My Mind’s Eye By Kire Senoj

My Mind’s Eye is a collection of poetic works inspired by what I see, hear, and feel throughout everyday life.

I use words to express the passion and pain of love; the struggles of race; the self-conflicts between sexual orientation and religious freedom; and the ever consistent delirium of genocide within the African American community.

In order to bridge the gap between people of diverse backgrounds, my words have been penned to provoke thought, provide insight, inspire change, and prove that struggles have no respect of person.


Excerpt: Sik MuthaFuka 

It’s sick’nin… Reading a newspaper or turning on the news

afterwards feeling the Miles Davis kind of blues. Everyday

someone is killing their child or molesting a baby. Babies havin babies, Mother’s throwing their babies away; such an awful price 2 pay when WE lay. Damn! Why are things turning out 2B this way? GOD R U Lis’nin 2 the wordz I say? A fellow lyricist wrote “I believe the children are our future, teach them well”…but all we’re doing is sending them 2 a mental hell, holding their mindz, heartz, body and soul hostage in a locked Unpadded cell.

How can a parent kill their child? Sik MuthaFuka! telling the judge it was a build up of stress because your husband left and you feel your life’s a mess? Uuh Uuh Uuh…U Sik MuthaFuka I guess. U killed your child because your husband went bucwild, Gave his time, money and lovin’ 2 anotha chick

You’re a sik demented little witch. I hope hell has a seat waiting while you’re sitting in jail contemplating on what U should do Sik MuthaFuka I’ve had enuff ov U and the so called king of R&B who has a fetish for urine and teenage girls, U know the 1 who says he has the best of both worlds. Sik MuthaFuka got a wife and children ov your own, No longer can U command respect when U step 2 the microphone. Singing your song I believe I can fly Sik MuthaFuka Y U Lie? U don’t see nuthin wrong with a lil bump n’ grind? It is when it fucks with the mind of a girl under developed and underage because U had her lay center stage While U took the time to degrade her body and yourself, Risking your own and her health. Everyone’s bringing the noize because you’re famous and U sing, but didn’t father so-n-so do the Xact same thing? Now the Cardinal wants trust restored into the catholic priests, My GOD when will this madness cease? For centuries, decades, and years little boys have gone home crying so many tears; afraid 2 tell and ashamed 2 say that a sik muthafuka touched them the wrong way. Saying:”U must never tell, or your soul will surely go to hell”. Help me understand; is this apart of GOD’s divine plan?  4 my life? Is filled with much pain and strife. All this has caused major confusion; I don’t know if my life is real or an illusion. 2 much shit 4 a young mans’ mind, 2 much shit 4 a mental rewind. Going back 2 the day when momma asked, R U gay? Where did I go wrong? I didn’t raise U that way! Get the fuck out, and find some other place 2 stay!

(ahahhahahaha)I have 2 laugh 2 keep from crying because inside momma I am surely dying. My mind nor my heart can conceive that it was a sik muthafuka U chose 2 believe instead of ….me…

The 1 U nursed, nourished and carried for 9 months, but later pushed me aside 4 some alcohol, a dick, and some blunts. Your boyfriend took sumthin from me I can never get back, but I was the 1 U choose 2 attack? He stole my purity, my innocence, and my childhood

I was only 10 so I never understood how 1 could or why 1 would do that 2 a child, momma your man is nothing more than a pedophile!

This poem is dedicated to the sik muthafuka’s who have killed or wounded their children sittin in jail awaiting their final sentence 2 Hell. This is a shout out 2 that R&B singer, songwriter and producer who used his lyrics, his voice and his status 2 seduce a slew of little girls robbing them of their virginity and stealing their precious pearls. This goes out 2 every minister; mother’s boyfriend, teacher, and priest living or deceased that have used a little boy for their favorite past time sexual toy. Children are supposed to be handled with care they’re not put here to have so many burdens 2 bare. Children are a gift from GOD above they are to be kissed and embraced only with LOVE; because LOVE is what GOD is all about!

Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH; Kire Senoj discovered his gift for writing while attending Wilberforce University. His writing talent has afforded him the opportunity to present on various platforms throughout the nation and has garnered mass appeal.

His direct and in your face writing about uncomfortable situations such as homophobia, racial prejudice, HIV/AIDS, religion, and the absence of positive role models for youth has been applauded by all that have had the privelage of hearing his writings.

Kire has a desire to share his message with the world and bring light to some very dark situations. He believes that his voice has been created to aid in bringing about change by any means necessary and will not stop until he has witnessed a transformation in the attitude and thought of those he targets. He is passionate about his work and the impact that it can have on a person’s psyche and will continue to ignite flames of change from every microphone he utilizes.

In order to bridge the gap between people of diverse backgrounds, my words have been penned to provoke thought, provide insight, inspire change, and prove that struggles have no respect of person.

Getting to know Kire:

1.  How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since childhood; writing song lyrics and short stories, but I never took writing seriously until 2002 when I was entered into a spoken word class project without my permission by a close friend. Reciting my words, seeing the reaction from the audience and the comments made afterwards pushed me to into for real.


2. What inspires you to write?

 “I’m inspired by GOD, family, LOVE, music, people, places and all things beautiful. Also, by what I see every day outside my window or on the news and what I and others around me go through.”

3. Who are some of your writing influences?

Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Dianne Warren, Lalah Hathaway, Deana Dean, T.D.Jakes, E. Lynn Harris, Ledisi, Carl Webber, Rahsaan Patterson Jean Toomer and so many others; I love writers who write straight from the heart.”


4. Is My Mind’s Eye vol.1 autobiographically written? 

 “Not entirely. The short stories are purely fiction, but only a few of the poems are about me or involve me.”

5. With the poems about or involving you, was it easy to be so open about yourself and the things you’ve been through?

Well, yes and no. It surely made me think and rethink about revealing myself, my insecurities, failures and some of my weaknesses to the world, but thinking about the reactions and comments I receive after reciting some of my poetry made it an easier task. If I can help anyone with my words then it’s all worth it.

6. What is your goal or objective with this book?

 “My goal and objective is to inspire, motivate, encourage, and provoke thought”

7. What future projects do you have in store and are you working on anything else at the moment?

“Currently I am working on an as of yet untitled novel. The last short story of My Mind’s Eye vol.1 titled One More Chance is the prequel to this upcoming novel. I’m looking to release it the last quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.

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Abnormal Lives: A Novel By Rae

Simone and Stefan are cousins, who are more like brother and sister, having been raised by their now deceased maternal grandmother. Both of their mothers abandoned them at various ages, leaving them to fend for themselves. Years after their grandmother’s death, the two of them are still residing in her home; sliding under the government’s radar by keeping up the property taxes and hoping that no one will ever notice that she is deceased. In order to make ends meet, they are both prostitutes. Stefan is openly gay and in love with a man named Eugene who is really using him for his money. Simone is living life on the edge and picking up random men who are willing to foot the bill for her special skills. Stefan tries to get Simone to straighten up and fly right, suggesting that they both seek employment at a local bank. While Stefan sees their new positions as a chance for redemption, Simone only views the bank as a way to pick up wealthy men to sleep with for money. After attending a festival in New Orleans, Stefan decides to rip off some drugs from a man he hooked up with; pulling Simone into something that she certainly had not bargained for. Will the two cousins abandon their reckless lifestyle or will their lifestyle lead them both to a tragic end?

Chapter 1

It was ten o’clock on a Friday night. Simone sat inside of the fitness center, entertaining her client, Mason. Mason was the director of the center and usually planned their meetings there after-hours. Simone sat on the edge of the hot tub wearing a pink G-string and Mason stood inside the encircling pool with Simone’s thighs resting on his shoulders.

“My wife saw the present you gave me a few weeks back,” Mason announced proudly, as he walked his fingers up Simone’s thighs.

Simone sighed. It’s not like it’s the first time and it won’t be the last, she thought. “Well, what did she think of it?” Simone tried not to disclose how humored she was by her remark.

“Let’s just say she didn’t like it as much as I did.”

The present Mason referred to was the hickey Simone had placed on the shaft of his penis. That was her trademark. Men from all over the Tri-City area contacted her to see could and would the pretty, petite, wavy-haired, fair-skinned doll baby pucker up her plump pink lips to perform the act that all of their friends and colleagues bragged about.

Once she proved that she could and would, if they were willing to pay her fee for the priceless experience, they became loyal customers that contacted her on a regular basis to have the “O”-shaped bruise on their genitals that they held with the same regards that bikers and gangsters held their tattoos, retouched before it faded away. It had only been three weeks since she had last provided Mason with her services and there he was, standing in front of her waiting to be retouched, among other things.

Simone liked dealing with Mason. She understood what to expect from him. He never showed up drunk or flying off of the handle as a result of hallucinogens. That was behavior she’d tolerated from the petty, low-class criminals she’d started out servicing. They would beat, belittle, and refuse to pay women in her profession after they’d romped around with them on old, pissy mattresses. Simone had paid her dues to earn the status she now held in her profession and refused to deal with that nonsense. That was one of the reasons why most of her clients were upper middle-class whites; the few that were black held the same social status. The other reason for that was they were willing to pay more money. Money that the lower-class troublemakers couldn’t afford to let leave their pockets.

Mason also referred a lot of his friends to Simone, which was good for business. Simone also liked the fact that Mason wasn’t long-winded. She could get it down as fast as she could get it up and when it was over, it was over. Mason didn’t try to stall to keep her around while he tried to have another erection. Her terms of service were, once her client ejaculated while she performed the service he’d requested, her job was done. Some of her clients had her perform one act, some paid for two or three, but after they ejaculated as the result of each service, or lost their erection, whichever came first, she was off the clock. Mason stuck to those terms. Being that Mason wasn’t what she considered to be endowed, after she finished with him, she would still be in adequate condition to service another client before calling it a night.

What Simone didn’t like about Mason was how he never seemed to be able to put an end to his idle chitchat. Her time was more valuable to her than her services were to him. The more time she had, the more money she had the opportunity to make. She didn’t want to be rude. After all, he was a longtime customer. So she sat there in a rut while he rambled on about the weather.

It was times like those that made her wish Stefan had come along. He had a way of nipping things in the bud. Although Mason was a huge fan of anal sex, he wasn’t one of her bisexual clients. She often heard him bash gays that attended the fitness center. He would go out his way to express how sickened he was by them.

Simone thought Mason might have been nervous. They had been together numerous times but, for some reason, he always seemed scared to touch her.

Simone’s legs shivered as a result of Mason’s jitteriness. She looked down at him and sighed.

“What’s wrong?” Mason asked.

“Nothing.” Simone removed her legs from Mason’s shoulders. “Come up here with me.”

Mason lifted himself up on the wall of the hot tub and sat beside Simone. Simone stood up, grabbed Mason’s hands, and pulled him closer to her. She knelt down in front of him and blushed at the sight of semen seeping from his partially erect organ. “You mean to tell me you’ve been in the pool hiding this from me all this time.”

“I wasn’t sure if you were ready for it.”

“Oh, is that right?” Simone drooled on his shaft and gently stroked it with her hand.

Mason stood up and began to slide his dick back and forth in her mouth. “That’s right; get it nice and wet.”

That’s a first, Simone thought. Usually, Mason would lay there lifeless, not uttering a single word while she did all of the work.

Simone slid her hands up Mason’s thighs and onto his hips. She thrust him forward, taking him entirely in her mouth. She could feel Mason’s dick pulsate as she secured it in her mouth and gathered saliva to create a massaging motion.

Mason pressed his lips together and looked up at the ceiling. He hoped Simone wouldn’t notice the ugly faces he was making while she pleased him.

Simone slid her index finger inside Mason’s rectum. His knees became weak and he plopped down on the wall of the hot tub. Simone followed his motion, never releasing her grip. Mason tugged on Simone’s weave and moaned at the top of his lungs as he reached his climax. He squirmed, unable to tolerate the overwhelming sensation he was being subjected to.

Simone stroked his organ with her hand to quicken his release. She almost laughed when Mason stood on the tip of his toes like a ballerina and cried out with pleasure.

“Whoo,” Mason cried out in between a series of pants. He looked back up at the ceiling and ran his fingers through Simone’s hair. “You’ve got my head spinning. If you can do all that with your mouth, I can’t wait to see what the pussy is like.”

Simone was puzzled. For as long as she had serviced Mason, he had never asked for pussy. Ass was his thing. Mason loved the way she slid her hips down on his dick until he fully occupied her anus and rode him like a jockey. He would want it tonight when I’m on my period; just my luck, Simone thought.

She sucked on Mason’s lip as she reached between her legs and freed her tampon into the hot tub. She straddled Mason and pushed herself down on his tool. It wouldn’t be long before he reached his climax. Simone could hear Mason’s breaths quicken as she pressed herself down on his dick harder and harder, lingering for a few seconds so he could feel the softness of her walls. In less than two minutes, Mason clutched Simone in his arms and called on the Lord.

Stefan lay in the bed with his man, Eugene. He threw his arm over Eugene’s chest and kissed him.

“Could you move over?” Eugene asked.

Stefan was fed up with Eugene’s attitude. Eugene had changed since he’d landed a job. When Eugene first came home from prison, things were wonderful. They would make love all night and sleep late into the day. Eugene would beg Stefan to let him take the condom off so he could feel his flesh. But now he didn’t even want Stefan to hold him. It was blatantly apparent that their relationship was only a ploy to help Eugene get on his feet. Now that Eugene had found a job and saved some money, he didn’t need Stefan anymore and he was ready to free himself from their relationship.

Stefan wondered if Eugene modeled the clothes he bought for him for some female when he wasn’t around. Stefan was sure Eugene was having sex with a woman in the apartment he paid the rent for. The thought of Eugene trying to impress some random chick with the things he had purchased for him made Stefan sick to his stomach.

Eugene liked females. Stefan saw the way he looked at them. Not only did he admire their beauty, he wanted to be entangled in it, he wanted a piece for himself. He’d noticed Eugene checking out the curves on his cousin, Simone, when he’d introduced them. He never brought them around one another again. He could not trust Eugene and he realized that Simone was weak.

Stefan attempted to kiss Eugene again.

Eugene pulled the covers over his head. “Come on with that. I’m tired,” he grumbled.

Life is too short for shit like this, Stefan thought. If Eugene was willing to throw away the security that Stefan provided him with over a female, then he could go right ahead. He was sure Eugene would run into some shabby whore that would fool him into believing that she was a lady. She’d be a little girl who had no clue where she was going; only what she wanted from him. She’d convince him that she was high-class when she was extremely high-maintenance. Eugene would exhaust his little savings trying to keep up with her and, when his money was gone, she would be also.

Stefan got out of bed and put on his clothes.

“Where you going?” Eugene asked.


“You’re not gonna fix me nothing to eat before you leave?”


“Come on with that; a nigga’s hungry.”

“You’ve got two hands; fix it yourself,” Stefan said as he opened the bedroom door and made his way down the stairs.

“Don’t forget the rent is due next week!” Eugene yelled.

“And don’t forget you’ve got a job now and you can pay it,” Stefan said as he slammed the front door.

© 2011 Rae

As a child Rae ran across a copy of James Baldwin’s novel Giovanni’s room. It was James Baldwin’s stirring and provocative writing style that fueled her with the passion to write. Rae spent the hours she wasn’t at school or doing household chores writing short stories and poetry.

At age twelve Rae abandoned her pen and pad and became engrossed in the drama of her hood. By age sixteen Rae was a single mother and dropped out of school to raise her newborn child.

Rae spent her twenties hopping from one job to the next, disgusted with the lack of ethics and integrity in her work environments. After resigning from her umpteenth job, receiving the news of her fiancé’s death, and awaiting a criminal trial, after not being in trouble with the law since she was a juvenile, Rae laid back in her bed replaying the events of her life over in her mind.

Feeling like she had no one to turn to, Rae turned back to her pen and pad. She decided no matter what she would accomplish her goal of being an author. But this time her writing wouldn’t include rescues and fairytale endings. She would write about the drama of urban life and incorporate scenarios regarding social and domestic issues that plague urban communities. Soon after Abnormal Lives was born.

Get to Know the Author:

1.      When did you start writing, and did you always envision being an author? I start writing when I was eight years old and I’ll tell you, more than a decade has past and I still enjoy how a story can excite, shock, and expand the minds of readers. I knew I would be an author ever since the day I finished reading Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. I laid across the bed thinking about how emotive the novel was and that’s when the thought of being an author entered my mind. From that day forward I knew I would be an author I just didn’t know during what phase of my life it would occur.


2.      Where do you get your ideas? Life, that’s where I get my ideas from, things happen in our families, personal lives, and communities every day that we are uncomfortable discussing and those are the topics I like to focus on in my writing.


Are there any particular authors that have influenced your writing? I would have to say James Baldwin and Iceberg Slim. James Baldwin’s stirring and provocative writing style instilled me with the passion to write and Iceberg Slim’s raw unadulterated voice gave me the valor to express myself freely as a writer.


4.      If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? As far as my novel goes it was originally written in the first person viewpoint after I finished writing it I read through it and realized the story would read better in third person. I wish I would have realized that from the start but if nothing else it was a learning experience. The only thing I regret doing when I was searching for a publisher is not submitting my work simultaneously instead of  sending a copy of my manuscript to a publisher and waiting six months or more for them to say yay or nay before I submitted my work to another publisher. When you don’t submit your work simultaneously it gets to be a bit daunting.


5.      What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I enjoyed writing the scene in chapter twelve when Paris exposed Michael by airing his dirty laundry in front of the police. Michael was a lying conniving dog and I couldn’t wait to write the scene where Paris called him out.


6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I learned that writing a novel takes dedication, not only to your work but to your readers also. When writing a novel you want to produce an enjoyable product without jeopardizing your voice. If you’re constantly going back over your work changing things because you’re worried it will rub someone the wrong way your voice will fail to shine through. When you’re writing be yourself readers will appreciate you for it.


7.      Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? I’m new to this so the only advice I feel confident giving is, don’t let self-criticism or the criticism of others prevent you from pursuing your dream.

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Jesus Saves Lexi By Wilhelmina Michelle Leonard

Product DetailsThe State of Michigan attempts to kill a retired adult entertainer, as the President and U.S. Federal Government condones it to cover up two politicians involvement in double murders and a 20-year former NFL player sexual pleasure with a minor..

The high-profiled professional entertainer wanted completely out of the adult entertainment business. She turned her life over to the Lord; saved by the Lord Jesus Christ only to find getting out of the business was going to be a BIG problem! It later concludes that she was denied her U.S Constitutional Civil Rights, Freedom of Speech and Religion, where honorable humans in the state try to kill her.

Excerpt: In many circumstances, some people cannot believe truth, but God’s Word is the only truth in this world. This book is a non-fiction recollection of when the State of Michigan attempted to kill me, declared I never existed and hallucinated, for me wanting completely out of the adult entertainment business. This all arose from me getting baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost, God changing my life and the change of my mindset.

I am about to reveal many of the secrets in the exotic adult world, which the normal society does not know about, which conclusively will lead up to clues to the murder of adult entertainer Tamara Greene. These corruption schemes include governmental civil disobedience, drugs, sex, and money, along with mysteries and pursuits of death to cover up deaths. It has celebrity names and high-profiled politicians, international governments, high-profiled law firms, courts, hospitals, and licensed state physicians who committed perjury to prove there is no one more powerful than God.

I am blessed and proud to write that God loved me when I was an ungodly person.  The Word of God has been taught to me by the honorary pastor (Nellie Bryant) who has been with the Word of God and walking with the Lord Jesus Christ for over 60 years, living in His perfect Will. I pray in faith and hope to better someone else’s life. It is possible for a person to do right in this world, having help from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Excerpt: In many circumstances, some people cannot believe truth, but God’s Word is the only truth in this world. This book is a non-fiction recollection of when the State of Michigan attempted to kill me, declared I never existed and hallucinated, for me wanting completely out of the adult entertainment business. This all arose from me getting baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost, God changing my life and the change of my mindset.

I am about to reveal many of the secrets in the exotic adult world, which the normal society does not know about, which conclusively will lead up to clues to the murder of adult entertainer Tamara Greene. These corruption schemes include governmental civil disobedience, drugs, sex, and money, along with mysteries and pursuits of death to cover up deaths. It has celebrity names and high-profiled politicians, international governments, high-profiled law firms, courts, hospitals, and licensed state physicians who committed perjury to prove there is no one more powerful than God.

I am blessed and proud to write that God loved me when I was an ungodly person.  The Word of God has been taught to me by the honorary pastor (Nellie Bryant) who has been with the Word of God and walking with the Lord Jesus Christ for over 60 years, living in His perfect Will. I pray in faith and hope to better someone else’s life. It is possible for a person to do right in this world, having help from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wilhelmina Michelle Leonard was born in Detroit, Michigan. She was the second highest paid adult entertainer in the State of Michigan. She has professionally entertained for 11½ years and walked away from two contracts in Canada, one for $5,000 and another for $3,500 a week.

Wilhelmina has attended Oakland Community College, Wayne State University and Marygrove College. Her activities are to study the Holy Bible (KJV), pray, read, attend church, swim, scuba dive, jog, roller blade, travel, and fine dining. Watching the History Channel and Court TV is her preference. Enduring many life escapades, she wants to continue to travel all over the world and receive as many passport stamps as possible. She loves children, but does not have any. Wilhelmina is usually relaxed being by herself in peace and to carefully think?

In the near future, she plans to learn how to snowboard and maybe publish more books. Her goals are to complete her Bachelors in Forensic Science with a minor in history and to obtain a Ph.D in Apostolic Theology. She also wants to help many people overcome obstacles that seem to be impossible. Wilhelmina loves to witness to people about the Lord Jesus Christ. She loves God with all her heart, mind and soul, and will not take it back! The Lord has been so good to Wilhelmina Michelle Leonard!


Get to Know the Author:

What inspired me to write “Jesus Saves Lexi If He Can Save Me, He Can Save You!”?

The eternal love of God inspired me to write the non-fiction book. God and the Lord Jesus loves us all so much despite our dirty, filthy, unclean rags, and wrong doings knowing we are all unworthy. God loves all of His children.

What topics are controversial in the book?

There are many of topics controversial in the book. Some controversy could evoke from the context being too graphic and explicit, and the book including actual real names, dates and times ect. The book is very detailed with a lot of hidden dark information being brought to the light and perhaps is politically incorrect.

Do I have any future projects?

Yes, I have many ideas for future projects. I will only ask for guidance from the Lord to continue directing my steps for any and all future projects.

How do I feel about speaking engagements?

I am open to speaking engagements. I prefer not to speak or to speak less as possible. I enjoy learning and observing only speaking when necessary.

Have I decided to write another book and if so, what would it pertain?

I have not decided if I were to write and publish another book. If so, the book would be the sequence part 2 or volume 2 of “Jesus Saves Lexi If He Can Save Me, He Can Save You!  The name could be slightly different, but I am not certain what my next decisions will be?

Do I regret the truthful information written in the book?


How would the book affect my life?

With the professional marketing, publicity, and God’s deliverance to justice, freedom, ect., hopefully will have an life changing effect on my life from the book!

I have been evilly and brutally confined, over medicated for my death, attacked, ridiculed, disrespected, persecuted, tormented, humiliated, homeless, without a vehicle, and without sufficient currency ect, long enough in faith from retiring from the adult entertainment business and being saved by the Lord Jesus Christ!

In desperate occurrences and when there is no one in the world that will help you, 100% in faith, believe, trust, and lean on God!


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One Blood By Qwantu Amaru

Qwantu Amaru has been writing since the age of 11. An avid reader, he has always aspired to write suspenseful page turners and socially significant literature like those of his writing influences Richard Wright, Anne Rice, Harper Lee, Walter Mosley, Tananarive Due and Stephen King. Qwantu draws his inspiration from his modest upbringing in small towns and cities across the US. In addition to his first novel, ONE BLOOD, Qwantu has published six volumes of poetry. Qwantu is an active member of the outstanding socially active poetry collective Black on Black Rhyme out of Tallahassee, FL. He has performed spoken word in poetry venues from coast to coast. He is also part owner and one third of The Pantheon Collective, an independent publishing venture dedicated to bringing high quality independent books to the masses while empowering and inspiring other authors to follow their dreams. For more information visit his website, follow him on twitter @onebloodbook, join his fanpage:, or e-mail him at Qwantu currently resides in Jersey City, NJ.

Author Interview – Qwantu Amaru

Q1) How did you come up with this idea?

I was originally trying to write a short story but it just kept growing and growing until before I knew it I had a 160,000-word novel on my hands! I knew that I wanted to write a story about my neighborhood in Lake Charles, LA where I grew up and I knew that I wanted to address the interesting racial dynamics I experienced living in Louisiana which was a stark difference to what I had previously experienced in Charleston, WV and Pittsburgh, PA where I was born. I wanted to write something that was different than anything I’d ever read but would not be so different that people couldn’t get into it.

Q2) Please tell us about your current release.

One Blood is my debut novel, a story 12 years in the making. It is a supernatural thriller, set in and throughout Louisiana in the vein of books by Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, and Stephen King. The novel is pretty epic in scope, spanning 200 years of history from 1802-2002. It’s a page-turning rollercoaster that will make you think as much as it makes you jump! One Blood is a character-driven tale that involves a group of diverse characters, all tied together through hidden connections and their mutual torment by a Voodoo curse.

Q3) What inspired you to write this book?

I think debut novels are always written in an effort to understand one’s one life and self, but the catalyst was the combination of a creative writing assignment and a powerful memory of meeting former politician and KKK Grand Wizard David Duke when I was

attending high school in Lake Charles, LA. Novels I’d read by Anne Rice, Stephen King, Richard Wright, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Wilbur Smith, and Tananarive Due also inspired me.

Q4) One Blood has quite an extensive cast…how did you come up with the characters?

I didn’t set out to write a novel with a large cast, but as I got deeper into the tale, characters began appearing and developing on the page. In my first draft many of the characters were mere shadows and bad stereotypes. As I revised, I went very deep into

each person’s psyche and came up with the idea to give each character a dual personality that would come out in the course of the story. Some of the characters (like Lincoln, Randy, and Brandon) ended up being composites of people I’ve met in my life, others (like Panama X, Coral Lafitte, and Jhonnette Deveaux) just came out of necessity to balance the story and create the appropriate amount of drama, suspense, and tension.

Q5) How much research did you have to do for this book?

Since a large part of the book takes place in The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, I had to become very familiar with this prison which I did by reading different prisoner’s accounts, watching documentaries, and interviewing prison officials. Vodun is also a central element in the story so I had to do extensive research on the religion because I wanted to portray Vodun as accurately as possible and not do some bad Hollywood rendition.

Q6) Without giving away the ending, will there be a sequel to One Blood?

I have a desire to write the book the way I should have done it in the first place. That is to say, there are actually 3 full-length novels that form the back story for the events in One Blood, so I definitely am interested in telling those stories. As for a sequel, I don’t think there will be one, but I am planning several spin-off books with some of the surviving characters!

Q7) What exciting story are you working on next?

My 2nd novel can best be described as The Kite Runner meets The DaVinci Code! It is tentatively titled, The Uneasy Sleep of Giants and deals with a son trying to avenge the untimely death of his father, a chemist who may have cured Cancer and been killed for it.

1804. Luc Lafitte, pirate turned founding father, lynches a slave – Isaac, who impregnated his daughter, Melinda. Isaac is Luc’s illegitimate son. Before hanging to his death, Isaac curses his father and all future generations of Lafitte’s who live on their forbearer’s land. Three days after Isaac’s death, Luc Lafitte kills himself at the base of the same tree where Isaac was hung. 1963. Randy Lafitte seeks out a fortune teller on his eighteenth birthday in an effort to resurrect the family curse. Seventy-two hours later Randy’s father is dead. 1973. Randy is serendipitously elected Mayor, after the state’s first black Mayor is apparently assassinated by his wife, Juanita, who escapes and is never apprehended. 1992. Randy’s only son, Kristopher, is gunned down in the middle of gang crossfire, three days after his eighteenth birthday killed at the hands of his only black friend – Lincoln Baker. 2002. Randy, now Governor of Louisiana in his second term, learns his daughter, Karen, has been kidnapped on her eighteenth birthday. The ransom calls for the full pardon of Lincoln Baker. Three days after Karen’s kidnapping, an explosive cocktail of vengeance, manipulation, serendipity, fate, truth, and redemption detonates throughout Louisiana. Randy will stop at nothing to save his daughter and himself, even if it means admitting the curse is real. Even if it means committing greater atrocities. But looks are deceiving. There is something deeper at work here. When the dust settles, the ending is as unexpected as it is illuminating. ONE BLOOD is a story about the power of suggestion and the beliefs that shape our lives. There are secrets sealed in our blood, you see. The best answers, as always, lie within.


1963 New Orleans, LA During the day, New Orleans’ most famous neighborhood was a tribute to architectural and cultural homogeneity. At night, the French Quarter’s multicultural legacy blurred into an unrecognizable labyrinth; especially in the eyes of the drunk and desperate. At the moment, Joseph Lafitte was both. Joseph careened down the dark alley and absentmindedly brushed at the dried blood beneath his nose with his free hand. His tailor-made shirt and pants were drenched with sweat and felt sizes smaller. He was overcome with the sensation that he was running in place, even though he was moving forward at a brisk pace. Because he was paying more attention to what was behind him rather than what was in front of him, Joseph tripped over a carton some careless individual had placed in his path. Upon impact with the concrete his cheek flayed open, but he barely felt the sting as his priceless nickel and gold plated antique Colt Navy Revolver clattered away into the darkness, out of reach. Even now, breathing as harshly as he was, he could hear someone behind him. Somehow they managed to stay just out of the range of his sight, but within earshot. It was the ideal moment for them to pounce, but Joseph would not give in so easily. He pushed himself to his feet, his eyes like twin brooms sweeping the ground for his weapon. He located it near a dilapidated doorway. Clutching it once again, he felt some semblance of self-control return. Until his dead wife called his name. “Joseph? Joseph, where are you?” That was all the motivation he needed. He broke into a full gallop but couldn’t outrun what he’d seen back at the hotel, or what he’d just heard. They are toying with me. Trying to make me doubt my own mind. This was New Orleans after all. A place with a well-documented history of trickery and alchemic manipulation. He must have drank or eaten something laced with some devilish hallucinogen. For all he knew, his own son—Randy—had given it to him. Randy still blamed Joseph for the car wreck that took his mother’s life. Joseph had noted the murderous hue in Randy’s eyes after Rita’s funeral, and even though Joseph explained that it was an accident, he knew Randy would never forgive him. Was this Randy trying to get some sort of revenge? It didn’t matter. Randy was weak—always had been and always would be. As an only child, he grew up to be softer than cotton—Rita’s doing by babying and spoiling the boy. Have I underestimated my son? This thought, along with his first glimpse of light in quite some time, simultaneously assaulted him. Where am I? And why haven’t they caught up to me yet? Maybe they want me to go this way. Joseph glanced down at the revolver that had once been carried by the great Robert E. Lee. He’d show them who had the upper hand; if Randy was behind this, he would soon be joining his mother. Rather than heading toward the light, Joseph turned left down another dark alleyway. The façade of the building was damp to the touch. Other than his troubled footfalls, there was no sound. Who knew a city nearly bursting at the seams with music could be this eerily silent? Joseph used the quiet to collect his thoughts. * * * * * He’d spent that afternoon as he spent most Saturdays, sipping bourbon and talking shop with other New Orleans power brokers inside the private room in Commander’s Palace. He knew something was wrong as soon as Randy appeared at the doorway, motioning to him. “We have to leave New Orleans right now, Father,” Randy said in a hushed tone as Joseph entered the hallway. “What are you talking about, Boy, and why are you whispering?” Joseph replied, a little louder than he needed to. Randy jerked Joseph’s arm in the direction of the exit, his eyes pleading. “Something bad is going to happen if we don’t leave here right away.” “No, Son,” Joseph said. “Something bad is going to happen if you don’t remove yourself from my sight this instant!” And that had been the end of it. Randy left, looking back only once, as if to say, Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you. Joseph returned to his drinks and colleagues. Afterward, he went downtown for a little afternoon rendezvous with a beautiful Creole whore. She came as a recommendation from his regular mistress, Claudette, who was on her cycle, and the girl certainly fit the bill. He made it back to the hotel just as the sun set and settled down for a drink or three after taking a steaming hot shower. In the comfort of his armchair, in the privacy of his suite, his thoughts returned to Randy. It was Randy’s eighteenth birthday and the boy had been acting oddly ever since he’d arrived in New Orleans two days earlier. In truth, he’d been acting strangely much longer than that. Joseph would never forget the revulsion he’d experienced when the maid in their Lake City mansion had shown him the pile of bloody rags at the bottom of Randy’s hamper. That disgust tripled once he found out the source of the blood. One night, Joseph waited until Randy exited the bath. The raw pink and black slashes across Randy’s forearms, thighs, chest, and abdomen were all the evidence he needed. Apparently Randy had taken to cutting himself in the wake of his mother’s death. Randy was barely a teenager and there was only one thing Joseph could think to do to keep from locking the boy up in a sanitarium. He sent him away to a French boarding school and commissioned some distant relatives to keep an eye on him until he graduated. If he survived that long. * * * * * This weekend was supposed to be a celebration of sorts. Randy had returned from France a distinguished young man, and Joseph was ready to bury the hatchet. But what if Randy doesn’t want it buried? What if he wants my entombment and has been patiently waiting all these years to get his revenge? Joseph grabbed hold of a lamppost to steady himself. A statue of a man on a horse loomed over him. His feet had brought him to Jackson Square. Surely, nothing bad can get me here, right? He’d believed the same to be true of his hotel room and that had definitely proven to be false. * * * * * Joseph had been cleaning his prized revolver before sleep overtook him. The sound of the door opening brought him back to consciousness. Even though all the lights were still on, his bleary eyes could barely make out the two figures—a young black male and white female—standing in his doorway. Joseph sat up in his seat. “Who are you? And what the hell are you doing in my room?” His hand quickly found the revolver on the table next to him. The man and woman looked at each other and Joseph heard a deep male voice in his head say, “Don’t worry, Joseph. It will be ova’ soon.” He felt the voice’s vibrations in his teeth and jumped to his feet. The young woman reached out to him and he heard her voice in his mind as well. “Don’t fight us, Joseph. It is so much better if you don’t resist.” Joseph felt wetness below his nose and when his hand came up blood red, he bolted around the woman, out of his room, and out of the hotel. * * * * * Now he stood in the shadow of Andrew Jackson’s immortal statue, exhausted and nearing the end of rationality. A sudden thought occurred to him. Maybe this is all a nightmare. Maybe I’m still sitting in my chair snoring. He latched onto the idea. Hadn’t he heard recently that the best way to wake from a nightmare was to kill yourself? Where did I hear that? Ah yes, now he remembered. The Creole whore had mentioned her grandmother’s secret to waking from a bad dream. What an odd coincidence… Joseph stared down at the revolver as if it were some magic talisman. If this were a dream, it was the most vivid of his life. He could feel the breeze from the Mississippi River, the cold bronze of the statue beneath his hand, his sweaty palm wrapped around the hilt of the gun. And he could hear footsteps nearing. Rita’s voice rang out across the square. “Joseph, I’m here to bring you home.” His mind showed him an image of what Rita must look like after six years underground. He hadn’t cried at her funeral, but petrified tears streaked down his face as he gritted his teeth. I have to wake from this dream! The footsteps were getting louder and closer. He didn’t have much time. To offset his fear and still his shaking hand, he thought of how good it would feel to wake up from this nightmare. He put the gun in his mouth, tasting the salty metallic flavor of the barrel as his mouth filled with saliva. God, this feels real. But he knew it wasn’t. He attempted to gaze at the statue of Andrew Jackson riding high on his horse. The statue was gone. As was the rest of Jackson Square. It had been supplanted by that damnable live oak tree in front of his Lake City mansion. He should have chopped that thing down long ago. Joseph let out an audible sigh of relief. It is a dream after all. “It’s time, Joseph,” Rita whispered in his ear. Knowing what had to be done, Joseph squeezed the trigger.

Find the Author: @onebloodbook


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Books That Make You Go OOOOO


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Getting to Know Mary Monroe with Virginia Davis

Ruby Jean Upshaw is the youngest and seventh daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Upshaw.  Compared to other black children growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana in the 1940s, Ruby is immensely blessed. She lives in a nice home with two loving parents who cherish the ground she walks on, and will go to any limits to protect her. However, Ruby is bored with her monotonous, redundant life.  She has no friends, no boyfriend, and with all of her six older sisters married and living far away, she is extremely lonely. Tired of being governed by her parents’ strict rules and longing for friendship, Ruby slowly cultivates a friendship with Othello Cartier.

Othella, the daughter of a popular prostitute in Shreveport is already infamous for her “fast”, conniving, and thieving ways at the tender age of fourteen. Ruby cleverly goes behind her parents’ back and quickly gravitates towards Othella’s iniquitous lifestyle. Ruby remarkably falls victim to incessant beer drinking, partying, and sleeping with numerous men and boys, just like her new-found best friend Othella.  Once Ruby finally convinces her parents to let her befriend Othella she no longer has to socialize with her in secret, leaving nothing to stop the two rebellious girls from living on the wild side. Ruby continues to form sexual relationships with various men and immersing in outrageous secular activities.  Once Ruby finds out that she has accidentally gotten pregnant, fear becomes a tangible force in her life. Afraid of telling her stern parents about her pregnancy, Ruby successfully hides it from her family and Othella for nine months. When she gives birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl at Othella’s birthday party, Othella and her mother quickly convince her to give it away.   They sway her to believe that keeping her beautiful daughter will result in hazardous consequences from her unsympathetic parents. Regretfully, Ruby decides to give away the one thing that filled a gaping void in her chest, her daughter. This life altering event introduces Ruby to a tangible depression that begins to affect every aspect of her life.  

 Once Ruby and Othella get bored with living with their monotonous families and having scandalous affairs, they decide to travel to New Orleans with only their suitcases and a few dollars, with hopes of finding husbands who will rescue them from their mischievous lifestyles.  With minimal cash and no stable place to stay, Ruby and Othella are forced to resort to prostitution and manipulating men as a way of life.  After years of selling their bodies, and living unhappily, the two young girls finally marry their dream- men. However, Ruby is never completely happy, for nothing ever makes up for, or replaces the detrimental loss of her, alienated daughter.


My Review, Five Stars *****


 I enjoyed reading this hilarious prequel to one of my FAVORITE novels, the classic page-turner “The Upper Room,” that I have read three times! I was elated to read about the background and poignant past of the infamous Mama Ruby, whose scandalous and humorous behavior kept me on edge, and in shock from beginning to end. I love this novel for it kept me guessing, laughing, and I even shed a few tears. I have always been an avid reader and huge fan of the remarkable, best-selling author Mary Monroe, who has written The God Series, “Gonna Lay My Burdens Down”, “Red Light Wives”, “In Sheep’s Clothing”, and many other works.


Get to know Mary Monroe

1. What or who inspired you to write The Upper Room?

I grew up around people like some of the characters in The Upper Room.  They were very entertaining and I always knew that I’d write a story about them some day.  I got the kidnapping idea from an old Audrey Hepburn/Burt Lancaster movie (The Unforgiven) about an Indian baby that a white family abducted and raised.


2. Is the infamous Mama Ruby a character with traits similar to someone familiar to you, or is she a concoction of many people and situations?

Mama Ruby is a composite of my mother, my aunt Berniece, and my cousin Florence (all deceased). 

Like Mama Ruby, all three of these women drank tons of beer, did outrageous things, and controlled almost everybody and everything in their lives.


3. Why did you decide to write a prequel to The Upper Room?

A lot of my readers wanted to know more about Mama Ruby’s background, especially her youth.  But the main thing people wanted to know was the reason she so desperate to have a daughter of her own. 


4. What is next for Mama Ruby and is it possible that The Upper Room will be another series for you?

The yet-to-titled sequel to The Upper Room is in the works and will be released in 2013.  Mama Ruby will be featured in it in several flashbacks, but the main story will be about the kidnapped girl, Maureen, finding out at the age of thirty-six that Mama Ruby kidnapped her.  And, the baby girl that Mama Ruby gave birth to during her teens will be a major character in this book.  It will be third and last part of the series.

5. Do you have a favorite character out of all your novels? If so, why are they your favorite character? My favorite character is Mama Ruby.  She is everything I like in a fictional villain: entertaining, bigger than life, humorous, fearless, resourceful, lovable at times and loyal to her loved ones (unless you cross her…).

6. When first writing “God Don’t Like Ugly” did you intend for it to be a series? If not, what compelled you to continue writing Annette’s and Rhoda’s story?

I didn’t intend to write a series.  “God Don’t Like Ugly” started out as a movie project for actress Robin Givens.  She wanted to produce and star in it (as Rhoda) but things didn’t work out.  I rewrote the story as a novel and it became an immediate success.  A lot of readers wanted to read more about Annette and Rhoda so I wrote “God STILL Don’t Like Ugly.”  To make a long story short, so many readers wanted to read even more about these characters so I kept their story going.  However, the sixth and final book in the series, “God Don’t Make No Mistakes” will be released June 1, 2012 and believe me, it will be full of surprises!

7. Do you have any other passions besides writing?

I love to travel, shop, watch movies, and eat out.  However, my biggest passion is reading.  Not only do I enjoy reading, it provides the creative nourishment I need to stay focused on my own work.  I read two newspapers every day, all of the weekly tabloids, the leading women’s magazines, and I try to read at least two to three books a week.  Even though my schedule is extremely tight, I find time to read like when I’m on a long flight, stuck in traffic, or stuck in a long line at the bank. 

8. When did you first discover your talent? How long did it take you to realize that you wanted to be an author after finding your passion?

I was born with an overactive imagination and the people around me were very colorful.  I started making up stories about them when I was around three or four.  I used to tell stories to my playmates while working in the fields in Alabama and Ohio.  By the time I was seven I realized I didn’t want to end up picking beans and doing other menial labor like so many of the people I knew.  I wanted to grow up and do something fun and exciting!  I couldn’t sing, dance, or act so writing was the only “fun” profession for me to choose from.

9. Your novels tend to be vastly humorous. Is writing humor something that takes practice (for you) or does it just come naturally for you?

I don’t set out to write humorous things in my books.  I just write about what I know and some of my own personal experiences.  A lot of those experiences just happen to be funny.

10. Have you thought about exploring other avenues of writing (screenwriting, playwriting, etc…) ?

I have written screenplays, stage plays, TV sitcoms, a few essays, and even a humor book.  But I’ve only been fortunate enough to get contracts for my novels so far.  My goal is to continue writing novels but I do hope to make a name for myself in Hollywood someday too.

11. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer who may be facing immense writer’s block and/or fear of failing in the literary world?

I’ve never experienced writer’s block but I can write a book about failure!  My first novel collected fifty-five rejection slips but once I began to look at rejections as “detours” I didn’t get too discouraged.  Other authors have told me that when they get writer’s block they take a break and study the market to see what is selling and go from there.  I think one reason I don’t have to worry about writer’s block is because I base all of my stories on personal experiences, headline news stories, and even dreams.  And failure is only another detour on the road to success.  I got depressed every time I received a rejection letter or if one of my projects failed but that motivated me to try harder with each new project.


12. Typically, how long would you say it takes you to finish a novel?

I usually take four to six months to complete a novel, but I wrote The Upper Room in six weeks.  I always work froma detailed outline so that saves a lot of time.  I do at least four drafts before I send it to my publisher.

13.  Are there any authors/writers/poets who relentlessly inspire you?

I love James Baldwin, James Patterson, Ernest Gaines, Stephen King, Toni Morrison, and Jackie Collins.

14. What is next for Ms, Mary Monroe?

I have a new contract to do three more new books and I know that one of them will be “Romeo and Juliet” type story.  I have so many ideas in my head sometimes I don’t know what to choose from! 


15. What does a “day off” consist of in your world?

Now that I no longer have to go to a dreaded day job, every day is like a “day off” for me.  However, I write something every single day, either several chapters or just a sentence or two.   But on a real day off, I spend several hours at the mall or the beach, or just lying on the couch watching movies or reading.


Mary Monroe can be contacted on twitter @Marymonroebooks

By: Virginia Davis

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Reality Check: Sometimes One Dose Isn’t Enough By Ericka K.F. Simpson

For Suzanne Tucker, life was a road that few people traveled down in happiness. Unable to bear children, her husband leaving her and being underappreciated at her job made her one of those people. She feels like God has failed her so she decides to take matters into her own hands to have the good life she feels she deserves. However, starting over could only be successful if you have a plan and a plan she did have. Suzanne starts with her job. Being a print journalist, all she has to do is showcase her talents for others to see and what better stage to present it on than the internet. Suzanne makes a bold move in starting an anonymous blog to report the real news about the local celebrities in her community…or is it? When the creditability of her postings is called into question, salvaging her reputation becomes insignificant in comparison to the major aftermath to come.

Meanwhile, the tragic death of Tasha Everett, a high school valedictorian and community favorite, has the homicide detectives in a whirlwind. She had overcome the loss of her brother in the Iraqi war, her mother’s drug abuse to prescription medications and her father’s alcoholism only to end up dead on the side of the road. With the primary elections looming, the Mayor wants the responsible party for Tasha’s death brought to justice but circumstantial evidence and no leads has the detectives at a standstill. Will the lack of a motive cause someone to get away with murdering the county’s most heartfelt success story?

Book Excerpt:

Women know when their man is keeping something from them. Whether he’s planning a surprise birthday party or hiding an affair, men have tell tell signs that let women know something is up. Take my husband Ellis for example. We’ve been going through another rough patch in our marriage but for the past month, he’s been coming home early to spend more time with me and the kids. I’ve received four pieces of jewelry; earrings, a necklace, a bracelet and a ring, all half-carat diamonds of a matching set and now we’re on our fifth date night at Luigi’s Bistro in downtown historic Macon. Date night, huh, an idea Ellis came up with to put the spark back into our marriage. Now don’t get me wrong, every woman dreams of a man who would display these actions on the regular but as I said, this just started a month ago and after nearly finishing the whole bottle of the 1941 William Roberson South African red wine we had for dinner all by himself, I knew there was more to the story.

Ellis laid passed out in the backseat of one our two Lexus sedans as I pulled into the driveway of our home in North Macon. His tan two-button stretch cotton blazer served as a pillow bunched up under his head while one of his chocolate brown Stacy Adams loafers dangled from his right foot. This was my second indicator that something was wrong. The Ellis I knew wouldn’t convert a $300 suit coat into a head cushion no matter how drunk he was. His clothes represented his status and his status meant more to him than anything, even me at times, I felt.

Our two daughters were at a sleepover at a friend’s house supposedly so we could take advantage of having the whole evening to ourselves. Much good that would do us now. I glanced over the middle console and rolled my eyes at him resting comfortably on the cream leather seats. Having to wait another week to fake an orgasm was all right with me. It’s not like the intimacy was there anymore. Emotionally, we both were at a disconnect with each other.

“Suzie Q, my lil Suzie Q,” Ellis slurred as the engine going quiet woke him from his comatose state. He wiped the drool from his chin with the back of his hand and frowned at it as if it was its own fault for being there.

“Yes honey.”

“I can’t do this no more.”

I adjusted the rearview mirror in the car to get a better view of him in the backseat. He had placed his blazer in his lap and was gently smoothing out the wrinkles with his hands. There was the Ellis I married.

“Excuse me?”

After laughing the drunken man’s laugh, he sulked, “You were right. You’re always right.” His soft but ashy hands loosened his silk tie and unbuttoned the top button of his white fitted French cuffed dress shirt. A second later, he put on his blazer, re-buttoned his shirt and tightened his tie. It was then I realized he wasn’t sure if we were home or had just made it to the restaurant.

“Right about what, Ellis?” I asked playing dumb.

“You really gon’ make me say it, huh?” He sat up and squared his shoulders as our eyes locked in the rearview mirror. I could tell he was trying to appear more confident than he actually was but there was a hint of doubt hidden in his glare. Dark circles had formed around his eyes making him look older than his thirty-eight years of age. The corners of his mouth drooped, either from the alcohol, his secret thoughts or both. He looked tired and restless as if he had been carrying a heavy burden for a long time. I guess he was ready to release it because he finally admitted what I had already known, “Fine. I’m cheating on ya. Been cheating on ya and neva gonna stop cheating on ya.”

I nodded and smiled as his words echoed over and over in my head. It’s one thing to think your spouse is cheating but to know and have them tell you like they don’t care, it does something to you. Without even realizing it, I had slipped off both of the four-inch black leather pumps I bought earlier in the week to match the black ankle length smocked waist dress I wore specifically for this date night.

“Who is she?” I asked calmly as I pulled on the release lever to lift up the steering wheel. I also lowered the driver seat to give me more room to maneuver.

“You don’t need to concern yourself wit’ the pa’ticula’s.” Leaning forward and speaking in a cocky tone, he insulted, “Just know that being wit’ her made me realize I married a twenty, not an eighty.” There was that laugh again. That drunken man’s laugh but this time I could hear the relief behind it as he sat back and repeated, “Twenty, nothing but a twenty. You can thank Tyler Perry for helping me see that.”

Click. He looked from side to side at each door, confused by the sound the automatic locks made.

“What was that?”

“That was the sound of the beginning of your BEATDOWN!”

Moving in one swift motion like I was casting for the next Matrix movie, I hopped up on the back of my seat and started wailing on him, a pump in each hand.


First, he tried to grab my arms to keep me from hitting him but the adrenaline rush from my rage was no match for him. His only mode of survival was to exit but my clever thinking in locking the doors delayed that action.

Tugging on the door handle frantically, he screamed, “AGH! Woman, are you crazy? Get off me!”

I never believed the stories people told about blacking out until that day. How could you not remember committing an act of violence toward someone but now I understood. Something inside you snaps and you can’t control it because you didn’t even realize it happened. One moment, I was bashing Ellis’s skull in with my heels and the next thing I knew, he had unlocked his door and fell out the car to safety. Lucky him.

“You done lost your damn mind!” he yelled from the lawn, wiping blood from the side of his head. He laid down on our concrete driveway in a half pike position inspecting the rest of his body for other wounds.

I sat down in the seat staring straight ahead, huffing heavily as I clutched my pumps in anger. I could hear my racing heartbeat ringing in my ears so I shut my eyes tightly to try to calm the noise but all it did was produce stars. I quickly shook my head from side to side to rid of them before staring at myself in the rearview mirror. I’m crazy? I’ve lost my mind? Negro, you can’t be serious. The anger I felt transformed to hurt without notice. Tears flooded my eyes and my nostrils flared with each breath I took. No, I wasn’t ready to cry yet. I wasn’t ready to test to see if the no run Mary Kay mascara I was wearing was indeed true. Not now and definitely not in front of him so I unlocked my door and got out the car, ready for round number two.

“Suzanne…” Ellis eyes widened and his posture shrunk as I slowly approached him. The arrogant bastard who considered me twenty percent of a woman not ten minutes ago had now disintegrated into a helpless weakling. The stench of alcohol smothered the Hugo Boss Sensation cologne I once loved to engulf myself in. Now, all I could smell was fear on him as I inched closer like a lioness ready to attack her cornered prey.

“Don’t Suzanne me.” I choked on my words as I swallowed hard to drown the tears heading for my eye ducts. “Just tell me why? Is it because she’s younger than me, or maybe it’s because she’s darker? Being wit’ a ‘light bright’ don’t make ya black enuff in da eyes of yo’ peoples?” I spoke my last statement with the southern twang of a 1830’s slave.
Instead of answering me, his eyes darted around like a ball in a pinball machine. I knew he was looking for an escape route so I made my move before he had a chance to find one.

“Baby, wait,” he sat with his hands out, palms up in a submissive pose, pleading.

“Oh, it’s baby now, huh?”

Ellis could see it written all over my face that there was nothing he could say to salvage this night and the only thing he could do to save his life…was run. My wild swing caused the heel of my pump to catch enough of the back of his overpriced shirt to plug a hole and tear it right down the middle just before he got away. Not settling for defeat, I hiked up my dress thigh high and took off after him. As I chased him barefooted through the backyard of our half-acre manicured lot, all I could think was, Damn, I should’ve activated the child safety locks. His punk ass would’ve never got outta that bitch alive.

Ericka K. F. Simpson was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. Her passion for writing began in grade school writing poetry and short stories. In high school, she pretended she was a newspaper sports writer and wrote articles about her experiences playing on the girls varsity basketball team. Those articles later turned into short stories and soon evolved into her first novel, I am Your Sister. Ericka is now a self-published of four books: I am Your Sister, In Fear of Losing You, Making Our Difference and Reality Check: Sometimes One Dose Isn’t Enough.

In June 2010, Ericka won the Black Writers Reunion and Conference 2010 Atlanta Scholarship Competition ( She currently resides in Macon, GA, where she is currently working on her fifth and sixth novels.

 Get to know Author Ericka K.F. Simpson

 1.      How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I have been writing since grammar school and I started off by writing poems and short stories to escape the everyday worries of the world. I remember pretending I was a sports journalist and writing about the basketball games I played when I was younger. I even interviewed some of my friends (teammates) for fun to make my stories more real. To be honest though, writing runs through the bloodlines in my family. My maternal grandmother was a local columnist for The Perquimans Weekly in Hertford, NC for 7 years. I believe I inherited my love for writing from her.

 2.      Are there any other writers who have inspired you?

 Oh yes. My grandmother was also a librarian so I read a lot of books as a child. Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni were the reasons I started writing poems. As I grew older and began to read more fiction novels, John Grisham became my favorite author. I love law and wanted to be a detective when I was in middle school so I was intrigued with the storyline of his books and how fast he was able to write them. In college, I struggled with my sexuality and a friend recommended E. Lynn Harris novel, Invisible Life. I fell in love with his works because I finally read a book that related to the difficulties I was going through. His works were the first I had read or even heard of that spoke about homosexuality in the black community. It was the first time I didn’t feel as though I was alone in the world. E. Lynn Harris inspired me to tell my story so I began writing books that other black girls who were struggling with their sexuality could relate to.

 3.      What inspired you to write Reality Check?

 The original inspiration came from a co-worker who was having marital problems with her husband and like my other books, my characters are born from people I know. Once a story develops in my head, the only way to get it out is to write it down and 129,000 words later, Reality Check is here. While editing the first draft of Reality Check, a second inspiration fueled me to change my storyline: Christianity. As I did my rewrite, I realized I wanted to write a book, not about religion but about people’s everyday struggles with religion and Christian living. My characters range from those who believe in God but choose not to live for Him to those who believe in God but straddle the fence when living for Him to those who believe in God and have dedicated to living a true Christian life. We all are or have been one of these three people so I thought it was important to include each type in the book. That way, readers can see how each character’s belief plays a part in the decisions they make and where the outcome of these decisions leads them in their life’s journey. It also shows how allowing one’s own desires to infect one’s interpretation of the Bible can be deadly.

 4.      Reality Check is not like your previous novels. Why did you change genres?

 My previous novels are gay and lesbian centered and yes, Reality Check does not fit that category. It is a suspense novel with a Christian undertone. I never intended to switch genres but I think it’s important for a writer to not be confined to one particular subject matter if they so choose. My sexuality does not define me as a writer so I do not want to limit myself to writing about that only. There are many faucets that make me who I am as a person and Reality Check was a way to give the readers more of me. I love to write and my goal is to be known as a great author, not just a great author of gay and lesbian fiction.

 5.      You are a self-published author. What made you pursue self-publishing as opposed to signing with a literary agent and/or a major publishing house?

 When I finished my first book in 2003, I solicited numerous agencies and publishing companies for representation but to no avail. I didn’t let it discourage me so I decided to self-publish at that time. Now, I’ve grown accustomed to the freedom I have as a self-published author. I set my own deadlines which relieves me of the pressure in having to submit a manuscript that I may not feel is my best work. You have to be disciplined though. If you’re familiar with taking an online class or independent course, you know there is a lot of responsibility that comes with those liberties. It’s the same for a self-published author. If I take too much time off in between projects or if I allow writers block to slow my progress, I’m not only hurting myself but I’m affecting my reader base as well. With self-publishing, you have to invest the time, money and resources in yourself to be successful in it. Writing is the easy part. Selling yourself is the major part of this business.

 6.      What are your current projects?

 I am currently finishing my fifth novel entitled, Jazzy Ladies Productions. It is a book that is based off the lives of me and my friends during the first few years I lived in Georgia. No The Best Man drama, though. My friends actually wanted me to write a book about our group, so I’m having fun in developing their characters and creating a storyline that incorporates everyone. It’s on schedule to be released December 2011. After that, I plan to return to my first novel, I am Your Sister, and write a sequel to it.

 7.      Once Jazzy Ladies Productions is released, what are your plans to promote it?

 I am planning a book tour where I will visit 12 cities in 2012 during Black Pride celebrations. I am also planning to participate in larger book festivals and book conferences across the country to place all of my books on a bigger stage. Information for both these promotions and others will be available on my author webpage:

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