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A Letter for My Mother
by Nina Foxx
Whether they’re from the US, Caribbean, India, or the UK, all of the contributors to A Letter for My Mother share one thing in common: thoughts that have been left unsaid to their mothers and mother figures—until now. In this moving book, thirty-three women reveal the stories, reflections, confessions, and revelations they’ve kept to themselves for years and have finally put into words. Written through tears and pain, as well as joy and laughter, each offering presents the mother-daughter bond in a different light.
Heartfelt and deeply meaningful, A Letter for My Mother will inspire you to admire and cherish that special relationship that shapes every woman.
Excerpt from A Letter for My Mother
My ex-husband’s mother was dying. During the time I was married to him, our relationship had been at best, tenuous. I married her oldest son and she never forgave me for that, or at least it seemed that way in my head. I couldn’t seem to understand some of her ways and she couldn’t understand mine. I was from a different place than she and my life was different than both hers and that of her daughters. At times, she seemed to resent me for that. Some days, she went from insulting me, my family, my upbringing and lifestyle in one sentence to embracing me and trying to nurture me, all in the space of a twelve-hour period. It was infuriating. I retaliated, resisted, rebelled and refused to accept. I’d already had a mother. She’d died when I was six, and no one could replace her. Various female members of my biological family had given me all the mothering I thought I would need so I saw no need to accept any from a stranger.
Over the years, our relationship changed and softened, especially after the children came, but I’ll admit I was never comfortable with her. When I divorced her son, I thought I was walking away from her family too and struggled with the link that lay between us and the desire to do the right thing. I was more compelled to stay in contact with family than my ex-husband was, but didn’t want to overstep my bounds by staying in touch with his family for my children. Divorce was a relationship quagmire I had a hard time negotiating. I wanted my children to know and love their family, all of it, but I didn’t want to be the uncomfortable bridge that made that happen. My mother-in-law didn’t care what I felt. She was always going to be here, and though my last name had changed, she still offered her opinion, advice and whatever else she felt like when we spoke, making me still more uncomfortable.
I knew she was ill, but I still felt as if I’d been knocked off my feet when I received the call that she was dying. Tears and confusion flooded my brain. At first, I couldn’t understand why I was not emotionless. My sister, the main mother figure in my life, explained my reaction to me and encouraged me to tell my mother-in-law what I had to say to her before I no longer could. She assured me that even though I was unwilling to admit it, I was close to this woman and couldn’t avoid being unnerved. We had developed a relationship over the years. My sister encouraged me to write down what I wanted to say to the woman before she died if I was unable to speak the words. The result was the letter that led to this book.
As I wrote, I realized that although she and I were very different, my mother-in-law had been mothering me all along and didn’t care whether I wanted to accept it or not. Because I had been raised to do the right thing, I started out treating her with respect, and even though my respect was peppered with defiance, it didn’t stop me from loving her. Over time, I treated her with respect not because I was supposed to, but because I had come to respect her.
I finished my letter and my mother-in-law died three hours later. I was as devastated as if she had given birth to me, but I did feel some relief that I had said to the universe the things I wanted to say but hadn’t been able to for the fifteen years our families had been linked by my marriage to her son. In writing my letter, I discovered that I had been so stressed by our relationship because I wasn’t open to mothering and mother-wisdom of the kind that we receive from the more seasoned members of the female community. I don’t know why this was. Perhaps it was because my own wound from losing my mother so young had not yet healed, some thirty-plus years later. I read my letter over and over, and as I did, it occurred to me that I was not alone.
As females, we have a way of nurturing others, usually children and men, but we are often reluctant to nurture and share with each other. As young women, we are often mean girls (or the victims of them). We might make a few close friends as young adults, but throughout our lives, many of us are very slow to let new women in. Rather than embrace each other, we push away. We argue with and resent our mothers, and more often than not, fall prey to the idea that our mothers-in-law and stepmothers, all “outside women,” are evil rather than a source of support or knowledge. As we do so, we miss our lessons until finally we only see them in hindsight.
I invited other women to write a letter to a mother in their lives, someone who guided them when they didn’t want to be guided and perhaps someone they’d never thanked. In the letter, they were to tell them what they wanted them to know. The recipient of the letter needn’t be alive or biologically related, just someone to whom they had things to say to but lacked courage or foresight to be able to say those things, a thank you. Many of the writers I asked to participate agreed to do so right away. What I hadn’t counted on though were those authors that were my friends who would refuse to participate. They had no issue with the concept.
Instead, their reluctance was based on where they were in their own personal journeys with the mother figures in their lives. Some were not able to say anything positive so chose to say nothing. Others had no idea what they would say or they hadn’t worked through their feelings about that mother-daughter relationship yet and they feared the experience would be too painful for them. There are emotional wounds that only another woman can inflict on you, and theirs had not yet begun to crust over. I received many calls and notes from those who did choose to participate, often filled with apprehension and tears.
This task I was asking of them was harder than any of us had imagined, yet those who got through it reported experiencing a catharsis they had never counted on. The relationship that was closest to us proved to be the hardest to be honest about and the hardest to resolve. Writing these letters, love letters to our mothers, forced us to let go of the anger that had hung around our necks for years and let it float away from us. We had to give the bad memories to the universe and embrace the good and how that had shaped us into adulthood.
While I read the submissions, my love and respect for these women grew exponentially. I’d asked them to participate because I respected them and where they were in their craft and professional lives. I challenged them to look beyond the ordinary and find something positive in their relationship with their mothers. This proved to be harder for some than others, but once I was given a glimpse of their journeys and the women that had helped to shape them, they were all much bigger in my eyes. This process was like therapy for many of us, and as we navigated the murkiness of our childhoods, our paths through our womanhoods became that much clearer.
Charlenne T. Greer died on a Friday in May, 2012. Cigarettes killed her. She was not my mother or even related by blood. Still, I am thankful for her lessons.
A Letter for My Mother by Nina Foxx
Genre: Creative Non-fiction
Meet the Author
Nina Foxx is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and novelist. She writes as both Nina Foxx and Cynnamon Foster. Her work has appeared on numerous bestseller lists around the country, and her films have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, Cannes, and the Rome International Film Festival. Originally from Jamaica, New York, she lives with her family near Seattle, Washington, where she works in Human-Computer interaction for a major software company. Nina is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Links and Jack & Jill of America. Visit her at www.ninafoxx.com or her blog at ninafoxx.blogspot.com
Trust In Us
by AlTonya Washington
With a successful boutique in Charlotte and plans to open another exclusive one in Aspen, Alythia Duffy feels as if she's finally arrived. Then a wild week in the Caribbean at her best friend's bachelorette celebration threatens to ruin everything, though Alythia doesn't regret her passionate idyll with a sensual stranger.
Self-made developer Gage Vincent learned long ago not to believe the words of a beautiful woman. He thought Alythia was different. Yet, how can he trust her after he finds out that she is bidding for space in his hot new skyscraper? Will Alythia be able to prove to him that she is the special woman meant to share his life?
Excerpt from Trust In Us
Alythia Duffy had hoped taking her car; as opposed to hiring a driver, might play into her excuse of bad traffic which would have resulted in her missing out on the luxurious flight.
To her dismay, she arrived at the airstrip to find the plane still waiting. A chorus of birds were chirping somewhere amidst the late morning air as if they meant to welcome her to fun and excitement. Alythia appreciated the welcome, but all the while considered circling back to the Interstate in hopes of getting caught up in a traffic jam- a tad unlikely at that time of day, but who knew? It all could work in her favor and she might get-
“Can I help you with those?”
Alythia turned, her jaw dropping while her eyes zoned out in a show of surprise.
“Lucky,” she breathed the completion of her thought.
She wasn’t sure if the man who stood within touching distance had sparked such a reaction because of his height- she stood just shy of 5”10 in her bare feet. This guy had to be 6”2 at least. Sure, it could’ve been the height or the muscular build- more lean than massive. Alythia was more inclined to wager on the man’s remaining attributes.
Whoever he was, he had the most remarkable shade of skin, an unblemished tone of black coffee. The richness was offset by a long, steady brown gaze enhanced by overt gold flecks. His hair was straight-textured and close cropped. Thanks to that morning’s powerful sunrays, Alythia could tell that his hair was of the same deep brown as his eyes.
He was smiling and the curve of a beckoning, sculpted mouth was made more attractive by the singular dimple accompanying it. Still, that stare of his was impossible to ignore and difficult to perceive as anything other than intensely observant. That gaze lent a well-blended mixture of heat and cool to the smile.
“Are you okay?”
She heard him speaking to her, his smile carrying more heat when he leaned close to ask how she was. He extended a hand as if he meant to cup her elbow but barely let his thumb graze the bend of her arm.
Snapping to, Alythia ordered no-begged the sudden and completely uncharacteristic desire to moan to cease and desist the pressure it applied to her larynx.
“I um-I’m good,” she managed and then followed up the lie with a laugh. “I was good before I got here and saw that my ride was kind enough not to leave without me.”
He roared into laughter, the sound causing Alythia to jump at the full honesty of it. Despite the contagious effect of the gesture, she winced when he looked her way.
“Sorry, I know I sound ungrateful.” She said.
Curiosity intermingled with his amusement. “Why do you think you’re ungrateful?”
“Most people dream of visiting the Caribbean,” she looked toward the jet once more. “Of those who actually have those dreams come true, few get there on a private plane.”
Clarity surged in the liquid chocolate of his stare then and Gage Vincent realized that the woman standing before him had no idea that the plane was his or who he was for that matter.
“Um, could I take that stuff for you?” He inquired of her bags again before the dumbfounded amusement on his face started to make her feel uneasy.
“Sorry um,” Alythia began to relinquish her bags. “Thanks for your help-oh wait.”
Easing the strap of a tan duffle over his shoulder, Gage watched her fumble through a plump mid-sized purse.
“I knew I had a five or ten in here…”
“Hey?” He cupped her elbow that time and waited for her eyes to meet his. “There’s no need to tip me.”
Alythia blinked toward the plane. “I’m pretty sure you guys are way behind schedule because of me.”
“We’ll get there.” Gage voiced the soft reassurance while applying a light massage to the elbow he cupped. The intention was to relax her. In turn, it was the sensation of her satiny skin beneath his thumb that was ushering him into a state of relaxation.
Trust In Us by AlTonya Washington
One Safe Place
by Alvin L.A. Horn
Purchase One Safe Place: A Novel
Friends and foes, politicians and lovers intersect in this exciting novel of love, lust, and crime in the Emerald City.
In One Safe Place, lightning strikes of dilemmas and storms of lustful deeds intertwine with the well-thought citizens, as well as the criminal-minded. Under Seattle’s cloudy skies, the morally minded kiss the sexual deviant for advancement of careers and social status. Once again Alvin L.A. Horn rains down love, lust, and crime in the pursuit of clear skies in the Emerald City.
Everyone wants and needs one safe place, and former secret service agent Psalms Black puts thoughts and actions into his social righteousness. He knows how to exact revenge by any means necessary. His sexy lover, Gabrielle Brandywine, used to be the most powerful woman in the world as the Secretary of State of the United States. She still has clout, but has personal issues that can derail Psalms’ desired purpose in life. He and his friends are stealthy and tend to interpret human nature with skillful cleverness. In the mix though, are their own lives and love, and sexual issues must be controlled to complete missions.
Life is complicated when the deviant creep out of waters and from behind snow-capped mountains and mix with politics, sex, and dark money shadows. If evil acts occur like putting hands on a woman, or threatening a child, or harming a friend, you better hope Psalms Black and his friends don’t find out or someone could come up missing, or wish they had. Whether someone is on the right side of morality or if someone steps over the line, everyone wants and needs One Safe Place.
Excerpts from One Safe Place
Maybe he thought he could read her mind with her head next to his because he sure wanted her to know his thoughts. He wanted her understand the world might be breaking apart, but no matter what, he knew in his heart and mind, she was his one safe place to lay his burdens down.
Up ten stories, I stare downward, avoiding the blinding sun and enjoying the water, watching the ferries go from Seattle over to the local islands and coming back. On the beachfront down below, I'm watching my ex-Secret Service agent, my lover man, who is sparring with the ocean air with quickness and hardly any effort in his fluent movements. He possesses the kind of power men fear. Psalms is on Alki Beach, shadow boxing in the sand.
With downtown Seattle in one corner of his world, and the Puget Sound in the other, he works out with the street behind him as if his back is against the ropes in a boxing ring. He beats the air until I'm sure the air is heated to one-hundred degrees in twenty feet in each direction surrounding him.
Since I've known him, I've had the opportunity to see him do what he is doing now, many times, and I never grow weary of watching him. I have watched him shadow box and heat up the air with his rapid-firing fists along an iced-over river in Moscow. I watched his body move along the Panama Canal with the icy quickness of a Doberman as he seemingly cooled the hot air with the speed of his kicks. Along the Great Wall of China, I watched him attack the breathed air of past warriors, and it evoked a vision of him fighting and defeating Genghis Khan. Psalms Black has the build of Mike Tyson, yet he moves like a jaguar in the Amazon jungle.
I have felt that same power in his lovemaking, taking me and making me feel that he wants me. The responsiveness of his proficiencies in lovemaking takes the form of a ballet dancer's grace. My ex-Secret Service agent, my lover, has picked me up and floated me down in a way a man cannot be trained. He is all-natural in all he does. Psalms touches every square centimeter of my body with his strong hands, and I sweat from the softness of his caress.
Twist by Roni Teson
A Romantic Suspense full of twists and turns...
When a steamy incident in the back seat of a borrowed car plunges sixteen-year-old Beatrice Malcolm smack in the middle of a global manhunt, she discovers that the search for her fugitive father has more to do with her than she could ever imagine.
With her mother gone, Bea's life is unraveling in the worst possible way as she's thrust into a world of government conspiracy, insanity, and mind-altering experimentation that forces her to make a life or death decision on who to believe—the FBI or her father.
In Twist, Roni Teson has crafted a suspenseful tale of love, betrayal and intrigue with a cast of characters who will leap off the pages and stay in your heart long after the last page has been turned.
Excerpt Chapter 1
I’d seen him at school before, the kid who came in with Mr. Drake. I didn’t know his name was Lucas. When he brushed his blond hair away from his forehead and his blue eyes met mine, my insides liquefied. I thought I saw a flicker of recognition on his face, but how would he know me?
“Do you go to Sage Creek High?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, as I looked down at my tennis shoes and wished I’d dressed better. But I didn’t know a cute boy would be standing in front of me tonight.
“I thought so,” he said. “Aren’t you new?”
We were at Aunt Charlotte and Uncle George’s house, me sitting in the living room and the boy hanging around the threshold.
Only a few seconds earlier, my uncle’s plumber, Mr. Drake, had said, “Stay here, Lucas. Talk to Beatrice for a minute while I work on George’s sink.” And then he followed my uncle into the kitchen.
“Did you hear me?” Lucas said.
“What?” I answered.
A tiny chuckle puffed off of his lips. “I didn’t think you were listening. Call me Luke.”
His voice was so smooth my belly did backflips. “Bea,” I said, because a single syllable was all I could manage under the gaze of such a magnificent creature as Luke.
“So, Bea.” His eyes wandered around the living room and stopped on me. “What’s your story? Where you been hiding?”
I stared at his perfectly straight, white teeth and froze.
“Dad makes me tag along on some of his jobs,” Luke said, as he sat down on the edge of the couch. “I’ve been to this house a lot, but I’ve never seen you here.”
“You weren’t here last week when the kitchen flooded.” I flicked a piece of lint off of my leg, acting disinterested. “I’m staying with my aunt and uncle for a while”—and then I stopped short, before the darkness of the last twelve months could creep into our conversation. I picked up the remote and channel surfed, looking for something he could grab on to instead of me.
“Where’d that frown come from?” he asked. Then when I didn’t answer, after a pause, he posed another question. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
And that was all I needed to hear. I lost interest. He was way too nosy, and far too comfortable asking me about my personal life. I kept my eyes on the TV and said, “Do you always talk so much?”
“Hey, a cute girl shows up at school and I want to know.”
“Now you’re way too flirty.”
“I like the tomboy thing you’re rocking. What can I say?”
In my peripheral vision I saw him wink at me. That was so cheesy, I thought I was being played. “Really?” I rolled my eyes.
“I’m just being friendly. Geez, Beatrice.”
And the timber of his voice, mixed with a playful tone, hit the right note—it softened me. “Call me, Bea,” I said.
“Can’t anyone be nice to you?” he asked.
When his lower lip protruded, exaggerating a pout, I must have been like a swinging mood tree because my entire being thawed. “Yeah, I’m just having a bad day,” I said.
More like a bad year.
We stared at each other and he smiled again, so I smiled, too.
“See,” Luke said. “I knew you had it in you.”
He moved closer to me on the couch and put his hand on mine. “My official name is Lucas Drake.” With that, he squeezed my fingers, lifted my hand, and kissed my knuckles.
An unfamiliar feeling of warmth ran down my spine and into my toes. I jerked my arm away and stood up in a curtsy. “Beatrice Malcolm.” I plopped down again, tucking my right leg under my butt.
Luke glided even closer and whispered, “I’m glad you moved to Cali. I think you’re cute.”
I wondered if his head had begun to swirl, the way mine had. I’d never experienced anything like this before, ever. But suddenly, Uncle George and Luke’s dad were standing at the front door, about fifteen feet from where we sat. And thank goodness Mr. Drake broke the spell with his gruff voice. “Lucas, let’s go!”
Luke seemed to become abruptly aware of his surroundings and even looked puzzled when he saw how close we were sitting. He flexed his hand and wiggled his fingers—I ran my thumb across my knuckles and glanced at him. We both blushed and quickly looked away. I was relieved to stand up and walk the few steps to the entryway with Lucas Drake behind me.
Purchase Twist by Roni Teson
Something About April
by Cheri Paris Edwards
In Something About April, Carla Jefferson meets the perfect guy, but he's not quite the man of her dreams. Will she hold on to love, or let it slip away hoping for a chance at the life she's imagined? A rediscovered photograph and the return of old friends stir memories and a desire to reclaim the past, setting into motion events that may change the Jefferson family forever.
Something About April is the second novel in a planned series of four books about the Midwestern Jefferson family introduced in book one, The Other Sister. In this fast-paced story focus shifts to older characters, and moves from the conversation of faith to the daily struggles of the Jefferson family and their friends as they strive to meet life's challenges.
Meet the Jeffersons: James Jefferson is a driven man, motivated by love for his family, devotion to church members and concern for the community. After centering her life around the interests of others, Lena Jefferson must readjust now that her adult daughters are living lives of their own. Older daughter Carla Jefferson juggles the responsibilities of a demanding career while hoping for love, while her younger sister Sanita strives to move through life with the same self-confidence that made her an athletic star. Get to know the Jeffersons as they navigate a season of love, laughter and heartache, wrestling with life's challenges while holding on to friends, faith and one another.
James Jefferson – is the father who is driven by his own humble beginnings by a need to give back to the community and take care of his family, so he’s a bit of a social activist with a pulpit. He defines himself as “project boy” and he is the son of single mother who struggled to raise him and a sister. A promising athlete, he grew up in the church, and his faith and the church became a respite leading him to eventually followed become a minister. Faith Community is not a mega-church but does have a thriving congregation. He also owns and sells real estate, and while not wealthy, has provided a middle-class lifestyle for his family.
Lena Jefferson – is his wife who spent much of her life shaping herself into the person she thought a minister’s wife should be. She served as part-time church secretary, and was a homemaker. Now that her daughters are adults and living on their own she’s left with a void in her life.
Carla Jefferson – is the older Jefferson daughter who’s always tried to do the right thing. She’s a bit of a perfectionist, a school administrator at a charter middle school who has felt eclipsed by her younger, athletic sister Sanita who is also more outgoing. In the first story, she had been on a few dates with ex-pro basketball player Terrence Catchings who fell head over heels for Sanita when she returned to town.
Sanita Jefferson – the younger Jefferson sister, who also is an ex-athlete. Poor decisions while she was away from home, put her both her health and freedom at risk, but with a cleared slate, she is rebounding, living on her own now and taking courses at the community college.
We learn more about James and Lena in this story and Lena’s attorney friend Nadine, Javier Quintero, and Mandy who is Carla’s good friend are introduced in this book.
Excerpt from Something About April
She couldn’t sleep. All day, sleep had wooed her with heavy-lidded promises, but as soon as she got into bed, the flirtation was over. She closed her eyes and her mind reeled and lurched like an uneven film. Lifting on her elbows, she squinted. The clock’s bright digits seemed to glare at her — another hour had passed. She sank onto her pillow. Hopeful, she shut her eyes, but as soon as her lids lowered, the show spun into motion again. Flashes from yesterday melded into this day’s events before whirling into plans for tomorrow. With a sigh, she sat upright. Peeling back the covers, she glanced at her husband. His gentle breathing sang a rhythmic hum. Sliding into her slippers, she snagged her robe from the footboard post, and tied it on. She stepped into the hallway, and gently pulled the door closed behind her.
Gliding stealthily through the darkened house, she moved as though she had a plan, but she did not. She paused in the kitchen to open the refrigerator and peer at the contents before settling on a bottle of water. Resting the bottle on the counter, she scooped used glasses into the sink before dampening a cloth to sweep away evidence of a late-night sandwich he made. “How many times have I asked him to not leave crumbs?” she grumbled.
Bottled water in hand, she padded through the dining room and into the wide expanse of the family room. At the fireplace, she drew the metal curtain to prod the simmering wood with a poker, then, rubbing her chilled arms, fell into the seat of a chair in front of her desk. She lifted the lid to her laptop.
“Why do you need a password?” he had asked the other day as he watched her logging in. His eyes deepened with curiosity. “It’s not like anyone else has access. It’s your computer.”
“From the writing class I was taking,” she explained. “We had to write poems now and then, and sometimes I still journal my feelings. Guess it’s like a diary,” she continued. “Giving it a password is like it has a key. Makes me feel safer writing about my feelings if I know I’m the only one reading it,” she finished, hoping she wasn’t talking too much.
“Safer? That’s a strange word to use. I’m your husband. Why do you need to keep your feelings safe from me?” A smile lifted the corners of his lips, but his eyes searched hers.
Waiting to find the right words, she was grateful when his phone alerted him of a new message. Distracted, he turned to his own computer and began to peck away.
Something About April (The Jeffersons-Volume 2)
Read more about the series: http://www.cheriparisedwards.net/#!books/cnec