Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oprah Inspires A Man's Mission To Live His Best Life Now

A male media mogul inspired by the Queen of Talk? The initial thought might seem somewhat unlikely, however, a 34 year old man from Oprah Winfrey’s home state of Mississippi, is proving that there is truly no limit to those who look up to and hope to emulate the reach of her brand.

Cyrus A. Webb (known in artistic circles as C. A. Webb) has been following the path of Oprah for the past decade. After dealing with some internal as well as external challenges in his life, Webb began to use his love of the arts to share his personal story and encourage others to follow their dreams.

As a visual artist, spoken word artist, public speaker, mentor, publicist, radio and television show host, online magazine publisher, columnist and President of Conversations Book Club and its chapters, C. A. Webb works daily to encourage, inspire and learn. Through his various projects, it is his goal that others will use their own artistic voices to make a difference. What told him that he could achieve all that he had over the past 10 years? It was Oprah.

“Oprah’s story is not just a woman’s story,” Webb says. “It is an American story and an example of what one can do not only for themselves but in the lives of others.” Though the brand he is building is based on his own interests, Webb has brought others into his organization that expands his reach. Case in point, when listeners to his radio show wanted information about subjects such as sports and cooking, Webb was able to bring in individuals such as Herschel Dixon (now the host of “Herschel D’s Weekly Sports Wrap-Up) and Chef Bruce Tretter (now the host of “Quick & Easy Cooking with Bruce Tretter) to do weekly segments. Both have been a welcomed addition.

One feat that Webb is tackling now that Oprah hasn’t is writing a book. Currently he is working on a serialized novel called BLESSED with another entrepreneur and fellow Mississippian Stanley Clark.

Webb also wants others to know that there are men who are not just about themselves but are trying to make a difference as well. “We have enough examples of what men are doing wrong,” Webb says. “I wanted to show that good guys can finish first and succeed as well.”

To connect all of his projects together, Webb launched the website Through it blogs about experiences, shares updates for his organization as well as information about his clients and upcoming projects. There are also featured book reviews on the site as well as commentaries on current events.

“With a new year we are able to start fresh in the way we tackle life and the challenges we face,” says Webb. That is what I hope to continue to do, and I hope others will glean something from my work that encourages them the way that Oprah has encouraged me.”

For more information about Cyrus Webb and his projects, visit You can also contact him at or 601.896.5616.

BLESSED: The Serialized Novel by C. A. Webb

Pastor Ezekiel James has enjoyed a historic legacy that is amplified by the remarkable success of his family. For almost 40 years he has been one of the most recognizable faces and names of faith around the world, and that favor seemed to be passed on to his seed, fraternal twins Rebecca and his namesake Ezekiel.

Born with the world seemingly at their feet, Ezekiel continued in the example of his father while Rebecca chose politics, a course that would introduce her to Jeremiah Reynolds. He wants to see a change come to the country. With the support of the James family, Jeremiah would gain influence that leads him to the office of Mayor, Governor and even the White House, becoming the first man of color to become President.

As Reynolds enters his second year in the Oval Office, two wars are waging around the world; however, the United States is more worried about a mysterious flu that is targeting the elderly and youth with deadly consequences. When it threatens the youngest of the James family and even the First Family, a secret is revealed that threatens to destroy not just the trust of a family and The White House but the safety, security and souls of the entire world...

BLESSED: The new serial novel written by C. A. Webb with a special introduction by Stanley Clark.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Conversation with Ricky Spann, author of MAN-UP

Of all of the books I have read in 2009, few had the power to affect me personally like MAN-UP by Ricky Spann. A native of Michigan, Spann now calls Stone Mountain, GA home and has put a lot of thought into his first printed work. His book was chosen as one of Conversations Book Club's Top 100 Books of 2009, but why? What was his objective in writing this book about the roles of black men in America and how all races have to work together? We discuss this and more. Here is our conversation...

Rick, thanks for talking with Conversations for our Take Ten segment. Before we get into your book MAN-UP I want to say it has been great having you on the radio show in 2009 to address some of the issues of the day. Have you always found it easy or in your nature to express yourself the way you do?

First of all Cyrus it is good to be on your show and I definitely appreciated the opportunity to come and share my views.  It's always been easy to express myself, especially in a small setting and regarding what I am most passionate about – the social, political and economic issues as they relate to the black community.  I enjoy discussions surrounding black leadership past and present, and where we have failed our community as black Americans.  I also find it very easy to talk on a spiritual basis, which is a theme for another book idea that I am drafting.

When did you realize that you had a book you wanted to write, and was there any fear about the subject matter?

Since I was in high school I have always had something to say and wanted to put it down on paper.  I remember English literature and all the classes where you have to do interpretive reading; and I always admired how the people were able to take what was near and dear to them and put it in the written word.  From that time on I've always wanted to write.  I've always had certain fear and reservations because in my mind only great grammarians and English majors could write.  Then I realized that it's about those who have something to say…that what a writer is someone who can take their ideals and thoughts and put them on paper.  Once you put them on paper there was always the fear that the subject matter might be too hard for the day.  At a time for political correctness, I thought my word might be too hard because the topic would cause black people to look at the truth of our responsibility of ourselves.   I believe that this is  something that we haven't quite dealt with historically and I think we have a tendency to blame others for our plight…though others are truly at fault to some degree.  My message places a large responsibility on the black people to understand the root causes and solve our own issues.  I didn't think that message would go over real well and so I was a bit apprehensive and uncertain as to how it would go over in the black community.

Rick, many say that in order to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. What role has books played in your life over the years?

Well books have had a very important role in my life.  I can remember one of my first experiences with realizing that I enjoyed reading was when I was transferred from the 3rd to the 4th grade and my homeroom teacher happened to be the librarian, Ms. Henderson.  She noticed that I always liked to read the titles of the books and open up books and read passages, and would always volunteer to stand up and read out loud in class.  So Ms. Henderson really encouraged me.  Unfortunately, being a new student in that school I would often get laughed at and picked on for always wanting to stand up and read before the class.  As a young man new to the school, my tendency was to succumb to the peer pressure and not volunteer to read and let anyone know that I really enjoyed reading.   Once Ms. Henderson detected my phobia, she took me aside and said don't let the other boys influence you and cause you to stop reading or reading in class.  She explained to me that reading is a gift and more people should do more of it, and that reading would truly lead to greater understanding and greater wisdom.  She explained that most of your great readers where avid readers such as Malcom X, Martin Luther King and Gaundi, etc.

We are living in a new time in America right now with the country electing its first black President. How has that changed your perception of the work that blacks have ahead of them if at all?

Personally, it hasn't changed my perception at all.  In fact, I think the fact that America has elected a black president can actually be a setback to the challenges that face the black community.  What I mean by that is that so often blacks tend to get emotionally involved in issues without understanding why or being not deeply emerged enough into issues to prevent them.  Actually I think that electing a black president has given black people a sense of arrival, and that is not the case.  I think that black people have a tendency to become complacent once an emotional hurdle has been achieved and they take their eyes off the larger issues of future political, social, economic and spiritual parody with all of mankind.  So I think that blacks don't want to hear the message that electing a black president at the wrong time is tantamount to racial demise.  By that I mean the entire black community's future seems to rest on whether or not the current president can solve everyone's problems.  The favor that a white president would get, President Obama will not get; and consequently his failures will be failures of the black community.  An analogy that I use is that in sports, such as the NFL, the argument is that black athletes do not make great quarterbacks, when in reality as black athletes become more and more comfortable playing the position of quarterback from little league to the pros, then their performance of quarterback will be as great as any other race. 

Do you think that some minorities will take success for granted since there is a man of color in the White House?

I don't think they'll take it for granted.  In  a broader since I don't think most minorities understand what success is.  Black America tends to think that success is getting a good paying job or a descent business and making a lot of money from an individual standpoint.  They fail to realize that success on such a small scale as an individual form of achievement is short-lived and serves no purpose in perpetuating the successful survivability of the race.  So the message that blacks get having a black president is that we as black individuals can achieve great heights is such a shallow message, and vastly overrated and misunderstood.

Rick for those who haven't read the book, tell us what Man-Up is about.

Man-Up is about mankind, and specifically black americans' position in the scheme of creation.  It's not about racial divide or prejudice.  It's about all men are created equal and all men's responsibility is to do the best they can do the greater good of all mankind.  It gives a spiritual road map for the healing that must occur and the forgiveness that must occur before blacks as a people can transcend a carnal existence to the spiritual existence, and become true cohabitants of this world and worlds to come.

If you had to decide on a particular group of people that your book is most targeted towards, who would it be and why?

First and foremost it is targeted toward the black community.  It's a how-to self-help book of developing strategies and subsequent plans to solve the social, political, economic and spiritual problems that are currently inhibiting the advancement of the black race, and fulfilling our God-giveen purpose.

Have you been surprised at the response you have gotten so far? 

No.  I expected the responses to be mixed and they have.  Some blacks, even prominent blacks think that the book is too harsh on black people.  Other blacks think that it's about time someone gives a how-to as oppose to a what's wrong with us approach to addressing the political, social, economic and spiritual ills of the black community.

What message do you hope readers get from the book overall, and how do you hope they can apply what you share?

That whether we succeed or whether we fail, we have to take responsibility for our own success and survival and also we have to realize that we are only a part of  God's plan and not the totality.  As such, we have a duty and obligation to seek our role in the universe as it relates to other races and other creatures that God has created.  I think that we cheat ourselves when we denigrate God's creation along racial divide.

Now that you have one book under your belt, what's next for you?

The goal is to write 10 books with various themes around the spiritual, social, economic development of the black community.  Each book will give a more finite plan, milestones and phased approach to becoming self sufficient and globally relevant and justifiably equal to all mankind.

Rick, thanks again for talking with us. Continued success to you. How can our readers keep up with you online and through the social networks?

I'm on FB and also have a webpage at  and my twitter site.  You can email me directly via my webpage.  You can also order my Man-Up: A Plan for the Organization and Spiritual Retooling of Black America at or


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign In 2009: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

In November 2008,The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign ( announced it was taking a place on the world scene to vigorously promote literacy and bring individuals as well as organizations to the battlefield, combining forces against the worldwide problem of illiteracy and apathy.

In December 2009, Founder/Mississippi native Cyrus Webb is pleased to announce that the first year of the project has been a tremendous success.

"We have worked with our literary partners across the country and reached out to others across the globe to show we are willing to do whatever we can to highlight the importance of reading," says Webb, 34. Coming from a state known for its problems with school drop-outs and illiteracy, Webb considers it an honor to be on the frontline of this important war.

Using the national platform of his radio show Conversations LIVE! (, the influence of his co-ed book club Conversations ( and his webisodes created by The Write Stuff, Webb has seen tremendous support from literally every state in the country and individuals in the United Kingdom, Africa, Australia and Canada.This was evident when The Write Stuff hosted its 1st National Day of Reading that was held on Sat. November 21, 2009. The goal was to host events in all 50 states during the same time as a way to show unity on the cause of promoting reading. 40 states were able to participate, bringing together people of all backgrounds, walks of life and interests. (see )

During the final months of 2009, Webb created Do The Write Thang ( to combine his literary efforsts under one roof. Through it, he has reached out to and garnered support from many well-known celebrities and up-and-coming forces who want to use their influence to promote reading as well. Sponsors and supporters also included For The People Productions, Crunk Magazine, Hype Magazine, NuSouth Magazine, Industry Standard Magazine, Poetic Monthly, AG Press, HHH Magazine, HunidRacks Energy Drinks, Vitaminwater (Louisville, KY) and others.

As 2009 comes to an end, Webb is already looking forward to the events scheduled for 2010. Through his new website, he hopes to show that the influence and example of a person like Oprah---also from Mississippi---can be seen and felt in men as well. He will also continue his outreach to literary supporters across the globe, showcasing what can be done when people work together to achieve a common good.

For more information about The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign, contact Cyrus Webb at or 601.896.5616.

Friday, December 18, 2009

REVIEW: "Electric Honey" by Author Sam Love

I have read many books over the past several years, but it takes a special type of book to make me revisit it and take the time to reread it. "Electric Honey", however, has become one of those books.

We see it all the time: two people are a part of the same event or conversation, yet both come away with different perspectives depending on what they perceive as most important to them.

Written by native Southerner Sam Love, Electric Honey takes that premise to a new level as he writes about a mother and daughter's adventures during the colorful years of the 1960s - and how they actually had more in common than they realized.

Love was a student at Mississippi State during the 60s and was active in anti-war organizing and other events of the time. Though the book is a work of fiction, it does draw from some of his experience of the events and social ideals of the period.

When the story opens, we find Peach, one of the main characters, discovering her mother's diaries while clearing out the attic in preparation for the home being sold.

The book is written in Peach's voice, so we are able to hear her thoughts as she reads about her mother's at the same time.

It's a brilliant way of comparing and contrasting, because we are getting the pure truth from both women. A truth that would not be evident any other way.

If I'm to be honest here, I have never been very interested in the '60s. Occasionally you hear people mention some of the craziness that is normally associated with that time, but I never cared much.

This book, however, made me want to know more.

In reading it, I saw what Peach came to realize as she poured over her mother's journals - there really is nothing new under the sun.

There are so many parallels to what happened 40 or so years ago to what is going on today, that you can see why parents can appreciate some of the madness we are experiencing, while others panic and are ready to admit defeat. Sam Love shows us that such was the case then as well.

You had individuals who were so concerned about keeping order and stability that they were willing to raise all kinds of havoc to do so.

At the same time you had young, wide-eyed young people who were willing to question and understand things outside of their comfort zone, and instead of being encouraged, some tried to crush them. Sound familiar?

What Peach comes to understand at the end of the book is that she really wasn't so different from her mother after all. They both had their own sense of curiosity, adventure and substance; but at the time, they seemed to focus on the things that separated them.

I think we have all learned that is never the way. I should mention that when we do meet Peach, she is not only a mother, but a grandmother and with these milestones behind her. I suspect this has done much to refine her ideals as well.

The lessons I took from Electric Honey?

Things are not always as they appear to be, no matter how "informed" you think you might be on a particular subject. Instead of focusing so much time on what separates us, let's take a little time to look for some common ground.

By doing this, someone we once looked at as an enemy might just end up as one of our closest friends.

Find out more about the author by visit

Saturday, December 12, 2009

REVIEW: “A Voice Behind Thunder” by Carrie Elizabeth Greene

“A Voice Behind Thunder” by Carrie Elizabeth Greene

(Note: Cyrus Webb interviewed the author on Conversations LIVE! Radio. You can hear the interview at this link: His print interview with the author can be read here:

We all have been there: faced with a decision that could either be the greatest move in our lives or one of the most disastrous. Try as we might to weigh both sides and make a sensible decision there is always something inside that tells us what way we are supposed to go. Some call it our conscience. I have heard others refer to it as “the little voice”. The latter came to me as I finished reading the debut novel by Mississippi author Carrie Elizabeth Greene called A Voice Behind Thunder.

She has managed to craft together a storyline that is not only universal but somber in its message. We meet a couple who like many are trying to balance their personal lives with their faith and daily responsibilities. It’s not easy as we know, but they are trying to please each other while being true to their faith. You have the husband, Donovan, who believes there is a place for everything and everything should be in its place. In his efforts to be all things to all people, though, he unwittingly leaves his wife, Rachel, unattended and easy prey for temptation which comes in the form of a manipulator named Marcus.

The chain of events that occur next threaten to destroy them all, but hope is not lost. Remember, Donovan does want to do the right thing, and though he is confronted with challenges that could end his life he remains true to what he believes to be his calling: helping others. When the truth begins to unfold he has a conversation with Marcus that underscores what I believe to be the message of the entire book.

“Marcus, you are the only one who can make the difference,” Donovan says during a heated exchange. “Only you have the power to calm this raging storm. There is a small voice; if we listen we can hear it speaking softly to us. Far behind the thunder in our minds, it’s speaking to our hearts. Listen to the voice, Marcus, and God will help you do the right thing.”

Marcus’ next words mirror the feelings of some who have hardened their hearts: “I stopped listening a long time ago, and I don’t want to heart it anyway. I like what I’m doing. I did a lot to accomplish this, I don’t want to change.” (p. 180)

I don’t want to give the rest of the story away, but I think all of us do well to read this book and see how we can best respond to that ‘voice’ we are faced with from time to time. Kudos to Greene for helping us to realize that with all the hustle and bustle we face in life, when it seems we are all alone maybe it’s because we just aren’t listening hard enough. Don’t worry, though. There is still time, so let’s begin right now.

Review written by Cyrus A. Webb, President of Conversations Book Club and host of Conversations LIVE! Radio. He can be reached at

FUNKGHOST: Using Influences From The Past To Create Music For The Future

FUNKGHOST: Using Influences From The Past To Create Music For The Future by Cyrus Webb

The man called the “Morris Day of Hip Hop” is relishing in the acclaim his single “The Way I Rock My Clothes” is getting, but remains focused on the goal of just giving the world good music. Known in the business as Funkghost, the Tampa, FL native has always been around beats. His father was a part-time dj, and Funkghost was a fan of the 8 tracks around him and was drawn to music made by artists like Run DMC.

Throughout the years he has always tried to show his support for any creative endeavor, looking for ways to build on his personal brand. As he began to build his reputation, Funkghost knew it was just as important to sell who you are as a person as it is to get your music out to the masses.

Over the years he has been asked for his advice by new artists who are trying to break into the business or that are looking for staying power. What does he tell them? “Don’t sign anything with anyone until you have your paperwork and yourself together legally. You have to protect your name and your image at the same time.”

Funkghost also draws on his own means of staying grounded for the next tip. “Surround yourself with successful people. Relationships are key. Make sure you are in a position where you are keeping all options and doors open.”

Looking back over his career in the entertainment business, Funkghost sees himself as a more seasoned artist and definitely more confident in who he is and what he represents. Above anything, he believes in being true to himself.

When asked how he defines success, Funkghost says it is getting new people to know who he is and to hear his music. Because of this, he is always taking advantage of new and innovative ways of connecting with people such as the social networking sites. He sees them as an invaluable way of reaching new heights as he continues forward into the New Year.

Find out more about Funkghost at or follow him on Twitter at

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cyrus Webb Tells You What's Next For The Conversations Brand

2009 has been a great year for promoting reading, and Cyrus Webb of The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign has been taking advantage of every opportunity to sound the alarm about the importance of books. Here are some of the announcements Webb wants you to be aware of...




Over the past six years, Cyrus Webb and Conversations LIVE! Radio have talked to some of the biggest names in arts and entertainment. Now at the end of 2009 and going into Season Seven of the show, they bring their listening audience conversations you don't want to miss...

SUN. DEC. 13, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (6p.m. CST/4p.m. PT) --- Dr. Neal Hall talks about race, the state of the United States and his new book NIGGER FOR LIFE.

Mon. Dec. 14, 2009 @ 8p.m. EST (7p.m. CST/5p.m. PT) --- Constantine Markides is the host of the first blog-based reality show Fourth Fiction. He talk about the inspiration for the show, and some of the contestants from the first season will join him to share their experience.

Listen to the shows live at




It is one of those lists that is a way of recognizing great books and also the authors who write them: Conversations Book Club's "Top 100 Books of 2009". Compiled by Cyrus A. Webb, this is just one way that the literary organization shows why it is one of the best for those looking for best in literature.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Dec. 1: World AIDS Day" by Cyrus Webb

(Listen to the audio of this poem here: )

This day should be committed to memory,
A symbol dedicated to it for all to see
So that we never forget what it represents.
It's one of those issues that we all must face,
Ignoring its influence doesn't begin to erase
The number of lives that have been affected or lost in the years since this social war began.

So now we have a day to recognize,
To get together not only to socialize but remember that every 30 seconds another name is added to the growing list of casualties.

Yet the war wages on, and we have been drafted to the front lines,
Helping others find a reason to join the cause.
And to do that, we must sound the alarm.

Alarm those around us and beyond how risky behavior can harm them--or worse.
We have to consider the role we play and
How to behave so respect can become just as important as our feelings of regret.

This day has been set so none of us forget that we could be among the number referred to in statistics.
The battle is real. HIV is real, and I feel that though the message is being spread, it can be said how important repeating it is.

So this poem is my way of doing just that.
By stating the facts, I react to the pandemic with words put to the page.
And I hope that no matter what the age of the reader, it will help them begin to better respond to their role in the battle--fighting to win.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cyrus Webb Presents Conversations Book Club's Top 100 Books of 2009

It is one of those lists that is a way of recognizing great books and also the authors who write them: Conversations Book Club's "Top 100 Books of 2009". Compiled by Cyrus A. Webb, this is just one way that the literary organization shows why it is one of the best for those looking for best in literature.


  1. "Faces of Fear" by John Saul
  2. "Mudville" by Kurtis Scalletta
  3. "Lifestone" by Gary Kaschak
  4. "Too Tall Alice" by Barbara Worton
  5. "Kill Me Twice" by Jerry Bayne
  6. "Change Up" by John Feinstein
  7. "No More Tomorrows" by Rodney Lofton
  8. "Lesson Learned" by Portia Cosby
  9. "Mexican Whiteboy" by Matt de la Pena
  10. "Battered Clergy" by Dr. Joseph Howard, Sr.
  11. "The Girl Who Threw Butterflies" by Mick Cochrane
  12. "Pieces of the Hole" by Tony Lindsay
  13. "When Lightning Strikes" by Keya
  14. "The Dyodyne Experiment" by James Doulgeris and V. Michael Santoro
  15. "The Fox" by Arlene Radasky
  16. "The Green Eyed Butterfly" by Kiffany Dugger
  17. "Greenwood" by Herbert McCann
  18. "Tatto Tears" by Mr. Mean Mug
  19. "The Circulary" by J. C. Thompson
  20. "Sunday Morning Secrets" by Shirlita McFarland
  21. "Sense of Love" by Sheryl Mallory-Johnson
  22. "Cheating On My Mistress" by S. Dodson
  23. "Liquid Sunshine" by Justin C. Hart
  24. "Children of the Waters" by Carleen Brice
  25. "Breakneck" by Erica Spindler
  26. "Loitering with Intent" by Stuart Woods
  27. "Sweet Deception" by Patricia Sargeant
  28. "Traitor" by Mark Eller
  29. "Excess Baggage" by Sean Gardner
  30. "Jena's Choice" by Beverly Scott
  31. "Home Repair" by Liz Rosenberg
  32. "Married Lovers" by Jackie Collins
  33. "The Osiris Alliance" by Jack Ford
  34. "Numbers" by Dana Dane
  35. "A Misrepresentation of Myself" by Mary E. Gilder
  36. "My Husband's Fiance" by Kaira Denee
  37. "The Last Block In Harlem" by Christopher Herz
  38. "Unsigned Hype" by Booker T. Mattison
  39. "Deviations: Covenant" by Elissa Malcohn
  40. "Pulling Me Back" G Starr
  41. "Flames of Deception" by Marcia Woodruff
  42. "Cowgirl Dreams" by Heidi M. Thomas
  43. "Don't Hate The Game", Anthology edited by Michael T. Owens
  44. "The Magic Bullet" by Andrew Neiderman
  45. "Secrets Unveiled" by Sheshena Pledger
  46. "Black Dogs" by Jason Buhrmester
  47. "East Garrison" by G.M. Weger
  48. "Lotto" by Joe McDonald
  49. "Fatal Waters" by Iris Moss
  50. "Louisa" by Richard Emmel


  1. "Cheaper" by Rick Doble and Tom Philbin
  2. "Down At The Docks" by Rory Nugent
  3. "Memories of Times Past" by Marta Hiatt
  4. "Satchel" by Larry Tye
  5. "The Pixar Touch" by David Price
  6. "The Sky Rained Heroes" by Frederick Lacroix
  7. "Promotion: Denied" by Joseph Hoffler
  8. "A Mighty Long Way" by Carlotta Walls Lanier
  9. "Young Professional's Guide To Success" by Ryan Kohnen
  10. "Hope, Change and Obama" by Norma Lavonne Smith
  11. "Step Out On Nothing" by Byron Pitts
  12. "Leaving Johnny Behind" by Anthony Pedriana
  13. "My Goodness: My Kids" by Nesta Aharoni
  14. "The Catch" by Gary Myers
  15. "Angels Among Us... Even In Iraq" Diane Hassan
  16. "Innocent War" by Susan Violante
  17. "Brothers Kept Apart" by Walter Phillips
  18. "Moonwalk" by Michael Jackson
  19. "Cancer Vixen" by Maria Acocella Marchetto
  20. "The Smartest Way To Save" by Samuel K. Freshman and Heidi Clingen
  21. "Parallel Play" by Tim Page
  22. "One and The Same" by Abigail Pogrebin
  23. "In My Heart" by Ursula Hanks
  24. "Lessons For The Living" by Stan Goldberg
  25. "The Anatomy Of Buzz Revisited" by Emanuel Rosen
  26. "Shattered Reality" by Kimberly Cheryl
  27. "Babe Ruth and The Baseball Curse" by David A. Kelly
  28. "The Weight Of Silence" by Shelley Seale
  29. "The First 30 Seconds" by Stephen Armstrong
  30. "The Happiness Factor" by Kirk Wilkinson
  31. "Trust God and Buy Broccoli" by Gerri Helms
  32. "The American Evolution" by Matt Harrison
  33. "Giants Among Men" by Jack Cavanaugh
  34. "Border Crosser" by Johnny Rico
  35. "Man-Up" by Ricky Spann
  36. "Living In The Rear View Mirror" by Kim Vazquez
  37. "Looking For Closure" by Maria Stewart
  38. "She and I" by Michael R. Brown
  39. "My Heart Has Wings" by Kris King
  40. "Step By Step" by Bertie Bowman
  41. "Miracle On The Hudson" by William Prochnau and Laura Parker
  42. "Perseverance" by Carolyn Robenstein
  43. "We Were Relentless" by Martin J. Levin
  44. "Bittersweet Journey" by Anthony Littlefield
  45. "Look Me In The Eye" by John Elder Robison
  46. "You Gotta Dance" by Bryant Daluz
  47. "Lucy's Story" by Larry Hamilton
  48. "Shh...Don't Tell" by M. A. Moorer
  49. "Hidden Butterflies" by Nikki Ransom
  50. "Red Grange" by Gary Andrew Poole

Missed our list from the past years? You will find them at

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Literary Community Unites To Promote A National Day of Reading In Each State


The Literary Community Unites To Promote A National Day of Reading In Each State

Contact: Cyrus A. Webb, Founder of The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign / 601.896.5616

Earlier this year, ABC News reported that over 30 million Americans ages 16 and up were unable to read or write well. This proves what many have said for some time: Illiteracy is an epidemic that is spreading daily, claiming victims of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.

Shadow Play Entertainment, Conversations Book Club, The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign and their literary partners are excited to announce a historic event geared towards sharing the gift of reading and books across the United States under a show of united support in each state. On Saturday, November 21, 2009 between the hours of 10-6p.m., The Write Stuff founder and host Cyrus A. Webb is working with others in scheduling Reading Parties (see ) throughout the country geared towards 1) speaking in one voice in support of encouraging reading, 2) supporting local authors and their books and 3) providing a positive outlet that is sometimes overlooked with all the chaos going on in the world around us.

Each Reading Party will be designed for that particular area by that particular area. Webb and his supporters will only act as a means to promote the event and help strategize where their is a need for assistance. During the time frame selected by each Reading Party, there will be booksignings, book discussions or whatever seems appropriate to that host. The events are part of the Art, Books & Beats movement ( which combines the power of visual/literary art, books and music. Those participating will be listed online at identified by their state along with what type of event they are hosting as well as the time of their event. All Reading Parties are free to the public.

If you are in a position to do so, The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign is asking that you bring a new or used book to the event you attend. Book donations will benefit CityKids Foundation, Common Ground Foundation, Everybody Wins, Reading Tree, Adele's Literacy Library and NEA's "Read Across America".

Have questions about this National Day of Reading? Are you an author, book lover, book club or entertainer that would like to coordinate an event in connection with our historic literary event? Contact Cyrus A. Webb at or 601.896.5616.

Friday, September 18, 2009

(Sun. Oct. 11th on Conversations LIVE! Radio): C-Murder: The Man, The Music, The Movement & The Mission


(NOTE: To listen to the show live online visit this link:
In August 2009 he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Before and after the verdict opinions and even jokes about the platinum-selling recording artist/bestselling author were found in conversations, on television, radio and all over the internet. You've heard the rumors and read the headlines, but who really is the man born Corey Miller but who came to fame as C-Murder? On Sunday, October 11, 2009 @ 6p.m. CST (7p.m. EST/4p.m. PT) we examine that question and more in this special 90-minute live presentation that you will find nowhere else...

C. A. Webb Presents... "C-Murder: The Man, The Music, The Movement & The Mission"

Hosted by Conversations LIVE! Radio host Cyrus A. Webb, the discussion will begin at 6p.m. CST (7p.m. EST/4p.m. PT) with an in-depth interview with Kernell Reynolds, VP of TRU Records. He will talk about the man he knows as Corey Miller, what music meant to him, how they dealt with the controversy around C-Murder and how TRU will continue on while their President is away. Reynolds will also discuss the things being said about Miller and talk about what he hopes people will take away from his career, his commitment to the people of New Orleans and young people in general as well as how he encourages Cee's fans to continue the work he has begun.

This discussion will be followed up at 6:30p.m. CST (7:30p.m. EST/4:30p.m. PT) when Webb will talk with authors Jermnine Demouchette (JAMES DEMOUCHETTE VS. THE STATE OF TEXAS and Mr. Mean Mug (TATTOO TEARS), both of whom were inspired by C-Murder's desire to overcome bad with good and became writers because of his example.

Lastly, Webb will discuss C-Murder's bestselling novel DEATH AROUND THE CORNER and address these issues which are discussed in the book:
* Why is hate something that has to be addressed early in life before it festers and grows in ones heart?
* What happens after you die? Do we all have guardian angels that want to help us do what is right?
* When it comes to hiphop, can it break down the racial barriers that exist?
* To what extent do you show loyalty to those who you feel as though have been with you through the good and the bad?
* When we hear someone has been arrested or charged with a crime, do we automatically assume their guilt?
* At what age should youth be educated about sex, pregnancy and how you get sexually transmitted diseases?
* When it comes to the truth, is everything always cut and dry--- black and white?
* The book has what is considered a "mercy killing" by some. How do you feel about it and can you understand the reasoning behind it?
* Is abortion ever a solution in a relationship between consentual adults? What if the two were using some form of protection and it failed?
* When it comes to people like Pam (one of Daquan's sexual partners), what does it show for the reason why some young ladies are quick to have sex with the "bad boy" or "rough neck" on the block?

Webb will be taking YOUR CALLS AS WELL, so this is one show you don't want to miss! Save the date: Sunday, October 11, 2009. To listen to the show live online visit this link: . For more information, contact Cyrus A. Webb at or 601.896.5616.

10/07---"Mississippi should be honored": C-Murder Visit to Mississippi in Oct. 2007
“The TRU Story of How Conversations Partnered with Platinum-selling Recording Artist /Bestselling author C-Murder” by Herschel Dixon with Stanley Clark of For The People Productions
"Book Club President Vows To Continue The Dialogue Started by Platinum-Selling Recording Artist/Bestselling Author C-Murder"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New league of comic book superheroes bring message of hope and change to the world

New league of comic book superheroes bring message of hope and change to the world
By Cyrus A. Webb

At a time when the world is dealing with a recession, high umemployment, problems with illiteracy, teen pregnancies and other day-to-day situations, a new comic book series brings not only entertainment but a powerful message for those young and old.

The Legend of LIONMAN and the SEVEN KURODOS is the first culturally diverse league of Superheros with education as a focus. The series was created to inspire, delight, uplift and educate millions of children and adults all over the world. LIONMAN and his culturally diverse team of young superheroes perform heroic and moral deeds, both real and fictional, to help create a better world.

"We all need a Superhero to help us stand strong and make good choices," says LIONMAN founder, Grand Master Eric O'Neal, Sr. "This series of stories will help students strengthen their self-esteem and make appropriate choices in life."

Grand Master Eric O' Neal, Sr. has been an integral presence in martial arts for over 30 years and has been working with the youth of New Orleans for over 20 of those 30 years as a Grand Master of Karate. Raised in the Desire housing project and introduced to martial arts at a young age, Master O' Neal grew up admiring Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris for their outstanding contributions to the world and aspired to be amongst their ranks. At the age of eleven, he won his first karate tournament in Lake Charles, Louisiana and went on to win the All South National Karate Championship for three years straight. And this was only the beginning. Soon after, Master O' Neal embarked upon his travels throughout the country, competing and winning hundreds of coveted titles.

When Lionman was officially introduced early in 2009, it was with the message that change was not only possible. It was here. O'Neal has been taken advantage of every opportunity to share the hope that Lionman brings, going to colleges and universities as well as sharing his students and teachings at powerful venues such as the Essence Music Festival. Whether it is speaking to a small group of hungry individuals in the inner city or traveling to California to be a keynote speaker at the Masters' Karate Hall of Fame, there is no place the mission of Lionman will not reach.

O'Neal has already implemented the skills taught by the superheroes in his programs in New Orleans, LA, but that is only the beginning. He is taking the project nationwide and beyond. He explains: "In the near future LIONMAN and the SEVEN KURODOS will provide an online tutorial program (located through where students can receive help via the website in various school subjects from pre-k through 12th grade. Students can receive wise counsel and support with problems that arise in school, at play, at home or within themselves to guide them in making good, appropriate choices. In addition, we have created positive songs that instruct kids in their decision making process."

The ancient legend of LIONMAN is a timeless saga that teaches lifelong lessons, amidst the drama and turmoil of the 21st century. Join us as we join forces to help our children begin to say, "Yes I Can!"

Grandmaster Eric O'Neal joins Shadow Play Entertainment and its family of authors encluding Tray Chaney (The Truth You Can't Betray), Jacki-O (Grown & Gangsta), Jermnine Demouchette (James Demouchette VS. The State of Texas), Mr. Mean Mug (Tattoo Tears) and Sherry Hill (The Marquise Hill Story) in promoting literacy worldwide.

To find more more information about The Legend of Lionman, visit To see how you can bring Grandmaster Eric O'Neal and the program to your area or have him speak at an upcoming event, contact Cyrus A. Webb at or 601.896.5616.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jermnine Demouchette: Using Family History of Crime and Tragedy to Offer Hope and Advice

Jermnine Demouchette: Using Family History of Crime and Tragedy to Offer Hope and Advice by Cyrus A. Webb

(NOTE: Jermnine Demouchette appeared as a guest on Conversations LIVE! Radio on Wednesday, September 16, 2009. You can hear the exclusive interview here: .)
Jermnine Demouchette is a man who understands what it means to appreciate every day of his life. The 34 year old Houston, Texas resident spends much of his time today with his family and marketing his book JAMES DEMOUCHETTE VS. THE STATE OF TEXAS. Though he appreciates each day and looks forward to a promising future, he understands that this is a luxury that many in his family have not had the privilege to do.

His book is a perfect example of that. It chronicles the life of his brother, James Demouchette, and the life that he lived which resulted in his being convicted of murder and executed in 1992.

“I grew up in Houston, TX,” Jermnine says, “but there wasn’t a lot of violence around me at that time.” Being the baby of 14 children, though, he saw several members of his family fall victim to crime throughout his life. “I know my daddy used to drink, and when he did he could be abusive to the kids,” says Demouchette. “He also used to lash out at animals and abuse them as well. My oldest brother was a pimp years ago. He is now a family man who has learned from the mistakes and decisions of his past. Another brother was convicted of bank robbery in 1982. He is scheduled to be released in Oct. 2009. My oldest sister’s son (my nephew) has been sentenced to 50 years in jail for murder, and I have another brother that has a life sentence, too.”

Jermnine’s father passed away in 1983. His momma remarried in 1985.

When it comes to his brother James Demouchette, Jermnine seems at a loss as to how to explain the man he became. “I’m not sure why James turned out the way he did,” he says. “I do know that he got his first gun when he was seven years old, and it seemed as though he always had one after that. James’ life was a revolving door in and out of prison. Before the murders in 1976 that eventually were the cause of his being executed, he had gone to jail in 1970 for burglary and was out on parole in 1974.”

Unlike the reform that it offers many, James’ crime spree continued even behind bars. He was cited many times for fights and even committed rapes and murders while in prison. Taking on the name Doom, the young man was described in turn by prison officials as the meanest man on death row.

Jermnine said that in conversations with her son his Momma found out more about how James felt about his life while locked up. “When he returned to prison and was sentenced to die,” he says, “James told Ma that he had been raped. Explaining why he was abusing other inmates he told her ‘It’s either going to be them or me.’ Later he would say that the things he was doing was ‘not something I wanted to do but had to do.’” Jermnine pauses and then adds: “He also told ma that he felt as though he was Satan’s child.” She last saw her son James in 1988.

James Demouchette was executed on September 23, 1992 after the United States Supreme Court twice declined to intervene. The 37-year-old inmate had no final statement, but his lawyers had argued that psychological tests describing him as a sociopath should have been introduced at his trial.

His life of crime included stabbing a fellow prisoner to death and wounding three guards during his 15 years on death row. The loss of Jermnine's brother was compounded by the death of his mother just three weeks later after a long fight with cancer.

To date 20,000 copies of JAMES DEMOUCHETTE VS. THE STATE OF TEXAS have been sold online, in select bookstores and through person-to-person marketing. It is getting the attention of people in the streets, those in the public eye like international rapper Slim Thug (seen here) as well as individuals all over the country.
Why did Jermnine decide to write the book and release it now? “I was inspired by C-Murder’s book DEATH AROUND THE CORNER when it came out in 2006,” he says. “Cee wrote about things I could relate to, and I knew that if he could use his experiences to write something that powerful then so could I. In 2007 I got over 700 Disciplinary Records about my brother from the Attorney General, and after reading through them I knew that this was something I had to share with the world. I wanted them to see exactly how things can happen.”

In sharing the rocky background of his family, Jermnine Demouchette is not afraid to share details about his own life in the process. “I’m not perfect. Though I never killed anyone, I got into trouble and was locked up in 2005 for theft and credit card abuse and served nine months. That taught me a lot. I didn’t want to turn out like my brother. I don’t care how hard you are, how gangsta you are or how much of a man you think you are, jail is a place that no one wants to be. I am hoping to use my story to help influence kids in a positive way. A life of crime is not fun and games. That is not a life that anyone should want, or that I would want for anyone.”

To find out more about Jermnine Demouchette visit To schedule the authors for interviews or events, contact Cyrus A. Webb either at or 601.896.5616.

Friday, September 11, 2009

C. A. Webb Presents... "Separate But Equal: African American Authors in Today's Bookstores, Part 2"

Join Cyrus A. Webb of Conversations Book Club and Conversations LIVE! Radio for Part 2* of his discussion "Separate But Equal: African American Authors in Today's Bookstores". Joining Webb will be authors Evie Rhodes, Carleen Brice, Joey Pinkney, Tony Lindsay and Roy Glenn.

The discussion will take place live on Sunday, September 13, 2009 @ 6p.m CST (7p.m. EST/4p.m. PT) for the hour and will include your thoughts through the phone line and chatroom. Among the issues talked about will be the following:

1)How do you think a segregated section has affected your sales and audience personally?
2)How is any form of segregation accepted today as a "good thing"?
3)For readers who say it provides convenience, is it really just a sign of laziness that is negatively affecting book sales?
4)What role does the publisher play in making the playing field in bookstores more level?
5)How far are you willing to go to reach out to a wider audience of readers?

To listen to the show live and let your voice be heard, simply tune in to Conversations LIVE! Radio at this link: Want to email questions or comments for the panel? Send them to Cyrus A. Webb at or leave them on his voicemail service at 601.896.5616.

*If you missed part two of this important topic with authors Gloria Mallette, Bernice McFadden and Margaret Johnson Hodge, visit this link: . Previous episodes of Conversations LIVE! Radio can be found here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Conversation With Terry E. Hill, author of INSIDE THE FALL

He has been called my some the next E. Lynn Harris, but the path for Terry E. Hill to superstar status as an author has been slow in coming. The power he has for the craft, however, could not be stronger. His debut novel INSIDE THE FALL has been repackaged, and now may be just the thing he needed to blaze his own trail on the bestseller's list.

There's really not much to tell. I, by design, live a very simple and uncomplicated life. I'm 46 years old and a native of Southern California. For the last 10 years I've lived in Oakland California. I am recently separated from my partner of 15 years who is still my best friend. We co-parent our two dogs Parker and AJ. I have worked in the social services industry for over 15 years as a director of homeless programs and as an advisor to the Mayor of San Francisco on homelessness and poverty issues. I attend the theater as much as possible. The last play I saw was Gem of the Ocean. Loved it but fell asleep and missed half of the second act. I'll watch any Woody Allen until the grooves rub off the DVD and, I might be the only person in the country who loved Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2.

THE BOOK WE ARE FOCUSING ON IN THIS INTERVIEW IS ACTUALLY YOUR FIRST NOVEL. WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU WERE EVEN INTERESTED IN WRITING? AND TAKING THAT INTEREST INTO ACTUALLY WRITING A NOVEL? HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? I discovered writing relatively late in my life. I wrote Inside The Fall when I turned 40. One Sunday morning my partner and I were in Church waiting for the service to start. While waiting I mentioned something that happened at work. He thought it was interesting and suggested that I write it down. The following Monday morning I naively sat down at the computer and began to write what I thought would be a short story. Three months later I had the first draft of Inside The Fall.

Never. As you said, it is a work of fiction. Even though I had access to situations that gave me the opportunity to observe politicians in action, none of that ended up in the book. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have a pretty vivid imagination. Once I had formed the personality of a character in my mind, they took on a life of their own. The characters become independent of my experience which allowed me to passively observe how they behaved in a given situation. For example, Elijah Farrow, the Mayor of San Francisco, is the most dominant character in the book. His personality is a composite of powerful men I've known, including my father. I had a clear picture of who Elijah was before I wrote the first word. His personality dictated his behavior. I became a voyeur. Some of the things Elijah did even shocked me.

Let's start with my Mother. I didn't tell her about the book until it was actually published. I sent her a copy and the first question she asked was "Is this book about you?" To her relief I said no. While writing the manuscript I had two friends read it as I progressed. My hidden motive in having them read it was to get them to say "Poor delusional Terry. Why are you wasting you time on this?" so I could pack up my lap top and get on with my life. Neither of them said it though. Instead they pushed me to write more. So I was stuck. Chained to the computer by their seemingly insatiable need to find out how the story would end.

Writing the book was the easy part. It took me a year to find an agent and another six months for her to find a publisher. Then there was another six month wait for the book to come out. Since then I've had two great publicist who got exposure for the book.

I HAVE TO TELL YOU, TERRY, THAT I TRY TO DO AS MUCH RESEARCH AS I CAN ABOUT THE PEOPLE I INTERVIEW BEFORE I TALK TO THEM SO I HAVE A MORE COMPLETE PICTURE OF THEM. IN YOUR CASE IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO STAY UNDER THE RADAR, SO TO SPEAK. WAS THAT SOMETHING CALCULATED THAT THERE HAS NOT BEEN MUCH WRITTEN ABOUT YOU? Calculated? I've done everything short of standing naked in front of the White House with a lit sparkler sticking out of every hole in my body to get on the radar. It seems you have to be very rich or very famous to become very rich and very famous. I've had luck with local publication and television interviews that have helped get the word out. Word of mouth has been great. I've probably sold more books just from readers recommending it to friends.

Not completely. Camille, the mayor's wife, evolved with the story. You know when you first meet her that she is capable of stooping pretty low to get what she wants. But as the story progresses you begin to wonder if she even has a soul. She's not someone you'd want to run into in a dark alley. She was a fun surprise for me. You either love her or hate her. There's no in-between.

Without question, my favorite character is Camille Farrow. She's manipulative, power-hungry and conniving but there are hints throughout the book that she has another side; a side that cares deeply about the plight of disenfranchised people; a side that loves her man even though she outed him and inadvertently contributed to his suicide. She's also vulnerable, lonely and afraid. One has to admire, and in this case, fear a woman who believes so passionately in her goals that she is willing to go to such great lengths to achieve them. I believe she strikes a chord with the book's readers. They feel it socially correct to hate her but I suspect most secretly relate to and are intrigued by her.

I think the only way the situation would have been handled differently by staff is if they had found out before the media. The mayor could have been a serial killer who specialized in nuns, but if the media didn't know about it the staff would have simply scheduled his appointments around his killing sprees.

People are complex and Dorian, like all characters in the book has a flaw or flaws. The good in Dorian definitely outweighs the bad. Even though he is a willing participant you can't help but feel a little sorry for him.

I made every attempt to construct each character as a multifaceted, multi-dimensional entity. No one is all good or all bad in real like and I tried to do the same in the book. Loyalty and ambition on the surface appear paradoxical. But as you have observed they can, and often times do, exist in the same person. What we see in the book is the internal struggle between these two very powerful forces.

In my opinion everyone in the book, is to some extent, a victim and victimizer.

I FINISHED THE BOOK, TERRY, WITH THE THOUGHT THAT THEIR WERE REALLY SEVERAL "FALLS". WOULD YOU AGREE? You are correct. No one emerges unscathed. For me, "Inside The Fall" is about the demystification of high profile, very powerful American icons. Like many people, I am attracted to men and women who have the ability to accumulate power. It is an admirable skill to be able to convince the masses that you possess some special ability, insight, or absolute sense of what is right simply through the artful manipulation of words and force of your personality. "Inside the Fall" is my attempt to transform two bigger-than-life characters into multi-faceted, complex and vulnerable human beings who, behind closed doors, hurt, cry, hate, make mistakes, fall in love, and fail just like everyone else.

It felt great when I saw the cover for the first time. I am a big fan of E. Lynn Harris's work. The best comment a reviewer made was that she skipped a concert because she didn't want to stop reading it. The worst thing said was that it was "clunky". I'm not sure what that means but I don't like the sound of anything "clunky". Considering the source it might have been a compliment.

I'm glad you found it to be an entertaining. And yes I did try to make a social statement; but, I would never see myself as a trend setter.

I don't like to read any writer whose sole mission is to remind me of all that is negative in the world. I'd don't need to read about it because I see in everyday. I also have grown weary of books that chronicle how tough it is to be anything that I am. Black, Baptist, gay, etc. Trust me I already know about it. I leave those type books to those folks who are White, straight and atheists and in need of enlightenment. I'm a big mystery fan. Chester Himes, P.D. James, Louis Edwards, Agatha Christie, and Eleanor Taylor Bland are some of my favorites.

Inside The Fall is the first book in a series of three about powerful African American men and the troubles they face in relationships. I've just finished the first draft of my next book Come Sunday Morning. It is the story of a wealthy and charismatic Pastor in Los Angeles whose wife has him assassinated so she can take over his church and television ministry.

I didn't plan to write a sequel but at every book signing, someone wants to know what will be Camille's fate. Will she be the first female African American mayor of San Francisco? Will she suffer the tragic end they feel she deserves? Will she have an affair with Sandra? So there will be a sequel to Inside The Fall but it won't be released until the trilogy is complete.

First I would say to write about what you know. If you knit write about knitting. If you live in Dowagiac Michigan, then place your story in Dowagiac Michigan. If you've lost a spouse then write about the pain of losing a spouse. Also, don't delude yourself into thinking that because you have a good idea or story line that a publisher will overlook poor writing, because they won't. If you can't structure a sentence and clearly convey and idea you should take a course. And finally, edit your work as many times as possible. Then have someone else edit it again before you submit it to publishing houses and agents.

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR TIME. HOW CAN OUR READERS FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BOOK INSIDE THE FALL?The book can be found at Barnes and Nobles. If it's not on the shelf just ask for it. It can also be purchased on

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cyrus Webb welcomes his new client author Jermnine Demouchette

In September 1992 a violent inmate named James Demouchette was executed in Texas for the shooting death of an assistant manager and another man at a Houston pizza restaurant on Oct. 17, 1976. Now in 2009, his youngest brother, Jermnine Demouchette, has released a book that not only chronicles his brother's life but offers hope for young people that might be prone to follow in his violent footsteps. James Demouchette vs. the State of Texas is a revealing look into the mind of a violent man whose reputation in and out of prison earned him the moniker of being "Texas' meanest death row inmate." Cyrus Webb is pleased to announce that he has come on board with Demouchette as the Lead Publicist on his marketing team.

"There is no question that James was an evil man," says Jermnine. "The account I give in the book attempts to take the reader into the mind of this sociopath, recounting key events in his violent history. There is also a comprehensive section of documents that shed light on his existence in prison."

In addition to the 1976 murders, James Demouchette was also convicted of fatally stabbing a fellow death row inmate in 1983 and was sentenced to 15 years. He also beat and raped another inmate, stabbed at least two others, twice set fire to his cell and stabbed two guards searching his cell, prison records show.

(International Recording Artist Slim Thug seen above with the powerful biography James Demouchette vs. the State of Texas .)

Why did Jermnine write this book and release it now? He answers this way: "I'm not glorifying the horrible things that my brother did or the life that he led. The book will show young kids this is not the way you want your life to be, using drugs and hurting people.You will end up in jail are on death row like my brother for the rest of your life. I hope that they will learn from my family's experience, take control of their lives and be productive young men and women."

Since its release, the book has already begun to spark discussion with over 20,000 copies sold to date through word of mouth and online. To find out more about Jermnine Demouchette, visit

The book can be purchased on Amazon at this link: or ordered at your local bookstore.

To schedule an interview, speaking engagement or booksigning with Jermnine Demouchette, contact Cyrus A. Webb at or 601.896.5616.

Monday, August 17, 2009

COMMENTARY: "Entrepreneurs Beware: The Crabs Are Coming!" by Cyrus A. Webb

"Entrepreneurs Beware: The Crabs Are Coming!" by Cyrus A. Webb*

Creative people have so many hurdles to overcome as they strive for success. Not only do they have to convince themselves that their idea and/or plan is worth pursuing, but they also have to deal with the negativity of those on the outside. Let’s face facts: When it comes to the unknown, the only known fact is that nothing is guaranteed. What might appear to be the next big thing today may end up forgotten tomorrow. Again, uncertainty is the only constant.

But let’s say that you have been blessed by the odds and come up with something truly remarkable. You have faith in it and know without a doubt that if it is given a chance, then success is inevitable.

If you reach your goals and see the fruit of your labor, for many the first thing you want to do is share with those who have been supporters along your journey. This could include close friends, relatives or even those who have been role models for you. Is there anything wrong with wanting to share the wealth? Not at all. However there may be dangers lurking around you that have to be identified and addressed.

I call them crabs.

The crab mentality is nothing new. It’s been around since the serpent’s conversation with Eve in the garden of Eden and has only worsened as time has gone by. What is this condition? Let’s first talk about the crab.

Most crabs, no matter where they are found in the world, are made the same way. They have a hard shell, four pairs of legs and a pair of pincers (or grasping claws). It is possible for them to exist together as equals for the most part, but don’t forget that they are hunters. There is not a day that goes by that they are not looking of r new ground to claim or food. It is at this time that their instinctive jealousy kicks in.

Crabs can become so envious of each other that they will do their best to hinder another that seems to be making strides ahead of them. It is impossible for them to know if those ahead will save some of the bounty for them. They can only look at the present, and if there appeared to be competition they just knew they had to stop it, or at least slow it down.

By this time you can probably see where this illustrates what happens in the world of entrepreneurs and other creative individuals. We are fortunate enough to have the ability to reason out situations, unlike crabs. The unfortunate fact is that at times the selfish, animalistic quality they display creeps into out own behavior.

You may have even experienced it yourself. Someone you were close to as you rose to the top of your profession or goal may have begun to “pull” at you. It could be that they tell others your success is changing you, claiming you have become arrogant and difficult to be around. Others may claim it was indeed their hard work and ideas that you took credit for that propelled you above them. Regardless what’s said, the remarks can be hurtful and potentially dangerous to your reputation or brand.

The first thing you have to do to shake off the effect of the crabs is to make sure it’s obvious that what is being said isn’t true. We have many textbook cases of the right and wrong ways to handle this situation.

Look at the well publicized rise,fall and return of M. C. Hammer. There were those around him that believed in his talent as he progressed, yet there were those who were talented that didn’t share that belief. When he reached a level of fame, however, he did his best to bring as many of them along as he could—even to his own detriment. Did they appreciate his generosity? Some did, but the events that followed showed that not all did. When the star that was M.C. Hammer began to fade, then the murmuring began. As he was forced to cut back on his mammoth entourage, it became clear who had Hammer’s best interest at heart.

Another example is that of the R&B greatness that is Destiny’s Child. As a foursome, they broke into the industry as a wildfire, but as two of their original members were gone and replaced and then changes made again, the clawing began. You remember the rumors. They had been propelled into the stratosphere of fame, and it was an opportunity to attack them when trouble was apparent. The sobering thing is that the changes they were making didn’t require our permission and weren’t really our business. The only thing that should concern us is the music—and it has only gotten better over the years.

At times it seems that the public exalts individuals in various fields just to aid their fall from grace—or at least gloat about it. Then you have some underdogs that we rally around, wanting them to beat the odds.

Since we have explored the music industry thus far in this discussion, let’s continue it. Christina Aguilera was discovered to be talented at an early age to the surprise of some and the disappointment of others. Her mother and she have shared accounts of talent shows Christina would enter where she would either win or have girls back out of because of her. It became so vicious that girls would corner her at school and even threaten to slash her mother’s tires.

They finally had to leave town because of the abuse. Hard to believe, isn’t it? It should be. Once her album was released while she was still in high school, friends told an interviewer that at the senior prom that Christina attended they played her first single “Genie in a Bottle” and everyone left the dance floor.

Martha Stewart made her millions by believing she had a knack for turning everyday activities into a “good thing”. Whether it was cooking, decorating or outdoor projects, Martha seemed to offer unique techniques that were always fascinating to watch even if you had no intentions of doing them yourself. She was reviled in the press and lampooned regularly, but her empire was only expanding. Even she made fun of the image of her that was portrayed.

Donald Trump has been a man surround by intrigue and scandal for many years, due to his business dealings and personal decisions. Not even a painful and public divorce or bankruptcy could stop him from becoming one of the most powerful men in business. And who could ever forget The Apprentice?

All of the people I’ve mentioned were plagued with crabs, but they were able to overcome the pulls at their brand and keep going. You can do the same thing, it just takes the correct mindset. I don’t want you to take from this that adversity is completely bad. We all need to be refined, tested. The challenge will be how you come through it—if you make it through.

Hammer. Christina. Martha. Destiny’s Child. Trump. Each emerged bigger and better. How did they do it?

1) NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. I must admit to you that this is an everyday struggle for me. I have admitted before that I am a control freak. It’s hard for me to let others do something that I feel like I can do better, especially when it’s going to affect my brand. The problem is that this mentality only attracts the crabs. There comes a time when you have to be able to let go a bit and trust.

All five of the examples I cited have trusted individuals around them that have been with them for years. How this differs from what Hammer did is that they realized that not every person has their best interest at heart. May seem like a complicated distinction, but it’s really not. It is one thing to have people that supported you before the success hit and want to continue the alliance. It is another thing altogether to have people who weren’t part of your support system around you and you feel obligated to work with them. Any obligation should be mutual. They should want to see you excel, and you should want them to advance right along with you.

Trusting is always a gamble, but it is a must in a successful business. Will you make the wrong choices at times? Definitely. But learn from them.

2) DON’T LET THE INJURY PROVE TO BE FATAL. This is an obvious transition from the first point. Whether it’s because of a choice you made or because of outside forces, you will occasionally be pinched. When this happens you will be forced to make a decision. You can either get your bearings back and continue forward, or allow it to cause you to regress, becoming the target of other crabs until you’re either at the bottom or destroyed.

May seem like an easy choice but unfortunately it’s not as easy as it seems.

No setback is pleasant, but when it comes from an unlikely source it can be devastating. I’ve learned from personal experience that you have to accept it and quickly continue on your course. Dwelling on it will only make you vulnerable. And crabs will only sense the weakness and attempt to capitalize on it. Never admit defeat.

No matter what your brand may consist of, just know that it can survive the tests. In the end, regardless of what may come your way, know that success or failure will ultimately belong to you.

If that doesn’t empower you then nothing will.

* Cyrus A. Webb is the President of Shadow Play Entertainment, Conversations Book Club, host of Conversations LIVE! Radio and the upcoming literary reality show The Write Stuff. He can be reached at

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Club President Vows To Continue The Dialogue Started by Platinum-Selling Recording Artist/Bestselling Author C-Murder

Book Club President Vows To Continue The Dialogue Started by Platinum-Selling Recording Artist/Bestselling Author C-Murder

On Friday, August 14, 2009 Platinum-selling recording artist/bestselling author Corey "C-Murder" Miller was sentenced to life without parole after being found guilty of murder earlier in the week. This is the second time that Miller, who maintains his innocence, has been found convicted of this crime; however, over the past few years he has begun a dialogue through his work that is not going to be stopped. Part of the movement to keep Miller's positive influence on the world alive will be led by Cyrus A. Webb, President of Shadow Play Entertainment/Conversations Book Club and the host of Conversations LIVE! Radio.

"Cee has managed to do something that few in Hip Hop have accomplished," says Webb,34. "He made it cool to read and to believe that no matter what you have done in your life, it's never too late for you to make a difference."

Webb first began corresponding with Miller in late 2006 after the release of his book DEATH AROUND THE CORNER. (Read the full story of how the two of them have worked together to push a literary revolution over the past three years here.

Though from two seemingly different worlds, both Miller and Webb found common ground in the story that was told in DEATH. "I was so impressed by how he shared parts of his life and the lessons he had learned in the book while also writing a book that people of all walks of life could appreciate," says Webb. DEATH (publshed as the first book on Vibe's Street Lit line and distributed by Kensington Publishing) sold tens of thousands of copy through C-Murder's Myspace page alone.

After holding one booksigning in New Orleans, Miller began working with Webb in 2007 in doing book discussions interviews about the book in order to get the world out. The two eventually got permission to tour with the book, selling hundreds of copies and getting others involved in the storyline and the messages that the novel brought to the light.

When asked about his support of Miller in spite of the controversy and legal woes surrounding him, Webb had this to say: "One of the things I have learned from Cee is that he has no problem taking responsibility for what he has done wrong in his life. He has never made excuses, and tries to use his skills as an artist and author to show a better way than what he chose at times. If he says he is not guilty of something he is accused of, I have no reason to doubt him."

To make sure that the work that Miller did is not forgotten or stopped, Webb is reaching out to his family as well as other authors and community leaders in New Orleans and to see how his organization (Shadow Play Entertainment) can continue to keep the light on issues that mattered to him. At the top of Webb's list are projects geared at promoting literacy and addressing violence.

"In April 2009 Cee held a press conference addressing the issue of senseless violence," says Webb. "In a statement read at the event, he said 'I stand before you today a new man that's ready, willing, able to do everything in my power to bring an end to these senseless murders. Get it right, this movement is not about Corey Miller, or anything other person. It's about our kids, our future, and our safety.' That is why I feel like it would be a great disservice to New Orleans and the world to let this go undone."

Another way Webb will be keeping Miller going and relevant is by allowing him to speak in his own voice to the world. Webb was able to be a part of exclusive discussions and interviews with the recording artist/author that he has been making available over the past year. "Because of a gag order, Cee wasn't able to speak much to the public, but in the videos and radio interviews we are sharing, you get to hear him talk about himself, his work and his convictions.

Miller was chosen as Conversations Book Club's Most Fascinating Author of 2008. Here is a radio interview done to mark the event. (Platinum-selling recording artist C-Murder speaks on literacy, his name, more here: )

When Conversations began its book club chapter in New Orleans (in 2008), C-Murder was the first author discussed. Below are never-before-seen videos of that book club discussion where over 40 men and women came together for the meeting.

What does Webb hope all of this accomplishes? "I just want people to know the man that I got to know through these events and discussions," he says. "I know that sometimes the story told in the media might be exciting and intriguing, but it is not always the whole story. We have to be open to all sides, or we'll never be able to make an informed decision about anything. If I've learned nothing else from my time with C-Murder, that would be the biggest lesson."

For more information about Webb and his upcoming projects, email him at or visit To see how he continues to promote the causes involving C-Murder, bookmark