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February, my birth month, and the month of love is almost over. I have been posting about the love shown by women of the Bible and today I want to focus on the unselfish love of Mary Magdalene.

I couldn’t let the month end without writing about this well-known woman of the Bible, one who has been so misrepresented and so misjudged. In fact, of all the Marys mentioned in the Bible, Mary Magdalene is the only one who is given a last name. It’s as if the authors wanted us to know exactly which Mary they were writing about. And as if that weren’t enough, she also has the handle, “out of whom went seven devils” (Luke 8: 2).

But after Jesus healed her, Mary Magdalene became one of his most devoted followers. On the day of His crucifixion, she, along with His mother and other women, stood at the foot of the cross, sorrowful and unable to do anything. Since it is the Sabbath, they cannot embalm the body, but bright and early the following day, Mary Magdalene and another Mary return to the tomb where Jesus had been buried.

Here she exemplifies one quality of love according to 1 Corinthians 13: it is not self-seeking. She has nothing to gain by going to the tomb to perform this last rite on her Savior. It is her last act of love, and she gives it without reservation.

But even though Mary Magdalene expects to gain nothing, God has already prepared the greatest reward anyone could ever hope to have. The tomb is empty, Jesus is risen as He said He would, but where is He? She sees a man standing before her, and He calls her name. It is Jesus. How does she know it is Jesus? Because He calls her Mary, not Mary Magdalene, not the one out of whom went seven devils, but simply Mary. She is the first to see the risen Lord.

Want to learn more about this fascinating woman of the Bible? Please go to Women For All Seasons at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TM6TWX4  

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Still in the month of love, this series would not be complete without including the love story of Ruth and Boaz. It is one of the best-loved stories in the Bible.

Ruth, a Moabite woman leaves her home country to accompany her Jewish mother-in-law to Judah after their husbands died.

Ruth has no idea where she is going, and being a foreigner, she faces persecution from the Jewish people. Naomi tries to persuade her to stay with her people, but she says: “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people and thy God my God:”

So they arrive in Judah, and Ruth sets out to find work gleaning in the barley fields. As fate would have it, the wealthy owner of the field sees her and falls in love with her.

Ruth and Boaz marry, and she later gives birth to a son who is the ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Like Esther in the previous post, Ruth acts out of loyalty and devotion to her mother-in-law. We also see that God’s love does not discriminate. Ruth was a Moabitess, outside of God’s covenant, and Boaz was an Israelite, of the chosen race, but not only did God bring them together, he caused His Son Jesus Christ to be descended from David who was a direct descendant of Ruth and Boaz.

What are your thoughts about Ruth? Would you be as devoted to your mother-in-law if your husband passed away? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

To learn more about Ruth and other women of the Bible, please go to Women For All Seasons at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TM6TWX4  

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February is the month of love. In this month, we celebrate Valentine’s Day through the giving of gifts and expressions of romantic love. But there are others in our lives with whom we share deep feelings of love, and we can use this opportunity to express our love for them as well. But we don’t have to wait on Valentine’s Day. We can demonstrate love on any day of the year.

In these posts, I use the Scripture passage from 1 Corinthians 13, popularly known as the love chapter, to show how some people in the Bible expressed their love for others in accordance with this scripture.

Esther was a young orphan girl who became queen almost by accident. She was chosen from among a bevy of young ladies after the former queen fell out of the king’s graces. Not long after Esther became queen, Esther’s uncle Mordecai discovered that Haman, one of the king’s officials, was plotting to annihilate all the Jews because Mordecai refused to bow to him. Mordecai sent word to Esther asking her to use her influence as queen to save the Jews. But Esther has a problem. She cannot go in to the king unless he invites her to do so, and he does not know she is a Jew.

Her response? “If I perish, I perish.” She and her servants fast for three days before she approaches the king. When she reveals the plot to him, he orders Haman to be hanged, and the lives of the Jews are spared.

Which of these qualities of love from the Biblical love chapter does Esther display? Please leave a comment in the box below. To learn more about Esther and her courageous act, please go to Women For All Seasons at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TM6TWX4   

Langston Hughes photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1936.

We are already in February, the second month of the year, which means it’s  Black History Month, a time when we celebrate the achievements of black folk here in America. Every year, I take the opportunity to feature a few famous African American authors, and as I was about to make my pick, I came across a list of famous Black authors born in February.

One of them is Langston Hughes, famous playwright, novelist, poet, and social activist with whom I share the same birth date – Feb. 1. This illustrious scribe was born of mixed heritage – his paternal great-grandfathers were of European descent, while his maternal great-grandmothers were African American – Hughes took pride in his African-American identity and stressed this in his work.

Langston’s early years

While in high school in Cleveland, Ohio, Hughes wrote for the school newspaper, edited the yearbook, and began to write short stories, poetry, and dramatic plays. He wrote his first piece of jazz poetry — a literary art form in which the poet responds and writes about jazz — “When Sue Wears Red” while still in high school.

Hughes’ first book of poetry “The Weary Blues” (1926) features the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” which became a signature poem. In 1930, he won the Harmon Gold Medal for Literature for his first novel, Not Without Laughter. Hughes went on to write many short stories, novels, essays, works for children, autobiographies, and plays, and later formed a theater troupe in Los Angeles.

Langston’s influence on young black writers

Although a major influence during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Hughes was highly critical of other Renaissance men such as W.E.B Du Bois and others who, he felt, were too accommodating of Eurocentric values and culture. In addition to his literary prowess, Hughes’s racial consciousness inspired and united black writers not only in America but around the globe.  He had a major influence on writers  such as Jacques Roumain, Nicolás Guillén, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and Aimé Césaire.  Hughes was greatly admired by young black writers whom he discovered and introduced to the publishing world. One such example is Alice Walker author of The Color Purple, who was also born in February.

Of course, I don’t believe in astrology, but I’ve heard it said that people born in February are creative, and this list certainly seems to bear this out. So, let’s take a look at some of the better-known Black authors and some of my favorites born in February :

Black authors born in February

  • Feb. 1 – Langston Hughes, Angela Joseph
  • Feb, 2 – Joseph S Cotter – one of the earliest African-American playwrights to be published.
  • Feb. 6 – Bob Marley
  • Feb. 9 – Alice Walker
  • Feb. 12 – Jacqueline Woodson
  • Feb. 14 – Frederick Douglass
  • Feb. 15 – Beverly Jenkins, Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Feb. 18 – Audre Lorde, Bebe Moore Campbell, Elizabeth Nunez, and Toni Morrison
  • Feb. 20 – Trevor Noah
  • Feb- 23 – W.E.B. Dubois

It would not be fitting for me to end this article without leaving you with a few lines from The Negro Mother, a poem by Langston Hughes, which I find very touching and which, I believe, is so pertinent to these times.

Excerpt from The Negro Mother

All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow –
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver’s track.

 

Angela is the author of the Egypt series, Love, Lies, and Grace, and her newest release Making Music Together. 

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Tackling Racism and Inequality in Education and Beyond

 

Education, Non-Fiction

Date Published: June 1, 2023



Education is a cornerstone of society, one that shapes the future of our communities and the world. But despite its importance, the education system is riddled with challenges and inequalities that prevent many individuals from receiving a quality education. This book aims to address these challenges and offer practical solutions for improving education outcomes.


About the Author

Dr. Rodger E. Perkins Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 22, 1979. Raised by a single-mother in upstate New York, he later attended Temple University in Philadelphia, PA where he received a B.A. in Psychology, and a B.A. in Criminal Justice. He also holds advanced degrees in Law/Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from California University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Perkins is a veteran of both the United States Army and the United States Air Force. While in the Army, he served as an Infantryman with the 10th Mountain light Infantry Division located at Ft. Drum, New York and with the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. While in the Army, he attended Air Assault School, Airborne School and Ranger School prior to his separation in order to complete his academic studies on a full-time basis.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Dr. Perkins commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 2006, and served as a law enforcement Special Agent and later as a Counterintelligence Agent. He has conducted and supervised multiple operations in Germany, Qatar, Ethiopia, Italy, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, and France. He has multiple deployments in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

In 2014, Dr. Perkins was assigned to Quantico, Virginia where he supervised world-wide espionage, counterintelligence and criminal investigative operations in the Integrated Collections and Operations Nexus for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. In 2015, Dr. Rodger Perkins received a promotion to serve as an Intelligence Liaison Officer to the Defense Intelligence Agency, located in Reston, Virginia.

Before his military separation in 2018, Dr. Perkins served as a Senior Military Advisor to the senior leaders of the Department of the Air Force. He has advised on over 250 critical oversight issues, oversaw a $5 billion program budget, and authored policy recommendations pertaining to sexual assault investigations in the Department of Defense, policies concerning Special Access Programs and sensitive Department of Defense agendas.

Currently, Dr. Perkins is a private consultant for an international security company based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Additionally, he is an educational administrator at a charter school in Washington, D.C. and a humanities teacher.

Awards & Accolades:

2 Air Force Meritorious Medals, 3 Air Force Commendation Medals, 3 Air Force Achievement Medals, Army Combat Action Medal, 3 Overseas Deployment Medals, 4 Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Top Gun Award & Sharpshooter Medal.

 

Contact Link

LinkedIn

 

Purchase Link

Amazon


RABT Book Tours & PR

Lately, I’ve been reading posts by authors about their novels having a bit of YA, a bit of detective, a bit of this, that, or the other. When I read such posts, I find myself thinking, good for you. A few years ago, I would not have thought that. I may have been horrified, because all the conferences and workshops I attended taught us how to write the genre-specific novel.

While I greatly appreciated those lessons —they helped me hone my craft—I found that once I began to draft my novel, I couldn’t stay in the little cubby hole I was expected to stay in. My characters kept getting involved in situations that involved occasional deviations from the cubby hole. After writing Coming Out of Egypt, I often agonized over whether the novel was a “mash-up” or truly a women’s fiction novel.

In my newbie haste to put my ideas down on paper, I never thought to research the women’s fiction genre. In fact, it was one of my critique partners who told me that my story was unfolding like women’s fiction. To this day I am grateful to her because I realize it’s the genre in which I feel most comfortable and the one in which I feel I can best reach my desired audience.

A google search for the definition of women’s fiction states: “Women’s fiction is an umbrella term for books that are marketed to female readers, and includes many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, “chick lit,” and other subgenres.” Another article points to the fact that “a male character can be the focus of a women’s fiction novel. The key is whether or not the male character faces issues of modern life that follow core themes of women’s fiction: home, family, interpersonal relationships, parenting, etc.” Another factor to consider is whether or not the story appeals to a female audience. Who is the target audience for women’s fiction?

Which brings me to another important point about genre writing: the audience. Now that I have a bit more experience, I realize that I must consider my audience when planning my book. In one article Using Genres To Write Successfully, the author states, “You can be creative and play with the conventions of genres. You can combine, blend, or even “mash-up” genres into new ones. Genres are stretchy. But if you are going to go against your readers’ expectations of the genre, you need to do so consciously and for a specific purpose.”

So, when a person picks up a book, she first does so because of the cover, which usually conveys the book’s genre. If however, when she begins to read, the contents don’t meet her expectations, she may not finish the book. Or, the book may so grab and hold her interest that she cannot put it down despite the fact that it strayed somewhat from the conventions she is accustomed to.

The writer of Using Genres To Write Successfully goes on to say, “Movies that flop often fail to follow a recognizable genre or—even worse—they follow a common genre in a trite way. A movie that follows a genre formulaically feels painfully predictable and shallow.” I would add the same goes for books.

Even though I no longer agonize over whether I followed the conventions when I wrote Coming Out of Egypt or the other two books in the series In the Wilderness and In the Promised Land, the positive reviews I gained helped to convince me that my audience was satisfied.

Still, in my newest book Love, Lies, and Grace, I tried to follow the formula, while maintaining my creativity as much as possible. I hope you will be satisfied.

Since writing Love, Lies, and Grace, I have written and published Making Music Together, a Christian romance, and while I tried to stick to the genre rules, I couldn’t help but include a bit of mainstream fiction as well. I think it turned out quite well and reader response seems to support this. Click on this link to get your copy and leave a comment, or better still, a review on Amazon.

While I worked on the plot of Making Music Together, I didn’t give serious thought to the ancestry of my characters even though I like portraying ethnic groups that are different than myself. For example, in the Egypt series, the two main characters, sisters, are of Hispanic descent. It was easy writing about them because their parents hailed from Venezuela, the country that neighbors Trinidad and Tobago, where I was born.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

In Love, Lies, and Grace, the two main characters, husband and wife, Brian and Grace, are African Americans. I mixed in two Caucasians and two characters of mixed race. Again, writing about the thoughts, feelings, and cultural norms of these characters was as simple as it had been with the previous books.

Then came Making Music Together, and I really went off the charts. Having written about major ethnic groups in my previous books, I decided to portray Mark my main character as a contemporary African American man with a mixture of Gullah and Native American genealogy. This proved challenging, but as I researched the genetic background of the Gullah people, I discovered that they exhibit a small mixture of European and Native American genealogy as well, so I included European ethnicity into his mother’s ancestry.

I also discovered that the Gullah people who were brought as slaves from West Africa to the Southeastern coastal region of America have a Caribbean connection that includes elements of West Indian folklore, music, and language. Since I was born in the Caribbean, I was inspired to dig a little further. I discovered that the food, music, and language of the Gullah people bear striking similarities to those of the Caribbean. For example, rice remains a staple food in the Caribbean as it is for the Gullah people. In Making Music Together, rice is featured in most of the meals mentioned in the book. Other popular dishes you will come upon that are also eaten in the Caribbean are okra, shrimp, green vegetables, and peas. The term “creole” often used to describe a blend of dialects spoken in some of the islands is also referred to in the Gullah language.

People of mixed races tend to identify with one race more than the other. Although Mark identifies more with his maternal heritage, he refers proudly to his deceased father as a Native American and Gullah descendant. He also reflects on how much he misses him and how his father taught him about God and how to fish. Mark’s Native American heritage is expressed in the artwork in his home — the Native American baskets that decorate his wall and the Native American rug in front of his bed.

Is there a connection between the Caribbean and Native American or American Indian ethnicity? You bet. When Columbus discovered Trinidad in 1498, he came upon the Amerindians, as they were called, the indigenous people of this little postcard. They originated from the neighboring mainland of Venezuela and Guyana. It is believed that these people had been living here for about 7,000 years before Columbus arrived. Even though they became extinct by 1550, their cultural expressions are perpetuated during the annual carnival when masqueraders parade on the streets. The “Red Indian” or “Wild Indian”, dressed in elaborate headpieces reminiscent of those worn by authentic Indians on the American continent, remains one of the traditional features during the Carnival parades.

Painting of a Native American Image by prettysleepy

So why did I choose to make my protagonist a hybrid of Gullah and Native American culture? As I said in the beginning, I simply wanted to write about someone from an ethnic group I have not previously written about. But by researching the history of the Gullah people and Native Americans, I learned more about my own heritage and that of African Americans. I learned that there are more similarities between us than differences; more that connects us than what divides us; more to celebrate than to bemoan. I believe this knowledge has enhanced my creativity and has helped to add some depth to my work. I plan to expand on the cultural expressions of Mark’s ethnicity in the coming books.

Since November is Native American Heritage Month, I am making it my duty to learn more about Native American culture by reading books by Native American authors. I’ve just begun reading — or rather listening to — Five Little Indians by Michelle Good. Let me encourage you, if you haven’t done so yet, to pick up a copy or copies of books by Native American authors, not just this month, but as often as you can. These books will greatly enrich your knowledge and appreciation of the indigenous people and the contribution they made to our country.

Did you enjoy this post? Do you have a comment on your ancestry? Then please leave a comment in the comment box and pick up a copy of Making Music Today, a mesmerizing Christian romance.

Last week I posted the cover of my soon-to-be-released novel Making Music Together. Today, I am happy to whet your curiosity a bit more by telling you what this new novel is all about. Read on.

The cover for a fiction romance novel Making Music Together

The first day Mark Crandall hears Trudy singing in his next door neighbor’s apartment, he is captivated by her voice. When he does meet her, he is even more blown away by her beauty. Trudy has a vision impairment, but this does not prevent Mark from falling in love with her.

They have so much in common; they both love to sing, they are both Christians, and Mark is convinced Trudy is the right woman for him, the woman his mother told him about. They fall in love and spend many happy moments singing together.

However, Mark has been seeing Abigail, the daughter of the CEO of the company he works for. Abgail is rich, attractive, and manipulative. He sees her as just a friend, but she will go to any lengths to win his heart. In order to pursue his relationship with Trudy, he has to break it off with Abigail. 

When he does try to break it off, Abigail becomes angry. What follows is a cycle of revenge as she and her father try to get back at Mark for breaking up with her. Mark’s life goes into a tailspin and a future for him and Trudy seems almost impossible. If you enjoy Christian romance with a love triangle trope, you would love Making Music Together. Get your copy now while it’s still on preorder. 

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I am pleased to present the cover of my soon-to-be-released novel Making Music Together. This book had a long gestation period. It started out as a novella and evolved into a full-length romance novel. Making Music Together is a Christian romance that focuses on a love triangle between Mark the protagonist, Trudy the love of his life, and Abigail, his boss’s daughter who will do anything to win his heart.

If you enjoy emotional, page-turning, clean romantic fiction, you must get your hands on a copy of Making Music Together while it’s still on preorder. It will burn your soul.

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After many years, Women For All Seasons has taken on a new garment. This devotional/workbook features the lives of twelve of the best-known women of the Bible grouped according to seasons.

As the Bible says:

There’s a time for everything,

And a season for every activity under heaven … Ecclesiastes 3: 1

Have you ever wondered how women in biblical times coped with the challenges that modern-day women face? How did they maintain their faith in God when the odds were so heavily stacked against them? Often treated as second-class citizens, females in biblical times were to be seen and not heard, existing solely to fulfill a man’s purpose of producing an heir.

A barren woman was considered good as dead. We see this in Rachel’s desperate cry to her husband Jacob, “Give me children or I die,” and in Hannah’s mournful prayers for a son. However, in Jesus’s day, women became very active in ministry and He treated them with the love and respect they deserved. Regardless of the time period in which they lived, women have always enjoyed the favor of God.

Women For All Seasons is written in easy-to-read modern-day language from the point of view of each character. You can use the book as a devotional, workbook or journal and for your Bible study. The views expressed at the end of each chapter are mine as well as those gained from bible references.

As you will see, God is not limited by seasons. If you are in the winter of your life, He works just as well as if you are in your spring. I pray that you will find this book a source of inspiration and encouragement to keep trusting and waiting on God when you don’t see the answers. I pray that it will become a valuable addition to your library and you will share it with your Bible study group and other women in your life.

Please write your comments on the new cover and any thoughts you may have on the book. God bless.

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