Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Michael Williams

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Michael Williams, or as I’m called in this wonderful world of the interwebs, Cerealsensei. I was born in Austin, Texas but I spent a large portion of my life in Baltimore, Maryland where I was raised.

What does Cerealsensei mean?

The name Cerealsensei represents two parts of my personality. I have a slight obsession with cereal, I would consider myself a cereal connoisseur of sorts. If it was possible to eat cereal for every meal and not have your sugar levels spike through the roof I would do it but unfortunately life isn’t fair.

Haha. Okay Cereal Connoisseur, what’s your favorite?

The greatest cereal of all time is Waffle Crisp, without question. Sadly I believe it was discontinued last year so if you didn’t have it after all these years then you missed out on greatness. So by technicality I guess Cinnamon Toast Crunch is now sitting on the throne.

Lol. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the bomb if I must say so myself. Let’s get back to the meaning of your name…

The Sensei part comes from me being the oldest in my group of friends. I watched a lot of martial arts films growing up. Normally the Sensei was an older an teacher who was always the voice of reason and tried to keep everyone in line. In a way that’s kind of how I am in my group of friends, the resident old head who’s just trying to keep order. So i just kind of combined the two and Cerealsensei was born. Also, since my real name is so common I had to add in a nickname so you could find me easily in a google search.

Got it. What do you love about yourself?

A few years ago I might not have even been able to answer this question. But I’ve come to love the weird quirks and off beat humor of my personality. I know I’m different, and I don’t say that to be pretentious or “artsy” but it’s true. I’ve become fully aware that I march awkwardly to the beat of my own drum and I get lost among the crowd. But it’s what makes me who I am and I wouldn’t change it even if I could.

That’s beautiful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The Most Exciting thing?

The most exciting thing? The most difficult thing……I absolutely with all of my being despise editing. I dread it every time I have to do it, but it’s the most important part of the writing process in my opinion so it’s unavoidable. But it stresses my soul every single time. The most exciting thing would have to be that moment when you realize those crazy ideas you had in your head can actually become something tangible. That moment when you’ve got the words down on the paper in the exact way you wanted to and you can honestly be proud that you were able to flush that concept out into something readable. Ironically this happens a lot when you’re……editing, go figure.

What kind of music do you like?

Man, I could go on all day about this. Aside from writing music is a huge passion of mine. Now days I mostly listen to a lot of indie hip hop, Oddisee is probably my favorite rapper if I had to list one. But I appreciate all genre’s of music, they all bring something special to the table. Depending on my mood I’ll throw on some soul or R&B, then switch it up to some rock, something ambient or orchestral, I also love instrumental beat tapes which are great to listen to if you’re writing. One of the best things about the internet was it exposed me to so much music that I didn’t know existed, I spend a good amount of time doing what I call digital crate digging just trying to find new things to listen to.

I love everything about this cover! The Oddball Chronicles is available now on Amazon. About: Omar Odd is the kid who sits quietly in the back of the classroom with his headphones on. He is the kid who is always picked last for every team he tries to be apart of. He is the kid who’s just searching for a little bit of peace and quiet, in a world full of chaotic noise. Omar Odd is a new transfer high school student to the town of Ridgewood. He prefers to live the life of an outsider, but even outsiders find an in crowd.

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first book on November 12, 2018. When I finally put it out it was an awesome feeling, a lot of weight fell of my shoulders on that day. To be honest, when I put it out I wasn’t so much worried about people loving it or hating it. Obviously, I hope they like it. But putting out that first book was for me to prove that I could start this process and see it through until the very end. This was an idea that started about five years ago, so it was awesome to finally be able to release it and check that goal off of my bucket list. Now it’s about repeating that process over again, and not having it take five years to do.

What genre do you write in, why?

I’m terrible with categorizing but for now I guess you could say comedic fiction, aimed generally at a younger audience. I wanted my first book to be something that anyone could pick up and relate to in some way. I don’t want to talk over anyone’s head, I’m not trying to make some crazy and profound statement with my writing. I just want you to be able to pick it up and have a good time, writing fiction allows me to do that.

You definitely achieved that. From the cover and blurb, the Oddball Chronicles looks like a fun read!

My future projects which will also include scripts I’m working on will be much darker though. I don’t want to get pegged into any box. I’m a scatter brain and that influences how I write. I”ll never stick to just one genre. The Oddball Chronicles will stand as it’s own thing, but everything afterward most likely won’t resemble it at all.

What was your childhood dream?

My first childhood dream was to become a chef. Ha, boy did I fail that dream miserably. But to my credit, I’ve gotten better around the kitchen. Having health issues made me learn how to cook so I wouldn’t eat out so much. I’m not the best cook by any stretch of the imagination but I can make some pretty decent salmon.

Love Salmon. Let’s talk about writing a bit more. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?

This is a tough question. I think what I love is also what I hate. And that would be that there’s really no set playbook on how any of this works. You and I could both read the same writing advice and for you it might cause a light-bulb moment but my fuse will just blow out all together. It’s very cliché, but you really do have to find what works best for you.

I agree. What do you think of the world we live in?

It’s crazy, it’s out of control, some days I’m waiting for it to end. Whether it be Jesus coming back to take the wheel or an asteroid just wiping us all out. Everyday I see at least one news story or viral video that just makes me shake my head. But on the flip-side, the world still has it’s beautiful parts. There are still good people out here who are trying to do the right thing and push us forward. If nothing else, I love the creative boom that’s happening with content in terms of film, music and all of the other creative outlets. Underneath all of the madness there are some extremely talented people out here putting out great art and that’s what inspires me and keeps me going. I want to add my name to that conversation.

Why is writing important to you?

It’s the best way I know how to communicate. If I didn’t have it all of these wild ideas in my head wouldn’t leave, writing helps me give them a home so they don’t bother me for too long. Writing is a release for me and gives me a sense of accomplishment every time I do it. If I wasn’t writing I’d hate to think of where I’d be or what I’d be doing. Life wouldn’t be much fun without it.

Thank you Michael for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©2019. Michael Cerealsensei Williams

Bio.

My name is Michael Williams and I’m an independent author and podcaster currently living in Edgewood, Maryland. When I’m not writing stories or scripts you can find me obsessing over Mixed Martial Arts, playing video games and/or attempting to finish an anime (I have commitment issues). On November 12th, 2018 I released volume one of my short story series entitled The Oddball Chronicles. I wanted to write something that captured the growing pains of every day life and put my little off beat brand of humor on it. Hopefully if someone else reads it they’ll find it halfway entertaining, or possibly even learn something.

Be Sure to Follow Michael Online!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Williams/e/B07J4HP54G

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CerealSensei

Soundcloud (Podcast): https://soundcloud.com/cerealsensei

Blog: https://thecerealsensei.wordpress.com/

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Coed by James Fant

Title:  Coed

Author: James Fant

Print Length: 188 pages

Publisher: James Fant Books, LLC

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B01N9SH36I

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*

Coed is a romantic comedy about a man and woman who invests in a barber-beauty shop business called Coed. In a scene reminiscent of the movie Barber Shop, men cut hair on one side and the women do hair on the other. Owners Travis “Trap” Barber and Sade Styles are best friends whose friendship is put to the test when Sade’s lease is up and she moves in with Travis. Being “besties” is one thing but can Trap and Sade maintains a platonic relationship while living under the same roof? The novel seeks to answer this question in a hilarious way.

I loved this book mostly because the author had me rolling. Make me laugh like that and you’re a winner in my book. When Sade moves in with Trap, they each fight to control the feelings they have for one another like Sidney and Dre from the movie Brown Sugar. It is obvious they are attracted to each other on multiple levels but Sade has a man and Trap’s a playboy. Eventually, Sade breaks it off with her boyfriend and Trap insists on attending Myrtle Beach with her to see Lalah Hathaway. What he doesn’t know is how deeply the trip would impact them both.

While Coed is funny, I enjoyed the important messages throughout the novel as well and how it took on a more serious feel toward the end. We get to understand more deeply about the past of the main characters and what contributed to them being the way that they are. It was refreshing and I appreciated this because it is not something we often think about in relationships period. That is, why do people do the things that they do? What makes them tick? So, they are exhibiting off behavior, but why? Have we sought to understand or did we write them off? Instead of casting one another off, see people through the eyes of love. Usually, when someone is being nasty it’s because they are going through something. If we thought of this more, I think the world would be in a much better position.

My least favorite part was that there were instances where the author inserted himself into the narrative. I found this distracting and unnecessary. I also think the “He Said, “She Said” at the beginning of the Chapters is not needed. The author is talented enough to capture whose perspective we are reading without it.

However, none of these took away from the story. At the end of the day I was still laughing my butt off and Trap and Sade’s past revealed was really the final touch this novel needed to bring it on home. I stayed up late just to see what would happen. If you’re a fan of Brown Sugar, Barbershop, and The Best Man, you’ll want to read this book.

I recommend it for lovers of romance, comedy and drama. It has it all.

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

COED is available now on Amazon

 

Be Sure to Follow this Author Online!

Website: http://www.jamesfantbooks.com/

Movie Night Friday – Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

This isn’t my favorite movie (It’s actually been a long time since I’ve seen it) but it is one of those coming of age movies I liked growing up. While I don’t like everything about it, like all the movies I enjoy, it does combine elements from some of my favorite things. Before we get into some of what I love about it, let’s get a quick glance at what this movie is about.

Wikipedia:

In this sequel, Las Vegas performer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) is surprised by a visit from her nun friends, including Sister Mary Patrick (Kathy Najimy) and Sister Mary Lazarus (Mary Wickes). It appears Deloris is needed in her nun guise as Sister Mary Clarence to help teach music to teens at a troubled school in hopes of keeping the facility from closing at the hands of Mr. Crisp (James Coburn), a callous administrator. Can Deloris shape the rowdy kids into a real choir?

As you can see this is a sequel but I am not a fan of the first one. I’m not a Christian/Catholic and I just wasn’t moved. I think what made me enjoy this one though is the element of the youth being involved. To me they literally made the movie.

Letters to a Young Poet – The first time I heard of Maria Rainer Rilke was watching this movie. It’s funny because in the example Deloris used to encourage one of her more rebellious students (Rita played by Lauryn Hill), she used an example in which she talked about writing. saying:

 

“Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning you couldn’t think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer.”

She was comparing this to the young woman’s desire to sing and that if she wakes up wanting to sing, then she’s supposed to be a singer. Not only did I believe what Deloris said (that if I woke up and all I could think about was writing then I’m a writer) but I also went out and bought the book when I grew up. (You gotta understand I was only six when this movie came out and didn’t see it until I was a little older). Sometimes I would watch the movie just to see this one part. Since I thought about writing, I knew she was talking about me.

Comedy – Of course, I love Whoopi’s comedy in the movie as well as the other women playing the nuns. I love to laugh and will rarely pass up a movie that gives a few chuckles.

Music – One of my favorite things about the movie is obviously the music. I loved hearing the kids voices and watching them transition as the choir began to take shape. And of course ya’ll know they jammed at the end.

Investing in our Youth – Just the fact that the movie is about someone taking the time to invest something positive into the lives of children is a huge plus for me. Now, it’s no Lean on Me but its still cool. The students were, as the description calls them “rowdy” when Deloris first met them. Talking back and playing cruel tricks on their teacher. Largely Black and Hispanic, the children live in the community and are barely being taught as the school does not have enough money for books. In fact, the school is in danger of closing down due to a lack of funding and of course, this will displace the children to schools in other districts. I liked seeing the different personalities of the children and seeing how they grew throughout the movie. With a passion for singing it is possible that they could be the first in their families to graduate and do something with their lives they never thought possible.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“If you wanna go somewhere, if you wanna be somebody, then you better wake up and pay attention. Cause the world out there don’t care how cool you think you are or who you kick it with. It don’t matter. If you don’t have an education, you don’t have anything and that’s the truth honey.”

“So because you think they sang it better, ya’ll are ready to leave cause you got scared…Let me remind you of something OK? If you wanna go somewhere and you wanna be somebody you better wake up and pay attention because if every time something scary comes up you wanna run, ya’ll are gonna be running for the rest of your lives.”

Sister Act 2 Trailer (even though to me they didn’t really show the good parts lol)

Movie Night Friday – The Best Man

As promised, welcome to the resurgence of Movie Night Friday. Whoop Whoop! If you’re new to this blog, please visit the Movie Night Friday Page HERE and then take a look at last week’s post HERE.

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.
The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

 

Since this is the first week of our return, I decided I won’t go in hard. For our welcome back I decided to choose a movie that’s light and fun. One that is entertaining but also has many lessons that we can learn from. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen it but don’t worry, doggie and me was more than happy to re-watch it for you. To be transparent, I am watching it as I am writing this.

There aren’t many movies I watch just for entertainment but I do love this one (I’m a sucker for all black casts! Gotta love my people).  Probably one of Terrance Howard’s funniest roles, let’s jump right in shall we?

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From Wikepedia:

“Harper Stewart (Diggs) is a young man living in Chicago with his beautiful and devoted girlfriend, Robyn (Lathan). However, Harper has a professional life as an author and is on the verge of a major breakthrough. He is hesitant about committing to a woman. Harper’s debut novel, Unfinished Business, has been selected by Oprah’s Book Club, pretty much guaranteeing him a bestseller.

Harper travels to New York City, where his best friend, Lance (Chestnut), who is a running back for the New York Giants, is getting married to a young lady named Mia (Calhoun), who is also an old friend of Harper’s. Harper is picked up at the airport by his friend, Murch (Perrineau), and they catch up in the car. Eventually, they meet up with Jordan (Long), Harper’s old what-could-have-been female friend who has obtained an advanced copy of his book and has been passing it around their inner circle of friends. Due to its autobiographical nature, Harper never intended for any of them to read “Unfinished Business” prior to the wedding.”

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A romantic comedy, the movie surrounds the friendship between Harper and Lance leading up to his wedding. Harper is Lance’s Best Man and the movie deals with the tension building up to the point where Lance reads the book written by Harper and the truth concerning his perfect little Mia. Stupidly, Harper has laid out all the juicy details in his book.

What I love about this movie is that it has laughs, drama, and a message. It is not a movie I watch all the time anymore but whenever I need to relax to a laugh I put it on. Here are some bullet points and dear authors, don’t be Harper.

#1. Never write a fictional book based on real life events that you don’t want to get out.

This was by far the stupidest thing ever. First off, everyone knew who was who in the book, so even though Harper tried disguising the individuals, it was still apparent who they were. Harper, these are your college friends you still keep in touch with. They know you well. Did you really think they wouldn’t know who they were? People, if you want to air your dirty laundry then just do it. Don’t write a book about it.

#2. Ladies, don’t be controlling!

Murch and Shelby’s relationship is annoying. It’s annoying because the woman is controlling and the man is too weak to call her on it. We are supposed to be there to support our men, to stand by them, and to help them, not to control their every move. Men are natural leaders. Let them lead!

#3. Don’t Judge

Candy was a stripper yes but she ended up being the perfect match for Murch.

#4.  Don’t be a hypocrite

One minute Lance is quoting the bible and the next he’s giving Harper permission to cheat.

#4. You are not in control

The more we try to control what is beyond our reach, the more mistakes we are bound to make. Everything also happens for a reason. If Lance would have never found out, maybe Harper would not have appreciated Robyn the way he did in the end and the information could have come up later in Lance marriage and destroyed it.

#6. Be forgiving

Lastly, no matter what you go through in your relationship, be forgiving. Robyn could have walked out on Harper and Lance could have walked out on Mia.

Forgiveness is powerful not just because of how it changes the individual but how it changes everyone involved. You are not forgiving just for their sake, but for yours. Forgiveness is powerful because what goes around, comes around. The energy you put out will come back. It’s inevitable. If you want to be forgiven of your mistakes, then you must be willing to forgive others. It’s the only way.

As I did before, here’s the trailer to The Best Man and no, I do not recommend Best Man Holiday. As much as I love this movie I did not like the sequel. Not only do I not celebrate holidays but part two was just …whack. Some movies cannot be remade.

The Best Man Movie Trailer

Writer’s Quote Wednesday Challenge – Comedy

Now yall know I love to laugh right? I’m sitting here wondering why I keep thinking about one more thing I needed to post today and then it hit me. Duh! It’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday!

So…welcome back to Writer’s Quote Wednesday hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan from Ronovan Writes. Today’s theme is Comedy.

There were so many quotes to choose from, including the one about how behind every just kidding is the truth. But, I’m sure we’ve all heard that one before. The quote that really stuck out to me above the others is this one:

So let me get this straight, if I laugh a lot, then my wrinkles will be on my cheeks? LOL

Comedy is a very powerful thing because it has the ability to heal as well as conceal. Laughter can uplift but it can also deceive and that’s the complex thing about comedy. Comedians tell the truth all the time, but because its a joke its not something many people take very seriously. This makes a comedian probably more powerful than a lot of professionals as they have lots of creative room which gives them space for the social messages many of them incorporate into their jokes. However, in the end a good laugh does wonders for the soul. According to an article in Laughter is the Best Medicine, “A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.” That’s amazing.

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”

~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.

Movie Night Friday – Harlem Nights

MNF

I know yall were hoping I forgot about Movie Night Friday, nope! lol. So, today’s pick is Harlem Nights.

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Whenever I am in the mood for some real laughter I have to put this in, by far one of Eddie Murphy’s best to date, which is kind of ironic sense I think it won the worst directors award or something. I want to watch it just thinking about it.

Harlem Nights (’89) was written, executive produced, and directed by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the movie alongside Richard Pryor. After a young Quick (Murphy) shoots a man trying to play Sugar Ray (Pryor) in a dice game, Ray decides to raise Quick as his own son when he discovers both his parents are dead.

harlem-nights

Having discovered just how much money the men are bringing in, Ray comes home to find a stranger in his home looking for the owner of the club. Calhoun has sent a corrupt detective, Phil Cantone, to threaten Ray with shutting the club down unless Calhoun gets a cut. Ray uses the wisdom of his old age to decide it may be best to shut down and move to a different location. But the young and fiery Quick on the other hand is not to be ran away by anyone. Nonetheless, Father and Son must make a decision and time is running out.

The film also features Michael Lerner, Danny Aiello, Redd Foxx, Della Reese, and Murphy’s brother Charlie Murphy.

Movie Trailer:

Funny Movie Mistakes:

In the opening scene when the guys are shooting craps, Little Quick shoots the large man squarely between the eyes. The man wasn’t looking downward and it would have been impossible for a 4 foot tall kid to shoot a 6 foot tall man at that angle squarely in the forehead.

LOL!

Pop Quiz:

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In what other movie did this kid act in that I featured in another Movie Night Friday post? Comment below if you know!