Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Interview with Eric Jerome Dickey

Eric Jerome Dickey. Three names that we all know and love. He was kind enough to take time from his current book tour ("Tempted by Trouble") to answer a few questions regarding his work.

First of all, you are one of my favorite authors, and certainly one of the most gifted writers of our time. You have really switched your game up. I think it’s fair to say that early in your writing career, you were kind of considered the “Male version of Terry McMillan.” You are so not that person. Your range is amazing. I loved, loved, loved “Tempted by Trouble.” I could have read it without putting it down. And, I love the way your books have become so “multi-cultural.” Is there a reason that you don’t tell the reader Dmytrk Knight’s nationality?

It never really mattered to me. It was about a man, his values and how his moral compass, due to desperation and encouragement from his wife, goes to the crossroads to meet with the devil.

Where did you learn so much about robbing banks? I was on the edge of my seat. Did you actually interview bank robbers as part of the research for this book?

I read a lot of noir. I watch a lot of noir. And there has always been many bank robberies across the US, many posted on YouTube and are also in all of the local papers.

I loved the way Dmytrk referred to and idolized his late father, Henrick. Did you draw from your own experiences with your father?

Nope. Made it up.

What does your writing process involve (i.e. do you get up early and write, write at night, use a computer or write long-hand) (yes, believe it or not, some writers still do write long-hand)? Do you set limits on yourself (I will write 50 pages today)?

No limits. It’s about quality over quantity. I’d rather have four tight pages over two days than 20 sloppy ones. I work a scene at a time, a chapter at a time. Writing a book is not a race. It’s a journey.

This book had so many twists and turns, moved so quickly and was so well written. Did you know where you were going to end up or were you on the ride just like Dmytryk?

I leave myself open to all possibilities; it's playing "what if?" from top to bottom. I've studied at UCLA and Cal Poly Pomona and with the IBWA/LA, so I see writing as a craft and I try to work it from that angle. Each book is a project. Never personal.

Do you think that the economic times we are facing and have faced the last few years could actually change people as much as it changed Dmytryk and Cora? Did you meet people who had been reduced to a life of crime due to their own life circumstances (loss of jobs, homes, etc.)

Anything is possible. I've seen news reports where a Caucasian single mother actually robbed a bank. Desperation has to modify us all. Simply watch the news. It's there. Crime is up and home robberies are up and jobs are down... reduced to crime? People do what they have to do to survive. It's more of a tragic circumstance, one that exists in every country that I've visited, and a bad economy only exasperates what's already in the mix because the haves lose what they have and end up standing shoulder to shoulder with the have nots. Poverty is nothing new. Nor is the art of survival.

Dmytryk was, of course, multilingual. How many languages do you speak?

English. Understand some Ebonics.

Please, please – will Dmytryk be back?

No idea.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Takers" - Now In Theaters

I'm not sure what's happened to me when I'm rooting for the bad guys. But, when the bad guys include Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, T.I. and Chris Brown - well, come on, they get some slack for just looking so good.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Non-stop action and eye candy to spare!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Funeral Services Announced for Newsman Harold Dow

"Suddenly called home to glory on Saturday, August 21, Harold Dow was 62 years old. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey and a 28 year resident of Upper Saddle River, Harold spent a decade living on the West Coast.While in Los Angeles Harold found the love of his life, Kathleen Starks, who he married in June of 1980. Their three children Joelle, Danica and David soon completed the family. He named himself the Commander in Chief and his family lovingly "fell in line." He was also affectionately called HD, Uncle Harold, Poppy, the Chief, Black Bart, Lil Liza, and Sensei to name a few. No matter what you called him, you knew he was "always in charge."Professionally, Dow was a five time Emmy Award-winning journalist who recently celebrated 40 years with CBS Network News. He began his television career in Omaha, Nebraska where he was the first African American news reporter to appear on air.He then moved to Los Angeles where he worked in the west coast bureau of the "CBS Evening News" with Walter Cronkite. Upon his return to New York in the early 8o's he co-anchored "CBS News Nightwatch." He also reported for the CBS news magazine "Street Stories," "CBS Evening News" with Dan Rather, "Sunday Morning" and the legal series "Verdict." He covered the return of POWs from Vietnam and was one of the first to report live from ground zero on 9/11.His career spanned decades and continents. He covered breaking news stories and had interviews with famous celebrities as well as politicians. He was well known as the reporter who captured first interviews with Patty Hearst and OJ Simpson. He covered Nelson Mandela's release in South Africa; Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption, and the Tsunami in Sri Lanka. Dow traveled the world covering the news from Russia to Paris, Ecuador to Lebanon.Harold received a George Foster Peabody Award for a report on runaways, a Robert F. Kennedy Award for a story on public housing, an RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award, an Operation Push Excellence in Journalism Award and was recently recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists for his report on Medgar Evers which was featured in the special "Change and Challenge: The Inauguration of Barack Obama."A member of Mt Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack, he was loved, respected and well known throughout the community. Never forgetting his small town upbringing, locals would often spot him driving "Casper," his white Bentley, in the neighborhood.He is survived by his beloved wife of 30 years, Kathy; A daughter Joelle Dow Ballariel (Reginald) of Katy, Texas; daughter Danica of NYC and his only son, David of Upper Saddle River. Predeceased by his father James Dow Sr. he leaves to mourn his loss, his mother Williene Dow of Hackensack, his brother and best friend Judge James Dow (Mabel) of Hackensack; sisters Delores Barnes of Hackensack, Gail (Andrew) Gandy of North Carolina, and Karen (Anthony) Williamson of Mahwah, NJ. He will also be sadly missed by his nephew and godson James Dow III, his nieces; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and brothers and sisters-in-law. Also mourning Harold's loss is his special group of fellows who shared hours of good times with him in the ACL. He will be greatly missed by his CBS family.Funeral arrangements are being handled by Earl I Jones Funeral Home, located at 3051st Street, Hackensack. Services will be at 10 AM on Saturday, August 28 at the Mount Olive Baptist Church Family Life Center, 260 Central Avenue. Entombment will follow at George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Paramus, NJ. Viewing will be Friday from 6-9 PM at the church.In lieu of flowers donations will be accepted for funding of the Harold Dow Foundation of Journalism at P.O. Box 571, Saddle River, NJ 07458."

Published in The Record and Herald News on August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Take Wings Foundation Gala" Took That! Congratulations on another Successful Event

The look-alikes: Actress and TAKE WINGS founder Terri J. Vaughn; her mom, board member Helen K. Vaughn; and sister, executive director Tracy L. Ward

Terri J. Vaughn with gala co-hosts Denise Boutté and Lamman Rucker, and songstress Angie Stone

Co-host Lamman Rucker is astounded when he sees Terri’s statuesque mom Helen K. Vaughn for the first time

Grammy award-nominated R&B vocalist Angie Stone sings her heart out

Terri’s sister, TAKE WINGS Exec. Dir. Tracy L. Ward (r) presents 2010 Angel Award to Denise LeNoir, M.S.N., B.S.N., M.S.H.A, F.N.P.

Terri J. Vaughn chats with table guest, Oakland-based R&B vocalist Goapele

August 23, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Known as much for her community service as for her superbly entertaining acting, native San Franciscan Terri J. Vaughn is founder of TAKE WINGS FOUNDATION, a non-profit organization that addresses social and life skills needs of at-risk teen girls. On Saturday, August 21, 2010, TAKE WINGS hosted its seventh annual black-tie affair to benefit the Foundation. The event’s comically-feuding co-hosts were notable actors Denise Boutté and Lamman Rucker, both from the feature film “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” and currently co-starring on the hit TV sit-com “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns.” Grammy award-nominated R&B vocalist Angie Stone performed three songs, and Oakland-based songstress Goapele was on hand and briefly shared the stage with Stone.

TAKE WINGS Founder Actress Terri J. Vaughn

Vaughn’s sister and TAKE WINGS executive director Tracy L. Ward presented one of the two Angel Awards to Denise LeNoir, M.S.N., B.S.N., M.S.H.A, F.N.P., coordinator and a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Bay Area Multicultural Clinical Research and Prevention Center and Bay Area Pediatrics, for her dedication to consistently providing healthcare for adolescents and teens, whether or not their parents can afford it. Vaughn’s mother and TAKE WINGS board member Helen K. Vaughn presented the award to Ronny Turiaf, while underscoring the ongoing philanthropic and charitable work of the former Golden State Warriors forward and founder of the Heart 2 Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization that makes coronary-related testing and treatment available to people who cannot otherwise afford the costs. Recently traded to the New York Knicks, Turiaf was unable to attend the gala, but accepted his award via video-taped remarks.

Emory University’s Executive Director of Forensics Melissa Maxcy Wade was the evening’s keynote speaker. The National Associated Press Presidential Debate Evaluation Panelist delivered a light-hearted, but poignant message in her address.

TAKE WINGS FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build the self esteem of San Francisco Bay Area at-risk girls between the ages of 13 and 18 by providing positive experiences and role modeling. The organization’s major components involve encouraging and enabling teen girls to: provide community service, participate in life skills development activities and workshops, and earn academic scholarships.


* Photos by Horace Gipson Jr.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Harold Dow, Venerable CBS Newsman Dies

September 28, 1947 – August 21, 2010

Emmy award winning CBS News Correspondent Harold Dow passed away on Saturday, August 21, 2010 at the age of 62. It is speculated that his sudden death is attributed to an asthma attack he suffered while driving.

I truly enjoyed his work on CBS News, especially his "48 Hours" pieces.

Condolences to his family, friends and fans around the world.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

6th Annual Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Challenge

Please join the Friends of Faith, our friends and families for the 6th Annual
Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Challenge

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This year’s 5K Walk/Run around Oakland’s Lake Merritt will
honor “Survivors”. Create your own team, or join an existing
team…bring your friends, organize a group from your
neighborhood, work, or church, or walk/run as an individual.

For information:
510 834-4142


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Terri J. Vaughn's Take Wings Foundation Gala

Actress Terri J. Vaughn’s TAKE WINGS FOUNDATION Star-studded Gala to Benefit At-risk Teen Girls

7th Annual Angel Awards Benefit
SF Marriott Marquis, Aug. 21, 2010

R&B Vocalist, Actress Angie Stone

Melissa Maxcy Wade
Executive Director of Forensics, Emory University; National Associated Press Presidential Debate Evaluation Panelist


Denise LeNoir, M.S.N., M.S.H.A., F.N.P.

Ronny Turiaf, founder, Ronny Turiaf Heart 2 Heart Foundation

Terri J. Vaughn has entertained us on television for eight seasons as a series regular. First, she stole America’s heart with her lovable portrayal of Lovita Alizay Jenkins on the WB’s “The Steve Harvey Show.” After that, Vaughn made her way to UPN’s “All of Us.” Currently, she is a cast member currently on the hit TBS television sit-com “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns.” Her film credits include "Three Can Play That Game," "Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls," "Redrum," and "Angels Can't Help But Laugh." Vaughn has been honored with three Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress, a nomination for a 2005 BET Comedy Award, and also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work on “Soulfood.”

But, before Vaughn ever had her first audition, she was growing up in a housing project in San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point district. Today, she is determined to create positive, inspirational experiences for other young women growing up in the projects. Out of her desire to give back to her community, in 1997, Vaughn started TAKE WINGS FOUNDATION.


MEDIA CONTACT Toni Beckham PR, et Cetera, Inc.
209-832-8020 / 408-499-3664c
Stalfana Bello TAKE WINGS FOUNDATION 510-562-5560 BHPUBREL@aol.com

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Get Tempted - Eric Jerome Dickey's New Novel - "Tempted By Trouble"

Dmytryk Knight was a respectable man who had followed the blueprints for the American Dream: go to college, find the girl of your dreams, get married, buy a house on the affluent side of Detroit. He'd done it all by the book. But when a crippling recession annihilates the auto industry, Dmytryk and his wife, Cora, suddenly find themselves without jobs and in foreclosure. And after two years of taking any job they can find and trying to live honestly, they realize that integrity just doesn't pay the bills.

Given the right circumstances, even the best of us can turn bad.

When a powerful and ruthless criminal named Eddie Coyle arrives from Rome and gives Dmytryk an opportunity to make fast money, Cora urges him to man up. All he has to do is join Eddie Coyle's crew and rob some banks: two minutes, in and out, nobody gets hurt. Torn between desperation and his values, but unable to resist the promise of instant cash, Dmytryk gives in -- but no sooner does he enter a life of crime than Cora vanishes.

Now, more determined than ever to get his life back on track, Dmytryk is only one bank job away from having enough money to leave Eddie Coyle and find Cora. But when the job goes dangerously wrong, Dmytryk is forced to test his moral compass in ways he never imagined and realizes that we can plan all we want, but sometimes fate has a different agenda. . .

Review coming soon.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Je'Caryous Johnson's "Cheaper to Keeper" - Coming to a City Near You!

I’m Ready Productions and Foxy Brown Productions in Association with L. Richardson Entertainment Present Je'Caryous Johnson's "Cheaper to Keep Her" National Tour

Je'Caryous Johnson's new comedy stage play is playing to SOLD OUT audiences!

HOUSTON (April 19, 2010) – The hit comedy stage play Je'Caryous Johnson's Cheaper to Keep Her is coming to a city near you. Executive Producers Je'Caryous Johnson and Gary Guidry, founders of I'm Ready Productions, Inc., and Foxy Brown Productions in Association with L. Richardson Entertainment announced today the 2010 national tour dates.

"Je'Caryous and I are honored to work again with Vivica A. Fox and Lita Richardson on a production," said Gary Guidry, executive producer and president of I'm Ready Productions. "As co-producers, Vivica and Lita bring great ideas and creative innovation to the project."

Cheaper to Keep Her is the twelfth play in a series of box office breaking, critically acclaimed stage plays from NAACP Award-winning writer and director Je'Caryous Johnson. Cheaper to Keep Her stars R&B sensation Brian McKnight and multi-faceted actress Vivica A. Fox. Cheaper to Keep Her also stars the debonair heartthrob Christian Keyes (lead actor - Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail), comedian Jonathan Slocumb, and comedian Gary "G-Thang" Johnson.

R&B crooner Brian McKnight is not only receiving rave reviews for his acting, but his performance of classic hits and new songs is thrilling crowds.

"We are very thankful to the fans and to everyone who came out to see Cheaper to Keep Her in the debut cities," said Je'Caryous Johnson, CEO and chairman of I'm Ready Productions. "The positive feedback was overwhelming. So much so, we have listened and are bringing the play to multiple cities across the nation. I hope everyone continues to enjoy the play and are blessed by the message."

Cheaper to Keep Her is the story of a seemingly perfect marriage in the midst of collapse. In Cheaper to Keep Her, Raymond Mays (Brian McKnight) splits with his wife Morgan Mays (Vivica A. Fox). When Raymond hires his best friend Joey to be his lawyer, and Morgan hires her catty cousin Koren as counsel, a legal boxing match explodes over their divorce. When Morgan walks away with everything, Raymond and Joey scheme to stop paying alimony by getting Morgan hitched again. But did Raymond ever stop loving Morgan? Can he stand to see her with someone else? As ex-husband and ex-love face off with each other, broken hearts will get revenge, karma could kill, and infidelity can become infectious as hearts and marital matrimony collide only to discover whether it's cheaper to keep her.

Play-goers have expressed appreciation for the play's entertainment value and message:

"I saw Cheaper to Keep Her here in Washington, DC on its opening night. Last night was the first time I laughed from the soul and honestly enjoyed myself!"

"The play was off the hook! One of the best plays I have seen this year!"

"That was absolutely the best play I've ever seen, hands down."

"This play was AWESOME. My boyfriend and I really enjoyed this one. Overall the show was really good and it helped my boyfriend and I appreciate what we have and reflect on what is really important."

"My husband and I are having serious marriage problems. After seeing the play, we had a heart-to-heart talk and are now no longer considering divorce. Thanks for literally saving my marriage!"

Cheaper to Keep Her tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets. For group ticket sales, please call 1-800.745.3000.

*2010 Cheaper To Keep Her Tour Dates
(as of April 19, 2010)

Las Vegas, NV, Planet Hollywood, September 18
Phoenix, AZ, Dodge Theater, September 19
Fresno, CA, Saroyan Theatre, September 22
Oakland, CA, Paramount Theatre, September 23-25
Sacramento, CA, Memorial Auditorium, September 26
Bakersfield, CA, Rabobank Theater, September 29
Denver, CO, Buell Theater, September 28
Los Angeles, CA, Wiltern Theater, September 30 - October 2
Roanoke, VA, Roanoke Civic Center, October 6
Raleigh, NC, Memorial Auditorium, October 7
Greensboro, NC, War Memorial Auditorium, October 8
Portsmouth, VA, Willett Hall, October 9-10
Detroit, MI, Music Hall Center, October 12-17
Omaha, NE, Omaha Music Hall, October 19
Wichita, KS, Century II PAC, October 29
Kansas City, MO, Music Hall, October 21
St. Louis, MO, Chaifetz Arena, October 22-23
Nashville, TN, TPAC, October 24
Toronto, CA, Massey Hall, October 26
Albany, NY, Palace Theater, October 27
Harrisburg, PA, Forum, October 28
New Haven, CT, Shubert Theatre, October 29-30
Boston, MA, Wang Theater, October 31
Greenville, SC, Peace Center, November 2
Macon, GA, Macon Centreplex, November 3
Atlanta, GA, Atlanta Civic Center, November 4-6
Augusta, GA, Bell Auditorium, November 7
Philadelphia, PA, Merriam Theater, November 9-14
Chicago, IL, Auditorium Theatre, November 18-21
Baltimore, MD, Murphy Fines Arts Center at Morgan State, January 27-30, 2011

Cheaper to Keep Her will continue to tour in 2011. Tour cities include: New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Miami, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Orlando, FL; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Little Rock, AR; Nashville, TN; and New Orleans, LA.

Margo Williams Handy, MWH Public Relations
281.213.9554, 832.492.2407 or margo@mwhpublicrelations.com

* For the latest tour updates and information, visit