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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Writer's Megaphone shouts out author and advocate Patricia A. McKnight




 Tricia's Story


 
Tricia McKnight



*** Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States.  Each year, there are about 207,754 victims of sexual assault.  44% of the victims are under the age of 18.  80% are under the age of 30.  54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.  97% of the rapists will never spend a day in jail.  Approximately 2/3 of the assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.  38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance of the victim.

These are staggering statistics.  And with that being said, I have one more for you.  Every one of you reading this shout-out knows someone directly or indirectly that has been a victim of rape or sexual assault. 

*** RAINN - Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network
http://www.rainn.org/statistics

Last year, I wrote an article on Patricia McKnight.  It was within the realms of this article that she shared with me the gory details of her abuse.  She spoke candidly without a bit of regret or remorse.  Throughout our interview, I could tell that she walked with her head held high.  There wasn't a trace of shame or self-doubt to be found.

She could have easily remained a victim as some women in her predicament are forced to do.  But she didn't.  She composed a book that details what happened to her; not as a cry for pity, but more as a beacon of light for those women who are still held in emotional bondage.  Her book is entitled, My Justice.  She became the executive director and host for Dreamcatchers for Abused Children Blog Talk Radio.

My Justice
She has proudly become a symbol of hope for women everywhere proving that you do not have to be a victim of your circumstances and that indeed, you are not alone.

Excerpts from her interview:

JLW: What did you do to change your circumstances?

PM: The best thing I ever did to help myself was at 25 and pregnant with my third child, I went back to school. I completed my G.E.D. courses and went on to achieve valedictorian from a small business academy in Fredrick, Maryland - Abbie Business Institute. This gave me the belief in myself that I could actually be more and strive for more than all of the violence and control in my life. That night some 9 years later when I left my second husband; it was this education that gave me the ability to provide us with shelter, clothing, food and the necessities to survive without the financial control and violence of another.

JLW: Could you tell our readership about your publication and the programs that you are affiliated with?

PM: In February 2011, I released the true graphic novel, "My Justice" and finally gave voice to that person who had been forced into the silence of torture and abuse. This was not only my freedom, but more as a way to apologize and explain to my children who their mother was and why there was so much pain in their lives. It also became my strength to reach out and connect with others who had survived these types of trauma. In January 2011 I started creating a "secret" group connection using the Facebook group applications. This is still safely running today and we have a small community of about 50 women who have overcome their circumstances and are now rebuilding their lives. I make it a point to check in with them, provide any resources they may need to get back on their feet. It's very hard work to actually rebuild the person you are, but if you truly want to be safe in your world it is something you must do; if not for yourself then for your children. Any woman who is struggling with this rebuilding and recovery process is welcome to reach out to me at facebook.com/triciagirl62 and we will discuss their needs and the support or resources they may need. Then we include them in our family of positive supporters who are growing stronger and brighter each day.
Also with the publication of "My Justice", I've been able to connect with some wonderful people. Best-selling author and advocate Peter Thomas Senese not only purchased and read my story, but gave rave reviews and provided two major press releases in the PRWeb site. He has become a friend and I've learned of all he is doing as an advocate. In my view his actions are sincerely directed at protecting our children.

To read the full article, please click on the link below:

http://www.examiner.com/article/abuse-a-survivor-s-tale-patricia-s-story 

I take my hat off to Ms. McKnight; not only for finding her own voice, but for being the voice of all women around the world!

To order a copy of Ms. McKnight's book, My Justice, click on the link below!

http://www.amazon.com/My-Justice-ebook/dp/B004R9QGXA

Tricia McKnight


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Writer's Megaphone shouts out author Sharon R. Wells


 Without Permission

Child molestation is a topic that I freely talk about.  Many people don't understand the ramifications of exactly what happens to a child from the moment that they are touched by an adult for sex.  Most times, the child doesn't become aware of the emotional damage that has been done to them until they become an adult, and until then, the pain that they've endured has simply been blended into their everyday existence.  I know of this all too well.

I reviewed Sharon R. Wells book, Without Permission in late 2011.  In this work, she details what happened to her physically and emotionally.  The price that she paid at the early loss of innocence was high, but she turned this into triumph and became the mouth piece for many survivors.

Author Sharon R. Wells
Most people would like to forget what has happened to them.  They feel that they simply need to put the past behind them and live a normal life, not realizing that not only is this what the molester counts on, it is what keeps the victim locked into the role of "victim."

Sharon chronicles her journey as she becomes a young woman and her life spirals into the depths of addiction, despair and failed relationships.  She backs up her findings with statistics and facts by members of the medical community.  As a male abuse survivor, it is important to know that we are no longer victims.  We are not crying or bragging about where we are in life.  We are simply stating what happened to us.  We are saying that it is okay to talk about it.  We are saying that despite our circumstances, we are okay, and that although life is  not perfect for us, it isn't perfect for anyone.

Sharon Wells serves as a light for women everywhere, proving that you can overcome what has been taken from you...without permission!


To order a copy of "Without Permission", click on the link to Angel Wings Publications below:













Excerpts from the interview with Sharon R. Wells

JLW: What was your reason for writing this book?

SRW: I wrote this book to encourage sexual abuse survivors and let them know that they are not alone. Sexual abuse robs victims of their right to be happy and free; victims feel like damaged goods. I don’t want to see anyone go through the pain that I experienced as a sexual abuse victim, it’s so unfair. It was important for me to give them hope and let them know that it’s okay to open up about it. Life does not have to be filled with pain and suffering and it’s a person’s God given right to reclaim their power and love themselves. The guilt and shame that is attached to sexual abuse is what ruins a person’s life. Most times, victims second guess themselves thinking they’ve done something to cause the abuse. People need to feel hope and sexual abuse needs to be brought into the light. There are too many people suffering with the same secret and are too ashamed to tell anyone. My book was written to inspire victims to heal and forgive themselves for something they weren’t responsible for. It was also important for me to allow people to see sexual abuse from all different angles and perspectives. So many people are broken, which may be the reason why they inflict pain upon others. I felt it was helpful to tell the story of an abuser so that people will get a better understanding of who they are. Lastly, it was important for me to share the message about forgiveness. The only way healing will ever begin is by forgiving yourself and others.

JLW: How painful was it for you to write it?

SRW: In the beginning it was very painful for me to have to think about the memories and play the tapes over in my mind. There were many days when I cried about having to confront the issues. I was also angry that the abuse had happened to me. I felt so many emotions; it was as if I was going through a grieving process and experiencing all of the stages of grief. I had a way of burying the memories in the back of my mind and having to revisit them again was like exhuming a dead body.


Read the full review and interview on The Examiner!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Writer's Megaphone introduces Spoken Word Artist Res Berman

 
“Mickey Gaughan”

Mickey Gaughan and me 
Singing Rebel songs 
Deep into the night.
He’d play his records 
And I’d shout from the window
“Louder, Mickey, louder!”
We’d sing “Kevin Barry”
That I learned from
Tony Barry of Ennis
In County Clare.
Then “Brennan on the Moor”
And “They’re Hanging Men and Women
For The Wearing of the Green”
And while we loved
The raucous, militant
Songs of Rebellion
We also loved the quieter 
More poignant ones.
Like “The Foggy Dew”
Whose sweet words 
I first learned on the pillow
Of Beautiful Nonie Collins
Of Dublin Town.
And we’d finish with the haunting
“Glory-o Glory-o 
To the Bold Fenian Men”

***

I was never one of
The Brotherhood
And never would be.
I could not agree
With bombing civilians. 
Mickey knew that
And respected it too.
But we both had 
Deep convictions
About the ‘Rights of Man’
And the rights of men
To fight for their freedom.
And we loved the old songs
That told of the struggle
And man’s love of home
And family and freedom.

***
Apart from close family
I was probably 
The last friendly face
Mickey saw
Before they took him away
And murdered him!
“What’s up, Mickey?” I asked.
“They’re taking me
Across the road,” he replied,
“And I don’t think
They’ll let me come back!”
And true to their word
They didn’t!

***

You were a good friend
And neighbour, Mickey
And oh how I loved
The music we shared.
You were a good soldier
And you paid the
Ultimate price
For your beliefs.
If you didn’t achieve
Everything you fought for
You did put an end
To Force Feeding!
That most barbaric
And hideous of tortures!
And political prisoners 
For generations to come
Should thank you
For that!
And every Englishman 
In whose name
Such tortures
Were carried out,
Should thank you too!
I Thank you!

***

Goodbye old friend
I needn’t tell you 
I liked you well.
You the dedicated
Republican
And bold Volunteer
Me the ex Corporal British Army.
Perhaps we should
Have been enemies
But we,  both common men,
Found more that spoke of brotherhood
Than enmity
More common ground
Than differences
As we both suffered
Under Perfidious Albion’s 
Thumb!

***

I just wish
They’d written
A better song
About you than
“Take me back to Mayo!”
One that captured
The poetry of the Irish soul 
And the ‘Terrible Beauty’
To be found in the songs
We loved to sing
Window to window
In the night!
I am proud
To have known you
And to have called you 
Brother
Glory-o, Glory-o to you,
You Bold Fenian Man

***

R.I.P. Michael Gaughan 
5th October 1949 ~ 3rd June 1974
Soldier of the Irish Republican Army
Hunger Striker
Son and Brother
Friend
 
 


To read more of Res Berman's work, click on the link below to check out his blog!

 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More Books from Divine Garden Press







The Books of A'ndrea J. Wilson's, Divine Garden Press


 Review of "Wife 101"

http://www.examiner.com/review/wife-101-by-a-ndrea-j-wilson


The Writer's Megaphone shouts out Atlanta's own author and publisher, A'ndrea J. Wilson

In the writing industry, the norm seems to be to ignore the benefits of "paying it forward."  What I mean by that is that for most author's, if the conversation isn't set around them or their work, they lose interest rather quickly.  Sometimes, they move on to the next gathering and wait patiently until they are featured, and if they aren't in the spotlight in some way, shape or form, they move on until they are.

Paying it forward...giving advice and guidance in this highly competitive industry seems to have fallen by the wayside...at least from my vantage point.  But there are authors and entrepreneurs who give back.  They will guide you, spend time with you and point you in the right direction because they believe that this is not only the correct thing to do; it may be the only thing to do.

I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to review two of author A'ndrea J. Wilson's books as well as speaking with her personally.  One of the things that I have found is that she is a woman of character.  She has provided me with guidance and wisdom that I have found to be of great value.

This is reflected in the nature of her books, since the thread of commonality seems to be enriching and redeeming the family unit...and she does this, one book at a time.

 
Author and Publisher A'ndrea J. Wilson
As a journalist for The Examiner, it has been my honor and privilege to interview Ms. Wilson to gain additional insight to not only her work as an author, but her take on exactly where the literary industry is headed for self-published authors.

JLW: Your books seem to seem share a common theme. You manage to blend wisdom and religion into a good storyline. In your opinion, is this a trend that you see within the literary community among the average person that desires good African American literature?

AJW: Actually no. I think that this is one of the reasons that this series has been so well received. There are not many books out there that have been able to mix fiction and nonfiction well, and honestly, most do not try. Books tend to be straight nonfiction, fiction for pure entertainment, or fiction with an underlying message. But it is not often that people get the chance to read fiction with blatant nonfictional lessons. Based on the response that I am getting from the Wife 101 Series, I do believe that people are open to this kind of literature and would like to see more of it. Even in my own reading, yes, I like to be entertained, but I love when a books challenges and changes me.

JLW: New authors are coming onto the scene every day. What are some of the common mistakes that you see that they make?

AJW: Lack of professionalism, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of commitment to the process. There are so many people who are living other people's dreams. I've had people tell me that they are writing/publishing or wanting to write/publish, but that is not their talent. They only want to do it because they see myself or someone else doing it and it looks fascinating. Being an author, especially a good author, is a lot of work and requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication. People who simply throw a book together and call themselves an author make it difficult for those who really are passionate about reading and writing. If you are, (or want to be) a new author, take writing and publishing seriously. Be willing to learn both the craft and the publishing business. Invest countless time, money, and energy into yourself and your work. Most likely you will not be an internationally-known, award-winning, bestseller overnight. Book signings and accolades are the smallest part of what an author does. The majority of our time is spent creating and developing ideas, learning, researching, writing, and marketing our work. If this sounds dull, maybe writing is not your God-given purpose.

To read the full interview, click on the link below!

http://www.examiner.com/review/husband-101-by-a-ndrea-j-wilson-1?cid=db_articles

I take my hat off to A'ndrea Wilson, for she is someone that I have come to value not only as an author and constituent...she is also a wonderful ally and colleague.  I wish her all of the success in the world!!

~ J.L. Whitehead

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Coming up this weekend...

One on one with Atlanta's own author and publisher A'ndrea J. Wilson








                                                        Divine Garden Press Publishing



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grandma's Hands

Black maryjane shoes and cute ankle socks on Sunday morning, fighting in the front pew,
as horse drawn carriages roll by slowly in the hot South Carolina sun.

Walking up dusty, unpaved roads, going home to lemonade,
to braid your hair on the back porch.

And you grew to marry and create, and to love and nurture
when nurturing may not have been the first thing on your mind
to do.


Your house - full of love, and laughter intermingled with scents of fried fish and cornbread,
with friendly chatter over sudsy hands while you washed and Mom dried.

How I loved to awaken to bacon, and grits, and the radio and...your humming.

And it was secretly known that we were to be quiet, while you watched "your stories"
which blended into game shows.

You never missed a night of reading a verse from the bible...seated in your favorite chair in the dining room,
while the crickets and cicadas sang softly as the sun slipped sweetly into the comfort of twilight.

Your hands, soft and delicate, like fine parchment paper, always seemed to carry a hint of Jergens lotion.
And you would raise your voice in song to sing snatches of hymns when your mood was light.

How the years rolled by, and I was too young to know,
that time had a way of taking pieces of you...

Until I stood over you, reading a psalm, and you opened your eyes and I saw...gratitude.

And now, if I tilt my head just right, I'll hear you whisper softly on the summer breeze..."I Love You"
And I'll catch a distinct whiff of Jergen's hand lotion.


~ J.L. Whitehead
 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Naomi

I want to tell you a little story about a woman that I know named Naomi.  I had the pleasure of meeting her many years ago, and my memory of her is one of strength and perseverance.  We’ve had many conversations over the years; conversations where she actually invited me into the inner recesses of her life.
She didn’t think that there was anything overly extraordinary about herself.  As a matter of fact, she describes herself as being just another working mother that was out there trying to do the best she could.  But as I listened to her recite the high and low points of her life, it became crystal clear that she wasn’t the average black woman.

She survived a physically abusive marriage.  She told me that after the birth of her third child, she realized that things weren’t going to get any better for herself and her children, and it was in that realization that she summoned the courage to pack their bags, hop on a Greyhound bus and leave the man that she loved…the man that had become everything except the man that she thought he would be.  She went on to say that she willingly put her life on the back
burner, opting instead to raise her sons the only way that she knew how.
When she left, she didn’t have much money, but she had family, and it was in the love of her family that she took solace.  She strove to make sure that her sons never knew that they didn’t have a lot.  Never a day went by where they didn’t have lunch money.  They went on class trips, proms, dates – and she filled their lives with many happy Christmas’s and memorable birthdays.

Throughout all that, she admitted to me that there were many nights that she had cried herself to sleep because of her loneliness, but she hid her pain from her sons.  She said that it was her love that she wanted to share, not her pain or disappointment.
She told me that she wanted to instill in each one of her son’s a strong sense of pride, placing particular emphasis on family.  She said that she wanted them to remember family because in this day in age, sometimes family was  all you had.

I was floored because the more that she talked, the more she struck me as being the exception as opposed to the norm.  She hoped that the day would come when life would become easier for her sons.  You see, she knew that as black men, life wouldn’t be easy for them.  She tried to prepare them for life’s realities – that opportunities to excel were not always readily available for African American men.  And although I have a tendency to agree with her, there’s something that we both notice in this day in age; something that we didn’t expect to see in our lifetime.

There’s an upsurge of pride that has taken root in the African American community.  It has remnants of the pride that black people carried with them when they marched with Dr. Martin Luther King during the turbulent 60’s era.  Black celebrities are finally stepping up and becoming leaders in their communities; lifting up their brothers and sisters instead of making it and then basking in their own success.

Celebrities like Tyler Perry create plays and movies that deliver long overdue messages of empowerment, love and forgiveness…messages that speaks to the core of our very being.  Celebrities like Tavis Smiley who constantly tackle political issues that are relevant to our community.  Celebrities like Tom Joyner who created Black America Web which broadcasts stories of interest as it pertains to black people.  Michael Baisden who has a highly publicized radio talk show that addresses topics of interest pertinent to not only black people, but to all people.

We never thought that we would live to see African American people attempting to help one another in a public forum.  But now we are, because with every charitable act, every broadcast, every fundraiser, I realize that I have a shot at being anything that I want to be.  I can actually believe without a shadow of a doubt that I can become anything – as long as I work hard and persevere,

I’ve never been more proud to be a part of a race of people that have been repressed, persecuted and subjugated into slavery.  I’ve discovered that part of my character is being African American, Negro…Black.  I’ve embraced my rich heritage willingly and lovingly because people like Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Michael Baisden and Naomi make it so easy for me to do so.

And although I may never meet Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey or Michael Baisden, I have met Naomi, who by far is the brightest star out of all of the celebrities that I’ve mentioned.

You see, Naomi’s full name is Naomi Olivia Whitehead – my mother…and being African American doesn’t get any better than that.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What you don't know...

One of the things that I've come to realize about me is that I'm lousy at self-promotion.  It's easier to talk about someone else; better yet if I'm praising them because I feel that in one way or another, I'll get it back.  One of the things that an author friend once told me was that I have to start promoting myself.  To make it in this industry, you have to put shyness in the trunk and toot your own horn from time to time.  How else will someone learn about you?  How else will people know what you have to offer?

Sometimes, it's easier said than done because honestly, I feel like how much can I tell you about me and my work?  What can I tell you that you don't already know?

You know that I have one book out entitled "Bruthas" and you know that it's been out for two years.  You may know that the conclusion of the story is due out this summer using the cover shown below.


But what you don't know is that I'm an advocate for abuse survivors.  Being a sexual abuse survivor myself earns me the right to talk about, write about and shout about it.  There will be storylines where this issue will be addressed.  It'll be as graphic as it has to be in order to drive the point home that this type of behavior needs to stop.  Too many people have been hurt by it already.

I should know.

Still, as a writer, I'm very proud that I do what I do.  I know that if I died tomorrow, someone, somewhere outside of my inner circle will say that they've heard of me.  Let's just hope that it's in a good way.

In the meantime, I'm proud to say that I write for Me Magazine based out of Washington, D.C.  I hope that those of you of the LGBT Community will check out the publication when you have the time and support my friend, Michael Peart for doing an extraordinary job of living his dream.

I will continue to write for The Examiner, showcasing talent when I can.  I hope that you follow this blog and check out the reviews I've written as well as the books that are forthcoming from me, my constituents and my company, Four Brothers Publications!

More updates to the follow!

In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me at www.fourbrotherspublications.com and tell me what's on your mind!  I would love to hear from you!!

~ J.L. Whitehead

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Books of E.C. Stilson

The Golden Sky Comes After the Storm
How to Avoid Having Sex


How to Lose a Tooth

Bible Girl & the Bad Boy

The Sword of Senack

Homeless in Hawaii




http://www.ecstilson.com/

The Writer's Megaphone shouts out author E.C. Stilson




E.C. Stilson






 
I've had the privilege of reviewing author E.C. Stilson's  work on two occasions, and each of those occasions, it was a pleasure to read her work.  Her writing style is light, bordering on whimsical.  Initially, I thought that I would be bored reading her work.  I kept thinking, "Where is the drama?"  "Where is her hook?"

That's when I realized that E.C. had a different way of telling a story and yet still manage to hold your attention.  The drama wasn't hidden in the circumstances as much as it was nestled within the emotions.  When she hurt, I hurt.  When she shed tears, I was tempted to join her.

Ms. Stilson's work isn't for everyone.  For readers that are yearning for murder and mayhem, this author isn't for you.  But for people that want to become immersed in a flowing river of emotions; whether it be sadness, frustration or pain, this author's work may be one to be stored on your bookshelves.







The Writer's Megaphone is proud to shout out author, wife and mother, E.C. Stilson!

To learn more about E.C. Stilson and her work, please visit the website below:

http://www.ecstilson.com/