Books I & II of The Lova Chronicles is available now!

The Lova Chronicles kicked off with The Earthen Shroud in August 2013!

Want Your Book to Read Like a Movie?

Check out my book trailer and see how I did it!

Author Book Signing

I've only done this once, but I had the time of my life! You can too; see how.

Food-Inspired Art

Check out my guest post on Notebook Blogairy about how food inspires my writing.

Pages From My Diary

I started a new blog series: awesome, intimate, legendary.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tyrese Gibson: Inspirational Guru

You know me; I write what I feel, and say what I think, despite criticism or disagreement.  And I was compelled to write today, because an amazing work crossed my hands via my Barnes & Noble Nook that I must share with you.

On my Facebook newsfeed today, I happened to see a link a friend had shared of Tyrese Gibson (you know, the singer/actor) on TBN with Steve Harvey.  As I watched the 19-minute video, I found myself enthralled, on the very edge of my seat, mesmerized and hanging onto the words this dark chocolate man was speaking.  I have always loved Tyrese; how can you not love songs like Lately and Sweet Lady2 Fast 2 Furious had you counting every block in those rock hard abs, and the Transformers franchise made you want to bite his bottom lip every time he said, "Bring the rain!"  And don't even get me started on Baby Boy.  But here, I was seeing more than just the sensuality and sex appeal for which he is often lauded.  In this video, you saw his intellect, spirituality, and wisdom.  And ladies, it's sexy as hell.

Tyrese did the interview with Steve to promote his new book, How to Get Out of Your Own Way.  The journey is a memoir of sorts that gives Tyrese's perspective on life based on where he's come from and where he's been, an inspirational work to uplift and elevate his audience to pursue more than their current circumstances and show them how he progressed, and hopefully, by his example, do the same.  After watching that video, I bought the book.  I was too impressed with this gentleman (and this new persona of him I had never experienced) not to see what else he had to say.

I was immediately inspired.  It's been very rare that I've been able to say that about a written work.  I've certainly been entertained, informed, and enlightened by a book, but never in my experience have I been inspired.  And I'm only on page 50!  His work starts with his childhood in the hood of Watts, and the pictures he paints of the dual emotions of that environment, the childhood delights we can all laugh aloud about to the cruel reality of the gang-infested, bullet-riddled streets of inner city living, are vivid and lasting.  It immediately brought to mind some of my childhood memories of summers I spent in southeast Washington DC with my cousins.  And the work is written in the same voice with which he speaks; it's as if he's sitting right there with you, just having a conversation.

I was hesitant about my dream.  You know this because you've been following my blog since I began this year.  I've had doubts, and I've expressed them openly.  I've been discouraged and down-right pessimistic at times.  I didn't believe it was possible to get The Grim written, much less published; I complain about the financial investment and the lack of support.  I wonder how I'm going to accomplish this vision that God placed on my heart and spirit, and I condemn myself for being so bold as to think that someone like me could even accomplish such a thing.  But Tyrese's work reminds you that you deserve better, and pity parties have no room in the circle of greatness.  And I am certainly striving for just that: the hope and volume that accompanies greatness.

Sometimes, the vision God gives you is so overwhelming.  Tyrese talks about how he never expected that the road God would take him down would be this prosperous.  The sheer volume of what I see happening for myself, while it may not be on a Tyrese-type scale, still overwhelms, even terrifies, me because I can't imagine that I'm worthy or deserving of it.  But I must learn to love myself as much as God loves me, as impossible as that may seem, and recognize that I don't write just for myself, but because God has planted a seed in me to speak.  And like Moses, I must do so, even when I'm stutter of speech, because somebody needs to hear it.  And maybe that somebody is you.  And who am I to deprive you of that encounter to which God expects me to expose you?

I'm going to use How to Get Out of Your Own Way with my Young Bright Minds group, and I pray you read it yourself and encourage your teenagers and other youth you may know to read it.  They have to know how not to make the same mistakes everyone before them made.  And everyone needs to know that no matter how old you are, where you are doesn't have to be where you stay.  This book will inspire you, too. I've joined the Love Circle!

Order the book here!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

From Books to Movies

When asked about my novel, The Grim, becoming a movie, it spawned a great deal of thought.  While I love the idea of The Grim becoming a blockbuster film, it left me thinking about other great books that became incredible movies.  While I am an avid reader, I also really love movies so I compiled a short list of some of my favorite book-to-movie classics.  Clearly, I've left quite a few awesome flicks off this list: the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings trilogy among them.  However, I left them off the list because there is too much material to cover them properly.  They are a great many other book-to-film classics that I love; maybe I can cover those in another blog.  But the four listed here are part of my favorite book and movie lists.  What are some of yours?

1. The Joy Luck Club (1993)

I am clearly not Asian, but who cares with this classic?  The mother-daughter dynamic described and examined here transcends culture.  While it is true that many of the mother experiences discussed in this book/movie are specific to the ideals of their home country (China), it doesn't take from the challenges faced in their relationships with their daughters.  Any mother or daughter can say they've been there or felt that, and the reader/viewer is left sitting there, astounded, gripped with both emotion and tears.

2. Girl, Interrupted (1999)

This clever piece about a group of women in an in-patient mental health ward is both gritty and thrilling.  It was also part of the inspiration for The Grim.  This may be one of the few films in which I can legitimately say I enjoyed Angelina Jolie.  The rest of the cast is just as star-studded, to include Winona Ryder, Whoopi Goldberg, and Brittany Murphy.  While in this case, I enjoyed the book better (since it described scenes and emotions that were clearly too much for the FCC), Girl, Interrupted remains one of my favorites in both my book and film collections.

3. The Color Purple (1985)

Okay, clearly with The Color Purple at number three on my list, it should be obvious that I'm putting these movies in no particular order!  What can be said about either the book or the film that you don't already know?  This is a classic that was on fire from the moment it was written, to the moment it hit the big screen, to the moment it hit shelves in DVD and Blu-ray formats.  It's a book/film that will never cease to be forgotten in black or American culture.  You've got an all-star cast in this film too: Whoopi, Oprah, Danny Glover, Rae Dawn Chong, and a real-life African princess in Akosua Busia (Nettie).  And guess what?  The film was released last year on Blu-ray for the 25th anniversary of the film's debut.  The following scene is a tear-jerker for me every time I watch it, but it's one of the best.

4. Forrest Gump (1994)

Yeah so before you laugh, realize that Forrest Gump kills any, and I do mean any, movie about mentally-challenged individuals, to include Rain Man and Rudy.  If you disagree, you can comment all day long, but I'm sticking to that assessment!  Not to mention the author, Winston Groom, wrote an almost completely different story in the novel, and that story is incredible as well!  The movie departs significantly from the original work but still weaves a tale of adventure, triumph, heroism, and just pure love.  How can you possibly argue with its placement in my hall of fame?  It's friggin incredible, from start to finish!  Even though, like with The Color Purple, it's difficult as hell to pick just one great scene, the following is one of my favorites.

No matter what your taste or speed, if you're a true book/movie lover, this top 4 has you rolling in your seat with love and laughter.  That's what great books and films do; they warm your heart and leave you with this overwhelming emotion and satisfaction.  That's what great work is supposed to do; it's what it's meant for.  With any luck, one day, The Grim will be a part of that ranking...