Author Q and A: C. Monet Snow

headshot of author c. Monet Snow

“Inhale Confidence and Exhale Doubt.” – C. Monet Snow

Blaque: Well, we have come to the end of the month, and today with me to wrap up the month of March, I have the pleasure of speaking with author C. Monet Snow. Welcome C. Monet.

C. Monet: Thank you Blaque Diamond for this opportunity to share my creations with the world.

Blaque: That’s my purpose. To share amazing books with the world. There are so many authors just waiting to be discovered.

C. Monet: That is so true. Myself included.

Blaque: Yes, myself as well. It is hard trying to find your audience, but they will find you when it’s the right time.

C. Monet: Yes, indeed.

Blaque: Let’s get this interview started, shall we?

C. Monet: Sure! Go ahead. I’m ready when you are.

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

C. Monet: The feeling of accomplishment inspires me to write. I just turned thirty about a month ago, and I felt like I had done nothing but raise my kids, get married twice, and work for someone else. It was time for a change.

Blaque: I understand that completely. Becoming a published author is a great accomplishment. Whether traditionally published, or self-published, it is such an honor all the same. So, do you prefer writing your first drafts on paper, or on the computer? Why?

C. Monet: When I wrote the beginning of my first novel, I had no choice but to use pen and paper. But now I prefer to create an outline, print it out, and doodle, or revisit the document if needed.

Blaque: Have you ever used people you know as characters in your books?

C. Monet: Yes, I have used several people I know in my stories. No one is safe. Ha!

Blaque: LOL. I am also guilty of that as well. How many books have you published to date? (Compilations and anthologies included.)

C. Monet: As of January 17, 2018, I have published two books.

Blaque: People who support our dreams mean the world to us. Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing career?

C. Monet: My husband is my biggest supporter. He changes his Facebook photos, he reads over my shoulder, and he constantly reminds me why I’m doing this. I appreciate that so much.

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

C. Monet: When a reader tells me they enjoyed my book, I feel accomplished and grateful. My books detail things I went through in real life. So, to help someone else overcome or confront those hard times, lets me know that nothing I went through was in vain.

Blaque: It’s nice when your readers can relate to your books because they have been through, or are going through some of the same things you have in their own personal lives. It makes the reader feel as though they know you, and it helps them to connect with you on a deeper level. Where do you get most of your story ideas?

C. Monet: I get most of my story ideas from my own life and music. I love music! I believe it is the cure to all things.

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

C. Monet: This is funny and possibly creepy, but I people watch when I have writers block. People are so funny. Sometimes we display certain emotions in situations that we don’t even realize. I watch characteristics and mannerisms as well.

Blaque: I don’t find that creepy at all. People and the things they do make interesting stories. As authors and storytellers, we all have a goal in mind when crafting our masterpieces. What is your goal as an author?

C. Monet: My goal is an author is to have limitless creativity, and to be OK with sticking true to me and what gift I possess. My goal is to remain aggressively humble.

Blaque: What are you currently working on?

C. Monet: I am currently working on my third book, “Serene Chaos.” It will be a two-part series that details the chaotic life of Serene Daniels.

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

C. Monet: If I could give an aspiring author any tips, I would tell them to be confident and understand the why. It’s so important to have a reminder and clear understanding as to why you are doing this.

Blaque: Great advice! Always know your purpose for whatever you are doing. Now, let’s get to the fun stuff. We already know about you as an author, but let’s see you as a person.

C. Monet: Sure. LOL.

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

C. Monet: My favorite season would have to be spring. I love the newness and the idea of coming back to life.

Blaque: Well, how coincidental that I’m interviewing you during your favorite season of the year? LOL.

C. Monet: Yes, what a coincidence. LOL.

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

C. Monet: As a child, I was the only girl, spoiled, and the middle child. I was the helper. I learned to cook at an early age and at eleven, I became a big sister. My baby brother is my entire heart, honestly.

Blaque: Awwww! Such a loving big sister. What is your zodiac sign?

C. Monet: I am a Sagittarius, and I am true to most of what they say about my sign. I’m hot or cold, I’m up or down, I’m right or left, and I can be extremely nonchalant. I also hate routine or anything that places me in a box.

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

C. Monet: I am a lover of 80’s R&B. That is what my playlist mainly consists of.

Blaque: I have spoken with so many people from many different areas since I started author spotlighting, so where are you from?

C. Monet: I hail from a small town in Tennessee. I’ve lived in Clarksville all my life, and it’s in all of my books. We have a lot of talent here, and it seems as if we are on the rise.

Blaque: I am a huge movie buff! I love movies, especially movies with black actors and comedians. What is your all-time favorite movie?

C. Monet: My all-time favorite movie is “Cooley High.” I have loved that movie for as long as I can remember. When Cocheese dies I literally scream in horror, like I haven’t seen it before.

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

C. Monet: If my best friend could describe me in one word, she would describe me as old. I’m older than her, and I’ve always been the calmer one.

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

C. Monet: Three years ago, I became a ROLL TIDE by marriage, and I now love the sport and know enough about the game to yell ROLL TIDE on my own.

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

C. Monet: When I was growing up, I wanted to be a teacher and then it moved to being a psychologist as I got older and elected to take a high school course. I was fascinated with the field after that, and I still am somewhat, but it is not what I’m doing right now.

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

C. Monet: I’m a neither person, but I do have a husband that owns 2 black cats, Ace and Onyx. They aren’t as bad as people make them seem. They’re sweet baby kitties.

Blaque: How would you describe your personality?

C. Monet: I would describe my personality as positive patty. I’m a lover of people. It drives my husband crazy that I meet strangers all the time that turn into friends.

Blaque: I love people also, but I can’t say that they turn into friends. LOL. What is your fondest childhood memory?

C. Monet: My fondest childhood memory would be going to Disney World with my step dad. I was sick the whole drive to Florida, but the moment I started to see the castles and buildings, I instantly felt better. We got so many souvenirs that day.

Blaque: Let’s end this interview with this last question. We all have things that annoy the heck out of us, or just plain get on our nerves. What is your biggest pet peeve?

C. Monet: Ok. So, my biggest pet peeve is having to repeat myself. That severely agitates my entire soul. My mom would always say “If you can huh, you can hear”, and it’s true. It drives me crazy for someone to ask me the same question just in a different way.

Blaque: I can definitely understand that. LOL. C. Monet, it has been a great pleasure speaking with you today.

C. Monet: It was great speaking with you also.

Blaque: Well, we can’t end things without you giving readers a chance to check out your work. Leave them with your information so that they can purchase your books. Don’t forget to mention your social media links as well. It’s great when readers can get first-hand information from their favorite authors by following their social media activity.

C. Monet: Of course, I welcome all new readers and followers. Your support means the world to me.

First, both of my books in the completed two-part series Did you think I’d Crumble can be purchased on Amazon. If you enjoy the books, please don’t forget to leave a review. I really appreciate the feedback.

Do You Think I'd Crumble book 1

Did You Think I'd Crumble book 2

Readers can follow my Facebook fan page here.

Feel free to follow my Amazon author page to be alerted when I release a new book by clicking here!

Visit my website to learn more about me and my books by visiting this link.

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Blaque: This concludes another awesome author spotlight! Until next time. Happy writing!

** Note **

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

Author Q and A: David Harris

Author David Harris wearing glasses and smiling

“Dreams can come true if you put God first, and are willing to work hard to make them so.” – David Harris

Blaque: Welcome back to another edition of author spotlight. My guest for today is author David Harris. Welcome David!

David: Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my creations with the world.

Blaque: You are very welcome. It’s a personal treat for me to have the opportunity to speak with so many amazing authors all over the world. Let me start this interview off by asking, where are you from?

David: I am from the small town of Grifton, North Carolina.

Blaque: Wow! Another North Carolinian. I’m in the city of Greensboro.

David: It’s nice to meet another author who is also from North Carolina

Blaque: Yes, it is always exciting to meet someone else from your neck-of-the-woods. So, how many books have you published to date?

David: I have published twelve books to date.

Blaque: Impressive! Where is your favorite place to write?

David: The kitchen table is where I prefer to do most of my writing.

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

David: “The Bible and Slavery” is my favorite book that I have published, because it reveals what slavery is and it’s true origin.

Blaque: What is your favorite food?

David: Tuna is my favorite food.

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

David: I was a very inquisitive child growing up.

Blaque: As authors, we all want to feel like we have contributed something to the world of literature. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as an author?

David: Completing all twelve EBooklets in a timely fashion, and receiving thanks from those who benefited from them is my greatest accomplishment as an author to date.

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

David: My favorite color is blue.

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

David: I get most of my story ideas from the bible.

Blaque: As an author, I’m sure you are also a reader, so what is your all-time favorite book?

David: The Holy Bible is my all-time favorite book. To be more specific, (KJV 1611) is my preferred version to read.

Blaque: If you had a million dollars to donate to a worthy cause, which would it be, and why?

David: If I had $1,000,000 to donate, I would donate it to the National Jewish Hospital for Children. I’ve been a regular donor for many years, and like giving to kids.

Blaque: That would be a great cause to donate that amount of money to. I’m sure the children would greatly appreciate what those funds could do for them.

David: Yes, I’m sure of that as well.

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

David: I really enjoy old southern gospel music and classical music like, Debussy, Bach, Mozart, and Dvorak.

Blaque: Do you have a favorite character that you’ve created?

David: Yes, I do. Her name is Sheba from my soon to be released book, “A Song for Zipporah.”

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

David: I had many favorite shows I enjoyed watching while I was growing up, but “Little House on the Prairie” was my favorite of them all.

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

David: I’d like to tell my story, share my passion, and make a good living doing it.

Blaque: Cookies, cakes, brownies, and the list goes on. Such deliciously sweet treats. What is your favorite dessert?

David: My favorite dessert is banana pudding.

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

David: When I’m not writing, I enjoy painting old houses, and doing minor home repairs.

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

David: I prefer dogs any day over cats.

Blaque: What makes you uniquely you?

David: What makes me unique is that I have a good memory of dates, birthdays, ages, and account numbers.

Blaque: Well, it seems that we both have that unique talent. LOL.

David: Wow! Interesting.

Blaque: What is your all-time favorite movie?

David: “Ben-Hur” is my all-time favorite movie.

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

David: If my best friend could describe me in one word, it would be daddy.

Blaque: How would you describe your personality?

David: I’m easy to get along with, but not a push over.

Blaque: What is your favorite holiday, and why?

David: Veteran’s Day is my favorite holiday. It recognizes those who served and made sacrifices for everyone.

Blaque: I can certainly understand why that would be your favorite holiday. If it wasn’t for our veterans, we wouldn’t have our freedom.

David: That is correct, so that is why they should be celebrated.

Blaque: Having short-term and long-term goals is very important. Where do you see yourself in five years?

David: In five years, I plan to retire and travel around the US.

Blaque: What are you currently working on?

David: I’m in the final stages of completing my 200 plus page historical fiction story entitled “A Song for Zipporah.” She was the Ethiopian wife of Moses. The book fictionalizes how life was for her prior to encountering him and culminates with a wonderful musical wedding.

Blaque: Finally, describe your latest book in just ten words.

David: Hmm… It is very creative, very inspiring, and mystically thought-provoking.

Blaque: What a way to sum things up! So, do you have a way for readers to check out your published books?

David: Yes, readers can check out my website here, where they will find all of my published books.

Blaque: Well, if you are looking for some interesting reading material, then check out author David Harris’s books full of knowledge, helpful scriptures, and his insightful thoughts.

David: Thanks so much for speaking with me today. I hope someone can find wisdom from my stories.

Blaque: I hope so as well. Until next time. Happy writing!

** Note **

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

Author Q and A: Monica Reed

Author Monica Reed smiling

picture of Renew Your Marriage book cover

Blaque: Today’s author spotlight interview features Monica Reed. She writes in the genre of nonfiction/religious fiction. Her books are meant to inspire and empower women and married couples everywhere. Welcome Monica.

Monica: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me.

Blaque: No problem at all. I love women who make it their mission to inspire and empower other women. We all need to look out for each other. It’s great that you are putting your personal stories into a book to help others out there.

Monica: Yes, I share my life’s experiences in this book to let women know that they are not alone, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I also include key elements relating to marriage, and how to keep things going despite setbacks.

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

Monica: I have published one book so far, “Renewing Your Marriage”. I was also a contributing author to “Thriving Entrepreneur”. I also have one book set to release in late February of 2018 titled “Renew You”.

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

Monica: Wow! Only three? That’s hard. Oprah Winfrey is one, because she is willing to push through and show up powerfully in front of the world despite what anyone said or thought about her. Mary J Blige is another, because she is the woman that I held onto when I was a young, confused teenage girl, and I admire her strength. Lastly, David and Tamela Mann, because my husband and I met them during a time that our marriage was falling apart, and they displayed true love, the same love my husband and I showed when we first met. They honor their family unity just like we do.

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

Monica: What women feel they have to go through mentally and physically to be considered accepted in society is what I would change about the world.

Blaque: We all have different sources of inspiration when it comes to writing, what inspires you to write?

Monica: I am inspired by the women who struggle to have a voice in this world. I know they are just waiting for me to show up to open up the topics they struggle to share.

Blaque: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Monica: I see myself owning my own wedding catering hall for couples to have a place for them to come and renew their marriage vows

Blaque: That is a nice goal and future career choice. Weddings happen every day, so I know you will be up to your neck in wedding preparations. LOL.
So tell me, what can bring tears to your eyes?

Monica: The thing that can bring tears to my eyes is children who don’t have a fair chance at life.

Blaque: I can sympathize with that. There are so many lost children in this world.

Monica: Yes, there are.

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

Monica: I just found out that I am the 1st published author in my family. It is an honor to be the 1st published author, because I personally feel that I have set a new goal for generations to come.

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

Monica: I would donate to an organization that would build homes for the homeless and low income families, because everyone needs to have somewhere they can call home.

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

Monica: My husband has been my biggest supporter in my writing career.

Blaque: What makes you uniquely you?

Monica: What makes me unique is no one has had the same combination of experiences in the order that I have experienced them to help the group of women God has sent me to serve

Blaque: If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?

Monica: My first wish would be to leave each of my children their own home fully paid off. Secondly, I would also like to travel the world. My third wish would be to live life in abundance.

Blaque: Sometimes the brain just freezes up, and ideas seem so far out of reach, how do you deal with writer’s block?

Monica: When I have a bout of writer’s block, I stop trying to create scheduled times to write. Instead I make inspired times to write. When I would create scheduled times to write, thoughts and ideas would not come to me. As the day would go on, I would have an inspired thought. I would stop or wake up and write them down immediately, because if I sat on the thought for too long, I would forget it.

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

Monica: Royal Blue and Silver with Glitter are my favorite colors.

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

Monica: R&B and gospel music are my favorite genres of music.

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

Monica: I absolutely love writing my outline on paper, but audio recording my stories works best for me, because it captures the voice and tone in which I would tell the story in person.
I allow my walk of life to be part of my writing, because it is easier to write about, especially since I already lived it.

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

Monica: My upcoming book scheduled to release in February titled “RENEW YOU” is my favorite because the book really brings out common personal issues and thoughts wives deal with every day.

Blaque: What is your fondest childhood memory?

Monica: My fondest childhood memory is summer break! At the end of the year, my elementary school teachers would clean out their classroom by giving the children the left over “dittos” (copied worksheets) and my sister and I would play school and take turns being a teacher for the day.

Blaque: Wow! That does sound like a memory I would want to cherish forever.

Monica: Yes, it was always so much fun.

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

Monica: I’m 100% Scorpio, and proud of it!

Blaque: What is your all-time favorite movie?

Monica: My all-time favorite movie is “Coming to America”.

Blaque: What is your biggest fear?

Monica: Dying young before I have completed my assignment as a mother or a woman here on earth is my biggest fear.

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

Monica: Spending time with my family and watching a really good movie is what I like to do in my spare time when I’m not writing.

Blaque: Life has so many lessons that we can appreciate. As we continue to grow and develop, the life lessons we have learned can help to impact our way of life. If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell him or her?

I would tell her, “Baby, everything you are going through is necessary and is because God has something better for you in store. You are loved and protected by God.”

Blaque: What inspired your latest book?

Monica: When I talked about how my husband and I restored our marriage, people would ask “What did you do during the times it felt that only one of you were committed to changing?” That’s when I realized that I completely missed a whole chapter of my walk. I was now inspired to go back and tell the missing link, and “Renew You” was born.

Blaque: Describe your latest book in just ten words.

Monica: Transparent, relatable, transformational, connective, renewing, powerful, blessed, informative, accepting, and encouraging.

Blaque: Before we end this segment, I want you to leave a piece of advice for potential authors. What advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?

Monica: I would tell them, stop today! Don’t delay! You don’t have to be perfect to write your story.

Blaque: What an outstanding piece of advice. I hope that someone who has the desire to become an author will take heed to your words and pursue their dream.
Would you like to leave readers with your information so that they can follow/befriend you?

Monica: Sure. I manage a Facebook group called Marriage Matter – Couples Connect. If you are a married couple, please feel free to send a request to join the group. We talk all things marriage and ways to keep things on track.
I am also on Facebook if you would like to follow my Renew Your Marriage fan page.

Blaque: Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope some lucky couple out there will garner plenty of inspiration and guidance from your book, and your other activities all relating to marriage.

Monica: Thank you. Marriage is a beautiful union, but it takes a great deal of work to maintain.

Blaque: Well, thanks again for stopping by. I wish you luck on your writing journey. 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.

Heaven or Hell? Part 1

Well, for those of you who read my short story “No More Tears”, which appeared in my short story anthology “Love, Lies, and Heartbreak volume 1”, you will recall that Regina Richards, after years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her husband Calvin, finally took matters into her own hands. She did what she felt was best to relieve her of the pain she suffered at the hands of her husband. It was not the right way to go about it, but she did what she thought was best. Regina murdered Calvin by poisoning him to death. Well, now that Calvin is no longer terrorizing his wife, it’s time for him to answer for his actions. What will his sentence be? Heaven or hell?

Calvin Richards slowly pulled himself up to a seated position and looked around in wide-eyed wonder. Everywhere he looked, all he saw was white. He felt as if he was trapped in the clouds. He rubbed his hands over his eyes, hoping to clear his vision, but when he withdrew his hands, the same vision greeted him. His head swiveled from left to right, but all he saw was white. It wasn’t as if everything in a room was white. He wasn’t in a room. There weren’t any objects in the area at all. The whole scene was just blanketed in white. There were no corners distinguishing walls and floors. It was just a white space.

He slowly stood up to his feet, jutting out his arm to help him along his way. He cautiously slid one foot in front of the other as he crept along. His arm swayed back and forth, trying to guide his path, but the whiteness didn’t dissipate. Calvin’s brows furrowed in confusion. What was this place? Why was he here? How did he get here? What in the world was going on? The last thing he remembered was lying on the kitchen floor, pleading for his wife, Regina to help him. His last vision he could recall was her angry face staring down at him as he took his last breath.

Just then, a light of recognition shone across his face. It finally dawned on him where he was. Since he knew he had died, then that meant that he was in heaven. Regina had killed him, and he was now in heaven. Calvin’s heart began to drum in an unsteady rhythm as this conclusion settled itself in his mind. He wasn’t sure what to expect. He had never imagined dying so young, so he had no idea how heaven worked. He looked around as he continued to creep along, but it seemed as though he was alone.

If he was in heaven, shouldn’t there be people milling about? What about the innocent babies and children who died way too young? Where were they? Grandmothers, fathers, teachers, students, doctors? Where was everyone? His mother? He knew she was in heaven, so where was she? If he was in heaven, then he was sure he wouldn’t be the only one there. Calvin’s confusion continued to plague him as he crept along. The more he walked, the more everything stayed the same. The whiteness didn’t look as if it was going to end any time soon. Calvin walked and walked, swinging his hand back and forth, but nothing changed. The path before and behind him was still white. He even turned to look back where he had come from previously, and everything was just as it was before. White.

Just as he was taking another step, he froze in his tracks at the sudden sound of a loud, booming voice. He snapped his head in the direction of the voice, but he saw no one. Fear slowly began to creep down his spine as he searched in vain for the source of the voice. Who was that? Where were they? How come he couldn’t see them? Calvin had no idea what was going on and where he was, but he felt that things were not supposed to be like this. A sinking, uneasy feeling tugged at his insides. He swallowed a huge lump that had suddenly lodged itself in his throat as his eyes scanned his surroundings for the person speaking.

Calvin slid his right foot in front of his left one just a fraction before he was halted in place by the bodiless voice again.

“Stop right there. Don’t go any further.” the voice ordered.

Calvin froze where he stood. His body quaked in fear as he waited for the voice to speak again. Right before his eyes, Calvin watched in stunned horror as a small beam of golden light appeared out of nowhere. The light seemed to get brighter the larger it became. Calvin threw his hands over his face to shield his eyes from the bright light. It was extremely too bright for him to look directly into it. Just the little moment he had looked into it, he had felt his eyes beginning to burn.

“Drop your hands!” the voice demanded.

Calvin quickly dropped his hands, but he squeezed his eyes as tight as he could get them. Although his eyes were closed, he could still see the golden light streaming through his eyelids. His stomach began to do flips as he waited with baited breath to see what would happen next. He felt on the verge of hurling up his insides, but he tried with all his might to contain his stomach contents.

“Do you know why you’re here?” the voice asked in its deep baritone.

The voice echoed throughout the place. It seemed to echo on and on.

“No,” Calvin said in a small, frightened voice.

“Do you know where you are?” the voice asked.

“No,” Calvin replied.

“Well, let me inform you Calvin Emanuel Richards.”

Calvin shivered at the sound of his full name emanating from the beam of light. It sent an eerie sensation throughout his entire body. How could someone who didn’t have a physical body know his name? As soon as his mind processed that thought, he mentally smacked himself across the forehead. Of course. If he was in heaven, then God would know his name. He just never expected things to be like this in heaven. He thought all people who died would be walking around merrily as if they were still on earth. He didn’t expect things to be so quiet. Eerily quiet. If this was heaven, then it was nothing how he had imagined it to be.

Out of nowhere, a television screen slowly appeared in front of Calvin. He looked around in utter shock as the television turned on by itself. The screen was filled with white static, and the loudness of the volume made Calvin jump back in surprise.

“If you haven’t already guessed. You are in heaven. Well, not exactly. You are in the holding station. You are automatically transported here when you die to be processed. Everyone who dies comes here. I’m sure you’re wondering where all the people who have been admitted to heaven are. They are indeed in heaven where they belong. Just think of things this way. You are on an elevator. There are three floors. Currently, you are stuck on the middle floor. The next floor up is heaven, and the floor beneath you is hell.”

“Holding station?” Calvin asked confused.

“Yes,” the voice boomed. “You didn’t think that you would automatically be granted entrance into my kingdom did you?”

“Um . . . No,” Calvin muttered, looking down at his feet.

“It’s your day of judgment, and I will decide if you are worthy of entering my pearly gates, or if you are destined to spend the rest of your days roasting in the underworld. I am God, and today is the day you answer for your life choices.”

“But how come I can’t see you?” Calvin asked nervously.

“No one can see me until they have been granted access to heaven. If you are not fortunate enough to make it to my holy kingdom, then you will never know what I look like. That is only a perk that my faithful servants are granted. No one who has ever lived has ever seen my face. The only way that is possible is after death, and if you make it to my paradise.”

“Oh . . . “ said Calvin.

He nervously rubbed his hands against his pants. The entire ordeal with making him uncomfortable. A fine sheen of perspiration had begun to form on his forehead and on the top of his lip. His heart rate felt as if he was running laps around a fifty-mile track. Worry lines creased his forehead as he mentally tried to prepare himself for what was to come next. He had no idea what his fate would be. He felt that he had been a pretty decent man on earth, but what he deemed decent may not be the same way that God saw things.

While he had been among the living, Calvin didn’t consider himself a Godly man. He had stopped believing in God a long time ago. He felt that if God really existed, then he would’ve helped his mother out of the abusive relationship that she found herself in, which had eventually claimed her life. He had spent many nights as a child praying to God to help his mother leave his father, but to him, God never answered his prayers. He had hardened his heart to God, and went on with his life without ever acknowledging God’s presence again.

Now that he was faced with the presence of God, guilt slowly began to plague him. He wanted to take back the harsh words he had spewed at God in his times of anger and bitterness, but what was done was done. He never lived his life with regrets, but now that he was faced with an uncertain future, he was regretting his life’s choices. He didn’t see the error of his ways when he was doing wrong, but now he wanted to make amends with the people he hurt. God was real, and Calvin was wishing that he had never turned his back on him. The only problem was, it was too late. He wouldn’t have another opportunity to right his wrongs. Judgment day was upon him, and he had to answer for his actions.

To be continued . . .

Author Q and A: Richelle Resto

Author Richelle Resto

Blaque: Well, it’s a new month, and it’s also time for a new author spotlight. Helping me to bring in the month of March, is Richelle Resto. Welcome Richelle!

Richelle: Thank you so much Blaque Diamond.

Blaque: No problem. Spring is on the horizon, so why not freshen up my blog with a fresh new interview?

Richelle: LOL. I’m glad I’m the person you chose to help you freshen things up a bit.

Blaque: I am as well. So, tell me about your book “The Gift of life Nobody Wanted: Your Tears have Purpose.”

Richelle: Well, I wrote this book to help women understand the rationale of the gifts of pain, devastation, rejection, and the purpose of tears. Throughout this book, I sprinkle little spiritual nuggets and strategies needed to triumph over years of pain.

Blaque: Hmm… Sounds interesting. Coming from someone who knows all about pain, it seems as if this book can perhaps help many women who don’t know how to deal with the obstacles that life may throw in their path. Tears can also have a cleansing effect on the soul. I had to learn that from first-hand experience.

Richelle: You are so right!

Blaque: So, where are you from Richelle?

Richelle: I’m proud to be from Durham, North Carolina.

Blaque: Oh, wow! I’m from Greensboro. I’m not originally from the area, but it has been my home for the past eight years. Durham is only a hop and a skip away from Greensboro.

Richelle: Yep. LOL. Durham is my home.

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

Richelle: I enjoy writing near the water, and listening to the sound of the ocean.

Blaque: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Richelle: People that make excuses for not accomplishing goals is my biggest pet peeve.

Blaque: We all have that favorite something that we just can’t live without, what is your favorite food?

Richelle: My favorite food is Mexican and Seafood.

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

Richelle: I tend to eat ice cream and chew Super Bubble gum until my next thought generates.

Blaque: Wow! That’s different. I’ve never heard anyone say that before. LOL.

Richelle: Well, it works for me. LOL.

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

Richelle: My favorite color is purple and magenta.

Blaque: So, you’re a purple girl.

Richelle: Yes, ma’am.

Blaque: For most authors, writing is something they do on the side apart from a regular nine-five. Do you write full-time, or is writing like a second job?

Richelle: Writing is my passion, and not a hobby that I love to do every day.

Blaque: What is your favorite type of dessert?

Richelle: My favorite dessert is snicker bar cheesecake

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

Richelle: Most of my story ideas originate from college experiences, family, friends, and journal notes.

Blaque: Do you have any other talents besides writing?

Richelle: Yes, my favorite talents include writing poetry and making t-shirt designs.

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

Richelle: My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys for life.

Blaque: What is your all-time favorite movie?

Richelle: My all-time favorite movie is “This Christmas.”

Blaque: I have several works in progress, but what are you currently working on?

Richelle: I’m currently working on two new releases: All Eyes on Me to Achieve My Destiny, and Married to the Church, Wife is a Mistress

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

Richelle: My best friend would describe me as SHY.

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

Richelle: My favorite thing to do is explore different types of restaurants, wrap up in my Snuggie and play Candy Crush.

Blaque: What inspired your latest book?

Richelle: These books were inspired by my husband and father-in-love.

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

Richelle: I love my two pets Sir Julius and Princess Eva.

Blaque: Awww! What cute names for your pets. LOL.

Richelle: Yes, they are my world.

Blaque: What is your all-time favorite book?

Richelle: My favorite book is “Woman thou art loose” by: T. D. Jakes.

Blaque: How would you describe your personality?

Richelle: My personality is fun, serious, and loyal.

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

Richelle: My favorite show was Good Times.

Blaque: I agree one-hundred percent. I still watch reruns on DVD to this day. My favorite character of all was JJ, of course. He was dynamite! LOL.

Do you have a favorite character that you’ve created?

Richelle: My favorite imaginary character that I’ve created is Lynette.

Blaque: Ok, before we wrap this up, describe your latest book in just ten words.

Richelle: This book offers spiritual nuggets to triumph over years of pain.

Blaque: I see you are a person who believes that there is purpose in your pain. I do as well.

Richelle: Yes, I do.

Blaque: What we go through in life helps us to become who we are supposed to be. You take the joy with the pain and make the best of it.

Richelle: I agree.

Blaque: Well, Mrs. Resto, I am so glad that you stopped by to speak with me today. It has been great getting to know you better.

Richelle: Thanks so much for allowing me this opportunity to speak with you. It has been my pleasure.

Blaque: So, any of you readers out there looking for some spiritual nuggets to get you through tough times? Check out Richelle Resto’s book “The Gift Nobody Wanted: Your Tears have Purpose. I’m sure you’ll find some wisdom and inspiration that will help get you through the murky waters of life.

The gift of life nobody wanted: your tears have purpose book cover

For more about Richelle and her books, check out her website here.

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.

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.

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

 

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: 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.

Author Q and A: Annette Whitaker-Moss

 

 

Picture of author Annette Whitaker-Moss

 

“My mouth will speak with caution, but my tongue has no limits as my heart strives to motivate happiness, joy, and understanding the essence of love and longevity.” – Annette Whitaker-Moss

 

Blaque: On today’s author spotlight, I’m taking a trip down south to Houston, Texas. I have the pleasure of speaking with Annette Whitaker-Moss.

 

Annette: It is nice to meet you Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: It is nice to meet you as well. So, are you originally from Houston?

 

Annette: Yes, I grew up in Houston, Texas.

 

Blaque: Nice. So, what do you write?

 

Annette: I am a poet and author. I have been writing poetry since I was young.

 

Blaque: Awesome! I write poetry as well, and I write what I consider contemporary African-American fiction. I’m sure your poetry expresses your joy, faith, pain, and love throughout each and every word. So, I want to let readers get to know more about the woman behind the poetic proses.

 

Annette: Great! I have a lot to tell my readers about myself.

 

Blaque: As we all do. It’s nice sometimes to pull off the professional attire and put on some lounging clothes to relax in. That’s the kind of scene I like to paint, so author’s can be themselves and open up to their readers. So, tell me, what makes you uniquely you?

 

Annette: What makes me uniquely me is my sense of humor and the truthfulness and sarcasm within it. Once a person understands my personality, I am then recognized as a very good friend.

 

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

 

Annette: I prefer writing my first drafts on the computer because it’s neater, faster in correcting errors, and easier to add or delete, if desired.

 

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

 

Annette: Most of my story ideas come from life experiences of myself and others sharing what they have gone through.

 

Blaque: Yes, I can definitely agree to that. What I write, I’m sure someone in this big ole world has experienced before, even if I don’t know them personally. That’s why readers can relate to my work so well. It’s reality. So, what advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?

 

Annette: I tell everyone I know who has a passion for writing to always write their thoughts and ideas down on paper or the computer, because that’s what writers do, they write. The goal is to keep writing and creating. You can always organize, edit, etc., if you have a starting point. Publishing and marketing is a whole lesson on its own, but you can’t start publishing unless you have written something down. So, keep writing!

 

Blaque: That is some sound advice you gave. My zodiac sign is Virgo, what is your zodiac sign?

 

Annette: My zodiac sign is Sagittarius, which has a suggested personality of high purpose, creativity and ambition. I can truly say that I fit all three categories.

 

Blaque: If you were trapped on a desert island and could bring only one person, who would it be and why?

 

Annette: If I was trapped on a desert island, I would bring my BFF, because we have weathered many storms together. Our faith and strength are in God. Through him, all things are possible. The two of us would encourage one another and survive any ordeal we encountered.

 

Blaque: Do you have any other talents besides writing?

 

Annette: My other talents, as a teenager, was oil painting and playing the piano. I haven’t done much of either lately since I started writing, but I still have a passion for both. Someday, when time permits, I would like to start again painting and playing the piano.

 

Blaque: Hmm . . . Interesting. As a teen, my talent was drawing. I could practically duplicate almost anything I wanted by just looking at it. I do miss drawing, but I now draw pictures with my words instead. I know I’m guilty of this, but have you ever used people you know as characters in your books?

 

Annette: Yes, my first novel, Good Kid in Trouble was based on true events that happened in my son’s life while he was in middle school. Things are so different from when I was in school. In this day and time, I felt it was a story that needed to be told.

 

Blaque: What is your all-time favorite movie?

 

Annette: My all-time favorite movie is Pretty Women with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. You never know how God will deliver a blessing, so people must be careful in how they treat others.

 

Blaque: We all have things that we are afraid of, so tell me yours. What is your biggest fear?

 

Annette: I am directionally-challenged. My biggest fear is being lost. I will break out in hives when I can’t find my way to any desired location. And, that’s with using the GPS. It’s ridiculous!

 

Blaque: Well, that certainly is a justifiable fear. I’m sure no one wants to be lost. So, I see you mentioned earlier that you have a BFF.

 

Annette: Yes, I do.

 

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

 

Annette: Genuine

 

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

 

Annette: The worst writing mistake I made was not having my first book of poetry professionally edited. Although the mistakes were minimum, the price to correct them was costly.

 

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

 

Annette: When I am not writing, I love to swing dance in my spare time. I’m not that good at it, but I love trying!

 

Blaque: Wow! Swing dancing? That’s definitely something different. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try it though. Lol. As children we all dream of what we want to be when we grow up, so what did you want to be when you grew up? Is that the occupation you’re in now?

 

Annette: I wanted to be an accountant when I grew up. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Business. I did not become an accountant, but I have always worked in the accounting field.

 

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

 

Annette: Writing is like a second job for me. Unfortunately, writing has not paid the bills, but my time is coming when writing will be my full-time job. That is the goal!

 

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

 

Annette: I am not really an animal lover. However, I’ve had two dogs in my lifetime that I really loved and felt loved in return. My last dog was named “Missy”. I had her for seventeen years. We had to euthanize her two years ago.

 

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

 

Annette: I am so amazed when a reader tells me they enjoyed reading my books. I really feel blessed to know that someone else can relate and enjoy my poems and/or stories. The feedback really keeps me motivated.

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

Annette: My goal as an author is to be an inspiration to my children, nieces, and nephews. I want them to know they can do or be anyone they want, if they work hard and believe in themselves and whatever it is that they want to do. As a writer, I want to write a best-seller that can be made into a play and/or a movie.

 

Blaque: As authors, I think we all would like to see our books performed on stages and broadcasted on the big-screen, including myself. What has been the hardest hurdle you had to jump over while embarking on your writing career?

 

Annette: I think most authors would say marketing is the hardest hurdle one has to jump over in this career. It has certainly been the hardest for me. I rather write than market, but you can’t really be successful without doing both, unless you write strictly for fun.

 

Blaque: I agree 100%. Marketing is definitely the hardest hurdle I am having to jump over. Once I really find my audience though, I feel things will level themselves out. As an author, we are also readers, so what is your all-time favorite book?

 

Annette: Sybil, written by Flora Rheta Schreiber in 1973. I am simply fascinated with multiple personality’s stories. Sybil was the first one that I read. It was the beginning of my love for identity disorder stories.

 

Blaque: Well, we have come to the end of another interesting and informative author spotlight interview. I enjoyed getting to know Annette just as much as I’m sure the rest of you did.

 

Annette: it was a great opportunity for me to open up and let my readers see the layers that make me who I am.

 

Blaque: Well, you know we can’t end things without giving readers a chance to check out your work. So, where can your books be found?

 

Annette: Of course not. This is promotion isn’t it? Lol.

 

Blaque: Yes, it is.

 

Annette: My book of poetry entitled One Heart to Another can be purchased as an EBook and paperback from Amazon and other retailers  and my novel Good Kid in Trouble can be purchased from Amazon as an EBook.

 

Blaque: Do you have a website?

 

Annette: Yes, readers can visit my website to purchase my published books, see up-coming events, and learn more about me and my writing by visiting Annette Whitaker’s Website.

 

Blaque: Ok, nice. Where can readers find you on social media?

 

Annette: I am on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Readers can feel free to follow me to keep up with the latest of my writing journey.

 

Blaque: Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you today.

 

Annette: Thanks so much for having me. It was nice to relax and take a load off.

 

Blaque: Lol. My pleasure. Until next time. Happy writing.

 

 

 

 

 

The Triumph in Me Book Review

 

Picture of The Triumph in Me: Living to Die, but Decided to Live book cover

 

The triumph in me: Living to Die, but Decided to Live

 

By: Kashinda T. Marche

 

While at a book-signing event this past weekend, I was given an autographed copy of this book. The author talked a little about the book during the event, and I was intrigued to find out more about it. Because of my visual impairment, the print book wouldn’t have done me any good since I can’t read the words. I did appreciate receiving a signed copy from the author though, so I added it to my library in my home-office for safe-keeping. I didn’t want to wait to have someone read it to me, so I went on Amazon to see if the book was available as an EBook. Yes!!! It was available on Kindle, so I wouldn’t miss out on a great read. I immediately downloaded the book to my Kindle library and began to read.

 

I was drawn into the story just by the first few lines. Tharisse, the main character was a young girl growing up in the urban streets of New Jersey. The story talked about her life growing up and the things she and her friends got into as young teens. Her parents were on drugs, so Tharisse was practically raising herself and her younger siblings. She became promiscuous in her teen years, looking for the acceptance she always yearned for.

 

When Tharisse is fifteen-years-old, she meets Eugene, who is twenty-seven-years-old. He treats Tharisse like she has always wanted to be treated. He buys her the latest fashions, he chauffeurs her and her friends around town in his car, and he even gives her money. To her young mind, this is love. Love is something she has always been trying to find, so to her, Eugene is her knight in shining armor. Her mother has a problem with Tharisse dating Eugene, but she continues to date him anyway. Tharisse falls head-over-heels in love with Eugene, and she doesn’t care who doesn’t like it.

 

At the age of seventeen, Tharisse finds herself pregnant with Eugene’s baby. When Tharisse tells her mother that she is pregnant, she walks away disappointed in her daughter; even though she was the same exact age when she gave birth to Tharisse. Eugene never reacted to the news of Tharisse’s pregnancy either way. Tharisse’s pregnancy was a hard one filled with sickness and misery, but thankfully she delivered a healthy baby girl. Tharisse strived to be the best mother she could be to her daughter. She didn’t want her to grow up in the life that she had, so she did what she had to do to show her daughter a different way of life. When her daughter was just eleven-months old, Tharisse got some devastating news that would change her life forever. She was diagnosed with HIV. Somehow, Eugene had contracted the virus, and he had given it to Tharisse. She wasn’t sure how long she had the virus, but when she went to be tested, she was told that she was infected.

 

Tharisse hoped and prayed that her daughter had not contracted the virus, and by the grace of God, she had not. Tharisse went into a deep depression after finding out the news. She couldn’t figure out how she would raise her daughter when she had been pronounced with a death sentence. The story goes on to describe Tharisse’s life and struggles of dealing with her HIV status. There were plenty of ups and downs as she comes to terms with her illness. Tharisse instills positive skills and inspirations in her daughter as she grows up, trying to guide her in the right direction. She didn’t want her daughter to make the same mistakes, or worse mistakes than she did.

 

Tharisse deals with low self-esteem issues, so she makes her daughter stand in the mirror every day and tell herself that she is beautiful. Tharisse is later diagnosed with mental illnesses as well, and she attempts suicide when her lover exposes her condition to another of her lovers. Tharisse was truthful to some people about her condition, but she kept her status from others as well, so when her lover exposed her, she fell over the deep edge. She didn’t think that life was worth living anymore since she was already dying from HIV. Thankfully, Tharisse was not successful in her suicide attempt, and she got the help that she needed through therapy. She decided to turn her life around in a more positive direction for her daughter. She didn’t want to traumatize her child for the rest of her life, so she started living her life with a purpose instead of living her life recklessly.

 

This was a story that really hit home for me. Having a family member who died from HIV, made this story so real to me. The fact that Tharisse contracted the virus at such a young age, brought tears to my eyes. All she ever wanted was to be loved, and the one man she gave her heart to, gave her a death sentence. She was looking for love and thought she found it, but sadly, she was mistaken. Growing up in a world uninformed and uneducated, caused Tharisse to go down the wrong path in life, searching for the love she never found in herself. What she hadn’t been taught, she tried to teach to her daughter. She wanted her to have a better outlook on life than she did.

 

What I took from this book is, nothing is promised to anyone. In the blink of an eye, your life as you know it can be swept up from under you without any explanation. Good health, life, wealth, love, or anything else isn’t promised to anyone, so you should live your life to the best of your ability. When Tharisse finally decided to change her mind-set, she saw the world through different eyes. She was able to see positivity where she once saw only negativity. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story of strength and inspiration. It will allow you to take a look at your own life situations and possibly change the way you do things.

 

None of us is perfect, and we all have done things that we are not too proud of, but the only way we can get pass them is if we change. We have to change our thinking, change our attitudes on life, and change the way we react to situations. We can’t wait around for someone to change things for us, we have to be that change we want to see in our life. It was unfortunate what happened to Tharisse, but in the end she changed. She changed for the betterment of her daughter, and she changed for the betterment of herself. She began to live, instead of living to die.

 

 

Author Q and A: Bj Edwards

picture of author BJ Edwards

 

Hello everyone. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with author BJ Edwards. I love to travel, but I never thought I would get the chance to take a virtual trip to visit the United Kingdom.

 

BJ: Thank you so much for having me Blaque Diamond. You should really take a trip out here. I’m sure you will find it a fascinating place to visit.

 

Blaque: I just might have to do that. The United Kingdom is a place on my bucket list that I would love to visit in my lifetime.

 

BJ: I would love to give you a tour.

 

Blaque: Awww! That’s so sweet of you. I would really like that. So, I would like to talk to you and see who you are behind your title of author.

 

Bj: There is a lot about me that people may not know.

 

Blaque: I’m sure there is. It is a great opportunity for readers to get to know you more. So, lets get started. How many books have you published to date?

 

BJ: I have had three books published to date, not including poems that have crept into anthologies. I also write plays and screenplays, some of which have been produced or published. I have a number of books waiting to be published, but publishers work very slowly!

 

Blaque: That’s awesome! What kind of child were you growing up?

 

BJ: Well, this is tricky. I suppose I was curious and creative. I asked a lot of questions and wanted to know everything I could. I always had a strong imagination which I channelled into play, then art, then into the creation of my own stories and characters.

 

Blaque: What makes you uniquely you?

 

BJ: At this point I should say that everyone is unique. That said, I am totally blind, I have been visually impaired all my life, so I guess it has given me a unique perspective. Allied to this, I am passionately devoted to fitness and exercise. So, I guess I am a hybrid – someone who loves books, art and theatre, and someone who loves sweating, sport and martial arts!

 

Blaque: Oh Wow! We have something in common. I am also totally blind. I haven’t been visually impaired all my life, but I am now, and I have adjusted to my new life quite well. So, if you were granted three wishes, what would they be?

 

BJ: Firstly, I would wish that one of my scripts or books would be turned into a film, that would be amazing. Secondly, I would wish that I had a part in a Star Wars film. I mean, a proper part with a lightsaber! Thirdly, I wish that I could direct one of my own plays at a West End theatre. Yes, I know, these are all really selfish, and I should have wished for world peace, or Donald Trump to spontaneously combust or something. But this is unashamedly about me!

 

Blaque: Another thing we have in common I see. Lol. I too would like to see my books performed on a stage and shown on the big screen. That would be awesome! Now, I know how I deal with writer’s block, but how do you deal with writer’s block?

 

BJ: I always make sure I am working on more than one project. In essence, I make sure I am juggling more than two balls, so if I drop one, I can carry on. So, I always try to have a story or book to write, or a play or script to write or edit. This way I can still be productive if I’ve completely ran out of steam in another project.

 

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

 

BJ: Stalking The Shadows will always be special to me. It’s complex, multi-layered and was difficult to write. It deals with so many passions of mine; magic, battle, anthropology, theology, fantasy. I loved writing it, and love so many of the characters.

 

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

 

BJ: Some stories start life as an emotion, a tincture of feeling that I want to communicate. Others start off from a dream, or a character or event. The key is to give the seed of an idea time to grow. Sometimes an idea will become a poem, sometimes it will become a storey or a play, and sometimes it will grow and evolve a life of its own and become a novel. Ideas are everywhere, fragments of wonder that float amongst us. The key is to capture it, take care of it, nurture it and allow it to fuse with your mind and soul.

 

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

 

BJ: Just write. Practice and enjoy. Write for yourself, for your own enjoyment and satisfaction. Writing can be deeply personal and therapeutic, it can make you happy, elated, excited or sad. Poor emotion and imagination into your writing, and don’t get bogged down in thinking about getting published. Just write, and if you’re determined enough, or lucky enough, somebody else will enjoy your words and invest in them.

 

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

 

BJ: My zodiac sign is Sagittarius.

 

Blaque: Who is your favourite author and why?

 

BJ: This is tough, I admire so many authors. If someone was to hold a gun to my head, I would have to say Bernard Cornwell. He is consistently excellent, and his research is exemplary. I adore so much of what he writes.

 

Blaque: Do you have any other talents besides writing?

 

BJ: I am a little bit musical. I play the piano, clarinet, saxophone, and sing.

 

Blaque: What is your biggest fear?

 

BJ: Failure is my biggest fear.

 

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

 

BJ: I’ll actually text him and ask…. back in a few minutes… Ok, he said, “Contrasting.”

 

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

 

BJ: I go to the gym everyday – in fact, I try to train for about two hours a day. I love rowing and cycling. I also love going to the theatre, watching films, music and reading. I also collect swords.

 

Blaque: What did you want to be when you grew up?

 

BJ: When I was really small, I wanted to be an ice cream man! Then I wanted to be an archaeologist, then an actor. I ended up being an English teacher, before taking up writing seriously.

 

Blaque: Are you a dog or a cat person?

 

BJ: Dogs all the way. I have a big black Labrador guide dog called Oliver. Though, my first pet was a cat called Bill, and my second pet was a Yorkshire terrier called Loo-Loo!

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

BJ: Bestselling books are seldom the best written books. My goal is to get more books published, and work with progressively bigger publishers. It would be good to get my work out into more book shops. It would be nice to come across someone on a train and notice they are reading one of my books.

 

Blaque: If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell it?

 

BJ: “You know, life is often pretty hard. Sometimes it’s like pushing a boulder uphill whilst wearing roller skates. But keep on trying, keep on working, keep believing and never give-up. Find the beauty in everyday things, and life just might work out Ok.”

 

Blaque: What is your all-time favourite book?

 

BJ: Tricky. The book that had the most profound effect on me was Wilbur Smith’s Sunbird. The book that moves me the most is Cry The Beloved Country.

 

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

 

BJ: Autumn. There’s a very interesting energy to the changing of the season, the falling of the leaves and the sun as it dips lower and burns more fitfully. The smell of wood smoke, the crunch of leaves, the knowledge that Winter waits, and that bonfires will soon be coaxed into life.

 

Blaque: Very interesting interview. It was nice to see that we have some things in common.

 

BJ: Yes, I wanted to give readers a deeper sense of who I am.

 

Blaque: That I can tell. I’m sure they found out some things about you today that they never knew. So, where can your books be purchased?

 

BJ: Readers can purchase my book Stalking The Shadows: Ancient Destiny Book 1 on

 

Audible

 

It is available as an EBook and an audio book. They can also purchase my book Tesserae from Amazon in EBook or paperback versions.

 

Blaque: Where can readers find you on social media?

 

BJ: They can find me here

 

Twitter

Facebook

 

Blaque: Are you also a blogger?

 

BJ: yes, my blog can be found at

 

BJ’s WordPress blog

 

Blaque: And your website?

 

BJ: My website can be found at

 

BJ’s Website

 

Blaque: Well, everyone, I hope you enjoyed getting to know just a little bit more about author BJ Edwards. Be sure to check out his publications. If you are a fan of historical fiction, poetry, or fantasy, then I’m sure you will find some amazing adventures in his books.

 

BJ: It was a pleasure speaking with you today Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: The pleasure was all mine. Thanks for having me. I’m going to hold you to that tour of the UK.

 

BJ: I’m a man of my word.

 

Blaque: Until next time. Happy writing.