Friday, September 26, 2008

XYP takes home the award!

Greetings at 4:02 AM!

Hazel Mills and I are just returning from Harlem, New York, and we had a blast! We would have been back sooner, but we spent an hour riding around New York, LOST! We could not figure out how to get out of that city. We felt like bees trapped in a jar, with no way out. The Lincoln Tunnel was the honey, and we couldn't find it to save our lives.

The 2008 African American Literary Awards Show was absolutely wonderful. Yvette Hayward and her committee members did the damn thing! You hear me? If you've never had the opportunity to attend, please try and do so next year, even if you're not nominated. It's truly an event that we should support 100%. The networking alone was priceless! Oh, and the goody bags! Ah, and the food and tasty deserts, and the WINE! The celebrities...fantastic!

So, now on to the good news. Xpress Yourself Publishing won the award for Independent Publishing House of the Year! I was a bumbling idiot, I know! LOL I was so nervous. There was a serious spotlight on the podium and I couldn't see squat. And, to make it easier for me, I said, "I'd like to thank the Academy." Yes, I got a few chuckles, but it didn't lessen my nervousness, that's for sure. All I could do was cry and thank God and my mama, as well as my XYP family! And, my dear friend, and partner in crime, William Fredrick Cooper presented me with the award. That really meant the world to me.

All winners received a 12-inch-wide, about 10 inches thick, glass shaped book with beautiful inscriptions. It's HEAVY and HUGE and could be used as a weapon if you're walking down the dark streets alone!

I sincerely want to thank my XYP family, for without them, none of this would be possible. One person cannot build a publishing house alone. It takes a team, and I do indeed have a great team! I know I act like the Mama Hen, giving them a hard way to go, from time to time, but great things are coming in 2009. They promote XYP more than I do, and I can't ask for any more than that! A special thank you to Makenzi, for stepping in and taking over the role of Author Relations, and for being my right, and sometimes my left, hand. You're the best!!

A genuine thank you to everyone who voted for Xpress Yourself Publishing. There were many of you who did not know me, or Xpress Yourself Publishing, from a hole in the wall, but you voted because of your friendship with my sisters, cousins, other family members and the XYP authors. Thank you, thank you and thank you one million times over!

Thank you to my BV (Black Voices) family for turning out in droves and voting for Xpress Yourself Publishing. Your support and kindness overwhelmed my heart, and was very much appreciated.

Thank you Ella Curry of for email blasting to your entire database, rallying up votes for Xpress Yourself Publishing. Ella, you are a true gem, and a fantastic publicist for Xpress Yourself Publishing, and a sincere confidant. Thank you!

Oh, yes, and I would publicly like to thank my sisters: Valerie, Sheila, and especially Colleen and Jacqueline for being a great support system and for stepping in to take care of Dad while I'm off doing my book thing. I truly love my sisters!

Okay, off to bed. Have to make the donuts in the morning and prepare for the Baltimore Book Festival this weekend.

Jessica Tilles
Award-Winning Publisher, Xpress Yourself Publishing

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hazel's HOTmail: Makes Me Wanna Holler!

Dear Hazel,
When by boyfriend and I are making love, he is extremely noisy. He grunts, growls and talks so loudly that I am often distracted and lose my focus. A couple of times he burst into an uncontrollable laughter when he reached that critical moment. I live in an apartment complex and have received comments from my neighbor about the noise.
I’ve tried to be gentle when I talked to my boyfriend about it and he said that he would try not to be so loud. He did pretty good for a few days but then went right back to being loud again. I don’t know if he even realizes how loud he really is.
What else can I do to let him know how much this bothers me without hurting his feelings?
F.W. in Tampa, FL

Dear F.W.
I always suggest open, honest and caring communication with your lover. This situation is delicate and needs to be handled carefully in order to avoid making him feel self-conscious during his performance. You don’t want him to shut down completely and not enjoy lovemaking. You have to remember that the noise he makes while the two of you are in the throes of lovemaking is an indicator for how much he is enjoying himself. Although you didn’t say it in your letter, I don’t believe that you want him to be a silent lover just a much quieter one.
I believe you may be right to assume that he doesn’t realize how loud he becomes during sex. Talk to him again. This time, begin by letting him know all of the things that you adore about making love with him and encourage him to do the same. This is not the time to be coy. This is the time for uninhibited conversation between the two of you about the pleasure you give and receive from each other. But I warn you, all of this dirty talk could lead to excitement for you both and you’ll be back in bed before you even get to discuss the real issue. Also, try to discuss what things you wish the other would do differently. Don’t get your panties in a bunch if or when he says that there is something he wishes you did differently. After all, the focus should be on getting the most out of lovemaking and making it pleasurable for both parties.
You can also try turning up the volume on the stereo. Sometimes background noise helps. Tabletop water fountains are also a good idea and they create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. You should be able to find one for under $20.
And if all else fails, join him. I mean turn up your own volume and get noisy with him. When he growls, you growl louder. When he talks nasty, you talk nastier. When he hollers, you scream. Let go. But make sure that your noise level coincides with how good he’s making you feel or else it will sound as fake as it really is.
Hell, you may find that he starts to tell you that you’re too loud!

Hazel Mills
Got a question for Hazel on love, sex, and relationships? Email her at Remember to put Hazel’s HOTmail in the subject line.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another nomination?

Guess what? I can hardly believe it myself. It happened again!

Xpress Yourself Publishing is nominated by the 2009 AAMBC Committee for Publisher of the Year! I am overwhelmed and overjoyed. This is the second nomination this year. I am so proud. With the help of a group of talented, creative authors, Xpress Yourself Publishing is doing awesome! I am extremely blessed.

Also nominated are Linda R. Herman, author of Consequences, and John R. Williams, author of The Reunion, for Best Author of the Year

I am asking everyone to, once again, vote for Xpress Yourself Publishing for the 2009 AAMBC Publisher of the Year, and Linda R. Herman and John R. Williams, by clicking on this link ---> It's the first category!

Wow, this news has really lifted my spirits. I received news this morning that my Aunt Selma, after almost 10 years on a ventilator, went home to be with her Lord, and my mama!

Warm regards,
Jessica Tilles
Publisher, Xpress Yourself Publishing

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When all things are said and done…

When all is said and done, you have memories

When one is laid down to rest, there is a hefty sadness floating in the aura of your surroundings

And for a moment, you may not even know who you are
But there is also a happy smile to share, because you remember how great this person was and still is

There is nothing but a sincere care

When all is said and done, you can’t remember who won, you can’t remember your problems for a moment, you just remember who you love, and who loved you.
You remember that God is near, so there’s a fear, but only if you don’t know Him and never even cared to try.

The big things become the small things and your priority list you never made is rearranged and no longer estranged into your mind

You see your family and your friends in a new shade of light. And that shade of light gives others a sense of your hearts needs and wants, and leads you to the bottom of your soul. And so many things you will find, that you never knew were there. But of course, you never even looked.

I encourage you BEFORE all things are said and done to take a moment to realize what is truly important

To realize God’s love, to realize your family and friends, to realize even when someone has hurt you, they are hurt themselves.

To realize the most precious gifts are right before your eyes, if only you allow yourself to be aware, before all things are said and done


Tinisha Nicole Johnson
Author, Writer and Poet

Sharing on this day of remembrance

On this emotional day of remembrance, I wanted to share one of my favorite inspirational quotes. Will you join me by sharing yours?

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

This inspiring quote by Marianne Williamson is from her book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, Harper Collins, 1992

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

XYP's Got the Book Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Served Up on a Tray
By Darlene Denise

ON SALE SEPT. 23, 2008

Price: $14.95

Format: Trade Paperback

ISBN13: 978-0-9818094-8-9; ISBN10: 0-9818094-8-0

Xpress Yourself Publishing

Washington, DC marketing mogul, R'Tist Hayes has it all—success, a thriving business, prestige and no drama.
With ulterior motives that could shatter their friendship, her business partner, handsome Quentin Simond, introduces R'Tist to Tray Bishop, 1st round NBA draft pick for the Washington Wiz, and the most sought after bachelor in the world.
After becoming Mrs. Tray Bishop, the mask comes off and R'Tist is confronted by the real Tray Bishop, as she endures his physical abuse and cheating ways.
Determined to free herself from the emotional jail built by Tray, R'Tist finds that she was merely a pawn in this game of love and basketball. Read an Excerpt of Served Up On A Tray!

Who is Darlene Denise?

DARLENE DENISE is the newest addition to XYP, with her debut novel, Served Up on a Tray, to be released September 23, 2008, on her birthday!
With twenty years of experience in entertainment, promotions, public relations, marketing and event management, in 1990, Darlene founded six degrees mgt., an entertainment/marketing firm. Personal service and strict attention to detail has become the trademark of six degrees mgt., spreading the company’s impeccable reputation nationwide. six degrees mgt. provides an array of management services, including commercial marketing, marketing programs, event management, media relations, philanthropic consultation and personal assistance.
Currently, Darlene is the Executive Director for Big Tigger's Street Corner Foundation, working to eradicate HIV/AIDS in the community. Visit Darlene at

Jessica Tilles
Publisher, Xpress Yourself Publishing

Secrets Of The Sensuous Woman

Sensuality is an essential ingredient for a deeper sexual experience and it brings an unparalleled awareness and exploration of all of our senses. In lovemaking, it allows us to become intimate therefore giving us permission to make an emotional investment in our partner. We become totally oblivious to everything and everyone around us and we are only focused on what feels good to us and to our lover. Our skin hungers for their touch, we long for the sight of them, we crave the taste of their kiss, our bodies ignite at the sound of their “hello” and their lingering scent evokes erotic fantasies.

Want to learn more about becoming a sensuous woman? Read this article, "Secrets Of The Sensuous Woman" by Hazel Mills, in its entirety at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hazel's HOTmail: Cultural Exchange

Dear Hazel,

I recently became engaged to a wonderful man. We met about a year and a half ago in graduate school. At first, getting married seemed to be the right thing to do but I am beginning to have second thoughts.
My fiancée is from Africa and the cultural differences worry me. When my family learned about our engagement, they immediately began telling me stories about African men who believe in having many wives and about how domineering African men are with their spouses.
I have never seen any of these characteristics in my fiancée. I wanted to be totally sure so I asked him point blank if I would be one of many wives. He insists that he is not interested in having another wife. He also says that we will be equals in this marriage and that I have absolutely nothing to worry about.
My mother strongly feels as if he’s just telling me what I want to hear right now but that everything will change after the I do’s.
I love him and have no doubts regarding his love for me but I can’t ignore the fact that culturally, we are worlds apart. His family does not live in America and I know very little about them or their lifestyle. All I know is what he has told me. I wouldn’t actually get to meet his family until they came to the United States for the wedding.
I don’t want to go into this marriage feeling like I am in the dark about what I may or may not be getting into. This decision will affect the rest of my life. How can I be sure?

J.T. in Chicago

Dear J.T.,
We have all watched the episode of Good Times about Thelma and Ebay. And, yes, we also have heard the horror stories about our friends who have married African men. I have one question for you. How well do you know YOUR African man?
Although cultural differences do exist between the two of you, I am not fond of generalizations. All African men are not the same just like all African-American men are not the same or any other individual within a group.
As with any marriage, before you walk down the isle, you and your fiancée need to have some real in-depth conversations regarding the vision you both have for your lives together. Both of you should be prepared to ask and to answer the hard questions honestly. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to decisions that will directly affect your life. The advice and concern of your family is genuine and well meant but you are the one who is getting married to this man. What do you feel in your gut? Intuition is an excellent barometer for bullshit.
What else can you do? Nothing. It comes down to trust. Either you trust that he is being honest with you about his beliefs when it comes to marriage or you don’t.

Hazel Mills
Got a question for Hazel on love, sex, and relationships? Email her at Remember to put Hazel’s HOTmail in the subject line.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What's All In A Day's Work for you?

"Call me Emiko," she interjected, noticing his dark eyes admiring her shapely cocoa smooth thighs. "It means beautiful, smiling child."

"Emiko," he repeated, staring into her soft, beautiful, brown eyes. They were full and round but slightly slanted in the corners. She had long, black, silky hair that hung past her shoulders. It was obvious that she was of Asian decent. But, the wide nose and the full lips, along with the smooth skin that was only shades lighter than his own, told him that she was also of African American decent. According to her resume, her maiden name was Brown.

"Emiko." Her name slowly rolled off his tongue as he watched her undo the top button of her sheer, silk blouse. It was July in Southwest Georgia and his air conditioner was on full blast. Emiko's nipples were erect and even Stevie Wonder would have noticed that she was not wearing a bra.

"Are you married?" His question wasn't relevant. It wouldn't determine her chances of being hired. It also wouldn't be a deciding factor as to whether or not he slept with the beautiful creature, given the opportunity.

Emiko continued to undo the buttons on her blouse while Eric watched intently anticipating the moment she revealed her large, perky breasts. When she had undone the last button, she allowed the thin fabric to slowly roll off her shoulders. She then used her fingers to trace imaginary circles around her hard nipples.

"Yes." Licking her lips, she answered the question he had almost forgotten asking. "I've been married for seven years. I hope it won't interfere with you hiring me. I'm willing to do anything to get this job."

Eric looked down at his own left hand. He, too, was married. The platinum band was a reminder of the love he pledged to his wife. It reminded him of his promise to be faithful.

"Emiko, I have a wife and a daughter. I can't…"

Before he could finish his sentence she was fully undressed, her fingers dancing in and out of the spot he wanted to taste. Eric couldn't take his eyes off her perfectly fit body. Her waistline was small but her ass was round. As she came closer, he could smell strawberry kiwi. He reached out and touched her thighs as she straddled him. She felt like silk.

"Nobody has to know," she whispered as she undid his necktie.


Sunshine Royal

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hazel's HOTmail: Church Lady Love

Dear Hazel,

I know that by writing you this letter I am really asking for it. But I am hoping that you or your readers will be able to offer me some sound advice about my situation. The problem I have is that I am in love with a married woman and we have been sneaking around for months.
First, I need to tell you that I did not seek out a relationship with a married woman. It is something that just happened. We attend the same church and have been on several committees together. After spending quite a bit of time working with this woman, I was first attracted to her intelligence and character and it wasn’t long before I found myself attracted to her physically. I did not let on about my attraction because I did not want to do or say anything that would be inappropriate. After all, she was married.
As co-chairs for the 100th anniversary of our church, we were always together for meetings or talking on the phone. The conversations were not limited to church business. We got to know a lot about each other. The more I knew about her, the more I fell for her. She was everything that I dreamed of. Smart, beautiful and God-fearing.
Before I go any further with this letter, I need to tell you that I am also a woman. Up to now, no one knew that I am a lesbian. I’ve kept that part of my life a pretty well guarded secret. I do not look like what the world perceives as the stereotypical lesbian. I am a very beautiful young woman. I told her about my lifestyle during one of our many lengthy conversations about relationships. I felt just that comfortable with her. She didn’t judge me nor did she stop calling even after we were done planning the event. As a matter of fact, she called me and came by my apartment more. I was careful not to actively pursue her but I suspected that she was gaining an attraction to me. I was right. We have become secret lovers.
I feel guilty about this because she is married to a wonderful and kind man who loves her very much. He has no clue what is going on between his wife and I. He believes that we are just very good friends and he is very good and kind to me as well. The fact that we are deceiving him is killing me. She says that she has no plans of leaving her husband. She recently revealed to me that I am not the first woman or man that she has had an affair with and probably won’t be the last.
I know that I should end this relationship but like I’ve said before, I am in love with her and it would be so hard to end it now. But how can I go on knowing that we are hurting her husband and that there can be no future for she and I? I can’t talk about this problem with anyone because no one knows about me being lesbian and I am not ready to make that information public because I’ve seen the problems that creates.
Please be honest and real with your advice. What should I do?

D.L. in N.C.

Dear D.L.,
In the words of the eloquent poet laureate, Flava Flav, Woooooooooooooow. This is a funky situation. You wrote to me for honest advice, so here we go.
You two “church ladies” are as wrong as a ham at a Muslim wedding. What the hell are you doing? During all of your church committee meetings, did either of you actually pick up a bible and read that little list of do’s and don’ts? Adultery is in the top ten.
I am not completely convinced that you did not pursue her. There was something; a look, a touch, a vibe that alerted her to the possibility that something could happen between you two. No matter what, she was and still is married. Translation: OFF LIMITS!
Now you’re hurt because she has told you that cheating is her hobby and she is not leaving her husband for you or anybody else. Well, did you really expect her to?
Here’s a little tip. If a man or woman cheats with you, they will cheat on you. So in reality, she has done you a favor by giving you a heads up on what type of woman she really is. The fact that she sleeps around with every Tom, Dick and Harriett puts both you and her husband at risk for all kinds of deadly shit.
I think the real reason that you may not want to end the relationship is not because you are head over heels in love with her but mainly because you’re afraid that she may vengefully “out” you to the congregation. There is no guarantee that she won’t. What is it they say about what’s done in the dark? End the affair with her and either deal with it at your current church or join another church. But know this, you cannot run from who you are forever and be truly happy. You’ve got to face the music sooner or later. The people in your life who love you for real are going to continue to love you. Those that reject who you are probably didn’t really give a rat’s ass about you in the first place.
Yes my friend, you should end this. It’s wrong and there is not future in it.

Hazel Mills

Got a question for Hazel on love, sex, and relationships? Email her at Remember to put Hazel’s HOTmail in the subject line.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ladies, can we handle the truth from a man?



The delicate dance between men and women becomes clumsy due to each of us dancing to a different chord. Are women too sensitive; too anxious? Are men insensitive and clueless? What is the difference between having your needs met and being needy? Are you really going with the flow or floating into jump off status? Are you befuddled at times? To be honest I know I am. Do you have questions you are tired of asking your girlfriends and want a man’s honest opinion?

Well, tonight we ask those questions… sigh… Are you ready for the truth? Our male co-host Que, along with the always challenging Coco and I will ask the tough questions that some of us are too ashamed or too embarrassed to asked.

You know we are going to talk about the election for the 1st half an hour. With the historic DNC convention to the shaky VP nominee Sarah Palin; we have to talk about that for a minute or two. But after that it is on!

Join us at 10pm EST @ The phone lines and chatroom will be open! (347) 205-9625


If you have questions and may not want to call in or ask directly in the chat room, email at anytime before or during the show. Please email before the show if possible to give Que a chance to read through them! In the subject please write “Ask Que.” Please sign with a name or identifier so we can respond to you during the show or you can hear the answers in the archives anytime you want if you miss the show.

Looking forward to it!

Kenda Bell
Host of The Current

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Post taken from Victoria Wells, author, at

Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder which predominately affects African Americans in the United States. About 1 in every 12 African American carries the trait for this disorder. The most common form of sickle cell disease is Sickle Cell Anemia.The hallmark of sickle cell disease is pain. Individuals suffer with painful episodes called crises. Crises are unpredictable and may occur at any given time, lasting anywhere from hours and may be prolonged from days to weeks.Severe anemia, stroke, splenic sequestration, pneumonia, acute chest syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, and blindness are some of the complications that may occur with this illness. Some of these complications presents themselves as early as childhood.In order to survive, prevent and correct these complications, blood transfusions and blood exchanges may be required as part of the treatment plan. Children as young as five years old depend on these procedures about every 6-8 weeks to prevent the onset or the recurrence of a stroke.

What can you do to help during Sickle Cell Awareness Month? I'm so glad you asked!

You can give the gift of life by donating blood. Contact your local American Red Cross and inquire about the sickle cell program. Blood donated to this program is given specifically to patients with sickle cell disease.

To learn more about this disorder click on: Sickle Cell Anemia.

Give someone the gift of life today!

Jessica Tilles

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Of Him, Of Me

The smoothness of him
caught me,
tore me up
shivering as the small hairs
rise and my external organ tingles
at his every touch
wanting to feel
every inch

The calmness of him
got me feenin
striving to possess him
just a small part
for a small period

The manness of him
shook me
called to me, demanded my attention
desire creating its own island
a personal enclave
a small parameter to submerge in

The ebony cloak of him
covered me
laid bare against my skin
lightly touching, yet firmly holding
wrapped all around me
a luxurious blanket of wonderful him

The centered mass of him
reached deep, deep down into my depths
searching for the primal call
this signal to his basic essence
plunging and searching
finding him, swallowed in me

The beauty of him
relinquished me, released hatches
and opened invisible doors
pouring out the best
like velvet, thick and plush
requiring his eagerness to sink in
lose himself
dissolve into the unique wonder
of me

Copyright 2008 Chloe R

Hazel's HOTmail: "You Need To Go!"

Dear Hazel,
I need your help! I have feelings for someone other than my husband and I don’t know what to do.
My husband and I have been married for 6 years. When we met each other for the first time at his cousin’s wedding, it was love at first sight for me. We were married 8 months later. When I got married, my family said that they were through with me. You see, I am white and my husband is African American. My own parents wouldn’t come to the wedding. I haven’t had any contact with any member of my family since then.
My husband is in the military and is currently serving in Iraq. When he received his order to deploy, I was four months pregnant with our second child. We both decided that it would be better for me if I left South Carolina, where I have no one and moved in with his parents who live in Texas until he returned home.
At first, the decision to move in with my in-laws seemed to be the right thing to do. They were wonderful and very helpful with the children and provided me with both financial and emotional support. I don’t know what I would have done without them. My mother-in-law and I are very close and I truly feel as if she is the mother I never had.
Here’s the problem. My husband’s father and I have formed a special bond. I have fallen in love with him. He is always there to lend a shoulder for me to cry on when I need it. My husband’s departure left me feeling vulnerable. I feel that he cares deeply for me as well. We have kissed several times while my mother- in-law was away at the store or at church or whenever we are left alone at the house together. The last time we were alone, we came very close to having sex but didn’t. He was afraid that his wife might be keeping count of his Viagra and didn’t want to risk it. Instead, he just gave me oral sex. I was disappointed that I couldn’t please him but I understood.
Lately, the sexual tension between us has been thick. He will walk pass me and pat my ass when no one is looking. I’m beginning to believe that my mother in law suspects that something is going on even though she hasn’t said anything. She is doing little things like leaving the house for five minutes but then comes right back, claiming she has forgotten something. She also keeps telling me that her son loves me very much and that she would hate to see him come home to a broken heart. When I ask her why she says that, she just says that there’s no reason. If my father in law and I are in a room of the house together alone for too long, she comes in and asks what’s going on.
I love my husband and I don’t want to hurt him but I can’t deny my feelings for his father either. I love this man. I thought about moving out but I am afraid that doing so will raise a lot of questions.
How should I handle it?

S.M. in Texas

Dear S.M.,
Have you ever heard of a place called “hell”? It’s a very real place and very well may be your final destination if you don’t pull yourself together and stop sexing your husband’s father. What kind of bullshit is this?!
And for the record, if he went down on you, the two of you HAVE had sex. Don’t get it twisted.
You need to get the hell out before your mother-in-law kills you because that’s exactly what is going to happen if you continue to live there. Does she know? Hell yeah she knows and right now, she’s just playing with your head.
Your father-in-law is marked for death as well. How dare he do something like this to his son? I wouldn’t be surprised if your mother-in-law does have those pills counted.
Again, you have disrespected yourself, your mother-in-law’s home and hospitality and you have dishonored your marriage.
You need to go!

Hazel Mills

Got a question for Hazel on love, sex, and relationships? Email her at Remember to put Hazel’s HOTmail in the subject line.