Wednesday, September 26, 2007

SEP 07 Author Intro: Trisha Goyer

EDITOR NOTE: I met Trisha when she published her first historical and I've been hooked every since. What I like about Trisha is her willingness to share her vast knowledge. I've learned a lot about the craft of writing from Trisha. I highly recommend you sign up for her newsletter. It's great for those who want to know more about the craft of writing.

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing: From Dust and Ashes (2003), Night Song (2004), Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005), Arms of Deliverance (2006), A Valley of Betrayal (2007), A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007), and A Whisper of Freedom (Spring 2008).

Tricia is also the author of Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, 2008), and 3:16—the teen version of a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, March 2008).

Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category. Night Song was awarded the American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year award for Best Long Historical Romance. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006. In 2003, Tricia was named as the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year".

My Life, Unscripted

Using the metaphor of screenwriting, My Life, Unscripted explores relationships in every teenage girl's life-with herself, her friends and enemies, her parents, guys, and with God.

Real-life scripts, screenwriting terms, and timely topics, make this an interesting read for teen girls as they delve into their own inner struggles and outward relationships. They'll also learn the importance of "scripting" their own responses BEFORE challenging life-situations arise, so they are able to think about, pray about, and consider how to face these situations before the scene begins. By contrasting real-life with TV or movies, teens discover they don't have to get caught up in the drama.

Monday, September 24, 2007

SEP EXCERPT: Then Came Hope

Then Came Hope
by Louise M. Gouge

Chapter One

April 1865

Delia ran as hard as she could.

All the while, terror nipped at her heels.

Had Massuh had set the hounds on her?




God will punish you!

Plantation voices screamed in her head, but she ran anyway.

Nothing in her hand. Nothing in her pockets. Nothing in her heart but fear. Nothing in her head but blind determination never to be beaten again. Never to be spit on. Never to have her hair torn out by a vicious young mistress.

Staggering, stumbling, falling, lungs bursting.


Branches reached out to seize her, but only managed to tear off her headscarf, scrape her cheeks and hands and legs. Roots grabbed her feet and threw her to the ground, but she got up and ran again.

She ran through the woods because of the gray-clad soldiers on the roads, but she didn’t know the roads anyway, not any more than she knew the woods. In all her seventeen years, she’d only been off the plantation maybe five, six times. When the war started, plantation folk didn’t go anywhere.

Rumors came. Some said President Lincoln freed the slaves. One by one, two by two, black folks slipped away in the night.

Delia would hear about it from Beulah, who’d whisper that Ol’ Massuh had the dogs out looking for some other worthless fool who’d believed “all dat Yankee talk.”

Her dark face smoldering, Beulah would glare at Delia. “Don’t you be thinking of going nowhere. We belongst to Massuh and Missus. It be Gawd’s will and Gawd’s law.” She’d turn away from Delia with a snort. “Who’d want ya anyhow?”

Maybe nobody would want Delia. Maybe she didn’t know the roads or the woods. But Delia knew north, so north she ran. Hard, she ran, from just after midnight when the moon rode high to break of daylight when the sun burst over the distant horizon amid blazing red and purple clouds, like the bruises left on her light brown skin by Miz Suzanne.

If Delia cried, old Beulah scolded. “Men’ll do you worse than any missus.”

Delia knew what that meant. She knew she didn’t want to be around when Massuh’s sons came home from the war.

And so she ran.

Just after dawn, she came to a stream where she bent over to work out the stitch in her side. She splashed water on her face and legs to wash away the sweat and soothe the stinging scratches. Then she took off her shoes to wade barefoot for a while. She’d heard Ol’ Sam tell how dogs couldn’t follow a scent in water.

Rain splashed on her face, and she jumped, then laughed. She always liked rain with its soothing powers. But the sprinkle soon became a downpour, and Delia felt her courage washing away. She must keep walking, but without the sun, she’d lost north. Which way to go? And how could she take another step when exhaustion sought to drag her down?

She stumbled through dense undergrowth amid a stand of tall pines. Now brambles tore at her wet skirt like fishhooks, but she yanked free and kept on going.

As the rain let up a bit, a building came into view. Some kind of barn at the edge of a field. She edged nearer and listened for any sound that might signal danger. But what did she know of danger sounds? A galloping horse? A growling dog? A screaming mistress?

A feeling of helplessness filled her chest, and she glanced upward. The misting rain blended with her tears. “Mama, help me.” She didn’t know if there was a heaven, but if there was, Mama was there. Maybe she would help. Delia had been calling on her for eight years now, ever since Missus had her beat to death. Delia shuddered away the memory.

The barn beckoned. She crept close. Through a gap in the wall, she peered in. People! Delia drew back fast and hunched down. Nobody inside stirred. She peered in again. They appeared to be asleep, some lying on the bare floor, others resting against walls or posts. An old woman leaned into the arms of a gray-haired old man. A glimmer of hope lit Delia’s soul. Perhaps she would find kindness here.

For every face she saw was colored.


Ezra jerked himself back into the thicket. Not ten feet away, ragtag soldiers wandered down the muddy road, remnants of a company whose gray wool uniforms now hung in tatters on their gaunt frames. Crouched low in the bushes, Ezra felt like a twice-painted target in his faded blue garb. How could he stay hidden from all these rebs pouring back into South Carolina? What he needed was a change of clothes, which he was not likely to find. Or maybe he just needed to rest so he could think more clearly.

The long line of soldiers dwindled to an occasional straggler. Enfield rifle in hand, Ezra moved from his hiding place, adjusted his knapsack on his back, and crept deeper into the woods. Hunger gnawed at his belly, but shooting a rabbit or squirrel might bring unwanted attention. Best thing would be to find a place to sleep all day, then search for food before dark.

Across a field overgrown with weeds stood a rundown barn. He followed the perimeter of the field, sticking close to the surrounding forest. In every joint and muscle, his body begged for mercy, and he longed to give in to his exhaustion. Just a few more yards, he promised his aching legs.


The rusty hinges looked likely to screech, so Delia crawled through a hole in the wall to sit just inside, where she could run away if she had to. Shivering in her wet clothes, knees drawn up to her chin, she studied the group as best she could in the dark barn. A shaft of light beamed down on the old couple and made their wooly silver hair shine.

If she’d not seen the woman, she wouldn’t have entered. Was she a fool for trusting her own kind like this when they mostly looked like field hands? Maybe, but she couldn’t go on alone, or without sleep and food. She leaned her head back against the wall and wished for both.

“Chile, where ya come from?”

Delia jumped awake to see the old woman kneeling before her.

“I…I’m sorry. I’ll go…” Delia brushed hair from her face and started to move.

“No, no, chile. Don’t be scared. You’s all right.”

At the kindness in the woman’s smile, Delia’s eyes burned.

“Shh, don’t fret. We’s all in the same fix. You had anything to eat?”

“No, ma’am.”

The woman handed her a withered apple. “It ain’t much, but it’ll help.”

Delia could only mouth the words, “Thank you.” The fruit’s tangy flavor burst on her tongue like a promise. She devoured it in a few bites and wiped wet lips with her sleeve. “Thank you.”

The woman chuckled. “You’s welcome, child. Now, I’m May Brewster, and that over there…” She tipped her head toward the others, all still asleep except the old man. “He be my man Willard.”

Willard nodded at Delia. “Miz.” His dark face conveyed the same kindness as May’s.

“I…I’m Delia.”

“You got a last name?”

“No, ma’am.”

“We just took our old massuh’s last name. You could do dat.”

Delia’s stomach turned. Was it the apple or the idea of carrying her hated owners’ name for the rest of her life?

May patted her hand. “You think on it. Up north, you need a last name. You’s yo’ own person now.”

Delia drew in a breath. Her own person? Was it possible?

Again May chuckled. “It’ll take some git’n used to, but we have a whole new life up ahead. You got plans for what you gon’ do? You got people?”

Delia shook her head. “No. No plans. No people.” Fear pricked her soul. She hadn’t thought that far ahead. “What’ll I do?”

May threw her head back and laughed aloud, then hurried to shush herself. “Oh, chile, praise the Lawd, anything you wants to. You’ll find work and git paid real money for doing it.”

Delia’s heart seemed to jump. “Paid? Money?”

May again smothered her own laughter. “Can ya’ believe it? I’m not sure I do. But that’s what we hear from…”

The barn door whined open, and stark daylight poured in, silhouetting the ominous figure of a soldier with his gun pointing toward Willard and the group of sleepers.

A few feet from the door, May and Delia gasped, and the soldier quickly pointed the gun toward them.

“Don’t move. Don’t move an inch.” The man stepped into the barn and pulled the door closed behind him. He blinked several times, his gaze darting from the women to the group and back again. He laughed—a nervous laugh like he was relieved, and lowered his weapon.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.” He removed his cap and brushed his sleeve across his dark brown brow. “Mind if I join you?”


SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Louise M. Gouge:
Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction and historical romance. She also teaches English and humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee, FL. Among her seven published titles is the multi-award winning Hannah Rose, Book Two of Ahab's Legacy. Her latest “Then Came” series is set in the post-Civil War period: Then Came Faith (2006), Then Came Hope (2007), and Then Came Love (2008). With her great love of history and research, Louise has traveled to several of her locations to ensure the accuracy of her stories’ settings. When she isn't writing, she and her husband love to visit historical sites and museums.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

Then Came Hope tells the story of Delia, who was born a slave and then physically and emotionally battered all of her seventeen years. Finally free, she strikes out on her own, making friends with a little band of former slaves and a handsome black soldier, Ezra Johns.

A long and arduous journey takes this rag-tag band of survivors through a violent flood, bitter southerners, hunger and exhaustion under a blazing summer sun, and even a murder charge and near lynching.

With the help of two humble farmers, they at last earn their train and boat fare to Boston. Back in his home city, Ezra works to complete his education. However, he discovers that despite his service to his country, black men still must struggle for respect and a place in American society.

SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

I would like for readers never to grow weary of studying our history. Delia, Ezra, and their friends represent the countless black Americans who struggled to find their place in American society in a time when everything was against them. In the midst of it all, faith, hope, love, and courage sustained them all, just as it can sustain us today, no matter what our circumstances.

SORMAG: Why did you choose to write a historical with African American as the lead characters?

: As a white child growing up in America’s pre-Civil Rights South, I was confused by the contradictions between what I learned in Sunday school (Jesus loves the little children. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.) and what I saw out in the world: separate restrooms, separate water fountains, and separate and very unequal schools. My family moved out of the South when I was a teen, and I watched the Civil Rights movement from afar by way of television. Unable to articulate my thoughts – because nobody wanted to hear them – I tucked them away. But the ache and the sense of injustice never left me. By writing Then Came Hope, I feel that at last I have an opportunity to participate in the “discussion.”

SORMAG: What did you learn while writing this book?

Mentally, I learned a lot about South Carolina history! Spiritually, I learned about the amazing triumph of the human spirit in the former slaves who, against all odds, made their lives count for themselves and their children. Again, we must never forget these lessons in courage and faith.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love creating new characters and then watching them take on lives of their own. I also love doing research. Historical fiction is a delight to research, and I’m always tempted to put far more information into my story than necessary. What do I hate? Well, that’s a pretty strong word because I love the whole process of writing a novel. However, I am always nervous when I have a deadline looming in the near future. Talk about pressure!

SORMAG: What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

First, I wish I’d known about ACFW – American Christian Fiction Writers, sooner. They are a great organization, and I’ve learned so much and met so many new friends. Second, referring back to the previous question, I wish I’d known not to put in every tidbit of research, no matter how “delicious” it might be, because it can detract from the story. My stories today have a faster pace than my earlier ones, and this suits today’s reading public much better. Actually, I can’t think of a third thing. I feel blessed by God to have a few books published, and I trust Him to direct my writing future.

SORMAG: What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

It’s a slow process, so be patient. Learn everything you can about the writing craft, write the best story you possibly can, attend conferences, learn some more, edit your story, meet other authors, pitch your story to editors, and then let God have the reins. If you try to force your career, you might just end up causing more harm than good.

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

Because I’m a college professor (English and humanities) in addition to being a writer, I have to sneak time for myself into my busy schedule. Sometimes as I race toward that looming deadline mentioned above, I get so focused that I neglect not only myself, but also my dear husband of forty-two years. To catch up and clear our minds, we like to take short breaks to museums and historical sites. Then we’re ready to get back into the busy-ness of work.

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website):

I love to hear from my readers. You can contact me through the “Share your own thoughts with Louise” on my website,

Friday, September 21, 2007

SEP07 Are You Reading This?

Cinnamon's Universe: Book II of Black's Trilogy
by ac, Vernon Menchan

Cinnamon Dubois Brown is a woman with everything…she’s beautiful, spiritual, happily married for almost thirty years, two successful kids…what more could she want…what more could she have…

Well…she just might want it all… Cinnamon discovered that Malcolm Black, her good friend since high school and her husband, William Brown’s best friend has always been in love with her. For the past year they have tried to have a sophisticated, platonic friendship, though the heat between Cinnamon and Black has been rapidly increasing. She has had to admit her attraction to Black runs as deep as his feelings for her, but her love for Brown is as strong as it’s ever been….

The death of Black’s mother forces them closer together. Will Cinnamon finally give into her feelings for Black in her quest to comfort him, be there for him as he had been for her? What role will Brown play in all of this, will he continue to allow his wife and best friend to have their ‘friendship’… does he have secrets of his own?

Cinnamon’s Universe will blow the lid off all of their feelings, and reveal secrets no one expected. Will Cinnamon try to love two? And will it be easy to do? We will soon find out. Welcome to “Cinnamon’s Universe”….
Buy it TODAY

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Seven years and still kicking, thank you for being a part of my dream.
As a thank you, I'm giving away seven SORMAG goody paks.

How well do you know SORMAG?

Answer one question for a chance to win.

What was the name of the forum that inspired SORMAG?

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Who was our first Featured Author on the blog?

needs goodies

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Why not be a part of SORMAG’s goody pak.
We give out a Goody Pak each month to a lucky winner.
You’ll get free advertisement twice,
one to the winner and one in our newsletter when I list the winner of the Goody Pak.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007


Letting Loose
Joanne Skerrett
Dafina Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1423-5
Published: August 2007
Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 3 ½ Stars-GREAT
Reviewed by: Rhonda Jackson Joseph

In Letting Loose, Joanne Skerrett takes us on a journey with Amelia Wilson. This upstanding lady has a life full of drama--well, at least there is mad drama happening all around her. Her high school students think she’s too uptight to be given much respect. Her mother and brother expect her to drop everything to bail them out of any trouble they find themselves in, and they’re in trouble quite often. Amelia’s best friend Whitney battles almost debilitating mental illness. Her roommates Kelly and James are the only people around her who don’t bring drama with them, that is, until they visit the exotic Caribbean island of Dominica and set Amelia up with a blind date hundreds of miles away from their home base in Boston.

At first, Drew Anderson seems too good to be true: he’s rich, smart, gorgeous, and lives on a romantic tropical island. Amelia falls for him quickly and completely and then finds tarnish on her golden boy. As she skirts the cultural and moral issues that threaten to stop her happily ever after, Amelia finds herself growing more than she ever thought she could. Readers are very fortunate that Ms. Skerrett has brought us a delightful tale that shows ‘right ain’t always right’, and ‘wrong’ just might be the path to happiness.

Just Can’t Enough
Cheris Hodges
Dafina Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1975-X
Published: August 2007

Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 3 Stars - VERY GOOD
Reviewed by: Marguerite Lemons

Celina Hart is on top of the art world after being commissioned by a gallery in Paris to paint a mural. However, her happiness is short-lived when she receives a letter from her father, whom she hasn’t seen in twenty years, asking for her help before it’s too late. Darius McRae walked away from a successful career as an attorney in D. C. He moved back to his home town of Elmore, South Carolina, to take over the family business and mend his broken heart.

Celina and Darius grew up together, but lost touch when Celina’s mother finally tired of her father’s infidelity, moved them to Chicago. Celina walks next door to thank and pay the young man who has been keeping her father’s lawn mowed while he’s been ill. She and Darius come face to face and it is lust at first sight. Their problems start when Darius begins to fall for her, but Celina is too busy trying to sabotage the relationship because she still believes that every man acts like her father. Meanwhile, Darius begins to have trouble with someone vandalizing his store, he has an idea who it is but the police don’t take him seriously until Celina’s life is in danger.

Just Can’t Get Enough is a story about people entering into relationships with too much baggage. It is about learning to forgive those who have hurt you and realizing that you cannot judge everyone by the actions of one person.

Play The Game – Doug Dixon
Dafina Books
ISBN: 978-0-7582-1358-7

Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 3.5 Stars - GREAT
July 2007
Reviewer: Renee Motley

Moving to Atlanta was just what Mya LeVeaux needs after finding out that her ex-boyfriend is engaged and her father is performing his wedding. There she meets Stephanie Hall and Tangie Jackson and they soon discover that they have a lot to learn about the game of love.

Stephanie is in a live-in relationship, for the sake of her son, with her just-out-of-jail boyfriend. Putting up with his unemployment and lack of interest for their son is getting old quick. She senses it is time for a change, both in mind and spirit. Tangie is on her second divorce with no shame. She’s looking to have a good time with no strings attached. And if they just happen to be married then so be it as long everyone know the rules of the game.

Doug Dixon has written a novel with a realistic touch on the stress and strain of relationships. Even though the characters are developed well, he does provide a bit too much detail for my liking. I found myself wanting to see what was going to happen near the end of the book.

The writing is crisp, but predictable. It’s a fast and entertaining read.

Moment of Truth
Sophia Shaw
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Dafina Books
ISBN: 0-7582-2028-6
Published: July 2007

Rating: 3 ½ Stars - GREAT
Reviewed by: Marguerite Lemons

Candace Carter a free-spirited, motorcycle riding and talented artist, doesn’t believe in happily ever after, because most of the men she’s encountered have been turned off by her independence. She moved to Orlando, Florida when she decided that she would paint full time. Adam Jackson is the owner of a construction company who has buried himself in his work to keep from dealing with the void in his life that existed during his marriage and after the divorce.

Candace and Adam meet at his friend, Yvonne’s, house-warming party. They are thrust together when Yvonne’s husband, Calvin, volunteer’s Adam’s help after Candace tells them that her contractor has disappeared leaving her kitchen in disarray. Adam arrives while Candace is working and misinterprets her relationship with the male model, but his overall distrust of women causes him to think ill of her. However, their attraction to each other is undeniable. Neither of them realizes that their budding relationship may be putting Candace’s life in danger, and when she is kidnapped, Adam vows to do whatever it takes to get her back.

Moment of Truth offers some insight into the damage that can be done to a relationship when someone is not completely honest about themselves or details of incidents from their past. It is also about taking responsibility for one’s actions. This story shows how unfair to make assumptions about someone’s life while denying them the opportunity to explain the situation.

The story is set in and around the Orlando and Ms. Shaw does a great job of painting a picture of their surroundings with words. This book is a quick read, and I enjoyed it even though it drags a bit towards the end.

She Creeps
Alex Hairston
Dafina Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1882-6
Published: June 1, 2007

Mainstream Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars-VERY GOOD
Reviewed by: Rhonda Jackson Joseph

“Bridges of Madison County” has come to Eden, North Carolina—with much more drama. Naomi Gaffney had the epitome of a dysfunctional childhood. She was a mere child when her father was jailed for murdering her mother. She was then raised by a miserable aunt who heaped endless abuse on the already wounded child. To top it all off, she married an older, controlling man in order to escape the trauma.

Instead, she stepped out of the pan and into the fire. Naomi feels herself withering within her marriage and she is ripe for an affair when the right man comes along. After many plot twists and suspenseful events, Naomi decides to remain in her marriage and make the best of it.

In She Creeps, Alex Hairston has the uncanny ability to show us Naomi’s journey to self-realization with no fairy tales. Very well written, the characters are who they are, and Mr. Hairston gives no apologies for them. Although the decisions Naomi makes may not be too palatable as she seems to find herself in the exact same situation in the end of the book as before--and the people around her do not seem to have learned any lessons--we are actually forced to look deeper and realize that these realistic characters and their lives completely mirror real life.

Stay out the Kitchen
Mable John with David Ruiz
Harlem Moon
ISBN: 0-978-0-7679-2166-4
Published: June 2007

Christian Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars-SUPREME
Reviewed By: Tamika Johnson-Hall

Albertina Merci is back in full effect! I was a huge fan of Sanctified Blues and fell in love with this tell it like it is character. In this book we meet Albertina's friend Mr. Mario, the owner of Mr. Mario's Downhome Cafe who has a heart attack. Mr. Mario claims that his love of soul food is over and promises to live a healthy life. Though Albertina is around to provide pastoral support, it is clear that Mr. Mario may be looking for a little more than a godly relationship.

How will Miss Albertina deal with the flirtatious nature of a man who doesn't believe in the power of God? You'll have to read to find out!

The Ex Files
Victoria Christopher Murray
Touchstone Books (Simon & Schuster)

Christian Fiction
Published: June 2007
Rating: 4.5 Stars -- EXCELLENT

Reviewed by Patricia Woodside

If you are a fan of Victoria Christopher Murray's work, she does not disappoint with her latest novel, THE EX FILES. In this inspirational story, Ms. Murray joins a few old friends with some new faces. Sheridan , still recovering from her divorce, has to decide whether there's enough room in her heart for her new beau...and her ex-husband. Asia , certain that marriage was the natural conclusion to her long-time affair, is stunned when the former ballplayer ends their relationship. Vanessa is reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Kendall grapples with getting revenge against the woman who stole her husband.

These four women, all hurting from relationships gone bad, wrestle with their faith as well as their jobs, their children, and all the other challenges that life affords. Pastor Beverly Ford, an inspiring character common to a few of Ms. Murray's books, shows up here too. She brings these women together for a weekly prayer group, hoping that they'll find the strength and solace they so desperately need. But will prayer be enough?

As with Ms. Murray’s prior books, THE EX FILES is not for the faint of heart. She pulls no punches, delving into a realism too often missing from inspirational/Christian fiction. Between the covers are real-world problems that many people, including Christians, face. There is child custody and sexual abuse issues, lesbianism, suicide, extreme illness, and more. But as always, Ms. Murray handles these issues with aplomb and gives the reader an uplifting, satisfying read.

Dirty Game
Shannon Holmes
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
May 2007
ISBN: 0312359012

Genre: Urban Fiction/Street Lit
Rating: 2 Stars - OK
Reviewed by: Danni Jackson

Kenny “Ken-Ken” Griffin was a hustler. He was forced to leave his hustling days behind and work as a cab driver to care for his daughter, Destiny, when his wife, Maria, was killed during a hustle gone wrong. Because of his previous life on the streets hustling, Kenny is set to do whatever it takes to keep Destiny from the streets. But at seventeen, she is left with no choice but to turn to the streets when he’s shot and ends up paralyzed after a robbery. Destiny is a fast learner and picks up all the tricks of the hustling trade courtesy of known thug, Jerome “Rome” Wells. And soon Destiny gets pulled deeper and deeper into the game. Destiny does what every little girl does and tries to hide her activities from her dad so she won’t disappoint him. But her secret gets out and Destiny now is faced with the question of will her activities help or hinder the bond she has with her father. The question that Destiny must also answer is what she is willing to sacrifice in the game.

Dirty Game is an okay read and the characters are well developed. However the grammar in the book is a bit extreme and pulled me out. The use of the slang throughout the book was meant as a way to connect and identify with the characters, but it only served as a hindrance and slowed down the reading of the book. The story suffers by the overuse of slang and ebonics as well as for the grammar; they are all major distractions in this read. While the story does work at building the drama there is no real payoff as it fizzles out while the reader is left waiting for some sort of encounter to jump off.

I enjoyed Shannon’s Holmes other works but Dirty Game is a good story which could be better.

Girls Fro Da Hood 3
Kashamba Williams
Mark Anthony
Madame K
Urban Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.

Published: April 2007
Urban Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewed by: Dianthia Lemons

"Brooklyn's Finest"

Fire and Marcy the loving daughters of their mother Adrianne are living and working in Miami making the money strippin and doing it well. They are very well aware of their mother's heroine addiction. When something really bad happens to Adrianne, Marcy and Adrianne show that their love will push them to put their lives on the line for the revenge they feel in deserved.

Ms.Williams does an exceptional job bringing the reader into the character's lives. Very colorful and though out. The story line moves along and each character was well developed, enjoyable reading.

"Snake to Snitch"

Latasha Lovely and her roommate Lexi are two of the hottest strippers dancing in one of the hottest strip clubs in Atlanta. Latasha likes to make the money and when she is propositioned by Dom Pooh to make more money, she jumps at the chance. Her mistake was inviting Lexi into the mix. At the first sign of trouble, all bets are off but there's just a little problem. Dom Pooh wants something that is his. Latasha must decide what's best for her, SNAKE OR SNITCH!

Mr. Anthony does well with the story even though it seems he was looking over Ms. Williams shoulder with the stripper's as characters. Definitely not reading for the younger crowd. The story gets a little mixed up during the chase and the outcome predictable but all in all an good read.

"Star Quality"

Star Marshall is someone every little girl wants to be, an R&B diva. But everything that glitters is not gold and the skeletons fall out of the closet all too quickly. Behind closed doors her true nature is exposed and little does she know, someone is trying to expose her story. Love always seems to complicate things in the end and Star will come through it all.

Madame K puts together a story that is confusing in the beginning. She puts everything out in front and throws in another story with predictable outcomes. A daughter lost a mother found and someone dies. More is needed in the beginning of the story before Star's secret is exposed. The minor characters need more depth to help the story line along.

Lawd Mo' Drama
ISBN -10: 1-59309052-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-59309-052-4
Tina Brooks McKinney
April 2007

Mainstream Fiction
4 stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewer Regina Hightower

This sequel to All that Drama is such an entertaining drama about LIFE , all topics are covered in this book single parenting (Leah), doggish ex-husband (Kentee),a special needs child, a special friend in a abusive relationship with a married man (Sammie). This book can and will teach you how to grow strong develop into maturity overcome pain and frustration and just change period. All in all they are just trying to make it from day to day and avoid trouble (drama) it reminds me of the old saying where angels go trouble follows. you will fall in love with some of the characters and hate the others. Be sure to read All That drama so that you will not be lost . Ms. Brooks-Mc Kinney knows drama when she see it maybe she should write a soap opera.

Thug Matrimony
Wahida Clark
Dafina Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1255-0
Published: April 20, 2007

Urban Fiction
Rating: 3 ½ Stars-GREAT
Reviewed by: Rhonda Jackson Joseph

Hand beaded wedding gown by Vera Wang? Check. Ballroom at exclusive hotel? Check. Room full of loved ones? Check. Ex-fiance` of the bride and his posse, all strapped, and a member of the groom’s party shot down? Well, maybe not at just any wedding; only a thug wedding.

Wahida Clark brings us into the gritty world of thug love with Thug Matrimony. Though Kaylin called their wedding off, Angel Smith and Kaylin Santos must still run their thriving business (their stronghold in legal dealings) while finding their way back to each other. Angel decides to take the threat of Snake’s reappearance in her life into her own hands, and returns to the dictates of the streets to deal with him. And Kaylin, too, finds that the pull of the underground is too strong for him to stay away from it forever.

Clark gives us what is almost impossible for the layman to obtain otherwise: a realistic look into the lives of those who walk on both sides of the law. The picture she paints is graphic, harsh, but always real. Most importantly, she shows that thugs are no different than any others. They have insecurities. They raise families. They have aspirations to better life for themselves and their loved ones. Thugs live hard and they die hard. And in between the two, they love hard.

Jacquelin Thomas
Penguin Books
Published March 2007

Christian Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars - SUPREME
Reviewed by: Camellia Johnson

Redemption is a moving, inspirational and compassionate novel written by Jacquelin Thomas. She takes the modern day Hosea which is Warner and Gomer which is Marin to depict God’s love for us. Marin started on top of her game but when it came to her career and marriage she was at a fork in the road. The decision she made affected her entire life. Not only hers but Warner’s and their children. The root issues of low self esteem and desperation caused a ripple in her marriage. Marin wanted someone to love and approve of her life and career.

Something that’s seen throughout the book is the effects of negative words of parents that affect their children for years. Marin’s mother Shirley constantly said negative things to Marin that became part of Marin’s deep-seated resentment towards her family. One thing to take away as a parent would be to tell your children what they are regardless of what they look like or act like.

Redemption also shows even how death can be part of God’s will for your life and destiny. Who Warner thought was his ordained wife and who he ended up with was no surprise except to Warner. The book will have you first read the book of Hosea and then re-evaluate your life and choices.

Deliver Me
Farrah Rochon
Leisure Contemporary Romance
Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
ISBN: 0-8439-5862-6

Published: March 2007
Rating: 3 Stars – VERY GOOD
Reviewed by: Trina Love Abram

The attraction licking the heels of Doctors Eli Holmes and Monica Gardner makes for an intriguing read. Eli is a player. The only woman he won’t pursue is one with Dr. in front of her name. Eli relaxes this rule when Monica arrives at Methodist Memorial. Her “hazel eyes and head full of silky hair” both distracts and attracts him.

Eli loves his mom but tires of dodging her dating bullets. After raising three sons, she wants grandchildren. So she takes their dating into her own hands.

Monica flees St. Louis nurturing a broken heart from a relationship riddled with betrayal. She relocates to New Orleans, hoping to cleanse her soul.

Instead of the attraction leading to instant ardor, the two form a partnership; Monica pretends to be Eli’s girlfriend to stop his meddling mother’s matchmaking. In exchange, Eli helps Monica with an important banquet. As the partnership develops into more, can Eli abandon his player ways and Monica trust again?

I enjoyed this novel and recommend it. The ruse is comical, and the flirty, comfortable banter between the two is exciting. Even with frequent verbosity and an ending that seemed rushed, this witty story will entice your romantic senses.

Holy Hustler
P.L. Wilson
Q-Boro Books
ISBN: 978-0-9777335-5-2
Published: February, 2007

Urban Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars-EXCELLENT
Reviewed by: Rhonda Jackson Joseph

Embezzlement. Adultery. Fornication. The antics of the pastor’s sons at Sweetwater Powerhouse of God are enough to make even the most faithful man of God lay his entire bed on the altar, praying for his family. Or at least they would if the pastor wasn’t Pastor Ethan Ezeekel Goodlove, III.

Pastor Goodlove enjoys the many perks that come with heading up one of the biggest African American churches in Houston: money, a fine young wife, and all the illicit, undercover homosexual encounters he can stand.

In the meantime, his sons Damien, Barry, and Reginald are embroiled in their own drama. Damien is a serial adulterer. Reginald has allowed his father’s verbal abuse to drive him to expensive prostitutes and embezzlement. Barry is finishing a degree and is marrying a princess from a fellow church. He is also being blackmailed.

P.L. Wilson has created a vividly accurate, and yet wonderfully entertaining, account of life in some Southern African American church conglomerates. By bringing us into their world and touching on very serious issues in the African American community such as our personal relationships with God, sexual harassment, HIV infection, and negligence in managing financial affairs, Ms. Wilson gives us much to think about—and much to anticipate in the sequel to Holy Hustler.

A Fresh Encounter
Ann Clay
Priorty Books
ISBN: 0-97253634-9-2
Published: January 2007

Inspirational Fiction

Rating: 4.5 Stars-EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewed By: Tamika Johnson-Hall

Ann Clay does a great job of challenging the reader mind, body, soul, and spirit in her book A Fresh Encounter. The book is divided into five sections: Devotion, Praise, Reflection, and the Temple. Once finished with the book, the reader will experience scripture, poetry, passages that draw attention to how we manage our time, energy, talent, and money.

The reader will learn how to reflect on life lessons, hurt, disappointments, and how to experience God on a deeper level. Well done, Ann Clay!

Sex In The Sanctuary
Lutisha Lovely
Dafina Books

Mainstream Fiction
Published: January 2007
Rating: 4 Stars -- EXCELLENT
Reviewer: Patricia Woodside

From a title like SEX IN THE SANCTUARY, one expects…sex. In the church. And Lutisha Lovely does not disappoint. But that’s the least of the story.

Derrick and Vivian Montgomery pastor a prominent church in Los Angeles . They enjoy the kind of marriage that everyone hopes for. They are partners in love and in life, supporting and honoring each other in every possible way. They are raising two well-behaved, intelligent children and have the respect of their family, friends, and congregants.

King and Tai Brook pastor a similar church in Kansas City . Yet their lives directly contrast those of Derrick and Vivian. Tai suspects King of being unfaithful. He has been before and each time she’s forgiven him. But things are different now. King and their four children have been Tai’s whole world. When she suspects his latest infidelity, Tai takes steps that impact not only their marriage but also her outlook and what she wants out of her life.

Through her Sanctity of Sisterhood conference, Vivian hopes to help women be the best they can be in service to the Lord. Can she help Tai? What about Hope, the single member of Tai’s church who, after a few bad relationships, is no longer hopeful? Or Millicent, the determined single member of her own church who has already picked out her very resistant target…uh, intended?

Readers of inspirational fiction be warned! Ms. Lovely’s tale is far more sexually explicit than the average inspirational novel, even if the scenes are tastefully done. Church folks
do have sex, don’t they? SEX IN THE SANCTUARY provides an honest look at love and romance in the lives of four saved women and will provide laughter and inspiration for all, whether married or single and searching. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. You won’t either.

Take Me There
Leslie Esdaile
ISBN: 0-978-0758212993
Published: October 2006

Mainstream Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars-SUPREME
Reviewed By: Tamika Johnson-Hall

"Take me There" was a sexy and romantic read; I couldn't put the book down!

Readers will have the pleasure of meeting shy Philadelphia CPA Karin Michaels who is used to having people dictate her life. When her boss falls ill she is required to meet the sexy Jacques Bernard Dubois, a.k.a. J.B, a sexy rap star from St. Lucia. Landing the account for her firm. She is all set to travel to the Caribbean to help straighten his books when her boss decides to send another account executive. Opting to go against the wishes of her boss, dump her overbearing boyfriend, and ignore her meddlesome mother, Karin flies to the Caribbean on J.B.'s private jet.

From there readers will see that not only is the sun hot in the Caribbean so is the romance!!

STILETTO 101 "Don't Let The Stiletto's Fool You"
Lenaise Meyeil
Precioustymes Entertainment
ISBN: 0972932534
Published: May 2005

Urban Fiction
Rating: 1 1/2 Star - FAIR
Reviewed by: Dianthia Lemons

Modesty Yameyeia Blair is a young lady who was born to a teenaged drug addicted mother and a drug dealing father. She was raised in the hood and learned how to handle herself and supply herself with the latest gear using either her looks or that good old five finger discount.

When her High School Counselor dismissed her and let her know that he expected her to end up pregnant, on welfare and on the road to continuous poverty, Modesty paid attention.

She needed to get out of town and when she was accepted to Lane College, that became her ticket for change.

Ms. Meyeil started out with a character and story line that could have been interesting. The character maintains the same actions and attitudes throughout the book. The supporting characters have minimal depth or blending with the main character. It was okay for reading but it left me wanting more.

Hittin’ Numbers
Author: Unique J. Shannon
Publisher: Precioustymes Entertainment
Genre: Urban Fiction/Street Lit

Rating: 3 Stars - VERY GOOD
Oct 2005
Reviewed by: Danni Jackson

Five college students from Howard University meet and become friends –
Tre'Von “Von” Webster is a business major hailing from Brooklyn, New York
“ILL” Will Hutchinson III is a tech-rat from suburbia and has lived a sheltered and pampered life

Bruce “Beezo” Thomas is a future music producer is from Carson City, Nevada
Day'Quan “Don Q” Warren is the son of a congressman and senator and grew up in Annapolis, Maryland

Marc “Sparks” Cross is a future accountant from Atlanta, Georgia.

The guys meet on campus and become friends, forming The Tree Top Crew. They have fun living it up on campus partying, going to class and enjoying life. As the crew is getting ready for Spring Break, Will learns news that will jeopardize his return to school after the break. Will might not have tuition money because of a financial mishap. So the guys scheme up a way to get the money for Will’s tuition.

But what was supposed to only be a one time heist, robbing a numbers spot for Sparks’ uncle, turns into a series of robberies and murders when they get robbed for the money they stole from the first heist. So the crew comes up with another scheme. This time it’s a three heist spree. But the spree turns up to be the ultimate test of their friendship and brotherhood bond.

Full with the usual fare of drugs, sex and violence as most books in this genre, Hittin’ Numbers is a thrilling read. This story shows that life is sometimes the best teacher of hard lessons that the boys wouldn’t learn in school. Hittin’ Numbers teaches life lessons and shows the consequences from hasty and ill thought out decisions made with greed on the mind.. If you have not read Mr. Shannon’s work, this is a great primer. Hittin’ Numbers was a quick, engrossing read that takes readers on a journey through friendship and life in the fast line.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the author of 28 books, with over 1.3 million sold. She is a publishing consultant, writer, Bible study leader, mother and wife. Her hobbies include travel (mostly from an armchair), reading, watching movies, cooking and exploring with her family. Lisa's most recent books include The Begotten, The Betrayed, God Gave Us Heaven, What Women Want and The Busy Mom's Devotional. She resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To sign up for her monthly email (which includes a new, unpublished devotional) go to and join her newsletter list.

The Betrayed

A religious thriller. An epic historical. An award-winning author with one million books in print. Second in the breathtaking trilogy. The first book in Lisa T. Bergren's Gifted trilogy, The Begotten, was hailed by Library Journal as "a full-bodied, absorbing tale that combines authentic historical detail with a universally appealing and gripping story that will have readers cheering." Now the breathtaking quest of the spiritually empowered Gifted ones-prophesized in a long-lost illuminated letter from the apostle Paul-continues as the healer, the priest, and the knight gather together to fight a battle in a profound new war. For the enemies of the Gifted are gathering, led by an evil lord who will do anything to destroy their unwavering faith.

The Begotten

What if the Medieval Church had the lost letters of Paul, holding them away from the populace because they expounded on spiritual gifts? What would happen if God brought together people with extraordinary spiritual gifts during the fourteenth century? How would they battle the twin dangers of evil and the Inquisition? How would their decisions, good and bad, help shape the future Body of Christ? And what if the people that did the greatest good in the battle had more subtle spiritual gifts than those they supported and followed?

The year is 1339 and God calls to his beloved until they rise from their slumber. Yet at the same time, Evil also walks the Earth, hunting God's chosen ones. Can the Gifted rally together and avoid both the known dangers that hunt them as well as those in the shadows? The future of the Christian Church, as well as humandkind, rests on their ability to rely on what God had laid in their hearts, minds and souls. Will they discover it in time?

Daria D'Angelo is an Italian aristocrat with a dangerous gift. She needs to help a secret group of people stay alive when the Church and the enemy all want them dead, serve her God with her gifts of healing, and although she longs for romantic love, keep her eyes on the Eternal. If she does not succeed, she, her friends, and their eternal purpose to radically transform the Christian Church—and the future of humanity—will all die.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Etours: Pitts, Joy and Moore

Deborah Slappey Pitts, author of "Shadow Living...Paintings of Grief"

Shadow Living…Paintings of Grief is the enthralling sequel to I Feel Okay, Deborah Slappey Pitts’ debut bestseller. In Shadow Living, Pitts shares her intimate story of grief and survival. It’s an unforgettable story, written with candor, soul, and love.

"The Secret Olivia Told Me"
by N. Joy

Olivia has a BIG secret that she tells only to her very best friend. And her friend promises she won’t say a word. But the secret is really BIG.

What happens when a trusted friend slips and the secret gets out?

T.H. Moore, author of "The End Justifies the Means."

Blending experience with imagination, T. H. Moore finished his 1st novel “The End Justifies the Means”. The novel is uniquely creative fiction staged within the inner-sanctum of Camden , New Jersey where the undercurrents of treachery, bribery, and money laundering, fuel a family’s revenge against the city’s political elite.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Editor Note: It is always a pleasure to introduce you to a writer friend who has reached her goal of publication. I met Camy online and I loved her willingness to share her knowledge and be a encourager. Her sense of humor drew me to her blog and kept me coming back. She belives in the power of prayer and is a great teacher.

The first chapter of her book had me cracking up and I knew I was in for a treat. I highly recommend you pick up her book, you'll enjoy it. Stop by her sites and see what you've been missing.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to a new writer who I know will have a long career.

Camy Tang is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

Will Lex Sakai be able to surrender her "perfect man" list and give Mr. All Wrong a chance?

Lex Sakai's family is big, nosy, and marriage-minded. When her older cousin gets married, Lex will become the oldest single cousin in the clan. And that makes her a moving target for Grandma Sakai, who insists that Lex bring a date to her cousin's wedding.

Of course, Grandma Sakai has some perfect candidates for Lex. Too bad they don't speak English! And Lex herself has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the perfect man. But the one man she keeps running into doesn't seem to have a single quality on her list. Aiden Young is not her type. He's not a jock, he's not a Christian, and he has a bad history with Lex's cousin, Trish. It's only when the always-in-control Lex starts to let God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.

SORMAG: What aspect of God do you most hope readers will take away after reading your book?

There was a song that inspired the black moment of this book, "Held" by Natalie Grant. I wanted to capture that feeling of being held tightly in God's arms no matter what horrible things have happened to us, no matter what we've done, no matter how we've forged ahead without Him. I'm hoping I help readers not to find an answer to everything, but just to remind them that God loves them.

SORMAG: Writing this book, what did you learn about yourself and God?

Each novel is a gift from God. He not only inspires me, He gives me the motivation to keep plugging away, chapter after chapter, day by day. I've come to depend on Him a lot more than I used to through the process of writing an entire 90,000 word novel.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love the creative process of figuring out who my new characters are, what the new plotline is going to be. What I hate the most is the getting up to walk around every hour so my back doesn't ache and my poor old body doesn't break down too fast. LOL

SORMAG: How did it feel to hold your new book?

: I cried. It was also the moment at which my husband really felt that my whole "writing thing" was real, so that also made me cry.

SORMAG: Was there ever a time before you were published you thought of quitting?

: I actually did quit, not because I wanted to, but because God told me to.

Back then, I had the most stinky attitude--I was more interested in my name on a book than in giving Him glory. So, God told me to lay down my writing.

It was tough. I didn't want to do it, tried to convince myself I didn't hear God correctly, but He kept nudging me until I finally surrendered. Stopped writing. Put away my manuscript and my computer disks and didn't write a single word of fiction for several years. My brain kept thinking of stories, but I never wrote any of them down.

It wasn't until I got laid off from my biology job that God told me that I could take up writing again. I knew then that He thought I was ready. I've been praying for humility and the attitude of a servant, because I know He wouldn't want me writing any other way.

SORMAG: What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

: It requires a lot of work to learn good writing craft, more than people realize. Someone who wanted to become a concert pianist wouldn't sit at a piano for the first time and hammer out a Mozart concerto. They'd start off with simple pieces and learn better craft and technique.

Writing is the same way. People can't simply write a novel and expect it to be perfect and publishable. Writing requires a lot of learning of craft, of the writing business. Some writers do sell their first manuscripts, but most do not. Most writers learn more craft with every manuscript they write. I wrote five manuscripts before I sold.

SORMAG: Tell us a little about your critique business.

: I specialize in looking at a writer's synopsis and being able to pinpoint large-scale structural problems with a storyline. Often a writer will have good writing skills, but there are problems with their story structure, which is sometimes why they're rejected. I can see if there are problems with character arc, story pacing, rising and falling action, climax and epiphany.

I have a Story Sensei blog where I post writing tips three days a week so people can learn to doctor their own manuscripts. It's cheaper than paying me, and trust me, I know that writers are mostly all broke.

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

: I've been learning recently to just say NO. I'm starting to realize that I need to protect my creative writing time and not let other things distract me. I've cut back on some of my critiques so that I could have more time to write.

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

: website:
Story Sensei blog:

Right now on my website, I'm holding a huge website contest, giving away baskets of books and an iPod Nano! You must be a member of my newsletter YahooGroup to enter:

Thanks for having me here, LaShaunda!

Friday, September 07, 2007


Watercolored Pearls - Stacy Hawkins Adams

Serena, a career woman turned stay-at-home mom, wonders if she has made the right choice. Erika struggles to let go of her abusive past. Tawana, a new lawyer, is trying to pull her life together, but her ambitions keep getting in the way. Three women, each at different places in their lives, find themselves at the same crossroads—looking to God and to each other for answers on how to find beauty in themselves and in their journey. Watercolored Pearls is a page-turning story of how God can use the tragic, the shameful, and the less-than-perfect circumstances of life to create something beautiful.

Revell (October 1, 2007)

ISBN-10: 0800731689

Thursday, September 06, 2007

SEP 07 EXCERPT: Forever Was A Day

Forever Was A Day:

by E. D. Arrington

Chapter IX

THEY ARRIVED BRIGHT AND EARLY – Daniel and his wife Crystal; their oldest son Daniel, III and his wife Harriett; their children – Kendall, Lacey, and Cynthia; their youngest son Elliott and his wife Marsha; their children – Peter, Brandon, Lizzie, and Cornelia. In that instant, I witnessed with my own eyes what Luisa said would happen. Robert turned into a different person. He went from being an in control, sure of himself businessman to Daniel’s little brother. Continuous contagious laughter followed wherever the two of them went inside the giant house. No one knew more jokes than Daniel; and no one laughed louder at his jokes than Robert. I steered clear of Robert and his snake-eyed brother. No sooner had Robert scooted the men and children, ranging from 7 to 15 years old, into the den, entertaining them with stories, games, and noise-making toys; and, Clara Suzette had herded the women into the living room for coffee, I disappeared in the kitchen with Luisa and the two workers she hired to help serve. The whole lot of them forgot I even existed until Clara Suzette came calling.

“Lori, sweetheart,” she said, poking her head inside the kitchen, happy and bubbly, her face glowing like a brightly lit candle, “the family is about to gather for breakfast. You’ve got just enough time to freshen up. Let’s get moving. We don’t want to keep the family waiting, now do we?”

The second I sat down at the table, there was another change in the wind – a cold, unfriendly, heart pumping, combative change. The laughter and joking abruptly ended. Daniel went from being Robert’s older brother who kept him in stitches with funny jokes to Captain Daniel Henry McArthur, Jr., head of the McArthur family – a take-no-prisoners military man. He took complete charge. Daniel told – no he ordered – everyone where to sit. I was seated next to Clara Suzette, directly across from him. After Daniel blessed the meal, he made sure, as Luisa’s two helpers brought out the food, that he was served first. Then he began to eat without the courtesy of waiting for the others, including his wife, to be served. And no one made any objection. The children ate without looking up from their plates or talking. The adults did engage in general conversation, but if either of them spoke at the same time as Daniel, that person immediately yielded to him – the self-appointed head of the McArthur house – Robert’s home. It helped me better understand what Clara Suzette meant about the psychological control Daniel held over Robert. A man who at times could appear larger than life, in his older brother’s presence, had become as invisible as I tried to make myself.

“So, Robert tells me you’re a college girl,” Daniel said, sarcastically, after stuffing himself full, his elbows propped on top of the table, sipping coffee from the fine china cup he clutched with both hands.

“Yes,” I responded, softly.

“Yes, sir,” he shot back.

“Lori is allowed to answer in that manner,” Clara Suzette said. “Robert and I believe being respectful is what’s key. And no one is more respectful than our Lori.”

“Respect and formal are what this girl needs to be taught early or you’ll live to regret it,” Daniel said. “That girl I helped out was never allowed to address me in any other manner. And furthermore…”

“Daniel is there anything else you would like?” Robert interrupted, “More coffee? Juice?”

“No,” Daniel said, pleased by the special attention he was receiving, reared back in his chair, and patted his bulging stomach. “I’ve got to save some room for Thanksgiving dinner. After all, isn’t that what this day is about? Turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato pie?”

“It’s about giving thanks,” I said, respectfully.

Daniel stared into my gaze. I stared back. Looking at him was so near like looking at Mr. Miller, the principal at Kramer High, it made my skin crawl. Daniel’s ice-cold blue eyes showed the same hair-raising delight in them as Mr. Miller’s mean eyes did the morning he expelled me from school. And the way Mr. Miller had leaned in close, stretching his long body across his desk, his snake-like eyes narrowing as if he was set to strike, and hissed with glee at making me feel smaller than an ant was the same as Daniel when he leaned forward, a mocking smirk on his pale face, his blue eyes glaring at me, and said: “Thanks to who, girl? The Apaches?”

I didn’t respond to him right away. I took a moment to catch my breath. A moment I needed to find polite words. “I believe they would appreciate being called Native Americans. And, I believe the Puritans who survived that cold winter at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts in 1620, would say, yes, they were very thankful. They wouldn’t have survived without the help of the Native Americans. Actually, they were the first Americans.”

A bigger smirk broke at Daniel’s lips. “Is that right?”

“Yes…sir. In the fall of 1621, the Native Americans and the Puritans held a Thanksgiving celebration for three whole days. I say the Puritans were very thankful to the Native Americans for keeping them alive.”

“You don’t say.” David picked up his cup of coffee and held it to his lips. He didn’t take one sip. He just sat there peering at me over the cup, his eyes growing a darker blue.

“Yes…sir. And during World War II, the Navajo Indians were important servicemen in the United States Marine Corp. The Navajo soldiers helped win World War II. The United States might have lost that war if it hadn’t been for the Native Americans. The Navajo soldiers used their native language to create a communication system to send messages in U.S. military codes that the Japanese couldn’t break.”

“R-e-a-l-l-y?” Daniel said in a mocking tone of voice. “So the Apaches is the reason the grand United States military won the war?”

“The sole reason? No…sir. But did they play an important role? Yes…sir. I just read about it. Of course, I’m sure you already knew this being that you’re a military man. But there are plenty of books about the different American cultures in the library at school.”

“So, different American cultures is the kind of stuff you’re learning in college?”

“Well…yes…yes, sir. I think we should learn about other cultures. Of course, if you want to learn about other cultures, you have to register for the course and pay. I’m taking African American Studies, and I’m meeting a lot of people from different countries who are also teaching me about their cultures. We exchange books, talk, share information. But we wouldn’t have to go to so much trouble searching if the textbooks in schools told the whole truth.”

“The whole truth? Are you saying the American history I was taught is a lie?” Daniel wasn’t getting a little upset. He wasn’t on the verge of being a tad angry. He was seething. And I didn’t care the least bit. Oh, I knew I could or maybe should have shut my mouth at that point, at least until he cooled down. But I didn’t. I couldn’t wait for him to hear what I had learned from those powerful words in the books I read about Dr. Carter G. Woodson. And once I got going, pages came pouring from my tongue like a broken faucet.

“No…sir. The American history that you were taught…that I was taught in grade school and high school for free…for the most part, I’m sure is true. As close to the truth as research can prove. The problem…the big problem is that what we were taught only tells the history of one people…people who look white.”

“Who look white? Who look white? What are you…?”

“I think that’s enough politics for one day,” Robert said, interrupting Daniel. “Why don’t we retire to the living room, have Luisa serve us coffee, and umm, try to relax. And, by the way, Daniel, you never finished telling me about Kendall’s school science project. So, he got an A.”

“We’ll get to that later. I want to hear what ‘Miss College Girl,’ has to say.” Daniel cut his eyes back at me. “Now, are you suggesting that I should totally dismiss the history that millions of good Americans have been taught because you say it’s not the true history?”

“If you put it in a textbook, title the book American History, teach it to children so that they can learn how this country came to be, but leave out the contributions of all other people, all other cultures, except those who look white, what is written might be true, but it is not the whole American history. Dr. Carter G. Woodson spent most of his life trying to make it so all people would know the true American history. The part the schools still don’t teach. He believed that if the whole history was told it would stop the spread of racial prejudice, and would make people who didn’t look white, such as blacks, proud of their African ancestors and their contributions to American history. That’s why he started Negro History Week. But we wouldn’t need Negro History Week if teachers taught from textbooks that told the whole truth.”

“And just what do you mean by this people who look white? You either are or you aren’t.”

“Not necessarily.”

“You look, here, girl…”

“Lori,” Clara Suzette said, interrupting Daniel. “Please, Daniel, call her, Lori.”

Daniel shifted his glare from me, to Clara Suzette, to Robert, back to me. I searched the eyes of the others sitting at the table. The younger ones, understandably, seemed scared or bored with all the talk. Kendall, the oldest grandson, did look up from his plate…once. But the minute Daniel glanced in his direction, Kendall started shoveling down scrambled eggs so fast I thought he was going to choke. Not even Daniel’s grown sons or their wives dared to look at me.

“Okay…Lori, is it?”

“Yes, sir,” I said, tired of the tug-of-war myself.

“I’m man enough to acknowledge what contribution…small contributions others have made to this great country of ours. Take the Jews. They control all the banks. Hell, they practically own everything. If they fall, the United States fall…we all fall.”

I sucked in a deep breath. I could have said nothing and just finished my meal. But, I couldn’t just say nothing. “That’s the same kind of false beliefs that caused the Holocaust. The Jewish people were blamed for the poor economy in Russia. Around 1905, an untrue document that was made to look as if it had been written by the Jewish tribes was published. The Germans used that false document to back up their hatred for the Jewish people, and, many believe it led to the Holocaust.”

Daniel looked at Robert. “What college did you say this girl attends?”

“Lori is in a very prestigious, well-respected university,” Clara Suzette responded without giving Daniel the answer he wanted.

“Uh huh,” Daniel grunted. “A prestigious, well-respected university is teaching her this?” A smirk crept across his lips. “Well, I guess next you’ll be telling me the Queen of England is a Negro.”

“Queen Charlotte Sophia was the wife of King George, III. She was a queen. She was a Negro.”

“There is absolutely no proof of that, girl.”

“Absolute proof? That depends on your references…books, articles, personal beliefs not necessarily based on facts but emotions. Some say Queen Charlotte Sophia was European…white. Others say she was of Asian and African blood. Many say she was only one-quarter African. I saw pictures of her. I say she was black.”

“Let me give you a good piece of advice, girl…

“If you all will excuse us,” Clara Suzette interrupted again, “Lori and I have to check on Luisa. See if she needs any help with dinner.”

“Can’t this smart college girl handle something as simple as that on her own? I mean, after everything Robert and you are doing for her, the least she can do is earn her way.”

“Daniel, Lori isn’t just some…”

“Honey, honey, I would like my coffee freshened a bit,” Robert said, interrupting Clara Suzette. “Lori, would you handle that for me, please.” He smiled an uncomfortable, don’t-aggravate-Daniel-any-further smile. I didn’t smile back. Daniel’s pot was close to boiling over. And I was in no mood to keep the lid on. But I didn’t want stir the already troubled waters any further, either. Not because I didn’t have a mind to. I felt for Robert, the same way I felt for the timid little white girl at Kramer High who had to choose whether to sit beside me, a Negro, on the school bus or stand. Left alone, I don’t believe she cared who she sat beside as long as she got to school. But the choice was left to Matthew Drake, the mean bus driver. And here, at his own table in his own home, Robert had to choose whether to treat me like family or a hired servant. Left alone, I wanted to believe that Robert didn’t care that my skin was too dark to pass for white. But the choice was left to Daniel, the hateful older brother. Neither the timid little white girl nor Robert was any freer with their own people than I was. They sure weren’t free to make up their own mind. And Robert, a grown, married, successful businessman who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the freedom of all people, wasn’t even free in his own family. The minute Daniel walked in he took total control.

I remembered what Luisa told me, “Little One, when you hear the name Daniel, run like your pants on fire. … That man make big trouble in this place. …I don’t say nothing.” Now, here I sat wanting worse than anything to give Daniel a tongue-lashing that would turn his pale face firecracker red. But just like Luisa, I decided to say nothing. Instead, I answered Robert’s request to freshen his coffee. I welcomed any reason to get away from the likes of that hateful, misinformed, arrogant, poor excuse of a human being, and his mindless posse, including Robert and Clara Suzette, who sat like helpless robots convinced, at least by their leader, Captain Daniel Henry McArthur, Jr., that it was some kind of privilege to be a McArthur. Without uttering a sound, I ran through the kitchen, up the backstairs, down the hallway into the bedroom where I intended to make myself invisible until the McArthur family, the whole clan – all that belonged to Daniel – were long gone. But by the time I stepped foot in the room, Clara Suzette was already there, sitting on the side of the bed…waiting.

(To Order Your Copy Of Forever Was A Day, log onto or call toll free: 1-888-280-7715)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Christian Month on SORMAG Tours –

6 - Kristin Billerbeck
7 - Marilynn Griffith
8 - Staci Stallings
9 – Jenny B. Jones
10 - Kim Sawyer
11 - Mable John
12 - Jeanne Marie Leach
13 - Bonnie St. John
14 - Bonnie Leon
15 - Kim Brooks
17 - Dr. Dan Collins
18 – Susan Page Davis
19 - Sabrina Black
20 - Melody Carlson
21 – Jane St.CLair
22 - Angela Hunt
24 - Lisa Sampson
25 - Camy Tang
26 - Wanda Brunstetter
27 - Sheritha Bowman
28 – Stacy Adams
29 - Carrie Turansky/ Gail Sattler/ Lynette Sowell/Vasthi Reyes Acosta

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

2007 Online Conference

Did you miss the conference?

Click on the links to see what you missed.


In Memory Of - Katherine D. Jones


DAY ONE – NEW WRITERS – August 26, 2007

Panel Discussion: Debut Writers - Roxanne Rustand, J. S. Hawley, Michelle Larks, Jill Nelson, Margo Candela, Carmen Leal, LaConnie Taylor-Jones

Workshop: Basic Writing - Host: Dee Stewart

Workshop: To Plot Or Not To Plot - Host: Barbara Custer

INTRO: Debut Authors

DAY TWO – ADVANCE WRITERS– August 27, 2007

Panel: Meet the Editor - Monica Harris - Dorchester African American Romance, Stacy Boyd - Harlequin

Panel Discussion: Networking - LaShaunda C. Hoffman, Dyanne Davis, Shelia Goss, Nikki Arana, Ayn Hunt, Tee C. Royal, Andrea Jackson, L. Martin Johnson Pratt

Workshop: Editing/Revision - Host: Leigh Michaels

Workshop:Deep Point of View - Host: Jill Nelson

DAY THREE – READERS– August 28, 2007

Question/Answer Session

Panel: Meet the Romance Author - Dyanne Davis, Shelia Goss, J. S. Hawley, Dara Girard, Ayn Hunt, Roberta DeCaprio, Devon Vaughn Archer, Rhonda Jackson Joseph, Andrea Jackson

Panel: Meet the Christian Author - Marilynn Griffith, Nikki Arana, Michelle Larks, Susan May Warren, Marlo Schalesky, Jill Nelson, Cecelia Dowdy, Linda Beed, Stacy Hawkins Adams

Panel: Meet the Mainstream Author - R. Barri Flowers, Bettye Griffin, Marissa Monteilh, Margo Candela, Karen Duvall

Panel: Meet the Erotica Author - Celine Chatillon, Andrea Blackstone, Deatri King-Bey, Koko Brown

Discussion: What makes you throw a book against the wall?

Discussion: Do you have a site for readers?

Workshop: & the Digital Age of Self-Publishing - Host: Edwardo Jackson


Panel Discussion:
Inspirational Writing - CBA vs ABA - Dee Stewart, Nikki Arana, Marilynn Griffith, Susan May Warren, Marlo Schalesky, Shelia Lipsey, Cecelia Dowdy, Stacy Hawkins Adams,Tia McCollors

Panel: Meet the Editor - Joylynn M. Jossel - Executive Editor Urban Christian

Workshop: The Spiritual Thread: Bondage or Blessing? - Host: Susan May Warren

Workshop: Tips on Pleasing an Editor - Host: Lyn Cote

Workshop: Children’s Writing: The Basics


Panel Discussion: Self Publishing - Shani Greene-Dowdell, Anna Dennis, Alethea M Pascascio, Barbara Williams, Evelyn Palfrey, Rose Beavers, Dara Girard, Carmen Leal, Rhonda Jackson Joseph

DISCUSSION: Do you have a Self Published book?


Meet the Agent - Tee C. Royal - Literary agent, Tamala Murray - Literary agent

Panel Discussion: Motivation - Dyanne Davis, Nikki Arana, J. S. Hawley, Dara Girard, Stefanie Worth, Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo, Rhonda Jackson Joseph, Andrea Jackson, Marilynn Griffith, DeRon Smith

Workshop: Submitting - Host: Dyanne Davis

Workshop: The Naked Writer - Host: G. Miki Hayden

DAY SEVEN – PROMOTION – September 1, 2007

Panel Discussion: Why you need a publicist? - Pam Perry, Marlive Harris, Kathy Carlton Willis

Panel Discussion: Marketing - LaShaunda C. Hoffman, Dyanne Davis, Shelia Goss, Dee Stewart, Electa Rome Parks, Dara Girard, Ayn Hunt, Sylvia Hubbard, Cheryl Robinson, Andrea Jackson, L. Martin Johnson Pratt,Debra Owsley

Workshop: How to Get Booked on Radio Talk Shows - Host: Cheryl Robinson



Mix & Mingle ROOM

Did you miss our last conference? Check it out see what you missed.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Welcome to the last day of the conference.

To enter the rooms, click on the links.


Panel Discussion: Why you need a publicist? - Pam Perry, Marlive Harris, Kathy Carlton Willis, Rebeca Seitz

Panel Discussion: Marketing - LaShaunda C. Hoffman, Dyanne Davis, Shelia Goss, Dee Stewart, Electa Rome Parks, Dara Girard, Ayn Hunt, Sylvia Hubbard, Cheryl Robinson, Andrea Jackson, L. Martin Johnson Pratt

WORKSHOP: How to Get Booked on Radio Talk Shows - Host: Cheryl Robinson

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Happy Birthday

In Memory of - Katherine D. Jones

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Day 4

Day 3



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Happy Birthday Dyanne, Sean and Sylvia

I would like to wish

Dyanne Davis
Sean Young
Sylvia Hubbard

A Happy Birthday

May the Lord bless you with you many more years
and may all your birthday wishes come true.
Have a great day.

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I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.

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