Month: February 2016

An Interview With Author The Behrg

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The Behrg is the author of the story “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title,” and the book Housebroken; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.thebehrg.com/

 

Q:  What is “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title,” about.

 

A: “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title” was spawned from a comment a blogger friend of mine made on Twitter regarding the sheer number of books coming out with “The Girl” in them. Girl on a Train, Girl in the Ice, Girl on Fire, the list goes on and on, and I thought wouldn’t it be great to poke fun at that trend by also taking part in it? Yet I didn’t want the story to be merely a satire. When I started writing it, without knowing where it was going, it led me to a very dark place. Ultimately the story is about life and death, and the short distance between.

 

Q:  What makes “The Girl” an interesting character?

 

A: I think “The Girl” is interesting because she’s so relatable. We all have trying times in our lives and can identify with those who are down. She takes the tumble a little further than most, however, and we’re able to follow her journey into this realm known as “The Lines,” which parallels her own attempts at suicide. Like I said, it’s definitely a dark story.

 

Q:  What is Housebroken about?

 

A: Housebroken is a novel about a seemingly ordinary family who is held hostage in their own home. But unlike most kidnapping / home invasion tales, these kidnappers want only to observe the family. They create rules that are almost impossible not to break, and the consequences for both action and inaction are quite terrifying. There are plenty of twists and turns as the narrative unfolds, revealing secrets not only from the kidnappers, but the very family they’ve decided to target.

 

Q:  What inspired you to write the story?

 

A: The idea for this story came after a recent move with my family. A guy showed up at our door selling magazine subscriptions, but there was just something off about him. After he left I had the creepiest feeling that he had been there for something other than his purported purpose. It got the wheels turning. I started working on the novel the very next day.

 

Q:  Why do you think stories about kidnapping interest people so much?

 

A: Kidnapping stories are different than your typical horror or thriller driven tales. In the latter, we find surreal monsters or serial killers that, while possible, most likely will never cross our paths. Kidnapping is different because it doesn’t require the supernatural or supreme coincidences; it could happen to anyone at any time, thus it becomes a universal fear. Kidnapping stories are also about ordinary people fighting back against untold horrors, and that’s something we can all relate to, in one way or another.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it impact your writing?

 

A: My day job revolves around sales, in one form or another. I’ve sold everything from knives to marketing services to credit insurance to trucks. I’ve always known that to pursue my goals of writing I would need to have something to support a family, and sales has enabled me to pursue my passions in my off-time. The funny thing about being in sales is that I’m so reluctant to sell myself or my writing. I have no problem slinging a product for a company but have a difficult time telling people about my work or asking someone to buy something I’ve created myself.

 

Q:  Who are some of your literary influences and how can we see this in your writing?

 

A: There are so many, it’s difficult to narrow this one down. Stephen King is an obvious influence, but rather than the horror elements of his stories I’m more taken in by his development of character. I read a wide array of genres, so I would have to include Orson Scott Card, Blake Crouch, Ralph Ellison, Gregg Hurwitz, Michael Connelly, Michael Crichton, and Peter Straub. These are all authors who inspire me with their words, craft, and understanding of story.

 

Q:  What trends in literature annoy you?

 

A: I love this question! I do agree w/ my blogger friend about the trend with “Girl” in the title, though it’s only the latest in a long slew of popular trends. I find it funny that when a book breaks big everyone scrambles to try to be the same thing as that book, rather than attempting to innovate, which is typically the reason for the original book’s success in the first place. I try not to follow trends and instead write stories I would want to read with characters that fascinate me.

 

Q:  You say you worked as a child actor and appeared on the Twilight Zone. Which episode were you in?

 

A: I worked quite a bit for over ten years as a child actor and have no idea how my parents did it, to be honest! The Twilight Zone episode I was in is one called “The Elevator.” I played a “Young Will” in a flashback scene and was able to practice screaming for awhile. J

 

Q:  If one of your characters could come work for you as your personal assistant, who would you pick ?

 

A: Most of my characters are fabulously flawed, with dark sides that make this question particularly difficult. I suppose I might choose one of the protagonists in my Creation Series, Faye Moanna, solely because she’s a person who gets things done. She wouldn’t care about hurting my feelings but would probably push me to do the marketing things I consistently put off.

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

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An Interview With Singer and Songwriter Lenny Gerard

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Lenny Gerard is a singer and songwriter; here is a link to his website:

http://www.lennygerard.com/

 

 

 

Q:  What made you interested in music?

 

A: I became interested in music when my brother and I started taking guitar lessons together after school. I was young (like around five/six-ish years old?). It was when my hands couldn’t fit around the neck of our beloved and shared guitar that I gave up the guitar and decided to learn the piano instead. My brother was happy to have the guitar all to himself and I was content playing the piano and humming tunes along with it. Songwriting came later when I got emotional as most kids do in their teens (lol). It was certainly a great release J

 

It was when I got a generous scholarship from The New School University in NYC at 18 Years old that I started to take myself seriously as a singer/songwriter. I performed at open mics almost every week and snagged and performed my own gigs about once a month throughout Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan.

Music is therapeutic not only for myself but for the people that enjoy it as well. Music is a bonding experience. When I’m singing while playing the piano (especially if it’s a tune I wrote) and I really “get into the groove,” It’s like the best high in the world. It feeds my soul in every way and for that reason I will forever be interested in music and art.

 

Q: What kind of training have you had?.

 

A: When I was younger, I learned to read and write music on a staff, transpose, and arrange it. Going to college for contemporary music definitely reinforced these skills in me. I double majored in school with a B.A. in Contemporary Music and a B.F.A. in Photography. In college, a big part of my music major focused primarily on recording techniques and music production. We learned various software like ProTools and Logic. I also had the pleasure of taking numerous songwriting classes in college. I absolutely LOVED the experience and performing with classmates. Getting these degrees have broadened my skill set and have transformed me into a musical jack-of-all-trades.

I have recently taken up the ukulele and have been having way too much fun playing and songwriting with it! I’d never played a ukulele until some weeks ago but picked it up almost instantly because of my musical background (I am forever grateful for this, thanks Mom!)

 

 

Q: You started working as a photographer before you graduated from Parsons. How did you get your work in front of the right people?

 

A: It all began when I started taking senior portraits for the graduating seniors in high school out of my garage. I saved up from working at a local frozen-yogurt shop and bought strobe/flood lights, a fancy camera, and seamless backdrops and set up a studio. I kindly asked my parents to move their cars out of the garage so I could utilize the space in its entirety during my many photo-shoots. I gained local recognition as a photographer and was doing business as a 13-year-old from my own home. My mom enrolled me in a class at UCSD based on photography. I was definitely the youngest one in the class – at the tender age of 15.

 

Later in life when I moved to NYC for college, I started freelancing as a photographer for record labels, publications, and magazines. I believe it was my extensive portfolio and experience shooting back home in San Diego that landed me the gigs I got in NYC. I sought out specific people at record labels/ magazines and emailed them. Persistence, and an enthusiastic demeanor was the key to my success. Word of mouth helped a lot too. I got my work in front of the right people through networking via cold-call emails and social media and through the help of the many mentors that I acquired over the years. A lot of the professors at my school were extremely successful outside of class and willing to connect their students to opportunities. The professors also mentored some students on a long-term basis and I found this very rewarding.

 

Q: What is your most memorable celebrity encounter?

 

A: I have two:

 

  1. When I met Ludacris in the living room offices of Island Def Jam in New York City. He was not only one of the nicest and warmest people that I’ve ever met, but he had perfect skin. It was so smooth and porcelain-like! We had fun taking pictures together.
  2. I was taking behind-the-scenes photographs for Bon Jovi’s new video at the time “Because We Can” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXJFjrl-Q4) and Jon asked me for some water. I took a bottle out of the nearest cooler and water dripped on his (I’m guessing expensive) pants as I handed it to him. He looked down at the drip stain on his pants and back up at me. I smiled and scurried away.

 

 

 

 

Q: What inspired you to write, Old Enough For Love?

 

A: Old enough for love was inspired by the thought of romance blossoming over the phone. The words “I only know you over the phone” are meant to describe a sexual relationship based on the phone, as many relationships are today. I felt compelled to write about cyber and cellular relationships because there are now new non-traditional ways to meet people, and they often do not involve face-to-face interaction.

 

Q: Your bio says you are an LGBT activist. What are some of the things you have done for the cause?

 

A: Being an LGBT activist, I have performed at LGBT charity events and have always been a huge supporter of the LGBTQ rights movement. My fondest memories as an activist were in San Diego, California when I was still in high school. It was when proposition-eight (a ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment) was a big focal point in the news/ media. The proposition was to ban gay-marriage in the state of California (2008). I was the president of the G.S.A. (Gay Straight Alliance) in my high school and rounded up all of my club members, friends, and fellow allies to protest with signs that we made during our lunch breaks at school. We marched throughout downtown with these signs every weekend and finished every protest in front of the city courthouse. We made it on the news a few times!

Recently, I put out a music video that was featured on Huffington Post along with an interview about it: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lenny-gerard-feel-me-now_us_56bce834e4b0c3c550508246). The mission of the music video “Feel Me Now” is to show that domestic and sexual violence is prevalent in the gay community just as much as with our straight allies. Men are battered too and there needs to be more resources for men to turn to and be taken seriously. Next month (March 2016), we will be conducting a social media campaign with the hashtag #MenRVictims2 to raise awareness on the issue.

 

 

Q: What do you like about the music industry?

 

A: What I like about the music industry is how it is dynamic and always changing. I like how the music industry is based on collaboration amongst all sorts of artistic mediums. At the end of the day, the music industry depends on artists albeit: film, sound design, fashion, production, camera operation, etc.

The music industry allows me to be creative and express myself in ways I never thought possible. I am so glad to have found a career in the music industry as it enables me to bring my visually creative side into my musical projects. My music videos are the ultimate medium in which I express myself – as they are the melding of both my sonic-artistry and my visual-aesthetic.

 

 

Q:      What would you change about it?

 

A: The music industry has always seen change and will always see change, which is one of the many reasons why I love it. I recently founded an entertainment company (http://www.OinkEntertainment.com) whose mission is to represent under represented talent and artists. That’s what I want to see change in the music industry; I want to see more minorities taking on big musical rolls and more TV appearances.

 

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

 

A: Lady Gaga, Elton John, Rufus Wainwright, Amy Winehouse, Le1f, Bruno Mars, Kat Dahlia, Sam Sparro, Adele, Beyonce, Lorde, Michael Jackson, Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, Justin Bieber, Queen, Animal Collective, Nicki Minaj, Jason Derulo, James Blake, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Adam Lambert, Tune-Yards, Regina Spektor, George Ezra, and Missy Elliot… (Just to name a few).

 

Q: Do you think looks or talent are more important in music today?

 

A: Talent. If you have enough talent, no matter how funky your look or lifestyle is, you’ll be recognized and valuable to the masses for being authentic. I do however feel it is the artist’s responsibility to maintain an image that serves their artistry and products.

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Rapper Abu Rahss

 

 

Abu Rahss

Abu Rahss is a rapper who is one if the founders of the Forest Hills Tenleytown Music Group (FHTMG); here is a link to their website:

 

http://fhtmg.com/

 

Q:  How did you come to form FHTMG?

 

A: Friends of mine have been rapping and making music since high school so that is probably what first sparked the idea.  In college some friends of mine and I made a mixtape called The Blizzard which was popular among our friends.  When I finished college and came back to DC and got my own place I decided to get some studio and camera equipment and we decided to use the name Forest Hills Tenleytown Music Group since that’s the two neighborhoods (Forest Hills and Tenleytown) where most of us are from/ used to hang out growing up.

 

Q:  Your about pages says you are the most subversive record label in the world; in what ways are you subversive?

 

A: For example, we took a Thanksgiving Trip to North Korea organized by a Palestinian (me) with rappers from the worst areas in DC (PacMan and Peso).  We made a music video without the permission of North Korean authorities but instead of recycling and repeating the same old tired stereotypes about North Korea (they are all crazy and starving in concentration camps) we went in non-judgmentally and spoke honestly about our experiences.  Our message after the trip was that North Koreans are good  people just like you and me and they are rational people just like you and me.  Pacman and Peso told the AP and Reuters that they were treated better in North Korea then they were in America and they feel Washington DC is much more dangerous for them than North Korea.

FHTMG is filled with people from all backgrounds (Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Arabs, Whites, and more) and we are big on things like: Black Liberation, Palestinian Rights, and many other human rights issues.  Basically, just being who we are happens to be subversive its not something we aim for.  And also there is not much subversive stuff out there in this day and age so its probably not too hard to be the most subversive.

 

Q: What inspired you to write the song, Trap out the Starbucks?

 

A: Pacman had made the chorus (kind of just a joke) and was singing it one day and I thought it was a great idea for a song.  Everybody raps about trapping trenches and the slums (which is very important and is some of my favorite music) but there is just as much (if not more) trapping happening at places like Starbucks (and no music about it).  And in this day and age where everyone works mobily, its also just a good anthem in general for getting work done (whether its in Starbucks, a hotel lobby, or anywhere else).

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences and how can we see that influence in your work?

 

A: My favorite rapper when I was young was 2Pac and then Cam’Ron became my favorite rapper later on.  They are two of my biggest influences.  I also love Van Morrison, Wiley (British rapper), Gucci Mane and many others.  I’m not sure how you can hear the influence but people sometimes say my styleof rapping reminds them of Cam’Ron or Gucci Mane so I guess people can see the influence.

  1. What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

After college I worked at BB&T for almost four years in commercial lending (this is when we launched FHTMG and went to North Korea) and since summer 2014 I work at a small investment company in Washington, DC.  It doesn’t influence my music/writing in an overt or obvious way but its a part of my life so I think it definitely has an influence on some level.

 

Q:  Why rap music and not another genre?

 

A: Rap has always been my favorite genre and also the favorite genre of most of my friends.  As I’ve gotten older I have branched out more with my tastes but basically I only like rap music.  We work with non-rappers (Zeroni for example) and are open to get involved in all kinds of genres but personally I just rap.

Q:  How does living in DC influence your music?

 

A: Being born and raised in DC had a big influence on me and my music.  I went to DC Public Schools from Pre-K until college sand that was an environment where rap and hip hop were the main music/culture.  In elementary school we were all listening to 2Pac and then the Cash Money Millionaires and the Ruff Ryders.  By Junior High and High School it was Three Six Mafia and Dipset and things like that.

 

Q:  How did you get funding to make your videos?

 

A: We make all the videos ourselves (if we travel we pay for our own stuff but we only travel places where we have connections and hook ups).  We got a Canon 5D camera before our North Korea trip and we have used that to make almost 30 music videos around the world.  I’ve shot and edited most of them myself but different friends have also contributed.

 

Q:  What is the overall theme of your music?

 

A: I don’t know I guess just to express myself as a person.   Maybe the theme is “fuck everybody and whether they love you or hate you, just be true to yourself.”

 

Q:   If you could write a theme song for one of the candidates who would you pick and what would it say?

 

A: I would write a theme song for Bernie Sanders and I would call it “Bernie Bitch.”  It would be like a remake of Bobby Shmurda “Bobby Bitch” and it would just talk hella shit about the other candidates and white people and Israel.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Author Zane Walker Morris

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Zane Walker Morris is a former carnival wrestler and  the author of Chickasolved; here is a link to his blog:

http://undertwentybucks.weebly.com/
Q:  What inspired you to write Chickasolved?

A: Family history and personal history actually.

After 32 years of wrestling in what is known as “Strong Style” or “Folk Style” I felt it was time to gather all of the relevant experience that built my skills into one place. Coming from Oklahoma there is a really muddy look at what it means to be Native American, so I wanted to set my record straight. Feathers and dancing may have started with my people known as the “Beserkers” or Scottish raiders, but that is not the definition of my people. We are best known for fighting with our neighbors and running Cortez out of the Mississippi region from which we came from. And here in Oklahoma due to the thin skin of current natives they ignore the Trail of Tears which brought us all here from the East Coast. My tribe, the Chickasaw included, has push-overs who don’t look at the pain. Even to put on a band-aid.

 

 

Q:  How did you decide which stories to include in the book?

 

A: I picked 44 chapters or sections and decided to see what would come out. In my first book I did it in 69 sections, plus poetry and a little dark humor. The way I decided was based on David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Adman. He said he chose content to attract the type of clients he wanted. So I did the same. The book, like any book that follows this formula is a resume with enough new information to occupy the same four hours of mind space that would equal two block buster movies. Then act two in the book.

 

Q:  How did you get into wrestling in carnivals?

 

Carnivals or fairs have traditionally had AT shows, or athletic shows, from the inception of post civil war America. Back then it was a way for former soldiers who used to wrestle in the camps to stay in shape, and burn off excess energy to earn a living doing something other than soldiering. As I came up, there was a drive-by at my house and I was nearly killed by a stray bullet. Or twelve. The point is, this made me more aggressive and pensive, than most three year olds. As a result I took to watching wrestling after the westerns with my adoptive grandfather. He was a former golden-gloves boxer and took to showing me the moves such as the figure-four leg lock in the living room floor. I practiced on oversized stuffed animals. He also took me live, but in that day, the southern championship territory wrestling was about the title and the weekly paycheck. By the time I made it through elementary and high school wrestling teams, and pro training first bout pro at seventeen, carnivals and fairs were once again one of the only places to ply my trade.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to pursue your creative interests?

 

A: I am basically a full service creative professional. Writing, art, and two-year plan consulting going on fifteen years now. I originally got in to learn how to promote my wrestling style and career. My creative interests are music, and connecting with people. Fortunately with my facebook, www.facebook.com/zane.morris1, I am able to leave my self available for like minded people from around the world. I post items that are viewed by former co-workers now in agencies that work with me, want to, or just give each other helpful collaboration. I am always looking for my next customer, either creative, music, or southern strong style wrestling.

 

Q:  How did you become involved with the NRA?

 

A: While in Dallas, my college roommate invited me to freelance with his agency as a production artist. One of the owners actually wrote speeches for President Nixon, and from that got the majority of the NRA (National Rifle Association) accounts. Including the monthly membership magazine America’s First Freedom. Through multi-talent and desire I was able to attain being the masthead recognized PHOTO EDITOR for nearly two years. The economy bottom out in 2009 eventually caught the print budget and I went to work for myself.

 

Q:  What is your opinion of the way the NRA has handled its public relations?

 

A: I worked directly with the Mercury Group which was our public relations wing to help the NRA. I personally think they are right but say it wrong. People buy logically first, not really. People buy emotionally first then back it up with logic. As if caught in a trap. I think the problem with most conservative politics, is they emotionally grab at the easiest to sensationalize part of every logical issue which often leaves a bad taste with me at least, and could cloud some moderates in issues that need addressing. The facts confirm that guns banned in UK lead to higher crime rate.

What else needs to be said?

 

Q:  What kinds of companies have you worked for in the past as a digital illustrator and what made you decide to go off on your own?’

 

A: Not wanting to be laid off again for the lack of aggressive action of another lead me to deciding to go off on my own. People seem satisfied without the full picture of what was possible with more direct response marketing to expand with people of my generation of skilled professionals. In the past I have worked with fitness companies, and in the wholesale and direct to customer foods and hospitality.

 

Q:  What is your weirdest carnival story?

 

A: Actually the weirdest story for me happened after the carnivals. Two actually. They were on the same trip though. The first night afterward, everyone on the crew decided to go to the strip club. So, of course I went too, mainly because you need to stick together on these type trips. All of the guys were enjoying festivities, and some of the girls too. This was an educational experience for me as I noticed the girls who were on stage were doing the same thing I was which was connecting with the audience one at a time. So I decided to have some fun with it.

I took off my clothes and jumped on stage like Magic Mike! No, just kidding.

Actually I took to acting like I was in a staring contest with the dancers who were in front of me, and I got one to lose balance during a back bend. The next day, one of the guys in the other room decided to be a rock star and trash the room even urinating on the bed. The weird part? He forgot his briefcase and wallet a block away and we had to go back. He had fun with that one.
 

Q:  What has been the most effective thing you have done to promote your book?

A: This blog I hope! Actually, before I did a “character piece” for a promoter to promote my first book. It was making a send-up of … you see I am a good writer. A great writer actually. Free sample of this book is available at http://www.Undertwentybucks.com. I design my books scientifically to be as interesting and satisfying as the best sellers of the last year at the time of conception. But my last innovative promotion was to do this silly corrupt preacher send up of a local preacher that got caught with a male hooker and drugs in a local hotel room. He was head of the Evangelical council of North America or something. We shot little promos that aired at live wrestling events and online. The result, I filled up the 500 seat arena from 200. Zero book sales in person. But online collectors caught the triggers I build in and increased the value used from the $19.99 it was released to all the way to $138.44 used. I put twice as many triggers in this book.

 

Q:  What are some of the mistakes you have learned from professionally?

A: Trusting the wrong people and trying to be funny. Honesty and triggers. That is the way. Also not asking for the sale. I want to sell everything and get word of mouth going. It was also a mistake to think that I could live a professional life not connecting with people one on one. And as a crowd.

Triggers. It’s what I have become known for. At least in my own way of thinking. I hope people give me the chance to trigger a response in them. It’s one of the most fun things to experience. All my websites are open to the public. Have you been triggered today? Seriously, I’m looking for the work flow to start flowing me people who are highly satisfied with my products. So I can read them and produce more. I am a designer. Like as in tennis shoes and handbags. Urgency. Is love.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Author And Activist Toni Newman

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Toni Newman is an organizer for the fundraiser Maitri’s Bliss and the author of the book, I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman; here is a link to her website:

 

http://www.tonidnewman.com/

 

 

Q:  What is Maitri’s Bliss

 

A: Maitri is the only AIDS-specific residential care facility in California since 1987 focusing on the underserved community of those dying of or severely debilitated by AIDS. Each year Maitri holds annual fundraiser called Bliss Gala and Auction. This year Maitri is celebrating 29 years of service to the underserved with AIDS in San Francisco. The proceeds from the Bliss gala goes to the direct medical care of the residents of Maitri. For more information about Bliss 2016, please go to www.maitrisf.org.

MAITRI COMPASSIONATE CARE

www.maitrisf.org

“Maitri is like sitting on a lotus flower, which to me, is very warm, beautiful and compassionate.” Before arriving at Maitri, Sorrita had been living in San …

 

 

Q:  How did you become involved with the event?

 

A: In July 2015, Executive Director Michael Smithwick hired me as the new Development Manager of Maitri. As the Development Manager, I am working with the Development Chair and Development Committee to oversee the details for Bliss 2016 on May 1 at the Mission Bay Conference Center-UCSF.

 

Q:  How did you get  Leslie Jordan  to host?

 

A: I attended one of Leslie Jordan’s comedy shows in San Francisco and he was just hilarious. We thought he would make an excellent MC/Host for Bliss 2016. We reached out to his management team, Reactions Productions, and they were very gracious in assisting us to get Leslie Jordan to host the event. Leslie has had lots of friends to succomb to this disease and he was very open to helping us make this event a success.

 

Q:  How has the life of the average AIDS patient changed over the years?

 

A: Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic’s beginning, and that disparity has deepened over time.  Blacks account for more new HIV infections, people estimated to be living with HIV disease, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S.  The epidemic has also had a disproportionate impact on Black women, youth, and gay and bisexual men, and its impact varies across the country. Moreover, a number of challenges contribute to the epidemic among Blacks, including poverty, lack of access to health care, higher rates of some sexually transmitted infections, lack of awareness of HIV status, and stigma. Despite this impact, recent data indicate some encouraging trends, including declining new HIV infections among Black women. However, given the epidemic’s continued and disproportionate impact among Blacks, a continued focus is critical to addressing HIV in the United States. These are facts obtained from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

 

Q:  What are some common  misconceptions about AIDS?

 

A: 1)I am HIV positive, my life is over.

In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives.

2) I could tell if my partner is HIV positive.

You can be HIV-positive and not have any symptoms for years. The only way for you or your partner to know if you’re HIV-positive is to get tested.

In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives.

3) I can get HIV from being around people who are HIV positive.

The evidence shows that HIV is not spread through touch, tears, sweat, or saliva. You cannot catch HIV by:

  • Breathing the same air as someone who is HIV-positive
  • Touching a toilet seat or doorknob handle after an HIV-positive person
  • Drinking from a water fountain
  • Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with someone who is HIV-positive
  • Sharing eating utensils with an HIV-positive person
  • Using exercise equipmentat a gym

 

4)My partner and I are both HIV positive — there’s no reason for us to practice safer sex.

Practicing safer sex — wearing condoms or using dental dams — can protect you both from becoming exposed to other (potentially drug resistant) strains of HIV.

 

 

Q:  What is, I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman about?

 

A: The Memoir I Rise is about my 20 year transformation from M2F and the hardships I endured making that transistion with no friends, family or assistance. I wrote the memoir to give insight and educate others what it takes to transistion when there was very little help. I had not read a transgender memoir like mine when the memoir came out in April 2011. My partner and best friend, Alton Demore, encouraged me to write the book since he had not heard of any book like this. I discuss very openly and candidly my life from the beginning in rural North Carolina up to my days as a transgender mistress and escort. My whole purpose was/is to enlighten and educate others about transgenders and their life especially the minority transgender (most live below the poverty level even today). www.tonidnewman.com

Toni D. Newman | Transgender Author Toni Newman | Home

www.tonidnewman.com

I RISE-THE TRANSFORMATION OF TONI NEWMAN BY TRANSGENDER TONI NEWMAN. A MEMOIR. I’ve always found it interesting …

 

 

 

Q:  How is it different from other books about transitioning?

 

A: The memoir I Rise is very candid and open. I discuss my thoughts, my fears and my actions about transistioning and what it took for me to survive and exist and to be who I am today. The most relevant theme in the book is being your authentic self against all odds. I knew the only way for me to be complete and whole was to be my authentic transgender self. The journey for me was not a pretty one but a journey full of stumbles, heartaches, agony and pain. But the goal is to show others I made it over and you can make it too. Do not give up but strive each and every day to be your authentic self.

 

 

Q:  What has been the most effective thing you have done to promote your work?

 

A: I have been asked to speak to many minority groups about transistioning and why I did it. To enlighten and educate others even if I only reach 1 person is fulfulling and rewarding for me. Changing one mind at a time.

 

 

Q:  What is the least effective thing you have done?

 

A: Being more active with transgender activist groups. And the reason for that is I do not see a lot of groups reaching out to the people of color. Transgenders of color are more likely to be homeless, living below the poverty level and unable to obtain gainful employment. My goal and desire is to help and assist the transgender of color since I know first hand the hardships they face daily and what it takes to overcome those obstacles and succeed.

 

Q:  What is your opinion of Caitlyn Jenner?

 

A: I believe Caitlyn has good intentions and is very fortunate to be financially able to make the transistion smoothly. But the reality is that most transgenders especially those of color are unemployed, homeless and living below the poverty level. I think Caitlyn has brought awareness to the transgender community and that is a wonderful thing. But the reality is that more than 75% of transgenders of color dont know how they are going to survive and exist on a day to day basis. So I applaud Caitlyn for standing in her truth, but most of my sisters are struggling daily to survive and stand in their truth.

 

 
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Author Patricia Reid

patPatricia Reid is the author of, Flying with the Rich and Famous: True Stories from the Flight Attendant who flew with them; here is a link to the Amazon page:

 

 
Q: What made you interested in becoming a stewardess?

 

 

A: I became interested in becoming a “flight attendant” or stewardess as we were known then when I flew “right seat” in my fathers plane, a 4 seat Bonanza. On Saturdays, we would go flying. I was only four years old but I have the distinct memory of thinking to myself “this is what I want to do.” I wanted to become a stewardess.

 

Q: Why a stewardess and not a pilot?

 

 

A: That is an excellent question. I wish now that I would have become a pilot. But in that era, there were very few female pilots and none that I knew about. It just wasn’t a woman’s world. But the novelty of becoming a flight attendant, again in that era, was huge and very exciting.

 

Q: You did not work for a major airline, but rather a private company that dealt with luxury jets. How did your compensation and benefits compare to stewardesses who worked for major airlines?

 

 

A: Well I did actually work for an airline, I began as a ticket agent. Then was hired out of there for a non-traditional air carrier that was scheduled service from Los Angeles to New York, but it was only first class. But it was much more than first class, it was a whole new world of luxury flying. That’s when I first began to serve Rock stars, movie stars, television stars, politicians, singers, songwriters and very wealthy individuals. From there I went to private jets, where I lived out my adult career.

 

The benefits of flying for private jets is first and foremost the pay. The pay can be as much as ten times what the commercial gals make. You do work for it though, although not always. You do not really have a schedule, you go when they call you. Unless you work full time for a corporation (which I’ve done), they usually have a somewhat adhered to schedule. The airline flight attendants travel around the world on other airlines for almost free. Private jet or corporate flight attendants do not have that option. But we get paid to travel around the world. And we stay in much better hotels and resorts.

 

 

Q: What was your most awkward celebrity encounter?

 

A: The most awkward celebrity encounter was flying Johnny Carson. He never said a word to me (or anyone), he just stared off into space. He was with his wife who did all the talking for him. But it was definitely odd behavior. I have no explanation for it, whatsoever.

 

Q: Are the regulations any different for private jets then they are for commercial jets?

 

 

A:  Yes, regulations are VERY different for private vs. commercial flight attendants. There are “Federal Aviation Regulations” or FAR’s that we must follow. Part 121 is airlines. Part 91 is owner operated private jets – this is when I fly for someone who owns his own jet, I am not a flight attendant per say, but maybe a cabin attendant or just a passenger. It is up to the owner if I need emergency training or not. Part 135 is a private jet that is offered for hire – a charter corporation. If someone “hires” a private jet to take them some place then we as flight attendants have to be emergency trained and follow much more detailed rules than an owner operator. Because if you’re for hire, then the charter outfit is responsible not the owner.

 

Q: What has been the most effective thing you have done to promote your book?

 

 

A:  The original Amazon advertisement worked the best. Now, I would say social media, word of mouth and interviews like this. But social media has kept it selling in between radio interviews. I’m hoping to get on television as well – to main stream it.

 

 

Q:  Why do you think people are so fascinated by wealth and fame?

 

A:  I think it’s because it takes them “away” from where they are. It’s like a movie, a People magazine or anything of that nature. It turns off their own minds and lets them be entertained by another avenue. The rich and famous have always been the avenue people want to hear about. That’s what the general public believes makes the best life. Plus the media of the world we live in promotes it nonstop, so even if we aren’t interested, it’s hard to be kept in the dark. Unless you don’t have a television or a computer!  But then you still have a library!!

 

Q: What are some of the best e books you have read recently and what made them enjoyable?

 

 

A:  I really enjoy spiritual genre’s and autobiographies. I like true, honest real life stories like Steven Tyler’s autobiography, which was hilarious! I I also really love The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, it is my bible and I adore The Secret, etc. I enjoy books that I can learn something through. That makes me feel wiser and more knowledgeable. Esepecially knowledge about a world a know nothing about – like most people don’t know what it is like to fly on a private jet for a living!

 

Q: What were some of the more challenging elements of your job?

 

 

A:  Challenging elements would be time. Time is sometimes your friend and often not. The time changes around the world can get you to the point where you don’t know if you should eat breakfast or dinner!  Also, waiting for passengers. Some of them have kept us as a flight crew waiting for hours and we still have to fly for across the country or farther. Sometimes sleep is out of the question. And a short flight with a full meal service is extremely challenging. It’s very difficult to feed ten people on a one hour flight and clean it all up before you land. You must be pre-prepared.

 

Q: I have known many people who work for the rich and famous and they were all were touting around a bottle of anti-depressants, wearing an angry look and an, “Eat the Rich” tee shirt. Why do you think some people have such a hard time dealing with the wealthy?

 

 

A:  I’m guessing they are very demanding. I only had a few passengers like this, but yes, they were awful! If one has to work for a high stress demanding type that would definitely be tough. I had one passenger who was like this but worse and I refused to fly him again. So if you work for one of these types, you might need an anti-depressant! I’m sure they get highly paid (like me) but is it worth it? I think not! My favorite owner treated me like family and I still adore him. We had so much fun traveling around the world together.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Author Patricia Reid

pat

 

 

Patricia Reid is the author of, Flying with the Rich and Famous: True Stories from the Flight Attendant who flew with them; here is a link to the Amazon page:

Q: What made you interested in becoming a stewardess?

A: I became interested in becoming a “flight attendant” or stewardess as we were known then when I flew “right seat” in my fathers plane, a 4 seat Bonanza. On Saturdays, we would go flying. I was only four years old but I have the distinct memory of thinking to myself “this is what I want to do.” I wanted to become a stewardess.

Q: Why a stewardess and not a pilot?

A: That is an excellent question. I wish now that I would have become a pilot. But in that era, there were very few female pilots and none that I knew about. It just wasn’t a woman’s world. But the novelty of becoming a flight attendant, again in that era, was huge and very exciting.

 

Q: You did not work for a major airline, but rather a private company that dealt with luxury jets. How did your compensation and benefits compare to stewardesses who worked for major airlines?

A: Well I did actually work for an airline, I began as a ticket agent. Then was hired out of there for a non-traditional air carrier that was scheduled service from Los Angeles to New York, but it was only first class. But it was much more than first class, it was a whole new world of luxury flying. That’s when I first began to serve Rock stars, movie stars, television stars, politicians, singers, songwriters and very wealthy individuals. From there I went to private jets, where I lived out my adult career.

The benefits of flying for private jets is first and foremost the pay. The pay can be as much as ten times what the commercial gals make. You do work for it though, although not always. You do not really have a schedule, you go when they call you. Unless you work full time for a corporation (which I’ve done), they usually have a somewhat adhered to schedule. The airline flight attendants travel around the world on other airlines for almost free. Private jet or corporate flight attendants do not have that option. But we get paid to travel around the world. And we stay in much better hotels and resorts.

Q: What was your most awkward celebrity encounter?

A: The most awkward celebrity encounter was flying Johnny Carson. He never said a word to me (or anyone), he just stared off into space. He was with his wife who did all the talking for him. But it was definitely odd behavior. I have no explanation for it, whatsoever.

Q: Are the regulations any different for private jets then they are for commercial jets?

 

A:  Yes, regulations are VERY different for private vs. commercial flight attendants. There are “Federal Aviation Regulations” or FAR’s that we must follow. Part 121 is airlines. Part 91 is owner operated private jets – this is when I fly for someone who owns his own jet, I am not a flight attendant per say, but maybe a cabin attendant or just a passenger. It is up to the owner if I need emergency training or not. Part 135 is a private jet that is offered for hire – a charter corporation. If someone “hires” a private jet to take them some place then we as flight attendants have to be emergency trained and follow much more detailed rules than an owner operator. Because if you’re for hire, then the charter outfit is responsible not the owner.

Q: What has been the most effective thing you have done to promote your book?

A:  The original Amazon advertisement worked the best. Now, I would say social media, word of mouth and interviews like this. But social media has kept it selling in between radio interviews. I’m hoping to get on television as well – to main stream it.

Q:  Why do you think people are so fascinated by wealth and fame?

A:  I think it’s because it takes them “away” from where they are. It’s like a movie, a People magazine or anything of that nature. It turns off their own minds and lets them be entertained by another avenue. The rich and famous have always been the avenue people want to hear about. That’s what the general public believes makes the best life. Plus the media of the world we live in promotes it nonstop, so even if we aren’t interested, it’s hard to be kept in the dark. Unless you don’t have a television or a computer!  But then you still have a library!!

Q: What are some of the best e books you have read recently and what made them enjoyable?

 

A:  I really enjoy spiritual genre’s and autobiographies. I like true, honest real life stories like Steven Tyler’s autobiography, which was hilarious! I I also really love The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, it is my bible and I adore The Secret, etc. I enjoy books that I can learn something through. That makes me feel wiser and more knowledgeable. Esepecially knowledge about a world a know nothing about – like most people don’t know what it is like to fly on a private jet for a living!

Q: What were some of the more challenging elements of your job?

A:  Challenging elements would be time. Time is sometimes your friend and often not. The time changes around the world can get you to the point where you don’t know if you should eat breakfast or dinner!  Also, waiting for passengers. Some of them have kept us as a flight crew waiting for hours and we still have to fly for across the country or farther. Sometimes sleep is out of the question. And a short flight with a full meal service is extremely challenging. It’s very difficult to feed ten people on a one hour flight and clean it all up before you land. You must be pre-prepared.

 

Q: I have known many people who work for the rich and famous and they were all were touting around a bottle of anti-depressants, wearing an angry look and an, “Eat the Rich” tee shirt. Why do you think some people have such a hard time dealing with the wealthy?

A:  I’m guessing they are very demanding. I only had a few passengers like this, but yes, they were awful! If one has to work for a high stress demanding type that would definitely be tough. I had one passenger who was like this but worse and I refused to fly him again. So if you work for one of these types, you might need an anti-depressant! I’m sure they get highly paid (like me) but is it worth it? I think not! My favorite owner treated me like family and I still adore him. We had so much fun traveling around the world together.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.