Hello World…Again, Part Two

For me, 2016 was a journey.


2017 is seeing me rise.


That’s my story in a nutshell.

Here’s the longer version of that story…

In 2016:

  • I let fear take over my life and, fully operating in lack/limitation mode, made some poor decisions
  • I tried to be something I am not and hid my truth for fear that it would hinder me
  • I was in constant chronic pain
  • I stopped leading the active lifestyle I’d led my entire adult life
  • Because of the poor decisions I’d made, I suffered from anxiety that was so bad I was afraid to fall asleep each night
  • I let anger toward, and hatred of, an individual take root and fester in my heart and mind
  • I became severely depressed; my mind went into what was the darkest place it had ever gone
  • I started taking prescription anti-depressants (I hate drugs)
  • I gained 15 pounds
  • I let fear take over my life and, fully operating in lack/limitation mode, made some poor decisions

Notice the last item is identical to the first item. That’s because the cycle repeated. Needless to say, I didn’t finish my next books.


There was some progress in business and other exterior pursuits, but when it comes to what really matters, who I AM, I lost myself in 2016.

But I didn’t realize it until the last week of the year. Specifically, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

As a result… I started to rise

In 2017:

  • I’ve restarted my yoga practice
  • I’ve reprogrammed my brain to tell me something positive as soon my eyes in the morning
  • I’ve restarted my daily meditation practice
  • I workout 5 times a week
  • I speak, walk, and live my truth
  • For the first time (in a loooong time), I’m on a diet
  • I’ve restarted my yoga practice

Notice the last item is identical to the first item. That’s because the cycle repeats. Needless to say, I am feeling so much better.

In addition…

  • I no longer require prescription anti-depressants
  • I’m actively stating my truth to whomever I come into contact with (how liberating!)
  • Whenever anger/hatred tries to raise its head, I lovingly obliterate it

I’ve discovered that speaking my truth cannot destroy me. It just makes me stronger.


2017, so far, has been an amazing year. The winter is over, Spring is here, and my goal is to bring the heat (ok, I couldn’t resist the Game of Thrones dragon reference).




List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid

List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid

List of Artists - "Sun City" Video - Artists United Against Apartheid

List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid – Bruce Springsteen, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks                 Photo: 30daysout



It’s a day after the passing of the great Nelson Mandela and my mind is going back in time to when apartheid was brought to the attention of the world, and most importantly, youth such as myself, through music.

One thing that came to mind was this 80’s video. I’d seen it many times as a kid growing up in Boston on the awesome V66; a progressive, local music video channel that made MTV look like the joke we all learned it to be later.

While MTV balked at playing videos featuring black artists (Michael Jackson was the first in heavy rotation), V66 routinely played this political video which featured a new music called rap as well as legends of the industry such as Miles Davis. The video featured an exciting cross-section of genres, nationalities and generations; everyone from Ringo Star to Jimmy Cliff to a young-ish Bruce Springsteen to what was left of the original Temptations (David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks).

Below is a list of all the music artists, personalities and celebrities that appeared in the video. If I have missed anybody, please leave a comment and I’ll add after verification.

RIP Nelson Mandela!

Afrika Bambaataa
Big Youth
Bob Dylan
Bob Geldof
Bobby Womack
Bonnie Raitt
Bruce Springsteen
Charlie Wilson
Clarence Clemons
Darlene Love
Daryl Hall
Daryl Hannah
David Ruffin
Duke Bootee
Dumisani Kumalo
Eddie Kendricks
George Clinton
Gil Scott-Heron
Hart Perry
Herbie Hancock
Iqbal Akhund
Jackson Browne
Jennifer Davis
Jesse Jackson
Jimmy Cliff
Joey Ramone
John Oates
Jonathan Demme
Keith Richards
Kurtis Blow
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Lotti Golden
Lou Reed
Mark Morales
Melle Mel
Michael Monroe
Miles Davis
Nona Hendryx
Pat Benatar
Pete Townshend
Peter Gabriel
Peter Garrett
Peter Wolf
Ray Barretto
Rene Gezan
Ringo Starr
Ron Carter
Ron Wood
Rubén Blades
Sonny Okosuns
Stanley Jordan
Steven Van Zandt
Stiv Bators
Tina B.
Tony Williams
Via Afrika
Will Downing
Winnie Mandela
Zak Starkey


Also see: Artists United Against Apartheid

Source: IMDB.com, Wikipedia

List of Artists – “Sun City” Video – Artists United Against Apartheid

O Come All Ye Faithful – RIP Sandy Hook Angels

O Come All Ye Faithful – RIP Sandy Hook Angels

On this weekend when so many Americans need emotional support and a sense of stability in the wake of the unspeakable incidents that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I rediscovered a video which has repeatedly brought comfort to my soul. When I write about “The Note For Which There Is No Name” (Blood To Blood) I think of Mariah Carey and the angelic beauty she communicates in this version of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

At 2:40, there is an indescribable look on Patricia Carey’s face as she gazes at her daughter. That gaze speaks of years of struggle, love, sacrifice and reward. It is a look that revels in the honor of knowing that your “mom work” paid off.This look of pure love and joy almost always brings a smile to my face.

Nevertheless, today my heart breaks when I see the parents of the angels who were taken from us at Sandy Hook; angels whose parents will never have the opportunity to gaze lovingly at them as they live out their dreams. Angels who will never see their children again in this life.

God bless the parents and children of the angels of Sandy Hook. God bless our country and show us the Light.

“O Come All Ye Faithful”

O Come All Ye Faithful – RIP Sandy Hook Angels

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

CBS Radio Mystery Theater… Aaah, along with the epic Dark Shadows, this was a show that I and my mom would enjoy religiously. The opening intro, deliciously dark and mysterious, featured the sound of an opening door,  ancient in its creak, and the foreboding tones of soundtrack music originally featured in the Twilight Zone episode titled “Two” and written by Nathan Van Cleave. Dark, scary music with stories that crept under the skin before establishing permanent residence in one’s cranium. Good family entertainment.

Check out 1:33-2:10. That’s the portion used as the CBS Mystery Theater theme.

The stories on Mystery Theater featured awesome actors and stories that totally sucked the listener in. The host, actor E.G. Marshall, struck the perfect tone. His voice was old-school but creepy at the same time– especially at the end of the each episode where he said “Until next time… pleasant dreams?” It was amazing that my ADD settled down long enough to become immersed in the various plots offered every week. It was appointment radio (yes, such a thing actually existed!) and the precursor to the greatest love of my imagination’s life, and one of my most enduring Muses, The Twilight Zone (prostrate and worship here).

As I write this, I’m listening to a Mystery Theater episode called “Afraid To Live, Afraid To Die.” It starts sounding mad spooky at 23:00. I wonder if a program like this would even survive in the new millennium? I like to think so, because at the end of the day the story rules, and if it’s good, people will want to experience it. I really wish there was a show, or podcast like this!

CBS Radio Mystery Theater Archives – Hear the archived episodes here.


Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dracula and Mortal Instruments

What do Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dracula and Mortal Instruments have in common?

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dracula, and Mortal Instruments

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dracula, and Mortal Instruments

Rhys Meyers is in negotiations to play Valentine in the film version of Mortal Instruments. And if that wasn’t exciting enough he’s also set to portray Dracula in the upcoming TV series.

I fell in love with JHM when he did Bend It Like Beckham ( I was so jealous of Parminder Nagra’s character getting to kiss him and what not). Of course he was absolutely brilliant in The Tudors; heck it’s arguable that his incredible talent made that show the classic it is. Henry VIII never looked so sexy…

Either way, it’s about time Meyers got a role in a fantasy production; I think the closest he ever came to the genre was the Julie Taymor-directed Titus, which took Shakespeare to a whole ‘nother level. JHM’s crazy, bad-boy Irish stare-down glare will be perfect in both of these productions.  He’ll be the most fascinating Dracula since Gary Oldman. I can’t wait! Can you?

Just in case you missed that Jess and Joe kiss from Bend It Like Beckham… here it is. Enjoy!

Lillian over at SciMafia posted a synopsis of City Of Bones. Thanks Zenbitch!

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dracula and Mortal Instruments

My Muses: Cosby Show

Inspiration for the family in Blood To Blood came from what some may consider to be an unlikely source: The Cosby Show.

Cosby Show: The Huxtable family

The Huxtables

Long ago (early 2000s), in a land far, far away (Los Angeles) when I was working on a different project (Star Trek) the idea for a TV show came to me. The family was based, in part and very loosely, on the family from the show, the Huxtables.

Since the theme of family comes up again and again in my work, it’s no surprise that the Huxtables inspired my writing. The series gave us a strong mom and dad who were both successful in the professional world, and managed to translate that success daily on the home front by making their family the priority.

Interestingly enough, when the Cosby Show first came out, some people were blown away by Black American characters who didn’t display any of the stereotypical dysfunction heretofore marketed to TV audiences. The reality of educated, upper middle-class Black American family life had been unseen on prime time. Millions of viewers became fascinated by a typical American family that was once considered The Other.

It’s the concept of Otherness disguised in the packaging of The Everyday that fascinates me.

As with the other family that inspired Blood To Blood, the element of otherness percolating within the framework of day-to-day life (or, as in the case with Dark Shadows, the ordinary percolating within the framework of Strangeness) inspires me to create characters who deal with the same issues we all deal with, but in a slightly “different” context.

Like most families, Angel Brown’s family grapples with the daily challenges of raising children into responsible adults, making good decisions, living a moral life, etc. The fact that they’re witches and blood drinkers is the stuff that makes them different, but it’s the commonality, the connection to all families, that makes them familiar.



My Muses: Dark Shadows – RIP Jonathan Frid

Jonathan Frid: Dark Shadows

Jonathan Frid: Dark Shadows

I was raised on Dark Shadows. Literally.

My mom loved this show. She watched it religiously, and I sat right beside her watching it, too. I remember the excitement both of us displayed as the eerie music rose at the top of the show. I’d look at her, she’d look at me and then we’d turn to stare at the dark stories unfolding before our eyes.

Real mom-daughter bonding.

The anticipation was the highest during the opening:

It was truly an event.

The funny thing is I cannot tell you anything about the plot. Yeah, I know it was about a weird family, that witches were involved and that the main guy Barnabas Collins was an ancient vampire. But I can’t remember the plot lines or even one episode. I was too young to even understand it much less absorb the story lines.

Nonetheless, Dark Shadows became, and will forever remain, part of the foundation of my creative subconscious. I grew up loving gothic mansions, strange unusual families and of course anything related to vampires.

The show was even an inspiration for Blood To Blood.

So now that Jonathan Frid, the actor who portrayed Barnabas (at the time of this posting his website, www.jonathanfrid.com, was “unavailable”), has passed on, and Hollywood has decided to revisit the show with a major film starring Johnny Depp, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to delve into one of the deepest parts of my subconscious. Thanks to the magic of YouTube and the miracle of Netflix streaming on my laptop, I can explore scenes from the original Dark Shadows and even watch an episode or two.

Maybe, this exploratory activity will uncover something about my writing that I was unable to figure out. Like why it’s always easier for me to write after the sun goes down. Or it might shed light on my personality. Like why images of brooding gothic mansions near cliffs pounded by waves give me the warm fuzzies.



Rant: Still Ticked At The Voice

Last week I realized The Voice is a fraud. The show that distanced itself from the superficiality of American Idol proved to be even shallower. And I’m still upset!

At least AI doesn’t try to pass itself off as any more than what it is; a popularity contest for under-30 wannabe professional singers. The Voice, with its more or less blind judges promised that it would serve as a platform for all talent regardless of looks and age based on only one requirement: that they could really sing.

So why was “the one to beat” Jesse Campbell taken off the show in an “Instant Elimination” that didn’t even involve the audience? Even the show’s host Carson Daly, was “thrown for a loop.”

“A Song For You”

Was it a commentary on Christina’s lack of skill as a vocal coach? Watching the re-run of the episode I saw the foreshadowing Rolling Stone pointed out. You could see it on her face. She knew she was going to give him the ax. Perhaps she couldn’t take him any further than she did and had to cut him loose.

“What A Wonderful World”

Perhaps it was the result of the industry’s innate ageism. At 43ish Campbell is hardly the typical Top 40 flavor-of-the-month. Or perhaps the winner of the Voice has already been identified by the show’s producers. Whatever the reason behind this decision, one thing’s for certain, Jesse Campbell is on to bigger and much better things. Perhaps he should’ve chosen Cee-lo or Adam?


Either way, Godspeed to him and his beautiful daughter. I’m not sure I’ll be watching this show again without feeling duped and jaded… but I do love, love, LOVE Juliet Simms: