authors, books, poems, poetry

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With Jamell Crouthers

Jamell Crouthers is a poet who focuses on issues that impact society on a daily basis. He stopped by for a chat to talk about his life and his work.

(TRIGGER WARNING! These books deal with real-life issues and the excerpt may trigger certain individuals.)


Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

My favorite character is Robert from the Struggles and Growth of a Man because I’m able to emote his thoughts and feelings about life, his struggles growing up as a man and all of the experiences he’s dealt with. He went from being a troubled child on the streets selling drugs to having his guidance counselor and mentor in his high school saving him from a prison sentence or death. He deals with having a drug addicted mother, his father left the family and he has a brother in prison for drug dealing. So his life story of living in a tough neighborhood, he’s forced to grow up fast and be the man of the house after his father left. I enjoy writing his experiences and also writing about the social stigmas that men have to always be strong and not emote or show feelings. It’s something that Robert learns is not true and it’s okay to show his emotions.


Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

The scenes from The World We Live In Part 1 and 2 were hard to write. I discuss a lot of societal issues that we face in the world today. I discuss rape, domestic violence, drug addiction, alcoholism, a man being gay and a lot of other things. The first chapter writing Christina’s experience of being raped at a party was hard to write. It’s very emotional to write about especially me being a man and knowing the social stigmas that come with that. I express my thoughts and feelings through her and what she’s going through at that time. It hits home in a powerful but impactful way that gets people to think and realize this is a major issue in the world today.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The most rewarding part of being an author is being able to share stories about the realities of life and the societal issues that are going on around us. I’m able to create characters and share stories that the reader may relate to in some way. The reader may have experienced it themselves, have a family member who has dealt with it or someone else they may know. I get a sense of fulfillment knowing that my books relate to readers and it’s different than the traditional books that you read. I’ve always been good at writing poetry and I have concerns about the world we live in. To be able to incorporate world issues and poetry into books, it’s something I enjoy doing.

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

The best advice is to brainstorm before you write, write every idea down in a book, write what’s on your mind and learn everything on your own. Be in control of your own destiny, this is a business so do what is best for you in regards to your book(s). Learning how to make book covers, editing your own work, formatting, marketing and writing your own synopsis, it’s great to see all facets of publishing a book.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

My writing ritual is I work in the afternoon or at night, I always listen to music, I have something to drink near me and I just write whatever is on my mind. I consult my book that I write all of my ideas in so I know how to write the character’s story. Everything flows when I’m in a zone and I can write for long periods of time once I get in a rhythm.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Definitely not. I went to school for journalism/communications, more on the television production side. I’ve always had goals and aspirations to be working in sports. It wasn’t until last year after a trip to California where I thought of a book idea and The Struggles and Growth of a Man came to mind. After that, things just took off and I started writing all of my book ideas I had. A year later, I’m already 4 books in with another three coming this year.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I would have to say my grandmother because I always enjoyed spending time with her as a kid. Also because she loved to read and I wonder what she’s thinking about my books in heaven right now. She probably enjoys watching over me as I write all of these books about the world. I just hope I’m making her proud along with all of my other family members in heaven.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

I am not am a victim of my circumstances,
My life has changed drastically since it happened.
It was just a harmless night of fun with a bunch of friends,
But it all went downhill when I lost track of my friends.
The alcohol got into my body and I was intoxicated,
Things didn’t feel right and everything became a blur.
My memory was fading and I lost track of where I was,
The music felt psychedelic all of a sudden.
My mind and eyes became a trance and people were blurry,
The strobe lights didn’t help the cause as I couldn’t recognize people.
Lost in blurred thoughts and trying not to lose sense of my judgment,
Before I knew it, I was in a room surrounded by men.
I didn’t know what to do as I was helpless,
They were all laughing and knew what they had done to me.
The punch that I was drinking was spiked with a drug,
Now I know why I feel the way I do.
Intoxication, nerves, and horror going through me,
As I’m ready to bolt out of this room but I can’t.
You all know what happened next as my clothes were ripped off,
And 4 men attacked and raped me for a good 30 minutes.
Touching, grabbing, slapping, penetration,
As these drunk cowards were violating me through adrenaline.
I was trying to scream, yell, fight and claw,
But no one can hear me through the loud music downstairs.
Where are my friends? Why haven’t they come looking for me?
All of these thoughts are racing through my mind.
I can’t even describe all that happened to me,
The thought of how they violated me and stole my innocence kills me.
I felt worthless, dirty and not even human when they were done,
The nightmares and flashes running through my head are constant.
As they all left the room, they yelled vulgar things at me,
And threatened me with repercussions if I went to authorities.
Laying there naked and all alone in a corner,
With ripped clothes that I can’t even wear home.
Shit, where is my purse, where is my wallet, cell phone,
Laying in this room in a ball crying my eyes out.
These guys that violated me I know them, I don’t understand,
I thought they were cool and were my friends.
They just wanted to fuck me and thought it was cute,
And then I realized they left evidence in the room.
In a dizzy spell trying to collect myself from my drenched face of tears,
I managed to pull myself together and get dressed.


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authors, books, fiction, Sci Fi

In the Words of an Author: An Interview With Bryton Gore


Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Too many:

Anthony Burgess
Douglas Adams
Dan O’Bannon
H.R. Giger
David Cronenberg
H. P. Lovecraft

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

My favourite is the main character, Tom. Maybe I am a bit vain, but I wrote myself into him. He over comes challenges and trials without any special abilities.

Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

I find conversations between characters challenging. A bit of dialogue that both compliments individual personalities and gets the right message across, takes a lot of effort. Sometimes what I write may not be fun for the audience to read.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Sharing a story. One that inspires people, or helps them escape for awhile.

On the surface the book is a Sci-fi/Fantasy adventure. You have all these ridiculous and unlucky things happen to the main character, but subtly, it’s a test of his own will, as he fights against depression and mental illness. Throughout the book he wonders whether or not his adventure is real or just a delusion he made up to escape his everyday life. Because sometimes a few minutes of dreaming are the happiest for someone who has nothing to go back too.

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Do what you love, and do it well. A good story writes itself & isn’t forced.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Coffee & more coffee

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

I didn’t. Ever since I was 5, I wanted to be a Joan Jett or an Astronaut. It wasn’t until 3 years in a government job where my only creative outlet became writing, I honed my skill for storytelling.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Nikola Tesla. I just want to talk about pigeons. Maybe learn his way to provide free electricity to the world wireless. But mostly pigeons
Some others, would be musicians like David Bowie, John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?


Stale coffee grounds & and the light chatter in the office kitchen meant the work day was almost over. Tom wasn’t bad at his job. It was his good work ethic that lead him to a promotion within the first year of his career, but realistically it was only an income to him. He had never truly followed his dreams, simply because his life as a young adult started too early. His Dad died tragically before his memory was old enough to fathom it, and his Mother ran to another country, to start a new family, leaving him with nothing but depression, a shabby apartment and a large amounts of debt to pay off.
The banks hounded him weekly for repayments & without his job, he had nothing else.

Though his miserable circumstances, he never blamed the world for his problems, his job was a means of income, and something everybody had to do.

It was the people around him who he found miserable. Coworkers like Anthony, the 49 year old man who spent 10 or so years of his life just to be ‘the funny guy’ around the office. The Fresh out of college & too eager to please kindergarten of thirsty young adults, and the managers who used them to advance their own careers. This was the ‘monopoly of business’ as his superior would call it, but Tom saw his coworkers as animals in a corporate zoo waiting for their bucket of chum, or taking others when they felt like it.

It was possible the mourning of his young adult years came out on the people who worked closest with. He knew his reflection was nothing more then petty because unless you’re extraordinarily privileged, no one working in a cubicle ever had much of a choice in life anyway. Despite this, he still thanked God he’d never fit in.
There was once where he tried to, but eventually the bureaucracy wore him down so much his sarcasm evolved to a point where people had trouble interpreting whether or not he was serious.
On one of these occasions, his project manager had struck up conversation about her gold fish. Although outside the water cooler, the Two barley knew each other.
“Mr Bubbles past away over the weekend” Peggy moped.
“I’m sorry to hear did you have a funeral?”
“Yeah, it was around the toilet.”.
“Open casket?” he replied.
Only to receive more silence then a library. The broken printer stopped making it’s awful beeping sounds just to let it be known Tom’s joke was either misunderstood, or Peggy was serious enough to be grieving her goldfish.

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books, contemporary romance, cover reveal, fiction, new adult fiction, New Release, young adult fiction

Forever In Her heart: Surprise Release!



Callie is a creative writing student whose final assignment is forcing her to relive a past relationship.

With a surprise homecoming from the hero of her story, her past and present collide.

Can she resist the boy she’s longed for all this time, or will she admit he’s the forever in her heart?



Twelve. That was the age I was when I first saw him. My angel. A fantasy that had never fully manifested itself inside my young mind finally realized. A secret dream for my future given flesh and turned reality.

The afternoon sunlight had cast a glow around his head, illuminating his golden hair. I’d always believed in signs and this was the only one I needed. My immature perception of the world may have been skewed, but in those first few moments, I planned out my entire life.

It was weeks before I learned the boy’s name, Darren. Weeks after that that I finally saw him again. Slowly, cautiously we became friends. He was two years older, which explained why I’d never noticed him around before. My fragile conception of fate was solidified by his air of sophistication.

Our friendship blossomed. From casual encounters, to near-daily telephone conversations. There were no subjects that were off-limits, no filter to any of the crazy thoughts that popped into either of our heads. He was my safety, my sanctuary, the one place I never questioned where I belonged....

Callie ripped the page from her notebook. What was this? Crap. Utter crap. She couldn’t turn this dribble into her professor. This was her final assignment before she would receive her creative writing degree, not some diary where she refused to admit to the truth, even if most of it was, in fact, centered in reality.

She had been thirteen, getting ready to enter high school as a freshman. Maybe some would say the age was close enough so as not to matter, but to her that one year felt like the largest lie she’d ever told herself. After all, how else would this older boy ever get her attention?

It shouldn’t matter, she told herself, but it did. To her, that one line distorted the facts of everything else she’d penned. Made the truth seem more like fantasy. There had been a halo shining down over his head that day. She remembered it with picture-perfect clarity. He’d never seen her watching from the crack in the curtains, but she’d been there mesmerizing the lines in his face, the structure of his body.


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books, Coming Soon, cover reveal, dark romance, fiction

Cover Reveal for the Immure Diaries series by H.Q. Frost

Immure Dairies


Author: H.Q. Frost

Cover Designer: Inked Imprints

Series synopsis: For Akela Dietz there is no safety net if she follows her heart. A chance encounter at the airport has turned her world upside down and sent her straight into the arms of a killer. He brings her to life when they’re together, but his job keeps him away more often than a relationship can withstand.

Overcome with anxiety and depression when Malcolm is gone, Akela is forced to consider more secure options. She can open her heart to make room for someone else, but she’ll have to decide if it’s worth giving up the thrill Malcolm inspires within her. Hearts are on the line as she falls deeper into a life she never before dreamt existed.

Malcolm Corpseknot was born to kill. It’s ingrained in his DNA. Never one for relationships, or emotions in general, he’s caught off guard by the tantalizing Akela. She’s his only chance at a life worth living, but the one thing she wants most is more than he can give.

This 3-part saga is full of darkness and passion as Akela and Malcolm are forced to answer the question: How far will one go to claim their fate?


Immure Diaries Part I

Synopsis: A chance encounter puts Akela Dietz in a stupor for the first time in years. When the encounter happens again and again, she becomes leery of the attractive Brit that puts a beat back into her heart.

Malcolm Corpseknot III is peculiar, too good looking to be true, and a trained killer. When his scope is set on Akela, he’s not sure if he wants to hit or miss.

She’s a force to be reckoned with, already having given up on life, and she’s going to be the death of him.

If she doesn’t end up dead first.

Goodreads TBR:

Immure Diaries Part II

Synopsis: Cold, collected, crazy. He’s a death dealer to the scared. A master to the envious. And a ticking time bomb to the sane.

Lost, living, lusting. She’s fighting for sanity anymore. Finding a new life directed by a dangerous man holding her heart. But her fragile heart breaks every time he walks away.

He’s a devil in disguise, but she likes things hot, and he’s going to be the death of her.

If he doesn’t end up dead first.

Goodreads TBR:

Immure Diaries Part III

Synopsis: She’s followed in his footsteps and doesn’t plan on looking back. He regrets creating the woman she’s become, but he won’t deny she’s skilled. Together they could dominate, but they work better alone.

She’d die for him and he’s killed for her.

Their love has always been a battle that neither can control. As much as she pulls, he pushes. As often as he begs, she denies. There’s one thing that will always be certain. No matter where they end up, the other won’t be far.

Goodreads TBR:


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Instagram: @h.q._frost

Twitter: @HQ_Frost


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authors, books, ficiton, interviews, Uncategorized, urban fiction

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Koffi Hallman


Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Yes. Walter Mosely, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, among others too long to list here

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

Max BLAKK from my 6 Degrees Of Hustle Series, because he is absolutely pure steel nothing gets the best of him.
But Koffi Majors, in Death Of A Thug, has this adaptability to him that is to be envied.
Donna McCafferty is a pit bull in a skirt as an attorney.

Bob Staks & Lisa Woodman, in Body Count, are both opposite ends of a spectrum who’s lives are forced together for survival.

I actually have relationships with all my characters, even minor ones, so they’re actually like my kids.

I try to make sure I’m worth the price of admission to my readers so I give them people they can relate to & root for & against so it’s actually difficult to pick just one.


Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

No, because I follow the story line and whatever it calls for in order to bring the best out of each particular scene so they are one- not separate, so there is no difficulty only a clear picture of what I want to convey to my audience and how I want them to feel about that .
Many writers tell me they experience writers block or can sit for an entire weekend and draw blanks. I don’t have that issue (knock on wood).

Because I actually have relationships with my characters. As a writer I Am The God Of my Universe.
My stories and characters all live within that universe.
So I don’t have to invent them just have to stop that lady on the street; she will tell me her name, her story, and a lay out of the town so by visiting different areas I can change story dynamics. A long time ago a teacher, Mrs. Troy, who taught English convinced me I wasn’t crazy when she told me I was a writer the voices I was hearing where characters introducing themselves to me and I needed to listen! Worked wonders for me! Shout out to Mrs. Troy!

I guess that’s why my writings are so descriptive



What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

People who’s lives I touch that share my talent and allow me to provide an escape from their world to mine if only until they close the pages. I try to ensure that ride is as great as I can make it.

And when your fortunate enough for someone to purchase your book and they really enjoy it!!!

And they say they’ve read multiple times and it’s like a new experience each time and they find things they missed initially.


With Series like 6 Degrees Of Hustle Series
I throw you curve balls for multiple titles

The Suspicion Series (Takes Of Max BLAKK)
I do it for 47 titles each will have the word Suspicion somewhere in the title there are 47 books in the series the 1st is Deadly Suspicions


What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Write write write ! Don’t obsess over Small details (character name, setting, etc…)

Concentrate on the story!

The better the story the bigger the fan!

Believe that each time you write and write for fans of your work and if your looking for a publisher check out the folks at
492 Publishing House Inc they’re all inclusive packages put Authors First


Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

None to speak of other than my Characters talk to me. I actually let my characters explain their stories to me as they see them happening! So I actually become the narrator to my audience and they can feel the emotion because it’s genuine

This is actually how it affected this particular character

That’s why the emotions in my book are real they are told from a place of a character this actually happened to.

I have a novel I’m writing now I’m 2 chapters in and the main character who is telling the story still hasn’t told me her name ,yet with the things that have happened to her in these two chapters makes me excited to know who she is… hopefully that feeling translates to my audience

That’s what allows them to not put it down. Especially if it’s based on true events as with the 2017 Winner of the Walter Mosely Award for African American Fiction, Death Of A Thug.


Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Well, I’ve always been a writer of sorts. Poems, short stories, plays, raps, what have you. I wrote a poem and my English teacher submitted it to a contest and I won.

I then realized I needed to write on a larger scale. It wouldn’t be till years later when I would actually be in a position to put paper to pad and I actually got to tell an Amazing story that actually happened and I got to Fictionalize it without incriminating the innocent or further incriminating the guilty. To do such with an artistic flare that allows people from all walks of life to actually be able to take an in depth look into a world many didn’t know existed and to paint a picture they could understand and enjoy.

I feel that fully expresses my talent as a Author.

So Far I’ve won (2) awards including
the Walter Mosely Award for African American Fiction for my Current novel Death Of A Thug.
I’m Extremely Proud of that one


If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?


Ask him where we went wrong what we can do to fix it to the benefit of all mankind.


Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?


I can provide the link so you can look inside and read excerpt for free on Amazon

But I have to warn you once they cut you off

Your going to one click it because it’s a must read that is hard to tear away from

authors, books, christian fiction, fiction, interviews, urban fiction

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Sherylynne L. Rochester

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

There are many authors that have influenced my work. Frank Peretti is a huge influence. The spiritual aspect he gives with the spiritual warfare is just amazing. I love Brad Meltzer. He’s one of my favorite thriller conspiracy authors. I also love Vanessa Miller. She’s an amazing writer under the Urban Christian Fiction genre. They all have influenced my work.


Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

That’s a hard one. It’s between my first book Sasha or my latest book Lailah. But if I have to choose it would be Lailah from God Send Me My Husband. She’s my favorite because she is just like the majority of single women today. She shows you what she deals with as a single woman. You get to see her insecurities, her choices, and the consequences of not waiting on God.


What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The most rewarding part of being an author is when readers come back and say that my books have really helped them. I love hearing how people have turned their lives around because of the books I have written. Also, hearing that my book made it to Iraq and even a prison in the U.S. has been so rewarding to me as well.


What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

The advice I would give to authors just starting out in their journey is to just write and put your best work out. Writing in today’s world is hard and will be hard but keep writing and don’t give up. Write a good story and self-publish it. Do it now because now is the time to follow your purpose in life. When you step out and follow your purpose, watch what God will do when you write.


Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Mostly, I just pray before I write. I want to make sure that when I write that it is inspired by God. He gives me what to say and I write it down.


Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Definitely not. My dream was to become a Worship leader and to sing around the world. I am a worship leader but I haven’t had the chance to sing around the world just yet. But, I never thought I would be an author with four books written.


If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to have a conversation with David from the Bible because he was a psalmist and a great writer. He was also a musician. So, I would love to sit and have a conversation with him and learn everything that I could.


Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

God Send Me My Husband Chapter Excerpt

Sherylynne L. Rochester

I really wanted to see Miles again, but I hated first dates. I do all this grumbling about having one and now that the time is here, Im a nervous wreck. I guess I am nervous because of all the bad dates Ive had recently and over the years. I didnt want to think about it right now, so I wondered about what Miles would be wearing. Not to lump all Africans in the same bucket, but most African men are always dressed to the nine when they go out. Was I underdressed? Its just ice cream. I didnt want him to think Im fat and a slob. I loved getting dolled up. I decided to overdress for the occasion but just enough that I didnt look out of place. The entire drive there, I was thinking about what questions I should ask and what Miles might say. I practiced my laugh and my good-listener face.

I arrived early to the place on purpose so I could find a place to stand while I waited. Big girls needed more room and I couldnt get caught with my butt overflowing off of a little chair. So, I found a comfortable spot to stand. I checked my phone over and over in case Miles was trying to contact me. I didnt want him to think I stood him up.

I saw him walking up. He was wearing a Henley, khakis and loafers. Ooh, he is so fine but a little too skinny for my taste. Yes, he was fit but he needed a little bit more weight along with the muscles he had. I liked my men big with muscles. Thats fine, once he tasted my cooking, Ill add some meat to his bones in no time. I waved him over when he walked throw the door. I hugged him. Whatever cologne hes wearing should be a sin. Even though hes not a big guy, I loved that I dont feel overly huge in his arms. It is like I fit perfectly in his embrace. Oops, he just kissed the side of my cheek. Do I kiss his back? No, hes just saying hello. I needed to stop thinking so much before I ruin this date.

You look lovely,he said showing those pearly white teeth.

Thank you. You look handsome as well.

Oh, well thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet you here. Im sorry its not more formal and I am sorry for it being so late too. I couldnt find parking and had to park in the parking garage down the street.

No, this is fine. No need to apologize. Its Manhattan and theres never any parking on the street. There’s only parking in the parking garage. Plus, it takes some of the pressure off. And I love ice cream.

Good! Have you been here before?

Yes, I have. I go to the one in Brooklyn though but Ive been here too.

They have great ice cream. I take my niece here anytime were in the city. They make great Ice Cream Shakes too.

Mm, maybe Ill get one of those.

Cold Stone Creamy a great place to have freshly made ice cream. I havent been to the forty-second street location in a while but I loved the fact that if you gave a tip theyd sing to you. I gladly gave them a tip and true to fashion I got a song out of it too. I got the Love It Pink Lemonade Sorbet mixed gummy bears, yellow cake, Reeses peanut butter cup, and rainbow sprinkles. Its a fat girl trying to get skinnys dream. Out of my peripheral vision, I watched Miles. He didnt bat an eye as I ordered nor did he make a face like Chanel would. Yes, my creations and tastes buds were weird but it tasted so good going down.

Miles smiled at me and I smiled back. Miles then orders a Strawberry Banana Rendezvous as a Gotta Have It with rainbow sprinkles. To top it off he also asked for Reese peanut butter cup. I wondered if that was his first choice or if hes trying to show me we have something in common. We took our creations and begin to eat.

Wow…a man after my own heart,I said licking my spoon.

I love Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. I can eat those all day every day,he said watching me with his eyes.

I didnt get to have ice cream often thanks to the meal plan Chanel had me on but a Love It from Cold Stone Creamy wouldnt kill me.

As we walked out the door and down forty-second street enjoying the scenery, I checked out Mile’s hand for a ring. I’ve learned to check. I was out on a date with a married man once a few years back. He had forgotten to take his ring off evidently and had a lot of explaining to do when he tried to hold my hand at the table of the restaurant. I paid my portion of the check and bolted. I wasnt going to hell with him and I surely wasnt going to be a mistress. But as far as Miles, there were no ring and no mark that he may have slipped it off and put it in his pocket to come out here tonight. I was relieved. Maybe God had sent him to me?

As I continued to take small portions of the sorbet, I wondered what he sees in me. I thought of that movie Shallow Hal. I know I shouldnt be putting myself down like this but when youve been single for a long time and men have hurt you, these thoughts flood your mind. Ive heard some men have weird fetishes and I dont want to be anyones sick sexual experiment. Its hard for some men to look past all this body and he didnt at all seem embarrassed to be walking with me down forty-second street. I tried not to analyze it too much.

You know I was nervous about tonight,he said.

Really? I was nervous too,I said.

He smiled. I mean Ive been on some bad dates and I am glad so far this one is going well.

I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Whats so funny?He asked.

I’m laughing at all the bad dates Ive had,I said, wiping my mouth.

Oh, Ive had more than I can count. I remember this one girl, named Tyler. She was supposed to be very promising. We made plans to go on a date after talking on the phone for weeks. I was excited until I got there and had the surprise of my life. She was there and so was her grandmother. Not once during the date did she explain why she was there. I had to pay for the both of them. I mean, at least she could have let a brother know.

This guy named Thomas was a bad date for me. That man had the nerve to give me a three-dollar budget to eat at Starbucks. Now you know a small cup of your favorite Starbucks drink is way more than three dollars. There was no dollar menu there. You guessed it, I had to pay for my food. But at the end of it all, he proceeded to tell me he wanted to have kids with me. Excuse me were the only words that could come out of my mouth. He could only afford a three dollar date, how could he afford kids?I said.

He laughed. “Let’s see, one girl, named Taylor left to go to the bathroom. She came back twenty minutes later very drunk. I didnt even know you could get drunk that fast. Well, I quickly ended the date and as we were leaving and in her drunken stupor, she revealed that she had multiple felony assault charges from stalking.

No way,I say, laughing in shock. But this one to me tops it all. His name was Tad and he said to me that we were going to the most expensive place in town. It was McDonalds. Ok, I have no problems with McDonalds. Someone I knew had a first date at McDonalds and they were married until he passed recently. So, I was open to it. But guess what, I had to pay. Then he had the nerve to call me a slut, and that I wasnt even worthy enough to be with him or worthy enough to be taken to a place like McDonalds. Yes, he said that and I walked away balling my eyes out when I got home.

Wow, Im sorry,he said with concern.

Then there was Travis, the guy that left to go to the bathroom and never returned. That hurt my heart. I guess he didnt like what he saw, but whatever,I say, shrugging my shoulder and trying to hold back the tears.

I’ve truly had my share of bad dates too, both from online dating to just meeting girls in regular places, so dont you worry and I like what I see,he said rubbing my back.

I smiled. “Thank you. Such a fine guy like you having bad dates, its unbelievable.

Oh, you think Im fine, huh?

Youre alright,I said.

All the dates Ive been on never turned into anything but disappointment but it is cool because if they went well I wouldnt have met someone as awesome as you,he said winking.

I melt when he winked at me. My stomach filled with butterflies.

Dating is hard and I guess thats why I was nervous too. Ive tried speed dating, online dating profiles, social media apps, meeting people at the supermarket and other places but I havent found my knight in shining armor. The dates Ive been on were true disasters. I guess now I can look back and laugh at what a train wreck they are, but it surely wasnt funny then.

I hear you.

I always wondered why I got the bad end of the stick. One thing I did learn was to avoid anyone whose name started with the letter T. I am so glad your name didnt start with a T or I would have headed for the door.

No, you wouldnt have. You couldnt resist the Miles,he said, enjoying his ice cream.

Yeah, okay,I said. Well, Im thankful for every bad date because it taught me what I dont want in a man and what I do want.

After talking about our bad dates, we walked in silence. It was a beautiful night. I was so glad to be out on a date that hopefully wont end badly like the others did.

So whats on your mind,he asked.

Well, I dont like to waste time Miles, so forgive me if this is a bit forward. Are you looking for a committed, long-term relationship?

He looked down at the pavement and now hes smirking. Oh boy, here comes the, ‘let’s take it one date at a timething guys do when they didnt want to say, no. My heart sunk.

Its not forward. Im glad you asked because thats on my mind, too. Im looking for a wife. Im not getting any younger and want to get married and have a family. I just wonder if Im good enough for you.

I want that too,I said, smiling.

God, is this my future husband? I asked myself. This is too good to be true. I tried not to smile so wide. I didnt want to look overly excited and scare him off.

Tell me about your previous relationships,I asked.

He smiled again. They just didnt work out. I was in a relationship with this one lady for nine years.

Really, thats a very long that.

Yeah it was but she cheated on me.

Wow, really, that sounds like what happened to me.

Someone cheated on someone as beautiful as you.

Yeah,I said licking my spoon again.

Well, its their lost,he said.

I nodded in agreement. Yes, their lost.”

So what is the number one thing youre looking for in a man?he asked.

I thought about that for a moment. The number one, most important thingthat hes a devout Christian.

I was going to say the same thing about the woman I’m after.”

I stopped and stared into those deep, dark brown eyes and saw a little slice of heaven there, too. Maybe all hope wasnt lost. To find a man who wants me to be as submissive to Christ as he, is a beautiful thing to have. Its the type of relationship Ive been dreaming of and wanting.

Being with a man whose heart isnt in Christ is just difficult and Ive had my heart broken so many times, I just want to start off on the right foot,I said.

I understand. I’ve had my share of bad breakups too. The next person I call my girlfriend will be my wife. I take that seriously and I mean it too.

I nodded. So what else are you looking for in a woman?

Well, I am looking for a woman that knows how to handle someone like me. I can be a bit much at times. I want someone that will be with me through it all. That wont leave me when times get tough. You know the song, Can You Stand the Rain?

Oh, I love that song,I belted the song out right there on forty-second street. Miles stands there amazed. He wanted to hear me sing, so there. He looked taken aback.

Wow, you have a lovely voice,he says, finally finding the words.

Thank you!I said taking more of my ice cream. This sorbet was everything I needed right now.

Your voice is so pure. You should be on the radio.

I smiled at the thought. Since this afternoons talk with the girls, the singing bug was returning.

I’m ready to settle down,he said.

Me too! Its so hard to find people my age who are ready to take that next step. I didnt want to be someones second wife or a childs stepmother.

I hear you, well Ive never been married and also do not have any children. I assume you are in the same boat?


Good,he said.

So Miles, tell me what are your short term and long term goals.I felt like I sounded like an employer, but I needed to know if he had the foundation Im looking for.

He laughed before answering. Youre the first girl—excuse mewoman to ask me that,he paused to think it over. Well, my short term goal is career oriented; to get more people who want and need loans and provide more products as well.

I cut him off. You must have a lot of money and what type of products do you sell?I had to ask to see what type of financial state he was in. It might have been weird and bold but I needed to know.

Yes, thanks to my dad, I have a hefty amount. I sell pharmaceutical products to physicians. I go to their office and tell them about the new products and sell it to them.

Something inside me wants to question it more but I don’t. “And your long term goals?

My long term goals is to be a billionaire. Some in my field have become billionaires and that is my goal.

Interesting,I said. I didnt want Miles to think Im a gold-digger. You can have the same problems crying in a Prius as you can in a Maserati. I just wanted a man who is faithful to God and his family. So what are your views on relationships? How do you feel about a monogamous relationship? Do you want kids?

Lailah, slow down. We have plenty of time to get to that, my Queen.

You are right,I said a little disappointed. Was I moving too fast?

But to answer your question, I only want one woman and one woman only. I know a lot of people think African men want multiple wives but as a Christian, I want to follow Gods way of life. I want kidslots of them. I come from a big family and I loved growing up with so many brothers and sisters.

He grabbed my free hand and kissed it. His kiss on my hand was soft but urgent. My queen, Im glad I met you. We have so much to talk about and so much to see together.

I couldnt believe it. So quickly I was being swept off my feet. Was this really happening? Were my prayers being answered?

He smiled wide, his deep brown eyes crinkling slightly at the corners. I took all of him in, he was tall and thin, yet his muscles rippled underneath the tight shirt he was wearing. I was quickly falling for this guy. But was quickly snapped out of it when another warning flooded through me.

Let his actions catch up to his words,said the inner Voice.

I didnt want to hear that at this moment. I just wanted to enjoy it. God please, I thought, dont ruin this for me. Dont say now. I dont want to be lonely any longer.

After saying that in my head, I felt as if God backed away a tad bit. I just wanted to be loved by a human beinga man. You did say, God, that it isnt good for man to be alone, I rationalized to myself.

There was no answer.

Lailah,” Miles said snapping me out of my talk with God.

Yes,I said.

This may be a bit bold and a bit fast but I am going to do something I have never done ever in my life.

What was he going to do or say? I wondered. Was he going to propose? Its too soon, I thought. No need to think that. Although, Ive heard of many people who got married a week after having their first date. But no, dont over think it. Stay in the moment Lailah.

Okay?I said, wondering and questioning him with my eyes.

I know this is fast…” he said pausing again. I have been thinking about this since our conversation Saturday. Im usually a quick and fast guy and maybe I should slow down but I cant. Will you be my girlfriend?

I stopped and took it all in. We just met. This is our first official date. I searched his eyes. He must want something. No, he just wanted me for me.

Lailah, I am sorry for being forward but I am getting older and I dont have time to waste any longer. Will you be my womanmy girlfriendwhatever we are at this age?he asked laughing. I know girlfriend sounds so grade school but you understand what I mean.

I smiled and buried my face into his chest. God couldnt have written a better love story, I think. All this worrying for nothing. God had this planned out all along. This was better than a fairytale. This was amazing. I already couldnt wait to tell my future children.

Yes, of course, I will.

Miles wrapped his free arm around me as I had already done the same.

Hey,he said. Look at me.

I looked up at him. Looking deeply into my eyes, something clicked. I stared into his eyes longing for our lips to touch. Slowly, he leaned in with his lips half opened and kissed me with all the passion in his heart. His tongue created a chill in through my body and it traveled down my spine. I felt the electricity pulsing through my veins. This kiss engulfed us as we were so close I could feel the heat of his body warming mine.

I hadnt felt this way in a long time. I clung to him as he let go. I clung to him like a lifeline.

He again looked at me, his eyes squinting and his mouth smirked in this smile that made me know he was thinking something.

What?I asked.

He took in a breath and said, That was magical.

I smiled and said, Yes it was.

I forgot who was around us and where we were. This was something I had always prayed for. I had finally found my husband. He did say that the next person he called girlfriend would be his wife. Finally, I said to myself, Thank you. Thank you. God, if Miles is meant to be my husband, show me the way. Show him the way as well.

It seemed too good to be true. That was the phrase that filled my mind. Maybe it was but for right now I was happy. Happy to be taken and happy that someone wanted me.

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In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Renato Rizzuti

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

I like to think that no one author was a direct influence on my work in that my style is uniquely my own. However, there have been authors that inspired me to write. The great masters like William Shakespeare are a true inspiration. Fringe authors like Samuel Beckett are also an inspiration.


Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

I will answer that question like when an actor is asked to name their favourite role they played. A common actor response to that question is, “The next one!” I say the same in that the next character that I write will be my favorite. As a side note, I have grown to really like Toddy the Tomcat because he is indeed a “cool cat” that “dreams of rat flavored ice cream.” Toddy is my pet character!


Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

From a technical point of view, I would say that I do not find any scenes difficult to write. From an emotional point of view, I would say that emotional charged scenes are the most taxing on me. I mean scenes like deep love poetry or scenes where a character is experiencing emotional upheaval. My emotional investment pays off in one sense in that those scenes can be emotionally cathartic and therapeutic.


What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Shakespeare’s King Lear said, “Nothing comes from nothing.” As a writer, you are in essence, creating something out of nothing. It is the act of creativity that is so rewarding in its self. It fulfills a deep desire to create, to make something out of nothing. It is a basic human artistic need. Being able to constantly fulfill that need is the most rewarding part of being an author. Of course, it is also rewarding when other people like your work!


What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Be constantly writing! Be constantly submitting your work! Be constantly trying to get published! Never give up your quest! Never get discouraged by “rejection!” Rejection is only a reflection of one person’s or one committee’s opinion of your work! There is somebody out there to illuminate your creation! Believe in yourself!

Constantly try new genres of writing. Constantly be reading different genres of writing. Keep growing as a person! An interesting person makes for an interesting writer!

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Yes, I do. Rituals are very important in daily life. Whenever we have to do something important we either engage in a formal ritual or an informal ritual. Of course writing is very important in my life therefore, I have a writing ritual. My writing ritual has changed over the years due to different factors such a pre-computer writing ritual and post computer writing ritual. I will explain my present day writing ritual.

First of all, I schedule my “writing time” for days when I will have a large chunk of time to write. I give my pet rooster the morning off and like to wake up naturally on a writing day! Early morning is my ideal time to write when my brain in still in a “alpha wave” state! It is also the quietest time of day in my household. I turn on the computer and get my coffee and glass of ice water. I go through “ordinary” things like checking email first. Then I refer to my writing “notes” whether they be written down or swirling around in my head. I then go into the physical and mental part of writing. I usually “edit” as I am writing. I can easily spend hours writing, pausing only for short breaks for coffee refills! I then let my writing “simmer” for hours or overnight just like cooking a great tomato sauce! Then, back at it another day!


Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Yes, it was! I have been always been fascinated with words. Even at a pre-school age I used to speak to my “imaginary friend” in a language that I invented! It was perfectly normal for me at the time!

As I went to school, I became in love with reading! I studied English literature at university and became a Drama and English teacher. Of course, I had to do my own writing! Some of us could “teach and do” contrary to the old cliché about teachers! I am a published author now and fulfilled a long standing desire to be an author!


If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

It would definitely have to be William Shakespeare! I am sure we would have a long and fascinating conversation! I would want to ask him all sorts of literary questions and also ask him for literary advice. Since Shakespeare was also an actor and I am also an actor, we could discuss acting at great lengths. I would love to hear his witticisms and “jokes!” It would be a rollicking good time!


Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

Yes, I will leave you with a poem from my children’s book: “Toddy the Tomcat and Other Tales.” It is the title poem: “Toddy the Tomcat.” The book is available from in many international languages and also as an audiobook from My video about the book and my reading of the poem can be viewed:

Thank you for an enjoyable interview! You asked excellent questions!

Toddy the Tomcat

Toddy the tomcat
Ate a big, fat rat
He had nine lives
And many wives
He was a proud father
But he did not bother
To stay home and play
With the kittens all day
When it became night
He would disappear from sight
Toddy liked to roam
Far from his home
In search of female cats
And big, fat rats
To keep him frisky and content
On a night well spent
Toddy was so happy
When he’d take a nappy
And he would pleasantly dream
Of rat flavoured ice cream