Sunday, November 19, 2006

Call for Submissions for SisterDivas Magazine's Winter 2007 Issue


SisterDivas Magazine (
is a quarterly multicultural women's magazine that is
currently looking for submissions for its WINTER 2006 issue,
slated to be released on Monday, January 22, 2007.

DEADLINE for submissions is Monday, January 8, 2007.

Below are the columns SD currently needs submissions for:
*NOTE: When e-mailing submissions, please let us know
which COLUMN your submitting to within your SUBJECT
line. Thanks!


We are looking for articles regarding movies, TV, and art.
Perhaps you want to write an article about the must-have
movies for today's women. Maybe an article on TV shows
that are showing women in a positive light. Perhaps there is
a concern of how women are portrayed in entertainment or
how much control women have in the entertainment industry.

If you have an interesting angle for women in the media, e-mail
us at All submissions
must be within the e-mail message.

All articles must be no longer than 2,000 words. All
submissions must be within the e-mail message.

Total Body

Do you write articles on topics relevant to women's health?
Fashion? Beauty? Do you have a product that women just HAVE to
have? Are you an up-and-coming designer? Then you should
consider submitting to our column, TOTAL BODY!

All articles must be no longer than 2,000 words. All submissions
must be within the e-mail message. If you would like to be
considered for an interview, you can contact us, too!

Send all submissions and requests for more information to us at


Do you work from home? Do you own your own business? Is your job
FASCINATING? Are you head of a company? We're looking from
articles for the J-O-B column that spotlight interesting careers,
that offer advice into how to get into a particular career, that
discusses the ups and downs to owning your own company or working
out in the workforce while you take care of your children.

If you have an article related to women in the work force, please
contact us at today!

All articles must be no longer than 2,000 words. All
submissions must be within the e-mail message.


We, as women, deal with many relationships. Relationship with self.
With parents. With siblings. With mate. With children. With

How do we manage it? Or do we? If you have articles that tap into
the world of women and relationships, we would love for you to submit
to us. Do you have a book or a product that deals specifically with
women and relationships? Tell us about it.

Send all submissions to! All
articles must be no longer than 2,000 words. All submissions must
be within the e-mail message.

AGAIN, the WINTER 2007 issue of SisterDivas will be published on Monday,
January 22, 2007.

If you wish to submit to SisterDivas's WINTER 2007 issue, the deadline
to do so is Monday, January 8, 2007.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Star for a Day Contest - Enter Today

A P in A Pod Productions in association with Jaguar Productions, Inc. are looking to make YOU a star, and bring more awareness to cancer.

Enter The Star For A Day Contest to win a speaking part in the upcoming movie The Champion Inside.

How To Enter: If you are a cancer survivor, have survived the loss of a family member, best friend or loved one, write a 250 word essay on how and why the champion lives inside of you. What has changed in your life now that you are a survivor? How do you help others who have been stricken with this devastating disease?

The winner of the contest will receive the following:

  • A one line speaking role in the upcoming film The Champion Inside

  • Round trip airfare to Philadelphia, PA

  • Hotel and meals accommodations for two days

  • A limo to and from the airport (or to and from your home if you live within two hours from Philadelphia, PA)

  • The Champion Inside gift basket (valued at $250.00)

  • A photo shoot with the stars of the film

  • Your name in the end credits of the film

  • Media interview

The deadline is January 30, 2007.

For more information log on to -

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Call for Submissions :: InnerVision Books

Donna Hill & Pittershawn Palmer are proud to announce the birth of InnerVision Books. InnerVision Books is an e-book publisher, offering published and unpublished authors as well as poets the opportunity to tap into yet another reading market by making full use of today’s technology. Electronic books are the next leap in the literary world and InnerVision Books wants to be the bridge that takes you there. Currently InnerVision Books is seeking manuscripts in the following genres: romance, thrillers, erotica, horror, literary and mainstream fiction. We are also interested in seeking non-fiction work (self-help & how to’s).


Full length novels must be at least 225 manuscript pages, double spaced in 12 pt. Courier type. Submissions are only accepted electronically and should be sent via Word.

Our vision for our fiction both literary and contemporary fiction is to create a new genre which we call "Reality Fiction." These stories encompass cross-cultural topics such as societal, familial, religious, political concepts, no matter the genre. Main character: one must be African American the other must be of a different ethnic group. Characters must be taken out of their comfort zones, i.e., an African America who finds themselves involved with an Amish character… how the two lifestyles clash but evolve making them evolve as well. (ex. "Witness" featuring Harrison Ford), i.e., and African American character who finds themselves forced to confront someone with HIV when their mindset has been pure homophobic ex., "Philadelphia." An African American who has moved from their day to day setting to live in another country or community.

Stories should reflect the slow but steady homogenization of the races. They must reflect the current times and how people of different cultures, beliefs and religious affiliations affect their behavior and decisions.

The themes running beneath the storylines should be global in its approach. They can be funny, sexy, serious, entertaining but in all cases enlightening. The reader should close the book and be able to look at life and people differently. Stories can include the "new family" makeup. i.e., Children born from test tubes, adoption of children by those outside of their race and the impact it has on the child as an adult.

Ideally there must be a combination of ethnic characters within each story, making the stories truly multicultural, i.e., AA in Japan, AA in England, and AA homosexual relationship, stories about gentrification of neighborhoods etc. However, an outstanding novel that falls outside of these parameters will be considered.

Novellas: Must be at least 100 pages in length.

Erotica: Stories must be highly sensual but done with taste. There must be a viable storyline with fully developed characters. They can be fantasy stories as well. The characters sexual exploits must come with some realization on the part of the main characters. No stories in which women are abused or victimized, no animals, golden showers or bondage.

Poetry: Coming soon.

Non-fiction: Varies in length from 65-100 pages. Self-help and How To's

Between the Books: This category is for published authors only who are interested in writing short stories about their characters between the books. So often your readers want to know "what happened next" even if you have no plans for a sequel. Here is your opportunity to tell them what they want to know without writing an entire novel. It is also great for those who write series characters. Length varies from 25 -60 pages.

If you have a story that you think would interest us and readers please send your submission to:

Your submission should include:
  • Your full name
  • E-mail address and phone number
  • Mailing address
  • Title of your work
  • Genre
  • A detailed synopsis (as an attachment)
  • The first three chapters (as an attachment)

If we are interested in publishing your story, we will request to see the entire manuscript. If your manuscript is accepted, you will receive a letter detailing the agreement with InnerVision Books along with the royalty rate and payment schedule. Your manuscript should be as clean as possible with a minimal amount of editorial corrections needed.

Please allow at least six weeks for a response. We look forward to sharing your stories!


The Team @ InnerVision Books

Monday, August 21, 2006

Amani Publishing Announces Winners for Sweetheart Writing Contest


August 19, 2006

Amani Publishing
P. O. Box 12045
Tallahassee, Florida
850-264-3341 phone
850-878-1006 fax

Amani Publishing Announces Winners for Sweetheart Writing Contest

Barbara Joe-Williams, owner of Amani Publishing is proud to announce that the "How I Met My Sweetheart" writing contest is officially over and there are sixteen (16) winners from six (6) states. I appreciate all of the entries that were submitted on behalf of your sweethearts. However, here is the list of finals:

1-H. Renay Anderson, TX
2-Shauna Stephens-Batts, FL
3-Aleigha Butler, GA
4-Francine Roberts Cargile, FL
5-Sherille Fisher, TX
6-LaShaunda Hoffman, MO
7-Vien Jernigan, FL
8-April McDermid, FL
9-Deborha Parham, GA
10-Kim Robinson, TX
11-Alesica Smith, OH
12-Juanita Thomas, FL
13-Sylvia Thomas, FL
14-Lance Washington, LA
15-Anne Holt-Webb, FL
16-Patricia Woodside, FL

Of course, my story will also be included in the book to be released on February 1, 2007. The book will be approximately 112 pages and retail for $10.00

Stay tuned for more great books from Amani Publishing.

Please visit my blogspot and website for more details...

Barbara Joe Williams, Amani Publishing
How I Met My Sweetheart Anthology, coming February 2007
Falling for Lies, coming October 2006
Dancing with Temptation, November 2005
One Sister's Guide to Self-Publishing, July 2005
Forgive Us This Day, November 2004

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New Release from Author Bettye Griffin!

Greetings from Chicagoland!

Announcing the publication of my eleventh novel, One on One (Kimani Press, paper, $6.99), a September release (in stores around the last week of August; available now for pre-order through

RT Book Review calls One on One "a wonderful reading experience." Here's the entirety of what they said:

"Griffin constructs a stirring love story, using the 9/11 tragedy as a backdrop, and tackles the subject of romance between former in-laws and/or step-relatives. She reveals the main characters' emotional cores through dialogue and their vivid inner thoughts, making the reader feel for them and not judge them. A wonderful reading experience, this novel portrays the enduring bonds among three generations of two families who are one by blood, marriage and love.

"SUMMARY: When Natasha Lawrence's husband is killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she's left to fend for herself and her two boys. Since she was raised in a children's home, the Lawrence/­Langston clan is all the family her two small sons know. Soon, however, her brother-in-law, [technically her late husband's step-brother, a part of his family since college; they did not grow up together as brothers - BG] Jared, steps up and offers to do what's right, helping her raise his nephews. There's a fine line, however, between helping out and taking advantage of the situation, and Jared fears he's crossed it.

"But after months of denying themselves a chance since an impromptu kiss during Christmas, Jared and Natasha succumb. All eyes are upon them as their secret is unintentionally revealed and their lives are changed forever."

(KIMANI/ARABESQUE, Sep., 320 pp., $6.99)

For more information, please visit


Bettye Griffin

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Introducing Debut Author, Pamela Ridley

Title of your latest book: BETWEEN TEARS

Pitch BETWEEN TEARS to potential readers in 50 words or less.

Andrea Young’s sister is murdered, and she thinks there’s more to the crime than what meets the eye. Can it be a good thing when she falls in love with her sister’s ex, a possible suspect? When Andrea’s disturbed former boyfriend turns up dead as well, she must figure out the truth.

What was the initial spark that brought BETWEEN TEARS to you?

Toying with the idea of what lengths people will go through to justify actions based on what they think is the truth.

What was your favorite thing about writing this book?

I liked writing about Benjamin’s family and exploring his relationship with his son, mother, stepfather, and sister.

I also liked touching on the often frowned upon notion of one sibling falling in love with someone who had previously “belonged” to another sibling. One of my critique partners had a hard time getting past this, but it never fazed me. So, what I did was incorporate her concern into the novel and let Andrea address it. Since I believe in romance, when people are meant to be together, they work it out.

I was also intrigued with dealing with the idea that even when you’ve changed your life and shifted your values to reflect Christian beliefs, sometimes there’s still a past that can come back to bite you at any moment. What do you do then?

What do you hope readers get out of reading BETWEEN TEARS besides an entertaining read?

There are lots of layers in BETWEEN TEARS. Among them, the main characters must hold a romance together when it seems the world is against them. There’s the question of how faith plays out in a person’s life. The value of friendship is highlighted. Many characters have to dig deep to find the strength to forgive. There’s humor. My hope would be that the reader identifies with something on a personal level and takes heart.

What is your writing philosophy?

Write stories you would like to read. It keeps it fun and makes the work uniquely yours.

Being a debut author, what pieces of advice would you give writers who are trying to get published?

I’d suggest networking in whatever way works for you. It’s important to touch base somehow with other writers and others in the publishing industry. Ask questions, take writing classes, and read books on the writing craft. Write because writing is a passion. Persevere.

What can we see next from you?

I don’t have a signed contract for anything new yet, but all of my stories have three elements: faith, romance, and usually murder.

Dream-on: You've been greenlighted to do any creative project you want. What project would that be?

Just one? I’d find a few good African American books and make them into movies.

To learn more about Pamela and her works to order your copy of BETWEEN TEARS, check out her website:!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Quintessential Writer: Donna Hill

Everywhere I turn, I see info about a book of yours being released, lol! Tell us about your latest work.

Very funny! Latest work---hmmm that would actually be several works to be honest. I just released my first romance for this year--Long Distance Lover which launched the Arabesque summer series. The theme this year was on athletes. My heroine Kelly Maxwell is a star sprinter, destined for Gold--until her secrets and a murder get in the way. As always with my romances, I've inserted some very topical issues that my character is faced with and I hope it will shed some light on very real problems. Of course there are those hot sex scenes! My upcoming romance LOVE BECOMES HER is scheduled to hit bookstores in August (but hint, hint, you can always pre-order!). Love Becomes Her, is the first in a four-book series that features four forty-something divas who have decided that they are much too young and fly to turn in their pumps! So they embark upon a joint venture and open an exclusive day spa for men! The spa is called "Pause for Men" and it's also the name of the series. Book 1, Love Becomes Her, features Barbara Allen who is being hotly pursued by a man almost young enough to be her son. Her girlz say go for it! And she does with some very surprising results. Readers will also get to meet her girlz, Ann Marie, Stephanie and Elizabeth and get a glimpse into their lives and loves. Book 2, Saving All My Lovin' hits stores in November. My big book GUILTY PLEASURES, will be released in October from St. Martins Press, and features Jake and Eva Kelly, who are just as insatiable for each other as they are to the con game. Jake wants 'one last job,' and that one job sets a series of crosses and double-crosses into play,forcing them to come up with a plan for the biggest sting of their career. It's fast, hot, sexy and plenty of fun. I'm also part of a great anthology TAKIN' CHANCES FOR THE HOLIDAYS. My character in the anthology is working on a PR campaign for the ladies at Pause for Men, while working on a personal PR plan to get her man in time for the holidays. At the moment, I'm working on MURDER IN THE AISLES, about a sexy sleuth, Felicia Swift, who happens to not only be a certified genius but also a librarian. This one I hope to turn into a series character. And I'm working on another anthology Creepin' an erotic paranormal collection that is going to be off the chain!

You have written romance novels and have ventured into mainstream, chick lit, and thrillers. What other genres are you interested in going into with your writing?

Well, I really love doing the thrillers like Getting Hers, Guilty Pleasures and then Murder in the Aisles. I grew up on crime drama and gobble up those kinds of stories. I like erotica, but I know I couldn't do it on a regular basis. I suppose, as long as I can move back and forth between genres and offer up good stories that readers truly like, that's all I can ask for.

I know novels are like children--everyone in the author's eyes is beautiful, but if you could pick, what three books were the most fun to write and why?

Hmmm, most fun. The top of this list in terms of fun would have to be Divas Inc. I was literally cracking myself up as I was writing. On the manuscript pages, I even inserted smiley faces! But of course my editor reigned me in and took them out. That was fun. Guilty Pleasures was also fun to write. I enjoyed the double-dealing as well as the raunchy language that I could use! And Rhythms was a joy to write for other reasons. It was actually the first book I ever wanted to write, waaaay back in the early 90's but didn't really know how. I poured my heart and soul into that book to make it sing and to recreate that time period. So to see it come to fruition and hear the response from readers who enjoyed it, makes it so very worthwhile.

On average, how long does it take you to pen the first draft of a novel?

I don't actually do more than one draft. As I write, I edit and clean up as I go. I reread what I've written before I start the next chapter, make insertions, take things out etc. So that when I'm finished, the manuscript is clean and says what I want it to say. From concept to finished product it takes about 3 months.

After all the characters you have created and all the books you have written, what keeps you writing and penning new stories?

Wow, the ideas just never stop. As fast as I get one idea out of my head in pops another one. Writing the books are a different story of course (LOL). But I always tell my editors if someone would just pay me for all the ideas I have, I'd be rich!!

As if penning great fiction wasn't enough, you have moved onto the promotion side of the publishing business with your company, Donna Hill Promotions. Tell us about the company. What types of services do you offer?

Donna Hill Promotions is really an outgrowth of ImageNouveau, a business that I had for a very long time. In its early stages, I did events, put together author-centered programs, and did some editing. Last year, ImageNouveau stepped out from behind the scenes and took on clients. I'd worked as a publicist for over ten years and was always doing "little things" for folks, so I figured I may as well step out on faith and do it for real. With the advent of Donna Hill Promotions, I want to expand what I'd already been doing, revamp the services and make it much more name-recognizable to the consumer. DH Promotions offers promotional services to authors from eblasts, monthly newsletters, webcards, book signings, podcasts, providing marketing materials, setting up interviews, mailings, and essentially using the connections and resources that I've acquired over the years to bring our clients' books to the attention of readers and booksellers.

What clients of yours have current books out in the market?

All of them! So it is truly a juggling act. Currently we have Michelle Monkou (Sweet Surrender), Angie Daniels (When I First Saw You), Suzetta Perkins (Behind the Veil), A.C. Arthur (Love Me Carefully), Maureen Smith (Weapon of Seduction), and Toni Staton Harris (Nothing Special, Just Friends). I'm preparing to also do some work for Robert Fleming. And we are hoping that Linda Hudson Smith will soon join our family as well. And of course no one can do anything alone. Missy Brown has been a great help, along with Pittershawn Palmer, and Tina McCray was there at the beginning. And the new, very dynamic site would not have been possible without the talents of Monica Jackson.

What made you decide to move into promotions?

Well, as I said, in my other life, the one that paid all the bills, I was a publicist for the Queens Library in New York for a little more than ten years. So it was something that I always did and understood the business and how difficult it was for authors to promote themselves.

How might an interested author get in contact with you for DHP's services?

Please visit our website at and feel free to send an email of inquiry to ImageNouveau is still the media arm of the business.

Writer. Promoter. Are there other avenues within the publishing arena that you think you might tap into some day?

Well, I have been working with a very good friend to move into publishing. So that is something that is in the works. Once we work out all the kinks, we'll be calling for submissions.

Monday, July 10, 2006

REVISED: Ideas Needed for New Book on Marriage

Hello Readers,

After 25 years of marriage, I'm working on a new book idea titled, Moving the Furniture: 52 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Fresh, and I'm seeking your participation. Please send in your ideas related to this topic for inclusion in the book to be tentatively released in 2008. You may send in one sentence, one paragraph, or one page. If your idea or suggestion is used in the book, you'll be mentioned and given full credit.

I'm on a mission to keep marriages alive and thriving. If you're in a committed relationship, please participate in the book writing adventure by sending in your ideas for keeping a marriage fresh. I'll be on the look out for your comments. Have a great week!

YOU MAY SEND ALL IDEAS to the following e-mail address:!

Barbara Joe Williams, Author/Publisher
Falling for Lies, coming October 2006
Dancing with Temptation, November 2005
One Sister's Guide to Self-Publishing, July 2005
Forgive Us This Day, November 2004

Saturday, June 03, 2006

WoMentoring Program Honors Women in the Workplace

CONTACT: Christina Lemon
Office: 818.986.7733 Cell: 818.438.8184


From manicurists to Mayoral aides, women have one thing in common

(Los Angeles) What do a single mother, an aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a manicurist have in common? They were all helped by JVS' innovative WoMentoring program. Since its inception eight years ago, WoMentoring has assisted more than 150 women in finding fulfilling careers with the help of professional mentors. On June 7, JVS will celebrate the accomplishments of this year's participants with a special luncheon beginning at noon.

Both Debbie Phillips and LaShauna Earl were single mothers, working as manicurists at a local salon, and feeling like they were going nowhere with no way to support their young children. With help from mentor Frances Greenberg, they got an insider's view of the real estate industry, learned how to network, and have launched their own real estate business.

After many years of devoting herself to being a wife and mother, Allyn Levine wanted to rejoin the career world. Although she had participated in numerous volunteer activities, she felt very unsure of herself and her skills. With the encouragement of her mentor Jan, she completed classes in computers and office procedures, and even interned at the Los Angeles Daily News. Today, she is happily employed as an executive assistant/events coordinator with the United States Container Corporation in Vernon.

JVS COO Claudia Finkel founded the WoMentoring program to help women like Phillips and Levine. “Most successful business leaders credit a mentor for helping them get where they are. We wanted to give that experience to women who might not have access to that kind of support, women who are just returning to the workplace after years at home, women who are new to the job market, or women who are looking to change careers,” said Finkel.

Funded by Union Bank and the Powell Family, WoMentoring aims to help participants achieve at least one career milestone -- such as a promotion, completion of a training program, obtaining a key interview or landing a job in their field of choice.

Continuing a trend from previous years, JVS' WoMentoring program is also seeing more and more participants who are leaving high-pressure industries for careers in the service or non-profit arenas. Women like Lori Waldmen, who is pursuing a new career in the field of Educational Therapy, or Elannah Cramer.

Nearly a year ago, Elannah was in a devastating car accident that left her with severe nerve damage and brain trauma. But Elannah regards the accident as a blessing in disguise, giving her an opportunity to rethink her career choices. Paired with Dr. Morgan Hakimi, who has a Ph.D. in Organization Psychology, Elannah is pursuing her options in that field.

"This program really is a lifeline for women no matter what stage of their career, from those just starting out to those who are seeking a career transition or an entirely new direction," said Finkel.

It definitely proved a lifeline for Fortuna Ippoliti, a former WoMentoring client who re-entered the workforce after staying at home to raise her two daughters. Fortuna, recently honored as an Employee of the Year at JVS' Strictly Business Luncheon in May, currently works for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as his West Valley Area Representative.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or mentee, please contact Bobbi Yanke at 818-464-3222 or Rachelle Cohn at 323-761-8888, x8876.

For more than 75 years, JVS has enhanced hundreds of thousands of lives with vital employment and career services. Each year, JVS helps more than 24,000 people through 15 locations around the Southland. A non-profit, non-sectarian organization, JVS works with city, state and county agencies to ensure everyone has access to the help they need, including career professionals, at-risk students, people with disabilities and newly arrived immigrants.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Submit to the "How I Met My Sweetheart" Anthology

Here's an opportunity for authors and aspiring authors to receive a FREE publishing credit...

Amani Publishing is sponsoring an essay contest for the "How I Met My Sweetheart Anthology." Nine writers will be selected to have their stories included in the book to be published in February 2007. If you're interested, please submit your essay via e-mail by Tuesday, June 27th (my 25th wedding anniversary) in accordance with the following guidelines:

1. Set top margin at 1.85; bottom margin at 1.65, left margin at .1.75; right margin at 1.75 and gutter at .5 (use Word or WordPerfect)
2. Type 8-10 single space pages
3. Tell how you met your sweetheart, something about the first date, how long you've been together, and anything else that you'd like to include (but keep it clean)
4. And submit a one page biography.

In return,

1. Winners will be given one complimentary copy of the published book
2. Winners will be able to order additional copies at a 50% discount for their personal use or resell for a profit
3. Winners will not be paid for their submissions or receive royalties
4. However, all winners will retain the copyright to their original stories.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at I'm hoping that this will be a fun project for everyone involved! Happy writing...

Barbara Joe Williams, Author/Publisher
Falling for Lies, coming October 2006
Dancing with Temptation, November 2005
One Sister's Guide to Self-Publishing, July 2005
Forgive Us This Day, November 2004

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Essay: Good-bye Heartache and Drama

Good-bye Heartache and Drama

By Vanessa Clark,

Billie Holiday sang “Good Morning Heartache.” I thank The Lord for giving me the courage, boldness, and strength to say good-bye to my heartache and drama.

In the 70’s they had a saying, “A piece of man is better than no man.” I have a saying too, “If you have a piece of man, then you have no peace of mind.” I will take a peace of mind over a piece of man any day. One of my weaknesses is attractive men. My ex-husband is attractive; he has hazel eyes, brown skin, and he’s tall and slender. There’s a price you sometimes pay for an attractive brother; mine was high maintenance. I finally used the good sense that The Lord gave me and sent the brother packing. I can do bad all by myself.

January 4, 2006, my ex-husband divorced me because I had refused to allow him to come back home when he wanted to return. At first I was hurt and felt rejected. When my sanity returned, I stopped crying and realized the brother had actually done me a favor. I did not have to spend a dime for my divorce, and peace was restored to my home. Believe it or not, my ex-husband asked me to remarry him one week after our divorce. He told me that he had been a stupid fool to divorce me. I of course, being the person that I am, agreed with him. However, I was not about to be stupid and foolish enough to make the same mistake twice. Yes, I did say twice. What can I say? I thought I loved him, and I wanted to build a life with him. To my dismay, I had competition that I was no match for, crack cocaine.

Being married to an addict was my worst nightmare. I discovered that nightmares also occur in the daylight hours. I was on a neverending roller coaster ride. There were times when I was also on a merry go round; one day merry got up and left and I realized that all I was doing was going in circles; six years of dealing with him going in and out of rehab centers. It became a revolving door for him. He would return home from rehab and sometimes relapse on his first day home. I continued to tell him that he could not have me and the drugs; he had to choose one or the other. When he chose the drugs, I insisted that he leave after going through this more than a dozen times.

Common sense finally kicked in and I decided I was tired of being sick and tired. No more drama or heartaches. Life is a challenge, but you can pick your battles. Some battles are not for you to fight; they belong to The Lord.

His drug addiction was not my battle. As much as I wanted to help him, all I was doing was enabling him and being his crutch. Enough was enough; he took my kindness for weakness and thought that I would always be there no matter what he did to me. What I did not realize was I had allowed him to control and manipulate me into doing whatever he wanted.

March 7, 2003, his birthday, he went out and used drugs. When he came home, we got into an argument. The Lord told me to stop arguing and listen to him. He told me that he had the power to control me and could do it for as long as he lived if he chose to. Over the next three years, we lived together for a total of three months spread out over the three years. The turning point was in July 2005; he returned home for what would be the last time. He relapsed after being home five days. This was the last straw; I put a fork in the steak and called it done. I told him that I was tired of making up just to break up. He was totally on his own. If somewhere down the road, he became drug free, responsible, and working, then we could possibly start over. To make a long story short, he went into rehab in November 2005. Ninety days later he wanted to return home. I stuck to my decision and said, “No.” I was no longer listening to what he told me, but I was looking for evidence that he had changed. He decided that he did not have to prove anything to me and divorced me.

I’m eternally grateful to have moved on with my life, and I love the peace and quiet. I’m drama and heartache free thanks to my Lord and Savior who took me out of the madness.

Friday, April 14, 2006

PURSUIT OF GREATNESS: Our Youth. Our World. Our Future.

PURSUIT OF GREATNESS: Our Youth. Our World. Our Future.

By Sharon Gray

Saturday School. Suspension. Referrals. Expulsion.

What do these entities have in common? They coexist in our public school systems. They are ultimately defined and denoted as consequences, absent of counter incentives, for our youth and in particular our young urban African American youth, distributed by public school administrations across the United States of America.

This is an epidemic in one of the most basic forms. Locally. Socially. Worldwide.

Knowledge is power. Our youth is our future—these statements are without a doubt the essence and underlying foundation of our society as it relates to the future—our future, people of color. Our examination, from an educator’s point of view, proves there is a necessity, more so an urgency for intervention—from our communities, our parental figures, parents, our churches, our social workers, our social groups, sororities, fraternities and general public.

Education should exemplify our youths’ accomplishments, their rich achievements; embrace their unique and alluring creativity versus using a figurative tourniquet for replacement with deadly, exaggerated, consequences from public school’s administration. By no means, public schools are purposely or maliciously given a negative review via this article; instead, the examination of policy and consequential methods for behavior modification is inspected for the sole purpose of positive elucidation from our community.

Positive reinforcement, as theorists confirms, is a powerful tool for our youth. On the flip side, studious students or students whom are mainstreamed for various special education needs should not be subjected to class disruptions and other deviant and unacceptable behavior. This, by all means, should constitute a consequence. The education process shall not be interrupted. Penalties are of a necessity when extreme cases arises, but, as educators have examined and statistics continually prove, these penalties are less likely to reoccur when they are combated and supplemented with incentives and positive reinforcement. There are solutions. We are the solutions.

All kids have a right to learn. Let us embrace and stronghold this right and give the highest and provide the most viable resources available for them—our kids, our youth, our future. There are solutions. There are interventions. We stand as a community, iron-gripped and build vigorously from the ground up to make our world a better place for our future.

Our youth, our seeds shall be watered in order for them to flourish and blossom, most beautifully and uniquely. We shall groom, enhance and promote their greatness as we, the community, the adults, the educators, the learners, the parents, the churches, the providers, will continue energetically and enthusiastically to push forward relentlessly in the pursuit of greatness. It starts with education. It starts with caring.

Some Intervention Suggestions and other resources:

* After school tutoring
* Sylvan Learning Centers
* Homework Hotline Educational Services, LLC
* School Notes
* Family Involvement with School Education

Sharon Stinson Gray has a Bachelor's of Art degree in English from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida and a Master's degree (M.P.A.) from Nova Southeastern University. With her passion for words and love of children, she entered the teaching profession in 1998. She currently teaches high school English and reading and adult education courses. Sharon is also a corresponding editor of Gumbo for the Soul, as well as senior editor of Bahiyah Woman Magazine, the premier lifestyle magazine for today's spiritually conscious professional Black man and woman!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Great, Inexpensive Read by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Author Lauren Baratz-Logsted's second Amazon Short, "Stan & His Sisters," featuring a character from her THE THIN PINK LINE/CROSSING THE LINE books, is NOW available for only 49 cents. If you need a quick, enjoyable read, check it out TODAY at!

Also available for pre-order at Amazon is Lauren's novel, HOW NANCY DREW SAVED MY LIFE!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Musical Experience: Naturally Seven

If you do ANYTHING this year, it should be to check out the musical "experience" of the group/band Naturally Seven. I had the pleasure of experiencing them for the first time last night at a concert, and it was by the far, the best thing I've encountered in my five years in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It's right up there with graduation and introducing my fave author ZZ Packer at a reading.

One cannot describe this group; they truly have to be experienced. They sing gospel, hip hop, pop, rock, the list literally goes on, but what makes them so phenomenal, in addition to their wonderful singing voices is their ability to morph their voices into instruments. They are totally a cappella: their voices are their drums, their harmonicas, their violins, their trumpets, their scratchings, their flutes, their cellos, their bass, their electric guitars; believe me when I say you will be blown by how much they "become" the real instruments.

These seven BLESSED men are the real things; they "are" music.

Because their music covers the gamut, from Simon & Garfunkel to Michael Jackson, from Mr. Mister to their original works that encompass, among other genres, ballad, R & B, and gospel, this group transcends genre and a rigid market; they are totally accessible to all. Last night, I, a 30-something black female, went to the concert with one of my mentors, a rather "together and hip" white female in her early 50s, my sister who is 20, and my mentor's 16-year-old niece from Malta no less. Needless to say, each of us left the concert rushing to get CDs and autographs. They are truly mindblowing, and if you want to get into the Naturally 7 experience, I would urge you to pick up their first CD "Non-Fiction."

Unfortunately, their latest CD is available overseas (though I was able to get a copy last night at the concert!).

Despite this, both CDs ARE available at; the IMPORTED latest CD is higher, but in the end, I believe it's worth it.

Treat your ears to a sound like no other: Naturally Seven.

Take the time to check out their WEBSITE, too.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Article: Start the New Year Off Right in Your Relationship

Start the New Year off Right in Your Relationship
by Toi Moore

In order to start the new year off right in your relationship, you have to learn how to take the other person's feelings into consideration. I believe that people should treat you the way they want to be treated, no matter who they are, your husband, mother, children, family members, or friends. If you allow someone to disrespect you, or treat you in ways you're unhappy with, they'll continue doing it, and you'll continue being unhappy and upset. So, speak your mind and eliminate stress, even if it means eliminating the person who's causing it.

Granted happily ever after doesn't always happen, even in a marriage, but life would sure be easier if it did. Sometimes we come home after having a bad day and take our pain or frustrations out on the person closest to us, which is normally your mate. Now ladies, oftentimes most of our bad days are due to those PMS days. But I've learned to give everyone around me fair warning that it is that "time of the month." By giving fair warning, I'm advising everyone to give me the needed space and let me have my day, or two, or three, to deal with my mood swings. Once you give fair warning, everyone is on their own. Ladies, try to stay to yourself during those moody periods to avoid any unnecessary blow ups you may regret.

If you feel that those mood swings have given you the permission to be a bitch, you've gotten it all wrong! Remember, you wouldn't want someone to treat you like a bitch, so don't dish out something you can't handle in return! Remember the ole saying; "It takes one to know one!" So, don't be one! When you feel that you can't be nice, or treat people with kindness and respect, then be the lady I know you can be and back away, while giving yourself the necessary space to get it together. However, if your PMS symptoms last more than a few days and become uncontrollable, you need some serious help. So, go see a doctor and get the help you need instead of being a bitch and giving a bad rap for other women who are just having a bad day! No one wants to put up with a bitch. Not even you!

This excerpt is taken from celebrity author TOI MOORE'S new book, Unbreakable - A Guide to Understanding Marriage & Relationships. This book is also written with her husband, Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist, GREGORY MOORE. Together, this celebrity couple share their most intimate details with the world and how they've been able to keep their love lasting for over twenty years. This book explores the female view, verses the male view. You decide which view works for you. If you want to hear more details, you can buy their book for ONLY $10.00, with FREE shipping and handling for limited time only. Visit their website:, or send a check or money order to: TM Publications, PO Box 443, Colton, CA 92324. The couple is also available for speaking and public appearances by calling (909) 410-5151. You have permission to print or quote this article in its entirety, INCLUDING tag lines.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Short Short :: Rewriting the Ex-Factor

Rewriting the Ex-Factor
By shon

I spit chocolate caramel latte into the face of a man I thought I would never see again. He grabs a napkin from my table and wipes at his honey-colored skin, catching the latte before it drips onto his charcoal Armani suit. Somehow, I manage to go from a nervous woman who hopes her blind lunch date will be the man of her dreams, to a dribbling mute who believes she must have dated every man in New York in order to circle back to Chuck Peterson, the ex-love of her life.

Let me back track. At 25, I was in love. I cut my hair short because Chuck felt women wore long hair to compensate for some outer flaw. I took up running and died through four marathons for Chuck. I stopped calling my mother, for Chuck. Calling more than once a month showed dependency. He didn’t like dependency, unless it was to him. My dependency to him moved him to another woman, my ex-best friend. Fast forward six years, three days, and twenty hours—not that I’m counting. There I am, sitting at a table, with whipped cream on my chin, watching Chuck reenter my life.

Chuck tells me about his partnership at the law firm and his new condo in Manhattan. I rest my chin atop my fisted hand and listen to a voice that used to read me Yeats before bed. He goes on to tell me about a blind date he had last week with a woman who didn’t believe in shaving her legs and arm pits.

“Is that a reason to sit here and crap on her?” I ask.

“I’m not crapping on her, Dachelet. I just prefer women who practice good hygiene.”

“Hmm, how did she know you were clean?”


“Seriously. That lovely Armani suit could cover your funk.”

Chuck opens his mouth, and a belly-dwelling laugh resonates from him.

“I forgot how you always have to act up and have the last word,” he says.

I stare at him, and then reply, “So.”

“See,” he says, pointing at me. “And you know you would never be seen in public with hairy legs and pits with hair long enough to cornrow.”

I choke on my latte. “You right, but to each his…or her own.”

“Speaking of good hygiene,” Chuck says, “you look and smell great. Even grew your hair out.”

“I’m hiding my outer flaw really well with this hair.”

Chuck frowns and for a second, I feel like I’ve hurt his feelings.

“So, how are you doing?” he asks.

“Pretty good. I’m editor for Horizon’s new chick lit imprint. I get to read stories about great women who fumble through their lives looking for better jobs, long relationships and good sex until the long relationship arrives.”

“Fiction better than fact these days?”

“Fiction is way better than fact these days,” I answer. “But I do live a wonderful, imaginary life through the characters I edit.” I laugh. “I guess that’s something.”

“No,” Chuck argues. “Can’t beat fact.”

“How would you know?”

“I’ve experienced the better job, long relationship and good sex…all at once.”

I think about Sarah, the man-stealing tramp.

“When?” I ask, a little too eagerly.


That one syllable lifts the hairs on the nape of my neck. I can’t decide if what I’m feeling is attraction, remembrance, or anger.

“Why did you leave me, Dachelet?” Chuck asks me, his voice soft and fuzzy like nostalgia.

I bristle, but his voice keeps me from flipping the table over and throttling him. “Leave you?” I repeat. “You mean when I caught you with Sarah?”

“No, like when you broke up with me the week before you caught me with Sarah.”

“What?” I scoot my chair closer to Chuck. “I didn’t break up with you. Are you getting me confused with your other conquests?”

“Nope. You broke up with me. We got into a fight over you wanting to call your mother for the fifteenth time in one day. You told me I was suffocating you. Told me to go to hell and find another doll to manipulate.”

“I didn’t call my mom fifteen times a day,” I mumble. “Besides, how many times did I say, Chuck, leave me alone; this isn’t working?”

“Exactly. You became the girl who cried wolf, Dachelet. Didn’t it dawn on you that I left you alone for a whole week?”

“No. Once, we stopped talking for two weeks, Chuck. Two weeks.”

Chuck laughs, but the sound is hollow. “I love you, but you are one crazy chick, girl. Stop trying to live in your fictitious world and remember the facts, Dachelet.

“You told me to leave, for like the tenth time; I left. You came to my apartment; you found me with Sarah. Grant it, that wasn’t the best person to fall in bed with…”

“You think?”

“…and I probably should have waited a while before dealing with yet another crazy female, but for you it was over when you found me with Sarah; for me, it was over when you asked me to leave.”

A shrill sound fills the silence. Chuck answers his cell and talks for a few seconds before groaning and hanging up.

“I’m late for a meeting,” he says. He pulls money from his wallet and places it on the table. When he gets up, he drops a kiss on my forehead. “Sorry to run off like this, especially after…”

“It’s okay,” I say, waving my hand in the air. “Duty calls.”

“Will you call me?”

Confusion rattles in my skull, but when I look at Chuck, I nod. “Yeah. Same number?”

He offers me a slight smile. “Some things never change,” he replies. “Give me a call. We’re not finished with this.”

He turns and leaves, and I watch him go, speed walking through the throng of bustling people. When he disappears, I realize that I need to reexamine the story of my life for accuracy and make sure I don’t lose the hero.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Buzzworthy: Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage

Catherine Sanderson seems to have it all: a fulfilling career helping immigrant women find jobs, a lovely home, and a beautiful, intelligent daughter on her way to Smith College. What Catherine doesn’t have: a father for her child– and she’s spent many years dodging her daughter’s questions about it. Now Phoebe is old enough to start poking around on her own. It doesn’t help matters that the mystery man, B.J. Johnson–the only man Catherine has ever loved–doesn’t even know about Phoebe. He’s been living in Africa.

Now B.J., a renowned newspaper correspondent, is back in town and needs Catherine’s help cracking a story about a female slavery ring operating right on the streets of Atlanta. Catherine is eager to help B.J., despite her heart’s uncertainty over meeting him again after so long, and confessing the truth to him–and their daughter.

Meanwhile, Catherine’s hands are more than full since she’s taken on a new client. Atlanta’s legendary Miss Mandeville–a housekeeper turned tycoon–is eager to have Catherine staff her housekeeping business. But why are the steely Miss Mandeville and her all-too-slick sidekick Sam so interested in Catherine’s connection to B.J.? What transpires is an explosive story that takes her world–not to mention the entire city of Atlanta–by storm.

From the New York Times bestselling author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day... comes another fast-paced and emotionally resonant novel, by turns warm and funny, serious and raw. Pearl Cleage’s ability to create a gripping story centered on strong, spirited black women and the important issues they face remains unrivaled.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

My daughter is upstairs weeping. She’s been up there in her room for three days, six hours, and thirty-two minutes, weeping. For three days, five hours, and forty-one minutes, I indulged her. A broken heart may not be as visible as chicken pox but the scars are just as bad. So I listened and I commiserated and I clucked sympathetically while she examined and reexamined every detail of her first love’s betrayal. I took her meals upstairs on a tray, made tea to soothe her nerves and mine, and resisted every opportunity to say, “Phoebe, my darling, I told you he wasn’t for you in the first place.” The last thing you need in the throes of first heartbreak, when you’re still not sure you’ll survive it, is to hear the absolute, unvarnished truth spoken for the second time by your mother, who first uttered the words when you brought the young, betraying fool home and confessed, Oh, Mama, I think he’s the one!

He was never the one. He was handsome and interesting and sexy and as serious as she was about saving the world by next Tuesday at the very latest. He was also way too full of the blazing sexual energy of his emerging manhood to be anybody’s one for very long. But at seventeen, how was she supposed to know? She handed him her heart, and everything else that wasn’t tied down, and they were inseparable from October of her junior year until June, when they had to go their separate ways for the summer. She was determined not to let distance destroy their relationship, but once they were apart he seemed to be drifting away from her, and neither one knew what to do about it. After a summer of long-distance spats and tearful reconciliations, he confessed via a long e-mail that he had fallen in love with someone else and closed with a wish that they could always be friends.

That was three days ago, and I’m still sympathetic. I am her mother, after all, and I do love my child. But it was time for her to dry her eyes and blow her nose and get herself together. Nobody ever really dies of a broken heart except in the movies, and it is my opinion, motherhood aside, that more than three days in mourning for the demise of a relationship with any man is unseemly, not to mention a real strain on the women who have to help you through it. It was time for her to segue from self-pity to self-examination by asking the all-important question: What is the lesson here for me? Although it is deceptively simple, this question cuts to the heart of the matter because it turns that trembling, accusatory finger you’re pointing at everybody else right back around to yourself. My darling daughter had spent enough time blaming her boyfriend. Now it was time for her to look at what she could have done differently to avoid this painful moment.

When she was younger, I would consider the lesson question with her so she’d begin to understand how it always leads to the heart of the matter. When she got older, I would just remind her to ask it, then leave her to think about the answer all by herself. That’s what I intended to do tonight. She could review and evaluate her choices while she finished packing and I finished returning three days’ worth of phone calls. I love having my office at home, and since Phoebe went off to boarding school two years ago, it’s been not only convenient, but quiet, the last seventy-two drama-filled hours notwithstanding.

I’d better enjoy it while I can. Phoebe’s going to college next year. She’s got her heart set on Smith, and the Seven Sisters have never been a place for bohemian mothers living on a budget to send their darling daughters. It looks like after all these years of stretching my little inheritance and living by my wits, I’m actually going to have to break down and get a full-time job where somebody else signs the check and covers the health insurance. I’m going to try to keep some of my longtime clients. Most of them can’t afford to hire anybody half as good as I am, and they’ve never needed me more.

Head to to purchase YOUR copy of Cleage's latest today!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Amanda Hubbard's column: To the Write Path

In every issue of SisterDivas, aspiring-to-be-published author, AMANDA HUBBARD offers her experience on the journey to the ultimate 'paradise': PUBLISHDOM. Check out the latest entry in Amanda's journey!

Amanda Hubbard is from Enumclaw, Washington. After writing for several years, she’s decided to turn her love into more than just a past-time. At 23 and recently married, she’s working on finding an agent with the hopes of becoming a published novelist. She writes both romance and young adult. If you'd like to contact Amanda, e-mail her!


Waiting is the worst part of trying to get published. Want an agent? Send them a letter, and be prepared to wait two months. Want to be published? Send them a submission, and then forget about it, because it’ll be a long time before you hear back.

I’m not bitter about this; I think it comes with the territory. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of writers out there trying to make it. The fact that you can be looked at by just about any agent or editor (assuming they are open to submissions) is pretty remarkable. They’ll give you a minute or two of their time and look over your query letter. If it’s good, they’ll ask to see more, and could potentially invest hours of their time to read your stuff. You’re not paying them for their time, either. These experienced professionals are looking at your stuff for free and telling you if they think it’s any good.

So as a writer, you better get used to waiting. Hopefully, you get lucky and it’s only weeks instead of months. Hopefully, in the end, you have a publishing contract, and the waiting part means you’re waiting to see your book on a shelf somewhere.

For me, I’m waiting on all sorts of things. One of them is the book proposal I mentioned in my last column. I found out that a publisher was looking for authors to write for a series that they created. This means that it is a ‘packaged’ deal. They decide what the pay is, and they retain all the rights. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Gossip Girls, both very popular Young Adult series, were both created this way.

I submitted a proposal for a series about high school girls who sign up for a semester abroad. I wrote three chapters plus a two thousand-word synopsis. My critique partner and I nitpicked it as much as possible, fixing even the tiniest things, and then I sent it off.

Less than two weeks later, I arrived at home to find a medium sized white package on my stoop. When I saw that the return address was the publisher, I freaked, trying to rip open the impenetrable material that is Tyvek. Eventually, I found a knife, slit the envelope open, and out dropped a book. It was the third book in the series about study abroad girls. With the book was a letter from the editor, and to my delight, it was a revision letter.

The editor told me that she’d “found a lot to like” and that my tone was “just right for the series.” Some of my plot points, outlined in the synopsis, felt a little negative, and she was worried that the young heroine didn’t learn as much about herself during the semester. She invited me to revise and resubmit, taking her concerns into account.

I’ve never been more ecstatic in my life. Actual compliments from an editor astounded me. I raced off, worked through the revisions for the next week, and then emailed them off again. And now, I wait. Thanks to the holidays, things are slow. It’s been about six weeks, but I’m hoping that I’ll hear back in the next two weeks or so.

On another note, thanks to this revision letter, I’ve been in contact with a really wonderful literary agent. Although nothing is official, I’m hopeful that we’ll end up working together. Our first phone call was a bit of a debacle- first I gave her the wrong phone number, then the power went out and my cordless died! Talk about a nightmare-come-true.

I talked with the agent about another project I’m working on, about a group of twenty-something singles, and their jet-set lifestyle. She liked the idea, so I’ve been pouring my time into writing it, hoping to distract myself from my previous proposal.

In any case, I should have plenty to report in my next column, so stay tuned. Will I get a yes or no on my proposal? Will I sign with this agent? And if I do, will she like my finished novel enough to pitch it to some publishers?

See you next time. Same Bat-time, Same Bat-place.

Check out our relationship column, Dear ReRe!

Dear ReRe is SisterDivas' quarterly relationship column, and in every issue, ReRe brings it to readers REAL and with feeling. Check out one of the latest "issues" going on in the life of a SisterDiva:

Dear ReRe,

I have a big problem. I'm practically a newlywed, been married for less than a year, and my husband and I are constantly at each other's throats. Even before we were married, we argued, but the arguments have just increased from the time before the wedding 'til now. To make matters worse, a few weeks ago, I was on our laptop, typing up a resume, and I found out that he's been chatting on a few "friend" sites and stating that he's single and looking to meet women interested in a relationship. His e-mail inbox was full of responses from women. He "cheated" on me before with internet flings before we were married, and he swore he would never do it again. I believed him. I've been trying hard not to show my anger, to show my depression at my husband, but I'm at the point now where I'm ready to just walk away and say I made a mistake with this marriage.

To Flee or Not to Flee

To Flee or Not to Flee,

I wish I could sit you on the couch and talk more about your dilemma. So many questions are popping up into my head. Did you want to get married? Were you in love with your husband before you married? Why do you think you two argue so much? If I had to be real, and I'm nothing BUT that, I would tell you it's time to kick hubby to the curb. He betrayed your relationship prior to the marriage and now that you two are married, and not even for a year, he's back to his old tricks--that's if he ever gave them up to begin with. Whether you stay or not solely depends on you, and no matter what you choose, you still should get to the bottom of all this. Talk to him. Demand the truth. Demand to know what's going on in his head, to see why he's doing this. Be honest, too. Tell him exactly how you feel and what you want out of a marriage. Go to counseling if you want to salvage the marriage. The point is to do what YOU need to do to be happy in the long run. If you think you can leave with a man who says he will love you before all others and yet lies and cheats, go for it. If you want something better for yourself, cut him loose and find someone who is deserving of you.