Thursday, November 19, 2009

Intimate Conversation with author Nikkea Smithers

Nikkea Smithers is a spoken word artists and Essence Magazine Best Selling Author She has performed on stages in front of thousands. Her literary work often speaks to issues in the community that are often under-discussed. Her readers have fallen in love with her ‘tell it like it is’ approach to writing making her readers lifelong fans.

Intimate Conversation with Ella Curry, CEO of EDC Creations

Ella: Hello Nikkea! Introduce us to your book, On The Flip Side.
Nikkea: On The Flip Side deals with a situation that many men face but little light is shed on. We often hear the story about the single mother doing it for her kids on a daily basis. While I would never want to take anything away from them, what we don't often hear about is the single father who is standing up to his responsibilities and being burdened with social issues beyond his realm of control. What if the mother is not the one holding it down? What if the father has the kids but the mother has the greed? On The Flip Side deals with a different kind of baby momma drama and show that real men are fathers and not just baby daddies.

Ella: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?
Nikkea: Tavares was on the path to be a very successful young man. A one night stand turns his life up side down and he finds himself in a position where he has to be accountable. As he struggles to be a respectable father the mother of his children does everything in her power to break him down. The twist to this tale is he just isn't just a single father, he is also paying child support as if his kids don't live with him and in two different states.

Danica is a very interesting woman with a serious God complex. She truly believes that she is better than everyone around her. Not only does her complex cause her to throw stereotypes around like they are going out of style but it causes her to play the role of karma. The problem with playing karma is that it's bound to come back on you if you aren't living right.

My favorite is Tavares because he is the epitome of real man. He immediately steps up to the plate and makes things happen. As you read the book you genuinely feel for him. His kids come first, plain and simple. Who doesn't love a man like that?

Ella: Are your characters from the portrayal of real people? What inspired you to write this story?
Nikkea: The characters aren't based on real people but are influenced by conversations. I love talking to people and my husband and I often throw these parties where there are debates on different topics. Of course one of the most popular topics of debate is child support. The men thought they paid too much. The women thought it wasn't enough. One man talked about how he was paying support in both NY and VA. He talked about how neither state would take into consideration the order in the other state. This blew my mind!

My mother was even present and shared her views on the subject which opened my eyes even more. I see story lines in the strangest of things so I thought, what if was the other way around? What if the man had his kids and was still paying child support? So I wrote the poem On The Flip Side and was surprised at the response it got from men that were going through this very thing. Then a friend of mine and I were talking after she saw me perform the poem and was telling me about a friend of hers going through this only his child's mother left the kids at the hospital after birth! I immediately thought oh this needs to be a book! I then took the poem and turned it into this book.

Ella: What issues in society have you addressed in the book?
Nikkea: Child support is the obvious issue addressed in the book but there are several subliminal messages. I love dealing with subliminal messages and try my best to place a few in every novel I write. One issue is accountability. Society is really hard on women in regards to promiscuity but men don't always get the same scrutiny. I want to show young men that they have to be responsible for their actions as well. That one night of passion could mean kids with a woman you don't know or worse, a death sentance of H.I.V. Another issue that is addressed is karma. We really need to understand that what we throw out into the universe will come back to us pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Ella: What was your primary quest in publishing this book?
Nikkea: I love to break down barriers and talk about things that no one is talking about. At least not in this sense. I wanted the roles to be reversed and stretch my imagination. Especially with Danica's character, I had to dig deep for her because she is so far from me and what I would naturally do. I wanted this book to be true to the characters and show them for who they are regardless of the outcome. I love being able to uplift my brothers and say kudos to those doing the right things. Through Tavares I get to connect with readers and share with them the story of a good man.

Ella: Thousands of books are published each year. What sets your book apart from other books in your genre?
Nikkea: It's all about the message. My work is educational but entertaining. I want to enlighten people. I want them to finish one of my books thinking about the subject matter and want to take action. How can we change things if we don't start by talking about them? I actively strive to write away from whats popular and get to the bottom of social issues that need to be addressed.

Ella: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Nikkea: When I'm not writing I love to read! I'm the biggest book worm. My husband and I joke that our house looks like the Library of Congress. I don't discriminate. I have poetry from Langston Hughes to Nikki Giovanni. I have nonfiction from George Jackson to Steve Harvey. I have fiction from John Gresham to E. Lynn Harris. With me being a self published author I am also a huge supporter of self published authors because I understand their grind. I also enjoy culture. I love museums, art viewings, jazz clubs, and poetry readings. I love the movies too!

Ella: What does your family think of your writing?
Nikkea: My family is very supportive. My husband has a prized collection of all of my books in his 'man room' that he shows off to all his friends. He gets the first copy in every edition of all of my works. When he sees something has discouraged me he tells me to shake it off and keep doing what I do. My mother buys my books in bulk like she doesn't know me! They are my two biggest supporters. I appreciate being surrounded by positivity and they keep me inspired to keep on writing.

Ella: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Nikkea: Do your research, stay positive and value the message over all else.

Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. Nikkea: I was excited to find out that two of my books (Keith's Story and Attitudes of a Woman) were awarded with the Literary Hallmark & Legends Top Books 2009 award by Black Pearls Magazine. That honor was one of the highlights of my year!

Within the next year I have three more books that will be released. I also look forward to touring and performing. I want to dedicate my time in the new year connecting with my readers. Book clubs who select my book as their book of the month can reach out to me so that I can make plans to either be present or available for a teleconfrence.

Email: Website:

Purchase the book at: Amazon Online

Purchase the book at: Barnes & Noble Online

Thursday, November 5, 2009

10:45 AM - No comments

Interview: Color Me Jazzmyne by Marian L. Thomas

Author Interview: Color Me Jazzmyne by Marian L. Thomas

I would like to introduce you to a fantastic new book, Color Me Jazzmyne. Readers of Color Me Jazzmyne have been captivated by the depth of the emotional journey that the book takes them on. It digs deep into what it takes for women to embrace who they are no matter what size, color, educational background or social status. Sisters will learn to love themselves despite what society says or the voices that surround them!

Marian L. Thomas is native of Chicago but currently resides in Atlanta.She first awakened her desire to write while in her second year of high school. She majored in Journalism but received her Bachelor of Art degree in Business Communication, graduating Magna Cum Laude. 2009 the dream of becoming a published author was realized when she was able to debut her first title Color Me Jazzmyne. She is a wife and supporter of victims of abuse and was recently featured in the Atlanta Skirt! Magazine as one of Atlanta's 9to5 Women in the Media Industry.

Motivation Behind Color Me Jazzmyne
Color Me Jazzmyne addresses a major issue in our society today..."Rape is often the "hush" word in our lives. It's the thing that we prefer to put into the closet of other skeltons that we pray no one has the key to.

Child abuse often occurs at a young age and more than often it is done by someone that is very close---a family member or friend of the family. It's a difficult thing to get over, it's even more difficult to explain.

According to one statistic.... one out of every six women will be raped over their lifetime and 73% of all rape victims know their assailants. In fact, studies have shown that 60% of all sexual assaults are not reported. I hope that women who read this book and have gone through something similar will find the courage to reach out and talk to someone about it."

Color Me Jazzmyne Book Excerpt
Read Chapters 1-3 and give us your opinion.

Intimate Conversation with author Marian L. Thomas

What impact do you want your book, Color Me Jazzmyne, to make on readers?
Marian: "I hope that women who read this book and have lived the life of Naya Mona in some form or fashion will find the voice, strength and motivation to push past the pain and live."

Why do you write? Is is healing or to create awareness in our community?
Marian:  Both! For me, writing is more of a release from the reflection of the world around us. It is a way to express the obvious using tones that soothe,excite, uplift and allow the reader to step out of their comfort level. That is my goal when writing. That is what drives me to create characters such as Naya Mona.

Are your characters, in Color Me Jazzmyne, a portrayal of real people?
Marian: Reality is always a part of us and as such what we read must adhere to some form of it in order to make it so that one can relate to the story that is being told. Naya is clearly a reflection of the many women that I have met over the years and the struggles that they have gone through. I do not remove myself from that reflection. Misty represents all the so-called friends that revolve in and out of our lives and Chris is what I term the 'life-time' type of husband. He represents the compassion and love that we as women need, want and deserve.

Contact Marian Online
Author's Blog:

Pickup Your Copy Today!
ISBN-10: 0615270670; ISBN-13: 978-0615270678

Amazon .com
Kindle Download
Barnes &

Sunday, November 1, 2009

4:45 PM - No comments

Intimate Conversation with MahoganyBooks

MahoganyBooks was founded by Derrick A. Young, a graduate of Bowie State University and his wife, a graduate of Langston University . Born in Washington DC and raised in Prince Georges County , he acquired a love for music, art, reading, & writing. That love was reinforced during his time working at Karibu Books. Seeing first how words enriched the lives of people added to his appreciation for books. At Karibu, Derrick saw firsthand the impact a small business could have on a community and set his sights on making a similar contribution. In late 2006 he made up his mind to start a community oriented internet business that used literature to teach, inspire, & enrich the African American community on a national level.

Ella: Introduce us to your company MahoganyBooks.
Created by an enterprising husband and wife duo in the Washington DC area, MahoganyBooks is positioned to become the premier online destination for books written for, by, and about people of the African Diaspora. Coupling a dynamic social networking community, robust inventory selection, easy to use website, and provocative literary content–MahoganyBooks is the ideal online bookstore dedicated to “Books, Community, Words, & You.”MahoganyBooks is an online bookstore that specializes in books written for, by, or about people of African descent.

Our site went live December 2008 and recently underwent a re-design in June of 2009. MahoganyBooks also features a blog: The WritersBloc and a social networking site: The Lit Lounge. Both engage the African American reading & writing community in dialogue about literature, as well as, showcase the considerable talents of new and established writers. Whether featuring a short story from an up-and-coming fiction writer, having our “Poet in the City” review an Open Mic poetry event, or discussing the changes in the industry and how to best prepare for it…MahoganyBooks is a leader in and an advocate for African American Lit.

Our tagline is “Books, Community, Words, & You.” It’s a reference to the powerful relationship books and words have in developing the individual and the community with which they belong. (Pic: From the Black Coalition Mixer in DC)

Ella: How would you describe your experience as an Entrepreneur?
Becoming an entrepreneur has been one of my most sought after goals and reaching this point has been extremely fulfilling. Outside of my family, and God, there is nothing that means as much to me as the development of MahoganyBooks into an enterprise that serves, supports, & enriches the lives of African Americans. I feel so passionate about what we are trying to accomplish that the time I put in to our business never feels like work. In fact, it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment that outweigh all of the late nights, frustrations, or doubts I face as an entrepreneur. I enjoy seeing the growth and impact our company has on the industry and knowing it’s all a product of hard work, creativity, & dedication. It’s a clear reminder that anything is possible when you strive for it.

Ella:  What do you hope to offer your customers at MahoganyBooks?
Aside from a great shopping experience, we want to offer every customer “access” to the books that interest them. Karibu was the first bookstore I had seen that stocked a broad range of books covering the topics and authors that represented or reflected my heritage and culture. Prior to that I had seen at any given time maybe four bookcases at most in a bookstore that dealt with African American culture. Usually they were filled largely with fiction books and the rest were your typical black history month selection of titles. But never had I seen books about the Spanish Moors or an actual copy of Two Thousand Seasons, or the poetry of Leroi Jones aka Amiri Baraka. Neither ten plus ago with Walden and Crown Books or today with Borders and Barnes & Noble have I seen anything approaching that level of selection.

It was an eye opening experience for me then and it’s something that we feel every other person, regardless of where they live should have. That’s why we decided to open an online bookstore versus a traditional retail space. We wanted to give African Americans on a national scale, specialized attention and access to a large selection of books that reflected their various tastes and needs.

Ella: What’s new with MahoganyBooks? What should people keep an eye out for?
Just recently we established a Resident Poet or “Poet in the City” position at MahoganyBooks. The person in this post will review area Open Mic poetry events, provide interviews, chronicle their journey to become a published poet, as well as, solicit, select, and submit original poems to our blog. We are very excited to have made our first selection to this post. Evelyn N. Alfred, from Maryland is a talented writer that is also a student of her craft.

We wanted a person that had the talent to become a nationally recognized writer and the ability to communicate the process with great personality. Evelyn fits this role perfectly and I’m looking forward to the content she will add to our blog. But more importantly I think people will enjoy watching her emergence as a writer. Additionally, my wife has spearheaded the Black Book Coalition and has partnered with two other book industry organizations to help unify the literary community here in the Washington DC area. We strongly feel that combined efforts often more than outweigh single handed ones and are excited about being creators of such dialogue.

We are also working on a number of events that will bring authors to the DC area in different types of settings that will be engaging and enjoyable for the participants to interact with their favorite authors. We’ll be announcing one of those events very soon, so stay tuned. Piece-by-piece we are expanding the content on our blog, the activities in our social network, and adding a diversity of books to our online catalog. We are well on our way to becoming the destination website for readers & writers of African American literature.

Derrick A. Young, CEO MahoganyBooks 
Books, Community, Words & You


Intimate Conversation with Gil L. Robertson IV, Editor

Family Affair editor, Gil L. Robertson IV is one of America’s foremost authorities on African American pop culture. He is the editor of the NAACP Image Award nominated book, Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community. He’s also the author of Writing as a Tool of Empowerment, a resource book for media professionals, and a frequent contributor to The African American Almanac (Gale Press). Robertson also contributed to the anthology Souls of My Brothers (Plume).

Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am a Los Angeles native. I decided to pursue A&E journalism full-time, two-years after I completed college. I left a good-paying job working for a political think tank in Los Angeles but left to pursue journalism as a full-time career. I was very persistent and after a while carved out a niche for myself as the go-to guy in Los Angeles for a lot of east-coast based publications that were looking for content covering the film and television communities. From there, I was able to add legitimacy to my by-line by becoming the Urban Music Editor at Cash Box, and then became the Urban Music Editor at Music Connection which is a regional trade (and I operated in both of these roles simultaneously). I went from becoming this fledgling A&E writer, barely making enough to keep my bills paid, to being someone with influence at two important industry trades. I have to say, that really turned my life around because it provided me with a platform. Since, I’ve been able to nurture relationships that have been very beneficial to me ever since.

Ella: Tell us about the new book: Family Affair.
Family Affair: What it Means to be African American Today is a collection of first-person narratives from an wide cross-section of Black Americans. Edited by noted journalist Gil L. Robertson IV, the book is follow-up to his 2006 bestselling anthology, “Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community” and provides a revealing and introspective look at the contemporary issues that have shaped the African American community. Family Affair provides a unique platform for the African American community to explore and share it diverse perspective, while offering thoughtful solutions to overcome the many issues giving the Black community. It is a provocative tapestry of ideologies, beliefs, and generational themes that defines the Black community.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I hope that Family Affair helps readers to let go of the social and emotional baggage of the past, that so often affects the present and future. I believe the essays in this book will empower readers to find authenticity in their lives. For generations, African-Americans have been hampered with doubt that hinged on unresolved emotions associated with our individual and collective identity. Family Affair represents a 21st century idea that all can embrace. Here, we address questions that every American – Black, white, red, yellow and brown – have had to deal with at one time in their life’s journey. The problem has always been about identity and the value of that identity within our larger society. Family Affair breaks through issues to reveal the commonality that we all share. We are all God’s children, and despite our differences, it’s time that we accept that we are equal.

Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
First, and foremost, you must be dedicated to the crate. Contrary to popular belief, writing is hard work that takes a great deal of due-diligence and perseverance. It’s important to be discipline and very organize with your work. It’s also important to develop professional alliances to help grow your career. A career as a writer can be very rewarding, so keep at it and best of luck.

Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, I just signed with Just Us Books – the premiere publisher of Black-interest books for my children’s book debut, 21st Century African American Political Leaders. It’s slated for a February 2010 release, the book series will provide children ages 9 – 14, with inspirational biographical sketches on the lives of 24 contemporary African American political leaders. For more information, please visit

Gil L. Robertson IV, Editor of Family Affair: What it Means to be African American Today

Loving Yourself As A Black Woman by Tinisha Nicole Johnson

Seven Tips for Black Women to Live a Happier Life

 by Tinisha Nicole Johnson

In this day and age when the world is changing, technology is advancing, and years have passed by in a blink of an eye, Black women may wonder about the future and how it will directly impact them. Today’s Black women are beginning to realize that change in the world, and they want a positive piece of it. From the test of time, many women are learning what it takes to be successful and get ahead.Living in a world where you are constantly reminded that you are the minority of the minority, sooner or later you start to catch on and grab that piece of success. That success can involve anything from earning a living to raising a family. However, along the way you may begin to doubt yourself, you may even wonder about your self-worth, and at the end of the day, you want reassurance just to stay in the game.

Tip #1: When your mind is stuck in the past, you are in fact a prisoner of your past, resisting the key to free yourself into a new direction for your future. The past is gone. Sometimes you have to let it go. Black women love very hard. They feel as though they have to. It is their core source of strength. It is also a quality they fully accept from others. Whatever has happened in your life, you have to embrace the good and let go of the negativity, but always look ahead as optimistic as you can.

Tip #2: Whatever your constant focus is on, is what will move you closer to happiness or deeper into dissatisfaction. Focus on your strengths and refuse to accept being Black and a woman as a weakness. Train your mind to believe you are self-confident and capable, and soon your actions will follow pursuit.

Tip #3:  When you start to understand and believe the depth of your worth, then NO ONE can fool you into thinking what your worth is as a Black woman. The media has a funny way of interjecting what is beauty and what is not; what is popular and what is thrown out. Don’t believe the hype! There are some who seem to have it all on the outside, but are hurting badly inside. Realize that your inner happiness means more than any outer material possession or physical trait. Love you, and the world has no choice but to acknowledge it and accept it. Read the entire article.

Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman by Tinisha Nicole Johnson

Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman is an inspirational and uplifting book, emphasizing ten life lessons that addresses your most intimate, personal, and professional life. As a Black woman, have you ever dealt with insecurities and pressures from the world that made you feel unsure about yourself or life in general? Do you want answers and solutions to your most deepest, darkest feelings?

In Lessons Learned, the author passionately and straightforwardly expresses and lays out proven methods to sustain and live a fulfilling and passionate life as a Black women.

Pre-order your copy of the book, Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself As A Black Woman on the author’s website and receive FREE shipping and a FREE audio CD entitled, “7 Tips for Black Women to Live a Happier Life.”

Tinisha Nicole Johnson is an author, writer, and poet, and resides in Denver, Colorado with her family. Tinisha is a versatile author and has written various articles, books, and short-stories which have been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Besides writing, Tinisha also hosts political and sports teleconferences as a profession. Visit the author at her website:

Tinisha Nicole Johnson

Proud Member of ASA (Authors Supporting Authors)


Legend of Quito Road by Dwight Fryer

The Legend of Quito Road by Dwight Fryer

The Future seems to hold limited possibilities for Son Erby. The African-American child of a farm laborer in 1930’s Tennessee, his fate seems as certain as the sunset at day’s end. But when his father takes him to work at the Coleman farm and hands down the secret to making corn liquor, everything changes.

Moving from shadowed parlors of the wealthy Sawyer clan to the illegal activities in the woods along the Mississippi River, this perspective novel explores the roots of racism, and the dangerous power of secrets that will shatter every taboo in a sleepy town caught between the past and future. The Legend of Quito Road is a look at a bygone time, the sobering echoes of which can still be heard today.


In the scene below from The Legend of Quito Road, Papa Gill Erby, a religious man, teaches his only boy how to make illegal whiskey and keep secrets. Are there really many spiritual or physical differences in making crack cocaine or crystal meth today and white lightning yesterday?

“Now, Son, this is serious business, awful serious for a boy. Remember when we talked about the Ghost of Quito Road yesterday?”

“Yessuh, he was a runaway slave.”

“Son, I said that and plenty folks ‘round here know it. But they don’t talk it in public. I waited five years after we married befo’ I spoke with Sarah on this. Now, I’m telling you that the Ghost wasn’t just any man. He was my daddy, Gillam Hale.”

“Gillam Hale…” The boy paused while he processed it. “Papa, why’s your daddy’s name different than ours?”

“Well, I’ll tell you that long story after we get things set up. But, for now, I need to get a few things straight. Understand?”

“Yessuh, I do.”

“Son, remember, you promised. You know Sarah gone ask, but don’t you tell yo’ momma one thing. You hear me?”


“This week, we doing the same thing that made Gillam Hale a valuable slave to the white folks.” Papa Gill looked around as if someone else was there. One of the mules snorted. He whispered, “Me and you gone make whiskey this week on the Coleman place.”

“Whiskey?” the youth said, twisting his face.

“Yeah, that’s what we gonna do. We’ll fill every five-gallon jug in the back of this wagon with white-lightning whiskey.”

“Papa, we got twenty-five jugs! What’s Mr. Rafe and Mr. Conrad gone do with all that whiskey?”

“Sell it!” Papa Gill spat out. “They’ll probably get as much as six dollars a gallon off the whiskey we fixin’ to make.”

Papa Gill placed his left hand inside his overalls and a strained silence surrounded them from the naked roadside underbrush. Only the noises of the mule team’s hooves and the slicing sound from the steel-lined wagon wheels echoed along sandy Quito Road.

Son’s breath trails thickened in the winter air as he did the math in his head and pondered the economic possibilities.

On that farm, Mr. Conrad and Mr. Rafe Coleman raised cotton, sorghum and corn—corn so sweet that Son liked to eat it straight off the cob in the field during the summer months. You could use corn for feed or you could grind it into meal. But during this third week of December in 1932, thirteen-year-old Son Erby learned you could use corn for something else.

That week, Papa Gill taught his son to make white lightning like Gillam Hale had showed him. Making illegal corn liquor changed everything for that colored boy. Son was never the same. He learned a secret science and he learned it well.

Pick up a copy today at Amazon
ISBN-10: 1583147063 | ISBN-13: 978-1583147061

Meet author Dwight Fryer
Fryer shares from his twenty-five years of business experience in leadership, technology, finance, accounting, marketing and publishing. He has written two critically acclaimed novels. The Legend of Quito Road and The Knees of Gullah Island. Dwight speaks about life, healthcare, business, leadership, history, literature, community and storytelling. The University of Memphis teaches The Legend of Quito Road in its Masters of Fine Arts Program in the English Department.

Dwight Fryer has inspired audiences at universities, corporations, schools, faith communities and nonprofit organizations. His passion is to help people do all they can to succeed and use his experiences to inspire others.

Fryer was diagnosed with cancer two days after a 1998 layoff. In 2001, the disease meningococcal meningitis took his youngest daughter’s life. He works as an advocate for immunization against bacterial meningitis with the National Meningitis Association. He survived a wreck caused by a driver under the influence. Contact him today for details on how he can share at your next event via email at

Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
Genre: Legal Thriller; Mystery; Suspense

“Pamela Samuels Young takes her place among the top tier of legal thriller writers with her latest, Buying Time.” —Sheldon Siegel, Bestselling Author

Book Introduction
Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck lawyer. But just when he's about to hit rock bottom, he stumbles upon a business with the potential to solve all of his problems.

In Waverly's new line of work, he comes to the aid of people in desperate need of cash. But there's a catch. His clients must be terminally ill and willing to sign over rights to their life insurance policies before they can collect a dime. Waverly then finds investors eager to advance them thousands of dollars—including a hefty broker's fee for himself—in exchange for a significant return on their investment once the clients take their last breath.

The stakes get higher when Waverly brokers the policy of the cancer-stricken wife of Lawrence Erickson, a high-powered lawyer who's bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General. When Waverly's clients start dying sooner than they should, both Waverly and Erickson—who has some skeletons of his own to hide—are unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder.


Prologue of Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

Veronika Myers tried to convince them, but no one would listen. Her suspicions, they said, were simply a byproduct of her grief.

Each time she broached the subject with her brother, Jason, he walked out of the room. Darlene, her best friend, suggested a girls’ night out with some heavy drinking. Aunt Flo urged her to spend more time in prayer.

Veronika knew she was wasting her time with this woman, too, but couldn’t help herself.

“My mother was murdered,” Veronika told the funeral home attendant. “But nobody believes it.”

The plump redhead with too much eye shadow glanced down at the papers on her desk, then looked up. “It says here that your mother died in the hospital. From brain cancer.”

“That’s not true,” Veronika snapped, her response a little too sharp and a tad too loud.

Yes, her mother had brain cancer, but she wasn’t on her deathbed. Not yet. They had just spent a long afternoon together, laughing and talking and watching All My Children. Veronika could not, and would not accept that the most important person in her life had suddenly died. She knew what everyone else refused to believe. Her mother had been murdered.

“Did they conduct an autopsy?” the woman asked.

Veronika sighed and looked away. There had been no autopsy because everyone dismissed her as a grief-stricken lunatic. When she reported the murder to the police, a disinterested cop dutifully took her statement, but she could tell that nothing would come of it. Without any solid evidence, she was wasting everyone’s time, including her own.

“No,” Veronika said. “There wasn’t an autopsy.”

The funeral home attendant smiled sympathetically.

Veronika let out a long, exasperated breath, overwhelmed by the futility of what she was trying to prove. “Never mind,” she said. “What else do you need me to sign?”

Later that night, Veronika lay in bed, drained from another marathon crying session. She rummaged through the nightstand, retrieved a bottle of sleeping pills and popped two into her mouth. She tried to swallow them dry, but her throat was too sore from all the crying.

Tears pooled in her eyes as she headed to the kitchen for a glass of water. “Don’t worry, Mama,” Veronika sniffed. “I won’t let them get away with it.”

Just as she reached the end of the hallway, a heavy gloved hand clamped down hard across her mouth as her arms were pinned behind her back. Panic instantly hurled her into action. Veronika tried to scream, but the big hand reduced her shriek to a mere muffle. She frantically kicked and wrestled and twisted her body, but her attacker’s grip would not yield.

When she felt her body being lifted off the ground and carried back down the hallway, she realized there were two of them and her terror level intensified. But so did her survival instinct. She continued to wildly swing her legs backward and forward, up and down, right and left, eventually striking what felt like a leg, then a stomach.

As they crossed the threshold of her bedroom, she heard a loud, painful moan that told her she had likely connected with the groin of one of her assailants.

“Cut it out!” said a husky, male voice. “Grab her legs!” he ordered his partner. “Hurry up!”

The men dumped her face down onto the bed, her arms still restrained behind her back. The big hand slipped from her mouth and Veronika’s first cry escaped, but was quickly muted when a much heavier hand gripped the back of her neck and pressed her face into the comforter.

Fearing her attackers were going to rape, then kill her, Veronika defiantly arched her back and tried to roll her body into a tight ball. At only 130 pounds, she was no physical match for her assailants. They easily overpowered her, forcing her back into a prone position. As one man sat on her upper legs, strapping her left arm to her side, the other man bent her right arm at the elbow and guided her hand up toward her forehead.

During the deepest period of her grief, Veronika had longed to join her mother. But now that she was face-to-face with the possibility of death, she fought valiantly for life.

That changed, however, the second Veronika felt something cold and hard connect with her right temple. She stiffened as one of the men grabbed her fingers and wrapped them around the butt of a gun. At that precise instant, Veronika knew with certainty that her suspicions were indeed fact. Her mother had been murdered and now the same killers had come to silence her before she could expose the truth. And just like her mother’s death, her own murder would go undetected, dismissed as the suicide of a grieving daughter. A conclusion no one would question.

As the man placed his hand on top of hers and prepared to pull the trigger, a miraculous, power-infused sensation snuffed out what was left of Veronika’s fear, causing her body to go limp. The heavy pounding of her heart slowed and she felt light enough to float away.

Completely relaxed now, Veronika closed her eyes, said a short prayer, and waited for a glorious reunion with her mother.


Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
ISBN-10: 098156271X | ISBN-13: 978-0981562711

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