Author Q and A: Monica Reed

Author Monica Reed smiling

picture of Renew Your Marriage book cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaque: Where do you see yourself in five years?

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

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

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

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

Monica: Yes, there are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaque: What makes you uniquely you?

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

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

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

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

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

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

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

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

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

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

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

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

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

Blaque: What is your fondest childhood memory?

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

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

Monica: Yes, it was always so much fun.

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

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

Blaque: What is your all-time favorite movie?

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

Blaque: What is your biggest fear?

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

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

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

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

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

Blaque: What inspired your latest book?

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

Blaque: Describe your latest book in just ten words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaque: Well, thanks again for stopping by. I wish you luck on your writing journey. Until next time. Happy writing!

** Note **

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

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

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.

 

 

Why His or Her Betrayal?

 

 

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

 

I often get asked the question,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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