Saturday, March 28, 2015

BOOK Review. . .Circling the Runway



I received an advanced copy of this soon-to-be-released novel by Down & Out Books. 

One thing I can say about this novel, the beginning should definitely come with a Cast of Characters listing. Oh my, there were so many names and characters to keep up with, it got rather confusing for me, at first. Please note, I said at first. Once I got the hang of the author’s flow, the story began to come alive and what a story indeed.

I’m new to reading this author, and I am always excited to try a new author out because how else will you know who is your favorite and who isn’t? J.L. Abramo definitely has a way of telling a story. His style is very clever—sort of reminds me of a cross between Sidney Sheldon and Walter Mosley, wherein he takes several small stories that at first glance appear to be going nowhere, all the while keeping his reader engaged, until those stories weave like a carefully quilted blanket. The reader is then left with their ‘A-Ha’ moment and climatic victory of figuring out what is happening. I believe this novel is the third or fourth in the Jake Diamond series and I have to say, Jake is a pretty cool, well-put-together, down-to-earth kind of guy. His character reminds me a great deal of the old Private Eyes of yesteryear with the zest and appeal of today’s world.

One thing is for sure, Jake doesn’t take any shit and although he comes off as being your average nice guy, don’t let his good looks and his humor fool you, as some of the characters found out in this story. I’m not completely sure about the background of how Jake came to be, but I believe he either tried to be on the police force or wanted to be, and for one reason or another, he never made it. He once aspired to be an actor, which those skills came in handy for the work he currently does. Suffice it to say, he started his own private investigations business with a pretty, smart eleck sidekick, Darlene Roman, who helps keep his sinking business afloat—from bookkeeping to being a sarcastic speaking receptionist. Just as Jake was figuring he’d run out of money soon, a very important person ends up dead in his apartment. So, you think the story ends there, right? You couldn’t be more wrong! This is where those little stories begin to truly take shape!
 
For starters, evidence is being tampered with by a lieutenant who receives much respect from her squad—only for those to go looking at her sideways. Information is being handed out like a parent giving his trick or treaters Halloween candy. Question is, who is shelving out that information and why? Good cops are appearing to have a bit of the devil lurking within them, and more dead bodies continually keep turning up. Soon as Jake thinks he can safely move about to handle his personal affairs, he’s being summoned by close friends to help them with their problems.

Let’s not leave out the fact that he’d rather not get involved with any of this murder business, especially since it’s not paying his rent literally. But personal friends have called in favors and it’s up to Jake to at least make good on past promises. After all, when he’s in a pinch, they come to his aid. While dead bodies keep surfacing, a very good friend of his ends up looking like someone tried to put him in a meat grinder after having been beat half to death. Jake takes it personal and is in desperate need to search for those who have done this to his good friend. However, before he embarks on his search, Jake has a pretty good idea who was behind his friend's beat down. And knowing this, he sought out someone who could help him handle business. While he puts out tiny fires, there are other arsonists abound trying to light new and bigger flames to keep this cast of characters going around in circles. Abramo’s chapters are short, sweet and definitely to the point. The reader is given a panoramic view into the lives of each of these interesting and unforgettable characters. 

If you’re looking for a private eye who can stand the test of time with a little charm and humor mixed in, this novel is for you! If you’re a fan of the Law & Order series and are familiar with how it comes on and continues to build until you get to the crux of the matter, then welcome to Circling the Runway! Awesome read! Get ready to take reading to a whole other level! Abramo delivers plenty of action.  Mello & June gives this novel five stars.  Well done!  Coming to a bookstore and/or download near you around the end of April 2015.  Be on the lookout!




Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Calling on All Private Eyes. . .
to READ Circling the Runway






Saturday, March 21, 2015

So. . .What's It Gonna Be?

Hello Intellectual Minds!

How's your reading coming?  Are you getting it in?  If not, no worries, you know we're here for you!  You've got to stay on the grind. There are so many great books coming out and what's the point of an author if you're not going to take the time to read his words? So what are you waiting for?  There's no time like the present. . .get to reading!  It does the mind good!

Alright, I've given you my pep talk for the day.  Now, let's get down to business.  Aaaw yeah, there's lots to talk about.  Which network has the hottest show on the planet?  What show has just about err'body and his mama talkin' in tongues?  You've got to be living under a rock if you don't know what show I'm speaking of!  Oooh yeah, you know what this is!  Let's give three big ole cheers for Empire.

I knew from the trailer a while ago that this show was going to be good.  How could it fail? You've got the best African-American actors playing the roles of their lives.  My girl, Taraji P. Henson and my main man, Terrance Howard, playing Lucious and Cookie.  Can you hear my excitement?  No, you say.  Trust and believe, I absolutely LOVE Empire!  I can't control myself.  That is one of the best shows I've seen in scripted television in a long, long, long, time!  Make no mistake, Empire has a little somethin' somethin' for err'body.  I can relate to many in this colorful cast.

I know many of you watched the show on Wednesday nights on its original broadcast, but my hubby and I chose to watch each episode every Friday, seeing as how there's not much to choose from in the first place.  I don't know what we're gonna do now that the show had its season finale? OMG, what is one to do?  Empire withdrawal -- Ooooooooh Noooooooo!  To hell with fake reality shows, I want more scripted shows like this! Timbaland has outdone himself with the music on the show.  He is one hell of a producer.  Kudos to him!  I haven't downloaded the music on my iPod yet, but you better know I plan to do it in the immediate future.  I loved the music, the story line, and the crazy ass characters. I can't wait for Season 2! My favorite line by Cookie (although there are many), "If you want Cookie's nookie, you got to ditch the bitch!) Oooooh hell yeah, that's what I'm talkin' bout!  I'm #TeamCookie.

So, can someone tell me why some of my people have an issue with the show?  I would think my peeps would be happy to see so many African-Americans working and bringing forth a multitude of talent for the world to see.  We can act, look good and keep our integrity intact. So. . .what the hell is the problem?

You can bet, if Empire hadn't come along, many of my people would still be complaining there aren't any quality shows on television that focuses on US!  And so Lee Daniels and Danny Strong come along and give us this hot ass show that got so much spice, it keeps one's soul sizzlin'.  There are so many rappers/singers/actors trying to get in on the action 'cause they know it will help boost their careers.  Again, I ask, what is the problem?  Well, for starters, the naysayers and haters of the show say it showcases African-Americans in a negative light. They say it's keeping us down by showing stereotypical portrayals of us in the music industry.  Hmm, is what I say! Some have gone so far to say by watching Empire and consuming its content we somehow become what we view.  Hmm, really?

If you want to talk about keeping us down, I've said it before and I'll say it again, all those dumb ass reality shows on TV certainly haven't uplifted us!  And the shame of it all is those shows are called 'reality' and here some of you are up-in-arms over a nighttime soap opera for adults, which is meant to be scripted and portrayed by actors.  (Let's keep it 100 folks, that's what Empire is--a nighttime soap!)  Some of you are treating this show much like Dan Quayle did Candice Bergen in the hit sitcom Murphy Brown back in the 80s. He actually believed her character was 'real'! Oh Lord! If I'm what I consume by the reading material I choose or the TV shows and/or movies I watch, I guess I've got a serious problem here.  The last time I checked I've never been to prison nor have I ever stepped foot inside a jail cell (i.e., meaning, I don't visit anyone that I may know personally--related or otherwise).  I've never been arrested or got a ticket.  I've never murdered another human being nor beaten to death or raped another individual.  I've never held a real gun let alone fire one. I've never gone on a killing spree or for the hell of it, blew up buildings with people in them.  I don't recall receiving a license to fly a plane.  I've never been a stripper or danced professionally--ever.  I've played sports, but never was on a team and I wouldn't consider myself an athlete.  Oh, and I've never flown to other planets and took up residency.  I don't recall meeting any real aliens, although I sometimes believe I'm truly among them. Everything I just mentioned are things I've read about and/or viewed in a movie/TV, so does that make me what I've read and/or viewed?  Am I serial killer, rapist, stripper, been in prison, a criminal, a terrorist, etc.? Am I those things...ABSOLUTELY NOT!  But according to some, I am what I've consumed. Get Real!

How dare you insult my intelligence by stating those who watch Empire somehow become what they're watching.  What those individuals are saying to me and anyone else with the sense they've been given is that we don't know the difference between what is fantasy and what is real!  What?! What?!  I don't have a problem differentiating between what is real and what is not! That seems to be the problem with this new age generation today.  I've always been in touch with my emotions and knowing what-is-what and what isn't. From the behaviors I see on social media, have proven to me time and time again, that many of YOU don't have a clue as to what is really going on.  But to sit there and judge me and people like me who happen to enjoy Empire for what it is, a damn dramatic TV show giving plenty of actors and singers alike some work to entertain us for an hour or so.  Ain't no way in hell I would ever become Cookie or Lucious for that matter! 

Hello People, the show is just that--A TV SHOW! It's a show made up by someone's imagination.  It's no different than the books I write to sell my readers--to give them some entertainment. If you take what you see on TV or in a book and think that's the way life really is, or believe the characters you see are real people, then you don't need to cast judgment on me, you most definitely need to look at yourself.  There's something not quite right with you, but don't go making claims that people who enjoy the show are what they watch.  Do you even hear yourselves?  What the hell?  I do watch some reality shows--for instance, I'm a fan of the Love and Hip-Hop franchise.  I can tell you right now, I would NEVER act nor behave in the manner in which those people do.  I watch solely to get my laugh on because I sit there in awe that there are people willing to sell their soul and act a damn fool all for the sake of a dollar.  If you put it out there, you already know people are going to judge. So it is what it is, but to say I am what I consume, I take high offense to that idiotic statement.

And why is it Empire demeans us as a people?  Do you think the cast members of the Love and Hip-Hop franchise makes us look like outstanding citizens to the world?  Pa-lease, who the hell do you think you're fooling?  At least I'm not a hypocrite.  I know what I watch on TV and I know what I read, and I know what I enjoy writing, but to suggest to others you are what you read and watch, that is outrageous to me.  Downright ridiculous!  I know fact from fiction, but obviously many of YOU do not!

Some of you have taken this Empire phenom to a whole other level!  I remember when Scandal was the 'It' show and now not so much.  And believe me, Empire will run its course just like Scandal has.  All good things come to an end. My thing is, my people, is that you can't have your damn cake and eat it too!  You complain when you don't see many of us acting on the small screen and/or the silver screen, and then when we get a show that is working casting great actors, all of a sudden, it's degrading us as a whole and you want to speak negatively against its content. The people playing the characters are called 'Actors' for a reason, or perhaps some of you think Empire is real?  Shame on YOU!

So, what's it gonna be?  Either you want to see African-Americans acting and bringing home a paycheck or you don't?  If you don't like the show, that's your right, but don't sit there posting negative comments about those who do simply because it's not YOUR thing!  It's all good.  You don't have to like it, but before you so quickly jump to the conclusion to state that those of us who are huge fans of the show, such as myself, that I am what I consume by watching it, you better check your damn self!  I'd love to know what you watch and let me see if YOU are what you watch and/or read.  Do you hear how stupid that sounds?  

Make up your mind, my people.  You can't have it both ways!
  


Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

If YOU Can Judge Others. . .
Make sure you can do it for yourself!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Review. . .Signature Kill


Weekend's Book Affair proudly presents Mello & June's first book review for 2015 on our book blog!

I received an advanced copy of this soon-to-be-released novel by the marketing department of Doubleday. 

I was so excited when contacted to read this novel. I hadn’t previously read anything by this author. From what I learned, he’s been nominated for various literary awards and perhaps won a couple or more. His skills are impeccable and puts you right there with the story. Is there any wonder he’s been picked to win awards?! He’s in a league with the big dogs, like Stephen King, William Peter Blatty and Bram Stoker, just to name a few. Any author who can make you feel what his characters feel is truly awesome. I absolutely loved this story. I’m looking forward to reading more in the Frank Behr series.

If you ever wondered what it was like to be inside the mind of a mad man, you need not look any further than this new terrifying thriller, Signature Kill.

The story is told by the killer’s voice, as well as the quiet, sometimes seemingly standoffish, Frank Behr. Behr is an ex-cop turned private eye and in need of some much needed cash. As he’s driving home from a deer hunting outing with a buddy of his, he sees a billboard with a pretty young woman’s face plastered up with information asking if anyone has seen this woman? Behr further gleams there will be a reward in the amount of $100,000 given to the person who finds her. As much as Behr’s gut tells him to leave the whole situation alone, that $100,000 is calling out his name.


Meanwhile, his old cronies at his former police precinct are called to a park in Indianapolis where a body is discovered or what would appear to be what a human body is supposed to look like. This sickly disturbing twisted attempt of leaving a woman’s body exposed to the elements for the world to see sets off a series of women’s murders displayed in ways the human body cannot possibly set itself—thereby leaving one to question who or what could be sick enough to distort and pose these women, who once went about their daily lives never knowing they were so close to death, only to be left as empty carcasses without regard or respect to their lives?

Hmm, that’s the $64 million dollar question of the night and only one way to find out the answers is to read this bone chilling, gruesomely riveting thriller. I caution readers if you don’t have a strong stomach, you’re likely to lose its contents! (chuckle). The reader will come away with two stories in one—taking the journey down a dark path inside the mind of a sadistic murderer and the man who puts himself in the middle of it all to catch him. 

David Levien is an amazing author bringing his readers into his characters’ sick and twisted world. This novel had me sitting on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, as I turned the pages wondering what other discoveries Frank Behr and I were going to make?


These characters are so life like, and yes, including the killer. You’ve probably heard or read about killers similar to this fictional one. What I found most captivating was the brilliant ending! It felt so damn good and I only wish that, in this case, life would imitate art—(the ending) I mean.

If you’re looking for a great thrill read that will keep you turning the pages and sweating bullets waiting to find out what happens next, you most definitely want to pick up a copy of David Levien’s Signature Kill expected for release on or around March 24, 2015. Hold onto your seats, readers, ‘cause you’re in for one hell of a bumpy ass ride!










Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Fasten your Seat Belts Thrill Seekers. . .
Signature Kill DELIVERS!

Question is. . .Can you Handle the Pain?




Saturday, March 7, 2015

We MARCH. . .

Well, Top O' the Weekend to Ya!  

Umm, that's a poor attempt at trying to sound Irish!  No worries, it's all in fun.  So, have you been meeting your reading challenges for 2015?  If not, you have more than enough time to get your reading butt in gear and start attacking those books.  There are so many great books to discover, I don't know what could possibly stop you from getting your read on, but, no matter what, you must stay the course!  You know we're always here to cheer you on!

And it's the beginning of the new month and you already know how we do, right?  You know what time it is, don't you?  If you're new to Mello & June's book blog, every first Saturday of the new month, we host AAMBC (African-Americans on the Move Book Club) featuring guest authors and their latest novels. And boy do we have some goodies for you to feast your eyes upon.  We're too excited, and not only do we have great books for you to select, we have some very special announcements to make regarding AAMBC's Literary Award ceremony.  

Please click the AAMBC Tab at the top of the Blog and check out the posters listed where you can purchase your tickets for this year's event, or nominate your favorite African-American novelist and their books.  There's plenty to do and see and we're hoping you'll be able to join us this year.  So definitely check us out!

Are you ready?  Well. . .on your mark, get set, READ!


To all of her friends Kat is no different than any other woman. She’s a hardworking business woman always on the grind and occasionally she manages to squeeze in a relationship. But there is also a different and much darker side to the seemingly innocent Kat. She has a seemingly unbreakable tie to the drug kingpin Lupe who runs her city with an iron fist. With each step she tries to take forward and away from him and the lifestyle he lives, she gets sucked in deeper. 

Balancing this double life gets even more difficult when she meets Angel. The two bump into each other at an amusement park and suddenly Kat is seeing life through new eyes. She falls in love fast and hard. Being with him pushes her to want to walk away from it all for good and start over. She doesn’t get far before the streets are knocking on her front door reminding her of who she truly is. Trying to continue her normal life and hide Lupe from Angel and the rest of the world proves to be a bit too much for the orphaned Kat. All things past and present come to light and Kat realizes she has to choose. What will she choose, Lupe and the game or herself?

Excerpt:


“Get in.” He instructed as he walked around to his side of the car.

“No.” My reign of sassy continued.

“Damnit Katerlina!” He stomped back around to me, opened the door, and shoved me into the car.

The entire ride to my place I had nothing to say and neither did he. Neither of us wanted to break our scowls to express our frustration with the other. I nearly jumped out of the car when we got into the driveway because I wanted to get away from him quickly. I stormed up the walkway ignoring my nosy neighbor’s greeting and went inside. I slammed the door behind me. Having a door slammed in his face pissed Angel off even more. He repeated my angry door slam, but with so much force I jumped.

“So this is what we do now?” He grabbed my shoulder and forced me to look at him.

“What? I was going to get a smoothie.”

“You know what I mean. What were you doing talking to Jose?”

“He ran into Gerald and me when he was getting the ball from the game. Anyway, what’s it to you? I was only going to walk with him to the smoothie bar. Unlike you, son of a bitch, I’m not still fucking my ex!” I screamed to the top of my lungs like I wanted the world to hear.

“I slipped up once and I swore it would never happen again. I’ve been home every night since then. Oh, but you wouldn’t know that would you? Where in the hell have you been these past few days?” It was now his turn to yell.

“I’ve been doing me.” And with that I walked away. I was done.

“Doing me? Oh you mean hooking up with my friends when my back is turned.” I just waved my hand in annoyance at that. “Now you’re quiet. So what was it? You were hurting me for hurting you.”

“Yeah, that’s what I was doing. I was gonna fuck his brains out just like you kept fucking Samantha.” Tears were brimming in my eyes again so I walked away into the sunroom.

Angel followed behind me but for a moment he just stood there glaring at me with his fist clenched by his side. I stared him down unable to determine his next move and when he took another step into the room I flinched. I didn’t have another moment to react because he was in my face. He grabbed me and threw me down onto the wicker sofa.

“Oh, so you were going to let him fuck you?” He asked through gritted teeth, while ripping off my pants and tearing my panties.

“Angel stop it! I wasn’t really going to!” I tried to shove him off.

He placed a rough kiss on my lips to silence my protests. His new found aggression startled me. The more I tried to get him away from me the rougher he got in his attempts to keep me right where I was as he undressed.

“Jose, really?” He wrestled my arms down above my head.

He wrapped his belt around my wrists binding them together then he took the end of the strap and looped through the arm of the chair. He yanked it twice to make sure he had me just as he wanted me. I felt so scared and helpless, yet turned on.

“So you’re gonna give it away?” He ran his hand down in between my thighs.

He paused giving me a smirk, and then he raised my thigh and took the plunge into my wetness. I no longer wanted to fight him. In fact I wanted to be even more vulnerable to his newer, crazier side. With a dick game like this, hell no I’m not giving it away! Now I wore a smirk as I thought to myself.

“Te gusta?” He asked,

“Yes baby I love it!”

Samantha and their baby was now a long forgotten thing as we let our bodies say the things our mouths couldn’t. I was his mind, body, and soul. His thrusts were taking me to the ends of the earth and back. By now he was digging into me so hard the chair had begun to skid across the floor. No matter how much I wanted to stop him or at least get him to ease up on me my hands we’re literally tied. So all I could do was lay there and take the sensual assault on my body. Angel noticed me struggling to free my hands and his excitement intensified.

“Don’t try to get away. Toma!” He whispered roughly into my ear deepening his strokes.

Now my knees were pushed into my chest and I howled. No matter which way I wiggled or squirmed Angel made sure I didn’t give him an inch. As punishment for my futile escape attempts he lowered my legs but straddled my face. His caramel rod of steel was gagging me as he held the back of my head and slid in and out my mouth. I’d never been into this sort of kinky shit, but the passion in Angel had me convinced. I’d never been handled so brutally yet delicately, all at the same time before and it was definitely getting me off.

Finally, he gave one more deep stroke to my mouth and I felt a hot liquid hitting the back of my throat. He looked down at me and without saying a word he commanded me to do what he wanted. Though I could hardly breathe, I wrapped my mouth around him and swallowed as his spasms continued. He gave an approving smile as he looked down at me. I was panting like a wild creature and my eyes were watering. I actually felt a little violated.

“I’m moving back into the bedroom.” He stated while he untied me. Then he just walked off leaving me sitting there rubbing my sore wrists.


GET TO KNOW AUTHOR, MARIPOSA


Mariposa is an urban fiction author who often refers to herself as the mistress of the pen. She has had a passion for writing since she could first pick up a pen and began writing poems and short stories at the age of nine. Once she began to take writing, seriously, she ‘became a new woman’ and the persona Mariposa Urbana was born. She uses writing and her alter ego to express her new found challenges as a single mother. “Its like Mariposa says all the things that Teshia was afraid to. When I’m her I can say what I want when I want and I don’t care who likes it. It’s liberating!” She chose the pen name Mariposa Urbana because just like an actual butterfly regardless of its surroundings a butterfly is still a butterfly, it doesn’t change.


1: How do you feel now that your second book is about to be released?

A: I’m so excited. And so nervous. I’m starting all over again in the literary world. A lot has changed with me since the release of my first, D&K. 

2: Is your latest release a reflection of this transition in your life?

A: No not really. The next one will be trust me. But Jane of All Trades can kinda go with my whole restarting situation. I mean both Kat and I had to learn how to get out from our comfort zones and just learn how to let go and let it roll, you know?

3: Why do you think readers are going to love Jane of All Trades?

A: Personally I love it because for once the girl is running the show. Usually its always the man thats the boss. Other than that fact readers will love this because this book takes you on a roller coaster. You’re going to fall in love with some of the characters then in the next moment want to smack the hell out of them. Then you’re gonna cry with/for Kat. But in the next chapter you’re going to be laughing over something stupid she says or does. All around its just different.

4: Would you say this upcoming release is more street than D&K?

A: I would like to think so. When I was finishing up Jane of All Trades I was in a new environment where I definitely learned some new things that completely shattered that cute little safe box I’ve been in my whole life. So some of that is reflected, especially with Kat’s character. I feel like my main character is way more vicious in this one. 

5:Now I’m intrigued. What was it about this past year that has seemed to push you to go so hard now?

A: Umm besides walking in on my “husband” and another woman, or working in a strip club? Ha-ha. But honestly I really do take all of my fears, frustrations, and heartbreaks and pour them into my writing. That’s where the anger and pain came from in my new character’s life. So with this one I will say that I did pour a little of my situation into our main character just in the sense that its like just like me, we want to just move on and be happy and worry free but at the end of the day you have to wake up and realize that its either go hard or you don’t eat. So love, friendships and things like that kinda get pushed to the back burner so you can focus on your hustle. For me it was like a mantra, I just kept reminding myself it was just me and my daughter. Providing for us was all me now. 

6: Wow! It seems like you have been through a lot. Strip club huh? What was that all about?

A:Read the next one and see, ha-ha. 

7: Okay, okay. Well what can readers be looking forward to from you from here on out?

A: Now that I’m at a point where I can relax a little bit more I am going to be way more active online and reaching out a lot more. I’m gonna get back to “Mariposa the Fiction Vixen” as I used to call myself. Back to blogging, doing short erotic stories for my blog, book signings and just being more present. I want people to know I’m here and hungrier than ever. I’m on a mission to make it to the top of that best sellers list. But in the mean time you can link up with me on Facebook or Instagram! 

Find the Author and the Book:

Instagram: MariposaUrbana
purchase links:







She's All Caught Up is a cautionary tale for young people enamored by the fast life and the older folks that love them. This memoir tells of the negative influences that swayed the early life of author Jamila T. Davis (creator of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series). She is currently serving a 151 month sentence for her role in a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme.

Young Jamila grew up in a loving, middle class home. Her hardworking parents, the Davises, overcame the barriers of poverty and racism faced by African Americans in the segregated South. From the back wood shacks of the rural south, the Davises migrated north, making Jamaica Queens, New York their new home. They drove themselves relentlessly. By education and endless hard work, they attained their portion of the American dream.

Determined to afford their own children the opportunities they themselves never had, the Davises provided their children with a good life, hoping to guarantee their children's success.

At first, it seemed as though the formula worked. Jamila became her parents' ideal "star child." At a young age she performed in dance recitals at Lincoln Center and toured the country in a leading role in an off- Broadway play. Throughout elementary and middle school she maintained straight A's and was accepted to the acclaimed "Fame" High School of Performing Arts in New York City.

All was copacetic until high school years, when Jamila meets Craig. He was a 16 year old drug dealer from the Southside projects of Jamaica Queens. His street edge fascinated naive Jamila, and he quickly usurped Mrs. Davis' position as role model and protector.

Jamila became mesmerized by the hustlers and life in the inner city ghetto. Her values quickly changed. She wanted independence, power and notoriety, and she chose life in the fast lane to claim them. With her brains and beauty, she rises to the top!

As this high school teen rebels, breaking loose from her parents' tight reins, the Davises wage an "all-out" battle to save their only daughter who they love so desperately. But Jamila is in too deep! Poisoned by materialism and the drama of street life, she resists, and the Davis family is turned upside down!

This real-life story exemplifies the powerful societal influences that affect today's youth, and the almost insurmountable challenges of the older generation who fight hard to protect them. This heartfelt story empowers both youth and adults to understand the tragic consequences of poor choices while instilling the ability to resist them.

When this good girl goes bad, it seems as if there is no turning back.

SHE'S ALL CAUGHT UP!


Excerpt
PROLOGUE

January 29, 1995

“Pull the car over now!” I heard blaring from a bullhorn as I was suddenly awakened from a deep sleep.

“Oh my goodness, Jamila, wake up!” Theresa shouted as she fiercely nudged me from the driver’s seat of her gray Mitsubishi Mirage.

“What in the world!” I shouted as we pulled over on Capital Boulevard and close to a dozen cop cars surrounded us.

“Oh, God, girl. We are in trouble. I’m so nervous,” Theresa whimpered in a panic as sweat began to pour down her jet-black petite face.

“Calm down, girl. Just act normal,” I instructed, trying hard to gather my composure. My heart pounded intensely as I watched the police gather through the rearview mirror. Two cops exited their vehicle.

“You don’t understand! I’ve got a ton of drugs in the trunk. Oh, man, Jamila, I think we are in big trouble,” Theresa ranted as the cops quickly approached us.

“Young ladies, step out of the car and show me some identification,” the tall, white cop said in a strong Southern drawl as he approached the driver’s door of the vehicle, with his hand tightly gripped on the gun in his holster.
We stepped out of the small, two-door car and fear engulfed me as I watched several other officers swarm our vehicle. It became apparent this was not a routine traffic stop.

“You can make this difficult, or it can be easy. Do you give us permission to search this vehicle, gal?” the officer asked Theresa sharply in his strong Southern accent.
“Well, um,” Theresa mumbled, clearly confused and frightened. “I don’t . . . um. Well, I guess so.”

That’s all the officers needed to hear. They had Theresa’s consent and began to ransack the car. After a brief search, the drugs that were hidden in the luggage in the trunk of the car were quickly apprehended.
Tears rolled down my eyes as Theresa and I were read our rights, handcuffed, and placed in the back of the police car. I was seventeen years old and under arrest!

My life flashed in front of me. What was I going to tell my parents? How could I ever explain this? I was supposed to be enjoying my freshman year at St. Augustine’s University. Instead, I sat in a tiny holding cell at the Wake County Jail in Raleigh, North Carolina.

I nervously stood silent as I was finally taken before a magistrate judge, who formally announced my charges and determined my bail.

“Jamila Davis,” the old white judge announced as he banged his gavel, “I hereby set your bail at two million dollars.”
Two million dollars! I thought in rage and disbelief.

I was escorted out of the small courtroom by the bailiff and sent back to the dark holding cell. I cried uncontrollably as the reality of the consequences of my lifestyle had suddenly crept up on me. I had no clue the power a few bad decisions could have. My life didn’t have to turn out this way. It was one poor choice that ultimately altered my entire destiny!


GETTING TO KNOW AUTHOR, JAMILA

Jamila T. Davis, born and raised in Jamaica Queens, New York, is a motivational speaker, prison reform activist and the author of several books geared to empower the young and the old. She is also a co-founder of WomenOverIncarcerated.org, an advocacy group created to shed light on the lengthy sentences of non-violent, female federal offenders and rally for sentencing reform.

As a former Hip Hop Music & Professional Sports Celebrity Advisor and real estate investor, Davis is no stranger to triumphs and defeats. From a self-made millionaire at age 25, her life took a tragic twist. Today she’s known as federal prisoner #59253-053, sentenced to 12 1/2 years for bank fraud.

From behind bars, Davis embarked on an intense journey of inner healing and restoration. Documenting her findings, she created the “Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series,” which has helped to transform the lives of female offenders across the country.

Discovering her purpose while incarcerated, and encountering injustices within her own case, Jamila T. Davis developed “The High Price I Had To Pay” Book Series, creating a platform for women serving decade plus sentences for non-violent crimes to tell their stories. The success of the series led to the formation of WomenOverIncarcerated.org.
Despite her current obstacles, Davis is committed to paying her way forward and transforming lives through her literary work. From behind bars she’s making a difference!

(1) Introduce yourself to the audience and tell them a little about your latest memoir "She's All Caught Up."

Hello, my name is Jamila T. Davis. I am the author of "She's All Caught Up." My book is a memoir about my early life, written as a cautionary tale. It exposes some of the negative influences that led me on a destructive, high speed chase to find fulfillment.

I grew up during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80's. Back then, it was cool to date drug dealers who were getting significant amounts of money. Just like kids today, my desire to be accepted by my peers caused me to try to appease those I admired, regardless of the consequences. Unlike the average chicks I grew up with, once I got a taste of life in the fast lane I wanted my own share. Instead of simply accepting hand outs from my drug dealer boyfriends, I decided to try my hand in the game. Overnight, I became addicted to the high of getting money and it all went down hill from there!

(2) Please share with our audience where you are at? And, how your current experience sparked the creation of your memoir?

I am currently serving a 12 1/2 year sentence at the Danbury Federal Prison camp in Danbury, Connecticut. It is the same facility where Piper Kerman, author of the book "Orange Is The New Black," was housed.

While incarcerated, I participated in a prison public speaking program, geared to deter at-risk youth from crime. Hearing teens vow to avoid participating in criminal activities after listening to my story made me recognize the power it had. This inspired me to write my book to warn others about the detriments of living life in the fast lane. I want kids to understand the severe consequences of this lifestyle, so they will think twice before committing crimes.

(3) What audience do you think will benefit most from this book and why?

I think teens will benefit from reading my book, as well as adults. A lot of people from all races and backgrounds have told me they can relate to my story in certain aspects. I created my book to become a mirror that causes readers to reflect. Even if you didn't make the same mistakes as I did, most of us have been vulnerable to some form of peer pressure or negative influences to gain acceptance. It is my goal to cause readers to dig in and analyze themselves. I share my flaws so that others will have the courage to take a look at their own flaws. We all make mistakes, but true empowerment occurs when we dare to go back and fix them. It's all about being real and breaking free from the chase that keeps many in bondage.

(4) Share with us a little about how your family life was growing up?

My mother was a school teacher and my father was a NYC Transit supervisor. They migrated from the South to build a better life for their family.

I grew up in an upper middle class home, with two very loving parents. They enrolled me and my brother in all types of activities including dancing, singing, acting, gymnastics and Judo. I had a full schedule and was expected to get straight A's in school. My parents wanted to ensure that my brother and I had all the things, and opportunities, that they lacked growing up. So for the most part, we were pretty spoiled.

(5) Do you think your childhood life fits the typical prisoner? Please explain.

Not at all! My parents raised me for success. My mother's dream was for me to become a doctor or lawyer, while being successful in the world of entertainment. They never imagined that I would be enamored by life in the fast lane. My desire to be accepted swayed me over to the other side. After that, there seemed to be no turning back!

(6) What was the changing point in your life that turned you into a "get money" chick?

I was dumped by my first boyfriend, a well known drug dealer, for an older girl who worked in a bakery. He told me he chose her over me because she made her own money, attracting him to her independence. At that moment something went off in my head. I felt like money would be the key factor that brought me happiness and companionship, so I went after it full fledge. Once I saw the attention it got me, I was hooked!

(7) What is your message to teens that think living in the fast lane is cool?

Take a look at my life. Serving time in prison is certainly not cool! Regardless of how smart you think you are or what you think you can get a way with, in the end crime will always catch up to you!

For the past 6 1/2 years I've raised my two children from a prison visiting room. I missed out on their birthdays, graduations and all the major holidays. I would give back every dollar I ever made to regain the time I lost with them.

My experience has taught me that nothing is ever worth losing your freedom. Therefore, avoid crime at all cost!

Find the Author and Buy the Book:

Instagram/jamilatdavis




Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

Get a Jump on Life. . .
READ!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why? Because I Can!

Hello My Readers!

May this post find you well and in great spirits!  I know it's extremely hard to keep your positive attitude going with this freeze most of the country is experiencing, but as hard as it may be, try to stay focused and keep a positive outlook.  In a few short weeks, Spring will be here, but know that Old Man Winter has a way of not wanting to step aside and let another season ruin his reign and terror! (Chuckle).

As many of you may already know, every February I make it my business to read as many African-American novels as I can.  Although I started my reading year with reading nothing but African-American novelists and that wasn't done on purpose, it just sort of worked out that way.  But no matter, I make it a point to dedicate February to reading about my people and what they offer to the literary world.

I've finished up with some great selections this year and I couldn't be happier about adding them to my "read" shelves.  From time to time, I enjoy going back and re-reading the reviews I've written to see where my mindset was when I read a particular book.  It's always refreshing to me to see if I've changed my mind or if I would have evaluated a book differently, but more often than not, I just get a kick out of what I had to say about someone else's words, which brings me to this weekend's post.

If I had a dime for every time someone asked me "Kim, why do you write?" I'd be a wealthy woman now.  Depending on my mood that day and how I'm feeling, may depend on the given answer, but I have to say, sometimes I'm not even quite sure why exactly it is I write. One thing I can definitely tell you, it damn sure isn't about the enjoyment of it anymore. Don't get me wrong, I do, to some extent, enjoy writing, otherwise what would be the point, right?  But other times it's a way to keep me conditioned, so to speak, that is, if you understand where I'm coming from?

As I've told you many times before, writers are very temperamental people.  We experience things much differently than most.  We look at life and situations differently and we tackle those experiences in different ways.  However, having said that, the one thing that most authors can agree upon is that we write what we feel.  There's something that needs to be said and who else to get it out than an author?  Even though I still feel there are those out there that write for the wrong reasons, I suppose if they use it as a way of fulfilling a purpose, then I guess that would be quite fine for one to do.

For me, I have to write because it's my only way to express my truest feelings.  I can say lots on paper that I could never voice aloud.  Strange isn't it?  But not so much for me.  Don't get me wrong, I can definitely relay my feelings vocally if I'm pushed to that point.  I can guarantee you, if I'm heated about something, I'll make no uncertain terms on how I feel about the subject.  If I want someone to know something, I have no problem letting them know, but for the most part, I prefer to keep it on paper.  My creativity just flows that much more.

So. . .you want to know why I write?  Simply, because I can.  If someone said I couldn't write, that's as good as telling me, stop breathing.  And of course, in order for me to live, I must breath, so writing pretty much is my lifeline.  The funny thing is, I cannot really think of a time I didn't write.  Sure, I'm often plagued with that dreaded writer's block which I'd like to take my thoughts and chop that bitch into thousands of pieces, but it's something that happens to most writers from time to time.  How long that block lasts can mean a multitude of things, but for me, it usually means my soul is at peace and wishes not to speak.  And it is at those times I use the quiet to work on other talents I possess, such as reading!  

Now, you're probably thinking, reading isn't a talent!  Oooh, my dear friends, but it is and here's why.  When you take words and process them and understand the meaning in which these words possess, it takes a certain type of mind to do that.  That's a talent that is learned and one that many do not realize its true potential.  To take words, understand what they are saying, visualize what is being written and make a movie reel begin in your mind's eye is most definitely a talent.  Words guide, shape and mold the mind thereby bringing forth other talents they might not otherwise had known about.  An author's talent helps to induce that in its reader and when the reader gets it, there's not only knowledge but one's own self-empowerment.  

When I hear my fans tell me that they enjoyed something I've written and it made them think and encouraged them to do something inspiring, that is the ultimate compliment an author can receive.  I've done my job!  That is why I write.  It promotes a healthier way of thinking and brings a positive light to others.  Even when my words do not inspire you, you have to admit, if you received any type of feeling from my words, my job was still completed. It made you feel some type of way whether that be good or bad.  At the end of the day, that's all any author can expect to achieve and my goal was met.  

So when I tell you I write because I can, I'm not being arrogant.  I'm just being truthful. It's almost impossible to single out one reason why any writer puts pen to paper. How do you break that down or summarize what we do?  I write because it's a right that I have and I have the ability to make others feel--plain and simple.  There's nothing more that I can add.  I do what I do and therefore it is what it is!

Much like those who say "I sing because I'm happy!"  Well, I write because I can!

Until next time, Readers, stay focused, stay positive, be inspiring!



 

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

The Cartoon Above Depicts it All!