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"December In Review"

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I found myself not too overly excited about Christmas. For some reason, it has lost it luster for me as the only thing I looked forward to was getting some much needed rest. However, I did take time to reflect about what I wanted to accomplish for myself personally as well as in my professional life. You see if I don't look forward then I'll rooted in the same place, doing the same thing which results in No Growth and who really wants that.

So with that being said, I'm hopefull that 2013 will be a stellar year as I embark on finalizing my second novel and dive into writing the third. Yes, I'm very excited!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all :-)

"November in Review"

This was a very special month for me because it was my birthday month. It was a time for me to reflect on getting a year older and hopefully, a year wiser :-) It was also a month of giving thanks for everything that we hold so precious to us. Despite it all it, it was a month where we saw an election torn by policies and hate by all which will no doubt keep racism alive and well. And amidst it all, there was Hurricane Sandy that didn't care whether there was an election or whether we should be thankful as this was an Act of God that left many helpless and homeless in New Jersery and New York. But the strong will survive and if anything it showed the rest of the world that folks still have a heart as EMTs loaded their trucks from Maryland and folks from other states to see how they could help the folks in need.

So as I sit back and watch the year quickly coming to an end, it reminds me that I have to plan accordingly for 2013 to have a bountiful year. A year that will be filled wit…

Creatures, Crimes & Creativity

Are you looking for a writer's conference that's not the run of the mill...how to write and get pulished...blah, blah, blah. Well, look no further. The Creatures, Crimes & Creativity (C3) literary conference is the place to be for readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and steam punk. This conference is scheduled for September 13, 14 & 15, 2013 at the Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, Maryland.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and reserve your spot as a fan or an author at http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/ You'll get the chance to meet and mingle with Jeffrey Deaver (International Best Selling Mystery Author), John Gilstrap (NYT Best Selling Thriller Writer), Chris Golden (Times Best selling Horror and Fantasy Writer), and many more!

Hope to see you there!

"Down But Not Out"

So I recently signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to challenge myself to write a novel in the month of November (50,000 words). I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to begin the sequel to Gotta Let It Go. However, I found myself slacking off at times and now that I've spent a few days locked away at home, I believe my mojo is back and I'm off to the races.

If you need to do something simply set a goal and see whether you can achieve it. While I may not get the entire novel done, it will definitely be a good start. Writing on!

"For Sisters Only"

Like every year for the past couple of years, I couldn't wait to get to For Sisters Only. This year I went with a friend of mine and we had a good time. Although it appears there were more hair salons, hair products on sale, clothes, jewelry on display; I felt very disappointed that there were no books on sale. Why was the bookstore not there this year? And if I remember correctly it wasn't there last year either. It seems that while the price to enter the event increased, the number of vendors have decreased; yet I find myself there collecting bags, playing spin the wheel to win a prize and seeing what's trendy.

Nevertheless, I was not disappointed with the performances of Blackstreet and Miguel. The crowd was lively and sang and partied with the singers. All in all it wasnt bad...until next year!

"October In Review"

October was a very fun filled month for me. I participated in the Black Authors & Readers ROCK weekend and met local and celebrity authors such as Mary Monroe ("God Don't Like Ugly, etc) and Karen E. Quinones Miller. Their speeches to the audience was captivating and I had a great time talking to them.

I also made time  for GNO with a very good friend of mine: dinner at one of our favorite spots, P.F. Chang's then checked out the new Alex Cross movie with Tyler Perry. I heard a lot of folks grumbling about him playing this role, simply because they couldn't see him as an actor out of a dress. Come folks, can't an actor stretch his acting muscles. Anyway, the action was intense with Matthew Fox, playing the villain. The rest of the cast did just fine and I though Tyler did a very good job.

Another highlight of this month was checking out the Cirque Du Soleil "Totem" at the National Harbor. Wow, their performance simply blew me away. These performers …

"Black Authors & Readers ROCK Weekend"

I had a blast at the Black Authors & Readers ROCK weekend. It was a great venue for authors, book clubs and readers to come together under one roof and do what they enjoy the most...books, books, and more books. Here are pics from the event. Enjoy.

















"Cirque Du Soleil - Totem"

This evening I saw Cirque Du Soleil's performance of "Totem" at the National Harbor and the only word I have to describe the experience is "AWESOME." The performers, the costumes, the lighting, the set design, the music, and the crowd's energy made this facinating show of the journey of mankind, a very thrilling experience.

There were moments that were heart stopping as the acrobatics of  the performers had me on the edge of my seat. While they were very skilled, they were times when I feared that they would fall especially when they were not tied off to a safety mechanism. I was totally in awe.

My favorite performers were the girls on the unicyle juggling bowls and balancing them on their heads, the hoops dancer, the crytal ladies and their amazing foot juggling, the roller skaters - this dynamic couple (Massimo & Denise) showed such passion in their performance, and the Russian bars  performers earned them a standing ovation! WOW!

Definitely two th…

"Baltimore Book Festival"

Rain or shine this event is held every September in the Mt. Vernon Square in Baltimore, MD. This year I participated as an author in the Authors' Tent on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 12 pm - 8 pm. Although it was a long day, I had a blast, meeting and greeting fellow authors and fans. There was a lot of foot traffic, the food was good (even had some freebies) and the entertainment was great (there was a band playing some Bob Marley). Overall, it was a great day and I look forward to participating again next year!

























"September In Review"

Well, September marks the beginning of Fall, my favorite season. It's nice and cool but it also signals that the year is winding down. IAnyway, I took time to have a vacation and enjoyed some fun in the sun and got inspired to start writing the sequel to Gotta Let It Go. I'm so excited to get back to these characters because I know them so well.

I also saw a great movie this month, Lawless. There's just something about movies that take you to another time and this time was bootlegging in Virginia with the Bondurant brothers. I gave it two thumbs up! This month, I also participated in the Baltimore Book Festival and had a great time. I'll post the pictures under that caption. Well, off to planning for next month's activities I go. So stay tuned!



"Blissful"

This weekend I had a great time celebrating a friend's wedding. It was great to see smiles on everyone's face as the bride came walking down the aisle to say her "I do's" to the one she loves. The food was great, tears were shed, winse glasses clinked, and the DJ kept us on our toes. All I can say is "blissful" and a wish for the best!

"Lawless"

Yesterday, I saw the movie, "Lawless" and loved it. My taste in movies range from fantasy to westerns and everything in between except I'm squeamish when it comes to horror movies. Anyway, yesterday I checked out the movie, "Lawless," and I loved it. I thought that the pacing was just right and I loved the actors who portrayed the bootlegging Bondurant Brothers. However, I must say that Shia LaBeouf played the role of the younger and timid brother very well to the point where I almost said enough already.

Synopsis
The true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic gangster tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant's family in his novel "The Wettest County In The World", themore »loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation's most notorious crime wave.



"August in Review"

August has been a very fun month for me. I particiapted in the Bowie Senior Center's Book Lovers Expo and met some very cool authors. I enjoyed reading snippets from my novel and engaging the audience.  Immediately after that, I went on vacation for some fun, sun and relaxation. For the first few days it rained like crazy and I was stuck in doors, but I didn't mind as it gave me the chance to start brainstorming ideas for the sequel to my novel, Gotta Let It Go. I'm very excited about starting this new journey but know that I need to start the second draft of Love, Honor and Contempt. So stay tuned and enjoy the last few days of summer!

"Bowie Senior Center Book Lover's Expo"

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting and greeting fellow authors and readers at the Bowie Senior Center Book Lover's Expo 2012. This was the first event held at this location and I thought it was a great success. I had fun reading an except from my novel, Gotta Let It Go, and it was a joy to see the interest on audience's faces. At the end of the event, a fellow author introduced himselves and told me that I reminded him of an "energetic Laura Lippman" - I thanked him for the compliment and wished him continued success in his writing journey. Although this was a short event, I was able to network and form a bond with the readers. I look forward to working with Jenny Tringali, Assistant Program Coordinator for the Senior Center if ever there is another event.

Here's a link to an article posted in the Bowie Patch about the event: http://bowie.patch.com/articles/bowie-senior-center-to-host-book-lovers-expo






"July In Review"

This month, I participated in the Langston Hughes Literary Forum and Book Fair, sought out new marketing ventures, had dinner and great conversations with friends, had some fun in the sun at Ocean City and now gearing up for a vacation break.

Until next time, enjoy each day as it comes and live your best life!

"Savages"

This weekend I checked out the movie "Savages" with John Travolta, Benecio Del Toro, Selma Hayek, etc. The premise of this movie was not cookie cutter: drugs, woman in love with two men who don't mind sharing, turf wars, back stabbing, and the list goes on. Anyway, I thought Oliver Stone did a great job and I give it TWO THUMBS UP!

Storyline Entrepreneurs Ben, a peaceful and charitable marijuana producer, and friend Chon, a former Navy SEAL, run a lucrative, homegrown industry - raising some of the best weed ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with Ophelia. Life is idyllic in their Southern California town... until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena and her enforcer, Lado, underestimate the unbreakable bond of the three friends, Ben and Chon - with the reluctant assistance of a dirty DEA agent - wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins …

"Langston Hughes Literary Forum & Book Fair"

On July 11, 2012, I participated in the Langston Hughes Literary Forum & Book Fair. I had a great time at this event and enjoyed listening to the various speakers who shared their insights about Langston Hughes and his literary works. Some of the speakers included Koli Tengella (Filmaker, Theater Teacher & Writer), Vivian Fisher (Manager, African American Department, Enoch Pratt Free Library), Mr Carrza Dubose (Lecturer, Dept. of English & Language Arts, Morgan State University), Dr. Dolan Hubbard (President, Langston Hughes Society, Morgan State University), Maggie Anderson (CEO, The Ebony Experiment and Author of "Our Black Year).

Here are some pictures from the event. Enjoy!







"June In Review"

June was a month filled with lots of surprises for me. I signed up to participate in the Langston Hughes Literary Forum & Book Fair on July 11, 2012, got some new members to my website, shared great meals with friends, saw some good movies, did an interview with Black Literature Magazine, an online magazine and was asked to be part of a planning committee for a writers/fan conference, Creatures, Crimes & Creativity, scheduled for September 2013. So, I've been very busy and very thankful at the same time.

Let's see what July has in store for me!

"Snow White And The Huntsman"

Wow - I really enjoyed the modern day spin on this fairy tale! The plot, the fight scenes, the dialogue and Charlize Theron playing the evil sorceress Ravenna were awesome. Two thumbs up!

Synopsis (Moviefone):

In the epic action-adventure 'Snow White and the Huntsman,' Kristen Stewart ('Twilight') plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Oscar winner Charlize Theron) who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the one girl threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, 'Thor') who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin ('Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides') joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White's beauty and power.





"C Street Arts Festival"

When the Maryland Writers Association put out a call for volunteers to sit at their table and promote them at the C Street Arts Festival in Laurel, MD, I didn't hesitate. Since this was the inaugural C Street Arts Festival I thought this would be a great opportunity to present myself as a local author to the community. Although it was hot outside, I met some cool folks, authors, artists, poets, etc.



 I look forward to doing this festival again next year!

"Author's Dinner Group"

I was invited as a guest to the Author's Dinner Group at Old Europe (a German restaurant) by fellow authors B. Swangin Webster and Austin Camacho. This group of authors were very open to "newcomers" and welcomed us with very loud applause as we each stood and told them a snippet about ourselves.

When I arrived after trying to find parking on Wisconsin Ave, dinner was just about ready to be served. The place was packed and everyone was cozily sitting in their seats until I had to squeeze myself between tables to get to a seat. So needless to say, I didn't move for the rest of the night. But that was okay because I was entertained by an investigative reporter from Italy (Milan), and others from France, and the US. We shared stories, drank wine and had quite a few laughs before I left.

Overall, I had a wonderful evening and I look forward to dining with the group next year!

"May In Review"

This month was jammed packed with activities: book signings, networking with fellow authors, writing, socializing with friends, celebrating Mother's Day, watching great movies, including the Avengers which I saw this evening. Sometimes, you really have to go with the flow and this month I thought I would have more down time but sadly that wasn't the case. However, I did manage to set a schedule for myself and I've been sticking with it thus far...until next time, have fun reading my blog and leave me a comment if you like!

"Memorial Day Weekend"

This weekend should have been a time for cookouts and enjoying some family time. Instead, my  was jam packed with activities: having dinner and lunches with friends and networking with fellow authors and publishers. By the time I got home this evening, I was beat to the streets which left me just enough time to relax and get ready to go again for the week. Whew, I really need to block some alone time for myself!

"Wine Tasting"

Sometimes our lives get so busy that we don't take the time to unwind and do something fun, something that doesn't require much thinking or studying to get a grade. For the past couple of weeks I joined 8 others in an Introduction to Wine Tasting class at the local community college. I enjoy drinking wine both red and white although I'm partial to sweeter wines. So when I saw a class was being offered to learn about the six stages of wine (seeing, swirling, smelling, sipping, savoring and summarize) I signed up quickly.

I eagerly gathered all the materials (4 wine glasses, salt free crackers, bottled water and napkins) and geared up to taste some great wines. I was not disappointed. At each class we savored 9 different types of wines from various places (California, Italy, France, Africa) and my taste buds jumped from reds to whites as soon as the instructor could pour them.  We had loads of fun and learned about the wine tasting process and the difference between the trad…

"Happy Mother's Day"

Today as I spent time with my mother, I was reminded how special she is in so many ways. She's not only my mother but a great listener and a good friend. We should all cherish the days that we have with our mothers as they are the rock that supports us through the tough times, the sounding board to listen to our hopes, dreams, disappointments, heart aches and joys and the wealth of knowledge to guide us through the rest of our lives! So kudos to my mom and the rest of the mothers in the world!

"Baltimore Urban Book Festival"

This weekend I had a blast at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival. To kick off the event, there was a social held on Friday night, May 5th at Teavolve Cafe and Lounge at Harbor East. The music was rocking, the drinks were flowing, folks were mingling, and taking pictures. It was great to meet other authors and their supporters. After the fun, I went home to get a good night's sleep to gear up for a long at the Book Festival which was held at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Meyers Maritime Museum.

The big day - lots of celebrity authors (Omar Tyree, Ladawn Black, Chris Hicks, etc) and local authors including myself were set up on the third floor. There were activities for the kids and food vendors set up outside. The media was buzzing around, interviewing us and snapping pictures. I made a lot of good contacts (book club members, magazines, etc), met a lot of readers, and fans who stopped by simply to say hello.

Enjoy some of the pics from the social with fellow authors and from the fe…

"What a Week!"

Sometimes you relish the lull that you have in your days and sometimes in your weeks. For me, this week pushed me to the limits. I was constantly in meetings and when I looked at my calendars, I still had webinars to attend, a Reiki class to attend had to go at the gym, had dinner dates with friends, had grocery shopping to do, had to keep my mani/pedicure appointment and a party to attend.

We all are swamped but it's all in how we manage our time. Well, in order for me not to pull my hair out, I organized and coordinated all my activities. I prepared for all my meetings a head of time, I scheduled how long I would spend at the gym, I kept my mani/pedicure appointment (it helps to treat myself), I attened the Reiki class (which was quite interesting and had it performed on me). I met my friends for dinner (socializing is key to laughter and good health) and still found time to listen to some great Latin music. So that was my week in review and now as I'm writing this blog, I&…

"Rainy Weekend"

Rainy days make you want to curl up in bed, watch a good movie and eat popcorn. For me, this rainy weekend meant that I stayed in and take inventory of what's going on around me. It gave me the opportunity to review my marketing strategies for my novel, Gotta Let It Go, and plan the next steps for my new novel. After I spent hours doing that, it was time for me to catch up on some of my favorite shows (Nurse Jackie, Game of Thrones, Justified, etc). It's been such a long time that I've actually turned on the television that I almost forgot how to work the DVR - lol.

When Sunday rolled around, I went to the gym and then came home to work on my new novel. Once that task was completed, I spent some time networking on various social medial sites. It was time to take a break to make dinner and then spend the rest of the evening relaxing and preparing for the busy week ahead.

So rainy days can make you very introspective and as for me...it made me very productive! I'm geared…

New York, New York

I needed to get away and New York was the perfect place to go. I stayed in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, not too far from the subway and made trips to Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan to do some shopping. I also took time to visit some museums - Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art ("MOMA"). It was great to see so many people there, browsing around, looking at the art work and reading about the artists some of which I found rather interesting like Francesca Woodman (1958 - 1981) - an artist way before her time in terms of how she viewed sexuality and they way she photograped it. I also enjoyed the works of John Chamberlain - his car designs were very interesting.

While I enjoyed the sightseeing, I also took time to check out a karaoke bar and laughed so hard my belly hurt when I saw some of the performers. Some were really bad but I admired their courage to get on stage and give the performance of their lives while the audience cheered them on. At end of the karaoke co…

"The Whipping Man"

This afternoon, I saw the play, The Whipping Man at Center Stage in Baltimore, MD. This play was written by Matthew Lopez and it was directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Synopsis:

Why i sthis night different from all other nights? For three Richmond Jews - one a former Confereate solder, two his former slaves - gathered around a makeshift Seder table at the close of the Civil War, age-old questions of justice and freedom find new and surprising answers.

Cast:

Michael Micalizzi - Caleb
Kevyn Morrow - Simon
Johnny Ramey - John

All three actors were excellent in delivering the angst, pain, sorrow, and joy related to the effects of war and with it, the promise of freedom. This is a must see play - two thumbs up!
W=hy is this night different from all other nights? For three Richmond Jews—one a former Confederate soldier, two his former slaves—gathered around a makeshift Seder table at the close of the Civil War, age-old questions of justice and freedom find new and surprising answersWhy is this nig…

"March In Review"

This month was packed with webinars and teleseminars about writing and marketing strategies. I learned a lot as usual and hope to slow down enough to put some of these same strategies into making my novel, Gotta Let It Go, a success. I also found time to check out the movie, The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence. The idea for this movie is unconventional. However, while I enjoyed the action of how the heroine could survive and ultimately win the games, I thought it was disturbing watching how the kids were selected and fattened up only to be slaughtered. I have no doubt with the amount of money it grossed at the box office, part two is definitely in the works.

Copper Canyon Grill

I met a fellow author for dinner this evening at Copper Canyon Grill in Silver Spring, MD. This restuarant served up American cuisine in a casual yet elegant atmosphere. The wait staff was very knowledgeable and the servings were hefty. After hours of conversation about writing, marketing, and publishing, I found that I had only eaten half my dinner. Anyway, it was even better the next day for dinner. So if you're looking for great food, by the way, the signature dish is wood-fired rotisserie chicken cooked with fresh ingredients. They also make a "mean" yet delicious juicy burger just in case that's what your palate calls for. I would definitely dine at this resturant again.

"Shadowland"

Today, the mentoring program had an outing for the mentee and mentors at ShadowLand (laser tag adventure). I thought why should I let the kids have all the fun so I joined in the activity, strapping on my lightweight high-tech suit with my laser gun ready for some action. It was definitely a work out as I dodged behind columns and under over head passes from being tagged by the mentees. Athough my team was beaten in the first game I was determined to step up my game and joyously celebrated winning the second game. It was so much fun finding my inner child and I would definitely recommend this activity for any group looking to create team building activities.

"Increasing Love In Your Life"

It's always great when I read something refreshing on how to get more love in your life. This past week I read an article on Oprah.com that talked about the "5 (doable) Ways To Increase Love In Your Life." After reading the article, I thought it would be great to share those things with my audience:

1. Letting go of exhaustion.
2. Creating joy.
3. Making room for playtime.
4. Discovering your artistic side.
5. Practicing calm.

Now any of the above 5 things could mean different things to each of us. As for me, letting go of exhaustion can be challenging at times especially when it involves not doing things that bring me joy. So instead of always saying "yes" to things that I feel obligated to do, I'm now beginning to say "no" and finding time for me. In doing so, I get to create joy in the things that I enjoy doing, making time to be silly (dancing around my house), continuing to discover my artistic side (writing) and ushering in the calmess (yoga)…

"Copywriting Secrets Revealed"

This week I tuned into a teleseminar hosted by Zenobia Garrison who spoke to Lavada Thompson about the 5 secrets of copywriting. Copywriting is using your own words to sell and market your own products. Lavada shared the following 5 things to get potential customers to say "Yes" to buying your products:

1. You must emotionally connect with your potential customers. Think about a story that they could relate to.
2. Create the gap in their minds that would make them want your product.
3. Answer their most pressing questions and concerns in the sales page.
4. Add value by selling bonuses.
5. Create the sense of urgency using time and quantity limits.

"Into The Woods"

This evening I saw the musical play "Into The Woods," which was a great spin on several fairy tales. It made me laugh out loud at some of the twists on Cinderella, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Little Red Ridinghood, Rapunzel, etc.

"What Rich Authors Know That Poor Authors Don't"

This week I tuned into a teleseminar hosted by Steve Harrison who shared some very insightful tips regarding the differences between rich and poor authors and how to get a quantum leap. The bottom line is that you need FAME:

F - Focused Plan
A - A lot more exposure and publicity
M - Models that are proven to work
E - Execute, in other words "JUST DO IT!"

"February In Review"

This month marked a month long celebration of Black History. While many good things were happening around us as we celebrated, there were many losses that occurred as well (Don Cornelius, Whitney Houston, etc). Despite it all, we must all move forward as time doesn't stand still for anyone.

"Reinvent ME Live Video Challenge #4"

In class #4, Marshawn talked about Dream Shifter #4: Connecting With A Coach. She said that training with a coach gives you a mindset of winning. Coaches expect the best and accept the best. Coaches should have 4 things:

1. They should have already experienced success.
2. They should have success with coaching others.
3. They should actually be successful.
4. They should be someone you respect because of their value and integrity.

Also, she stated that coaches should have intensity because sometimes our calling needs a KICK!

Put FAITH into action. PURPOSE in no place for the lazy. SUCCESS is great when it comes from the desire to finish!

In closing, Marshawn talked about Dream Shifter #5: Make Winning Your Lifestyle. Winners know how to say yes to themselves. Winning is what you're designed for not struggle for. Say Yes to your purpose, say Yes to your Calling and say Yes to your Destinny.

She stated that the gift that you have is tied to the abundance you receive - your profit c…

"Reinvent ME Live Video Challenge #3"

Class #3 was awesome! Dream Shifter #3: Upgrading Your Strategy really resounded with me. The four realities or reasons why we need a strategy were pivotal: 1) passion without a plan is just a pastime, 2) intention without implementation becomes imagination, 3) calling without commitment is careless and is selfish, and 4) dreams without deadlines end up in decay. Also, realizing that our dreams are suffering from starvation because they are not being fed and we don’t treat them as a business affects us all. For many of us the real issue lies in the fact that we have outgrown our garden. I really loved the analogy that Marshawn shared about the difference between dirt and soil. Dirt can’t support our growth and so it’s important that we get away from those whose mindsets are not positive or even support our dreams. I’ve made it a point to clean house of those people who don’t want to see me prosper simply because they are miserable or envious. Instead, I’m aligning myself with those wh…

"Reinvent ME Live Video Challenge #2"

In Marshawn Evan's second class, she discussied Dream Shifter #2: Defining Your WHY which was very on point. In this class, she stated that your mindset is always key and that "No, keeps us stuck and Yes, begins to create new opportunities." So once you define the three aspects of your WHY: 1) why you do what you do or what gives you the motivation to do it, 2) your ultimate calling or your mission, and 3) how to articulate the value you provide to people, then you'll begin to identify your audience. Along the way, we make mistakes and encounter many obstacles but once we know how to position ourselves and to launch our best self, then our brilliance will come shining through.

Sometimes, it's hard to determine the real WHY and so my commitment to myself after this class is to dig deep and challenge myself to face my obstacles no matter how uncomfortable it will make me feel. I'll also start recognizing that branding comes from my spirit, my heart, my calling…

"Bay to Ocean Writers Conference"

Today, I attended the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference at Chesapeake College in Queenstown, MD along with two members from my writing critique group. The ride was enjoyable and we were thankful that the winds didn't affect our ride over the Bay Bridge. After looking at the session grid, we decide to attend the session that was most applicable to what we were currently working on either finishing up a novel, getting ready to send out queries or marketing our finished projects. The turn out was tremendous and the presenters were knowledgeable and entertaining. We walked away with several nuggets of valuable information. Great conference and I'm looking forward to coming back next year!

"Reinvent ME Live Video Challenge #1"

In Marshawn Evan's first class (January 2012), she talked about not leaving things on the table, whether it's health, business, relationships, etc. She mentioned that dream drifters that can make a difference in our lives. So, let's start with Dream Shifter#1 which is discussed below.

Dream Shifter #1: "Deciding that it's time" - resonated with me on a lot of levels. Specifically, I've decided to be an influencer to others by helping them realize their dreams, helping them to find new jobs, etc., getting rid of the Goliaths in my life by making them less significant as they are blocking my many blessings, getting out of my comfort zone by not sitting on the sidelines and waiting for someone to "draft" me in - so I'll be diving all the way in by seeking out opportunities to promote myself as an author and by finishing up other writing projects that are pending. Regarding the "Superwoman Syndrome," I've learned to prioritize myse…

"Whitney Houston Dead at 48"

The world will mourn this troubled award winning singer, actress, and mother. My condolences to the family.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/11/whitney-houston-dead-sing_n_1270889.html

"Connecting With Old Friends"

Sometimes we can lose touch with our friends but it's such a joy when we can reconnect with them. A few years ago I lost contact with a friend and it was a pleasure to bump into her again and learned about her many life changes. We decided that we needed to grab lunch to catch up and I look forward to it.

This year I'll be making the effort to stay in touch with friends and not let my hectic schedule get in the way of sending emails or picking up the phone to arrange lunch or dinner. It's great when you get to revisit the friendship only to reconnect in a stronger and more positive way.

"January in Review"

January was a very pivotal month for me. It started off with a bang with Marshawn Evans' Reinvent ME Live video challenges. These challenges were very insightful as they forced me to take an introspective view of what I wanted my life and pupose to be for 2012. Resoundingly, I decided it will be my abundant year to set new goals both personally and professionally and achieve them. I'll post more about the Reinvent ME Live video challenges in the upcoming weeks.

"2012 Chinese New Year Celebration in Washington, DC"

This afternoon, I joined a crowd of folks in Chinatown in Washington, DC to watch the Chinese New Year Celebration parade. Although it was cold and chilly outside, everyone huddled and waited patiently to see the dragon dance, kung fu demonstrators, and the firecrackers. It was a great performance and one which I'll likely attend next year.

"Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!"

This day has great significance for us simply because of what Dr. King envisioned for us all which was captured in his infamous I Have A Dream speech. Interestingly, I just completed the 4 part Reinvent ME Live video challenge with Marshawn Evans today where she talked about realizing our dreams.

She talked about 5 dream shifters that will help us to recognize that our dreams should not be delayed and that we should walk into our higher purpose:

1. Deciding it's time.
2. Defining your WHY.
3. Upgrading your strategy.
4. Connecting with a Mentor.
5. Make winning your lifestyle.

With that being said, I leave this quote with you on this very special day:

"Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men a…

"Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

Wow! This movie was awesome (the English-language adaption of the Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson). A lot of my friends told me about it and I finally saw it on Friday. I loved the entire concept of solving this mystery and the way that the main characters (Rooney Mara - who played the computer hacker/girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander and Daniel Craig - who played the disgraced financial journalist, Mikael Blomkvist) went about conducting their research. It was nothing shy of genius. When I get some time I'll have to check out the original of the trilogy - I don't mind subtitles :) Anyway, see below the synopsis of the movie and if you haven't seen it, you should definitely go check it out (David Fincher's version).

Synopsis


Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her beloved uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member …

"Gleam"

Tonight, a very good friend of mine and I went to Centerstage to check out Gleam, a play based on the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. It's been our yearly tradition for the past couple of years to see a play the beginning of each new year. And tonight was great since we both enjoy the works of Zora Neale Hurston. The actors were awesome, some of whom were making their debut at Centerstage but had done extensive work in television and in the movies. We thoroughly enjoyed the play and encourage others to see it too before it ends its run on February 5, 2012. Two thumbs up!!

The synopsis of the play which is directed by Marion McClinton and the cast of characters are detailed below.

Synopsis:

At 16, Janie faces a marriage of convenience and a life of quiet drudgery. Instead, she embarks on a journey that brings successes and losses enough for several lifetimes—a passage to fulfillment so singular that it manages to speak for all of our dreams. This soaring saga brings to life the v…

"Happy New Year"

Greetings! I want to take this time to wish everyone a wonderful and successful New Year. As I sat home and made reflections of the year past, I was thankful for the people who came into my life and expanded my creative circle. I was also thankful for the many experiences that I enjoyed as an author. I learned from the ground up that promoting and marketing my book, Gotta Let It Go, which was published in December 2010, was not an easy task. However, I was eager to learn as I participated in the following activities throughout the year:

• Two Talk Books Blogtalk Radio Interview, March 12, 2011 – This was my very first blogtalk radio interview and the host, Starla Faye, made me feel very welcome and gave me some good exposure.

• Interview with Patrick Tandy, Maryland State Bar Association, April 28, 2011 – This was my very first print interview which appeared in the May 2011 issue of the Bar Bulletin.

• Taste N Books Event, May 15, 2011 – This was my very first event as a published author…