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Black Pearls Blog Tours - 5 new articles



 

Intimate Conversation with J.M. Lominy





J.M. Lominy Speaks on The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale
.  The impact this book will have on readers is the wonderful reality of humanest, even from the point of view of a ruthless assassin. The primary message in the book is family, religion and politics rule the human world but it is God who decides.

Life began for J.M. Lominy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As a husband, father, nurse and veteran Lominy has been making room to write since 2000. Specializing in Historical Fiction, he is the author of the upcoming book, The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale. His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters. Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife and his three sons. Visit J.M. Lominy at: http://jmlominy.com


BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I got my first inkling to write during my first year of college. It was an emotional time and my life was full of turmoil. After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, my finances were stretched thin, I did not fit in with my peers, and at twenty-two years old I was a husband and father of two.

It was during that time, 1993, poetry came to me as if a flood bursting through a dam. The enormity of it was so strong I had to put it on paper. I always had stories coming to me even as a child and I had difficulty staying focus with all the colorful stories floating around in my mind but they never made it to paper. This continued into adulthood.

At the age of thirty-two I went to Haiti for the funeral of my maternal uncle, who was like a father to me. It was at that time, I realized how disconnected I was with my country of birth. I had limited knowledge of my history. I started to read books on Haitian history and that stimulated a barrage of story ideas. From that time on, I attended writer’s conferences, read books on the art of writing and more than anything else, I wrote.

BPM: Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
My wife, has always been that voice to keep me on a straight path. Telling me to stay focus. She was my first critic, a harsh one at that. She also pushed me to pursue what made me happy.


BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
In 1957 Haiti was in turmoil. The former president is in exile and his seat is up for grabs. A popular Haitian senator is assassinated and the assassin escapes to find himself hunted by an unknown psychopathic killer.

Pierre-André François is twenty-six years old, a handsome star soccer player. He is pleasant, approachable and adored by thousands of fans. He is sometimes a jokester with witty intelligence. He has a secret; he is the vile and feared assassin known as The Little Rose.

Marie-Anne Savoire, is a young energetic and stylish beauty that dates wealthy men or those in position of power. She has that ability to make a man pause in mid-sentence once she enters a room. She is a close friend of Pierre-André.

Marcel St. Louis is a twenty-four years old medical student with direct lineage from France. He is the son of an influential retired army general. He and Pierre-André have been friends since childhood. Their friendship has developed into something more than friendship.

Frank Gaston, is one of the three leaders in the largest criminal organizations in Haiti. He is a ruthless strategist. He is Pierre-André’s maternal uncle and surrogate father.

My favorite character amongst them all is Marie-Anne. She is full of life and colorful. I consider her sweet and sour; just as she starts to taste good in your mouth she drops you from boredom.

BPM: Which character or topic in the book can you identify with the most? Why?
One of the topics in the book I identify with is family. My main character, Pierre-André is an efficient killer, but deep down in his mind and spirit, he is family centered; that is his core, his Achilles heel. I can identify with that, family is important to me.

BPM: What inspired you to write this book? Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
The inspiration for this book came from the vestibules of knowledge flowing through my mind. It just came to me, like many other ideas that will morph into books. I have a constant flow of thoughts that resonate in my mind while I do my daily activities. Some of them end up on paper. It has always been that way with me.

Faith and education does inspire my writing. It can be found throughout my writing. It is intertwined within my story as though a dash of spice that you know is there but you could barely taste it.

BPM: Is this the book you intended on writing or did the story take on a life of its own as you were writing? How do you stay focused?
What I call the book fairies took over the story and it turned out better than I anticipated. On many occasions I had to take a conscious pause and weight the pros and cons of going with the story in a certain direction. I kept focus by sequestering myself in my office while listening to jazz. Visualizing my book on the shelves of the big bookstores or the retailer’s was also a motivator. I arise daily at 4am to write.

BPM: Share with us a quote from one of the most powerful chapters.
“If a man muddies his shoe, does he not clean it, or should he buy another.”

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to gain knowledge of Haiti, its people and the core that binds us all; family, religion and politics.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Did you set out to educate? Illuminate? Inspire?
My goals as a writer is to educate, entertain and illuminate about the Haitian experience. An experience that is no different than any other human struggle. What makes it unique is that Haiti is rich with colors.

When you’re in Haiti, the air feels alive the stars twinkle hinting at the secrets they keep. Haitians smile no matter their condition. I bring those feelings in my story; a historical fiction that you will want to be true.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish as you continue to write?
I would like to develop a brand that resonates with readers through laughter, excitement, and gratification. Overall, I want readers to know that every time they open a J.M. Lominy novel, they will be entertained in a different and unsuspecting kind of way.

BPM: Finish this sentence- “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers... ”
My writing offers the following legacy, a look into the past that brings clarity to the present.

BPM: We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what's next? How may our readers follow you online?
I am writing the sequel to the current book. In addition, I’m starting another book line under another name and genre. Readers can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and they can sign up for my newsletter at WWW.JMLOMINY.COM.


J.M. Lominy website: http://jmlominy.com  
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jmlominy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMLOMINY
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JmLominy



Preview The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale by J.M. Lominy
http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/CH6r0Sv4


Purchase The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale
Available on Kindle and Nook
http://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Lominy/e/B00D4FID66


BOOK 2: The Fatal Rose, An Assassin’s Tale (Coming Fall 2014)
Order here:  http://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Lominy/e/B00D4FID66




           



 

Intimate Conversation with Necole Ryse




Necole Ryse
graduated from Towson University with Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications. Bored with life as an adult, Necole decided to follow her dreams to write fiction and she hasn’t looked back. She joined the Winslet Press family to release her first novel, THE LEGACY. She enjoys chocolate covered pretzels, Criminal Minds marathons, and all things Harry Potter.

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I had no choice. I’ve always been a writer and when I graduated college I felt like it wasn’t a smart career choice to venture into, so I put my dreams on hold while I worked a bunch of jobs I had no passion in. Finally, after a terrible day at work I decided to quit. I gave myself one year to make my dreams come true or I was going back to work. So, I sat down and started writing. Right now, I don’t have children, a husband or a mortgage, so it seemed like the perfect time to take a leap of faith.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?

Sometimes, yes. People always say write what you know. Some of my scenes in the books are from actual conversations or experiences I had, but most come from my imagination.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?  
I wish I could tell you where my book ideas come from. They just happen. I will overhear something in a conversation or see someone interesting and start making a story about them. I can find inspiration anywhere. My books are both plot and character driven. Good books have both excellent plots and evolving characters and I focus on developing both at the same time.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
My first novel, The Legacy, is a part of a trilogy called The Birthright Trilogy. It’s a “new adult fiction” book. Since the characters are in college, it isn’t really considered young adult fiction, but since new adult is such a new genre, most people classify it as young adult fiction. As of right now, the book is available on Kindle.

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
The Legacy centers around 4 girls, Raevyn, Regina, Corrine and Andrea. Raevyn is the narrator or the story and she is one tough chick. Her father drove her cross country to his alma mater, Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University, the nation’s first African American Ivy League school, because she got into some trouble with the law. She had to blend in at the school because she couldn’t come back home. The problem is, Raevyn is from a low-income family, and therefore it’s hard to blend in with the posh crowd at the Black Ivy League. Her roommate, Regina Fitzgerald, yes you read that right, Fitzgerald, is the heiress to the Fitzgerald name. Her great-great-grandfather founded the school.

Regina’s friends are Andrea and Corrine. Regina is special because she, like most people, has been hurt. Just because she is the “it” girl at school doesn’t mean her own personal life isn’t falling apart. Because of her internal turmoil she comes off as a bitch to most people. But, once her layers are peeled back, over the course of the trilogy, she reveals herself. Andrea is an Ice Queen. She is the friend who tells it like it is and doesn’t care what you think.

She is my favorite character of all. She holds no cut cards and will provide the readers with a laugh or two throughout the course of the novel. Corrine is the friendly one. She becomes really close to Raevyn and the two begin to bond in places that Regina and Andrea can’t reach. She is sweet as sugar, but like most people at the Black Ivy League, she harbors a lot of secrets.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book? 
In the book, topics range from relationships to love, school work and lots and lots of fashion! From this book I learned that I can’t control my characters. Once I put them on the page they come to life and I have to go with the flow after that.

BPM:  What are your ambitions for your writing career?

My ultimate goal is reaching the NYT Best Seller list before 30. Success for me means touching someone’s life. If a reader says to me, “your book inspired me” or “your story made me feel like I could do anything” I have done my due diligence as a writer. Success is touching someone’s life. I want a Black girl to read my book and see herself. That’s the meaning of success

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?

My goal for this book is to create a conversation! I want more writers to write for African Americans in higher education. After this book I want readers to tweet me, Facebook me and beg for the next one!

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I can be reached a number of ways: Facebook: www.facebook.com/necoleryse; Twitter and IG: @necoleryse. I would love to hear from you! I always answer emails, too. necole.ryse@gmail.com

Website: www.necoleryse.com
Twitter and IG: @necoleryse
Facebook: www.facebook.com/necoleryse


           


 

Intimate Conversation with Ann Jeffries


Intimate Conversation with Ann Jeffries


Ann Jeffries
is a native of Washington, D. C. She is an only child who enjoyed the benefits of a private school education at Allen in Asheville, NC, and a public education at the University of Maryland. She began writing fiction for her own amusement. She is currently writing novels in her Family Reunion: The Wisdom of the Ancestors series.

Ann is the recipient of many awards for leadership and public service. A speaker at colleges, universities, conferences and conventions, she has extensively traveled the North American continent, Asia and Europe. Among other things, she is an entrepreneur, an avid viewer of public television and a voracious reader of fiction.
Ms. Jeffries’ pride and joy are her family, particularly her Fabulous Four grands. She lives in Maryland and South Carolina. Website address: www.newviewliterature.com; Facebook @Ann Jeffries; and Twitter @newviewlit

BPM: What motivated you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
Ann: Boredom. I had hundreds of cable television channels to choose from and plenty of books in my library, yet I was still bored. So I picked up a pen and paper and Southern Exposures was born. I enjoyed the writing so much that several books followed.

BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Ann: Yes, to a certain extent it does. My ancestors were born and raised in a small country town in Sumter County, South Carolina. As a child, while my parents worked, my maternal grandmother would take me to South Carolina during the summer to visit with our rather large family there. I would listen to the stories that they told about their youth in the south that were so different from my northern experiences and the stories that they remembered from their parents and grandparents. Some of that history is reflected in the personalities of my characters. It’s like the old souls showing up and reminding me of what I recall from my childhood coupled with my adult life experiences.

One such life experience was listening to former Congresswoman Barbara Jordon deliver the “Who Speaks For The Common Good” keynote address at the National Democratic Convention. Her words to me were even more riveting than Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech. I encourage readers to listen to her blueprint for a better society.

BPM: Do you write full-time? Do you write every day? Do you have a special time to write?
Ann: Yes, I write full-time, every day and most days, all day. If the story is flowing for me, I do not stop until all of the voices that show up are captured on the printed page.

BPM: Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Ann: Always. I complete my manuscripts and then put them aside and work on another part of the series. Then I go back and re-read my stories to insure that the theme of the series is still on course. It may be months before I get back to a story that I’ve completed.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven? 
Ann: I have short and long term plans for my books and each character that walks into my story can bring a new idea or twist to the story that I ultimately want to tell from different perspectives in this series. There are currently twenty-six books in the series in various stages of completion. Some of the manuscripts are plot driven while others are character driven.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What separates this story from the millions of other books on the shelves? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Ann:  Yes, Southern Exposures is available on Amazon’s Kindle and in paperback format.
Southern Exposures is the introduction to the Alexander family of Goodwill, Summer County, South Carolina. Dr. Bernard Alexander, an educator, and his wife of thirty-plus years, Sylvia Benson Alexander, a nurse, are successfully raising five young adults. Kenneth and Benjamin Alexander are brothers and best friends, but as different as night and day. Kenneth, the older, the cool, calm, and collected is a highly trained electronics engineer and businessman, President of his San Francisco-based computer hardware, software and telecommunications company. Captain Benjamin Staton Alexander is the dashing, young US Air Force jet fighter pilot, stationed in San Diego. Yet they came to the same conclusion: They were both falling in love with the same woman—the beautiful and alluring JeNelle Towson, a businesswoman who owns INSIGHTS, a Santa Barbara emporium.

Next in the family line is Vivian Lynn Alexander, a Georgetown Law School student who comes to the conclusion that she could no longer be in a relationship with her college sweetheart and be a successful lawyer. She becomes friends with former basketball icon Chuck Montgomery; an interracial relationship ensues until she meets Chuck’s best friend, Derrick “Dunk and Jam” Jackson, who was an even more celebrated basketball star. Both medical doctors now, Chuck and Derrick find that they have no protection from falling hard for the former basketball Olympic Gold Medalist turned law school student.

Two more Alexander offspring, Gregory, a high school student, and Aretha, a young genius, are a part of the story, but have their own novels later in the series. We watch as the Alexander offspring grow and move out into a society so very different from the principles that their parents and ancestors laid out for them. They encounter people along the way who challenge them on so many levels. Life is hard, but these characters continue to work for what former Congresswoman Barbara Jordon called “The Common Good.”

I believe that it’s for my readers to say what they believe separates these stories from the mass market literature available on the shelves. For certain my stories have triumphs and trials, love and hate, humor and horror, suspense and mystery, and plots and pleasures to serve the taste of most adult readers. Of Southern Exposures, author Jessica Tilles wrote: “Ann Jeffries definitely has a skill for storytelling. There is vitality and high drama in Southern Exposures. The author did an excellent job with honing in and focusing on the three main, important characters of which the drama surrounds. I fell in love with the Alexanders.” Attorney Brenda Irons LeCesne wrote: “Loved the way Ann described the activities. I felt as though I was there witnessing everything.

The book is very warm and the characters have to face challenges each in a different way. Loved the focus on loving family.” Karen R Thomas, President of Creative Minds Book Group wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I think that Ann’s ability to create emotion is a true talent. She did a great job creating suspense. The characters stories seemed most authentic and entertaining. Language and dialogue overall is a strong area for Ann.” I could not have described Southern Exposures better than these three readers.

BPM: Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Ann: Kenneth James Alexander has a strong, but unassuming personality who believes in the theory that he is his brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. He’s an electronics genius, astute businessman and a bit of a nerd who is oblivious to the attention his good looks and fine physique accord him. He sets the high, moral standards as an example for his siblings to follow and is willing to sacrifice his own needs and desires for his family’s happiness.

Benjamin “Benny” Staton Alexander has always wanted to fly jets and rejects opportunities that he had to play professional basketball in order to pursue his dream of one day piloting missions to outer space. He is a brilliant pilot who gives new meaning to the term “Benny and the jets” and rises through the ranks of the Air Force effortlessly. Still, unlike his older brother, he takes time to maintain an active social life. He is just a dedicated to his family as Kenneth, but he loves his life as a bachelor and does not deny himself the creature comforts that his single lifestyle affords him.

Vivian Lynn Alexander has been a bright, energetic and dynamic leader since her early childhood when her parents read great speeches to her as bedtime stories. One such speech was the Barbara Jordon’s “Who Speaks For The Common Good” speech that set the framework for Vivian’s decision to become a lawyer. She was the first to volunteer to champion causes for which she feels a great deal of passion and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Like her older brothers she is athletic and was picked to be on an Olympic basketball team that won the gold. 

BPM: Can you outline some areas where your characters dealt with issues that are in current affairs?
Ann: Vivian, although a busy law school student, volunteers time at a family homeless shelter where she meets a destitute Peruvian woman, Signora Anna Menendez-Gaza and her two young children, Angelique and Miguel. She helps Anna’s family by bringing them to live in, Benny’s, (her brother’s) huge brownstone, where she rents rooms to other law school students. All of her housemates pool their resources to help this family find out what happened to Anna’s husband who has mysteriously disappeared.

Homelessness is a fact of astronomical proportions in current society. It is often rare to see the extent of human kindness up close and personal as we do in this aspect of the story.
In another part of the story, Kenneth and Benjamin learn that JeNelle has been the victim of spousal abuse during her former marriage. Again, a current day issue that has yet to be solved. Kenneth and Benjamin both address this situation in an effort to help JeNelle work through her issues.

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Ann: With Vivian and the other law school students, the current political climate runs the gamut. One of the housemates, William “Bill” Chandler is a former male prostitute and high-priced, high fashion model, who comes from a dysfunctional family in the heart of Little Italy in New York City. Bill’s backstory is fertile ground for an airing of issues related to sexuality.

Another housemate and law school student, Alan Lightfoot, is a full-blooded Navajo Native American and former US Marine who is fighting to preserve his heritage and his ancestral home. There is quite a scandal that is uncovered about the powers-that-be who continue to mistreat Native Americans and the reasons for it.

I learned that I love to write from going through this process and that even the research that goes into the details is a lot of fun.

BPM: What would you like for readers to take away from your writing? How do you go about reaching new readers?
Ann: There are a lot of “take aways” from my novels; however, perhaps the most poignant is Amanda Wheeler’s words in her book Arms of the Magnolia. She wrote: “I have this love-hate relationship with the South. Some of my best and worst experiences took place there. I believe that African Americans who have never had southern exposure have a limited prospective on racism. They think it’s all about jobs, but it’s not only about jobs. It’s about land, ownership and self-sufficiency. Our story might be different, if we had gotten our forty acres and a mule. People who can grow their own food and live independent of salaries are the ones who will survive. Everything else is fleeting . . .”

If I say something that is relevant to my audience, I trust that they will remember it and pass it on. Word of mouth may be a low-tech means of reaching a small audience, but some of the great authors started that way. However, regardless of whether I ever reach the New York Times best sellers’ list or have my series optioned for a movie or television show, I will have thoroughly enjoyed this process.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would you like to accomplish after the book is released?
Ann: Success for me has already been achieved. I have three books on the market with twenty-three to go . . . so far. I also have a mystery series that I’m actively working on. There are three books currently in that series. In early 2015, I want to start releasing The Jenna Baker Mystery series.

BPM: Where do you find your daily inspiration or muse?
Ann: I certainly don’t want to freak anyone out or bring my sanity into question, but my characters just show up and beg to have their stories told. Sometimes I ignore them until I have the right vehicle to showcase their stories. Other times I create them because they are the right fit for what I want to say. Men who can cook and women with a strong sense of who they are, are often my inspirations. Couple that with the incredible personalities that I read about in magazines, like Black Enterprise and/or Essence, and I never go wanting for inspiration or muses.

BPM: Were there any challenges in bringing this story to life?
Ann: My biggest challenges were keeping my characters in line and trying to manage the extraordinary number of people and personalities involved in the backstories and arcs. Each novel in the Family Reunion—Wisdom of the Ancestors series sets the stage for the next to follow and then the next. Although each book is a stand-alone story, characters do reappear in other story lines.

BPM: What are your expectations for this series of books?
Ann: My expectations for the series are not grand. Once I identify where I’m going, getting there may be the easiest part. I may take some detours along the route, but ultimately I want to share something that I enjoy reading with my family, friends and fans.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or inspire? Entertain? Illuminate a particular subject?
Ann: I have simple goals as a writer: Tell a good, entertaining story that people will enjoy; never put a story to bed with regrets; and leave my audience demanding more.

BPM: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
Ann: Self-publishing allow the writer to use all of the creative tools in the tool box without debilitating interference or influence. I do not seek to appeal to everyone’s taste. However, in my view, the best gauge of an author’s work product comes from the audience reviews whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change? 
Ann: Yes. I regret not taking the advice of my family and friends much sooner. They encouraged me to publish my stories long before I actually made the effort.

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Ann: Thank you for providing this forum to address your audience. It’s been a teachable moment for me.

BPM: Finish this sentence - “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors...”
Ann: “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors that you, too, have a voice that should be heard in the literary arena.”

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Ann: I welcome readers to follow my efforts and submit comments through my publishing house, New View Literature (see, www.newviewliterature.com), Twitter @newviewlit, and on Facebook @ Ann Jeffries.



Books in the Family Reunion — In The Wisdom of the Ancestors series:
http://www.amazon.com/Ann-Jeffries/e/B00HFX3FIE

1. Southern Exposures: Family Reunion 
Purchase: http://amzn.com/099150030X 

2. Touch Me In The Morning 
Purchase: http://amzn.com/0991500377 

3. An Unguarded Moment
Purchase: http://amzn.com/0991500334 





           



 

Intimate Conversation with Melisa Alaba


Intimate Conversation with Melisa Alaba

Melisa Alaba is a thought leader, sought after speaker and life coach that expresses her gifts through healing, coaching, teaching. Melisa is a graduate of Roosevelt University, Chicago, with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Psychology. Melisa received special training in meditation and stress management.

Melisa empowers her clients to take control of their destiny. With over 12 years experience as a counselor and coach, Melisa has assisted hundreds of clients in reaching their goals and fulfilling their dreams. Melisa has also taught students at Joliet Junior College, Morton College and University of Phoenix in Psychology and Sociology courses. Melisa has been affectionately called “The Vision Coach” because she has assisted many clients in reclaiming and discovering their vision and purpose.

Melisa Alaba is the founder and CEO of Vision Works Counseling and Coaching and The Pure Life Club. Melisa is also an international wellness speaker with Cool Leaf Inc., one of the largest corporate wellness providers in the country.

Melisa has presented to companies such as: Alere (Fortune 500 company), Cobb County Social Workers Association, Woodward Private Academy and many community groups and organizations across the country. Melisa currently teaches workshops and leads retreats on Mindful meditation, Emotional healing, Purpose journaling and writing.

Additionally, Melisa has been featured as an expert in Ebony Magazine, featured guest on 1380 AM Radio and in many other notable publications and broadcasts. Melisa was honored by Stiletto Woman in Business (SWIBA) with the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year for Health and Healing.

BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
After having a life changing car accident in 2008. I was forced to look at my life in a different manner. Over the period of two years I got my life back after suffering devastating loses. I wrote this book to help people who have gone through similar experiences or who are lost or just stuck and what to get free.

BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes. Indeed. I write about life. I believe we are all on a beautiful journey in which has many turns and twist. It is up to us to embrace it all.

BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?
I write self-help books which often include rich and funny stories from life and the lives of thousands of people I have encountered over the years. I am a great observer and I learn through watching. I always include the latest research but I make it palatable with storytelling which explain concepts that will benefit you.

BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What genre do you consider your book? Is this book available in digital forms like Nook and Kindle?
Live Out Loud, 52 Ways to Reawaken Your Spirit and Live a Life of Purpose  is your gate way to living a life you will love. We live in a society where we equate money and things to success and I have learned that truly living on purpose is so much more. This books opens you up to simple exercises that will put you on the path to living your life full out and on purpose!

BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Live Out Loud: 52 Ways to Reawaken Your Spirit and Live a Life of Purpose  introduces you to 11 keys to living a fully awake life: abundance, acceptance, balance, commitment, connection, discovery, forgiveness, giving, gratitude, organization, and purpose. I present exercises that are easy to follow that will move you from being stuck to embracing your power and overcoming disappointments or setbacks. The exercises can be done individually, with a partner, or in a group. The fifty-two mindful exercises are short and extremely powerful. Many are based on my firsthand experiences and biblical principles. They will move you to take action and gain the life you were created to live.

BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Success for me has been having my readers contacting me and tell me that this book caused them to shift in their being. I wrote this book to impact the lives of others so they could impact the world. To that point I have already experienced success in that endeavor. I will continue to write books that empower people to find their voice, live authentically and deliver their gifts powerfully to the world.

BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book? 
So many of us have been conditioned since youth to dim our light. We have been told that our gifts are not good enough or worthy to be shared. We have been conditioned to believe that safety should be our main concern. I believe that this book will guide readers in being liberated to discover, explore and claim their gifts so that they can transform lives.

BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Recently, my book was selected as the feature book for the cast of 72 Hours a film set to release in early 2015 by Christopher Nolen.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Subscribe to my newsletter and receive my free Live Out Loud Toolkit which includes meditations and a few copies of the book at www.melisaalaba.com. You can also check out the many courses that I offer on living your best life.

Website:  http://www.melisaalaba.com 

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MelisaAlaba
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/melisaalaba/
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Live Out Loud: 52 Ways to Reawaken Your Spirit and Live a Life of Purpose
  introduces you to 11 keys to living a fully awake life: IS THE BEST WAY TO SWEETEN YOUR LIFE!


Too many self-help books today regurgitate the same old information. Not enough of them stand out because there is no difference, no specialness that draws the reader with truth—well now there’s a book that brings a fresh outpouring of the Word and Wisdom of GOD–Melisa Alaba’s Christian self-help book, LIVING OUT LOUD: 52 Ways to Awaken Your Spirit. With a gentle but firm writing style, Ms. Alaba dishes the truth in tasty, easy to digest tidbits.

Step-by-step, in a loving, authentic voice, Ms. Alaba gives you the Word and the way to change your life in 52 weeks from barely living to living out loud! From abundance to acceptance to purpose, she illustrates eleven principles that will elevate your life from the ground floor to the penthouse! This easy to read blueprint for good living is bound to be a keeper for anyone who reads it. Get your copy and start enjoying the abundant life today!



Purchase Live Out Loud by Melisa Alaba
Kindle Edition: http://amzn.com/B00IT69V0C






           


 

Intimate Conversation with Lauren Francis-Sharma



Intimate Conversation with Lauren Francis-Sharma

Lauren Francis-Sharma
, a child of Trinidadian immigrants, was born in New York City and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in African-American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and two children. 'Til the Well Runs Dry is her first novel.

BPM:  What inspired you to write this book, ‘TIL THE WELL RUNS DRY? 
A: I was not inspired as much as I was looking to understand my maternal grandmother, a woman whom I did not feel like I really knew. When she had her first stroke, I sat next to her hospital bed and realized I knew so little. She was not one to share her feelings and I had never bothered to push her on the details of her life story. I wrote this book, which is loosely based on the little I knew about her, as a way to fill that void.


BPM:  The case could be made that Blanchisseuse, a sea-side village in Trinidad, is a character in the book. What drew you to this particular town, and what effect does it have on the lives of your characters? 
A: I firmly believe that the places where we live as children are natural characters in our story, so it seemed befitting to attempt to make Blanchisseuse come alive on the page, as this is how Marcia feels about her birthplace. My grandmother's family purchased land in Blanchisseuse in the early twentieth century, and my grandmother was born and raised there. Many of my mother's childhood memories, her stories, are set there. To me, Blanchisseuse is a magical place, and it has been a part of me for as long as I remember.


BPM:  The chapters in ‘Til the Well Runs Dry are told from the perspective of three central characters. Why did you choose these specific characters to hold up the arc of the story? 
A: When I began writing this story, Jacqueline was the protagonist. On the first page she wakes to the sound of her mother tapping a spoon on the lip of a pot. The story should have been a coming-of-age story where Jacqueline grows to understand herself and her quite difficult mother. But as I continued to write, this mother, Marcia, began to steal scenes. And before long, Farouk also became a necessity, as someone needed to tell his story. Now I couldn't imagine it any other way.


BPM:  Marcia, one of your main protagonists, is an incredibly strong woman – both mentally and physically. Where do you think her strength comes from, and is she an amalgamation of you and your grandmother? 
A: The circumstances, the world, into which Marcia is born makes living a challenge, but she wants to survive. And even though she can be a hard woman, many of her decisions show immense vulnerability. To me, therein lies her real strength: To choose to love. To choose to be a mother. To admit fear. To fight fear. These qualities make her strong. My grandmother faced many of the same challenges, and Marcia is who I hope my grandmother was deep down inside. Marcia is also who I hope I am or will be, though I would like to be more openly expressive about my love for others.


BPM:  The topic of parenthood – and most especially motherhood – is central to your novel. This theme deeply affects two of your three protagonists, namely Marcia and her husband, Farouk. After they have their first child, Farouk learns of a family secret on Marcia’s side, which threatens their relationship. In fact, he moves out of their shared home. Yet year after year, they keep having children. After their fourth child arrives, Farouk becomes very detached from his family. What is it about parenthood that brought them together and then drove them apart?
A: For Farouk parenthood is an extension of his love for Marcia. After the breakdown of the marriage, he is angry, and feels betrayed, and though he still loves Marcia, the children become central figures in his burning resentment—the only way he can continue to hurt Marcia for the never-ending pain he experiences. For Marcia, because of the twins, perhaps even because she is a woman, she understands that parenthood is a separate entity from marriage, though she'd like for them to co-exist. Of course, having the children means having a small part of Farouk, and though she sometimes resents the burden parenthood has placed on her life, Marcia's commitment to them is unwavering. Farouk eventually comes to understand this kind of commitment, this kind of love.


BPM:  You manage to capture the sights, sounds, food, and – let’s not forget – the voodoo of Trinidad. How much research did you have to do in order to make this country come alive? Can you talk a bit more about the obeah women and their role not only in your book but in Trinidadian culture? 
A: I was born in America to Trinidadian parents. There are some things that come to you by osmosis when you are part of the first generation growing up away from the family homeland. But to be honest, there were more things that were fuzzy. I did my best—through asking questions, reading books, and traveling to Trinidad—to make it as alive and as authentic as possible. I know I did not get it all right, but my goal was to serve my family and the country well. As such, I do not particularly like the word “voodoo.” “Magic,” “the mystical,” “witchcraft” are used for the same purposes, yet do not carry the same connotation.

So, yes, perhaps “obeah” is simply a different label, but in my mind, obeah, the use of which was far more prevalent fifty years ago, is not always hateful and vengeful. People have used obeah to guide them in making important life decisions and to protect them from negative outcomes. In this story, Farouk simply wants to capture Marcia's heart. It is the obeah woman, the bearer of the institution, abusing her privilege for her own gain, who throws a wrench in his plan.


BPM:  Marcia makes the ultimate sacrifice for her children when she leaves them behind in Trinidad and immigrates to the United States with the intention, of course, to earn enough money to bring them all to the States at some point. While Marcia struggles to get her footing, do you think that her home country of Trinidad and its melting-pot population gave her an advantage when she arrived in the melting pot of New York City?
A: No. I do not think anything can prepare a person for that kind of life transition. Immigration is dislocation. One's life is completely turned on its head. Think back sixty years or more and imagine you have no television, you've seen maybe one movie, you know very little about the place where you will live. Then imagine that when you get there nothing goes as planned. The person who leaves her home seeking a better opportunity, who is willing to do what it takes and sticks it out despite all that inevitably will go wrong, is inherently better equipped than many of the rest of us. But she needs a chance. The only advantage Marcia has when she arrives in New York is that there are other West Indians who are willing to help her. Community is the key to many immigrant success stories.


BPM:  Is ‘Til the Well Runs Dry the first book you’ve written? 

A: I wish! No, I had two novels prior to this that I failed to get published.

Purchase 'Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel

by Lauren Francis-Sharma
Link: http://amzn.com/0805098038  
 
           



 

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