Friday, December 31, 2010

A REAL REALITY. . .

Hello Fans,


I know I've been neglecting my blogging duties, and I'm working hard to get back in the swing of things, so thank you for hanging in there with me.

So getting right down to the nitty and gritty of thangs, are you tired of Television?  Has the idiot box, or shall I say the idiot flat screen getting you down?  Are you paying high astronomical fees for cable or satellite television with the same ole programs you've seen before?  Have you noticed new channels being added to your cable packages that seem to have no rhyme or reason to them, yet and still you're paying for it?  Or how about old stations that have new names, but showing the same old stuff you've seen back in the day?  And what about Reality TV?  Do you notice that every second of the day you turn on the TV and there's a new Reality Show being born?  Do you wonder what happened to old fashioned sitcoms and good quality dramas, which are being yanked off the air faster than I can type these words?!

If you're like me and answered a resounding 'yes' to just about every question above, I've got the perfect solution for you and it won't eat a hole in your wallet.  I'm launching a new campaign that I like to call "DMR," or in other words, Do More Reading!  Aaah-ha, that's right, READ! 

Scripted reality shows are so yesterday.  It seems like every time I turn on the TV, another one has popped up.  I believe reality shows are becoming more like the Internet, there's no shortage of subjects or genres to choose from.  Whatever your poison, they got your flavor, and personally, I'm NOT feeling it anymore.  I'm in search of the antidote!   We've been there, done that, and it's been a full decade of this garbage, and I say, GOOD RIDDEN!


So, with that in mind, I'm launching a new campaign called "Do More Reading!"   The great thing about books is that they can take you places you've never been!  The story lines are much more mind stimulating and intensifies the whole brain experience.  When you read a great book, it stays with you and opens your imagination and gives you a satisfying thirst for more.  Unlike the mindless scripted reality shows!


PICTURE THIS (For Old School Book Lovers):
It's a bitter cold Friday Night!  You just fought rush hour traffic and you pulled an 8-hour day at work.  You're tired and weary from the week's maddening pace and you just need to unwind.  It's about 12 degrees outside~~you hear the wind blowing furiously all around your home, but you don't care cause you're in for the night--so you take a nice hot bath to loosen up your stress-filled body~~maybe light a few scented candles for aromatherapy~~Now you exit the tub, grab your favorite night gown or jammies, nice fluffy slippers and a cozy robe~~it's all about you~~spouse working late, kids are staying at friends--It's "Me" time~~Ooooh Yeah! 


So you pour yourself a nice glass of wine~~swirl it around in the glass--close your eyes and let the day's bullshit roll off your body like it's nobody's business~~you take a sip of that warm sweet spirit, as it begins to lift yours~~and go~~Aaaaah, that hit the spot!~~Now exhale and take a few deep breaths.  


You reach for that book you've been dying to read, but never having the time to do it.  You're in your favorite chair or couch curled up under a nice warm blanket, some soft music playing in the background, or no music at all~~you crack open the first page, and the author begins to spin a tale that hooks you from the very first sentence~~you flowing with the words getting into the story~~and the next thing you know, you're stretching your eyes and turning the pages faster and faster, until you look around and peep up from the book to look at the clock~~three or four hours have passed and you've burned up about a hundred pages or more.  Old Man Winter still playing his tune outside, but you're hot, willing and able enjoying that book!  No worries, no problems~~just reading!


The story above can be said for the New School readers with your iPads, Nooks, Kindles, E-readers, etc.  To me, having an actual book is a more pleasurable experience, cause I'm old school, but hey, I welcome the new school wave of readers to the mix.  Welcome!!  Just substitute your electronic device and picture yourself above.  I'm not hating!  Now answer me this, what reality show can do that for you?  Hmm, none that I can think of!  And you don't have to pay an outrageous monthly fee to enjoy what I mentioned above.  Most books are $30 or less and the beauty of it~~ONE TIME FEE!!!!  No bills, no customer service~~Just Do More Reading!


And while you Do More Reading, why not add my new novel to your list of winter reading material.  SILENT KNIGHT, is what I like to call an urban mystery.  It has all the flavor that many of you came to love in Mello & June, except the story is a little more complex and deals completely with a new subject matter~~plus, you'll get to meet a whole lot of new characters that are dying to meet you and eager to tell you all about themselves.


If you grew up in the hood, especially in the projects, I am positive you will be able to identify with many of the characters' experiences.  This is a story, I feel, that needed to be told, and I might add, it was told quite well by the characters who plagued my mind for an entire year showing me their lives and how it impacted their story.  I feel extremely confident that I took very good care and had their best interests at heart, while relaying what they shared with me to you, my reading audience. 


BACK COVER of SILENT KNIGHT
CLARENCE KNIGHT, a Film maker, doing it big out in Hollywood, California. He’s worked with such greats as Will Smith and Spike Lee. Clarence's best friend, Reggie Dunn, has summoned Clarence to come back home because Reggie's father is dying. After all, Mr. Dunn played an intricate part in Clarence’s upbringing.




Feeling apprehensive returning to his old stomping grounds of Woodland Heights, the Projects, he unwillingly does it anyway. Once he arrives, he discovers that his old hood isn't quite the way it used to be when he and his family moved there 20 years prior.



While visiting with his best friend and catching up on old times, Clarence figured he could make the best of the trip by surprising his friend with a camera crew that is in the process of making a documentary about their lives in Woodland Heights, the way it was in the 70s! However, Clarence also has another reason for wanting to do the documentary, which is finding out what happened to a kid named Marcus Paige they used to hang with. As the camera crew starts interviewing the people of Woodland Heights, it is becoming clear that there are some deep dark secrets that his old neighborhood possessed, and some extremely harsh realities Clarence will have to face.


After all is revealed, will Clarence still remain friends with his old crew, and better yet, will what Clarence learns keep him Silent forever?!
------------------------------------

SILENT KNIGHT is in full production and soon to be Released in the new year~~You will be able to purchase my newest novel the same way you did with the first book from Barnes & Noble and Borders (at the Order desk and ships within 24-hours), www.amazon.com, and it will also be available for electronic downloads, thanks to my many fans who requested this.  There will be an 800 number you can call for purchase, as well as my new websites I plan to be launching.  Please stay tuned for the latest updates!

 
I will be having a Release party for those who pre-purchased, but please don't feel left out, if you'd like to attend, please let me know on Facebook or email me at mellojune@kimberlyraneehicks.com, and I will have a few extra copies of the book available for purchase.  THANK YOU ALL for the Love and Support!  I am forever grateful and appreciative of the love you showed me for the first book.  It's because of you that Mello & June was so successful and went National!

 
If you'd like to learn more about my new campaign: DO MORE READING, please contact me.  HAPPY NEW YEAR and God Bless!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thin Line Between Freedom of Speech and Personal Attack. . .

HELLO FANS,

I hope this Blog finds you well, and I wish you and yours good health and a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Now, getting down to some serious thought:   Anyone who knows me personally, and those of you that have gotten to know me, somewhat, from Facebook, should know by now, I try to write uplifting statuses to make people think, to make people discuss, and to encourage one another.

If you are new to my page, there are three types of statuses you will notice I post:  1) My Food For Thought series; 2) My Favorite Quote series; and 3) My Truth series.  I get quite a few hits off of each of those statuses merely because people enjoy them, at least that's what most people tell me, and I can only go by what I'm told.

My Blog today is a simple one.  I want to make absolute sure that people understand where I'm coming from, because recently, I've received some pretty negative comments from various people who didn't agree with something I said, or just didn't like what I said.

First and foremost, no matter what, I always allow anyone to speak his/her mind on whatever status I post for the day.  I will NEVER deny a person to speak freely or comment, whether I agree with that individual's view or not.  Being a writer, I believe FIRMLY in Freedom of Speech because without it, I couldn't write you this very Blog.  Without it, I couldn't write my novels.  Without it, I couldn't be the artist I am, and for those reasons, and those alone, I will ALWAYS welcome all comments, whether they're nice or not.

BUT, and of course you knew that was coming, there is a very, very thin line between your freedom to speak as you wish, and personally attacking an individual.  When you use your freedom to attack a person based on the fact that you believe one way, and feel that others should believe like you, and when they don't, a person becomes downright rude and insensitive toward another, that's where I MUST draw the line.  When a person deliberately seeks you out, based on what you've written on your wall, to use that as their own personal soap box to berate and degrade a person, that I CANNOT condone.

I've read a multitude of books--an array of news magazines on all sorts of topics.  In fact, what I can say and write is absolutely endless for me--which makes me extremely versatile to speak on many subjects.  Because my mother helped me to fall in love with learning, and especially reading, that helped to form my writing talent.  I do not ever want to be stuck in a particular genre because I know I can write on different levels.

So words mean more to me than to the average intellect.  When I say I've learned to respect the power of words, I mean that sincerely and whole heartedly.  I ALWAYS think of what I 'm about to say to a person, before the words ever leave my mouth, and the precious few times that I didn't do that, I was always sorry because I knew my words damaged another's soul, and that's not the type of person I am.  That is not me!  But, sometimes I've got to defend myself, much like I'm doing now.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that I do feel this strongly about words, I'm often the target for others bad behavior.  People mistake my kindness for allowing them to be free with what they say, for being a "softy" or being "Boo-Boo-the Damn Fool," and I want to make absolute sure to let YOU all know, please do not EVER mistake my kindness for weakness, because YOU couldn't be more wrong!

Just because I don't choose to argue with you or to show another side of myself, doesn't mean that it's NOT in me to do!  I can be downright vicious when I want to be and anyone who has ever been on the other side of my ear-beating knows this all too well.  Trust and believe I can cuss you out, without ever so much as using profanity.  I can say things to a person in the highest of intellectual battles, leaving my opponent cut and bruised--and most definitely defeated.  Words are my best friend, and you best believe I know how to use them--cut a soul so deeply that the individual never knew what struck him.  I've done it, and it's not pretty!  I choose not to do this to people, especially on a social network, because it's a moot point.  I pick and choose my battles, and someone calling me out of my name, or in-boxing me nasty video content or threatening me that I tell them my secrets for my writing success, doesn't mean diddly to me! 

So you see, Facebook is an adult playground, and I realize that.  It's a place for everyone to do exactly what I'm doing, using their freedom to express and stay connected with family and friends, and make new ones.  That's all Facebook is.  Don't get it twisted people!  It isn't going to make or break me, because for one, I would NEVER allow anything nor anyone to control me to that extent.  The only thing that will break me, is ME, but never anyone else!  I haven't lasted this long for nothing.  With the strength of my family and my God, I can and will do all that I am meant to do.  I will continue to write whatever statuses I feel will help a person get through the day, or make a person think, whether YOU like it or not, because it isn't about you, or perhaps maybe some of you didn't realize that.

In closing, I always tell my Family, Friends and Fans to be very careful of the words they speak.  I wasn't kidding when I said that!  Everything that comes out of you that you put into the world, I strongly believe will come back to you.  If you choose to speak negatively, choose to be rude, or choose to be obnoxious and this is what you put out, then don't be surprised when that's all you receive in the end.  This, my Fans, is not my opinion, but a well-known fact.  The old adage, "You get out of this Life, what you put in It," is very, very true. 

And, more importantly, folks, when speaking freely on social networks, like your Facebook, Twitter, etc., remember, those networks own what you put on it, whether it's your personal page or not.  If you choose to attack me, others can see that as well.  Are you aware that today when most crimes are committed, guess where the first place is the police go?  Are you aware that when you apply for jobs today, guess where the first place is the employer goes?  So, everyone, THINK, about what you SAY, and especially what you SAY to Others!  Because it may be your freedom of speech, but that very freedom can cause you to be behind bars, miss out on a job opportunity, as hard as jobs are to come by, or get you fired from a current position.  WAKE UP!

Stay tuned to my fan page of MELLO & JUNE for updates on SILENT KNIGHT

Wishing you well and God Bless!  Happy Reading and be Careful Speaking!  Remember:  The Pen is Mightier than the Sword, ALWAYS~~and that Pen can reap some very serious consequences to the Pen Holder!  Be Mindful!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Maddening Race. . .

HELLO FANS,

I know, trust me, I know it's been a long while since I've written on my blog.  And I thank each and every one of you for inquiring about the new novel and thus and such, and again, I apologize the book hasn't come out yet.  My only explanation is life happened and I think that's enough stated.  I'm looking at releasing SILENT KNIGHT by the end of December or out by the first of 2011. 

But, the reason for my blog today, is not so much for the new novel, which is important, but I want to jump on the wagon regarding Tyler Perry's latest film, FOR COLORED GIRLS.  Oookay, you probably have some idea where this is going, or so you like to think?

I had the fortunate pleasure of being in the company of many of my New Kensington friends at a gathering last weekend, and I got to talk with men and women regarding Tyler's latest film.  Needless to say, everybody in the place had something to say about this movie, and before you ask, no I have not seen it yet, nor have I read the book or saw the play~~so no, I can't say much about it, but of course I still have an opinion~~you knew that was coming, right?

What I found most interesting are the men that have been so vocal about FCG.  Vocal really isn't the word, angry is more like it.  I've spoken to several men that said they are sick and tired of Tyler always doing these movies wherein they are portrayed as negative images.  I can't tell you how many men I've heard say this.  It's becoming so large, the media has even focused its attention to this very sensitive matter.

"Why are all Tyler Perry's plays and movies always showing black men as dogs and dirty and just plain no good?"  Well, from an artist point of view, which I am, I understand perfectly why Tyler "appears" to write these types of films and/or plays, although Tyler did not write FCG.  It's because as a writer, YOU write what you know.  And what makes him or us an authority on this, it's because it's what we've witnessed.

NOTE TO MY BROTHERS:  As much as you will most likely disagree with me, I have to say, if the image you're seeing is hitting a little too close to home, it could be because a lot of you are guilty of what you see up on the screen.  Not all black men are bad, nor are all black men good.  The bottom line, my brothas, there are good and evil in all races, not just ours.  I'm using our race to speak upon, because it seems to be on the minds of many African-Americans, and I just want to add my two cents in the mix.

Case in point, I started out in a two-parent household~~A married union that brought about two children.  Things didn't work out between my parents and they divorced.  My brother and I saw our dad a lot in the early stages after the divorce, and then, dad no longer was prevalent in our lives.  He went his way, and left my mother to raise us on her own.

Was that the fault of ours, hell no, but left my father did, just like so many other black children out here living that reality.  Some of our fathers are in prison, many are dead, and thousands are just deadbeat and have dropped off of the face of the grid.  That does something to a child no matter how strong a woman is.  There's a reason why we have parents (plural).  It took two of you to create your family, but unfortunately, it doesn't always remain that way.

My father leaving left one hell of a mark on me.  It shaped my opinion on how I viewed men.  It caused me to be discriminate toward light skin brothas because I associated their color with him.  I thought all light skin brothas were monsters, just pure evil men that bring children to the world, and then leave them.  YOU have no idea how that shaped my writing view.  It wasn't until decades later I was able to build a friendship with my father, and lots of praying to God to help me melt the anger I felt toward him away.

In Tyler's defense, his humble beginnings were no bowl of cherries either.  He's spoken very openly and honestly about his abuse and his upbringing.  And the actions of what you see some black men do to you, especially in the formative years, shapes and molds you as the artist you will one day be, if writing is your outlet.  So, Tyler writes what he's seen and have witnessed, the same as I do.  I will never hold that against him, for if I did, I'd be a hypocrite, which I pride myself on NOT being. 

But my brothas one thing you have to remember, in all Tyler's workings, there are good and bad men.  Not every single man in his productions are bad.  Every movie usually has a good character and a villain, and Tyler's works are no different.

AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, while watching his work, if you identify with the good men in the film, then why the hell do you care how the bad men are being portrayed?  If that's not YOU, then why would you get upset over the work he's doing.  Hey, if you want to complain about you're tired of the same type of stuff he writes, okay I can give you that, but to get upset over images you say don't accurately portray you, I can't let you have that.

I identify with every character I've seen in Tyler's movies whether they be male or female, light or dark skin.  It's ART plain and simple my brothas.  Don't pop your collar over his latest chick flick, because let's face it, at the end of the day, that's what this movie is.

I will leave you with some food for thought:  If it really bothers you to see Tyler's black male characters portrayed so negatively, then YOU need to do all you can to make sure you're not the type of brother he may display in one of his characters.  If you don't want to be depicted negatively, then DON'T do the types of things you see often in many black films, not just Tyler's.

And yes, there are some bad African-American women out here too.  Men are not alone.  Some of us females can be a real damn trip~~but my brothas, don't get caught up in this mess about being portrayed badly.  What I hope this accomplishes is that it makes you realize how many writers view the black male, and again, NOT all of you.  Change the image so we writers can view some of you differently!

So, the next time you see a black film that shows a bad black male, just make sure YOU aren't being what you see up on screen.  Prove writers wrong.  Prove Hollywood wrong~~and then we can focus on more important issues, other than race!

I wish you good health and great reading!  Chill brothas it's really not that serious!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A GLIMPSE INTO SILENT KNIGHT, newest novel. . .

Hello Fans,

Here is a CHAPTER SNEAK PEEK into SILENT KNIGHT:

REUNITED
The limo began the long trip up the hill, and Clarence had made it to his destination – Reggie’s dad’s apartment. There were a few young people hanging outside with hoodies and baggie jeans. He didn’t know what sex they were because these days it’s hard to tell. Several people were looking out their window, as Timmy parked the limo. Clarence took a long deep breath, and gathered his nerve and thoughts and waited for Timmy to open the door.

“Mr. Knight, we’re here!”

“Yeah, so we are. Make sure you get this limo back to the hotel, and don’t stop anywhere, unless it’s a traffic sign you must obey. . .you saw all those thugs hanging down the street?”

Timmy nodded. “Yes sir.” Timmy went to the other side of the limo and pulled out several Christmas bags for Mr. Knight.

As Clarence was gathering the bags, he could hear Reggie before he saw him because when he ran down the hallway steps, he always sounded like a horse galloping.

“Heeeey, man, you made it! I can’t believe you actually came?”

Clarence just stood there like a statue.

“Clarence, it’s me, Reggie, you too good to give your boy a hug?”

Clarence grabbed Reggie and they patted each other's back real hard, while he clung to him for dear life.

“Man, it’s so good to see you,” as Clarence released Reggie, “but what the hell happened to Woodland Heights?”

Reggie took a good hard look at Clarence and stuck his hands in his pockets.

“What happens to everything, man, people just don’t give a fuck, that’s what happened! Life happened!”

Clarence closed his eyes and took in as much cold air as he could to fill his lungs. Reggie looked at Clarence like he was a celebrity, with so much hope and promise in his eyes.

“You don’t know how much this means to me for you to come back to your humble beginnings,” and Reggie spread his arms out and moved them around like a camera making a panoramic view. “I never thought you’d come back here, ever?”

Clarence smiled lightly. “Well, when you said that your dad was sick, I had to come back for Mr. Dunn. He was like a father to me, hell he was a father to all of us.”

“Hey, it’s cold out here, why don’t we go in and see everybody. They’re waiting for you.”

More people were hanging out the hallway windows, as they carefully watched the two old friends make their way to Reggie’s hallway door. When he got inside the hallway, he felt like the walls were closing in on him. When Clarence was a kid growing up in the projects, he thought that place was the largest area he had ever seen. But now, it felt so small, he chuckled to himself because he couldn’t believe he ever thought this place was big.

Reggie’s apartment was on the third floor, and Clarence couldn’t wait to get to the top. One of the resident’s was playing his rap music so loud, Clarence thought his ears would pop. Reggie banged on the door to his neighbor’s, and surprisingly, he came to the door.

“Hey man, how many times I gotta tell you my dad is sick and it’s kinda late, so could you please turn that down?”

“Yeah, whatever nigga!”

The young man slammed his door, and turned it down somewhat, but anyone within earshot could still hear it. Someone was burning food because it had the entire hallway lit up.

“Is someone burning popcorn?”

Reggie laughed. “Yeah, probably to string up on their old Charlie Brown tree.”

The two friends shared a laugh. They finally reached Reggie’s door, and Mrs. Dunn was standing in the doorway. She reached over and grabbed Clarence so hard, he almost lost his balance.

“Boy, it’s been too damn long. You hungry?”

“Yes, ma’am I am. It’s always a pleasure to see you.”

“Likewise!”

Reggie looked to Clarence’s bags.

“Is it alright for me to take the presents and place them under the tree?”

Clarence began removing his Cashmere coat. “Absolutely.”  Mrs. Dunn’s cooking was making Clarence’s stomach growl. He walked over to the couch, and his legs barely had any room to stretch due to the Dunns' coffee table. Who uses coffee tables anymore? Reggie walked toward his father’s bedroom, and he peeped his head around the corner.

“Clarence, you wanna say hi to Pop?”  He was really dreading this moment, but he knew this was the reason in which he came back to Woodland Heights in the first place. “Sure!”


Be sure to check the MELLO & JUNE FAN PAGE on FACEBOOK for updates on the release of SILENT KNIGHT!  Also, Fans, I heard you loud and clear, and now my books will be available for electronic downloads.  Stay tuned, this summer, for SILENT KNIGHT coming to a bookstore near you~~and it's just an electronic download away! 

HAPPY READING. . . and THANKS for your SUPPORT!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER. . .

Hello Fans,

I've been really digging deep in my subconscious to think about all the people I've come in contact with through most of my life.  What amazes me is how each of those individuals have impacted my existence.  As I wrote in my last blog, "Friends of Season," people do come and they do go, but it's those that mean a great deal to me that made the greatest impression.

I used to ask God why certain things happened to me, good, bad or otherwise, and for most of my life, I had no clue, but it wasn't until I wrote MELLO & JUNE that I realize now that I was meant to go through those things because in the creativity of writing, in order to make it feel real, you have to experience, and I must say, I've had a great many experiences in my lifetime, and I wouldn't change a thing!

I feel very fortunate and blessed to have gone through the many trials and tribulations~~the tests that God imposes on us.  I sometimes wonder if I passed those tests with flying colors, and I believe I must have, because I wouldn't be able to write the type of stories I create. 

One thing that I do not have a lot of is friends.  And I remember the time when that would bother me, but now not so much.  I'm quite happy being the loner I've become, but having said that, I'm blessed because there are a very precious few friends I have that I consider my "BEST" friends. 
  1. My Mother
  2. My Husband
  3. Linda Mickens~~All My Life (Cousin)
  4. Anton Williams~~Friends for 32 years
  5. Michael Smith~~Friends for 23 years
  6. Tammy Stevens~~Friends for 15 years
  7. James Franklin~~My Baby Brother~~Most of my Life (wink-wink)
  8. Iyana Tennon~~My Baby Sister (wink-wink) 1 year
The people I listed above are the people who have greatly impacted me, and I'm so thankful to them all!  There are some people who don't have anyone to love them, and wouldn't have a clue what it feels like to have that much love in their life, and God blessed me with them!  You can't put a price tag on this treasure of knowing these individuals.

Which brings me to why I'm writing this blog.  Since my latest novel takes place in the 70s, I drew a lot of the experiences of the little boys in SILENT KNIGHT from my biological brother, Curtis, and all the crazy things he and some of his friends used to do.  It was fun to remember and painful at the same time.  My brother has been deceased for 8 years now, and I miss him terribly, but being the guardian angel he's become to me, he sent me a replacement in James Franklin.  James and my brother were really good childhood friends, and that friendship extended into my brother's adulthood.  James knows my brother all too well.

It is because of their friendship, I decided to dedicate SILENT KNIGHT to my baby brother, James!  God sent me a treasure in you, and I thank you for all that you've done for me and all you did for Curtis.  And only you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

CLARENCE KNIGHT is going to learn some startling things about his best friend, Reggie, as well as the secrets he and his crew hold.  He will be faced with the question of whether or not the people he was closest too were really friends or enemies!  While he's learning new things each and every day about his friends, he is going to have to dig deep within himself to unlock all the secrets of Woodland Heights~~and while doing this, he's going to learn who holds the key to his very survival!  SILENT KNIGHT, a mystery, written by yours truly, coming to a bookstore near you this summer!  Don't Miss Out!

HAPPY READING!

Monday, May 10, 2010

FRIENDS OF SEASON. . .

Hi Fans,

I was trying to figure out what I was going to blog about this week, and I really had no ideas, until I had a recent conversation with a friend of mine.  We hadn't spoken in quite some time, and although we don't talk each and every day, when we do contact each other, it's like we pick up right where we left off.  She keeps up with my writing, and I keep up with her career and family, and it's always a pleasure to speak with her.

She asked me if I had spoken to a mutual acquaintance of ours, and I told her I hadn't spoken with her in almost two years, and she was rather surprised.  The reason she was a bit taken aback by that is because knowing me, I always keep in contact with people I consider friends.  So when I mentioned I hadn't spoken to her, she couldn't believe it.

I explained that I believed our season had come to an end.  Anytime you email, call, text and leave voicemail messages for someone, and that person never contacts you back, that tells me this person doesn't want to be bothered, so therefore I delete that person from my life.  The first time I had to do this, it really bothered me because I'm like did I do or say something to this individual to make them upset with me, and when I think back and go over in my mind every aspect of that friendship and I don't find anything wrong that I may have done, then I do not bother with that person again. 

It struck me when I deleted this woman from my cell phone. I began going down the list of people that I used to converse with and decided if I hadn't spoken to these people within the last 3 months, I deleted their numbers from my phone and freed up quite a bit of space.  It was a bit uncomfortable for me at first, but after I deleted the first person, my finger got "delete" happy, and before I knew it, I had about 20 people left on my contact list, and these are people that are very important to me. 

This is when I realized that it is very true that there are some people meant to be in your life for just a short period, and we're not supposed to try and hold onto them.  They come for their season and move on.  And you know what, as I explained to my girlfriend, I'm not mad with the woman that chose to remove me from her life, cause that's what she needed to do. 

Now granted, there are some I deleted because they didn't mean me well and stopped speaking to me for one reason or another, but more so because I became an author~~yet another harsh reality I had to accept.  Isn't that something?  Some people got the audacity to hate me because I had a dream, I followed it, and made it a reality, as if this was their own doing?  What nerve, but as I've learned, such as life~~whatever!  I guess some hate because they don't dream, and I dared to do it and succeeded.

Of course, you had to know there was another reason why I'm writing about friendships.  My latest novel, SILENT KNIGHT, deals with harsh realities about friendships.  The adult Clarence you meet was very much in the dark about what he thought his friends were about.  As his friends learn they didn't know all of Clarence's background either.  Some of his childhood friends will be there until the end, but he's going to experience seasonal friendships as well, and it's how Clarence handles it that makes this story so compelling.

Everyone has skeletons in their closet, but it's those bones that resonate loudly and threatens to destroy everything Clarence stands for.  By the time you get to the end, you're going to find out who Clarence's friends are and why.  As I think of what Clarence has to face, my deleting people from my cell phone pales in comparison to what he's going to be faced with.  I'm sure he would love to trade places with me. (chuckle)

Get ready for the startling stories told by Clarence, Reggie, Jr., Jeremy, Carla, Vicki and Connie, as they recount their childhood back in the 70s, and think about their long lost friend, Marcus.  Who was Marcus and where is he~~this is what Clarence and his crew would like to know?  Learn more about them in SILENT KNIGHT, coming to a bookstore near you!!!!

Happy Reading, and God Bless!
www.kimberlyraneehicks.com

Saturday, May 1, 2010

BEHIND EVERY GREAT NOVEL. . .

When I began writing SILENT KNIGHT about eight months ago, so many ideas rushed through my mind.  The characters were so strong in my mind, I couldn't get everything down that they were trying to tell me.  My creativity comes from my dreams, and yes, somewhere along my subconscious I suppose a lot of the characters are people I actually know, events that actually happened, and really deep down, things I've been through~~it's all apart of what makes me who I am, and why I write.

The characters you'll meet in my latest novel are ordinary people with many stories to share.  And it is those stories that will captivate you down to the end.  I cannot tell you what this story is about, because YOU the reader will figure that out as you go along, but what I can tell you is you'll learn that everything you think you know about people closest to you, you truly have no idea.  Which begs the question, do you really know everything about the people you're related to, your friends, co-workers or acquaintances?

The answer is NO, we do not, and I guess there is a good reason for that because if you were to know everything about a person, where would the mystery lie in life?  When my characters invaded my memory bank, the things they shared with me were shocking.  And the way they expressed themselves felt so real, when I woke up and began typing what they said, I could have sworn I actually knew them. 

Many of you have asked me where do I get my inspiration from, and as I mentioned before, usually when I sleep, that's where my stories come to life.  It's like I'm sitting in a movie theater, with a big bag of popcorn and a nice soft drink, my feet propped up on the chair in front of me, and I'm the only moviegoer sitting there, and up on the silver screen, these characters begin to tell me a story.  I've even had characters come through the screen, as I sit and watch the story unfold, and they tell me, this is what I would like you to do, or this is how you should convey this, and when I awake, I get busy. 

What's funny is when I wrote MELLO & JUNE, June screamed at me to get up and start writing what she was saying.  Her voice startled me so much, I shot out of bed and grabbed my notepad and started writing down her words.  Some of you shared that MELLO & JUNE reads like a movie, well now you know why, because that is exactly how I write, what I see up on the silver screen in my mind.

I've been creating stories like this all of my life.  Every story I've ever written comes across as a movie in my mind, and I write down what I see.  The movies in my mind are so strong, I can smell what my characters smell, I can feel the pain that they feel, I can even touch what they touch and move about as they move from one area to another.  I see every characteristic that individual has, and I even feel how they connect to others they reveal to me.

Does that sound creepy?  Well if it doesn't, it sure as hell does to me!  Imagine being a five year old, and a character you've never seen in your life, starts to talk to you and tells you to write what they say and what they reveal.  Am I crazy, perhaps, but it's what makes me the artist I am.  So when people ask me how long have I been writing, literally all of my life, I just kept my stories to myself, and only shared very little with my immediate family.

I remember when I was in third grade and my English teacher asked us to write a creative story and make it different, based on the objects we could see in the classroom.  Well, of course, I had to be different.  Instead of writing what I saw in the classroom, I got a strong urge that told me to go look out the window.  And when I did, I saw the play yard out back, and off to the left of the yard was some grass with little dandelions growing.  At the time I thought nothing of it.

When I got home that night, I went to bed, and I dreamt of the play yard and that patch of grass.  One bold dandelion popped up on the silver screen, and started telling me its story.  When I got to school the next morning, I wrote what the flower said.  I turned in my paper and couldn't wait for my teacher to tell me how she enjoyed it.  She randomly selected papers from the stack, and when she began reading mine aloud, I was all too happy.

But, my happiness was short lived.  After she read some of our stories, and it was time for us to leave for the day, she called me up to her desk.  She said, "Kimberly that was a very nice story you wrote," and she looked down at my paper, "but you didn't follow the assignment I gave you."  I was confused and upset.  So I tried explaining, but to no avail.  "I asked you to write about something in the classroom, and you wrote about something outside." 

As I stood before her, shaking and getting angrier by the minute, I replied, "I did follow your instructions. . .I was sitting in the classroom, and I wrote about an object I could see, and it was pretty creative.  My mom liked the story!"  She folded her arms and looked at me.  "Well, I tell you what," she said, "I'll give you an 'A' for creativity because it was very well written, but you get an "E" for not following what I asked you to do."  I responded, "OK, but the play yard is on school grounds, and that dandelion told me to write this story, and that's what I did.  I can't help where I get my ideas from. . ." and I added, "you said do something creative and different, and that's exactly what I did."

I grabbed my book bag and stormed out of her classroom.  The look on this teacher's face was a true "Kodak moment!"  I had that kind of spunk even in the third grade.  And that still holds true for me today.  I don't know where my inspiration comes from, but no matter what, I follow whatever it tells me, and it has never told me wrong yet.  Obviously, my talent was given to me in this form, and I obey it, and let it guide me as it sees fit.  And, finally, my weird way of writing has paid off, I'm an author now, and becoming more known, and so I say to my third grade teacher, TAKE THAT~~Ha!  (chuckle).

AND THE MORAL TO THE STORY IS:  Whatever talents you possess and whatever works for you, never let anyone tell you how to use it.  And remember, you will not be able to please everyone with the talent you've been blessed with, but always stay true to yourself!  You own your creativity from beginning to end, and it's up to you to handle it as you see fit.  Many of you have said you are really looking forward to my latest novel, and more novels down the line, this is why I shared with my fans, where my creativity comes from.  Behind every great novel I write, is a silver screen in my mind with characters driving me wild telling me what to do!  How does creativity live in you? (laugh)!

HAPPY READING, and look out for SILENT KNIGHT, another great novel sure to please and keep you interested until the very last word is read!  Thanks for your support, and more importantly, I thank God for my talent!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

All About the BENjamins. . .

Okay, so I lied.  I thought my last blog would be my last on the subject of the Steelers, but I feel I have to say something since the latest developments.  So, Commissioner Goodell handed down his "sentence" for what Big Ben's punishment will be~~a 6 game suspension.  While that punishment speaks volumes, I still don't feel it was enough!  It is lacking the message I want all professional athletes to understand!

If it were up to me, Ben wouldn't play for the entire season~~that's right, I said it, the entire season!  And, I might add, if I hear one more person say, "that's a harsh punishment for a man that wasn't charged with a crime," I think I will just upchuck the contents of my stomach!  But if you really want to know how I feel, I think the punishment should be that he never plays in the NFL ever again!  Now that has some substance and sends a very powerful, yet equally gratifying, message!  Trust me, professional athletes would definitely feel that message and it would discourage stupidity off the field!

The media is now spinning the whole "will Ben be traded," thing, and I say good riddens, couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!  It was reported tonight that if Ben completes his "counseling" successfully, he may be able to get on the field within 4 games.  Really?  Which brings me to why I am writing this blog tonight, because last week I was just outraged by what happened to Santonio Holmes, but now I'm just downright sickened this week with the way things are unfolding.

I listened to reporters talk with fans on the street today, and I must say, it was mind blowing to me.  For the most part, the majority of fans interviewed think he should be traded, aka, fired, while there are those fans that think he should stay right here to live to throw the "old pig skin" again!  Say What?  There are other NFL teams saying they'd be more than happy to take Ben off our hands, and some of the fans from other teams said they could overlook Ben's personal drama!  Are YOU Serious?

I am deeply disturbed by some of the men, and even more so, some of the women, who said they can cast aside Ben's personal issues, for the sake of the game.  These fans said they are "concerned" that we will have a rough season because he's one of the best quarterbacks in the League.  Well I don't know about you, but personally, I don't think Ben is all that hot of a quarterback, and I think even less of him as a human being for his treatment of women.  So he loses $2 million dollars from his punishment, which doesn't mean didley to him~~hell, that's mere peanuts to him!  In my opinion, he's not the best quarterback, but he's the highest paid quarterback in the League~~that's not opinion, but actual fact! 

Anytime we as human beings put the game of Football, or any sport for that matter, above sexual assault of any kind, the entire human race is doomed.  To those male fans that are so worried that we won't make it to the Superbowl without Ben, I would like YOU to think about this!  Suppose the young woman he allegedly sexually assaulted was your mother, sister, aunt, niece, daughter or girlfriend, would YOU still feel he is honorable enough to stay in the League, let alone play for the Steelers?  Would you be willing to cast aside your personal feelings for him if it was a woman that you cared about that it happened to?  Would the game of football be worth it, if it was a woman closely related to you!  

And you women fans out there who think Ben was punished too harshly, would you feel that way if he had sexually assaulted you?  Would YOU be able to cast aside your personal feelings, if he had inappropriately done something to you?  Would the game of football be worth it, if it were YOU or perhaps your mother, sister, aunt, niece, daughter or one of YOUR girlfriends?  Could you overlook this situation then?

Once again, I've heard Michael Vick's name come up and see that someone has made T-shirts with Tiger Woods and Ben's face on it that says, "Dumb and Dumber!"  I want to point out to the people who think this was genius, to equate Tiger Woods and Ben in the same breath, is a total injustice to Tiger.  Tiger NEVER sexually assaulted any of the women he slept with.  What HE did with those women was consentual, however, what Ben was accussed of was sexually assaulting two women that we know of!  Where the hell is the comparison?  Tiger's only fault was that he committed adultery against HIS wife!  However, the two women that made allegations toward Ben, DIDN'T WANT HIS ADVANCEMENTS!  These women said NO, but somewhere along the line Ben lost the translation, and I guess so, when you get one of the alleged victims highly intoxicated!

So Michael Vick did 2 years in prison for illegal dog fighting, and yet, somehow now, that is worse than sexually assaulting a woman?  I have to say, I look at any of you fans out there who think it's okay to forgive Ben for his personal indiscretions, just so that we can win a damn football game!  I love football too, and I love the Steelers, and I want a seventh Superbowl ring, but to have a quarterback who has clearly put a huge ass blemish on our City and our team, I cannot condone nor support any team that would support this man!  When you get a multi-million dollar contract with one of the best teams in the NFL, YOU are held to a higher standard than most ordinary citizens.  It is a PRIVILEGE to be affiliated with the NFL, and you must live and conduct your life accordingly, while you're employed through that organization.  If you want to commit crime and do horrible things when you're retired, hey, I don't agree with that, but you know what, your time is your own to do with it as YOU see fit, but while you're playing for the Steelers and in the NFL, YOU are NOT above the damn law!  Ben should be cast, PERIOD, from professional football.

I don't think all the damn counseling in the world is going to help him, and you know why, because as soon as this shit clears and he tries to restore his image and good graces in front of the fans, something else will happen.  For these types of allegations to have resurfaced yet again, tells me a whole lot!  I don't know about yall, but I know what I think!  I'm deeply saddened and concerned with the thought process of those of you who feel you can "overlook" what has happened just so we can get a seventh ring!

Anytime a person can say, well Mike Vick was dog fighting and Tiger Woods was sleeping with several women, and they went back to their professional sports, so why shouldn't Ben, especially since he has never been charged?  If you have to ask that question, maybe YOU need to get some damn counseling.  I think Stevie Wonder could see the stank on this whole drama!

My final thoughts:  Without a doubt, Ben should be removed completely from professional football.  And remember fans, put yourself in those alleged victims' shoes, think about the women you're related to, and then think if Ben had allegedly done these things to them, would YOU still feel the same?  It's very easy, as fans, to say what we would overlook and what we want to see happen, but if it were YOU, how would you feel?  It's a sad day when we as adults send these types of messages to our impressionable children~~win, win, win at all cost, make that paper, be the best athlete you can be, and if you should happen to make huge mistakes, all will be forgiven and overlooked, all for the sake of the WIN!  And we have the audacity to wonder why our children turn out the way they do?  Look no further than to the "messages" we send!

These are my opinions ~~plain and simple!  Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An "Accessory" I Could Do Without. . .

Oookay, I have been trying to avoid this opinion that has been brewing in my mind the last few days, and I've been struggling.  I have so much pent up anger right now, the only way I can release it is to write, which is the reason writing is my favorite thing to do, because it's my savior!

Because I am not privy to all the facts, I am only going to give my opinion, (and I repeat, this is MY opinion), on recent athletic woes that have been reported.  We have been so oversaturated with athletes and their personal problems, you just have to comment on it!
Anyone who truly knows me will tell you that I've never been the type of African-American woman to wear my color on my sleeve.  But, as of late, if the outfit calls for an accessory, well, I've got to put it on!  I am a HUGE Steelers fan--in fact, I've been a fan for as long as I can remember.  I have supported this team over the years, i.e, I have cheered, yelled, cursed, stomped, laughed, cried and preached the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I have team members' shirts that I will still sport, regardless if that athlete no longer plays for us, because I bleed the BLACK and GOLD!

But, and that's a big BUT, this whole Big Ben, Santonio Holmes and Jeff Reed mess has me so angry, I am outraged!  The Rooneys recently sent a message to their team by "trading" Santonio to the New York Jets, however, we ALL know that in this case, trade means "fired!"  When I woke up and heard that news, I literally fell out of my bed--seriously!

The trend that I've noticed by the NFL is that black athletes get harsh punishments, whereas, their white counterparts, seem to get mere 'slaps on the wrist.'  I tried so hard to spin this situation every which way, but in the end, the only way this can be spun, is the way it is--blatent racism.  I tried listening to some of the local talk radio stations and what some of these fans are saying very loudly is Ben should get a pass because he wasn't charged with a crime!

Hmmmm, well, the last time I heard, Santonio wasn't charged with any crimes, but yet, he's no longer employed by the Steelers organization.  Okay, humor me, let's examine the facts.  You have a quarterback with two Superbowl rings that has been accused, not once, but twice, or as of yesterday, possibly three times with alleged rape, and Santonio had some weed on him a few years back, and had a domestic violence situation with his baby's mother some time ago, but "trading" Santonio made more sense than getting rid of someone who was accused of sexually assaulting a few women!  Really?  And what about Jeff Reed, our kicker, has problems with alcohol, which is a substance, and his 'punishment' for disorderly conduct was, 'performing community service,' and how does he get rewarded for his good efforts, he's been granted another one-year contract to live to kick another day for the Steelers.  Oh, and before I forget, according to news reports, Ben supplied alcohol to minors, which the last time I checked, that was considered a crime, but he once again managed to evade prosecution for that!  Ben used a substance and Jeff used a substance, but yet, they are still employed by the Steelers?  Hmmmm!

The NFL threw poor Michael Vick to the dogs, (no pun intended), for dog fighting back in 2007, in which led to his doing prison time, and yet, a white quarterback who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers has been accused of sexual assault 2 times that we know of, appears to have gotten away with this scott free!  And what really kills me is, Ben got the opportunity to speak directly with Commissioner Goodell of the NFL to find out what his 'fate,' which I use that term loosely, will be.  But Santonio wasn't given an opportunity to say anything, other than to say he was "shocked" by the news.  Trust me, he wasn't the only one shocked!  My jaw is still hanging low.

I truly believe in my heart of hearts that Ben is a loose cannon who has brought shame on his family name, our team, our City, to his teammates and to the NFL as a whole!  If the NFL doesn't punish him severely, and what I mean by severely is to not suspend him, but trade him too!  Why should he be given chance after chance, and opportunity after opportunity, only to, somewhere down the road again, have more alleged accusations raised against him, because I truly believe we haven't heard the last of this.  There are probably other women out there that decided to do like the third one we heard about, that just dropped it.

All I keep hearing over and over by news reporters is that, "keep in mind, Ben has not been charged with any crimes!" Oh, so that should give him a pass?  And I keep repeating back to the TV, Santonio wasn't charged with any crime, but he's no longer a wide receiver for the Steelers!  But, after giving that much thought, Santonio did commit one crime--one in which he had obviously forgotten is that he was PFWB and that stands for Playing Football While Black!  That's the crime that Santonio forgot about.  I don't care that he was the deciding factor in why we got six championship wins, (which after all this bullshit, is a mere joke), I don't care that he was MVP, at the end of the day, you Twitter an offensive comment to a fan that pissed you off, based on that fan's opinion, you get "traded!" You get accused of throwing your drink in a woman's face, you get "traded!" But, he was not charged with a crime, and he's no longer employed with the Steelers.

So as the media continually spins the "Rooneys Message," i.e., what did 'it' mean, who was 'it' for, what was behind 'it'?  I'd like to say that yes, as a fan, I GOT the message!  If you're a black athlete that steps out of line too many times, you get "traded!"  WHEW, that message just bitch slaps the hell out of you!  After all, the Rooneys have an image to uphold and they are a "family oriented" team owner, and there is absolutely no way they will keep any player who is less than the standards in which they have built their enterprise upon--hence, Ben and Jeff will still be playing for us.  What a legacy to behold!  BRAVO, Rooneys--I have so much respect for your business decisions!  (Clapping of Hands)!!

So, as much as I would like to not accessorize my outfit with the "color" on my sleeve, I'm afraid that scarf is draping quite loudly.  I did everything I could to place that 'race' card back in the deck, but it is demanding its position on the game table. 

WARNING:  To all my African-American Football Athletes--NEVER FORGET WHAT COLOR YOU ARE, because trust and believe, the White man will always remind you and take his rightful place!

If the truth hurts, stop inflicting injustice!!!!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Sneak Peek into Kimberly Ranee Hicks' latest Novel, SILENT KNIGHT. . .

Hello Fans,

I know it's been quite some time since I recently wrote on my blog, and trust me, I have a very good reason for that~~I'm working on my latest novel, SILENT KNIGHT, which is a mystery.  What kind of mystery, you ask?  Well open your minds and take a walk back down memory lane to those of us who were children of the 70s.  The good ole 70s, where P-Funk was originated and copied today by many recording artists.

The 70s is where my love of music began to shape and mold my very existence, which still holds true today.  No matter what mood I'm in, I can find a song, the year, and the artist to match it!  Afros, bell-bottoms and platform shoes were the 70s style, along with the birth of Disco and strobe lights!  This is where my humble beginnings grabbed my attention, and why I decided to dedicate my newest novel to my childhood!

A LOOK INTO "SILENT KNIGHT"

CLARENCE KNIGHT is a modern day film maker, doing it big out in Hollywood, California.  He worked with such greats as Will Smith and Spike Lee.  Clarence's best friend, Reggie, stayed in contact with him, and he summoned Clarence to come back home because Reggie's father is dying.  Mr. Dunn was a huge role model for Clarence, and he wanted to make sure to pay his last respects to a man he idolized as a child.

So, as much as it pained Clarence to return to his old neighborhood of Woodland Heights, which is the projects, he unwillingly does it anyway!  Once he arrives, he discovers that his old hood isn't quite the way it used to be when he and his family moved there 20 years prior.

While visiting with his best friend and catching up on old times, Clarence figured he could make the best of the trip by surprising his friend with a camera crew that is in the process of making a documentary about their lives in Woodland Heights, the way it was in the 70s!  However, Clarence also has another reason for wanting to do the documentary, which is finding out what happened to a kid he hung out with named Marcus Paige.  As the camera crew starts interviewing the people of Woodland Heights, it is becoming clear that there are some deep dark secrets that his old neighborhood possessed, and some extremely harsh realities Clarence will have to face.

The story will be told through six of Clarence's closest friends, including Reggie.  After all is revealed, will Clarence still remain friends with his old crew, and better yet, will what Clarence learns keep him Silent forever?!  Find out this summer~~SILENT KNIGHT~~a Novel, by Kimberly Ranee Hicks

Stay Tuned, Fans, for updates!  And, if you're not a fan on my Facebook page of Mello & June, please join, or check out my website to get all the latest information at http://www.kimberlyraneehicks.com/.

Happy Reading, and thanks again, for your support!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year, and a New Love. . .

I certainly hope that everyone had a great Holiday season, and I wish you all the best for 2010!  And while I'm on the subject, I was thinking about what in the world would I write about today, and I believe I found the perfect topic.  Let's see, fans, if you agree?

I've been receiving great reviews on MELLO & JUNE, and have heard from many of you and your take on how you felt after reading it, and I can't thank you enough for all the kind words.  Many of you have asked me to put you in my upcoming novels, and that's one of the highest compliments you can pay to an author, and I'm forever grateful to my readers and fans~~again, thank you! 

After speaking with many of you, I realized that there are many lonely and lost souls out here in the world and the biggest thing I've noticed is that people don't love themselves.  Yes, you heard me right, many of you don't care much about yourselves, much less loving yourself!

It doesn't matter what status you are in this life, you're sense of being and purpose for living is NOT a mistake!  Why is it that we don't take pride in knowing that?  My God didn't make any mistakes on me because I was personally created in His Image, and since that's my belief, how can I then turn around and throw up in the Lord's face that my life means nothing, and that I don't appreciate what He gave me?

Everytime you look at yourself in the mirror, and you comment on how you don't like the way your face is constructed, you don't like your color, size, shape, etc., that's a slap, not only to your parents, but to God Almighty, are you aware of that?  Now don't get me wrong, I'm guilty as charged for making these exact comments about myself at one time or another, and I think women are more harder on themselves than men, because society dictates that we're supposed to be a size two, look, dress and act a certain way, but the fact is, why do we care?  Is this really what's important in this life?  Hmm, the answer for me is no!

I think India Arie said it best in her song "Video" wherein she stated she's not built like a super model, but she's happy with what she has.  There was a time I wasn't always happy with my looks either, but the way I look at myself now, I really don't give a damn what others think of my appearance anymore.  I can say that freely and truly mean that now, because the way I look is only a small fraction of who I am.  The biggest thing I've learned to do is accept me for me, and love the woman I am now!  Sure, I look at old photos and say to myself, wow, I was so small, and why can't I be that size again, but you know what, I was young then, and so what, I'm happy with the woman I see staring back at me in the mirror.  I love me, whether anyone else shares that view or not!

And you know the best part of my new way of thinking is, I found that when I truly let those silly thoughts erase from my memory bank, people around me see my inner beauty and radiate to me without my having to utter a sound or toot my own horn!  I've been told through most of my life that I'm a beautiful person, and I used to wonder what are these people talking about, I'm not a beautiful person, but I realize now that they are right~~I'm beautiful on the inside, which is what they are referring to, and it illuminates my entire aura!  They see the love I have for myself and take delight in my being.

Fans, this is what life is about!  It's not about how much money you have, how many fancy cars you possess, or all about your worldly possessions, it's about what you have on the inside.  If you don't love yourself, how in the world can you expect anyone else to love you?  If you aren't happy with you, how can you expect to make others happy?  If you don't respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you?  Because as my brotha, Mike Smith, stated in his status, "respect has to be earned, it is not a given!"  Amen, brotha Mike.  Well said because it's true!  The same holds true with every aspect of your being.  You must love yourself in order for you to give love to others, and for them to give it back to you!

So many of you said you can relate to June and her personal struggles with herself and with Mello, and the reason you identify is because you see the errors that you've made in your own life, and how others view you.  The same can also be said for the men I've heard from with respect to how they used to be like Mello, but they've matured and learned that in order to have true love from a woman, they had to get themselves together, and visa versa!  I am so thrilled that from everyone I've heard from, you all got the message that MELLO & JUNE is about!  It wasn't just about the sex, but how these two individuals grew and matured, and I'm delighted you all could see that and really grasp the meaning!

In closing, I want each and every one of you to really dig deep within yourselves and take the time to be thankful you're alive~~be thankful you have a roof over your head, no matter if it isn't a mansion you're living in, it's shelter!  Be thankful you got some money, even if it isn't hundreds, thousands or millions~~you're still making it, even if it's rough!  Be thankful you've got food to eat, even if it isn't the quality of a five star restaurant, you're nourished!  If you're overweight and it's bothering you, don't complain, do something about it!  Learn to respect yourself, love yourself, be good to yourself, and others will follow!  Each day you get up, thank your God, give yourself a hug, and say, I love me~~do that everyday, before you begin your day!  Be thankful, fans, for life, and don't take it for granted.  We're quick to say we love someone, but we often neglect to say those words to ourself.  Remember, this is a new year, a clean slate, so start today, by loving and respecting yourself!

This is my Truth, Plain and Simple!  Happy Reading!  HAPPY NEW YEAR, and really be Happy!