Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

Cocoa Fly Gets Poetic and is Published in Solo Cafe 8 & 9

On top of writing news articles, radio scripts, blogs and Tweets -- I write poetry. I was published in solo cafe 8 & 9 vol 2: teachers and students.  My poem "Office Hours" is dedicated to the late phenomenal writer and my UC San Diego Professor Sherley Anne Williams.

I'm honored to have my work featured alongside great writers like Kwame Dawes, Camille T. Dungy, my mentor and the collection's editor Lenard D. Moore, and many other literary talents.

The photos you see on the cover are of publisher Glenna Luschei and her late husband Shelby Stephenson. The book opens with Glenna's memories of her husband, his death and poetry. I never met them, but judging by her writings, it is beautifully clear that they were in love. My heart went out to her as I reading about their travels and simple, yet intimate times together. But I also couldn't help but hope that I'm blessed with such a love in my life.  Her husband was hospitalized after falling while trying rescue a bird that had flown into their living room picture window. His wife said he always cared for living creatures. I thought that said a lot about his character.

Sherley Anne Williams
Speaking of character, you must read my late professor's book Dessa Rose. It's a highly respected novel in the black literary cannon. And it's such a great story. I was blessed to take her final class. She was an amazing woman. Prof. Williams grew up poor and picking fruit in Central California to becoming a respected writer and college professor. Prof. Williams was respected around the world. She truly was an example of the power of will and an education. Prof. Williams was the first black female college professor I ever had. She put a hurting on my papers when it was grading time LOL, but people like her are the reason why I'm a published writer.

You can read more about how I met Sherley Anne Williams here.