Jacqueline J. Holness (AKA ME!) Reveals the Cover of Her New Novel ‘Destination Wedding!’ (INTERVIEW)

Hello World,

Sorry I had to do it. Write in the third person that is. I just couldn’t figure out how to state the fact that I have written my first novel without being a little extra. And referring to yourself in the third person is as extra as you can get on a written page. So pardon me for being braggadocios. It’s just that I’ve written a novel that I’m extremely proud of and it’s finally time to tell you all about it!

When I first imagined myself as a writer at the adorable age of six, I saw myself weaving words into worlds as a novelist. Well, maybe not a quite a novel, but certainly a work of fiction. As I matured and began to grasp that writing was not as simple as it seemed, I gravitated toward journalism where real life (just the facts, ma’am) was written down and every story was thankfully short. I just didn’t think I had enough words to write a whole novel. But in my heart, behind the wall of fear, I wondered if I would ever summon enough stamina and skill to craft a world of words also known as a novel. In 2009, yes, 10 years ago, a real-life event took hold of me and demanded that I explore this topic as a novel. And it literally took me 10 years to learn how to write a novel AND get it published. So Destination Wedding written by Jacqueline J. Holness (oh so extra I know) will be released in December to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the real-life event that inspired me and captivated me enough to write a novel at long last! So below is the synopsis followed by my interview with 96Kix’s Kimberly Kaye, who interviewed me as I wrote Destination Wedding. (Read and or listen to the interview.)

Three successful best friends in Atlanta believe they are thriving in the Black Mecca. Bossy bank executive Senalda breaks down men from business to bed no holds barred. Hip hop PR guru Jarena praises the Lord and pursues married men with equal persistence. Famous and infamous radio personality Mimi fights with her fans and for the love of her on-and-off-again boyfriend.

But when an ABC News Nightline report, “Single, Black, Female — and Plenty of Company,” asks why can’t a successful black woman find a man? The friends are suddenly hyper-aware of their inclusion in the sad statistic: 42% of black women who have never been married. Like the women in the report, they are career-driven, beautiful black women living in Atlanta who have everything — but a mate. They resolve to defy the statistic by marrying in a year and have it all by tackling their goal as a project with a vision board, monthly meetings, and more. Project Destination Wedding is born. A “happily married” best friend Whitney is a project consultant.

But as the deadline ticks closer, the women wonder if they can withstand another year of looking for love in the media-proclaimed no-man’s land of Atlanta. Senalda wrests a marriage proposal from the male version of herself, but the proposal comes simultaneously with a devastating secret. Jarena unleashes hell when her call to ministry coincides with dating her married college sweetheart. Mimi faces losing her career and jail time chasing her boyfriend and marries another man in the process. Whitney’s power couple profile plummets when her husband, a pornography addict, announces he would rather pursue photography than be an MD.

Inspired by an actual Nightline report, Destination Wedding charts four women’s journeys as they discover that love is not an experiment easily confined to a timetable.

These are the four main characters as I saw them in my mind as I was writing- Jarena, Mimi, Senalda & Whitney…Can you match the women to how they actually turned out on the cover?

Kimberly: 96 KIX. On the line with me, I have Jacqueline Holness. How are you Jacqueline?

Jacqueline: I’m great. How are you Kimberly?

Kimberly: I’m wonderful. Welcome back to the show!

Jacqueline: Thank you so much for having me!

Kimberly: You know the last time you we talked it was all about ‘After the Altar Call.’ Now, what have you been up to? I know I always read your blog. Always.

Jacqueline: Thanks so much for reading. I really appreciate that. You never know who is reading. Thank you so much.

Kimberly: How is it working with the blog?

Jacqueline: Well, I love to write so it’s a creative outlet for me. And I’m always surprised when people actually respond to what I write because it’s not something that I get paid to do. I just love to do it. Even if people didn’t read it, I would still write.

Kimberly: You said, regardless, you’re gonna blog!

Jacqueline: Yes! Definitely.

Kimberly: Now, how do you pick your topics to know what to blog about?

Jacqueline: Well, the most important aspect of my life is my faith so I always want to talk about my faith and whatever area I choose to talk about whether it be pop culture or whether it be more serious issues, I always try to look at it through the lens of having faith in God and how God would want us to see certain things that play out in our society.

Kimberly: Right,  well that’s great. Now, also I saw that you are getting ready to write another book for us.

Jacqueline: Yes, I grew up reading fiction books, but when I got older, I just veered off into non-fiction books. But recently, I rediscovered my love of fiction and I decided to write a fiction book about three single black women in Atlanta.

Kimberly: Alright. Can you give us a little bit more? Or is that all you can give us?

Jacqueline: (Laughter) I’ll tell you a little more about it, but I’m not finished yet. But basically, I’m not sure if you saw the ABC News Nightline special that came on in December 2009 where it was quoted that 42% of black women have never been married?

Kimberly: Wow! That’s a high percentage.

Jacqueline: Yes, a very high percentage and they featured black women in Atlanta who had everything but a mate. And from there, there was a debate that was held in Atlanta. Steve Harvey was here. Sherri Shepherd. A lot of notables came in town to debate this issue in Atlanta. So as a black woman, I was single at the time, I’m married now, it really impacted me. And I thought what if I wrote a book about black women, fictional black women, who saw this report, and decided to defy the statistics and get married in a year.

Kimberly: Now you live in Atlanta?

Jacqueline: I do live in Atlanta.

Kimberly: Do you see that problem?

Jacqueline: Well, I see it all over. When I travel, I meet a lot of single black women, but for some reason, Atlanta seems to be the epicenter I guess of single black women. And because I was single and just got married at 40 years old, I know what it’s like to be single and I know what it’s like to wonder, ‘Why aren’t men choosing me?’ So I decided to write a book from my own personal journey and do it through the lens of fiction.

Kimberly: That sounds great. Do you know when you will be finished?

Jacqueline: Well, I hope to have the rough draft finished very soon. I’m going to work on it for the next few months. What interested you when you read, I know you read the blog post about me working on this book. What interested you? I’m just curious.

Kimberly: Like you said, we have a lot in common, Jacqueline.  I got married when I was 40. Same thing.

Jacqueline: Oh really?

Kimberly: Yes, we have that in common. I was going through life, and I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna ever get married.’ But once I quit thinking about it, dwelling on it, it happened so that’s what kind of intrigued me. It takes a lot. You wonder, Am I doing something wrong? Is it me? Why didn’t I get married when I was in my 20s or in my 30s? So that’s why I was interested.

Jacqueline: Wow! So I’m so glad we have that in common. We may have to talk off the air later about that as older women who have gotten married. That’s a category in itself – older brides. I may have to write something about that.

Kimberly: (Laughter) Yes! Well, I’m anticipating it.

Jacqueline: Yes, well, please go to my website AftertheAltarCall.com and you will see updates about the book. I’m really excited about, and I hope it will be on bookshelves as soon as possible.

Kimberly: And that’s also why I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to spread the word about your blog. I think it’s just terrific, and I want everyone to be aware of it.

Jacqueline: Oh, thank you so much!

(Note: There is just a minute or so more left of the interview, but I included what pertains to today’s blog post.)

 

Below are some advance reviews I have received about Destination Wedding!

“Jacqueline J. Holness has penned a delightful read that puts a new spin on the age-old dilemma of the beautiful, successful, single black woman finding a mate! Did I say beautiful and successful? Set in the Black Mecca – The ATL – Destination Wedding will have you asking, “Why is this so hard?” I found myself in the moment, rooting for these women – and thoroughly enjoyed their journeys to happily-ever-after.” – Monica Richardson, author of the Talbots of Harbour Island series

“In need of a getaway? Destination Wedding is the read you need. Filled with characters that will remind you of your girlfriends and unexpected adventures, it’s the perfect vacation read.” – Chandra Sparks Splond, author and blogger

“In Destination Wedding, Jacqueline J. Holness takes readers on page-turning twists and turns that hijack several friendships on the path to love. If you’re eager for an entertaining read that will leave you rooting for the characters as if they’re your friends, pick up your copy today.” – Stacy Hawkins Adams, multi-published author of Coming HomeWatercolored PearlsThe Someday List and more

So Destination Wedding will officially debut on Dec. 3, but it is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound and Target right now! And I’m not gonna be shy about this: I want this book to be a best-selling book so your pre-orders will help me achieve that goal! As a matter of fact, I will be offering some free gifts if you pre-order so come back here often for updates!

Finally, if you would like to be a member of my book launch team which means getting a FREE advance copy of Destination Wedding, email me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com!

Thank you so much for reading this blog post, and I hope and pray you will be reading my first novel Destination Wedding very soon!

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

Sherri Shepherd Responds to Ex Lamar Saying He’s ‘Praying’ For Her, That She’s ‘Bitter’ & Should Go to Therapy!

Hello World,

So two posts ago I posted an excerpt from an article summarizing what Sherri Shepherd said about her ex-husband Lamar Sally in a recent interview on the The D.L. Hughley Show. Below is how Sherry explained why she married him when she said many of her friends and celebrity colleagues warned her not do so.

“I was in a place in New York by myself, lonely,” she said. “At the time I was in my 40s and scared. I was like, ‘I’m getting older, who’s going to want to be in a relationship?’ It was a lot of stuff done out of fear. I was also raised to in the church to believe you can’t have sex before you get married, so I was horny! The whole celibacy thing, this idea that it’s better to get married than to burn. So I got married too because I was horny, and look, we never had sex.”

Well, Lamar clapped back, penning a letter that he released to TMZ! He accused her of abandoning the son they agreed to have together via a surrogate. However, the son (who is biologically Lamar’s son but not Sherri’s as a donor egg was used) was born after the couple broke up. Still, according to People magazine and TMZ, Sherri pays $4,100 in child support to Lamar each month! Although she is keeping up with her payments, he claims she has abandoned the child, called her bitter and recommended that she go to therapy – despite all of this, he says he is “praying” for her! Additionally, he claims that she blackballed him in Hollywood and has not has any TV writing jobs as a result.

(Aside: Regarding his claim that she abandoned the child, Sherri told me herself via this blog that his claim wasn’t true. She said, “…I have a son w special needs that I talk about incessantly… do I seem like the type of woman who would ‘abandon’ a child? A woman who would shirk her duties where children are concerned – if you have followed me at all- you would know that isn’t the case at all…must be more to the story, yes? Well I stop there, because I can feel the Holy Spirit tip tapping me on my shoulder; and it’s also too quiet in the family room which means Jeffrey is doing something he ain’t suppose to be doing! God Bless.” She commented on a post “Sherri Shepherd Jokes About Giving Her Surrogate Baby to Raven Symone & More on ‘The View’” that I wrote in 2015.)

Now I can understand that what Sherri said hurt his pride, but her truth is her truth whether he likes it or not!  Furthermore, if someone was paying me thousands of dollars a month, I would suck it up and chalk it up to a contentious divorce. And of course, TMZ had a get a response from Sherri after Lamar’s clap back! She said she didn’t blackball him at all. In fact, she said she hopes he does get some writing gigs so that her child support payments can be reduced! I hear that!

You can check out Sherri’s full response to Lamar’s response HERE on TMZ.

In other Sherri Shepherd news, the comedic duo of Sherri Shepherd and Kym Whitley will serve as hostesses for for the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association Dinner. The dinner is being held today at 6:30 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. With music by DJ D-Nice, the exclusive, invitation only gala is attended by media influencers, policymakers, executives, corporate and advocacy organization allies and Hollywood VIPs.

The event will honor the accomplishments of media industry legends and luminaries of color, including “The Fly Jock” Tom Joyner, NBC 4 news anchor Eun Yang, EMMY Award winning journalist Veronica Villafane, and digital media executive Parker Morse. Congresswoman Val Demings(D-FL.) will also be honored for her seminal work to increase media diversity, and there will be a special tribute to John Singleton including family members.

MMCA is a nonpartisan/nonprofit organization leading a call to action to increase media diversity. In just its fourth year, MMCA has become a trusted convener and facilitator of thought leadership, resource and information sharing and strategic engagement between multicultural media stakeholders, tech and media decision-makers, policymakers and private entities committed to increasing the percentage of diverse media stakeholders and content. www.mmcadc.org; @mmcadc on all platforms.

Any thoughts?

P.S. Know this…Just because someone says they’re “praying” for you doesn’t mean it’s a good thing…

Why ‘Insecure’ Actress Yvonne Orji is Right To Be Happy Following Her Breakup With Emmanuel Acho…

Hello World,

Insecure actress Yvonne Orji is not my friend in real life, but she is my friend in my head for many reasons. I interviewed the Christian actress for THE LOOKOUT in 2017, and I really admired her stance on virginity. This is what she told me:

“From the time I was 17 until now that I’m 33 going on 34, I’ve seen too much. I’ve seen the hand of God over the years in my life, and this one thing that he asks of me. I mean he asks many things of us. But this one thing [virginity] that is a roadblock for so many people, he’s been so faithful to me in the darkest of my days, it’s no biggie.”

Although I am married now, I was single for several years before then and I know her struggle. Also, since Yvonne is a first generation American born of Nigerian parents, I identify with her on that topic as well. My parents are Jamaican, but I was born in America. She has even created a show based on her experience as a first generation American. Below is more about her show:

Aside from this series, Yvonne is also developing her own half-hour sitcom, FirstGen, which is executive produced by media mogul Oprah Winfrey and actor David Oyelowo. Semibiographical, the show features a Nigerian girl who drops out of medical school for a stand-up comedy career and the shenanigans that ensue after her strict African mother discovers her plans. “This is my vision so it’s a very family-friendly show.”

If you would like to read the entire story, go to lookoutmag.com.

So in July 2018 when I learned that Yvonne had a new boyfriend after openly expressing her desire to meet her mate, I was hoping he was the one and wrote a happy blog post about it – Christian Actress Yvonne Orji Shares Prayer She Used to Attract Her New Boyfriend Emmanuel Acho! Emmanuel seemed like he could be the one she was waiting for…I mean his name means Messiah first of all and he is a Christian! And then they had the Nigerian connection. His father is from Nigeria. Also, although he works as an ESPN analyst, he has an artistic side as he can sing and play the piano! And on top of all of that, both are committed to charitable causes. Yvonne worked in Liberia with Population Services International, and Emmanuel worked in Nigeria with Living Hope Christian Ministries! And to put it all together in a pretty package, as a former Philadelphia Eagles’ linebacker, her man was all swole and stuff! When Yvonne announced their relationship on Instagram, she even said, “Jesus out here answering prayers on a Sunday.” He did seem like the answer to prayer…

But Yvonne Orji recently told her friend and author Luvvie Ajayi, who also has Nigerian heritage, on their Jesus and Jollof podcast that Emmanuel is no longer her man. Yvonne and Emmanuel have broken up. This is what she said about it, according to madamenoire.com:

“I just have to say, the reason I am so good and so happy is because I know how God works,” she said. “I have seen God’s MO so many times, that like in the way that you can be like, ‘Aw man, I thought this was it! I thought this was the one!’ God be like, ‘Oh that’s what you thought? I got the goods for you.’ It happened in my career when someone offered me a show and I was like, ‘This is it!’ and then the show went to nowhere. I got borderline depressed. Cut to Insecure. Cut to my life has changed.”

I believe Yvonne is right. Emmanuel may have been the prototype, but the finished product is on the way…and soon too…I’ve seen God do this many times in many areas of my life as well…But as it relates to romantic relationships…I remember in November 2009. I was despondent after yet another relationship blew up in my face…I had suffered through many breakups before but this one really took me out. This particular boyfriend/manfriend (I mean he was in his 30s at the time…) was one who I had dated before. When we first dated, he told me that he did not want to have a relationship. I wasn’t happy with his stance, but I respected his honesty. We remained friends for years. And then he changed his mind. My feelings hadn’t changed and I was available. It was so on until it wasn’t…It seemed cosmically cruel for life to play out that way…

But February 2010, the week of Valentine’s Day, I went out on a first date with the man who would become my husband…It was literally months after the breakup…Nothing but God…And if He did it for me, He can do it for you…

So Yvonne you better be happy because I am claiming on your behalf that the one worth waiting for is on the way!

Any thoughts?