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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Faith-Based Hip-Hop Artist Lecrae Continues His Inspired Journey this Fall with Rehab

Still sky high off the ascension of Rebel, his 2008 album, to the top of the Billboard Christian Albums chart, a first for any rapper, Lecrae, the world's best selling faith-based hip-hop artist, refuses to let up. Encouraged even more by the unprecedented 75-plus weeks Rebel spent on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart, Lecrae has returned with Rehab, his fourth album. Scheduled for a fall release, with Rehab, Lecrae is even more focused than ever on spreading the gospel to even wider audiences.

Unlike so many hip-hop artists who have preceded him in both the Christian/Gospel and mainstream realms, Lecrae offers complex lyrics that give voice and provide thoughtful discourse about today's challenges. Using his considerable skill for a higher purpose, Lecrae stretches beyond hip-hop's limitations on both sides of the industry to reach a larger audience hungry for salvation. To that end, Lecrae employs energetic beats and inspired lyricism to meet listeners, saved and unsaved, where they are, addressing their skepticism while also advancing God's love as the ultimate solution to their woes. As with his previous albums, Lecrae uses Rehab to push beyond stereotypes to capture a generation of believers who would otherwise be lost.

Featuring top-notch production that easily rivals most mainstream hip-hop offerings, Lecrae continues to use his skills for God, expanding his consistent and genuine message of love and redemption with Rehab. Executed with deep thought and reflection, with Rehab, Lecrae further demonstrates his ability to dissect the larger issues of the contemporary world while also reconciling living a righteous life in an often unrighteous world.

"I named it Rehab," he says of the album's title, "because I feel as if everyone is looking to find a sense of purpose and worth and value," explains Lecrae. "We're all kind of messed up. We all have issues and we all have addictions in one form or the other and I just look to point people to the answers through rehabilitation."

Staying true to his mission of "giving people authentic, good music that really helps them out," Lecrae avoids the self-righteous indignation that has prevented some Christians from spreading the gospel. Capturing people at their own crossroads, Lecrae favors "reality" raps that emphasize his own struggles and those of others in hopes of reaching those who are like he once was and "Used to Do It" featuring KB is one of his many vehicles.

Boasting a very musical track slightly reminiscent of the infectious rhythms of the timeless "Little Drummer Boy" that literally defies one to remain still, "Used to Do It" makes clear that both rappers have been where many of their listeners are. "I used to do it too" repeats incessantly throughout the song as the lyrics subtly reveal how finding Jesus transformed each rapper's life. Alternating lyrics like "now I'm something different" and "saved from my own sins" with "I'm changed" that make up parts of the hook don't thrive off of preaching, but, rather, peer-to-peer reaching.

By delving deep into the bowels of temptation, "Killa" hits harder. "I know it's gone kill me/But I just can't let it go/And it tastes so appealing/It's got a grip upon my soul" begin the lyrics after several "killa" chants over a sinewy, contemporary track. The brooding production augments the high drama as other lyrics like "sipping on seduction while we eating on some secret sin" and "evil look so lovely covered in her lace of lies" further emphasize how formidable the obstacles along the road to righteousness truly are.

On "Children of the Light," a collaboration with Christian metal group P.O.D. singer Sonny Sandoval that's one of Lecrae's favorite songs on Rehab, a strong guitar riff helps to kick off the track just before the heavy drums thunder in. "We are children of the light/Royal rulers of the day/Saints over the streets of the night/Because only love can lead the way." Very musically diverse, with an infectious feel that's a guaranteed chart-topper, "Children of the Light," which even incorporates reggae, promises a broad appeal that's sure to be an anthem for Christians of all musical persuasions.

Poised to surpass Rebel, Rehab continues to mesh stellar and artistically inspired production with a purposeful message intended to captivate and steer today's mislead generation towards salvation. Free of the extremely negative messages that permeate much of contemporary hip-hop but infused with the energy that makes the music so alluring, Lecrae is sure to extend his reign as the world's leading faith-based hip-hop artist with Rehab.

Born in Texas and raised largely there, with stints in several cities, including San Diego, by a single mother, the Atlanta-based Lecrae, emerged on the music scene in 2005 with Real Talk on Reach Records, the label he co-founded. Well-received, the album peaked at #29 on the Billboard Gospel Albums Chart. His 2006 follow-up After the Music Stops reached #5 on the same chart, even landing at #7 on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart and #16 on the Billboard Heatseeker Albums Chart. Rebel, his third and most successful album to date released in 2008, topped the Billboard Christian Albums Chart for two weeks, becoming the first rap album to do so. In addition, Rebel spent more than 75 weeks on the Billboard Gospel Albums Chart. A critical and commercial hit, Lecrae has received three GMA Dove Award nominations, the industry's highest honor and even won a Gospel Music Channel award for Best Hip-Hop Video.

For more information on Lecrae, please visit or contact Bradley Tomlinson at 404-775-8053.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blog Tour Feature: Soon After by Sherryle Kiser Jackson

Getting to Know Sherryle Kiser Jackson

TPS: Sherryle, when did you first begin writing?

Sherryle:  I can say I have been preparing to be a writer my whole life. I was that one who got in trouble for writing notes in school. My notes were so entertaining that in high school I would dramatize crushes and break-ups in mini books. I remember wanting to be a news reporter. I have an early memory of a typewriter I used to carry up and down the stairs with me. I remember falling down the stairs with it and being extremely sad when it didn’t work anymore. Subsequently, I wrote articles and copy for both my Junior and Sr. High School newspaper and yearbook. By my senior year, I was editor-in-chief of both.

TPS:  What is the name of your first published work and what is the story about?

Sherryle:  Soon and Very Soon was my first novel published in 2007 by Urban Christian/Urban Books/Kensington. It was a story about two pastors who get married and decide to combine their churches.

TPS:  How do you come up with your stories, characters, etc.?

Sherryle:  Most stories have characters or themes I have meditated on for some time. With my first novel, Soon and Very Soon, I wanted to write on what I knew. It really was a marriage- a marriage between my passion (writing) and my faith. In my second novel, I wrote about a troubled teen and his parents' struggle to get him on track. I had seen enough of this scenario as a teacher in the Middle School. Soon After marks the return of my franchise characters, Willie and Vanessa Green.

TPS:  When do you get most of your writing done?

Sherryle:  I get my writing in mostly in the morning before anyone is up and the house is quiet. Sometimes I write by the light of the computer screen. Because I am a teacher, I have the added benefit of writing during the summer.

TPS:  Do you have any other projects on the horizon?

Sherryle:  I am currently writing my 4th novel Taylor-Made.

TPS:  What other authors do you like?

Sherryle:  I love Ernest Gaines and Pearl Cleage. They are expert storytellers whose style is simplistic and clean. Now for action, I got to read Eric Jerome Dickey. His Gideon series – hot, it’s just pure adrenaline. I credit Victoria Christopher Murray with helping me define which genre I wanted to write for. Her stories are edifying entertainment without being preachy.

TPS:  What activities do you enjoy in your spare time?

Sherryle:  Sitting still - -honestly sounds like paradise to me. I’m very busy so in my down time I like to sit and reflect, read a little bit, maybe listen to music

TPS:  Please share your upcoming events (book release, signings, workshops, conferences)?

Sherryle:  As you know, this interview is apart of a blog tour. I will be appearing on several blogs like RAW SISTAZ ( on Sept. 7th, Shades of Romance Magazine ( on September 8th and APOOO ( on Sept. 10th.

My Soon After Mystery Launch party will be held at the Urban Knowledge Bookstore in the Arundel Mills Mall, Hanover MD from 5-8. After that, I am signing books at the Capitol Bookfest in Harrisburg, PA (Sept. 18) and Largo, MD (Oct. 2nd) & the Baltimore Bookfest on Sept. 26th.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blog Tour Feature: Desires of the Heart by Beverly Taylor


What would you do if you were in jeopardy of losing your man to another woman? Carson and Katharine O’Connor seem on the surface to be perfect people—good looking, successful and God-fearing, but no one could accuse them of being too perfect to be believable.

Katharine spends her life building a home and family until the day Carson leaves her and allows a voluptuous, cunning school counselor, Cindy Lomax, and her disturbed pre-teen daughter, Deanna, to move in with him on a temporary, platonic basis—or so he thinks. Katharine must find her way beyond the past and will stop at nothing to rebuild her marriage, to include having breast and buttock implants in order to compete with Cindy’s striking figure in winning her husband back.

When tragedy strikes, Carson realizes it was pure love that guided him to Katharine. Is it too late for Carson to rectify his mistake with her? Will Cindy’s vengeful tactics prevail? Will Deanna’s criminal intention manifest itself? Will Katharine find the strength to forgive, despite the fiery darts that have been thrown at her?

Desires of the Heart is a story of lost and found faith, learning to love yourself, how one man’s selfish decisions affect and endanger those around him, and a stunning glimpse into how man looks on outward appearance but God looks on the heart.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eddie Connor: A Man on the Move - He's Purposefully Prepared to Persevere

Purposefully Prepared to Persevere by Eddie Connor

Review by Tavares S. Carney

Roadblocks vs. Detours

Purposefully Prepared to Persevere is an autobiographical testimony of author, Eddie Connor’s, personal journey from being diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness to the man he is today. Between the covers of Purposefully Prepared to Persevere, readers will learn who Eddie Connor was a boy, traveling with him as he shares the emotional, physical and spiritual transitions that transpired from then until now. He shares the diagnosis, the treatments, actions of friends and family and so much more. The best part about this book is that Eddie Connor shares what was going on in his mind, body and spirit at varying stages, from diagnosis to deliverance. Eddie is a very engaging writer, using language that is very relatable to youth and young adults. His words are very encouraging.

I recommend this book to readers who need inspiration after what seems like a life storm. Eddie explains, through his own account, how faith, positive thinking, healthy living and a positive environment all play a part in healing and overcoming.

About Eddie Connor

Eddie Connor was born in Southfield, Michigan but grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. The British Education that Eddie received during his formative years in Jamaica can be attributed to his thirst for knowledge. As a product of a divorced family, Eddie realizes that he was not born with a "silver spoon" in his mouth, but was raised by a strong mother, who instilled in him lifelong values and the importance of governing himself as a positive individual. His mother, Dr. Janice K. Connor (author of "Propelling Faith"), has been a missionary to Jamaica for the past twenty-five years, and has raised her son to be a standout man of excellence.

As an Author, Educator, Evangelist, Motivational Speaker, Poet, Radio and TV Host, Eddie Connor shares his story of overcoming cancer in his three books, "Purposefully Prepared to Persevere", "Collections of Reflections: Symphonies of Strength, Volumes 1-3", and "E.CON the ICON". Eddie encourages youth to overcome life's obstacles on his radio program, "Youth On The March" which broadcasts on AM 1500 WLQV (, every 2nd Saturday of each month, from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. in Detroit, Michigan.

Today, the 20-something author, minister, inspirational speaker and amazing human being continues to share his triumphant story of how he made it to Hell and back.

For more on Eddie Connor, please visit

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Interview: Authoress, Sandra Boykin

Authoress, Sandra Boykin

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing at the age of 11. I didn't know it then that it was my greatest indwelled gift from God. I was just inspired to write short stories and poetry. I remember even way back then how I could visualize stories in my head, almost like watching a movie, and then I would put pen to paper. It's very rewarding. I encourage everyone to seek the gift/talents that God has given them, as it is not so much for us, but for us to be a blessing to others. God reminded me one day - He said to me, "It is my responsibility to take care of you, and for you to feed my sheep.”

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I actually considered myself a writer as a young teen. I knew it was the one thing that I did well. It just came naturally to me. As I got older, God, you could say, "watered my gift,” and it has grown as He has elevated me for his glorification.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I've been writing for some 35 years, but I never could have imagined having my manuscript in print. Approximately 5 years or so ago, when God instructed me to write "The Table's Edge", he told me that it would be published. I must admit I was a little doubtful, but I persevered, and wrote on the topics in my book that were not so easy to write because of the content. My book touches on child abuse, neglect and abandonment, rape, domestic violence, STD’s and AIDS. Some of these topics are very close to my heart. This time, my writing wasn't about what I wanted to say, but what God instructed me to do. It is necessary that the enemy be exposed. It is necessary that we help people to unveil the masks they wear in their day-to-day lives. People must get back to communicating and stop allowing the enemy to cause separation by texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I pray that my novel series, "The Table's Edge" and its sequel, "The Table's Edge 2", which will be released this December, will do just that.

Please tell us your latest news.

Right now I am in the process of working on a reprint of my debut novel, The Table’s Edge. I am working on my sequel, “The Table's Edge 2”. I don't want to give anything away. The Table's Edge is a cliffhanger. Readers will have to wait until the sequel is out. I've gotten a lot of comments saying, 'I can't wait until the sequel’ or ‘What happens next?' A third novel, “In the Absence of Man”, is also in the works.

I have been blessed to be televised twice already this summer, and have attended 2 conferences in Atlanta: The Hank Stewart 9th Annual White Linen Affair, where Kendra Norman-Bellamy hosted The Literary Cafe, and The Black Chocolate Social Affair hosted by Ella Curry. Additionally, I've been asked to speak at Durham's Center for Employment Training "CET" on entrepreneurship and for the "Women of Essence" about the topic, "What Is Breaking Me". This presentation will be televised on our local community calendar, channel 18, in 2 weeks on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

I have a lot to be thankful for. God is working it out not only for my good, but for the good of others that I can bless. I give him all the glory!

Do you have a specific writing style?

When I write I get into my space and be still. I listen quietly and wait for God's inspiration, and then it just flows freely from my hand to the paper.

How did you come up with the title, “The Table’s Edge”?

Actually I didn't. The Table's Edge was spiritually inspired and when I pray about the title to my work and characters, I seek from the Holy Spirit. So when I heard the words The Table's Edge, believe me when I say I had to ask God - "Am I hearing you right?" When God revealed to me the message behind the title, it makes sense. The main character in the story, Charlotte, finds peace and comfort from the turmoil of her home underneath the table's edge in her mother's kitchen. It’s also because people live their life on the edge, and that there are some people who will go to great lengths to push you over the edge.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes - communication and rebuilding relationships. Because of the in-depth content, my prayer is that after reading my novel series, parents will validate their children so that they don't seek it from the world, that people will seek Godly counsel before getting married, that children will stop having children, leaving some of those children being unwanted, that it will help someone that has been raped, abused, abandoned and just basically unloved or lost to have a closer walk with God and their family.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I believe that all authors write on some of their experiences, but my novel is fiction.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The ending. It’s hard to close out because your product is like your baby, and when you're done its like it’s over, but it’s good to relive my joy of writing it with my readers when they have finished reading it.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Having to expose some of myself and my life in the content. Also having to put domestic violence into words. I remember asking God, “how do you put a man beating a woman into words.” He quickly answered in-kind and said, “I will put the words into your mouth.” That was the hardest part.

Who designed your book cover?

It’s funny that you ask that. You know my cover begins with a sketch. God created the design and placed it on my heart. I can't draw, but my cousin's son, Rodney Coffin, Jr. is a wonderful sketch artist. God said do something different. Everybody's cover tends to look the same, but my cover tells the story. I heard from several that I wouldn't be able to get it [the cover] in print from a sketch, but the devil is a liar. Alex Johnson, who lives in Atlanta, GA, took my sketch and made a wonderful book cover – better than I could ever have imagined. You can reach Rodney Coffin at and Alex Johnson at

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I tell you, God brought about a healing for my soul, as I am certain that it will do for the readers. I came out stronger, wiser, and able to put to rest some of my own demons - and to forgive those who had wronged me.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

That's a hard question to answer because not only do I love to write, I love to read. I can say that Jacquelin Thomas and Terri McMillan were two that inspired me. Terri McMillan's book, "Mama", is actually my favorite. I also like the writing style of Eric Jerome Dickey, but I wouldn't actually say that I consider them as mentors; however, I do like their styles of writing.

What book are you reading now?

I'm not. I don't read when I'm in the process of writing or editing my work. Even if I did, I wouldn't have the time.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yes, most definitely. Myi-shanka McMillian. She wrote a book entitled "The Little Girl Inside of Me". This is a powerful and heart wrenching story. She wrote of the abuse that she went through from age 3 to age 14. It moved me so, I actually had to stop and pray after reading it. If she could forgive those who had abused her, then I must forgive them as well. I can honestly say that her book, which includes her poetry, is a must read.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The first thing that I say to anyone who has just started to write or has a passion for writing is to keep a pen and journal handy at all times because you never know when the inspiration is going to hit you and you want to be prepared. I would also say to them to be encouraged, no matter how hard it might seem. This process is not easy, but the reward is great. I must have cried a thousand tears when my finished product arrived by UPS. So I say to them, 'the easiest thing to do is to give up, so don't.'

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes. Please go to my web site: and leave me a comment. I would also like to let them know that I will help any 1st time author get started in the process. And of course to say "thank you for your patronage and support!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

National Black Book Festival

The National Black Book Festival (NBBF) is an annual event, sponsored by, the world's largest African-American retailer online. The event attracts a wide array of authors, publishers, book clubs, libraries and individual readers from the Southwest U.S. and nationwide. NBBF 2011 will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Houston.

The event features a pavilion of authors, including those who are notable and new. Book signing and discussion sessions with featured authors, workshops and seminars, a spoken word poetry slam and door prizes are just a few of the exciting featured activities at NBBF. Authors will be grouped according to genre and there are 18 genres that will be represented.

The Festival is open to the public and admission is $5.00 per day for adults and teens. Admission is FREE for children under the age of 12.

All events will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Houston. The Festival schedule includes the following events (items with asterisk [*] are ticketed events which require ticket purchase in advance):

Friday, June 10, 2011 @ 7:00 p.m.

"Welcome to Houston" Reception*

Friday, June 10, 2011 - 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

Slumber Party w/Author Mary B. Morrison*

Ladies only - Must be 18 years of age

Saturday, June 11, 2011 @ 8:00 to 9:30 a.m.

"Get Acquainted" Breakfast*

Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 9:00 a.m.

Sunday Worship Service

Sunday, June 12, 2011 @ 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Sunday Jazz Brunch*

Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 4:00 p.m.

Spoken Word Poetry Slam

Tickets for the above events may be purchased online here:

For more information, please e-mail .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Review: Inside Rain by Monique D. Mensah

Inside Rain by Monique D. Mensah

Amazon Rating: 4

Review by Tavares S. Carney

Voices and Visions

Author, Monique D. Mensah, delivers a gripping psychological thriller with her second novel, Inside Rain. After being witness to her mother’s cold-blooded murder, the emotional trauma suffered causes Rain to question voices of reason, all the while grappling to understand what actually happened the night her life changes forever.

Danny, Carmen, Gigi, Kyle and Jay Jay are interesting characters. I found Gigi and Kyle nurturing and genuinely concerned for Rain’s well-being, while “siblings” Danny and Carmen are the voices of reason Rain relies upon to help her deal with the loss of her mother. Jay Jay was a user and vindictive. I didn’t like him at all.

While reading this novel, I thought about the effects of traumatic experiences on young children and the importance of counseling early on. Counseling will, ideally, help children to manage emotions or deal with feelings more appropriately. Prevalent themes include sibling rivalry, multiple personality disorder, abuse, suicide, homosexuality/lesbianism and grief counseling.

I like the author’s writing style. Some of the scenes are so descriptive I could feel the raw emotions coming off the pages. The book read like a mystery for me. I wanted to know who killed Rain’s mother. Admittedly, I did have an inclination that Rain may have suffered from some type of psychological dysfunction, but I really had no idea just how serious. I was unable to figure things out for certain until the very end. I recommend this book to readers who love a good, fast-paced mystery.