From the Author
In May of 2009, that "switch" was kicked into overdrive when I viewed the new release of Star Trek. Once again, this series would begin to affect and change my life as it did when I was a third grader who was diagnosed as Learning Disabled in the area of Written Expression, Reading and Speech.
I could not read, I could not write, and I spoke as if I came from another planet (No pun intended). You see, as a small child I had been displaced more than six or seven times before I was in third grade, landing in school after school. Without continuity, my education was sporadic at best. When we finally stopped moving, I was the stereotypical, poor black child who couldn't learn.
Some teachers had clearly given up on me and didn't hesitate to let this small child know that she was unlovable and unworthy to be taught, until my special service teachers, my mother, and a fictional character saved my life.
This fictional character gave hope to many of us African American girls; her name is Nyota Uhura and she was my hero! I remember watching in awe as this beautiful woman of color helped to command the best ship in the fleet - The U.S.S. Enterprise. My world began to change from poor black child to Lieutenant of a space ship. I began to vision the future as full of possibilities. When struggles and challenges would come my way, I would remember - I was Uhura, and I would work my way around them.
And work I did; in spite of what some teachers thought, my special education teachers believed in me and came up with an educational plan fit for a queen. And with the help of my mother and my strong drive to become the next Lieutenant Uhura, I worked my tail end off.
From third grade through fifth grade, I progressed so rapidly that by the time I was in sixth grade, I had moved from the special education classroom to the gifted and enrichment program. That didn't mean I didn't have to work for my grades; oh the struggle continued, but I had left the reading group known as the "worms" and I was now a "Flying Eagle."
Reading, no problem - speaking, no problem - the written word, forget it! I leaned very quickly how to work around the written word. My brain was not programmed to absorb spelling words no matter how hard I studied. We were taught reading using a method called "whole language", no phonics.
This made spelling very difficult because I had no solid background to lean on. Even today, after teaching reading using both phonics and whole language, my brain (God love it) can spell a word correctly and then the next minute have difficultly recalling that very same word. Thank the heavens for word processing programs.
But, despite my written expression diagnosis, I continued to be successful in school, working until I received my Specialist Degree in Superintendency. My school has been named "Top 10 Schools in the state of Missouri" multiple times during my tenure, and I have been blessed to be received as an outstanding educator throughout my life; but something continued to be missing. This is where "Uhura" steps back into the picture.
The moment my hero walked on the screen of the film, I became that determined little black girl. I became a fan again, and sought out all that was Star Trek. One day, I happened upon a site called Fan Fiction, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The reason people tell me this book is so special is that every character is so rich, not just the main characters but everyone. I love back-stories full of meaning and believable history. These people appear real to the reader because of their ability to relate to almost everyone at some level.
This book is not a Science Fiction Book with a touch of Romance; it's a Romance whose main character just happens to be a Science Fiction character. People repeat over and over how they don't read one or the other, but found that they love this novel.
We have all been teens; we have all been in love - sometimes at the same time. Have you ever wondered, "What would happen if I ran into that young love again?" What if there was an event that connected you forever, even when you were far apart? What would you do to hold on to that love once you found it again and what price would you pay to keep it?
The characters in this story are so unique because they are so different and yet could not have been more complimentary for each other. This love affair is made more complicated because laws have been made to keep them apart, encouraging bigotry and continued segregation of both worlds.
In the first book, Games We Play- A Novel, you get to know the couple as teens and young adults in undergraduate school. In the second book, Songs We Sing - a Novel, you get to meet the extended family on Terpaq and watch them struggle to keep their new formed family together. And in the last book, Lessoned We've Learned - A Novel, they travel together finding a new home world to Terra-Form, and a new nation to build.
About the Author
It has been her pleasure to work with children from all ability levels, giving her a unique insight into child and young adult development.
Toni is a graduate of Lincoln University of Jefferson City, Missouri, having obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education, a Master's Degree in Administration and a Specialist Degree as a Superintendent. While at LU, she was active in many activities including pledging to Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Her books not only explore the relationship between teenagers and young adults of different races and cultures, but also the dynamics of the people around them.
Toni's first book of The Quall Trilogy is complete, with two more sequels to follow.
People of all ages are hungry for this kind of read: wholesome, funny and hopelessly romantic all rolled into one.