Now Available: Even Salt Looks Like Sugar – a short novel

Sneak Peek:

Edited by Lynette Davis

“What’s got you so happy?” said the dark-skinned, toothless woman. She was smoking a cigarette. But Lavenia was on that stuff and it had made her skin darken and cling to her bones. A lot of their neighbors was like this. They nodded, bowing low enough to be inches from the floor before jerking back again, brushing away bugs, only they could see as they unnecessarily cleaned, picking imaginary lint from their clothing, and laughing at jokes only they were in on—the real walking dead. Their skeletal bodies roamed the country roads early mornings, afternoons and late at night. Or they stood next to gas stations waiting for customers to come out, so they could collect change, their long skinny fingers curled into tight fists around the crack they sold their souls for.

Wanda cringed on the inside. Seeing her people like this made her physically sick. Lavenia was once pretty.

“It’s a good day. That’s all.”

Lavenia frowned and inhaled the cigarette like it was the last one she would ever smoke.

“Hmm. Yea. How Abby doing?”

Diversion. Lavenia never asked about Abby. Lavenia only cared about one thing. Getting high. Wanda frowned at the thought. She was so excited, she hadn’t noticed the signs.

“Oh, Abby is doing good, Miss Lavenia. I think she’s adjusting real nice. You seen her mama any?”

Lavenia let the cigarette breathe some, exhaling smoke into the air before sucking on it again.

“Naw. Ain’t seen her since that day.”

She was talking about the day she carried Abby into Cassaundra’s prison. Lavenia eyed the young lady in front of her. She had a shape like that once.

“You got some money? Let me borrow a couple dollars till my paycheck hit.”

“I’m sorry Miss L. I ain’t got nothing on me.”

“I can walk with you to the house. All I need is a lil change.”

“I can’t. I’m broke.”

Lavenia frowned. “You ain’t no damn broke.”

“Miss L. I am. For real. You know if I had it, you’d have it. I gotta get going. Tell Brandon I said hey.”

Lavenia walked off in a hurry. Brandon was her son. She’d probably left him in the house by himself again.


NOW AVAILABLE!!

EVEN SALT LOOKS LIKE SUGAR

a short novel

Order the eBook for 99cents HERE

preorder a signed paperback HERE

or mark as want to read on Goodreads here

About. Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.

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I Knew it Was a Mistake the Moment It Was Over

Portia Banks smoothed out the wrinkles forming in her dress, and picked at imaginary lint. She took it all in, snapping imaginary pictures of memory with her eyes as she scanned the room. Bachelors in Computational Journalism from Stanford University, Exceptional Research and Development, the list goes on and on. She wondered if it was all worth it, her name on the door, this office, or the prestigious position she found herself in. She’d come a long way from the dirt roads of Mississippi to a position as one of New York’s top Journalists. And while the check would be huge, she knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.

“Come on now, I know that look. You do know this is the biggest client we’ll ever have; ever.”

Simon fixed his glasses and stared intently at Portia, trying to understand her logic. The woman had talent no doubt, but as Assistant News Editor he had worked side by side with this talent for over two years and a mule could not be more stubborn. Of course he couldn’t say that, Portia was always on a prowl for any glint of racism from her white counterparts, even finding it where it didn’t exist. She believed all Europeans were born racists and that no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t help themselves in their feelings toward blacks. Still, she had managed to become one of his best friends which awarded him the truth concerning her level of racism. Although she wanted him to believe she held this grudge against whites, their friendship told him otherwise. In any event, to take on this case would put The Journal Chronicles on the map and Portia knew it.

“We’re talking about the biggest dollar signs you’ve ever seen in your life. Huge,” he spoke with his hands.

“Trying to persuade me with money is never a good idea Simon you know that. Besides, you do know money is not everything?”

“No, as a matter of fact I don’t.”

Portia laughed, “You’re such a liar.”

“And your such an idiot,” said Simon standing.

“Whatever”, said Portia gathering paperwork from her desk. It was Friday, the most exciting yet busiest day of the week, everyone trying to take weekend vacations and submit final story ideas to the big dogs at the same time.

“I just don’t care much about the man,” she said continuing, “What is there to know about a man we already know everything about?”

Simon looked at his watch; he had exactly two minutes to convince her to take this case. Otherwise it would go to the competition and Anne, the wicked witch of the west who pretended to be their boss, would never let him hear the end of it.

“That’s just it. How do you know we really know him? Because the TV says so? I’m not going for it.”

Portia smiled at Simon as he went on. She was wondering where he’d put his soap box and knew it was only a matter of time before he stood on it. She stopped daydreaming and turned the mental volume back up on Simon’s voice.

“We’ve got an opportunity to present a fresh story, a new look. To gather information about the success of the world’s biggest fragrance chain since Victoria’s Secret, Scentology. By delving deeper into Xavier’s most intimate thoughts, we have the opportunity to present a fresh story. We don’t care about his written rebuttal, let CNN fight over that. Anderson can hold that down…”

“Don’t try to be black Sy…” laughed Portia.

“Portia! WHAT WE WANT is the exclusive hard core truth. WHO is Xavier Thomas?

That was a year ago and Portia cursed herself for having to live the answer to that question. With every nerve in her brain there was an explosion threatening to obliterate pieces of reason. Painfully, Portia sought desperately to understand how she’d allowed herself romantic involvement with this man. Her face contorted, as she floated in and out of consciousness. The womanly intuition she’d always counted on to save her, could not assist her now as she tried not to choke on her own blood. Laying on the bathroom floor, a tattered mess in this abandoned building, where Xavier had just tried to kill her for discovering that he was a clone.

Black American History: Why It Matters

It is no secret. Racial tension in the United States has not dwindled. In fact, not only does racism, discrimination, and police brutality continue today but it does so with just as much vigor as if it had been torn from the pages of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. It is today’s current events that will add to the history our children will one day read about. However, to understand one’s future one must first understand the past.

I spend a lot of time speaking about ancient black history but the truth is that many of us do not even know our current American history. The past is filled to the brim with African American contributions but our understanding of these endeavors is either unknown or utterly flawed. Uncle Tom was not a sell out, Christianity was not beat into black people, Rosa Parks is not the first person to refuse to give up her seat on a bus, Negro spirituals was not made up babble, and black people did not die for the right to vote (we died for Freedom). These are just a few of the common misconceptions that are not only regurgitated as truth, but even taught in our schools. And it is the inspiration behind why I write black.

Not only is slavery being taken out of school textbooks, but many people have no idea concerning what these times were truly like. Nor can many people name more than a handful of individuals in relation to black history itself. Many African Americans in particular have no idea of their rich and glorious past which started long before slavery. I write these books because we cannot guarantee that our present will preserve the rich legacy concerning the true birth of a nation. Today Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are the only names many people know and it is a disservice to the many other influential individuals in the black community. Even so, what happens ten years from now? Will Martin King and Rosa Parks names ring foreign? What would have happened if someone long ago did not write about them? Would we have known? Can we depend on modern society to teach history? What happens ten years from now? Will we understand what slavery was really about? Sharecropping? Tenant Farming? Does the black man and woman know who they were before slavery?

The Stella Trilogy is a series of short stories about one family and their search for identity amidst the African American fight for freedom. These books are my attempt to remind all people of our  forgotten legacy so we never forget what freedom looks like.

Stella: The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story (Book 3)
Stella: Beyond The Colored Line (Book 2)
Stella: Between Slavery and Freedom (Book 1)

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#Book #Review – The Mistreatment of Zora Langston by Lisa Tetting @RebirthofLisa, by Yecheilyah

ycbookreviews

Check out last years review of debut author Lisa Tettings “The Mistreatment of Zora Langston.” Happy One Year Anniversary Zora. 💖 Be sure to check out Lisa’s blog for a chance to win an autographed copy of this book!

Title: The Mistreatment of Zora Langston (Paperback)
Author: Lisa W. Tetting
Website: https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/
ISBN 13: 9780996142908
Published: First Edition (March 15, 2015)
Publisher: Self
Pages: 158 pages
Genre: Coming of Age, Young Adult, Drama, Fiction
Rating: 4/5

https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/book-reviewers-wanted/

(A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review):

Blurb:
“Zora Langston is nine years old when her father dies, leaving her in the hands of a mother who is anything but loving and siblings who never considered her family. Without her father, she is truly alone. Before the dirt has settled on her father’s grave, there’s a new man of the house, and he has no interest in being Zora’s father. Despite her hardships, Zora remains true and allows faith to help free her from this new, horrible life she’s found herself in. She finds solace in her aunt and uncle and, for the first time, starts to discover what it’s like to have a real family. However, just when she thinks she has escaped her tormentors, new abusers emerge, old ones return from hiding, and she must find the strength to survive.”

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The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a Coming of Age novel surrounding the abuse experienced by nine year old Zora Langston. Set in Goldsboro, North Carolina, there is so much to relate to and so much to learn in this powerful testimony of abuse, betrayal, and through it all the ability to still love and to be loved. Ironically, the cause of her father’s death becomes the epitome of tragedy for Zora in more ways than one. His enemies become hers and everywhere she turns, when it seems things are getting better, they only worsen. To start, Zora is not given the chance to mourn her father before her mother’s boyfriend moves in. Her mother, who is supposed to be her shinning example of womanhood and best friend, despises her very existence. Her sister burns with an intense jealousy, and her brother’s nonchalant attitude further illuminates Zora’s invisibility. As a result of continual physical and emotional abuse, she is sent to live with her Aunt Terri and Uncle Jim and for the first time gets to experience what it means to be happy and to have a family. I was excited to see her get excited at those little things that children love.

I think what makes this a moving piece is that it is told from the eyes of a nine year old. I did not expect Zora to endure what she did and the abuse she encountered is shocking. Children have a tendency to be very open and honest even in the midst of grown-up experiences, and Zora is no different. She approaches the situations of her youth with the same level of naïveté as most children. Yet, while Zora’s perspective is rightly child-like, the tragedies she endured makes her stronger and thus her reaction to the situations surrounding her is in many ways also mature, surprising the adults around her who are often taken aback.

What I found especially educational, is how the author incorporated the life lessons of Zora’s dad and the parenting of her Aunt and Uncle into the tragedies of her life, and how those lessons were used to strengthen Zora in the moments she needed them most. In this way, despite the hardships she encountered she was still capable of holding on to a level of innocence deserving of a nine year old. “I usually wore a swim cap…but that made me look like an alien” (pg. 102, Ch. 16) is just one of the many sayings of little Miss Zora that made me laugh out loud. I could have sworn I thought the same thing at her age!

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a book of shocking revelations, and raw emotion. As adults, I believe we have a lot to learn from children like Zora. It is not just a book about her, but we also get to see how  adults view situations. How we stress over them, overcome them and react to them compared to how these same situations are viewed and experienced from the eyes of a child who is not yet an adult, but whose life is filled with adult themes. In this way,  debut Author Lisa Tetting proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that “it’s not the love that hurts; its the denial of love.”

Ratings:
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Recommendation: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

You can learn more about Lisa and Zora at:
Website: http://www.lisawtetting.com
Blog: https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/

To Purchase The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, click on the picture below:

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Book Trailer – Stella Book #3: The Road to Freedom: Joseph’s Story

Coming to Print, Amazon Kindle, B&N NOOK, iBooks, Google Play, Goodreads, and Kobo Friday, February 26, 2016.

Wealthy and clueless are just some of the words Joseph uses to describe his family. Deeply concerned about the state of Black America, a fight with his brother compels a young Joseph to leave his mother’s house and join his friends for a trip to Atlanta for SNCC’s (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) second conference. Excited to live life on their own, Jo and his friends have left school and the lives they were living for a chance to become part of the movement. With no money and essentially no plan the seven friends, three black and four white, set out for the road when they are stopped by a racist cop who makes them exit the car. The teens are unaware that a mob of Klansmen also awaits them at the New Orleans bus terminal.

Discover what life was like for Joseph when he left his mother’s house in the 3rd installment of the Stella Trilogy, years before a mixed race Jo knew that he was mixed race. Determined to be apart of the movement Joseph McNair, son of “Sidney McNair”, and his friends abandon their lives in search for answers in the Jim Crow south on The Road to Freedom.

#Book #Review for Stella Book #2: Beyond The Colored Line by Christa Wojciechowski

Title: Stella Book #2: Beyond The Colored Line
Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Published: July 27, 2015
Released: August 24, 2015
ASIN: B013PQCKK8
Pages: 64
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Black Literature, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Short Story

Nothing is Simply Black or White

Stella: Beyond the Colored Line is a fascinating walk through the ages–from slavery, to segregation, to the black power movement, to modern times.

Through the eyes of one mixed race woman, the author touches on major events in African American history, allowing the reader to experience them in real time.

The story deepens when Stella decides to live as a white woman and raise her children as whites. As her family grows and develops within a changing society, Stella and her children reveal complex perspectives and attitudes that make it clear that it doesn’t matter who your ancestors were. Nothing is just simply black or white.

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They are coming in slowly but they are coming! Special thanks go out to Christa for this review; it makes my second five stars! OK so its only two reviews BUT both are five stars, I’ll take it! Every small victory is worth appreciating. In case you’re wondering why these reviews are so short, it’s really a short read, a novella if you will. If you would like to receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review please email me. It really will not take up too much of your time. In any event, I appreciate both the positive AND constructive criticism I am getting on the back end. It lets me know the reviews are real deal  and is EXTREMELY helpful in the polishing off of Book #3, whose release date and book cover I will be announcing soon. The Stella Trilogy is almost complete!

Must Reads – Richard Wright’s Native Son

“As the car lurched over the snow he lifted his eyes and saw black people upon the snow-covered sidewalks. Those people had feelings of fear and shame like his….To Bigger and his kind white people were not really people; they were a sort of great natural force, like a stormy sky looming overhead, or like a deep swirling river stretching suddenly at one’s feet in the dark. As long as he and his black folks did not go beyond certain limits, there was no need to fear that white force. But whether they feared it or not, each and every day they lived with it.”

 

15622A classic, Richard Wright’s Native Son is a powerful story about a young black man who, in a state of panic, kills a white girl. When I first read this book, I was startled and certainly unprepared for what awaited each page. It was not the murder that shocked me, it was Wrights talented description of Biggers inner turmoil, not as a murderer but as a Black man in 1930s America and the fear and shame of that alone that coincided with his actions. Not in a justifying way, but in a way that painted the picture of what it looks like when fear manifested itself into the physical; when it rose from that invisible feeling, the beating heart and sweaty hands, and into the full image of its potential. Native Son in essence shows us the danger of that kind of fear and not just the danger, but what it looks like. The image of fear wrapped in black skin, smack down in the midst of white America.

Synopsis:

“Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been assault or petty larceny; by change, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930’s, Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.” – Book Blurb