Posts tagged "Emily Cavalier"

A few weeks ago, before the release of my novel GUESTLIST, I was having drinks with the lovely and amazing Emily Cavalier of Mouth of the Border and the conversation shifted to the topic of my novel.

Ms. Cavalier asked the question that everyone asks: “How much of it is autobiographical?”

“Twenty percent,” I said.

But you know, even that’s not true. GUESTLIST is most assuredly not autobiographical. The novel is not about me. And, despite what some will inevitably think, I am not any particular character in the story. In fact, the entire storyline is complete fiction.

With one exception.

And that exception, Dear Readers, is what inspired GUESTLIST.

[caption id=”attachment_773” align=”aligncenter” width=”511” caption=”Jay Fingers and Kanye West”][/caption]

For those who do not know, I worked in nightlife for several years. I mostly worked in marketing and operations, and then, as a side hustle, I hosted and promoted events. It was a grind. Sixteen to twenty hour days. No days off. And when I was lucky enough to have a night off, it usually fell in the middle of the week, like Tuesday or Wednesday. The club scene was my life.

Not only did I host events, I often worked as a doorman, mostly during the Saturday night parties at downtown Miami nightclub Nocturnal. Yes, I was the asshole with the clipboard and the comp tickets deciding who was cool enough to get in. I won’t lie, at times I experienced power trips. It was nearly impossible not to. I mean, I was the gatekeeper. I was the decider. I was the main motherfucking man. I had the ability to open the gates of paradise, and I could also deny you the privilege of hanging with the cool kids. That effectively made me the person you did not want to piss off.

Working as a doorman – hell, as a host and promoter, in general – taught me quite a bit about social grace. I learned that people are not nice unless they have to be nice. People are unconcerned with whatever you are going through, unless it affects their plans and wishes. People do not like you – they like what you can do for them.

[caption id=”attachment_774” align=”aligncenter” width=”511” caption=”Jessica Rosenblum and Jay Fingers”][/caption]

I’ll admit I was pretty popular on South Beach. Not because I threw the biggest, most lavish parties or knew all the celebrities that came to town, but because I was simply a nice guy. I’m a Southern boy, it’s in my nature to say “please” and “thank you,” to hold doors open for whomever, to show general concern for people in my surroundings. And I treated everyone the same, whether you were a billionaire playboy living on Star Island or you were a busboy from Lil Havana who spoke little English. We’re all people, we all deserve to be treated kindly.

Everyone did not share my views on respect and basic decency, mostly those who were “successful.” People with money and status had a tendency to treat people like shit, and these people were usually involved in the same industry in which I worked. What was laughable, though, was that some of the worst people, the most attitudinal, were those with no money, no success, no clout of which to speak. Yet they carried themselves haughtily, demanding VIP treatment and looking down on those considered subhuman. It was incredible.

[caption id=”attachment_775” align=”aligncenter” width=”511” caption=”Missy Elliott, Jay Fingers, Trina”][/caption]

Yes, I know, I’ve once again given you a shit-ton of background. But here’s why. There were two incidents from my party promoting days that gave rise to the plot of GUESTLIST.

The first incident took place at Suite Lounge, a now-closed nightclub that was housed in the legendary Club Liquid. One of my colleagues – we’ll call him “Marty” – and his buddies were attending the hip-hop party that Suite was hosting. Suite was my day job; naturally, I had considerable pull at the club. Now, even though this was a hip-hop party, Suite was notorious for being less than kind to people of color. As I was at the door, not only was I more than willing to walk Marty and his crew inside, I was going to hook them up with free bottles.

As they were walking in, one of the young ladies in Marty’s crew was introduced to me. “Jay Fingers?” she snorted. “Well, if that’s what you wanna be called.”

They spent the next ten minutes apologizing and trying to convince me to still let them inside.

The second incident also took place at Suite, and this incident is the exception of which I early wrote. Some young women I knew from the University of Miami were already inside and simply lounging near one of the bars. I pulled some strings, invited them into VIP, and got a few bottles of champagne so that we could all have a good time.

One chick, however, didn’t know I was the reason their whole crew was in VIP. So even though all her friends were dancing and taking photos with me, I guess she thought I was a thirst bucket and decided she didn’t like me. This little girl ran up on me and began screaming, telling me to get away from her and her friends.

I didn’t say a word. After all, when I’m angry, I become silent. Her friends quickly informed her that I was the person who’d gotten them in VIP. You know that little girl didn’t even apologize? She tried to justify her outburst but her behavior and lack of social grace cast a damper on the remainder of the evening.

This idiot broke on of Sun Tzu’s Laws of Power, the 19th one, which explicitly states: “Know who you’re dealing with. Do not offend the wrong person.”

Again, social grace.

[caption id=”attachment_776” align=”aligncenter” width=”511” caption=”Mya and Jay Fingers”][/caption]

So that, in large part, is what I wanted to explore in GUESTLIST. The lack of social graces. The unwarranted sense of entitlement that some people feel when they are in such an environment. The consequences and repercussions of trying to chase and maintain a celebrity lifestyle, whether you’re a celebrity or not.

Based on the few Amazon reviews I’ve so far gotten, I guess it’s safe to say I succeeded in doing what I set out to do. But I don’t know for sure. Why don’t you tell me? Hit me up in the comments and let me know your thoughts on GUESTLIST, social graces, or whatever you want to talk about.

Cheers!

Yesterday, I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. The nomination came from a fellow author, the lovely Eveli Acosta, who named me amongst 15 other super-talented, super-cool bloggers. Be sure to check out Eveli’s site, where you can check out her work and find links to order her books.
As a Versatile Blogger Award nominee, there are a few rules I must abide by, rules that I shall now share with you, Dear Readers. They are:
Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award. (Hey, whaddaya think you’re reading now?)
In the same post, thank the blogger who gave you the award and put a link back to their blog. (Please see above!)
Nominate 15 other people for this award and let them know. (I shall do this posthaste!)
Post seven random things about yourself. (I am not looking forward to this.)
Include these rules in your post. (And here we are.)
I guess I’ll post seven random things about myself first, then I’ll follow up with my nominations for The Versatile Blogger Award. Ready? Okay!

1. I was a cheerleader in high school. Well, in actuality, I was the school mascot, but that classified me as being a cheerleader. Say what you want, but it was a great deal of fun. Plus I went to cheerleading camp, which was populated with nothing but girls. Oh, high school!

2. I’m not scared of much, but I am terrified of birds. Like, shit my pants terrified. Birds punk me on a daily basis. Living in New York City makes it impossible to avoid them, so I try my best to not get in a bird’s way or to aggravate them lest I be attacked by one of Satan’s onerous winged spawn.

3. Like every black man in America, I dabbled in rap music at one point in my life. And no, I’m not talking on the journalism tip. I mean as an artist and producer. While the first rap project I ever actually produced was my man W-I-Z’s debut mixtape, I wrote, rhymed on, and produced an entire album entitled Never Lost My Touch. The pic of me and Miami rapstress Jacki-O seen above? That comes from a Soundclick page my dumb ass created. Lmao.

4. Though I’ve done some work for indie producers (whose films still haven’t gone into production), I almost sold a screenplay to a real-for-real Hollywood studio. This was right after school. I won’t go into all the details here (I’m saving that for a future post) but there was interest in a script I’d written during my senior year. I spent a good six months with a manager trying to secure a deal. Then, shit went south. My script was dead in the water. And I didn’t write anything for years.

5. I can cook. Folks want to front, they want to act like I can’t throw down in the kitchen, but I can motherfucking cook, yo. I eat out a lot because it’s convenient, but I’m trying to save money these days and so I’d rather spend $50 at the grocery store and eat for a week than spend $50 on lunch (which I’ve done before, ay yi yi).

6. When I was a kid, I crushed hard on Julia Duffy from Newhart. I am not ashamed to admit that.

7. I am a photo fiend. I love taking photographs. And I mean of EVERYTHING. Of people, of places, of things. Photos of food, photos of street signs, photos of animals (except birds). I used to carry a digital camera with me everywhere, even when digital cameras were the size of cinder blocks. But now thanks to the wonderful invention that is the iPhone 4S, I can leave the digicam at home and snap away on my phone. The photo quality is excellent, and I have one less thing to lug around the city.
Okay. That’s over and done with, thank White Baby Jesus. And now on to my list of bloggers upon whom I’d like to bestow a Versatile Blogger Award nomination.
Marisa Kakoulas (Needles and Sins)
Feminista Jones (Knob Slobbing Feminism)
Ron Worthy (soulhead)
Maria Guido (Guerrilla Mom)
Dana Beckley (of two + seven)
Emily Cavalier (Mouth of the Border)
Fabulously Fourty(ish) (The Real Life Adventures of Being 40ish)
Miss Info
Mac Smith (It Can’t All Be Dior)
Danyel Smith (The Smithian)
Patrice Callender (Hell and Heartaches)
Emlyn Chand
Huny Young (Most Beautifullest)
DJ Heat (DC Mumbo Sauce)
Joel Friedman (The Book Designer)
I love all the above writers, bloggers, curators, and critics. Their sites are worth bookmarking and visiting daily. Trust me on that.
Alright, well, I’ve fulfilled my obligation as a Versatile Blogger Award nominee. Have you learned anything new about me? Anything you’d like to share? Hit me up in the comments section below!
[Eveli Acosta]

Original Article

Yesterday, I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. The nomination came from a fellow author, the lovely Eveli Acosta, who named me amongst 15 other super-talented, super-cool bloggers. Be sure to check out Eveli’s site, where you can check out her work and find links to order her books.

As a Versatile Blogger Award nominee, there are a few rules I must abide by, rules that I shall now share with you, Dear Readers. They are:

  1. Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award. (Hey, whaddaya think you’re reading now?)
  2. In the same post, thank the blogger who gave you the award and put a link back to their blog. (Please see above!)
  3. Nominate 15 other people for this award and let them know. (I shall do this posthaste!)
  4. Post seven random things about yourself. (I am not looking forward to this.)
  5. Include these rules in your post. (And here we are.)

I guess I’ll post seven random things about myself first, then I’ll follow up with my nominations for The Versatile Blogger Award. Ready? Okay!

1. I was a cheerleader in high school. Well, in actuality, I was the school mascot, but that classified me as being a cheerleader. Say what you want, but it was a great deal of fun. Plus I went to cheerleading camp, which was populated with nothing but girls. Oh, high school!

2. I’m not scared of much, but I am terrified of birds. Like, shit my pants terrified. Birds punk me on a daily basis. Living in New York City makes it impossible to avoid them, so I try my best to not get in a bird’s way or to aggravate them lest I be attacked by one of Satan’s onerous winged spawn.

3. Like every black man in America, I dabbled in rap music at one point in my life. And no, I’m not talking on the journalism tip. I mean as an artist and producer. While the first rap project I ever actually produced was my man W-I-Z’s debut mixtape, I wrote, rhymed on, and produced an entire album entitled Never Lost My Touch. The pic of me and Miami rapstress Jacki-O seen above? That comes from a Soundclick page my dumb ass created. Lmao.

4. Though I’ve done some work for indie producers (whose films still haven’t gone into production), I almost sold a screenplay to a real-for-real Hollywood studio. This was right after school. I won’t go into all the details here (I’m saving that for a future post) but there was interest in a script I’d written during my senior year. I spent a good six months with a manager trying to secure a deal. Then, shit went south. My script was dead in the water. And I didn’t write anything for years.

5. I can cook. Folks want to front, they want to act like I can’t throw down in the kitchen, but I can motherfucking cook, yo. I eat out a lot because it’s convenient, but I’m trying to save money these days and so I’d rather spend $50 at the grocery store and eat for a week than spend $50 on lunch (which I’ve done before, ay yi yi).

6. When I was a kid, I crushed hard on Julia Duffy from Newhart. I am not ashamed to admit that.

7. I am a photo fiend. I love taking photographs. And I mean of EVERYTHING. Of people, of places, of things. Photos of food, photos of street signs, photos of animals (except birds). I used to carry a digital camera with me everywhere, even when digital cameras were the size of cinder blocks. But now thanks to the wonderful invention that is the iPhone 4S, I can leave the digicam at home and snap away on my phone. The photo quality is excellent, and I have one less thing to lug around the city.

Okay. That’s over and done with, thank White Baby Jesus. And now on to my list of bloggers upon whom I’d like to bestow a Versatile Blogger Award nomination.

  1. Marisa Kakoulas (Needles and Sins)
  2. Feminista Jones (Knob Slobbing Feminism)
  3. Ron Worthy (soulhead)
  4. Maria Guido (Guerrilla Mom)
  5. Dana Beckley (of two + seven)
  6. Emily Cavalier (Mouth of the Border)
  7. Fabulously Fourty(ish) (The Real Life Adventures of Being 40ish)
  8. Miss Info
  9. Mac Smith (It Can’t All Be Dior)
  10. Danyel Smith (The Smithian)
  11. Patrice Callender (Hell and Heartaches)
  12. Emlyn Chand
  13. Huny Young (Most Beautifullest)
  14. DJ Heat (DC Mumbo Sauce)
  15. Joel Friedman (The Book Designer)

I love all the above writers, bloggers, curators, and critics. Their sites are worth bookmarking and visiting daily. Trust me on that.

Alright, well, I’ve fulfilled my obligation as a Versatile Blogger Award nominee. Have you learned anything new about me? Anything you’d like to share? Hit me up in the comments section below!

[Eveli Acosta]

My debut novel GUESTLIST is coming out on March 27th. But then again, you already knew this.

I know you’re excited and can’t wait to read it. Hell, I’m excited for you. Though I’ve already given you a small peek into the world inhabited by Juliet, Swann, Ava, Sharane, Mare, and Napoleon Fey, I know that you’re hankerin’ for more. Okay, here’s what I’ll do.

Every Tuesday and Thursday—starting beginning today, right now—I will post a small segment of my novel GUESTLIST. You know, just to give you a small taste of what’s happening.

Tuesdays will feature character quotes and/or novel excerpts, while Thursdays you’ll get to read some thoughts from Juliet, the novel’s main character. Quotes will continue until Thursday, March 22.

Savvy?

Now, yesterday was my bad. I had the excerpt all ready to go, but the excitement of GUESTLIST’s first review, as well as life in general, caused me to forget about posting it. As the lovely Ms. Cavalier would say, “Womp womp.

Anyhoo, feel free to check out what was supposed to be yesterday’s blurb below.

Walking hand-in-hand with Napoleon and being introduced to so many important people, Juliet felt she was the center of attention. All eyes were on her. Everyone would want to know who she was, where she came from, and how she came to arrive in the company of their beloved Napoleon. She was thinking about this when they stopped at another table, occupied by four ladies. Sitting in a chair at the far end was a tiny Asian woman, even tinier than Mare. And on the banquette, on the other side of the table, were three black women.

Three impossibly tall, impossibly beautiful black women.

Including the bitch from the Flavor magazine party, who was eyeballing Juliet something nasty as she poured Pellegrino into a crystal goblet.

Juliet just smiled.

Napoleon touched Juliet’s arm, getting her attention. He walked her over to the Asian woman.

“This is Shelly Sing,” Napoleon said, and the two women shook hands. Napoleon explained that Shelly was a radio personality known as “Four Eleven,” a moniker that not only referenced her height (she stood, naturally, at 4’11”) but also an uncanny propensity for acquiring the latest entertainment industry gossip. “She’s got the 4-1-1,” Napoleon said, laughing. “She’s the Page Six of radio.”

“Nice to meetcha,” Shelly said.

“Nice meeting you, too,” said Juliet, noting the soupçon of freckles on Shelly’s face.
Moving over to the banquette, sitting across from Shelly was a light-skinned woman with an extremely toned physique. Napoleon introduced this woman as Keisha Luster. Looking up from her cell phone briefly, Keisha smiled at Juliet. “Hi, how are you?” she asked before returning to her text message.

Next to Keisha was Barbie Shinebright, a bubbly, chocolate-colored beauty with high cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes, and a wide, genuine smile that revealed deep dimples. Barbie set her blinged out cell phone on the table and tried to stand up to shake Juliet’s hand, but found it difficult to do so.

“Don’t worry about it,” Juliet said. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Nice meeting you,” Barbie said.

“And you’ve already met Ava,” Napoleon said with a casual wave toward the last woman.

“No, actually,” Juliet said, “I haven’t.”

“Really?” Napoleon asked. His face registered surprise. “Well, Juliet, this is Ava Rice. Ava, Juliet.”

In all honesty, Juliet was quite impressed, and even a bit intimidated, by Ava. The woman was beautiful, there was no denying that, and she looked as if she stepped right out of a fashion spread: dress, BCBG; heels, Louboutin; jewelry, vintage. Still, Juliet was determined not to let this woman bully her. She refused to let this bitch smell any fear.

So, Juliet didn’t say a word. She planned to break Ava down with a vicious, icy stare, but the plan didn’t work. Ava was leveling her own Medusa’s glare, trying her damndest to turn Juliet to stone with nothing but her eyes. Finally, Juliet averted her gaze as Napoleon pulled out a chair for her at the table, directly across from Ava.

“Fifty-four eleven,” Ava said. The other girls giggled.

Juliet’s eyes flashed at Ava. “Excuse me?” she said.

“Ava,” Napoleon said, “be nice.” He scolded her with his eyes.

“I’ve never been nice my entire life.” She smiled at Juliet. “But I’ll try my best to be sweet.”

Juliet narrowed her eyes.

WOW! Looks like Juliet and Ava don’t care for one another—and that’s putting it mildly. Wonder how this is going to all work out? There’s only one way to find out, and you already know what it is.

GUESTLIST releases March 27 in paperback and for Kindle, Nook, and iPad—though you can now pre-order it from my store. And don’t forget to download the free GUESTLIST Official Mixtape by DJ Sage!