Welcome to Hollyhood

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hollyhoodfinal-cover-rgbThe place where money rules the days, lies rule your life and sex rules your nights…

Sometimes it’s okay to toot your own horn, but it is always good to toot someone else’s horn. Today I’m horn-tooting for Valerie Joyner and her debate novel, Hollyhood—which lands in bookstores TODAY.

This is a good example for holding on to the seeds of your dream until they come to harvest. I’ve known Valerie for quiet sometime now, and it seems as long as I’ve known her, she was working on this book. So when I finally read a copy of the manuscript in 2005, I was blown away. The characters are so real—I was completely drawn into the story. At the time, because of the all the roadblocks she kept running into, Valerie was thinking of self-publishing. But she held on and held out until her deal came along with HarperCollins.

Hollyhood is the story of Hollywood producer Tyrone Hart, who came from the streets of D.C. and “clawed his way” to the world of the rich and famous. But life at the top is not easy for Tyrone. He has to deal with his girlfriend who is pressing him to get married, though she is creeping. And then there’s the drama between the stars of the sitcom. From the first page, you’re drawn into the lives of the characters because they seem so real.

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner (photo by Mary A. Brown)

Actress, producer and activist Rosie Perez, describes Hollyhood as, “A daring, realistic and unapologetic depiction of how it is to be black in ‘La-La’ Land.” According to Devon Shepard, writer and producer for shows such as Weeds and Everybody Hates Chris, “Valerie Joyner takes you into the world of being a sitcom writer with an unforgiving honesty and truth filled memorable characters. I dig it!” “In Hollyhood, Valerie Joyner delivers all the juice that’s fit to print,” according to Cori Murray, Entertainment Director of Essence.

Check out the Hollyhood book trailer. Then while you’re out for lunch stop at the bookstore and buy a copy of Hollyhood. If you prefer to have your books delivered to your door, click on over to Amazon (also available for Kindle) or Barnes & Noble.

Chrisette Michele has an Epiphany

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I was on iTunes the other night and stumbled across a new single by Chrisette Michele. I really loved her first album, I Am. After playing the 30-second sample of Epiphany I bought it without hesitation.

The premise of the song—after spending another lonely night waiting for her man, who doesn’t seem to know how to come home, she gets an epiphany… leave.

How many times did I fall for your lies
How many times did I fall down and cry
Never questioning why? why? why? why?
It just came to me
Like an epiphany
How about if I just leave-e-e-e

[Chorus]
So I think I’m just about over being your girlfriend
I’m leaving, I’m leaving…

It’s your basic break up song. But, with it’s sultry sexy groove, it’s not a sad song at all. That is what caught my attention. I can hardly wait for the May release of the complete album.

If the video is disabled,  click here to go to Youtube.

Help Change THE GAME

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The CW television show, The Game, has not been canceled, but the producer is petitioning the network to change the show to an hour long format. It seems the CW network has been phasing out their half-hour comedy shows, so the producer is pushing to have the format of the show changed. Check out the video clip. If you’re a fan of the show, help with the petition and join the “Change The Game Campaign.” The deadline is April 15th… hmmm, that seems to be another deadline also.

Additional source: blackenterprise.com

Don’t be my Valentine

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Earlier in the week I read Roland Martin’s commentary, Don’t be my Valentine – CNN.com. It does a nice job of summing up how I feel about Valentine’s Day.

Too many people are pressured because of this “holiday.” If you have a mate, you are pressured to do something extraordinary—especially if you are the man. On the other hand single people—without a significant other—are almost made to feel as outsiders because they don’t have anyone to “celebrate” with.

I consider myself to be a romantic person, but my attitude toward this day—if you love me, treat me special everyday because I will do the same for you. I don’t want to be treated like I’m part of a herd of sheep. I prefer something a little different. Now, for those that choose to celebrate and get into the hype, that’s ok. Maybe it will help keep a local florist in business a little longer in these “recessionary times.”

I have received a few, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” greetings from a few friends today, and responded with a polite,”Thank you,” and returned the greeting to them. So I’m not a complete humbug. The day—like any other—is what you make it.

Whether you spend this day with yourself or with family, friends, or a special someone, remember those you love are special everyday. Keep romance alive all the time.

And, if 1-800-flowers sends me one more freakin’ email I will scream.

Sorry… excuse that little rant.

Have great day everyone!

Presidential News Gone Wild

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Ok, I voted for Barack Obama and I really him. But for goodness sake, I don’t need to know every friggin’ move he makes. I can understand covering his first 100 days in office, but do we need to follow every 24 hours of his day? You would think President Obama was an alien from outer space and no one had ever seen the likes of him before. What will he do next? Oh my God, he took off his jacket!

Can we stick to the serious news please?

When the Rich Get “Madoff-ed,” Do We Care?

I was reading the article, Life savings gone, ‘Madoff-ed’ best-selling writer back at work – CNN.com. It was about Alexandra Penny, who is a “best-selling” author was one of Bernard Madoff’s victims. About 10 years ago, on the suggestion of a friend, decided to invest all her savings with Madoff. She thought it would be safe with him. She had been working and being diligent about saving her money since she was a teenager. She says, she worked and earned every penny herself, and had a fear of going broke and “becoming a bag lady.”

Apparently, she wrote a first hand account of being a “Madoff-ed,” and how she had to sale property to pay her bills on TheDailyBeast.com. She was surprised by the “vitriol” reaction of the readers who left comments. They called her “a privileged New York princess,” and said that she should “get a job.”

Based on an excerpt from the NY Post (12/24/08):

Of all the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, Alexandra Penney might not be the most pathetic. Penney grew up privileged – her mother was Greek royalty, her father was a Harvard lawyer – in “a WASPy Connecticut suburb,” she writes on TheDailyBeast.com. She got rich writing such best sellers as “How to Make Love to a Man” and editing Self magazine. And she invested her fortune with Madoff, “that mother[bleep]er,” she calls him. But Penney sounds a bit like Marie Antoinette when she frets about her options: “I’d have to sell the cottage in West Palm Beach immediately. I’d need to lay off Yolanda [her maid] . . . I’d have to stop taking taxis . . . And how hard is it to give yourself a really good pedicure.” Such options have Penney contemplating suicide: “Would you believe the Hemlock Society no longer exists?” But she concludes on an up note – she learns how to buy a MetroCard. “Yesterday, I took my first subway ride in 30 years.” A true survivor.

What do you think? Do you/should we feel sorry for the rich and super-rich when they lose their fortunes? She is much better off then most of us—she has valuable items/property to sale and can work as a writer again. Consider, however, that whatever amount of money she lost, she did work for it. What do you think?

Police Shooting of Unarmed Man Caught on Video

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On New Year’s Day, a young, unarmed, black man was shot in the back by police in Oakland, CA. The young man was being subdued by other officers. A couple of partners on the BART train when the shooting occurred, captured it on video. I was on vacation when is incident happened on New Year’s Day, so I wasn’t really following it. I began hearing about rioting earlier this week. I can understand the people wanting to protest, but they should not destroy property or become violent—it doesn’t help the cause. This shooting IS totally outrageous though. From what I understand, you can’t claim “self-defense” when you shoot someone in the back, so what is this “2-year-veteran” cops excuse? “A BART spokesman has said there is more to the story than what can be seen on the grainy images.” Well, I can’t wait to hear what that would be.

Sources: cnn.com, msnbc.com, nytimes.com

My Road Trip to Florida, pt2

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Well, I finally made it back home from my road trip adventure. I didn’t have internet connection so I couldn’t keep and give updates of my travels. But, thankfully I had my Blackberry and that helped me to stay connected via Twitter and Facebook. So a lot of my friends were able to follow my posts on those sites. Every time I stopped somewhere I sent a tweet or updated my Facebook status.

You can read a previous post, My Road Trip to Florida, to get information on the first part of the trip.

I really had to burn rubber down the highway to get to Lehigh Acres, FL by Sunday night. The traffic was extremely heavy so I had to do over 700 miles to get there. By the time I reached my Dad’s house it was almost midnight.

I was able to visit for two days before getting back on the road and heading to Pensacola, FL to visit my Mom. That was almost 600 miles and took about 8 hours to do. Interstate highway 10 is very boring—that’s all I can say about it. I found myself stopping a lot just to stay alert. By the time I reached my Mom’s it was about 8:00 p.m. central time. I gained an hour traveling to Pensacola. It is the wildest thing to drive along the highway and come to sign that reads: Now Entering Central Time Zone—just like that, you repeat the last hour. In Florida, this happens near Tallahassee.

I got to Pensacola just in time to go to church with my Mom for the New Year’s service. During the two days I was there I visited with my 90 year old great aunt who raised me from age 2 until almost age 11. It was too cool to go to the beach and I just didn’t have the time to go around to see the “sights.”

On Saturday, Jan 3, I began my trip home. I left Pensacola and headed north HWY 29 to Alabama. Once I got on I-65 it was full speed ahead. I noticed the really dark clouds off in the distance and suddenly got the thought in my mind about a tornado. Well, thankfully nothing happened. I stopped in Selma, AL for a few hours—my hometown—and got back on the road just in time for the storm to break out. It got really dark with thunder, lightning and heavy downpours. That storm tracked all the way to I-85 and I drove as much as I could before deciding to stop for the night in Greenville, SC. It was just too foggy and creepy out and it left 720 miles to do for Sunday in order for me to get home and sleep on my own Sealy Posturepedic Plush Pillowtop.

It was rainy and cloudy the whole drive back. I had to make a lot of stops because I getting a bit tired. When I finally stopped in my driveway, it was 10:01 p.m. and I had driven 3,208.5 miles roundtrip. That was like driving cross-country (something I really want to do one day, though not alone).

I did take some photos, but I’ve been too lazy to go through them and upload to Flickr—maybe tomorrow. You will want to check my photography blog for the photos in a few days. If they aren’t there by Friday, give me a nudge.🙂

“Damages” Season 2 Begins Tonight!

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Tonight is “must see TV” time for me. Damages starring Glenn Close finally returns for a second season. It’s a legal thriller set in New York City. I really love this show. Originally FX was going to cancel it for lack of viewers, so I’m glad to see it’s back.

Watching Glenn Close is always a thrill. Remember her in Fatal Attraction? Well, consider this the trial lawyer version of Fatal Attraction. Close plays high-powered attorney Patty Hewes. Her fresh out of law school, ambitious protégé, Ellen Parsons, soon begins to wish she had never met Patty. It doesn’t take long to see that Patty Hewes is crazy.

The hook to the show is that the story is told in flashback. This might be the reason why the show didn’t catch on with audiences. The first episode of the first season opens what the trusty protégé Ellen Parsons in police custody for the murder of her boyfriend. Each week the show takes viewers back in time as the story is revealed. It’s good drama and great acting—a couple of things I look for in “must see TV.”

Oh, I forgot to mention, during season 1, Ted Danson plays a ruthless, greedy CEO being sued by former employees in a class action lawsuit—which is the main storyline for the season.

Take a few minutes to catch up before show time at 10 pm. EST—Damages Season 1 Recap

Trailers of upcoming season, which begins tonight.

My Road Trip to Florida

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On Saturday morning I began my road trip to Lehigh Acres, Florida to visit my Dad.  I definitely should have gotten an early morning start (4 a.m. is the ideal time). But since I was driving, I could leave whenever I got ready. That is the good thing about driving—you leave when you want, and you stop when you want.

I didn’t really get on the road until about 9:30 a.m., which turned out to be a big mistake. I have never seen so many cars on interstate before—to the point of traffic coming to a crawl. There was fog in Delaware heading into Maryland. I was expecting traffic to open up once I got past Maryland, but 84 miles from Richmond, traffic slowed to a craw. For about 2 to 3 hours we only got 40 miles. Talk about agony. Then came the rain from VA to NC.

Between NJ and VA I went through 100 songs on my iPod. I also discovered that the Verizon Wireless network is amazing. While I was driving, I called them about my Blackberry not getting web access and was on hold for about 40 minutes, moving at about 70 mph and the call didn’t get dropped. They also solved my problem but I was impressed that I didn’t lose the connection.

Because I got a late start, and had traffic slow downs, I didn’t get as far as I had hoped. I like to get half way before stopping for the night. I only got in 521 miles of the 1,261 miles to Lehigh Acres. I have a lot of ground to cover on Sunday. My overnight stop is Dunn, NC (Hampton Inn has free internet and waffles). I will get a good start in the morning.

The audiobooks I have include: A Mercy by Toni Morrison, Gotta Keep Tryin’ by Virgina DeBerry and Donna Grant, a couple of Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich, and a few thrillers by Tess Gerristen. That should get me there and back.

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