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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Conversations Magazine Presents... Excerpt from "Embraceable You" by Blair Erotica (Can't Get Enough)

Excerpt from “Embraceable You” by Blair Erotica, part of the larger anthology Can’t Get Enough: Erotica for Women, edited by Tenille Brown.

As she slipped out of the bed, a glimpse of her smile, captured out of the corner of his eye, caught his attention. It wasn’t her satisfied, what-a-night-we-had kind of smile, even if it had been that kind of night. No, this was her sneaky, crafty smile, the kind she put on when she had something devious in mind.

He ran his eyes over the lines of her body the same way he had run his hands over her earlier, in the early hours of the morning. Looking at her always made him think of the Gershwin song “Embraceable You.” Well, maybe she didn’t bring the song to mind, but the title for sure.

He wondered what her smile meant. What could she have in mind? Although she had a knack for coming up with delightful schemes and sexy drama, like the time she seduced him in an alley (well, he didn’t make her try all that hard), this morning there wasn’t time for any devilish plots. She was getting up to leave on a business trip; she had to catch some insanely early flight.

He sighed at the idea of being without her for an entire week, the emptiness he’d feel being without her company and body. He had nothing special going on at work to fill his time; nothing in particular to throw himself into; nothing to consume the extra hours.

It would be a long week.

He imagined it would be easier for her as she would be going to London for the first time, meeting important clients and staying busy. It was easy to expect that the days and even the nights would go by quickly for her.
His best shot was to get together with some old college buddies for a poker game or something, but that didn’t promise a week’s worth of distraction. But that was life.

She had done her best to make certain he knew that she would miss him too—body and soul. When they came home from dinner that evening, the night before her departure, she had him sit on the couch while she fixed drinks. When she walked toward him, the movement of her hips made her slinky black dress wiggle in the most enticing way. Then she handed both glasses to him and bent down to kiss him. Before he knew what was happening, she knelt down and undid his pants...

Sexy enough, perhaps, but it just got them both fired up.

As he recalled the evening, he remembered that those drinks were still in the living room, untouched, and he laughed.

“What are you laughing at?” she asked.

“We never drank the drinks you fixed,” he said.

Her eyes glowed. “It’s okay; I got enough to drink.” Then she kissed him and headed into the bathroom.


Get CAN'T GET ENOUGH: Erotica for Women today on Amazon here

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How To Go From Broken To Your Breakthrough

To say that this year has been the most bittersweet of my life would in no way be an understatement.

As this magazine was originally going to press in the middle of May I was dealing with the declining health of my grandmother (affectionately called by most of her grandchildren as Aunt Quattie) while preparing for what was already a whirlwind of milestones for the Conversations brand. Like many of the people I have interviewed over the years I was juggling a mixed bag of emotions: celebrating my successes while aware that my grandmother's situation was not good.

How many of you know that feeling of being on a high and then having the wind sucked out of the room, leaving you feeling lost and unsure what to do next. In many ways that was where I found myself, and I can say it was one of the scariest experiences I have had.

Since nothing happens by accident, I think it is appropriate that the issue of the magazine that was next to be published by Conversations was our SURVIVAL issue. I had intended for this to be about individuals who had experienced a variety of challenges, setbacks and loss and still found ways to thrive. Little did I know at the time that I would be one of those who would be joining the group of survivors at that particular time.

On May 22, 2014 my grandmother passed away quite peacefully at home at the age of 90. Though her physical absence is profound I am surrounded by reminders of the life she lived and the lessons she taught myself and so many others. I hope that this issue of Conversations will show you that regardless of what challenge you face there is the opportunity for you to push forward and be the person you want to be.

What has happened to you doesn't have to keep you bound. You can break through your obstacle and come out better on the other side.Those who you will read about in this issue have done it, and you have the same opportunity.

What has been the key to your breakthrough? How did you emerge from your brokenness and begin to heal? Share your stories with me by email at cawebb4@juno.com or by posting at www.conversationsmag.com.

Until next time, happy reading!





Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
Conversations Magazine

Gospel Recording Artist Carol Maraj: Living Proof of God's Goodness

by Cyrus Webb

My first introduction to Carol Maraj was through her daughter,singing superstar Nicki Minaj. In her single AUTOBIOGAPHY from her mix-tape Sucka-Free Nicki says this about her mother:

She's my queen and I ain't even British
She's the only reason that I went to school and I finished
She told me that I had talent
Got on her knees and prayed for me when I started being violent
She saw something in me that, 'til this day I don't know if I could be that
But I'm a die trying...

It was obvious then that Carol Maraj was a woman of faith, and in her debut single GOD'S BEEN GOOD that officially released in April 2014 we are able to hear it from the woman herself.

"God's been good, He's always been good," she sings. The song, laced with an infectious beat that will capture audiences young and old, shares experiences that many can relate to. Whether it is getting a report from the doctor that you weren't expecting or coming out of a bad situation, knowing it wasn't through your own power. There are signs everyday that God is always looking after us, giving us reasons to praise Him each and every day.

Through faith Carol came to the United States, wanting to make a new life for her young family. As a singer, songwriter, and a playwright she is able to share not just her own experiences but show others what is possible for them as well. The single GOD'S BEEN GOOD is a reminder for all of us that God is able to bring us out of every situation that we face. All we have to do is trust and believe in His promises.

I had the opportunity to talk with Carol about the way that people were responding to the single. She told me she was "touched to see the response and the love that people have been showing."

When asked about the events in her life that got her to where she is today she says "It is a calling. I walked this path for this purpose that I am experiencing today. I know that it's going to change lives and help many people along the way."

Her overall message? Even when we are unaware of it God loves us so much. He's been good and watching over us and guiding us. When life seems the darkest God is able to brighten even the most difficult of situations. All we have to do is believe.

GOD'S BEEN GOOD is available on Amazon.com and iTunes. You can stay connected with her on Twitter at @carolmarajorg and her website www.carolmaraj.org.

Dan Bucatinsky: Receiving the Reward For Living An Authentic Life

by Cyrus Webb

For Dan Bucatinsky living life authentically has paid off in a big way.

He's an Emmy award-winning actor (bringing to life James Novak on the hit ABC drama SCANDAL), writer and producer and author of the book Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?---and he has done it all on his own terms. This doesn't mean that everyday and every event he has experienced has been the best, but it does mean he has not allowed the challenges he has faced to stop him.

As I chatted with Dan on Conversations LIVE it was clear why so many were inspired by him. He's a man who is married to the love of his life, raising children and doing the kind of work that fulfilled him. And did I mention that just like the character James that he played on television that he himself is gay? Not that it matters a lot, though---and that was just one of the things we discussed during our conversation.

"We only can aspire to a time when a person's sexuality is beside the point," Dan said to me. "It's only one of many things that make a person a person. It doesn't have to be the defining thing about any individual. On Scandal I happened to be gay, I happened to be in a relationship (married to the Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene, played by Jeff Perry), but James was a complicated, ambitious and oftentimes imprudent individual. It's not about being gay or not. [His life] would have been complicated whether he was in a straight relationship or gay relationship. That's the amazing progress that was made by Shonda Rhimes (the show's creator) on a television show like that."

It is the show's writing and Dan's portrayal of James that has been an inspiration to so many. Just by living his life and doing what he loves has caused others to believe the same is possible for them. Dan told me that knowing he has had that affect on others is "so fulfilling", and what he hopes he is able to do through his platform in the public.

The third season of Scandal saw the demise of Dan's character James, but the show and he have definitely made their mark on the world. I asked him if he was surprised by the response to the show and the way it continues to gain momentum. "In this day and age there is so much competition coming out of our computers and DVRs that anything that stands out in the clutter is a surprise," he told me. "I remember when I read the pilot of Scandal I felt like Shonda had kind of reinvented the genre of the one-hour drama with that pilot. On the one hand it is always a surprise when anything cuts through, but knowing Shonda and how talented she is and how innovative she is I'm not surprised." Dan went on to say that he felt she had "changed our appetite for the speed and the complexity of storytelling, and other shows are trying to keep up."

Since his time on Scandal officially came to an end Dan has been keeping busy on other projects, and is showing no signs of slowing down. His advice for others when it comes to pursuing their dreams? "I feel like the most important thing is to not give up." He enjoys hiking, and using his experience when tackling a steep hill he shares this: "I know that if I stop I definitely will never get to the top. As hard as it seems at times we never really know what will happen unless we keep going. I ask myself 'What are the other options?' I could move a little slower. I could take a little break, but I definitely don't want to ever stop."

May we remember that when we are facing our own steep hills in life.

Stay connected with all things Dan at www.danbucatinsky.com.

Actress & Media Personality Tammi Mac: Finding Success on Her Own Path

by Cyrus Webb

"My God-given gift is to tell stories." ~ Tammi Mac

When Lisa Chance of Kyle Avery PR asked me about having a conversation with Tammi Mac, I jumped at the chance. She is an individual that has not just found success on television and the screen but through media platforms as well. We were scheduled to talk about her new play BAG LADY, but of course I had to find out more about how Tammi became the success story that she has, and that took us all the way back to her beginnings.

When talking about the creative process she tells me "It is an amazing feeling to have an idea and then you put it on paper, and then it comes off the page and it's in motion. It's in existence."

Here are the highlights from our conversation...

TAMMI MAC ON HER CAREER:
"It's been humbling experience to see people respond to the work that I've done. I don't take that into consideration a lot because I am so focused on the work that the reaction never really hits me."

TAMMI MAC ON WHAT GUIDES HER:
"I wear my heart on my sleeve. Typically when I do something I am led to do it either by God or by my heart through God. That is usually my green light. If I feel like this is something I should do not for me but for someone else then that is how I take on projects.

"When I first got to Hollywood it was all about me. It wasn't until I was trying to figure out what I could do for me to help my career that God set me down and said 'It's not going to work for you unless you allow it and use what you have for other people,too. Stop thinking about you and things will begin to transform.'

TAMMIE MAC ON WHAT IS POSSIBLE FOR HER:
"I've been told all my life that I could make it. I have a very supportive family. I've never been told that I could not do something. My family has always been the ones to say 'Do what you do.'

"People tell me I'm a celebrity, but I don't see that at all. I don't feel like a celebrity. I don't live like a celebrity. That is something that I probably will never get used to."

TAMMI MAC ON THE INSPIRATION FOR BAG LADY:
"My best friend and I were on a flight and going back and forth about the men who had dogged us out. We were laughing and joking about everything and then stopped and said it's funny but it's not really funny. Why did we keep ending up in these situations? It's because of  baggage, something that you are carrying with you and lives with you and inside of you. The message is to drop the baggage and let go of the past. It's time out for saying how it's hindering us and time to take a look at ourselves and say what is it about me that is keeping me from a life that is positively fulfilled. It's about not bad men but bad decisions because of your baggage."

TAMMI MAC'S NON-ADVICE ADVICE FOR OTHERS:
"I make it a point not to tell advice. I say it's not necessary: You already have what you need. We look to others for what we need when there is no secret. When we look inside ourselves and what we bring to the table, we get a lot further. Take your own path. Choose your own road."

To stay connected with what's next on Tammi's path connect with her at www.tammimac.com. You can also find her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mstammimac.

Widows of Opportunity's Kimberly Richardson: Sharing Happiness After Loss

by Cyrus Webb

The traditional marriage vow, taken from the Book of Common prayer ends with this: "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part." On what is seen as the happiest day for couples you choose to focus on the good that is coming to your union. No one wants to think that dark clouds can roll in and the one you want to spend the rest of your life with is gone forever---but this is just what so many have to experience.

In 2003 one of those individuals was Kimberly Richardson. After losing her husband she went through years of experiencing the darkness that can come from loss, however, in 2011 she began an organization called Widows of Opportunity as a support group for others that had lost a spouse. It would prove to be a defining moment for her.

To date she has gone from helping women in just her local area to traveling across the country and even seeing the birth of a chapter in Zambia all because of her persistence and dedication.

"It's been a blessing and an honor that people are taking it in," Kimberly said to me this year as we talked about Widows and what it was accomplishing. Though she is appreciative for the attention the organization is getting, she knows firsthand how difficult the road can be for other widows. It took time to share her story and move forward, and now she is impacting the lives of other people and helping them to do the same.

"My whole goal was to help 1 widow," she told me about Widows' beginning. Kimberly wanted her to know that it was going to be ok. Now her goals have grown and so has the support of the organization.  "I am proof that there is happiness after a loss," she says. "I'm not giving up on this journey. I want to get the word out to as many as I can."

What keeps Kimberly going? The answer came quickly. "Getting messages from the widows." Also helpful is to remember that where she is today is not where she was some ten years ago. "I was in a dark place. I wish someone would have came at that time to help me." She is thankful and appreciative now to be that someone for others.

Other than inspiring widows, Kimberly has used the platform that is social media to share encouraging message daily with those that she connects with. By doing so she is recognizing the power that all of us have when it comes to the words that we speak (or type), never knowing how it might affect others.

I couldn't have a conversation with Kimberly without bringing up faith, just because I knew that it had to play a role in the way that she has gone from a shy, quiet woman who didn't care for the spotlight to the bold spokesperson of hope that she is today. "I've always had faith," she told me. "God was the only way for me to get through this loss. Because of Him I'm here. That is the reason why my faith is so strong. Because of Him I do everything that I do."

Stay connected with Widows of Opportunity and see how you can show your support on their official website www.widowsofopportunity.com.

Recording Artist Lexi Noel: Moving Full Force Towards Fulfilling Her Dreams

by Cyrus Webb

From the time she was a little girl Lexi Noel knew she wanted to be a singer. In fact she enlisted the support of her friends who joined her as back-up singers and even charged her parents and theirs to watch them perform! Today she has no problem finding an audience, building up a loyal fan base through YouTube and having over 380k stay in touch with ever tweet on Twitter. Lexi is living out her dreams--and loving every moment of it.

"It's been crazy for me," she explained during our conversation when reflecting on how much her support has grown over the years. "I didn't realize how much of a huge impact I could have on people's lives."

She says she hears almost daily from people who say they can relate to her and the stuff she sings about---and even what she wears. "My fans know that I am one of them."

What began with just covers of popular songs on YouTube has definitely grown to tens of thousands of hits per video. "I was taking a chance and it exploded," Lexi says. "It all became such an amazing thing. It still hasn't hit me. People will randomly shout out my name in the mall. I'm still getting used to it."

Now especially Lexi is showcasing not just her own talents and skills but showing others what they can do as well. "I thought I had to be older to be a role model," she told me, but that is exactly what she is to many young girls and women today. And it's not just through music that she is making her mark. Her anti-bullying campaign has caught fire on social media and tweets like "I am so much more than what you see..." have allowed her fans to know that they don't have to allow others to judge them or dictate who they are. They can be themselves and do so proudly.

"I'm on my own tour (the CHASE YOUR DREAMS tour), spreading positively to my fans and encouraging them to go after their dreams." Lexi has been checking in with her fans, keeping them updated on new music and performance updates. "With social media it can be spread so many different ways," she says "We're all united through the Internet."

Lexi's advice for anyone with a dream? "People are going to tell you what you can't do. As long as you know you have the power and the will do to it just go for it! Keep on going for it full force and never give up. You never know what can happen."

Stay connected with Lexi at www.twitter.com/leximusic411, www.facebook.com/leximusic411 as well as Instagram at www.instagram.com/leximusic411. You can also find her videos on Youtube at www.youtube.com/LexiMusic411Vids.