Words of My Heart Revisited

Book cover of Words of my heart poetry collection

Back in August of 2017, I released my first collection of poetry. The book consisted of forty-eight poems divided into seven categories. They were a combination of different poetry styles that I have learned over the years. I have been writing poetry since I first began to write, which was at the age of eleven, so “Words of My Heart” was compiled of poems spanning fifteen years of writing off and on.

I only published the poetry collection in an EBook format, because I didn’t feel that I had enough poems to successfully fill a hardback copy of the book. With only forty-eight poems, the book would’ve been pretty slim in my opinion, so I settled for just an EBook version. According to my readers though, they wanted a physical copy of the poetry collection. They liked the EBook version, but they wanted to actually flip through the pages of the book and read the poems for themselves. Which I can definitely agree with. There is nothing better than the feel of an actual, physical book in your hands, so I understand where they were coming from.

Well, I went back to the drawing board and started writing some new poems that I could include in an updated version of the book. Instead of the forty-eight poems I started with, I now have seventy-five poems that make up this poetry collection. I even added an extra category! Each section of the new version of “Words of My Heart” have poems specifically dealing with that category. I even have included some poems that I didn’t quite know where to put them, so I listed them as miscellaneous poetry. They are still poems, but they didn’t fit with any of the categories that I have selected to be included in the book.

So, now thanks to feedback from my readers, they will now have a physical copy of my poetry collection. I think this will be a nice little read to sink their teeth into. Seventy-five poems spanning eight different categories is a nice collection if I do say so myself. Who knows? By the time it is released, I might have included even more poems, so right now, it’s seventy-five in counting. LOL. In this poetry collection, I touch on different aspects of life. In my section of poetry titled, “Beat of My Heart”, I share poems dealing with love. Love is a roller-coaster in itself, so the poems in this section shows the ups and downs that love can take us through. Love can be oh so right, but it can also be oh so wrong, and these poems portray that exactly.

This collection of poetry now even includes a section of nature poems, which was not previously included. Nature is beautiful, so I decided to use my gift of words to explore the different beauties of God’s creations. I have always been told that I have a way with words, so I hope that my readers can take a look at life the way I see it. I will publish this new version of “Words of My Heart” as a second edition. I’m not sure if I will do away with the previous version yet, but more than likely I probably will. The old version will feel more like an incomplete version to me, and I don’t want readers to get that impression.

If you have already had the pleasure of reading the first version of “Words of My Heart”, then you are in for a treat with this new version. I put a lot of effort and time into making sure that I only selected the best poems I thought would entertain my readers. I have a little something for everyone in this new and improved version. My hope is that someone can take something away with them when they are done reading this collection. Whether its inspiration and motivation, a new outlook on life, adding some spice to their sex life, or just quenching their thirst for good poetry, I hope I have done my job correctly, and you are just waiting with baited breath to read another collection of poetry from me.

Right now, I don’t have an exact release date for this second edition of “Words of My Heart”, but it is definitely coming soon. Along with the release of this new version, I do plan on giving away free hardback copies to fans of poetry. Who doesn’t like free? LOL. I know I do, and if you’re a fan of poetry, that’s even better! Stay tuned to find out when the new version of “Words of My Heart” will be released. I’m letting my words flow from my heart to yours.

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.

For those of you who would like to receive exclusive content, don’t forget to join my Facebook group here. There are lots of goodies for you to discover!

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: Kelly Violet

Headshot of author Kelly Violet

Blaque: Welcome back to another spotlight author interview. Here with me on my virtual couch is author Kelly Violet. Welcome Kelly!

Kelly: Thanks so much for having me Blaque Diamond.

Blaque: You are very welcome. Anything I can do to help another up-and-coming author, I will do. Besides, some of the best books are still just waiting to be discovered.

Kelly: You’re right about that.

Blaque: So, what inspires you to write?

Kelly: The everyday inspires me to write. When a story comes to me, it mostly starts as an emotion. Something hits me hard. It could be a line in a movie, or something I witnessed or remembered. Then parts of the story come together in my mind.

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

Kelly: I have a favorite spot in the city I live in. I go there to soak up the environment and dig deep in whatever story I’m working on.

Blaque: It’s always nice to have a special place you can go to let your creative juices flow. It’s sort of like your own little private getaway. What is your favorite food?

Kelly: My favorite food of all-time is home-made macaroni and cheese. It’s the best at holidays and just every day, really.

Blaque: I can’t help but agree with you 100%. I love me some baked macaroni and cheese. Mmm!

Kelly: LOL. My thoughts exactly.

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

Kelly: In five years, I’d like to be more advanced in both my careers. In terms of writing, I’d like to have a lot more novels and novellas published in all of the genres I’m interested in.

Blaque: What can bring tears to your eyes?

Kelly: A good, emotional commercial can get the waterworks going. Otherwise, it’s altogether too easy to get me crying. Songs and sad endings of movies do it too.

Blaque: I am totally such a cry baby as well. It doesn’t take much for me to get going. Happy or sad, I’m crying. LOL.

Kelly: Wow! That’s funny.

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

Kelly: My mom, who I lost in 2017 and my younger sister have been my biggest and loudest fans. I have a small group of friends who’ve also been great supporters and from who I constantly ask advice and their opinion.

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

Kelly: As a child, I was very bratty. Not rude all the time (I don’t think), but I definitely had a mouth on me. In school, I was well behaved and studious.

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

Kelly: I think Touch Me Softly will always have a special place in my heart (and so will Wyn and Rafe!), but as for my favorite book, I don’t think I’ve written it yet.

Blaque: I can understand that completely. I don’t think I’ve written my favorite book yet either. What is your favorite color?

Kelly: Violet will be my cheeky answer. Honestly, I like shades of purple and gray.

Blaque: LOL. I came to that assumption from your name.

Kelly: Yeah, my name makes it sort of obvious. LOL.

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

Kelly: I do a lot on my computer nowadays. It’s easier for me. I write on my phone from time to time. I have written on paper before, but it’s just not the best way when I have so many devices now.

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

Kelly: I get most of my story ideas from movies, television, or conversations I have. Also, I think back to certain experiences I had or things I’ve seen and think “what if?” What if this happened instead? Or what if I said this, what would happen. That’s what starts a lot of my stories. The more suspenseful stuff, I guess it comes from the dark places in my mind. LOL.

Blaque: If you were offered an all-expense paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?

Kelly: It’s so hard to choose only one destination!

Blaque: Well, for this question just one will do. LOL.

Kelly: I’d have to go with any place in Europe (spoiler alert: cheat answer) because I could hop over to any country so easy once I land in Europe.

Blaque: Uh-huh! Clever rascal! LOL. I’ll let you have that one.

Kelly: LOL. Sorry.

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

Kelly: Yes and no. I use personality traits or stories mostly and expand or change things.

Blaque: I understand that. I have done the same thing in my own writings. So, if your best friend could describe you in one word, what would it be?

Kelly: Loyal.

Blaque: Great! Loyalty is definitely a great personality trait to have. Do you write full-time, or is writing like a second job?

Kelly: Currently, writing is a second job. Like most folks, I’d like to work at this for more hours in the day, but I love my other career. Ideally, I want a nice balance between the two.

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

Kelly: I am a dog person. As I get older I don’t mind cats anymore, but I will forever be a dog person.

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

Kelly: I’d like to write books that people will read and enjoy, an auto-buy author for readers. Making lists and winning awards would be nice, but that’s not my end goal. If I achieve those things that wouldn’t mean I was done. I want to push myself for greatness, but on my terms.

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

Kelly: Yes, I hope my mom would be proud of me. She read some pages of one of my WIPs, and she was so excited, wanting more. I got the greatness charge with that feedback from her.

Blaque: no matter how many books we have already published, most authors always have something in the works. What are you currently working on?

Kelly: I’m working on a New Adult standalone novella. I’m really excited about releasing this story in 2018. I was inspired by a line of poetry in a movie. It triggered my brain in some way, and a piece of poetry practically starts this story.

Blaque: What inspired your latest book?

Kelly: As men and women, we all have baggage. Things that we wished we could change. Experiences that haunt us and try to pull us down into the darkness. Wyn and Rafe find each other the exact moment they are supposed to. And I wanted to write about some of the experiences we have and that moment many of us wish for.

Blaque: How would you describe your personality?

Kelly: I’ve been described as bubbly before. I’m loyal, funny, sarcastic, and observant. Quiet at times, I’m usually sizing situations (and people) up but I also am reading the room to figure out where I fit in, or not!

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

Kelly: I loved the TGIF lineup on ABC in the 90s! Can’t really pick one show.

Blaque: When writing, the word count in some cases is important, and in others not so much. What is the word count of your longest publication?

Kelly: Touch Me Softly is approximately 89K.

Blaque: Wow! A nice bit of book to sink your teeth into.

Kelly: Yes, it is.

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

Kelly: Not yet. I really love Wyn and Rafe because they’ll always be the first characters I fully developed. I still have so many characters inching to get out.

Blaque: Well, this interview is coming to a close. I have enjoyed getting to know more about you and your writing.

Kelly: I have enjoyed letting my readers get to know a bit more about me as well. Author is just one of my many hats I like to wear. LOL.

Blaque: I can definitely relate to that. I have just one last request for you. Describe your latest book in just ten words.

Kelly: Angsty, emotional, flirty, hesitant, hopeful, touching, rocky, swoon-worthy, heartwarming, life-altering

Blaque: What great words to describe your work! So, before we shut down this interview, would you like to leave readers with your contact information so that they can reach out to you?

Kelly: Sure. Readers can find me on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They can also visit my website at Kelly Violet’s Website.

cover of touch me softly book

Blaque: Thank you so much for speaking with me today.

Kelly: No, thank you for this great opportunity!

Blaque: 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.

Prisoner of Love

prison bars with hearts locked behind them

My heart wants exactly what it wants

Beating rapidly is my hearts response

I never want to lose this beautiful feeling

It’s my hopelessly imprisoned love you are stealing

Being shackled to you is something I don’t mind

Another love like this I won’t ever find

Cuffed together as eternal prisoners

This kind of love needs no weekly visitors

Locked behind our invisible bars

Our words of love carved like permanent scars

The bail to escape this love is denied

You wouldn’t be able to break out even if you tried

We’re caged together like two love birds

Our only conversation is the sound of our sweet words

We don’t need food we can survive off love alone

The next time we will see the daylight to us is unknown

The guards know they can’t break this love up

To get through to our hearts can’t be done with back up

The judge can throw the entire book at us

And I promise you that we won’t make a single fuss

We don’t mind that our love is locked down

Because when we are together our love is always around

There’s no need for fancy expensive lawyers

We’re guilty as charged so command your orders

There is no probation or early release date

I don’t want anyone else as my love mate

I’d rather we stay in our love cell together

With a love like this we can make it through whatever

My heart is jailed and yours is too

There is no other I’d do my time with than you

Blaque Diamond Love Box Giveaway

Table displaying items included in Blaque Diamond's Love Box

As an author, I am very appreciative of the people who take the time to purchase and read my books. Out of the billions of books in the world, they chose me, and that brings joy to my heart. A lot of passion and hard work goes into writing a book. Long nights, and even longer days are required to get the storyline just right. After pouring your all into your creative expression and getting it published, the next hurdle is getting readers. You hope that they enjoy reading your book as much as you enjoyed writing it. You don’t just write for yourself, you write for the readers as well. What’s the point in writing something that no one else will read?

So, since Valentine’s Day was around the corner, I devised a way to give back to my readers. I wanted to reward their loyalty and support of my writing career. I could’ve just given a gift card, or an autographed copy of their favorite book of mine, but I wanted to put more thought into it. I wanted to show my gratitude in a significant way. My readers mean the world to me, so why not reward them for their continued support? Without them, I wouldn’t have the title of author. So, Blaque Diamond’s Love Box was formed. I love to write, and my readers love to read, so Valentine’s Day was the perfect holiday to put the two loves together.

I have an exclusive readers group on Facebook that is limited to only my loyal readers. I created this group to establish beta readers to receive honest input on works in progress. So far, the feedback I have received has been amazing. The readers are always anxious to read another chapter from a book I am working on. Currently, I have four, so they get to experience the development of the stories as I write them. From beginning to end. So, I created my giveaway. The only thing they had to do in order to enter into the drawing was to reply to the invite and say that they were going. Out of the thirty-six people I invited, only eight responded, so those eight names were put into the drawing.

I did not say what the box would contain until the night of the drawing. So, my readers entered into the contest blind. LOL. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to give. I tossed a few ideas around in my head until I came up with the perfect gifts. Valentine’s Day is a day of love, so I was showing my love in a big way. I did the drawing on February, 7th during a live Facebook video in my group. I chose the winner live and announced what the winner would be receiving. It was such a fun activity, and I do plan to do more things like this in the future. The winner was so excited to be the lucky recipient of Blaque Diamond’s Love Box. She said,

“Wow! Thank you!!! I AM in complete shock. I never win anything. I look forward to reading your books, eating chocolates, and using the “famous” body butters. You have made my night!! I am in tears here at work.” – Angie Rice

Blaque Diamond’s Love Box included: four jars of my homemade body butters, which included a 4 OZ. jar of Lovely Lavender, a 4 OZ. jar of White Chocolate, a 1.5 OZ. jar of Pumpkin Vanilla, and a 1.5 OZ. jar of brown sugar and spice. The box also included a $25 Red Lobster gift card, a singing teddy bear, 3 of my books autographed, and a box of assorted Valentine truffles. Who wouldn’t love that? She received it just in time for Valentine’s Day. I hope she enjoys everything she received, and I thank her and others for being so supportive on my writing journey. The appreciation and thanks go a long way, and I want to do what I can to give back to the people who support me.

Check out the video here of me announcing the winner.

Someone Like Me

 

the sign representing the disabled

 

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

 

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

 

You say I’m beautiful and sexy

But you could never be with someone like me

The fact that I can’t physically see

Makes me unworthy

Of being your girl

Or a part of your world

You like that I am intelligent

But the fact that I am blind makes it irrelevant

My personality turns you on

But for your image I am so wrong

You have a misconception

That my disability is an imperfection

My inability to see makes me less than

A real woman for a so-called real man

I am good enough for you to fuck

But at the thought of being with me you buck

What would your friends and family say?

If I had the fortune to meet them one day

Or would I just be your little secret

Your girl when convenient

If you really got to know me

Then you would clearly see

That just because I am different

Doesn’t mean you have to be ignorant

There is a whole lot more to me

Like love, compassion, and loyalty

Having a disability has its challenges

But doesn’t everyone have their own imbalances?

I am just as good as anyone else

I do my own thing, I take care of myself

But to you I am only just half a woman

So to love me is something you couldn’t

I’m independent

Not easily offended

By your lack of interest

Or hesitance for a commitment

But at the end of the day

No matter what you think or say

I know what I am worth

A blessing on this earth

A real man will see me

And know that I am worthy

Of being his girl

A part of his world

It will be your lost

Too late to defrost

Your cold closed heart

Since you didn’t want to take part

To see what could happen

For this you were slacking

So closed minded

By shallowness you were blinded

Oh I’m not angry you see

Because you missed an opportunity

To have someone like me in your life

As your girlfriend or even a wife

You left room for the next man

To get in where he can

Because he has no shame to be

With someone like me

 

 

 

Author Q and A: Carol A. Gibbs

 

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

 

Carol: Hello Blaque Diamond.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Carol: That’s my hope as well.

 

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

 

Carol: I am from Fort Lee, Virginia.

 

Blaque: How would you describe your personality?

 

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

 

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

 

Carol: Exactly!

 

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: Who is your favorite author, and why?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Carol: LOL.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: What is your biggest pet peeve?

 

Carol: My biggest pet peeve is negativity and gossip.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

 

Carol: My favorite color is black.

 

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

 

Carol: No, so far I’m the only one.

 

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

 

Carol: My zodiac sign is Sagittarius.

 

Blaque: What is your fondest childhood memory?

 

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

 

Blaque: I bet that was exciting.

 

Carol: Yes, it was.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: What are you currently working on?

 

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

 

Blaque: What is your favorite type of dessert?

 

Carol: I love German chocolate cake.

 

Blaque: Describe your latest book in just ten words.

 

Carol: When man says no, God says yes.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Carol: LOL. Sorry.

 

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

 

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

Readers can check out my website here.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Her Thirteenth Husband Book Review

 

 

Picture of Her Thirteenth Husband book cover

 

Her Thirteenth Husband

By: B. M. Hardin

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Wreckless Desires Chapters 1 and 2

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

Chapter One

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Oh, yeah? What’s the meeting about?”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Chapter Two

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Hey Kira.” Whitney responded.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Me either.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The room immediately grew silent.

 

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

 

“Yes,” everyone answered in unison.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Ooooh, he’s mad.” Whitney whispered.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Aint he?” Camille called out.

 

 

Author Q and A: Jacqueline Goodwin

 

 

Picture of author jacqueline goodwin

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: Really?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: That is understandable.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: That is my hope and prayer.

 

Blaque: Ok, so let’s get started.

 

Jacqueline: I’m ready when you are.

 

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

 

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

 

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

 

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

 

Blaque: What is your favorite holiday, and why?

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: Yes, it’s pretty amazing.

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: What can bring tears to your eyes?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

 

Jacqueline: My favorite color is pink.

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: What is your fondest childhood memory?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: My best friend would describe me as humble.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: I am a dog person.

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: That is definitely on my agenda.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Blaque: Great! Are you active on social media?

 

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

 

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

 

Jacqueline: No, thank you for having me.

 

Blaque: Until next time. Happy writing!

 

 

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

 

 

Final Farewell

 

 

 

Picture of a soldier saluting

 

My final goodbye to you

Is breaking my heart in two

Although I’ll miss you so

In my heart I know

 

That you are flying high

To your new home in the sky

These tears of lost won’t last forever

Although we are no longer together

 

You will always be a part of me

That special part of my heart you will be

As I lay your still form to rest

The memories I have are only the best

 

Loving and wishing you could come back

But of course these things don’t work like that

Someone with so much life left so soon

With so many things we were so in-tune

 

I didn’t foresee ever losing you

But god had his plans, he knew

Life with you brought me so much joy

Your earthly departure cannot destroy

 

All of my greatest and happiest recollections

Will remain hidden away in my secret collections

Of memories I will cherish for all of my days

I miss you so much in so many ways

 

Your duties on this earth are now done

But your duties in heaven have just begun

We shall meet again one day

And I will turn to you and say

 

I missed you down there on earth

But god needed you because he saw your worth

So I’ll wipe my tears away

But my love for you will always stay

 

Deep inside my heart

We will never truly be apart

Because you will always be near

Whenever I need you here

 

I can look to the sky and know

That single star with its bright glow

Will be you watching over me

Sending your love down to me so heavenly

 

This is goodbye for now

Until I make my final bow

So save a place for me

So we can be together again for eternity

 

 

 

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

 

 

Picture of a shining black diamond gem

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Introduction:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

A Blaque Diamond

 

Beautifully created from this earth

Light-hearted and full of laughter

Ambitious and goal oriented, I am

Quizzical and willing to seek knowledge in all ways possible

Uniquely different and at times the same

Extraordinary creation from god’s paintbrush

 

Determined to overcome all obstacles in my way

Intelligence is a gift that is priceless

Another gem within a world of beautiful gemstones

Miles of mountains and hills climbed to seek inner peace

Observant of my every day development and ways to improve me

Not easily broken and defeated, instead I conquer

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

 

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

 

 

 

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.