The Queen of Erotica and New York Times bestselling author Zane presents Z-Rated, the next book in the steamy, uncut, and sensually satisfying Flava anthology series. Just when you thought that Chocolate Flava, Caramel Flava, Honey Flava, Sensuality, and Succulent had hit all the right spots—there’s nothing like Z-Rated, the hottest Flava book yet. Handpicked by Zane, Z-Rated features some of the most creative, most talented writers in erotica, including stories from favorites like Cairo, Allison Hobbs, and a story by Zane herself. Featured are twenty-seven scintillating tales that will take your mind away from the day to day and straight into the erogenous zone—your perfect escape. Read, fantasize, and move beyond X-rated . . .
Zane is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 titles, including Afterburn, Nervous, The Sisters of APF, The Heat Seekers, and Dear G-Spot. Her television series, Zane’s Sex Chronicles, is featured on Cinemax, which will debut her new series, Zane’s The Jump Off in 2013. Her bestselling novel Addicted has been adapted for a major motion picture. She is the publisher of Strebor Books, an imprint of Atria Books/Simon & Schuster.
The Next Phase of Life by Charmaine Parker, A story of companionship, compassion, and family reunion—a forty-something woman meets the challenges of finding romance, while reuniting with a long-lost sister, and monitoring the escapades of her friends.
Charmaine R. Parker is a former journalist who has worked as a reporter, copy editor, and managing editor. The publishing director for Strebor Books, she is the sister of national bestselling author Zane.
For more information about Z-rated and The Next Phase of Life, or to schedule an interview, please contact 205.541.5904 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 9, 2012
Parthenon – 2210 – 1st Avenue North @ 6:00 pm
Limited number of tickets available
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Birmingham Jefferson Conference Center – East Meeting Room @ 12 noon
Open Free to the Public
Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/MajorOccasionsLLC
Stage 1 is the interesting place that I like to call death. The reason it is titled that is because you feel that you affect nothing and nothing affects you. Indeed it truly feels as though none of your choices and decisions truly matter. The odd thing is that in this death, you don’t even know you’re dead. I found myself just existing. I found myself acting out just to try to feel something. A pulse and maybe a flash of pain was all I wanted. Unfortunately it always came back the same… Nothing…
As I continued on my self-destructive journey, I soon met a real friend. This person started showing me myself. The funny thing is that the picture of what I painted was so much different. I saw myself as an island. I saw myself as cut off and distant. For some reason I thought that if I set off bombs on my island that it didn’t affect or send ripples anywhere else. I soon saw that this was not the case. At this point, I found myself moving to stage 2.
Stage 2 is the place where you start realizing that you affect others and their environment. This is a bitter sweet area because you are now aware, but still don’t know why you should care. As I entered this stage, I learned a lot about myself and the capacity I had to not only affect my opportunities, but that of others as well. I soon found out that people were putting things in their lives on hold for me. It is a curious realization when you see that people are actually holding themselves back in hopes of you getting it together. Why would someone do such a crazy thing? At this stage it really doesn’t make sense. Why am I worth anyone passing the chance to succeed or opening themselves up to the possibility of more hurt?
When someone continues to do for you in spite of your actions, you tend to question things. It makes you want to look deeper into what they know that you don’t. What makes a person create what appears to be a destructive nature for the benefit of another? What makes a person keep setting themselves up for disappointment and hurt on behalf of a lost soul? As you see the relentless efforts of what appears to be a mad man, you soon find out that indeed they are not crazy. You start to realize that what you thought was so far away is exampled right in front of you. LOVE…
Wow is the only thing that can be said as you transition into stage 3. This is what I like to call the awakening. Yes, this is not only where you understand that you affect your environment and others, but also care. That simple concept makes all the difference in the world. It is at this place that you see something bigger than yourself. You now see that the emptiness is plugged with love. This is the unconditional statement that can change your world. You finally find what bridges the gap and gives you something to hold on to. You finally get it that you are a powerful being and have been given the awesome responsibility of safe guarding the feelings and emotions of others. You finally get it that your life is not your own. It has been given to you for the protection of those that love you.
It is truly a circle of protection. You are here to take care of those that you love while they love you. No one is ever an island. By opening up to unconditionally serve others; you truly gain an opportunity to become free.
Black marriages and families have been in trouble for a very long time but it seems the situation is getting worse. Gone are the days when you can trust your spouse, trust your children and trust your family members. These days, not only in the African American community but all races, we seem to be out for ourselves and unable to communicate with one another.
Even in marriage we find hatred among spouses which leads to overwhelming post relationship issues, friends and family members that fall out over small things and children that grow up looking to make an enemy instead of a friend.
Of course I realize no one is perfect but we can strive to spend more time on being positive than being negative … really we can.
I want to invite the digitalartshosting.com/urbanham community to help me find and share great websites, stories and resources that will help our community rebuild the core.
- Long lasting relationships
- Respectful children
- Loyalty among family members
- Loyalty among friends
- Reducing the desire for self promotion
I stumbled upon this website today so please check it out and share it with your friends and family members.
I’ve been in all types of relationships from long distance to interracial and yes even open. Each of these has totally different dynamics and rules. They also have various understandings and expectations. Even with some of them being at total opposite spectrums, all have at least one thing in common.
This common thread is priority. In every relationship, both mates want to be made the priority.
They want to know that 1 they can depend on you, 2 you’ll be there when called and 3 you’ve got their best interest at heart.
When one or both parties feel they’re less than number 1, there creates a great tension and separation. You can try to ignore it, but just like the pink elephant, it’s there. Now… What can you do? What if the person has a promising career that they’ve been working on their entire life? What if it’s the kid from a previous relationship? What if it’s the parent they now have to take care of? What if it’s a pet? What if it’s self-pity or depression?
Any of these are valid reasons for a person to prioritize, but that doesn’t make you feel any better about it. The fact is, when you make someone the priority, you are subconsciously saying that you accept everything. This means the good and the bad. You are saying that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Sometimes this even causes you to have to die a little to make it happen.
Now on to the other side; when you make this grand statement / action, it puts you at a bit of an emotional disadvantage. Of course there are two sides. The advantage is that by opening yourself up, you now gain the ability to feel something. You gain the possibility to touch something real. Of course, this is only if the other person is making you the same priority as them.
Now, what is a priority? To me, priority means that you factor the other person’s feelings and emotions in when making decisions. It’s not that you are obligated to do it, but rather you want to do it. No one can make you to place them as a priority. It is something that you just do and show because you care. During our day to day grind, there are so many circumstances and situations that come across or paths. Throughout this journey, how many times does that other person cross your mind? How many times do you think, “man, I bet x will like this?” How many times do you think, “I bet x would laugh if they saw that?” These are some of the things that typically happen when someone is your priority. Your life tends to become entangled with each other.
Another example of priority is accessibility. You make yourself available for those that are top of your list. You make sure that if they need you, you’d be there. For the flakes, you may be random and all over the place, but for those that matter, you’ll be concrete.
As time passes, of course our priorities change. Somethings are not as important, while other become more so. It is not a good or bad thing as to what is a priority to you or not. It is simply the reality of the situation. At some point we have to be honest with ourselves to know we can’t make everything the priority. Somethings unfortunately have to go to second place. On my path, it has been truly hard to make things that I want number 1 slide into the number 2 or 3 place. The honesty is often hard, but necessary.
As I quoted in an earlier post, “just because it’s the best policy doesn’t mean honesty is not going to hurt.”
In the end, we have to do the right thing and keep it 100% real all the time… Even if it means losing it all…
Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell the difference. A while ago, I was in a relationship with this girl. Indeed, she was a little troubled, but good none the less. For some reason, it just seemed as though all we did was have sex. It wasn’t my plan, but that’s what typically happened. Whether it was my house or theirs, that’s all that we did. Throughout this time, I was trying to tell her that she was worth more and to not let people take advantage of her. I was telling her that life is good and needs to be embraced. I was also telling her that your expectations should be much higher and to take care with the people she was associating with.
At the time I didn’t realize that I too was one of those people she needed to take care with. The people closest to us are always the ones that “can” hurt / hinder us the most. Here I was telling her to not accept less and to be more, but was participating in allowing her to be less. Once that realization hit me, I was upset. How can you expect someone to grow if you don’t expose them to the sun? After that realization, I immediately set up some outings. My plan was to get her out in the public. By doing this, it was my way of saying, you are worthy. You are not just good for sex. You are a human being and deserve respect.
It’s interesting that all we want is a little acceptance. For that small piece of closure, we are willing to compromise everything. To my friend, I’m sorry for my actions. In writing this article, I hope it will help others that are in this situation. I know that everyone doesn’t have that partner that will see they’re the problem of your growth.
To better people we have to be willing to step outside of ourselves and admit wrong.
In the words of myself, “Showing someone they can be more is a lot more beneficial that just telling them.”
We need to step up as people and take responsibility for our actions. Sometimes we are the ones in the way from the people around us becoming who they need to be.
Today I ask you to take a step back and ask the question… Am I doing what I can to help them be the person they want to be or am I just being selfish and reaping the benefits of them becoming what I want?
We make use of experiences by helping people later.
Now back to the message. Relationships truly take work. This has been a given for many years… Long before we were even born, people were working on relationships. The question is not whether you must work, but rather who has to work and how much. I find in every relationship that there is one person into it more than the other. This in itself is not an issue. The problem comes when one person is expecting the other to do or bring something concrete into the relationship.
Let me elaborate what I mean. Some people expect that their mate will pay half of the bills and others expect that their mate be supportive and involved in their dreams. For everyone, their expectations are different. I personally expect support and communication. It’s not so important for me that my sig pulls a financial weight as long as she pushes me and challenges me to be a better me.
We have to take care with past successes and not assume what worked in the past will do so in the future. As an example, I had a friend tell me that they were good in bed and that keeps them getting what they want. I told them that may work now, but maybe not in the future. Each person has something different that’s important to them. I for example am emotionally detached about sex, so it doesn’t form a bond for me. Basically it doesn’t matter how much you throw sex at me, it won’t make me form an attachment to you. If however you take an interest into what I do and become a help and asset, then you’ll be on your way to my heart.
It is important that we do our research on the people that we’re dating to see what’s important to them. This can cut down on lots of frustration. We cannot assume that giving someone what we like will give them the same joy as us.
People please expand your horizons and step outside of what you are use to. Try asking a simple question. What is important to you in the relationship?
After getting your answer, you may find that you’ve been building a bridge to a place the other person doesn’t care about going.
On the other side of that, if your mate is uninterested in finding out what is important to you, I say that you have a non-participant.
This is basically a person that is only willing to play the game that they’re interested in. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that you don’t like playing their game, but that you also want them to play yours too.
At the end of the day, you want to have reciprocation. You want to know that you’re not the only one in it. If that’s your situation, what’s the point? You can do that by yourself.
To have a partner you must be invested 50 / 50.
As we all know, the provisional period is where we are on our best behavior. At this point, we are very accommodative, response friendly and readily available. After this time passes, the real person typically comes out to play. It is at this period that we truly have to decide if the person we now know is who we want to continue to deal with.
Like I said, this is typically how it goes. With adult children, the scene is a little bit different. The first part is increased emotionalism. As with children, they deal in extremes. They either love you or hate you. Very rarely there are shades of gray. As I found out, it’s the same for the AC (adult children). With them, you are either making them happy or sad. You are either good or mean. With the maturity of adulthood, normal people find out there indeed is gray and times taking the middle produces the desired result.
For me, I wonder what happened. Where did their mental and emotional development stop? Another example is how children equate the harsh truth you tell them about their actions as you intentionally hurting their feelings. This also equals that you don’t like them. A child typically can’t accept criticism because they view themselves as perfect and all knowing.
AC look at things the same way. In my last experience, they always pointed out that I didn’t show them I liked them. They didn’t feel like I showed them that I cared. They also felt that I was mean for being honest about the reality of how I felt. Another example was how all the positive actions I did do were disregarded immediately if something they wanted wasn’t met. The all-knowing, all selfish “I” is a big flag. As adults we learn that you can’t have everything you want and that compromise is the key. The AC views it as if you are either trying to make them happy or trying to hurt them.
In the end, no one can satisfy an insatiable child. The only thing we learned as kids was that the parent was bigger than us and if we didn’t go along with their plan, bad things would happen to us. As a kid, that was the only rationalization we did. With an AC, you can’t offer the same solution because this is a person and “not” a / your child.
Really and truly I am just writing to give information that hopefully will save you time and frustration. Indeed, there will be nothing in it for you, because as with a kid, it’s all about them.
So, unless you want to make your life’s purpose trying to pacify the instability of a grown up kid, run.
Anyway, I met this great girl that was bold, adventurous and ambitious. Oh and I forgot, she was also a model. Many a man was jealous of this one; too bad no one knew she was mine. I know you’re saying wait a minute what do you mean no one knew. At this time, I was president of a well-known modeling agency and was so consumed in image that I didn’t want anyone to think I was dating one of my employees. It’s always funny thinking back. Who did I really think I was? I guess I was preparing for my big corporate stance. Lol! I felt like it was unbecoming and would make me look weak in the eyes of everybody. This of course is the first step to failure. You cannot live your life by how others will judge you. I soon found out how much of a mind numbing experience it can be.
So day by day, I played the part and pretended like there was nothing there and secretly rendezvoused with her. I felt like I had it all under control. Of course that is how we all feel right before the big fall. Looking back with experienced eyes, it must have been very difficult for her. Women by nature want to be with their man 100% uninhibited. I with my stubborn standard was impeding her progress…
As time went on, my pride gave me a false sense of security. I mean, I thought I was the man. President of a successful company, beautiful girl and the future looked brighter and brighter. I mean, I had everything I wanted with no accountability.
There it is; the great woops. Most of us think no accountability is a good thing, but it’s actually bad. As I speak about in most of my writings, people need boundaries and also a system of checks and balances. With no one to know there is a relationship, there is nothing to remind or protect against the onslaught of outside pressures that I would soon be subjected to.
The problem with being the man is that everybody wants to break you. Everyone wants to expose that weakness to bring you where they are. I was no exception.
One day while on a trip, we all got drunk and I got too comfortable with another model while she was there. Clearly things were out of control. I guess that’s how it happens. The more you try to control things, the less you have control over them. I blame no one but myself. If the information was there, I truly believe people would have acted accordingly. When you hide relationships, it’s hard for them to be taken seriously. By publicly voicing them, you put yourself on notice of watchful eyes as to what you are doing. When you’re proclaimed single, no one even pays attention to what you’re doing.
Of course, because no one knew what was going on, no one knew to keep it quiet and so everything came out. The secret of the big secret was brought to life anyway, but at the expense of a heart.
You’ve gotta go in 100%. If it’s anything that I’ve learned over these years it’s that. No need starting something that you can’t finish. Even after the incident, we tried to make it work, but I was left with a big void. The space which once held my pride was now filled with emptiness. I then was left with the question of who am I? Who is this greatly controlled person that can be capable of this? I knew then that I needed to start the journey to find those answers… Because of that, I had to leave her in search of me.
People; don’t make the mistake I did by covering up something or someone you care about. You only end up hurting you and them. Look at me. It’s been 8 years and I still think about it. Make it be known and make it plain. No one has the keys to your happiness but you. No matter what they may think, truly give it a chance by speaking up.
On to the point. For this article, I will talk about the relationship shopping cart. During our day to day grind, we seem to forget about the needs of others. For a balanced meal, it takes meats, vegetables, fruits and grains. In a relationship, it is essentially the same. You must have love, care, respect and be nurturing. These are of course just a few.
Now, when any of these areas is out of whack, the relationship suffers. Just like with eating, the body becomes weak when certain needs aren’t met. Just because you’ve eaten doesn’t mean you will become full. Your state of health and energy output is greatly proportionate to the caliber of food you put in it. You simply can’t eat candy all day and think you’ll function well.
Just like in relationships, you can’t pay compliments all day and not show any affection. Another example is that you can’t have cut off communication and be hopelessly in love. These statements are absolutely contradictory.
Even more important is to find out what the person truly needs. Because our bodies are made differently, what works for me may not work for someone else. This is where it all goes back to communication.
Sometimes you physically have to ask. “Honey, what do you require in this relationship”? There is absolutely no shame in not knowing. The only shame is not paying attention. When someone tells you that they don’t like something, don’t keep giving it to them. Likewise, if they tell you they enjoy something, give it to them!
A wise person fills up the shopping cart with items that both will enjoy. There is no need in being selfish, because you have to remember you’re splitting the bill.
A selfish person only stocks items they like and believes that the other person will eat what you give them so as to not starve.
The problem with the above statement is that you aren’t the only source on the planet. As long as they’re more options for food, you’re going to be leaving the door open for someone else to feed them.
Natural preservation will always prevail. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re the only market.
Hello all. This is a particularly special Kevin Key speaks. Interestingly enough it takes place way down in Jasper Alabama. No why would your city fancying guy “me” go down to Jasper? My guess is divine intervention. Unbeknownst to me, I was set up for one of the most important tests of my life.
The job was a simple one. Setup and shoot video. This is something that I do all day every day, so no big deal. I actually was excited because I just got a new camera and was anxious to try it out. Yup, this was going to be simple plug and chug. At least that’s what I thought.
Upon arrival, I was brought into the knowledge that Juanita Bynum was actually the guest speaker. Wow! That’s huge! For those that don’t know who she is, please take some time and look it up.
Anyway, everything progressed as it should right on up to the end. Yup, I thought it was the typical church service; singing, preaching & giving.
As I ran video, I heard her saying that you have to know God for God. You have to believe even if he doesn’t grant your prayers. You have to keep praising even if things are going bad. Of course for me, this is no big deal. I practice what I preach… Right? I mean, I have my private prayer time that I praise no matter what. For me, I didn’t feel that I had to be this big public display for everybody’s amusement.
For me, I felt that what I was doing was good enough. As service progressed, they called everybody to the middle aisle for laying hands and oil. I sat there watching the line wrap all the way around the room down to two. At that moment, I felt the spirit tugging on me to go down there. At first thought, I have nothing to prove, I know my relationship is sound. Tug two. Kevin what are you doing? Get up and show God you’re not a punk.
Of course my colleagues are now looking at me as I mouth something to the tune of “I’ll be back, I have to ask her something.” Yeah right, who am I fooling? They all know I’m going to get in line with “those people.” “Those people?” Wow did I just call Gods people “Those People”. I didn’t realize it, but soon I was going to be tested to see if I was truly one of “Gods people?”
As I finally got to the front, I definitely could feel the presence of the lord in this woman. The power was so strong that I instantly felt my heart almost pop out my chest. Why am I nervous? I know why… When you stand before God, you are truly naked. You are also dirty.
Right as I was about to step up, the host minister was brought before me and she started ministering to him. Of course, I know order, so patiently I waited. The first lady even made sure to pull me back to give them enough room.
While standing there, I knew deep down that I was not worthy of being there. I knew deep down that I was not being all that God wanted me to be. Of course I felt that she would obviously know it too. After she finished with him, she looked at me almost with discuss and walked out of the room. Some would take offense to this, but it was the greatest gift that God could have given me.
As I stood there, embarrassed in front of everybody, I could hear the spirit louder than ever. “Were you looking to praise her or me?”
I then got down on my knees and lowered my head in submission. From there, I began to pray. “Let it be your will lord… I don’t care who’s looking at me… I need you… Here I am naked and ashamed…” As I prayed, I realized that in him telling me “no”, I actually gained an awesome opportunity… Yup, he opened the door wide for me to grow higher in him.
Listen people. Don’t miss your opportunities to show him who’s head in your life. I promise the reward is well worth it!
Thank you God! Please allow others to see favor from my story.