The Journey of Ruthie Belle

by Imani Wisdom

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The Journey of Ruthie Belle by Imani Wisdom

The meek, Ruthie Belle dreams of one day being free from her husband's constant mental and physical torment, until one day she finds the courage to break free from his bondage. Even though the plan goes without a hitch, Ruthie spends the rest of her life riddled in guilt and shame. Later at the ripe age of 103, Ruthie discovers forgiveness and redemption are a part of everyday journeys.

During her pilgrimage, she meets people from her past and makes new and important friends to help her heal and to find understanding. Yet the further into her journey, the darker it gets. Ruthie discovers things aren't the way it seems when her shame comes back for his revenge - her husband. Will new revelations keep her from her pursuit to redemption? Or will the haunting of her past stop her cold in her tracks?

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Book Reviews: The Journey of Ruthie Belle

"This was an outstanding read. My emotions were all in. I was angry and sad at the treatment of this woman, a mother and wife. This story had me from the first page as it started out on high octane. I enjoyed the story how it took a twist to the after life. I felt the fear and pain and then the joy in the end. The story and how it was written reminded me of The Shack. Outstanding. Looking forward to reading more by Imani, her writing is clear and detailed." --Lynette Shelton

"Journey - an act of traveling from one place to another. That is exactly what Imani Wisdom takes you on in the book " The Journey of Ruthie Belle." From the first page to the last you are captivated by the one decision Ruthie makes that changes her life and takes you on her journey a somewhat spiritual journey. Of course, we all have a storied past; memories that we most certainly wish we could forget however In order for Ruthie to move forward, she must revisit those memories." --Amazon Customer

"A new favorite of mine. The journey of Ruthie Belle will take you on a personal journey as well. I laughed, I cried, and I prayed. A Journey of Redemption. This book will not disappoint." --Shirley Graham

Purchase The Journey of Ruthie Belle (Kindle Edition) by Imani Wisdom. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Journey of Ruthie Belle. To purchase this ebook, visit Amazon:

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Excerpt (Chapter Three)

It was June 1, 1927, and I was babysittin' my five-year-old granddaughter, Georgia, while her parents attended a church meetin'. I was braidin' her hair at the kitchen table when I got a knock on the door that changed my life. When I opened it, I found a note sittin' on my porch, written as if someone tried to write it in the dark.

Miss Ruthie, I hate to do this, but I can't tell you this in person. Jacob and his buddies will have me killed if they saw me talking to you. Please meet me far back in the woods behind your barn. Please hurry!
Mary Beth

Although I couldn't make out what the note said, I understood bits and pieces of it: Jacob and his buddies and meetin' her in the woods. I remember askin' Mattie Jean, twenty-one at the time, to watch Georgia Raye. I hurried through the woods, recallin' ev'ry word Gladys's childhood friend wrote. Walkin' through that area was sometimes frightenin'. There were wild dogs and mean white folks that wouldn't hesitate to hang a Colored person. I knocked down any hangin' branches or ignored little rustlin' sounds behind bushes. All I wanted to know was what was goin' on with Mary Beth. But what made me burst through the woods was a feelin' I had in the pit of my stomach. I knew somethin' was wrong, terribly wrong!

I saw a petite, white woman surrounded by a bunch of huge trees. Mary Beth was holdin' a shiny object close to her chest, and her eyes were blood shot red, as though she had been cryin' non-stop.

"Miss Ruthie," she sobbed. "I am so sorry."

Although words were floatin' from her mouth, I was fixated on that shiny object. It was the locket I'd givin' to Gladys as a weddin' present.

"Where did you get this from?" I yanked it from Mary Beth's hand, further inspectin' it to see if it was really Gladys's, and it was. "This is Gladys's locket. Where is she?"

With the moonlight sparklin' on her rich black hair, Mary Beth kept cryin'. Her body language was enough to tell me somethin' had happened to my daughter. She sobbed, as she stood stiff with her hands clasped together in front of her pelvis.

"Oh, Miss Ruthie, I am so-"

"Child, stop apologizin' and tell me where's Gladys!" I shouted.

She raised her head as though she was tryin' to look at the moonlight, but her eyes looked into a particular direction. I followed her blue eyes and saw a sight that ripped my heart out. My legs buckled from the shock. All I saw was a man's dress shoes suspended in the air. I looked up to see a shirtless and bloody man that was bounded and hanged. Ev'rytime I grabbed at his shoes to see his face, his body gently swung from one direction to another. I wrapped my arms around his ankle and glared straight up at the rope. It was Pastor George.


I was heartbroken. A good man bein' hanged like this was disgustin'. What could a man of God do to deserve this? What? Then my daughter rushed into my mind. Gladys, I thought. I gave a stiff and angry expression to Mary Beth, took her by the shoulders and shook her, tryin' to shake the truth out of her.

"Where's Gladys!" I yelled.

"There!" she cried, pointin' to a freshly packed mound of dirt. Still holdin' her shoulders, I took a moment to stare at the earthly grains, tryin' not to believe Gladys was there. I finally let go of Mary Beth to come close to the pile of dirt.

"Lawd, no," I mumbled, tryin' to keep it together. But, my heart dropped to my feet when I saw a lifeless hand stickin' out from the dirt. "GLADYS!" I cried.

I hysterically unburied my daughter from the cold, pile of dirt. Then with all of my might, I pulled her to my breast, where I used to nourish her. I was beyond speechless, but angry! My daughter was covered with bullet wounds on her chest and one on her face. I could barely recognize my baby. That bullet took off half her face. I hugged my daughter's motionless body, hopin' she could still feel my love. After that, I thought of Mary Beth. I glanced at her while she still looked pitiful.

"Did Jacob do this?" I wept.

"Miss Ruthie, I..." she sobbed.

"Child, don't Miss Ruthie me, did your husband and his heathen friends do this?"

Mary Beth looked away from me to answer, "Yes, ma'am."

Oh dear Lord, I thought, my daughter's best friend's husband, brutally killed my daughter and her husband. And for what?

Back in the 1920s, there was no justice for white folks killin' a Colored. To them, that was one less nigger to worry about. But why my child? Gladys wouldn't hurt anybody. She even got along with ev'ry white folk in town. So I didn't understand this, not at all!

As tears streamed down my face, Mary Beth's tiny voice said, "Miss Ruthie, I'm really sorry. I loved Gladys, she was my-"

"Please go!" I said calmly, as I rocked and held my dead baby girl to my chest. "Leave me and my family be. I love you like a daughter, Miss Mary Beth, but you have to keep your distance from now on. Now go!"

( Continued... )

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Imani Wisdom. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

Purchase The Journey of Ruthie Belle (Kindle Edition) by Imani Wisdom. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Journey of Ruthie Belle. To purchase this ebook, visit Amazon:

Meet the Author

Imani Wisdom is the founder of Pink Noire Publications. Based in Indianapolis, IN, Pink Noire is a groundbreaking company with an unpredictable brand of literary storytelling. Wisdom is also the creator of Pink Noire Blog, which hosts inspirational posts for the soul, along with social commentary. Born and raised in “Indy,” Wisdom spends her days overseeing a family of five, writing short stories and books, cooking vegan dishes, running 5Ks and mini-marathons, and enjoying quality time with her friends and family.

Wisdom is a graduate of Ivy Tech Community College, earning a degree in Paralegal Studies. She is a prolific storyteller whose works depict an honest portrayal of societal issues. As a blogger and author, she has received numerous honors including 2012 nominee for Poet of the Year (AAMBC Book Club), March 2012 Up and Coming Author (The Writer’s POV Magazine), September 2011 Blog of the Month (The Writer’s POV Magazine), and February 2011 Editor’s Pick ( for her short story, The Shattered Mogul. Her works include Zion’s Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption, and her upcoming debut novel, The Journey of Ruthie Belle.

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Intimate Conversation with Imani Wisdom

Imani Wisdom has been writing since the tender age of eight, as a young lyricist. Later, her love for words blossomed into short stories and to what she loves doing, storytelling. Born to a public school teacher and a manufacturer for the local paper, Imani is the mother of two adult sons and a teen-aged daughter. At forty-five, she understands making her way in the literary world will have its obstacles. Yet, she’s willing to give her all.

BPM: What made you want to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
IW: I’ve had the love of storytelling since I was a young girl. I used to play in my grandmother’s bathroom, with of all things, her toiletries; such as, powder, mouthwash, and so on. I would use these items to create a story with a cast of characters. Back then, however, I didn’t quite understand on how to form a story; I just I enjoyed creating new worlds and fascinating people. Many years later, in my thirties, was when I knew I had a passion for words. So, I began to write my novelette, “Zion’s Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption”, and shortly after, my debut novel, The Journey of Ruthie Belle. And the rest, as they say, is history.

BPM: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
IW: As I was writing Zion’s Road, I had no clue as to how to begin and end chapters, form characters, or to organize my writing. I just wrote by feeling. If I could go back and change anything, would I? The answer for that is no. I have no regrets; I just look at it as a novice learning the ropes. So, the only thing as far as my creativity that has evolved, is the appreciation to my writing gift. Initially, I compared my work with other authors and it wavered my confidence. Now, I learned to focus on my craft, and to understand authenticity matters.

BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
IW: Absolutely! I considered myself a spiritual person. I study the Bible, pray, and meditate, as well as, maintaining a clean-eating lifestyle (vegan), and workout. So, how does these things correlate with writing? For me, it helps keep the mind and soul focus on my craft.

BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
IW: A lot! Six years ago, I thought my way out from depression was suicide. I hated myself and my life. I felt as though God had forgotten me. Worse, because of past mistakes, I didn’t think I was deserving to seek God and ask for His guidance. Then on that same day, after I ask God to take me (meaning to kill me), I had this intense feeling to finish a manuscript I began in 2006. I didn’t want or had the energy to do so, but I forced myself to open my laptop to finish the other eight chapters. So, what manuscript was it? The Journey of Ruthie Belle.

BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
IW: That my creativity spans from, not just writing, but creating graphic art, book trailers, and organizing and writing my press kits. As a self-publish author, I had to learn to fast on how to budget my money and time. Now, I can’t do everything; such as, editing and promoting, but I have learned to use my time wisely and network efficiently.

BPM: Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
IW: I don’t. I try to not to see too far ahead in the future. I just focus on the present. But what I will say is I hope my storytelling abilities expand to a new chapter.

BPM: How do you find or make time to write? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
IW: Lately, I haven’t been writing as much because of the demanding hours at my job. However, prior of getting hired, I used to get up at 4:30 to 5:30 a.m., workout, pray and meditate, and then I write for four to six hours. I never outlined my storylines or do some character analysis or questionnaire, I just write. It may seem unorthodox to some, but it works for me. Call it character-driven, I guess.

BPM: How did you choose the genre you write in? Have you considered writing in another genre?
IW: I chose Contemporary Women’s Fiction, because I believe in the strength of a woman. I love creating leading women characters with questionable backgrounds and experiences. I mean, we all have been through our own storms, and some severe than others. Nevertheless, our experiences are our teacher. Same as my characters; their experiences become a storyline. As for other genres, I have manuscripts tailored for Erotica and Paranormal.

BPM: Tell us about your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
IW: The Journey of Ruthie Belle, which is on Kindle, is a metaphoric tale about facing your demons. The story begins with a meek housewife, living in an abusive marriage. Since the time period is 1914 in the Deep South, there's no women shelters or the law to protect her. It's just Ruthie with her time and prayers. So, one day, she finds an ingenious way to break free from her bondage, just to discover, later, that life isn't as easy as she thought it would be. As she makes this discovery, she finds healing and redemption. To some, those important qualities may have come too late. Yet on the contrary, those attributes couldn’t have come at a better time. In fact, it’s her new beginning.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or the speakers. What makes each one so special?
IW: Ruthie Belle begins timid, but as the storyline unfolds, she develops into the kind of woman she never imagined to be – a strong leader who’s ready to love again. Also, the journey Ruthie endures is not pretty. Yet, somehow, for Ruthie, she fights to salvage her soul, as well as her piece of mind.

The next character is Ruthie’s husband, Arthur Belle. I purposely wrote his storyline with a shroud of mystery. His past is shaky, even Ruthie is uncertain of his background. She just knew him as a stable boy with the strange-color eyes before they were married. It wasn’t that didn’t want to know, but was afraid to ask because of his abusive ways. As the story goes on, Arthur mean-spiritedness could either be his poison or his strength for vengeance.

The Zion’s Road series continues with The Journey of Ruthie Belle, as Ruthie Belle finds her path to redemption and healing from the small town of Tulla Springs, Mississippi to a place where second chances are given opportunity, but discovering the reality of the truths are not. During her passage, she meets a few people from her past—along with some unexpected surprises. Discovering things aren’t the way they seem with these truths may change the outcome to her quest, contradicting everything she believes. Will new revelations keep her from her pursuit to redemption? Or will the haunting of her past stop her cold in her tracks?

BPM: What was your hardest scene to write, the opening or the close?
IW: The opening scene was hardest because of its graphic nature. In the book, it will touch on sensitive issues, like sexual abuse and rape. In the initial draft, the opening scene was detailed with Arthur’s physical and sexual abuse. So, I later toned it down for anyone who would find it unsettling.

BPM: What did you like most about writing this book?
IW: I love how the leading character, Ruthie Belle, grown mentally and emotionally throughout the novel. To see where she had been, and then developed into a strong woman was fun to write. I also have a few other characters that I enjoyed writing, and especially one character that I know the readers will love to hate (these type of characters are my favorite). So, writing the good, the bad, and the down right horrible made this book overall fun to write.

BPM: How is The Journey of Ruthie Belle different from other books that cover the same or similar information?
IW: The Journey of Ruthie Belle goes back before the story of Zion’s Road. Unlike Harold Smith’s journey, I wanted to switch up this character’s journey – to make it darker and to go deeper what Zion’s Road is. Both stories had been in my head ever since I was little girl. So, the need of releasing years of bent-up imagination into a book wasn’t just relieving but fun. My characters will take you on their journey – you may laugh with them, cry, or get angry whenever there’s an unexpected plot turn. Now, I’m not saying my book is better than the next author’s, but I will say anything I write I try not to disappoint.

BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
IW: That day when I asked God to “take me”, I said out loud, “Heaven has to better than living like this”. I used that very line for Ruthie for one of my favorite scenes.

BPM: Is there a specific place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
I like historical periods, such as, the early or mid-twentieth century eras. These time periods I find fascinating, especially for African Americans. It can be a challenge to authenticate the places and the actual historical backgrounds, but it’s fun.

BPM: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

IW: Yes, there is. Depending on how well “The Journey of Ruthie Belle” does, I will proceed to the sequel titled, “The Rites of Passage”. It will have some its old characters from TJRB, as well as, new ones and a new journey. Now, of course, I can’t say whose journey, but I promise you theirs won’t be pretty at all.

BPM: Do you want each book to stand on its own or do you prefer to write series?
IW: I write my books to end as standalone novels. I just expand on other characters to create their own storyline.

BPM: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
IW: Writing energizes me! I get a thrill using my creativity to voice my frustration on the world’s ills. For example, TJRB is filled with controversies; taboo topics besides domestic violence, but racism, sexism, religion and LGBT issues.

BPM: Do you believe in writer’s block?
IW: Of course! What I do, however, are two things: I freewrite until something spark, or step away from the laptop to relax my mind. As I said earlier, my mind and soul needs to be relaxed to write.

BPM: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
IW: I’m open when it comes to genres and subject-matter. As long as it has a thought-provoking message, it doesn’t matter.

BPM: Do you try to deliver to readers what they want or let the characters guide your writing?
IW: Again, I’m character-driven. My characters guide me through the plot. If they say left, I go left. If they say go right…well, that’s where I go.

BPM: Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?
IW: The erotic scenes. When I wrote my first erotic story, I found myself enthralled of writing about sex than the plot. Anyone can write explicit scenes, but it’s more than that. Readers want a hero/heroine they can relate to, or a villain they can despise. But filling a chapter with nothing but sex, can be exhausting.

BPM: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
IW: An editor is the best investment for a self-published author. We don’t have the luxury to have three or four pair of eyes at the convenience of a traditional publisher. We, however, have to do our homework by finding the right editor. During my journey, I had to learn the hard and an expensive way of acquiring shortcuts. Basically, you get what you pay for.

BPM: Have you written any other books that are not published?
IW: Of course! I think there are plenty writers that have finished manuscripts looming in their hard drives. For me, while struggling to pay my editor, I kept writing. I went from one finished manuscript to another, and then I noticed one day, I have completed over a dozen manuscripts. All of which will be published someday.

BPM: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
If I can touch one person -- whether they're man or woman -- and understand their mistakes don't define them, I've accomplished my goal.

BPM: What is one thing you wish you had known about this industry that would have made your journey easier?
For me were the Facebook salesmen: the literary consultants, graphic designers, and editors. If you're new to the industry, please get references and ask questions. I lost lots of money because of subpar services.

BPM: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Do your research about self-publishing, marketing, branding, and even writing itself. The more you know, the better off you'll become.

BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
IW: As of now, I’m working on TJRB’s sequel, The Rites of Passage. I’m up over 50,000 words. I’ll give myself six months to finish. Also, I’ve written a play, and I hope to it get into production by the end of 2017.

BPM: What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you?
IW: My preferred method is my Facebook page: You can send me a message, and my response time is less than hour.

BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
IW: Readers can learn more about my background and my work at my website:

If they love social media, they can find me at the following:

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Photo Courtesy of Faith Blackwell Photography.