The Other Side of Goodness
by Vanessa Davis Griggs

There are at least two sides to every story...

The latest installment in the Blessed Trinity series finds Gabrielle Mercedes (Goodness and Mercy) in the midst of a dilemma that threatens the saved path she's on.

How far will faith and love go when an ambitious man finds himself in the fight of his life—with a woman who knows the other side of goodness all too well…

Fifty-year-old Alabama congressman Lawrence Rudolph Simmons will do whatever it takes to get re-elected—even switch parties from Democrat to Republican. With the political tide turning, Lawrence feels it’s his best shot—along with his charisma, solid twenty-nine year marriage, and three great kids. But a buried secret from his past is about to be resurrected.…
It’s been eight years since Gabrielle Mercedes gave up her baby for adoption. But when she learns the child desperately needs a bone marrow transplant, she doesn’t hesitate to contact the congressman. Like Lawrence, Gabrielle will fight for what she wants, even if it means the truth could ruin someone else’s life and career….

Book Reviews for The Other Side of Goodness

"I absolutely love Vanessa's unique writing style. She is one of a kind."
--Mary Monroe, New York Times bestselling author

"There are enough tears, hugs, and lessons learned before summer's over to appease readers, young and adult, who like a good dose of faith with their fiction."
--Publishers Weekly on Ray of Hope

"Griggs address[es] the challenges of living by Biblical rules with homespun humor. Fans will be pleased."
--Publishers Weekly on The Truth Is the Light

"A smart novel that adresses an issue that many in the church shy away from--divorce--with frank realism."
--Library Journal on Practicing What You Preach

"Entertaining, thought-provoking and uplifting."
--RT Book Reviews on Redeeming Waters

Purchase The Other Side of Goodness
by Vanessa Davis Griggs
ISBN-10: 0758273584
ISBN-13: 978-0758273581

Author website    |    Amazon    |    Barnes&Noble


Excerpt from The Other Side of Goodness

Chapter One

Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?  —Isaiah 45:10


“You are not the father!” The words reverberated through the mid-November 2009 Alabama air like the sound of a thin sheet of tin after being struck by a heavy metal object.

Twenty-seven-year-old Paris Elizabeth Simmons-Holyfield couldn’t hold back her feelings and immediately jumped to her feet. “Yes! Yes! I knew it! I knew it!” she said as she danced her five foot eleven inch self around in a small circle. “Now what are you going to do? Huh? Huh? Oh, yeah, you’re looking real stupid now, aren’t you? Oh, no. Don’t you dare fall on the floor crying now. You knew good and well he wasn’t the father of your baby! What is this, the fourth guy you’ve said you were ‘one thousand percent sure’ was the father? And now you’re looking crazy, wanting somebody to feel sorry for you? Well, you’re getting exactly what you deserve! Exact—”

“What on God’s green earth is your problem?” fifty-year-old Lawrence Rudolph Simmons said, his deep voice booming as he looked on with a clear scowl of disapproval on his face.

Paris had spun around as soon as she’d heard the first word come out of his mouth. The six foot one inch tall, one-hundred eighty-pound man always had that effect on her.

Thirty-three-year-old Andrew Holyfield shook his head as he smiled, showing off deep dimples that, since he was a little boy, had garnered attention. “That’s your daughter for you.”

“Hi, Daddy.” Paris grinned as she scurried over to her father and softly planted a kiss on his cheek. “What wind brought you here this time of the day?” She then pivoted to her husband and gave him a peck on his lips. “Hi, honey. I didn’t even hear you two come in.”

“Of course, you didn’t,” Andrew said. “You were too deep and hooked on your favorite little show.”

“It’s not my favorite show.” Paris walked over to the black Italian leather sofa, picked up the remote control, and clicked the television off. “I only watch that show for educational purposes.” She tossed the remote control back onto the sofa.

Andrew chuckled. “Yeah, educational purposes, all right.

‘You are the father.’ ‘You are not the father.’ ‘The lie detector says you were not telling the truth.’ ‘The lie detector says . . . she was telling the truth.’ ” Andrew shook his head. “Educational purposes indeed.”

“Well, some of these women are a trip and a half. Airing their personal business like that, and all of it on TV to boot. Bringing some man on the show, claiming he’s the father of their baby when they know who they slept with and when. Although I will admit that some of these women have slept with quite a number of men in the same month, a few of them on the same day.” Paris shook her head. “It’s crazy. Then there are the guys who know they were with them, talking about that child can’t possibly be his because the baby doesn’t look anything like him. Like children have to look exactly like the father to be fathered by them. Calling the poor innocent child ugly, only to learn that the child really is his.” Paris chuckled.

“And you can make fun of me all you want,” she said. “But I like to study people. I can pick out the ones that are the fathers and the ones that are lying about it, just like that.” She snapped her fingers. “You know I also took a semester of psychology in college. I love trying to figure out what people are really thinking and doing, and their reason behind it.”

“If I recall correctly,” Lawrence said, tilting his head slightly, “didn’t you fail that course and ended up dropping it altogether instead of retaking it?”

Paris tilted her head in the opposite direction from his as she smirked. “Daddy, I told you what an awful professor Ms. Booth was. That woman just didn’t like me.” Paris widened her light brown eyes as she spoke. “If you want the real truth: Ms. Booth didn’t care much for you, so she ended up taking her dislike for you out on me.”

Lawrence shook his head. “Always an excuse. When it comes to you and trouble, it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s never anything that you may have done.”

“Well, that was not an excuse. She also didn’t care for me because I was the third runner-up beauty queen at the college pageant and she was merely this homely old maid of fifty who was likely never going to find a man who’d ever want her.”

Andrew laughed. “Both of you are something, if you ask me. You’re like two peas in a pod. You two are so much alike that you never seem to get along or openly agree.” Three inches taller than his wife, he rubbed his perfectly trimmed goatee as he grinned lovingly at her.

“Well, you didn’t answer my question,” Paris said to her father, ignoring her husband’s comment. She began to run her fingers through her freshly permed, mid-length, wavy-styled, dark brown, medium-auburn-highlighted hair, tossing it a few times as she did. Catching her father’s disapproving stare, she quickly stopped. Her father had made it abundantly clear, countless times in fact, just how much he hated when women did things like that. He’d said they were more than aware of what they were doing (most of them merely being flirtatious instead of nervous as Paris often used as her defense to him), and that it was unladylike and unbecoming of a decent Christian woman.

Lawrence nodded, as though he was thanking her for saving him the trouble of having to correct her yet again. “My son-in-law and I came here to discuss a few of my legal woes. You know there are people who don’t want to see me reelected to the Alabama State House of Representatives, so they’re coming up with anything they can find to try and take me down this time around. That’s what good opponents do.”

Paris strolled back over to her husband and threaded her arm through his. “Well, you can’t find a better lawyer than my dear husband here, that’s for sure.”

“Well, your dear husband doesn’t seem interested in handling my most recent possible problem. So maybe you can help me convince him.” Lawrence trained his eyes hard on Andrew.

“I told you, Pops,” Andrew said. “There’s not much I can help you with. Our firm would be facing a huge conflict of interest if I were to take you on. The other man involved—”

“Is a liar and a cheat, among other things I’ll not say in the company of a lady.” Lawrence eased down onto the sofa.

“He’s talking about Rev. Walker,” Andrew said to Paris. “That’s the other guy someone in our firm is already representing on the opposite side.”

“Marshall Walker, the pastor of that church so many flock to, or at least they used to flock to before that other preacher, George Landris, arrived in town. The authorities are trying to say that me and William Threadgill are involved in some kind of bribery scheme or something with Walker.” Lawrence waved the thought away. “They picked him up and charged him last Friday or Saturday. This is just something the Democrats are trying to cook up, trying to tie me in to his misdoings to derail me and my candidacy. They’re just upset, and likely desperate right about now.”

“Can you blame them for being upset?” Paris said. “Everybody I know who’s heard you switched parties is boiling mad. I’ve never voted for a Republican before in my life. But now that you’ve switched, in midstream I might add, I’ll either have to vote Republican this time around, vote against you, or not vote at all.”

“I’m still the same person I was before I decided to switch parties,” Lawrence said, looking up at his daughter. “But you, of all people, know the district I represent has become much whiter now and, despite our racial advancements—perceived or otherwise—this is still Alabama, the heart of Dixie. A lot of folks that moved out of the area years ago are moving back, in droves now—”

“And they’re driving the prices up so high that the black folks can’t afford to stay or move in,” Andrew said with a few nods.

“Please don’t get Andrew started,” Paris said, grinning slightly. “You know at heart my husband is the poor man’s lawyer. He loves to fight for the downtrodden and the broken who, most times, are so broke they can’t even afford to pay his fee. So he gives of himself, pro bono if he has to, to represent them. Too many of them, if you ask me, which is the exact reason we’re not more well-off than we are.”

“We’re doing just fine. I make enough to take care of my family,” Andrew said. “I just see how unfair the system can be. Lady Justice may be blind, but her hearing lately has been overcompensating for her loss of sight. Enough so, when certain defendants speak and sound black or have a hint of a foreign accent or are just plain poor, she somehow knows who they are without having to see their faces.”

Andrew uncoupled Paris’s arm from his and took a step away from her. “Do you know how many innocent folks are behind bars because they couldn’t afford a high-powered or, heck, merely a decent lawyer who could have gotten them at least a fairer trial? While some rich person gets off by saying they didn’t steal the thing . . . that they were merely ‘borrowing it’ or forgot to give it back to the salesperson after trying it on. You find one who goes to rehab for the drugs he was caught using, while another goes to jail, getting ten years for the same or for having a small amount of another type in his possession.”

“Well, I’m not concerned about anybody except me right now.” Lawrence scooted back against the sofa. “And having this new legal thing possibly hanging over my head is no joke, either. The Tea Party movement appears to be picking up some steam, especially in some areas and especially now that we have a president of color. I figured by switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party and co-opting some of the Tea Party’s rhetoric about being taxed enough already and the need for smaller government, I can more easily get reelected.”

“Selling out,” Andrew said as he sat down in the wingback chair across from Lawrence.

“No. It’s called doing what you need to do to survive,” Lawrence said. “That’s the problem with folks: They don’t know how to adapt, how to be nimble and change when the situation calls for it. People get set in concrete and don’t know how to move. Sure, I could stand on past principles and talking points that have worked beautifully for me in the past, but that may not get me reelected this cycle. And if I don’t get reelected, then I won’t be able to help anybody.”

“So you’re saying you’re just faking it,” Andrew said.

Paris sat on the arm of the chair where Andrew sat. “I think Daddy is just saying that if he doesn’t change his tactics, he won’t be in a position to help anyone at all. Daddy’s been in politics for ten years—”

“Eleven,” Lawrence corrected her.

“Okay, eleven years.” Paris nodded. “He knows the system, knows how to get at least some things done.”

“So you really think black folks are going to vote for you as a Republican?” Andrew’s look was serious and stern. “You honestly think that?”

“Yeah.” Lawrence crossed his legs and leaned back with a grin. “Many of them feel they know me and my record regardless of whether there’s a D or an R behind my name. Some will vote for me just because my name is familiar to them—that’s the power of name recognition. Folks will vote for a name they’ve heard of when their choice is between that name and an unknown one. Then there are those who will vote for me just because I’m black and they’d rather see a black man win regardless of which team he’s on. And last, there are the Republicans who loyally vote strictly for the Rs and, most likely, won’t have a clue what color I am. And it won’t hurt when I play up my beliefs on social issues, emphasizing how much I’m pro-life, absolutely against abortion, and that I’m willing to fight for the principles they care most about.”

Paris began to rub the wavy hair on top of Andrew’s head. She couldn’t help but think about their children and how beautiful they were going to be when they had them. How could they turn out to be anything but beautiful if they inherited their father’s good hair and looks combined with hers?
That’s if she could just manage to get pregnant and have children.

“Would dinner happen to be ready yet?” Lawrence asked Paris.


“Then why don’t you go cook us something,” Lawrence said. “And make enough for William Threadgill. He should be arriving any minute now. We three have business to discuss, and since I missed eating lunch today, I’m really hungry.”

“You mean cook as in use the stove?”

Andrew, who had snickered a little when Lawrence asked if dinner was ready, was full-out laughing now, although he was trying his best to hold it down as much as possible.

“What’s so funny?” Paris said to Andrew—her hand off his head now.

“Your daddy started it,” Andrew said, trying to smother his laughs that were still managing to escape as giggles. “I’m sorry; I couldn’t help myself.”

“What?” Lawrence asked, looking from one to the other. “What’s the problem?”

Andrew shook his head as he tried to keep his laughter from starting up again.

“He’s laughing because I rarely ever cook. We generally go out for dinner or we call in for something to be picked up or delivered,” Paris said. “I wasn’t planning on cooking anything today.”

“So exactly what do you do at home all day?” Lawrence asked.

Paris stood up. “I have my own things to do. I have various interests that require my attention, just like you two.”

“She watches television pretty much all day,” Andrew said, then grinned.

“I do not.” Paris gave him a disapproving look to emphasize her words. “You’re not here so you don’t know what I do all day. And I assure you, I do a lot more than watch television.”

“Yeah, that’s right. She divides her time between the computer and her precious little CrackBerry, oh I’m sorry; I meant to say BlackBerry. No, no, wrong again. She has an iPhone now, her new play-toy. And what’s that hot new thing on the Internet this cycle? Facebook! Yeah, that’s right... Facebook. Her big thing used to be MySpace, but it’s been replaced by another lover. And let’s not forget about her have-to-have, much- needed therapy,” Andrew said.

“Therapy?” There was clear alarm in Lawrence’s voice. “What therapy? What’s wrong? Now, Paris, you know if the media gets wind of this—”

“Retail therapy,” Andrew said. “I’m talking about her retail therapy. Isn’t that what you call it?” Andrew looked at Paris, who didn’t respond, before turning back to his father-in-law. “She has to go shopping to take her mind off all the depressing things she sees and hears on television and that comes across on the Internet. You know, all of those ‘devastating, distressing things that are happening all around the world,’ like poverty, all of those poor and starving folks in the world, the daily reported civil unrest around the globe, and let’s not forget those poor animals they show on TV in need of a good home. According to my dear wife, the only way she can feel better about all of these things after witnessing them is to go shopping.”

“I’m sure this can’t be true,” Lawrence said. “I certainly hope it’s not. Paris’s mother and I raised her to be a productive member of serve others. Paris, you could be spending time at a church or shelter, helping to feed the hungry, showing just how much our family truly cares about others.”

“Daddy, I’m twenty-seven years old, twenty-eight in another eight months. I’m not a child anymore that you can mold into what you want me to be. I have a husband; we have our own home. I get to decide what’s best and right for me.”

“In other words: I can’t tell you what to do anymore?” Lawrence said with a slight frown.

“Now, Daddy, I respect you. You just need to learn to respect me. I’m all grown up now. I’m not your little girl anymore.” Paris bit down on her bottom lip.

“Oh, now, you’ll always be my little girl.” Lawrence grinned. “And I’ll always be your daddy. And speaking of family and little girls, exactly when do the two of you plan on having children?

Your mother is ready to be a grandmother. And being a grandfather would certainly look good on my political brochures. There’s nothing that says to the voters how much you care than letting them know you’re not only a parent but a grandparent. And a child or two would definitely give you more than enough to do to keep you busy around the house, Paris.”

“Daddy, is that all you ever care about? How something might benefit your political aspirations?” Paris asked.

“For now it is. That’s why it’s important for your mother to put on the right face for the public.” Lawrence leaned forward. “That’s why you, your brother, Malachi, and little sister, Courtney, must be on your p’s and q’s at all times, representing our family with the highest level of degree. Proverbs 22:1 tells us that ‘a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.’ Our name is a brand now. And we have to protect it. So I don’t need any of you doing anything that could embarrass or derail me, and especially not during this campaign cycle. I plan on winning my upcoming reelection. And I don’t need any problems popping up. That’s why I made sure I got that large ballroom last week for that campaign rally I had.”

“We know, Daddy. Stay on our p’s and q’s. You’ve drilled that point home to each of us enough. Oh, yeah, and I heard all about that underhanded ballroom acquisition,” Paris said. “That was so wrong of you on so many levels.”

“Says who?” Lawrence pulled his body back as though he was shocked by her words.

“Mom, for one.”

Lawrence waved her words off. “Your mother is such a softie. She’d give away everything if I’d let her.”

“Well, to be fair,” Andrew said, chiming in. “From what I heard, you did manage to somehow finagle that ballroom away from an elderly man’s one hundredth birthday celebration after his family clearly had it reserved months before you ever thought about having anything there. That’s the way I heard it, anyway.”

Lawrence stared hard at Andrew, then released a quick smile. “All’s fair in love and politics. If you can do it and get away with it, and it doesn’t physically hurt anybody, what’s the harm in the end? I happen to know folks who can make things happen. What is it the young ballers say? Don’t hate the player; hate the game.”

Lawrence then looked at Paris. “And your mother talks too much, as do you. Some things aren’t meant to be repeated. With that being said, now get on in the kitchen and fix me and your husband something to eat. As I said, we have some business we need to attend to, and I am starving.”

Paris smiled slightly, the way she did when she was completely under his rule and didn’t care for what he was saying but knew it was best to just go along with him to get along, until the right opportunity presented itself. “Sure, Daddy. Whatever you say.”

She went into the kitchen, opened the drawer where she kept a stack of various restaurant menus, pulled out the menu to the Italian place she used whenever she wanted Italian food, and called in an order.

She hung up the phone and grinned. “Sure, Daddy. Whatever you say.”

( Continued... )

© 2012 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Vanessa Davis Griggs.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.

Purchase The Other Side of Goodness
by Vanessa Davis Griggs
ISBN-10: 0758273584
ISBN-13: 978-0758273581
Author website    |    Amazon    |    Barnes&Noble

The Other Side of Dare  by  Vanessa Davis Griggs
ISBN-13: 9780758273598
Publication date: 12/24/2012
Preview here today.


Intimate Conversation with Vanessa Davis Griggs

Vanessa Davis Griggs is an author and motivational speaker residing in Irondale, AL (a community outside of Birmingham). The recipient of numerous recognitions including the Arts and Letters Award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Birmingham Alumnae Chapter, The Greater Birmingham Millennium Section National Council of Negro Women Inspiration Award, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. of Georgia, Vanessa is the author of such novels as: Promises Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace, Blessed Trinity, Strongholds, If Memory Serves, Practicing What You Preach, Goodness and Mercy, The Truth Is the Light, Ray of Hope, Redeeming Waters, and Forever Soul Ties.

BPM: Do you have anyone in your life that was heavily influential in your deciding to become an author?
In my life, my mother has been my greatest cheerleader, supporter, and inspiration. She’s always made me feel I could do anything, especially with the Lord on my side. I often said she and my father gave me the greatest gift you can give anyone: they introduced me to Jesus by living a true Christian life (church EVERY Sunday and teaching us about the Lord at home). Also when I was in the 6th grade, I had a teacher named Ms. Campbell, who allowed me to put on a full production of a play I wrote for Christmas. Keep in mind this was during my first year of integration. So here I was this little black girl writing, producing, and directing a play using fellow students who were so excited to be a part. All of this had a huge impact on me, something I wouldn’t fully know until later in life when I found myself not being able to NOT write.  

BPM: Introduce us to your book and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Other Side of Goodness - How far will faith and love go when an ambitious man finds himself in the fight of his life—with a woman who knows the other side of goodness all too well…

Fifty-year-old Alabama congressman Lawrence Rudolph Simmons will do whatever it takes to get re-elected—even switch parties from Democrat to Republican. With the political tide turning, Lawrence feels it’s his best shot—along with his charisma, solid twenty-nine year marriage, and three great kids. But a buried secret from his past is about to be resurrected.…

It’s been eight years since Gabrielle Mercedes gave up her baby for adoption. But when she learns the child desperately needs a bone marrow transplant, she doesn’t hesitate to contact the congressman. Like Lawrence, Gabrielle will fight for what she wants, even if it means the truth could ruin someone else’s life and career….

As any “mother” of a book, I love all my characters. Yes, there are a few that definitely need prayer; Paris Simmons-Holyfield is one that comes to mind. There are two young people, 8-year-old Jasmine Noble and 15-year-old Imani Simmons, who are going to touch people’s hearts in a special way. Gabrielle Mercedes (from my novel Goodness and Mercy) makes a return in this book as well as an appearance from our favorite pastor and wife, George Landris and Johnnie Mae. People say where there’s smoke; there’s fire. This book is bringing some light and lots of heat, so get the fire extinguisher ready!

BPM: Is this the book you intended on writing or did it take on a life of its own as you were writing? How do you stay focused?
I love this question! This is the book I wanted to write after finishing The Truth Is the Light and then taking a hiatus from The Blessed Trinity series and familiar characters to pen three stand-alone novels (Ray of Hope, Redeeming Waters, and Forever Soul Ties).  In The Other Side of Goodness, I deal with a politician who absolutely made the story interesting as well as touching on facts about bone marrow transplant and the need for donors in the African-American community.

It doesn’t matter what tale I’m telling, my characters generally do take over the story and blast off in directions I may not have seen coming. I am able to stay focused through all of this because my ultimate goal is to give readers a wonderful experience. Knowing what I desire to accomplish in the end, I’m aware of what it takes to get there.

BPM: What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Yes, yes, yes! I love being able to create a world, albeit fictional, where readers can be entertained, inspired, and educated, all at the same time. So yes, this is definitely part of my goal.

BPM: What would you like to accomplish as you continue to write?
My desire is to continue to grow and to be a better writer today than I was yesterday. I’m in competition with me and me alone.  

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online?
Following The Other Side of Goodness is my December 24, 2012 release:  The Other Side of Dare.   It picks up where The Other Side of Goodness leaves off.  I always tell people that even though a book may be part of a series, I write them to also stand alone.  There’s one more book in this group of three releases due out mid-2013. I’m having a ball!

I can be found online at my Web site:,,  and   I love hearing from folks.

BPM: Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself, your journey and your book with our readers!
Thank you SO MUCH, Ella for all that you do. And thanks to the wonderful readers who’ve been so supportive of my books in the past and who are supporting me now. I am so blessed to do what I love and to know someone is enjoying it and/or being blessed as well!

Publishers Weekly Review of  The Other Side of Goodness:   “The latest installment of Griggs’s Blessed Trinity series features former stripper Gabrielle Mercedes Booker, who is now saved and attempting to live a Christ-centered life, and Jasmine Noble, an adopted child who needs a bone marrow transplant. The connections of Booker and Noble to the powerful family of ruthless Alabama legislator Lawrence Rudolph Simmons during a re-election campaign drives the story forward as politicos and town gossips descend to dig for the truth about those connections. Simmons’s calculating daughter, Paris, with her troubled marriage and selfish tendencies, is the star villain. The heroes in this story remind their foes that using shady secrets and details from their past in an attempt to destroy them is futile because God is their ultimate judge.” (Aug.)

Purchase The Other Side of Goodness
by Vanessa Davis Griggs
ISBN-10: 0758273584
ISBN-13: 978-0758273581
Author website    |    Amazon    |    Barnes&Noble

The Other Side of Dare  by  Vanessa Davis Griggs
ISBN-13: 9780758273598
Publication date: 12/24/2012
Preview book here today.



This audio-postcard presentation was created by Ella Curry of  EDC Creations Creations Media Group.  We offer the best in book publishing publicity!  Visit the main EDC Creations website today to reserve your slot today at:  we have several packages that will take authors to the top!  Looking for one of the most popular Internet radio shows in the industry?   Check out  The Black Authors Network Radio Show today!


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