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Conversations Magazine Oct./Nov. 2014 Issue

Conversations Magazine Oct./Nov. 2014 Issue
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Conversations Magazine Prepares Release of Two Amazing Issues on Fri. Nov. 14th

Conversations Media Group is excited to announce that 2 amazing issues of Conversations Magazine will be released simultaneously on Fri. November 14th.

"It's rare that we release two of our publications on the same day," says Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine and the President of Conversations Media Group. "This month, however, we are excited to release our regular monthly issue and our bi-monthly Model Citizens issues of the publication."

The Nov./Dec. issue of Conversations Magazine is its 'Acting on Faith' issue, featuring interviews with actors Edvin Ortega, Charlene Amoia and Cocoa Brown as well as conversations with the men of Tyler Perry's If Loving You Is Wrong: Denzel Wells, Octavio Pizano, Eltony Williams and Dawan Owens.

The bi-monthly issue of Conversations Model Citizens Magazine features actress/entrepreneur Kristina Anapau, model/entertainer Mr. Handsom, actress/model Cola Fox as well as America's Next Top Model's Will Jardell and Denzel Wells,

November also marks the first time in Conversations' 8 year history that one individual (Denzel Wells) has been featured on the cover of two issues in one year. "What Denzel has accomplished in his short time as an actor is really an example for individuals of all ages," Webb says. "The stories shared in the two issues are different but definitely compliment each other and the way that he is really making his mark in a variety of arenas."

Both magazines go on sale Mon. November 10th at www.conversationsmag.com and www.conversationsmcmag.com.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top Reasons Why Scandal's Secret Service Agent Tom (played by Brian Letscher) Owned Season 3

by Cyrus Webb

Gladiators around the world have been rejoicing around the world since the return of Shonda Rhimes' hit show Scandal on ABC, wanting to know where the characters they have grown to love (and in some cases loathe) will do next. Week after week since season 4 began there has been one jaw-dropping event after another. A lot of what has been so "twisty crazy good" this season, however, was set up for us in season 3.

In Season 1 we had Amanda Tanner. Season 2 the core of the drama centered around the mole Billy Chambers. For Season 3 the standout for me was one man that I (and I believe millions of others) probably didn't see coming as the common denominator: Secret Service Agent Tom!

I interviewed actor Brian Letscher (who brings Tom's character to life) at the beginning of Season 3, and at the time who would have known that in so many storylines that evolved during the season that he would be in the mix in such a dramatic way. Because of this and the ways he has already been a key player in Season 4 I wanted to share with you....

TOP REASONS WHY TOM OWNED SCANDAL'S SEASON 3

  • In the first episode of Season 3 we learned that it was President Grant that used Tom to leak Olivia Pope's name to the press, thus triggering the dramatic ending to Season 2.
  • Tom was the constant go-to person for President Grant to stay in touch with (and even rendezvous) with Olivia.
  • In a dramatic turn of events we (along with the new head of B-613 Jake Ballard) learned that Tom is also a part of the shadowy organization entrusted with protecting of the Republic.
  • Duing the Presidential Debate Jake had Tom in waiting to take out Vice President Sally Langston if the need arose (Fortunately it wasn't needed.).
  • In probably the biggest turn of events during the season we discover that Tom was the one who administered the lethal dose to President Grant's son Jerry, setting in motion the return of Rowan (or Papa Pope) as head of B-613.
  • Finally as the Season comes to a close Gladiator Harrison Wright meets his end at the hands ( or bullet) of Tom under the orders of Rowan.

So what other big twists and turns can we expect in Scandal's latest season? I've never been good at guessing, so I won't start now. One thing we can be sure of, though: Shonda Rhimes has never disappointed us in the past, and I'm sure she's not about to start now.

Stay connected with Brian Letscher on Twitter at @BLetscher.

*     Photo courtesy of ABC/Shondaland

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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chef Daniel Green's Honey Glazed Salmon with Ginger

*Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
4 10 oz skinless salmon fillets

for the glaze
2 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
1 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

for the cabbage
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small cabbage, sliced into thin strips
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish
freshly ground black pepper
4 spring onions, chopped

Heat a large, non-stick pan over high heat and add the salmon- If you have a good-quality, non-stick pan, there should be enough oils in the salmon to cook it without the need to add any extra oil.  Cook the salmon for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, make the glaze.  Place the honey, mustard, lemon and ginger together in a bowl and stir to combine.  Set aside.

When your salmon is just about cooked, spoon the glaze over the top, then take off the heat.  The glaze will carmelise in the hot pan and turn the salmon sticky and brown.

To cook the cabbage, heat half the olive oil in a wok over a medium heat.  Add the cabbage and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, then add the remaining oil and cook for another 5 minutes, tossing all the time (if you need more moisture, add a drop or two of water).  Add the garlic and sesame seeds and cook for a further minute.

Turn the cabbage out onto a plate, season with black pepper and top with the glazed salmon.  Scatter the spring onion over the top and serve with a few extra sesame seeds.

Stay connected with Chef Daniel Green on www.danielgreen.tv. Get his new book The Paleo Diet on Amazon.

Tony Lindsay Presents... A Portrait of Maya Angelou

Ghana became the home of many Black expatriates in the nineteen fifties; after the developing African nation garnered its independence, many Black Americans seeking refuge and a homecoming immigrated there. From 1962 through 1965, Maya Angelou settled there as well. She recorded those years in her 1986 memoir titled All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes. The work was more than Angelou’s simple accounting of her years spent in Ghana: what was offered was the experience of a single mom rearing her son in a foreign land, the reality of an African homecoming for Black Americans, and the linking of Black Americans to their African roots.

Early in the memoir, Angelou defined home as being with her son. She considered time spent with her son as being at home. When they were together, they were home; Angelou, “we had been each other’s home and center for seventeen years.” (5) This idea of home revolving around her son shifted in the work when her son grew into a man. Learning how to adapt to one’s center or home changing was a single mom dynamic that peppered the entire memoir. How she adapted provides sage advice for any parent. With her home or center changed, Angelou like the other Black Americans that lived in Ghana sought a home.

Angelou categorized the Black American immigrants into four groups: whole families who largely supported themselves through farming and teaching, those sent by and supported by the American government, business people who were looking for ground floor opportunities, and writers and artist who had political opinions; she called this last group “a cadre of political émigrés.” She considered herself part of the political group whose “members were impassioned and volatile, dedicated to Africa, and Africans at home and abroad.” (23) 

Despite there being different immigrant groups of Black Americans in Ghana, Angelou felt that they were all lumped into one group by Ghanaians, “American Negros.” This bothered her because she expected to be considered a long lost African sister who had returned home. The reality of being thought of as merely an American Negro brought disillusionment, “At least we wanted someone to embrace us and maybe congratulate us because we had survived. If they felt the urge, they could thank us for having returned.” (22) There was no homecoming parade Angelou or the other artists, but for those who claimed to love Africa, as her group did, Ghana had work.

Angelou’s day-to-day life in Ghana was steeped in African culture and tradition, and she did not miss an opportunity to relate the culture and tradition of Ghana to her Black American upbringing. In the memoir, she laid the two cultures side by side allowing Ghanaian tradition to be seen in Black American culture. From the phrase “Auntie” to the community preparing a meal for a visiting stranger, to the village raising a child, the sameness in both cultures was witnessed. Throughout the memoir, Angelou linked the two cultures, and she did it without formality; the sameness was shown through her workday, through her dating, through her getting her hair done; there was no parade when Black Americans return to Africa, but Angelou wrote the living culture embracing what she called, “Revolutionist Returnees.” (119) Again, there was no formal celebration for the returning Black Americans, but Angelou wrote the African life enveloping them day-by-day. 

It was not until the end of the text that Angelou linked herself to Africa; throughout the work the linking was for the all-inclusive American Negro of which she was part, but at the end the reader experienced Africa wrapping her arms around Maya Angelou. A recurring thought that bothered Angelou throughout memoir was the anger and envy she felt for Ghanaians and all Africans for the selling and abandonment of the Africans that were sold into slavery.  At the end of the memoir, she faced these emotions head on, and experienced a healing that can be passed on to the reader. All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes is an excellent memoir that portrays the political and social climate of Ghana in the 1960’s, and the reader gets to be up-close and personal with one of America’s greatest writers, Maya Angelou. 

Tony Lindsay is an award-winning author and adjunct professor at Chicago State University. His book ONE DEAD DOCTOR was chosen by Conversations Book Club as one of its Top 100 Books of 2012. Lindsay was named Conversations Author of the Year 2012-2013.  His latest book EMOTIONAL DRIPPINGS is available now on Amazon.com. He can be reached on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tony.linssay2.

Meditation: Healing the Scars from Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, PTSD and More

by True North,  author of True North: The Shocking Truth About "Yours, Mine and Ours"

Meditation saved my life.

My father, Richard North, died in a Navy jet test flight crash when I was six years old.   Fifteen months after his death, my mother, Helen North who had eight children, re-married a man named Frank Beardsley who had ten, making us one of the largest families in the country. We became famous, and our story was featured in the movie, Yours, Mine and Ours. But it wasn't one big happy family. We had to hide the fact that we were living a lie.

My stepfather was abusive on every level; physically, emotionally and sexually. His constant rage, disapproval and controlling personality left deep emotional scars. And, to make matters worse, our family hid this from the outside world, so we each suffered in silence. The toll I paid was enormous. Lacking any sense of self-worth, it drove me to depression and drugs. I imagine many people will identify with the feelings, even if their home life was not as extreme as mine. But trauma is trauma--whether suffered in a living room or the theatre of war.    

As a young adult I discovered meditation. It was my passage out of a deep depression and emotional despair, and I'm here to recommend it as a powerful and effective solution if you cannot get out of the mental patterns that keep you stuck, feeling a victim of past trauma.

Meditation was and still is a vital therapy for my continued survival and healing from a life of child abuse and domestic violence. I still practice it every day, having begun more than 38 years ago.

Meditation is indeed a powerful tool for health and healing on all levels. Research shows that group meditation can produce a radiating influence of peace in society. Recently, Dr. Deepak Chopra sponsored and conducted an online Global Group Meditation for Peace with over 100,000 people participating from around the world.  I was happy to be a part of this important event.

This was a tremendous service Dr. Chopra was delivering to the audience, for as he explained, meditation is the key to our connection with ourselves: Our Divine Selves. It is also our connection to the collective consciousness. Studies show that everything in the universe is connected and it is possible to unite people in heart-focused care and intention to facilitate the shift in global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace.

The Health Benefits of Daily Meditation are Many

The scientific evidence documenting the benefits of Transcendental Meditation, especially for PTSD, which includes child abuse, is conclusive. While there may always be skeptics, it is irrefutable that meditation delivers improvements on every level of life, from stress management to emotional, physical and spiritual balance.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal, senior research scientist at the National Institute of Health (NIH), has published his studies of over 300 experiments that prove the importance and benefits of meditation. This is in addition to the many thousands of published reports that have become available over the last 40 years that have come out of Maharishi University of Management, Harvard University and many others.

In my own experience, and in the experience of many meditators who have been culturing a daily meditation practice over time, the ongoing result has been a steadily growing expansion of awareness and appreciation for all of life. This takes the form of improved relationships with those around me, connection with the entire human race and seeing the divine intelligence in the simplest life forms.

I would be remiss if I didn't include experiencing an overwhelming sense of love for everyone and everything I encounter.  As one friend and former college classmate of mine said, "I was stopped in commuter traffic on the 405 freeway in L.A.  I looked around me at the thousands of cars and people and was feeling an unbounded love for all of them!"

If this is the outcome of consistent meditation, then it certainly is worth trying for anyone whose long-ago trauma-related or trauma-triggered emotions frequently get the better of them. For those who simply cannot see their way out of their own personal darkness, meditation is even more important. I encourage you to make the commitment.

8 Steps to Help You Develop Your Daily Meditation Practice for Trauma Healing


  1.     Give yourself permission to get better, understanding that meditation can provide healing and relief.
  2.     Seek out a meditation teacher. Meditation is like walking in an unfamiliar forest. It is best to have a guide.
  3.     Commit to regularity. Research shows that 20 minutes twice a day is optimal.
  4.     Create a space that is just for you to meditate each day. Unplug the phone(s) and put your silenced cell phone where you cannot see it. No cheating!
  5.     Get your mediation checked regularly by your teacher. This is very important.
  6.     If you absolutely have to miss a session, do not be hard on yourself - it is OK to renegotiate with yourself, recommit and pick up where you left off.
  7.     Wait two months, and then check in on your memories of pain and trauma...do you feel better able to just let them go, to allow them to NOT MATTER anymore?
  8.     Congratulate yourself for staying with it! You're on your way to true healing. 

*Disclaimer: Please remember that meditation is not a substitute for professional care or psychiatric help if that is what is needed.  Many physicians and psychologists recommend meditation in conjunction with standard therapies.

Tom North is the author of True North - The Shocking Truth About "Yours, Mine and Ours" They appeared to be the blissful Beardsleys, the happily blended family-eight of Helen North's, ten of Frank Beardsley's, and two children from their union. A family so famous in America that Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda played the parents in the box office smash--Yours Mine and Ours. But they were anything from blissful; in fact they were the beaten and battered Beardsleys. That's the real hidden story behind the spotlight. And Tom North, Helen's second eldest son, is now revealing how he survived the ordeal of living with a horrifyingly abusive stepfather that drove him to depression and drugs, and deprived him of his self-worth-and a mother who protected the image of the "perfect" family at all costs. But True North is much more than an inspiring and powerful account of a man who rose to success against all odds. It's a story of how Transcendental Meditation (TM) brought peace to Tom North and saved his life. It brings to light how effective meditation is as a means for healing trauma survivors and especially those who have endured any form of verbal, physical or sexual abuse. For more information, go to www.truenorthbytomnorth.com.  

There Is Power Housed In Surrendering

by Mary E. Gilder

As I sit in my home office preparing for the launch of my second EVEN A MAN CAN HAVE A BROKEN HEART I began to reflect on my favorite topic: LOVE.

My thoughts lead me to think about how as a Society we are driven by who has what, what IT cost, where IT was purchased, can I purchase IT, how can I forever preserve IT and since I don't have IT I must be  lacking!!! Even if to others we appear to have everything, sometimes it never seems to be enough.

Recently, I moved from one residence to another and that move prompted me to lighten my load. Initially, the thought of letting go of the possessions I had not utilized in years was difficult for me to process, but once I let go of the boxes upon boxes---upon boxes---of 'stuff', it was healing. I say healing because my journey felt lighter. Of the many items I donated, I can't recall 80% of what I once viewed as sacred treasures.

Numerous donations were given to a local Shelter and days later when I returned, I observed residents wearing some of the items I donated. My heart rejoiced.

Once I let go of my attachment to the excess, my heart was more open to focus on what was truly important; which for me is LOVE and the relationships within my life. Did you know that there is a POWER housed in surrendering?

My advice to you as we transition into my favorite season, lighten your load, let go of the excess and focus on all the represents true wealth. For me it's represented in family, friends and maintaining a strong foundation built on LOVE.

Love, Peace and Endless Joy,  

Mary E. Gilder is the author of the recently released non-fiction title Even a Man can Have a Broken Heart and the award winning novel, A Misrepresentation of Myself.  Mary is available for book signings and speaking engagements. Contact her at: bookclubs.maryegilder@yahoo.com or visit her website at: www.marygilder.com