Monday, November 30, 2015

6:54 AM - No comments

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

 
Grant Park is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts's gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King's final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper's server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column's publication.

While a furious Carson tries to find Toussaint—at the same time dealing with the reappearance of a lost love from his days as a 60s activist—Toussaint is abducted by two improbable but still-dangerous white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Obama's planned rally in Grant Park. Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as idealistic, impatient young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement.


Editorial Reviews From the Publisher


"A novel as significant as it is engrossing." —Booklist, starred review

"Grant Park is layered, insightful, and passionate. Pitts's subtly explosive language grips readers with the delicate subject matter and earnestly implores them to understand that '[race] has always meant something and it always will.' The scars will remain, but stunningly powerful examinations like Grant Park can be the salve that helps heal open wounds." —Shelf-Awareness, starred review

"An important book, one that honestly examines the current, tumultuous racial divide in our country and demands we not turn away from its harsh realities." —Amy Canfield, Miami Herald

"[A] high-stakes, hard-charging political thriller. . . . The sharply etched characters, careful attention to detail, and rich newspaper lore propel Pitts's socially relevant novel." —Publishers Weekly

"Leonard Pitts has written a taut thriller that weaves together a stark look at America's tortured racial past with a fast-paced tale of terrorist conspiracy and love rekindled." —Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun Times

"The book is a page-turner, but also one that commands deep reflection on history, racism, and personal choices." —Blanca Torres, The Seattle Times

"Pitts masterfully revisits [election night on November 4, 2008] and four decades of the civil rights struggle to create one of the most suspenseful and spectacular fictitious moments you'll experience this fall." —Patrik Henry Bass, Essence

"Pitts does a skillful job of building tension in the novel's historical sections as well as on Election Day. . . . He also does something not every political thriller writer does: builds believable, complex characters." — Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

"And then there are those thrills—gasping, mouth-gaping page-turners that author Leonard Pitts Jr. weaves through another realism: truthful, brutal plot-lines about racial issues of the last five decades, mulling over exactly how far we’ve really come. That makes this will-they-live-or-won't-they nail-biter into something that also made me think, and I absolutely loved it." —Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez




GRANT PARK: CHAPTER ONE

Martin Luther King stood at the railing, facing west. The moon was a pale crescent just rising in early twilight to share the sky with a waning sun. He leaned over, joking with the men in the parking lot below. A couple of them were wrestling playfully with James Orange, a good-natured man with a build like a brick wall.

“Now, you be careful with preachers half your size,” King teased him.

“Dr. King,” called Orange in a plaintive voice, “it’s two of them and one of me. You should be asking them not to hurt me.”

“Doc,” someone called out from below, “this is Ben Branch. You remember Ben.”

“Oh yes,” said King. “He’s my man. How are ya, Ben?”

Another voice yelled up from below. “Glad to see you, Doc.”

As Malcolm Toussaint moved toward King, it struck him that the preacher seemed somehow lighter than he had the last time Malcolm had seen him. It had been late one night a week before, by the Dumpsters out back of the Holiday Inn. The man Malcolm met that night had seemed… weighted, so much so that even Malcolm had found himself concerned and moved—Malcolm, who had long scorned the great reverend doctor, who had, in the fashion of other young men hip, impatient, and cruel, mocked him as “De Lawd.” But that was before Malcolm had met the man. That was before they had talked. Now he moved toward King, his mind roiling with the decision that had sprung from that moment, the news he had come to share. King, he knew, would be pleased. There would be a smile, perhaps a heavy hand clamping on Malcolm’s shoulder. “Good for you, Brother Malcolm,” he would say. “Good for you.”

Malcolm was vaguely amused to find himself here on this balcony, anticipating this man’s approval. If you had told him just a few days ago that he would be here, ready to go back to school, ready to embrace nonviolent protest, he would have laughed. But that, too, was before. Malcolm meant to raise his hand just then, to catch King’s attention, but a movement caught his eye. Just a reflected ray of the dying sun, really, glinting off something in a window across the street. Something that—he knew this instinctively—should not have been there. He wondered distractedly what it was.

King’s voice drew him back. “I want you to sing it like you’ve never sung it before,” he was calling to someone in the parking lot below. “Sing it real pretty.” And Malcolm realized he had missed something, because he had no idea what they were talking about. His attention had been distracted by… what was that?

“It’s getting chilly.” Yet another voice calling to King from below. “I think you’ll need a topcoat.”

“Okay, Jonesy,” King was saying. “You really know how to take good care of me.”

And here, the moment breaks, time fracturing as time sometimes will into its component parts, until an event is no longer composed of things happening in a sequence, but somehow all happens at once. And you can see and touch and live all the smaller moments inside the right now. This is how it is for Malcolm Toussaint now. King is laughing. Malcolm is taking a step toward him. King is straightening. Laughter is echoing from below. King is reaching into a pocket for his cigarettes. He is becoming aware of Malcolm on his left. His head is coming around. There are the bare beginnings of a welcoming smile. And Malcolm knows. Suddenly knows. And Malcolm is leaping, leaping across space, across time itself, becoming airborne—he was sure of it, that detail felt right, even though by this time King is barely six feet away. Malcolm grabbing two hands full of expensive silk, yanking Martin Luther King off balance, yanking him down hard in the same instant they all hear the popping sound like a firecracker, in the same instant he feels the soft-nosed 30.06 bullet whistle past his cheek like a phantom breath, in the same instant he falls awkwardly across King’s chest.

And then…

And then time seems to reel for a crazy breathless moment, as if decid¬ing what to do now. The fulcrum of history teetering, the future hanging, suspended in midair.
Until all at once and with a brutal force, time decides itself and slams back into gear.

A woman shrieked.

Someone yelled, “Somebody is shooting!”

Someone yelled, “Doc, are you OK?”

Someone yelled, “Stay down!”

Malcolm’s breath was ragged in his own ears. His heart hammered like drums. Then from beneath him, he heard a familiar baritone voice say calmly, very calmly, but yet, with a touch of breathless wonder. “Oh my God. Was that a gunshot?”

Their eyes met. Malcolm didn’t speak. Couldn’t speak. “Brother Malcolm,” said Martin Luther King, his voice still suffused with wonder and yet, also, an almost unnatural calm, “I think you just saved my life.”

Malcolm was overwhelmed by the thereness of the man. He was not myth and mist and history. He was not a posterboard image on a wall behind a child dutifully reciting in a child’s thin, sweet tenor, “I have a dream today.” No, he was there, beneath 20-year-old Malcolm Toussaint, who had fallen crosswise on top of him. Malcolm could feel the weight and heft of him, the fall and rise of his chest. He could see his very pores, could smell the tobacco on his breath, the Aramis on his collar. Martin Luther King was there, still alive, beneath him. Malcolm opened his mouth to speak.

And then, he awoke.




( Continued... )

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


Purchase Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Amazon: http://amzn.com/1932841911 
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1QAHE1E
GoogleBooks: http://bit.ly/1VY3qzr
IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781932841916
Agate Publishing: http://www.agatepublishing.com/titles/grant-park
Books a Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/9781932841916

About the Author
Leonard Pitts, Jr.
is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novels Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012) and Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006). Born and raised in Southern California, Pitts now lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children.





Thursday, June 26, 2014

11:09 AM - No comments

And Then There Were None by Clay Thomas William

And Then There Were None
by Clay Thomas William

 
Imagine being so full of yourself, that you ignore the obvious. You’re so busy doing you that you fail to see what’s right under your nose. Octavia’s selfish destructive behavior that was full of lies and deceit caused her life to spiral out of control until she crashed and burned costing her everything. She gambled with love and lost totally obliterating her life as she knew it.  Octavia thought she had it all; beauty, two loves, and a promising career. And in the end she ends up with nothing.  A tale of a rude awakening to one day be forced to realize life doesn’t revolve around her. 

Brief Excerpt:  And Then There Were None by Clay Thomas William
We walked a slow stroll like we were taking a walk to death row still no words were spoken from the arrival gate to customs. As we approached the luggage area, we let go of each other’s hand and I lost sight of him in the endless sea of on looker's and right into the waiting arms of my husband. The unhappiness I felt on the flight home had to be masked with a fake smile as I kissed him hello. He hugged me so tight I nearly lost my breath. There I was wrapped in Calvin's arms after almost a week apart still searching for Lynn in the crowd.
 
 
 

 
Excerpt: And Then There Were None 

I need to be in church, maybe I can get some clarity. I haven't been to church since our Grandmother passed away; I just couldn't find my way here. We grew up in the church and its funny, the only time I come to church now is when I have a problem. I was a pure demon for the past two years and now I need Jesus. Good thing God is a forgiving God.

Sitting in church looking for answers to my secret problem; it seemed as if Pastor Clark was in my head. God sees all, and what’s done in the dark always comes to light.

Who told him, is God sending me a personal sermon?

As I sat there waddling in my own little sea of deceit, Yvette franticly patted my leg and pointed across the church. I thought for a minute as Jesus appeared to escort my sinning behind directly to the devil in a brimstone laced chariot.

“What,” I whispered.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Sister Johnson schooled us like she did when we were ten. She turned all the way around with her big yellow hat with a feather in it; rolled her big eyes with her inch long fake lashes at us, then turned back around and faced Pastor Clark.

Yvette put one finger up in a wait one minute position, reached in her Fendi bag and pulled out a pen and sticky note pad just like she did when we were ten, and began to write and handed me the note. The guy in the yellow shirt and brown suit, that’s Jason.

I shrugged my shoulders as if to say who the heck is Jason, Yvette snatched the note from my hands balled it up and proceeded to write another. She held the note in her two hands turned it to me; the note said JASON HILL FROM HIGH SCHOOL.... in all capital letters

“Oh! I mouthed silently

Yvette shook her head up and down balled up the note and let out a frustrated growl and began to write again.

“Octavia, you don’t remember him, she wrote.

I took another look at him, took her pen and sticky note and wrote back.

NO!  I don’t. Why should I remember him, did I date him?

No stupid, I did. She wrote back.

Yvette started writing again. I looked away from the note and across the sea of big hats and prayer clothes to the good looking brother in the brown suit. I looked back at Yvette with an agreeing nod and whispered a sarcastic, “And?”

At this point I have had quite enough of Yvette’s little guessing game and snatched her pen and sticky note pad and wrote.

Get to the point girl, cause you, Sister Johnson and that dude in the brown suit are working my last nerve yawl gonna make me lose my religion up in here.

Remember that incident in high school and he gave me four hundred and fifty dollars, and you and me went shopping.

I wrote back. Say word?

I’m going to tell him the truth and apologize, the note said.

My eyes widened as I snapped my head back in Yvette’s direction.

“WHAT,” I said out loud.

Yvette Shhhhed me and nodded her head yes. I took her paper and began to write. “Are you nuts? He probably doesn't remember it or you.

She wrote back I’m gonna do it anyway, to clear my conscience.

I wrote, are you serious? For ten years you've had a case of the “I don’t give a crap” and your conscience hasn't bugged you in all this time. All of a sudden you see him and you’ve got a case of morals. Girrrrrl, please.

She wrote, just something I have to do; the truth shall set you free.

I wrote, well gotta do what you gotta do.

I began to think God touched this girl and urged her to clean her soul with the whole truth shall set you free thing. The truth can get you a black eye, I wanted to talk her out of it but she seemed to be at peace with her decision so I kept any further comments to myself.

Yvette made a beeline across the Church to confess to Jason.

I tried to read the look on Jason’s face as his expression changed from “Hey, it sure is nice to see you, to what the heck did this chick just say to me.”

I watched them thinking at this moment how much I admired Yvette and respected her for doing what she was doing and knowing that was something I could never do. Admit I lied, never!

“Well come on then she said in her usual playful manner, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest,” she added.

“Yvette you told him?”

“Yup.”

“Well, what did he say?”

“He said he can’t believe I thought to do this after all this time and he forgives me and appreciates my honest. Then he asked for his four hundred and fifty dollars back.

“You gonna give it to him I asked.”

“I said I felt better, not stupid.”

We laughed at the same time the way twins freakishly do.

NOT.

I guess confession is good for the soul.



(  Continued...  )

© 2014  All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Clay Thomas William.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.

 
Intimate Conversation with Clay Thomas Williams  
 
Clay Thomas Williams is a freelancer, writer and copy editor for an exciting nationwide informative motorcycle magazine; IRIDE magazine based out of North Carolina. She is member of the writer’s cafĂ©.org and premier Author with Upnext Media Group.

Clay, whose government name is actually Nat’e Elliott, talents aren’t limited to novels and print magazines but music as well.  She has written tunes that are in ASCAP’s database.

Clay Thomas Williams lives by the philosophy that every bit of fiction has a hint of the truth, and life experiences good or bad or indifferent create and shape the beautiful, brilliant black woman she is. She resides in North Carolina with her family.

BPM:  What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
Well, it was shortly after I had a car accident; I broke both of my ankles and was stuck in a wheel chair for several months. I had a lot of idle time on my hands. I started thinking about my recent divorce as a whole and keyed in on the most critical points.  I began to let my imagination run wild, and that’s when “And Then There Were None” was born.

BPM:  Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Well, a little, it had to.  I feel like every bit of fiction has a hint of the truth. So yes, some of the scenarios in my books are taken from real life experiences. The people who walked with me at the time know what part is fiction is and what is not.

BPM:  Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?
Ideas generally come from real life experience and an over active imagination. They are pretty much plot and character driven.

BPM:   Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
This novel is called “And Then There Were None,” it is my first published novel.  It falls in the genre of urban fiction. It is currently available on Kindle, Nook, Kobi, Sony reader, Smashwords.com and several other electronic devices. It is also available in paperback.

BPM:   Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
The main character The Protagonist in this novel is Octavia, a bored married young woman who finds excitement with an ex lover.  She loses sight of her marriage and becomes enthralled with this man. Octavia learns she is pregnant and the ex has nothing to do with her. Octavia decides to try and make her marriage work and let her husband believe the baby is his. However, she did too much damage to her marriage for her husband to even believe that a maybe baby could fix it.

BPM:  Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Yes I learned a lot about myself. There is a lot of Octavia in me. I also discovered that my imagination makes me blush at times.

BPM:   What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
What defines success for me? Well, personally for me, it was the day my first novel was published.  I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I felt like wow, I made it.  It’s also a pretty large grey area because that answer can be altered every day for me with every new milestone and accomplishment.

BPM:   What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?  
I’d like to see my book in everyone’s home; I would like to sit next to people on the train reading my book.  While walking through the airport; I’d love to see awaiting passengers reading my book. I would like it to be not only a local success but nationally and worldwide as well.  Additionally, I would love for this book to be the springboard that opens it up to bigger and better things. Ultimately, with the end result, I would like my novel to be made into a movie or TV series.

What would I like readers to do after reading my books? I’d like them to tell a friend to tell a friend to tell two more friends and so on.

BPM:   How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My readers can discover more about me and my books by going on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Upnext-Media-Group/641146999295337.

I would also give a heartfelt thank you to everyone in advance for their support.   Follow Nat’e Elliott on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/nate.elliott.77



And Then There Were None by Clay Thomas William
Genre: Urban Fiction;   Paperback Purchase:  http://amzn.com/B00JKUM2V6


 
 
 

11:07 AM - No comments

The Last Seer (Book III in the Order of the Seers Trilogy)


You should really try #SyFy! I so love the ORDER OF THE SEERS trilogy by Cerece Rennie Murphy. The final installment, The Last Seers, is available for orders on Amazon now. This is a must read!  Be adventurous:
 

Go here to read an excerpt from The Order of the Seers and to get copies:  
http://www.cerecerenniemurphy.com/index.php#!order-of-the-seers/cgub 



Having unleashed a new evil into the world, the Seers face the ultimate challenge in The Last Seer, the third and final book in the Order of the Seers trilogy.  

The Seers
face their greatest challenge in the final chapter of the Order of the Seers
  trilogy... When the fall of one nemesis unleashes an even greater danger into the world, Lilli, Joel and the Lost Seers must stand against a new enemy with the means and the will to destroy all of mankind, starting with those they hold most dear.
As the Seers mobilize to confront this new evil, the Guild tries desperately to uphold the crumbling world order on which it depends. When their attempts to manage the crisis fail, the members of the Guild are forced to place themselves at the mercy of an unlikely ally. But the Guild isn't the only one interested in maintaining control. An agreement made in secret threatens to destroy any hope of a peaceful alliance before it can be made and as the betrayals unfold, no one is safe against a power that will stop at nothing to get what it wants.
To defeat this threat and ensure the survival of the human race, the Seers must push the boundaries of their abilities beyond any limits they have known and risk crossing the line between life and death. How far would you go to protect what matters most?


More Than Us - Chapter 5 Teaser
“There’s no guarantee that you can defeat these things,” Hasaam said thoughtfully. “Lilli may have just gotten lucky. Remember, Alessandra was able to stop that man’s heart with only her thoughts in Italy. But, just like Lilli, she doesn’t know how she did it and it hasn’t happened again. There is still so much we don’t understand about how your powers grow and manifest. We haven’t had the time to study what this means. Please, before you commit yourself to anything, we need more time to understand what happened with Lilli.”

All eyes turned to Lilli then, waiting for a contradiction she could not give.


Negotiations - Chapter 6 Teaser

“Don’t you ever say his name again! Not to me. I watched you take him away after you murder my mother, right in front of me. You have no idea who he was.  So don’t attempt to tell me what he would have done, when you are the reason he's dead.”

Joel had never felt so out of control of his power in his life, not even when he didn’t know how it worked. At least then, whatever he might have done would have been an accident. If he acted now, on the pure hatred in his thoughts, if he killed each of them slowly like he wanted to, it would have been entirely on purpose.

He could feel the heat of his power rippling through his body so strongly it made his legs tremble. Every ability he had to shape, gather and break the elements around him was focused, ready to protect and defend him from the source of his rage. All he had to do was extend his hand to set his thoughts in motion.


Order of the Seers (Book 1 - Order of the Seers Trilogy) by Cerece Rennie Murphy 
What would you do if you held infinite power in the palm of your hand?

Part One of the thrilling Order of the Seers trilogy poses this question within a story that fuses action, mystery, romance, and adventure in a science fiction novel that keeps you at the edge of your seat.

Captured and enslaved for their extraordinary gift, a group of individuals, known as Seers, are forced to serve a ruthless world organization that uses the power of the Seers to exploit the ultimate advantage: knowing the future.

While a brother and his Seer sister fight to evade the group that hunts them, an unlikely captured Seer, plots his escape from within the organization and sets off a chain of events that will change the world.


Order of the Seers by Cerece Rennie Murphy
Link: http://amzn.com/0985621001
http://www.amazon.com/Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/e/B008G6XXBS/
http://www.amazon.com/Order-Seers-Cerece-Rennie-Murphy/dp/0985621001


11:03 AM - No comments

Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous Reflections of a Baby Boomer by Joyce Nanette Johnson

Over Fifty Ain't Always Fabulous
Reflections of a Baby Boomer
by Joyce Nanette Johnson

 
Over Fifty Ain't Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer  laughs out loud at the present and then takes you on a sentimental visit to the past examining how the same situation means different results for Boomers today. "Over Fifty Ain't Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer"  is a shout out to the past, examination of the present, and a celebration of life's poignant but hysterical journey.

"Boomers have always been vocal, boisterous, have a history of implementing social and political change and can still sway advertisers with our discretionary income, if we have any money left at the end of the month. Through humor and poignancy, my new book will have fellow Baby Boomers laughing at the past and present. It's important for us to have a light-hearted view on life.

My drugs cupboard is full to the brim with pills of all sizes and colors (if you were to see it you'd think I was making money from it) and I can't exert too much energy without rolling on the floor with a writhing Charlie horse - but this is a small price to pay for the lives we Boomers have lived. My book celebrates all that is great about being over fifty - even if I can't really get my eyes to focus properly on the pages!" Johnson said.


Over Fifty Ain't Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer invites you along for the comical ride  that is accompanied with  hearty, out loud in your face laughter.

Since its release, the book has garnered a string of rave reviews. For example, one reader commented, "Over 50 Ain't Always Fabulous is a great read, packed full with everyday situations that will appeal to everyone whether your over 50 or not. The author doesn't just dispel the commercial myths of women over 50 , but also engages the reader with jokes of the trials and tribulations most of us have experienced or will experience after passing the big five 0."



Purchase Over 50 Ain't Always Fabulous-Reflections of a Baby Boomer
by Joyce Nanette Johnson
Link:  http://amzn.com/148417626X


 
 

 


Excerpt Opening:  Fifty Ain't Always Fabulous




I have a few words to say, "Fifty ain't always fabulous". There I've said it. I've said it and you know what? I'm glad I said it. You probably want to say it too, but you're scared to say it.

Scared of the rhetoric and gasps of dis-belief that will come from those so-called cougars that you see in a magazine that are artfully draped over a cliff, as the Greek Isles dashes waves of glorious blue-green water over her. Then there is always a man staring at her with obsessed, hooded eyes.

You're scared that your world does not measure up to the professionally made-up actors on TV. These women are shouting out a challenge to you and I suspect you think you can't live up to the hype. However, what they're asking us to believe is "the hype".

My back would laugh at me and taunt me, "Go on and try it you old fool and watch what I do to you!" My upper and lower torso would be plotting their sadistic revenge if I ever thought I could lounge against hard rock. I would end up dying on that rock as the water gurgled in my lungs because I couldn't get up.

Where is this sexy, vibrant older woman that we see on the TV?  She does not live in my house nor take up residence in my mirrors. Ladies, if you were not that hot looking when you were young do not believe the hype that you will turn into this wild, unleashed, beautifully sculpted cougar. At times I look like an old toothless, clawless, scruffy house cat only waiting for a bowl of warm milk for pure contentment.


Clothes Today and Then
I remember I used to like everything tight.  I liked tight jeans that showed off my perfectly rounded butt.  My butt at this point does not need to be showed off; it is the most visible part of my body.  It will take over any space without being invited. Even when I am staring straight ahead looking at you, my butt can be seen poking from around the back.  It intrudes its way into the conversation.  It is a rude, obnoxious appendage that wants to flaunt its appearance at any occasion.  It is almost another person complete with its own personal 5 o'clock shadow and zip code.  Neither diets, nor exercise can undo the big booty.


Dancing
I have observed some of the people in the clubs dancing today. I could not be a "Hoochie Mama Dancer" of today.  I don't think I could "Drop it Like It's Hot".  If I drop it, it will still be there until the paramedics come to pick me and "it" off the floor.  Sexual contortions and gyrations would only cause a late run to the drug store for a new heat pack.  My idea of going low to the floor is to point my head down and bob it in unison to the music.


Mother-Daughter Relationships
When did I become the caregiver of my mother?  Now in my 50's the music has switched to a new tempo for both of us.  In the beginning it was she who led and it was me who followed.  As the last mournful sound is played the positions are switched. I was silently elected to a position that I never envisioned would come.  I cannot remember the exact day that the exchange took place and our parallel worlds tumbled into a vortex and intermixed into and we have now evolved into almost a new species.


Exercise
I will not go to a gym, because I do not want to go to jail for assaulting a youngster with a perfect uplifted body in every area and strangling her after I hear for the hundredth time in an exasperated tone " Now, really now.  Is that the best we can do?" These stressful reproachful words are muttered after I can't keep up in Zumba class or had gotten entangled in the sports equipment and had to be helped down.


(  Continued...  )

© 2014  All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Joyce Nanette Johnson.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.


 

   

 
 
       
 
Calling St. Petersburg her adopted home having lived here for two decades, Joyce Nanette Johnson was born and raised in the central shore area of New Jersey where she remembers looking forward to essay question tests throughout school.  "Even if I didn't know what the test was about, all I needed were three key ideas about the subject and I'd make it happen," Johnson said.

The night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was slain, Johnson sat down and put pen to paper and came up with a free verse poem written from her heart. She sent a copy to the local newspaper and one to Dr. King's wife, Coretta Scott King. Not only did the newspaper print the poem, but she received a thank you card from Mrs. King.

It was then that Johnson began to focus on developing her correspondence skills. The free verse poem was her first and last, but has continued to follow her dream of being a writer.  Now a veteran writer with years of experience, her work is showcased between the pages of various newspapers, periodicals and magazines. Her writing can be seen in the St. Petersburg Times, Citilife Magazine, St. Pete Bulletin, Essence Magazine, and The Weekly Challenger.

Joyce Nanette Johnson is the owner of Joydee Productions, which developed and produced websites for community organizations and other public relations projects.  Joyce Nanette Johnson was a finalist in 2010 and 2011 Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists Awards. Ms. Johnson was also the recipient of the 2011 Women in Communications Award presented by the Gathering of Women, Inc. St. Petersburg, FL.

Johnson is a motivational speaker and is available for workshops or conferences. For more information, please contact her via email at:  jjohnson433@tampabay.rr.com


BPM: What is your favorite positive saying?

My favorite positive saying or daily mantra is "Be About Your Business."  Now ladies I'm not talking about that gossipy, nosey being in other people's business like your neighbors, family members, or gossiping about what's going on in the church with Sister Sneaky and Brother Up to No Good.  Which is a total waste of valuable time that could be invested in "self" I'm talking about our "personal business."  The business that God and the fates have destined for us to fulfill. As women we have that nurturing spirit and we should be active and have a vested interest in our homes, our children, our mates, our community and the world at large.

But we need to have that purpose for which we were created to be nurtured also. We should carve a few precious moments out of our daily hectic lives for own personal dreams or destiny. My business is writing.  I have often told my daughter Tracy when I am most tired and feel like quitting that if I don't write, then the words will not get written.  If you don't pick up that brush no colors will bloom on your canvas.  If you do not take the initial baby steps to start that business you will not become a successful entrepreneur.

But we as women pile more and more on our shoulders balancing the world's problems, while our own dreams and desires are shoved to the bottom of the pile like dirty laundry.  Once you discover and admit to yourself that this is your dream. You have to "Be about Your Business", make time for it,  and treat it like a jealous lover.  Every day the enemy devises more ways for me to stray from the path.  Sometimes it can come disguised as family issues, at others times it rears its head as a day of hell with the boss from hell on the job, or just being depressed or tired. I have to remind myself every day to "Be about My Business"


BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually write the book?
The media drove me to do this. As a baby-boomer I laughed at all of the commercials and media hype that said all of us were sexy, exciting, vibrant, and fun. When in reality I am not a sexy cougar that can drop it like it's hot.  I'm more like a slow simmering chili, still hot but not bubbling. Commercials show us gleefully hiking down some exotic trail when in reality I am limping down the pathway plagued by arthritis and plantar fasciitis and the glee comes with the relief of mentholated ointment. I wanted to show the reality of women aging while reflecting a humorous bent to the bumpy ride.

I also wanted to share some baby-boomer type passages in life such as discos, baptismal marijuana smoking, and the joy that existed in sheer sexual abandonment with the advent of the pill and before diseases were racking up death fatalities.  I wanted those in baby-boomer years to smile and have out loud belly laughs while their younger counterparts can get an actual picture of back in the day and also to let them know some of the things in store for them as their minds and bodies age.   As my mom says sarcastically you got to get old to experience some of this good stuff. Keep on living you'll see.


 
BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes, all of my experiences have come together in this book.  In the book I talk about what I am experiencing now and then I have a "Back in the Day" section for each chapter.  For example I have a chapter on Mother-Daughter relationships.  I compare how the roles have been exchanged, I am now the leader and she is the follower.  I have taken on the role of caregiver, supporter, and staunch ally. I then go back in the day to relate to a school shopping spree that any daughter can relate to.

My experiences that I shared with my best friend as a little girl, whispering secrets and giggling to the best friends of today who area wisecracking, flawed to perfection, and who will sit quietly as  I twist and turn with some dire depression and  is there is say after my tirade, "Snap out of it" about .  The book is a comedic journey of all of the experiences throughout the different stages of my life.


BPM: Introduce as to your current work, what genre do you consider your book?
Funny, Funnier, Funniest and served with a slice of satire.  The book is humorously written while taking a swipe at the hypocrisy of the media. I hope to share the fact that though we are Baby Boomers we are still laughing.  I want people to laugh out loud at a passage that reminds them of their Mother or an Aunt.  I want people to smile as they remember that school girl friend from long, forgotten years ago.

And I want people to remember to chuckle as they laugh at themselves as they see themselves and others mirrored in the pages of the book. Aging ain't perfect, but at the moment it's the only game in town.  Laugh, hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

The book takes you on a hysterical journey that explores how Baby boomers are dealing with some of the same issues they were dealing with in the past, but with a slightly different twist.  It explores the sexuality of the Boomer, which though similar it is nothing like the "drop it like it's hot" acrobatics of today.

Another chapter is the Yin and Yang of Life: The biological changes of your period and Menopause. Here ladies I have not found either condition to be the wonderful life changing event they are heralded to be. It looks at clothes today and then and what it represented at the time.  Because the chapters are each divided into the now and back in the day it makes for fun stories about the difference in such subjects as exercise, clothes today and yesterday, and even the traditional family holiday is revisited.

Over Fifty Ain't Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer  is a shout out to the past,  examination of the present, and a celebration of life's poignant but hysterical journey


BPM: What is the writer's responsibility to the reader?
To create a believable story that entertains, enlightens and takes the reader on a personal journey along with you. To never take my readers for granted.


BPM: What would you like the readers to take away from your writing?
For the Baby Boomers I want them to see themselves in the past and now in the present and laugh out loud. I want them to celebrate their journey with a smile and an "Oh Well" and satisfied sigh.  I want them to know that the advertising is hype and it's okay to ache and not be a slick cougar, you're okay.  You did not miss the boat.

For the younger ones I want them to see and experience some of the world of the Boomers.  I want them to feel our spirit, our passion, and the innovation that we brought into the world.  I want them to join in the laughter when they read the words and it reminds them of their mothers, aunt, and grandmothers.  I want them to know that when they arrive at this stage of life it's gonna be alight if you just keep your perspective and find the humor in the progression.

Website: www.JoyceNanetteJohnson.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com\joyce.n.johnson.31


 




Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer
Whimsical & Poignant New Book
Examines ‘Real’ Lives of Baby Boomers

 

Written by Joyce Nanette Johnson, ‘Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer’ offers Baby Boomers a side-splitting yet frankly-honest look back at their generation’s tumultuous lives. While their knees may now be artificial and their memories somewhat fading, Johnson’s humorous retrospective will have any Baby Boomer laughing in pride at their past and present.

While the media portray Baby Boomers as sexy beacons of fashion and energetic go-getters, Florida’s Joyce Nanette Johnson knows a very different reality. With most joints aching and a simple bath requiring the contortionist skills of a circus performer, Johnson joins millions of others in the belief that being over fifty isn’t always fabulous.
Not one to let age and its limitations define her, Johnson has compiled a ground-breaking new book that celebrates that past and present of the Baby Boomer generation in a way that will even force laughter out of those refusing to grow old with grace.

Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer

A humorous look at the real lives of Boomers, vs. the media’s unrealistic view of some sexy, energized person that only exists in some marketing mavens’ mind. There are many of these advertising darlings out there, but Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous isn’t aimed at those Boomers, but it is for those who have survived the scrapes and bumps of life, but we are not as shiny or energetic as some of our touted counterparts.

“Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous” laughs out loud at the present and then takes you on a sentimental visit to the past examining how the same situation means different results for Boomers today. Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer is a shout out to the past, examination of the present , and a celebration of life’s poignant but hysterical journey.

The author isn’t afraid to admit that her generation has always made their presence known.
“We are now and have always been vocal, boisterous, have a history of implementing social and political change and can still sway advertisers with our discretionary income, if we have any money left at the end of the month. Through humor and poignancy, my new book will have fellow Baby Boomers laughing at the past and present,” says Johnson.

Continuing, “It’s important for us to have a light-hearted view on life. My drugs cupboard is full to the brim with pills of all sizes and colors (if you were to see it you’d think I was making money from it) and I can’t exert too much energy without rolling on the floor with a writhing Charlie horse – but this is a small price to pay for the lives we Boomers have lived. My book celebrates all that is great about being over fifty – even if I can’t really get my eyes to focus properly on the pages!”

Since its release, the book has garnered a string of rave reviews. For example, one reader commented, “Over 50 Ain’t Always Fabulous is a great read, packed full with everyday situations that will appeal to everyone whether your over 50 or not. The author doesn’t just dispel the commercial myths of women over 50 , but also engages the reader with jokes of the trials and tribulations most of us have experienced or will experience after passing the big five 0.”

Interested parties are urged to snap up this perfect gift opportunity as soon as possible.  ‘Over Fifty Ain’t Always Fabulous: Reflections of a Baby Boomer’ is available now: www.createspace.com/4248664
 
About the Author:
Joyce Nanette Johnson is a free-lanced writer based in St. Petersburg, FL. The Long Branch, NJ transplant has been a contributing writer for The St. Petersburg Times (Tampabay Times), St. Pete Bulletin, columnist for Citilife Magazine and a correspondent for the Weekly Challenger Newspaper. She is the owner of Joydee Productions, which originally developed and produced several websites for community organizations for several years, and other public relations projects. Joyce Nanette Johnson was a finalist in 2010 and 2011 Tampabay Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists awards. Ms. Johnson was the recipient of the 2011 Women in Communications Award presented by the Gathering of Women, Inc.


 

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The Last King by A. Yamina Collins



 

The Last King, Book I by A. Yamina Collins is an 11-part serial novel. A modern-day fantasy romance about a young woman innocently caught in a war between two age-old nemesis: God, and immortal beings whose ancestors ate from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.

Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.

Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.
But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.
Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love.



The Last King: Book I,  Episode #1

The Last King: Book I,  Episode #2  
Link:   amzn.com/B00IC0M8HS

The Last King: Book I,  Episode #3  
Link: amzn.com/B00K1QFKSK 



Meet the Author 
A. Yamina Collins is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan.  The Last King is her first novel, and it has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science-fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature. Check out her blog at Yaminatoday.com.  or  follow her on  Twitter.






The Last King - Christian literature in a Fantasy/Romance World



If you're a lover of Christian books, you might be used to urban tales of trouble from the pulpit, or romances dealing with topics about lost loves, grace and redemption.

What you might not be prepared for is a sort of Dante's Inferno epic trilogy, about a cosmic chess game of wits between immortal beings called Edenites whose ancestors ate  from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, and the being whom they consider to be their greatest nemesis - God Himself.

Covering several different genres of literature, A Yamina Collins' fantasy romance, The Last King, follows the trail of a young woman named Emmy Hughes, who, in modern times, innocently finds herself caught in the midst of a game of wits between these two rivals.

In the book, God considers these immortals possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He
has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is a the Glitch an imposing Edenite named Gilead Knightly, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she “wakes up” and gets rid of him.

That’s easier said than done, however, because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat, but they're also their greatest love.   The book has already made been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller List in no less than four separate genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Christian Women’s Literature/Women's Fiction Literature.

Told in fifty-page volumes to be released over the course of the next year and a half (the first volume was released in December, 2013) the book is a trilogy,  and it is pack with enough drama and suspense, so far, to keep readers engaged for the long haul.

Yes, at the at its heart is a love story, but one that spans the cosmos, traces itself through history, and will leave your heart pounding in the arms of modern day New York.







Intimate Conversation with A. Yamina Collins



BAN:  Yamina, do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yamina:  I recall how and where. I was nine-years old, standing in my grandmother's living room when I had a clear epiphany that I was going to be a writer someday. As for the how, I remember reading books like The Bluest Eye, The Turn of the Screw and To Kill a Mockingbird and thinking how stunning it was that those stories could move my soul. That's what I want to be able to do as a writer; to move people with my words.

BAN:  What does “challenge” mean to you? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Challenge means not writing the same kind of stories I tend to see in African-American literature; specifically, I decided to write a different sort of black male character, one who had, in my opinion, a real inner life and one who was not a stereotype. I wanted to see a man like Gilead Knightly be a king, and I wanted to abandon any concept of black male bashing. This is not to say that Gilead does not have some major character flaws, because he does. But he is not a black male archetype.

It was also a psychological challenge to write the dark-colored girl as the beautiful love interest. You would think that as a black woman that would have been easy for me to do. Not so. A history of literature had conditioned me to think otherwise - or at least to give her light skin with straight hair. But I abandoned that model altogether because it's been played out and I believe that it harms black women's self-esteem.

BAN:   Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Last King is about a line of people who cannot die because their ancestors marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the tree of life. God, however, considers this act, and the subsequent immortality that came with it, to be theft. He wants their immortality returned and he deals with their transgression by playing a cosmic sort of chess game with them - each individual Edenite has a Glitch that's meant just for them. A Glitch is a human who acts as an agent to retrieve the stolen property of immortality and kill off the Edenite. But all The Edenite has to do in return is kill his or her Glitch, and the game is over. But there is a conflict: and Edenite's Glitch is also their greatest love. Emmy, my female protagonist, is the Glitch for Gilead Knightly, the male protagonist.

But of all the two, is definitely my favorite. I love his complexity; in so many ways he is a torn man - he is in love yet hates that he is in love; he is a protector and as well as the man whom Emmy should fear. He is the antagonist and the protagonist both at the same time. He is, to me, a man of great contradictions, and I love that about him.

BAN:  What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Last King?
I, personally, have gotten tired of either reading slave narratives (though they do have their place in our world, so this is not to put them down - we do need them) ghetto lit stories, stories about bad black women and no-account black men. Yeah, I just got exhausted of it. I wanted to see black love written about , but one that jumped outside of the prisms of what we are used to hearing and seeing. And I wanted to address it from a fantasy perspective. I dig the world of fantasy. I think it can be fun and your characters get to be larger than life. And Gilead Knightly is definitely larger than life. I mean, the man keeps panthers with him in his bedroom, for crying out loud!

 
BAN:  Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? If you write in more than one genre, how do you balance them?
Yamina: The Last King is a science-fiction romance, but its location is rooted here on earth. I chose science fiction and romance because, as far as I am aware, we don't have a lot of African-American books that deal with these two genres in the same novel.  So yes, I write in more than one genre - really four genres (religious, historical, science-fiction and romance). As to how I managed to balance the genres, ha!  I am not sure that I have. It will be up to the readers to decide if I've done a good job of balance, I guess. We shall see.


BAN:  How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or other life path?
Yamina: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." That's a quote from proverbs 28: 18 in the King James versions. And that's what I think literature has been suffering from lately - vision of what we can be.  Much of our fiction, while not all bad, nonetheless keeps us confined to drama, reality-show-type characters- tons of stories filled with unending pain. But where are the heroes that inspire us

BAN:  Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Yamina:  Absolutely. For example, I intentionally do not have my character's curse or take God's name in vain. I chose not to cross that line even though my main character hates God and is angry with him. I believe, as a Christian, I am not called to do those things, even in literature. So I have had to be real creative in how my characters vent their frustrations. I also could not help but bring God into the story. He is literally the One behind this intriguing game that Gilead and Emmy must play with one another.


BAN:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
Yamina:  Ultimately, I hope readers get to enjoy a good story. Period. The Last King takes place in this narrow world that Gilead inhabits with his family and Emmy, in a sense, steps into. And I wanted to take readers along for that ride and help them begin to view African-American characters outside of the usual stereotypes we are too often placed into. Please, no more mammies, Jezebels, brutes and minstrels with an updated face. I want readers to dream bigger.


BAN:  What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Yamina:  Okay, I must admit that, as a writer, I dreams of writing The Great American Novel. Yes, I admit it. It's a lofty dream, but it is a dream that inspires to want to be excellent and not just run of the mill.
My other goals are to educate and inspire.  I intentionally created a dark-skinned girl as the love interest to a black man because I wanted to combat the same old-same old notion of what beauty is; and I wanted to combat the increasingly odd assumption that black love is a bad thing, or an unrealistic thing. Yes, I've been wanting to see more of such books. So I thought to myself  'Well, I'll start to be the change I want to see, I guess."


BAN:  What can we expect to see/read from you during the next stage of your career? Any series or new characters?
Yamina:  The Last King is a two part book series. The first book came out in December in 2013, and subsequent chapters will be released each month until December of next year. Readers can either purchase each release on Amazon.  They can receive all eleven parts as they are released. After that, I begin work on Book II of The Last King. Yes, I do have other novels in the works - quite fun books they are - but I have to keep quiet on future projects. I am not giving my plots away.