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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Stay Encouraged – 10 Tips to Keep You on Top

How to Stay Encouraged – 10 Tips to Keep You on Top
By Victoria K. Munro

Victoria K. Munro is co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small business .

Running a business, especially in the early years, can be an emotional roller-coaster ride. Running the many facets of the business, managing cash flow, handling difficult clients, adapting to changing markets, and all in an unpredictable economy, can be overwhelming. On top of that, life simply isn’t always fair. Some days, it’s easy to become discouraged and let the inner fire that inspired you to launch this venture wane. There are times when we all need encouragement.

Below are 10 tips to help you stay encouraged and press on in spite of the ups and downs, adversities and setbacks you may face.

1. Be careful what you think. Our thoughts have enormous power to affect how we feel. They determine our attitude. Read or listen to positive, inspirational books and reflect on what you learn.

2. Seek out someone you can encourage. Others around you need your help and support. Reaching out to someone else will lift your spirits too.

3. Think about what motivated you to start your business. It was probably more than a paycheck. Perhaps something you’re passionate about that will make the world a better place. Maybe something you enjoy and are really good at. Review and recommit to your company mission. Write or rewrite the vision you have for the business.

4. Don’t try to do it alone. Recruit a team of cheerleaders. Surround yourself with positive, upbeat people who can be your sounding board and provide the business know-how you need. Choose those who’ll be honest with you, yet give the emotional support and encouragement we all need when the going gets tough-your own personal board of advisors.

5. Focus on the positive. Be aware of and stop all negative self-talk. Write out and repeat positive affirmations.

6. View setbacks as stepping-stones to success. Don’t waste time and energy rehearsing past (or possible future) negative events. Determine to learn from every obstacle in your path and every mistake you make. These experiences, the lessons learned and knowledge gained will serve you well in the future, and better equip you to help others.

7. Find someone to brainstorm with, bounce ideas off and learn from. Just sharing your frustrations and challenges with another can lighten the load. Consider hiring a personal or business coach.

8. Smile often. Studies show that smiling releases endorphins that make us feel good. It also causes a measurable reduction in our blood pressure. Try it! It works, even when you don’t feel like smiling.

9. Create a pleasant environment you enjoy working in. Our surroundings affect the way we feel. When the sun is shining, it’s easier to be cheerful. Music can also be a powerfully enriching tool to calm and revitalize us.

10. Be good to yourself. Take a break. Go for a walk and enjoy nature. Do something different. Take a mini vacation-get away for a day or two and refocus.


Victoria K. Munro is co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small business owners through creatively designed programs and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different businesses.

To receive FREE business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at: http://www.Make-it-Fly.com, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Victoria_K._Munro

 

Your Own Business – 7 Tips Before You Start

Your Own Business – 7 Tips Before You Start
By Wim Venter

Wim Venter is the CEO of Ventex Corporation, an international business development consultancy. Wim has a passion for developing and integrating various business disciplines.

To have your own business often seems to be the ultimate. The grass is, however, not always greener on the other side. It is important not to be blinded by the potential rewards. Do you have what it takes? You need the right skills, determination, financial backing, etc. There are also several serious and potential fatal risks.

The following tips act as a guideline before you start your own business:

Make sure that entrepreneurship is for you. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. If you feel safer in your comfort-zone and are risk-averse the chances are that you are better off where you are – nothing wrong with that. Entrepreneurship needs passion, a certain amount of risk-taking and the motivation and dedication to succeed when everything seems to be against you.

Understand the risks. Financial risk, including potential bankruptcy, is a real threat if things go wrong. Less obvious risks include social-, career- and psychological risks.

Build a support structure. To have your own business can be quite tough at times. The more support you have the bigger the chances of surviving these times. It is worthwhile to make an effort to get your family and friends positive about the business.

Get the right partners. It is often not advisable to embark on a business on your own (or even impossible). Good synergy between partners can drastically increase the potential of a business. Unfortunately many business partnerships don’t work and are often disastrous. Choose your partners very careful and ensure that legal contracts are in place for any potential “divorce” in the future.

Prepare diligently. To have your own business generally means a lot of hard work. This should start with a proper feasibility study and business planning. Is there a big enough gap in the market that your business can fill? How will you do it? How will it be funded?
Be realistic. A new business is never just moonshine and roses. It tends to take much longer than expected to breakeven and it needs much more resources (especially financially) than normally planned for. Reflect this in your cashflow planning.

Get expert advice. When you lack specific skills it is much cheaper to pay for it in the beginning rather than later when the business does not work. The advice of auditors, attorneys, bankers, consultants and other experts should be sought where applicable.

Copyright© 2008 – Wim Venter

Wim Venter is the CEO of Ventex Corporation, a business development consultancy. To receive more information on starting your own business and other business related topics (articles, case studies and tips) sign up for our free newsletters.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wim_Venter

 

What the Heck is Web 2.0 Anyway?

What the Heck is Web 2.0 Anyway?
By Nicholas Wilson

Though the term bears the well-known version number so often attached to software products, it doesn’t actually refer to any one technology. Rather, “Web 2.0” is the name for an emerging set of Internet-based tools and an emerging viewpoint on how to use them.

The technologies encompassed by “Web 2.0” include, but are by no means limited to, blogs, tags, RSS, social bookmarking, and AJAX.

The viewpoint focuses on the idea that the people who access the Internet, and use the Web shouldn’t without interest absorb what’s available. Rather, they should be active contributors, helping customize media and technology for their own purposes, as well as those of their communities.

“Web 2.0” websites allow users to do more than just recover information. They can build on the interactive facilities of “Web 1.0” to provide “Network as platform” computing, allowing users to run software-applications entirely through a browser. Users can own the data on a “Web 2.0” site and exercise control over that data.

Bart Decrem, a founder and former CEO of Flock, calls “Web 2.0” the “participatory Web” and regards the Web-as-information-source as “Web 1.0”.

It is a common misconception that “Web 2.0” refers to various visual design elements such as rounded corners or drop shadows.

While such design elements have commonly been found on popular Web 2.0 sites, the association is more one of fashion, a designer preference which became popular around the same time that “Web 2.0” became a buzz word.

Watch the video to see what this all means. Please comment and let me know what you think of the video. I thought it was absolutely amazing! Thanks to Michael Wesch. Check below for the link.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

Nick Wilson is a Internet marketer who values training and support for his team. Find More great information from “Nick Wilson” here

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nicholas_Wilson

 

How to Be Prosperous With an Online Internet Business

Hello Readers,

Do you have your own online business? What has been some of your challenges.

What are your thoughts on this article? Leave your questions or comments below.

Thank you,
Ella Curry, EDC Creations
http://www.edc-creations.com/

How to Be Prosperous With an Online Internet Business
By Conny L. Young

Conny L. Young is a retired Chiropractor. Prior to becoming a Chiropractor, Dr. Young spent 17 years as a research scientist with Eli Lilly

Many people approach their online internet business the same way they approach the rest of their life. Sometimes they are sick, broke, tired, miserable … the list goes on an on. Little do they realize what they get in life is directly connected to what they think, say and do. Every thought, word and action we experience are seeds of what is to come. It is a simple, powerful principle. It is just as true in doing online internet business as it is in every aspect of our life.There are seven steps to prosperity and if you follow them, you will be successful in your online internet business.
1. Give – Whatever you put out will be returned with interest. Make sure you are delivering and honest product or service. It you promise to mentor or train someone in your business, do it.

2. Be Honest – Honesty is very important in financial matters because again, since what you sow you will reap, it pays (literally) never to cut corners.

3. Work – Most people don’t start out in life working where they want, doing what they want, etc., but everyone has SOME talent or ability or opportunity available to them. It may not be much, but if you use what you have, more will be given to you.

4. Avoid Negative Thoughts – Do not give negative thoughts energy. Any thought that inhibits what you want to achieve is a negative thought. This is probably the biggest key to success, and the most difficult to achieve. What you think and believe will eventually become your reality, so concentrate on remaining positive about your business.

5. Forgive and Forget – Failure to forgive, bitterness, resentment, and jealousy are poison. They will hold you back, even if they are towards yourself or someone else and entirely unrelated to you online business. Letting go is incredibly important.

6. Think Big – Expect huge success. Since it is an established fact that we get what we think about, it is important that you should expect to be successful in your online internet business.

7. Give Thanks – We can not achieve anything entirely by ourselves. We all rely on somebody for something. Be grateful for all of those who made your internet business possible, and for all that is coming to you, and even more will be given to you.

For a more complete essay on prosperity contact Conny L. Young at: youngsbigtickettowealth@gmail.com http://7figureswithconny.com/
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Conny_L._Young

 
 

Guaranteed Book Writing Success Plan

Guaranteed Book Writing Success Plan
By Douglas Robert

If you ever thought about writing your book but have yet to get it done, what’s holding you back? Maybe you got started writing one day fueled by inspiration and wrote several pages, or even a chapter. But then you shoved it into a drawer and went on with your life as though your writing didn’t count.

If at any time in your life you wanted to write a book, or dreamed about becoming a bestselling author and you aren’t actually writing your book now, this article is for you.

There’s an old Raymond Stanford quote that comes to mind — “You are the only problem you will ever have and baby, you are the only solution.” As with most things in life, these words also apply to writing your book. In other words, if you want it and you’re not yet accomplishing your book writing goals, there is only one reason: you have allowed yourself to get in the way. But the good news is that you and only you can change these results.

“If it is to be, it’s up to me” says pastor and author, Robert Schuller. Understanding this basic concept and accepting total responsibility for the results in your life is a necessary requirement to achieve your goal of writing a book.

With this foundation in place, here’s your guaranteed book writing success plan.

1. Clarify Your Thinking
Decide on the one book you’re going to write. If you’re considering more than one, choose the one that gets you most excited. That’s the best place to start. Now cast the others aside and begin to focus exclusively on your topic. Develop the single purpose of writing your book and seeing it through. Make it a priority in your life and pursue its completion with dogged determination.

2. Develop A Plan For Your Book
A plan is crucial. If you’ve ever started on a writing project and abandoned it before completion, more than likely you didn’t have a complete plan in place from the start.

Start by mapping out the key ideas. Choose the best ones and break them down further. Each key idea becomes a chapter in your book. Turn your map into a detailed outline by thinking through the overall project and each of its component parts. This organizes your material chapter-by-chapter, topic-by-topic, even page-by-page. When you know exactly what you’re going to cover and where it’s going, writing your book is a walk in the park.

3. Imagine The End Result
Picture yourself holding your completed book in hand and notice how it feels. Imagine the crowds at your book signing events eager to snap up copies of your work. See the sales coming in everyday as word spreads about your red-hot book. Fuel your desire by constantly thinking about the results you want. Repeatedly visualizing your desired results injects a “success consciousness” which reinforces the positive habit of writing everyday and moving towards your desire.

4. Build Your Self Confidence
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve accomplished in your life before. You can write a successful book. But you have to believe in yourself and your own abilities enough to see it through. Each line of text is one line closer to the finish line. That’s all any book is in essence anyway. It’s a whole bunch of lines put together, one after another, until it makes a book. So if you can write even a single sentence, you can surely repeat it any number of times. Use each line to propel you forward to the next one.

5. Make The Commitment To Finish Your Book No Matter What
Control your attention and stay focused on your project. Develop a dogged determination to see it through regardless of any challenges life tosses your way.

Concentrate on your ability to add one more line, one more paragraph, or one more segment. Never let any obstacle stop you. Keep moving forward and everyday you advance closer towards your dream.

There you have it – a proven book writing success plan. If you sincerely want to write a book, keep this article at your side and refer to it frequently. Do that and you will succeed – you will get it done. You’ll write that amazing book that will help many people and quite possibly earn you a fortune.

Anyone can write a book and make a lot of money. Most people dream of it at some point in their lives… but few follow through to live the dream. If you want to learn how to write your book in just days… and profit for years — you simply must visit my web site. For plenty of FREE tips, techniques, tactics and helpful resources, visit TODAY: http://www.WordsIntoMoney.com

 

Write Your First Book – 12 Tips to Help You

Hello Readers,
Have you considered writing a book, but don’t know where to start? Well read the article below to get started. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to share them with us.

Ella Curry, EDC Creations

Write Your First Book – 12 Tips to Help You
By Karen Purves

Karen Purves is a leading marketing expert working with coaches to build the business that is inside them. She has a Masters Degree in Marketing. Many coaches dream of writing a book but only a few realise it. These tips are designed to provide the structure to make a hard job that bit easier. It may be a bit of shock to find the order of the activities, perhaps that is the most important tip!

Tip #1 – Start With A Table Of Contents This provides the scope of the book. Identify where you require further information and where that will come from. This may be a mix of existing material and interviews from people who have successfully achieved or who are still progressing towards their goal.

Tip #2 – Define A Goal For Your Book Define at the outset what you want from book sales, whether you want to self publish or approach a publisher. Is there a better month to launch your book? For example, if it will be read by those people who already have everything, then a November/December launch will appeal to those people who are searching to buy that elusive present. Have numbers for the following: – Number of books to publish in the first printing – Cost for the first run – Cost for subsequent printings – Cost for copywriting, proofreading and design

Tip #3 – How Does It Fit With Your Other Products And Services Make sure you book dovetails into your range of services so the reader can explore your offering in more detail. If you don’t have any other programs, then take some time through the writing to plan follow on products.

Tip #4 – Add Content To Your Blog Use your blog to get into the rhythm of writing about your subject. What is great about blogging is that people can comment on your material and that can help with producing more. It can really motivate. If you consider the content of three to four posts making half a chapter, then writing in chunks becomes more manageable. You don’t really want to have all your content on your blog.

Tip #5 – Have a Co-author This makes the job easier as you are only required to do certain jobs and perhaps a selection of the contents. Remember, this person is someone who you know, who you have a proven record for working successfully together and is totally trustworthy.

Tip #6 – The Writing Agreement Set out exactly what each is bringing to the book. This can be preparation of the content, managing the finances, defining and delivering the marketing. Agree how payments are to be made and the split. It is much better for all this to be explicit at the outset as it means everyone is clear about their roles, their gifts and what the reward is for successfully completing the project.

Tip #7 – Set And Follow Your Deadlines Create a plan for each chapter to be completed with deadlines. Also, do the same for the editing, designing, marketing and publishing. There is nothing better to focus attention than by knowing that activities have to be completed otherwise you may miss your slot for that year.

Tip #8 – Tell People You Are Writing a Book Tell your friends, colleagues and family about you writing a book. They will ask you about your progress and this is a great motivator. You can be honest about progress. Sometimes, when you are in the detail and looking at what needs to be done, you forget just how much progress has been made. It spurs you on completing the next chunk.

Tip #9 – Find a Good Review Team Honest friends make excellent reviewers. They will take the time to read, to consider what you are saying, how it meets your goals and offer feedback on how well the material achieves its goal. What you want in this feedback is pointers on how you can improve the material where it needs it. Ask your reviewers to inform you whether the material requires more interviews, more research or an adjustment to the flow.

Tip #10 – Hire a Good Editor This is probably one of the first activities to research. As you start writing and let people know about your project, you will find others who are doing the same or have recently published and here is where you can find an editor that will work for you.
Nearly there….

Tip #11 – Find Expert Reviewers Whilst you are researching and writing, be aware of who else is out there, who is being interviewed by journalists and make contact for them to be an expert reviewer. Give your reviewers a set time frame to review your book.

Tip #12 – Good is Good Enough Perhaps this should be tip #1! You want the book to be complete – so there is no place for perfection. You want to move onto the next phase and any errors, additional material can be incorporated into the nest version.

Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved

Karen Purves is a leading marketing expert working with coaches to build the business that is inside them. She has a Masters Degree in Marketing specialising in small and micro businesses and 25 years experience. Her passion is marketing and making it work for others.

Karen’s Marketing Programs are based upon her own practices, research and knowledge. She has successfully grown three businesses over the past few years. The most successful was where she changed the way professional qualifications were delivered to busy professionals. As a result, that approach is now used throughout the UK.

Now, Karen has created the Marketing Iceberg Business Builder Program where you are taken step by step to develop the business that runs without you having to trade your time for income. To get a free workbook on Ten questions to Increase your Sales, go to http://www.smallbizmarketing.co.uk

 
 

Five Reasons to Self-Publish Your Own Book

Hello Readers,

Have you thought about publishing your own book? It can be rewarding if done correctly. Before you get started, do your research and read as much as you can on the subject. If you have already published your own book tell us about your experience. Feel free to leave comments after reading this articles or ask any questions you may have.

Ella Curry

Five Reasons to Self-Publish Your Own Book
By Bob Baker

Every March, book people across the country celebrate Small Press Month. While the term “small press” can refer to a modest-sized publishing company with multiple titles from various authors, it most often applies to self-published authors. That’s another term that is subject to interpretation: “self-publish.” In the old days it was considered something you were forced to do if you couldn’t get a “traditional” publisher to put out your book. These days, however, self-publishing is a different ballgame. But many aspiring authors I meet still wrestle with that old stigma.

The Time and Money Excuse
Another comment I often hear: “I know that self-publishing is an option I should consider, but it will take so much time, effort and money. I think I may be better off looking for an agent or a publishing company to put out my book.” True. Self-publishing a book does take time and effort. But so will preparing a book proposal and hunting down the right agent or publishing company — especially one that will send you something other than a rejection slip.

And with short-run digital printing (also known as “print on demand”), producing your own book doesn’t have to be expensive. You can print your first run of perfect-bound paperback books for as little as a couple hundred dollars.

Do It Yourself
As you may have guessed, I’m a big proponent of self-publishing. So, if you’re at that stage where you’re trying to decide between traditional and self-publishing, please consider my “Five Reasons to Self-Publish Your Own Book”:

1) You set the timetable. Big publishers can take from one year to 18 months or more to get a new book out. When you self-publish, your book can be out in a matter of weeks or months. Also, traditional publishers will only put a promotional push behind a book for a short window (perhaps three or four months). A self-published book can be aggressively marketed by its author for years on end.

2) It’s a great way to test market a new title. If you have a cool idea for a book, wouldn’t you rather get an early version of it out into the marketplace to see if it has legs? Or would you prefer to spend a lot of time writing proposals and researching who might me interested in helping you publish it? Personally, I’m most eager to see if my ideas resonate with actual consumers.

3) You can still reach the masses. Most aspiring authors believe that a publisher will get them into bookstores and other sales outlets, and that as a self-published author they’ll be hamstrung with limited sales options. The truth: Many established publishers do have developed sales pipelines through which they promote their titles. That can be an advantage, but it doesn’t guarantee your book will be widely available in bookstores.

Today, using Amazon’s Advantage program and a POD service like Lightning Source (which gets your book listed with Ingram, the world’s largest wholesale book distributor), you can tap into many of the same sales channels as the traditional publishers.

4) There’s more profit potential. If you sold 500 copies of your self-published book directly to readers for $20 each (assuming your printing cost per book was $3), you’d make $8,500 in profit. To make that same $8,500 in royalties from a standard publishing contract, your publisher would have to sell more than 5,000 copies. In other words, you can make the same amount of money selling one-tenth the number of books.

5) It gets you into the game. Even if you some day want to have a traditional publisher handle the printing and sales of your title, I still believe self-publishing is the best first step. You learn more about the process, get feedback directly from readers, acquire a first-hand understanding of marketing, and more. And if you achieve some small-scale success with your self-published book, you’ll be in a much better position to get the attention of a major publisher. Perhaps, they’ll even pursue you. And wouldn’t that be a nice position to be in?

I encourage you to look over these reasons again and strongly consider putting out your next book yourself!

———–

Bob Baker is a full-time author and independent publisher who has developed a successful niche writing and speaking about music marketing and self-promotion for songwriters, musicians and bands. His books include “Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook,” “Unleash the Artist Within,” “MySpace Music Marketing,” and more. Get Bob’s free “Self-Publishing Confidential” report and dozens of book promotion tips at http://FullTimeAuthor.com/

 

Reputation and Insight of the Queen Bee

The Reputation and Insight of the Queen Bee
By Laura Major

More than just a catalyst to ticket sales, the predominant face associated with a film has a lot to do with the direction it will take and how it will be perceived. The same holds true for the making of The Secret Life of Bees, a New York Times bestseller by Sue Monk Kidd. While she never imagined the book would be published much less make it to the big screen, when asked if she had any input in cast selection, Sue Monk Kidd admitted, “Well, they were kind enough to ask my opinion. They asked me way back, years before, they asked me who I would see playing and I said, Queen Latifah, not that [the stage name] queen had anything to do with it. But she came to mind after I saw her in Chicago. I thought she’d be fabulous.”

No doubt the multitalented performer has excelled at everything she associates herself with from modeling, rapping, acting, producing, talent management as well as her latest foray into classical music, Queen Latifah as matriarchal figure August Boatwright in The Secret Life of Bees would be a major coup. Even director Gina Prince-Bythewood reflects, “The fact that we got everybody we wanted is a great blessing.” More than anything, Queen Latifah was perfect for the role, Bythewood said of the actor, “She exudes warmth and she’s larger than life–and that’s really what August needed to be.”

Beyond what Queen Latifah brought to the film is what she brought to the attitude on the set. When Bythewood explains the difficulty in getting the film off the ground she continues in a voice rich with gratefulness and sincerity, “Latifah is the reason this film got made. Like none of the actors got paid at all for this and Latifah set that tone because she knew that if she didn’t take a huge pay cut and was not in the film, it would not have been made. And films like this need to be made, so she really set the tone which allowed me to have this caliber of cast for no money.”

Carrying a film that studios are skeptical to make not because of its value but because of its potential for broad market appeal, can be a lot a pressure for one actor to take, adding to that the need to adjust within the movie’s budgetary constraints and a less humble or value-based actor would fold under the pressure. However, when asked if she was excited about being the only person envisioned to star in this moving playing one of its only two lead roles, she simply replied, “Yeah.”

Though modest, everyone joined in to sing Latifah’s praises. Nate Parker of The Debaters didn’t miss an opportunity to share what Queen’s presence did for the making of the film, he stated, “One of the things I noticed when I was watching you [Queen Latifah] that was obvious was that you really were like glue. I said it earlier you were almost like the honey between all the kids. And the reason and the connection was clear how everyone kind of fed off of your wisdom.”

Even as all the accolades buzzed around the room for this shining star, Queen Latifah ensured that the accomplishments of her fellow actors weren’t overlooked. She told Ella Curry, Literary Publicist and CEO of EDC Creations and others when asked how she worked so well with the cast and crew, “I think that I can be kind of disarming, because I’m not insecure with myself out of the normal range that other women can be. I’m not walking around on set with a chip on my shoulder and my ego all up like this wouldn’t have been made without me. I don’t do that…you know it’s not one person that makes a movie. Everybody makes a movie. To me the better you keep your spirit the better it is. You’ll have to ask the others how they felt working with me but I am a fan of theirs as well.”

Obviously her philosophy works because the Oscar winner of Dream Girls, Jennifer Hudson said of the Golden Globe, Grammy and SAG-winning actor, “…Queen has the most beautiful spirit. Like, she comes around you and her joy just spills out and everyone is just smiling and happy and you don’t even know why you’re smiling.”

It is an attitude such as this full of peace, humility, honesty and gratefulness that allows the joy the cast experienced on the set to translate through a movie as powerful as The Secret Life of Bees.

About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2008 in #StorytellersBookTour

 

Alicia Keys’ B-side in the Secret Life of Bees

Alicia Keys’ B-side in the Secret Life of Bees
By Laura Major

Books and their parts are often used as metaphors for life. For example, “never judge a book by its cover” or “judge a man not by the color of his skin by but the content of his character”, but Grammy-winning, multi-platinum recording artist, Alicia Keys, as she often does in her music, reveals a new perspective in judging a great novel or judging a person. While sitting within the stop and go environment of the movie set for The Secret Life of Bees with book in hand, Keys ponders, “You can tell a good book by the first line, because really a person will show you who they are the first time you meet them.”

Indeed, Alicia Keys showed everyone who she was with debut album “Songs in A Minor” and her subsequent critically acclaimed album release “The Diary of Alicia Keys”. With such movies as Smokin Aces and The Nanny Diaries in her repertoire, the singer, songwriter and musician, has successfully added actor to her resume as well. Knowing what makes a great product, Keys voiced her interest in participating in the film years earlier during its first trip through film development which later lost steam. When the movie landed unwavering support from Fox Search Light Studios, something that hadn’t existed earlier when it made the rounds at other studios, director Gina Prince-Bythewood was uncertain about casting Keys as it would be only Keys’ third dramatic effort. Additionally, the role of June Boatwright had to be rewritten much younger than the book’s character to correspond with Keys’ age. The singer/songwriter definitely did her part by learning to play the cello. Keys said of the experience, “It was actually really exciting for me to learn a brand new instrument…it was definitely a lot of work learning the finer details.”

Apparently, Keys is no stranger to the details as all seeds of doubt have been replaced with adoration. Bythewood said of her performance, “Her work ethic is unbelievable and Alicia gives an incredible performance.” That work ethic was also evident as Keys honored her other commitments without affecting the shooting of the movie. During the Super Bowl the crew and cast members witnessed Keys shed her afro wig and prim clothing to emerge as a sexy songbird ready to dazzle a screaming adrenalin-pumped crowd only to show up later right on schedule as her character June Boatwright. She explained, “I felt uncomfortable when I had to leave everybody, because we had created an environment that really made us sisters and family.”
Nate Parker of The Great Debaters said of getting to know his character’s love interest before the shoot, “…she’s a fantastic person. She’s an activist, she’s a real activist make no mistake. So we had so much in common so take that and apply it to the script, it was…I don’t want to say ‘easy’ but it was effortless…After that I no longer saw her as the singer that other people see.”

Certainly, Keys talent didn’t miss anyone’s radar on the set. When the book’s author, Sue Monk Kidd visited the set during filming, she recounts on her website, “It’s clear that Alicia has completely owned the character of June.’Everyone thinks of her as a singer,’ one of the crew whispers to me, ‘but just wait.'”

Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to see Alisha Keys embrace the character of intelligent and strong-willed June Boatwright in The Secret Life of Bees, opening October 17th.


About Laura Major:
Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.

 

Love Amidst the Storm

Love Amidst the Storm in The Secret Life of Bees
By Laura Major

Like a brilliant flower that bursts through the cement cracks of a sidewalk, love of family, love of self and romantic love bloom despite the toxic soil of South Carolina 1964 in Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Lives of Bees.

Teenager Lily Owen, played by I Am Sam star Dakota Fanning, leaves her abusive father behind and takes up her nanny Dream Girls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson in search of belonging. Despite the turbulence of the South in 1964, Lily finds love as well as acceptance in the Boatwright house where a group of sisters board them.

The themes are ever present for the cast as they bring to life the story Sue Monk Kidd paints of family and love despite the cruelty of the outside world in The Secret Life of Bees. One of the youngest cast members, 90210 star Tristan Wilds says of his character, “…he knows everything about what’s going on in the ’60s but he’s sheltered from it. From the love that the ladies give him, the Boatwright sisters.” When Ella Curry, CEO of EDC Creations and Literary Publicist asked what he hoped young African American men would take from this movie, Wilds replied, “Honestly I hope that they can take away from it that, let me give up on love, love is a very complex emotion and sometimes it goes or it could live through some of the hardest times and you gotta keep going though it…sometimes things can stop or block the way of your love or you get trained not to love that person, but if you really love that person you’re going to show your feelings, you’re going to express how you feel.”

Smashing the idea that love and independent women can’t co-exist and transcending romantic love to the love of family, Nate Parker of The Great Debaters says of the film, “I think it empowers black women. This is the time of the 1960s where these women owned their own business, a successful business that was a food consumption business that white people supported. So that shows how hard they worked they’re self-sufficient, they were independent, yet still they negated the whole idea of pushing men out. They have men that came into their lives that they respected and respected each other. I think it really supported the structure of family in the sense of having these four sisters and my character and Tristan all basically living under one roof and them working.”

It was the book’s emphasis on the various types of love that compelled the Director Gina Prince-Bythewood to embrace bringing it to film from the start. She said, “…one of the big reasons I did this film is when I got to that line where it says, ‘I’m unlovable’ and that just wrecked me and just mirrored you know how I felt about myself at that time in my life. So I really wanted to tell the story because of that. So I think a lot of it was a little bit of a catharsis in writing it.”
Also sharing his own thoughts on family, Wilds continued, “My family, we were always very close. So I’ve learnt to not take everything lightly. Not to take family as lightly as I use to,” and how that has changed his behavior, “…to keep my family as close to me and as near and dear as possible. To show and express my love as much as possible because sometimes they are all you have , they are shelter, they are your shield sometimes.” Case in point, Tristan Wilds’ grandfather was present for the interview and he added, “Obviously I am very proud of him…we are very, very strong in the family and the one thing that I’ve told him is to be true to himself above everything else.”

Prince-Boatwright explained the movie’s appeal to love and family best when she said, “…I was raised and brought up, I had an El Salvadoran mother and a white father, I was adopted, [so I have] a brother who’s black, two sisters who are white and our differences were celebrated, despite the differences. That was no reason for us not to be able to love each other. That’s one of the big themes in the film is the unique ways that families are created.”

Whether in romantic relationships or in family, The Secret Live of Bees demonstrates that while we may all have our own role to play such as in a bee’s hive, the love that is shared is stronger than any force occurring on the outside.

About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.

 

Fanning the Flames: Sam I Am star Dakota Fanning

Fanning the Flames
By Laura Major

More than just a coming of age story about a young teenaged Caucasian girl learning the lessons of love and family in the Civil Rights era of South Carolina 1964, in Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, Lily Owens played by Sam I Am star Dakota Fanning, is an outward African American sympathizer. So outward are Lily’s connections to the African American southern community that she leaves her abusive father after the death of her mother and discovers her life’s lessons amid her African American nanny played by Dream Girls Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, and the bee-farming African American Boatwright sisters who board them. The story belongs to the Boatwright sisters as much as it belongs to Lily as they survive that turbulent time together.

A role that was meant for Fanning even before she was old enough to play it, she says about why she took the role, “I’m from the South, so I could relate to a lot of the themes that re in the story and I’m really close to my mother and all the women in my life, my aunt, my grandmother an d so I can relate to Lily kind of watching that relationship because I’m so lucky to have it.”

Indeed the cast of The Secret Life of Bees felt lucky to have Fanning. Oscar-nominated star for the movie Chicago, Queen Latifah, who hold the other headlining role said of her young co-star, “…I needed to know Dakota was going to do this movie before I would agree to do it, yeah because she’s a great actress and really owns it as a complicated troubled character. To progress a lot of levels, have to be comfortable in her own skin and able to work with God knows who the actors are going to be. There was nobody yet, there was just her and me. So obviously she’s a vet and she’s been pulling it all since Sam I Am, and so I really thought that she could bring this character to life.”

Yet when asked about her veteran status, Fanning laughed and then replied, “Thank you. I don’t, I just do something that I love to do. I have so much fun doing and I want to do forever and that hasn’t changed.”

Fanning’s talent for this kind of fun really showed the crew her professionalism, according to Director Gina Prince-Bythewood one of her profound moments was the grits scene with Dakota. She said about the grits, “…the scene where she was on the grit and that was more early on…and that like solidified , I mean Dakota was dope, but I did it first because I as director, I gotta see what it feels like. And I lasted about 15 seconds on the grit. I mean it hurts and she did it, and when it came time for her close up I said, ‘bring some towels, you can kneel on some towels’, she said, ‘No’ she kneeled on the grits in her close-up and that just showed me the kind of actor she was.”

Fanning definitely held her own with co-stars twice her age, but with several opportunities to hone her skill before this moment, such as her roles in the television series, “ER”, “Ally McBeal”, “Ellen” and the movie I Am Sam, it’s no wonder the level of commitment this young actor portrays.

From her work ethic to modest outlook, Fanning hasn’t missed what her persona in the public eye represents. Of being a role model, she states, “I think when you are kind of in the public eye, you’re in movies, you can’t help but people kind of look to you. I have a little sister who I am definitely her role model, she looks up to me for so many things so I think that we all can be role models in some way you don’t have to be in the public eye people can look up to you just by seeing the way you act on the street, I think that you don’t just have to be in the entertainment industry to be a role model. I think definitely being in the public eye since I was little you definitely have a responsibility to some of the people who have believed in you and have supported you, your family, your friends and people you’ve worked with so I definitely feel that but I think that what is really special about what I get to do I get to help people through making a film and getting so much out of it for myself. I get to help others at the same time. “
When “90210” star Tristan Wilds was asked about his co-star and love interest in the movie, he replied, “She’s pretty great to work with and there’s not much I can say, she’s amazing. Simply amazing.”

On October, 17th we can expect another amazing performance from Ms. Fanning on screen as well.

About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.

 

Rumbling Undercurrent of The Secret Life of Bees

The Rumbling Undercurrent of The Secret Life of Bees
By Laura Major

It’s no coincidence that the backdrop to Sue Monk Kidd’s New York Times bestseller The Secret Life of Bees is the raging transformational environment of the South during the Civil Rights movement. The movie is a coming of age story about a young girl escaping her abusive father in search of love and belonging on her own terms. However, as the author, who came of age during the same time in Georgia, said of adolescence in the 1960’s South, “I do think race is the wound of my geography…it’s the wound of the South and of American life.” More than just the injustice of the South’s racial divide, Monk Kidd said, “…also it had a motif about the whole civil rights backdrop and this separation of people that I wanted to highlight.”

Segregation, the right to vote and the carrying of the world’s cruelty within were all societal themes the adaptation covered. In preparing for the role Dream Girls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson remarked, “In doing my research I had went to the dentist and in sitting there with my assistant and I saw a little white boy and a little black girl reading a book together and I almost started crying. I got chills.

Before then, I would have thought nothing of it. People overlook that…” A contrasting moment during filming lead Oscar-nominee for the movie Chicago, Queen Lafitah to come to a similar conclusion, “Wow, this is what I really do. Look at this…I mean, there was a time when this would not be possible. And so even when we’re shooting the March scene in Hairspray which is a big old musical. I’m looking around and I’m like they got the white kids who are there and they’re like ‘Black Kids… White kids’ and I’ve never been on a set where they say ‘Black kids, white kids’. I have no clue between cut and action you know what I mean. So the reality is that at a different time this would have been a separated… seriously segregated situation.” Everyone on the interview panel could agree that scenes such as these conjure a whole new level of respect and appreciation for where we are.

However, The Great Debaters star Nate Parker had no desire to witness complacency with what we’ve accomplished. He stated about leaving the role behind when the job was done, “We’re still in the Civil Rights Movement. The only thing that changes is the clothes and the hair. You know what I mean. I come out of roles like this inspired to teach about this period. So the transition it’s pretty clean. Because when I get out of this role and people ask me about the roles I can talk about the NAACP and the importance of voter registration and its relevant and it 2008 is an historic election time right now…”

Hudson was equally empowered by her character’s transition, she stated, “I think Rosaleen had a serious arc like a journey. My favorite thing about her is, was her strength. She was completely alone, no family, no nothing. And she knew things weren’t right the way that they were. And she didn’t mind fighting for what they should have been and what she wanted. Especially right now at the moment, I love that moment of her going to get that right to be able to vote. And I hope people will take that and say, ‘We didn’t always have that option.'”

Life’s journeys whether it be through social injustice or the inability to rise above the obstacles put before love, many of the movie’s cast expressed the profound existence of Hotel Rwanda star Sophie Okonedo’s character May. The actor of Nigerian and European descent plays May Boatwright a surviving twin who never really got over the painful death. Playing a conflicted character that is simple-minded with moments of sharp clarity and a child’s maturity in a woman’s form, Director Gina Prince-Bythewood described Okonedo’s performance as “expressive, warm, childlike and just beautiful. She digs down so deep and gives you so much.”

Her passing in the film was something everyone remarked about, Monk Kidd said, “May’s death was very hard for me to write and she was a character that I just had a tender spot for. She’s a unique character, she’s not typical in any way. So I hated when she died but I had foreseen the inevitable theme out of her character and she was just made that way and she wasn’t going to have a long life because she took in the suffering of the world and experienced it and felt it, it was just too much.” Every piece of literature has its tragic figure demonstrating how not everyone can overcome their weaknesses making those who survive that much more courageous.
The Secret Life of Bees explores the complexity of the layers that make up our lives with a variety of themes that can relate to anyone’s own personal story.

About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.

 

Imagination and the Life behind the Secret Life of Bees

The Imagination and the Life behind the Secret Life of Bees
By Laura Major

When an idea for a novel begins to form it can be the seed of any experience imagined or rooted in reality that brings the full body of the work to fruition. For Sue Monk Kidd, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees, it was a combination of her own life experience and her vivid imagination that brought to life the plight of a young Caucasian girl in Civil Rights era South Carolina to take up with her African American nanny in search of self-love and belonging after the death of her mother.

While the book is not autobiographical, Monk Kidd did grow up in the hostility of 1960’s Georgia. She says of the time, “It was a time I think when it was just very volatile and very vivid and I remember it deeply…I was an adolescent in 1964, I was around Lily’s age so I made her that age for a reason. And it was a time when I too was broken open and became aware of the segregation around me, the vast racial divide, the enormous injustice and I think, ‘How did this happen?'”

A time period so rich in history and yet so raw with emotion takes time to come to harvest before it can be shared with a new generation. That ripening period took nearly 30 years and first began to solidify in anecdotes she shared with her husband, then becoming a short story in 1993 before maturing to a full-blown published literary work in 2002. In discussing the path of the story and Monk Kidd’s hope for the work, she said “I could hardly see it published, so I think that it was not in my imagination when I was writing. I was just hoping to be true to the story. This is a story I felt like I was born to write and I wanted to tell. I just wanted to be true to it and hope somebody published it. The fact that it got made into a movie is astonishing to me.”

There are many reasons for Monk Kidd’s surprise, but the strength of the novel isn’t be one of them as she also revealed,”This novel was optioned [for film] early…before it was actually published”. However, as every great writer who knows the market as well as the craft she explains, “I really felt like it would probably never happen. That it wouldn’t become a movie because there are a lot of books that are optioned, [yet] so few end up on the screen.” Most think that having a book adapted for film is the ultimate dream, but Monk Kidd explains the risk very few writers think about, “…I felt like it was a risk I was willing to take because I believe in the story and I thought that this story could find a lighter audience and a different audience than those that would read the book–a completely difference audience. I don’t know but it might become popular in a different way.”

A great risk indeed, as the buzz surrounding the movie has broadened the author’s exposure despite the book’s previous international acclaim and awards. Beginning her professional career as a nurse then a non-fiction freelancer, The Secret Life of Bees was not her first work. Monk Kidd has written several books and won several awards since, including The Mermaid Chair which won the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction and was produced as a made-for-television Lifetime movie and Firstlight, a collection of the author’s early spiritual and inspirational writings. Aside from her literary publicity travels, Sue Monk Kidd is a Writer in Residence at The Sophia Institute in Charleston, South Carolina. Sue’s next release Traveling with Pomegranates, which is due out in 2009, is a mother-daughter travel memoir co-authored with her daughter Ann.

About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.

 

Readers, Share Your Book Reviews

Readers, Share Your Book Reviews with the EDC Creations and BAN family.

Already read the books showcased? Were they good or bad? Share your thoughts and do a review for EDC Creations Literary site. Tell us what you think of the book or the author in the Comments section below.

What we want to know about the book:

::: Summarize the book for others; what you gathered from this book.
::: What was good or bad about the book?
::: What impressed you the most about the writing style?
::: Who were your favorite characters in the book?
::: Would you recommend this book to others?

[ BACK TO THE MAGAZINE ]

Thanks, Ella.

 

Spotlight of Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson in SECRET LIFE OF BEES.

Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) and Rosaleen Daise (Jennifer Hudson) arrive at the painted-pink home of August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) in this clip from THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES.

 

The official trailer for The Secret Life of Bees

The official trailer for The Secret Life of Bees, starring Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo and Paul Bettany. In theatres everywhere October 17th.

 

Interview with author Marcia King-Gamble

Hello BAN Readers, today we are honored with a visit from Marcia King-Gamble. Marcia King-Gamble will share with us the journey to getting published and the most Intimate Connections within the books.

As part of our Intimate Conversation interviews, we always give the author a chance to tell us things not found on the back cover. Continue to read the extraordinary interview with bestselling author Marcia King-Gamble discussing her new book Meet Phoenix (ISBN: 0-373-86077-3) and sharing a glimpse inside the world of an published author. The Sankofa Literary Society has selected Meet Phoenix as book of the month featured title.


Marcia King-Gamble is a national best selling author, and an ex-travel industry executive. She’s lived in five different states and traveled to some of the more exotic parts of the world. The Far East, Venice and New Zealand are still her favorites.

She enjoys a good work out, is passionate about animals, old houses, and tearjerker movies. Marcia is also the editor of a monthly newsletter entitled Marcia’s Romantically Yours. Log onto her website http://www.lovemarcia.com and find out what she’s all about.

Books by Marcia King-Gamble
Hook, Line & Single – Harlequin January 2008
The Way He Moves – Harlequin May 2008
Meet Phoenix – Harlequin August 2008

Bring your 3 main characters to life. Tell us who they are and what you love about them.
One of my main character’s, Phoenix is an African American art restoration specialist. She’s beautiful, talented, and determined. I enjoyed writing about her because she is strong and principled; strong enough to walk away from a man she loves to find herself. Damon, Phoenix’s love interest and ex is playful, talented and totally irreverent. He’s a man’s man but Buddhism has tempered some rough edges. He’s a good balance for Phoenix and is sexy as they come. Then there’s Phoenix’s father, a disgraced art curator, struggling to recover and be his former self. We’re dealing with real people here but even with flaws these are people we love.

How did you feel when you saw your book on the shelf for the first time?
It was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. For so many years I had visualized seeing my book on the shelf, and then there it was. I stood for a long time with tears in my eyes holding my book and wallowing in all the emotions that come with knowing my hard work had paid off.

What is your process for creating a novel? Do you plot out the story or do the characters speak to you?
I am a seat of the pants writer, meaning I get an idea in my head, I jot notes and then start writing. I’ll let my story take me wherever and then I’ll clean it up. No story boards for me or detailed outlines. I find that very restrictive and hampers my creativity.

Could you imagine your life without writing today?
It would be difficult to imagine. Writing has become therapy for me. I write every day and will continue to do so whether under contract or not. It’s become a way of life and I enjoy the camaraderie that I have with other writers who understand that writing can be addictive and you lose all sense of time.

As a writer, what are some of the most important things you try to convey to readers through your books?
In addition to providing a good read, my goal is to educate my fans. My topics are usually current. Because of my extensive travel background I try to introduce fun and unusual settings. My overall message is that with a little perseverance and some clear thinking any obstacle can be overcome. Good triumphs over evil and love prevails. Call me an idealist but I truly believe. Maybe it’s the laws of attraction talking.

 

Interview with author Péron F. Long

Hello Readers, today we are honored with a visit from Péron F. Long . Péron F. Long will share with us the journey to getting published by Xpress Yourself Publishing, LLC and the most Intimate Connection within the books. As part of our Intimate Conversation interviews, we always give the author a chance to tell us things not found on the back cover.

Continue to read the extraordinary interview with author Péron F. Long discussing, Pulpit Confessions and sharing a glimpse inside the world of an published author. The Sankofa Literary Society has selected Pulpit Confessions as book of the month featured title.

Péron Fritzgerald Long was born in Rock Hill , SC , where he also currently resides. As told to him by his mother, he has always had a fascination with words and began to teach himself how to read and write at age 4 and began creating short stories by the age of 6.

If It Ain’t Right, It’s Wrong is his first published Novel. Pulpit Confessions is his first novel released by XYP! Péron’s next title Livin’ Ain’t Easy will be released in early 09 (Urban Books). He is currently working on his 6th title The First Person.

We are discussing Pulpit Confessions by Péron F. Long

Tell us what motivated you to write this book, start your business or service.
::: My inspiration for this novel was based on the current state of today’s Spiritual
community. Over the past couple of years we have seen the fall of congregations due to the acts of Man. My goal while writing PC was to show a more humanistic side of those viewed as the epitome of Righteousness.

Where are you from? What is your favorite book, music, movie, play?
::: I’m from Rock Hill , SC a suburb outside of Charlotte , NC . My favorite book is Seduced written by Nelson George, my desire to actually become a published author took a life of its own. I am currently listening to old school hip-hop or alternative R&B. Favorite movies are Love Jones and The Five Heartbeats

How do you spend your free time? Do you write poetry or sing?
::: Most of my free time is spent resting as much as I can (Ha-Ha) I do dabble in poetry from time to time when the words come to me.

Could you imagine your life without writing today?
::: No I could not imagine my life without writing. I strongly believe that I was born a writer. From the stories told to me by my mother, I began to teach myself to read and write at age 4 and actually began developing stories at age 6. Writing has always been a part of me and I’ve written several short stories and novels over the years. I never truly thought about publishing my work until maybe 5 or 6 years ago.

As a writer, what are some of the most important things you try to convey to readers through your books?
::: As a writer, I want to convey to readers that I not only possess the passion of the craft but I also possess the desire to educate and bring forth issues that affect our community while creating entertaining tales at the same time.

Book Details:
Pulpit Confessions is the story of Raymond Sr., Ruth, Raymond Jr., Katherine and Anthony Miller, the leaders of The Spiritual Dynasty God’s Deliverance Ministries. For the past thirty years, God’s Deliverance has become a powerful spiritually based organization well known throughout the world. Bishop Raymond Miller Jr., his wife Katherine, along with his mother Ruth, younger brother Anthony and father Raymond Sr., who now suffers from dementia, are seen by the world as God’s chosen family. But there are secrets within this family that could eventually destroy them all.

When Katherine becomes tired of her lonely nights without Raymond Jr. to provide the love and physical desires she craves, she finds herself attracted to Kevin Taylor, a coach at the school where she is the principal. After discovering that Raymond Jr. has been having an affair for the past two years with his assistant, Janaé Young, who is also the faux girlfriend to younger brother Anthony, her desires to be with Kevin becomes a reality.

When Janaé becomes pregnant, Raymond, who was encouraged by his mother Ruth, asks Anthony to marry her. Although Anthony has a secret attraction towards her, he reluctantly accepts Raymond’s request.

This is a story of family deceit that leads to corruption and murder, and one person’s plot to take complete control. All Hell will definitely break loose, when Bishop Raymond Miller Jr.’s Pulpit Confessions are revealed.

ISBN: 9780979975794; ISBN10: 0979975783; Xpress Yourself Publishing; On Sale: 1/15/2008; Format: Trade Paperback; Trim Size: 6 x 9; Pages: 208; Ages: 18 and Up

 

No One Knows My Name

No One Knows My Name
by Tinisha Nicole Johnson



A little shy girl who grew into a woman with dreams and a voice to be heard
And no one told me this world was going to be so cold

I am but a spec on the earth from up above, looking down
I am but one,
I am but a person,
I am but another writer, another author, another expression of my serenity
I also recognize I want to get noticed…but no one knows my name

I can hear a mild sound, a distance bump-bump in the night,
It is my heart and it is yearning and sometimes stirring with mixed emotions, not knowing which turns are right

Walking on a line so thin, trying desperately to figure out my pathway
I already tried to be someone else, but I now know I can only be me, and yes… I have a name

Calm, delicate, watching the world pass right in front of me,
I see love and hate – a world filled with so much drama and different attitudes

And I just feel full of energy and take on the world by writing in magnitude
Writing is my comfort, it is my Life – I sometimes find myself hidden behind the words on the pageWords for people to read, enjoy, cry and laugh,

I’ve made my decision, and you will find out it’s affections upon you – generations upon generations

I’m ready to say what’s on my mind, so I need your attention, because this may take you on many elevations . . .

I’ve been chained, banged, whipped and multiplied
And you don’t know my name

I’ve raised many children – some, not my own, and they have carried my values and fed from me

I have slaved the fields and held down an entire generation
And I am everyone’s mother, it seems

I’ve been called the minority because of my gender and my race
I have to fight with words and stand by my man and defend my family
If you only knew what these eyes have witnessed…Go ask you grandmother

The world is changing and things are happening, and if you don’t pay attention…well… you may have already missed it

A new generation, a new time…afro-puffs and hand cuffs, trying to fight for freedom.
Black Power!

I now have many roles
I have my struggles, but I move on, cause my kind is strong like that
I can be anyone, the opportunity is there for me to grab
Visions, desires, and new challenges…
I am taking on the world with boldness

And yes, you will remember my name, because I am a Black Woman
An undeniable, evident, special, beautiful, God-fearing, phenomenal Black Woman

Written by:
Tinisha Nicole JohnsonAuthor, Writer, & Poet
http://www.tinishanicolejohnson.com/

 

Ella Curry and Secret Life of Bees Cast

The official trailer for The Secret Life of Bees, starring Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo and Paul Bettany. In theatres everywhere October 17th.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2008 in EDC Creations

 

Secret Lives of Bees opens October 17, 2008

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES

Release: October 17, 2008

Written for the Screen and Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Based upon the novel by: Sue Monk Kidd

Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, James Lassiter,
Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Joe Pichirallo

Cast: Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Nate Parker, Tristan Wilds, Hilarie Burton and Paul Bettany

Author Sue Monk Kidd talks about watching the world she invented
come alive on the set of THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, based on the New York Times best selling novel and set in South Carolina in 1964, is the moving tale of Lily Owens (Fanning) a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother (Burton).

To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father (Bettany), Lily flees with Rosaleen (Hudson), her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters (Latifah, Okonedo and Keys), Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping.

Have you read the book? How was it, share with us.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2008 in Community News

 

Ella Curry Meets Cast of Secret Life of Bees

I have more mothers than any three girls off the street. They are the moons shinin’ over me.
-Lily

Listen to the Intimate Conversation with Queen Latifah, Ella Curry and the Media.

Starring Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo, a powerhouse ensemble of women from the world of music and film, THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES is the touching story about the need for love, sisterhood and redemption that explores the undeniable desire for a sense of belonging and the often daunting journeys that we must navigate to achieve it.

Set in South Carolina, the home of the intelligent and independent honey-making Boatwright sisters (Latifah, Keys and Okonedo) is suddenly thrust into upheaval with the arrival of fourteen year-old Lily Owens (Fanning) and her caretaker Rosaleen (Hudson). Surrounded by the unexpected comforts, grace and deep rooted spirituality Lily (Fanning) encounters in the Boatwright home, she soon forms a maternal bond with each of these women whose unique and special gifts help reconcile the loss of her mother. Through the strength and female empowerment that embodies the Boatwright sisters, Lily ultimately comes to the realization that sometimes you must leave home in order to find it.

Owning and operating a successful bee farm and honey-making business, August Boatwright (Latifah) is the family matriarch running the household with a firm but loving hand with her sisters, the fiercely independent music teacher June (Keys) and the innocent childlike May (Okonedo). The Boatwright sisters’ lives are disrupted when fourteen year-old Lily Owens (Fanning) and her caretaker Rosaleen (Hudson) appear on their doorstep seeking refuge. After fleeing with Rosaleen to Tiburon, South Carolina, a place surrounded by mystery and a strong connection to Lily’s mother, they find shelter at the Boatwright household.

Lily is immediately taken under the wing of August Boatwright (Latifah) as her new beekeeping apprentice. There she is given a comfortable place to explore and, for the first time in her life, just be. Lily also discovers joy in the simple pleasures of life through her deepening relationship with the Boatwright sisters and soon comes into her own, determined to enjoy the sweet nectar of life for the first time. As a budding young woman who has left the place she once called home, Lily unexpectedly finds her true home and a family she has always yearned for.

Tristan Wilds stars as August’s godson and Lily’s newfound friend, Zachary Lincoln Taylor, a hardworking teenager who dreams of becoming a lawyer; Nate Parker as a young man head over heels in love with marriage resistant June Boatwright (Keys), Hilarie Burton as the mother Lily only remembers in her dreams and Paul Bettany as her embittered and widowed father.

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES is written for the screen and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and is based upon the award-winning novel of the same title by Sue Monk Kidd.
The film is produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, James Lassiter, Will Smith and Joe Pichirallo; executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith and co-produced by Ed Cathell, III, Ewan Leslie and Aldric Porter.

Warren Alan Young (TALK TO ME) is the production designer, the director of photography is Rogier Stoffers, N.S.C. (SCHOOL OF ROCK) with costume designer Sandra Hernandez (THE 25th HOUR), edited by Terilyn A. Shropshire, A.C.E. (LOVE & BASKETBALL), music by Mark Isham (CRASH) and music supervisor Linda Cohen (THERE WILL BE BLOOD).

CAST

Lily Owens
DAKOTA FANNING

August Boatwright
QUEEN LATIFAH

Rosaleen Daise
JENNIFER HUDSON

June Boatwright
ALICIA KEYS

May Boatwright
SOPHIE OKONEDO

T. Ray Owens
PAUL BETTANY

Deborah Owens
HILARIE BURTON

Zach Taylor
TRISTAN WILDS

Neil
NATE PARKER

Greta
SHONDRELLA AVERY

Doll
RENÉE CLARK

Violet
SHARON MORRIS

Cressie
NICKY BUGGS

Sugar Girl
JASMINE BURKE

Young Lilys
EMMA SAGE BOWMAN
EMILY ALYN LIND
ADDY MILLER

Teenager
TAYLOR KOWALSKI

Frank Posey
BOB HUNGERFORD

Mechanic
RICHARD TODD SULLIVAN

Posey’s Buddy
CHRIS MOORE

Sheriff Gaston
BILL OBERST, JR.

Young White Policeman
CULLEN DEAN MOSS

Driver
WALT ELDER

Mr. Kirven
DAN BEENE

Mr. Forrest
JOE CHREST

Miss Lacy
ROBIN MULLINS

White Man #1
TOM CONDER

White Man #3
JAY PEARSON

Sheriff Brooks
DAN COX

Police Officer
QUENTIN KERR

 

Secret Life of Bees: The Novel

L-R: Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys / Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

ABOUT THE NOVEL

“I can’t think of something I’d rather have more then someone lovin’ me.”
-Lily

Author Sue Monk Kidd talks about watching the world she invented come
alive on the set of THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES.

Sue Monk Kidd’s internationally acclaimed novel The Secret Life of Bees was born from her experience growing up as an adolescent in the South during the 1960’s. “I do think race is the wound of my geography,” she says. “It’s the wound of the South and of American life.”
Despite the power of that experience, it took almost 30 years for Monk Kidd’s deeply internalized feelings to surface, when she started to share her memories with her husband and when they began to crystallize into book form.

Monk Kidd grew up in a large country house in Sylvester, Georgia, where bees inhabited a wall in the guesthouse. “I remember my mother cleaning up puddles of honey that had seeped out, and the unearthly sound of bee hum vibrating through the house,” the writer has noted. The bees never left, and even years later, when Monk Kidd’s husband visited her childhood home, he woke to find the bees flying around his room. That was when his wife “began imagining a young girl lying in bed while bees poured through cracks in her bedroom walls.” Unable to shake that image, she still had to answer two profound questions: “Who is this girl?” and “What is the desire of her heart?” Answering them led to the creation of Lily Melissa Owens, the girl who yearns for her mother, and who became central to Monk Kidd’s story.

At first, however, Bees was very much a story, not a novel. It was only after writing the short story in 1993, and after it drew a rapturous response when read aloud at a New York literary event, that Monk Kidd thought of turning it into a novel. During years of research and preparation, that took her through collage making and more contemplative periods, the author turned her attention to matters of race and spirituality. Ancient statues and “archetypal feminine images” of the Virgin Mary became her focus and she set out to learn more about the origins and significance of the Black Madonna, in particular, a journey that took her far from the South and all the way to Europe. There, she found that images of the Black Madonna were symbols of defiance among oppressed women. She knew now that the Black Madonna must be included in the novel.

A coming-of-age story, The Secret Life of Bees takes place in an intricate emotional landscape that explores the psyches of its young heroine and the matriarchs who mentor her. These characters, so genuine and true to life, are culled from the novelist’s imagination and from impressions drawn from her years in Georgia.

Deeply affected by the social dynamics of growing up white in the racially polarized South, Monk Kidd also benefited from her own immersion in African-American culture — especially with the character of Rosaleen, partly modeled on her own black caretaker; and the characters of May, June and the women who belong to the Daughters of Mary, all of whom called on memories of the Southern black women whose enthralling stories and kind nature left an indelible impression on Monk Kidd. As for August, the matriarchal figure played by Queen Latifah, she sprang from what Monk Kidd describes as “a vision I carry inside, of feminine wisdom, compassion, and strength… what I would have wanted to find if I’d been in Lily’s complicated situation.”

The novel was published in 2002 to critical acclaim and has since been published in more than 23 languages. The novel spent more than two years on The New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 4.5 million copies.

SPECIAL SETS PUNCTUATE THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES
“Most people have no idea about the complicated life goin’ on inside a hive.
Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about.” -August

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES was shot on location during the months of January and February 2008, primarily in Burgaw, a small North Carolina town outside Wilmington. Much of the movie was filmed in a beautiful old house, painted Pepto-Bismol pink, just like in the book – though it took the director three attempts before she finally settled on the right shade. “The first time we painted it, I actually loved the color but it was a little too salmon,” the director explains. “Then we went too Pepto Bismol and it was just wrong. Finally, we arrived at this happy medium that everybody was pleased with.”

With the exterior in place, production designer Warren Alan Young, together with his property master and set-decorating crew, proceeded to transform the large old house into a 1960’s home, referencing magazines and catalogues from the era. “With writer Sue Monk Kidd’s help, we came up with a history for the house that put it near the end of slavery, when the Boatwright sister’s grandparents would have acquired the home,” Young explains.

One of the film’s other pivotal sets, May’s “Wailing Wall,” was constructed as a two feet by two-and-a-half-feet-wide stone wall, just large enough for Okonedo to sit on, per the director’s request. It was that kind of care that stamped the film.

Honored when renowned African-American artist Charles Bibbs agreed to collaborate with the filmmakers to create signature artwork for the honey jars featured in THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, the design process became an exciting and fruitful one. Following multiple design consultations and subsequent conversations, Bibbs’ initial sketches included pencil renderings, which later evolved into color, before the artist finalized his image of the Black Madonna.

A highly respected contemporary artist who has enjoyed success with his fine art and popular graphics, Bibbs internationally acclaimed body of work is a fusion of cross-cultural themes including African, African-American and Native American aesthetics. Also a committed cultural philanthropist and community leader, his leadership has culminated in the establishment of numerous non-profit arts and media organizations benefiting minority artists and youth across the nation.

But all those involved knew this production was something special, something significant. Prince-Bythewood kept thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. – particularly when she found herself and her team shooting on his birthday. “I found it fascinating that, at the time this movie takes place, he was alive fighting for us,” she says. “You look around the crew and it’s very diverse. That was his dream – that we could all be there, putting this story on the screen.”

 

Secret Life of Bees: Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson

Dakota Fanning (top) and Jennifer Hudson / Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

Listen to the Intimate Conversation with Ella Curry and the Media.

Dakota Fanning

Jennifer Hudson

DAKOTA FANNING (Lily Owens)
Hailing from Conyers, Georgia, Dakota Fanning began her career at the age of five when she booked her first job on a Tide commercial which opened the gates to her career. Dakota’s first television appearance was on NBC’s, “ER” which then led to guest starring roles on television shows, “The Practice,” “Malcolm In the Middle,” “Spin City,” “Ellen,” where she played ‘Young Ellen,’ “Ally McBeal” where she played ‘Young Ally McBeal’ as well as having a Special Guest Starring role in the final season of “Friends.”

Dakota made her film debut opposite Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer when she played ‘Lucy’ in I AM SAM. She was awarded the Critics Choice Award as Best Young Actor and was also the youngest child to have ever been nominated for a SAG Award for her portrayal of ‘Lucy.’ Shortly thereafter, she starred in the Steven Spielberg produced miniseries TAKEN, which not only became the Sci-Fi Channel’s highest rated show, but also won the 2003 Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries.

Dakota’s career catapulted soon after when she starred in TRAPPED opposite Charlize Theron, DR. SEUSS’ CAT IN THE HAT opposite Mike Myers, UPTOWN GIRLS with Brittany Murphy and played the young Reese Witherspoon in SWEET HOME ALABAMA.

In 2004, Dakota starred opposite Denzel Washington in MAN ON FIRE directed by Tony Scott. Her performance earned her a second nomination for a Critics Choice Award.
The following year, Dakota co-starred in HIDE AND SEEK with Robert DeNiro. Her performance in this film earned her the 2005 MTV Movie Award™ for “Most Frightened Performance.”

In June 2005, Dakota starred with Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the H.G. Wells classic WAR OF THE WORLDS. Her performance as ‘Rachel,’ Tom Cruise’s daughter, earned Dakota her second Critics Choice Award.

In October 2005, Dakota appeared opposite Kurt Russell in DREAMER which made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. In addition, DREAMER was awarded the Truly Moving Picture Award at the Heartland Film Festival. Dakota was also proud to be a part of the remarkable ensemble of women including Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn that appeared in NINE LIVES which had its premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

The entire ensemble of women in NINE LIVES was nominated for a Gotham Award in 2005 and the film was nominated for a 2005 Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.
December 2006 marked the theatrical debut of the beloved E.B. White novel CHARLOTTE’S WEB. As the live action role of ‘Fern,’ Dakota starred alongside Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Redford, each of whom voiced animated characters in the film. Dakota was nominated for a 2006 Critic’s Choice Award for “Best Young Actress” for her portrayal of ‘Fern.’ Also in 2006, Dakota was awarded ShoWest’s Best Supporting Actress of the Year Award.

In 2007, Dakota starred in HOUNDDOG which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. She stars opposite Robin Wright Penn and David Morse. Later that year, Dakota completed Rowan Woods’ ensemble drama WINGED CREATURES opposite Forest Whitaker and Kate Beckinsale and Paul McGuigan’s sci-fi thriller PUSH alongside Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou.
Dakota’s voice can be heard in “LILO AND STITCH II,” “MY NEIGHBOR TOTARO” starring alongside her sister Elle, as well as “CORALINE” with her fellow voice-over co-star, Teri Hatcher.

At the age of 14, Dakota also does work for charity at the Mattel Children’s hospital in Los Angeles, and recently appeared in the “RED” Gap Ad’s to benefit AIDS in Africa. She is an avid reader, plays the piano, knits, collects dolls, rides horses and dances ballet. Dakota resides in Los Angeles with her parents and her sister, actress Elle Fanning.

___________________________________________________________

JENNIFER HUDSON (Rosaleen)
Jennifer Hudson comes from humble beginnings singing in a small Chicago church where week after week she brought the congregation to its feet with her soul-stirring performances.
Hudson blossomed appearing in dozens of talent shows and musical productions during her grammar and high school years.

After her first professional role in a local production of “Big River,” Hudson showcased her four-octave range and charmed thousands of vacationers as a featured vocalist on the Disney Wonder cruise ship. In 2004, she wowed millions of television viewers during season three of the wildly popular Fox series “American Idol,” where she captured the hearts of American audiences everywhere.

Her breakout film performance came with her starring role in DREAMGIRLS for which she received an Academy-Award, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and NAACP Image Award and Broadcast Film Critics Association Award. She was also honored by the National Board of Review and was named “Entertainer of the Year” at the Soul Train Awards. In addition, she received three BET Awards nominations including Best Actress, Best Female R&B Artist and Best New Artist.

She will release her highly anticipated debut album with Clive Davis for Arista records on September 30, 2008. She recently co starred in SEX AND THE CITY: THE MOVIE, joining the hit television series’ original cast of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristen Davis and WINGED CREATURES whose remarkable cast includes Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce and Jackie Earle Hayley.

Hudson attributes her vocal ability to her late grandmother, Julia Kate Hudson, a long-time choir member.

 

Secret Life of Bees: Nate Parker and Alicia Keys

L-R: Nate Parker and Alicia Keys / Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

Listen to the Intimate Conversation with Nate Parker, Ella Curry and the Media.

Listen to the Intimate Conversation with Tristan Wilds, Ella Curry and the Media.

ALICIA KEYS (June Boatwright)
Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist Alicia Keys has changed the face of popular music since she burst onto the scene in 2001. Now Keys has also made her mark on the silver screen as well.

Keys returned with her long-awaited third studio album, AS I AM, in November 2007. Within 10 hours of being serviced to radio, Alicia’s first single, “No One,” became one of the fastest moving and highest charting singles on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. This also marked the highest first single debut for a female artist in 2007 on the R&B Monitor’s Urban Mainstream chart.

Keys made her motion-picture debut in Joe Carnahan’s SMOKIN’ ACES as Georgia Sykes. She also appeared in the big screen adaptation of the best selling book THE NANNY DIARIES, opposite Scarlet Johansson, Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti.

Keys also recently signed a multiyear first-look film production deal at Disney. Through her production company, she will develop live-action and animated projects, participating as producer and actor. The company will also spearhead soundtracks and music supervision for the projects.

Alicia Keys first appeared on the music scene in June 2001 with her debut album, “Songs In A Minor,” on Clive Davis’ J Records. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 Chart, selling over 235,000 copies in its first week, and went on to sell more than 10 million units worldwide.

Keys’ critically acclaimed sophomore effort, “The Diary of Alicia Keys,” was released in December 2003 and sold over 618,000 copies during its first week of release in the United States. The album is currently seven times platinum.

In her music career, Alicia Keys has won eleven Grammy Awards, eleven Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards, three World Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards™, two MTV Europe Awards, one NAACP Image Award 2004, two Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards, one BET Award, three Soul Train Music Awards, one Soul Train Lady of Soul Award, and a My VH1 Award. Keys is currently signed to MBK/J Records.

In 2005, Keys also became a New York Times Bestselling author when she released her first published work, “Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems & Lyrics by Alicia Keys.” In 2004, Alicia also became a travel correspondent for The New York Daily News, writing monthly travel columns throughout the summer detailing experiences from her world tour.

She generously gives her time and energy as an Ambassador and spokesperson for “Keep A Child Alive,” which provides anti-viral drugs to the millions suffering from AIDS in Africa. She also works closely with “Frum Tha Ground Up,” devoted to equipping America’s youth with the tools essential for achieving success on all levels; as well as “Teens in Motion,” a non profit organization created to offer teens the opportunity to develop their minds and bodies in a safe and secure environment.

Born and raised in New York, Alicia graduated from the Professional Performance Arts School in Manhattan at age 16.

____________________________________________________________

NATE PARKER (Neil)
Nate Parker is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s most sought after young actors. Having moved to Los Angeles just two years ago, Parker has already starred in a Golden Globe nominated film and was recently nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the NAACP Image Awards for his role in The Weinstein Company’s THE GREAT DEBATERS. He starred with Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker in this feature based on the true story of the first all black debate team to beat the champion Harvard debate team in 1935. The film was directed by Denzel Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey’s HARPO Productions.

Parker recently wrapped production on his next feature, BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME in North Carolina. He stars in the film based on a true story of the civil unrest that surrounded the alleged murder of a black Vietnam vet by a white business man in 1970.

Parker has two other independent films completed and soon to be released. First as the star of TUNNEL RATS, a feature that looks at the Vietnam War and focuses on a special US combat unit that hunted Viet Cong in the endless tunnels under the jungles of Vietnam and second in FELON in which he stars alongside Val Kilmer as an officer in the penal system who is led by his strong morality instead of the corrupt system that surrounds him. FELON had a limited opening July 18, 2008 in the United States.

Among Nate’s other feature film credits are PRIDE with Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard, DIRTY CRUEL WORLD, and the title role of Rome in the independent feature ROME AND JEWEL. His television appearances include the Turkish television hit Valley Of The Wolves, opposite Sharon Stone, Cold Case and The Unit.

Nate also writes screenplays, television pilots and continues to be an avid athlete. In his free time he donates his time as a wresting coach and mentor for a local high school in Los Angeles.

 

Secret Life of Bees: Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah

L-R: Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah / Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

QUEEN LATIFAH (August Boatwright)

Listen to the Intimate Conversation with Queen Latifah, Ella Curry and the Media.

Queen Latifah is a celebrated musician, television and film actress, label president, an author and entrepreneur. Latifah has blossomed into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate.

Latifah has had amazing success in Hollywood in recent years, and became the first hip hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 4, 2006. She received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award™ nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Miramax’s CHICAGO. Following CHICAGO, Latifah starred in Disney’s box office hit BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE, on which she also acted as executive producer.

Her film, Life Support, in which she was both the star and executive producer aired on HBO on March 10th , 2007 and received rave reviews as well as an Emmy® nomination, a Golden Globe win and a SAG Award win for Latifah.

Latifah was last seen in MAD MONEY which she starred alongside Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes; Neil Meron and Craig Zadan’s HAIRSPRAY playing Motormouth Maybelle; Wayne Wang’s THE LAST HOLIDAY, and starred in MGM’s BEAUTY SHOP (a spin-off of the hit BARBERSHOP), which she also produced. She also appeared in Marc Forster’s STRANGER THAN FICTION, playing opposite Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman and was the voice of the Wooly Mammoth in ICE AGE 2.

To most people releasing multiple movies would be enough, but Queen Latifah wasn’t satisfied. On September 25th, 2007 Latifah released her new album titled Trav’lin Light in which she was nominated for a Grammy®. Co-produced by three time Grammy winner, Tommy LiPuma, this album is the long awaited follow up to Latifah’s highly received and Grammy nominated The Dana Owens Album. The platinum-selling album was a collection of timeless classics chosen and covered by the Queen herself. As Latifah demonstrated both in Living Out Loud (1998) and her Oscar-nominated performance in Chicago (2002), her vocal talent is as impressive as her acting.

Queen Latifah is also one of music’s most well respected rappers. From her ground breaking 1989 debut All Hail the Queen, which set the visual and contextual standard for female rappers, to her bold foray into R&B, Latifah continues to define what a woman in the music industry should be. She has earned four Grammy nominations as well as a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1994. Latifah toured the U.S. as part of The Sugar Water Festival with fellow soul sisters, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.

And then there’s Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and her partner, Shakim Compere. The company, based in New Jersey, is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production companies in the film industry. They began by executive producing the box office hit BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE and then continued with BEAUTY SHOP for MGM. They have also produced THE COOKOUT with Lionsgate.

Latifah is also not a stranger to the small screen. Her first television series, “Living Single,” was a huge success and is currently in syndication. From the small screen, Latifah made a leap to film and her acting skills have earned her the status of leading lady.

Since her screen debut in Spike Lee’s 1991 film JUNGLE FEVER, her film career has taken off. She starred in SET IT OFF, which earned her a nomination for a Spirit Award in the Best Actress category and co-starred with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the critically acclaimed LIVING OUT LOUD. In 1999, she was seen in Universal’s THE BONE COLLECTOR directed by Philip Noyce starring Denzel Washington.

In addition to music, film and television, Queen Latifah has also written a book on self-esteem entitled Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman.

Every year, Queen Latifah serves as co-chairman for the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Established by her mother, Rita Owens, to perpetuate the memory of a loving son and brother, the foundations provides scholarships to students who excel scholastically, but are limited in financial resources.

 

Secret Lives of Bees: Tristan Wilds and Dakota Fanning

L-R: Tristan Wilds and Dakota Fanning/ Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

TRISTAN WILDS (Zach Taylor)
Tristan Wilds stars as Dixon Mills, a star athlete and scholar in The CW’s new “90210.” An 18-year-old native of Staten Island, New York, Wilds’ most recently appeared in HBO’s critically acclaimed series “The Wire,” and made his big-screen debut in the feature film HALF NELSON, starring Ryan Gosling, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Since making his TV and screen debuts, Wilds has been a very busy young man. In 2007 he was cast opposite Roger Guenveur Smith in the role of Adrian in the film INDELIBLE. The film is currently in post-production and will be released in theaters in 2009. Having made his television debut in the Spike Lee miniseries “The Miracles’ Boys,” he has also appeared in guest starring roles in episodes of “Cold Case” and “Law and Order.” Wilds has also appeared on the stage in workshops for Roundabout Theatre Company’s Wool and Stockholm Brooklyn, opposite Phylicia Rashad, at the Cherry Lane Theater. Wilds was heard but not seen when he became the voice of the main character Blak for the animated feature film BLOKHEDZ, based on the independent graphic novel by Mark and Mike Davis.

Wilds also stepped into the world of music videos, appearing in “Ghetto Mindstate” by rap artist Li’l Flip featuring Lyfe Jennings, as well as playing Jay Z’s nephew in the music video “Roc Boys.” Wilds is also one of the fresh new faces in Rocawear’s 2008 “I Will Not Lose” campaign, as well as a Rocawear model.

Not to be limited to other artist’s music videos, Wilds is also a talented singer and songwriter who is currently working on his first album. When not on a television or movie set, he can be found hard at work in a recording studio.

 

Secret Life of Bees: Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany/ Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

PAUL BETTANY (T. Ray)
Paul Bettany is an actor of immense versatility and depth who has received critical acclaim for his stellar body of work on stage, television and the big screen. Bettany’s early film work includes A KNIGHT’S TALE, in which he played the comical role of Chaucer opposite the late Heath Ledger. For his performance he won the London Film Critics’ Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Classically trained at the Drama Centre in London, Bettany made his first stage debuts in “An Inspector Calls,” “Richard III,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Julius Caesar” before landing his first feature film role in BENT. Additional credits include “Love and Understanding,” Lynda La Plante’s “Killer Net” and “Coming Home,” in which he starred with Peter O’Toole.

His appearances in “One More Wasted Year” and “Stranger’s House” preceded his second feature film role in David Leland’s LAND GIRLS with Catherine McCormack and Rachel Weisz. He next appeared in the film AFTER THE RAIN.

Other credits include a role as ‘Steerforth’ in the TNT production of “David Copperfield,” directed by Peter Medak opposite Sally Field and Michael Richards, SUICIDE CLUB, GANSTER NO. 1, and THE RECKONING, opposite Willem Dafoe.

Bettany’s additional credits include a starring role as the imaginary roommate opposite Russell Crowe, Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly in the Academy Award winning film A BEAUTIFUL MIND for director Ron Howard. His performance won him the London Film Critic’s Award for Best British Actor.

Other credits include THE HEART OF ME, DOGVILLE opposite Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skaarsgard, WIMBLEDON and MASTER & COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD.

His performance won him the Evening Standard Award for Best British Actor, the London Film Critic’s Award for Best Supporting Actor for both MASTER & COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD, THE HEART OF ME and the Elle Style Award for Best Actor in MASTER & COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD and DOGVILLE.

His nominations include a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor and a Broadcast Film Critics Association nomination for Best Supporting Actor in MASTER & COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD.

Bettany re-teamed for a second time with director Ron Howard for THE DA VINCI CODE, alongside Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian Mckellen and Alfred Molina. Additional film credits include INKHEART and Martin Scorsese’s THE YOUNG VICTORIA in which Bettany stars opposite Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend and Jim Broadbent. He also plays the lead role of Archangel “Michael” for Screen Gems thriller, LEGION.

 

Secret Life of Bees: Gina Prince-Bythewood

L-R: Director and Screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood on the set with the Novelist of the book, Sue Monk Kidd

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

GINA PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD (Screenwriter/Director)
Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the widely acclaimed feature film LOVE & BASKETBALL, which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Prince-Bythewood won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. Her other feature directing credits include the HBO film “Disappearing Acts.”

Prince-Bythewood obtained her first feature film producer credit in 2003 on BIKER BOYZ, a Dreamworks film which was co-written and directed by her husband, Reggie Rock Bythewood.
Prince-Bythewood studied at UCLA Film School, where she received the Gene Reynolds Scholarship for Directing and the Ray Stark Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate.

Upon her graduation, she was immediately hired as a writer on the television series “A Different World.” She continued to write and produce for network television on series such as “Felicity,” “South Central,” “Courthouse” and “Sweet Justice” before making the transition to directing.

Her television directorial debut was the CBS Schoolbreak Special “What About Your Friends,” which won Prince-Bythewood an NACCP Image Award for Best Children’s Special and two Emmy nominations for writing and directing. She has also directed episodes of the hit television comedies “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Girlfriends.”

Prince-Bythewood currently resides in Southern California with her husband Reggie and their sons Cassius and Toussaint.

______________________________________________________


SUE MONK KIDD (Author of Novel)

Sue Monk Kidd is the award-winning and bestselling author of the novels The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair, the acclaimed memoirs When the Heart Waits and The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and Firstlight, a collection of early writings.

The Secret Life of Bees has spent over two years on The New York Times best seller list, was chosen as the BookSense Paperback Book of the Year in 2004, and was nominated for the prestigious Orange Prize in the U.K, among others.

The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times bestseller, was awarded the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction and adapted into a Lifetime TV movie. Each of Kidd’s novels has been translated into more than twenty-two languages.

Her new memoir, Traveling With Pomegranates, co-authored with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, will be published in 2009. Kidd lives near Charleston, SC.

 

Secret Life of Bees: The Ladies

L-R: Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Dakota Fanning. Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

 

Secret Life of Bees: Preview the Movie!

L-R: Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning. Photo Credit: Sidney Baldwin

Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) and Rosaleen Daise (Jennifer Hudson) arrive at the painted-pink home of August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) in this clip from THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES.

 

EDC Creations Tour Partners Spotlight

I would like to thank these site owners and radio show hosts for being part of the tour. Your participation was fantastic!

Blogs and Radio Shows

· Shelia Goss Blog: http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog
· EKG eMagazine: http://www.ekgliterarymag.com
· SORMAG (Shades of Romance): http://sormag.blogspot.com
· Savvy Sista’s Blog: http://www.the-savvy-sista.com
· Tamara Grant’s Blog: http://www.tamaragrant.blogspot.com
· Min. Celeste Kelly’s Blog: http://www.praizpr.com/rtpauthorsname.htm
· Sable Lit Reviews: http://www.sablelitreviews.com
· Cheryl Donovan’s Blog: http://www.virtuouswoman-31.blogspot.com
· BAN eMagazine Blog: http://www.banemagazine.blogspot.com
· Authors Supporting Authors (ASA): http://asanetwork.blogspot.com
· Virtual Blog Tours: http://www.authorvbt.blogspot.com
· Swaggie Coleman: http://swaggiecoleman.blogspot.com
· Tracy Wilson’s Blog: http://secretsinwestchester.com/authorsontour.html

Internet Radio Interviews and Internet Magazine Features

· AAMBC Radio Show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aambc
· Worth More Than Rubies Show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worthmorethanrubies
· BAN Radio Interview: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network
· Black Spotlight eMagazine: http://www.theblackspotlight.com
· Black in America Blog: http://blackinamerica.com

· Jeffery A. Faulkerson hosts Leketha Johnson (Children’s Literature) on Sunday, September 28th. Again, my show, “FIRM…but fair” with Jeffery A. Faulkerson (www.blogtalkradio.com/firmbutfair), streams live every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. EST. The guest call-in number is (646) 716-5918.

Warmest regards,

Ella Curry, President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder

 

Meet Author Donna Hill

Donna Hill–Women’s Fiction and Romance
Discussing a writer’s journey in the AA publishing industry
Titles: Chances Are and Seduction & Lies Book 2 of TLC series
Website: http://www.donnahill.com

Donna Hill has more than fifty published titles to her credit, three of which were adapted for television. She has been featured in Essence, The Daily News, USA Today, Today’s Black Woman, and Black Enterprise magazine, among many others. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes full-time.

Donna Hill began her career in 1987. Since that time she has more than fifty published titles to her credit. Three of her novels have been adapted for television. She has been featured in Essence, the New York Daily News, USA Today, Today’s Black Woman, and Black Enterprise among many others.

She has appeared on numerous radio and television stations across the country and her work has appeared on several bestseller lists, including Essence, Emerge and The Dallas Morning News among others. She has received numerous awards for her body of work including The Career Achievement Award, the first recipient of The Trailblazer Award among others, as well as commendations for her community service.

 

Meet Author Pat G’Orge Walker

Pat G’Orge Walker–Christian Comedy
Titles: Cruisin’ On Desperation and Somewhat Saved
Website: http://www.sisterbetty.com

Pat G’Orge-Walker (pronounced Gee-or-jay) is in a league of her own. This accomplished Christian author and comedienne has an amazing mind and talent for turning her observations of church and black church life, in particular, into gems of sidesplitting humor. It is her own special gift from God that enables G’Orge-Walker to depict the often ridiculous antics of church folk. She does it without subverting the Good News or watering down the potency of its message.

Pat G’Orge-Walker has led a colorful life professionally, to say the least. She is a former music industry veteran who has worked for several major labels including Epic, Def Jam and Columbia. She cut her chops as a singer by performing with the legendary 60s girl group, Arlene Smith and the Chantels “Maybe”) as well as with the gospel groups The Spiritualettes and The Heavenly Two. And she has written as well as acted in stage presentations.

 

Meet Author Joshua A. McClure

Joshua A. McClure–Pastor, Religious Literature
Titles: Almost Persuaded, Now to Believe and Can These Bones Live?
Website: http://www.joshuaamcclure.com

About the Author and Pastor Joshua A. McClure, was called to pastor the Pleasant Street Baptist Church, Westerly, RI in 1986, after having served five years as associate pastor. Before arriving in Westerly he served five years as associate minister of Pond Street Baptist Church, Providence, RI.

Joshua is currently vice-moderator of The Greater Fellowship Baptist Association of Rhode Island and Vicinity, and is the author of Can These Bones Live? A highly acclaimed book on church renewal published in 2006. His second book, Almost Persuaded, Now to believe is now available from Tate Publishing in hard copy and as a E-book download. Joshua has four children and eight grandchildren.

 

Meet Author Leketha Johnson


Leketha Johnson–Children Literature

Title: Sunny’s Adventures, a Children’s Mystery Book
Website: http://www.sunnysadventures.com

Author Leketha Marie Johnson has always been inspired to read and write since she was a very young girl. It’s a passion that’s never died down and eventually led her to her dream of publishing children’s books. She’s always loved reading about historical hero’s who always pursued their goals without giving up like underground railroad leader Harriet Tubman. Looking up to these sorts of admirable figures has made her persistent in her own efforts of adding some sort of relevance to the world one day at a time.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2008 in EDC Creations

 

Awakening for Sleeping Giants

Awakening for Sleeping Giants

©2008 M. Bennett Hooper

Democracy is a code word people a smokescreen created by the rich and powerful
To anesthetize you during their rape of you and your children’s children.
The right to vote is given to a privileged few while one man one vote is suppressed
By the electoral college and convicted felons when freed from incarceration continue to march to a muffled drum.

Debts paid to society are meaningless when largely Black, Brown, Red and Latino are relegated to a time worn status of modern emancipated slaves.

Government by the people is historically a legalization of a controlled substance called democracy which was never intended to include huge populations destined to marginalize some at the expense of those less able to pay for membership in a select club of men.

Men who assume they are free and women who are truly not a part of the equation pass giving birth to more men.

Over stand this a pattern is merely an outline of a product to be created.
Freedom is another code word that cannot be sustained or attained without preparation.

A dream which does not include freedom is simply another nightmare.
Sleeping with one’s eyes open is not only stupid it is deadly.

Shoes with strings should be tied and the parallel between crosses hanging around the neck and nooses is not accidental when many clergy drive Rolls while their congregants live on table scraps.

Vote because it is one of the few exercises in which you determine the length.
Drop in, drop out, drop the lever of your choices
Which have always been few.

Leadership as always begins with you who choose whom you will follow.

 

Snacks Are Not Prepared for Diners

Snacks Are Not Prepared for Diners

Or

A Meal Within A Meal

©2007 M. Bennett Hooper

Studied you over and piqued my own interest into knowing every aspect and color of your soul every scent every hint every second that came and went
watching your blazing eyes leave that imprinted stain of beauty burned into me as I shadow dance with your voice inside of my head.

The feel of your words longingly releasing me into a whirlwind of anticipation to bask inside your presence I listen intently to the words your heart speaks.
Our minds touch when we dance stroking the language of passion personified between us two inside your mind amazing phenomenal clues begin to witness the blossoming of our evolving love as it unfolds.

Wild eyed glory plays against my cynicism bringing me to my knees of submission as I confess to just wanting to sit , watch, and listen as many questions are asked without answers as I observe the outcome the summary outlined , the syllabus of the lesson learned, chosen and taught.

Sifting between the pages of my inquisition I answered only one question and left it up to you to apply your own forgone perception of my debate between courting you and loving you from afar.

Dancing with wolves naked in the snow of intent purified the thought of ever leaving you alone and never pondering just what my feelings are for you.

I answer each day with words only you understand
Now calm my spirit show me, show me you.

And I , I shall show you me without reservation or expectations of change.
I am calmed by your ability to be non-judgmental as this life course opens, closes, and opens again silently, lovingly, passionately as it is simmered and served to you for your digestion only.

Snacks are meant for moments and dinners are remembered for a lifetime.
I savor sitting before my dinner are you an illusion or a gourmets’ delight.

 

Cultural Bandits and their Parades

Cultural Bandits and their Parades

©2007 M. Bennett Hooper (Grangran)

Some day care and elementary school runways are filled with tomorrows’ raise-a-ho’s as the new fuel for society’s processes are no longer redefined when Black girls and women continue to be exploited this time by of all people their mothers
and the death dance continues.

Mothers too busily deluded by clown fashion themselves think it’s cute to adorn doll baby in miniature attire which includes hair pieces and jewelry that should be worn by older siblings or not at all.

Missy’s’ face is covered with make up as she sings at the church with Jesus Power unaware of the challenge to her innocence by a mother preparing her for pageantry successes not yet determined.

Unable to assume responsibility for transmission of the culture many mothers submit to the first man appearing to give them some attention as they advertise their virtues which are non-existent and offer themselves upon an altar called lust because love for them has never been defined.

Small daughters impressed by momma’s false male popularity watch and imitate her actions and the new prostitots march towards their new goal of becoming a video dancer and the cycle of raise-a -ho is completed by women who don’t know how to love themselves and the beauty which begins within as they multiply, giving birth to new prostitots for tomorrows’ yet to be determined whoredom as raise-a-ho becomes
a new/old enterprise.

Young entertainers are rewarded for performances which denounce womanhood as girls become too willing carrion for cultural vultures who in their words show them what they are working with as they gleefully devour them as hordes of wannabees
stand on the sidelines.

Breathless onlookers stare in disbelief as the prostitot parade continues and raise-a-ho becomes more than a cultural phenomenon as the new unconscious sell themselves this time in a slavery of their own creation.

Prostitutes today become the whores of tomorrow and the blind continue to smile as they lead the blind into today’s quicksand.

And BET, MTV, and VH1 continue to be the new stroll for tomorrows’ willing sex slaves as they advertise the creation of their loss of dignity and rappers continue to sing and chant, “Show me what you’re working with”, and hot drops become one way stops to degradation and cultural death as prostitots evolve into raise-a-ho’s on a one way street leading no where.

 

Bonton Has Left The Stage

Bonton Has Left The Stage

©2008 M. Bennett Hooper aka Grangran ElderPoet

James Graves aka “Bonton the Poet” has left the stage.
The lights are dimmed and no music plays as we watch his last fade to black
My eyes are tearless because he was fearless.

He was more than special in his short, arrogant, talented 27 years of life.
He honored me with his friendship and occasional collaboration.
Bonton has left the stage and I am saddened by the thought of our unfinished reality.
We shall meet again and he will be whole and pain free when my time comes to embrace the universe.

I feel him on the wind of change and acknowledge his place in my memory and heart
So I say sleep in peace Bonton you earned it as you await that which for all will be a great awakening.

May peace embrace you forever young brother.
One of your elders speaks now.

AIDS did not win you did for you are once again free
As your soul always was and will be.

“Namaska, the God in me salutes and honors the God in you.”
And we shall meet again.

 
 
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