I sure hope you had a safe and pleasant Fourth of July! And while we're still in a celebratory mood, let's give some cheers to AAMBC and this week's guest authors. Summer is moving at a swift pace, and let's keep our download fingers in shape by adding these great books to our summer reading list. Enjoy, and as always, Happy Reading!
Success can have many definitions, but ask the people who have obtained it and they will say, “I never gave up.” In BLESSINGS & MIRACLES (June 2013; ISBN: 978-0-9893682-0-9; $15.00) A MEMOIR, Shashicka Tyre-Hill shares how life didn’t begin in the best of circumstances. At the tender age of four she witnessed her mother and father arguing over him wanting to take food from the family refrigerator and sell it to feed his drug habit. Shashicka’s emotional outburst in response to her parent’s quarrelling landed the young girl in the Savannah Regional Mental Facility. This was the moment that forced her parent’s separation. Things got much worst before they got better. After becoming pregnant at the age of fourteen, there were not many who would have given Shashicka much of a chance in life, but that was not the way Shashicka saw it. From the time she was young, she knew God had a greater purpose and with determination and dedication, she worked hard to find what God had for her.
Although the road was filled with bumps, including sexual advances from her mom’s boyfriend, to almost losing her child to the system and landing on public assistance to survive as a teen mom, Shashicka finally found her passion—caring for the sick and shut-in.
BLESSINGS & MIRACLES is a moving memoir that will have readers cheering for a young Shashicka as if they knew her. And upon finishing the story, readers will come to realize they do know her. She is the young girl standing at the bus stop, the young boy getting into mischief on the street corner, the kids loitering in the park or cutting class at school. Shashicka represents the battle and triumph of so many children of color who find themselves being raised in single parent homes, forced to grow up too fast, too soon.
“When I was fifteen, and I had my baby and my mother told me to leave her house I believe God had abandoned me. As I was walking in the streets, I was thinking that no one cared about me; I didn’t really have anywhere to go. I cried out to God asking Him why? Why would he do this to me? Why did it have to happen to me? I felt totally alone and I thought that God had forgotten about me — but just for a moment. I had a couple more moments of, “Why me, God!” like when I almost lost my daughter. I really questioned God a lot then, especially while I was locked up. I didn’t understand why when I was doing everything right, when I was working so hard, why I had to go through all of this. But though I questioned God, He was always there.”
Fortunately for her, the opposition allowed her to find passion early in life. A light touch from a caring person can leave a lasting impression and after caring for her ailing grandmother, Shashicka turned her compassion for the sick and shut-in into a career that has not only given her a wonderful life, but has helped others to thrive.
Shashicka’s accounts of her early years force readers to think about the obstacles before them and re-adjust before throwing in the towel. Through her life readers will come to see that the problems we face are often the mental and emotional workout needed to strengthen us for the journey to destiny. Readers will find inspiration as they witness a young girl’s enduring will to succeed, the daunting pursuit to find lasting love and the quest for entrepreneurship.
“When I look back over my life today, I see that there were plenty of times I had to stretch my faith, but the major time for me was when I just couldn’t get my license. Having to do that three times was a lot. And the lady who was responsible for giving me the license spoke such negativity into my life. I remember crying so hard, that I couldn’t even speak. Then, I talked to my mom and she helped me to stretch my faith. That was when I went back for the third time. And, I did it!”
At the age of 21, Shashicka was a married mother of two who had become the youngest person in the country to obtain a home health care license. She started her first business Miracle Health Care in Brunswick, GA. Today she has seven locations in the state of Georgia. BLESSINGS & MIRACLES offers a uniquely personal, deeply intimate look into the complicated past of a teen mom and her will to succeed.
Each chapter of this memoir carries the reader from tragedy to triumph, as this young girl grows into a woman—a successful business woman, despite numerous setbacks.
GET TO KNOW SHASHICKA:
I want people to know that you can do it no matter what.
In the book, you mention an elderly client, Mrs. Duggins, who showed you how to budget. The book doesn’t mention her again after you leave her employment. To satisfy my own curiosity, did the two of you continue to communicate? Did she give you any business advice?
Yes I did keep in touch with her she pasted in 2009 and she taught me the most important part of business and that was how to budget the money that the business was making.
You are very candid about your marital problems in the book. Divorce is extremely prevalent these days. What made you stay even though you knew your husband was cheating?
At the time my main concern was trying to get my business stated and taking care on my kids. There were times in I relationship that I feel as a wife I didn’t allow him to be a man, when we got married we were very young and did understand our duties as husband and wife. A lot of times in a relationship we look at thing one sided, there was things that I did that wasn’t right I never cheated but I took his man hood by not allowing him to be a man of his house. When a person feel like they aren’t need they look to get that feeling from somewhere else. I really don’t believe in divorcing at all I feel that we all make mistakes.
You have accomplished quite a bit at a young age. Do you have any programs that help mentor current or future entrepreneurs or individuals who want to get into the home health care field?
No I don’t have a program, I do business coaching I will teach both men and women what I’ve learned over my 12 years of being in business, I have helped over 8-10 people who wanted to start a business get started that they are all doing wonderful
Besides promoting your book, what else are you working on?
Franchising Miracle Home Care, Starting my 2 location for my Adult Day Care in Savannah GA as well as doing Motivational Speaking and Business Coaching
How can people get your book and connect with you?
From my website www.shashickahill.com, Amazon, Books a Million and Barnes and Nobles
FIRECRACKER GOOD READS
~Deception, greed, and fame dismantle their lives~ Charlene and Raven, mother and daughter, are woven together by blood, but separated and haunted by circumstance: personal struggles, concealed demons and uncovered skeletons.
Fifteen-year-old Charlene Shaw is frustrated with life. She embodies every young woman’s starry-eyed dreams and heads for Hollywood. On her rugged road to fame, Charlene’s using everything in her might to erase the past–even at the point of compromising her own love story. Charlene still can’t wipe away her deepest fear that shakes her very core… Raven.
Raven Shaw grows up in her mother’s tiny Christian town Bellwood, North Carolina. She’s a feisty, confident young thing who won’t hesitate to use her fist when bullies mock her as a bastard. Overcoming teen depression, she finds love. A first love, a teenage romance to die for. Now, Raven can’t be fully committed to the man that has her heart until she learns shy she’s been neglected.
When their path’s collide, Raven asks to questions–two family secrets–that can ruin their lives, leading mother and child on the road of feeling like a “Miss Nobody.”
The instructor had on leggings, as if there wasn’t something bulging in the front of his pants. His belly protruded like a Teletubby. He wore a French beret cocked to the side of his head, and his silky, curly hair looked even better than Charlene’s.
Charlene didn’t find out how difficult the class was until standing on the stage in a historical theater attempting to “act.” Every time she read her lines, he shot her down.
“No! No! No! Charlene!” The instructor snapped his fingers as he walked onto the stage. Stiletto heels clicked on the floor emphasizing his disagreeable words. “More dismal. You’re acting is… shitty! I don’t even know how you got in my class.” He put Engine Red nails to his temples, massaged. Rolling his eyes, he added, “Ugh! Not another one–wasting your sugar daddy’s money because you’re bored when he’s working.”
Then he tried on his gloomy face, mascara eyelashes fluttered. “Listen, the script says that your husband has just cheated on you with a sexy man, almost as sexy as me! And you look like that? You must be ecstatic? Want your husband to leave?” He enunciates every word when explaining the script, as if English was her second language.
She huffed, having read the lines a thousand times. If only I hadn’t dreamed about Roy last night. Charlene had taken a couple of pills on the way to class. It was the only place she normally went without taking the Valium. Thinking about Raven, she contemplated what life would be like if she’d cared for her daughter. Her daughter would be starting senior year soon. Tears streamed down her face as she spoke the lines from memory, all the while, thinking about all the milestones in her daughter’s life that she would miss. Graduation…prom…tours to college campuses… In the zone, she began.
When she finished, the theater was quiet as the instructor and the other students stared at her. Warmth crept across her cheeks as she ran off the stage, feeling like a nobody. I was awful! I can’t act… great! Seventeen years and I can’t act!
In the empty bathroom, she grabbed tissue paper from one of the stalls and wiped her face. I don’t deserve to cry. I abandoned Raven for nothing. She opened her purse and pulled out the pills and took a breath. Then on second thought she put the pills back. Looking into the mirror, tussled her curly hair. She put a cold paper towel on her eyes to get rid of the redness. With her head held high, she walked back out of the restroom, into the theater, and onto the stage, ready for the instructor to ridicule her again.
A round of applause echoed across the room.
She was all smiles.
“Charlene, I felt sooooo sorry for you. Honey, with that face you can take a man for all his dough!” The instructor waved his hands around delicately for the crowd to stop applauding. When it was quiet, he added, “I think you’ve got it!” as he clapped, he jumped, he smiled as tears pooled at the corner of his eyes.
Charlene’s face streaked with streams of mascara. I can use my guilt over leaving Raven to my advantage!
Get to know Nicole:
Nicole Dunlap holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Child Development, and a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling from Azusa Pacific University. She lives her dream of counseling in the inner city of San Bernardino; motivating teens dealing with depression, pregnancy, gang membership and abuse. But, she admits to two passions–writing being her first love. She has been self dubbed the “gumbo genre” novelist, because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned… Her stories revolve around family and relationships, women’s issues, drizzled with drama, peppered with suspense, and finished off with aromatic notes of romance. The Shaw Family Saga pays homage to dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships, with well developed characters that readers can root for; love them, hate them, cry for, and most of all, yearn to flip through the pages to the end of that character’s journey.
When did you begin your writing journey?
I remember being in my mom’s busted-up car when I was little. We didn’t have a radio and had to travel from Long Beach to the desert. I’d sing–unfortunately, I was no Alicia Keys. I’d gotten threatened so many times to be put out, so I started telling stories.
Why the title “Miss Nobody?”
Though bound together by blood, mother and daughter–Charlene and Raven–, go through high-and-low moments in life. Charlene has abandoned Raven at birth. Just the thought of Raven puts her in fear to the point where she self-medicates. On the other end of the spectrum, Raven grows up and seems to be able to cope. However, after meeting each other, mother and daughter descend down a road of feeling like a ‘nobody.’
Where did you get the inspiration to write Miss Nobody?
I was initially inspired to write about Raven in this dysfunctional mother-daughter story. I counsel a lot of teens who’ve been abandoned by their parents. Some of them have a very tarnished outlook on reality. They grow older; and if lucky, overcome the negative mentality they’ve created. Others, like Raven, have a hard time coping.
Is there a message in your book(s) that you want readers to grasp?
Miss Nobody shows that others’ can talk about you, hate you, bully you, but only you can determine the path you will take. Another take away is “what are the lengths that you will go for love. While Raven grows, she deals with “first love.” The world’s greatest man can come along, but it can be a very trying time for a woman whose been abandoned by her parents. How can another man love you when the two people who brought you in this world don’t? How can you love yourself?…These are just a few of the messages.
What sets your books apart from others in the same genre?
I write character-driven books where readers can fully relate. As humans–I’m only referencing those who strive for the best in themselves– we are neither perfect nor are we imperfect, villain or heroine. In The Shaw Family Saga, a reader may not like every character all the time, but at some point, will grow to love Charlene and Raven. The Shaw woman will rattle your nerves. That’s life. If readers don’t relate or feel for the characters because the book is solely focus on plot, why would the reader care about his or her issues?
What’s next for the Shaw girls? Will Charlene and Raven find peace?
I’ve already published the second book in the Shaw Family Saga, Miss Scandalous. It will present new family secrets. Charlene will have a trying time coping with the anger that Raven has built. Can a mother’s love overcome a daughters revenge? Well, Miss Scandalous will bring the jaw-dropping moments of drama and suspense. Their faith and love will continue to be tested.
Where can your fans reach you?
I’m a Pinterest fanatic and have picture boards for Raven and Charlene. Feel free to Facebook or tweet with me about anything under the sun. I have book discussions for book clubs at the back of my novels and enjoy being invited to meetings.
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/miss-nobody-nicole-y-dunlap/1113843505?ean=2940016616933
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Keep Your Mind Healthy ~~ READ!