Taking female empowerment to the extreme

Novel takes place against a murderous and erotic backdrop

Female empowerment has become a predominant topic in today’s culture, with a growing a fascination of strong, independent women who use their intelligence and sex appeal to influence those around them. Brenda G. Wright’s debut novel, Angel: A Hustling Diva with a Twist, shows what happens when female empowerment turns deadly.

In this erotic novel, Angel, an independent Columbian assassin, uses her beauty and charm to seek vengeance on males who have wronged her in the past. Armed with sex appeal and heavy artillery, Angel is a strong, self-confident woman overcoming her rough childhood and fighting for her own personal justice.

“In reality, some things happen that are beyond our control,” author Wright said. “To actually see a female take charge for a change is unbelievable to me. We see action movies with men starring in them, but not too many females carry the artillery.”

Wright says she hopes her novel empowers women to take charge of their own lives. The action-packed, murderous plot provides an extreme example of the capabilities of women.

171 pages • Paperback • Retail price: $19.99 • Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

About the author
Brenda Gean Wright was born in St. Louis and raised by her father after her mother died when she was 12 years old. She graduated from Summer High School and studied to be a medical assistant in college. She has been happily married to her husband, William, for 15 years. She has two children (James and Christina), two stepchildren (Orlando and Reshunda) and nine grandchildren. Her hobbies include cooking and baking, and she plans to return to school to earn her M.B.A.

 
 
By Deanna Brann, Ph.D.

Jackie was sitting on the couch trying to read, but she kept getting distracted and then she’d fidget. Her partner Terry was in the kitchen making coffee, and she couldn’t help noticing that Jackie was obviously stewing about something.
“What’s going on?” she asked Jackie. “You OK?” Although Jackie had been trying to stay calm, she found it hard to contain herself.
“Why does she have to be like that?” Jackie blurted out. Terry hated the sound of that. Something was definitely up.
“She who?” Terry asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
 “Your mother!” Jackie shot back exasperated, and with a definite edge to her voice. Terry dreaded what she knew would come next.
“What are you talking about?” she asked Jackie. “What did she do?”
Jackie couldn’t believe Terry was asking that. Why doesn’t she ever see it? she thought. I mean, it’s so obvious! She stood up and walked into the kitchen where Terry was sitting.
 “What she always does!” she responded. “She always takes over. Like her thoughts and opinions are the only ones that count. She treats me like I’m not even here…like I don’t matter!”
Terry started to feel sick inside. Jackie’s complaints about Terry’s mother were nothing new, but Terry had no idea how to respond. She wished she could fix the problem, but she had no idea how to even start to address it. Why can’t they just get along? she thought to herself.
“So what did she say?” Terry asked, trying to sound supportive.
 “Where do I begin?” Jackie shot back, on the verge of screaming. “She was over here earlier, helping me plan Kristen’s birthday party, although I’d hardly call it helping. Every time I brought up something I wanted to do, she had to say why my idea wasn’t any good. Then she’d tell me what I should do, which totally ticked me off….” Terry knew where this was going.
“So did you say anything to her?” she asked without thinking, wanting to head the conversation in a different direction. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she knew it was a mistake. Jackie stopped talking and gave Terry a look she knew only too well.
“Of course I didn’t! You know how your mother is. Why does she have to be like that? Kristen’s our child. We should be able to do what we want!” Terry tried to interject, but it was too late. Jackie was on a roll.

What happened between Jackie and Terry is a pretty common experience for many couples—gay or straight. The bottom line is that when you’re in any type of intimate relationship, the relationship does not include just you and your spouse or partner. It actually includes your extended families as well. And that, for better or worse, usually includes mothers-in-law!

Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law have struggled for centuries, with each side blaming the other. Of course this relationship is difficult, most of us think. Look who I’m dealing with! But no matter how justified your feelings are, the truth is that harboring such resentment will kill any chance you may have of making the relationship better. And no matter how bad you are convinced things are between you, it is possible to improve the situation. Trust me. It may not be easy, and it may not happen quickly. But you can make inroads with your in-laws if you’re willing to take a big step back and look at both your in-law and your relationship from a new and different perspective.
The first step toward changing your relationship for the better forever is understanding why the relationship is so difficult in the first place. Let’s look at the five reasons why mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships are challenging.
 
  •  It’s an artificial relationship. If you think about it, as a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law, you did not choose to be in relationship with this other woman. The only reason you are in a relationship with her is because you both love the same person—her daughter/your partner. And so the two of you are quickly thrown together to forge a relationship before you really have a chance to know who the other woman is as an individual.
  • You are both at different stages in your lives and in different emotional places. Your mother-in-law has already done the things you are just beginning to do. She’s established herself in all areas of her life—as an adult woman, as a mother, and often also in a career. You are beginning this part of your journey, figuring out who you are and what your place is going to be in the world. You are still determining what you want and how you plan to get it. To add yet another layer to that, the two of you are also in different emotional places. Your mother-in-law sees life differently now from how she did when she was your age. She tends to focus on the past, remembering about what was, while you’re looking to the future, creating the life you want.
  •  You both bring your own personal history and emotional baggage. We all have emotional baggage based on our life experiences and personal history. And these past experiences affect who we are and how we feel about ourselves. They also affect how we experience other people, how we experience new situations, and how we react to both.
  •  You each have your own unique perception—or rather misperception. Perception is a funny thing. We all use our perceptions as a gauge to interpret what we see. We honestly believe that the way we perceive things is real—that it is The Truth. But in reality, our personal history is constantly at work behind the scene, coloring and shaping what we see and experience. The truth is that there is seldom ever one right way to look at anything. There are as many different ways to perceive something, as there are people to perceive it.
  • You each react to things based on your own perception. Just as your perception can be a bit skewed because of your history and emotional baggage, your reaction can also be a bit off. And how you respond to someone will affect how your in-law then responds to you. You can’t immediately get her to perceive what you say or do differently, but you can change how you react to her perceptions.
So just for a moment, put aside your resentment and think about these five points and how they relate to you, to your in-law, and to your relationship. Understanding why this relationship is so difficult can shed a different light on some of these highly charged experiences so they don’t seem quite so horrific. And even a small bit of understanding will, in turn, help you start to shift how you feel about your relationship with your in-law.
Remember, it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about making the relationship more tolerable. And who knows? It might someday end up being really good. Believe me, it happens! As in international diplomacy, when one side starts to understand where the other is coming from, whether they agree with that way of thinking or not, the situation often naturally becomes a little less volatile. And that is the start of something beautiful—for all three of you.

Dr. Deanna Brann • Author of Reluctantly Related:
Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law • www.DrDeannaBrann.com

In how well or badly our relationships are with one another.
One person CAN change their relationship with another.
You have to take responsibility AND take action to create what you want in life.
You can change your relationship without confronting or challenging the other person.
“Our broad society is all too quick to simply make jokes about problems with mothers-in-law,” notes Dr. Brann, “while in fact the vast majority of marriages have MIL/DIL difficulties of some nature.” As a result, there is surprisingly little research and literature on the subject until now. Reluctantly Related truly offers hope and practical, step-by-step, hands-on solutions.

 
 
UNCLE AL CAPONE
Deirdre Marie Capone 
Recape Publishing Co. 

$17.99
Uncle Al Capone
by David Cohen
Al Capone once said  “This American system of ours…gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.” Despite the fact that it’s coming from a known gangster, it says a lot about what made Capone a criminal, or a great entrepreneur. He saw himself as an average, smart American businessman, even if his comment understates the whole picture. This is the humanquality that Deirdre Marie Capone evokes in Uncle Al Capone. This truthful and fascinating book is the only untold  biography of a sweet man, the biggest gangster of all time––Public Enemy Number One.

As the grand-niece of this monster, Deirdre shares her fears, and why she had to hide her family name for years. She also reveals how she came clean to her kids, telling them about her family history. This is a story of an Italian family that immigrated to the USA, and settle first in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a tale of a normal family life, with Al finishing high school and Ralph working odd jobs, something she had to do too and help support the family to make ends meet. After the death of their father and prohibition became law, Al and Ralph were forced to move to Chicago and earn a living as members of the organized crime, down the path to criminal celebrities.

In her book Deirdre reveals how her father and her recorded the family history, and why she had to write this book. Early in the book she writes, “I will not pretend to be able to paint a rosy picture of my uncle Al. I cannot make him out to be a perfect man, or even a good man.” But she sure wants people to know the truth about her uncle Al who was a sweet but complex man. He was a good man, “a giving man with a heart of gold.”

Deirdre sets the records straight by puting the facts on the table, as she reveals what really happened at the Valentine’s Day Massacre.  She shares the true Alcatraz stories, along with personal photos, family recipes, and her own personal sweet and bitter memories.  She portraits few  members of the Capone family as fragile, loving humans, in particularly her great aunt Maffie who helped her see the good things in life. Deirdre’s life wasn’t easy at all. She lost  friends, jobs, and many other opportunities for being a Capone, but Deirdre never lost her integrity, courage or strength. After all, she is a true Capone–it’s in her blood.

Uncle Al Capone is a great tale of a normal and complex man. Written from the heart, the book brings a fresh prospective to the other Al Capone biographies, and finally Deirdre puts the larger-than-life gangster to bed, and close the door as she writes the final chapter in the true life and legacy of Al Capone. 
 
 
London Portrait of a City
A photographic journey through the history of this epic city

Samuel Johnson famously said that: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” London’s remarkable history, architecture, landmarks, streets, style, cool, swagger, and stalwart residents are pictured in hundreds of compelling photographs sourced from a wide array of archives around the world. London is a vast sprawling metropolis, constantly evolving and growing, yet throughout its complex past and shifting present, the humor, unique character, and bulldog spirit of the people have stayed constant. This book salutes all those Londoners, their city, and its history. In addition to the wealth of images included in this book, many previously unpublished, London’s history is told through hundreds of quotations, lively essays, and references from key movies, books, and records.

From Victorian London to the Swinging 60s; from the Battle of Britain to Punk; from the Festival of Britain to the 2012 Olympics; from the foggy cobbled streets to the architectural masterpieces of the millennium; from rough pubs to private drinking clubs; from Royal Weddings to raves, from the charm of the East End to the wonders of the Westminster; from Chelsea girls to Hoxton hipsters; from the power to glory: in page after page of stunning photographs, reproduced big and bold like the city itself, London at last gets the photographic tribute it deserves.








London. Portrait of a City
Reuel Golden
Hardcover
9.8 x 13.4 in., 552 pages
$ 69.99

Multilingual Edition:
English, French, German
Picture
The Punch Tavern, Fleet Street, a classic journalists’ pub, 1969 © John Bulmer
Picture
Opening day of Tower Bridge, June 30, 1894 © National Archives Top: A representative of the “New Romantics”, 1981 © Ted Polhemus/PYMCA
 
 
Hardcover: 7.8" x 9.8"
532 pages • $39.99  
Multilingual Edition:
 English, French, German


The experimental art of Olafur Eliasson

Studio Olafur Eliasson is an experimental laboratory located in Berlin. Led by renowned Danish-
Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, it functions as an interdisciplinary space, generating fresh dialogues between art and its surroundings. This rich sourcebook enables the reader to delve into the corners and crevices of the Studio’s diverse projects. The key concepts behind the works are presented alphabetically, and unfold in the course of short conversations with the artist. The majority of Eliasson’s thought-provoking installations, photographs, sculptures, and architectural projects to date is included, with additional material focusing on the research processes at Studio Olafur Eliasson. The introduction is provided by the noted art historian Philip Ursprung, who also participates in the enlightening conversations.

First published as a limited Collector's Edition—now available as an updated trade edition

 
 
MERCURY: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury 
by award-winning rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones

As the lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury’s unmatched skills as a songwriter and flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar, and Queen became a household name. But few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering faÇade. 

Lesley-Ann Jones presents the full portrait of both the complex man and the myth in her new book Mercury.  Jones who toured widely with Queen, has secured more than 100 interviews with key people in the life of pop star Freddie Mercury,  one of pop music’s best-loved and most complex figures.


Mercury was the first major rock star to die from AIDS. Now, twenty years after his death, those closest to him are finally opening up about this pivotal figure in rock n’ roll. With unprecedented access to Mercury’s tribe, rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones has crafted the definitive account of Mercury’s legendary life. Jones details Queen’s slow but steady rise to fame, and Mercury’s descent into dangerous, pleasure-seeking excesses. Jones doesn’t shy away from Mercury’s often colorful lifestyle—this was, after all, a man who once declared, “Darling, I’m doing everything with everyone.”

In her journey to understand Mercury, Jones traveled to London, Zanzibar, and India—talking with everyone from Freddie’s closest friends, to the sound engineer at Band Aid (who was responsible for making Queen louder than the other bands), to second cousins halfway around the world, an intimate and complicated portrait emerges. Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, Mercury offers an unvarnished, revealing look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane. 

Freddie Mercury will be the subject of a major motion picture titled Mercury, slated for 2012 production, produced by Graham King, starring Sacha Baron Cohen. This book is a key source for the film. Mercury is the most compelling, up-to-date portrait of an enigmatic entertainer who thrilled audiences around the world with a magnetism matched by few performers.

Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, MERCURY offers an unvarnished, revealing look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane. Jones details it all from Queen’s slow but steady rise to fame, to the creation of ground breaking songs like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, to the decadent, raucous after parties Queen became infamous for, to the band’s creative process and their perpetual quest to challenge themselves musically. 

To gain a better understanding of Mercury’s early life and his somewhat fraught relationship with his traditional, conservative past Jones traveled to Zanzibar, his birthplace, and India, where he attended boarding school.  Jones also provides new insights into the great loves of Mercury’s life—long-time girlfriend Mary Austin, chef Joe Fanelli, German soft-porn star Barbara Valentin, live-in-lover Jim Hutton—and what those relationships meant to him.  In MERCURY a compelling, definitive portrait emerges of this enigmatic entertainer who thrilled audiences around the world with a magnetism matched by few performers.

*Freddie Mercury continues to be a cultural icon.  Adam Lambert, who has often express his adoration of Mercury, will reportedly will join Queen in concert at the Sonisphere Festival this July.  Also author Lesley-Ann Jones was consulted personally by screenwriter Peter Morgan as a significant source for the upcoming major motion picture titled Mercury starring Sacha Baron Cohen, produced by Graham King.

Touchstone • $28.00 • on sale July 3, 2012.
 
 
Release date: April 27, 2012.
As the fight for marriage equality continues, co-authors and newlyweds Alvin and Antonio Lopez-Woods have written a book to further bridge the equality gap by focusing on several facets of two people in a relationship. Contrary to the book title, the overall theme of this book is love and respect two principles that all humans crave. In The Best Workout is “Sex”: A Gay Guide to Your Ideal Marriage,  Mr. and Mr. Lopez-Woods encourage couples to work on intimate relationship factors such as emotional and mental “sex” that will ultimately enhance the physical connection. For additional information, visit http://www.thebestworkoutissex.com.
 
 
Picture
Thursday, February 11th, 2010
by Page Hodel (Abrams)


Artist Page Hodel gifted her girl every Monday with a homemade heart throughout their relationship. They were made of hardware, grass, fruit and flowers as a show of love—a literal assertion that said, “I give you my heart.” However later, following the tragic passing of Hodel’s partner, she kept crafting those hearts in a tradition emoting a message of undying love.

Monday Hearts for Madelene features 100 images of Hodel’s hearts in a hardcover photo book exhibiting her unique, beautiful and inspiring handcrafted art pieces with a portion of the book’s royalties benefiting the Women’s Cancer Research Center in Oakland, CA.  
 
 
Picture
Chocolate Bliss by Susie Norris


Rub it on your body, pass it along, save it for future generations or eat it: Chocolate—the fermented seeds of the cacao tree yields a delicacy that has won the world over throughout history in almost every culture that ever existed. Artisinan chocolatier and pastry chef Susie Norris’s comprehensive celebration of which, per the book jacket, fully documents the sugary food stuffs “types and flavors, health and beauty benefits, origins, baking secrets, ecological influences, and gifting delights.”

It isn’t enough to say that Chocolate Bliss: Sensuous recipes, spa treatments, and other divine indulgencesis a book for the chocolate lover, but perhaps it’s more a book for chocolate’s lover.

 
 
Picture
by Anneka Manning (Thunder Bay Press)

If you dream of decadent desserts, this book will feed your weaknesses. From custards to brulees, after reading this book you will want all meals to START with desserts. And what would Valentines Day be with chocolate? Luckily, this book has options for all the chocoholics out there.Featured proudly on the cover of 101 Desserts to Eat Before You Die(t) is the chocolate brownie raspberry ice cream sandwich – a perfect Valentine’s Day treat! 

Chocolate Brownie Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwich

Ingredients (Makes 12)
8 cups fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

chocolate brownies
2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
12/3 cups superfine sugar
2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
12/3 cups finely chopped dark chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:
Line a large square cake pan with baking paper, leaving a generous overhang on two opposite sides. Put raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and blend to a pure?e. Reserve 1/2 cup of the puree and fold the remainder through the ice cream. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Freeze for 2 hours, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 x 12-inch cake pan and line with baking paper, leaving the paper hanging over the two long sides. To make the brownies, sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Add the sugar, nuts, and chocolate. Mix together and make a well in the center. Pour the butter into the well, add the vanilla extract and eggs, and mix well. Pour into the pan, smooth the surface, and bake for 45 minutes (the mixture will still be a bit soft in the middle).

Allow the brownies to cool, then chill for at least 2 hours. Lift out, using the paper as handles. Trim and cut into twelve 2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles. Then, using a serrated knife, cut through the center of each brownie to form two thinner brownie slices.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer. To remove it from the pan, use the overhanging paper. Cut the ice cream into 12 rectangles, the same size as the brownies. To assemble, put 12 brownie slices on a tray, top with a rectangle of ice cream, and then another brownie slice. Smooth the sides of the ice cream to neaten, if necessary. Freeze for 10 minutes until firm. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the reserved raspberry sauce.