Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amazing Grace

Donna Michele Watford, RN was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has degrees in Sociology and Health Studies; and currently attends Drexel University Graduate School. She’s married and resides in the Metro Atlanta area.
Donna realized a void in her life after the loss of her mother; it was then she asked God’s permission to share her experiences to offer others encouragement. Embarking on a new journey involving a closer walk with Jesus the Christ, she now shares her journey with Him through writing poems, songs and books. Donna’s goal is to first and foremost give God glory, provide hope in the face of despair, and be encouraging.

About the Book

Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us is the author’s memoir. It’s a spiritual journey of a mother and daughter; the conclusion is peace, be still. A journey anointed with the potential to revolutionize the thoughts of mankind. This inspirational book focuses on social challenges including senseless killings and substance abuse. It has a subtle political twist that considers the sacrifices of Martin Luther King; unforgettable change. Their time together echoes the sentiments of President Barack Obama by depicting the effects from helping; circumstances change. A story offering the only love capable to change lives: John 3:16.

Donna Shares an Excerpt

CREDIT: “Amazing Grace” is sung by Hazel Miller.
Book Review
If you have had a chance to read Amazing Grace, please include your book review here. Also, please include your book review on Amazon and/or
For more information, view the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at

This love story written for Christmas: Amazing Grace, A Tribute to You, The Story of Us, depicts the Sovereign in the lives of two individuals; mother and daughter. You are taken on their spiritual journey, and as a result of their experiences; hope is unveiled through the careful guidance of the Holy Spirit. Their time together reveals love in its greatest form: John 3:16.

It is the story of an only child who loses her mother who was also her best friend and sister in Christ. The story-line is based on a low middle-class single-parent family. This inspirational book focuses on many social issues involving the poor. It describes several common social challenges that are often hushed societal realities. It has a subtle political twist that encourages helping one another. It is a story of great faith and it offers an everlasting hope: Jesus.

Book Review: Midwest Book Review

Worth the read for those going through a rough time

Faith is simply a powerful thing. "Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us" presents Author Donna Watford's story of how her faith carried her through a dark time in her life and allowed her to move on after the devastating loss of her mother. Hoping to inspire faith and bringing light to Jesus' greatest gift, "Amazing Grace" is worth the read for those going through a rough time themselves.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

High Stakes

Shauna, Dawn, and Felicia are best friends who are bonded as “partners in crime” while trying to survive in Las Vegas, Nevada aka Sin City. Their friendship quickly begins to unravel when Jeffrey, Dawn’s fiancé, enters the picture. Although happy for their friend, Shauna and Felicia quickly begin to question the validity of their friendship when they aren’t allowed into Dawn’s new picture perfect life.
Desperate to keep her old lifestyle a secret from her fiancé, Dawn comes up with an elaborate scheme to make sure she weds Jeffrey at any cost, but Jeffrey attends a bachelor party where he meets, and instantly falls for, the naive and beautiful Shauna, and he and Dawn’s relationship becomes compromised. When dealing with matters of the heart, all bets are off.

Felicia is caught in the middle, and when it proves too much, she goes against her better judgment and becomes lost in her own world where promiscuity and drug abuse become the major players in her life.
Each girl is dancing on the stage of uncertainty. When the curtains are drawn and the neon lights go dim, who will wind up with the standing ovation?

High Stakes, sometimes when you gamble a little, you wind up losing it all.

Toshia Shaw
is a poet and writer hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada where she resides with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelors degree in Human Services and is currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration in Health Care Management. She sits on the board of Nevada Youth Alliance, and she is the Executive Director of Purple Wings Organization; a non-profit directed at deterring at-risk young ladies from the sex industry of Las Vegas, Nevada. When Toshia isn't writing she loves spending time with her family.

Interview with Toshia:

Where were you born?

I was born in Joliet, Illinois, but raised in Memphis, Tennessee.
Education background?
I graduated from Trezevant High School in Memphis, TN., earned my Bachelors in Human Services, and I am currently pursuing
my Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Administration.
What's your inspiration or who is?
I draw inspiration from my children; my three year old daughter, and 14 year old son. They both inspire me to be and do my
best. I want to be the example instead of just talking about striving to do and be more.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Actually, as a child I made up my mind that I wanted to be an author. I would get lost in the world of books as early as seven
years old. My parents would have to make me put them down. I would read books in one day, stay up all night if I had to. I
just loved the art form of making words form a work of poetry, or a story. I see it as art. Whatever I went through I recorded
those feelings with writing.
Did you ever think you'd ever become an author?
Yes, I always knew I would one day get the opportunity to share my creative writing with the world. Although, life took me
on other paths I have never forgotten my first love which is writing.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Well it depends on what I am writing. It can take anywhere from one month to one year.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I remember entering my first writing contest at the age of seven where I took first place. I got the chance to meet a famous
Chicago Bear football player. I will never forget that book; I entitled it, Cindy and her Maracas.
Whose writing do you admire most?
My favorite writer of all time would have to be Toni Morrison. I admire the writing style of Akosua Busia however, she has
only written one book that I know of. I am sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for her next work. I will always have a
strong connection with Terry McMillan’s characters because they are so easy to relate to.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Basically, I don’t get any sleep! I have a full time job, in Grad school, and a family so the only time I get to work on my craft
is late at night or early in the morning before anyone rises.

Social Networks:
Linked In:
Fan Club:
Email Addy:


Book Trailer:

Dawn took a bite of food, looked toward the door, and almost choked. Dawn could feel her heart dropping into her stomach with the
force and swiftness of a fallen airplane. She could not believe who she was seeing enter the restaurant. She watched Felicia saunter in with an older, white, balding man. She wore her usual long wig and a beautiful red and white Valentino dress, undoubtedly a gift from one of her tricks, such as the man she was with. The back of Dawn's neck was growing warm and she felt her eyes growing bigger by the second.

No, this can’t be happening to me—not now, not tonight! she said to herself.
"Dawn, darling, is something wrong? You don’t look well." Mrs. Mathers patted Dawn’s hand.

"Baby, you all right?" Jeffrey rushed to his fiancée's side.
High Stakes

"Umm, I suddenly feel ill. I'm just going to excuse myself and
go to the ladies' room." As Dawn stood up, she and Felicia locked eyes.

What were the chances that she and Felicia would end up in the same restaurant? Dawn thought she might die. What in the hell was
Felicia doing at Tres Jazz? She escaped to the restroom to collect herself. There was no way she would stay in that restaurant when the past was right up in her face. She splashed cold water on her face and began to dry it with a paper towel, and when she looked up Felicia was standing behind her.

"Fancy meeting you here. Are you and future hubby here on a little date?" Felicia asked with a curt look on her face. She knew that Dawn's seeing her there would ruffle her feathers.

"Felicia, what are you doing here, and who is that guy?”

Felicia walked to the other side of Dawn to primp in the mirror.

“Don’t tell me he's one of your tricks," Dawn said with a condescending look.

Felicia stopped brushing her wig and turned to face Dawn. She was tired of the whole façade Dawn was wearing, acting as if she didn’t
know anything about tricking.

"Look, I am here to eat, and I prefer the term 'date.'" Felicia pulled out a tube of lipstick and began to reapply. "Don’t call him a trick. He is too paid to be one of them. Oh, and, Dawn, tricking is something you should know a lot about. You seem to be performing a lot with your man out there."

"Whatever. I am here having dinner with my fiancé and his mother. We were just about to leave, so I'll call you later this week."

Dawn tried to make it clear, without saying the words, that she did not need Felicia's lowlife self butting all up in her business, trying to come over and introduce herself to Jeffrey.

"Oh, in other words, I need to stay clear of your table?" Felicia stepped up to Dawn and stared her in the eyes. "Don’t worry, Cinderella. I won't spoil the ball for you and Jeffrey. I'm sure he doesn’t want to know that his fiancée is a cheap, two-dollar hoe!"

Felicia infuriated Dawn, and she was about to tear the wig off her bald headed body when she realized she was above her now. She
didn’t have to resort to her type of behavior.

Felicia noticed the hesitation on Dawn’s part.

"What's wrong, Dawn, you scared of a little tiff?"

Dawn did nothing but stare at Felicia square in the eyes, she did not flinch or dare to breathe heavily. A slow smile crept onto Felicia’s face. She looked Dawn up and down, dismissed her with one hand, and turned on her heel to leave.

As she was about to leave, Felicia added, "Remember, girl, you can take the bitch out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the bitch!" With that remark, she turned and pranced out of the restroom.

Dawn pulled herself together and walked back to the table calmly as if nothing had happened. She looked at Felicia out of the
corner of her eye. Felicia winked at her, undoubtedly toying with her emotions.

The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues

Mel Bancroft

The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues
Inspirational Author, Poet & Songwriter


Inspirational Author, Poet and Songwriter, Mel Bancroft's writings have been seen on,, Healthy News, Regal Magazine for African American men, and the Los Angeles Sentinel, America's number one African American newspaper. Recently she was awarded "The Winner in You Extra Efforts Award" by Salute America in recognition of her contributions to the world of poetry and thought, and for her socially conscious perspectives. She has also appeared as a panelist on several online talk radio shows discussing domestic violence issues, the importance of creative writing, and social consciousness.

When Ms. Bancroft was a little girl, if she got fussy, her mother could always calm her down by giving her a pencil and a piece of paper or a book to read. Born in Chicago, she grew up on the rough, west side of the city enduring domestic violence and childhood abuse, which left her with deep-seated, low self-esteem. Writing was her saving grace, keeping her distracted from her destitute surroundings. After moving to Los Angeles as a teen, she found coming of age further confusing and painful as she tried to find her identity. She finally found her place in poetry, music, and writing short stories. But her artistic passion was never realized until she stopped living her life as the “victimized girl” and conquered drug addiction.

Ms. Bancroft has written poetry and articles on a wide range of subject matter: self-help, spirituality, marketing, business, family, and relationships. Notably, the poem Jena Six: Our Strangefruit Is Still Hanging, emphatically questioning how far African Americans have come, was published in TRIBES Magazine. She is currently penning the sequel to her debut memoir, Bitter Sweet & Mo’ Sweeta due for release in late 2010. She enjoys yoga, meditation, tennis, and dancing, and resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues is a riveting, true story which is narrated through the eyes of a woman who has endured sexual abuse as a child, struggled through coming of age, finding herself in abusive relationships as an adult. Not only is the story told candidly and graphically, revealing the secrets that lurk behind abuse, the narrator takes the reader inside a journey of spiritual healing and unbridled courage through poetic enlightenment and poignant imagery.

What lead you to create this book?

Actually it was God-inspired. As someone who has survived several forms of abuse, it has been on my heart for many years to share my strength with others who may still be trying to find their own empowerment. The book was also inspired by Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Who should read this book and why?

There are several groups, I believe, that can benefit from this book: adult survivors of abuse, victims of spousal abuse, even those who have been perpetrators of abuse who aspire to change how they deal with problems. This book serves as a reminder to those who have suffered from such dysfunction, that they are not alone, and encourages them to seek their own healing.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?

The message that I want men and women to grasp is that we need each other’s love and support in order to stop domestic violence—victims and perpetrators.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Meditation and yoga helps me to stay in mental and physical shape. I love to go out dancing and spend time with friends and family.

What does your family think of your writing

For the most part, everyone’s supportive. My mother read the book in one day. But exposing family secrets and having them read about them in a book is not easy for some people to accept, yet it has brought healing to my family.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

First of all, make sure your life is clear of major stressors that can get in the way of writing, such as unhealthy relationships and jobs that drain you. Writing takes time, energy, dedication, and discipline. Learn every writing technique you can, practice good grammar and spelling and, most of all, write from the heart.

Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. Also share with us your online contact information.

I am currently developing the sequel to The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues, which is entitled BitterSweet & Mo’ Sweeta. I am also working on a self-help book geared toward dating and relationship issues between women and men. The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues can be purchased at WWW.MELBANCROFT.COM, WWW.AMAZON.COM, and WWW.BARNES & NOBLE.COM.

Web Links

Author Website:

Social Networks

The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues on Facebook

Follow Mel Bancroft on Twitter

Mel Bancroft's Blog

Visit Mel Bancroft on MySpace

Visit Mel Bancroft !

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Mother Never Told Me

What Mother Never Told Me By Donna Hill

Raised in the Delta by her grandmother, Parris McKay has the voice of an angel and the promise of a bright, loving future with the man she adores. But everything Parris believes about her life is rocked to the core when she discovers that Emma, the mother she believed dead, is very much alive.
Compelled to discover the roots of this decades-long deception, Parris goes in search of her mother in France, but the meeting only opens old wounds for them both. Hurt and disillusioned, Parris finds solace in two new friends, Leslie and Celeste. Both have difficult relationships with their own mothers, and both, like Parris, are coming to terms with a legacy of long-buried secrets. And as Emma returns to the States, spurring unexpected revelations, the bond that Parris, Leslie and Celeste forge will sustain them on a journey from heartbreak to healing

Compelling, candid and wise, What Mother Never Told Me is an unforgettable story about the power of our pasts to define us—and sometimes to hold us back. It is a novel about abiding love and hidden truths, about family bonds that may be tested but never truly broken, about the lies that tear us apart—and the friendships that can make us whole again.

Donna Hill is the Essence bestselling author of Divas, Inc., In My Bedroom and If I Could. She is a public relations associate for the Queens Borough Public Library and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her website at

"What Mother Never Told Me". The story is a sequel to Hill's novel "Rhythms", I've waited 10 years to read this excellent follow up. Parris McKay thought her mother was dead for 30 years. On her grandmothers death bed a confession is made that sends Parris on a journey to find truth and reason.

Parris's friends Leslie and Celeste also have demons to deal with. Leslie is dealing with a disabled mother which she feels responsible for, and Celeste's privilaged upbringing is one long line of lies secrets and control, that she despies.

Nick, Parris's rock and heart supports her as she goes to Paris to find out why she'd been lied to for 30 years.

All 3 of these women's lives come together and full circle. Parris and Celeste find out that their connection is more than they could have ever imagined.

From Mississippi to France, to Harlem, this story weaves a fantasic story of what you won't do for love. I loved the surprise twist the pulled everything together at the end. The whole 6 degrees of separation was mind blowing.

Donna has once again out done herself, and this sequel was truly worth the 10 year wait
5 Stars

Happy 20th Anniversary Donna, I hope I speak for all of your fans, in saying We Love You!

Donna Hill began her career in 1987 writing short stories for the confession magazines. Since that time she has more than fifty published titles to her credit since her first novel was released in 1990, and is considered one of the early pioneers of the African American romance genre. Three of her novels have been adapted for television. She has been featured in Essence, the New York Daily News, USA Today, Today’s Black Woman, and Black Enterprise among many others.
In 2010 she celebrates her 20th anniversary in publishing.

So Donna, tell us
Out of all your college experiences, what was the most fun?
Working in the recording studio.

If I came to your home and looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
Diet food.

What did you want to be when you were 12 years old?
Owner and publisher of a magazine.

Now, listen to a brief excerpt from What Mother Never Told Me

What Mother Never Told Me is the long-awaited sequel to Rhythms that brings Parris McKay face to face with a past that has eluded her and brings two women into her life that have their own troubling issues with their mothers. It is a book of hope, heartbreak and healing. A book for every woman, daughter, mother, every family.
Join in the discussion and be entered to win an autographed novel courtesy of Donna Hill!

To purchase this book

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Selling My Soul

Selling My Soul

Sherri Lewis’ writing was put on hold while she attended Howard University as an undergraduate, then medical school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After working almost fifteen years in the medical field, Sherri left her position as a staff physician at a Georgia Department of Corrections’ Women’s prison to pursue writing and ministry full time.

Sherri is co-founder of the Faith-Based Black Fiction Writers of Atlanta with Essence Best-Selling author Tia McCollors. Selling My Soul is the anticipated sequel to Sherri’s debut novel, My Soul Cries Out. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit Sherri online at

About the Book

When Trina Michaels steps off the plane after her two-year missions trip in Africa, she realizes that other than longing to see her mother and her best friend, her heart aches to fly back to the place that now feels more like home than anywhere she’s… ever lived. And to the man who’s stolen her heart.

Her dream of a quick return to Mozambique fades within hours when Trina discovers that her mother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Trina is forced to go back to her job as a publicist to cover her mother’s health costs.

She’s assigned a damage control client, Bishop Walker, a megachurch pastor accused of covering up a church sex scandal within his church involving the molestation of young boys. Representing him could cost Trina her most valued friendship, the love of her life, and her soul.

Book Review

After returning home from Africa to see her mom and her best friend, Trina Michaels, she soon realizes she’s coming home to chaos. Her mom has been diagnosed with cancer and has to return to work in public relations to help support the expensive treatments. Trina is thrown into damage control and a scandal involving a Mega Bishop and an abused victim that is her love’s best friend. This could cost Trina more than she is willing to pay. Is Selling Your Soul worth the price your paid?
****4 stars

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My God and Me Blog Tour

My God and Me Blog Tour

LaShawnda Jones is the publisher and author of Jazzy Media LLC. Her latest publication, My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey is full of inspiration and testimony of personal growth.

Jazzy Media’s early publications brought local recognition to LaShawnda Jones’ work and requests for speaking engagements poured in. In 2004, she began facilitating body image and self-esteem workshops. Over the years, she has facilitated workshop discussions on the effects of family, friend, media and societal influences on our body image, self-esteem. She combines all that and more in My God and Me as she addresses, explores and strengthens her and her readers’ identity in Christ.

About the Book

Relationships change with the tide of life. When your relationships ebb more than flow, do you find yourself asking, “Were my dying relationships ever real relationships? Are the people who maintain contact, but with whom there is no connection, worth holding on to? Should I expect a person’s presence in my life to equal dependency in my time of need? Does the quality of interaction determine the level of importance?”

These questions and many more flow through the interactions shared in My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey

LaShawnda Jones Reads an Excerpt

View the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at

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