Tag Archives: books

Author S. M. Hope Talks Writing, Inspiration, and the Creative Process Behind Tainted Jewel

Greetings, readers. Author S. M. Hope stopped by The Indie Spot to share her thoughts on writing and the creative process involved in getting a book to market.

What inspired you to start writing?

Writing started as a hobby, I never expected a published book at the end. However, the more I wrote, the more passionate I became about what I was creating. I didn’t want to be the only one in the world to know what Kate was going through. I asked a few friends and my mum for their views on my book, and it was from their encouragement that I looked into possibly publishing it.

What did you like to read when you were a youngster?

The one that sticks out the most to me was, when I was very young the teacher used to sit us down on the mat and read to us. The book was the very famous James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I can still feel the excitement I felt when she would read it to us. She would stop at a place where you really wanted to find out more and I couldn’t wait for the next day so I could find out.

What is the greatest challenge you faced in writing Tainted Jewel?

The sex scenes. I don’t know why they bother me so much. I think it’s a worry knowing your friends and family will be reading your book and you’ve written a scene which does make you feel a little embarrassed. Beem and I have recently shared tweets on this subject. I was writing one particular scene about a sixteen year old boy losing his virginity. The word vagina came up, and I feel it sounds out of place. But I’m struggling with choice of word with which to replace it, as I don’t want the scene to sound too vulgar.

How much research do you do before writing the book?

I didn’t really need to do too much research at the time of writing. It was only little things like, at what stage does a baby hit a certain milestone. When is it illegal to have an abortion? Also, can you open the mouth of a dead body? Things like that. I’d hate the police to come knocking at my door asking for a look at my internet history and them seeing those kinds of things. I think I’d be in a lot of trouble.

What motivated you to write the book Tainted Jewel?

Nothing motivated me more than seeing the pages come together and a complete work of fiction materialised in front of me. Blank pages turned into a story that other people can read and be lost in.

Once written, there are many, many rewards. Not least when a stranger took the time out of her day to email and thank me for writing the book as she hasn’t been able to put it down. It gave her days of enjoyment.

I’ve been completely overwhelmed at the support and kind words I’ve had from readers and also other authors.

Tell us more about Tainted Jewel.

I had an idea that I thought would make a fantastic book, so I put pen to paper – or rather finger to laptop – and that’s how it all started.

Originally, the book was called Diamond In The Rough. However, as the story became complete and I started on the book cover design, I changed the title to the shorter, more catchy Tainted Jewel.

Tainted Jewel is told through the eyes of Katie Reilly, who, at the start of the book, is ten years old.  Kate suffers from OCD, and the book shows how this affects her outlook on life and situations in general as we read about her growing up.

The story begins when she is introduced to two brothers, Lawrence and Mike Taylor, and from that day, Kate is obsessed with Mike. At first, she sees him as a father figure. However, as she gets older, her feelings progress into love.

She doesn’t realise until it’s too late exactly who Mike Taylor is. He’s the sidekick of Mr Simpson, the most feared man in Bridgeborough.

How did you choose to write in this particular genre?

Because of the ideas I had in my mind about how the book would play out and eventually end, I knew it was never going to be a fairy tale. So, Crime Drama was the only genre it could fit into. I really love the genre and everyone has such wonderful stories to tell.

Who are some of the authors that inspired you? Favorites?

I was told a couple of times that I write very similar to Kimberley Chambers. I hadn’t read any of her books, so I decided to buy a couple. I read Billie Jo in a couple of days, and whilst I was reading it, I could see exactly where people were coming from. I’ve since done research on Kimberley, and she still writes with pen and paper, never using a laptop (that amazes me, it must take her forever). I love the story she tells on her website. At the age of 36, she was asked by a friend if she wanted to start working in her salon, which meant going back to basics, sweeping the floor. Her answer was, ‘No, I’m thinking of writing a book’, and hey presto look at her now. If that doesn’t inspire writers to prove that if you have a good enough story it can be done, then I don’t know what will inspire you.

How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis? Do you assign daily word counts for yourself?

I don’t dedicate a certain amount of time each day, it’s just when I get time. I could be at work and an idea would pop into my head. I type it out as quickly as I can and email it to myself. Then, when I get home, I work on it making it a much better drawn out scene. I do have a chart which I keep track on my word count, as I won’t stop a draft until I have over 90,000 words. As soon as I put the word count in it tells what percentage I have left to write. Then, when I hit 0% left to write, I take out some scenes and put new ones in.

What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?

Please, don’t stop. Keep going. You will get there in the end if you want it bad enough. Write for yourself and fall in love with your characters (even the evil ones). Let them become part of your family, and your ideas will soon come flooding to you. This should hopefully stamp out any writers blocks. But most of all enjoy the ride and what will be will be.

Tainted Jewel


It was love that dragged Kate Reilly into the criminal underworld. Once in, it was somewhere she couldn’t easily leave; even if she had wanted to….

Growing up, Kate liked the attention she received from Mike Taylor, the worst of the Taylor brothers, in her mother’s humble opinion.
As a young girl, Kate was always happy to use her ‘magic skills’ at unpicking locks to help Mike and his friends out when they had carelessly locked themselves out of their homes – or even their safes.
As she matured, it finally dawned on Kate that maybe Mike wasn’t the gentleman she had first thought. However by this point, she was hopelessly, obsessively in love with him. What’s more, she was so involved in the criminal lifestyles of Mike and his cohorts that she felt there was no escaping…. And she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to try.

That is, until the night of her eighteenth birthday. Then her whole world was turned on its head, everything changed that night……. Forever.

Get it at AMAZON

S. M. Hope on TWITTER



Introducing Vashti Quiroz-Vega: #RRBC Spotlight Author

We’re getting 2018 started on an exciting note. Today, I have the privilege of sharing my blog with a highly-touted up-and-coming indie author. Introducing Vashti Quiroz-Vega. . .


Fall From Desire

By Vashti Quiroz-Vega


For my transgressions, I was cast out of Heaven and exiled to planet Earth.

My fall was brutal as my six large white wings caught fire entering the Earth’s atmosphere. I cringed and screamed as the flames consumed feathers and flesh. I looped and spiraled in the air, all the while stirring and reaching toward the flames, but there was no relief from the oppressive pain or the stench of roasted flesh. The fire was quenched when only the burnt bones of my wings remained. I wailed writhing in the air as the blackened bony frames were yanked from my skeleton by a powerful force. This is what the male angels I led astray with my insatiable carnal appetite experienced as they fell from grace. I deserve worse for corrupting so many.

I splashed into a swamp.

The only light source was the brilliance of a full moon.

The swamp was dominated by woody plants and teeming with animal life. The water pushed down on me from all sides. I floundered and flailed my arms and legs, which made me sink faster. I sank further and further into the swamp and away from the light of the moon. Soon, I was shrouded in darkness. My lungs burned for air. In horror, I screamed and warm, murky water filled my lungs. I shook and convulsed as alligators, snakes and all manner of swamp creatures witnessed the water take me away.

I opened my eyes. I was floating over the water. I survived? I was not sure how long I was unconscious, only that it was a different night—for the moon was no longer full. I trembled in fear and remained still, allowing the current to carry me wherever it may. As I came near the bank of the swamp, I took hold of a cypress’s knee, clambered to my feet and waded out of the water. I teetered and faltered, inexperienced in walking without wings. I am no longer an angel. The realization pierced my heart. What am I now? I broke the rules of celibacy in Heaven and tempted so many to do the same with my female ways. My lustful desires and sexual appetite were my ruin. Now I am alone, never to feel the pleasure of a caress.


My wide eyes flickered in every direction, trying to find a way out of the desolate and wild place. The potent, musky smell of decomposing vegetation and animal matter wafted into my nose, making me grimace with revulsion. There were no such smells in Heaven. Oh, how far I have gone from Heaven’s joyful fragrances!

I staggered in circles, my feet sinking into the spongy, wet ground. The humidity was so dense in this habitat that wetness covered everything. A film of moisture glazed my naked body. Water soaked my long, ginger hair and pulled my curls flat. I heard the hooting of an owl. I turned toward a nearby tree and there it was, lurking in the shadows. Its large glowing eyes stared at me. Snakes slithered around my feet. Alligators remained immersed as they peered at me with their strange eyes peeking over the surface of the water. Where am I? There are only wetlands as far as I can see. How am I to survive here? I was not sure I wanted to live––not here. My body trembled, and desperate tears meandered over my cheeks and mingled with the moisture on my face. No one can hear me cry. I walked for miles. There were many sunrises and many moonrises, yet I remained alone in a world of swamps.

Swarms of mosquitos tormented me with their stinging and their buzzing in my ears. I had to deter countless attacks from snakes and alligators. I was covered in welts, bumps, scratches, bites and bruises from such attacks. My body itched, ached and throbbed. I deserve no less for sating my erotic desires without a second thought for the countless archangels, seraphim and cherubim I debauched with my impious, enticing and lustful ways.

I continued to wander the soggy swampland and began to feel an unfamiliar burning sensation in my middle. My strength was depleting, and I dragged my feet and panted. Feeling faint, I collapsed. I lay on the water-saturated ground and looked up at the heavens. What is happening to me? What have I become? I lay frozen for hours, feeling so alone, waving off a plethora of insects trying to invade my body. I would rather draw my last breath than spend the rest of my days alone in this sodden nightmare.


“What are you?” A masculine voice asked.

I jolted upright in a seated position and stared at a magnificent creature. “I––I do not know what I am. I have only knowledge of what I used to be.”

“Very well, then what were you?” He squinted his eyes and his eyebrows came together as he stared.

“I was once called Rachiel––when I was an angel in Heaven.”

He looked at me sideways. “You do not look like an angel to me.”

“Have you ever seen an angel?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I have, and angels have wings.”

“I, too, had wings. Large white wings—six of them.” My voice quavered. “They were torn from me as I fell through the skies.”

He scrutinized me for a while with his piercing violet-blue eyes. “I believe you. I am not sure why, but I do. Perhaps something in your verdant eyes tells me you do not know how to lie.” His wide smile was stunning and dripping with a silent threat. “My name is Mendrion.” He was tall. His hair long, thick, the color of nightfall. Lengthy, heavy eyelashes framed his violet-blue eyes. His skin was like an ivory mist. He looked like divine pleasure. Enough, Rachiel! This is why you were cast out of Heaven! I shuddered and exited my own head.

I gawked at his muscular body while he stared at my face and came closer. He searched for some of my hair that was not soiled, grabbed some and sniffed. He proceeded to nuzzle his nose against my neck, my shoulder, the top of my breasts. I closed my eyes and shivered with both fear and pleasure. He breathed me in, taking in my essence. He looked up. I opened my eyes, and he stared into them. Then he walked around me, slowly, as he evaluated every inch of my bare body. He parted the long hair that fell down my back and saw the jagged stubs from where my wings used to stem. He passed his hands over them with a gentle touch, and then I felt him bring his face closer to smell the stumps. He came around to face me again.

“Are you in pain?” He did not look concerned but more curious.

“Since I have arrived on this planet, I have felt only pain, fear and sorrow.” I looked toward the ground.

“I can rid you of these malignancies.”


“You need only say yes.”

I gazed at him. What am I to do? I am in much pain and I grow weaker with the passing of time. I shall not survive much longer without help. I bit my lip. I was unable to think with clarity.

“You do not trust me and I understand, for I have given you no reason to trust in me.” His voice was soothing.

“You are an elegant creature, but I do not know your mind.”

He grinned and lifted his muscular chest. He swaggered toward me and extended his arm. He passed his hand through my hair and caressed my face. Desire for him grew quickly inside me like a vine strangling all other emotions. Every fiber of my being was ignited. My chest heaved in rhythm with my shallow panting. It is happening again. I am overwhelmed with lustful desires.

“You, too, are beautiful to look upon,” he said. “But if you wish to rid yourself of pain and fear you must become what I am.”

“What are you?”

“I am vampire.”

I recoiled and gasped. In Heaven, I had heard stories of such creatures from the Observers––angels whose task was to observe the beings on Earth. Vampires are the spawn of Dracúl, the infamous son of Lilith and Satan. I flinched.

“You know of my kind?” He came closer.

“I do.” My lips quivered.

“You need not fear me. I mean you no harm. I only seek what you seek.”

“What do you think I desire?”

“Companionship.” He extended his hand. “Come with me and never be alone again.”

I stared at his welcoming hand for a while.

“I shall offer this only once.” His piercing eyes were fixed on me. I reached my trembling hand to meet his and he pulled me toward him.

He held me tightly and pressed his full moist lips against mine. After the kiss I became lightheaded. Through eyes half opened, I watched as he opened his mouth exposing large canine teeth growing into fangs. I gasped, but before I could move, he sank his fangs into the flesh at the base of my neck. A combination of his saliva and my blood streamed down my neck. I cocked my head back and moaned, my eyes rolling back in their sockets. Both pleasure and pain moved through me. My body tensed. My entire being was at peak response. As he drew my blood greedily, I felt my body meld into his. A delightful pressure began to build inside me. I gasped and groaned with pleasure. The pressure continued to build until I thought I would explode. My body went into spasms of incredible delight, and my mind was flooded with a variety of pleasurable sensations. Then I felt a wave of dizziness, my body slackened, and darkness began to close in on me.

Upon opening my eyes, I saw the world differently. The colors of cypress trees became more vivid, and plants were verdant jewels. I almost felt the fragrances of nature. The alligators’ bellows and the hissing of snakes became mellifluous. I lay on the ground, and Mendrion sat next to me. He smiled, and I returned his smile. He kissed me on the lips, neck, shoulders and breasts. His hands caressed my body, and his touch was heavenly. As a vampire, my body was made for pleasure. I sensed so much more and every nerve ending in my body was excited. Every touch sent waves of pleasure throughout my body. I need not food, nor water—I may well live on his touch alone. I was in ecstasy, but then he stopped. He got to his feet.

“No, do not stop. I implore you.” I gazed into his eyes feeling affection for him and wholly devoted. “I love your hands and lips on my body.”

He extended his hand like he had done before. “Take my hand, Rachiel.” I beamed when he mentioned my name. “I shall allow you to keep your original name, for it pleases me. Now go and join the others.” I tilted my head and stared at him through narrowed eyes for his words filled me with confusion.

He pointed to the swamp.

I turned my face and gasped. My eyes opened wide with disbelief. There were other fallen angels like me in the swamp. They were all converted into vampires—no doubt in the same way as I was. There was not a happy face among them.

“Go on!” Mendrion pointed to the swamp. “Take your place among them. You are now a swamp vampire. You shall feed on the blood of alligators, snakes, beavers, frogs and other swamp creatures.”

“I shall not!” I stared at him with wide eyes and clenched my jaw while holding back tears. “You deceived me.”

“I told you only the truth. You no longer feel pain, am I right?” He waited for my response wearing a wry grin. “If you do not feed on the blood of these swamp creatures, you shall die a slow and agonizing death, and when you die the animals shall eat you.”

“I shall go away!” I turned my head this way and that, my eyes flickering in every direction.

“You have nowhere to go. You belong to me now and there is no escape, for your blood calls out to me and I shall find you wherever you go. Besides, you can no longer live without my touch.” He was right—losing his caressing is what I feared most. “Join the others now, or you shall never feel the gratification of my touch.”

Upon hearing his final words my face slackened. I shuffled through the bog and entered the dark, gloomy water. I stood amongst the others, merely another beauty in the murky swamp. The others glared at me––another to whom they must share him with. We were all doomed to the same punishment. Our bodies made for pleasure and overwhelmed with desire, condemned to long for ephemeral moments with our master.



Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of fantasy, horror, and suspense/thriller. When she isn’t creating extraordinary worlds or fleshing out powerful characters, she enjoys reading, traveling, kayaking, photography, and seeking adventures. She lives in Florida with her husband and fur baby, a Pomeranian named Scribbles (who’s also her writing buddy).


Twitter – @VashtiQV

Facebook – http://on.fb.me/1g0da7d

Website – http://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com





In The Fall of Lilith, Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts an irresistible new take on heaven and hell that boldly lays bare the passionate, conflicted natures of God’s first creations: the resplendent celestial beings known as angels. 


If you think you know their story, think again.


Endowed with every gift of mind, body, and spirit, the angels reside in a paradise bounded by divine laws, chief of which are obedience to God, and celibacy. In all other things, the angels possess free will, that they may add in their own unique ways to God’s unfolding plan.


Lilith, most exquisite of angels, finds the rules arbitrary and stifling. She yearns to follow no plan but her own: a plan that leads to the throne now occupied by God himself. With clever words and forbidden caresses, Lilith sows discontent among the angels. Soon the virus of rebellion has spread to the greatest of them all: Lucifer.


Now, as angel is pitted against angel, old loyalties are betrayed and friendships broken. Lust, envy, pride, and ambition arise to shake the foundations of heaven . . . and beyond. For what begins as a war in paradise invades God’s newest creation, a planet known as Earth. It is there, in the garden called Eden, that Lilith, Lucifer, and the other rebel angels will seek a final desperate victory—or a venomous revenge.


“[A] compelling narrative that . . . strays far from traditional biblical text . . . A well-written, descriptive, and dark creation story.”—Kirkus Reviews




The 2017 #RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party Is Here!

It’s that time of the year again! Time for the 2017 RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party. This 31-day event is a win-win for all involved. These trailers are designed to bring attention to amazing books from some of the best indie authors in the world.

Each stop on this incredible tour offers YOU the opportunity to win fabulous prizes just for visiting and leaving a comment.

It’s really quite simple. Just click HERE and follow the links to each day’s tour participant, view the trailer, and tell the author what you think. You could win free books or gift cards or other great prizes!

Don’t let the train pull out of the station without you. Those prizes are awarded at the end of each day throughout December.

The 2017 RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party is all about supporting indie authors. So, show your support each day!


Watch RWISA Write: RWISA

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate RWISA!

Hi!  Welcome to RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA  {pronounced RISA or rice-uh, with a silent ‘W’}, a division of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! (RRBC)

RWISA, the latest brain-child of Author, Nonnie Jules, was founded for the sole purpose of introducing the literary world to some of the top INDIE Authors!  These writers are consummate Professionals, dedicated, committed and driven to continually excel at producing the best written works possible.  Are they perfect?  No, but none of us are.  What separates them from the rest, is their ultimate goal of giving readers what they are paying for…great, polished reads and writing!

The members of this community have penned works that have garnered high marks and praise for creativity, and their dedication to the excellence of the craft of writing.  But, it doesn’t stop there!  Their desire to be the BEST in their writing, is evident in the little things, as well, such as their websites and blogs, their well-written book blurbs and even their Author bios on Amazon.  These writers care about perfection in their writing and it shows across the board!

RWISA is home to some of the most talented INDIE authors around the world!  We invite you to take a look around, visiting each author’s page, as well as their showcases.  If you are an author, and think that you have what it takes to have your name placed on the roster of our ELITE members, we invite you to submit a request for membership.

You can’t belong to RWISA simply because you want to.  This community of ELITE writers is not open to the general public.  Although submitting a REQUEST  for possible membership is required, actual membership into the society is by invitation only!  Once it has been determined that your written work, your attention to detail, and your commitment to continually improve and excel as an Author is genuine, it will be an honor to add your name to our roster of other ELITE writers.

On the other side of that coin, if you are a member of RRBC (because we do have lots of great talent there) and your name is not listed here yet, that could simply mean that you are on a list of authors waiting to be vetted, but feel free to submit a request for membership, just to be safe.

For more information, please visit our FAQ page and any of the other informative pages on the site.

**If you are a publisher, news or magazine entity, etc., and are interested in the work of some of the talent showcased here, please feel free to connect with them via the contact info on their Author page.**

Thanks for visiting, and if you truly treasure and appreciate great writing, please tell your friends about us!



Watch RWISA Write: Nonnie Jules

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Nonnie Jules!



I am a black woman, and because of the shade of my skin and coarseness of my hair, because of the fullness of my hips, my lips and the bold colors I wear…some don’t find me as attractive as my fairer counterparts.  You see, I’m no longer your house-maid or here for your sexual pleasure; no longer Mamie to your children, I’m now someone’s Mother…a treasure.  But, does my life matter?


I am a black man, and because of my dark skin and the boldness of my stance, because of the kinky in my hair, the anger in my stare, and the wear and tear shown on my hands…some still don’t see me as a man.  You see, I’m no longer your field property or your whipping post.  I’ve freedom papers and own land now, maybe, more than most.  You build cages to hold me, guilty or not; where you should build institutions of higher learning, you lock me away for little things, then leave me there to rot.  Do you forever see my bed as a cot?  But, does my life matter?


I am a white woman, and because of my milk dove skin and cute, pinched nose, thin ruby red lips and fair skin that glows…with my pearly whites and prominent chin…some still look at me and despise the skin I’m in.  I was never privy to the pain that was caused.  I was born into that hatred…those God-awful laws.  So, does my life still matter?


I am a white man, born into privilege and wealth, easy life, perfect health, yet…I’m still persecuted and referred to as “the man.”  I, too, hate the ways of the Ku Klux Klan.  My neighbors are black, white, green and red…still, I haven’t fled.  To be where everyone looks more like me, is not where I want to be.  I, too, would like to one day be FREE. Yes, FREE!  It also applies to me! FREE of the labels that bind because of the color of my skin; I’ve never owned any human or degraded any man. But, does my life still matter?


I am a brown-skinned woman and because of my accented words, you think I should be silent…quiet and not heard.  I can do more, than clean your windows and floors.  Just ask me what I’m capable of, you’d be surprised, I’m sure.  I may have come here via the back of a truck, or even the legal route, if I was blessed with such luck.  Maybe I was born here, and my parents, too.  In your eyes, would that still make me less American than you?  Does my life matter?


I am a brown-skinned man and though maybe a bit stocky, I’m no less in appearance, than your brawn and cocky.  I’m not a rapist, a thief or thug…but a man like you, with kids to hug.  I’m not ashamed to tend your lawns and trees, but Executive, also a title I wear with ease; whatever it takes…my family to feed. Don’t dismiss, or overlook my face; I may not have been born here, but I’m here to stay.  And, with that said, does my life still matter?

With all that’s going on, there’s much racial unrest.  It’s time to put differences aside and put real LOVE to the test.  We can’t keep fighting each other, when there are real wars going on.  We must come together in love, heal and stand strong.  There are real enemies among us, and their names we know not.  We must stand on the front lines, together and talk.

The differences between us are fewer than those in our heads; and in the end, until we draw our last breath,  we all still bleed red.  Yes, that small matter is what makes us brothers, and binds us tighter than any other.

That stream of red flowing thru our veins, is what should force us to…
release all blame,
stop the pain,
forge ahead,
no more blood we’ll shed.

Nonnie Jules, RWISA Author Page

Watch RWISA Write: Linda Mims

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Linda Mims!

You Take the Blue Pill, the Story Ends. You Take the Red Pill …

By Linda Mims


I was sixteen when I first suspected that I might be the one. I’d seen people in my family striving for excellence all my life. My parents’ friends were creative types who often took time to quiz me about my goals and what I was doing to achieve them. I had been persistently pleading with a leader at my church who had the power to make one of my goals a reality.


This woman headed the Womens’ Ministry. Everything from church announcements to annual celebrations fell under her domain. I wanted to be the youth announcer on the weekly, hour-long radio broadcast that emanated from our church, but she was speaking a language that I didn’t understand.


“Take some speech lessons and come back to me.”


Where in the world was I going to get speech lessons and how would I pay for them? My family knew some people, and the house did overflow from Friday to Sunday with weekend guests, but that didn’t mean we had money. A party costs maybe $25 back then—especially if everybody brought food and drinks.


Bottom line, we didn’t have money for speech lessons. Still, I wasn’t going to give up. I was a spiritual youngster, even before I knew what spiritual meant. I told the Lord what I wanted and then forgot about it. While I was waiting, strange, but wonderful things were happening to me. I was voted vice president of my choir and I was chosen to deliver the Youth Day Address. Go figure!


One Friday evening, my mother received a phone call. The church maven and her assistant had gone on strike. I was too young to understand everything a strike entailed. I just knew that I was being asked to fill in as the main radio announcer for the broadcast; the very thing I’d wanted in the first place.  That broadcast went out to hundreds, maybe thousands in the Chicago listening area.


When she returned from her strike, Ms. Maven kept me on as a junior announcer and she became one of my most revered mentors. That was the year I discovered that I was tight with God. I could get a prayer through! Was I the one?


I’m every woman. It’s all in me


While in college a few years later, I watched a bold, beautiful young woman, with a voice as big as a brass saxophone, sing on a makeshift stage. It was an impromptu concert behind one of the lecture halls on my university campus. The day was balmy and the sun was bright. We shaded our eyes as we stared straight into the golden orb that bathed her in its light.


She looked like a woman and a child at the same time. She wore very few clothes. Just a band around her breasts, a pair of short shorts, ankle boots, and a tall feather stuck in the crown of one of the biggest afros I’d ever seen.


We were fascinated, and her voice held us captivated. After the performance, members of the group handed out bills that said their name was Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan. They would be performing at a local club that night.


We showed up to the club, but a multi-ethnic crowd had filled the place to capacity. You don’t need to ask for racial diversity once everybody realizes you have something we all desire. Anyway, we couldn’t get in. That day would be the first and only time I’d hear Chaka Khan sing for free. At the time, I wondered if she was also the one!


In 1978, Chaka Khan recorded her first solo album, Chaka. One song from that album would define the rest of my life. In it, she sang my truth! I’d always felt that I could do anything, but it wasn’t until Ms. Khan sang the words, that I knew how to describe what I’d always known.


“I’m every woman. It’s all in me. Anything you want done, baby, I do it naturally. I ain’t bragging, but I’m the one. Just ask me and it shall be done.”


I had a theme song!


You may not know the purpose, but know that there is a purpose


In The Matrix, one of my favorite movies of all time, there’s the scene where Morpheus gives Neo a choice between the red pill or the blue pill. Neo has been searching for information about the matrix. Morpheus has to convince Neo that he isn’t looking for the matrix, but what he’s really looking for is more. Morpheus believes that once Neo has answers to his questions, he will come to accept what Morpheus already knows. Neo is the one.


Being the one is about knowing that you want more. You want to change things. You may not know what your ultimate purpose is, but you know that there is a purpose. You’re so absolutely self-motivated and focused, that God himself delights in your purpose. I told you I’ve always been spiritual, so, I’ll say that I believe when God and the universe delight in your purpose, there’s no stopping you.


The Matrix is fiction, so let’s take a look at real-life people who wanted more. One such person was the late author, Janet Dailey. A prolific writer, Dailey thought she could write better than most of the romance writers she was reading. She knew she was the one. When people referred to her as “just a secretary” who writes romance novels, Dailey said the following, and I quote:


 “One of the things that to me is the biggest compliment any writer can get is hearing from the ones who say, ‘I used to think reading was boring until I picked up one of your books.’ ” 


Between 1974 and 2007, Janet Dailey sold over 300 million copies of more than 100 titles. Not bad for “just a secretary”.


Then, there was Steve Jobs. Steve dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon after six months, but he stayed there and audited creative classes over the next 18 months. A course in calligraphy developed his love of typography. Apple and Macintosh computers would be the first to offer creative fonts, including calligraphy, for the consumer’s use.


Steve Jobs partnered with his friend, Steve Wozniak, to start Apple Computer, in the Jobs’ family garage. Steve Jobs said, “I want to put a ding in the universe”.


I guess he knew that he was the one!


Being the one comes with certain responsibilities


Many of you have already realized that you are the one; you just haven’t taken the red pill yet. When you’re ready, there are some responsibilities:


  1. Toot your own horn
  2. Don’t give up
  3. Throw away false humility


First, toot your own horn! You can’t be afraid of appearing to be too much of a showoff. Waiting patiently for others to give you the rewards you so richly deserve, may yield nothing but hurt and disappointment. Individuals will slink away with your destiny in their greedy little hands without so much as a backwards glance for you.


A few times, I spoke too quietly in meetings or waited until it was too late to claim my own ideas that I’d shared with others in private. I watched, stunned, as another, bolder individual stole my idea, shouted it out, and received my praise. I had to wise up quickly and realize that there are differences in the way that leaders and achievers talk and present. First, leaders declare that they have something to say. Then, when everyone is focused, they speak. They make sure their ideas are credited.


Don’t give up, opportunity does knock more than once.


I’ve learned that opportunity knocks more than once. Heck, when you’re the one, you create opportunities. When one door closes, another door really does open. If you weren’t ready the first time, the truth is, you can keep reinventing yourself until your moment comes or until you’re tired of trying.


“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” —Steve Jobs


Throw away that false humility! It’s okay to hang back while you formulate your plan. Go ahead! Get the lay of the land. If you are confident in the knowledge that you can do anything, take as much time as you need. Just don’t overdo humble. That’s almost as bad as having too much pride.


It’s permissible to show pride in yourself and your accomplishments. The 21st Century is begging for your stories, calling for your experiences, and expecting you to step up and lead, in every way imaginable. Women like Oprah Winfrey—women like Taylor Swift—they are leading change with their out-of-the-box ideas and sweeping changes to the status quo.


Men like Barack Obama are stepping out of obscurity and into the Senate and the office of the President of the United States. Have the audacity to dream! Wear your mantle of distinction with pride. Step-up, speak-out! You are the one!

Linda Mims, RWISA Author Page

Watch RWISA Write: Michael Hicks Thompson

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Michael Hicks Thompson!






Once the port-of-call jewel for Magnus Wealthy, Cuba has been a country lost in time for the last half century, plus some.


Never been to Cuba? I recommend it. But do it before it returns to the playground of the filthy rich and the Hemingway admirers.


Yes, I’ve been there twice. But not as Magnus Wealthy. Think short-term mission trip. Door-to-door evangelism. Knock, knock. “May we come in.” (Of course, my interpreter said it the proper way: “¿Podemos entrar?”)


An interpreter is essential if you can’t speak the language.


But here’s the beautiful thing. Most Cubans are the friendliest people you’ll meet. They love to meet and greet Americans. We’re a mystery to them. It’s amazing. And understandable. Most have never tasted freedom.


Castro usurped the country in the biggest land swindle ever. Now, the elderly Cubans alive today are happy with a single, pathetic gift from Papa Castro’s government.


“He give me this cooking pot,” the appreciative, sun-wrinkled, Spanish speaking octogenarian said.


Never mind that his midget refrigerator will take him a lifetime to pay off.




We flew into Havana, via Mexico, spent the night and flew on to Holguin (hole-Keen) early the next morning. It’s a four-hour flight. Cuba is the size of California.


The ‘hotel’ in Holguin was once a grand one—now, dilapidated. Papa not only didn’t let the government keep hotels up to standard, he took the toilet seats away. From personal experience, I can assure you he did it to humiliate the eleven-and-a-half-million souls into submission.


Ask any American what Cubans look like and they’ll include “dark-skinned” as an answer. However, you’d be surprised to see nearly as many red-headed and blue-eyed Cubans as dark-skinned islanders. The Spanish influence is apparent. Fifty-one percent of Cubans are Mulatto, thirty-seven percent, White, and eleven percent, Black.


All Cubans are proud. And friendly. Why shouldn’t they be? They’ve not had the outside world of communications and world events for three generations. They’ve simply missed the rise in socio-economic gain around the world. They’ve been isolated. They don’t know any other life. They’ve lived on Cuban baseball and communism since 1959.


And they’ve avoided all the gun-shot TV news and television episodes of Law & Order. God blessed them.


Or, did He?


When I think of Cuba, I think of Maria. She’s the Lady who led our group through Cuba. Maria was born and raised in Havana, in a prominent family.


Shortly after Castro took over, her father gathered his wife and children and fled to America.


Maria has such a huge heart for her native land. She’ll always love her people and her land.


Many wealthy families left their homes and their businesses behind; to start over. But the ones not able to afford travel remained behind. They faced the dark days of seclusion.


Catholicism gradually faded away. To be replaced by many false religions—Santería being the most prominent. It’s a singing religion based on the old songs of slavery. So, most Santeríans are descendants of African slaves.




Every morning ten of us would have breakfast, pray, and pile into vans with our interpreters for an hour or two ride to a small village, usually to the south, near Guantanamo. A different village each morning. That way, we could avoid the immigration officials who’d heard we were proselytizing in their country. Only once did we hear our leader yell out, “Everybody in the vans. We have to leave. Now!”


We would meet at a local house church and greet the pastor. Some would have no more than ten church members; some as many as thirty. We snuck in bibles, clothes, hygiene products, and boatloads of gum.


Each church provided a local member to escort us, individually with our interpreter, to un-churched homes in the village. The patriarch or matriarch always welcomed us. Some even asked us to hold off any discussion so they could gather their family. Even neighbors. All ages would gather around in a small living room, many sitting on the floor, while we introduced them to original sin, Jesus, the Gospel, and a merciful God.


The interpreter kept track of those who repeated the prayer of salvation (asking Jesus to come into their hearts and save them from eternal damnation). More than a few grown men cried on my shoulder after accepting Jesus into their hearts.


Naturally, there were plenty who preferred to worship their idols. Ceramic statues, sometimes made of wood or plastic.


If the idol worshiper wasn’t getting what they wanted from their man-made God, they’d place them face down in their underwear drawer, to punish them. Strange stuff. And sad.


At the end of the week, our leader would give us the number. “Four-hundred-fifty-two made a profession of faith this week. You’ve not only sowed the seeds of the Gospel, you’ve been a part of the harvest.”


That made me feel pretty good, but we all knew Holy Spirit had been working in those hearts long before we arrived. Only God can change the heart of man. But, what really made me warm and fuzzy, was the sight of my sons who’d been able to join us on the mission field. They had been part of the harvest. And it would have a lasting, lifetime effect on their lives. They talk about it to this day.


And so do I.


Michael Hicks Thompson, RWISA Author Page