October 23 – 28, 2002
The Carnival Cruise Ship “VICTORY”
Miami, FL – San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Marteen

2002 Participating Authors

(Starting Front Row-Left) Valarie Rose, Monique Greenwood, Trisha Thomas, Timmothy McCann, Marrisa Monteih, Kaye P. Brooks, Frederick Williams, Vanessa Moreman, Dr. Monica “Moe” Anderson, William “Bill” Aiken, Vicki Calton, Laura Parker Castero, Rita Coburn Whack, R. M. Johnson, Sara Freeman Smith, Tracy Price Thompson, Wanda Johnson and Travis Hunter.




Black Expressions sweepstakes winner Linda Riley, was surprised when she entered her cabin. It was filled with congratulations banners, balloons and a cake compliments of PageTurner.net.

Here’s what the 2002 Black Expressions Cruise Give-a-way winner, Linda Riley of Chicago, IL, had to say about her Summit at Sea Cruise:

Dear Black Expressions,

I would like to thank you and all of the staff involved with the AABCS [African-American Book Club Summit at Sea]. I had a wonderful time on the trip. The workshops were very informative and helped me to understand the ups and downs of writing, as well as publishing.

I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday while on the cruise. As a gift, along with a cake, one of the authors, Mr. Bill Aiken, wrote a very lovely poem. I also received a beautiful card made by the book supplier and signed by some of the authors as well. I really truly enjoyed myself. I met a lot of authors, some whom I had never heard of, as well as members of different book clubs who were also on the cruise.

I will never forget this chapter of my life. Once again, thank you.

Linda Riley
Chicago, IL

AABCS Memories

…all of the Scrumptious Sisters and Brothers from the cruise please know that you are now my family. You brought me joy unspeakable joy that I will never forget. I’ve been running and telling it to all who would listen. The fellowship and bonding we enjoyed were not by accident. Our coming together was ordained by the Master. Let’s keep the family together. If I can be helpful in any way, it would be my honor to do so.

— Bill Aiken (2002 Participating Author) The Country Boy from Harlem 

It was a joy to meet each and every one of you. This was my first cruise but it won’t be my last. The company was unsurpassedly fine, congenial, and dynamic. I’ve never had a better time among writers and readers. Please pat yourselves on the back.

I second Valerie’s every word about the book clubs, the organizers, and the staff of the African American Book Club Summit To go on and on would be overkill. Look forward to seeing every one of you again, perhaps at sea!

— Laura Parker Castoro (2002 Participating Author)

“I just wanted to say what a great time I had! There should be no other way to travel…good music (Unity), good food, good drinks, and way too much laughter. It was a joy meeting all the up-and-coming authors, the book club members, and the top dogs, Travis, Tim, and RM.
—Trisha Thomas (2002 Participating Author)

To the best dinner group I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining with, Surah, Phillip, Laura, Chris, Monique, Nina, and my (keep’em’barefoot’and’pregnant 🙂 husband, see you at Akwaaba in Cape May.”

Cruisin…. Yall remember that. You know Tracy and I are stuck in the 70’s.

Spending time with you was one of my great pleasures this year. Getting to know some of the authors I had only read or heard about or didn’t know at all adds so much to me as a person. Having a passion for writing and telling a story means that you have a passion for people. And, you guys were a passionate group. Who can forget R.M. trippin like he did? We understand R.M. and a trip is a good thing, you got to be who you are and getting there requires taking some folks with you. I enjoyed the writers opening up the passion for teens and wanting to make the world better, understanding that in a way we are all self-published. The hard work and effort to find our audience, and you do have an audience or you wouldn’t have a book, is challenging in the current environment. We are up to the challenge and the beauty of those rewards. In a large part the reward is simple, out of a room full of people, no matter how large or small, somebody understands a passage that you wrote, is changed for a moment, slips into a world you created with your mind and a few people even like it there. Thank you for your response to my work and that of my peers, these are the things that keep us going. I am reminded today that many of our brothers are getting ready to do their thing in Atlanta, so I am sending up alms for you in this 4 a.m. hour and told my son to bring his boys from Morehouse to check you out, he is the tall 6’3, dreads to the shoulder, thin track start looking brother. I told him to look for yall. Give him some love. As you know I love the brothers, all of them and reading is important. When we look at this thing it is bigger than the surface, deeper than we think. We are reaching the hearts and minds of men and women. My prayer is that we give them some enjoyment, food for the journey and understand the responsibility of any God given talent and craft to do the best job we can. Go Brothers Go! I have a greater understanding of bookclubs, thanks to Tee and the book club members. What you do for us is more than media, you take your reading seriously and you spread the word. You buy books and we have to face the fact that we need you and we need to know more about you. As you read us, write us and continue to be honest as we hone our craft. And bookseller and booksellers stay strong. What you do is beat the drums for the village folks to come to the meeting place and pick up their goods. I understand that businesses are a challenge to manage and grow, my prayers and blessings are with you, continue to carry us and find creative ways to sell us. (Don’t forget this is the holiday season — smile) Finally, to the folks that put this thing together, you are some hardworking sisters. What a challenge, booking this after September 11th and bringing so many folk together when you know how we do things. I imagine all the last-minute things you worked on, since a good portion of it was mine, yet you all were smiling every night. Amazing. Finally, did yall see my boo? He was the cute one. Hal and I had the best time, eating, eating, eating… talking, laughing and partying with you. And check this out, my man read my book for the first time! Imagine. All these years a paragraph here and a chapter there, brother broke down and learned some more about his woman. Now you know that’s all good. Sorry I took so long, you know I am a long-winded sister, I take my apology back. I will be thinking of you, praying for your good success in the spirit of Joshua 1st chapter. Good success. You can be successful, Monique must of read about this. But good success, that is what I wish for you.

—Rita Colburn Whack (2002 Participating Author)