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Guest Author Spotlight: Deborrah Cooper

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Hello Bookworms,

I know it has been a while since I blogged but I’m getting BOOKWORM back up and running and hope to have fresh content on a regular basis again. As I promised before this blog is about ALL THINGS BOOKS. That means content about books, authors, and anything other current events in the book, writing, and publishing worlds. In keeping with that promise, today I’m featuring a Q&A from well known author and advice columnist (as well as fellow blogger)Deborrah Cooper. I have been a follower of her YouTube channel and advice column for a few years now and I hope you will this Q&A as informative as I did and want to check out her blog  AND buy a book.

Q: I made your acquaintance because of an article you wrote that made the national news (I saw it on Michael Baisden’s Facebook page). The name of the article was “The Black Church: How Churches Keep African American Women Single and Lonely”. You also wrote a book on the subject called The Black Church: Where Women Pray and Men Prey, which I read and found very interesting. Your background is as a relationship expert. What made you decide to tackle this subject?

My primary market is African American women. And over the years I’d noticed a consistent pattern with the women who came to my AOL and web pages who were single – the majority were frequent church goers and said they believed in the word of the bible. Connecting the dots between the things the sistahs were telling me they were being told in church by their pastors, and the high number of single black women looking for their God-sent husband to be a church goer too – it was easy to see that they were being duped by the millions into believing in and hoping for something that was never gonna happen.

Black men, unless gay, married, damaged, very young or very old (and undesirable for marriage by a woman seeking a husband and children), are the only men up in churches. I wanted to point out the contradictions in the messages being given to single black women and the reality of the church environment. I also wanted to highlight the benefits that black pastors received from having hundreds or even thousands of single black women in their churches. Ultimately though, whether a black woman decided to go to church is her business. My goal was simply to point out that what you believe something is about, is not always what it really is.

Q: Can you expound a little more on your education and expertise in the area of relationship advice? What made you decide to become a relationship coach?

My major in college was communications, with a minor in psychology. I’ve always been a great listener – able to hear what people say as well as what they don’t say, and then ask some really hard-hitting questions that dug deep and get to the root of people’s issues within just a few minutes. That’s a skill set I’ve had since I was five years old my mom and aunts say, so I can honestly say I was born with this expertise. I believe that our path in live is fate. I didn’t choose to be a relationship coach – it chose me. People came to me for help, understanding, support, encouragement and guidance. I was able to provide it, and to do a really good job of understanding not only their problem, but how they got themselves into that mess in the first place. Based upon their belief systems, experiences, the mental messages they fed themselves, socialization – all kinds of things come into play to make us desire the things we desire, and make the choices that we make. My goal has always been to guide people, especially black women, to take a look at their choices with an open mind and ask themselves why. Who told you this was the best way to do things? The right way? Who told you that you had to say, look, act, talk, walk wear these things to get approval? Why do you feel you need others okay to be who and what you are? These and many other very probing questions form the basis of the advice that I give.

Q: I see that your latest book is about the vegan lifestyle. Can you describe it and discuss what made you transition into that lifestyle?

Hey my name is Ms. HeartBeat! Whether that heart is beating from love, or beating from health – the fact remains that the heart is central to the health and longevity of the body. I help guide sistahs to a healthier lifestyle in two ways – through diet and exercise (I was a nationally

certified Senior personal trainer for 13 years), and through education and advice about their interpersonal relationships. To me they tie together, as health encompasses the entire body our hearts and our minds. Black people are killing themselves with greasy, high sodium fast foods and chemically laden packaged imitation food products. Our ancestors never ate like that! Look at how many of us have high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and diabetes! Look at all the kidney dialysis companies in black neighborhoods! We are killing ourselves with food and I thought it was high time to bring this to the attention of women who cook for their husbands and families. You cannot in good conscience keep giving them that garbage food and calling it love. I wanted to provide black people with options for eating an animal free diet with flavors that their palate was used to. That’s why I took a lot of my grandmother’s and aunt’s recipes, removed the salt pork, butter and bacon fat, and made them vegan. They taste very similar but have zero cholesterol, one-third or less of the sodium, and all of the flavor of the originals.

Q: If you would like to, you can use this space to promote one your works or your advice blog (shameless plug)

LOL! I would like to invite single women looking to understand why they’ve chosen the men they have and how to make better choices going forward to visit my blog and You Tube channel.

The blog, Surviving Dating (www.survivingdating.com), is designed for mature singles 30+. There is info for dating after divorce, as a single parent with one or more children, how to avoid becoming a “baby momma”, and how to figure out what it is you really NEED in a man vs what you’ve been wasting time with.

My You Tube channel was dormant for a few years while I wrote books, but I’ve finally revived it this past summer. I created a series of 25 videos exposing The Games Black Men Play to Make Black Women Jump Through Hoops. I talked about everything from why black men promote that “give a broke brotha a chance!” Mess to the men who manipulate women’s minds and behavior by holding marriage out as a carrot. Find all 95 of the videos on my channel at    http://www.youtube.com/debsterism.

Guest Post: Author Eric Trant

Hello fellow BOOKWORM’s. Today’s post comes courtesy of guest author Eric Trant. In the following post, Mr. Trant discusses writing about topics that contradict your deepest beliefs. The author gives some useful information about how to successfully make this transition and keep your writing believable. Below that is a summary of Mr. Trant’s latest work “Wink”. Read, comment, and most of all enjoy.

Is it possible to write somethingthat contradicts your deepest beliefs? I mean, something that really flies in the face of those instincts that form your core being, your spirit or soul or your lack of one or your karma or energy or whatever it is you call it in your system of choice, because whatever your choice for religion (or un-religion), it is not just part of you, it ~is~ you. Now, can you write something that is ~not~ you?

For instance, let us start with the Atheist, whose core belief system is that we are material creatures no more mysterious or complicated than the bubbling fizz of your Diet Coke. To them we can be reduced to a chemical
reaction initiated at conception and terminated at death, and there is no before or after the reaction, only during. They are in philosophical terms called Materialist Reductionists, because they believe there is nothing outside the realm of material things that can be measured with physical devices and studied with physical science. There is no un-physical or spiritual world to the Atheist.

Now, can this person who believes only in material
things write a book about ghosts and spirits? Can they abandon their belief system and introduce God and gods and angels and demons and supernatural, immaterial beings?

Let us now consider the Christian, for no other reason than that is my system and is the one with which I am the most familiar. There is this set of rules associated with Christianity that vary between sects but more or less remain the same for the vast majority of believers. We embrace this mixture of physical and spiritual beings, that in the present sense we are physical, but there is a second and non-physical world beyond this one that is not subject to the rules of the physical realm. In philosophical terms we are categorized (as are most religions) as Dualists, meaning we believe in not one, but ~two~ worlds, that our nature is not simply a chemical reaction, but is a mixture of a physical and non-physical presence.

Can this person betray those beliefs and write a story void of spiritual elements, that relies only on science (materialism) to solve the riddles of the universe? What about writing in an opposing religion, for instance a

Christian whose hero employs witchcraft, or who is embedded in a world full of Pagan creatures such as trolls and fairies?

It all comes down to this — can you suspend your disbelief? That is what you are asking of your reader, that they suspend their disbelief, and they will sniff out your insincerity if you cannot suspend yours. Part of this is allowing your characters to be themselves without imposing your beliefs upon them. The other part is achieving enough of an emotional separation from your
story and characters to allow for a full suspension of your disbelief.

I find this is easier if the worlds are far-fetched. For instance, I don’t think writers of any faith, whether that be in God or science or spiritualism or materialism, have trouble writing high fantasy or futuristic sci-fi. These are so far removed from our daily lives that the suspension of disbelief is placed many levels beyond where any of our core beliefs lie.

That changes if you are writing realism, which is where I base my fantasy stories. I have to distance myself
from the characters and let them express their own beliefs with as little interference from my own as possible. I may not like their beliefs, but I must resist the urge to belittle or degrade them, because many of my readers will side with my character and not with me. In other words, my belief system has nothing to do with the story.

While I do not believe it is possible to entirely separate your beliefs from the story, it is possible to achieve enough of a separation to warp the story into something that is not immediately recognizable as your core beliefs, and may in many ways contradict your deepest faith. You simply need to suspend your own disbelief and allow the story to be what it was intended to be, which is fiction-based written entertainment.

What about you? How do you suspend your disbelief when writing fantasy? How do you keep from imposing your beliefs on your characters?

This is Eric’s Bio

Eric Trant Head Shot

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories, including “Apple Tree” and “One Small Step,” and the novels Out of the Great Black Nothingand Wink.

Eric is an advocate for organ donation and lost his 18mo son in May of 2012. Eric and his wife courageously donated their son’s heart, kidneys, and liver. The couple went on to begin a foundation to support organ donor families. Eric speaks openly about this emotional journey on his blog and the topic of organ donation is very close to his heart.

Find out more about the author by visiting him online:

Author website: http://www.EricTrant.com

Author blog: http://diggingwiththeworms.blogspot.com/

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eric.trant.9

This is the summary for Wink (#WINK)A moving, fast-paced and incredibly emotional story about love, friendship and transformation.

WINK  Eric Trants book coverIn this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother’s abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.
Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty’s comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother’s warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.

Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.

Wink is a thriller that captivates readers and leaves them longing for more. Trant is a talented author whose character descriptions go far beyond the physical.

WOW (Women On Writing) is advertising a chance to win a free copy.

Paperback: 275 pages

Publisher: WiDo Publishing (May 7, 2013)

ISBN: 193717834X

ISBN-13: 978-1937178345

ASIN: B00CE4OP1K

Twitter hashtag: #WINK

Wink is available as a print and e-book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.