitation. 

Ella:  What issues in today's society have you addressed in the book?
Issues of addiction, be it alcohol, shopping, overeating, gambling, or sex, are very popular today. We have a new reality show about sex addiction, and many celebrities, usually male, have admitted to being sex addicts.  Sexaholics gives you an inside look into the world of four women who are all addicted to sex. Their stories are dramatic and sometimes shameful, yet they could be your next door neighbor . . . or you.


Ella:  What was the most powerful chapter in the book for you?  Was it emotional for you?
The most powerful chapter in Sexaholics is a scene where one of the women crosses the line and allows her demons to alter her thinking to the point where the results change her life forever. I cried when I wrote this scene. That's only happened one other time in Something He Can Feel, and that scene was the one readers talked about most. It is my hope that this portion of Sexaholics, along with the rest of the book, will paint a vivid and valid picture of the shame and impact of reckless lust.

Ella:  Do you write full time? Describe your writing schedule for our readers.
Yes, I write full-time. I wake up at about 8:00 a.m. and check emails, promote, follow-up on projects, etc. I usually write in the afternoon until late evening. I try not to write on the weekends but depending upon deadlines, a Tuesday is the same as a Saturday. I do make a point to spend quality time with family. That is a priority.

Ella:  If you had to do it all over, would you change anything in your book?
No, not at all. Actually, because there has been so much talk in the media regarding sex addiction, I usually take notes on the situation or when a professional speaks on the subject, just to make sure I've conveyed the causes and various choices of treatment as accurately as possible. I think it's important to show consequences for certain behavior so that sex addiction is not glamorized, though sometimes, just as in real life, some characters do not pay the price nor do they learn from their mistakes. Remaining unchanged is very common. And sometimes, that's just the way it is.


Ella:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. 
My next Pynk book is called Sixty Nine, which is about three best friends, Magnolia, Rebe, and Darla, all born in 1969. They are about to turn the big 4-0. These women are sexually repressed, so whereas Sexaholics covers the oversexed, Sixty Nine shows us the undersexed lifestyles. On New Year's Eve, they vow to go beyond their narrow boundaries and thoughts about sex, which have kept them repressed, and experience their sexier sides. Sixty Nine comes out in March of 2011. Also, the long-awaited sequel to Hot Boyz, The Housewives of Ladera, hits the shelves in October 2010.

You can reach me at authorpynk@aol.com , and also check out my website at www.authorpynk.com 

Pynk-- Winner of  YOUnity Literary Legends award as the Fastest Rising Literary Star

EROTIC CITY was voted one of the Top Reads of 2008 by Black Expressions

EROTIC CITY - finalist - 2009 African American Literary Award in the category of erotica

SEXAHOLICS hits the shelves on March 23, 2010




Intimate Conversation with Kia DuPree

Kia DuPree, a former assistant editor at St. Martins Press, received the Fiction Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for her debut, self-published novel, Robbing Peter, in 2005.   Kia's short story, Lost One, was recently included in #1 Essence bestselling author Shannon Holmes' anthology HOOD 2 HOOD, which was released in March 2008. 

Kia holds a B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University, as well as an M.A. in English from Old Dominion University.  Kia currently resides in Washington, DC.


Ella:  Introduce us to your new book, DAMAGED.
Camille Logan feels trapped. After she is sexually and emotionally abused by her foster parents, she turns to the one person she knows she can trust--her boyfriend Chu, a mid-level drug dealer. But when life finally starts looking up for Camille, Chu is brutally murdered. Again feeling abandoned and helpless, and refusing to return to the system, Camille finds herself living with a stable of women in a tiny run-down apartment building in Washington, D.C., working for Nut, a deranged pimp. Fed up with her life, Camille is forced to right her wrongs, and slowly learns that her past does not necessarily determine her future.

Ella:  What inspired you to write this story, DAMAGED? 
I was inspired after viewing a documentary about teenaged prostitutes. I wanted to write about how I felt these young girls ended up on the streets, desperate and lacking guidance from loved ones. I thought about my own sister and worried if I didn't continue being a positive force of encouragement and support, if she too, could've ended up in the same situations as these other girls.

Ella:  What impact will this book have on the community? 
I hope Damaged will shed light on two serious problems in our community: Sub par foster care systems that exist and the horrible effects of child abuse. Although there are thousands of loving foster parents, sometimes negligent and monstrous ones slip through the cracks and prey on children who in turn feel the repercussions over a lifetime.

Ella:  What was your primary quest in publishing this book? 
I've always loved to write and read, and I realized a common thread in the stories that drew me. Most of the stories centered around family, and the multiple disjointed parts of broken homes and hearts. When I began writing DAMAGED, although I'd never experienced such trauma as the protagonist Camille, I felt like she was a real person, someone who I cared about deeply and I wanted her to overcome the tragedies in her life. I believe people who come from adverse circumstances can overcome their obstacles, with adequate support, be it emotional, financial or physical. DAMAGED tells of a girl who never gave up. 

Ella:  What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
When I'm not writing I enjoy spending time with my family, just relaxing and living life. Although, I'll admit I'm a sucker for reality TV shows. There's something intriguing about the interactions of people forced to live with each other after being thrust into the homes of millions. 

Ella:   What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author? 
The best piece of advice I have, is one that was given to me over and over from prolific authors I've met: read, read, read. And don't just read what you LIKE to read, open yourself up to new ideas and experiences from other genres.  Also, don't call yourself an "aspiring" author, once you put ink to paper, you are officially an author. :-)

Ella:  Share with us your online contact information.  
Please visit me at  www.kiadupree.com  for more information. Readers can email me at info@kiadupree.com

 


 

Tiger's Scarlett Letter: Live Beyond Public Humiliation
by Dr. Daryl D. Green 

In the 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, author Nathaniel Hawthorne takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster with a moral-laden saga. The setting takes place in the 17th-century Puritan settlement of Boston. Carrying her infant Pearl, Hester Prynne bears a scarlet letter "A" on her breast as a punishment for her apparent adultery. Despite the public humiliation, Hester never reveals her accomplice, Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale. Therefore, she receives the wrath of her community. Surprisingly, Rev. Dimmesdale sits quietly by as Hester bears all of the public shame.

Tiger Woods may feel like he's bearing his own scarlet letter. Yet, Elin Nordegren, Tiger's wife, endures an apparent burden; she carries the public humiliation of her husband's infidelity. Many people speculate that the beautiful supermodel will stand by her man due to the millions of dollars at stake. Others argue that Elin will leave Tiger. Unfortunately, this situation plays out like another celebrity circus. Witnessing a public humiliation isn't pleasant. It is easy to speculate as we watch the unraveling of one's life. Some people can remember, growing up, the cruelty of youthful jokes in public at someone else's expense. This article examines how to deal with public humiliation in order to move forward.


The Circumstance
Life is more than a game. Tiger may be the greatest golfer is history. However, Tiger's own imperfection has damaged his public persona. On November 25th, the National Enquirer published a story alleging Tiger Wood's infidelity. On November 27th, Tiger crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant in his neighborhood without apparent explanation. He refused to talk with the policemen. Shortly afterward, several women claimed they had extramarital affairs with Tigers. Tiger has remained quiet except for his website posting: "This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me." His delayed response to any wrongdoing (stopping Enid's public humiliation) came much too late. In fact, he may not be able to rapidly repair his tarnished image. According to a Gallup poll, his unfavorable rating surged up to 57%, compared to only 8% four years ago.


The Healing Strategy
Public humiliation can heal over time. Public humiliation can be defined as "an action that allows an individual's personal embarrassment to become publicly known." Shame is defined as "a strong emotion caused by guilt or disgrace." Shame is not always bad. For example, children know not to misbehave in public due to the fact that they might embarrass their parents. However, there isn't much positive that one can say about public humiliation. It is an awful feeling. If the act is done by a loved one, it becomes a tormented burden. Why would anyone do such a thing? To take back one's integrity from public humiliation requires a great amount of courage. For many people, it takes personal healing that involves moving away from public scrutiny. In fact, a spiritual renewal can assist in the recovery process toward forgiveness. In many cases, celebrities are unwilling to give up the public limelight. Unfortunately, some people can allow this humiliation to chew up their self-worth, thereby becoming a prisoner of their imperfections. 

Some folks possess the inner strength to press onward. However, it doesn't mean the individual forgets the humiliation. Lewis Smedes, author of Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve, spent a lifetime understanding how people can forgive others. Yet, he did not underestimate the damage caused to the victim: "You can forgive someone almost anything. But you cannot tolerate everything. . . . We don't have to tolerate what people do just because we forgive them for doing it. Forgiving heals us personally. To tolerate everything only hurts us all in the long run." For example, Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, filed for divorce after her husband's affair was revealed - showing that it is possible for a person involved in such a situation to take empowering action.


Conclusion
Getting over public humiliation isn't an easy process. Today, public apologies are rather common. Many public figures have used the public relations playbook by announcing their transgression with a contrite spirit in hopes of getting the story behind them. Yet, they find it harder to remove the damage done to their victim. In fact, the person who caused the public humiliation does not get off free. In the Scarlett Letter, Dimmesdale's  secret sin haunts him in the form of deteriorating health and torment by Hester's husband. Likewise, Tiger is the center of tabloid news and late night talk show banter. Many wonder if Enid can overcome her hurt and accept Tiger back, or whether she will choose to move on with her own life. For many individuals who are not in the limelight, they must gather the strength and fight for their integrity and self-worth. Time is still ticking.


About the Author
© Dr. Daryl D. Green writes on contemporary issues impacting emerging leaders in a variety of sectors (businesses, societies, global communities, etc). He has over 20 years of assisting organizations. His helpful resources can be located at http://stores.lulu.com/darygre.

Helping others reach their fullest potential is what Daryl Green is all about. He is one of the leading authorities for helping individuals get more control. Daryl, a Generation Xer himself, applies a logical approach gained from his engineering and management backgrounds to help individuals make good decisions (both professionally and in the home environment). Before he was 30 years old, Daryl had already managed over 300 projects estimated at $100 million dollars. He also owns a consulting firm with his wife, Estraletta.

He received a B.S. in engineering and a MA in Organizational Management. Currently, Daryl is pursuing a doctoral degree in leadership from Regent University. He has been a member of Who's Who Among International Professionals and Who’s Who Among Top Executives and Successful Businesses.  Unlike most experts, Daryl understands the uniqueness of each family and the diversity of each culture. He won’t give one solution to fit all problems. All these experiences have given Daryl a unique perspective in understanding emerging trends. For more information visit his site here.   Note:  article image is from stock photo.


Lifestyle Hot Topic

DAMAGED by author Kia DuPree

The idea for DAMAGED popped in my head one night after watching a documentary about teen-aged prostitutes struggling to survive in New York. I was totally empathetic to their unbelievable and horrific journeys. I began to wonder what life must have been like for them from the start and then I immediately thought about my own teen-aged sister and how revolted I’d be if she ever thought prostitution was a means to an end. Although I know many young women fall victim to prostitution, I wanted to tell the story of one young girl who finds a way to rise above her circumstance. 

As I began to write, DAMAGED began taking many twists and turns that centered on more than just sexual abuse and sex for profit. Another subject began to take shape: the notion that many women knowingly share the same mate because of a so-called drought as it relates to “good available men.” I continued to develop the idea of man-sharing, and unearthed the polygamous practice of many non-American cultures, and then I explored the benefits and the disadvantages of such relationships. Many women knowingly share the same man, as do most prostitutes who share a pimp. Wife-in-Law is the term that these prostitutes refer to each other as if they’re family, not by blood but by chance. This unusual support system intrigued me, because they tended to rely on each other to get through their unbelievable lot in life. 

Developing DAMAGED became a culmination of these storylines thrust against the backdrop of a vicious city. Camille, the main-character, had a difficult upbringing, and though she was a product of the social service system, she made choices she felt was necessary for her own survival, as many women do who do not believe there are other options in life. I hope that DAMAGED inspires people who come from adverse circumstances to push harder in life.

Written by Kia DuPree; original article source at Hachette Book Group


About the Author
Kia DuPree, a former assistant editor at St. Martins Press, received the Fiction Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for her debut, self-published novel, Robbing Peter, in 2005.   Kia's short story, Lost One, was recently included in #1 Essence bestselling author Shannon Holmes' anthology HOOD 2 HOOD, which was released in March 2008. 

Kia holds a B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University, as well as an M.A. in English from Old Dominion University. Kia currently resides in Washington, DC.

Please visit me at www.kiadupree.com  for more information. Readers can email me at info@kiadupree.com

 



Intimate Conversation with
Teisha Bourne

Motif   by Teisha Bourne is a story about two best friends that waltz into a deceptive, destructive triangle of lust, love, and betrayal, that tests the boundaries of their life-long friendship, and demolishes the precepts of right and wrong. Summer break is almost over for nineteen-year-old Tiffany Randal and Camisha Simmons who are back home in Memphis from Fisk. Summer break has been a bummer because Camisha has been constantly pining over her recently lost boyfriend. Tiffany has gotten fed up with Camisha's whining and crying. 

Tiffany's motto is lose one man, then get another. When she and Camisha meet Rayford Hunchings at a local mall, he seems like a frill free, no commitment, diversion. But what Camisha and Tiffany don't know is Rayford has a game plan of his own, and he has secrets even more bizarre than the pink women's dress hidden in his closet, or the Zorro costumed, whip toting mannequin, standing in his sex boudoir themed bedroom.  The girls also meet Terrell Phillip, a pre-law student who is Rayford's ex-friend. He's a suave, good looking player, who sweeps Tiffany up in a whirlwind romance and offers her a future she can't resist. But is he really the man of Tiffany's dreams or is he just a smoke screen? Then there's Rayford's grandfather, the rich, elderly, Senator Eugene Hunchings. The senator has welded great power in life, but when a lingering illness brings him to a sudden end, the contents of his shocking will proves he rules supreme in death. Tiffany and Camisha's lives will be changed forever as they become unknowing, yet willing pawns in a scheme that will lead them down a twisted road to murder. 

Ella:   Do you write full time?  Describe your writing schedule for our readers.
I have no particular writing schedule except when I am required to finish something before a deadline. I am a registered nurse by profession so I do have a day job. I also have a husband and it is a blessing that we both work as a team to promote "Motif," because promotion takes a huge chunk of our time. But even though it doesn't seem like there are enough hours in the day I still manage to write. One advantage I have is I don't need quiet to gather my thoughts. I can listen to music, watch TV, cook, whatever.  My only distraction is direct conversation. I can't talk and write. There have been times where I'm lying in bed trying to sleep and instead jump up to write down a quick chapter or idea that comes to me. There have been other times when I don't write a thing for days. The longest time I had a "block" was about two or three months. 


Ella:   What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
When I am not writing, I am usually on my laptop web surfing. My husband and I are really into computers. We also record music. I write and sing the lyrics. My husband writes the music and does the recording. We're shopaholics. We visit the park, the zoo--simple things in life give us pleasure. Our son often visits and he's quite a jokester. Oh--I have a dog too.

Ella:  
Teisha, tell us a little about your main characters in Motif.
"Motif's" tag line is "What would you do for money?" And boy will readers be surprised to find out the answer. My main characters are Tiffany Randal and Camisha Simmons who have been BFF's since junior high. They are both statuesque beauties, with a huge "I know myself and that's who I'm going to be", personalities. Tiffany is cautious and practical. Camisha is wild and outrageous. Their opposite characterizations cause them to be dysfunctional co-dependants. 

"Motif" is told through Tiffany's eyes and it is her story of change and self awareness. When two men come into Tiffany and Camisha's lives the girl's tight friendship suddenly has to stand up against an unbelievable threat. And through a series of mind-boggling events, Tiffany discovers how different she and Camisha really are. Readers will be amazed, and will wonder how these seemingly normal college girls could become so misguided. Tiffany and Camisha abandon their intended paths to strong careers and a promising future. They even abandon just plain common sense and land right in the middle of a twisted road to murder. 

"Motif's" characters come together to create a multi-faceted tale that peeks into the lives of people with well kept emotional and sexual secrets. These secrets are cemented together by unbreakable, yet destructive loyalties that border on obsession and eventually threaten to destroy them all. 

Ella:   Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I've been asked this question many times about the characters in "Motif." My characters are fictional, but in the course of making them realistic I am sure I have probably pulled from my life's experiences with others. People are really fascinating to watch and decipher. I strove to make my characters in "Motif" just as intriguing. 

Ella:   What issues in today's society have you addressed in the book?
"Motif," explores the thin boundaries of love, hate, friendship, and obsession. It also explores what lengths people will go to preserve relationships that are really totally destructive. Sexuality issues are also a hot topic in today's society. The characters in "Motif" dive head on into coping with difficult and sometimes unpleasant sexual issues that face many couples of today, from bisexuality, homosexuality, to men "living on the down low." The readers are not spared from the consequences of what happens when these complex relationships collide.

Ella:   What inspired you to write Motif?
Being an avid reader inspired me to write "Motif." When I was about twelve or thirteen I discovered that on Thursdays during the summer months, the library had a book mobile that came to my neighborhood. I would trek out in the Memphis hot sun and make my way to the book mobile as if going on a most anticipated trip or riding a thrilling amusement park ride. The thought of getting a book to read was that exciting to me. Writing gives me that same excitement, except now I am reading a story I created. Writing is very therapeutic and I love to see the light in someone's eyes when they exclaim how much they've enjoyed my book. It's definitely a boost for the soul. 

Ella:   What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
When I first started writing I had no clear goal in mind, except finishing. I simply wrote because I liked writing. But after I reread the story I wrote I thought maybe someone else might like my story too. It was then that I began to seek publication. I also have been diagnosed with spasmodic dysponia. This is a vocal condition that sometimes causes me speaking difficulty. I often shy away from speaking because of this condition. Now that "Motif" is published, I am forced to talk and promote my book. "Motif" is actually helping me overcome my self-imposed fear of talking. I am finding myself speaking more fluently. Also because I love books and reading, I have great pride in acquiring the title of published author. 

Ella:   What is the best advice you would give to an aspiring author?
My best piece of advice is to know your craft. It's not just about telling a slick story. If you can't afford to enroll in a writing class, or don't have the time to take a writing class then do what I did, check out library books on writing and do what the books say do. Readers are smart and they gauge if you have taken what you are doing seriously by how well your story reads, is it punctuated well, is your grammar correct, did you check your spelling. Another good piece of advice is to read a few best sellers in your genre and obtain a good understanding of what those authors imparted to you as the reader. Pick the books apart. Meditate on them and then ask yourself, what made you enjoy that book. Then immolate that answer in your own writing.

Ella:   Share with us your latest news, upcoming book releases. 
Everyone is invited to visit my website  www.teishabourne.com  to check for my latest news and events or to contact me.   You can also reach me through Belletristic Press or my publisher Sherita Nunn of S Redic Publicity.   Belletristic Press is now considering my next installment tentatively titled "Motif Complete."  I can be found on Face Book, Twitter, MySpace, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and others.  Goggle Teisha Bourne to see other links and sites where you can find info about me and "Motif."   "Motif" can be purchased at local book stores and is downloadable to digital media.

Here are some links to reach me: 
teishabourne@gmail.com
  
http://belletristicpress.com 
http://teishabourne.com
http://www.sredicpublicity.net/home 
  

 


Intimate Conversation with Hazel Mills 

African American Literary Award nominated author, Hazel Mills, knew that she wanted to be a writer from the moment she penned the first words of a poem titled “A Tree” when she was in the third grade. Even though she majored in business at the University of Alabama, writing continued to be her first love.

Hazel’s short erotic fiction has been published in Playgirl Magazine’s Erotic Encounters (January 2007 issue) and in Best Lesbian Love Stories: New York City, edited by Simone Thorne (November 2006, Alyson Books). She is also one of the contributing authors to the award-winning anthology, Mocha Chocolate: Taste A Piece of Ecstasy, edited by Shani Greene-Dowdell.  Hazel’s debut collection of critically acclaimed erotic short stories, Bare Necessities: Sensuous Tales of Passion (April 2008, Xpress Yourself Publishing) was awarded the honor of “Best Erotica” given by African Americans On The Move Bookclub at their 2009 national conference. 

Lady Leo Publishing has also published some of her short stories in ebook format. She is a contributing author to the highly anticipated upcoming release, The Triumph of My Soul: The Breakthrough, edited by Elissa Gabrielle (2010) Hazel’s new book, Journey To Surrender, was released in September 2009 by Xpress Yourself Publishing.  Hazel is a wife and mother living in the historic Birmingham, Alabama area.

Ella:  Introduce us to your new book, Journey To Surrender.
Journey To Surrender  is a story about the struggle of three people, Nikki Evans, Ahmad Jacobs and Shannon Evans, to find love and acceptance after a lifetime of hurt and deception. For two of them, the emotional journey leads them into the unconditional loving arms of each other while one is left to navigate a more twisted and tragic road. 

Ella:  Tell us a little about your main characters.  Who was your favorite? Why?
There are three main characters in my latest novel, Journey To Surrender. Nikki is the quintessential girl next door with brains, beauty and a big heart. She leaves Mobile, Alabama for college life far away from home on the campus of Georgetown University. But no matter how hard she tries, she can't get away from her painful past. Nikki wants to love and be loved but is afraid that if she lets anyone in, she'll be hurt again.

Ahmad has it going on at every level and has his pick of women. He is one of the rising basketball stars for the Georgetown Hoyas but his time on the court is cut short by an awful tragedy. Ahmad is a good guy who constantly makes irresponsible choices that at one point, almost cost him everything.

Shannon, Nikki's emotionally damaged younger sister, also moves to the nation's capital to further her education at nearby Howard University. Both sisters share the same twisted family secret but deal with it differently. Shannon is on a mission to get as much as she can, by any means necessary. Her destructive behavior leaves everyone in her path shell-shocked.

Of these three characters, I would have to say that Nikki is my favorite because her personality is a lot like mine. Nikki is a sweet southern girl who, when backed into a corner, fights like a wildcat to protect her own but still comes out with the true grace of a lady.


Ella:  What issue or person inspired you to write this story?
I was inspired to write this book after learning about the sexual abuse of several people who are close to me. Even though, by the grace of God, I was spared from this horrible tragedy, it happens more than I realized. In recent months, a few high profile celebrities, like Tyler Perry, Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, have come out and talked openly about a childhood filled with molestation and their road to finding healing and peace.

Ella:  What issues in today's society have you addressed?
There are a few issues addressed in Journey To Surrender. Ahmad struggles with balancing his life as a teenage father and a student. Shannon deals with the consequences of drug abuse and promiscuity. However, the most obvious issue in the book is how very differently the sisters cope with being sexually abused as children by their father.

Ella:  Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share? 
I really hope that this book becomes a conversation starter for an enormous social issue that has been swept under a proverbial rug in our community for much too long. 

Ella:   What was the most powerful chapter or scene in the book for you?
I think the most powerful chapter in the book is chapter twenty-nine because the message in this chapter is that no matter how hard we try to hide or deny that an issue exists in our lives, if we don't deal with it in a healthy manner, the effects can be devastating.

Ella:  What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Write about the things that you are passionate about instead of what may be a "trendy" subject matter. When you are passionate about a subject, it will shine through in every aspect of your writing and storytelling.  Readers really appreciate that and will look for your titles again and again.

Ella:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. 
I was recently honored with inclusion in the third edition of Who's Who in Black Birmingham. Also this year, African Americans on the Move Book Club awarded my first book, Bare Necessities: Sensuous Tales of Passion, with the award for Best Erotica. I am a contributing author to an erotic anthology due out soon called, Sugar and Spice.  I also have an e-book titled, The Ride, that will be released this month from Lady Leo Publishing. 

Readers can find out more about me and my projects on my website, www.hazelmillsstories.com  or email me directly at hazelmillsstories@gmail.com   All of my titles are available at www.amazon.com  and in major bookstores.




Intimate Conversation with Lesley Hal 

Ella:   Welcome Lesley Hal author Pleasure Principles. Tell us a little about your main characters in Pleasure Principles. Who was your favorite?
Bianca Brooks was stood up at the altar five years before the story takes place. In order to deal she decides to take on a love 'em and leave attitude until she meet the Sims. She start with having a relationship with Taylor Sims then with Taylor's husband, Eric Sims. The Sims have no idea that they're seeing the same person until the funk hits the fan. The Taylors are not the only ones keeping Bianca there's her neighbor Brandon and his girlfriend Raquel, Tony, and many others My favorite characters in the book are Bianca's best friends Cody and Reggie. They're zany and were a lot of fun to write.

Ella:   What inspired you to write this story? 
My short story Stormy Weather that started my leap into erotica. That story received a lot of praise when it was featured in Noire's online magazine back in 2006. That surge of welcomed energy gave me the courage to submit Riding the Friendly Skies which also features Bianca to Zane, which went on to become part of the NY Times bestseller "Succulent" Chocolate Flava II. 

Ella:   What issues in today's society have you addressed in the book? 
How we take sex, friendship, vows, loyalty, and our self worth for granted. More importantly, the consequences that can arise from being careless and it's not always a disease. I basically wrote the book to bring awareness in other areas that we never think about, like what it can do to your loved ones when you act irresponsibly etc.

Ella:   What was your primary quest in publishing this book? 
The love of others enjoying what I do best and to bring awareness. No matter what I write about, be it erotica or bitchy divas there will always be a message to be learned.



Ella:   Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? 

To not take people for granted and just protect God's most precious gift...your body. Don't use sex as a means to heal what's mental; you'll only end up hurting yourself more.

Ella:   What sets your book apart from other books in your genre? 
I write quality books that'll give you your money's worth. After all the dust from hype settles, it's the authors that made you hate when the book ended that'll stand the test of time and I plan to be one of them. 

Ella:   What was the most powerful chapter or scene in the book for you? 
When the baby is stolen from the hospital as a result of Bianca's transgressions. 

Ella:   Do you write full time? Describe your writing schedule for our readers. 
I have a 9 to 5, I plan to be able to write full time when the Lord bless me with the opportunity. As for my schedule, I write on breaks, after work and on the weekends. 

Ella:   What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
Read, shop spend time with family and friends and be the social butterfly I am never meeting a stranger. : ) 

Ella:   What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author? 
Join writing groups like Raw4all and do your research. Don't fall for every sap that comes along promising you the world. Another thing...if you can do it yourself why pay someone else? It may be tedious, but in the long run, you'll appreciate what you do more.

Ella:   Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
The latest news is my secret collaboration with author N'Tyse, Pleasure Principles and Blind Temptations 2 all being released in 2010. 

My biggest literary accomplishments is the positive feedback from fans regarding "Blind Temptations "the Seduction of Sex, Lies & Betrayal, becoming a NY Times bestseller with the help of the Queen erotica herself, Zane when I was one of the featured authors in "Succulent" Chocolate Flava II, organizing the buy-a-book campaign in Dallas at Jokae's book store, Tulisoma and other events I've done to promote literacy. 

I can be reached at  mslediva@yahoo.com  or  http://www.myspace.com/mslediva 
http://www.facebook/lesleyhal

You saw how naughty Bianca was in the short story Stormy Weather and the sizzling anthology "Succulent" Chocolate Flava II. Now see what she's up to in Pleasure Principles as she tries to keep a married couple from finding out that the person they're cheating on each other with is her! 
http://www.pleasureprinciplepublishing.com  


Intimate Conversation with Joan Early

Joan Early became an avid reader at an early age and began her writing career with a first place win in Ebony Magazine's literary contest. She became a member of the Genesis Press family with a January 2009 release,  Look Both Ways, followed by her latest book, Fireflies.

Fireflies is the story of lasting friendships, strong family connections, and finding love in the most unexpected places. The story is set in post-Katrina New Orleans and contains factual accounts of life in this intriguing city, both before and after the destruction. Fireflies illustrates the many paths our hearts can take in finding that perfect match. It mixes deep passion with mystery, danger, the music and magic, as well as the shady side of one of the greatest cities in the world.


Ella: Tell us about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
The main characters in Fireflies are Whitney Underwood, a prosecutor with the New Orleans DA's office, her childhood friend, Kyle, and Leander Perry, a musician who steals her heart. Whitney is my favorite because she a strong, confident career woman with a deep love for family.

Ella:  Are your characters from a portrayal of real people?
The characters are purely fictional, but Whitney is a composite of the things I most admire and hope to achieve.

Ella:  What issue, person or thing inspired you to write this story?
First was my love for a city that created many happy memories in my life. New Orleans has a rich cultural history that offers tremendous excitement and inspires romance. The character of Whitney Underwood was inspired by my unrealized dream of working with the district attorney's office.

Ella:  Do you write full time? Describe your writing schedule for our readers.
I wrote full time for the last seven years, but recently became active in real estate in my north Houston community of Kingwood. I write whenever I get a strong idea. I've never had an exact schedule.

 Thoughts and ideas sometimes pop into my head in the middle of the night. When this happens, I often spend the entire morning at the keyboard, still in my pajamas.

Ella:  What do you do when you're not writing?
I like preparing meals for my family and spending quiet time with my husband.

Ella:  What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Believe in your work, even when you have enough rejects to cover your bedroom walls.

Ella:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. 
I am very excited about each of my books and really looking forward to the release of my next book, Oak Bluffs, which is set in historic Martha's Vineyard where African Americans and Native Americans have always had a strong presence. In addition to book stores, my books can be found at Amazon.com and Genesis Press.com. My website, www.joanearly.com , contains a list of my books and upcoming appearances, as well as my email address. I welcome and appreciate comments and suggestions from our readers, and thank them for their continued support.




Intimate Conversation with Cassandra Washington

Cassandra Washington is an author and screenwriter. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. Her books include “Brown Paper Bag Brothers”, “Love Doesn’t Live Here”, “From A to Z: A Guide to Give to Men Who Honestly Don’t Know or Who Insist on Playing Dumb”, and “Jeremiah Sings the Blues”.  For more information, visit www.cassandrawashington.net  

Ella:  I would like to introduce you to Jeremiah Sings the Blues by Cassandra Washington, a story centered around forgiveness, money, sex and lies. 
This book details a father's journey to destruction, and his full attempt to try to pick up the pieces and seek forgiveness of those he hurt along the way.  Will the most important person of all forgive him in the final hour? It's a great read, so check it out and let me know your thoughts! 

Jeremiah Sings the Blues is filled with money, sex and lies. This isn’t what NFL rookie Jeremiah Williams bargained for when he entered the league, but it’s most definitely what he got. Raised in the subtle suburbs of Florida, the only contact he had with the brutal realities of the streets was with his less than noble cousin Los. That soon changed once he met a mysterious woman who would eventually turn his world upside down. Now with a son whose future is at stake and a faltering career, Jeremiah quickly realizes that nothing in this world is free…not even his life. 

Jeremiah Sings the Blues Video Book Introduction
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtgeeMzu7Pc 

Ella:  What inspired you to write this story?
My nephew actually. He is a kid who was in and out of the foster care system most of his life, and then my mother tried to keep him until things worked themselves out. His parents, while good people individually, just got married too quickly, just like the characters in the book, and the mistakes made not only affected them, but also the kids. The entire situation was sad, but there’s glory in knowing that God made a way. And when I see my nephew now playing football, happy, going to school, reading at an advanced level, it touches my heart, and that’s a story I had to tell.

Ella: 
Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
Let’s see. We have Jeremiah Sr., and NFL player who fell to temptation and witnessed his life going downhill ever since. There is Junior, a top R& B singer and son of Jeremiah, who houses this anger for his father, and hurt from his childhood because there’s this big question mark on his life. There’s Grandma, who has all the wisdom. Lauren, Junior’s fiancé, is my favorite because she’s the epitome of a strong black woman, just like his Grandmother is. She doesn’t speak much, but when she does, it means something, you know? I love that! For that statement that goes: “Behind every strong Black man, there’s a strong Black woman”, well that’s her. Next up we have Angel, the ex girlfriend, and Sue Ellen Green, the sexy temptress who turns Jeremiah’s world upside down. She’s sexy, she’s crafty, she’s dishonest, and most of all, lost. 

Ella:  Are your characters from
Jeremiah Sings the Blues a portrayal of real people?
Yes and no. The characters in this story are fiction as well as the locations and the professions. The core situations though are very real, minus the ending which I won’t spoil for you. I’ve seen women turn to drugs and prostitution to support their habits, even though they had a good thing going on at home. I’ve seen kids in and out of foster homes because their parents would make one mistake after the other, whether intentional or not. I’ve seen some of those same kids make something of their lives despite their upbringing, and that’s beautiful! Groupie action, infidelity, gut-wrenching decisions, all of those things presented in the book are very real. I’m sure there is someone going through something that happens in the book in real time, and it’s very unfortunate. 

Ella:  What issues in today's society have you addressed in the book?
In the book I touched on how the law is not always just. I touched on the problem society has with drugs, violence and promiscuity. You know it’s so weird, but I remember growing up fearless. If somebody started shooting bullets into the crowd at a dance, whatever, just hide under the car, no big deal. A street fight pops off, cool, let’s get close so we can see what’s going on. But now? Kid from Chicago, and little girl from Atlanta among others, God rest their souls! It’s crazy. As an adult, I’m seeing things in a different light, the way my mother saw them when she was warning me about everything. I see what she is talking about now that I’m older. The world is something else. So yeah, I touched on some issues, but the world has so many, baby, I couldn’t hit them all. 


Ella:  Who did you write
Jeremiah Sings the Blues for? Why?
To anyone who is, or has been, lost, or has gone through trials or anything, this is for you. It’s so easy for something terrible to happen and we only see it from our viewpoint, but sometimes, while it doesn’t change what happened or how you feel, it’s beneficial to realize that there’s two sides to a situation, and different motivations for certain actions. And sometimes seeing the whole picture, as opposed to just bits and pieces of the puzzle, can make a huge difference. The worst thing in any tragedy or problem is not knowing “why”. Sometimes answering that “why” can bring closure to a once-opened wound. 

Ella:   Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?
Yes, to everyone who has gone through trials, know that your past does not predict your future. If someone hurt you, or whatever the case may be, it’s time to forgive and move on. Don’t allow hatred and contempt to keep you burdened. It’s not worth it. 

Ella:  What was the most powerful chapter or scene in the book for you?
Wow, the most powerful? For me, I’d say the execution. I get a little misty-eyed when I take my time reading it and visualizing step by step from the sound of the preacher’s voice in the pulpit, to the choir selection, to the song, the panic all the way to the tears. It’s a big moment not only for Junior, but also for his father and his grandmother. It’s that closure that we all strive to attain after something so tragic and unsettling. 

Ella:   What sets your book apart from other books in your genre? 
Great question. I would say that “Jeremiah Sings the Blues” is not the average story. There is no happy ending to the father’s situation in the traditional sense of “happy”. The book is a rollercoaster where the main character wants to be happy, but he also wants to save someone close to him, and because he can’t, it’s causing turmoil. It feels almost like The Pursuit of Happiness meets Seven Pounds. It’s intense at times.

Ella:  What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
Lord, everything! I’m a big kid at heart so you’ll catch me on any given day at an arcade, bowling, etc.   I love movie nights, museums, listening to music, game nights with my friends. I’m always trying new restaurants (love food!) and festivals. I’m just now getting into the whole traveling thing, flying on planes etc, because previously I was terrified! I’m really laid back, sweet, down to earth and open-minded so I’m always into something different.

Ella:   What does your family think of your writing?
Oh they love it! They are very supportive. My sister is awesome at keeping my covers and website on point.  Shout out to Creative Kairu Designs. I love them and I’m happy for them and they are happy for me, so it’s good.

Ella:  What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Never give up or doubt yourself. That’s the first piece, hands down. There are going to be so many people, agents, whatever, telling you “no” or that they don’t think your work will sell, but let me tell you, you will be surprised how many people can relate to your words and your art and your dreams. Stay focused on what’s important to you. 

Also, Gary Hardwick, the director of the hit movie  “The Brothers”  told me, and I’ll never forget, that “one doesn’t aspire to his or her own talent. If you do, then you are.”  And to me that means stop saying you are aspiring to do something because if you have a short story in your notebook that you’ve written, or a few spec scripts in your file, then guess what, you are a writer. You may not be doing it on a big scale like you desire, but you have to start somewhere. So believe in yourself and your ability, pick up the pen or the laptop, and get to writing. You will be glad you did. And if you need any other advice regarding writing, hit me up at Cassandra.washington@gmail.com  and if I know the answer I will surely let you know. If I don’t, then I just don’t, and don’t be mad (smile). 

Ella:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. 
Well at the moment I’m coming out of my “hibernation”, but I want to thank Fox Network’s live morning show in South Florida, “The Morning Blend” for having me on for my previous book (“From A to Z: A Guide to Give to Men Who Honestly Don’t Know or Who Insist On Playing Dumb”), and I want to thank the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated Clearwater chapter for inviting me out to their scholarship fundraiser to showcase some of my work.

 “Jeremiah Sings the Blues” was released in November 2009, so be sure to grab yourself a copy, you won’t regret it! Be prepared to laugh, suck those teeth and roll those eyes, cry, the whole bit. It’s an awesome book! Thanks to Black Pearls Magazine, one of the hottest online literary magazines I know! And last but not least, show love to my website at www.cassandrawashington.net  , give me your personal thoughts and reviews on any of my books and join the email list at Cassandra.washington@gmail.com  Peace and blessings! – Cassi 



Intimate Conversation with Jordan Belcher

Jordan Belcher grew up in an inner city neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, with his mother and father, and two older brothers.  Living below the poverty level, he was forced to be creative to entertain himself.  But as a teen he let go of his artistry, dropped out of high school and grabbed on to crime.  He went from petty thievery to armed robbery, and a month after he turned 19 he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Behind bars, he started reading Urban Literature and immediately rediscovered his passion for writing.

He earned his GED and penned his first novel by the age 22, wrote his second by the age 24, and now at 26, Jordan Belcher has his debut novel, Tre Pound, scheduled for release April 2010.

Ella:   Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
My novel, Tre Pound, takes you through the day-to-day life of a gangster named Levour  “Tre Pound” King who craves street fame over money.  He has an intelligent 15-year-old cousin named Camille King who doesn’t always feel loved, and it causes her to rush into relationships with no regard for her own safety.  She has a friend who’s a year older than her, Dominique Hayes, who has an unhealthy crush on Tre Pound, and Dominique has an older brother named Marlon Hayes who is a close friend of Tre Pound’s.  Marlon is my favorite character because he represents a lot of people who’ve had and still have poisonous friends in their lives.


Ella:  Urban literature should present a "cautionary tale."  What issues do you bring to the reader's attention?
One issue I allude to in the book is how a lot of the youth living in the street mistake warning signs of their well-being (e.g. surviving multiple gun shots, winning a criminal case) as testaments to their toughness.  I also bring up in dialogue between two characters and throughout the book why some people choose the criminal life style over the straight and narrow.


Ella:   Who did you write this book for? Why?
I started writing Tre Pound with my fellow inmates in mind, wanting to shock and awe a few of my friends who’ve lived some of the most abhorrent lives imaginable.  It worked, and now I am anxious to see how readers from all walks of life will take to the brutal reality in my novel.

Ella:   Do you write full time?  Describe your writing schedule for our readers.
It takes me an hour to push out on page.  And I write two pages a day, which comes to two hours total, but I always spend more time writing if I haven’t met my two-page-a-day quota.

Ella:   What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I am not working on a manuscript, I’m playing with the weights in the gym or reading.  I read everything from urban books and horrors to philosophy and history.  I love reading just as much as I love writing.

Ella:   What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
I would tell an aspiring author to write without fear of being judged. If you write with inhibitions, you’ll turn out with an ordinary story that’s deprived of emotion.

Ella:   Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
I’m currently working on a sequel and revising an earlier work, but more than anything I am preparing for my release from prison in early 2011.

More information about my books can be found below.
www.ArtOfficialMedia.com
www.facebook.com/jordan.belcher2
www.twitter.com/jordanbelcher1

Tre Pound Available April 2010



Intimate Conversation with Anna Black 

Join me in welcoming Anna Black, author of Now You Wanna Come Back, Luck of the Draw and Split Image. Talented and inspiring is the best way to describe this Chicago Native. Now You Wanna Come Back is her debut novel and it has done its duty to deliver a page turning introduction for Anna. She has showed herself to be ready for the literary world with her first release and is anxious to release her second novel Luck of the Draw in April 23, 2010. 

Her love for writing began about ten years ago with poems and short stories and now she is ready to wow readers with her page turning plots, while she gives readers stories that will make them laugh, maybe cry, but definitely reflect. This new authoress is here to make a mark in the literary world, so readers get ready. She currently lives in Texas with her husband Chris and her daughter Tyra and it is her pleasure to share her written words with you.


Ella: Introduce us to your new book, Luck of the Draw.
Friends come and go, but the good ones are hard to let go. Kennedy and her best friend Cherae were like "two peas in a pod," Kennedy's daddy would say because they were tighter than a large man in a medium suit jacket. Although they were totally different in size, personality and back ground, they had been friends and loved each other since the second grade. Tables turned for their friendship when that evil word 'jealously' came between them over a sexy club owner named Julian Roberson. One night led this duo down an ugly road that Kennedy never wanted to travel on and a road Cherae never imagined she'd lose on. Cherae opened up a can of pain on Kennedy and after over twenty-five years of friendship, one man caused it to fall apart. Not knowing what to do or who to trust, Kennedy sought support from her true friend Teresa, who had tried to warn her about her life long pal Cherae many times before. When the smoke clears and the truth finally comes to light, they learn a lesson in friendship, love and loyalty.  Luck of the Draw is a Romance/Drama/Suspense; ISBN- 978-0982145579


Ella: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
My main characters are Kennedy, Cherae and Julian. Kennedy is a young, wealthy, single, plus sized woman who has shied away from love because her dad warned her, how heartless men could be, but she wished he had also warned her about friends. Her best friend Cherae was like a sister to her and Kennedy was a little naive when it came to Cherae and didn't realize that she secretly envied her life although she was the one blessed with the beautiful face and body. 

Julian is my favorite character because he is the man that all women dream of having. He is loyal and is the total opposite of what Kennedy's dad raised her to believe. Although most men would break, he stays true to the women he loves and as tempting as Kennedy's best friends offer was, he stood his ground and didn't let her succeed in her mission to seduce him behind Kennedy's back. He shows readers that all men are not the same and sometimes who you trust maybe the one to hurt you the most.

Ella: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?
Yes, my main message is self esteem. My books caters to every day women, like myself that are not picture perfect. My leading lady and majority of my stories are plus sized, curvy, or voluptuous women. I try to portray stories with realistic characters that today's readers can say, "hey that could be me," verses the perfect size five always having the happy ending.

Ella: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
My tip for new authors is to definitely invest in editing. A good story can be ruined if there is no professional editing.

Ella:  Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
Right now I am with Delphine Publications and Now You Wanna Come Back released under Delphine November 20, 2009. My next book Luck of the Draw will release April 23, 2010. 

You can watch the trailer for both and read the excerpts for both of my books at www.annablack.net . Additional information at www.delphinepublications.com .  My next release Split Image will be in the fall of 2010. My book can be purchase everywhere books are sold and at www.amazon.com , www.b&n.com , www.thedockbookshop.com  and www.jokaes.com  

Luck of the Draw available April 23, 2010

 


Intimate Conversation with Pamela Ridley

Pamela Ridley’s first published piece was a play about the Dred Scott Decision that she wrote in fourth grade. The play was well received by the PTA of Riddick Branch Elementary School.Since purchasing her first computer in 1995, she has written five novels (three of which are published) and several short stories. Ms. Ridley currently resides in Maryland. www.pamelaridley.com 

Ella:  Pamela, introduce us to Another Memory, your latest book.
Forty-two year old Chelly Whitaker has shut down her emotions to protect herself from pain, which means she’s shut herself off from feeling anything, including love. Then Sean Price enters her life. He’s ten years younger, but despite the age difference and the stress surrounding their relationship which includes a murder, Chelly makes strides toward losing her sorrow, learning to feel again, and in doing so, creates another memory.

Ella:  What issue, person or thing inspired you to write this story?
It’s been established that horrific things happen; that at any given moment, life can turn tragic, but then what? How can we go on and what happens next? That’s what I wanted to address through the life of the main character in this book. If you stop living as a result of a tragedy, if all you do is go through the motions, then, in essence, all you are doing is waiting to die. Another Memory is about how Chelly struggles to reclaim a life where she is able to feel again.

Ella:  Who should read Another Memory and why?
Read this book if you believe in the power of love to transform.
Read this book if you believe the lines between this world and the next can blur.
Read this book if you believe our elders teach us to celebrate life--every bit of it; the good and the bad.
Read this book if you believe life can steal every wisp of joy and still the human spirit will not relinquish hope.

Ella:   What was the most powerful chapter or scene in the book for you?
One scene was when Chelly had to tell Sean, her potential love interest, that she saw and spoke to her deceased daughter. You can imagine that’s a tough conversation to have. As a writer, it was fun to see how Sean would handle it.

Ella:   What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m wishing I was. I’m afraid the muse will take a permanent hiatus and if it does, then what form of creative endeavor will I undertake because I believe an expression of creativity is essential for living a balanced, sane life.

Ella:  What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
When you find yourself writing for hours at a time, and it feels like only five minutes have passed, then you’ll know writing is a passion, and that’s a good thing! With passion comes drive and persistence. Those are the things needed to stay the course.

Ella:  How may we find you online and purchase Another Memory?

Book seller info and my website address is www.pamelaridley.com 

•ISBN-10: 1585713678 
Black Expressions
Amazon
Borders
Barnes and Noble


Intimate Conversation with Keith Walker

Keith Walker is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English. He enjoys reading, poetry, and music of all genres. Keith currently works in administration at one of the city’s largest hospitals. He lives in Fort Worth , Texas with his wife and two children. Fixin’ Tyrone is Keith’s first book.

Ella:  Introduce us to your new book, Fixin’ Tyrone.
Fixin’ Tyrone is one woman’s struggle to find peace and fulfillment in a life that seemed to be flowing perfectly until her son’s thuggish father is released from prison. Mia thought she had it all; two smart and beautiful children, a well-paying career and classy suitors, some with million dollar portfolios. Her wild days of college are far behind her, and Mia’s only regret in life is the thugs and hoodlums she once loved. All she got from her old lifestyle was two fatherless children and a lifetime worth of heartache. 

It took six long years to rebound from the mistakes of her past. The new Mia is strong and confident and thoroughly uninterested in anything a thug has to offer her, but that all changes when she gets a letter from prison. Tyrone, the father of her oldest child, is getting out, and he wants to get back in his son’s life. Tyrone wants to get back in Mia’s life as well. Mia would have to be crazy to take him back… but this time, it seems the tiger really has changed his stripes. Or at least he’d like her to think he has.

Ella:  Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
My main character is Mia. Mia is a successful executive at an investment firm. Mia is smart and witty. She’s assertive and firm and fair. She is a good mother and a good friend. Mia is also vulnerable and passionate. She is definitely my favorite character. 

Another main character is, of course, Tyrone. Tyrone went to prison for six years, during which time he claims to have changed his life. Tyrone is freed from prison at the start of my book, and he immediately tries to make things right with his child’s mother, Mia. Tyrone is handsome and sexy, and he’s also honest and determined. Tyrone is strong, yet vulnerable. He’s a hard-worker, but he’s also disadvantaged because of his environment and the felonies on his police record. His dilemma is very familiar to me, and he is my second favorite character.

Ella:  Are your characters from Fixin’ Tyrone a portrayal of real people?
Tyrone is a portrayal of countless black men I’ve met throughout my life. I have many friends and relatives who went to prison for drug dealing, so this aspect of black culture hits very close to home. And like most incarcerated black men, Tyrone has dreams and aspirations that go well beyond his reach. Like Tyrone, all of my incarcerated brothers have told me they want to do positive things once released from prison. The prisons are full of good intentions, but these dreams often fade once the convict is released. Tyrone experiences his share of turmoil when he returns to the “free world,” and it’s interested to see whether he’ll fall back into his old lifestyle or if he will make the changes necessary to stay out of jail and revitalize a relationship with Mia.

Ella:  Who did you write Fixin’ Tyrone for?  Why?
I wrote this book for women, mainly. Growing up, most of what I wrote was about manly topics and from a man’s point of view. One day a friend challenged me to write a book for women. I thought it would be difficult because I never got into the head of a woman for any of my stories, so I brainstormed a few ideas that would not only interest women, but topics that were common to them, yet still intriguing. I think it helped that I have always been somewhat of a sensitive brother, and I have a lot of empathy for nearly every situation. When I got started, I enjoyed looking at different scenarios from a woman’s point of view, and this new insight has also been beneficial in my everyday life.

Ella:  What impact will this book, Fixin’ Tyrone,  have on the community?
I hope my book will cause the community to be introspective about drugs, thugs, prison, family and second chances. I would like the community to be aware of the thin line between recreational and hard drug use, and I would also like my readers to be more open-minded and less critical of black men going to or leaving the penitentiary. I would like my readers to believe in true love again and be willing to make sacrifices for the love of their life. 

Ella:   Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?
I’m not an activist, per se, but there are many messages in my book I would like the readers to grasp. The first would be to be wary of the individuals in your life and always remember that your personal safety is much more important than any relationship. Readers should also learn that not all people can be judged by their circumstances, and it’s not right to give up on anyone who truly wants to change. I also stress the evils of drug use and the troubles crack cocaine in particular has caused our communities. Lastly, I hope my readers learn that true love is important. It may not conquer all, but sometimes it is worth fighting for.

Ella:  What sets your book apart from other books in your genre? 
The first thing that sets my book apart from others in my genre is the fact that I am a man, and most romance novels are written by women. I won’t say I’m better than all of those women, but I do believe my maleness adds a certain perspective they cannot fully provide. Also (and I don’t mean to insult anyone in particular) I’ve found that a lot of writers, especially in the urban fiction genre, really don’t know what they’re doing. It’s one thing to have an interesting story to tell. It’s another thing to have the education and creative writing training to tell this story beautifully. According to my website, Keith Walker is THE MASTER OF ROMANTIC SUSPENSE AND URBAN FICTION, and I believe this title sets me apart from all others.

Ella:  Do you write full time? Describe your writing schedule for our readers.
It is my dream to write fulltime, but, alas, I’ve only published one book so far. I work fulltime at one of the largest hospitals in Fort Worth . I work the graveyard shift from ten p.m. to six a.m. I work in an office, and I have a computer, and... Well, let’s just say it’s not always terribly busy here. Don’t tell my boss, but if I were to seriously calculate it, I’m pretty sure I do 60% of my writing at work.

Ella:  What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
I like to read and go to the movies. I like to play video games, either alone or with my kids. I love music of all genres. I like to take the kids to the park to fly kites or toss the football around. I love to eat! I like restaurants – either fancy or fast food, it doesn’t matter. I like to perform at open mic or poetry slam venues, and I like to watch others perform as well. I went on my first cruise last summer. That was wonderful. I would like to do that again one day. If I had enough money, traveling would probably be my favorite pastime. 

Ella:  What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
The best advice for any aspiring author is to never give up. I’ve signed three contracts so far, and for each of those books, I have a dozen rejection letters. When you put your dreams in an envelope and send them across the country, you’re left in a rather vulnerable position. When a rejection letter comes back, you can either let it break your spirits, or you can try harder. The problem is you never know who’s going to open your package at those publishing companies, and you may not know what they’re looking for. You might get a rejection letter because they didn’t like your query letter, or you might get one because the editor was sleepy the day she/he opened your package. There are thousands of publishing companies out there, so unless you have thousands of rejection letters, it’s not time to give up.

Ella:   Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. 
My second novel is How to Kill Your Husband. It will be published by Genesis Press in June 2010. 

Here is a back cover blurb for How to Kill Your Husband:
Claire is a happily married mother of three. Her life seems picture perfect until she suspects her husband of sixteen years is having an affair. With the help of her quirky friends Becky and Melanie, Claire gets to the bottom of it, but they uncover much more than she bargained for. When she believes she has sufficient proof, Claire decides on the most obvious course of action: She must kill her husband.

For more information, please visit my website www.keithwalkerbooks.com  or send an email to kwalkerbooks@yahoo.com

 


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