Beta Readers Needed

“Beta reader has been adopted from the software industry where programmers release a ‘beta’ version of a new program to people who will test it. The beta version comes after the Alpha version (a writer’s first draft). Beta Reader means someone who evaluates a manuscript. Beta testers find the bugs and improve the software’s usability before the final “release” version goes on sale. A beta reader tests your manuscript (by reading it), and tells you about the ‘bugs’ so you can improve its readability, its usefulness and even its sales ability.”  

– Belinda Pollard of “Write & Publish Like a Pro”

I am looking for people willing to “Test Drive” Keep Yourself Fulla short inspiring reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our life and makes us fit to be of service to others.

Keep Yourself Full is perfect for:

  • Bible Believers
  • Inspirational / Motivational Readers
  • Poets / Creatives
  • Life Coaches

Having a few of you Beta read before the edit would be enormously helpful.

You’ll get a copy of the book in exchange for constructive feedback. You will also get to leave your Honest Review of the read once it goes up for preorder. 

As a reminder, the rules are as follows:

  • Download the book when it’s emailed to you.

 

  • Read the book and email me your feedback / suggested changes.

 

  • When the book is up for preorder, in return for the free book, you are to leave an Honest Review* on Amazon and any other retailer of your choice when it’s available.

*You can leave a review anywhere the book is available but to get credit a review must be left on Amazon*

About Book Reviews:

  • The review doesn’t have to be an essay, college paper or thesis. You are not required to be the smartest person in the room.

 

  • You are only required to leave your Honest thoughts on the book no matter how short or long, whether you liked it or didn’t like it.

 

  • Please leave a disclaimer at the front end of the review that you received the book as an ARC or gift from the author. Example: “I received a copy of this book as an ARC (or gift) from the author.”

 

  • Be sure that you notify me of the review in some way (tag me on social media, link to this blog, email me) when it’s posted so that you are given credit and remain part of the program.

This book is short so it won’t take up much time and is perfect if you fall into the following categories:

  • Bible Believers
  • Inspirational / Motivational Readers
  • Poets / Creatives
  • Life Coaches

Interested?

CLICK HERE SO THAT YOU GET A COPY WHEN IT’S EMAILED OUT.

I am looking for readers who are interested in something inspirational and motivational but also biblical and poetic with a touch of self-help and life lessons.

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Chance The Rapper Partners with Lyft to Raise Funds to Support Chicago Public Schools

REPOST from Good Black News. Please click the link below for the original post.

The ride-share service Lyft announced Tuesday that passengers can now round up their fare to the next dollar and donate the difference to Chance the Rapper’s fund to support Chicago Public Schools. The New Chance Arts and Literature Fund, devoted to creating and expanding Chicago arts education programs, is the first local organization Lyft is supporting through the “round up and donate” feature.”

http://wp.me/pTfwX-5ou

The PBS Blog Podcast Ep 5 – Freedom and Responsibility

In today’s episode, we are talking about the responsibility end of freedom.

Freedom has been turned into a scapegoat that many of us have used to justify our beef with structure. Anything that requires us to act in a way that is disciplined, civil or logical we stray from under the guise of having the freedom to choose.

But choices are not without consequences.

We are adults and have long had the freedom to do as we choose. But as there’s a lot going on in the world today, we must remember that our actions and thoughts are not without a certain level of responsibility. Whether we are talking about writing and books or life in general, our freedom is not as free as it seems on the surface.

Today, I want to encourage you to be more disciplined in all areas of your life. More disciplined spiritually, mentally, and physically. Let’s take responsibility for the lives we live.

Don’t forget to subscribe for notification of future episodes.

Ep 5 – Freedom and Responsibility

If We Were Having Coffee Right Now

It has been a while so I thought I’d take these few hours I have here to update you all. I have been and still am to an extent out of the loop. Life pretty much happened.

That said, pull up a chair! Which would you prefer? Coffee? Tea? Water? I also have Almond Milk. I’ll go grab the cups while you take a seat on the sofa.

*Walks into the Kitchen, grabs drinks. Walks back into the living room*

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I’ll just sit this on the oversized coaster here. There you go. Comfortable? Good. Let’s begin.

  • If we were having coffee right now I’d admit it’s been a challenge getting back to this blog. I am in the midst of a big life transition (no worries, good things…we’ll talk about it later) and it’ll be a few weeks before I am settled in enough to get back to my regular schedule. I will, however, be checking in every now and again with some articles and throwback Jams. I am actually drafting an article now. I am doing lots of travel and am for the most part without internet most days so it’ll be a while before I can post it. In the article, I’d like to address the #TakeAKnee protests taking place, among other things, and the importance of staying focused. I am feeling that people are not paying attention.
  • If we were having coffee right now I would tell you that I am closing the Book Review Registry until I can catch up. I have not been doing much reading during my time away (as I wanted to) and still need to start on some books I committed to reviewing. No worries though. Book Reviews will return on this blog soon. I have a few books I’ve finished that I just have not had the time to sit down and write a review for. When I do, I’ll be scheduling those posts. Again, it may be rare until we are settled but I’ll be posting things every now and again.
  • If we were having coffee right now I would remind those of you who are authors and are interested in being interviewed on this blog in my Introduce Yourself Feature to email me your questions. Though I am on and off with this blog at the moment I can still schedule interviews when I am near a connection if I see your questions in time. To learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature, click through to the original post HERE. The feature is free and the authors featured so far have seen positive results (some have even sold books!)
  • If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I am working to release a book this fall, time permitting. Keep Yourself Full is a thin book and won’t have a big launch. It is something I am putting out to keep you encouraged and charged. A combination of the most inspiring posts on this blog as well as some new words of encouragement built around the concept of Self-Love. It is a reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our life and makes us fit to be of service to others. It helps to keep us grounded and to care about something greater than ourselves. The book is just about finished and I am hoping to set a date real soon.

In the meantime, you can read Keep Yourself Full free when you sign up to join my Advanced Review Team. CLICK HERE to join. I’ll be sending the team’s copy over to read in the near future. To learn more about this book, see a previous post HERE.

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“You don’t have anything to give that you don’t already own. Keep yourself full.” – Yecheilyah

(*I am looking for serious readers only for the ARC Team. Anyone who proves inactive (offering me no feedback) will be removed from the list so please be sure you have the time to invest in this before you sign up. *)

  • If we were having coffee right now I would say that life pretty much slowed me down for September but that I hope to be back in the swing of things for October. I have not been doing much work outside of writing (we’ll talk about that more later as well…focusing on one task at a time and balancing family and work life to be more productive) and will be looking to catch up on some of your blog posts. I’ve been staying in the loop via social media but I haven’t been able to participate in much beyond my mobile device. That said, if you haven’t seen much of me know I am at most times without internet outside of my phone but that you’re in my thoughts.

 

Chat Soon.

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No Whining Wednesday – Expect What You Cannot See

It’s been a minute since we’ve had a No Whining Wednesday, where we do not complain, whine or criticize for a 24 hour period.

If this is your first NWW be sure to CLICK HERE to learn more about this segment. For the rest of you, welcome back!

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

We hold onto hope with shaking hands and weak hearts. It is something we fall back on in times of desperation and fear. We cry out loud for it, searching for solutions to our problems when there’s nothing left to do but wait. When things are out of our hands and we are no longer in control then, and only then, do we hope because there’s nothing left to do.

It is time for an upgrade.

Expect What You Cannot See

Hope by definition is the substance of what is expected, the proof of what we cannot see. To strengthen expectation is to begin to expect things to happen that is not yet foreseeable. To build in hope is to start to look at life, not through the lens of what is not here, but what is yet to come.

It may seem impossible that you will be relieved of Child Support or that you will get out of prison in time to see your children grow up, that you will find the love of your life or that you will be healed from that disease. It may seem impossible that you can love again after being broken or recover from a traumatic experience. It’s difficult to look at these kinds of situations, many of which we have no control, and expect things to turn out OK. It’s difficult because everything physical says that it will not. Your appeal was denied, your Child Support Payments increased, the doctor says there is no cure and your emotions won’t simmer from heartache.

All the assistance, research, history, and the data is working against you.

But, then, there is hope…

When you can expect things to turn out differently despite all the physical proof that it won’t, this is hope.

When you start to expect what you cannot see. This is hope.

Hope is expecting something to happen that you cannot see is possible but you still expect it. It is, as the saying goes, taking the first step even though you cannot see the whole staircase. You know it leads to a place. You can’t see where it is or what’s up there but you know something’s there. It is when you are willing to be uncomfortable for a time because you expect that things will (despite the “evidence” that it won’t) get better.

To upgrade the hope in your life, you must begin to expect what you cannot see.

When you change your perspective, the way you see things and the way you think about them, your entire life will begin to change.

UPDATE: Book Review Awards – Authors in the Running So Far

OK, looks like we are going through with this thing!!

Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. Based upon which I’ve decided that yes, we are going to do this!

First thing’s first, I am getting a logo made. Something simple but nice which I’ll outsource from Fiverr. BUT, if any of you do logos for free, like, let me know. I am not trying to spend a whole bunch of money. I love you but I am not rich so, like, help a sista out.

For now, here are the authors who are currently automatically drafted into the contest due their 5-star ratings on this blog. More authors will be added to this list as I read and review their books. Remember, to be part of this contest means that you must receive a 5-star rating from me. Excellence is priority.

We are just in the preliminary stages so there’s not much information about this yet but please go ahead and read the initial post HERE for a general understanding of what this is about. Remember, we are still in the planning stage but if you have more ideas or would like to sponsor, be my guest. You may as well say it’s September so we only have a few months to plan and I want this to be a group effort!

The Authors in the running so far have been hand-picked from the books I’ve read, reviewed, and awarded 5-stars going back to 2015 on this blog. Naturally, I can be the only judge since I have read and reviewed all of these books.

To add your name to this list, register your book HERE for review consideration. (I am reaching my limit and will be closing the registry very soon! Don’t wait.)

All reviewed books count whether I bought it or not so if your book is on sale I can also purchase it. If your book is currently 99 cents or free, let me know so I can grab it.

Especially if you got a FREE sale going on. (Keep that “I’m not rich” part in mind)

Let me know. If I agree to read your book, review it and award the read 5-stars, you are automatically drafted into the contest.

As you all know, I am stingy with my five-stars (lol) which means making this list makes you EXTRA special. I have only been reviewing for two years but I decided back then that I would not give out 5 stars like it’s candy. If five stars is the highest rating then excellence is priority before I give it out. Authors who make this list are thus truly deserving.

Currently, my 5-star authors are:

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Christa Wojo. for “SICK”

Alexander McCabe for “A Tale of Three Cities”

Linda G. Hill for “All Good Stories”

Anna Kopp for “Rise of the Chosen: Lifeblood Series Book 1 ”

JL Hunt for “Beautiful Boy, Beautiful Girl”

Stevie Turner for “Waiting in the Wings”

Gigi Sedlmayer for “Talon Come Fly with Me”

Deborah Ann Dykeman for “To Thee I’m Wed”

Pamela D. Beverly for “The Love Labyrinth”

JA Owenby for “The Truth She Knew (The Truth Series Book One)”

James Fant for “Coed”

Again, we are only in the preliminary stages of this event so I don’t have much information yet (you’re helping me with that, right?) Briefly, here’s what’s going on:

I am organizing a Virtual Book Review Award event for authors who have received 5 star ratings from me on this blog. More will be added to this list as they come in but I will be cutting it off at a certain number as not to overwhelm myself. I’ll be going back over my reviews for these books and  ultimately choosing one grand prize winner who has excelled in all areas.

(1) Book Cover Design (2) Editing (3) Plot/Movement Strength, (4) Thought Provoking (5) Characterization (6) Authenticity / Believable.

The winning author will receive a tangible award from me. Not a badge, not a blog award, and not a certificate but a tangible award they can display at home. What is it? I don’t know yet. Stick around though.

 

UPDATE: An additional update is that I will choose three finalists who will have an opportunity to present a guest post on this blog on their inspiration and motivation behind their book. It is their last chance to convince me why they should win. I can’t wait to see ya’ll battle it out. This is gonna be fun.

 

Now, I am going back to brainstorming. As you all know, I am getting ready to go on vacation but when I return, I’ll have all the details laid out as to how this event will run and when.

Writers Wednesday – The Men with Blue Eyes: Chapter 4

Chapter 4:

Missed the first three Eps? Click on the links below:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Byron brushed the lint from his uniform as he approached the home of his last client of the day. Walking up the steps of the beautiful home in the well-groomed neighborhood, he knocked on the door and looked down at his paperwork.

“Yes?” The door swung open and a woman smiled back at him.

“Good afternoon ma’am my name…”

Byron paused, mesmerized. The woman had the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen. They had to be contact lens. He could look right through them. They were lovely against her milk chocolate skin. He cleared his throat. A woman had never had him so caught off guard.

“My name is Byron Fisher with Guaranteed Insurance Co. We have you listed here as requesting a return visit.” Byron held up a hand, “I know. I’m not the guy from last time but you were on my route so I thought I’d stop on by and see which plan most interest you”, he smiled.

“Oh yes”, said the woman.

She could see in more than one direction as she read Byron’s energy. Her eyes were cameras quickly processing her environment. They zoomed in on the car coming up the street, the lady walking her dog on the corner and the mailman who was late again. Even the candy wrapper in the cracks of the concrete.

Byron’s biography flashed against the screens that were her eyes. It told her he was single with no children and plenty of money to spend. He was also an orphan as a child and moved around a lot before enlisting in the military. After the army, Byron got into the Insurance business. Life never looked better. Well, almost never. The woman smiled. She saw his weakness too, his hurt.

He was in love once. Some lawyer woman he couldn’t have because she dated his friend. The woman’s eyes flashed. She was digging. The chief warned of digging. It required the use of too much energy but she had to know. So, she dug, and her eyes were claws that pierced his skin for secrets. It was safe. At least now. He couldn’t feel anything. At least not yet.

Byron wiped at his brow, frowning at the sudden wave of heat on his face.

The woman smiled, the flashing red dots on the screen of her eyes signaling the passion emanating from the man in front of her. He wanted her. This would be easy. She stopped digging before he fainted in broad daylight. The chief wouldn’t have that again.

“So very nice to meet you”, the woman said, “I am sure we can find something that I like. Please, come in.”

Byron smiled as he walked into the home of the beautiful blue-eyed woman. He couldn’t believe his luck. Some women were easy. Maybe he’ll get her to sign off on more than just papers. He smiled and her blue eyes flashed as she closed the door behind him.

***

“Aliens?”

“Look, laugh all you want. I’m not crazy.”

Erica composed herself, “I’m sorry girl. You sound like you believe it and if you believe I do too but…”

“Then you don’t believe me.” Tina got up from the sofa and walked over to the window of Erica’s downtown office. Downtown Chicago was one of the most beautiful places in the country.

Erica put her notepad to the side, “OK. Let’s entertain this for a moment. You gotta think about how this is going to sound. Your nephew died in a drug deal…”

“…it wasn’t a drug deal”, interrupted Tina turning around. It pissed her off that people were still saying that.

“Hold on, let me finish. Far as they know it, your nephew dies in a drug deal and everyone else flees the scene. You take leave from work to raise Keisha’s kids, your remaining nieces, and nephew who by the way aren’t really your nieces and nephew…”

“Erica…”

“No, no, let me finish. You take them in after winning a custody battle with their Dad after he couldn’t prove stable residency and their drug addict mom gave you permission to have them. And now everyone involved in the case you tried, people Ronnie was involved with, have gone missing. Top this all off with your claim that Aliens killed Ronnie and abducted everyone at the Warehouse.”

Tina nodded. It did sound phony when you said it out loud. She sat back on the sofa, resting her head on the pillow behind her.

“I’m not saying I don’t believe you but you a lawyer girl. You of all people should know this ain’t gonna stick,” said Erica.

“So, what am I to do then? I can’t keep taking these pills. It’s driving me crazy.”

“Listen, you need these pills so you can do your job without seeing little blue men walking around.”

“That’s not funny E.”

“Seriously, here’s what I think. Here’s my professional opinion…”

Tina smirked, “Now you wanna be professional?”

“Don’t be in my office judging me”, laughed Erica, “I’m the one with the pen.”

Tina laughed.

“In my professional opinion, I think you should see if you can find a connection between those who were abducted and people who may be working with these Aliens or whatever. They gotta be working with somebody or they wouldn’t be able to do anything without being seen.”

Tina sat up, “They look like men though. That’s how they can move about without notice. It’s not like in the movies. The only way to tell is their eyes and sometimes not even then.”

“Still, they gotta be working with normal, everyday people too.  Find those people.”

Tina looked at Erica and bit her lip. It was a start.

“Meanwhile,” Erica stood and walked over to her desk and tore off a piece of paper. She walked back to the sofa and handed it to Tina, “get it together.”

Tina rolled her eyes and took the prescription, “I don’t need it.”

“Yes, you do. Even if it’s just in case.”

***

Tina thought deeply about Erica’s words on the drive home. She did have her wheels turning. Who could be involved in something like this? Az did say it was a cover-up. Reaching for the folders, Tina scanned the names again: Antonio, Brandon, Chareese, Sidney, the two officers, Emmanuel.

Hmm. Someone is missing.

Tina tapped her fingers against the steering wheel, thinking back to the days they used to hang out. Her close ties to everyone abducted did make her look to be involved so she had to be careful or she would lose the case for sure. Antonio, also known as Popeye and Brandon, also known as Tree, were best friends. Chareese, one of her best friends, dated Brandon and was pregnant with his baby and Sidney, the journalist, was also a close friend of hers. Not to mention she went to school with Ja’mella, the woman who accused the men of the rape. All of this had been kept on the low.

Tina searched her thoughts, remembering their card games and get-together. Though she knew them all personally, she wasn’t real tight with the men and the women had gone their separate ways until the case united them.

“Black.”

Tina gripped the steering wheel. Black was Antonio’s insurance agent friend known for his complexion. She had forgotten all about him. His real name is Byron something, but that name’s not in the files. That must mean he wasn’t taken. Finally, something good.

Tina turned the car around and silently prayed Black was at home.