Take a Bow (Poem)

Picture of Clara Bow found on Google Images http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20141222-who-was-the-original-it-girl

Picture of Clara Bow found on Google Images 

Take a Bow

(My Poetical Tribute to Clara Bow)

The screen is my release

Pieces of me exposed to all

Mask on, and the joker’s wild

I took what was meant to shame me

and made it my own to give to whom I desired

I was a jewel determined to shine

All I wanted was a happiness that’s truly mine

Jacksonville, Central Florida and Me: A Travel Love Triangle Exposed

Typographic Illustration of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" by Alexandra Caselle

Typographic Illustration of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” by Alexandra Caselle


Jacksonville, Florida, there is something that I have been meaning to tell you.

I know we have been together for over three decades. Your downtown area once was a bustling shopping mecca full of department stores like May Cohen’s. My lithe eight-year-old body hugged my mother’s waist close as my ponytails bounced up and down in rhythm to her heels. The Jacksonville Landing and Regency Square Mall used to be the places where high school students flocked to socialize. The St. Johns River lulled me into relaxation. Then you showed me another side of you when I traveled down Hecksher Drive and discovered Little Talbot Island. I appreciate all of the memories, especially how you held me in your arms as I grew up.

You are my birthplace, but I have a new home now. Central Florida has captured my heart.

As the multilane stretch of I-4 sprawls past Sanford into Maitland, North Florida’s knitted canopy of trees part back to unveil a tropical paradise. The multicolored buildings are reminiscent of the staggered houses of Rio de Janeiro— deep grapefruit and mango shades of pinks, yellows, and oranges nestled in surrounding palm trees. Venturing off the highway to the Winter Park/North Orlando area, I am totally immersed in Vietnamese and Haitian cultures that vibrate throughout the various strips of stores. The Cheesecake Factory looms large and tempts me to indulge in a cornucopia of whipped cream, cream cheese, and every flavor possible for a sweet tooth to enjoy.

State Road 17-92 merges into Colonial Drive and I migrate through the downtown area, stopping for a moment to travel across Lake Eola in a swan boat ride. I head southwest toward The Florida Mall. This is where I fell in love with the area. When people think of Central Florida, Disney and its cohort of amusement parks immediately come to mind. The adrenaline rush of the ebb and flow of every kind of roller coaster possible definitely draws my inner thrill seeker, but the Florida Mall offers a different kind of high better than its retail therapy.

So many tourists and the locals from different areas of the world congregate here. It is a cultural hodgepodge of dialects, the accents soothing like a set of wind chimes on a front porch. Each language that I hear is a gift wrapped in storied experiences that I want to hear and curate.

From Kissimmee to Oviedo, three counties wide, a heartbeat of energy pulsates throughout the Central Florida region. The area introduces me to exciting slices of life that change my view of the world around me. Each city has its own identity that offers a wide range of activities and culture.

Lake Mary is a city I love to sojourn. The Hyatt Place Hotel offers a relaxing stay with its Japanese-style wooden room dividers working in concert with my active imagination to transport me to the other side of the world. Driving down State Road 436 from South Orlando through Casselberry back to Sanford is a route for those who like to live la vida loca. Speed is the norm as ordinary vehicles turn into race cars and zigzag through traffic as if they are test driving for the Daytona 500.

What really makes Central Florida home to me lies at the intersection of State Road 436 and 434, a Winter Springs neighborhood where a home is now a museum that contains the laughter of a family I once knew. As I ride down I-95 North to come back to you with Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” blaring from my car radio, I realize this truth.

I’m sorry, Jacksonville. My traveling heart will be forever divided between Central Florida and you.

Life As a Classroom, Compassion As the Teacher: It Takes a Fool by Sasha Dreams


The bell rings

Class is in session

The chalkboard is wiped clean,

ready for today’s lesson

One student is late and not seated at the table

She’s diving in and out of currents of circumstances,

trying to steady herself toward the shore

She arrives late with the weight of the world as her backpack,

ready to give her pain away to part with her problem

But Compassion, her teacher, offers a better solution

~By A.C.

Book Blurb

Life couldn’t be sweeter for ten-year-old Sasha…
She’s the darling of her fifth grade class and her best friend always has her back… just like a sister. But simmering beneath the beautiful life are the dark secrets her parents harbor, secrets that slowly wind their way around the heart of the family, choking the life from Sasha. Helpless, afraid and alone, she fights the only way she can, but her desperate quest for survival could lead to her own destruction!

It Takes a Fool explores the darkest depths of poverty, addiction and bullying, and how even the innocence of a child can be twisted into something monstrous. Sasha will do all she can to survive a nightmare she can’t wake up from, but in protecting herself, she might just destroy everyone around her.

biopic-1Meet Author Sasha Dreams


Sasha Dreams is a no one from nowhere pregnant with dreams. She dreams of hope, ambition, fulfillment and success. Sasha has learned from the mistakes of her childhood and transformed her weaknesses into strengths.

Sasha believes wholeheartedly that writing is healing. At times throughout her writing process it was painful, but now that the tears have dried and the past forgiven a horribly beautiful story has emerged. Follow Sasha on her journey as a writer, business woman, wife, daughter, sister, mother, and friend. Watch as her dreams come true. 

Q & A with Sasha Dreams

What did you do before becoming a writer? How has your career path led to or shaped your writing career?

I currently work in serving my community. I am sure that my career path has shaped my writing by allowing me to stay connected with our youth. I feel I was able to connect with my inner child more because I am surrounded by our youth daily. It Takes A Fool is told from my ten year old self but is appropriate for middle school aged children starting in the eighth grade.

Why did you write It Takes a Fool?

I wrote It Takes A Fool to heal from my past. This story has been brewing inside of me for over 25 years. It was ready to be heard. Even though I was not necessarily ready to share my pain with the world. I become more and more ready everyday.

How has social media and technology affected bullying?

Social media and technology have affected bullying positively and negatively in my opinion. On one hand an individual or a group may choose to abuse social media. They may choose to harass, embarrass or oust a person unfairly. On the other hand because of technology a person who has been bullied or who is a bully can find resources to stop what is happening.

What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied?

Bullying is a major problem throughout the world. We see it everywhere, from schools, work, sports, online and in homes. If you are a victim of being bullied or you are a bully please visit www.ittakesafool.com/resources.

Why did you become a writer?

I became a writer to share my story with others. It is my hope that by sharing my story others will choose to make better choices. Remember, every new day is an opportunity to make better choices.

What tips would you give other aspiring writers on how to complete and submit a novel, and survive the publication process?

My advice for new and aspiring writers is to do as much research as possible on traditional vs. self publishing and decide which option is best for you. Once you have decided, keep pressing forward.

What impact do you want to leave on the literary world?

The impact I want to make on the literary world is to have written a story that is told from a place of genuine pain but the reader is able to feel the wounds heal page after page.

Describe your writing process or ritual.

My writing ritual was to clean my room top to bottom. Climb in bed with my note pad and a freshly sharpened pencil, some music and an open heart.

What are you most passionate about in your life?

I am most passionate about being the best person I can be. I want to lead by example for my childrens sake. Sometimes I make mistakes, but each new day, I try harder to be a better me.

If you could include a character from any teen movie or movie dealing with middle school students, who would you choose to be in your book?  How would he or she fit in at the school?  Who would she or he befriend:  Sasha or her best friend?

 If I could include a character from any teen movie or movie dealing with middle school students, I would choose, Skai Jackson. She is a very talented actress. We also share some similar features. I think she would portray Sasha in a light that viewers could relate to. She would have definitely befriended Sadie. (My best friend in It Takes A Fool) Everyone loved Sadie.

If you could create a soundtrack for your book, what songs would you choose?

The soundtrack for It Takes A Fool would include so many popular hits from the Spinners.

Rubberband Man

Love Don’t Love Nobody(It Takes A Fool)

Could It Be I’m Falling In Love




Press Release



Much Anticipated Memoir on Bullying Finally Here

Washington, DC (December 5, 2014) – The highly anticipated book by Sasha Dreams, It Takes a Fool: A Lesson Learned on Bullying, is finally available on Amazon.

It Takes a Fool is a short “creative memoir” about a 10 year old girl, named Sasha. Sasha is the darling of her fifth grade class and her best friend always has her back…just like a sister. But simmering beneath the beautiful life are the dark secrets her parents harbor, secrets that slowly wind their way around the heart of the family, choking the life from Sasha. Helpless, afraid and alone, she fights the only way she can but her desperate quest for survival could lead to her own destruction.

Excerpts from the book have already been making an impression on, the largest community of readers and writers, Wattpad. One Wattpad reviewer said: “Powerful writing. Quiet, soft-spoken but speaks straight into readers’ hearts. A place of vulnerability.”

“I am excited about the release of the book,” said Sasha. “I hope valuable lessons will be learned through the sharing of my story.”

It takes a fool is available in both kindle and paperback format on Amazon.com for $4.95 and $7.95 respectively. For further information about the book and the author, visit: http://www.ittakesafool.com.



If you want to read a moving story that will leave you changed, pick up your copy of It Takes a Fool today!
Connect with Sasha Dreams!

Website:  www.ittakesafool.com

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/It-Takes-Fool-Learned-Bullying-ebook/dp/B00O4LTNRM

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/sashasmemoir

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sashasmemoir

Email:  sashasmemoir (at) gmail (dot) com

SheWrites Monthly Blog Feature: The Curious Case of The Writer–Word Trafficking

Image from Google Images

Image from Google Images

This month I creatively talk about the challenges of ghostwriting. My muse ends up taking a stand.  http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/the-curious-case-of-the-writer-word-trafficking

Have you ever worked as a ghostwriter?  What has your experience been like?

I Am Change That’s Beautiful for Situation: SIFTING THROUGH MUD by Demetria Foster Gray

3D Book Cover - Sifting Through Mud - July 2014 - resized smallIn the dirt

lies all the ingredients

for change

Like a caterpillar,

she takes in

what is meant for harm

and it hardens,

then blooms

into something beautiful.

Change becomes the breeding ground

for growth,

the place

where whom she was meant to be

can finally come forth.

~by A.C.

Excerpt from Sifting Through Mud

         Untangling myself from the covers, I roll over to look at the clock on my nightstand. Who the hell is banging on my door at six-forty in the morning? It better not be Wesley. I told him my thighs were no longer open for business, and that he should focus on fixing his marriage instead of running around like a sex-crazed bachelor.

         I let my head fall back onto the pillow, hoping whoever it is goes away. Except the ringing and banging doesn’t stop. I jump out of bed, grab my robe, and scamper down the stairs.

         “Why didn’t you tell me you were seeing Nathan?” Nyla storms into my house like a wild fire on crack when I open the door. “How is that something you don’t tell me?” she demands, throwing her handbag fiercely onto the foyer table.

         Panic strikes me hard in the chest. Who told her? How does she know?

         “What do you mean?” I play dumb, buying myself some time.

         “You know what I mean.” Now thrusting her car keys on the table, except they bounce off and hit the floor. She pivots around to face me, her hands hard on her hips.

         I freeze up. My whole body goes into lock down as if all my muscles and organs have run for the hills, leaving me stumped and stupid.

         Nyla’s eyes bulge with rage. “My husband was a patient of yours and you don’t tell me that? How can you not tell me that? I had no idea he was seeing a shrink.”

         What? Huh? My brain is tripping over itself trying to understand what’s happening. I try to move but my body is still frozen. What is she talking about? I thought she was referring to the reckless affair, the mating with her husband. But that’s not it at all because I’m sure she would’ve slapped me or punched me or taken out a gun and shot me by now. Something’s off base here and my brain is being very slow in its tabulation.

         “How can we be friends this long and you don’t mention a thing like that?” she hisses. “What kind of a friend are you?”

         Finally it hits me. This isn’t about the affair with her currently dead husband. I’m safe. I dodged the bullet yet again.

         Well, sort of.


Author Photo - Medium sizeMeet Author Demetria Foster Gray

Demetria Foster Gray is a novelist, freelance writer, and communications consultant. She earned a degree in Marketing Communications and spent the bulk of her career writing for the corporate world. Creating fictional characters and building stories has always been her first love. A native of the Chicago, IL area, Demetria now lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. Sifting Through Mud is her debut novel. Visit Demetria at http://www.demetriafostergray.com


Author Links:

Website: DemetriaFosterGray.com

Facebook: DemetriaFosterGray.Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DFosterGray

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Sifting-Through-Demetria-Foster-Gray/dp/1500669334/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407967863&sr=8-1&keywords=sifting+through+mud




Author Interview Q&A

For the Novel Sifting Through Mud

(August 2014)


  1. What did you do before becoming a writer? How has your career path led to or shaped your writing career?

I’ve been a writer for quite some time that I barely recall what I did before. I’ve spent over twenty years as a marketing and technical writer in the corporate world. However, underneath all my corporate layers, fiction writing was always drumming to come out, wanting desperately to take the lead. So I let it out.


  1. Why did you write Sifting Through Mud?

I wanted to see under what circumstances a woman and her husband’s mistress could become best friends. I like stories about women and the adversity they go through to overcome challenges and beat the odds against them. Plus, I love strong female friendships and the ties that bind them, shape them, and give them courage to grow.


  1. What can women learn from Nyla?

They can learn resiliency, understanding, and the art of unconditional love. Nyla had to learn each of these as she navigated her friendship with Vivian.

  1. What are three things that a couple needs to make a marriage work?

Ha ha! If I knew the answer to that, I’d bottle it, sell it, and put an end to all the divorces. I’d be rich.


  1. Why did you become a writer?

Because that’s the only thing that fits me like a glove. I feel at peace and at home when I write.


  1. Bravo’s reality TV brand, The Real Housewives, is very popular today.  If Nyla were a character on one of these shows, how would she interact with the other wives?  What would the wives say or think about her situation?

Nyla would think all The Real Housewives were coo-coo-crazy. She probably wouldn’t interact well with them, and they probably wouldn’t appreciate Nyla’s snooty opinion of them. In the novel, Nyla’s friend Lettie operates like she could be a cast member on The Real Housewives. Nyla and Lettie’s relationship depicts a great example of how Nyla would interact if she were on The Real Housewives.


  1. What tips would you give other aspiring writers on how to complete and submit a novel, and survive the publication process?

In this business, you have to have a thick skin and faith in yourself. Completing a novel and surviving the publication process takes extreme faith, endurance and a thick skin. If you don’t have any of these, you may want to rethink your writing journey. My one tip would be this: Make sure you want it bad enough to endure all the pitfalls and obstacles. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of your time.


  1. What impact do you want to leave on the literary world?

I would like to inspire, uplift, and entertain all those who come in contact with my literary work.


  1. Describe your writing process or rituals.

I really don’t have a process. I just sit down and write. I’ve tried to put processes in place many times, but I typically get bored with the routine of it and end up ditching it after a few weeks.


10.   What are you most passionate about in your life?

I love obtaining inner wisdom and strength and sharing that knowledge with others. Tapping into our spirituality empowers us to operate at remarkable levels. It gives us divine focus, freedom, and courage to be and do what we were called to be and do.




3D Book Cover - Sifting Through Mud - July 2014 - resized small







Book Synopsis/Summary



The death of Nyla’s husband comes as a shock to everyone except Nyla. What’s shocking to Nyla is her inability to grieve his death like a typical loving wife should grieve. But Nyla isn’t a typical loving wife. She’s a woman in desperate need to breathe. The oxygen in her life has long gone, and the astonishing thing she feels from her husband’s death is relief, not grief.

Even more astonishing is the rare and unexpected friendship which develops between Nyla and her dead husband’s mistress. However, Nyla isn’t aware her new best friend is a former mistress. And as their friendship deepens into an unshakable bond, Nyla is forced to face secrets her husband took with him to his grave. This means she has to sift through mud to unravel the truth. A truth that’s better off dead.

Yet through it all, the one thing which makes Nyla violently breathless, is the exact same thing that causes her to finally breathe.


What People Are Saying about Sifting Through Mud (Book Testimonials)

Demetria Foster Gray delivers a heart-stopping, emotional punch with her debut novel, Sifting Through Mud. The boundaries of friendship are reinvented in this sexy, thought provoking tale of two women on a tightly woven journey of self discovery. Sifting Through Mud is rich with characters you’ll laugh with, cry with, and pull for in the end. —Lynn Chandler Willis, award-winning author of The Rising, and Wink of an Eye


In her debut novel, Demetria Foster Gray delivers a stunning tale of friendship, love, and sacrifice. Full of twists and turns, Sifting Through Mud leaves you breathless as friends, Nyla and Vivian, push the limits of their convictions, friendship, and love. These women are strong, smart, and beautiful with whom you instantly connect. Feeling the emotional struggle of each character, your heart aches for them, their decisions, and ultimately your own as you find yourself choosing between them. Sifting Through Mud is simply stunning. —Cindy Cipriano, author of The Circle



Bonus Excerpt from Sifting Through the Mud

Nathan is in the family room watching sports on TV. My handbag and car keys are on the foyer table next to the flower arrangement I sent myself yesterday for our twentieth wedding anniversary. I grab my keys, my handbag, and open the front door. I pause in the doorway to look back over my shoulder, at the life I lived here. Then silently, almost invisibly, I walk out the door.

         I have no idea where I’m going. All I feel is the overwhelming burden of where I’ve been. The toll and heaviness of an undesired life. For now, a hotel will have to do. One where no one can find me, and has big, fluffy pillows to hold my tears and muffle my screams. Tomorrow, when Nathan’s at work, I’ll go back for a few personal things. All I have now are the clothes on my back—clothes which are hanging wearily from my marriage-torn body.

         The truth of the matter is, I’m a murderer. I’ve killed the one person who could’ve saved me—myself. I’ve traveled down this lifeless road for far too long, and now I’m stuck in blandness. I miss the flavor of life. The pleasure and joy of actually feeling feelings, instead of faking feelings. Faking joy, faking happiness. I’m living life without the spice of life and it’s taking its toll on me.

         But thank God the dead has now risen, and it’s time for me to take back my life. To absolve my death. Which is precisely what I did over dinner this evening while Nathan was eating in front of the TV, and I was dining alone at the kitchen table. I asked myself two questions: (1) How much longer can I play a role that’s no longer suited for me?, and (2) How much longer can I hold my breath when all I want to do is breathe? The answers to those questions are what caused me to rise from the table, grab my handbag, and walk out the door.

         The thing is, I don’t know how to love my husband anymore. Or if I ever loved him at all. It seems I did. I must have. But I just don’t know anymore. It’s exhausting spinning your wheels in a marriage that doesn’t seem to move. Not forward, not backwards, just stalled. Stagnant. A lot of bitterness accompanies stagnation. A lot of anger. A lot of slicing each other apart, and chewing each other up. It’s treacherous. It’s sad. It’s time to move on.

         After driving for a half hour to the next town, I find a nice hotel with clean, spacious rooms, a deep Jacuzzi tub, fresh linens, and a complimentary hot breakfast in the morning. Nathan will be calling me when it becomes the middle of the night and I haven’t returned home. He’ll wonder where I am with a slight bit of concern. Or perhaps he’ll sleep like a log through the night and never give my absence a second thought. Either way, I’ve turned off my cell phone. His concern or lack of concern is no longer an issue for me.





See what happens next  in Demetria Foster Gray’s Sifting Through Mud.

She Writes Guest Post: The Curious Case of a Writer’s Life–How Characters Teach Us How to Listen

Thank you for allowing me to guest post, She Writes.  Check out my feature blog post as I talk about how outside forces and the writer’s agenda can sometimes drown out the character’s voice.





She Writes Reality Check Guest Post: Rebounding from Rejections

Thank you for allowing me to be a guest blogger, Zetta Brown.  Check out my reality check regarding rejections.






Check out Zetta Brown’s blogs, too: