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?






Greenleaf Recap Season 2 Episode 6: The Royal Family…

Hello World,

Only 2 more episodes of OWN’s “Greenleaf” before it returns this summer, saints! And there is so much to share from this episode, I won’t even try to come up with a catchy intro…

The Gambler…

This episode begins with Sophia asking her mother for money to apply to get into Rhodes College, a Christian college in the area where she is considering majoring in religious studies, but instead of encouraging her daughter to apply to get into the  school, Pastor Grace blows her daughter’s inquiry off. Why would Grace have a problem with allowing her daughter to apply for entry into a Christian school? Unlike Sophia, another pastor’s daughter, Zora, isn’t asking for money to apply to a Christian college, she wants permission to bring her boyfriend Isaiah to her cousin Sophia’s birthday party. Her mother Kerissa refers to the Triumph singer as a Christian thug in violation of her “no reprobate thug policy,” but her daddy, Pastor Jacob, grants her request as long as they don’t leave the property, which has been a problem for the young couple in the past.

Negotiations are also taking place at Calvary as Charity and Kevin along with their lawyers meet to begin the process of their divorce. The couple wants joint custody of their son Nathan, but Charity brings up the fact that she will be spending more time in Nashville than originally planned. Kevin shouts out, “Are you running off with Jabari?” To which Charity responds with, “What do you care?” Kevin flees from the meeting, prompting Aaron, Charity’s attorney, to ask her if he knows all of the details he should know to properly represent her. “Is there something going on with Jabari that I should be aware of?”

And the most unholy negotiations of them all are taking place at a car dealership (I hate buying cars) where Grace is car shopping with her new boo Darius, the journalist. She is searching for a truck to present to Sophia for her birthday but doesn’t like the sales shtick that you have to endure at a car dealership. Amen to that! She finds it so distasteful that she pretty much picks the first vehicle she looks at so that she won’t have to endure all of the haggling.

When Lady Mae corners Charity about the divorce proceedings, Charity reveals that Kevin may try to go for sole custody. Her mother still can’t understand why the two are divorcing anyway and tells her that although she is hiding something, “everything will come out sooner or later.”

Jacob does some cornering of his own when he confronts Basie about a Bass Reeves who contributes large sums of money to Triumph’s bottom line according to Triumph’s books. He wonders about the identity of the mysterious donor as he is unable to locate a contact for this man, who may be able to contribute to legal fees to fight Calvary. Instead of answering Jacob outright, Basie asks his protégé to watch him play with a deck of cards. He explains how he learned how to play cards on Beale Street before he challenges Jacob to play with him. Basie wins the game with a “royal family.” (I don’t play card games except for Uno and Speed so let me know if this terminology is wrong.) Jacob correctly guesses that Pastor Basie is Bass Reeves. Apparently, Pastor Basie supports his church Triumph with his gambling earnings! I want to be shocked, but I would bet there are plenty of pastors, unfortunately, who support their churches with unscrupulous undertakings…

Grace Under Fire…

Although Grace is still officially a Calvary pastor, she seems perilously close to falling away from the faith yet again. Even her wardrobe suggests her indecision. She is wearing beige – neither black nor white –  for most of the episode. In fact, rather than encouraging her daughter to apply to the Christian college, she calls the admission office at her alma mater Northwestern where she graduated from in 1998. (This detail helps me to frame her age. I guess she’s about 4o or 41.) Also, apparently, Bishop learned about the wedding that didn’t happen in part due to Grace’s “counseling.” Grace doesn’t deny that she seems to be losing her religion, and Bishop, ever the doting father when it comes to his Grace, tells her,”As long as you know there’s a problem, there’s hope.” But just when she has gotten into his good graces again, Gigi asks her father if she can bring her boyfriend, the journalist who covered the Mac Greenleaf scandal, to the Greenleaf estate for her daughter’s party. Bishop asks, “Darius Nash, the muckraker?”

Although cousins Zora and Sophia no longer live together, they do catch up at school. Despite their family ties, however, Zora seems to be developing on obsession with her boyfriend Isaiah, which makes her cousin feel uncomfortable. I’m sure some of that discomfort stems from the fact that Isaiah was originally Sophia’s crush, but it also seems that Zora’s displacement from Calvary and from the Greenleaf estate has encouraged her to take solace in her boyfriend. Every other word out of her mouth is “Isaiah” and she builds her schedule according to his pursuits. She dashes off from their conversation to attend his band practice.

Now that Basie’s gambling is no longer a secret, he invites Jacob to partake in a game of poker that floats from location to location. Jacob one ups him and says not only will he come but they can play at the parsonage. Jacob tells Kerissa that he won’t be able to attend Sophia’s party with her at the Greenleaf estate because of an important meeting with one of Triumph’s biggest donors. Kerissa isn’t thrilled about having to venture back to the estate without her hubby but she says if this meeting will “get us out of this house. I’m all for it.”

Meanwhile, back at Calvary, somehow Lady Mae got Charity to admit why she is divorcing Kevin. Lady Mae, without realizing that Bishop’s assistant is under his desk trying to sort out Internet wires, blurts out “Kevin is gay” in Bishop’s office. When the assistant comes up from the desk and looks at Lady Mae, Lady Mae says, “Loose lips sink ships.” But you know the word is going to get out now…Once the assistant leaves his office, Lady Mae tells Bishop that Kevin has been attending Fortitude for Families (the gay conversion therapy program) and that she wants him out of the house and out of the church.

But while Lady Mae is focusing on their baby daughter, Bishop is concerned about his eldest daughter. When Grace asked him if she could bring Darius to the Greenleaf estate, Bishop said he would ask her mother, but he never did. He just decides that the journalist is not welcome and asks Grace, “Do you think that this man is part of God’s plan for your life?” That is a fair question to ask considering what happens next. Grace calls Darius and tells him that Sophia’s party won’t be the occasion through which he meets her parents. Darius, being the level-headed journalist, suggests that the two just be friends. After all, “You’re a pastor, and I’m never going back to church.” I truly hope  Grace finds a way to cling to her faith and doesn’t fall away for good. Whether or not that happens, since the church is an integral part of her family tree, it doesn’t make sense for her to fall for a heathen…

Lady Mae is all about protecting her family although her methods to do are questionable…In the midst of pink and white flowers and decorations for Sophia’s party later that evening, she tells Kevin that “self-interest inspires generosity.” In other words, if Kevin wants to protect his standing, he better not take a stand against Charity in the divorce proceedings. When Kevin, Charity and the attorneys meet again, he agrees to terms so unfavorable to him that his attorney wants him to sign a malpractice waiver and Charity follows him out of the conference room to question him after the meeting concludes. He asks Charity if she told his mother about his sexuality. When she reluctantly tells him that she did, he hands her his wedding ring and says, “You win.” So have y’all noticed that Charity no longer looks like the wifey as she did in the first season? In this second season, she is constantly flipping a brand new sleek bob and is either wearing some tight or short. In this scene, she is wearing a flouncy, flirty skirt.

Despite the fact that they are divorcing, Charity tries to stay in the good graces of Kevin to no avail. When she compliments him about his attire for Sophia’s party, he says, “Don’t act like everything is cool between us.” He says that  now that Lady Mae knows about his sexuality, it is only a matter of time before everyone else at Calvary knows too. Basically.

Birds of a Feather…

It is finally time for Sophia’s birthday party, and her new boyfriend shows up! I believe his name is Roberto. So it seems that Roberto, a nice, Christian, young man, is also considering attending Rhodes College. Obviously, that is one of the attractions for the Christian college.

When Lady Mae discovers that Jacob will not be coming to the party because he has to work, she plainly says Triumph’s senior pastor is a fraud and that devil finds work for idle hands! I love Lady Mae 🙂

Grace asks Kevin and Aaron to wrap the bow around her daughter’s new truck and drive it to the front of the Greenleaf home for her. While they are outside in the dark, tying the bow around the vehicle, Aaron says to Kevin, he can talk to him “once the smokes clears.” What does he mean by that? Was Aaron hitting on Kevin on the sly? Now that would shake up some things, wouldn’t it?

Across town, at the poker game unfolding at the parsonage, Pastor Basie tells Jacob that Bass Reeves is not just an alias, it is the name of a real person. He refers to him as the real django as he was the “one of the first black deputy U.S. marshals” according to my quick Wikipedia inquiry. When Jacob asks Basie how he reconciles gambling as a way to support his church (“What about the law or even God’s law?”) he tells him that he doesn’t love money or depend on luck, which are prohibited according to the Bible. Rather, he donates the money to the church and he depends on God not luck. Okay…whatever…)Later on, after everything is over, Kerissa finds a stray dollar bill and wonders where it came from…)

Sophia receives a beautiful leather study Bible from her grandparents and hopefully, she will use to rightly divide the word of God for herself rather than rely on erroneous misinterpretations. In another special moment at the party, she also receives a truck or jeep (I’m so not into cars) from her mother. In her excitement, Sophia, Roberto, Zora and Isaiah are allowed to cruise around Memphis in her new ride. However, when Sophia stops at a bowling alley, Zora wants them to skip bowling and go for beer at a club with Isaiah the gospel singer. Sophia asks her cousin, “Why can’t you just stick with me for one night?”

After the party, Grace goes into her father’s office at Calvary where she sees him writing a personal note in the Bible that he gave Sophia. For whatever reason, I guess he wasn’t able to do that before he gave it to her. He writes Deuteronomy 32:2 in it. “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” That’s beautiful, huh? But Grace even finds a problem with that, telling her father that she doesn’t want her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Bishop admonishes his daughter for treating her faith like it’s a “sickness.” He says, “What is it going to take to bring you back into the fold?” She answers, “Put Mac in jail.” He advises her that vengeance is God’s business and that when we try to take the wheel from God, we quickly find ourselves in a ditch.” His last words to her, “You think on these things.”

And then the episode ends….What do you think Gigi should do? Do you think she should keep pursuing Mac or do you think she should turn over the matter to God?

Thank you for reading my looong Greenleaf Season 2 Episode 6 recap (I will try to shorten next week’s recap!).

Check out this video from “The Royal Family.”

If you would like to read these recaps as soon as I post them, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂!

Any thoughts?








Future Shock: ‘Born Again Virgin’ Season 2 Episode 1 Recap (It’s BACK!!!)

Born Again Virgin Cast TV One

Hello World,

“Born Again Virgin” AND my recaps are back!!! (Both are reasons to celebrate in my opinion 🙂 ) This episode is called “Home Sweet Old Folks Home” as Jenna, Kelly and Tara visit a senior center to help Kelly’s Aunt Maxine, who is turning 100, celebrate her milestone birthday. However, I also think this episode could be called “Future Shock” because the ladies meet women who could be older versions of themselves and it shocks them into taking action! The first shock of the visit happens when Kelly discovers that Rick’s mother is working there. For those who may not know or remember, Rick is Kelly’s secret sensation. She loves him but decides she has to break off their relationship because Rick lives with his mother and owes $200 to her. Yes, he’s that dude: the boy who hasn’t quite figured out how to become a man.

While Kelly sets up the party for her favorite aunt in a community room called the Boom Boom room (although Rick’s mother says the room’s name is a misnomer since the seniors prefer sneaking to a stairwell to have sex. Yes…apparently, sex still happens in senior centers!!!), Tara wanders off into another room where she sees Gigi Halston, an actress who lives at the senior center. Tara recognizes Ms. Gigi from a laxative commercial and is intrigued as the advanced age actress is entertaining some of the seniors with her singing.

Jenna encounters a woman named Eloise who is reading Zora Neale Huston’s classic “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Eloise, who is inspired by Teacake and Janie’s love, starts to tell her own love story to Jenna, who is wondering when her love will come along. (Earlier in the episode, she reveals she is looking for a man who has the character of President Obama, the humor of Kevin Hart and the soul of Bruno Mars!) Ms. Eloise, who looks to be a stately senior, surprises Jenna when she reveals that the love of her life was her lover on the side! Ms. Eloise was an adulteress who had an affair with a plumber named David. It was a winding story as David had a jail stint.

Meanwhile back at Aunt Maxine’s party, Rick shows up to Kelly’s surprise. He brings a cross heirloom piece to the birthday girl and charms all of her friends. In his conversation with the seniors, he reveals that he actually has a job as a manager at a sub shop AND he has a classic car, a Trans Am. One of the more spirited seniors says she got pregnant in a Trans Am back in the day. Kelly is starting to see that if her life continues as it has been, she may end up alone in a senior center herself. She also realizes that Rick is becoming more responsible even if for the time being, he still lives with his mother. “Baby steps,” his mother says to her, to describe Rick’s progress. She sneaks Rick into the stairwell for some senior center action and decides she will give him a second chance.

As Kelly and Rick get reacquainted, Ms. Gigi, who has unabashedly appeared in 78 Blaxploitation films, challenges Tara to take charge of her career and asks if she can sing and dance. After Tara tells Ms. Gigi that singing and dancing are not a part of her repertoire, Ms. Gigi challenges her to perform a monologue. Ms. Gigi performs “Desdamona” from “Othello” while Tara takes her on with “The Message” from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five! Hilarious! By the end of the impromptu senior center showcase, Tara realizes that she has a ways to go to be a true thespian like Ms. Gigi.

Jenna was about to hear the end of Ms. Eloise’s story when the ladies have to be leave the senior center in a hurry after Rick gets into a fight while playing dice with one of the seniors. Apparently, one of the seniors presses the panic button and Rick’s mother tells them they have to leave before they are reprimanded for Rick’s shenanigans. So days later, Jenna returns to the senior center to visit Ms. Eloise and find out what happened to Ms. Eloise and David. However, she is shocked to discover that Ms. Eloise has since made her transition, but Rick’s mother tells her that Ms. Eloise did leave something that may comfort Jenna as she grieves her loss. She brings out Ms. Eloise’s son David Jr., who is the love child of Ms. Eloise and David Sr. and is at the senior center to get this mother’s things. David Jr. offers to tell Jenna the end of the story over lunch…

It’s true that wisdom is best acquired by age, and if you want to peak into the future, a senior center is a good place to start looking.

Any thoughts?