Posts Tagged With: FEATURE

#MotownWriters: Looking for 15 Michigan Romance Authors #MichLit

We’re looking for a variety of Romance Genres to feature every other day in February on

We’d love a huge choice of different types of subgenres to expose our reading audience.

First come | First serve so follow instructions to the letter and get your entry in for your awesome feature

  • 1. Answer the following questions. Copy and paste these questions into an email and then ATTACH a picture of the author and a picture of book. DO NOT send pdf & Please make sure ALL links work
    • Book:
    • Genre: Romance
    • Sub-genreAuthorWebsite

      Amazon Link

      Is this book available in Paperback & eBook?

      What is your book about? (200 words max.)

    •  Excerpt (500 words max – PG13 rated)
    • Bio of Author (100 words max.)
    • Social Media Links
    • Any upcoming events (include links to your event page or links to events, if possible.)

2. Don’t forget to attach a picture of the author and the book. If it’s not included in the original email, we’ll make the request but we’ll delete the original email and you’ll need to send everything back as properly instructed. (We get a lot of emails a day and won’t hold emails waiting for replies.)

  • 3. Please keep the word counts requested in the questions.
  • 4. If you have a Twitter handle, you’ll be posted when the feature posts. If we get at least ten features in before January, we’ll actually be able to show a calendar of what dates everyone will be coming out.

And that should be everything.

Send everything to sylviahubbard at gmail dot com

I need 15 right away so I look forward to hearing from you!

your founder and author

Sylvia Hubbard

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MWN Author Spotlight –Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen)

Michael KitchenCome with us as we spotlight yet another great Michigan author, Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen).

Michael Kitchen is a writer who practices law, or a lawyer who writes. Whichever way you look at it, Kitchen has been writing for numerous years with a list of varied credits from a comic book story to church newsletter articles to hockey articles.

Kitchen is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and obtained a Business Administration degree at Eastern Michigan University. He co-authored “Down Through the Years: The Memoirs of Detroit City Council President Emeritus Erma Henderson” (Authorhouse, 2004). His short fiction has appeared in “Written in the Mitten 2013” (Heron Bay Books) and Legends, Summer 2013 (Grey Wolfe Publishing). He won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story Contest.

If not in court, Kitchen enjoys writing, reading, wandering and/or shopping in a book store, bowling, or watching soccer.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Plymouth, MI.  I currently reside in Chesterfield Township, MI.

Tell us your latest news?

My daughter and son-in-law began foster parenting three kids in August making me a foster grandfather.

When and why did you begin writing?

Back in college, I worked at the Greyhound Bus Station.  The manager was a comic book fan and could draw, and he encouraged me to write.  I was more the math/science type, but in my first English Comp class at EMU the professor told me the essays I wrote were of the quality he read in newspapers and magazines.  The bus station manager and a friend of his started a comic book fanzine and I became a contributor to it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Thirty years out of college, I’m still wrestling with calling myself a writer.  I grew up in a practical family background.  Reading was not encouraged by my parents (it wasn’t discouraged, it just wasn’t part of their lives), so the thought of going to school for a degree in literature or writing would have been frowned upon, whereas an accounting degree was more in-step with parental expectations.  Also, because it is not a full-time profession for me, I stumble in acknowledging myself with that title.  Even though I had one short story published in a commercial magazine in 1993, even though I won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story contest, even though I’ve co-authored a self-published book and had my first novel published with a hybrid publisher, I don’t think I’ll actually consider myself a writer until I see that traditionally published novel sitting on the shelves in bookstores across America.  That will be the day that I’ll say that “I made it!”

What inspired you to write your first book?

I saw the movie “The Razor’s Edge” starring Bill Murray in 1984 when it was released.  I was in the early stages of exploring my writing skills and fell in love with the story.  I later read Somerset Maugham’s novel that the movie was based on, and saw the 1946 movie starring Tyrone Power.  My desire was to be able to write that kind of story.  Fast forward to 2007 and that’s when I decided to write something inspired by the novel/movie, making it more contemporary.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I try to keep it simple.  I don’t like reading a paragraph that describes a blade of grass blowing in the wind, so I do my best not to write that way.  Nor do I want my reader to have to have a dictionary sitting next to them.  However, I hope that whatever I write has an underlying purpose or theme.

How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t have a working title until I got to the point where one of the characters revealed it to me while writing the first draft.  That’s when it all came together.

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

The underlying theme is that life is a question to be lived every day.  Question everything.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it.  Current events in American history gave my characters the elements necessary to propel them.  In “The Razor’s Edge,” World War I, the Roaring 20’s and The Depression affect the characters significantly.  I use The Battle of Seattle, the New Millennium, and 9/11 to influence my characters.

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

Not exactly.  Are there characteristics of people and events within it?  Definitely.

What books have most influenced your life most?

“The Razor’s Edge” by Somerset Maugham; “No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America” by Ralph Nader inspired me to go to law school.  “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg and two of Lawrence Block’s books on writing; “Telling Lies for Fun & Profit” and “Spider, Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction”.  “Taking the Path of Zen” by Robert Aitken and “Stumbling Toward Enlightenment” by Geri Larkin regarding Zen Buddhism.

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

Unfortunately, I have not had the fortune to have a mentor.  Cima Starr was my editor in the correspondence course I took in the 1980’s who started me off.  I learned a lot from Lawrence Block’s writings about writing.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished reading Book One of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle.”  I’m also reading Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” and Charles Baxter’s “Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction.”

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Angela Flournoy and Ottessa Moshfegh are two that immediately come to mind.  I’ve read their short fiction published in current issues of The Paris Review and have both of their first novels on my to-read list.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on my next novel which is going through its second revision as I battle test it with my writer’s group.  Got a few short stories circulating, too.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Early on it was definitely Detroit Working Writers.  They had some awesome conferences back in the 1990’s when I was developing my writing skills and learning about the profession.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would like it to be.  But for now it shares time with my law practice.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No.  As writers we grow and change over time.  That novel is written from my experience and knowledge during  those six years.  If I had to write it over again, I’m a different person and the novel would likely be written differently than how it currently is.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Probably from playing Dungeons & Dragons in high school.  I had always read comic books, but the creation of characters and settings and conflicts that came from playing D&D with my friends sparked the interest.  I was also inspired by television characters who were writers – Ron Harris (Ron Glass) of Barney Miller and Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) of The Night Stalker.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

It’s a literary novel about two young men who fall in love for the first time.  They meet their first loves while in jail.  Thematically its about the mental jails – both good and bad – that we create for ourselves.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Everything.  Through grade school I was not strong at all in English and Literature classes.  I always had an active imagination and could piece together a good story.  It’s the execution of putting it down in a proper way and to avoid charges from the Grammar Police that is a challenge for me.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Lawrence Block.  I took a correspondence course back in the 1980’s after graduating college.  This was the old days, where assignments and critiques were done through the US Mail.  I believe I used a typewriter, too.  Anyway, the editor that had been assigned to me said that based on my writing style I should read Lawrence Block.  I’ve been reading him ever since.  He tells a story straight without the flowery description and uses language that doesn’t require a dictionary to be near at hand.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No.  Would I love to?  Sure!

Who designed the covers?

I did.  It was from a photo I took at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The time it took to write it.  And the point of view.  The first version was first person from Darryl’s POV.  Then I tried third person, but that didn’t work.  I went back to Maugham’s novel and found it was written first person from Maugham’s POV.  That’s when I created Mac, Darryl’s cousin, to tell the story.  He was perfect for the job.

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

There comes a point where you have to say it’s finished.  I feel like I could keep revising it, but then it would never make it to book form.  I had to accept that there isn’t a book out there that’s perfect, and each reader is going to have their own impression and experience of it.  It taught me to approach writing like a practice, like Zen practice and law practice.  There will be good moments and bad, but no sustaining and constant perfection.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Know what your vision is for your writing.  If you have dreams of being published traditionally, know that it is extremely difficult, and that you not only have to write but read a lot and learn a lot about the business.  And develop a thick skin because you’re going to need to battle test your work with other writers, some of whom, if they are honest, will pull no punches in order for you to develop the piece your working on to be the best that it can be.  If you’re going to self-publish, you better be prepared to put as much effort in promoting and marketing the book as you did writing it.

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

Many many bows of gratitude to those who have taken the time to read my work.  There is so much out there to read (I know, I have shelves of books that I may never get to in this lifetime), to watch, and to do that I am truly honored.  My hope is that what I’ve written was worth your time.

The Y In Life


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Author Feature ~Ericka Stafford

Where are you from?

I was born and raised right here  in Detroit Michigan and still glad to call Detroit my home.
ericka Stafford II
Tell us your latest news?
My latest news would be my second novel which is part of trilogy which just dropped on amazon last week of February it’s available on ebook and the title is Looks Like Love Feels Like Hate.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing about ten years ago but have been published since September of last year. To be truthfully honest I started writing on a whim I mean I have always been in love with the written word even at a very young age so I guess writing was the next natural step one day instead of reading I just decided I  was going to write a book.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is still all new to me I am just soaking in the fact that I am a writer but I guess it really hit me when I seen that my book with my name on it and the royalty check helped a lot too. (lol)  
 What inspired you to write your first book?
Drama! It seemed like me and everyone I knew was going through it so I just added a little more excitement to it and turned it into a story.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I would say my style is raw and uncut I don’t sugarcoat my writing.
How did you come up with the title?
Actually I didn’t when I first submitted my story to my publisher I was told that they loved the story and didn’t like the title  my original title for the book was Betty-B who is the main character of the book but they said when they just hear that name they think gangsta which the character was not. We threw a couple of names  around he came up with that one and I loved it.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, the message would be that even though you grow up in bad circumstances you don’t have to become a victim to it unless you want there’s also the message of kids really watch there parents and can sometimes pick up on there bad habits so it’s up to parents to set good examples.
How much of the book is realistic?
I would say about 40%
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I would say about 40% I really do have a friend whose mother was addicted drugs and she really did have to raise her sibling but in her case it was her brother.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Wow that’s a tough one because I read so many different types of books so I would have to say that I walk away with something from every book I read.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to choose a mentor I would have to say my publisher Raymond Francis who is not only a publisher but also a writer and I say that because during this writing process he has totally taken me under his wind he has taught me a lot about writing he takes time to answer all my questions and he’s not stingy with his knowledge and he’s humble.
What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading Kwan’s book Road Dawgz.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
LOL ! That sounds so funny because i still consider myself a new author but i would like to give shouts to D.L Collins, Larry Ellison, Kenya Rivers to name a few. Actually D.L Collins and Kenya Rivers are both authors from Detroit.
What are your current projects?
Right now I am back and fourth with writing three books but I am focusing more on pt. 3 of Looks Like Love Feels Like Hate which I hope to have done by April.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
At the time i was writing this book the person I was with was a total motivation to he helped me visualize my dreams and step out on faith although we are not together anymore I would still like to thank him for that.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes I could see that.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think I would I am very satisfied with the outcome.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I would say about ten years ago.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes! writing a three book series is very challenging because you don’t want the story to get stale and with each book the readers expect the book to get better and better and being a writer you have to deliver that every time or risk losing a reader.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I wouldn’t really say I have a favorite writer because I read so many books and all of them are great.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I haven’t yet put I plan too.
Who designed the covers?
Brittani Williams who I might say did a awesome job.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
All of it ! No just kidding the hardest was the ending because I had to set it up in a way that would lure my readers into reading pt.2 so the set-up at the end had to be perfect.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that not everyone will like your book which I knew anyway but you can’t let it get to you all you can do is try to go extra harder the next time.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes do your research on these publishing companies the first publisher I was with (I won’t say any names) really did a hack job on me and it was hard to get out of that is why I am so glad that I found an honest family with Pleasure Principle Publications.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
To my readers I just want to thank each and every last one of you for giving this new author a chance keep reading my books and I promise to bring you more in the future. Without you there is know me.
ericka stafford


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Heal Your Heart ~ Dr. Eddie Connor Jr.

Eddie Connor JrEmpowering people to overcome obstacles and walk in their unique purpose is the real life message shared by Dr. Eddie M. Connor, Jr. who is a survivor of stage 4 cancer.

Dr. Connor is a resident of Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. As a product of a divorced family, Dr. Connor realizes that he was not born with a silver spoon, but discovered strength in the midst of struggle.

Dr. Connor empowers people as an Author, International Speaker, College Professor, Mentor, Political Advisor, Teacher, and Radio/TV Correspondent on CBS/CW 50. He shares his story of overcoming cancer in his 5 books:Purposefully Prepared to Persevere, Collections of Reflections: Symphonies of Strength – Volumes 1-3, E.CON the ICON: from Pop Culture to President Barack Obama, Unwrap The Gift In YOU, and Heal Your Heart.



Heal Your Heart

Author: Dr. Eddie Connor Jr.

Facebook Page: EddieConnorJr

Twitter: @EddieConnorJr

Amazon: Heal Your Heart

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Motown Network Author Feature ~ Christina DC Brownlow Reyes

1331908014462Where are you from?

I am originally from Conant Gardens, Detroit, Michigan
Tell us your latest news?  

I am presently writing the sequel to The Man from Conant Gardens:The Master’s Legacy. It is called. “Laura Darling: The Rose between the Weeds”
When and why did you begin writing?    

At 14years old. I was afraid at first because I was considered dyslexic, but when I wrote a short sci-fi story, which although I never finished, but my grandmother loved it, and told me, I found my niche, my talent.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In college, I had to write a short using one of the biblical stories as a theme, my college professor read out, and said that ”whoever wrote this has a lot of creativity, and that takes talent”
What inspired you to write your first book?     

I was venting. My mother and I had words one day, so in order to get myself together, I vented by writing, and then I couldn’t stop.
Do you have a specific writing style?

I like telling stories in third person, but as if the person in the story, left memoirs behind, and someone is reading from them to someone else, Like the book, “Family” by J. California Cooper.
How did you come up with the title?       

I did personalized it, because of the area I lived in, and because it had a certain flow to me.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

What happened to the children born from the Slave-owning Masters? Not just what happened to all the slaves? I want to narrow the spectrum that no one talks about? The illegitimate children who could never really claim their father’s name.
How much of the book is realistic?

There are a lot of historical facts inside. A lot of fictional facts as well, but the historical facts provides the timeline of slavery and the civil war.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No. Not really
What books have most influenced your life most?    

Kindred-Octavia Butler, Uncle Tom’s Cabin-Harriet Beecher-Stowe, Jubilee-Margret Walker, The Known World-Edward P.Jones
If you had to choose, which writers would you consider a mentor?

J.California Cooper is a great mentor of storytelling, Octavia Butler ventures out of the norm and into a sci-fi and historical fiction, which is very crafty and risky, and .George McNeill give the historical readers the other side of the coin, meaning by show the whites in power having struggles during the antebellum times.
What book are you reading now?

Plantation-George McNeill. His book illustrates a different perspective, that life in the Big House has problems as well as the plantation itself.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Edward P. Jones and Robert Hicks are two historical writers, one White and one Black, that give the reader two different side of the antebellum era and Civil War. Historical readers, as all readers, need a two-headed coin to an argument or discussion.
What are your current projects?

Laura Darling; The sequel to The Man from Conant Gardens,  and its conclusion; The Battle among Men



Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My lifelong friend Everett Bryant
Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. I writing this series, hoping to see them in the movies/film
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nothing. Like a good cook, it has the right ingredients for all.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Just by daydreaming in my room. And then writing to make storytelling a reality.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Laura Darling, a free slave, and passing for a white man, revenges Conant Gardens after the Civil War, by committing an eye-for and-eye atrocities against the whites, until they realize that the negroes have a formidable alliance with someone the cant beat. The KKK backs off from attacking Conant Gardens until the turning of the century.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Well, many don’t know that I am dyslexic, so to write an entire novel without help, is on its own a challenge, and finding the right words to say something well is always challenging, So by reading other authors work, I create my own toolbox of vocabulary just like they did.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Kindred-Octavia Butler is a great crafter in her art of storytelling. She takes historical fiction and puts a taste of science fiction in with it. A good cook tries things, she is a great cook.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?  

Just traveling to book  different venues/conventions, mentoring on the writer’s craft, and meeting new authors.
Who designed the covers?

I use Various designers
What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Research. That takes time and patience.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Be your own master of description.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Learn the ‘Writer’s Craft’, which is like a gourmet cook.  A good cook Develops their own ingredients, (characters, writing style, words of description) and then tell a good defined story.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Always Read books from other Authors other than your own work. By doing this you can brainstorm about the story you want to write, organize the way of telling the story, develop and build a toolbox of necessary elements ie. Vocabulary.



New BookCover


  • Name of Author: Christina DC Brownlow Reyes
  • Name of Book: The Man from Conant Gardens
  • Author Website:

Amazon Link:



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MWN Author Spotlight ~ Mary Anne McMahon


Mary Anne McMahon


This week’s Motown Writers Network spotlight is being shined on Mary Anne McMahon. Mary Anne no longer lives in Detroit; but she regards the Motor City as the place she will ever call home. She is the author of The Motor City and Me: Our Story, a story that tells the remarkable history of Detroit and offers inspiration to the once great American metropolis during its most trying time. Let’s listen in on Mary Anne’s interview so we get to know her better and learn more about her book.


Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I now live in Houston, Texas.

Tell us your latest news?

I have published a book, The Motor City and Me: Our Story, which highlights the rich history of Detroit and how the Motor City has left a lasting impact on my family and me.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing most of my life and have taught writing skills to students for 28 years. After my retirement from education I wrote puppet skits for my puppet performing business, Sassy Celebrations. I then decided to write a book about my beloved hometown.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have always considered myself a writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My book evolved from the acquisition of my ancestral history, my happy Detroit childhood and continual connection to my hometown.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I do not have one specific writing style. In my book I utilize both the expository style and the persuasive style.

How did you come up with the title?

The Motor City and Me: Our Story parallels the rise and fall of Detroit with ups and down in my own life. The title reflects our connection.

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

I overcame major obstacles in my life. I want to inspire Detroiters to overcome the obstacles facing their city today.

How much of the book is realistic?

My book is non-fiction. The events are real.

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

The experiences are based on my own life.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Mans Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel had a powerful impact on my life. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela inspired me as well.

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

I would choose John Grogan. His heartwarming book, The Longest Trip Home, about an Irish boy from Detroit resonated with me.  His story inspired me to publish my Detroit memoir.

What book are you reading now?

I am reading I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s writing and especially liked his book, David and Goliath.  The insightful novel, The Invention of Wings, drew me to Sue Monk Kidd.

What are your current projects?

I have begun a second book.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Both professional and non-professional reviewers have given me significant support and encouragement.

Do you see writing as a career?

I want to continue as a writer.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I made many changes as I wrote the book. So, I am quite satisfied now.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My mother influenced me with her love of literature and writing.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Paralleling the rise and fall of Detroit with the ups and downs of my own life, I show readers how Detroit values strengthened and reassured her throughout the difficult times. From the rise and fall of the automotive industry to the city’s recent financial woes, The Motor City and Me strives to take readers on a personal journey through an extraordinary American city. Tracing my family’s Detroit lineage through four generations, my memoirs aims to give readers a thorough look at the city’s history and the indelible mark it has left on me.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

When I wrote my book there were times when thoughts flowed for hours. Other times I had difficulty putting two words together. There was a certain amount of frustration that I had to leave my computer at the “two word” moments.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his/her work?

I like Ross King. He writes fascinating detailed accounts of engineering marvels and the history that goes with those marvels. I loved his books, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling and Brunelleschi’s  Dome. 

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I did considerable traveling while writing my book. I traveled to my European roots and ancestral homelands.

Who designed the covers?

My publisher designed my cover. I provided the photo.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The most difficult part was writing about the challenging times in my life.

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

While I struggled with revealing challenges, I learned afterward that I am not alone. Everyone has challenges.  My book has inspired others to come forward and share the dark moments in their lives.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is a gift that you give yourself and hopefully to others including future generations.

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

The conviction, that we can overcome adversity and that failure is not an option, may be a good beginning for renewal.

MaryAnne Motor City and Me

For more information about the author and her book go to:

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Motown Writers Network Featured Author ~ Jean Scheffler

MeThis week’s featured author, Jean Scheffler grew up “South of Detroit”  and as a child she would sit on her Grandfathers lap at his summer cottage and intently listen to stories of his childhood adventures in early industrial Detroit. As he rocked her in front of the roaring fire, her love for Detroit’s history and its exciting past took root.

The Sugar House, Jean’s literary debut is a step back in time. Join us as we get to know more about Jean and her new historical fiction.


Where are you from?

I am from Trenton, MI ( Just 20 Miles south of Detroit)


Tell us your latest news?

I published my first novel “The Sugar House” in February.


When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing three years ago following months (actually years) of research of the history of Detroit.


What inspired you to write your first book?

I was going through a transition in my life and I looked around and noticed my children were getting older and knew there were many things that I wanted to accomplish that I had not begun. The first was to write a novel. I had had the idea for “The Sugar House” for a year or so and had been developing it in my thoughts. I decided that it was the time to set aside other things and pursue my dream as an author.

I always wanted to become a writer but life had always seemed to get in the way. Or perhaps I did not make it enough of a priority. Or perhaps I did not have the confidence. Perhaps I just needed the right story.  I had tried once before but the story fell apart as I tried to put it down.  When I decided to really sit down and write “The Sugar House’ I knew I had a great story and an important one. Actually, sometimes I say the story wrote itself. I loved the story so much I was truly worried that I was not worthy enough of writing it. In that I mean that I was a first time writer and I wanted to give value and grace to such an important part of history.


Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m not quite sure of the categories of writing styles. I write from research and stories and imagination. I like to piece together articles, pieces of stories, historical facts and things that I have experienced or watched my children experience to make a relatable story.


How did you come up with the title?

The name “The Sugar House” initially came from the gangster portion of the story. The Purple Gang was originally called the Oakland Sugar House gang. But as the novel developed I saw that it represented many other aspects of the character, Joe’s life.


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

The main message I want the reader to grasp from my novel is that a person can be stay true to themselves and their faith even faced with great adversity.  While no person is perfect and my break the rules or laws at times they can find their way to a happy, content life in the end if they remember what is important.


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

The book is historical fiction. That is a broad title that encompasses many types of work. “The Sugar House” is a historical fiction in the strictest sense of the word.  Dates and events that are historically documented are almost all true down to the day.  Many names of the Purple Gang leaders are their actual names.  Many events that involved the Purple Gang are documented as factual.  The story in fact is based on things my grandfather told me occurred in his life. Not all the events that occur in The Sugar House are factual but many are. I tried to create a story that the reader would be able to learn from and at the same time enjoy as a fictional novel.


What books have most influenced your life most?

The Little House on the Prairie books were the first influential books of my childhood. I read them over and over again- fascinated by the hardships the Ingalls family dealt with but how their adventurous spirit helped drive them ahead.   Gone with the Wind was my go to book as a teen. Also Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Looking back I guess I have always had a love for great characters who live in a different time and face different adversities but reach within themselves to find a higher ground.


What book are you reading now?

I am currently reading several novels by new authors. I am trying my hand in reviewing books to further my abilities as a writer and give back to the writing community.


Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My current novel is based on my maternal grandfather who was a railroad conductor before the Depression.


Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I have several very good girlfriends who supported my throughout the project. They were always encouraging and are very much the cheerleaders that every first time author should have. I am blessed to have them in my life.


Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to make writing a career. I want to be able to tell stories that people will enjoy and learn from at the same time. Perhaps change their perspectives or lives a little.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

If I had to do it all over again I would not change anything about my novel (Except my not procrastinate as long as I did)


Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

As “The Sugar House” is based in Detroit I only had to travel to the city for my research. (I did go to Windsor once for a Prohibition Whisky Tour) My next novel takes place from Michigan to Kansas so I anticipate more travel with that one.


Who designed the covers?

I hired a wonderful woman named Karrie Ross from California to design the cover and do the interior design of the novel. The photograph is actually a close up of the suit my grandfather is wearing in the picture on the back cover.


What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I think the hardest part of writing is two fold. One- finding the inspiration and the time at the same time can be very difficult in a hectic life with children.  Two- once the story is written- having others read your inner thoughts and ideas and judge them.


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

I learned a lot from writing my book. I learned so much Detroit history. I learned a lot about the people who made this city Great. I learned a lot about myself, about where I come from and who I am. I know it sounds a little deep but after taking years to research my ancestors, the country they came from, their daily habits, their rituals etc., I think I would only be remiss if I had not learned a whole lot about what it means to be me.


Do you have any advice for other writers?

I can not give advice to established writers and this is my first novel however I think that may qualify my to give advice to new and want to be writers.  Once you find the story you want to tell- be confident and tell it.  Don’t worry about what others will say. The ones who judge harshly are the ones who will never leave their mark as you will.


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

I hope my readers enjoy “The Sugar House” and learn something about the great city of Detroit. I hope it motivates them to look into the past and see what their own ancestors did to make it in America. And I hope it  inspires them to save the historical parts of Detroit for themselves and to continue to improve Detroit for future generations.


The Sugar House

Jean Scheffler

“The Sugar House”

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Real Men Write Feature~ Jesse Cole


As one of the nation’s leading Youth Leadership Speakers, Entrepreneurs and Talk Show Host, Jesse A. Cole, Jr. is Founder of 1,000 KINGS Leadership Academy, a leadership initiative to help young men find their leadership identity and enhance their personal development.

He is the author of Walk Like A King: The Young  Man’s Guide To Conquering The World (MYG 2012) and the Leadership Legacy Series (MYG 2013). His work as an author, mentor, and generation-leader has afforded him the opportunity to receive multiple honors such as the Douthat Collegiate Leadership Award and the Magic Johnson “What Inspires You” Finalist Award.

Jesse’s goal is to provide young people with principles that they can build on. His motto is K.I.N.G: Keep Investing in the Next Generation.

In Leadership,

Jesse A. Cole, Jr.
CEO, 1,000 KINGS
P.O. Box 442
Hazel Park, MI 48030
(248) 217-7620

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First Chapter Friday with Author Angil Tarach-Ritchey

Behind the Old Face: Aging in America and the Coming Elder Boom

Please support this very important senior advocacy project The Elder Boom Foundation

Angil TarachBooks by Angil Tarach-Ritchey

Behind the Old Face: Aging in America and the Coming Elder BoomSee a book preview

Quick Guide to Understanding Medicare, Medicaid and other payer sources 2011

You Tube-

Educational information and resources can be found on my blog “Aging in America”

 By Angil Tarach- Ritchey RN, GCM


Angil Tarach-Ritchey RN, GCM is an author, speaker, consultant and national expert in senior care.  With over 30 years experience in senior care and advocacy Angil is very passionate about eldercare and is well respected in her field.

Angil has written for several websites including NurseTogether, the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, Wellsphere, the National Senior Living Provider’s Network, Ann Arbor News, and her own blog, Aging in America.  Her passion and expertise have led to being published in the Chicago Sun Times, Maturity Matters, Medpedia, Vitamins Health, Medworm, Alzheimer’s New Zealand and several other publications.  She has been featured on Nurse Talk, WE Magazine for Women; Women on a Mission, Life Goes Strong, Living, The Caregiver Partnership, You and Me Health Magazine, His Is Mine, and Abec’s Small Business Review and quoted in several publications, such as Reuters, CNBC, Consumer Affairs, PTO Today, Women Entrepreneur and more.

Chapter 1

The Nursing Home Love Letters

My story in the nursing home

What would you title a defining moment in your life, the moment that

changed everything? My earliest defining moment came in a box of love

letters. No, not letters to me. It all happened with a box of love letters I

found in a nursing home.

My love for the elderly began when I started working as an aide in a nursing

home in 1977, when I was seventeen years old. My girlfriend’s mother,

Mrs. Berry, was a registered nurse and the nursing home administrator.

She was a tall, fairly thin woman with blonde hair. Although Mrs. Berry

was “cool” most of the time, it was apparent when she was angry or had

enough with teenagers in her home. She would make it clear she’d had

enough just by the look on her face. I liked Mrs. Berry and respected her,

but I also feared her. I never knew if she really liked me or not. Her daughter,

my friend Marcy, worked for her mom at the nursing home as a nurse’s

aide. She would tell us stories about the residents at her job, and most of

the stories were amusing. I needed a job, so I thought I could do what

Marcy was doing. I approached Mrs. Berry several times asking for a job.

I think she was passively ignoring me, but I was persistent . . . when Mrs.

Berry was in a good mood, that is. After a month or two of asking her

repeatedly to hire me and give me a chance, she finally agreed with the

comment, “I’ll give you a chance, but I don’t think you can do it.” What

Mrs. Berry didn’t know was that I am highly motivated by disbelief. I have

accomplished more in my lifetime because people told me I couldn’t do

something than because people told me I could.

It was a warm, humid day in June 1977, and I was about to begin my first

job as a nurse’s aide. When I arrived at the nursing home at 7:00 a.m.,

never having cared for an elderly person before, I assumed there would

be some sort of formal training. My training was to follow another aide

around, and basically do what she did. I wanted to follow Marcy, because

we were friends and her mom ran the place, but Mrs. Berry wouldn’t allow

that. I know she expected we would be goofing off or doing some kind

of foolishness if we worked together, so she had me follow a nurse’s aide I

had never met. I have to say, I was a little intimidated by the ninety or so

residents, some walking through the halls with canes and walkers, some

being wheeled down the hall in wheelchairs, and others yelling or talking

to themselves. But I had to prove to Mrs. Berry I could do it, so I just took

it minute by minute. There was no way I would confirm her notion that I

couldn’t do the work.

My first day seemed to be a test of my physical and emotional endurance.

I worked sixteen hours that day, and within a few hours on the job I

was involved in a medical emergency. We were passing lunch trays when

the whole room turned chaotic in response to a resident choking on her

lunch. The whole situation seemed to be happening in slow motion,

even though it only lasted a few short minutes. I realized the resident was

choking, because her table mates were yelling and I saw her gripping her

throat. Since it was my first day and I was not ready for a situation like

this, I looked around the room to make sure an employee knew what was

going on and would react. I had never expected to see something like this,

especially on my first day of work. As my eyes quickly scanned the room,

I saw my supervisor frozen in position, fear evident on her face. The experienced

nurse’s aides were either screaming for someone to do something

or trying to ignore the urgency of the situation.

Residents began yelling and getting out of their seats, waiting and watching

for someone to help her. It seemed everyone was waiting for someone

else to react, and no one was moving towards her. As seconds passed, her

face started turning blue. I just knew if no one helped her, she would die.

I had never received training for the Heimlich maneuver, or any other formal

training, but when she began turning blue and no one acted or seemed

to know what to do, I knew I had to do something. I could not watch this

woman die in front of me without doing something! I remembered seeing

the Heimlich maneuver done on TV and figured I had to try it. I ran to

the table and grabbed her now lifeless, thin body and pulled her against my

chest. I clenched my fists around her tiny waist and forcefully pulled her upper

abdomen toward me. I pulled once, twice, and finally the third time she

coughed out the food that was lodged in her throat. Her body then regained

life, and her blue skin began changing back to a light pink pigment. She was

going to be okay. I was flooded with emotions: disbelief, shock, fear, relief,

gratitude, anger, and pride. Of course, I was relieved and grateful, but I was

angry that my supervisor had no idea what to do and didn’t even attempt to

help this lady. I wondered how she could be the person in charge. I wondered

what would have happened to this lady if I hadn’t at least tried the Heimlich

maneuver or if it hadn’t worked. The truth is, I was not sure I could do anything

to help. I was in shock and petrified that I was going to see someone die

right in front of my eyes. This was a lot more than I had bargained for when

I asked Mrs. Berry to give me a chance. After the adrenalin dissipated, I felt

very proud for having saved the resident’s life and that I had lost the intimidation

I felt just minutes earlier. I also lost respect for a supervisor I barely

knew. This was my initiation into senior care and advocacy.

The facility was supposed to support independent to semi-independent

living, which today we refer to as assisted living. There were three floors:

the first floor residents were independent; the second floor residents were

mostly semi-independent with a few dependent residents; and the third

floor housed all the residents who shouldn’t have been living there. I believe

it was set up that way so when visitors or potential new residents’

families came, they would see the very best in independent living. There

were no tours beyond the first floor to my recollection. I continued working

as a nurse’s aide on the afternoon shift. I was responsible for all of the

residents on the third floor.

My residents were either totally physically dependent, or had Alzheimer’s

or some other form of dementia. Back then we described a person with

dementia as being senile. My responsibilities were to keep my incontinent

residents clean, to get everyone to the dining room for their dinner

and medications, to pass dinner trays, and to feed those who could not

feed themselves. I was also responsible for entertaining the residents after

dinner, which meant sitting them in the day room to watch TV while

I cleaned up dinner trays and tables, changed residents, gave baths, and

started getting residents ready for bed.

The day shift was responsible for half of the residents’ baths and grooming

each week, and I was responsible for the other half. I was the only aide on

the third floor afternoon shift. I don’t recall how many residents I had to

care for; I just remember it was a lot of work. I had responsibilities and experiences

on this job I never would have imagined: shaving a man with a nonelectric

razor; being with a person with dementia; cleaning an incontinent

person; tying people to their beds to keep them safe from falling; feeding an

adult; and, convincing someone to take a bath when they refused.

There was no training to teach me how to do these tasks or to deal with

dementia patients. Nurse’s aides were just hired and put to work, until

1987 when Congress passed the Omnibus Reconciliation Act, commonly

referred to as OBRA. Safety concerns and the lack of quality care

in our nation’s nursing homes inspired OBRA, which required training

nursing home staff. Talk about old school; I was doing this work for ten

years before the U.S. required training.

One night, a few months into my job, I started my shift looking through

the bath book to see who was scheduled for a bath. I also looked through

the documentation from the day shift. There were residents on the dayshift

schedule who hadn’t had a bath in a month or more. I was outraged

and saddened. I gave thirty-two baths in one night. I worked a couple of

hours of overtime to get it all done, but all the residents on the third floor

were now clean and cared for. Was this the first night of a lifetime of senior

advocacy? Looking back over thirty years, I think it was. I couldn’t understand

how anyone could let this happen. The residents were people, and

they needed help. What if these lazy nurse’s aides were deprived a bath for

a month? What would they want?

I had no idea at the time how significant the bath night and another experience

I had would become in how I have spent my life caring and advocating

for seniors. The experiences clearly had their own purposes. One

began my life as a senior advocate; the other was the major contributing

factor to the empathetic care I have provided all of my life. Thirty years

later, there are many patients I still remember, think about, and hold dear

to my heart. I remember a retired teacher who had dementia and filed

things in her bra. She said they were her files, as if she were still teaching.

I remember a couple who walked the halls holding hands; the husband

wore the layers of men’s and women’s clothing his wife dressed him in. I

remember a tall thin lady with dementia, who was either glowingly joyful

while singing in her high-pitched, out-of-tune voice or so angry she hit

and scratched anyone who came near her. I can still picture these residents

clearly, and I hold fond memories of them in my heart.

One evening, our assignment was to clean our residents’ closets and

drawers. One of my residents was a lady named Ann, who couldn’t

speak or do anything for herself. She quietly lay in bed day after day.

Ann never had a visitor, so I knew nothing about her. While I was working

in Ann’s room, I found a box in her closet. In it were no less than

thirty letters and cards. I sat on the floor and started to read them, one

after another, as tears fell from my eyes. They were love letters from

a husband to his wife. Never had I known, or even heard about, such

profound and amazing love. This woman, lying there alone seemingly

unloved, had actually shared a fairy-tale love, rare and amazing, with

an adoring spouse. I can still vividly recall sitting on the floor with her

box in my lap, tears dripping from my face, reading the letters while frequently

pausing to look at Ann lying in that bed, almost lifeless, wishing

I had known her sooner.

I wished I knew about her life when I started caring for her. For many

months, I had looked at her as just some old woman lying in the bed who

needed help. Truthfully, until that day I didn’t give her much thought other

than the duties of keeping her clean, dry, and physically comfortable. Not

that I didn’t occasionally think how sad it was she never had a visitor or

any indication that someone cared about her, but that was the extent of

my thoughts and involvement with her. Before I left my shift that night, I

acknowledged Ann. She was no longer just some old woman. I went to her,

and while gently stroking her cheek and forehead I said, “Your husband

sure did love you.” I said goodnight and went home. That was all I could

say, given the emotional state I was in after reading all those letters. I’m

not sure if I was more sad about Ann’s loss and being alone in that nursing

home or guilty for not seeing her as a real person with a real life.

It was through her letters that I got to know Ann, who couldn’t tell me anything

about herself. As far as I knew, her deceased husband was all she had,

and now I felt more responsibility to take care of her for him. That was when

the meaning of care changed for me. Previous to this night, I felt that I provided

pretty good care given the number of residents I had and the duties

that needed to be done. I kept Ann clean and dry, but I didn’t know how to

communicate with someone who couldn’t acknowledge me or speak back.

Although I gave good physical care, there was no emotion involved, no human

connection; I was very quiet when I provided care for Ann.

I now had something to talk to Ann about. Caring for Ann changed into

something much more meaningful. I felt a special bond with her. Those

love letters gave me much deeper empathy for my residents. I started looking

at all of the residents, wondering what lives they previously had before

they ended up in that nursing home. That revelation inspired me to find

out as much as I could about them. I read their charts, asked questions,

listened to their conversations more intently, and observed their actions.

From time to time, I would read Ann’s husband’s letters to her. I don’t know

whether Ann could understand or even hear anything I said, but I felt that

her spirit heard and understood. I also felt as if her husband was looking

down from heaven, grateful for someone who was telling Ann about his

love in a comforting and caring way and taking care of her physically.

Ann’s inability to speak was due to aphasia, a speech and language disorder

that impairs a person’s ability to communicate It is most commonly the result

of a stroke but can occur from any severe head injury and affects over

one million people in the U.S. Aphasia can be expressive, meaning the person

can fully comprehend language but cannot verbally express thoughts,

feelings, or preferences. Aphasia can also be receptive, meaning patients

can’t understand verbal or written language. People often assume that a person

with expressive aphasia cannot understand or comprehend, but that is

far from the truth. Not knowing whether Ann had receptive aphasia, I truly

don’t know if she understood me when I talked to her and read her love

letters to her. But, I think there is something in our souls that allows us to

connect even when the typical means of communication are not possible.

My three-decade passion has been based on empathy. Can you imagine

being in Ann’s shoes? Can you understand what it must be like to have

lived a fairy-tale life with a best friend, experience a love like no other,

only to lose that person and decline to the point where you are alone and

unable to care for yourself? I don’t know if it was true or not, but I heard

Ann’s decline was a result of losing her husband. We often hear about

couples who have been married for many years dying close in time, so her

decline following the loss of her husband wouldn’t surprise me.

Ann’s is just one story in a countless numbers of stories. There are thousands

of elders living in nursing homes, alone and unable to care for

themselves. What kind of care do they get when their healthcare workers

know nothing about them and don’t even think about what their lives

were like before they ended up helpless and in a nursing home? Just like I

did. I’ve worked in long-term care for decades and never saw any training

programs that focused on communicating with persons with aphasia, or

even explained what it is. I also have never seen any training programs

that elicited empathy—other than The Virtual Dementia Tour®, which

provides a great learning experience. I know from my own experience that

patients like Ann are not spoken to or treated with the compassion that is

essential to providing good care. Instead, they’re regarded as work to be

done rather than a person to whom care is given. It is up to us as a society

to understand that there is a person and a life Behind the Old Face.

In over three decades of spending time caring and advocating for seniors,

many experiences brought me to write this book, but a single experience

at a funeral home inspired the idea and title; I share that experience with

you later in this chapter. Throughout this book, I will share my experiences

and the stories of a few of the seniors I have spent time with, but

my experiences and their stories provide only a small glimpse of what is

Behind the Old Face. This book is intended to tug at your heart strings, to

make anyone interacting with or caring for an elderly person think differently,

and to subsequently improve the way we treat seniors and the care

we provide. Care should never be just a physical-care task. Anyone can

provide physical care, but great care providers offer an emotional component

to their care that makes it great. There are unpaid caregivers, such as

family, friends, and volunteers, as well as a wide range of paid caregivers,

including nurse’s aides, therapists, nurses, social workers, and physicians.

No paid care giving job is more important than another. No care recipient

is more important than another. Whatever your care giving role, you need

to provide care with respect, compassion, empathy, and kindness. All care

recipients should always—without exception—be treated with dignity,

respect, and from an empathetic point of view.

Every single one of us has heard, “Treat people as you want to be treated,”

but how many of us really do? How many nurse’s aides, nurses, physicians,

and family caregivers provide the treatment they would want to receive?

Do you treat every single person you come in contact with, have a

relationship with, work with, or care for as you would want to be treated?

As you read this book and the stories of the people in it, you will and

should experience a myriad of emotions. I will tell you some of the most

amazing stories I have ever heard, from the lives of seniors I have been

privileged to know and spend time with. These aren’t famous people with

amazing newsworthy stories; these are everyday stories. These are the life

stories of your parents, grandparents, neighbors, aunts and uncles, the old

man driving too slow, the grey-haired old woman that you have to wait

on in the store, the patient you have to feed or change, the Alzheimer’s

patient who is difficult, and the dementia patient who asks the same questions

over and over. These people are us. They are us, with many more

years of life behind them. You will hear about their challenges, their

dreams achieved or not achieved, their contributions and accomplishments,

their service to our country or to a cause, their devastations and

joys, their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and their points of view about

what it’s like to be a senior today.

Even after my decades of spending time with seniors, I still hear things

that are surprising to me, and things I have never thought of. While interviewing

one lady for the book, she told me a secret. At her request, I

will not use her name or feature her story in the book, but she told me

something that gave me another perspective into things that seniors think

about. She was a lovely ninety-one-year old woman I’ll call Susan. Susan

grew up in England, and even years after being in America, she still

had a lovely English accent. I cared for her while her husband was in the

hospital. She was happily married for over seventy years, and she adored

her husband. During interviews, I ask specific questions to initiate further

conversation and to better understand what it’s like to be old. One question

I ask is, “Who is your hero?” When I asked Susan this question, she

said it was her husband, but as we continued to talk about her life from

childhood on, she asked, “Can I tell you a secret?”

Susan started talking about her first love when she was nineteen. Her blue

eyes sparkled as she told me about their weekends spent dancing at a local

hangout. He was a
very handsome man, a man of honor and values, who

could dance “as gracefully as Fred Astaire,” she said in a giddy, schoolgirl-

crush way. They were together a few months when he went into the

military. While he was away, she met her husband. You may think the rest

is history, but it wasn’t. Her entire life, she had thought about her first

love and how things may have been different if she had waited for him.

Imagine spending seventy-two years thinking about a lost love and the

what-if ’s.

Susan described times they would run into each other after he returned

from the military and she was already another man’s wife. They had an unspoken

bond they both recognized and possibly even longed for. She described

the small bits of conversation they had and said he would always

ask, “Are you okay, Susan? Really? He never married, and Susan wondered

if it was because he wanted to marry her. She thought his “Really?”

carried an undertone of a deeper question. Susan thought he wanted to

know if she was truly happy with another man as her husband. He was

too much of a gentleman to get between Susan and her husband, so she

felt there were words that were never spoken. They eventually lost track of

each other because of her move to the U.S.

Her secret revealed that she never let the memories or the what-if ’s go.

She kept them quietly stored away in her heart for over seventy years. It

was a heartwarming story. I felt a bit sad hearing it. I was sitting with a

wonderful woman of ninety-one who had never gotten over her first love.

I was honored that I was the first one she had ever told this to. I was also

surprised by what I had been told. Susan went on to tell me how wonderful

her husband had always been to her and how she never regretted marrying

him. She kept her thoughts secret her whole life so as not to hurt her

husband, who was her hero.

We talked about her life over the course of a couple days. She shared her

experiences as an elderly woman in the hospital. Susan described an experience

during one of her hospital admissions. A couple of nurses mimicked

her accent. This had happened years before we met, yet had stayed

in her thoughts and feelings. Susan described feeling disrespected, belittled, and treated as if she had no feelings. The mimicking nurses made her

feel like they thought she was stupid because she had an accent. I would

guess there was no mal intent on the part of the nurses, but they didn’t

think about Susan’s dignity or feelings either.

As you progress through this book and read about the lives of the people

described in it, you will read about situations that will warm your heart

and others that are disturbing. Both are intended to cause you to think,

put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and move you to a more compassionate

perspective when it comes to our elders. It is my hope that the

stories will be heartwarming enough to cause you to be kinder and more

thoughtful, and disturbing enough to inspire you to become an advocate

for better treatment of one of our most vulnerable populations.

Funerals reveal who we have been

In my work and life, I have been to countless funerals, home viewings, and

memorial ceremonies. Funerals can be as unique as the individual who

died, but in the last ten to fifteen years, I have noticed increasing numbers


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Michigan Literary Network Blogtalk Radio Feature~Kimmie Thomas

Join us today as we feature author Kimmie Thomas on the Michigan Literary Network Blogtalk radio show. She will be talking about her new book Nursing Dr. Miller. Check out her bio below.

Kimmie Thomas

Kimmie Thomas is a native Detroiter. She is a writer, teacher, mother, and wife. Her first love has always been reading and writing. She has been motivated by writers such as Donald Goines, Maya Angelou, Zane and E. Lynn Harris. Kimmie has worked as a psychiatric nurse for more than 10 years. She uses her vast knowledge of mental health to make her characters real for her readers.

This Side of Crazy is her debute novel. She is also featured in an Anthology, Rough and Raw. Check out her latest book, Nursing Dr. Miller. Her current writing project is called House of Assignation.


Nursing Dr. MillerBook Description: Do you know what goes on in a hospital? Would you believe that sex, lies and deceit are ever present even while you lay ill in you hospital bed? You may be surprised to find out that the soap operas you watch are not as far fetched as you may think. This story may not be Gray’s Anatomy but it will curl your toes just as much. Gregory Miller, MD is tall dark and handsome. He single and looking for love and the nurses at Kingdom Hospital just want to love him back. Is sex and a good time enough for Dr. Miller? Follow him and his fellow doctors and nurses as they try to find love and a good time while saving lives


This side of crazy

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Wednesday Book Candy Feature~Holy Suspicion

This week’s Book Candy feature is Holy Suspicion by Melissa Love

Victoria and Travis Winter were once the Reverend and First Lady of their own mega church in Indiana, Indianapolis. It wasn’t until nine years ago, when their two oldest daughters, Reva and Rhonda exposed accusation about their Christian husbands. Feeling embarrassed with the lost of their church members and income, they left Indiana and moved to Detroit with their youngest daughter Naomi, to get a fresh start. The Winters found their new home at One True Worship, the third largest church in the Detroit area. But Victoria didn’t want to be just a regular church member. She wanted to become Second Mother of the Church, a very high position for a mother-in-law. In order to have this accomplished, she must convince Naomi to fall in love and marry Pastor Kyle Smith; a wealthy and famous pastor of a multi-billion dollar family. God-fearing Naomi does everything a Christian woman is supposed to do. She attends all her church services, church events and she even help out when asked. After offering a bible study for their daughter, Victoria is so happy to see Naomi finally has the pastor eating out her of hands. But Naomi has a secret! This secret Victoria uncovers is enough to ruin her dreams of getting the position she so eagerly wanted, as well as having Naomi married off to a prestige family. Will this secret cause them to move again?

This week you can get Holy Suspicion for free on your kindle. Promotion date is from 10/9/2012 to 10/13/2012.  Also check out Melissa Love’s contest page for a chance to win more prizes. click here

Amazon page: Holy Suspicion

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Motown Author Feature~Tenita Johnson

Creative and innovative are understatements when it comes to describing her work. Well-known for transforming others’ thoughts and ideas into written masterpieces, her writing style has catapulted her into a creative writing success for over 15 years. But through perfecting the craft of writing, Tenita Johnson realized her keen eye for spelling and grammatical errors would not only lead her into a career as an editor, but enable her to start her own writing and editing business, So It Is Written LLC.

Tenita’s passion for writing helped aid her in choosing to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she received a Bachelor of Journalism with an emphasis in News/Editorial. Her internship at the Columbia Missourian as not only a reporter, but also as a copy editor, helped hone her writing and editing skills to successfully compete in today’s journalistic and writing industries. Through her visionary writing, Tenita seeks to inspire and uplift others when they seem to have hope lost.

100 Words of Encouragement: Tidbits of Inspiration, her debut book, not only offers hope to make it through the current state of this economy, but to persevere through any trying situation one may encounter in everyday life. This written compilation of daily words of encouragement also emphasizes the belief that if you can condition your mind to think positively, eventually your circumstances will follow. But Tenita’s success is surely not only measured by her own.

Through her So It Is Written LLC, she helps authors around the nation perfect their manuscripts and successfully complete the publishing process. She also offers professional biographies, press releases and proposals, creating distinct brand images for authors long before their books hit the shelves. Together with her education, poise and charisma, she seeks to not only become a better writer and entrepreneur herself, but even more so, she seeks to help other authors bring their visions and dreams to manifestation. For speaking engagements or to purchase your copy of 100 Words of Encouragement, please visit or email

Read below to find out more about author Tenita C. Johnson!

Where are you from?

Chicago, IL

Tell us your latest news?

I am looking to launch my 2nd book in the summer of 2013 titled When the Smoke Clears, the story of my life, told from the other side of victory.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing in high school. Both for my school yearbook as well as to release anger and hurt.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I had several published articles in college.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was unemployed and began to send out emails of inspiration to 5 friends. One of them suggested that I not only keep them, but make them into a book. So I did.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write to encourage and uplift.

How did you come up with the title?

I sent 100 emails and Googled if 100 Words of Encouragement was taken and it wasn’t. So it was pretty simple!

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

Yes, the message is always don’t give up, don’t quit, don’t throw in the towel…without the preached Word.
How much of the book is realistic?

Most of it, if not all of it, are real-life accounts of times in my life where I felt down, but pulled myself up again.

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

My own real life
What books have most influenced your life?

The Bible, Rev Run’s Words of Wisdom

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

Steve Harvey, because he writes the real and doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

What book are you reading now?

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Tonia Carter

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My Greater Grace Temple church family

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes most definitely!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in  your latest book?

I would change the inside layout and have a professional designer design the pages and I would remove the Bible verses.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Offering ways for people to cope or overcome obstacles in life, when sometimes I am still struggling with those things myself.

Who designed the covers?

Rochelle Mann of Mann Made

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Fear that it is not good enough, it is not from God and fear that Bible scholars would challenge me.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Start marketing 6 months in advance. Hire a professional editor and even still, review the edited copy before going to final print. Don’t order 500 or 100 copies in case you do find an error. Launch your website BEFORE the book comes out and take pre-orders.

Author & Book Info:

100 Words of Encouragement: Tidbits of Inspiration

Author Website:

Amazon Link:100 Words of Encouragement Amazon Page

Facebook Link: 100 Words of Encouragement

Twitter Link: TenitaJohnson

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MWN Author Feature~ Erica Coleman

On saturday, August 25th I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing the beautifully talented author, Erica Coleman. This local Detroit author has penned her first novel Dying To Be Loved, a book whose message is relevant and on time for the hour such as this.

Who is Erica Coleman? 

Erica Monique Coleman was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Erica graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Her creative talents as a writer, model, actor and spokesperson have enabled her to communicate and befriend large groups of men and women “who all have a story to tell.”  Writing has been her passion for many years, but her focus has mainly been on women’s’ life issues, as featured on her Blog titled, “Girl Let Me Tell You.”  She currently resides in Detroit, MI with her son whom she hopes will follow in her creative footsteps.  Dying To Be Loved is her first novel with hopes of many more to follow.

Listen in on our fun-filled interview to learn more about Erica and her new novel Dying To Be Loved.




















Author website:

Dying To Be Loved Facebook fan page: Dying To Be Loved


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Motown’s Young Adult Feature~ Dara Nichole

Dara Nichole

Join us today as we welcome another one of Detroit’s crown jewels: Dara Nichole.

Dara Nichole Walker is an author, speaker, and inspirational blogger. Mrs. Walker is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and is currently working on her Masters of Business Administration. She has worked with various youth and women organizations in the metro Detroit area assisting in developing programs and activities to build their self-esteem, facilitate group discussions, and provide resources and opportunities for them to develop their gifts and talents. Mrs. Walker truthfully understand the troubles of the teenager in this generation and the pitfalls they must overcome to be successful. She is aware of the calling on her life to minister to the issues of youth and inspire them to grow closer to Christ. “Once we show young women who they are and their value, they will start to understand their worth, and really start to walk in the things God has for them.” Mrs. Walker is committed to fulfilling the calling. Dara lives in the Metro Detroit area with her husband and son.


5 questions with Dara:

How old were you when you realized that you have the gift of writing?

When I was in the 1st grade I would write stories for my mom and she would read them aloud. I used to love to write in high school and we would actually start a story and pass it among friends to continue the story. By the time I got to College, I just knew in my heart I had to write.

How does writing coincide with your ministry to mentor young girls?

I try to talk about issues they deal with now. Peer pressure, drinking, drugs, not getting an education, bullying, all those are issues young girls need advice on, but may not seek the answers. I want the girls to learn as much as possible, even when they don’t think they’re learning!

How does your writing style differ from other young adult authors?

Sometimes I can be heavy handed with my message concerning Christ. I know there is a balance and i am working on it, but it is apart of me, and I want people to know who I stand for, and what I stand for throughout every book I write.

Are there any messages in your books?

Loving yourself, loving others. Focusing on our destiny, sex can wait, among other Christian Principals.

Now that you’re a mother, how does that change the way that you write?

I have more of a  drive to be successful. I want my son to be proud of me, and know that when you work hard, and do your best, you will be fulfilled. There’s no other feeling like walking in your purpose.

Check out Dara’s books…

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Motown’s Young Adult Feature~ Cassandra Carter

Young Adult author, Cassandra CarterToday the Motown Writer’s Network would like to introduce you to one of Detroit’s brightest stars, Young Adult author Cassandra Carter.

Cassandra Charisse Carter is the 23-year-old authoress of two novels for young adults, Fast Life (July 2007) and 16 Isn’t Always Sweet (March 2008). Born on Tuesday, February 21, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania, Cassandra is the product of a single-parent home.

While her interests range from fashion to music, Cassandra exhibited a passion for writing at a young age. Her unique talent for storytelling was first noticed in short stories written for her mother, but she also received praise from her teachers and her peers. At the tender age of 9, Cassandra and her mother moved to Michigan where Cassandra continued to explore different ways to express herself on paper. While studying various writing styles throughout the years, she has preserved an original voice that today’s generation can relate to.

Cassandra was only 14 years-old when she created the concept for Fast Life. Inspired by a dream, she completed what would be her very first novel the following summer when she was just 15. With the encouragement of her family and help from a literary agent, Cassandra signed a contract with the Harlequin imprint, Kimani Tru, two years later. An honors graduate from Huron High School in Ann Arbor, MI Cassandra received her diploma just one month before welcoming the release of her first published title, Fast Life.

Ms. Carter currently resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan with her Mom, Susan, and the cutest cat ever named Oreon. She is a proud member of the Motown Writer’s Network based in Detroit, MI. Whenever she is not working on her newest book, Cassandra is busy speaking to youth in the community. For more info please visit!

5 Questions with Cassandra…

You began writing at such a young age; do you remember what your first short story was about?

I don’t remember what my first story was about, but there is one in particular that stands out.  . . I was in 3rd grade when I made up this story about a chocolate volcano that erupted and washed away my hometown (Reading, PA). I incorporated my neighbors into the story and everything. It was so funny. Needless to say, my teacher at the time was so pleased with what I’d done, after raving about it to my Mom at a parent-teacher conference, she took it to her Master’s class to share it with them because she was so impressed.

Where do you believe your passion for writing comes from?

I would say I’m a natural-born writer. It’s hard to explain, but I always knew that’s what I was meant to do. I even wrote an essay about it once. I think it all began when my mom would read to me as a child. I always loved to read, and since reading and writing go hand in hand it came naturally. It didn’t take long before I got to the point where I didn’t want to just sit back and enjoy the story I wanted to find a way to get involved and come up with my own. I started off by taking stories I already knew, like the story of Pocahontas, and re-writing them. Then I progressed to writing original material which was mostly scary stories.  Over time, I’ve nurtured my craft by taking just about every writing class I could: journalism, composition, etc. but I never thought it was practical to think I would ever actually become an authoress so I never thought to write a book until a dream inspired me. When I woke up I heard this voice say “Cassandra, you should write a book about that,” and it was a wrap. Fast Life is the first book I ever wrote. Two years later it was published.

 What have been the most rewarding challenges you’ve faced while being a young author?

With Fast Life, I faced one of the biggest challenges any author can face and that’s editing. The original version of Fast Life was over 120,000 words which came out to over 500 pages so we had the task of cutting the book in half for length and content, all while trying to maintain a solid storyline and have everything still make sense. Any author reading this right now is probably like, “What?!” But in the end I feel like Fast Life came out even better because of the changes and I was extremely happy that my voice was preserved throughout. Another big thing for me has just been trying to adjust to being a part of the industry and learn the business side of things all while making the transition from a teenager to adulthood myself. What a lot of people don’t know is there is a lot more that comes along with being an author than just writing the book. The industry is constantly changing and there is always something new to learn.

What are some of your goals in your writing career?

In hopes of establishing myself as a full time writer, I hope to release new books, and soon.  I would like to branch out into urban fiction in addition to romance and Young adult fiction. Hopefully one of my books will make the New York Time’s Best Seller’s list one day. I would love to turn my books into movies eventually. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about that. I would also like to be a guest writer for different newspapers and magazines. I am still playing around with the idea of blogging, too. I think one of the best things for me personally, is when I have a chance to have one-on-one interaction with my readers so I’m looking forward to more speaking opportunities. Like Drake said, “I just want to be successful.”

 What advice would you give today’s young writer?

Believe in yourself and your talent. Never doubt yourself. I know you’ve heard it a million times to the point where it almost sounds cliché, but it’s true, especially as an artist. It’s something even I have struggled with. It can be scary to think about putting your work out there for everyone to see, but it is important to remain open to criticism without taking it personally. Before Fast Life came out I remember being anxious over the language and content and the fact that now everyone I know, including my teachers and my family, were going to be able to see it. I was worried I might get in trouble since I’d written it when I was 14 – 15 but then my grandmother told me, “This is your writing and no one can take it from you,” and that stayed with me.

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