Books by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Black Pearls Interview, Curtis Black Series and Other Novels
The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith—Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally
The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith—Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally by Kimberla Lawson Roby
ARE YOU THE REAL WOMAN GOD CREATED YOU TO BE?
HAVE YOU WANTED TO BECOME HER—SPIRITUALLY, PERSONALLY, and PROFESSIONALLY?
Kimberla Lawson Roby admits that for years, she wasn’t being the real woman God created her to be. Yes, she has always loved God and tried her best to honor Him, but what she eventually discovered was that building and maintaining her own personal relationship with God—and making Him her top priority—was the key to finding joy in all areas of her life.
Now, in The Woman God Created You to Be, Kimberla has bravely—and transparently—written about her flaws, fears, and failures, as well as her faith, courage, and successes. From experiencing divorce to marrying her soulmate of twenty-nine years…from hopelessly searching for the perfect job to becoming a New York Times bestselling author…from suffering in silence with anxiety to concentrating on self-care…from struggling with the loss of her mom to finding strength, comfort, peace. and understanding—Kimberla takes you on a journey that will help you do the following:
- Become the Best Spiritual You (Seven Days Per Week)
- Become the Best Personal You (Mentally, Emotionally, and Physically)
- Become the Best Professional You (Without Jeopardizing Your Faith)
Kimberla reminds us that when we trust and depend on God—heart, mind, and soul—He will empower us to do more than we ever thought imaginable. He will help us see that we are more than enough, and that He has already given us everything we need to become the women He created us to be—spiritually, personally, professionally…and beyond.
Kimberla’s books have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, ESSENCE, and Publishers Weekly magazines, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and many others.
The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith—Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally. Genre: Non-fiction, Christian Women's Issues, Personal Growth & Christianity and Women's Christian Living
Purchase books from Amazon today: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0848M48TY
Excerpt: The Woman God Created You to Be
A Question Every Woman Should Ask Herself
Are you the real woman God created you to be? Have you wanted to become her? Have you wondered how to make that happen? If so, then you’re the amazing woman I wrote this book for. You’re the woman who wants to become even better than she already is. What you want is to become the best you can be in all areas of your life.
But, first, I think it’s only fair that I answer the opening question myself.
So here goes…For longer than I realized, I wasn’t being the real woman God created me to be. Not spiritually, personally, or professionally. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have always loved, honored, and trusted God, and even though I have sometimes failed at it, I have also tried to be a great wife, daughter, sister, bonus mom, nana, aunt, niece, and friend. I’ve tried to be a great business professional, too. Still, I wasn’t being the true woman that God wanted me to be.
But how could I?
Especially when it was years before I discovered that attending church on Sundays wasn’t enough—and that building and maintaining my own personal relationship with God, and reading His Word, were the keys to becoming…the real woman He wanted me to be.
Had I been completely focused on my relationship with God from the time I entered adulthood, would I have become angry with Him when my mom became terminally ill? Would I have lost faith in Him to some degree? Would I have told myself that I would never be able to go on without her? Would I have struggled to forgive people who hurt me and held grudges against them for years? Would I have judged others when I had my own flaws and faults to work on? Would I have had sex before marriage? Would I have allowed all the rejection letters I received for my first book to discourage me from trying to get published?
Would I have allowed fear to cripple me more times than I care to remember—as a woman, a writer, and a speaker? Would I have used even one word of profanity in the first few books I wrote? Or at times, would I have spoken those very words from my own mouth when I was infuriated with or hurt by someone? Would I have plastered a huge smile across my face while attending certain events, when deep down, I couldn’t have been more exhausted and unhappy with parts of my career? Would I have allowed anxiety to hinder my emotional well-being?
So, yes, there was a time when I certainly was not being the real woman God wanted me to be.
As a matter of fact, in 2013, after writing twenty novels and being a New York Times, USA Today, Essence, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, and Publishers Weekly best-selling author, I woke up one morning barely able to breathe. Not because I had medical issues, but because I no longer loved what I was doing. To be honest, I had nearly begun to despise it. I’d even begun shedding tears on far too many occasions, both publicly and privately, even though, for the most part, I smiled brightly for my reading audience and the media, just as everyone expected me to. I pretended that having a successful novel-writing career still made me happy, when Lord knows it didn’t.
But, nonetheless, I did what most people do when they rise before dawn every single morning, year after year, preparing to go to a job they literally can’t stand: I kept doing what I couldn’t stand and wrote seven more fictional stories in total misery. I realize now, though, that I did what I thought I had to do, partly because so many of my loyal readers regularly asked when my next Reverend Curtis Black title or one of my standalone novellas would be hitting bookstores, and partly because, well…writing fiction was how I earned my living. But let me tell you something right now. Something you’ve likely heard many times before.
Not all money is good money.
I’m a living witness to it.
I do want to be clear about something else, too, though. I did still love, love, love writing, but it was just that I no longer enjoyed creating fictional characters and storylines—at least not in the way I once had. In all truthfulness, I was totally burned out. I wasn’t sure why, either, but as I forced myself to write and submit those last seven books to my publisher, my dear husband, Will, became concerned. He noticed how stressed and tired I was all the time. And while Will is my greatest supporter and always has been, he even suggested that, for a while, maybe I should write only one book per year instead of two, or that I should take a break altogether.
Now, one would think that if the man I love with my entire being gave me some much-needed advice, I would take it—and anyone who knows me personally knows that I definitely love Will Roby with everything in me. But, like many super-shero kind of women I know, I thought I was fine and that I could easily handle the insane schedule I kept myself on. So much so that not even the alarming panic attack that sent me to the emergency room was enough to stop me. (Will and I didn’t leave the ER until around midnight that night, yet I still boarded a plane the very next morning for a speaking engagement—with shortness of breath and heart palpitations. But I’ll share more about this kind of foolish decision-making later.)
After that, though, I did take my doctor’s advice and slowed down a bit. But sadly, it wasn’t long before self-care became a distant memory, and I eased myself back to the norm. Soon I became more miserable than I had ever been in my life.
But then, something great happened.
God began speaking to my heart daily. Well, actually, what I know now is that He’d always been speaking to me, even through my thoughts, and that the only difference was that I was finally listening. I was also learning a lot more about discernment and how to hear His voice—something we should always pray for.
But He spoke to me and reminded me of the additional calling He had for my life, the one He’d revealed to me as early as October 2004. I know the month and year because this was when I had immediately searched online and purchased three books on professional speaking. Yes, I knew He still wanted me to write, but He also wanted me to use my gift and love for words to speak to women. He wanted me to use my own struggles, mistakes, and accomplishments to encourage women to seek Him first and to inspire them to become the great women He created them to be—spiritually, personally, and professionally.
But here’s the thing. While I so wish I could tell you that this God-fearing girl hurried to answer His call, I didn’t. Worse, I even went as far as telling Him what I thought about every bit of it, which was: “I’ll do whatever You want me to do, but what else You got? Because speaking formally on a regular basis isn’t something I see myself doing. It’s not even something I want to be doing.”
Still, He wouldn’t take the calling away, and as weeks, months, and years passed, I went to bed with it, and I woke up with it…every…single…day.
Okay, so I think I need to repeat that part again, because my guess is that you, my dear sister in Christ, are doing the exact same thing. You’re hesitant and likely even terrified of the idea of moving forward to fulfill the amazing purpose that God has so divinely and specifically assigned to you. So, I repeat: He wouldn’t take it away, and as weeks, months, and years passed, I went to bed with it, and I woke up with it…every…single…day. Then, three years ago, I began going to bed and waking up…every…single…day with yet another assignment. This time it involved writing the book you’re reading now—my first nonfiction title. I didn’t see this happening, either, but again, it wouldn’t go away.
So, of course, this became the season in my life when I fully realized, more than ever before, that God always gets what He wants. We can try to ignore His call, we can run from it, and we can even pray with all our might for Him to eliminate it. But the truth of the matter is, God has created each of us in a unique fashion. He has given every one of us gifts, talents, and abilities, and just as God told Jeremiah, He knew who we were going to be well before the day we were born.
“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that’s what I had in mind for you.” —Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG)
God knew, and while you and I may not have known for years what plans He had for us—or maybe you still don’t fully know now—what I can promise you is this: Your purpose has always been there. It has been present in your heart, soul, and spirit. I know this, because while I didn’t write my first book until I was thirty years old, there was no denying that from the time I was in elementary school, I had a great love for writing. Then, even though I didn’t see myself speaking in front of hundreds of people, Mrs. Ceola Pearson, the children’s director at the church I was born into, did. Why? Because, as a child, if I was given a short Easter speech to recite instead of a longer one, I was not happy.
Mrs. Pearson never forgot that, and just a year or so before she passed (forty-plus years after I delivered those childhood speeches), she shared that story with Will. He’d been visiting her and one of his friends (her son), and when he returned home, he told me how they’d laughed about it and how she’d also brought up the fact that I had always had a lot to say. I laughed, too, and while I hadn’t thought about it before, it was then that I realized how perfectly God had placed the wonderful Mrs. Pearson at the forefront of my purpose, many years before I knew what that purpose was going to be. When I was just a small girl, not only had Mrs. Pearson given me my very first opportunities to speak, she’d also given me the courage to do so, and she’d taught me how to deliver those speeches in front of our entire congregation, which meant that from the very beginning, I’d learned how to speak from a faith-based perspective.
Then, there was my dear mom and dear maternal grandmother, who taught me to love and honor God, no matter what. I was a small girl then, too, but as soon as I was old enough to understand, they taught me about believing in God and about accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. They raised me to have strong Christian, moral, and family values, and it is because of the two of them that I have spent so much of my life trying to do the right thing, as well as trying to treat others the way I want to be treated.
Please do understand, though, that I certainly haven’t always been successful in my attempts. Please know, too, that I’ve done and said things I wish I could take back—things I’m absolutely not proud of. But it is because of my Christian upbringing that I have still tried to honor God’s Word. Not to mention, in those times when I haven’t done the right thing or when I have said something terrible, I always knew right away that I was wrong, and I soon felt God’s conviction. Sometimes I felt it immediately, or worse, I would feel convicted before I said or did the wrong thing, yet I would still say or do it anyway.
Now, how awful is that?
But, then, of course, like the good Christian girls that most of us try to be, I would ask God to forgive me. I would feel bad about it, too. Yet that didn’t always stop me from repeating some of my same transgressions.
As I eased into my thirties, forties, and fifties, though—experiencing many types of disappointment and pain—I worked even harder to do the right thing. I also worked on my overall relationship with God so that I wouldn’t have to ask Him to forgive me for things I knew I shouldn’t be doing or saying in the first place. But are there still times when I fall short of His glory? Absolutely. Am I perfect in any way, shape, or form? Definitely not.
And I never will be.
But the point I’m trying to make here is that I have willingly made a conscious effort to grow in Him and become the true woman He created me to be. This is crucial for all women, and I am forever grateful to my mom and grandmother—two precious women of God—for starting me on a faith-driven path as early as possible.
This is also the reason that I have written this book in three sections: The Spiritual You, The Personal You, and The Professional You. Because what I’ve learned more than anything else, as it relates to becoming the great women that God wants us to be, is that we need to have not one or two but all three areas of our lives in order. First and foremost, we need to make sure that we have solid spiritual well-being, because without God, nothing else will work properly anyhow.
Then, once we have our spiritual lives in order, we need to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves from a personal standpoint, physically and mentally, and we also need to make sure that our relationships with our husbands or the men we’re dating as well as our relationships with our family members and friends are healthy.
From there, we can work on being who we need to be in our professional arenas. Because whether God has called us to work in ministry, start our own businesses, work in the public sector or in corporate America, being professional is very necessary, and we need to keep our faith at the center of all of it.
So, with that said, once you’ve finished reading this book, my hope is that you will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what steps to take to become the real woman God created you to be. My prayer is that your spiritual, personal, and professional lives will become so aligned and so in balance that you will be happier than you’ve ever been. My prayer is that you’ll arrive at a point in your life where you won’t have to smile to keep from crying, the way I used to. You’ll smile because you’re genuinely happy and bursting with incredible joy. But most of all, my prayer is that you will become totally equipped and ready to serve others in a way like never before—because serving and helping others is what matters more than anything I can think of.
And this, my dear sister, is what God wants from all of us.
( Continued... )
All rights reserved. Copyright © 2020 by Kimberla Lawson Roby. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
Purchase The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith---Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Meet Kimberla Lawson Roby
New York Times Bestselling Author & Speaker, Kimberla Lawson Roby, has published 28 books which include her faith-based, nonfiction title, THE WOMAN GOD CREATED YOU TO BE: Finding Success Through Faith—Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally, as well as her novels, such as BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, SIN OF A WOMAN, A SINFUL CALLING, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, A CHRISTMAS PRAYER, THE PRODIGAL SON, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE, THE REVEREND’S WIFE, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR, SIN NO MORE, CASTING THE FIRST STONE, and her debut title, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which was originally self-published through her own company, Lenox Press.
She has sold nearly 3 Million copies of her books, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Essence, Upscale, Black Christian News, AALBC.com, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, The Dallas Morning News, The Austin Chronicle and many others.
Over the years, Kimberla has spoken to thousands of women at conferences, churches, expos, workshops, luncheons, libraries, colleges, universities and bookstores. She shares her own personal journey straight from her heart and has a strong passion toward helping women become all that God created them to be.
Kimberla is a professional member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), she is the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, the recipient of the 2017 SOAR Radio Trailblazer of Honor award, the 2017 Southwest Florida Reading Festival Distinguished Author award, the 2017 AAMBC Christian Fiction Author of the Year award and the 2014 AAMBC Female Author of the Year award, the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 African-American Literary Awards Show (New York, NY) Female Author of the Year award, the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for CASTING THE FIRST STONE, and in 2001, Kimberla was inducted into the Rock Valley College Alumni Hall of Fame (Rockford, IL).
Kimberla’s books deal with very real issues, including women empowerment, sexual harassment, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, problems within the church (and the consequences), Christian/family/moral values, drug and gambling addiction, marriage, infidelity, single motherhood, breast cancer, infertility, sibling rivalry, domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, mental illness, and the care-giving of a parent to name a few. In addition, Kimberla’s books offer a message of redemption, forgiveness, and the realities of everyday life.
Kimberla resides in Illinois with her husband, Will. To share your thoughts with Kimberla regarding her work, please e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement, booksigning event, or media interview with Mrs. Roby, please contact her by email at email@example.com.
Connect with Kimberla online today:
Twitter: @KimberlaLRoby and https://twitter.com/kimberlalroby
Intimate Conversation with Kimberla Lawson Roby
Kimberla Lawson Roby has sold nearly 3 Million copies of her books, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists. Over the years, Kimberla has spoken to thousands of women at conferences, churches, expos, workshops, luncheons, libraries, colleges, universities and bookstores. She shares her own personal journey straight from her heart and has a strong passion toward helping women become all that God created them to be.
Kimberla is a professional member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), she is the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction and the recipient of the 2017 SOAR Radio Trailblazer of Honor award.
Kimberla’s books deal with very real issues, including women empowerment, sexual harassment, racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, problems within the church (and the consequences), Christian/family/moral values, drug and gambling addiction, marriage, infidelity, single motherhood, breast cancer, infertility, sibling rivalry, domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, mental illness, and the care-giving of a parent to name a few.
BPM: Why did you decide to write your non-fiction title, The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith—Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally?
Interestingly enough, I never thought I would write or publish any nonfiction books. Especially since, for more than two decades, I’ve always written fictional stories. But in October 2016, after waking up with the words Hearing God’s Call and Finding Your Purpose at the forefront of my thinking, I knew God had given me those words for a reason.
At first, I thought they were going to become the title of the book itself, but as it turned out, they became the title of one of the chapters. It’s important for me to say, too, that no matter how much I tried to push the idea of writing a nonfiction book out of my mind, I didn’t find peace until I moved forward with it.
BPM: Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you use a computer or write out the story by hand?
I always outline my books and then write one chapter at a time in the exact sequence that those chapters will appear in the final book. I use my computer, and for my first draft, I try to write no less than one chapter per day. Then, when my book is complete, I work on rewrites and revisions.
BPM: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips self-care for creative folks?
It definitely can be, but the key to dealing with stress is to find balance and to incorporate that balance—in all areas of our lives. This is something I struggled with for years, and it is also the reason I wrote a chapter in The Woman God Created You to Be, entitled “Suffering in Silence, Mentally and Emotionally.”
BPM: What was the most challenging part about telling your own story?
For me, the hardest part about writing this book was having to relive some of the very trying and painful times I have experienced in my own life. But what I ultimately realized was that, if I wanted to help other women in a way that I had been praying for, being transparent and sharing my own personal stories was very necessary.
BPM: How did writing this non-fiction book and publishing it yourself differ from writing your novels?
So normally, I start with a story idea, then I create my characters and write a detailed outline. But for this book, my initial outline involved creating all the chapter titles. I basically outlined my table of contents, and then I began writing very short synopses of those chapters. Writing full chapters on nonfiction topics is very different from writing fictional scenes.
BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
We should always be okay with saying, “no,” and we should never feel obligated to say, “yes,” when we know we’re exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed. We should never have to apologize for saying, no, and while I’m much better in this regard than I used to be, every now and then, I still feel as though I should apologize for not doing what others want me to do.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my web site or any of my social media pages: http://www.kimroby.com
THE STUNNING CONCLUSION TO THE BESTSELLING CURTIS BLACK SERIES
The 15th and Final Title in Kimberla’s Reverend Curtis Black Series!
The deepest, darkest secrets of Reverend Curtis Black are revealed at last!
Better Late Than Never by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Curtis Black is no stranger to scandal. Throughout the decades, he as done much in the public eye, both good and evil. But what most people don’t realize is that Curtis has been hiding an abusive childhood that has affected him in horrifying ways.
Sadly, when his estranged sister becomes alarmingly ill, his buried past returns without warning, and his youngest daughter, twelve-year-old Curtina, becomes the kind of problem child he never thought she could be…and this is only the beginning.
Worse, all the public scandals they’ve experienced over the years now seem like mere child’s play compared to the turmoil they are facing in private. And who could have known that their deepest wounds would come from within?
Have you read the entire series?
Find them all here: http://kimroby.com/books
Purchase Better Late Than Never by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Available: Kindle, Nook, audiobook, print and hardcover
Genre: Women’s Fiction / African American / Christian
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Chapter 4: Better Late Than Never by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Curtis was a nervous wreck. He and Charlotte had just parked in his sister’s driveway, gotten out of his SUV, and walked up to the beautiful brick home. Charlotte grabbed Curtis’s hand, squeezing it tighter than usual, and Curtis rang the doorbell. During the drive there, he’d said a number of silent prayers, trying to calm his thinking and uneasiness, but now his heart beat faster and faster, and he took a couple of deep breaths, trying to regain his composure. Charlotte looked up at him. “Everything is going to be fine. You did the right thing by coming here.”
Curtis continued holding Charlotte’s hand, still attempting to calm his nerves, and finally his brother-in-law, Jason, opened the door. He smiled. “I’m so glad you made it. Please come in.” Curtis hugged Jason, as did Charlotte, but then he saw a young man in his mid-twenties walking toward them. He knew it was his nephew, Eric.
“It’s good to see you, Uncle Curtis.”
“It’s good to see you, too, son.” Curtis hadn’t known how either of Trina’s children was going to react when they saw him—especially when they’d known for years that their mom had wanted nothing to do with Curtis—but here Eric had even called him uncle. Curtis looked at Jason. “So, does she still not know about me coming?”
“This morning I told her that she was going to have a surprise visitor this afternoon, but that was it.”
“Well, I just hope that seeing me doesn’t upset her too much. Because we all know how she feels.”
“I know,” Jason said, “but things are different now. And she’s different…because of what she’s going through.” Curtis nodded, and then he, Charlotte, and Eric followed Jason down a long, shiny wooden corridor and around a corner. They stopped in front of a door that Jason lightly knocked on and eased open. A beautiful lady in her early thirties stood up from a recliner, and just as Curtis had known right away who Eric was, he knew this was his niece, Amber. She was the spitting image of her mother, and Curtis had to stop himself from crying.
“Is she awake, sweetie?” Jason asked his daughter, and then he looked over at his wife, lying in the king-size bed, propped against two pillows.
Amber walked closer to where all of them were standing. “She is.”
“How are you?” Curtis asked her.
“I’m okay, Uncle Curtis,” she said, with sad eyes and hugging him. “I’m so glad you came.”
“Me too,” he said, and once Amber hugged Charlotte, Curtis moved closer to the side of the bed and saw Trina watching him. Her skin was a bit pale, dark circles outlined her eyes, and although her hair appeared soft and curly, it wasn’t longer than half an inch. Curtis guessed that as a result of her chemo treatments, she had likely cut it. Because from the time she’d been a child, she’d had gorgeous thick, wavy hair.
Curtis half smiled at his sister, still not knowing what to expect. “I hope you don’t mind our coming to see you.”
To his surprise, Trina smiled back. “I don’t, and it’s good to see you, Curtis. I mean really, really good to see you.”
Curtis had never felt more relieved about anything than he did currently. He’d been so prepared for his sister to turn away and ask him to leave, yet she’d done just the opposite. Curtis leaned down and hugged her, and she held him as well. Then she and Charlotte embraced.
“Thank you for coming, Charlotte,” Trina told her. “I really appreciate it.”
Charlotte smiled. “Of course.”
Curtis wasn’t sure what to say next, and apparently no one else did, either, because the room fell silent. But finally, Jason spoke. “Why don’t you both have a seat? And can we get either of you something to drink?”
“No, I’m fine, but thank you,” Curtis said.
“I’ll take some iced tea, if you have it,” Charlotte added.
Amber smiled. “Well, hopefully my baby brother hasn’t drunk all of it. Because that’s what he usually does.”
“Whatever, girl,” Eric said, laughing. “You just made a huge pitcher of it this morning, so who could drink all of that, anyway?”
“You,” she said, and everyone laughed.
“Well, for your information, there’s plenty left.”
Amber playfully punched her brother on his shoulder and then looked at Charlotte. “I’ll pour you a glass now.”
“Why don’t I come with you?” Charlotte said, already following Amber. “That way Curtis and Trina can spend some time together.”
“I think that’s a great idea,” Jason added, and he and Eric followed the two women out of the room. Curtis continued standing, just wanting to look at his sister. She stared back at him, but since neither of them seemed to know what to say, Curtis asked her a question. “Do you mind if I pray for you?”
“No, not at all.”
Curtis held Trina’s left hand with his right one. “Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you right now, first thanking You for another day, and most of all, thanking You for allowing me the opportunity to reunite with my sister. Thank You for answering my prayers. Then, Lord, I now ask that You would please remove all pain and discomfort that my sister is experiencing and that You would heal her body completely. Lord, please make her whole again. Please allow her illness to only serve as a test that will ultimately become her great testimony. And if there is anything that we can do here on earth to help her, Lord, please speak to our hearts, our minds, and our souls. Please give us the wisdom we need, along with total direction. Because while we know that the prognosis Trina has been given doesn’t look good to us as human beings, we also know that only You have the final say. So, Lord, I am asking You to heal Your child. I am asking You to perform one of Your awesome miracles on my dear, sweet sister. Lord, we ask this and all other blessings in Your Son Jesus’s name. Amen. Amen. Amen.”
“Amen,” Trina said, opening her tear-filled eyes and holding her brother’s hand a bit more securely than before. “Thank you for praying for me, and…” Her voice trailed off, as she took a deep breath and swallowed tears. “Well…I just want you to know just how sorry I am. How truly sorry I am for everything.”
Curtis was confused. “Sorry for what? You haven’t done anything, and I’m the one who will be sorry from now on.”
Trina gently slid her hand away from Curtis and patted the side of her bed. “Please sit.” Curtis did what she’d told him.
“It’s time for me to forgive you, and it’s time you forgave yourself,” she said. “And the reason I’m sorry is because I didn’t forgive you before now. But it was just that I was so hurt. When you left for college and never called or came back home, it hurt me to my core. It felt like you had died.”
“I know, and if I could turn back all those years, I would. If I could talk to that same eighteen-year-old boy and tell him what a huge mistake he was making, I would.”
“I loved you and looked up to you, Curtis, and I needed my big brother. But while I won’t ever fully understand how you were able to walk away so easily, I have thought about your motives. I’ve had these last few months to rethink things and to try to see them through your eyes versus mine. And you know what?”
“I didn’t like what I saw. I mean, Thomas Black was the cruelest, most uncaring man I’ve ever known, and he made life miserable for all of us. But what I’ve now come to realize is that our father’s evilness must have been a whole lot worse for you than it was for me. Verbal abuse and spankings are one thing, but violent physical abuse is something different…and sadly, Curtis, I know you were the victim of all three things.”
Curtis stared at his sister for a few seconds, and then they chatted for a while longer until she began drifting off to sleep. But sadly, he was still replaying everything Trina had said about their father. Words that had taken him back to a very dark place he didn’t want to remember.
# # #
Thomas stormed into his son’s tiny bedroom, drunk as always. “Didn’t…I…tell you…to take that garbage out of here? Didn’t I?”
Curtis dropped his Bible onto the floor, the one his aunt Samantha had given him earlier this year for his thirteenth birthday. “I…am…I had to finish my homework. I’ll do it now, Dad.”
“You’ll do it now, Dad,” his father said, mocking him, balling up his fist and striking Curtis across his face. Curtis fell to the floor but quickly scurried across it on his hands and knees to the closest corner he could find. “Dad, I’m sorry. I’ll do it right now.”
Thomas staggered closer to where his son was cowering in fear, and Curtis took cover with both his hands. But it didn’t help. “I hate the day you were born,” Thomas said, kicking Curtis in the stomach, seemingly with all his might, over and over, and Curtis winced and cried out.
“You’re the reason I never got to move to California, and I’ll always hate you for that,” he yelled, swinging his leg back as far as he could and kicking Curtis again. “And I don’t know what you’re readin’ that Bible for. Your crazy mama started you doin’ that mess when you were a small boy. Don’t you know there ain’t no God?” he exclaimed, kicking him again. And again. And again. He kicked Curtis so many times, his body went numb. But as Curtis lay there, crying uncontrollably, not a single person came to see about him. Not his mom or his sister. His father had always been a stern, angry, uncompassionate man who had spanked Curtis and Trina just a little too hard when they were small children and then whipped them with belts and tree switches when they’d gotten a little older.
But now that Curtis had turned thirteen, something was different. His father’s abuse had escalated and turned for the worse, and for some reason, he only inflicted this new level of abuse on Curtis. He still yelled at his timid and seemingly terrified wife as though she were less than a dog on the street, he ruled over her like she was a five-year-old child, and he spent all his money on women and liquor—leaving Curtis’s mom to fend for their children all on her own. But Thomas never put his hands on her. He also never did much more than grab Trina by her collar, push her from time to time, or call her awful names. Curtis didn’t understood that, although, the more he thought about it, it, he had heard his father say to his mom, many times, “You’d better be glad I don’t believe in hitting women. I never have. Otherwise, you’d be a dead woman.”
Curtis’s father had always hated him, Trina, and their mom, but now he acted as though Curtis was his sole enemy. Still, no matter how much his father beat him and put him down verbally, he wouldn’t let his father win. He also didn’t care what his father said about there being no God, because Curtis knew God was real. He didn’t understand why the God he kept reading about wasn’t protecting him from his father, but at some point, He would—and Curtis wouldn’t stop believing and trusting in Him. Not when God was all he had. Not when no one else seemed to care about him, one way or the other.
Curtis lay on the floor, crying all over again, and then heard his father leave the house and slam the front door behind him. Curtis was glad he was gone, but more than anything, he wished he would never come back. He wished his father would just die—and claim the special place in hell that Satan had waiting for him.
# # #
Curtis looked at his sister and realized how soaking wet his face was. So he wiped it with both hands. Trina was still asleep, but he was just happy to sit there alone with her in silence. He didn’t like that his visiting her was stirring up old wounds, but he was glad to be there nonetheless. And he would come back to see her again tomorrow. He would do so as often as he could, because she was now his priority.
( Continued... )
© 2018 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Kimberla Lawson Roby. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
Purchase Better Late Than Never by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Genre: Women’s Fiction / African American / Christian
REV. CURTIS BLACK SERIES
FIRST BOOK IN THE REV. CURTIS BLACK SERIES
Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Readers and critics alike can’t resist New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby’s beloved Reverend Curtis Black series. Now the classic novel that introduced the trials and triumphs of a church family and their congregation is available in a beautiful new edition—and includes a letter from the author.
LAST BOOK IN THE REV. CURTIS BLACK SERIES
Better Late Than Never (Rev. Curtis Black Final Novel) by Kimberla Lawson Roby
In this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Reverend Curtis Black series, Curtis's secret past returns in an unwelcome--but ultimately healing--visit.
Rev. Curtis Black is no stranger to scandal. Throughout the decades, he has done much in the public eye, both good and evil. But what most people don't realize is that Curtis has been hiding a horrific childhood that has affected him in countless, unspeakable ways.
His buried past resurfaces when his estranged sister becomes alarmingly ill and his youngest child, twelve-year-old Curtina, becomes the kind of problem daughter whom he never imagined she could be. This is only the beginning.
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Kimberla Lawson Roby is the New York Times bestselling Author & Speaker of 27 books, which include her popular Reverend Curtis Black Series and many standalone titles that can be found at Audible and Amazon. Go here to see them all: https://adbl.co/2H7Bafd
Black Pearls Magazine Interview with KIMBERLA LAWSON ROBY
Kimberla Lawson Roby is the New York Times bestselling Author & Speaker of 28 books, which include her popular Reverend Curtis Black Series and many standalone titles that can be found at Audible and Amazon. Go here to see them all: https://adbl.co/2H7Bafd
Kimberla has sold more than 3 Million copies of her novels, and they have frequented numerous bestseller lists! She is the 2013 recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction, and she is also a #1 Essence magazine bestselling author.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
Writing has impacted my life in so many wonderful ways. It has allowed me to create characters who experience the same problems and issues that real-life people experience in their everyday lives. It has also afforded me the opportunity to connect with thousands and thousands of readers worldwide via my twenty-seven books, email messages, social media, in-person book-signing events and speaking engagements.
BPM: My Black Pearls readers always think of you as a Christian fiction writer. I think of you as a Women’s fiction writer. Which of us is closer?
You’re both right! I am a Christian woman who just so happens to be a writer, which means I can’t help but write about women’s issues in a Christian/Faith-based format.
BPM: How long have you been writing about Curtis Black and his entertaining family?
I wrote the first title in the series, Casting the First Stone, in 1999, and it was released in January 2000. So as of 2018, the first book has been in print for 18 years.
BPM: Do you have any favorite characters/events/situations from your years of wowing readers?
Matthew, Curtis’s youngest son, has always been my favorite character, because no matter what level of shame he’s had to endure because of the many mistakes his parents have made, he never followed in their footsteps or held it against them. Matthew wasn’t perfect, but he’s always had a big heart and tried to do the right thing. Of course, now that Curtis has come full circle and is finally a true man of God, he is one of my favorite characters as well.
Then, in terms of favorite events and situations, there are so many of them, but some of my best tour memories include hearing my readers, nationwide, talking about my series characters as though they’d actually met them in person. I also once did a library event where my husband, Will, was sitting in the auditorium toward the front and right behind a row of book club members. They were talking about Curtis and Charlotte and everything else relating to the storyline, and Will was listening and chatting right along with them.
But then when I was introduced and came out on stage to begin speaking, and soon introduced Will to the entire audience, the book club laughed out loud. Will had been laughing and talking with them the whole time, prior to the start of the event, and they’d had no idea who he was! They’d just assumed he was a reader in attendance! It was such a great moment and so much fun.
BPM: What are your thoughts on completing the Curtis Black series? Are you the least bit sad?
I have to say that this has been more of a bittersweet moment than I was planning on, and I’ve even seen readers at events, shedding tears over it. Even today, someone posted online that they were now reading my “letter to readers” in an advanced reading copy of Better Late Than Never, and how it had brought them to tears. This has been a journey of a lifetime, and while I will certainly miss writing about my Reverend Curtis Black family characters, more than anything, I will miss hearing all the comments from the very kind, loving, devoted readers who have supported me for years—readers who God blessed me with one year after another.
BPM: Your readers are going to freak out! How will you handle this literary melt down?
I have seen so many comments from readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and also by email, asking me to not end the series. One person even asked me who’d given me permission to make that kind of decision! She was joking, of course, and it certainly made me laughed with joy. I love, love, love my readers, and I am forever grateful to them.
BPM: Tell us a little about this final Curtis Black book and the characters.
Curtis is reunited with his estranged sister who he hasn’t seen since their mom’s funeral nearly twenty years ago, and sadly, she is terminally-ill. Charlotte finally admits that she basically despises being the first lady of Deliverance Outreach and needs a break from everything church-related, and twelve-year-old Curtina is now giving Curtis and Charlotte more problems than they experienced with all their other children combined.
BPM: How challenging was it to end this series without leaving any unresolved issues?
I have been slowly winding it down, particularly through the last three books in the series, which center on Curtis’s adult children. So, ending the series as a whole wasn’t as challenging as it could have been.
BPM: Being a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author time and time again is amazing! How did you make this happen?
It was all through God’s grace and the plan He had for my life. I also think the fact that, since the beginning of my career, I have tried my best to build my readership, one reader at a time and one book club at a time. My readers have always seemed more like friends to me than anything else, and that has meant everything. Additionally, it didn’t hurt that I always wrote about relatable issues.
BPM: Now that you have been writing more than 23 years, what are some things you really love about being a full-time writer?
I love being self-employed and having the ability to write whatever I’m feeling at the moment. Before I write each book, I skim through an old notebook I have where I’ve listed many real-life social issues, and I choose one or two of them to center my story on. I also love being able to write stories that will help at least one person and hopefully many.
BPM: What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project?
My advice would be to write at least something every single day, even if it is only a paragraph or a page. Also, no matter what, please write straight from your heart and never worry about someone else’s writing style or genre. Work hard to discover your own writing style and go from there. Additionally, you should study the craft of writing and definitely learn every single thing you can about the business of publishing.
BPM: What are you most proud of when it comes to your writing career?
Early on in my career, I did use a word of profanity here and there, and while it may have only been a couple of words or so in an entire book, I’m not proud of that, because it’s not the kind of language I want to hear or see when I’m reading a book myself. Back then, I thought that using certain dialogue that seemed true to a particular character was needed, but the more I grew as a writer, I realized that it wasn’t necessary to write anything I considered offensive.
And if I could, I would remove those words from all of my first 9 titles. What I am proud of, though, is that before I began writing my 10th book, Sin No More, God spoke to my heart, letting me know that I didn’t have to include words that I didn’t believe was okay to use myself, and I listened to Him. So, for my last 18 books, I didn’t include any of those words.
BPM: What projects are you working on at present? Are you starting a new series?
My next writing project will be non-fiction, and I’m really excited about that.
BPM: What can we expect from your next book? Are the characters as ‘messy’ as the Blacks…LOL?
Currently, I don’t have any plans to create a new fictional series. But again, I am very excited to be writing non-fiction.
BPM: Please share your social media connections because we want to keep up with your latest news.
About the Author
Kimberla Lawson Roby is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed Reverend Curtis Black Series. She lives with her husband in Rockford, Illinois.