Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
If you're an aspiring writer, please be sure to "tune in" to www.nevaehpublishing.com. Best-selling authors and up and coming writers will be providing us with insider information and advice. You don't want to miss it. Be sure to post your feedback, questions or concerns on the forum. The featured authors will be happy to respond to your comments. We look forward to hearing from you.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Here goes...the contest will be held from now until February 2, 2007. The first five readers to order copies of Only True Love Waits from Amazon and forward a copy of the receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, will receive a FREE, signed copy of The Midnight Clear.
This offer is too good to miss. Two great books for the price of one! Even if you already have a copy of Only True Love Waits and/or The Midnight Clear, you can still participate. Everyone knows that books make terrific gifts. Just ask my hairstylist who purchased copies for herself and her two daughters.
Thanks in advance for your support and participation. Enjoy!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
As a writer, I can tell you that not all book signings are successful or justify the time it takes to prepare. I'd have to say today's signing was the best I've had to date. The staff was professional and courteous. My table was nicely prepared, and my books were ordered in advance.
Since I've shared the good, let me tell you about the bad. I had a signing where I traveled to North Carolina and stayed at a hotel. When I arrived at the Black owned bookstore, I was so disappointed. The owners acted as if they didn't even know I was coming. I had to wait nearly an hour before they set up a card table. It was obvious they hadn't prepared for or advertised my arrival at all. On top of that, they only catered to Urban Street Lit. I felt totally out of place. To add insult to injury, the owner was hustling his upcoming release by handing out postcards to all the customers and passersby. He was too busy flirting with every lady that walked by than to be concerned about whether my book was selling. It was as if I wasn't even there. Truth be told, that was probably the worst experience. I pray it was, because I wouldn't want to go through that, again.
To my fellow authors, I'd love to hear your best and worst book signing experiences.
Monday, January 22, 2007
The Blind Leading the Blind
Every time I converse with my sister, Cheyenne, I end up getting upset or feeling like beating her down.
"Cheyenne," I yelled into the receiver, "tell me now."
"Sister," she whined in a nasally tone. "I'll be there in a little while. I'll tell you when I see you. K. Bye."
We hung up. I closed my eyes and prayed that everything was all right. Knowing my sister it could be anything. It's the week of Christmas and Cheyenne is driving from Valdosta to Alpharetta, Georgia to spend the holiday with me. This is the first holiday we're actually spending in the house since our parents died. In previous years we'd go visit relatives.
Cheyenne's a freshman at Valdosta State University. I'm proud of her for going to college because it was no easy feat getting her there. In high school she was notorious for skipping classes. It was favor from God that allowed her to graduate. I'd never seen someone miss as much school as my sister and still graduate with honors. That's favor - it's not fair.
Our parents died when Cheyenne was ten and I was twenty-two. Fortunately I had just completed my senior year of college at Auburn State University when I became her legal guardian. With my portion of the money I inherited from my parents' life insurance policies, I was able to start my own catering company, Eat Your Heart Out.
I tried to raise my sister the way I thought my parents would want. We went to church every Sunday and were active members. I prayed and taught Cheyenne how to pray, too. I went to PTA meetings, checked my sister's homework, helped her with science projects and made unexpected visits to her school. I did everything I could to let Cheyenne know that I loved her.
When she went through puberty I didn't think I was going to survive. She was moody. Got on my nerves. I couldn't figure out whether she was thirteen or thirty from one day to the next. It was hard for me to maintain a romantic relationship because I was too busy raising a child. Most of the men my age weren't interested in taking on that added responsibility. Thinking back that was probably for the best. At that time I didn't need the distraction of being in a committed relationship anyway. I was dealing with my parents' death, raising Cheyenne and starting a company. When I was emotionally and spiritually ready for a relationship, Greg came into my life.
Greg and I met at the Corner Café in Buckhead during lunchtime. We struck up casual conversation while waiting to be seated separately. He told me that he sold insurance and was meeting a client. I told him I was dining alone. He said something about a beautiful woman should never have to eat alone. I quickly let him know that it was by choice. I happened to be getting my Range Rover serviced across the street at Hennessey and was simply passing the time. We exchanged business cards before being seated at different tables. Before he left the restaurant, he stopped by my table and spoke again. Flashed me a news anchor smile. He seemed nice.
When it was time for me to leave the waitress informed me that Greg had already paid my tab. That made me smile. Not only was he good-looking but considerate too. He earned major cool points with me that day. And of course I had to call him to thank him.
When I phoned him he seemed genuinely glad to hear from me. I deliberately kept the conversation brief. Didn't want to seem desperate. Let him know that I appreciated the gesture. Before I could get off the phone he asked me if I was seeing anyone. I told him "No." Then he made a point to tell me he wasn't involved with anyone either and asked me on a date. I accepted and we've been together ever since.
I went back into the kitchen and put dirty dishes in the dishwasher and started a load. Wiped down the marble counter tops because I can't stand a dirty kitchen. My mother used to clean up the kitchen as she cooked. She taught me that. She also taught me how to cook. As a child, I would watch my mother as she prepared our meals. Pleasant smells always emanated from our kitchen. My family loved her cooking. Sometimes when I'm throwing down in the kitchen, I can feel my mother's presence. We were so close. We loved exchanging recipes and trying new things. Even though it's been eight years since my parents died in a car accident, I still miss them. Especially during the holidays.
I couldn't breathe. Felt like the walls were closing in on me. I dropped the phone, cried. My heart thumped so loudly that I could hear it. I wanted to die. Wondered why this happened. I felt as if I was trapped in a photograph - still and lifeless. Didn't think I could handle the severity of the situation. My life seemed about as clear as muddy water. I'd never be the same. I didn't think I'd ever smile, laugh or experience happiness ever again. How was I supposed to live without my parents?
I felt a tinge of sadness trying to creep up on me like a teenager sneaking into the house after curfew. I quickly thwarted it by focusing on more positive things. I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm healthy, woke up in my right state of mind, own a successful business and I have a great guy. I'm blessed. Reminding myself of the positive helps me not to linger on the negative.
My doorbell rang. I looked through the peephole and saw that it was Greg. He looked good in his crisp white shirt and jeans. His baldhead was freshly shaved and goatee neatly trimmed. He was carrying a bottle of sparkling apple cider in one hand and a Pointsettia in the other.
"Nice to see you," I greeted, kissed him on the cheek. I took the bottle and he followed me into the kitchen.
"What are you in here burning?" He said, placing the plant on the island.
"Got jokes." I laughed.
He rubbed his stomach, said, "I'm playing. It smells good. Almost as good as you look."
He pulled up a barstool and sat at the island.
"Thanks." I placed the sparkling drink in the refrigerator. "Cheyenne and Jonathan should be here soon." I said that like it was no big deal, but in reality I couldn't believe that I was about to break bread with Jonathan. He's the bane of my existence. I pray that Cheyenne wises up before she lets him ruin her life.
"Jonathan?" Greg crinkled his nose. "I thought you couldn't stand him."
"I can't but that doesn't stop Cheyenne from dating him."
"Did he ever get his GED?"
"No. He's been popping the same old tired game ever since Cheyenne's known him. And she keeps falling for it. When they were both juniors in high school and he dropped out, I told her he wasn't going back. She gave me some sob story about his mother abandoning him and he dropped out of school to support himself."
"Is he still selling drugs?"
"Yes. What can I say? She's got a thing for bad boys."
"She needs to be careful. I don't get a good feeling about this guy. You hear stories all the time about people getting killed because of the company they keep. A bullet doesn't have anybody's name on it. She's got a lot going for herself and could do whole lot better. I would hate to see her ruin her life because of him or anybody else for that matter."
"I know. But it's like my momma used to say, 'A hard head makes a soft behind.' All I can do is pray."
I started transferring food from copper pots to sterling silver serving dishes. My mom used to use the same expensive silver pieces for holidays and any other occasion she deemed special. Greg offered to help, so I let him set the table. By the time we finished, the doorbell rang. Perfect timing, I thought. I opened the door. Cheyenne and Jonathan greeted me. I offered them a warm smile and gave my sister a hug. I was glad to see her, regardless of how much she tested my resolve. Told them to come on in. I locked the door behind them and we went into the kitchen with Greg.
Greg acknowledged Cheyenne and Jonathan and gave Jonathan daps. In the year we had been dating, Greg had met Cheyenne twice before. During a going away party I threw for Cheyenne to celebrate her going off to college, Greg met Jonathan.
"Sister," Cheyenne said. She never calls me by my real name, Shania. "I have something to show you."
I sucked air through my teeth and rolled my eyes. What now? I wondered.
She turned her back towards me, exposing angel wings tattooed on her shoulder blade. I didn't say anything.
"Well, do you like it?" Cheyenne asked.
"It's all right," I said. I don't know why she bothered to ask me. She knew full well that I wouldn't approve of a tattoo. That's why she waited until after she had already gotten it to tell me about it. Then she showed it to Greg. He simply shook his head.
"And wait." Cheyenne slightly lifted up her halter style top to reveal a second tattoo - a cross and rosary on the small of her back.
This just keeps getting better and better, I thought. The devil is a lie. I'm not about to give in to this nonsense. I recited the 23rd Psalm in my mind. I silently said that prayer whenever I felt an anxiety attack coming on, like right now.
"Sister, do you like it?"
"It doesn't matter if I like it. I'm not the one who mutilated her body."
"Why you gotta be so melodramatic all the time?" She laughed.
I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was disappointed that I didn't approve of her body art.
I exhaled, said, "Lets eat before the food gets cold."
We went into the formal dining room. We held hands and closed our eyes as Greg blessed the food. Then we took our seats and each fixed a plate.
"So. Shania. How you been?" Jonathan said.
I hoped that my eyes didn't betray me because secretly I was throwing darts at Jonathan. I couldn't stand the way he talked all slow. Perhaps that's the only way his brain could keep up.
"I've been doing good."
Until now I hadn't really paid much attention to Jonathan. He looked as sloppy as he usually did – baggy sweat pants and an oversized white tee. However, he had something on the side of his neck. My eyes narrowed, trying to decipher the scribbling. Cheyenne. He had Cheyenne's name engraved on his neck.
"When did you get that?" I nodded my head in Jonathan's direction.
He placed his hand on his neck, said, "Oh, this?" He laughed, looked at Cheyenne. "Not that long ago. Maybe two, three weeks."
I looked at Cheyenne, said, "Why did you let him do that?"
"Sister, I told him not to, but he said he wanted to do it." She went on to explain that Jonathan said he loved her and would still want her name on him even if they broke up.
I felt disgusted. They were so young and so naïve. They were a perfect example of the blind leading the blind. Not wanting to say the wrong thing, I stuffed a forkful of collards in my mouth.
"Jonathan, what you been doing with yourself?" Greg said, biting into a piece of chicken.
"You know. Tryna stay outta trouble."
I wanted to reach across the table and shake him. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what Cheyenne saw in him. He had pimply skin and a chipped tooth in the front of his mouth. He had enough butter on his teeth to spread on every roll at the table. I had to wonder whether she rebelling against me.
"You plan on going back to school?" Greg said, sounding like a parent. He reminded me of my dad. The way he used to interrogate my boyfriends.
"Nah. I wanna get my GED."
"So why don't you?"
"I'm workin' on it. I gotta get a copy of my birth certificate from my mom. We ain't speaking right now, so it's hard."
This guy must think that everybody at this table has about as much common sense as God gave to a rock. Who was he trying to fool? I've met his mother, Candace, and spoken with her in-depth. She admitted to leaving her children for a while, but she came back. Candace said that Jonathan was trouble and warned me to get my sister away from him. She was the one who told me Jonathan was a drug dealer. According to Candace, she found his supply at her house and kicked him out. Having him living with her and her other children posed too much of a threat to the safety of their family. She refused to take him back in until he straightened up his act.
When I confronted my sister with Jonathan being a drug dealer, she tried to down play the whole thing. Insisted Candace was crazy. Not credible because she abandoned her family. I told her I believed Candace's story. Then Cheyenne flipped the script. Acted like Jonathan dealing drugs was justifiable since he had to fend for himself. I looked at her like she had lost her mind. Because along with his other siblings, their grandmother cared for them in their mother's absence. Told her to stop making excuses for Jonathan's bad behavior. He made a choice to sell drugs. She stopped talking. I could tell by the thoughtful look in her eyes that my words were getting to her. At least I gave her something to think about.
For the rest of dinner we talked about the weather and college life, mostly Greg's recollections. Afterwards, Cheyenne and I cleared the dishes from the table. Greg offered his assistance but I assured him Cheyenne and I could handle it ourselves. So he joined Jonathan in the family room, where the Christmas tree was located. This was the first tree I had ever purchased, and Greg helped me put it up. It touched the ceiling. The tree itself was white and the decorations were primarily gold with red and green accents.
"How do you think you did this semester?" I asked Cheyenne as I scraped leftovers into plastic containers.
"I don't know."
I could tell she was lying by the influx in her voice. "What do you mean 'I don't know'? Haven't you been going to school?"
She exhaled and closed her eyes. Acted like I was getting on her nerves.
She opened her eyes, said, "Sister, I don't want to talk about this right now." She unloaded dishes from the dishwasher, making room for the new batch, and put them in the cabinet.
Silently, I fumed. I wanted to go off but I knew that wouldn't accomplish anything - at least not anything positive. Besides, we had company and I didn't want to show out in front of them. So I continued to put up the food.
Having finished our domestic chores, Cheyenne went into the family room and I put on a pot of coffee. A few minutes later, I grabbed a deck of Uno cards from the island drawer and joined the rest of them while the coffee brewed. They were as excited as school children at recess when I suggested we play. Greg dealt the first hand and I won. We were having such a good time laughing and trash talking that I temporarily forgot about my issues with Cheyenne.
I asked, "Anyone want some coffee?"
Greg and Cheyenne said, "Yes."
We momentarily interrupted the game as Greg and I went into the kitchen. I grabbed three cups and saucers from the cabinet and filled them up. Since the three of us liked our coffee the same way, I spruced up the hot liquid with hazelnut creamer and a couple of cubes of sugar that were housed in a small crystal bowl.
Smiling, Greg said, "I'm really having a good time."
Greg lifted the corners of two saucers that were balancing cups on top of them and went back into the family room. He sat both drinks on the glass table. I followed, carrying my cup.
We played another round of Uno. This time Cheyenne won. We finished our coffee and Cheyenne announced, "I'm going to drop Jonathan off at his grandmother's house. Be right back."
I nodded, waved good-bye.
Greg stood up, shook Jonathan's hand and said, "Take it easy."
Jonathan replied, "You too."
As soon as I heard the door close, I exhaled.
"You did good," Greg said, patting my hand.
He slid closer to me on the couch and looked me in the eyes. "Shania, there's something I've been wanting to say." He took a deep breath and released it. He seemed serious. "I was trying to wait until Christmas but I can't."
My heart raced and I gave him an incredulous look. He stood up and reached inside his right pant pocket. He wriggled his fingers around before pulling out his hand. I couldn't see what he was holding.
With a balled fist he knelt down on one knee. I swallowed hard, feeling tears well up in my eyes. He looked into my watery eyes, grabbed my hand again, and said, "I love you. You mean the world to me."
I noticed that his eyes were misty and his lower lip quivered. Totally surprised me. I was usually the one crying to him about my sister. I had never seen him cry. Sweet. Made my tears flow.
"Shania," he continued, "would you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?"
I wiped his tears with my thumb. He seemed so sincere. Vulnerable. I didn't think it was possible but I loved him even more. I looked down and noticed a sparkling two-carat, pear shaped diamond ring staring at me. Looking back at Greg, I swallowed hard and said, "Yes. I'll marry you."
He slipped the ring on my left ring finger and stood up. I stood up too, and we hugged. This was truly one of the happiest days of my life. I say one of the happiest simply because I expect to have many, many more wonderful days to come.
"I'm sorry, but..."
"No! Run the test again," Xavier interjected, silently praying that he hadn't heard what he just thought he had.
Xavier's six-foot-two frame slumped over as tears welled in his eyes.
"I understand how you feel."
"No, doctor, you don't understand how I feel," he snarled.
Xavier felt as if the air was being sucked from the room and right out of his lungs. Oblivious to the suffocating effects, the doctor handed him some informational pamphlets from his clipboard.
"I don't want any damn pamphlets! I want a cure."
Xavier threw the papers on the ground and sobbed in his hands. The doctor hesitated to offer any gesture of comfort, as he knew Xavier would shrug him off.
"Why me?" Xavier demanded. "Why now? This should be the happiest time of my life. I'm twenty-five years old, engaged to be married to an incredible woman, and, on top of everything, I just signed a record deal."
Seizing the brief moment of silence during Xavier's lament, Dr. Cherry offered a wan smile, trying to console him.
"How serious is it? How long do I have to live?"
Looking Xavier in the eyes, the doctor said, "This is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 20-35. The good news is that we caught it early and it's curable."
Xavier felt as if his mind were on overload. In the cascade of medical terms, the only thing he heard was the big C - Cancer - the same disease that killed his grandfather.
"We need to schedule you for an orchiectomy right away."
Looking at the doctor as if he were speaking French Xavier said, "A what?"
"A radical inguinal orchiectomy is the surgical removal of the testicle and spermatic cord through an endoscopic incision."
"What about kids? Will I still be able to have them?"
"In the majority of cases, orchiectomy doesn't result in long-term sexual side effects or infertility. As long as you have one healthy testicle, you shouldn't notice any negative changes in your quality of life."
"How long is the recovery?"
"The procedure can be done as an outpatient procedure or with a short hospital stay. You can usually resume regular activities within 1 to 2 weeks, and a full recovery can be expected within 2 to 4 weeks."
Xavier did not want to hear anymore. He briskly walked out feeling shocked, ignoring Dr. Cherry as he yelled behind him. He sat in his car for an hour without leaving the parking lot, all the while crying and wondering what he was going to do. He was in a daze until his cell phone rang. He cleared his throat before answering. It was his fiancee, Summer Love. She wanted to see him. He said a prayer and drove off.
Xavier sat in front of Summer's two-story brick house for nearly ten minutes trying to muster the courage to go inside. Finally, he knocked twice to let her know he was there and walked in. She seemed happy to see him and kissed him on the lips. Summer -a few months younger than Xavier, was five-foot-six and curvaceous.
"Are you all right?" she probed.
He did not answer. He went into the living room and she followed. Summer could tell Xavier was uneasy even before he sat down beside her on the dark chocolate colored couch - he was jittery and his smile disappeared almost instantly. He stared at a cobweb breezily dancing in the corner for a moment.
"I have something to tell you, and it's not easy for me," he said, holding her hand.
"You're scaring me."
"I'm sorry." He felt like crying again. No, screaming. His emotions were a chaotic jumble of nerves and agony.
She sat quietly.
"I can't marry you," he continued.
"What do you mean you can't marry me?" She snatched her hand away.
"Please?" she repeated incredulously.
"I'm calm, now what?"
He lowered his head in frustration.
She gripped his chin with her thumb and first finger, tilted his head towards her and said, "Why are you doing this?"
"You deserve better." Unable to look her in the eyes, he turned his head away, forcing her hand to release its grasp.
"Are you seeing someone else?" Her voice trembled as she tried to be strong and hold back the tears. Her mother always told her to never let a man see you cry. Especially if he's not your husband.
"I thought you loved me."
"I do love you, more than anything else in this world."
He hugged her, and she could feel his heart racing.
"I know that you deserve some answers, but I can't deal with this right now. Trust me, it's for the best."
She looked into Xavier's emerald green eyes, hoping that the expression "the eyes are the windows to the soul" was true, because she needed answers. Xavier's dazzling green eyes that usually sparkled, and made her fall in love with him time and time again seemed devoid of any happiness. In addition to the painful sadness they revealed, they were horribly bloodshot. She could see that he was upset.
"Here." She took off her nearly two-carat diamond and platinum engagement ring and handed it to him.
Breaking eye contact with her, he looked down at the floor and said, "You can keep the ring."
Her jaw dropped. That's it? she thought. She felt angry. Her eyes narrowed, and giving him a scathing look, she hissed, "Why won't you talk to me? Something is wrong! I can feel it."
He stood up, turned his back to her, and paused as if he had something else to say. She waited, hoping he would turn around and tell her he didn't mean it.
When he didn't say anything she said, "What am I supposed to tell my family?"
At a loss, he raised his hands in the air and sighed. "I don't know."
Then he dropped his head and headed toward the door.
"Wait! Did I do something?"
"No. You didn't do anything. I never meant to hurt you."
She was tempted to beg him to stay, but she remembered hearing Oprah talk about the man she pleaded with God to bring back, and in the end she thanked God for letting him go. Although she doubted that she would ever be thankful for losing Xavier, she didn't stop him from leaving.
She locked the door behind him and allowed the tears that had been hovering around the borders of her eyes to escape. She felt hurt, betrayed and angry. So many questions resonated in her mind, and she wondered if he ever loved her at all. How could he be so insensitive? she wondered. Why did he tell her that the wedding was off the day before the grand opening of her day spa? Did he have such little regard for her that he didn't care about ruining her celebration? Thinking about his inconsideration made her more furious. She had been very vocal about her enthusiasm for starting her own company. Many nights she stayed up late sharing her business goals and long term plans with him. He knew better than anyone how excited she was about this venture.
She tried hard to silence the questions that plagued her mind as exasperation engulfed her. The insanity of it all! she fumed. She hated having more questions than answers. It made her feel vulnerable, which was something she tried not to do.
She wiped away her tears and continued to try and quell the questions that gnawed at her psyche. Xavier's behavior today was totally inconsistent with the man she thought she knew and loved. Then she thought about the first time they met. Both were freshmen at Clark Atlanta University. They had an English class together and he was such a clown always cracking jokes and trying to make her laugh.
To her, he was the most handsome man she had ever met. She had never seen eyes as green as his. His eyes had the same effect on her that Kryptonite must have had on Superman. Coupled with his smooth bronze colored skin, high cheekbones, full lips, and white, even teeth, he exceeded her wildest dreams.
His sense of humor attracted her even more than his good looks. They swiftly became friends and were inseparable. Whenever they were out together and a woman disrespected her by flirting with him, Summer never had to say a word. He would straighten the woman out by letting her know that Summer was his woman, and disrespecting her was not an option.
One of the many things she really liked about Xavier was his street credibility. He was from Detroit and had never been stabbed or shot. When they went out, she felt safe and shielded from any peril that was common in big cities. She enjoyed talking to him because he was easy to talk to. She felt as though she could tell him anything, and he seemed interested in whatever she had to say.
When she confided in him that she was a virgin and planned to stay that way until she got married, he ended up giving her a hug and kissing her on the forehead. Then he thanked the Lord for her. His thoughtfulness at that moment convinced her that he was the man for her.
"Snap out of it," she said aloud. She forced herself to stop thinking about Xavier because she was making herself more depressed. Even though she felt like crawling into bed and never getting out, she knew that she couldn't do that. She needed a pep talk, and her best friend, Nina Dexter, was just the person to do it.
Nina had been Summer's best friend ever since the fifth grade when Summer's family moved into the same subdivision where Nina lived in Stone Mountain. They met when Summer's mom was in the kitchen and saw Nina walking by. She thought about the first time they met.
"Summer, come here," her mom called to her. "There's a cute little girl out there who I think you should meet."
Summer was nervous and didn't want to do it.
"Don't be shy. Just go up to her and ask her if she wants to be your friend," her mom continued.
With her mother spying through the window, Summer skipped to catch up with the brown skinned, round face little girl wearing two pigtails and a plaid dress. Without making eye contact she said, "Do you want to be my friend?"
At the time it never occurred to Summer that Nina could've said no. Even though Nina responded favorably, that still does not stop her from occasionally poking fun at Summer about the proposal of friendship.
She called Nina who answered on the second ring sounding bubbly and upbeat. "The wedding's off."
"What? What happened?"
Summer could not even get the words out without bursting into tears.
"I'm on my way," Nina assured her before hanging up the phone.
Nina lived in Conyers, which was a relatively short commute from Summer's house in Lithonia. Less than thirty minutes later, she was knocking on Summer's door with a bag filled with Butter Pecan ice cream and a box of Kleenex. Summer looked at her five-foot-two, twenty pounds overweight friend through puffy eyes. Nina seemed to carry most of her extra pounds in her butt. Summer put the ice cream in the freezer, and carried the box of Kleenex into the living room where she cried and recapped her conversation with Xavier.
"If you ask me, Xavier's a punk and a coward," Nina said. "What's his number? I'm about to call him!"
"Don't do that. It won't do any good."
"Somebody needs to talk some sense into that Negro."
Summer flopped on the sofa simply broken.
"Do you want me to have Jeff talk to him?"
Jeff, Nina's husband, was somewhat of a hothead. Although Summer was highly upset with Xavier, she didn't want to risk an altercation between the two of them.
"No," she said.
"What about all the money you've spent on this wedding, is he going to pay you back?"
"No, I'm not going to ask him to."
"That's crazy. Don't let him off the hook that easy."
"If he doesn't want to be with me, then I'm not going to be vindictive."
"That's so you, but if it were me, I wouldn't let it go that easy."
Unable to take anymore of Nina's lecturing, Summer went into the kitchen and fixed them each a bowl of ice cream. Knowing the severity of the situation, she ignored the dainty, and appropriate, dessert bowls and took out the mega-sized ones.
"I'm sorry this happened. I know how much Xavier means to you."
Summer nodded in agreement and ate a spoonful of ice cream.
"This is one time that I wish I were a guy," Nina said, "because I'd kick his ass myself."
"I appreciate that." Summer giggled.
On the surface, she could make light of the threat, but deep inside the very core of her person, tiny bits of her heart kept being chipped away.
"Do you want me to spend the night?"
"No, you've only been married six months. I don't want to come between you and your husband."
Nina wrapped her arm around Summer's shoulders. "You're my girl, and I knew you long before I ever had a man. You know that I love Jeff to death, but true girlfriends are hard to find. If you want me to stay, just say the word."
Summer offered a faint smile and again declined the offer.
"On a more positive note, let's talk about the opening of Spa Nevaeh tomorrow," Nina suggested.
Summer listened attentively as Nina went on and on about the outfit she was going to wear, the prominent people who were expected to be in attendance, and the media coverage that was guaranteed to make television, radio and the local papers.
Summer was glad that she had chosen Nina to be her PR Director. That way Nina could do most of the talking. Because based on how Summer was feeling at that moment, she did not think she could handle it herself.
In a tiny spot below her shattered soul, Summer was also excited; she had to admit, because this was her dream come true. While in college she majored in Marketing, and during one of her core courses, she did a marketing analysis for a day spa in Atlanta. Her professor was so impressed with her findings and business plan that he suggested she implement the plan. She agreed and shared her ideas with her father, a successful real estate developer and investor, regarding her business.
Nina interrupted Summer and said, "I just remembered that Jeff and I are supposed to go out to dinner tonight. Let me call him and tell him I can't make it." She grabbed her cell phone.
Before she could flip the phone open, Summer said, "No, but I do appreciate your willingness to cancel your plans for me. I want you to go and have a good time. No sense in both of us sitting around being miserable. Don't worry about me."
"I can't help it. You're the closest thing I have to a sister. I love you and I don't want you moping around acting all depressed."
Summer forced a smile and said, "I love you, too. Honestly, I'll be fine. I'm starting to feel better already."
Nina kissed her on the cheek and said, "Liar. You don't have to put on a brave face for me."
"I know. I'll call you if I feel like slitting my wrists or popping pills."
"Don't joke about stuff like that, because I'd have to take you to the Pet Sematary."
They both laughed, because Pet Sematary was one of their favorite horror movies. Summer walked Nina to the door. They hugged and Nina said, "Everything's going to be all right." Summer closed the door behind her and asked of no one, "Can you assure me of that?"
House, "Feed the Hungry" campaign, I recorded a
public service announcement, which aired on WATC
TV57. It was a wonderful opportunity.
In November 2006, I was interviewed on Atlanta Live
on WATC TV57 to discuss my books, Only True Love
Waits, and Favor (short story appearing in The
Midnight Clear: Stories of Love, Hope and Inspiration
anthology). It was my first television interview. Talk
Only True Love Waits is available at online
booksellers and in-stores. You can also check out a copy at DeKalb County libraries.
The Midnight Clear: Stories of Love, Hope and
Inspiration anthology is a collection of short stories
by some of today's most acclaimed and up and
coming authors of Christian fiction. Set during the
Christmas holiday, each of these stories offer themes
of love, hope and inspiration. The Midnight Clear will
offer a buffet of flavors to satisfy the taste buds of
Whether you are looking for fiction that tugs on
the tear ducts, tickles the funny bone, raises the
eyebrows or warms the heart, it can all be found in
The Midnight Clear.
complete my manuscript, Divorcing the Devil.
My publicist, Terrance Wooten, and writer-friend,
Kendra Norman Bellamy, both encouraged me to
submit the manuscript to Urban Christian for
Halfway through the manuscript completion, I sent
the first four chapters to Urban Christian. The usual
response time is about two to three months. I figured
that was more than enough time for me to complete
it. Well, to my surprise, the editor responded in three
weeks. I wasn't finished. In fact, I had been on
vacation for a week, sick for another week, and
encountered a problem with my laptop. A month
later, I submitted the finish product. One week later,
I received a phone call from the executive editor
offering me a two-book deal. I was so excited! That
was a prayer answered. Time to celebrate!
Divorcing the Devil will be released in April
For nearly ten years, I worked in corporate America. I went to work every day and did my job. Even so, deep inside, there was a void. I wasn't working in my calling. The signs were all around me. For instance, I dreaded the thought of going to work. Sundays were difficult for me, because I knew that Monday was right around the corner. It took time and prayer before I realized that I wasn't doing what I was placed on this earth to do. My passion is writing. Throughout my high school and college years, English was a guaranteed "A" for me. I enjoyed writing. It was something I did with ease. How do you know what you've been called to do? That's a good question. The first thing would be determining what you're good at. Then think about something you enjoy doing and would do it for free. Next, research ways to break into that field, if you're not already in it. The following are some signs to look for when determining whether you're walking in your calling.
- If you're unhappy in your current position, you're probably not working in your calling
- If you daydream about doing something other than your current job...
- If you leave work early on a regular basis or call out when you shouldn't...
- If you don't look forward to going to work...
- If you're at work, but you conduct personal business throughout the day...
- If you have a bad attitude...
- If you constantly complain about your job or supervisor...
- If you're exceling in your current role, but you still feel unfulfilled in your professional life...
- If you've prayed and have already received the answer that you're mismatched in your current role...
For me, the decision to step out on faith and take a voluntary severance package proved to be the right one. Since then, I've started a publishing company, Nevaeh Publishing, LLC, which was inducted in the 2006 "Who's Who in Black Atlanta." My book, Only True Love Waits, was released in October 2006 and is doing very well.
Before you make the decision as to whether you should leave a job, I would strongly encourage you to pray. And don't allow FEAR to keep you bound. Sometimes all you need is faith the size of a mustard seed.