Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Black History Moment (2018 Nigerian Bobsled Team Brought Something More Valuable Than Gold To The Olympics)

The Nigerian bobsled team didn’t bring home the gold. But they didn’t leave the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang empty-handed.
After picking up bobsledding skills only 15 months prior to competing, Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere’s green and white Nigerian flags are flying high with pride in South Korea. These women have done something no one else has done before.
On Tuesday, the trio became the first Olympic bobsled team in history to represent an African nation. And they didn’t take their accomplishment lightly.
Adigun, the driver, recalls watching Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad and other black athletes break barriers at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and feeling inspired. 
“I got chills on my skin,” she told Huff Post in December during an event for the team’s partnership with Visa. “I remember how it made me feel seeing them and knowing the molds that were being broken by their perseverance and by their just dominance in whatever sport it was that they were competing in.”
The Nigerian-American athlete, who represented the U.S. track and field team in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, recruited Omeoga and Onwumere and set out to make a mark after realizing that no African nation had ever had a bobsled representative at the 2018 Games.
The trio, who grew up in the U.S and all have a background in track and field, trained in Houston. They crafted a sleigh and dubbed it the Mayflower. Their fast-track training, combined with sponsors who donated to their GoFundMe, earned them a spot in the 2018 Winter Olympics.  
Adigun and Omeoga competed in Tuesday’s two-woman bobsled event, finishing the heat in 52.21 seconds. Though they finished in 20th place out of 20, the time was a personal best for them at the Olympics and a reason for further celebration.
The team made their final run on Wednesday. Though they didn’t earn any medals, they were still victorious in showing the world another form of black girl magic it’s never seen.  
“This is the first,” Onwumere said. “This is gonna go down in history.”
They hope to inspire others, especially from the continent, to take on this and other winter sports in the future.
“It takes a special type of individual to take on a fear of the unknown. And that is exactly what we are trying to show people that you can do,” Adigun said. “[People from] a sub-Saharan climate can do anything. There’s just way too much innovation in this world for people to think they need to be limited to their own environments.”
“All that we represent is everything that you see,” she added. “That is very powerful.”




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Black History Month (Richmond woman publishes 22 books, starts production company)


RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -
It's Black History Month, and all month long, we have been highlighting African American men and women in Central Virginia and their amazing accomplishments.
Iris Bolling is from Richmond, and she is a former Commonwealth of Virginia employee and now a published author and production company owner. In 10 years, she wrote 22 books and even turned some of them into shows.
“I love it,” Bolling said. “I could not imagine doing anything else.”
Currently, Bolling is working on her 23rd book and third production.
“The plan was I'll write after I retire,” Bolling said. “I started writing at 50, and I retired at 55 because it got to the point where between the TV series and the book, it was a whole other job.”
It all started off with the "Heart" series.
“The very first book was once you touch the heart,” Bolling said. “The story behind that is we were in a time when Bush was president. I didn’t like him very much. Not him, the man, but I didn’t like some of the things he was doing, and I wanted to have my own president. So I decided to write my own president. I took the character from the beginning, what prompted him to get into politics, and I told the story about him and his friends and how he progressed from being a district attorney here in Richmond to President of the United States.”
It was a political, romance series that includes six books. There are now also, several spinoffs.
“Now we have the 'Gem and Gents' series, which is my CIA novels, which spun off from the Heart series, and we have the Brooks, which is my family saga series,” Bolling said.
Bolling also wrote two other book series. She then created a production company called Siri Austin Entertainment and brought some of her books to life, filming in Richmond with Richmonders themselves behind and in front of the camera.
“And now we're doing books to film for other authors,” Bolling said. “We have a project coming up and we're going to start filming April 1.”
Bolling's next book is also coming out in a month. It's the seventh book in her Heart series.
Bolling's books can be found on Amazon, iTunes, and at Barnes and Noble. Her production work can be found on YouTube and Amazon Prime.http://www.nbc12.com/story/37557812/richmond-woman-publishes-22-books-starts-production-company

Sunday, January 7, 2018

                                        Written Voices Blog
                   Literature that Edifies the Soul, Uplifts A Culture





Sheila, tell us about yourself.
I am a mother of two girls and a wife for over 25 years. I work as a Clinical Laboratory scientist, which I find very rewarding. I have been writing for over 10 years and I have loved every moment of it.
How do you find time to connect with God?
Each morning I find a quiet place to read God's word. I never start my day without talking or praying for guidance and strength.
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Reshonda tate billingsley, Shelia Goss, J.K. Rowling, Joyce Myers, Joel Osteen, Victoria Christopher Murray, Nora Roberts, Terry McMillan, and Rosalyn McMillan. Believe it or not, The Tales of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tell us about your journey to publication.
I never set out to become a writer. I loved reading other authors stories. The writing bug did not hit me until later in life. I was always the type of person that loved making homemade cards and penning encouraging words to lift others spirit. God spoke to me to write my first book, which I thought once I finished, that would be it. I never thought that it would lead to four more books along with others to come.
Tell us about your current book, Where Was God Series (Book 2)?
Fayth Angelica McCoy is working against time to prove a young teen innocent of murdering a Port City police officer in cold blood. Ever since Sargent Larry Patel landed in their quiet city, racial profiling and intimidation of African American males on the Southside of town are on the rise. The people stand united in wanting this cancer removed from their city, but no one is willing to speak up against the injustice until a young boy finds himself in the strongholds of the justice system. In her pursuit to expose Sargent Patel’s dirty dealings, Angelica risks her and her families’ safety. Now with two kids to protect, she has to make the decision to chance it all for the sake of ridding her city of the toxic pollution of crime within the Port City PD. Or turn a blinds eye as a young teen faces life in prison or death if he reveals the true killer’s identity.
Jasion is not happy with the high profile investigation his wife, Fayth is working on. With the near burning of his youth center and their home broken into, he’s concerned that she is ruffling the feathers of some powerful and dangerous men.
With vengeance in her heart and a score to settle, Nicole Swaggart leaves the mental institution in New Orleans, Louisiana after serving only five years. Her sights are now set on Port City, Louisiana, where the man who broke her heart lives with his wife and kids, which should have been hers. While institutionalized, an unknown visitor with the same agenda of taking down the McCoy’s, gains Nicole’s trust. They put their plan into action to destroy the people who ruined their lives, using their children as collateral damage.
With opposition from Sargent Patel and Nicole Swaggart, will Jasion and Angelica survive the evils that are set in motion against them? How did you come up with ideas for this book?
The stories on television of cop killings, racial profiling and the unspoken words of mental illness set the tone for my latest book.
What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
No matter what mental illnesses or the color of your skin, God's is always there looking after what belongs to Him.
What's next for you?
I plan to start working on my next novel, along with getting out and meeting the readers through book signings and speaking events.
Please tell us where we can connect with you online.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Coming Soon, Where Was God book 2, (Evil Never Sleeps)

Fayth Angelica McCoy is working against time to prove a young teen innocent of murdering a Port City police officer in cold blood. Ever since Sargent Larry Patel landed in their quiet city, racial profiling and intimidation of African American males on the Southside of town are on the rise. The people stand united in wanting this cancer removed from their city, but no one is willing to speak up against the injustice until a young boy finds himself in the strongholds of the justice system. In her pursuit to expose Sargent Patel’s dirty dealings, Angelica risks her and her families’ safety. Now with two kids to protect, she has to make the decision to chance it all for the sake of ridding her city of the toxic pollution of crime within the Port City PD. Or turn a blinds eye as a young teen faces life in prison or death if he reveals the true killer’s identity.

Jasion is not happy with the high profile investigation his wife, Fayth is working on. With the near burning of his youth center and their home broken into, he’s concerned that she is ruffling the feather of some powerful and dangerous men.  

With vengeance in her heart and a score to settle, Nicole Swaggart leaves the mental institution in New Orleans, Louisiana after serving only five years. Her sights are now set on Port City, Louisiana, where the man who broke her heart lives with his wife and kids, which should have been hers. While institutionalized, an unknown visitor with the same agenda of taking down the McCoy’s, gains Nicole’s trust. They put their plan into action to destroy the people who ruined their lives, using their children as collateral damage.


With opposition from Sargent Patel and Nicole Swaggart, will Jasion and Angelica survive the evils that are set in motion against them?






Chapter One



Nicole Swaggart sat straight-faced in the recreational room at Whispering Pines Mental Institution. With her back turned away from the other residents, she flipped through the pages of a Louisiana, Christian Magazine. A picture and article about the McCoy’s slapped her in the face. Her hands began to tremble, and eyes twitched, as she read about the couple who were responsible for her arrest. Revenge started building in her heart against them.

The judge sentenced her to five years in prison, but after several doctors testified that she was mentally insane, she was ordered to be placed in a mental institution where she could receive help and serve out the remainder of her time. Because of her last daring escape where she took down two armed guards at Forest Oak Mental facility, the judged ordered her to be transferred to Whispering Pines, a maximum security mental institution in her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.

A photograph of the happy couple that ruined her life, posing with their two kids, made her want to puke. Visions of her standing next to Jasion, holding their three-year-old daughter, while their five-year-old son stood in front of them made her envy Angelica. “This is supposed to be my life. My family,” she whispered in anger. Jealousy, hate, and rage filled her heart like a flood. Ripping the page out the magazine, Nicole balled the article up and tossed it on the floor in front of her.

With eyes as dark as night, she stared out of the window, replaying the events that led her to be locked up for five years. A place, she thought, was filled with weirdo's. In her mind, she believed that she was above such a place. Retaliation surged through her veins as she vowed to get even. “Jasion and Fayth Angelica or whoever she wants to be called. Will regret the day they ever laid eyes on me.” Clothed in white pajamas, she wrapped her arms around herself, rocking back and forth.

“My serving five years in this dump will be up in a month. I have to come up with a plan and fast to get my family back from that man stealer. Jasion will see that he made a mistake in marrying her.”

Nicole broke from her trance, stood from her seat, and retrieved the article that she had balled up earlier. She headed to her room, ignoring the delusional conversations from some of the overly medicated residents. Slamming the door behind her, she threw her body on the bed. After a moment of wallowing in self-pity, she pressed out the articled balled up in her hand. Since the facility did not allow them to have sharp objects in the room, Nicole took her hand and methodically tore Angelica’s head out of the family photo and placed the remaining article of Jasion and their kids in her pocket.  

 “You won the first round, Angelica. But Jasion is mine, now and forever.” She sat on the edge of the bed, combing her long, straight black mane with her fingers. Fantasying about getting Angelica out of the way so that she, Jasion, and the kids could be a family was going to take some doing. “What man can resist me?” She made seductive faces in the dresser mirror in front of her. “We could have had it all if that reporter had stayed out of the way. No worries though, I got something for her. Any woman who steals my man will live to regret it. And Angelica, in just a few days, you will be sorry that you ever came between the man I love and me.”

A knock at the door startled Nicole. She rushed to remove the pieces of the torn article from her bed and hid them in a drawer. If the charged nurse noticed any strange behavior in her, the court might revoke her release date. So, for now, Nicole had to act as sane as possible. She had been a model patient, except for one incident, which she had been provoked. An inmate began bullying her, which she tried to walk away until she was jumped from behind and had to defend herself. Once the other residents witnessed her taking down the oversized woman, they understood to stay out of her way.

She cleared her throat, “Come in,” she sang with sweetness in her voice.

“Good morning Miss. Swaggart. Don’t you look amazing,” Dr. Palmer pronounced, as she entered the room. “You are a perfect example for the other female inmates here at Whispering Pines.”

“Good morning and thank you, Dr. Palmer, for your kind words.” Nicole would say anything as long as it helped her to get out of this nut house. If she stayed there a moment longer, she just might start acting out like the others.

“It’s true. You have been a model patient. The incident that you were in when you first arrived five years ago wasn’t your fault. And the courts removed it from your record, stating that it was self-defense.”

Nicole smiled, trying to say as little as possible.

Dr. Palmer took a seat in the chair beside Nicole’s bed. “Please. Sit.”  Her hand motioned toward the bed. “And let’s discuss your release date and who will be picking you up.”

The good news of getting out of that place was like music to Nicole’s ears. She dropped her butt so fast on that bed as if it had been packed with bricks. The thought of getting closer to freedom and sweet, glorious revenge made her insides leaped with joy.

“Nicole, the judge and I are happy with the progress you have made here. We feel confident releasing you back into society.” Dr. Palmer patted Nicole on the knee like she was some prized project.

“I realized that I had some unresolved issues with anger that I had never dealt with. And Whispering Pines staff has taught me how to keep my emotions intact without hurting myself or others.” Nicole would say the sky was green if that was what they wanted to hear.

 “That’s good to hear, dear.” Dr. Palmer gave her a satisfied smile. “Sister Calhoun told me that you have been attending Bible study and church every week since you’ve been here.”

“Oh yes. I don’t think I could have made it without the Lord.” Nicole knew the drill. Get jailhouse religion and find favor with the judge and the facility staff. Her dating Jasion taught her how church folks act. Quote a few scriptures and people would consider you a Bible scholar.

“The staff and I are so proud of you. We just hope many of the other women will follow in your footsteps.” Dr. Palmer’s chest stuck out like a proud mother.

“Thank you,” she tried hard sounding sincere.

 If only they knew what I am really thinking and plotting.

 “Nicole. Who will be picking you up on Friday?”

“My mother.”

Dr. Palmer scribbled on Nicole’s release papers, “Great. I know she is proud of the progress you have made.”

Nicole knew her mother could care less about her well-being. She just needed this one last favor from her mother to continue her charade until she is off Whispering Pines property. Then, they all can eat her dust as she traveled back to Port City, Louisiana, like a ball of lightning to rain fire down on Jasion and Angelica’s lives.