Thursday, August 13, 2015

Excerpt from My Next Breath (book 2)

The Bitter Pill
“Sorry, I came as soon as I could,” he huffed. “Rush hour is getting worse. It used to be a time when I could get across town in fifteen minutes, now it takes me forty-five. How much of your break do you have left?”
“George, she hates me,” Maggie blurted out.
“What? Who hates you?”
George stood alongside her, leaning against the linoleum counter top.
“She doesn’t hate you.” George took both Maggie’s hands so that she faced him. He positioned her body to align with his and flashed his perfectly aligned, pearly white teeth.
He was a large man, tall with broad shoulders. His hands were the size of baseball mitts but as soft and comforting as a velour bath robe. He had always treated her with an undeserving amount of kindness and respect. He was her own personal safety blanket, there when she needed him, but stowed away when she didn’t. George deserved so much more. He needed someone who would give, not just take.
“You should’ve seen her at the Wal-Mart. She was lookin’ at me like I was yesterday’s trash.” She let go of his hands and marched into the living room, even more agitated.
George followed her. He took a seat on the sofa and watched her pace back and forth.
“Magdalena, come sit down.” George reached for her hand and pulled her bottom down on his lap. “Remember what we learned in AA. Our sobriety has to be the most important thing next to God. We can’t let anyone distract us from that.”
“I don’t have enough money to be paying for no party, but I swear I’m gonna pay her back, no matter what.”
“Look at me,” he demanded. “You’re good enough.” George said, then pecked her on the cheek.
“So, when are you gonna tell them about us?” he smiled sarcastically.
George had been hinting around at making their relationship more serious, but Maggie continued to keep him in limbo. If she didn’t make a decision soon, she’d risk losing him.
“What about us?” Maggie asked.
“You know what about. That we’re seeing each other.” George gave her a playful shake.
Maggie laughed then slid off his lap and took a seat next to him.
“We’re friends. That’s it.”
“Friends? Do friends sleep together?” he asked slyly.
“That was one time.” Maggie giggled then looked away, embarrassed that she had fallen victim in her moment of weakness.
“One good, long time,” he laughed.
Maggie smiled, remembering how desirable and loved she’d felt. It was intoxicating.
“You know AA warns us about trading in one addiction for another. We’re still learning ’bout each other,” Maggie said. “And my past ain’t all that squeaky clean.”
“The past is in the past,” George said, moving in so close that she felt his breath on her neck.
“It’s not good for you to be alone. You need someone like me in your life. Someone that knows how to sing,” George said. He started belting out a tune, “I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go.”
Maggie laughed hysterically.
“There’s that beautiful smile,” he said.
He kissed the back of her neck.
“George, stop.” She begged sweetly.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt to read more or to purchase click here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Letter That Touched My Heart

Every now and then I receive a letter that just touches my heart and removes any doubt as to why I am a writer. I thought I'd share it with you.

I have just finished reading the book [Breathe for Me] TODAY and it is no coincidence that God made me wait until now to read it. You see, I am currently in a situation where I was dating a great guy and we ended up committing ourselves into a relationship. We broke up because of a misunderstanding that I credit is most of my fault. But more importantly, as I look back at our situation in retrospect, I took God out of it and clearly He ain't having it. 

Lately, the guy and I have been back and forth and I have tried to force so many things onto the guy. Currently, the guy is saying things that do not line up with his actions. For example, he had never said that he does not care for me, but me being in my feelings (not getting my way) has led me to believe that it was the case. Yet his actions show me that he cares. Finally I am convinced that only God and time can fix this. Now this guy is a great guy, much like Marcus which is why I am persistent in my praise knowing that God will fix this for us. 

In your story you wrote that Tara and Marcus were separated for three months, (I think), while I feel like this is a long time for my guy and I, it made me realize the reality of just how powerful time and prayer are. I enjoyed reading a love story that showed two young people who lived a Godly life. This is not something that is common with my age group. It is easy for women my age to think that we have to give up our bodies in order to have life, love and happiness, when really it is God who gives all of these things, freely. That is the beauty of grace! I have been sexually active in the past and I am finally foolish enough to believe that even in this corrupt world, there is a man that will wait until marriage. I simply must set the standard. 

I saw a lot of myself in Tara because I too suffered many abusive situations as a child but I kept going. I recently graduated from College and I am headed to law school, Lord's will.  

Towards the end of the book, you wrote, " Tara understood that in order to make her marriage and relationships work, she had to turn her burdens over to the only source who is big enough to handle it" ( pg. 304). Wow! How amazing is that! To know that as a believer I do not have to hurt or carry on bitterness! That God loves me so much that He will do all of that for me. I have decided that I will truly make God my everything and dismiss anything that does not glorify Him. 

Thank you for being a light for me when I was in a dark place. Your book has encouraged me to not pay attention to that mainstream media and see what God says about my situations. I can also say that this book has indirectly brought me closer to the Lord. 

I need to read some more of your material...what do you suggest next? You may end up becoming my favorite author! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ray Loves Janay

Ray loves Janay. It sounds like a great title for a novel. It's true he does love her. Ray loves Janay the only way he knows how. Now, before you begin to call me crazy, and drag your mouse to the close button, hear me out.  Ray is only capable of giving what he possesses. Yes, he has some major deficiencies: self control, self esteem, and his morale compass is pretty skewed. But, guess what? We created this monster.

Ray Rice is accustomed to hearing "yes" from everyone. As a matter of fact, he expects it. From the time he hit the football field as a freshman at New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, New York, he has been winning championships and setting records. Teachers, coaches, family, and friends saw greatness in him and decided to ride the proverbial "gravy train" until the wheels fell off. In most cases, athletes like Raymell Mourice Rice, are birthed into the family of "as long as you win, to hell with everything else."

Ray rice, shows his love and receives love much like all athletes at the top of their game, with hesitation and trepidation. They never understand who really loves them and who is simply using them. If we're honest with ourselves, we, as fans, have a fickle kind of love.  We only care and love our athletes when they win and for the most part are unconcerned about off-the-field behavior. Can you see how this type of message sets a precedence? We love our athletes based on contingencies.

Athletes are desperate to maintain perfection and win championships. They possess a love/hate relationship with their fans and the game, often times feeling depressed and disarrayed. Therefore in order to maintain control and ensure that the love keeps flowing from the fans, and from loved ones, aggression is used on the field...and sometimes off the field.  Add to the mix, the introduction of performance enhancing drugs which often breed hostility, and this becomes a dangerous combination.
So what do we do to fix this? Stop idolizing our athletes. Give them the support at the beginning of their career to build up the whole person, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Punish and correct bad behavior immediately and at an early age. Lastly, teach our girls to value themselves and their relationships by walking away when abuse comes into play.

Ray does love Janay, but when love knocks you unconscious, it's time to move on.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lesson 18. Whose fault is it, anyway?

Pointing the finger and blaming someone else for our setbacks is easy and quite convenient.  In my case, I blamed everyone from the doctor to God.  It should have taken a maximum of 12 weeks to heal, and I was wondering what in the world God was waiting on.  Was it me?  Was it something I should have been doing?  It’s during times like these that all of us experience the shaking of our faith.  When the sharks begin to circle and the wolves have you surrounded, how will you react?

My solution was to pray and have faith... but minutes later I’d return to searching for my own answers.  This is what you call negating your confession.  After several months of tears, questions, and utter disbelief, I began to receive God’s clear message for me.  

Early one Tuesday morning as I stood in the bathroom washing my hands, He spoke to me.  I grabbed a pen and a pad, sat down on the cold, tile floor, and wrote down every word.  Those words eventually became the chapter content for each of the lessons in this book.  I delayed starting this project for months, oftentimes pinning the blame on God for not doing His part first.  I knew He had the power to heal me, He just didn’t want to. 

Soon I had to face my own reality: I was the one standing in the way.  I allowed fear to outweigh my faith.  Picking it up and putting it back down was what a friend said I had been doing.  It was my greatest aha moment.  My words professed my faith, but my actions told quite a different story.  What heavy weight are you holding on to that’s preventing your recovery?  What are your actions confessing?

Sure, you can justifiably blame those who failed to protect you, took advantage of you, or disappointed you, but blaming won’t produce a different outcome. Forgiveness takes courage and in return it gives you power.  Forgiveness redirects the energy away from the offender and shifts it back to you.  Release the blame and reclaim your power—reclaim your life.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Has Greek Life Turned Sour

   For my son, college is just around the corner. We've had many ups and downs, as my husband and I have experienced the frustrations of teenage angst. Through it all, I can say I am extremely proud of my son’s accomplishments. We speak to our son often in regards to how he should conduct himself and the type of person he plans to become.

   This past week I decided to talk to him about Greek life. I had to tread lightly because I know he has already established that he intends to pledge. Suffice it to say, the current portrayal of Greek life disturbs me greatly. Please understand that I am only speaking generally and not all of these observations will apply.

   When I was in college (clearing throat) way back in the 80's, there was a heavy presence of Greek life. Packs of red and white, pink and green, purple and gold, and blue and white roamed the campus with an abundance of confidence. They were the bells of the ball, the black and gold kings of the castle, envied by most and despised by others.

   I attended a sorority rush out of curiosity, as several sorority members were already friends of mine. During the meeting, I was educated on the history of the sorority and its true intent.

   According to StateUniversity.Com, the origins of Greek life date back to 1800's, where secret groups met at off-campus houses to offer opportunities for non-academic socializing. After gaining acceptance by college officials in the late 1800's, Greek life was officially established. Greeks on campus contributed to the college experience. But more importantly, they solved the colleges’ problem of limited housing, by offering to their members living accommodations at their privately owned fraternity houses.

   The perception of Greek life has changed drastically since the 1800's. I myself have heard the rumblings of pledges beaten with two-by-fours, forced to commit atrocious sexual acts, and humiliated publicly. Unfortunately these are the stories that make headline news, not the community service or the universal camaraderie. Just recently University of Mississippi was under fire when three students from Sigma Phi Epsilon (Alpha chapter) were expelled after hanging a noose around a statue of James Meredith, the first black student to enroll at the school. University of Mississippi handled this racially sensitive incident admirably, offering a $25,000 reward for their capture. Another fraternity member of Sigma Phi Epsilon met life threatening opposition when he decided to turn in his three frat brothers to the police. 

   Is this merely an image problem or is there actual cause for concern? What should we tell our kids when they decide to pledge?  I would love to know your thoughts on this subject.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February Is Black History Month

It's here, the time of year when we reflect on all the extraordinary contributions African Americans have made in our great nation. Those who have achieved success while also giving back are too numerous to count.  Many shoulders have carried the weight of oppression so that we may freely live. We honor those greats who made tremendous sacrifices for the sake of freedom and the advancement of all people. 

In honor of this month, I would like to share with you my top ten list of what I call "Breakthrough Stars". These are people who overcame insurmountable odds to accomplish their dreams. Some of them may be familiar while others are relatively unknown. They are (or in some cases, were) strong in their convictions, tireless in their fight, and steadfast in their faith. 

Terri’s Top Breakthrough Stars

Autum Ashante was raised by a single father. She was ridiculed by highly regarded conservatives at the age of 7 for writing a poem that highlighted the travesty of slavery.  Autum never wavered and mastered languages such as Arabic, Swahili, and Spanish.  She scored 149 on the standard IQ test. At age 13, she was accepted into the University of Connecticut.

Joan Elizabeth Higginbotham was born in Chicago, Illinois, and attended Whitney Young Magnet High School, graduating in 1982. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1987, and a Masters of Mangement Science (1992) and Masters in Space Systems (1996) both from the Florida Institute of Technology.  She is the third African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison and Stephanie Wilson.

Solomun Northup
was a free-born African American from New York, the son of a freed slave. A farmer and violinist, he owned a property in Hebron. In 1841 he was kidnapped by slave-traders, having been enticed with a job offer as a violinist.  He wrote a book about his journey. In 2013 the movie Twelve Years a Slave was released.

Kenneth Irvine Chenault is an American business executive. He has been the CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001.  He is the third African American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Ursula M. Burns serves as Chairman and CEO of Xerox. She is the first African-American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. She is also the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company.

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Shani Davis became the first Black athlete (from any nation) to win a gold medal in an individual sport, winning the speed skating 100 meter event.  He also won a silver medal in the 1500 meter event.  At the 2010 Winter Olympics he became the first to duplicate this feat, winning a gold medal in the 1000 meter and a silver medal in the 1500 meter.  Watch for Shani Davis in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Isabel Wilkerson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American Journalist and the author of New York Times Best Selling book, The Warmth of Other Suns.Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.


Ronald Harmon "Ron" Brown was the United States Secretary of Commerce, serving during the first term of President Bill Clinton. He was the first African American to hold this position. He was killed, along with 34 others in a 1996 plane crash in Croatia.

Barrington Antonia Irving, Jr., C.D was the youngest person to pilot a plane around the world solo.  He is also the first black person and the first Jamaican to accomplish this feat.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Author Terri Whitmire Answers 7 Questions in 7 Minutes

Q: Who are your favorite authors?
Terri: Believe it or not when I was in elementary school, I loved to read The Hardy Boys and The Nancy Drew mysteries. In high school, I can remember reading Sydney Sheldon's steamy novels. As an adult, my favorite authors are Alice Walker, Terry Blackstone, Barbara Kingsolver, and Iyanla Vanzant. I love reading fiction novels that teach me about different cultures, races, and ethnicities. Unfortunately, I have a short attention span, (lol) so the book has to be a page turner with lots of twists. This is the style I like to emulate.

Q: What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Terri: I have a husband and three children who count on me to be there every day. I am so thankful to God for each day He gives me to spend with them. Before I lift my head from the pillow, my mind has already formulated a to-do list. If you're a busy mom, you'll understand how much we must accomplish each day. Yes, we make it looks effortless but it is certainly challenging. After God, my family is my top priority and its my job to keep everything running as smoothly as possible for them. I start my day with a prayer of thanks. Next, I prepare my children for school, then it's right to my computer for another day of writing, responding to my readers, promoting, scheduling... and the list goes on.

Q: How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Terri: Since I have become friends with various authors, I try to support them by reading and reviewing their work. I also use social media and websites like Pinterest to discover what's new.

Q:What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Terri: I rely heavily on word of mouth. We have become a nation inundated with social media, television, cell phones, and radio, all jockeying for our dollars. Like many other readers, I've been disappointed when the hype of a book (clearing throat -Grey Series) receives so much attention and fanfare only to be a let-down. I don't ever want my readers to feel that way, so I let others speak for me. I love interviews because it lets the reader know more about me. I also love sharing my work by way of live readings. I enjoy performing these and my readers do as well. I don't pressure my readers by constantly bombarding them with pleadings to purchase my books. I let my work speak for itself and pray that God will lead my stories to the right people.

Q:Describe your desks.
Terri: I write in two different places. The desk in my kitchen is made of an unforgiving Granite stone. It's extremely hard and I've learned it puts too much pressure on my wrists. But working in my kitchen has its advantages. When I'm hungry or stuck on a tough chapter, I don't have to go far for a snack. (Can you see how that can also be a negative?) I also have a small desk in my bedroom which looks out into the backyard, where my kids play and where the willow tree is planted in remembrance of my dad. The property is lined with large Leland Cypress and Pine Trees. I enjoy them most in the winter when snowflakes adorn the branches, turning the backyard into a winter wonderland. It's a a very peaceful view and the place where I've done some of my best writing.

Q:Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Terri: I grew up in a very small town called Waterbury, Connecticut. Some years ago, it was rated the worst place to live, because of the lack of jobs.The Timex Watch Company, where my grandfather worked for years, had closed shop along with a slew of other manufacturing plants. The town died and drugs, corruption, and crime moved in. As a child I was very aware of my surroundings and sensitive to people's emotions. That's why In high school my career choice was to become a psychologist. I had a knack for understanding human behavior. I guess that's why most people say my characters feel so real.

Q:When did you first start writing?
Terri: I can remember writing short stories in the seventh grade. My best friend and I would write "junior harlequin," romance novels (usually centering around a juvenile crush). I also wrote poems and letters for Mother's Day and birthdays. One year while visiting for the holidays, my mother surprised me when she pulled out a poem I had written to her in the 8th grade. I read it aloud and was pleasantly surprised. I don't recall writing it, but you know was pretty good.