Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recap of the Year 2012

 
I hope this blog post finds you well and in good spirits.  It's been a rather interesting year for me creatively, and I'm happy to say I'm out of my one-year writer's block.  I think that's the longest I've ever had it.  But as the saying goes, "good things come to those who wait," and I'm in a good space right now, so it all worked out for the best.
 
You know I'm amazed at when I stop doing something, thinking as though no one is paying attention, I just go on about my day, and wouldn't you know it--no sooner than I think what the hell am I doing this for someone will ask me what I've been up to and why have I stopped writing.  And trust me I never stop writing.  Seriously, I really didn't think anyone cared or was interested, but I soon found out that's not the case.
 
So, I don't plan to hold up much of your time, but I thought I'd share this with you going into the new year.  I was listening to Bishop T.D. Jakes, one of my all-time favs., and he said something that truly touched my spirit.  His sermon went something like this, you don't need man to validate your blessings.  You don't need followers to validate your mission.  And I got to thinking about that.  He also said something like just because you have followers that does not mean they are for you.
 
I thought about all the blog posts I've written through this year and some that touched on the very essence of what the Bishop was talking about.  No matter how many fans or the lack thereof I get, nothing is going to stop me from my goals.  No matter if I have 1,500 fans on Twitter or just one, nothing is going to stop me from my goals.  No matter how many people would love nothing more than to see me fail, nothing is going to stop me from my goals.
 
 
Bottom line, God has a plan for me, whether you believe in Him or not.  I know my existence was not an accident.  In fact, my parents made plans to have me, so I know I was meant to be just on that alone, but make no mistake, folks, never let anyone stop you from what you know you are destined to do.  If you have a dream, pursue it--don't just let it become a mere thought that you never put into action.  And although it may seem hard with what you're trying to do, and you want to give up, DON'T!  Giving up is something YOU should never ever do.  Giving up is for cowards and seeing it all the way through makes you a winner!
 
As we are a few days away from the New Year, I'd like you to go into it with the knowledge of knowing that all things are possible and you can do it with or without a fan base.  Stay focused, stay strong and keep your eyes on the prize. 
 
Wishing You and Yours a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year!
 
 
 
 
 
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
If You Put Your Mind To It--YOU Can Do It!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Who's at Fault. . .

Why is our society so broken? Is there any one person or source that we can blame? Are we so busy in our lives that we totally miss when there’s a troubled soul walking among us—or living in our households? Are massacres becoming so commonplace that we no longer feel shocked when our ears receive the message of innocent people getting murdered all because they were in the right place at the wrong time?

There’s been much debate about what we need to do as a society/country regarding guns and violence. Is the taking of one’s gun really going to solve unstable individuals from killing any one of us at any given time when the broken takes a notion to become completely shattered? What about Americans who are responsible with their weapons? Should they be made to relinquish their rights to bear arms? How do we go about stopping the most violent criminals from using these deadly weapons against the majority of innocent Americans?

I don’t know the answers, but I know one thing—saying we need to do something and actually doing something are two separate things. What angers me about these types of situations, which as of late, seems to be all the time, Americans get angry and bellow out the standard human cry, “why is this happening,” and “this needs to stop,” or “something has to be done about this,” and at the moment it sounds like the right thing to say, makes for great sound bites in the media, and we work diligently to try and fix these problems—only to fall right back into our same patterns, once the tragedy becomes dull in one’s mind, and go right back to doing what we’ve always done—nothing!

The unfortunate reality is I don’t believe anything can be done about guns and violence—they seem to be a match made perfectly like coffee and milk, tea and honey, salt and pepper, and yet, if you remove one, what does that do to the other remaining? Coffee would be just coffee, tea would be just tea, salt would be just salt, and guns would be just guns—they can standalone. You constantly hear, “do guns kill people or do people kill people?” The answer is simple, people kill people. The guns, of course, are made by design to kill, but if you take away the person behind the gun, a gun would be useless. Guns aren’t violent, people are! A gun is an inanimate object. It cannot do anything unless there is someone to make it do what it do—much like your computer. Computers aren’t smart, they’re dumb. You key in commands that the computer was built by design to respond to, and you get a result. You key in the wrong commands, and you get the wrong response or none at all.  

I don’t believe guns are our problem—it’s people. There needs to be tougher gun laws, and America does have pretty good gun laws, but once again, like everything else in America, there are loop holes, and you know what they are, for as many Americans who obey the laws and wait the standard time to receive a license for their weapon, there are that many more who do it underground illegally, and therefore, how does one go about stopping that? Guns and violence have become so aggravating to me that I have stopped watching the news. Anytime I turn it on and the first ten minutes I hear about eight to ten shootings in that short timeframe, it’s mind blowing.

Maybe we need to concentrate our efforts on getting help for those troubled souls that we clearly see there are signs of something that could potentially be an accident waiting to happen. Perhaps if parents paid closer attention to their children and what they were doing at home, as well as in school, maybe that could yield a positive effect. Maybe if society paid close attention to what is going on in their own communities and get involved with their local government agencies and youth groups, instead of paying so much attention to the next cat fight on Basketball Wives, or who got voted off Survivor, or the next American Idol, maybe just maybe, violence would be better controlled before it turns into something much worse. Did any of those things ever cross American’s minds?

 


As usual, what I see is America is a nation that is trend-oriented. Whatever the trend is for the moment, we’re all for it. When 9/11 occurred, I never saw so much camaraderie among blacks and whites. I almost forgot about racism in this country for a hot minute—but, like always, America never lets me down, she went right back to her standard ways of in fighting among the races, and things were back to normal (I’m being sarcastic!) I remember we said something had to be done at the airports, and Americans were all for that. Yeah we got to keep our air space safe and our airports—whatever it takes. Then as 9/11 started to become a distant memory, except for when it rolls around each year, I hear news stories about flyers pissed that they have to wait in lines, taking their shoes off or getting groped by airport security. But does America remember why those security measures were put in, in the first place? Hmmm, yeah, obviously not!

Again, I’m just a concerned American citizen like the rest of us. I don’t profess to know the answers, but like I said, I know I’m tired of hearing we need to do something for the present being, and as soon as these horrific massacres become deadened in our minds, we go right back to the same ole same ole, until the next tragedy occurs!
 
America may give all the speeches, hold all the vigils, have several discussions and debates all day long, and sure, it sounds really great and are heartfelt that we need to do something about these mass shootings, but does it ever change? If each and every American doesn’t stand up and hold ourselves accountable for our actions, or the actions of which you see of someone else and don’t report, I have a newsflash for you—there’s going to be more of the same type of guns and violence news to watch and hear about. If this is the type of America you want where we come together for the “moment” and as soon as the “moment” passes, we just go on about our lives and forget about it, then stop complaining. Don’t be shocked when CNN reports another mass shooting. Stop watching the reports and sending out Tweets and blowing up Facebook pages with the same ole rhetoric, when you sit there and do nothing! When these issues come up in your local government and the U.S. Government, do you vote for the correct people who have your back on these issues? Do you pay attention? Stopping gun violence starts with YOU folks! There is plenty we can do, but the question is, do YOU want to do anything about it? 
 
Present actions tell me you’re quite alright with the way violence has taken over our country! Case in point, some Twitter users sent out tweets calling the President every name under the sun for interrupting their football game with a speech about the 26 children, men and women who were senselessly murdered in Connecticut at their school. Wow, I definitely see where America’s priorities are! I tell you the “moment” passed quickly when most of our shows were interrupted, but we need to do something! Do you really mean that?
‘Cause I’ll tell you something else, even if it was possible to remove every gun from every single American that had one in their possession, violence would still happen. Asking Americans to turn over their guns is like putting a band-aid on a gushing wound—so responsible Americans can’t protect themselves against the ones who illegally and irresponsibly go about killing innocent people.

How did our country get this way? Who or what is at Fault—guns or violence?

It saddens me that a subject like this had to be spoken about in the first place during the Christmas season, or any season for that matter. My heart goes out to the 26 families who will forever be scarred by this horrific senseless act of a troubled soul no one saw fit to give help to—the signs were there!

God Bless You and Your Families in this troubled time of need!
 
 
 
 
 
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Don't Just Speak About It. . .Be About It!
 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here's a Story. . .

Seasons Greetings, Everyone!



The post I originally planned to upload I decided to place on the backburner because I have a more serious issue I would like to talk about.  This message is for Authors--(Independent Authors) to be exact and I want you to understand what I am saying and hear me loud and clear!

Most of my fans know that I'm an avid reader.  In fact, it's hard for me to say what is my greatest passion, writing or reading?  Either way, they both serve a huge purpose for my existence and I enjoy what my gifts bring to me.  Having said that, as many of you know, it wasn't until 2009 I decided to let the world know of my first love--writing!  I knew putting myself out there was a huge risk.  I understood that no one made me any guarantees, and I also knew how terrified I was at what would be said and how I would be perceived by the public.

I'm happy to say that my fears were for not and I'm still breathing and living to write another day.  My latest novel is currently in the works so I couldn't be more happier about that.  But unfortunately, I had an incident that I need to share with my readers and especially authors!

Many independent authors have asked that I read their books or inquire if I would like to read their books, and sometimes I take them up on their offer and sometimes, I don't, depends on the genre of the novel.  A few months ago I read a book that an independent author wrote who did not ask me to review, but, as anyone knows, when I read a book, I always give my reviews on Goodreads. 

You should already know that no matter what your artistry form is, there is always going to be that someone who doesn't like what you do--even if you feel it's the best work you've produced to date, there is always someone that doesn't agree and will critique you.  We've discussed critiques in another blog post earlier this year.


Anyway, I wrote my review and it wasn't that favorable to the author.  Make no mistake, when I read a book I read (hard) and I make assessments of the storyline, the characters, how well it's written, the length of chapters, proper use of words, how it ends, etc.--again, we've covered this in a previous blog post.  So, it should come as no surprise that when I give my reviews, they can be very critical, and let me also state, just as critical as I am of other authors' work, I am just as critical, if not more, on myself.

In this business you have to have thick skin.  There are going to be people out there that say things that are totally off-the-wall, and borderline ridiculous, but the fact of the matter is, those people buy books and they also have an opinion, as does the entire human race, so you shouldn't be surprised when you get a critique that isn't as "favorable" as you would have liked.  The best you can do is hope and pray that you don't get too many of those type of reviews, because if you do, then that may say something about your writing technique.

Ok, so back to what happened.  Most of my books I purchase from Amazon.  I own a Kindle and download books.  So, my 2012 reading year is coming to a quick close, and Amazon contacted me and asked if I would give reviews on every book I purchased from them this year to help other readers make informed decisions. I'm thinking they have no idea how many books I've reviewed and how long that's going to take for me to do.  So I got the brilliant idea that I would go to my Goodreads account and copy and paste the reviews I had already done.  Awesome, Right?!  (I know you feel the big BUT coming).

Wrong!  Apparently, for one indie author and his friend, whom I will not name, had a problem with my uploading my review--again!  Amazon sent an email telling me I had a comment to my latest review.  Not thinking anything of it, I click on the email and wouldn't you know it, I'm getting slammed by this author's friend about what right did I have to put my review on Amazon since I had already placed the same exact review on Goodreads a few months ago.  Of course, the comment was rather lengthy expressing that I shouldn't have done this and that my opinion couldn't have been more wrong, so on and so forth and needless to say, this sparked much anger from me.  (I think some of you don't understand that opinion and fact have two different meanings!)

I wasn't going to respond.  I really thought, "Ok Kim, you pick and choose your battles, is this really worth getting into a heated debate over?"  After much thought and getting angrier after having read the email several times, I couldn't let this pass.  And, as you clearly see, I'm writing on this blog post, because I'm still angry.


People let me tell you ALL something!  If you don't want my opinion, don't put your shit out there for me to read--PERIOD!  If you write it and I take a notion to read what you've written, you can best rest assured that I will be reviewing it and if you don't like what I say in my review--TOUGH COOKIES!  You better 'man up' and grow some damn balls!

So, after I responded to this irate commentator about what I said of her friend's book, wouldn't you know it, just like magic, the author himself contacts me and gets in on the action.  Of course, he wants me to call him so we can discuss the review--which I refused.  I was so taken aback by this whole ordeal, it gave me a headache, and when I awoke this morning, I was still pissed from the experience.

I have never in my life had to deal with such absurdity.  The nerve of another reviewer and author to personally write me because they didn't like what I said about a book.  (Are you really serious right now?)   I had to point out to this author that I'm an author too and let me tell you something, I have had my fair share of negative reviews and critiques.  Some were very helpful and others were downright cruel, but nonetheless, you know what I did when those individuals took their precious time to contact me, after having spent their hard earned money and again, their precious time, to read my book, I thanked them for the comments and asked them to please keep in contact about future projects I would be working on.  Have you ever heard of the saying "the customer is always right!" Even when you don't agree!  Not only am I upset about this madness, you can best believe I will not be a returning customer, which I'm sure he's probably thankful.  

I don't know how most of you indie authors handle your book business, but I try never to upset my readers.  Whether they liked the work I produced or not, I always keep the door open for them to return and ask for their feedback and honesty.  Perhaps some of you liked to be lied too or want to pretend you're the next James Patterson and Stephen King, but I reside on planet earth and I keep it real--ALWAYS!  Bad reviews can be turned into a positive.  Maybe you should review what the reader is saying and see if there is any merit to their words.  You might learn something!  That's how you become a stronger author.

You know, did I want to yell at these people who spoke unfavorably against my hard work and say what the hell are you talking about?  Where in the world do you get off telling me..., yada, yada, yada, but my point is, YOU NEVER EVER treat a paying customer the way I was treated by this reviewer and author.  How insulting it was to be contacted at all about what I said about the book!  And of course, it just further added to my opinion as to what I thought of it, seeing how he reacted to my response.  And furthermore, Amazon encourages its customers to review all their products, and yes, that's books included!  They contacted me, I didn't contact them!  As much money as I have spent on Kindle books, no wonder why they asked me to give my reviews.  I hadn't broken any laws nor had I done anything wrong and I stayed within Amazon's guidelines.  The only crime I committed was stating my feelings on how the books I read impacted my thoughts!  Obviously, some of us authors can't handle that--there's your damn crime!



It is my sincere hope that I never have to encounter an unpleasant experience like this again, but should it happen, I'm giving you fair warning, that nothing you say or do will make me vary from my opinion or review.  Once I make up my mind what I feel about a story, that's that!  My review is not up for discussion, nor is it negotiable nor can it be bought.  Because many of these indie authors' reviews I find suspect to begin with.  I don't know if I buy into all these 'five-star' reviews.  I give five stars when they are due, but when they are not, I'm not lying to impress anyone--and I don't give a damn if you like it or not!  I write reviews solely on how a novel made me feel, and it's nothing personal against the author. 

NOTE TO AUTHORSIf you can't stand a critique or a strong opinion, don't write and get out of the game!  You better learn to strap your "man balls" on and take care of business!  Otherwise, stop wasting the public's time!







Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet

Think. . .Before you Speak!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bring the Holidays In Right. . .

Are you struggling trying to come up with the perfect gift to give to that special someone in your life?  Is this special someone an avid reader?  If so, look no further, here are some great "New Arrivals" and "Coming Soon" novels that aim to please that avid reader in your life.  So deck their electronic devices, or yours, with these wonderful Books!  Cheers!


Dick Wolf, the man behind the successful "Law & Order" franchise, makes his literary debut with this extraordinary tale about a terrorist plot on American soil.

Four days before the dedication of the new Freedom Tower, five passengers and a flight attendant bravely foil the hijacking of a commercial jet. Thrust into the spotlight, "The Six" as they are dubbed, become instant celebrities. But New York Police detective Jeremy Fisk believes there's more to this than a simple attempted terrorist act. Fisk suspects that this might be only a diversion and in reality the early warning signal that another, potentially more devastating attack is imminent.

When another passenger, a Saudi Arabian national, disappears into the crowds of Manhattan, it's up to Fisk to find him before the upcoming Fourth of July holiday celebrations begin. Watching each promising new lead fizzle, chasing shadows to dead ends, Fisk and his partner, Krina Gersten, quickly realize that their opponents are smarter and more agile than any they have ever faced. Extremely clever and seemingly invisible, they are able to exploit every security weakness and anticipate Fisk's every move. And time is running out.






  
 
Relentless crime reporter Ann Rule continues her bestselling true crime series with Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors.

She begins with two horrifying deaths that occurred in July 2011, where a billionaire’s California mansion was the setting for his young son’s plunge from a balcony and his girlfriend’s ghastly hanging. What really happened? And then there’s the case of Susan Powell, who vanished in a blizzard in 2009. Her controlling husband, Josh, proved capable of a blind rage that was fatal to his innocent small sons almost three years later. If anyone had detected the depth of his depravity perhaps the family would have been saved. In these and seven other riveting cases, Rule explores the twisted truths behind a killer’s mask.








It was a powerful snowstorm in Northumberland, England that brought psychologist Denis O’Connor to the rescue of a three-week-old kitten, a kitten that survived against all odds to become affectionately known as Toby Jug.

In Paw Prints in the Moonlight, O’Connor shares memories of the never-dull life he shared with the wondrous Maine Coon Cat who thought he was human! Indeed, through the years Toby led him on a series of sometimes comical, sometimes poignant adventures—from the massive invasion of bees at Owl Cottage to the mysterious case of the missing tomatoes. With spectacular watercolor illustrations depicting Toby’s many hijinks, this timeless story celebrates the power of pets to alter lives for the better.






 
  
V.C. Andrews® Daughter of Light, the thrilling sequel to Daughter of Darkness, features a young woman desperate to leave her life in the vampire world far behind—but escape is never easy….

Lorelei is a beautiful girl who despises her secret family legacy: she was bred to be a lure for unwitting victims of her father’s blood appetites. Determined to break free and embrace a life outside the shadows, Lorelei runs away from the only world she’s ever known. But she soon discovers that burying her past is not so easy: sinister nightmares torment her, while even her waking hours are plagued with the fear that at any moment, Daddy could destroy all she holds dear. Can a child of darkness ever truly feel safe in the light?




Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan begins in Cambridge, England, 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in her medical program, she is far more comfortable dissecting corpses than she is sipping afternoon tea. Jane dreams of traveling to prove the truth behind her hero Darwin’s evolutionary theories.

When dashing explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic as she has always imagined, but Jane quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity’s past and the true love of her life in Tarzan of the Apes.




 

 
Michelle Obama has become a role model for so many of us—as the first African-American First Lady, mother of two lovely girls, steadfast wife, confident career woman and forthright speaker. Essence® pays tribute with this lavish commemorative book that makes a wonderful and inspiring gift. Mrs. Obama’s own words, on topics such as giving back to the community, finding life’s balance and renewing faith, convey her substance and spirit, while more than 100 striking photographs—including exclusive images from the White House archives—showcase her sense of style. It’s been a profound journey for this powerful yet humble woman; this beautiful keepsake follows her history-making story from sweet home Chicago to Washington, D.C.

 
 




 

Meet three thirty-something girlfriends whose search for love gets them caught up in drama every time. For Ebony, her three-year relationship with Dray is her ticket out of a promiscuous lifestyle. But when Dray starts to back away, Ebony’s old ways come roaring back. Meanwhile, divalicious Phoenix is sitting pretty all on her own, with no commitments to get in the way of her enjoying her lucrative career and luxurious lifestyle...but has she built a wall that will keep the right man out? And the hot-tempered Joi is up in arms because her boyfriend, Tate, wants to be involved in his daughter’s life, so his baby mama still has a hold on him. Blending humor and heartbreak, Yoshe keeps it real as she gives these ladies a lesson in love.





 
 
When you open a De’nesha Diamond book, you know you’re in for a gritty walk on the wild side of Dirty South Street lit. Her latest, Gangsta Divas, delivers such edgy realism and brutal intensity that you’ll race to the shocking finish.

The Queen Gs are still battling the Flowers for control of the streets of Memphis. But there’s a new female gang on the scene: the Cripettes. If you think the Grape Street Crips are hardcore, you’re about to find out that the female is deadlier than the male.

LaShelle rules her no-mercy Queen Gs crew, alongside Gangster Disciples leader Python. But her good-girl-gone-bad sister Ta’Shara is gunning for her. So is Lucifer. Now that Mason, the love of her life, is dead, Lucifer stands to become queen of the male Vice Lords. To do that, she’ll have to align herself with Mason’s brother, Profit—the man Ta’Shara loves.

But all these lethal ladies had better watch their backs, because Python’s ex-wifey Shariffa is back in town, and her plan is to kill her man. With her Cripettes behind her, can anyone stop her from pumping Python full of bullets?

As the final showdown approaches, here’s what you need to know about these ride-or-die women: “Only love can destroy them.”










“Gentleman seeks housekeeper. Must be willing to travel.” To Mariah Cooper, the advertisement is her ticket to adventure out West, away from her cruel mother in Philadelphia. To Logan Yates, it’s another example of his stepmother’s meddling. Logan doesn’t need a housekeeper. He just needs Destiny, his family’s ranch. He just needs his horses and the endless horizon. At least, that’s what the arrogant Logan believes. But almost as soon as headstrong Mariah arrives, Logan finds his loner ways challenged like never before. Making her feel unwanted is so much trouble, Logan is tempted to drop the act. Then a man from Mariah’s past arrives...and Logan will have to step up or lose the one woman whose embrace his heart cries out for.

 


Each of Meesha Mink’s Real Wifeys novels features a smart, streetwise, ambitious leading lady who will do what it takes to get what she wants. In Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard, the third tale in the series, that woman is Sophie “Suga” Alvarez. We’ve already met Suga in Real Wifeys: Get Money, and this time we enter her world…a world where doing the right thing is not always the same as doing right by your man.

Suga came up out of Newark, New Jersey, determined to get to the top of the corporate world. She graduated from college magna cum laude and walked straight into a job that puts her on the fast track to CFO. It’s a night-and-day difference from the path her ex-best friend, Luscious, took. But that doesn’t mean she’s some goody-two-shoes. Suga balances her book smarts with ‘hood smarts and steely-eyed ambition. Mess with her at your own risk.

Daniel “Dane” Greenley, Suga’s fiancĂ©, is as crooked as Suga is legit. Between his loan sharking and illegal gambling operations, Suga doesn’t know who will come gunning for Dane first—the law or the gangs. But she’s got his back...until the cops raid their house, and Suga has to decide whether to save her life and career, or to stand by the man she loves.
 



Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Read. . .It Keeps the Mind Active!






Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's About That Time, Readers. . .

Fa La La La Laa, La La La, Laaaaaaa, Readers!  It's that time of the year!  Why not deck your electronic devices with these great reads from AAMBC Authors (African-Americans on the Move Book Club)!  These novels will make great gifts for your avid readers on your Christmas list or for yourself.  Enjoy!
Synopsis:
Brook Mansfield was born into a life of privilege. She had a family that loved her and all of the advantages that came from being rich, smart and beautiful. She also had friends, one of which was Tameka Williams.

Tameka was a desperate woman looking to gain fortune, fame and love at any cost. Despite the warnings from others, Brook took Tameka in and tried to love her as a sister. However, after taking the one thing that meant the most to Brook, it was time for the tables to turn. Tameka had used and betrayed her for the last time.

Excerpt:
Wayne held Tameka while she sobbed. He was so confused as to how to handle or comfort her. He had never seen someone so obsessed with someone else’s life. He could not understand why she couldn’t be happy with the life that she had made for herself. Couldn’t understand why she couldn’t be happy with the life that they could build together. And as he held her, Tameka came to the realization that he didn’t know and would never understand her. She would never be able to get him to see things from her point of view. So she decided to dry up and let him believe that he helped her feel better and that her little tantrum was over. She would keep her feelings to herself from now own.

“Tameka, I promise you that together we will make a great life for ourselves. We will have our own family and a beautiful home. You’ll be proud of the life we make together. I promise.”

“I know, baby, I guess I just had to get all of this off of my chest. Jealousy is an ugly thing and I hate that I let it do this to me,” Tameka said with an ugly smirk on her face.

She didn’t mean a word of what she was saying and Wayne should have realized that. But instead he chose to believe what made him feel better about his beloved, Tameka. He would learn soon to see her for what she was and not the woman he wanted her to be. But for now, he held her in his arms and held on to the dream that he had of the wonderful life he wanted them to share.


 
Biography:
Stacey Covington-Lee is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She has written multiple manuals and training guides for various companies and local government. However, it was her love for literature that led her to pin her first novel in 2009. Since that time, Stacey has written several short stories and two additional novels. Her first published novel, The Knife in My Back, was re-released by Delphine Publications November 2012.

Stacey continues to live in an Atlanta suburb with her family and is currently working on her next novel. Visit her at
www.staceycovingtonlee.com for a full chapter excerpt of The Knife In My Back and a sneak peek at her second novel, The First Cut Is The Deepest.


Get to Know Stacey:
Q. How old were you when you first started writing and what motivated you? I was around eleven years old when I read a book by Judy Blume called Are You There God? It’s Me Margret. Something about that book lit a spark in me and set me on a journey to write my own pre-teen novel.

Q. What inspires your writing? I am inspired by the people around me. I love watching how folks interact with one another , how they speak to each other and what angers them or brings them joy.

Q. Your novel, The Knife In My Back, primarily focuses on the relationships between female friends, why is that?
There are numerous books that discuss the male/female relationship. However, the relationship between girlfriends can be so complex and at time so difficult that I felt it deserved to be highlighted.

Q. Does the book primarily focus on the negative aspects of friendship?

While the relationship between characters Tameka and Brook is a very volatile one and dominates the storyline, there is also the loving and supportive friendship between Mia and Brook and it celebrates the kind of friendship we all long for.

Q. Was any part of this book based on real life experiences?

I think that we have all had to deal with a troubled friendship at some point in time, but fortunately I’ve not had a female in my life that has presented me with the evil and deceptive ways that Tameka possess.

Q. Would men also find your novel interesting or do you think they would view it as a “chick novel?”

Men would absolutely find the novel entertaining. It’s a great story with wonderful male characters. The men in this book are strong, successful men that support and love their women. There’s no male bashing here, but plenty of lust, love and drama.

Q. Can we expect to read more from you in the near future?

Yes, you can look for my next novel, The First Cut Is The Deepest, to hit bookshelves early 2013. It is the follow up to The Knife In My Back and begs the question, are some people beyond redemption?


Contact Info/web links:

www.staceycovingtonlee.com; Twitter @covingtonlee; Facebook/StaceyCovingtonLee1; email lee27495@bellsouth.net









Synopsis: Juliana Valentine had it all, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy her thirst for love from the one and only man that she couldn’t have, Reginald Towers. She thought giving him the one thing that his wife Lisa couldn’t would make him leave and marry her, but instead it made the situation worse and Reginald went to the extreme to cover his infidelity and secrets. Putting her identical twin sister Julia who no one knew of into a situation she’d never thought she be in. Unwilling at first to go along with Reginald’s evil scheme, he is forced to threaten the lives of Julia’s loved ones to keep his secrets hidden and Miles, her twin sister’s other lover is the only one who can help Julia escape the snare that Reginald has her trapped in.

 
Excerpt:She had an agenda that had her living in the mansion Lisa lived in. She knew it was only a matter of time before she was going to make that happen because Reginald was stone cold and he wasn’t an easy win so she was going to have to put on the show of her life if she was going to take him from Lisa Towers.

“You okay?” he asked because Juliana was quieter than usual.
“Yes, I’m okay; well, I hope I’m going to be okay,” she said ready to tell him the best news of his life.

“You don’t look okay. You look like you just lost your best friend and after what just went down you should be smiling from ear to ear,” he said and got up to go to the kitchen to get himself a beer, and when he came back she was ready to tell him.

“Reg, come sit down, baby,” she said. He looked around for his boxers and wondered what she wanted this time.

“Juliana, spit it out, baby. I know you’re getting ready to ask me for something. What is it, baby? A new car, a trip, shopping spree? What do you want, baby?” he asked and leaned over to kiss her.
“I want you to sit down so we can talk,” she said, and he sat down. Juliana was beautiful, and he cared for her, and if things were different, he’d make her his first lady because she was not only beautiful but had a voice of gold, and Reg knew he had to keep her happy to keep her making the company the money that she made. “Do you love me, baby?”

“Of course, I do, you know I do for the hundredth time.”

“Then why won’t you divorce Lisa and marry me? You know you don’t love her like you love me, and I know her stuck-up ass ain’t sucking your dick like I suck your dick.”

“Jules, please, we’ve had this discussion a thousand times. I can’t leave Lisa, and I don’t know why you keep coming at me with this. It’s like you can’t be happy for shit, Jules. You are the number-one R&B female artist in the world. You live an affluent life. I give you whatever you want, yet you’re still not content.”

“I want you, Reg, and I want to be on your arm at the awards. I want what we have to be public, and I’m so tired of sneaking around with you and Miles, poor Miles. I hate doing this to him. I hate pretending to love him, and I don’t. I love you, Reg, and I want to be your wife. I know you give me everything, but it’s not enough. I want you for me, and Lisa is a bitch, and every time she sees me she gives me attitude.”

“Lisa is like that with any woman that is around me, Jules, so please, baby, I don’t want to hurt you, but I will never leave my wife, and if you can’t get that through your head, you and I may need to chill,” he said, and she couldn’t believe her ears.

“What . . . what, Reggie? You know that’s not what I want. You are the only man for me, and you know this. Tell me, do you like me being with Miles?”

“No, but you have to be. Miles is the greatest song writer in history, and if he knew that you and I were together he’d be gone, and I am not ready to give up any of what I have or what we have. Now, come on, baby, let’s not talk about this anymore, okay? Let’s just enjoy what we have and continue to make each other happy the way we have and just chill, baby,” he said kissing her tenderly.

“Reg, I’m afraid things are going to be different,” she said because she had to tell him.

“Different how?” he asked wondering what she was up to.
“Because I’m pregnant,” she said, and Reginald almost passed out.

“You’re what!” he yelled getting up from the bed.

“Pregnant, baby. You’re finally going to have a baby. You’re finally going to be a daddy,” she said hoping he’d be thrilled.

“No, no, how could you get pregnant, Juliana? I trusted you were taking birth control. You know damn well a baby is not what I want.”

“Then why is Lisa paying top dollar to see fertility specialists around the damn globe if you don’t want a child, Reg?”

“Hey, that is me and my wife’s business, Juliana. What we are doing has nothing to do with your ass, and it’s not your damn business!” he yelled. He was furious because every time they spoke of children he made it clear that a baby would be a bad idea and it would mess up everything, and she goes and breaks the agreement they had.

“Don’t yell at me, Reg,” she cried. “I’m sorry, okay? I just thought you’d be happy. I thought this would be good news for you. I thought—,” she cried.

“Why would you think something so crazy like that when I’ve stressed to you how important your career is and it would be bad not only for your career, but people’s lives will be destroyed if we brought a baby into this,” he said pacing, because he had too much to lose if it got out that she was pregnant by him and that was a bad thing for her to be pregnant.

“I’m sorry, Reg, please, baby, don’t be mad. It’s going to work out. It’s probably better this way. Lisa will leave, and you and I—,” she tried to say but he cut her off.

“Juliana, are you out of your fucking mind? It’s not that simple, and you are going to ruin my marriage!” he yelled.
“Reggie, this is our child,” she cried.
“No, this is your child. How do I know it’s mine? You have been with Miles; it could be his. How do you know it’s not his?”

“Because Miles uses condoms. Miles sees that I’m not too fond of his son, so he knows that the last thing I want to do is have his child, Reg. Why would you say that? You and I have been together for forever, and you know I’ve been in love with you since the first time I laid eyes on you. You are the one who told me to get with Miles. That wasn’t my idea and to make you happy I did what you asked. I did what was best for business,” she cried.

“Yes, you did, but then what did you do, Jules? You go and get pregnant—do you think that was good for business?”

“I thought this would be good for us, Reg. I was thinking of us,” she said sobbing.

“No, you were thinking of yourself because you know this is not what I wanted, and I don’t need this shit right now. Look, I love you, Juliana, but you can’t have this baby.”

“Why?”

“Because this will ruin everything!” he shouted, and she was confused. He was on top of the world, and all he had to do was leave Lisa and marry her and raise their baby.

“For who, Reggie? I know you love me, and I know this baby is a good thing,” she said trying to touch his face.

“Get rid of it,” he said coldly and pushed her hands away.

“What? You can’t be serious.”

“I am dead serious. You cannot have this baby, and I’ll have an appointment set up by the end of this week,” he said and started to dress.

“No,” she said because there was no way another man was going to make her have another abortion. That would be her third one, and she wasn’t going to go through with another abortion.

“Juliana, I’m not fucking around. You are not having this baby.”

“Yes, I am, and I’m not having an abortion. I can’t believe you’d asked me to do that, Reggie,” she cried in disbelief.

“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.”

“No, please, baby, please don’t do this to our baby, please,” she begged with her face drenched with tears.

“At the end of the week,” he said and stepped into his shoes.

“I will not, Reginald, and if you try to make me, I will go to Lisa and tell her.”

“Don’t fucking threaten me, Juliana. You do not want to fuck with me. Trust me, you do not want to fuck with me,” he said walking up on her like he was about to hit her dead in her face, and it scared her.

“Please, I don’t want this to get ugly. I want to work this out. You, me, and the baby can be a family. You have nothing to lose; we can be happy,” she said reaching for his hands, but he snatched them away.

“Listen, Juliana, you are beautiful, and you are at the height of your music career. Do you know how a baby is going to change everything? You are not ready to be a mom, and you know it. To get pregnant to get me wasn’t the answer, so let it go. This baby is not going to be born, you hear me? Now I’ll be in touch,” he said and walked out.
She yelled out his name, but he kept on going. She hated him for what he had done to her and wanted to hurt him just as bad as he had hurt her. She was devastated that he wanted her to get rid of her baby, and she knew she had to do something to make him understand how much she wanted to be Mrs. Towers. Her child was going to be the start of his legacy, and he wasn’t going to make her get rid of her baby no matter what he thought.

She got up and showered and headed back to her house. When she got home she listened to her voice mail. She was happy to hear her sister’s voice telling her that she could come by the end of the week. She was happy because she didn’t want to be alone, and there was no one else she could tell at that moment about her pregnancy. She called her sister back, and Julia could feel something was wrong.

“Jules, what is it?”

“Nothing, darling, I’m fine.”

“You’re lying—I can feel it when you’re sad, plus I’ve been having some weird nausea going on, so out with it,” Julia demanded.

“Lia, babe, don’t worry, because I’m fine. I’m just a little tired. I had a show this evening so I’m just a little worn out, that’s all, but your sister is fine,” she said lying.

“No, Jules, there is something else. I can feel it.”
“Listen, I’ll call you tomorrow about your flight information and we’ll talk when you get here, okay?”

“You sure? Because I’ll be happy to listen now,” she offered.

“No, sis, get some sleep and I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Okay, Jules, I love you, and I can’t wait to see you,” Julia said.

“You too, sis, I can’t wait ’til you get here,” she said, and they hung up. The next day she got up and made arrangements for her sister to come out to L.A.




Best-selling and award winning author Anna Black is a native of Chicago and has done her duty to deliver page tuning romance novels, with a urban spin. Her first release Now You Wanna Come Back, released under Delphine Publications in 2009, earning Anna her title as best-selling author and she didn’t stop there. Her follow up novels Luck of the Draw, Who Do I Run To, Now You Wanna Come Back part 2 and Who Do I Run To Now, has also topped the charts on Amazon, coming in at number one for Amazon Kindle. Anna is not only a writer, but she is a radio personality for AAMBC Radio and she writes for her local community for their local monthly news. Soon to release her sixth novel Split Image, Anna is working on the final installment for her hit series Now You Wanna Come Back. The third and final novel is due to release April of 2013 and Anna doesn’t plan to hang her writing shoes on the shelf anytime soon, so readers keep your ears and eyes open for more to come from this romance queen. Anna currently resides in Groesbeck, Texas with her husband Chris and her daughter Tyra. She is currently the GM for a hotel in her area and hopes to one day have a publishing company of her own.

Please tell us about you and your book(s).
My latest book is titled Split Image and it is about a woman from a small town that pursued her dreams of being a singer against her southern Baptist minister father’s wishes and ends up in a very bad situation with a man she should have never gotten involved with. She lies about where she is from and her family and hides the fact that she has an identical twin sister, who will suffer for her sister’s bad choices.

Tell us why we should read your book(s)? Well my books are categorized as romance, but they offer realistic story-lines that average people go through. Since I don’t write fantasy romance more readers can relate, because the story lines are based on scenarios that could really happen.


Get to Know Anna:
1. What inspired you to write it?
A dream actually. I dreamed it and woke up looking for my pad and pen.

2. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Spending time with my family. We are close and we do a lot together. We are very competitive and we always have some type of game going on.

 3. Do you have a motto?

Yes, it is you get what you put in. If you put in much work, you get much success, if you put in a little, you get a little.
4. What are your pet peeves?
Be a man or woman of your word. Do what you say you’re going to do.

5. If you had a chance to have a dinner date with anyone-dead or alive- who would it be? Why?

Christ, because I have a million and one questions for him.

6. What is one word that describes you?

Funny.

7. What is the best advice someone gave you? 

You can’t hold on to someone who wants to go. You should never have to convince someone to stay with you.



Web-Links:
www.annablack.net

www.twitter/annablack72

www.facebook.com/anna.black.790256

Email address: annablackreaders@ymail.com











 
 

Synopsis:
Inspired by two of the biggest issues we face in America: marriage and infidelity. What if you could really know the deep down secrets that men keep buried inside that only God, themselves and a few close friends know about? What if you could really find out, why men cheat? In this book, men are finally at liberty to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Women can finally get true confessions to questions they’ve always wanted to know. They learn not only to think like a man, but to be the kind of lady that men cherish in long term relationships.

Excerpt:

“A man does not come to know what type of woman he needs until he comes to know what type of man he is.”

Why write another book about male/female relationships? Why regurgitate the same relationship myths and assumptions? Why do we need another one? This book is for those who want to add structure back to their families, to make relationships stronger, to make marriages affair proof, and to provide a roadmap for change in the lives of our children. We believe the way to accomplish these changes is through the hearts of men.

Since the beginning of time, men believed actions spoke louder than words. We are known to be action oriented individuals. We are protectors and providers. If there is a problem we try and fix it. If our family is in danger, we protect them. It is what we’ve been taught from our youth. We are taught to become a pro: a protector and a provider. We were never really allowed to express how we felt about certain things. When we were kids playing a sport, if we got hurt we had to tough it out. Crying was not an option. We may have stepped out for a play or two, but we had to get right back in the game.

We learned from a young age not to express our true feelings about things. As a result of this we stand in the position that we do today: though we are physically the stronger of the human creation, we are still unable to express our most intimate feelings. This is a real challenge to our manhood. It’s not so much that we are unable to express our feelings. It’s more that we are not “allowed” to express them. All of our life it has been prohibited. Part of it is due to our protective instincts as men. We don’t want to emotionally hurt the person that we are dealing with so we withhold the truth. The other part of it is our upbringing. We just simply have not been raised to express intimacy or our true feelings. These true feelings are what make up the deep confessions of faithful men. It’s how we really and truly want to respond to things, but haven’t been at liberty to do so.

We believe that if we can uncover the layers of true confessions buried deep within men, our families will turn around. Our children will respect their elders once again. Our little girls will know the true worth of their bodies and not throw them away in an attempt to gain attention. Our young men will learn to respect themselves and others. Our marriages will be rooted in love and bounded by a spiritual truth that is blessed by God. The only way to begin the process of rebuilding families is to uncover the deeply rooted confessions of men. These confessions are only known to a few: God, himself, and his closest friend.

One must ask why it is or how is it that these confessions have laid dormant within the hearts of men for all these years? The answer is simple: all for the sake of trying to find a sense of peace. We bottle up a lot of things inside of us for the sake of peace. Now here is a way to begin to release all of the stress, all of the pain, all of the suffering that we’ve held onto for years. We want to give men the opportunity to be open and honest without being judged by the women in our lives. We want men to finally have the opportunity to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We want to give women an understanding of what men are faced with on a day to day basis. It does not matter what religious organization a man belongs to, he is still faced with the same challenges as any other man. Once you peel back all the layers of religion and race only one thing remains; a man.


 
 


Biographies:

Ricky D. Strickland was born in Memphis, Tennessee on June 6, 1967 but grew up in Columbus, Ohio. His Family includes four brothers and two sisters. He is married to Andrea Strickland and has three children.

Rick served in the military from March 18, 1987 to June 30, 2012.

In January of 1998, he reported onboard Naval Station Bremerton where he distinguished himself as a top performer in his profession. As the combined bachelor housing’s front desk supervisor and command drug and alcohol advisor, He took on several command and community tasks as follows: West Hill tutoring program, Petty Officer Indoctrination Team, Junior Sailor of the Quarter Chairperson, Seattle’s Feeding program on weekends and Drug Education for Youth (DEFY). He was selected Sailor of the Quarter 1999 and Sailor of the Year, 1999.
Chris Strickland was born in 1971 in the Columbus Ohio. His Family includes four brothers and two sisters. He received his high school diploma from Northland High School.

Chris majored and graduated Cum Laude in Computer Engineering at Wilberforce University, the oldest historically black university in the USA. He is married with two beautiful daughters, 19 and 10.

Upon graduation, Chris began his career as a System Administrator in the automotive industry at EDS, a subsidiary of General Motors, in Pontiac Michigan. After several successful years at EDS, Chris decided to return home to Columbus and began his career as a Network Technician with the State of Ohio.

It was in Columbus where Chris began digging deeper into the Word of God and getting the truth on family and relationships. His passion for helping others began to increase rapidly. Chris currently leads bible studies and spends most of his time teaching his children about the ways of God.

Get to Know Ricky and Chris:
Tell us about yourselves with the older of the two of you going first.
Rick: I’m a 20 year military veteran of the US Navy. While serving, I earned a degree in Human Resources from Webster University and shortly thereafter wrote my first book called, The Marks Left Behind. Understanding that I could make a positive impact through writing, I decided it was time to attack one of the major issues we face today: Infidelity. What has caused the desire to have an affair to outweigh the benefits of being faithful? I became very interested in trying to solve this issue so I teamed up with my brother, a natural problem solver and we came up with our new book called The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men.

Chris: I am a Graduate of Wilberforce University, Cum Laude with a degree in Engineering. I have worked for many years in my field of study, but left unfulfilled. My true passion is helping people. My heart’s desire is to make an impact in peoples everyday lives. As a result of this, I “stumbled upon” a new purpose in life: writing. I don’t believe one chooses their purpose, God does that for us. This God given purpose actually came by simply listening, which is something that I love to do. I’ve always been the “ear” for  people to vent to and as a result of this, I became somewhat of a problem solver (I guess this is where Engineering came in handy). I then realized that having problems is what really gives me fulfillment.

Why Should I buy this book?

This book should be purchased because it gives females very honest and open information that will prove to be very valuable in present or future relationships. It is like taking a test and having all of the answers at the same time. You will pass with flying colors! You will no longer have to wonder why your boyfriend will not marry you or how to keep him committed to you and ONLY you. You will now have the upper hand and can finally say game over or check mate. Also, this book comes to the defense of men, speaking truth those forbidden areas in relationships where men are typically forced to keep silent.

What motivated you guys to write this book?
The motivation to write this book stems from the divorce rate being over 50%. This means one out of every two couples getting a divorce. That is unacceptable to us. This should sound off an alarm in the minds of people. When a marriage breaks down there is a good chance that children will be impacted negatively in some way. We believe that through this book we can help keep families together and also help in rebuilding families that have been torn apart through divorce.

What is the meaning of the title, The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men?
The meaning of the title is an open door into the hearts of men, exposing the innermost and honest secrets which in turn lead to better understanding of what men really want in relationships and why things tend to go wrong.

 
What is your favorite chapter in the book?
Our favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 4, the Heart to Heart Confessions. In this chapter we surveyed numerous women and allowed them to ask one question each that they really and truly wanted to have answered by men. These women really poured their hearts into these questions. We took those questions to faithful men and in private we had men answer those questions openly and honestly. We created a heart to heart discussion between men and women, privately.

The chapter in the book called, The Brother Confessions, what is this chapter about?
The Brother Confessions is a chapter in the book in which we allowed men to openly confess any secrets, situations, or circumstances involving the opposite sex. These confessions may be about their own wives or girlfriends, or some other female. Confession is the beginning of freedom. The bottom line was to allow men to finally tell the truth about things that have been buried deep within their hearts. These are the types of things that they would never want their wives or girlfriends to know.

You mention something called “moments of stimulation”. What are these moments?
Moments of stimulation is simply the fact that men are being tempted daily by beautiful women that they come in contact with in malls, on the job, at the gym and many other locations. Though these periods of contact are only for a “moment”, if not under control could lead to acts of infidelity. Each moment builds onto the next moment. How he responds in that moment is directly linked to his home life with his wife or girlfriend. The more and more a man gets stimulated, the more pressure he has to relieve himself of that pressure.

Find the Authors:

Twitter: @DeepConfession1

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Deep-Confessions-of-Faithful-Men/299483886800999

Website: http://www.deepconfessionsofmen.com

Purchase Site:





 

 

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet

Read. . .It's Great Brain Exercise!