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Jonita Mitchell McCree
Keena Stone Williams
I am a divorced 40ish Piscean and live in Philadelphia, PA. I work for the City of Philadelphia, Pension Board where I met Ms. Bellamy. We clicked right away, she autographed and left her first 2 novels Departures and Connecting and I’ve been hooked ever since. I am newly onboard as a test reader, and honored to even be considered. I have a wonderful son who just celebrated his 21st birthday. I am currently pursuing a degree in Computer Forensics. I’m an avid reader and enjoy rollerskating, (yes I still can get my skate on) movies, and just enjoying life.
Lisa is a United States Army SFC and resides in Somerset, New Jersey. She is a single no nonsense parent of two adult children. She is forty-ish and an Aquarian. Lisa is very generous and stubborn. She has a four year old grandson. He is a terror-cute to death and I've adopted him as my grandson. She is excellent at finding punishments for children. I met Lisa in 2002 while in a restaurant parking lot. The restaurant was out of crabs. We began talking and headed for another spot. We both had our kids with us. We had a wonderful time and she eventually got a copy of Departures. Lisa was also an avid reader, member of a book club and knows a good book. As time progressed we became best buddies and share a warm friendship. Lisa was instrumental in passing the word about Departures in North Jersey and setting up a wonderful and productive book signing for me at Barnes and Noble in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Lisa is terrific at spotting errors, suggesting changes and giving feedback. She has worked on Connecting, The Bitch Tried To Steal My Husband's Body/Lust Lies and Two Wives and Arrivals. She loves shopping and traveling, hitting the slots often and is a devoted parent. She does a lot of concerts and theater. She's also a comedian-keeps me laughing. Lisa and I are addicted to QVC.
Shauna is a KIA Salesperson. She resides in Gulf Port, Florida. Shauna is thirtyish and Caucasian. I met her in a nailery in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania in December of 2002. I had told her all about Departures and she purchased the book. We kept in touch because she loved Departures and was impatiently awaiting its sequel, Connecting. She became a test reader in 2003 and has assisted in editing Connecting and Arrivals. Shauna is a Virgo perfectionist and we have nicknamed her the "Quote Queen and the Up and Down Queen." She makes sure we are correct when the characters are traveling up to Philadelphia from Annapolis and down to Philadelphia from New York. I'm always omitting quotation marks from the text and she is great at correcting me. I love Shauna because she is swift in delivering corrections back to me and there is not much that she misses. Shauna holds the world record, completing Departures in twelve hours-loving every minute of it. She's engaged, tying the knot in 2009. Congratulations!!!
Arlene resides in North Wales, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. She recently turned sixty five, is Jewish, the mother of three adult children and grandmother of four. Arlene is an avid reader. Arlene and I used to work for the same company. We became especially close when she heard I had written a novel. She became a test reader just prior to Departures being published in 2002. She's great at catching all kinds of errors, performs well assisting at my book signings and is an all around best buddy of mine. Because Arlene's a Mom, she relates to a lot of things in my novels. This is a sweet Libra who wouldn't normally hurt a fly or say a bad thing about anyone-however-she was ecstatic when Horace beat the shit out of Paula. Arlene and I have known each other since the year 2000. She was the one who "saved the day" when she came up with an idea when we were stuck for a new final chapter for Departures. In my novel, Arrivals, she gets the credit for a fabulous description of Harvey. That's my girl.
Alia is a twenty-six year-old college student. She is single and my youngest daughter. She is a Leo and Black American Princess. She is bright, flamboyant, stubborn, bossy, and energetic. She graduated Valedictorian of her high school class while battling Crohn's Disease. Yep, that Leo-King of the Jungle beat them all out even with an I.V. in her arm the majority of her high school years. You cannot beat a Leo. They've got charisma, smarts and staying power. Give up now if you have plans on overtaking them. Alia assisted in the reading and editing of all of my novels. She is the cover girl on Departures that was published in May of 2002 and that's her face on The Bitch Tried To Steal My Husband's Body. On an almost daily basis, Alia provides Mommy with writing material, as her life is extremely eventful. The "Cookies" in Connecting, the "Laptop" in Arrivals and the character "Dante"-Alia provided through her own experiences. Alia, being an avid reader and very articulate was a great help to Mommy in the editing process and for feedback from a younger audience for my novels. I love her independence and believe it or not-I like the kid being a BAP. Also, I'd like to say I'm sick of her bossing me around and half the time I can't stand her. Alia's hobbies are traveling, reading, partying, shopping and a little tequila goes a long way with her.
Ralph resides in the suburbs of Columbus Ohio. He is divorced and the father of two adult children. He is sixty-ish and a Sagittarius. Ralph has assisted in the editing of Departures and Connecting and also been instrumental in doing much of my legwork. He's a whiz at obtaining information on the computer for research and finding people on the Internet to help with the books. Ralph just runs around doing whatever is necessary, including getting novels copyright and reading in order to give feedback. Ralph is always quick to respond to a problem. This is my brother. Ralph is known as the Comma King in the editing process. I love my brother!!!
I met Walt Dixon while visiting my daughter, Alia while she was an in-patient at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. My twenty-year old daughter has Crohn's Disease. As the security enforcement division of CHOP is an excellent service, Walt looked kind of bored one morning around five-thirty. I enticed him into purchasing a copy of Departures, he gobbled it up and begged for more and the rest is history. Walt is thirtyish, a former Corrections Officer, and married with three beautiful children that I plan to steal. Even through he's been trained to protect people, I can pull my mission off. This six foot four three hundred ten pound hunk doesn't scare me a bit-not unless I mess with his main squeeze Emily, a character in the Departures and Connecting family. Walt and I are great friends and he became a test reader for me in 2003. He has assisted me not only in writing the sex scenes of Connecting and Arrivals, but given feedback, suggestions, instructions and editing tips on both the above- mentioned novels. Walt is happily married and resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is presently writing his own first novel and I've now become his test reader.
Joquina came on board with me in August of 2004. I am happy we kept in contact with each other after we met in February of 2004. She has become extremely valuable to me. This Libra digs down deep to make sure I’m not off track on anything and she specializes in the facts and the novel flowing correctly. When I screw something up—she finds it. Joquina works so hard and questions so many things that I have nicknamed her “The Editor.” She reminds me of those people at Penguin/NAL. She’ll push me to the limit and I’d better have an explanation for what I am doing when writing. Joquina started off reading part of a novel I am presently writing titled “The Donation.” She then advanced on to Arrivals, my third novel, and on to Illusions which is expected to be released in 2006. She is presently sitting back relaxing and laughing her butt off reading my second novel, Connecting, which is due to be released by Penguin in March of 2005. I hope there are no mistakes in that because I know she’ll send an E-mail to Penguin. Because Joquina is so efficient, I don’t even have to write her biography. The next paragraphs of it will explain everything about her association with me. Here it is prepared by the master, herself. Thanks my love—I needed you in my life and again, Welcome Aboard! My name is Joquina Somerville and I reside in Glenside, Pennsylvania. I am an elementary school teacher with nineteen years of experience. I am the mother of a son, PJ who is nine years old. I will be forty-three years old this October. I wanted to be a test reader after reading Departures by Adrienne Bellamy and having the opportunity to discuss the book with her. I eagerly volunteered to test read for her. My book club, The Page Turners had the pleasure of hosting author Adrienne Bellamy in February 2004 after reading her book Departures as of our featured selection for the month. Our book club consisted of 11 female African-Americans within the ages from mid-thirties to mid-fifties. Our members’ occupations range from the fields of law, education, social work, health, and public service. One of our members had met Adrienne while she was hosting a Barnes and Noble book club discussion and arranged with her to meet with us. We found Adrienne to be just like her book – full of life and had a lot going on, all at the same time. What a lively discussion we had! The members had many questions for Adrienne and wanted her input to why she had written what she had written. Different members had different favorite characters. Some parts pleased us immensely, like Paula getting her just desserts. Parts of Departures made us laugh and some parts just annoyed us. While we were reading the book, different members found themselves calling each other to find out if they had read the part where the person calling was at in the book. Often the conversation began, “Girl, wait to you get to page _____.” Departures gave us a beginning to look forward to. I had the pleasure of reading Arrivals. When I first got the book, I looked at the number of pages and said well, this will take some time. The evening that I got it, I read about fifty pages and stopped because I was tired and I didn’t want to miss something, reading while sleepy. The next morning I told myself that I would read to page one hundred and then stop and to do my work. Well, I was only fooling myself. I read one hundred pages then told myself that I would stop when I read fifty more. When I got to that point, I told myself that I would stop when “so and so happened.” Needless to say, I got no work done that day. I spent the day laying on my bed reading until I finished the book. From time to time, I would call Adrienne and say, “I can’t believe this has happened.” Reading Arrivals was like coming home. It was wonderful to read about characters that I knew about, Horace, Reba, Amber to name a few. It was great that Lenora was finally free! I was quite sad that Lenora had to serve time in jail in Departures. While I knew that there was a book in between Departures and Arrivals that I had not read, Arrivals stood by itself. A person who had not read Departures would have no problem reading Arrivals. Society has us thinking that if you are on death row that you are a bad person. Arrivals changes our naivety thinking. The women that we meet through Lenora are parts of ourselves. They said that there’s a thin line between love and hate. Well, Arrivals let’s us know that there’s a thin line between sanity and I’ve had enough. Anyone reading Arrivals will see themselves somewhere between the pages. The way the women get on death row will make you laugh, feel sorry for them, and understand all at the same time. Their stories made me wish I had the power to pardon them and free them. The death row women are our sisters, our nieces, our mothers, and ourselves and most of all our circumstances on many a day. Reading Arrivals makes you want to have a three day slumber party with all the people you care about, whether they are your family or good friends. That’s what Arrivals gives us, friends and family who have each other’s backs during bad times and will celebrate with you during the good times. May we all have friends like those in Arrivals! If you are fortunate enough to read Departures, Connecting, and Arrivals in order, you will see the growth of an author and truly continue to look forward to what’s coming next. Happy reading!
I'm Linda Ethridge, married 28 years to Tony, and have two children, my daughter Diehma, a colledge graduate age 27 and my son,Neel, who is 23 and a college student. I reside in Siclerville New Jersey. I am a special education teacher in Philadelphia. I'm a Libra like the author and my hobbies are baking, traveling, and shopping. I make some mean cakes, German Chocolate, 7-Up, Pound and Better Than Sex. I've known Adrienne for 38 years. She and I met while waitressing part-time at Brith Sholom House, an apartment complex located in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. I was in college and she was in high school at that time. We became the best of friends. I began as a test reader for Adrienne in 2007 and my first project was editing her novel titled The Bitch Tried To Steal My Husband's Body. I had completed her prior novels Departures and Connecting it was eager for more. I found this new work to be quite a caper and thought "Only this could happen to Adrienne. Only Adrienne's husband could be dead and missing in the tri-state area." But I knew the organized, relentless, resourceful and determined Adrienne Bellamy would get to the bottom of the mess surrounding his death. I loved this caper and actually learned a lot by reading it.
Janet Carr Dees
I am a Philadelphia native and a prolific Virgo. My four children range in age from 18 to 32. My newest career in teaching is as an instructor of English as a Second Language in Philadelphia.
I first met Adrienne at her book signing for Lust, Lies, and Two Wives at the Plymouth Meeting Barnes and Noble. I had never read any of her books but now have all her works and am anxiously awaiting Arrivals. Adrienne Bellamy will make you laugh out loud while reading her books, or experiencing her in person. Her enthusiasm for life and the excitement of challenging real life drama come alive in her stories. She will inspire you to meet your life head on with hard work and zest without abandoning humor and reflective irony.
I’m Rita Bridgeman. I’m a legal secretary and I reside in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. I met Adrienne Bellamy in 2008 at the law office of Baratta, Russell & Baratta.
Prior to becoming a test/flow reader for her, I had never read any of Adrienne's novels. So, I started with Arrivals. I’m 50-ish and I’m a Pisces. I’m now a single mom and the mother of four children, Erik (37), Jodi (35), Mike (23) & Dana (17). I have two grandchildren, Taje' (10) & Taniyah (7), with another grandson due next month.
I began playing sports at a very early age. These included softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, and bowling. Now, I mostly enjoy spending time with my family and hanging out with friends. I have always been an avid reader, and am definitely looking forward to reading all of Adrienne's other books!
Jonita Mitchell McCree
Keena Stone Williams