Monday, January 24, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: "Come Sunday Morning" by Terry E. Hill

by Cyrus Webb for Conversations Book Club/

After an almost eight year hiatus, author Terry E. Hill returns to the literary scene with what is a complete literary treat: Come Sunday Morning. While his first novel (Inside The Fall) took us into the complicated and sometimes corrupted world of politics, Hill's sophomore offering leads us right into the church and the double life of celebrated Pastor Hezekiah T. Cleaveland. He seems to have it all: a massive and adoring congregation as well as a equally compelling wife and beautiful daughter, but as in so many cases in life, nothing is ever as it appears to be.

Though the back cover explains a great deal of what the book is about, Hill once again gives us a backstory and character development that makes him such a gifted storyteller. You see, not only is Pastor Cleaveland being unfaithful to the vows he made to his wife and the church, he is being just as unfaithful to himself. In his quest to have everything that he wants, he loses himself and becomes a mirror that reflects the hopes and aspirations of others.

Ironically,though, it is during his unfaithfulness that the Pastor is able to finally admit the truth. "I've never loved anyone, or even myself, as much as I love you," he says to his lover. "No one has ever forced me to look beyond myself and my own needs or my own ego...You've made me realize I've never really cared for anyone and didn't think I had the capacity to. My world has always been about me, and what I desired more than life itself. I wanted power and all that came with it---fame, wealth, and respect. Well, I've done it. I have it all, and when I got it, I began to hate myself more than I had ever hated my worst enemy. All I could see staring back at me in the mirror was a hollow, lonely man who had traded his soul just to be recognized when he walked down the street..."

What a remarkable confession, and it is one that no matter what your profession many can relate to. How many of us have given up what we really want just to go after what we feel like will make us look the best to the world. Pastor Cleaveland showcases that not only do we have the potential to destroy ourselves but those that we have involved in our facade of a life---sometimes with irreversible consequences. It is also important to realize that with much of life, what's done in the dark will ultimately come to the light.

Come Sunday Morning is just the kind of book we needed to start off the year, not just because it is an entertaining read, but as any literary work worth its salt, it sparks a much-needed discussion. Kudos to Terry E. Hill for once again showcasing that some things get better with age. This is a book that will be talked about for some time to come.

To find out more about the author, visit

* Read Webb's first interview with Terry E. Hill here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Alean McIntyre Adams: Traveling Through Pisgah and Beyond

by Cyrus Webb for Conversations Book Club/Conversations Magazine

At the age of 75, Mississippi author Alean McIntyre Adams has seen more than her fair share of change in Mississippi and around the world. In her new book WAY BEYOND PISGAH, she takes readers into the journey that has been her life and allows us to see how the events she has lived through have shaped the woman she has become.

While talking with Adams, it is impossible to deny her excitement for life. She explained to me that she was always a person who questioned things instead of just accepting whatever she was told. "I knew there had to be a better way of life," she says. "God wouldn't want it to be that way."

"That way" growing up was in a segregated world in Mississippi. She saw alot of prejudice, but thanks to strong people like her mother around her, the young girl knew that better days were possible. "My mother told me that we could do anything," she reflects, and that was something that she never forget.

Throughout her childhood and into her adulthood, Alean Adams fought against the challenges she was faced with and realized what was possible with hard work and dedication. To her, though, she was just doing what she knew was right. "I was doing what I did for my family and to make the world a better place," she told me. She hopes her book will allow younger generations to see that progress that has been made, what it took to bring about change and realize their role in keeping it going.

An important chapter in Adams' life was her work in the Civil Rights movement. The reader gets a chance to see why some felt the need to speak up and out about the injustice they saw, and the results of such action. You are also able to see how fear of the unknown kept others from moving forward. In the end, though, it is a culmination of all of the events of her life that makes Alean who she is.

And the meaning of the book title? In the book the author tells of an experience when she was visiting a doctor and he commented on her use of correct English. In the exchange with her he made the statement that she probably hadn't been away from Pisgah. Today the author has been far from Pisgah, traveling around the world, and that is what is possible for others to attain as well.

Adams doesn't allow others to dictate the course of her life. She realizes that she has the power to bring about the life she wants. What better message than that to share with others!

For more information about Alean McIntyre Adams and her book, contact her at 601.829.2702.

In Mississippi the book can be found at Milestone Christian Bookstore in Pearl, MS and available to everyone by mail order.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Recording artist Thoroughbred: Using Music To Drive Into Her Destiny

by Cyrus Webb

Her lyrical journey began in 2001 with poetry and storytelling. Now recording artist Toya Stevenson known musically as Thoroughbred is determined to make her mark as a serious artist making serious moves.

Talking with her you get a feel of not just her confidence but her determination,too. Thoroughbred says her love of music began at the age of two. "Music was something that soothes me then and still does today," she says. "It is one thing that has never let me down."

What started as an outlet for her personal feelings took on a larger meaning when she saw the way her words and music affected other people. "So many people who I thought were perfect were just like me," she says. "That is when I knew I was making a difference. I was able to see that through music I could help other people realize that they weren't alone. There are literally people all around the world that share the same problems and feelings."

At a time when the music industry is hearing the likes of Nikki Minaj, Trina, Angie Stone and more, Thoroughbred feels that such a strong female influence is a positive, not a negative. "When you have so many influences, it's easier to be yourself," she says. "Each person in the game right now is a little different, but they each play a different part in my life. I am able to stay different just by being honest and expressing myself. I'm willing to put myself out there. The women artists that came out before me have actually made it easier. They have broken down some doors that we up-and-coming artists couldn't have done. That's why I feel we owe them so much gratitude."

Over the years, Thoroughbred has not just shared her love of music and her voice with the world. She has given her heart as well. In September 2007 she founded a biker group called Biker Buddies Motorcyle Club which now has 12 members. "We're really more than just female bikers," says Thoroughbred. "I feel that we should be called an empowerment group, because we all feed into each other. Six of the women are entreprenuers, two are educators and two provide health care services. All collectively make up one powerful spirit."

Thoroughbred believes there is a larger message that the group provides. "We help each other," she says. "If women come together we can do anything. With enough women, we can get things done. This goes beyond the biking. It's about what each person brings to the table, not just for ourselves but the next generations to come."

Of all the endeavors she is involved in, what is one of Thoroughbred's goals for 2011? "I want at least 5 million people to hear one of my songs," she says. That's my goal. Regardless of what else comes my way though, I am living out my dream. It doesn't matter how big or small it may look to others. I think it is all about being happy doing what you are doing, and I am happy."

Singles to look out for are "I Got This" which is about overcoming obstacles in your life and "I Miss You."

To find out more about Thoroughbred, visit She can also be reached by email at For information on bookings or appearances, contact Stanley Clark at 1.773.315.9286 or call 601.497.1985.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Young Money's Lil' Chuckee Visit Mississippi To Promote Reading

(Wednesday, January 12, 2011) Kernell Reynolds of TRU Records and Lil' Chuckee of Cash Money's Young Money have teamed up with Shadow Play Entertainment's literacy campaign Hip Hop and Books ( to encourage the importance of reading. As part of the partnership, both Reynolds and Lil' Chuckee will be visiting Mississippi Feb. 23-25, 2011 to promote the importance of reading among public school students and even on college campuses.

"It's great to have public figures like these two sharing the importance of reading," says Cyrus Webb, Founder of the Hip Hop and Books coalition. Webb,a Mississippi native has hosted several other events with the literacy campaign including with Platinum-selling recording artist/bestselling author Corey "C-Murder" Miller. "I think Kernell and Lil' Chuckee's willingness to come to our state and show that it is cool to read no matter what profession you choose is important."
Reynolds, who has been a part of the Hip Hop and Books coalition since 2007, agrees with Webb. "It's a known fact that young people look up to those in the entertainment community, especially those in music," he says. "Lil' Chuckee and I realize the influence we have, and we want to make sure we are using our celebrity for good."

For interviews and more details about the trip, contact Cyrus Webb at or 601.896.5616. Organizations and businesses looking to partner with TRU Records and Lil' Chuckee in the Mississippi trip in sponsorship opportunities can contact Kernell Reynolds at or 504.915.8581. Additional information about Hip Hop and Books can be found at

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Author Jackie Carpenter's Visit To MS: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

(Saturday, January 8, 2011) Day two with author Jackie Carpenter completed what was an amazing visit of inspiration, hope and the assurance of the light at the end of the tunnel of whatever we are going through.

NOTE: If you missed the report from Day 1 of Jackie's visit to Mississippi, read it here:

Cyrus Webb of Conversations Book Club began the day at the Crossgates area Subway Restaurant discussing the message of Carpenter's book THE BRIDGE and the importance of faith when it comes to challenges in life.

Joining the conversation was long-time friend of the book club Jennifer Vess.

From there it was on the Pearl Public Library where for two straight hours, Jackie was able to meet patrons and library employees, sharing her book and what she hopes they take away from it.

OVER 30 COPIES of THE BRIDGE made its way into the hands of individuals who seemed excited to not only meet the author but take home something that could help them as they deal with their own problems in life.

Conversations Book Club wishes to personally thank Ramesh Gajjar and the staff at Subway Crossgates in Brandon, the staff of the Pearl Public Library, book club supporter Annette Brown and all those who made day two of this literary event a success.

To find out more about Jackie and her book, visit To stay abreast of other events hosted by Conversations Book Club, visit

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cyrus Webb Named New Entertainment Editor For SDA Network

CHICAGO (SDA) — Mississippi-based Cyrus Webb, also known as C. A. Webb, has joined the SDA Network News staff as Entertainment Editor, covering news and events pertaining to celebrities and entertainers. In addition, Webb’s Conversations LIVE! Internet radio show will be linked directly to SDA Network News.
Webb, a popular Mississippi native, has been involved in the arts for more than a decade as a visual-literary artist, poet, radio and television show host as well as the founder of the magazine Conversations. During that span, he has interviewed more than 1,000 influential and up-and-coming writers, authors and artists about their passions, their journeys through life, and how they are using their skills to make a difference in the world.

SDA Network News strives to be among the world's leaders in online news and information delivery. Staffed 24 hours, seven days a week by a dedicated staff in SDA's world headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, and in bureaus worldwide, SDA Network News relies heavily on SDA's global team of news professionals. SDA Network News features the latest multimedia technologies, from live video streaming to audio packages to searchable archives of news features and background information. The site is updated continuously throughout the day.

Read the entire announcement here:

Friday, January 7, 2011

CBC Report: Author Jackie Carpenter's Visit To Mississippi (Day 1)

(Friday, January 7, 2011) Shadow Play Entertainment and Conversations Book Club welcomed Jackie Carpenter, author of THE BRIDGE, to Mississippi on Friday, January 7, 2011 to begin her two day promotion of the book and how her faith helped guide her through a dark chapter of her life.

Hosted by Conversations' President Cyrus Webb and co-sponsored by Stanley Clark of For The People Productions, the day began at Medgar Evers Library in South Jackson. There Carpenter shared snippets of her life story and how the inspiration for the book came about.

Those in attendance listened intently as she explained that it was never her intention to become an author, but God had other plans.
Before leaving the library, she also donated a copy of her book to them so it can be shared with the patrons.

While in Jackson, Webb and Carpenter stopped by Clear Channel's radio offices to drop off a copy of the book for Nikki Dulaney of Hallelujah 95.5 FM for consideration for her book club selections.

From there, the group was on its way to Pearl, MS where Webb introduced Carpenter to some of the staff at the Pearl Public Library, and she donated copies of her book THE BRIDGE to them for use by their patrons.

As it would be, Conversations Book Club supporter and evangelist Diane Johnston was also present at the library, and was able to get a copy of Carpenter's book as well!

Next stop was Milestone Christian Bookstore where Carpenter was able to talk with management about her book and even laid the groundwork for a future signing at the stop when she returns to Mississippi!

The final stop of the day was at DSI, the renal center where Webb's grandmother is on dialysis. Several nurses from the Mississippi State Hospital had expressed interest to Webb about their love of books, and he was able to introduce them to the visiting author, share her book and the message she hopes they get from it.

The overall message that Jackie Carpenter shared was this: "I had to go through the test in order to have a testimony, and I had to endure the mess so I could have a message." What an incredible way to look at tests and trials that we all go through!

Find out more about Jackie Carpenter and her inspiring book at Shadow Play Entertainment and For The People Productions thanks the author, her family and everyone who shared the day with them. Day Two will include events in Brandon and Pearl, Mississippi. Details can be found at