The Pie Folks satisfied my Father’s Day need for sweets (Latrivia Welch Article on Tri-State Defender Newspaper Site)

by Latrivia Welch, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

A little bistro with a big name, The Pie Folks LLC is owned by Audrey and Ronald Anderson. It’s not uncommon for droves of people to line up in front of the eatery on Germantown Parkway in Cordova to buy pie before 11 a.m. in the middle of the week.   

The same warmth and hospitable demeanor the Andersons exude when you meet them is reflected in their restaurant. Black chairs accompany small tables perfect for an afternoon lunch meeting or quick getaway. Flavorful treats and delights, like imported orange hot tea and a chicken and veggie quiche, are among the items on a well-balanced menu.

“My husband and I always talked about owning our own business, and then one day while at church, we received a sign from God that it was time,” said Audrey Anderson, as she sat across from me at her restaurant.


Owners of the Pie Folks, Audrey and Ronald

Read more here: 

Infamous drug lord with ties to bloody Mexican cartel back in Memphis court Thursday




Commercial Appeal Article:

Beth Warren

Craig Petties is used to being in control.

Before his arrest, the infamous drug lord, believed to be one of the richest and most deadly dealers in Memphis history, had an organization of people who followed his orders or paid the price, sometimes with their lives.

Petties, a high school drop out who grew up in the impoverished Riverside neighborhood in South Memphis, emerged as a multimillionaire and ran an international trafficking empire that funneled hundreds of kilos of cocaine and more than a ton of marijuana from Mexico into Tennessee and other Southern states. Anyone who was perceived as a threat to the business — including one of Petties’ beloved cousins — was silenced with bullets.

Now, through two lawyers, the 36-year-old is angling for control of his court case, a dozen years after his initial arrest.

The man who remained a federal fugitive for five years is asking a judge to force prosecutors to shave time off his sentence because he spared them the expense of a trial by pleading guilty in 2009 to racketeering and murder charges, and because he spilled secrets about other crimes to aid other investigations.

U.S. Dist. Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays is expected to sentence Petties, who faces life in a federal prison, during a hearing Thursday.

Prosecutors are fighting back, arguing during previous court hearings that while Petties has cooperated to some extent, he still isn’t revealing all he knows about murders and other crimes in Memphis or in Mexico.

For instance, Petties claimed he was in bed asleep on April, 21, 2002 when one of his hit men fired 10 shots at Petties’ cousin, Antonio Allen, outside a South Memphis home. Investigators say they’re sure Petties gave the orders to kill Allen, erroneously thinking Allen had become a government witness.

Petties and the hit man served as pallbearers at the victim’s funeral.

Another problem for Petties, because he remained a federal fugitive for years, is that much of what he has said came too late — after his minions disclosed many of the same details about the drug ring to reduce their own sentences.

Through the years, more than 40 Petties’ associates have pleaded guilty and received prison stints, causing members who were friends since childhood to turn against one another.

Many secrets of their underworld still remain hidden in sealed court documents, further protected when Mays closed portions of hearings to reporters and the public. Yet a glimpse has been gradually revealed during the past decade in police reports, hearings and unsealed court records.

Organization members have testified how they followed Petties’ orders to kill an associate who became a key government witness. And police listened in on jail phone calls between drug-ring members who were discussing plans to kill the lead investigators, Abe Collins, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Memphis police detective Therman Richardson.

A jury convicted two of Petties’ enforcers, the only ones who demanded a trial, last year, and both were sentenced this summer to life sentences in federal prisons. A sign of the volatile nature of the drug ring: jurors’ names were shielded even from the judge, and armed deputy U.S. Marshals escorted them from an undisclosed location before and after court each day of the six-week trial.

Spectators, including the mother of a victim who was kidnapped, tortured for days and murdered, watched the trial eight floors below the courtroom in a room protected by an additional security checkpoint and rigged with video conference equipment that never showed jurors’ faces.

Prosecutors had to wait to prosecute one lingering associate, Christopher Hamlett, a childhood friend of Petties who became part of the drug leader’s inner circle. Hamlett, 36, who spent five years in a Mexican prison, was sentenced in Memphis earlier this month. As part of his plea deal, which landed him a 15-year sentence, he connected several murders in Mexico to Petties, Asst. U.S. Atty. David Pritchard said. Those are murders Petties didn’t tell prosecutors about.

A third factor that could have hurt Petties’ chances at a reduced sentence: He has caused problems behind bars.

He was initially held at a federal jail in Memphis, but was caught with a 6-inch shank hidden in the mattress in his jail cell. Even while standing before the judge in December 2010, he tried to minimize the crime — saying it was a piece of “plastic off my tray,” before agreeing with prosecutors’ assertions that it was made of metal and sharpened into a crude knife. Petties was moved to a jail in Atlanta, but prosecutors filed a request, in a document that still remains sealed, to move him. According to a copy of the judge’s September 2012 order, Mays agreed there was “good cause” Petties should be sent to a federal jail in New York, where he was placed in solitary confinement.

Petties, caught by Memphis police with an estimated $300,000 worth of marijuana in 2001, fled the country in 2002. He lived a life of luxury in Acapulco and central Mexico under the protection of his drug suppliers, the violent and powerful Beltran Leyva cartel, and had a personal trainer, chef, maid, nanny, driver and armed security detail. When police in the country pulled him over for any reason, after Petties made a quick call to the cartel, the officers ended up apologizing to him.

Despite landing on the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted list, Petties could avoid capture by keeping on the move and bribing corrupt Mexican officials. But in January 2008 he feared his phone calls were being intercepted so he threw the phone away, preventing any officials from tipping him off.

The military blocked off streets, sent snipers crawling on rooftops of area homes, positioned a helicopter to hover above and stormed Petties’ homes in the upscale suburb of Queretaro, 136 miles northwest of Mexico City. Petties, speaking Spanish, tried to bribe his way free, but was arrested. Four of his children, twin 4-year-old boys and girls ages 10 and 16, were taken to a facility. The children’s mother, Latosha Booker, 35, who was taking their 10-month-old girl to the nanny at the time, eventually returned to the U.S. with her children.

Petties was quickly deported to Houston before being brought to Memphis.

He immediately began to cooperate with federal prosecutors, who initially had considered pursuing the death penalty against him. In exchange for his cooperation, Petties wanted help safeguarding Booker and his children from a vengeful cartel.

Petties pleaded guilty to 19 charges, including ordering four murders, during a secret hearing in 2009. Much of the court case remains sealed.

His sentencing will end the 12-year-old case of a drug-trafficking organization believed to be one of the largest and most deadly in Tennessee history.


Interview with CBS Affiliate, WREG-TV (LIVE @ 9) with Marybeth Conley and Alex Coleman


WREG-TV Live@9 with Marybeth Conley and Alex Coleman

At 8:00 this morning, I wondered if I was going to be late.  I had to drop the kids off, traffic was heavy and all things Monday were happening.  But sure enough at 8:40 a.m., I pulled up on time to Channel 3 Drive, checked my lipstick and hair and ran into the building.

Once called back, I was greeted by the warm handshakes and hugs and sat down with Marybeth Conley and Alex Coleman, two of the city’s best reporters to talk about my book, The World in Reverse.


They start off by saying this…

Author Latriva Nelson has topped several of Amazon’s Best Seller lists with her new novel “World in Reverse”.

She spins a nail-biting tale set right here in Memphis. As her hero, a Memphis cop, has to go against everything he stands for to solve a grisly murder case.

Wow. Okay, I’m officially flattered.

I can’t help but smile.  I love Memphis, love the idea that Memphians love the book and I’m ready to talk.

You can see the rest by simply clicking the link and checking it out.

I can’t thank WREG-TV enough for their hospitality and highlighting my newest work.  15 books down and 150 to go.

Xoxo and all that jazz.


Latrivia S. Nelson

Tri-State Defender: Memphis author pens national bestselling crime thriller

Author Latrivia S. Nelson has firm roots in Memphis as a graduate of The LeMoyne-Owen College and as a marketing and public relations professional with over 14 years of experience with some of the cities most recognized organizations. She leans on that background to write her steamy love stories and incorporate all things Blues City in her books.

“Memphis is so rich with culture until if I never wrote about another locale in the world, I’d still have plenty of subject matter,” said Nelson. “Each day, I find something or someone new to write about. It never gets old or boring. All you have to do is step outside of your door and you’re bombarded with notable personalities.”

Her latest novel, “The World in Reverse,” has topped several Amazon best sellers lists, including #1 for African American Mystery and #1 for organized crime. And it’s all about Memphis politics, police and crime.

“I was sitting on a bench downtown having lunch when I thought up the idea after reading a news article. The characters just fell in place over time, but they have no real counterparts,” said Nelson. “The book is simply one big what-if scenario.”

“The World in Reverse” is a sequel to her first book, “Ivy’s Twisted Vine,” and centers around one of Nelson’s former leading characters, Nicola Agosto, a white Memphis police officer, his African-American wife and four children. During the course of an investigation into a series of child murders, Agosto is accused of using excessive force against an African-American suspect, suspended from the department and accused of being a racist.

To solve the city’s biggest case, protect his family and clear his name, he enlists the help of the seedy Russian mafia organization he had once been in charge of investigating to uncover a bigger conspiracy that includes a local politician and a fellow officer. The journey includes a riot that erupts downtown during a vigil, bombings and shootouts. And it ends with an even bigger twist.

With 14 novels under her belt, Nelson has had five national bestsellers in the last three years. After going through a pain-staking divorce, many of her readers questioned if she could come back strong.

“My most popular novel was based around my experiences at Camp Lejeune and the passion of my marriage. When I announced my divorce to my readers as the reason that they wouldn’t see new work for me for a while, the rumors started. It didn’t help that the next book that I released, “The Contingency Plan, didn’t do so well,” said Nelson.

“But I stayed focused. I realized that I needed to get my personal life in order and find peace through prayer in order to truly write something of quality. My readers deserved it and so did I.”

As a romance author, Nelson has set records, writing the largest interracial romance novel in the genre, “Ivy’s Twisted Vine,” in 2008. She also had three books on Amazon’s Multicultural Best Sellers List at the same time in 2011. “The World in Reverse” has now topped her former record as the largest interracial thriller to date with 741 pages.

Nelson, who owns RiverHouse Publishing, LLC in Mid-Town, has six authors whom she represents.

“The great thing about owning and running your own business is your ability to control your message and grow your ideas. I was taught by the best. RiverHouse Publishing has been a blessing, because I not only have had my own dreams realized, I’ve been able to help others reach their own goals. It’s hard work, but it’s truly fulfilling.”

(“The World in Reverse” is available for $5 via e-book on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble‘s nook. It will be available in paperback format on Sept. 1. For more information, visit

Allen Iverson Signed with Memphis Grizzlies – Why Aren’t You Happy?



Allen Iverson (A.I.) Is Coming To Town

Memphis Grizzlies received good news today.  One of the NBA greats is coming to town as a free agent and the newest MG player.  You would think that people would be happy about the new addition to our family, but as usual people have found something to piss and moan about.  Memphians say that he’s on the down side of his career.  I sat there and pondered what that meant.  The Downside of His Career.  As in, he’s actually had a notable career – but wait.  Not just any notable career, Allen Iverson is 10-time all star, four-time NBA scoring champ and the biggest player acquisition in Grizzlies history.  How many of those do we get that want to come to Memphis?  Gasol nearly gnawed his foot off to leave here and get to LA.  His brother is probably headed a similar direction.

I think we should be thanking our lucky stars that he chose us.  Sure it cost us $3.5 million, but well sometimes you have to spend money (invest it) to make money.  I remember going to games at the FedEx Forum last year that were virtually empty, then going to U of M games the next few nights that were jammed packed.  The Grizzlies need a draw.  If Iverson can bring that to Memphis then fire the marketing department and use that money to fund him.  I don’t really care. 

Plus, he said , “I want to win.  A lot people talk about the Grizzlies and people feel like just getting to the playoffs is enough. That’s a successful season. My goals are a lot bigger. … I feel like we can win.”

People of course complained about his high hopes.  Now, for $3.5 million, isn’t he suppose to talk like that, make promises.  For most of us, if offered $350,000, we’d make promises that we would more than likely deliver on.  He said that he could win not end world hunger. Now if he had come in and not smiled and been very rude, then people would have felt like he was unappreciative.  Go figure. In truth, I love him and plan to buy my first pair of season tickets because of him.

I say welcome the man with a little dignity and grace as those 300 fans and local dignitaries did at the FedEx Forum this morning.  We finally have hope…at least for one year (maybe we can encourage him to stay a while:-).

XoXo and all that jazz,

Latrivia S. Nelson

Characters Take On Life – Insight into Dmitry’s Closet

My idea of passion

My idea of passion

Dmitry’s Closet has taken on its own life over the last few months.  The characters actually have their own rhythm and style. 

In the process of writing, however, I always stop to read other authors and their works.  It gives me motivation.  I want to see if their characters take on a life of their own.  And they do.  One author had such an impact on me until I read her entire series.  Impressive.  I’m a fan for life now.

So, I’ve been asking myself just what each character is like, what they like, what they are like – I hear jazz whenever I think of Dmitry’s Closet.  Dmitry is an older gentleman with a keener sense of style and expensive taste.  However he has a bad boy quality that is completely undeniable.


On the other end of the spectrum, Royal is a young woman who is actually an old soul.  She’s a hard worker, trusting and loving.  Her character is completely sincere. 

Both characters had to be connected by something that was truly binding.  So the concept of a beautiful, twenty-something virgin was appealing to me.  See, there are so many women who have lost their virginity so young (I’m not knocking it, just talking facts here people).  I wanted to explore the type of woman who was still guarded about sexuality, who didn’t wear it on her sleeve.  And I had to explore what would make her want to give such a gift to a man after waiting.

I knew a young lady who inspired this.  I was writing on Dmitry’s Closet at the first of the year, and she and I got into a deep conversation on why she had chosen to remain abstinent.  Later this year, she married.  I was very proud of her.  In an age where this type of thing is rare, I wanted to applaud it.  Now, the young woman that I spoke with and Royal have very distinctive differences, but I was intrigued by their one similarity.

So, I’ve got a jazzy, rich story where the characters come to life and bring out their own flavor.  It’s exciting.  I think of Romeo and Juliet often when I write – those star crossed lovers and their constant battle to be together.  And while there will be absolutely no suicide attempts in this story, the overall passion of the two is always prevalent. 

Passion.  It’s such a rich word.  I think of chocolate, laughing, deep rich purple satin, enchanting perfume and deep breaths when I hear the word.

So basically, someone pulled out the life battles and applied it to my fingertips for this one.  And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Xoxo and all that biz,