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.

 

 

 

The Triumph in Me Book Review

 

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

 

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

 

By: Kashinda T. Marche

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Eye on Revenge Book Review

Picture of Eye on Revenge book cover

 

 

 

Eye on Revenge: A Stand-alone Novel

By: S. Carter

 

This past week, I had the privilege to read “Eye on Revenge: A Stand-alone Novel”, and I must say that I was thoroughly surprised. I didn’t know exactly what I expected to get when I selected this book to add to my Kindle library, but boy was I shocked. I was immediately engrossed in this book just by the first few pages. I had never read anything from this author before, so I had no idea what to expect from her. I could tell by the first few pages though, that it was going to be a good read. I became interested in reading this book because I had the pleasure of interviewing this author here on my blog. If you want to check out her interview click here.

 

Author Shawanda Carter Author Interview

 

Just based on my interview with Ms. Carter, it sparked my curiosity about her books. I can honestly say, I’m now a fan.

 

This book was filled with so much drama and scandal, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Everything was centered on the senseless murder of Khior’s mother. She was murdered right in front of her twelve-year-old daughter’s eyes, and the murderer had no idea that she witnessed his crime. Even though she saw who killed her mother, Khior did not tell a soul. She held that secret inside for ten-years. She did not know who the man was, but she would always remember his face. She vowed that if she ever saw him again, she would get her mother the justice she deserved.

 

While attending college, Khior be-friended a girl named Abbigail. They did unspeakable things together to get money to pay their way through college. Once Khior reached her limit, she stopped, but Abbigail continued to sleep with men for money even though she didn’t have to. Slowly, the two girls who were once inseparable, started to drift apart. The person that Khior thought was her friend, turned out to be her worst enemy. Abbigail spiked Khior’s drink one day and recorded the two of them and a man engaging in different sexual acts. Khior had no idea what was going on because she had been drugged. Abbigail was selfish and spoiled, and she used whatever she could to get her way, even if it meant murder.

 

It seemed like everyone that Khior trusted, turned out to not be who they claimed to be. She found out that her father had a family that he forgot to mention to her. She even found out some secrets about her mother and the reason why she was killed. The Dean of the school had skeletons, one of the professor’s, who turned out to be Abbigail’s father, had secrets, and Abbigail had evil coursing through her veins instead of blood. Just about every character in this book was deceiving one another. The twists and turns of this novel had me shaking my head in astonishment. The amount of lies and betrayal portrayed throughout this book would have anyone second-guessing if they really knew the people they were around on a daily basis.

 

I was definitely impressed by this author’s ability to string all of these scandals together without losing sight of what the story was about. It kept me engrossed and thirsty to read more. On a scale of one to five, I would give this book a seven. That’s how much I enjoyed it. This definitely deserves a five star rating. If you are into books with scandal, murder, lies, betrayal, and suspense, then you definitely need to make this book a permanent part of your library. S. Carter knows how to capture a reader’s attention and keep them wanting more. That’s the purpose of a book, right? Well, she definitely did her job. Don’t just take my word for it though. Pick up your copy of “Eye on Revenge: A Stand-alone Novel” today and get ready for the roller-coaster you’re sure to embark on. I promise. You won’t want to put it down.

 

Ugly Book Review

 

Picture of Ugly book cover

Ugly

By: Rod Cornelius

 

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of reading this book entitled “Ugly.” I did not know what to expect when I placed this book on my Kindle bookshelf. I didn’t even look at the synopsis to see what the book was about. I was interested in reading this book strictly based on the title. I had never read anything by this author before, but this book was automatically recommended to me by Kindle based on previous books I had read. Just on the title alone, I had gathered that the book must have been about a person who had a life of misfortune, and therefore their life was referred to as “an ugly life.” Boy was I in for a rude awakening! From the very first few lines of the book, I knew that “ugly” meant physically ugly.

 

Just those few lines captured my attention right away. As I proceeded to read on to find out what the book was all about, I found myself feeling bad for the main character Julius. From my own personal experience, I could relate to how he was feeling and the things he was going through. It is tough enough being a teenager, but to be the object of other children’s cruelty and bullying makes things even worse. I myself was also bullied and picked on in school, so I know how it feels not to fit in. I was picked on for the simple fact that I had a visual impairment. When children see that someone is different from them, they automatically label them a target of ridicule. Julius was bullied because he wasn’t “attractive”, and I was bullied because I couldn’t see well.

 

As the story progressed, Julius did find him some alliances in some unlikely sources. He met a girl that he liked, and she wanted to be around him no matter what everyone else thought of him. Because of how he had been treated his entire life, Julius had very low self-esteem in himself. He couldn’t understand why the girl wanted to be with him when there were more attractive boys she could hang out with. Julius also found alliance in a misfit kid named Travis. He was known to be a troublemaker, but he be-friended Julius despite what other people thought. The two boys didn’t make a likely pair, but their friendship helped Julius gain a little confidence in himself.

 

Julius had a talent for drawing and his teacher tried to push him to pursue his talent, but hanging out with Travis and getting into fights with his bullies kept Julius occupied. The fact that Julius wasn’t even accepted by his own family, made the situation even worse. I found myself crying at times when I read some of the cruel and demeaning things his family members said to him right in his face. Julius’s only ray of light in his life was his mother. Even though Julius was the product of a rape, she still loved him unconditionally. People thought she should’ve aborted him, but she carried him and loved him despite it all.

 

The author did a great job of portraying the life of a situation that a lot of teenagers find themselves in. Bullying is a past, present, and future problem if somehow someone doesn’t get a handle on it. Unfortunately Julius couldn’t take the torment any more, and he committed suicide, but if one person could’ve stepped in and did something about the bullying, maybe Julius wouldn’t have taken that route. Bullying is a serious offense, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Thousands of children are being bullied each year, and some of them take matters into their own hands. In some cases it’s suicide, and in other cases it’s murder. Things should never get to that point that someone has to lose their life.

 

Thankfully things didn’t end that way for me. I was able to get a handle on my own bullying situation, but not everyone is so lucky. I definitely give this book a five star rating and recommend it to anyone who has dealt with bullying. Most victims suffer in silence. They are too afraid to speak up against their tormentors for fear of backlash, but if they can’t speak up for themselves, then someone should have the heart to do it for them. I loved the gems of motivation and inspiration that the author sprinkled throughout the book. He used the character Mr. Base as a voice of reason for Julius. A lot of the quotes and advice he gave to Julius could definitely help anybody who needs a bit of strength to get them through a tough situation.

 

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Mr. Graves, never let how other folk think you look determine who you are. Life is bigger than someone else’s opinion. You have to find what matters most to you in this world, and you have to make it mean something to you, son. Life aint fair, but this is your moment in time. Don’t let someone else cheat you from it. Because if you allow life to do it, it will swallow you up. A strong mind will always persevere. You remember that.”

 

This quote has so much meaning. It is something that we all need to remember. How you look physically shouldn’t determine who you are as a person. Even though television, media, movies, and magazines focus on outer beauty, the beauty inside you is what should matter the most. Some of the most beautiful people have the ugliest personalities, and that makes their outer appearance less attractive in my eyes. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I see the beauty inside people. The inner beauty.