Bests of 2015. Dicey’s Year in Review.

Well, we’re at the end of another busy and exciting year. Just so happens I didn’t make President Barack Obama or 12030301_10207987293382989_4000045188758674967_oFirst Lady Michelle Obama’s Best Author of the Year list. None of my books made their Best Book of 2015 list either. Matter of fact, they don’t even know I’m alive…but it gives me something to work towards in 2016. #SilverLining It also makes me reflect back on my bests of 2015. What did I love most about this year? Get ready for my year in review.

Go here for the POTUS and FLOTUS’s Favorite Things of 2015 list. Keep reading for mine.

Favorite Movie. ALWAYS a tough one for me. If you know anything about me, you know I absolutely love movies. I would watch them all day and night, if I could. I will watch the same one back-to-back. I will watch one I hate all the way through just because there’s “something” to like about it. I watch comedy, horror, action, romance, indie, Blockbusters, old, new, black-n-white, subtitled, foreign… It doesn’t matter. So, as usual, I watched quite a few of them this year.

Some of my favorites were Mad Max: Fury Road (might as well add anything with Tom Hardy to my favorite list), Creed (gosh damn, Michael B. Jordan is fine, and he put his heart and soul into this), South Paw (whew…Jake Gyllenhaal did that…and you might be noticing a trend by now), Avengers: Age of Ultron (what do you think I liked about it? Everything), Inside Out (ha! I’m losing cool points now, but this movie is deep), Hotel Transylvania 2 (well, I loved the first one, and it’s about vampires and monsters, so duh), Goosebumps (say what you will–that movie was great!), Straight Outta Compton (’cause I need some street cred now), Magic Mike XXL (yeah, I said it! WHAT! I mean THIS happened), and The Road Within (a funny ass indie movie y’all need to freaking watch!).

This is faaarrrrrr from listing all of the movies I watched in 2015. These are the ones that left me feeling WOW!!! at the end. These are the ones that I would watch again and again. And this is just from my New Release list. Oh–and the year’s not over. By the end of December, I will have my butt in a theater seat for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Crap! I forgot about Run All Night. I saw it so early in the year when I was kind of crushing on Joel Kinnaman (from The Killing and Robocop) so… Wait. Selma was damn good too. I saw that sometime around January. Geez…how do I choose ONE favorite?

Which oMad Maxf these entertained me all the way through, left me feeling great afterwards, and I’ve watched it more than once already? I’ve seen Magic Mike, Mad Max, and The Road Within three times each. Has to be one of these.

You know what? I’m going to go with the first movie that popped into my head when I sat down to do this list. When I heard this movie was coming out, I got excited immediately–and that was in 2010. Not only was I a big fan of Mel Gibson’s version, but when I saw who was cast as Max in the 2015 version–SOLD. I waited and waited for 5 years, stealing glimpses of promotional posters and leaked vids here and there. Even with all the build-up and anticipation, it did not disappoint. It was an insane, high-octane, action-packed ride that I thoroughly enjoyed. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is my favorite movie of 2015.

Favorite Book. This one’s easier, because I didn’t read for entertainment this year as much as I have in previous years. Not sure what happened, but suddenly I found myself enjoying…*gasp*…NONfiction. So I read autobiographies and memoirs of successful people I respect and admire. I figured I could learn something from them, and I did.

12308921_10208283780754988_1409927075_nThe one I enjoyed the most was Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes, the writer/creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy other books. I just really connected with where she was in her life when she wrote it, and where I need to be mentally in order to be closer to where she is now. Does that make sense? I read it over my Thanksgiving break, and it was just what I needed when I needed it: motivational, inspirational, and food for my soul.

A noteable mention is The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson (with Neil Strauss). If you read my books, you’ll probably guess that I’m a huge Marilyn Manson fan. We have more in common than you’d think. I’ve sort of been undercover with this obsession until recently. But I am enamored with the man, the artist, the performer, th11990577_990175531004724_4084347531625430331_ne writer, the actor, the philosopher, the musician, the singer…

Which brings me to…

Favorite Song. It’s off Marilyn Manson’s 2015 album, The Pale Emperor. It’s got the right amount of darkness, rhythm, passion, sexiness, and ambiguity. Deep Six, ladies and gentlemen, is my #1 of the year. I jammed to it like a mad woman while in the mosh pit at The End Times Tour concert in July. It was my first MM concert, my first mosh pit experience, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Going to The End Times Tour concert, in case it’s not obvious by now, was one of my favorite things in 2015. *Pictured above: Hubby and I after the concert.*

Other songs that I loved this year: The Weekend (Can’t Feel My Face, Earned It), Pentatonix (ALL of their songs, covers and originals), Demi Lovato (Confident, Cool For the Summer), Nick Jonas (Chains, Levels, Jealous), Selena Gomez (Good For You, Same Old Love), Joe Thomas singing Adele’s Hello… *deep breath* I could go on. I’d embarrass myself even more by throwing some Justin Bieber in there (Sorry and Where Are You Now are hot. What are you talkin’ ’bout?). My music tastes are all over the place. I vibe to what I like, and that’s that.

Just for the record, this is why I haven’t been writing daily on my blog within the past year. I’m just too long-winded. This was supposed to be a short 1-2-3 post and then I was supposed to go to bed. Instead, it’s 2:15 AM. I have to be up at 6:00 AM. And…I have to list about 500 tags from all the name-dropping I did in this very informative post.

I’ll have to schedule this post to go live in a few hours and do a Part II later. I’m just touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my bests of 2015.

Good night. 😉

 

Cover Model Extraordinaire~Jaies Baptiste.

[**Jaies and I took it a step further in 2016 and did a video interview. For an update to the 2012 written interview below, click on this Youtube video link. Thanks!**]

2012 interview:

I will go ahead and tell you now that I LOVE Jaies Baptiste. She’s smart. She’s beautiful. She’s funny, multi-talented and kind-hearted. With all that being said, you may find it surprising that she’s also very humble about it all. I am so glad to have this model, singer, songwriter, and…biologist (yep, you read right) representing my character Sleepy Willow. I’m also happy to call her my friend.

Dicey: How long have you been modeling? Singing? Songwriting? Which do you enjoy most and why?

Jaies: I have been modeling for 11 years. As a child, since I was such a tomboy, my mother sent me to charm school at John Robert Powers! (laughing). I always liked singing and writing and wrote my first song at 9 years old. Modeling was something that I kind of fell into when I was younger for the extra money, but singing, well music overall, is my passion, it’s my first love.

Dicey: What is your day job? How do you balance it along with your art? Do you have any plans of leaving it to pursue your art full-time? Why?

Jaies: My day job, I’m a Biologist and I work at a pharmaceutical company managing and monitoring clinical trials on investigational drug product and it keeps me on the road! However, since I have a lot of flexibility in my job, it provides a great work/life balance so that I can continue to pursue my dreams and goals. Although I do love research, I am hoping that one day I can just concentrate on my craft, on music, full time.

Dicey: How did you come to be on the cover of my novel Sleepy Willow’s Heartless Soul (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 2)?

Jaies: I would say that was “kizmet”. (Laughing) I love to read, and I LOVE anything that has to do with vampires, so, this was inevitable. I read book one of Dicey Grenor’s book Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul, and decided to leave a comment about the book. When the author replied, I guess she saw my picture in the post, and decided that I looked a lot like what she had in mind for her main character Willow, and we set up a test shoot and she said…”I think we’ve found our Willow!” (smiling)

Dicey: You’ve been there with me at various networking events, including the 2012 National Black Book Festival (click for pictures), and you’ve spoken about my books with enthusiasm to anyone who would listen. That’s going above and beyond the call for modeling. Why do that for me? How do you feel when you’re representing Sleepy Willow?

Jaies: I have enjoyed all of the books in the series, and I’m currently waiting on book 3…I speak with such enthusiasm, because I’m not just the cover model, I’m a fan. I love Willow, the character doesn’t hold back on anything! Willow is funny, sexy, intelligent, raw, bold and fearless! The book has many different elements…comedy, action, romance, sex, it’s just entertaining!!! I feel honored to be representing Willow because she’s just an amazing character, although, she has some BIG shoes to fill and I hope that I can live up to the hype!

Dicey: When I first saw that you were a model, I thought you were beautiful, but the reason I asked you to be on the cover was because your personality was so pleasant. I thought you’d be good to work with. Does that surprise you? In securing modeling and singing gigs, which do YOU think is more important: getting along well with others or being talented?

Jaies: Wow, thank you! I think the most important thing is being able to work with someone who is personable, talent has to be an element there, however, if a person just has talent and no interpersonal skills, then you as the author, director, etc, can not effectively get your vision across because the artist isn’t listening to what you want. You have to be able to get along with others in order to maximize productivity and I think that those ingredients tend to yield the best results for everyone.

Dicey: If you had one shot at winning over a new fan, which of your songs would you want them to hear? Which photograph would you want them to see?

Jaies: I think the song that I like the best, would be a song that I am currently recording called “ Fiyah”. It’s a song about never giving up on your dreams, staying on fire for them, staying passionate about your dreams and seeing them come to fruition. The photo that I’ve included is exactly who I am. I love to sing and vibe to music for new ideas constantly.

Dicey: Jaies, I had to post two of MY favorites. Booyah!

Where else have you been featured as a model, singer, songwriter?

Jaies: I have worked as a model featured with Def Jam, Axe, Skype, Miller Brewing Co, Pantene, POM Wonderful, Revlon, Hanes, Dove, Gillette. I have just gotten my first placement in a feature film called “Note to Self” staring Brian McKnight, Eva Pigford, Jason Weaver, LeToya Lucket, Christian Keyes, and Clifton Powell (TriDestined Films), my song, “Do It To Me” and I’m pretty psyched about it!! I work with an artist Mateo Amarei and we write and submit for various artists and I have a publishing company called DeLyrikz Ink.

Dicey: This reminded me that I should have added actress to the list. I forgot you’ve been in a few indie movie roles and some music videos. *slaps my forehead* I’m so happy your song will be featured in “Note to Self“. That’s awesome!

Do you prefer singing alone or with a group? Why? Do you prefer singing on a track or live before an audience? Why?

Jaies: I prefer to sing alone. I have tried the group thing, and unless the other group members are like minded, then it ALWAYS ends catastrophically!! Women groups, especially, are much to “catty”. And as for performances, definitely live with a band, because as an artist you feed off the crowd, and…..I’m a ham! (Laughing)

Dicey: What project(s) is(are) you working on now?

Jaies: Currently, I am working on my solo project and have a showcase in September for Sony Records, so, we shall see how it goes, wish me luck!! Also, check out “Sight of Sound” by Mateo Amarei because I am featured on the album and have written on 5 of the tracks. You can find the album on amazon, itunes, rhapsody, and many other sites that sell and promote music.

Dicey: Good luck! And shout out to Mateo! I love his album.

What is your ultimate goal? By that I mean, what is the one thing that can happen in your career to make you say, “Wow. I’ve made it.”

Jaies: Ultimate goal is to have the opportunity to do what I love everyday for a living, which is writing and creating music. I don’t have to be rich, but I’d be very happy if I could leave corporate behind and just focus on my craft.

How to contact Jaies:
http://www.facebook.com/jaies
http://www.twitter.com/jaiesbaptiste
http://www.soundclick.com/jaiesbaptiste

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Much love to you, Jaies! Thanks for answering my most pressing questions. We’ll have to do a follow-up interview because I have soooo many more. So many more pictures too. 😀 I wish you all the best!

The cover image for Sleepy Willow’s Loosed Soul (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series book 3), featuring Jaies Baptiste, is FIRE. The full cover will be revealed soon.

What I’m Jamming

I’m still basking in the glow from a concert I went to two weeks ago here in H-town: Mint Condition, Anthony Hamilton, and Jill Scott. Jazzy Jeff and Doug E. Fresh did their thing between the main acts and Paul Wall even made an appearance. It was all the way live.

I love music. Sometimes I listen to it while I’m writing to really get in the groove.

If it’s a fight scene, I like to hear some upbeat hip-hop. If it’s a deathly, wicked, vampire-I’m-about-to-do-some-killing scene, I like to hear heavy metal. If it’s a sex scene, nothing compares to smooth jazz. Mostly, what you’ll find on my Pandora station, in addition to those mentioned above: Eric Benet, Trey Songz, Sade, Kenny G., Robin Thicke, Avant (“Read Your Mind” happens to be playing right now), Keyshia Cole, and Lil’ Wayne (I absolutely LOVE “How to Love”). I also play a lot of 80’s and 90’s music.

The music doesn’t influence my mood. My mood dictates the music.

Yes, I listen to all kinds of music, but I never EVER want to hear country. Just saying.