Attention All Aspiring Authors

As some of you know, or maybe some of you don’t, I am a self-published author. My genre of choice is contemporary African-American fiction and poetry. I have published six books to date, and I’m in the process of publishing more. I am totally blind and have been writing since the age of eleven. Last year I took a leap of faith to get my work published and submitted some of my work to appear in an anthology. My work was chosen to appear in the book, and so my publishing career began. There were no proceeds from this anthology. It was just a promotional tactic to help aspiring authors get their foot in the door in the literary world. That was the first step I took to make my dream of becoming a published author come true. Since then, I have published my own books via Amazon’s Kindle, Ibooks, and Barnes & Noble and other eBook retailers.

Since I have gotten my foot in the door and have generated a fan base of loyal readers, I am extending the same opportunity to my fellow blind and visually impaired aspiring authors. I am putting together an anthology of short stories entitled United in fiction. This book will feature 12 authors, one story per author. Any genre is permitted except for children’s stories and erotica. The book will consist of many different genres and styles of writing, so I wanted to pick a general title. The stories have to be fiction, hence the title. Each story must be no more than 10,000 words and no less than 8,000 words. There will be no proceeds from this publication. This is just to help people who aspire to be authors get there foot in the door. I will take on the expense of editing, formatting, graphic design and publishing the book. It will be available in eBook format and paperback. People will be able to download the book free of charge from Kindle, Ibooks, Barnes & Noble, and other EBook retailers, but there will be a price to purchase the paperback version to help with cost of production.

This book will be published under my very own publication company, Diamond in the Rough Publications. I recently established my publishing company so that I can give other visually impaired and blind aspiring authors a voice in the literary world. For right now, I will be my only client until I build up enough revenue to take on other clients, but I will be producing anthologies so that you can have the opportunity to get your work published. Once I have generated enough revenue to take on clients, I will post a calls for submissions post, seeking books for publication. This has always been a dream of mine, and I am happy that I can have a hand in making someone else’s dream of becoming an author come true as well. There will be a contract for you to review and electronically sign, agreeing to the terms of the publication of your story in the anthology. It will all be simple enough for you to understand the terms of the agreement.

The deadline to submit stories to be published in, United in Fiction is May 31, 2018. I am looking to publish the book in late June, or early July of 2018. Not all stories submitted will appear in the book. They will be sent through a screening process by my co-editor who is helping me on this project. If your story is selected to appear in the book, you will be notified via the email you provide during the submission period. If your story is selected, you will need to provide a 100 to 150 word bio written in 3rd person along with the genre of your story. You will also need to include your social media links so that readers can follow, or befriend you if they choose. Providing social media links is strictly optional. Once the book is published, you will be provided with links that you can share with friends and family members. You will also be provided two physical copies at the expense of me, the publisher for your own possession. This is something that I thought would help those who do some day want to be authors. This is how I got my start, so I am providing the same opportunity for anyone who is interested.

You can send your submissions to Diamond in the Rough Publications. I will let you know when I have received your submission, and I will also notify you if any changes need to be made before the final manuscript is ready for publication.

Even though I was the only visually impaired person featured in the anthologies that I appeared in, my goal for this anthology is to feature only blind and visually impaired aspiring authors. It’s a way to showcase your talent for writing, and for you to have pride knowing that you have contributed to the publication of a book that the world will read. I look forward to hearing from anyone who is interested in being a part of United in Fiction.

**Note**

If you are already a published author, and you have your own Amazon author page, or Smashwords author page, please be sure to include your author name in your submission so that I can link you as a contributing author to this book. If you have not published anything yet, then this does not pertain to you. Also, the physical books will only be shipped in the US.

Author Q and A: SLF Entertainment

Charming without chance book cover
bad politics book cover

“Never settle even when you’re settling. Elevate!” – SLF Entertainment

Blaque: I’m back with another author spotlight interview. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with SLF Entertainment. Thank you for stopping by.

SLF: Thank you for having me.

Blaque: So, let’s dive in and explore your life and what led you to become an author.

SLF: Let’s do it!

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

SLF: I have come across so many barriers. Some are big, and some are small, but they have all made me a better person. I get inspired by the things I go through and the things people I know, seen, or heard go through, and it’s all a part of life’s challenges.

Blaque: I love writing in my home office. It’s my place of peace. Where is your favorite place to write?

SLF: My bed is where I enjoy writing. I do just about all my writing in bed with the pillows propped up behind me against the headboard.

Blaque: What is your favorite season of the year, and why?

SLF: It would have to be spring, because I was born in April.

Blaque: Where are you from?

SLF: I am from Dallas, Texas.

Blaque: What show(s) did you enjoy watching as a child?

SLF: Martin, Arthur, Goosebumps, and Star Trek are among some of the shows I watched as a child. “One Saturday Morning” had all the Cartoon Network shows that I loved to watch. I also enjoyed watching Moesha, The Parkers, Living Single, etc. I was watching some of everything.

Blaque: The Parkers was, and is still one of my favorite shows to watch. I have the entire show on DVD for my watching pleasure. LOL. What is your biggest pet peeve?

SLF: I have a hard time leaving things alone; especially when it doesn’t look “perfect.” I am a reformed perfectionist. I say this, because not pushing a chair under a table, wet counters near the sink, no punctuation in sentences, misspelled words, uneven lines, and procrastination bother me, but not so much to the point that I could scream. It just feels out of place. When it comes to my own work, I had to learn that nobody’s perfect. I just do the best that I can, find a stopping point and move on.

Blaque: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

SLF: We depend on fear way too much. Fear is like an annoying person that tries to denounce who you are, or what you have done. If we just stopped speaking out of fear, stop letting fear control us, and stop giving fear so much power, we could live our lives freely.

Blaque: Name three people who inspire you, and explain why.

SLF: My mother is one of the people who inspires me, because she is such an amazing, strong, and loving person. No matter what, she keeps her head up, and aims to do better each day. My family also inspires me because of their support and encouragement for me to succeed. Lastly, people that go after their dreams when facing adversity, because they know it’s possible to be and do whatever they want.

Blaque: We all have that food that we just have to have, what is your favorite food?

SLF: I love my greens: SPINACH, okra, sweet peas, salad, green beans, and sometimes kale. If it weren’t for Popeye, I don’t think I would love spinach as much as I do. LOL.

Blaque: I love all of the above greens except okra. Ewww! LOL. I can definitely do without that. What is your favorite holiday, and why?

SLF: I live for the end of every year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Halloween, too, because I can watch scary movies back-to-back.

Blaque: How many books have you published to date? (Compilations and anthologies included.)

SLF: I have published three books: Charming Without Chance (2015), Charming Without Chance 2: Crimson Love (2016), and Bad Politics (2017).

Blaque: Where do you see yourself in five years?

SLF: In five years, I see myself enjoying my relationship with God, my family, my friends and all the good, positive things that I have experienced in life. I see myself getting to vacation whenever I want to. I also see myself working for myself with a great team of people, helping children and adults through my non-profit in my old neighborhood and spreading the love and message that God gave me to share.

Blaque: Sometimes the mind just draws a blank and ideas seem so far out of reach, how do you deal with writer’s block?

SLF: I don’t force the writing. I have to do something else like paint, read, or do a project. I leave the writing alone for a few days and then come back to it. Lately, I find what helps is to already have a plot going, and sometimes how I want the story to end.

Blaque: What can bring tears to your eyes?

SLF: A really sad movie can bring tears to my eyes. Whenever I can feel the tears coming, I look away and start shaking my head, and I say, “Awwww naw, they done got me for my tears.” LOL.

Blaque: If you had $1,000,000 to donate to a worthy cause, which would it be, and why?

SLF: Honestly, I would start my own non-profit in my old neighborhood. It would be two centers. One would be an afterschool facility for kids to be creative and educated. The second would be a place for adults to get their High school Diploma/GED, assist with finding employment and a home. It will also teach about the dollar bill and how to invest, save, and spend it.

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

SLF: I was very quiet around others. A little shy, but mostly because I wasn’t quick to get comfortable around people outside of my family. At home, I was funny, playful, creative, and a big sister – most people thought I was an only child.

Blaque: Out of the books you have published, which is your favorite, and why?

SLF: My favorite would have to be my latest book, “Bad Politics” because I was able to learn from my first two books and apply that knowledge to it. And mostly, because I have wanted to write this story for years. A group of women working together to make their dreams a reality in the music industry – I felt it was a much needed story.

Blaque: Where do you get most of your story ideas?

SLF: Experiences I have gone through, or that others I do/don’t know have gone through inspire my stories. Little things like a quote, a song, or a random thought can give me a story idea.

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

SLF: I love 90’s R&B all day, every day. I also enjoy smooth jazz.

Blaque: I am a huge 90’s R & B fan as well. What advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?

SLF: Stop saying “but” – “I want to write a book, but…” You can write a book or write anything you want. You can also self-publish like I have. You just have to research and commit to trial and error. You won’t know what can happen until you try it.

Blaque: That is great advice. I try to tell people that all the time. It’s not as hard as they think it is. As long as writing is your passion, you will know when you should begin, or how you should begin. Do you have any other talents besides writing?

SLF: Yes. I am a creative artist. I write songs, poetry, and short stories. I have my own painting business – Fascinating Paintings. I host my own podcast show – Characters Here, and I love Do-It-Yourself projects.

Blaque: How does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

SLF: I feel all bubbly inside. It’s like getting an award for sharing my passion. It’s like a stamp of approval. I love feedback.

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

SLF: I want to write full-time. Like, writing will be my day job. I want to be on a panel with other authors, and I want to sell 100 books a day.

Blaque: What has been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to jump over while embarking on your writing journey?

SLF: Self-doubt and fear have been my hardest hurdles. I have second-guessed myself and talked myself out of opportunities instead of putting my trust in God and allowing him to take over. By myself I knew I couldn’t do much, but with God, I can do all things.

Blaque: What inspired your latest book?

SLF: Not seeing enough representation of women standing together, working together, and uplifting one another inspired my latest book.
Blaque: Thank you so much for sharing things about yourself that I’m sure your readers didn’t know.

SLF: No problem. I want my readers to get to know the person behind the words.

Blaque: So, do you have a website where readers can check out your work and more about you?

SLF: yes, readers can visit my website here.

Blaque: And are you active on social media?

SLF: Yes, if any readers are interested in keeping up with me and my latest releases, they can follow me on Instagram and on my Facebook fan page here.

Blaque: Well, this concludes another interesting and informative author spotlight interview. Until next time. Happy writing!

** Note **

If you are an indie author, and you would like to spotlight on my blog, visit Author Spotlight and follow the instructions to submit your interview. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Someone Like Me

 

the sign representing the disabled

 

This poem is dedicated to anyone who may have a disability of any sort. Whether you are blind, deaf, wheelchair bound, have cerebral palsy, are autistic, an amputee, mentally disabled, etc, this poem is for you. We all deserved to be loved for who we are on the inside, not what people see on the outside. Love comes from the heart, not the eyes.

 

This poem was written specifically from my heart, but it represents all disabled people, and how we feel about how we are treated because of our disability. Men and women alike can relate to this poem. If you have ever been rejected in love because of your disability, this is for you. Know that you are worthy of love, and the right person will come along and see that.

 

You say I’m beautiful and sexy

But you could never be with someone like me

The fact that I can’t physically see

Makes me unworthy

Of being your girl

Or a part of your world

You like that I am intelligent

But the fact that I am blind makes it irrelevant

My personality turns you on

But for your image I am so wrong

You have a misconception

That my disability is an imperfection

My inability to see makes me less than

A real woman for a so-called real man

I am good enough for you to fuck

But at the thought of being with me you buck

What would your friends and family say?

If I had the fortune to meet them one day

Or would I just be your little secret

Your girl when convenient

If you really got to know me

Then you would clearly see

That just because I am different

Doesn’t mean you have to be ignorant

There is a whole lot more to me

Like love, compassion, and loyalty

Having a disability has its challenges

But doesn’t everyone have their own imbalances?

I am just as good as anyone else

I do my own thing, I take care of myself

But to you I am only just half a woman

So to love me is something you couldn’t

I’m independent

Not easily offended

By your lack of interest

Or hesitance for a commitment

But at the end of the day

No matter what you think or say

I know what I am worth

A blessing on this earth

A real man will see me

And know that I am worthy

Of being his girl

A part of his world

It will be your lost

Too late to defrost

Your cold closed heart

Since you didn’t want to take part

To see what could happen

For this you were slacking

So closed minded

By shallowness you were blinded

Oh I’m not angry you see

Because you missed an opportunity

To have someone like me in your life

As your girlfriend or even a wife

You left room for the next man

To get in where he can

Because he has no shame to be

With someone like me

 

 

 

Author Q and A: Dr. Theresa Snell

 

“Choose  Your Mood” – Dr. Theresa Snell

 

Blaque: On today’s author spotlight, I have the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Theresa Snell. Welcome.

 

Dr. Snell: Thank you so much for having me Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: It’s always great to have another author to spotlight on my blog. There are so many authors out there just waiting to be discovered. It looks like you write children’s books. Is that correct?

 

Dr. Snell: Yes, that is correct.

 

Blaque: Well, you are the first children’s author I’ve ever featured so far.

 

Dr. Snell: Wow! I feel honored.

 

Blaque: I also write children’s stories, but I don’t consider myself a children’s author. I just like to make sure that children are included in the wonderful world of books.

 

Dr. Snell: Yes, reading is important for any age. The younger the better.

 

Blaque: I agree. Let’s jump right into it. What inspires you to write?

 

Dr. Snell: I began writing in response to my eldest child’s need for “one more story” before nap time. I noticed that my stories became his most frequent requests, and he was quite adamant that I not change the details. Writing them became a defense mechanism. After finishing my doctoral research on stress and coping skills, I felt compelled to offer a small trick or technique for kids dealing with frustration, worry, and low self-esteem.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite season of the year, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: Despite this year’s massive ragweed invasion, Fall remains my favorite. Though we are turning toward the darkest time of the year, humans choose to fill that time celebrating the past, expressing gratitude for the present, and hoping for the future. There is a magic to the ending of a year and brilliant colors against an otherwise barren landscape.

 

Blaque: We all have things that rub us the wrong way, so what is your biggest pet peeve?

 

Dr. Snell: Tardiness. I consider promptness to be a sign of respect and worry when those I care for are late. It is incredibly frustrating to me to make a commitment, to honor it, and then not to have that courtesy reciprocated. As a mother of champion dawdlers, I understand delays, but a text takes only a moment and saves me from looking up at every sound for the person I am counting on.

 

Blaque: Hmm . . . That is one of my biggest pet peeves as well. What is your favorite holiday, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: I love Halloween. In my home we explore the history and traditions behind every holiday we celebrate. There is so much hope in Halloween, that the light will chase away the dark. There is a history to the holiday that stretches back the the Celts, which still influences us today. The frivolity of costume shopping and trick or treating is fun and something . . . other than the daily routine. It doesn’t hurt that it is also one holiday without cooking requirements.

 

Blaque: Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

Dr. Snell: A writer writes. I hope in five years, I still call myself a writer, a storyteller, a teacher, a less terrible piano player, and a collector of hobbies. There is always a new adventure- even in the mundane.

 

Blaque: Who has been your biggest supporter on your writing journey?

 

Dr. Snell: I am imagining my mother and husband battling it out for the title of “biggest supporter” even now with my friends encircling them. I am so blessed in my friendships and family. Once I learned to ask for help, a floodgate opened to me.

 

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

 

Dr. Snell: I was a girl of moods. I was an introvert, lost to the written word and a bubbly cheerleader for ten years. My family had an informal list of movies they recommended I avoid to save themselves from the wracking sobs. They probably experienced whiplash when my excitement overflowed and I began speaking too fast to follow. I loved every holiday except Easter, and I only hated that because I am truly dreadful at finding hidden things. I was drawn to theatre-to its drama and its discipline and considered studying it in college before the lure of anthropology, sociology, and psychology drew me in a different direction. I always needed to understand the why behind every action.

 

Blaque: Do you prefer writing your first drafts on paper, or on the computer? Why?

 

Dr. Snell: My notes are always handwritten in a notebook. From there I begin scratching out a rough draft. The rough draft is most often translated to computer until I am frustrated by not being able to hold the pages. I print the pages and, sometimes, my first draft.

 

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

 

Dr. Snell: I am an Aquarius. And boy, am I.

 

Blaque: I love to hear people’s answers to this question. If you were trapped on a desert island and could bring only one person, who would it be, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: I would bring my husband on any misadventure. I am the idea lady and he is the get-it-done man. My practical skills are seriously lacking. I can learn anything, but why not bring someone who already knows what to do?

 

Blaque: LOL. I see your point. If you were offered an all-expense paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: How long do I get to stay?! For a quick trip, I would love to visit Alaska. It is something so foreign from my norm. For an expedition, I would want to trek again through Europe. I would love to have more time in Budapest, or the area surrounding Prague.

 

Blaque: Do you have any other talents besides writing?

 

Dr. Snell: I draw a little, sing a little, and play a little piano.

 

Blaque: Is there anything you do a lot of? LOL.

 

Dr. Snell: I crochet a great deal. I am a collector of hobbies. Last year I had a wood burning kit and a driving, yet unrealized desire to learn to sew. This month I signed up for piano lessons.

 

Blaque: I see. LOL. I have always wanted to learn to crochet. I used to weave when I was younger, but I have never got the hang of crocheting. As authors, we all have made mistakes that we are not so proud of, what is the worst writing mistake you’ve ever made?

 

Dr. Snell: The worst writing mistake I have ever made is to stop writing.

 

Blaque: Wow! That’s a new one. No one has ever said that in response to that question. It’s usually marketing or editing related.

 

Dr. Snell: I’m sure, but that was definitely my biggest mistake.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

 

Dr. Snell: I lose cool points all the time for questions about music. I jam out to country and like to listen to the stories of blue grass. I dance to  anything. Kidz bop plays out of my speakers a little too often for my sanity, but I did have my six year old rocking out to Les Miserables this week, so, score!

 

Blaque: LOL. You still have your cool points with me. My music taste is all over the place. I just like music in general. My IPod is full of everything from Frank Sinatra to Chris Brown. I listen to it all. Music is therapy. If your best friend could describe you in one word, what would it be?

 

Dr. Snell: I hope my friend would describe me as accepting. I value my friends’ differences and enjoy discussing their passions. I suspect, however, that my sarcastic best friend would describe me as organized since my schedules are a source of much teasing.

 

Blaque: When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

Dr. Snell: Enjoy is a weak word for my need to read. I enjoy field trips with my kiddos and other homeschooling families, traveling, movies with magic and wonder, crocheting, dancing, comedy clubs, and local events in my community.

 

Blaque: It is always an amazing feeling to learn that someone has purchased a book you have written, but how does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

 

Dr. Snell: A compliment, genuinely given, makes me blush still. I feel thrilled when I hear my stories helped get an idea across.

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

Dr. Snell: My goal as an author is to continue to write. I would like to write words worthy of reading and find an audience who wants to share it with me.

 

Blaque: If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell him or her?

 

Dr. Snell: I want to tell my younger self not to worry and not to doubt. I look back and see a girl searching rather than seeing; running rather than being. I am enough as I am, and knowing that has been a gift of adulthood.

 

Blaque: What has been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to jump over while embarking on your writing journey?

 

Dr. Snell: As a writer, a huge hurdle has been that I tend to become lost in the big ideas and forget the details, or so lost in the details that I delay the writing.

 

Blaque: That was such an informative interview. I enjoyed getting to know you, and I’m sure your readers will enjoy it as well.

 

Dr. Snell: I Thank you so much for having me. I hope they enjoyed getting to know a bit more about me as well.

 

Blaque: It’s always nice to get to know the person behind the books. Even though we are authors, we are still people all the same.

 

Dr. Snell: That’s true.

 

Blaque: So, before we wrap up this session, leave the readers with your contact information so that they can reach out to you.

 

Dr. Snell: Sure. Readers can visit my website here.

Both of my books are available on Amazon, so purchase your copy. Be sure to leave a review! It is greatly appreciated.

 

I can be found on Twitter and Facebook if you would like to keep in contact.

 

Blaque: Well, I think that just about does it for me today. Until next time. Happy writing!

 

*Note*

 

If you are an author, and you would like to be featured on my blog, visit Author Spotlight, and follow the directions to submit your interview.

Breathe Deep Dear Dragon Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

Look Deep Dear Dragon Book Cover

 

Writing Tip for Beginner Authors 1

Picture of a silouette of a person writing

 

Well, we all have to start at the beginning. No matter how talented we think we are, there is always room for improvement. It can be the smallest thing that could turn a reader off from reading your book. A misplaced comma, the use of nouns too many times, or the hum-drum of reading, he said and she said after every time a character speaks. That would drive me insane, so I know it will drive your readers insane if they see these simple, but reoccurring errors in your writing. No one is perfect, even though we would like to believe we are, so mistakes are going to happen, but if you follow this simple tip, you could possibly gain yourself a new reader. Now, I’m not proclaiming to be an expert on writing, not by a long shot, but this is an error that I have made in my own writing. I’m sharing with you tips that I have learned on my own journey to writing. I don’t want anyone to make the same mistakes I have, so I’m sharing things with you that can help improve your writing. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m flawed. LOL.

 

Pronouns

 

Become friendly with your pronouns. All too often, we continuously use nouns instead of inserting a pronoun. Using a pronoun will not take away from your writing one bit. If anything, it will help smooth it out. This was something I had to mentally repeat to myself constantly every time I got ready to write something new. When I would go back to read my own work, I would shake my head and ask myself, why did you have to repeat your character’s name so many times? I even decided to test myself and see exactly how many times I had written a particular character’s name. To my horror, I had written it two-hundred times. Wow! But that wasn’t the shocker, I had written this particular character’s name two-hundred times, but there was no telling how many times I had written any of the other character’s names. The kicker was, I was in the process of writing a short story.

 

Using a pronoun instead of the noun can help to enhance your writing. What seems like such a simple mistake could potentially lose a reader, if it is not addressed properly. For instance, read the following examples below, and tell me what’s wrong with them.

 

Example 1: Joseph loved to cruise around town in his new car. Joseph was so proud of his new set of wheels. Joseph worked tirelessly to pay for his new means of transportation. Knowing that he had worked so hard to purchase his own car, brought a satisfied grin to Joseph’s face. Joseph knew that hard work and determination would get him what he wanted, and it did.

 

So, according to this example, what is wrong? Does this sentence flow freely? Does it make use of pronouns? No. Count how many times “Joseph” was used in the paragraph. This paragraph is only five sentences long, but “Joseph” has been used five times. “Joseph” has been used at least once in each sentence. What do you think about that? Does that seem right to you? It doesn’t to me. What can be done to help this paragraph flow more smoothly? Replacing the proper nouns with pronouns. Now, read the same paragraph again in this corrected example. Notice how it is much easier to read and follow the paragraph.

 

Corrected example 1: Joseph loved to cruise around town in his new car. He was so proud of his new set of wheels. He worked tirelessly to pay for his new means of transportation. Knowing that he had worked so hard to purchase his own car, brought a satisfied grin to his face. Joseph knew that hard work and determination would get him what he wanted, and it did.

 

Here is another example of not making use of pronouns.

 

Example 2: The dog sniffed at the discarded can. The dog circled around the can before nudging it with his nose. As the dog pushed the can, it began to roll away from the dog. The dog moved closer to the can. Every time the dog pushed the can, the dog moved closer to it. Finally, after a long while of pushing the can around, the dog abandoned the can and turned his interest to a plastic bag fluttering about on the ground.

 

What’s wrong with this paragraph? Has “the dog” been used too many times? How could this sentence be corrected to make it more readable? Read this corrected version.

 

Corrected example 2: The dog sniffed at the discarded can. He circled around the can before nudging it with his nose. As he pushed the can, it began to roll away from him. The dog moved closer to the can. Every time he pushed the can, he moved closer to it. Finally, after a long while of pushing the can around, the dog abandoned the can and turned his interest to a plastic bag fluttering about on the ground.

 

Read this next example. What can be changed to make this paragraph better?

 

Example 3: Mrs. Brown stood at the chalkboard writing the day’s vocabulary words on it. Mrs. Brown always wrote the words down in advanced before her class arrived. Mrs. Brown was a fifth-grade teacher, and Mrs. Brown loved her job. Mrs. Brown continued writing on the board until Mrs. Brown heard her classroom door squeak open. Mrs. Brown turned from the chalkboard with a smile on her face and greeted her first student.

 

Does that look correct to you? I think not. We already know the paragraph is about Mrs. Brown, so why do we need to constantly repeat her name over and over again. It is unnecessary repetition. Replace some of the Mrs. Brown’s with ”she.”

 

Corrected example 3: Mrs. Brown stood at the chalkboard writing the day’s vocabulary words on it. She always wrote the words down in advanced before her class arrived. Mrs. Brown was a fifth-grade teacher, and she loved her job. She continued writing on the board until she heard her classroom door squeak open. She turned from the chalkboard with a smile on her face and greeted her first student.

 

Don’t those example paragraphs look and read much better? Yes, they do. So, next time you are in the process of writing something, be sure to check that you are taking advantage of your pronouns. Do a quick search of your document to see exactly how many times you have used a particular noun. Can any of those nouns be replaced with pronouns? If so, do so. You want to improve the readability of your work as much as possible. Use pronouns, pronouns, and more pronouns. Don’t worry, they won’t get mad, if anything, they’ll thank you. LOL.

 

If you’re not sure of what a pronoun is, check out these examples:

 

She, he, they, it, we, I, me, us, you, her, him, them, that, anybody, anyone, anything, each, everyone, everything, everybody, nobody, no one etc.

 

These are just a few examples. There are lots more for you to discover. For more in-depth descriptions on pronouns and their uses, a simple Google search will help you to find the pronoun that best suits your needs. Until next time. Happy writing!

 

Author Q and A: Carol A. Gibbs

 

Blaque: Good morning everyone. Let’s see who I get to speak with today on another edition of author spotlight.

 

Carol: Hello Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: Oh, hello Carol. Nice of you to join me today. I love doing author spotlights. It gives me the opportunity to check out other author’s works.

 

Carol: I am very thankful for this opportunity to spotlight with you today.

 

Blaque: Thank you for joining me. We as independent authors sometimes need a little help in drawing in new readers, and this is my way of doing so. Hopefully, this interview will help your readers get to know you better and urge them to take interest in your work.

 

Carol: That’s my hope as well.

 

Blaque: Well, why don’t we get started? First, where are you from?

 

Carol: I am from Fort Lee, Virginia.

 

Blaque: How would you describe your personality?

 

Carol: I have a very bubbly personality. I’m also optimistic about life. I try to find the good in everything.

 

Blaque: Don’t we all? At least I try to see the good in everything. Always looking at things with a negative outlook only produces negative results. Everything isn’t going to be perfect, but at least think they will be.

 

Carol: Exactly!

 

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

 

Carol: My favorite place to write is on a pier by the river.

 

Blaque: I can see why. That is such a peaceful scene. It can definitely help stimulate ideas for new stories. So, how many books have you published to date?

 

Carol: I have one book published so far. The sequel will be out in February.

 

Blaque: Who has been your biggest supporter of your writing career?

 

Carol:  My family has definitely been the biggest supporters of my writing career.

 

Blaque: Who is your favorite author, and why?

 

Carol: My favorite author is Mary Monroe. Her books bring her characters to life.

 

Blaque: Wow! She is also one of my favorite authors as well. I think I have read every book she has ever written. LOL. Well, since we already know who your favorite author is, what is your all-time favorite book?

 

Carol: Well, God Don’t Like Ugly by Mary Monroe, of course. LOL.

 

Blaque: Why am I not surprised? LOL. I have read that entire series at least five times. Rhoda is my favorite character.

 

Carol: Yeah, that was my favorite book of them all.

 

Blaque: Do you write full-time, or is writing like a second job?

 

Carol: I have a full-time job in customer service. Writing is my second job for right now.

 

Blaque: How do you deal with writer’s block?

 

Carol: I deal with writer’s block by listening to music.

 

Blaque: Some of us also have other talents besides writing, do you have any other talents besides writing?

 

Carol: My other talents besides writing are singing and photography.

 

Blaque: I’m so jealous. I wish I could sing. People always ask me if I can sing, and I have to sadly admit I can’t. Because of my soft-spoken voice, people always assume that I can sing, but I wouldn’t tell that lie to anyone. LOL.

 

Carol: LOL.

 

Blaque: What is the worst writing mistake you’ve ever made?

 

Carol: My worst writing mistake was not describing the characters more in detail.

 

Blaque: When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

Carol: When I’m not writing, I love singing, photography, and volunteering at shelters.

 

Blaque: What is your biggest pet peeve?

 

Carol: My biggest pet peeve is negativity and gossip.

 

Blaque: You and me both. They aren’t my biggest pet peeves, but they are also on my list of things I can’t stand. If there was one thing in the world you could change, what would it be?

 

Carol: The one thing I would change is the lack of shelters for the homeless.

 

Blaque: That is so unfortunate. Coming from someone who has been homeless myself, I did have the privilege to stay in a shelter while I searched for housing. Some people aren’t as fortunate as I have been.

 

Carol: That is right. It is a sad situation.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

 

Carol: My favorite color is black.

 

Blaque: Are there any other published authors in your family? (Self-published or traditional)

 

Carol: No, so far I’m the only one.

 

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

 

Carol: My zodiac sign is Sagittarius.

 

Blaque: What is your fondest childhood memory?

 

Carol: My fondest childhood memory is traveling the world as a military brat.

 

Blaque: I bet that was exciting.

 

Carol: Yes, it was.

 

Blaque: If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell him or her?

 

Carol: I would tell her to never give up on her dreams.

 

Blaque: Are you a sports fan? If so, who is your favorite team?

 

Carol: My favorite team is the Washington Redskins. Don’t judge me. LOL.

 

Blaque: No judgment here. LOL. I am not a fan of sports, so it doesn’t bother me. So, are you a cat, or are you a dog person?

 

Carol: I love cats. I have two of my own.

 

Blaque: What are you currently working on?

 

Carol: I’m currently working on the sequel to my first novel, “Faith, Love, and Betrayal.”

 

Blaque: What is your favorite type of dessert?

 

Carol: I love German chocolate cake.

 

Blaque: Describe your latest book in just ten words.

 

Carol: When man says no, God says yes.

 

Blaque: I like that. That is definitely true. Anything is possible with God at the head. Well, that wraps up another successful author spotlight. Thank you so much Carol for stopping by.

 

Carol: Thank you for taking out the time to speak with me. Now, I will give the readers my contact info.

 

Blaque: LOL. Look at you trying to take over.

 

Carol: LOL. Sorry.

 

Blaque: No problem. Yes, you are correct. Give the readers all of your info so they can purchase your book and follow you on social media.

 

Carol: Ok. My first novel, “Faith, Love, and Betrayal,” is now available on Amazon.

Readers can check out my website here.

If you would like to follow my writing journey, you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

Blaque: Well done. Again, it was nice speaking with you Carol. Until next time. Happy writing!

 

**Note** If you are an indie author and would like to spotlight on my blog, please follow the directions on Author Spotlight and submit your interview

 

Her Thirteenth Husband Book Review

 

 

Picture of Her Thirteenth Husband book cover

 

Her Thirteenth Husband

By: B. M. Hardin

 

OMG! That’s my first thought when it comes to this book. I was drawn in just by the title. Wow! Thirteen husbands? What would cause someone to marry thirteen times? Not once or twice, but thirteen times. Sounds like a habitual bride to me. Did she get divorced from all thirteen husbands? Was she in love with the idea of being married?

 

The plot twists and turns of this book will have you thoroughly entertained. I was practically sitting on the edge of my chair as I read this book. I was anxious to find out what happened next. I wondered what would make someone get married thirteen different times to thirteen different men. They were all different ages, races, and worked different occupations. Some of the deaths resulted in hefty insurance payouts that made the widow a wealthy woman. What in the world? Ivy Raye was the lucky recipient of these thirteen husbands. The previous twelve marriages ended badly, so she was determined to make her thirteenth one last. How did she know that it was beyond her control?

 

You see, all twelve of her previous husbands died from mysterious circumstances, freak accidents, and one even died from suicide. In all the different scenarios, Ivy was never a suspect. She was just deemed a very unlucky bride. As her husband’s kept dying, Ivy would pick up and move somewhere else with a new identity and a new husband. As the story progressed, it was revealed that Ivy’s mother had a hand in the deaths of Ivy’s husbands. She didn’t actually commit the crimes, but she orchestrated each and every one of them. She wanted her daughter to be happy, so if a husband wasn’t treating Ivy right, they mysteriously died. Wherever Ivy moved to, her mother was there along with her. The two were as close as close could be.

 

When Ivy married her thirteenth husband, she thought they would be together forever, but someone else had different plans. Mysterious things started happening to Ivy’s husband. Someone was trying to kill him. Ivy’s mother swears that she has no part in trying to kill Ivy’s husband, so she is left stumped as to who would want her husband dead. During her mission to find who is trying to kill her husband, Ivy is reminded daily of her past. Someone is out to get her, and they won’t stop until her secrets are exposed. Ivy is harassed and taunted by someone claiming to know her past. They do whatever they can to scare her into admitting that she killed her previous husbands.

 

Well, she actually did not have anything to do with their deaths, but she knew who did, and she refused to give up her mother. During all of this, Ivy finds out some long buried secrets about her mother that puts everything into perspective. There is a reason that she is so determined to protect her daughter at any cost. Even if it meant murder. Finally tired of the harassment, Ivy gets the police involved to help her solve the mystery behind who is after her husband. Little does she know, the police are secretly trying to build a case against her. They know all about her previous twelve husbands and the mysterious ways they died. They even nick-named her, the Black Widow. They want to catch her in the act of killing her thirteenth husband.

 

Nearing the end of this roller-coaster ride of Ivy’s life, she finds out that the people that she surrounded herself with aren’t really who they portray themselves to be. Her best friend, her husband, and even the police are all out to get her. It is all a conspiracy to catch, the Black Widow. They are willing to put everything on the line to catch Ivy. They don’t care what they have to do to do it. People are murdered and lies are told, all in the name of seeking justice. But in the end, all the cards are laid out on the table, and Ivy finds out just who has it in for her even more than the police does. Her past smacks her dead in the face when one of her husbands, who is supposed to be dead resurfaces.

 

What a tale. This book is one of my favorites. It will have you second-guessing the people you think you know so well. No one in this book is who they say they are, including Ivy herself. B. M. Hardin knows how to keep the reader engaged with this jaw-dropping, drama-filled story. This should be made into a Lifetime movie. I wish I could give this book ten stars, but five is the most I can do. This book will definitely keep you wanting more. Just because I read this book, I have now become a fan of B. M. Hardin. I have read several more books by her, and they are just as good as this one. If you’re looking for a good book to sink your teeth into, check out, Her Thirteenth Husband. You won’t be disappointed. Maybe you’ll become a fan just as I have.

 

Wreckless Desires Chapters 1 and 2

Wreckless Desires is a contemporary African-American fiction novel that I am currently working on. The mis-spelling of reckless is intentional as a form of uniqueness. This story depicts the lives of two couples who happen to be best friends, but both couples are living double lives. When they are with their spouses, the love is evident, but when they are apart, the same love is evident for someone else. These chapters have not been edited yet, so please excuse any errors.

Chapter One

 

Whitney Louis slowly dragged her tired body out of the king-sized bed she shared with her husband. She stretched and yawned as she padded bare foot to her side of the walk-in closet. Her husband Terrence of fifteen-years, still lay snoring loudly on his back as she rummaged through the closet, trying to find something to wear for work. She was dog tired, but she knew that she couldn’t miss work today. They were having an important meeting with all of the CNA’s at the nursing home where she worked, and everyone’s presence was required. She had been working at After Years, a nursing home located in Greensboro, North Carolina for ten years. She loved her job, but some of the clients were a lot to handle sometimes.

 

She finally decided on a pair of light-pink scrubs, which she pulled from the hanger and folded across her arm. She left out of the closet and walked over to her dresser and pulled open her drawers and picked out a nude colored panty and bra set. Once she had what she needed, she walked into the master bathroom and sat her clothing atop a table that sat between the sink and toilet. She moved over to the shower and turned the knobs simultaneously so that the cold and hot water would combine to make the water warm. She pulled the handle that allowed the water to flow through the shower head and waited for the water to heat to her desired temperature. While her water was heating, she brushed and flossed her teeth and gargled with mouth wash. Whitney cleaned up the access water from the sink before she stripped out of her cotton pajamas and stepped into the shower.

 

When she felt the water hit her tired body, she moaned out in satisfaction. She had replaced the shower head two-months ago with a high-powered spa-like showerhead, and she was loving it. She stood still under the stream of water, letting the drops hit her body for a while as she enjoyed the feeling. The flow of the water was slowly rejuvenating her body. After she finally decided she had enough, she grabbed her facial cleanser and dampened her face and rubbed the cleanser into her skin. She reached on the top shelf of the shower wall and retrieved her sonic cleansing brush and powered it on. She slowly moved the brush around her face, making sure that she massaged the cleanser over the entire surface of her skin. Once that was done, she rinsed the cleanser from her face under the stream of water. She then grabbed her washcloth and squeezed a generous amount of her Dial body wash on the cloth and began washing her body.

 

She hummed her favorite song as she thoroughly washed herself from head to toe. She had this thing where she would wash and rinse her body 3 times before she felt she was completely clean. She felt that after 3 washes, if she wasn’t clean, then maybe she needed to see somebody because maybe she had a problem. Whitney rinsed herself for the third time before she finally turned off the water. She wrung out her washcloth to make sure there was no access water remaining before she hung it on the back of the shower wall, which had hooks fastened to it for that purpose. She stepped out of the shower and grabbed her fluffy white towel and quickly wrapped it around her body. The contrast of stepping from the hot shower and the cool air touching her body made her shiver, and goose bumps quickly spread on her arms. Whitney glided the towel up and down her body making sure to dry herself thoroughly. When that was done, she replaced her towel back on the rack.

 

She walked up to the mirror and wiped her hand across it, clearing away the steam from her shower. She admired her image thoughtfully. At forty, she still looked good for her age. Most people thought that she was at least ten years younger than she really was. Even after two kids, her body was still in tact. Her coco brown complexion was flawless and in good shape. She worked out three days a week in the gym that Terrence had assembled in their garage. She was five feet six inches and one-hundred and fifty pounds. She had almond shaped eyes and a beautiful smile. Whitney had a small gap between her two front teeth, but it did nothing to take away from her beauty. If anything, it only enhanced her natural beauty. She removed the satin scarf from her head and shook her dreads loose as they fell to her shoulders. She had just gotten them re-twisted yesterday so they were tight and neat. She ran her fingers through her hair straightening some stray dreads that hadn’t fallen into place. She placed her scarf on the sink and reached on the shelf above the toilet for her jar of coco butter. When she found it, she opened the lid and massaged the thick cream into her skin. She made sure that her entire body was lightly coated before she replaced the lid to the jar and put it back.

 

Whitney then began to dress herself in her uniform. She slid on her bra and panties, then her scrubs. When she was fully dressed, she picked up her pajamas from the floor and tossed them into the dirty clothes hamper. She opened the bathroom door and stepped out into the bedroom. Terrence was now awake and sitting on the edge of the bed. She walked over to the dresser and pulled out a pair of socks and sat on the bed to put them on.

 

“Good morning baby,” Terrence greeted as he yawned noisily.

 

“Good morning. Are you going to work today?” Whitney asked as she stood from the bed.

 

“Yeah, I’ll be getting ready in a few minutes,” he replied.

 

“Oh, ok. I don’t really feel like going in today, but we have a meeting scheduled for all of the CNA’s.” she responded as she made her way into the closet to get her nursing shoes.

 

When she got them she slid the pink and white shoes on her feet and tightened the straps.

 

“Oh, yeah? What’s the meeting about?”

 

“I don’t know. They just said that it was mandatory for us to be present. It might be some foolishness as usual.” she responded, shaking her head as she stepped out of the closet.

 

“Oh, ok.” Terrence replied, standing up from the bed and stretching his arms high above his head, trying to awaken his body fully.

 

Whitney stared at Terrence admiringly as he stretched. She shook her head in appreciation at his beautiful physique. Even though he was also only forty, he looked no more than thirty, or so. He took good care of his body by working out daily in the in-home gym. He was a handsome man, and he garnered plenty of attention from the ladies. He was six feet even and weighed one-hundred and ninety pounds of muscle. He was light-skinned with a splash of red freckles on his face and chest. He used to have a head of dark brown hair, but he cut it all off and now sported a bald head. His goatee was trimmed to perfection, and he had beautiful light brown eyes. He had the most beautiful smile with deep dimples that you could sit a dime in. Whitney knew her husband was handsome, and she loved knowing that he belonged to her and her only.

 

“Well, I’m about to go and fix us some breakfast.” she announced, heading for the door.

 

“Ok. I’ll be out in a few.” he replied, gathering the items he would need to freshen up for the day.

 

Whitney made her way down the hall and into the kitchen. She opened the refrigerator and pulled out the eggs, bacon, butter, and liver pudding. Terrence enjoyed liver pudding for breakfast, but Whitney thought that it was disgusting. She sat the items on the counter as she began searching the cabinets for the pans she needed to cook with. When she found them, she sat them on the stove and began preparing their breakfast. When she finished cooking, she placed everything on the kitchen table and reached into the cabinet to retrieve plates. By the time Terrence made his way into the kitchen, the table was set and his breakfast was waiting on him. Whitney had piled his plate high with eggs, bacon, liver pudding, and toast. She also poured him a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee. He sat down at the table to enjoy his breakfast. Whitney sat at the table with her plate filled with everything except the liver pudding. She also poured herself a glass of orange juice, but no coffee.

 

“Mmm. This is good.” Terrence commented as he ate his food.

 

“Thanks baby.” Whitney said, smiling at her husband.

 

They both continued to eat their breakfast as they made small talk. When they were finished, she collected their plates in placed them into the sink. She ran some dish water in the opposite sink so that she could wash the dishes. She didn’t like leaving dishes just sitting in the sink, so she made sure that they were always washed when they were through with them. She stood there and watched as the sink filled with the sudsy water until it reached her desired level. She dumped the used plates into the water before she walked over to the stove to retrieve the pans she had used to cook with. She brought them back over to the sink and sat them on the counter beside her.

 

Terrence left the kitchen and walked into the living room and grabbed the remote and turned on the TV to the local news. He always liked to catch up on the happenings in the city before he went to work. He was a manager for See It Clearly, a local distributor of eyeglasses and contact lenses. He settled himself on the couch and tuned into the news. He shook his head sadly at the story that the reporter was reporting. There had been a string of burglaries in the downtown Greensboro area. When are people going to learn to make an honest living? he thought to himself as he continued to watch the story. He sat there and watched the rest of the news until he glanced down at his watch and noticed the time. It was 7:30, and he had to be at work by 8. It was a good thing that he only lived ten minutes from his job, or he might’ve been late. He grabbed his jacket and keys and headed back into the kitchen where Whitney was now putting the dishes she had washed away.

 

“See you later baby,” Terrence announced, leaning down to give Whitney a kiss on her lips.

 

“See you later,” she responded, putting away the last dish.

 

Terrence opened the refrigerator door, grabbed his lunch bag and made his way out the front door. Whitney dried her hands on the dishcloth before she replaced it on the cabinet door where it hung and left the kitchen. She grabbed her belongings before following right behind her husband out the door on her way to work. She locked the door behind her and set the alarm to the house before she headed down the driveway to her car. Terrence honked his horn and waved at her as he pulled out of the driveway driving down the street. Whitney opened the driver’s side door as she slid into her seat. She buckled her seatbelt as she stuck her key into the ignition and cranked up the car. She slowly pulled out of the driveway after looking to make sure no one was behind her before she backed into the street. She waved at one of her neighbors who were also on their way to work as she passed them.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

Whitney bobbed her head to the music coming from her radio as she drove down Highpoint road. Keyshia Cole was singing how she should’ve cheated on her man since he was already accusing her of cheating even though she wasn’t. Whitney loved herself some Keyshia, so she sang along with the song until it went off. She drove for a few minutes longer before she finally reached her destination. She pulled into the parking lot of After Years and parked her car in her assigned parking space. Each person that worked there had their own assigned parking spot, so if it was empty, then they knew that person was not there that day.

 

Whitney glanced two parking spaces down from hers and noticed that Terika’s, another one of the CNA’s spot was empty. She shook her head. If Terika didn’t start bringing her behind to work, she was going to be out of a job, and she knew she needed her job since she was a single mother of four kids. Whitney gathered her stuff as she opened her car door and stepped out of her car. She locked the doors with her remote and chirped the remote to set her alarm. She walked across the parking lot and made her way to the front doors. She grabbed ahold of the door and pulled it open before she walked inside. She walked down the hall to the clock and swiped her badge to clock in. She was a little early, but a few minutes wouldn’t make a big difference on her pay check.

 

She continued down the hall to the employees break room and placed her lunch bag into the refrigerator. A few of the other CNA’s were huddled around a table gossiping and eating their breakfast like they did every morning.

 

“Hey Whitney girl!” One of the loud mouth women yelled as she noticed Whitney in the break room.

 

“Hey Kira.” Whitney responded.

 

“How was your weekend?” Kira asked, getting up from the table.

 

“It was good. All I did was relax and I’m still tired.”

 

“Do you know what this meeting is about?” Kira asked, stepping up to Whitney lowering her voice into a whisper.

 

“No girl. I’m just as clueless as the rest of you.”

 

“I hope they aren’t trying to snatch none of our hours away. Girl I need my money. I have six kids to feed.” Kira said with a worried look on her face.

 

“I know, right?” Whitney replied. “My kids are grown, but I need every penny I get.”

 

“I just hope they aren’t coming with no foolishness.” Kira said, making her way back to the table with the others.

 

Whitney nodded her head in agreement as she left the break room in search of her best friend Camille. Whitney poked her head into some empty rooms and didn’t see her. She decided to check the women’s bathroom for Camille. She made her way down the hall until she reached the bathroom and opened the door and walked in.

 

“Whew!” she exclaimed, quickly using her hand to cover her nose from the stench.

 

“Sorry,” Camille mumbled sheepishly from a corner stall.

 

“Girl, what crawled up in you and died?” Whitney asked, laughing.

 

“Girl, I don’t know. My stomach has been acting up all weekend.”

 

“Man, that is some foul stuff.” Whitney replied, fanning the air in front of her face.

 

“I hope it isn’t a stomach virus or anything like that.” Camille responded. “I can’t afford to take any days off right now.”

 

“I don’t know what it is, but man it has you smelling rotten.”

 

“I know you aren’t talking.” Camille said, laughing. “Don’t forget I walked in on you last week and you had it smelling like hell warmed over in here.”

 

“Whatever girl.” Whitney laughed. “You smell worse than I did.”

 

“So, what do you think this meeting is about?” Camille asked, spraying half the can of air freshener.

 

“Girl, that’s enough.” Whitney screeched as the cloud of spray evaporated into the air.

 

“Oops,” Camille replied, giggling. “Sorry girl. I was just trying to freshen it up a bit in here.”

 

“Now, to answer your question. I don’t know what the meeting is about.”

 

“Me either.”

 

“Yeah, Kira was just asking me about it. I don’t know why she thought I would know something that everyone else didn’t know.”

 

“Girl, you know you’re Mrs. Lintos’s favorite, so people assume she tell you stuff that nobody else knows.”

 

“Well, they’re wrong,” Whitney responded, leaning against the counter in front of the sink.

 

“You know how people are about their assumptions.” Camille replied, flushing the toilet.

 

“I know, right?” Whitney said, scrolling through her phone.

 

Her attention was briefly diverted from the conversation as she looked at some pictures her daughter sent her of her grand kids.

 

“Did you hear about Tammy?” Camille asked, unlocking the stall door and stepping out.

 

“Yeah, I did. She deserved to get fired. She had no business stealing the patient’s information and trying to commit fraud in their names.” Whitney stated.

 

“Yeah, you’re right. Not only did it cost her her job, but they are filing charges against her, and she could spend some time in jail. I wonder who is going to take care of her son while she’s locked up.” Camille said, walking over to the sink to wash her hands.

 

“I don’t know. Maybe her sister will take him in. She might be looking at a long stint in jail. I’m sure she didn’t think about how this would affect her son before she did it.”

 

 

That’s so sad. That boy lost his daddy before he was born, and now he is going to lose his mother to the prison system.” Camille said, shaking her head sadly.

 

Camille Jefferson was a strikingly beautiful woman. She was a caramel complexion with pretty hazel eyes. She had dark-brown hair that she kept in a low cut close to her scalp. Most women couldn’t rock a style like that, but it looked really good on Camille. She had a gorgeous smile and an energetic personality to go along with it. She was five feet eight inches tall, and she weighed one-hundred and eighty pounds. Most people would say that she was over-weight, but Camille had all her curves in all the right places. She was thick, and she loved every inch of her frame. She had the confidence of the most beautiful swim-suit model on the cover of a magazine. Camille wore Carolina blue scrubs with blue and white shoes to match. After she washed and dried her hands, Camille dug in the pocket of her scrubs and retrieved a tube of lip gloss and applied a light coating to her lips.

 

Camille and Whitney had been best friends since high school, and so had their husbands. The two women were inseparable. When they met in high school, Whitney was more on the shy side, and Camille was more out-spoken, but the two became fast friends. Their different personalities is what drew them to each other. When Whitney needed someone bold enough to do something she couldn’t do herself, she had Camille there to step in for her. When Camille needed someone to calm down a tense situation, or keep her level-headed, she had Whitney there to steer her in the right direction. Whitney and Camille both attended the same college, A & T, for a short while before they both dropped out. It was like they did everything together. When Camille decided that she wanted to get her certification to be a nurse’s assistant, Whitney was right there behind her. The two of them had been working at After Years for the same amount of time, and they loved their jobs.

 

Camille’s husband Montez, and Whitney’s husband Terrence, worked together at See It Clearly. The two men were closer than identical twins. They always referred to themselves as brothers from another mother. If they weren’t working or hanging out with their wives, they could always be found together shooting hoops or watching the latest sports on ESPN. They all were a tight-knit bunch. Whenever you saw one, then more than likely the other one was not far behind. The four-some were the best of friends, and they felt that nothing or no one could ever break their bond. To them, they were a family. They looked out for one another whenever the occasion arose. They attended family gatherings together, went on family vacations, and they all even attended the same church. The two women continued to swap gossip as they hung around in the bathroom waiting for the meeting to begin.

 

“Oh, girl, we better get out of this bathroom and get to that meeting.” Whitney announced, looking down at her phone, noticing the time.

 

“Oh, girl, we’re sitting in here running our mouths.” Camille laughed, straightening herself out in the mirror before heading for the door.

 

She held the door open and waited for Whitney to pass before she let it close behind them. The two women walked down the hall and turned the corner and continued walking until they reached the conference room. Some of their other co-workers were already seated as they walked in. Whitney waved at some of the people she knew as Camille searched the huge room for seats for them. Once she found two empty seats, she motioned for Whitney to follow her as they made their way to the back and sat down. The other workers slowly made their way into the room whispering amongst themselves, trying to figure out what this important meeting was about. Finally, the entire staff was present in the conference room and the volume of the chatter began to get loud.

 

“Ahem,” the head administrator of the facility said, clearing his throat to get their attention.

 

The room immediately grew silent.

 

“Well, as I might guess, you all are wondering why I asked you hear, right?” he asked.

 

“Yes,” everyone answered in unison.

 

“Well, it has been brought to my attention that some things have been going on in this facility that I am not too happy with. I have been told that some unlawful and downright scandalous things have been going on that could potentially get this facility shut down.” he announced, pacing the floor with his hands behind his back, staring at each employee.

 

You could hear a pin drop on cotton. That’s how quiet the room was.

 

“I will not stand for any of this foolishness that has been going on in my facility. I have worked hard to make this facility the best that Greensboro has ever seen, and I refuse to let anyone ruin what I have built. Using patient’s information to forge documents in their names will not be tolerated. Having sex on the job will not be tolerated. Coming in any time you feel like when you know you have a set time to work will not be tolerated.” he said, stabbing his finger into his palm every time he made a point. “Swapping shifts because you don’t want to come in a certain time of the day will not be tolerated. Punching in and leaving back out as if you are working will not be tolerated.” he continued as he paced, staring angrily at his audience.

 

“Ooooh, he’s mad.” Whitney whispered.

 

“I know, right?” Camille whispered back giggling.

 

“Um . . . do you ladies have something you wanted to add?” he asked, zooming in on Whitney and Camille huddled together.

 

“No,” they both echoed, shaking their heads.

 

“I didn’t think so,” he replied furiously. “All of this stops today. I will not stand by and watch you tear my facility to bits with your antics. There will be some new rules starting today, and whoever doesn’t like them, they can leave now. If any one of these rules are broken, you will be terminated immediately. There will be no second chances, and no excuses. My reputation is on the line here, and I am being investigated, and that does not make me a very happy camper.” he bellowed.

 

The employees could see that Mr. Flanagan was extremely angry. His light-skinned face was beat red, and he was practically shouting at them. He wiped sweat beads from his forehead as he continued speaking, laying down the rules. Whitney and Camille, along with some of their co-workers, chuckled slightly to themselves as they watched Mr. Flanagan pace back and forth. A vein bulged on the side of his head, and his eyes were bulging from the anger emanating from his body. He was working himself into a frenzy with how angry and upset he was. They could see sweat circles forming under his arms every time he raised his arm and pointed at them. The dress pants he wore were high-water, so every time he moved, they moved and showed his ashy ankles. They felt like they were in high-school and were being reprimanded by the principal.

 

The employees sat in the conference room for nearly an hour as they listened to Mr. Flanagan go on and on about what he wouldn’t be tolerating, and breaking down the new rules to them. By the time he was done, he had yelled himself hoarse, and he was drenched in sweat. He finally dismissed them to their duties once his throat was too raw to speak anymore.

 

“Did you hear that fool?” Camille asked as she and Whitney exited the conference room.

 

“Girl, yeah. He wasn’t playing.” Whitney said, laughing.

 

“The least he could’ve done was make sure his pants fit and his ankles had some lotion on them.” Camille said, bursting into laughter.

 

“Girl, you’re crazy.” Whitney said as they walked down the hall to their assigned rooms.

 

“I felt what he was saying though.” Camille responded after her laughter died down.

 

“Yeah, he was speaking the truth, but he just worked himself up too much.” Whitney agreed, reaching her room.

 

“Well, I’ll see you later girl.” Camille said, heading for her room to get her first patient of the day ready.

 

“Yeah, see you later. I know Mr. Wilson is a tough one.” Whitney replied, entering her room.

 

“Aint he?” Camille called out.

 

 

Author Q and A: Jacqueline Goodwin

 

 

Picture of author jacqueline goodwin

 

“There is purpose in your pain.” – Jacqueline Goodwin

 

Blaque: It’s that time again. Another author spotlight. This time, I have the pleasure of speaking with author Jacqueline Goodwin, who resides in South Carolina.

 

Jacqueline: It’s such an honor to have the opportunity to speak with you Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: The pleasures all mine. It makes me feel like you and I share something special just because you’re from South Carolina. LOL.

 

Jacqueline: Really?

 

Blaque: Yes, I am also originally from South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina to be exact.

 

Jacqueline: Oh, wow! That’s pretty amazing. You never know how small the world really is.

 

Blaque: Yes, I miss home, but there were better opportunities for me in North Carolina, so it is my home now.

 

Jacqueline: That is understandable.

 

Blaque: So, before we begin your interview, tell me a little about your book.

 

Jacqueline: Well, Healing in the Vessel is my story. It is a book filled with true-to-life testimonies of how God has moved in my life as a mother and a daughter. I want my book to empower readers everywhere and build up their faith in God.

 

Blaque: Nice. So, this book is full of inspiration as you tell your life’s story?

 

Jacqueline: Yes, I’m sharing my story with the world to change the life of some young person out there. If my story can touch at least one person, then I know there is purpose in my pain.

 

Blaque: Powerful. I’m sure your readers will be able to take some valuable lessons with them after reading your book.

 

Jacqueline: That is my hope and prayer.

 

Blaque: Ok, so let’s get started.

 

Jacqueline: I’m ready when you are.

 

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

 

Jacqueline: My inspiration for writing comes from the Holy Spirit.

 

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

 

Jacqueline: My favorite place to write is at the park.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite holiday, and why?

 

Jacqueline: My favorite holiday is July 4th, because that is the day that God brought me into this world.

 

Blaque: Cool! You’re the second person I know that has a fourth of July birthday. That must be pretty exciting. Not only are you celebrating America’s independence, but also your born day.

 

Jacqueline: Yes, it’s pretty amazing.

 

Blaque: So, where do you see yourself in five years?

 

Jacqueline: In five years, I see myself traveling to various countries preaching and teaching God’s Word. Also, I see myself publishing more books and speaking at different conferences.

 

Blaque: What can bring tears to your eyes?

 

Jacqueline: When I see a young person give their life to Christ, it brings tears to my eyes.

 

Blaque: If you had $1,000,000 to donate to a worthy cause, which would it be, and why?

 

Jacqueline: I would donate the money to help further the research in finding a cure for HIV and AIDS because of my own personal testimony.

 

Blaque: We all need someone to keep pushing us forward, so who has been your biggest supporter in your writing career?

 

Jacqueline: My daughter Jasmine has been my biggest supporter in my writing career.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

 

Jacqueline: My favorite color is pink.

 

Blaque: Pink is also my favorite color as well. Actually pink, red, and white are all my favorite colors. So tell me, where do you get most of your story ideas?

 

Jacqueline: Many of my story ideas come from my own trials and tribulations that I have endured in my life.

 

Blaque: What is your fondest childhood memory?

 

Jacqueline: My fondest childhood memory is playing in my room with my Winnie-pooh bear that my dad won from the State fair.

 

Blaque: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as an author?

 

Jacqueline: My biggest accomplishment as an author is having my book sent overseas to be placed in a library in Kabul, Afghanistan.

 

Blaque: If your best friend could describe you in one word, what would it be?

 

Jacqueline: My best friend would describe me as humble.

 

Blaque: When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

Jacqueline: When I am not writing, I enjoy reading my Bible, meditating, praying, and exercising.

 

Blaque: What did you want to be when you grew up? Is that the occupation you’re in now?

 

Jacqueline: I wanted to be an attorney when I grew up, but God took me in a totally different direction. I am not an attorney, but instead I am a pastor and author. These are two occupations that I never really saw myself in, but I would not change them for anything now.

 

Blaque: As authors, most of us have nine to five jobs that help to support our writing careers. Do you write full-time, or is writing like a second job?

 

Jacqueline: Writing is a second job for me, but I am praying for God to open the doors for it to become a full-time career.

 

Blaque: Are you a cat, or a dog person?

 

Jacqueline: I am a dog person.

 

Blaque: I know how it makes me feel, but how does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

 

Jacqueline: When a reader tells me that they enjoyed reading my book, it makes me feel that there is purpose in my pain.

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

Jacqueline: My goal as an author is to publish my first novel, have my books in various languages, and produce my books in audio format.

 

Blaque: Producing your book(s) in audio format would be beneficial to me and other blind and visually impaired avid readers out there. Even though EBooks are accessible for the blind to read, we still enjoy listening to an actual person read a book compared to a text-to-speech software reading it. I would definitely encourage you to pursue that avenue of publishing your books.

 

Jacqueline: That is definitely on my agenda.

 

Blaque:  What has been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to jump over while embarking on your writing journey?

 

Jacqueline: The hardest hurdle I’ve had to jump over while embarking on my writing journey is finding time to write.

 

Blaque: If your parents could see you right now, would they be proud of you?

 

Jacqueline: Yes, both of my parents would be proud of me if they could see me right now.

 

Blaque: Well, we have reached the end of the interview. I hope your readers enjoyed getting a chance to know you better.

 

Jacqueline: I hope so too. It was nice talking to you.

 

Blaque: Oh, no! The pleasure was all mine. Before I let you go, leave readers with your information so that they can get a copy of your book. We want to make sure that your book gets into the right hands.

 

Jacqueline: LOL. Definitely. So, my book can be purchased from Amazon in paperback format. Readers can also purchase an autographed copy here Autographed Healing in the Vessel A Mother’s Love, A Daughter’s Journey of Faith

 

Blaque: Great! Are you active on social media?

 

Jacqueline: Yes, readers can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Blaque: Readers, be sure to grab your copy of Ms. Jacqueline’s book. If you’re looking for a book of inspiration, you have to look no further. Thanks again for stopping by.

 

Jacqueline: No, thank you for having me.

 

Blaque: Until next time. Happy writing!

 

 

** Note ** If you are an independent author and would like to spotlight on my blog, visit Author Spotlight to view the requirements and send in your interview. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

 

 

Final Farewell

 

 

 

Picture of a soldier saluting

 

My final goodbye to you

Is breaking my heart in two

Although I’ll miss you so

In my heart I know

 

That you are flying high

To your new home in the sky

These tears of lost won’t last forever

Although we are no longer together

 

You will always be a part of me

That special part of my heart you will be

As I lay your still form to rest

The memories I have are only the best

 

Loving and wishing you could come back

But of course these things don’t work like that

Someone with so much life left so soon

With so many things we were so in-tune

 

I didn’t foresee ever losing you

But god had his plans, he knew

Life with you brought me so much joy

Your earthly departure cannot destroy

 

All of my greatest and happiest recollections

Will remain hidden away in my secret collections

Of memories I will cherish for all of my days

I miss you so much in so many ways

 

Your duties on this earth are now done

But your duties in heaven have just begun

We shall meet again one day

And I will turn to you and say

 

I missed you down there on earth

But god needed you because he saw your worth

So I’ll wipe my tears away

But my love for you will always stay

 

Deep inside my heart

We will never truly be apart

Because you will always be near

Whenever I need you here

 

I can look to the sky and know

That single star with its bright glow

Will be you watching over me

Sending your love down to me so heavenly

 

This is goodbye for now

Until I make my final bow

So save a place for me

So we can be together again for eternity

 

 

 

Diamond in the Rough: A Collection of Personal Essays and Poems

 

 

Picture of a shining black diamond gem

 

Being the inspirational person that I am, it has been put on my heart to write this book. In it, I share different accounts of things that I have experienced in my life. Much of what I talk about in this book is painful, but I feel that it can help someone out there suffering through something that they feel is pulling them under. I want to give my readers hope. I want them to know that despite how things may seem right now, things will get better. The underdog doesn’t stay down forever, and with God by your side, you can make it through any situation. That is the only way I can explain how I am still here after all I have been through. It has to be nothing but God.

 

I want to share with you the introduction to my book. My hope is that this book touches someone out there struggling to get through life. I want to inspire, encourage, uplift, and motivate them to keep going. Don’t give up on life. The waters may look murky now, but through strength, determination, and God, you will clear away all the murk and see the clear, clean water below. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I had to go through all I went through in order to help someone else through it. Lets cross the finish line to victory together!

 

Introduction to Diamond in the Rough: A Collection of Personal Essays and poems

 

Introduction:

 

My purpose for writing this book is to help encourage, motivate, uplift, and inspire others out there who may be struggling with things in their life for which they see no way out of. It was not my intention to write a book sharing different events in my life that were painful for me, but when God puts something on your heart, you do what you are led to do. In this book I share my personal stories of trials and tribulations that I have endured. Things have never been easy for me, but through it all I am still standing, and I am stronger than I have ever been before. It took me a long time to transition into this state of mind. The roads were dark and long, and most times lonely, but I made it through. By the grace of God, I am a survivor. I am alive to tell my story. There were many times I wanted to just give up on life, but God brought me through. He is an awesome God, and heard my pleas. He delivered me from the pain and brought me peace.

 

The essays and poems you will find in this book are true accounts of situations that I have faced throughout the years. From child abuse, rape, and domestic violence, I share them all here. These are my true emotions, thoughts, feelings, and ideas written in these pages. I’m sure there is someone out there who has experienced one, some, or all of the situations that I have faced in this book. I want my stories to show you that you don’t have to remain a victim, but you can become the victor of your circumstances. God does not put more on us than we can carry. I know at times it seems as though things aren’t ever going to get better, but believe in your heart and soul that you will prevail. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. You are stronger than even you know you are.

 

If no one else has ever told you, I want to be the one to tell you that despite your dark past, you have a bright future ahead of you. We all suffer in life in some way, shape, or form, but we have to have the strength to go on, but sometimes it’s hard to smile when you’re used to frowning. For me, my life has been filled with nothing but pain and tears, but through God and his unconditional love for me, I have a reason to smile. When I shed tears, they are no longer tears of pain, but tears of joy. Through Jesus Christ, I found the love I have always been searching for. No matter what, his love will never forsake me.

 

I have broken my chains of pain and heartache. I am no longer a prisoner of fear, humiliation, and doubt. I know who and what I am. I now have confidence in myself that I didn’t have before. I am no longer ashamed of the things that made me who I am. I turned my trials into triumphs. Instead of breaking me, my life’s experiences made me into the diamond you see today. A diamond starts as a piece of coal deep in the belly of the earth. With time, heat, and pressure, slowly that piece of coal transforms into a beautiful gem. It took trauma, abuse, neglect, and fear to transform me into the diamond I am. Instead of letting the struggles of your life keep you buried in the ground, use those struggles to rise to the top and shine bright like the diamond you are.

 

When I was finally able to conquer my demons and see myself for the beautiful, light-hearted, ambitious, quizzical, unique, and extraordinary diamond I was, Blaque Diamond was born. For me, it represents words I feel describe me. It symbolizes my growth and my strength to overcome the toughest situations and still be standing. I am renewed. I am reborn. I am a Blaque diamond. Reach for your inner Blaque diamond. Let your light shine through.

 

A Blaque Diamond

 

Beautifully created from this earth

Light-hearted and full of laughter

Ambitious and goal oriented, I am

Quizzical and willing to seek knowledge in all ways possible

Uniquely different and at times the same

Extraordinary creation from god’s paintbrush

 

Determined to overcome all obstacles in my way

Intelligence is a gift that is priceless

Another gem within a world of beautiful gemstones

Miles of mountains and hills climbed to seek inner peace

Observant of my every day development and ways to improve me

Not easily broken and defeated, instead I conquer

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I am my own diamond

 

Coming soon in April 2018!!!! Stay tuned.

 

 

 

No New Year’s Resolutions

 

 

 

picture of a New Year's celebration

 

It’s that time of year again! It’s officially 2018! Out comes the pencils and notepads to jot down your New Year’s Resolutions. Every new year I hear the same old thing.

 

“What are your New Year’s resolutions?”

 

Or

 

“It’s now a new year. What are some things you’re going to do differently in the year . . . ?”

 

Hmm . . . Let me think on that for a moment. I DON’T SET NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS! I DON’T SET NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS! That’s my answer to those questions every time someone dares to ask me. It is utterly ridiculous that you have to wait until a new year comes around to get your life in order. I’m always hearing things like:

 

“In the new year I’m going to lose weight.”

 

Or

 

“In the new year I’m going to get out of debt.”

 

Or even

 

“In the new year I’m going to go back to school.”

 

Why wait for a new year to do these things? Why does a new year mean that you have to finally get your life in check? I can’t, and never will understand people’s logic about setting New Year’s resolutions. If there are goals you want to accomplish in your life, then do it! Don’t wait for a new year to begin to go for your dreams. Do it now! Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so why wait? Why put off what you can accomplish today?

 

If you’re not happy with your size 65 pants, then do something about it. If you’re struggling to get out of $5,000,000 worth of debt, then do something about it. If you’re tired of not getting a job with your second-grade education, then do something about it. Of course, you guys know I’m joking about these items, but you get my point. Do these things now, not when a new year begins. If you really are determined to accomplish your goals, then you will do what you have to do in order to make it happen. The only person stopping you from getting ahead is yourself. The same way you can make these New Year’s resolutions when a new year rolls around, is the same way you can set these same goals any other time of the year and put forth effort to accomplish them.

 

When I set goals for myself, I set goals that I can accomplish short-term and long-term. I set goals throughout the year. If I say I want to lose twenty pounds, then I just start the process right then. I don’t wait until January 1 to begin my diet/fitness regimen. As soon as the idea of something I want to do comes to mind, I begin strategizing ways to tackle that task. If that means I have to lay off the cookies and cakes, then that’s what I have to do. If I want to get out of debt, then I know I will have to put myself on a budget, so I can get my debt under control. There’s nothing to it, but to do it. No excuses. No hesitation. Get started on accomplishing your goals throughout the year. Yes, a new year means new beginnings, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to begin something new.

 

Every day you wake up with strength in your body and a sound mind is another opportunity for you to achieve your goals. Take the opportunities that are laid out before you. No one wants to live with regrets, so take advantage of the time you do have. I know there are probably tons of things you have listed on your New Year’s resolution list, but how much of it will you really accomplish? What crazy and outlandish things have you promised yourself you’re going to do in the New Year? I’m sure it’s plenty, but sadly you probably won’t stick to not one of the things you’ve listed. Why put that type of pressure on yourself when you can set goals anytime and take your time completing them? Most of the time people set these New Year’s resolutions that they won’t even stick to. What’s the point in making that list when by February, you will have fallen back into your same routine?

 

Then another new year will roll around and you will be back at it again.

 

“In the new year I’m going to lose weight.”

 

And

 

“In the new year I’m going to get out of debt.”

 

Why put yourself through all of that? Just pick goals that you can stick to and make them any time of year, not just at the beginning of a new year. Put effort, real effort into achieving the goals you set for yourself. Make sure they are reasonably within your ability to complete. Even if you don’t succeed at accomplishing a goal you have set for yourself to achieve at a certain time, you still have plenty of time to get it done. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just readjust your goals to make them easier for you to complete.  I know some of you are going to totally disregard this post and still make your resolutions anyway, and you are free to do so, but save yourself the time and stress. Don’t make any New Year’s resolutions.

Author Q and A: Courtney Monya

 

Picture of Torn Between the Game and Love book cover

 

Torn Between the Game and Love Book One

 

Blaque: Well, once again I am back with another question and answer session. Today my spotlight author is Courtney Monya, who some of you, her readers, may know as Authoress Courtney Monya. She writes under the genre of Urban Fiction.

 

Courtney: It is nice to meet you Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: It is nice to meet you as well. So, before we get started, I would like to know, where are you from? No, this is not one of the questions from your interview, but I am always curious to know where people are from. LOL.

 

Courtney: LOL. No problem. I am from Louisiana.

 

Blaque: Oh, ok. Hmm… Nice. That is a state I would love to visit one day. I would like to experience the festivities of a Madi Gras celebration in New Orleans.

 

Courtney: Yes, they are quite entertaining. There is so much to see and do during such an occasion.

 

Blaque: I’m sure of that. So, let’s jump right on in.

 

Courtney: After you.

 

 

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

 

Courtney: Becoming an avid reader first inspired me to want to write. Life alone itself, inspires me to write as well. There’s so many things that I see on a day to day basis that will cause a scene or even a story plot to pop up in my head.

 

Blaque: What is your biggest pet peeve?

 

Courtney: My biggest pet peeve(s) is for someone to lie to me. Especially when I feel I am one of the most understanding people you could ever meet. There’s no need to lie to me. Another is having to repeat myself. LOL.

 

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

 

Courtney: Right now, my favorite place to write is my papa’s office. It allows me the quietness that I need to listen to music, zone out, and get things done.

 

Blaque: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

 

Courtney: One thing I would change about the world is how negative things get more recognition than positive, uplifting, and/or motivational things do.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite food?

 

Courtney: Almost any bread. LOL. Rolls, biscuits, pizza crust, etc. Anything with cheese and/or bread is aye okay with me.

 

Blaque: Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

Courtney: I see myself as a more-established Author and Licensed Massage Therapist who’s supporting herself and giving back to those who supported her to the point where she is now.

 

Blaque: How many books have you published to date? “Compilations and anthologies included.”

 

Courtney: As of today, I have three books published.

 

Blaque: What can bring tears to your eyes?

 

Courtney: Some of anything. LOL. I am a big cry baby. I’ll laugh so hard that I cry, & I’ll even cry so hard that I’ll laugh.

 

Blaque: If you had $1,000,000 to donate to a worthy cause, which would it be, and why?

 

Courtney: It would be donated to Project Semicolon, because it is true that you NEVER know what someone is dealing with in their lives. Even if their lives SEEM perfect, you never know what they’re mentally battling within themselves. After all, we are our biggest critiques in life.

 

Blaque: What makes you uniquely you?

 

Courtney: I could easily say that it’s my personality, but I think it’s more efficient for someone to determine that themselves. I’m always open to meeting new people, and I’m always going to be the same person no matter who you are.

 

Blaque: How do you deal with writer’s block?

 

Courtney: I turn on my Gospel Pandora station and then go back and re-read my work. The mixture of the motivation from the music gets my mind back flowing.

 

Blaque: Out of the books you have published, which is your favorite, and why?

 

Courtney: My middle book, which is part 2 in my series, would have to be my favorite because the two newest main characters easily became my favorite characters. Earning their own possible spinoff? Maybe. Stay tuned to find out.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

 

Courtney: My favorite colors are blue, pink, purple, green, and any other pretty, bright colors. LOL.

 

Blaque: Do you prefer writing your first drafts on paper, or on the computer? Why?

 

Courtney: I prefer writing on the computer. I hateeee writing, literally. LOL.

 

Blaque: Where do you get most of your story ideas?

 

Courtney: They just pop up in my mind as mini movies or clips, and I just write them down as soon as I think them.

 

Blaque: What advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?

 

Courtney: What are you waiting on??? Do it! If your heart desires to write, then dammit (can I say that? LOL.), write. & don’t just write what you think people want to read. Write what’s on your heart, and the RIGHT people will read it & LOVE your work.

 

Blaque: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as an author?

 

Courtney: My biggest accomplishment as an author would have to be . . . As of October 23rd, 2017, I FINALLY finished my first three-part book series after starting part one a year or more ago and shelving it shortly after.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

 

Courtney: I love all genres of music. From all the different types of R&B, to Neo-Soul. Trap music, Rap, Gospel, Electronic, and Pop. YOU NAME IT! LOL. Seriously though, if you have a favorite song that you would love for me to hear, send it to me on any of my social media accounts, because I can guarantee that if I hear it and I like it, I’ma Shazam it anyways. 😝

 

Blaque: What is your biggest fear?

 

Courtney: If I would’ve answered this a little earlier, I would have to say my biggest fear was me and my thoughts. Well, not anymore after gaining my faith back to conquer that fear. NOW, spiders have been promoted to that spot and will probably forever be there, because I will not face that fear.

 

Blaque: How does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

 

Courtney: I love, love, loveeeee it! Because a lot of the time when I’m writing, a part of me is like, “Yo, this is fiireeeee.” Then another part of me is like, “Does this even make sense?” So, hearing from the reader that they loved it, makes me feel really good about it.

 

Blaque: What an interesting interview. I’m sure your readers will enjoy getting to know the person behind the creative stories. Before we close out this segment, leave readers with your contact info so they can follow/be-friend you on social media to keep up with the latest and greatest from you.

 

Courtney: Yes, definitely. I enjoy hearing from my readers. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Readers can also send me a friend request on Facebook.

 

Ok. Great! So, where can readers purchase the first book in the series, Torn Between the Game and Love?

 

Courtney: All three of the books in my series can be purchased on Amazon. They are available as an EBook and paperback. Here is the link to the first book in the series. It won’t be hard for readers to spot the next book in the series so they can keep up with the action. Torn Between the Game and Love Book One.

 

Blaque: Well, that just about does it for me today. It was a pleasure speaking with you Ms. Authoress Courtney Monya.

 

Courtney: Thanks for the opportunity to interview with you Blaque Diamond. You don’t know how much this means to me and others out there looking for exposure.

 

Blaque: It is nothing at all for me to do my part as an indie author to help other indie authors. I believe in the motto, “Lend a hand. Don’t break one.” Until next time. Happy writing.

Naughty by Nature

 

picture of woods surrounded with lots of trees

 

What started as a simple hike in the woods

Ended up with me on the ground, and you getting my goods

We’re naked and ready as the day we were born

In such a rush to get busy some of our clothing is torn

I can’t believe we’re doing something so crazy

Our temperatures are rising, and your eyes are glazy

We’re communing with nature in our own special way

Let our bodies do the talking; I have nothing to say

Shhh do you hear that sound?

As our bodies gyrate wildly on the ground

Twigs under my body snapping and cracking

As you grip my hips and my ass you’re smacking

Outside in the open as we’re getting it on

Sexing each other from dusk to dawn

My hair tangled and sprinkled with fallen leaves

Sweat from our bodies for which the earth greedily receives

The songs from the birds adding to our music

Along with the squishing of our natural fluids

This is so wild, so fucking exhilarating

Our bodies colliding as we continue our mating

No one’s around to spy, just us and nature

We’re caught up in our love-making, we sense no danger

Dirt and pebbles cover your knees, because you’re hard at work

Every thrust you give causes my body to respond and jerk

Our moans and groans are carried away by the wind

You’re going so deep, my legs are spread wide and pinned

Squirrels skipping along from tree to tree

Glancing down with curiosity at you and me

This is something new, something we’ve never done before

The thrill of the moment is making me want more and more

I’m screaming your name, and I have no shame

I would say that our raging hormones are the ones to blame

Your pleasurable grunts as you drive yourself deeper and deeper

The feeling you are giving me is making me weaker and weaker

The momentum is coming; it’s almost there

As the scent of our love permeates the air

Just a few more thrusts, and we’ll climax together

This was the most daring sex session we’ve had ever

Our groans erupt as you explode deep inside

Damn I can’t believe we really had sex outside

 

 

 

Why His or Her Betrayal?

 

 

Book cover of His or Her Betrayal? A woman is looking into a mirror, but a man's face is reflected back at her instead of her own image

 

I often get asked the question,

 

“Why did you decide to write a story about a trans-gender person? Don’t you think people won’t read your book because of your topic choice?”

 

My answer is because it is a taboo subject in society. Especially in the African-American community. Most people don’t want to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. I am sensitive to everyone. I don’t hold ill-feelings towards someone just because of their sexual preference or gender identity. People who suffer from (GID), or gender identity disorder are just as human as you or me. I don’t discriminate against them or anyone else. I have enough that I am discriminated on myself in my daily life, so I am not one to judge or point fingers. I think of anyone in the LGBTQ community just as I think of myself. I am discriminated against just for being blind, so why would I put that same hurt and pain on someone else? I know how hard it can be. Our pain might be different, but we all suffer in one way or another.

 

I wanted to tell this story from the point of view of an African-American family. Because most African-American families grow up in the Christian faith, it is taught that homosexuality is a sin. In some cases, people believe it is a sin punishable by death. Some people in society are so homophobic, they believe that every person that is attracted to the same sex that they automatically are attracted to them. For instance, some heterosexual men assume that a gay man wants them just because he is gay. That is not the case. Just because someone is attracted to the same sex that you are, doesn’t mean they want you. That kind of thinking really gets on my nerves. As long as someone is not disrespecting you, then I don’t think that their sexual orientation should matter, but that’s just my own opinion. No matter what, people are going to be people. They’re going to think how they want to think, and there is nothing anyone can do to change what has been in-graved in them.

 

In the story “His or Her Betrayal?”, I wanted to depict a real-life situation that is happening in society today. Unfortunately, this is the time we live in. No matter how much we progress, there are still some who want to remain ignorant and hate people for one reason or another. People like to use the Bible as a source for why they think that everyone in the LGBTQ community are sinners and are going to hell. I don’t believe that. I think God made everyone exactly how he wanted them to be. Some think it’s a choice, but I beg to differ. In some cases it is a choice, but not in all circumstances. Personally I know of people who are Gay, Lesbian, or even trans-gender, and I know it wasn’t a choice that they made. Nobody wants to purposely be ridiculed and tormented all their lives. Sometimes you can tell when a child is young that they are going to be gay, lesbian, or trans-gender. Do you think children really choose that? No. As children we have no idea what sexuality is. So, how can they choose to be gay, lesbian, or trans-gender? Things people say sometimes just doesn’t make any sense. They just want to find a reason to shun someone.

 

Although my story didn’t end in a happily-ever-after, I wanted to depict a real reaction that someone would have when they found out the person they loved wasn’t who they led them to believe. My character Michelle had been degraded and ridiculed all her life by her father because of who she was, so she felt that the only way she could find happiness was by keeping her past a secret. It was the wrong thing to do, and the story ended in tragedy. I didn’t want Michelle’s life to end so soon, but the reality was more important than my fantasy. If I had made Jason react in a positive way to finding out about Michelle’s past, then the story would not have reflected reality. In this day and time, people are not fond of trans-gender people, so Jason’s reaction to the news expressed his hurt, anger, and feelings of betrayal. The second part of the story tells the father’s story. Now, I know it probably came as a shock to the readers when they found out why Melvin felt the way he did about his own child. The purpose of me writing this part of the story was to show how society sometimes forces people to hide who they truly are in order to fit society’s mold of who we should be. The truth was exposed in the end and lives were lost, but all secrets were revealed.

 

I feel things like this can be avoided if people would just stop worrying so much about what is right and wrong according to their beliefs. If they let people live their lives the way they see fit, then tragedies like this wouldn’t happen. I feel if God disagrees with the way someone is living their life, then he and only he can be the judge of that. It is not up to anyone else to tell someone how they should live life. I am a Christian and I do believe in God, but I also believe that he doesn’t make any mistakes. He made everyone different for his own particular reason, and it isn’t up to you or me to ask why. As long as someone isn’t harming you, your family, or mistreating you in any way, then they should be allowed to live life in peace. I am open-minded and I don’t believe that everything is black and white. We don’t know why God created the things he did, but it’s not for us to question. I just try to live my life as I see fit and worry about what is going on in my own life, instead of what someone else is or isn’t doing in theirs. When judgment day arrives, we will all have to answer to our life choices. Until then, live for you and not how someone else tells you you’re supposed to live.

 

The title of the book is punctuated with a question mark because I want you as the reader to determine who you believe has been betrayed. That is a conclusion I want you to draw once you have read the book in its entirety. If you haven’t had a chance to check out my novel, “His or Her Betrayal?” Please do so and leave me your thoughts with a review. You can navigate over to my Blaque Diamond’s Books link where my published books are listed. There you can choose from which retailer you would like to purchase your copy of “His or Her Betrayal?” It is available in paperback and as an EBook. I look forward to hearing from you.