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AAMBC Tour : Beneath My Stilettos

 Beneath My Stilettos
Project Name
Beneath My Stilettos is about a remarkable young woman, Zafinah Marie Hembree, a woman who makes up in her mind that she is not going to allow a dreadful past to hinder her journey in life. From birth, she was said to be a curse because of things her grandparents and parents did. Who said it? Her aunt Joy, who was a woman of God, saw the condemnation of God above the love and restoration of God. She truly believed Zafinah’s life was unworthy. only a few months old, Zafinah ended up in a foster home. Like any child would, she wanted to know what happened to her parents. She had bits and pieces of information but she needed more to complete the puzzle. For a while, she wondered until she fell in love with Chino, a young career criminal. In the beginning, Chino is sufficient to fill the void until his lifestyle is fully revealed. The void that was once filled became empty again.
No longer did she wonder about her parents, she set out to search for her parents only to have her heart broken. It was not until she ended up in jail, of course for something Chino had much to do with, that she was given access to the truth. Many times, we want to sweep things under the rug, we do not want to face the truth, but Zafinah who is a courageous young woman wants to know. By the way, she has this thing for Stilettos.
If we would take the time to just hear truth, which sometimes arrive in the darkest moment, when we sit still and listen, we gain access to freedom. When we face our fears and decide to conquer the evil that has threatened us or that had been spoken over us, then we are allowed full access to overcome. Zafinah uncovers generational truth in this journey.
             Everything occurred shortly after the spring of 1979. The church bell rang profoundly as all the members of Mt. Tabor gleefully made their entrance. Men were accompanied by their wives while children skipped about playfully along their side. The well-mannered youths knew it was wise to tame the mischievous behavior once they entered through the doors that led to a paradise where veneration was to take place. All unnecessary acts were silenced upon the sudden entrance of the elders. One could discover complete order in this ripe ministry. It had been that way from day one. You did not find many broken families in this powerful ministry either. Whatever the case was, the members seemed to have always maintained a buoyant attitude, it was unmovable. Even the widows sang hymns with joy, they knew with all their hearts God was in the midst. Yes, they poured gracefully through the doors with their sophisticated suits, women represented with their wide brim hats and for many, showing off elegantly coifed hair was necessary. They believed if at any time they should look especially best, that time would be Sunday morning. Not to impress each other, but they wanted to look their best for the One who provided consistently.
            At Mt. Tabor, they believed God was the One who made provisions where they could live in such a way that they did. In the congregation sat business owners, doctors, lawyers, best-selling authors, not an ounce of reason for jealousy. They weren’t merely excited about the newly renovated thirty-year-old structure. Cheerfulness covered the atmosphere because of their attitude of expectation. The members were eager to discover which sermon the most reverent Pastor in the community, Pastor Clifford D. McRae III, would dish out on Sunday. The fifty-two year old elite had picked up where his father, Pastor Clifford McRae II had left off three years ago after his father suffered an atrocious stroke leaving him partially paralyzed. It wasn’t enough to stop him, but the eighty-three year old figured that was God’s way of telling him it was time to pass on the responsibility of overseeing ministerial affairs to his only son. Not that Pastor McRae II wasn’t a fiery preacher himself, but Lord, his son, MY GOD, MY GOD… that Pastor McRae III knew how to deliver the Word with a fire that swept through every pew, shook the musicians, blew on the ushers, even stunned the children to an attentive silence.
            Everyone was so caught up in the spirit that they didn’t recognize the stained windows trembling. No, there was never a dull moment. He had an ability to keep those members coming for more without earnest solicitation. He was a servant who owned unrelenting power. 
Pastor McRae III and his wife, Mrs. Betty McRae never refused to greet their congregation before service and they were always present following service seeing all off with warm wishes. It seemed neither of them was ever tired of the firm handshakes, saintly kisses on the cheek and heartfelt hugs. Pastor and First Lady McRae were always glowing exuberantly, never exhausted of the ongoing responsibility.
            It was exactly one minute after eleven o’clock, Betty realized. “Pastor McRae, it’s time,” she whispered softly in his ear. Twenty-five years of marriage and he still found her whispers to be sensual, never failing to acquire his attention. He agreed easily with a nod.
            “First Lady, would you and Pastor like for me to begin? It’s after eleven,” Sister Joy Sweeting, optimistically prompted. She was always willing to get praise and worship going. There was always a song in her heart.
            “In a minute, Sister Joy,” Betty replied nicely. Joy understood with a smile before rhythmically strutting away. Betty McRae realized her husband’s sudden hesitation. He was in the middle of a pivot when he recognized the last three individuals to arrive. He couldn’t help noticing the charming beauties being escorted by an ever so graceful masculinity. It was the Hembrees, one of the most prominent families in Belleville.
ShaniQ has been recognized for being a creative and brilliant writer who produces original and delightful reads. She aspires to compose award-winning scripts for movie production. She wants readers to discover a unique flair that is uplifting as well as entertaining. She does not seek after one, but many genres. The author’s goal is to provide variation in her work including spirituality, romance, conflict, and a twist of comedy. She may even surprise you with some crime and passion.
ShaniQ currently lives in Miami, FL with her children
Interview with ShaniQ
1.       When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in book form when I was around twelve or thirteen years old. I can recall filling tablets up with stories I would imagine and sit for hours writing. Writing was and is entertaining to me.
2.       When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer from day one when I started. As I would always create stories that I envisioned being used for film production. I did not have an audience besides my family and a few friends then but in my heart, I believed I was a writer.
3.       What inspired you to write your first book?
I had a sudden urge to take my writing further than my personal tablets. As I went back and forth to work, I would spend time just writing out constant ideas for stories. For a while, many of those stories were tossed out while cleaning or sitting catching dust. It dawned on me one day that I needed to record my literary works. Much of my writings were misplaced and I wanted to make sure that never happened again.
4.       Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In all of my writings, I want to give a positive message. With Beneath My Stilettos, I want readers to grasp that we choose our steps in life and it is up to us to choose our steps wisely. Our steps of belief are critical and come with consequence. As we journey through this life, we must know that we have a freedom to make a difference despite of what those before us may have done.
5.       How much of the book is realistic?
Much of my works are from my imagination but comes as a result of real life incidents. The particular topic that led me to write Beneath My Stilettos is generational curses.
6.       Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The majority of the story reflects my imagination and there is a portion that reflects true experiences of someone I know. 
7.       Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
You can expect to be amused, surprised and receive a great deal of inspiration from this work, I sincerely hope all who pick up Beneath My Stilettos will enjoy it. It is not so much what people do or say, but what we ALLOW in to our minds and hearts that can make a difference. If you believe you are cursed, you will be cursed. If you believe that you are blessed, highly favored, with a gift of chance to make things right for you and your children, and loved by God beyond your faults, then it is so.

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