My Tribute to Opera Singer Extraordinaire, Leontyne Price

Image Courtesy of Jack Mitchell

‘Written’ by Teresa McMillan, Blog Contributor

 

If you have already read The Vital Sacrifice, then you already know that I am a soprano opera singer.  I love what I do and I have been doing it quite well since I was a child.

My fondest memory of childhood was when I was in my room playing with my dolls.  I believe I was about 5 years old and I remember that Diana Ross’s song, “Home” was playing on the record player one Saturday morning as my mom was cleaning around the house.

I always liked that song and for some reason that day, I started to sing along with Diana.  I was in my own zone so I didn’t realize that my mom had stopped cleaning to come and listen to me.  When it got to the part where she says “… a world full of love, like yours, like mine, like home,” my young lungs belted out those words very strongly and passionately in the same way that Diana does.

Needless to say, that was my favorite part of the song and I was singing it to my dolls as if they were my audience.  I was startled by my mom clapping for me.  Of course, when I noticed a real audience – my mom –  I became shy and withdrawn.  With tears in her eyes, my mom praised and hugged me, astounded by my singing voice.

I knew at that moment, that singing was my God-given talent – and so did my mom.  From that point on, there were lessons galore.  My mom wanted me to eventually, go to college for singing so she pushed me in the direction of opera.  From about age nine forward, I was listening to some of the greatest operas, opera singers, and composers of all time.

By the time I went to college, I had seen and heard multitudes of soprano opera singers and tried to mimic them all but I hadn’t been exposed to African American women singers until doing research for one of my courses.  No one touched me like Leontyne Price.

In my research, I found out that she was born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi and had a very busy childhood filled with music lessons just like me.  Unlike me, she took piano lessons while my mother emphasized voice lessons for me.

As I implied earlier, my rendition of Diana Ross’s song “Home” set my singing career in motion; but, Leontyne, recalled that watching Marian Anderson sing at Lincoln Center influenced her at a young age.  By her own admission, Leontyne wanted to be just like this great opera singer who preceded her. What I love about Leontyne Price and, even about Marian Anderson, is that both seemed to excel in the opera world despite the extraordinary odds against their success due to racism.  Both were born during a time of extreme segregation and often they had to perform for audiences who may have despised them for their skin color but admired their extraordinary vocal talent.

Luckily, I had not experienced much of the segregation that she faced growing up and subsequently while on tour, so I can’t speak much about this.  But, I will say that her grace under pressure as an opera singer was one that I always keep in mind in all of my encounters with other people as I travel the world performing.  I believe that if she could continue to maintain her eloquence despite all the obstacles in her way, then I certainly could, also.

I was not able to view any of her performances live because she retired in 1985; however, I did have the opportunity to watch most of them on DVD.  I also read her interpretation of Giseppe Verdi’s Aida opera in her book entitled, Aida.  After reading this book and watching the video of her opera performance at the Met, I knew without a doubt that this Aida role was meant for me someday; so, I was ecstatic when my agent, Miguel Velasquez, told me that I would play this star role.

 

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I want to take a moment and pay homage to, Leontyne Price, my favorite opera singer and the living legend whose example propelled me forward in the direction that I have chosen with my opera career.

 

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Disclaimer:  These blog articles are attributed to characters found in the novel, The Vital Sacrifice, and this blog is a fictitious representation of the characters in the book speaking on what interests them based on their role in the novel.  These blog articles are post-publication characterizations and are meant to entertain niche audiences who may be interested in purchasing or who have already purchased this novel.

 

 

The Birth of a New Paranormal Villian in the West

Image from Dreamstime.com by included in a blog article about paranormal romance, The Vital Sacrifice.

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs

 

Vampires. Shapeshifters. Werewolves. Genies. Dragons. Ghosts.

Wait a second. This list includes a genie.  Is that a paranormal character?  Believe it or not, genies can be classified as paranormal beings; but, little consideration has been given to including genie characters in the paranormal genre.  That is, until now.

The title of this blog article is a misnomer in a sense because the genie character is not new.  Genies have a “lifespan” reaching even farther back than vampires.  One very popular ancient tale including genie types is the tale of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp which is included in the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales called One Thousand and One Nights – stories that are considered pre-Islamic folklore. This tale has translated into English as one designed for children’s literature but according to studies on these mythical creatures, the playful version of the genie is just one aspect of the variety of genies that exist.  Based on research done by Rosemary Gullet and Philip Imbrogno in a book entitled, The Vengeful Djinn, genies can come in various colors including green, blue, and red with each becoming more sinister with variation in color.  Green genies are considered the more “playful” types; the blue ones are more mature yet maniacal; and the red ones are the most dangerous of them all.

Western culture is also familiar with the genie character in its many forms through television shows and films.  Hollywood introduced a more child-like genie in its hit films Aladdin and Kazaam and in television shows like I Dream of Jeannie.  It even played around with more sinister versions of genie characters in films like Wishmaster and two films released in 2013 and 2014 called Djinn and Jinn, respectively.

In my recent paranormal romance novel, The Vital Sacrifice, genies take on human form complete with magical powers that genies are known for; but, with a mature story line.  This novel also takes on some characteristics of historical fiction with some of the plot taking place in the past within two significant time periods:  during the time of King Saladdin’s rule and during the Spanish Inquisition right after the fall of the Spanish Moors.  These beings live among mankind in male form and live within predetermined boundaries and rules as set forth in the novel.  Although there are some aspects of their lives that are mystical in form, they live life like normal humans in order to avoid suspicion and unnecessary turmoil with their human counterparts as do most paranormal creatures.

To learn more about this novel, click Books and More on this site’s navigation links.  And don’t forget to take a look at my recently updated Pinterest page that will provide more insight into the lifestyles of some of the main characters in my book.

 

Image courtesy of Dreamstime:  11325218 © Ruslan Kokarev

Get Your Copy of The Paranormal Romance “The Vital Sacrifice” Today

You are in for a cerebral workout of a lifetime from the moment you open up the novel, The Vital Sacrifice.

Superstar singer, Teresa McMillan, has been chasing success for many years and for her persistence, she’s been rewarded generously with many musical awards for her beautiful soprano voice.  She is proud of her accomplishments but she is starting to feel incomplete because she has yet to get married and have a family with her fiance, Matthew Larkin.

Now, she is suffering from a mid-life crisis, torn between choosing continued career success or settling down and starting a family.  This is causing her so much stress that she is becoming increasingly delusional.  Nightmares, sleepless nights, and panic attacks have her on edge so much that she can’t even tell the difference between what’s real or imagined in her life anymore, especially when handsome, business mogul, Ali Rahman enters her life.

Is Ali a sly Casanova hell-bent on wrestling her from her fiance to make her his own?  Or, is Teresa so far-gone in her delusions that Ali and all of the drama that emerges after meeting him just a figment of her imagination?

Prepare yourself for an unpredictable roller-coaster ride as your imagination spirals out of control along with Teresa’s already whimsical celebrity life.

Click one of the buttons below to order your copy of The Vital Sacrifice for yourself or as a gift for a friend.

 

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Ways to Attract Clients to Your Website Without Being Annoying

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs

The game is changing in the world of advertising.  Gone are the days of using gimmicks and tricks to lure customers and in its place has come  an era of intelligent consumers who don’t want to deal with prestidigitation.  Now, there is a level playing field across the board and success lies not in flashy, cheap attempts at getting clients attention.  Success lies in using content not to sell – at least not at first – but to encourage a conversation.

Think of this new age of marketing just like a relationship.  If you went on a date with someone and the person had an agenda behind taking you on this date, then clearly you would not want to go on another date with this person.  This is what old marketing tactics look like – desperate attempts to get someone to do something they don’t want to do.  However, if a date showed up with no set agenda and only wanted to go with the flow and exchange jokes, get better acquainted and help you feel more relaxed, then you would probably want to keep dating that person to see where that relationship could lead.  New aged marketing is just that – taking time to build a relationship rather than going for ‘in for the kill’ immediately.

Keeping this in mind, here are some ways that you can personify your content to make it act as a relationship builder for your company rather than a complete waste of someone’s valuable time.

Don’t Even Think About Selling Anything

This command speaks for itself.  Remember the analogy about the date? If you have a preset agenda, then you go on the ‘date’ with expectations and clients can feel that desperation a mile away.  When sharing on social media, don’t create content that screams “Hey, buy me, please!” Instead, present intriguing information that serves as a hook that will make a reader want to click and continue reading on your site.

Provide Clients With Something That Really Is Helpful and Useful but Free

Keeping in line with the first suggestion, once the client arrives at your site, don’t lure them into a buying situation.  Make sure that what they link to is still the same helpful, free information that they were enjoying while on social media.  If they decide that they want to purchase after reading the article, by all means, provide a call to action that gives them this option.  However, don’t let the social media link lead to nothing but a “buy, buy, buy!” thirst trap.

Be Conversational With Your Tone, Not Prick-ish

That show in the 1980s, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, was a great show and the narrator had quite the pompous voice.  However, in this day in age, content shouldn’t have Robin Leach’s tone.  People don’t want robots or one-sided individuals guiding their buying process.  Entertain them, excite them, and let them get comfortable with your tone of writing, not be turned off by it.  Engagement is key and clients can’t engage if you have a pompous flair in your communication, even in your written communication.

Try a Little Humor

Have you noticed that once insurance companies started creating hilarious commercials, that everyone seems to want to create funny commercials?  Well, funny stuff is memorable and engaging. So, you can’t blame them for incorporating this approach.  When you are out on social media engaging clients, try to sprinkle in a little humor.  It just might make someone’s day and lower their guard enough to at least hear what you have to offer.

Use Quality Images

This can’t be emphasized enough.  But I want to emphasize that quality doesn’t just mean high resolution.  Make sure that your images are retrofitted for social media, too.  Keep in mind that images display differently across different platforms and you should go through the painstaking process of making sure that your posts are displaying images properly across the board.  Have you ever saw a great post on the phone but it displayed differently on a desktop?  Or, have you seen a photo on Instagram that looks quite different on Twitter?  Of course you have.  I wish that whatever image is posted social media retrofitted its own self according to that platform, but until someone creates such a plugin, you are left on your own to make sure that your images are displaying properly.

 

There you have it – five ways to be compelling enough to attract clients without annoying the heck out of them.  Stay tuned for more helpful tips on how to develop engaging content.  Join the conversation by commenting below and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook @thescriptanubis.

 

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Spend Your Halloween Evening Reading, The Vital Sacrifice

Order your copy of The Vital Savrifice now so that once the trick-or-treating is over, and the kids are off to sleep, you can treat yourself to a good scare before bedtime.

Teresa McMillan finds herself indecisive as she finishes her world tour. Like many successful, career-oriented women, she is torn between her career and a growing desire to get married and have a family with her steady boyfriend. As she is staring into the mirror in her dressing room before her concert in Milan, Italy, Teresa sees something appear and disappear in the reflection. Her agent makes a joke that it is the phantom of the opera coming to get her, a joke that she doesn’t find amusing.

Ali Abdur Rahman certainly isn’t the phantom of the opera, but he does appear in Teresa’s life as if out of nowhere. This handsome, wealthy businessman from the East sees an image of Teresa in the local newspaper while he is on a business trip in Milan and can’t believe his eyes.

Strike one: Teresa’s in a relationship. Strike two: She has no idea who Ali is. Strike three: Ali is a part of a cult of semi-immortal men that forbid prolonged contact with the human race.

Striking out will not stop Ali’s obsession with Teresa and this semi-immortal man will discover that succumbing to the power of love comes with a sacrifice.

 

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The Vital Sacrifice Book Commercial

The freaks definitely do come out at night, especially on Halloween.

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Grab your favorite, old rocking chair and curl up to a book that appeals to your creepy-seeking side — The Vital Sacrifice.

 

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About The Vital Sacrifice Characters – Meet Tina Desai

My sister’s keeper, a friend until the end. . .

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Image courtesy of Dreamstime.comLike a sister from another mother, Tina has always had Teresa’s back.  Just like Teresa, Tina is a career woman who has devoted her life to her career as a fierce attorney.  Unlike Teresa, Tina’s not chasing her happily ever after because she just went through a rotten divorce with her high profile attorney husband, Rodney Dumas.  As a couple, this powerhouse law team never lost a case.  They both made a sport out of kicking ass in the courtroom, representing high celebrity clients in some of the most impossible cases imaginable and winning.  Now she and her ex are on the opposite side of the fences.  She is no longer representing high-class clients and instead has turned her attention to those whom she believes needs her most — those who are innocent but can’t secure quality attorneys.

Image courtesy of Dreamstime.comTina is Teresa’s rock and when Teresa’s world starts to go haywire, Tina is the voice of reason that keeps Teresa on her toes.  Best friends until the end, just as they pledged in high school, is what these women prove to be.  And even when Teresa’s extreme highs and lows start to place a strain on their friendship, Tina stands by the sister that she never had until she is back to her old self.

 The Vital Sacrifice, a Paranormal Romance Novel by M. L. Childs

 

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Disclaimer – These are stock image and fictitious descriptions of characters contained within my novel. These descriptions are not about the people in the image.  The image and the description serve to get readers better acquainted with the main characters appearing in my novel.  Any resemblance to real people is coincidental.