Sunday, January 31, 2016

1996: From Boy To Man

1996 was the year that I continued my progression from boy to man.  I got my driver's license that year, graduated high school, turned 18, went on two big trips, and began college.

It's hard to believe all of this has been 20 years. Time truly does fly by. I had a good hairline then and a clean face.

I showed my independence as a freshman at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Not only was I the first in my grandma's immediate family to graduate high school, I had earned the right to attend a university. And it was an adjustment. Many do not know, but there were days and nights that I didn't know if I would make it. I was away from home for a long period of time, no supervision, didn't know many people , and the classes were so hard (especially those 8am classes). I actually not only missed my family, I missed my high school and hometown. Strange if you hear me now. I was in a different world for sure, one that I would grow to love.

This was also the year I lost my great grandpa, Bill Dover, long the patriarch of the Dover clan. He passed away shortly after my high school graduation at age 82.  I also gained a new family, finally connecting with my dad's side of the family, the McGills. Circumstances had kept me from them but I was determined to get to know them now.

I still loved my R&B, but my guilty pleasure was actually Alanis Morrisette. She had some moving ballads that got me through this transitional period. Movie wise, Independence Day with Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox ruled the box office. The South was all a buzz about the Carolina Panthers beginning their first season in then-Ericcson stadium, and with the Summer Olympics being held in nearby Atlanta, GA. Who would have thought the Panthers would be playing in their second Super Bowl since that time? 

1996 was quite a year for me, one of growth and happiness.

What were your favorite memories of 1996? Was it a good year for you?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Adam Lanier: 10 Years Later, Still Making An Impact

This is without question the toughest blog I have had to write in my six years of blogging.

Many of you know my only brother, Justin Adam Lanier, passed away of an accidental drug overdose after fighting substance abuse for six years prior. This Thursday, January 28 will mark 10 years since he left us in the physical.

Imagine your worst day ever. Well this day was 100 times as worst. And often it feels as it just happened.

Here are some tidbits/facts for those that didn't get the chance to know my brother, and for those that did.

1. He was born March 2, 1983 in Divine Savior Hospital in York, SC. (now closed). He arrived into the world feet first (breech birthed).

2. He was always very active and hyper, walking and running at only six months. To my recollection, he never had to learn, he just did it.

3. His baby names were "Lovey" and "Fatwad". If you saw his early pics, you would see why.

4. Adam was always popular, having many friends around. That continued throughout his life.

5. My brother had a natural gift with the ladies and young children. Both gravitated towards him. He was quite the entertainer. I'm confident he would have been an awesome father and possibly husband.

6. Adam was actually pretty smart in school, he just didn't apply himself. He was all about friends, girls, and fitting in.

7. His favorite holiday was Halloween and he made a huge deal out of it yearly.

8. He lived life to the fullest, possibly because he knew he didn't have a lot of time on Earth.

9. We didn't have a lot in common at all,  but one thing we shared was a deep and loyal love for our mother. No one messed with our mama!

10. Adam was in the high school marching and jazz band for six years, playing the drums. He won many awards and was simply skilled.

11. His resemblance to rapper Eminem was uncanny, especially once he dyed his own hair.

12. My mom's house was the local teenage hangout for a number of years. Many parties were thrown weekly.

13 He, like our grandpa Frosty, was extremely superstitious.

14. His death has inspired others in his circle and age group to do many great things. Many of them didn't want to be a statistic. I would give anything to get him back, but I take solace in the fact that others loved him so much and he made such an impact on their lives.

This day is never easy for me or my mother. We have learned to celebrate the man he was becoming, and to tell the positive stories of his life. He can be a cautionary tale and an inspiration.

R.I.P. Justin Adam Lanier #forever22

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Being The Unwelcome House Guest: Who Wants That?

I figured I would add a little shock value with this title. This is how many of us feel like we are treated: like an unwanted presence or different, like the oddity that many minorites have felt for decades and centuries.

This is Dr. Martin Luther King Day weekend, and Black History Month is around the corner. America is honoring a man that gave his life so that ALL could have equal rights and treatment. Dr. King's dream extended to social, political and professional circles as well. It may have been motivated by how blacks were treated in the 50s, but it was much broader.

Present day, many still practice this unfair, unjust treatment of others simply because they look, talk or act differently than yourself. We need unity and tolerance if we are ever going to move forward as a country and society. This is the HUMAN race, and Dr. King's dream for equality will continue to move at a slower pace consequently.

Think about it: when it is the last time you treated less than or inferior? How did it make you feel? Often you must place yourself into the shoes of others. Also, see this person as your best friend, parent or even child. You would be angry if they were treated in an unjust manner so why go and do it to someone else for no good reason?

Hate and racism are definitely taught and fueled by negative influences and exposures. One much open their hearts, eyes, minds and treat everyone better. Say hi to that coworker who is completely different than you. Thank the custodial and maintenance staffs of wherever you may be. Strike up a conversation with someone of a different background. These small gestures can assure that no one is being treated in an ugly matter.

Being and acting fair is a choice. Can you do it now, and going forward?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Five Writers To Watch In 2016 And Beyond

Many of us continue to read, write and support others in this endeavor. I always am supportive of those entering the writing world through blogging, books, spoken word and such. Now here are five such people to look out for in this year 2016.

1. Larry Parks

He also goes by "Larry P" as he has an online radio show called The Larry P Show hosted by Dok featuring N-Murda on The Good Ole Boys Network. He is actually the only male being featured and that is not intentional. His book "Fumble" is based on his failed attempts at intimacy. It takes courage and a sense of humor to put this in print. Larry does all of that well. I keep his book next to my nightstand as it a good, addictive read. A copy can be yours from Amazon for only $5. Support this young man now and in his future endeavors. Don't fumble your chance away!

2. Author R. Newson

I have featured Rayn Newson before when she first penned "When A Woman Loves". Now she is two books in and is developing her writing prowess and her brand. She has merchandise, a social media presence and relates to young adult women well. Her tales are of love, dreams, and entrepreneurship. Look out for her next book, and pick up her other two if you do not already own them. The place to go is

3. Being Kindra

I have known Kindra for 20 years now. One of the things that has been a constant about her is the impeccable sense of fashion she possesses. One may see her as simply a shoe and heel fiend, but she actually is an expert on accessoring and showcasing all forms of fashion. Kindra is literally showing her passion for fashion through written word. Her stories are real, detailed and entertaining. Check her out at and become one of her many followers.

4.  Inner Beauty Artistry.

The creator of this blog, Monet Brown, is a licensed esthetician. She specializes in skin care and treatment and wants to share her tips with the world. She is more than just a clean face or skin specialist. Monet wants us to get the most out of our skin and is not shy about showing her knowledge of products, proper care and dos/do nots. Visit and follow this young lady at

5. She Is Bonita

Bonita Davis seemingly has it all. Brains, charm, an angelic singing voice, inner and outer beauty, and a stable, growing career.  The one thing she currently doesn't have is a significant other. As she exits her 20s, she openly shares with her readers her journey through love over the past few years and where it has lead her. Bonita's hope is to help someone who is going through similar experiences, and to grow into a better person herself. Check out this captivating lady at She Is Writing. She Is Brave. She Is Uncompromising. She Is Bonita!

Ok well there you have it. Follow these five young writers as they grow and advance in their journey!

Are there other young , beginning authors that you know of? Do you know, and are already following one or all of these individuals?