A Man Inspiredby Derek Jackson
He's the man if you're lonely, lost, or just want to feel good. He's Jermaine Hill, megahot motivational speaker who inspires people everywhere to go for their dreams and make their lives better. With a top-rated TV show, money beyond his wildest dreams, and women for the asking, he's got everything...except a reason to keep on living. For Jermaine's past taught
He's the man if you're lonely, lost, or just want to feel good. He's Jermaine Hill, megahot motivational speaker who inspires people everywhere to go for their dreams and make their lives better. With a top-rated TV show, money beyond his wildest dreams, and women for the asking, he's got everything...except a reason to keep on living. For Jermaine's past taught him that life is about losing everyone you love, and the people he meets now believe friendship is strictly for mutual profit at best. Surrounded by the glitter of his success, Jermaine is in the dark and without a guide, trying to fight the depression threatening his sanity. There's only one way to happiness. He must find the faith that he's never truly known. Soon, in the face of a wrenching scandal-and a love he feels unworthy to claim-Jermaine will face his biggest challenge ever: to believe in God more than himself.
- Grand Central Publishing
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A Man Inspired
By Derek Jackson
Warner BooksCopyright © 2005 Derek Jackson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCANDI, CANDI, TURN YOUR radio on, girlfriend! My show is about to come on, and you know how gooo-ood that man makes me feel." Candace simply rolled her eyes as her fingers continued their rapid, fluttery dance atop her laptop's keyboard. She was fifty words from finishing her last paragraph for the Ebony magazine column, and not even her best friend, Tasha, was going to cause her to lose focus just now. "Candi, you hear what I just said?"
Candace nodded twice as she continued staring at the computer screen with steely brown eyes that refused to blink. Twenty words. Her last sentence. "Candi, you're gonna make me hurt you ... I'm not playing ... I-"
"Taa-daa!" came the writer's exclamation, purposely cutting off her friend's voice. She pressed the key command to save her article, then fashioned a graceful pose with her fingers outstretched like a gymnast who has just vaulted into the air, flipped multiple times, and landed without stumbling. A perfect ten.
"Are we done now, Dear Miss Black Abby? Because if you make me miss Jermaine Hill, trust me-it ain't gon' be a pretty sight."
Candace reluctantly lowered her hands and somehow suppressed a desire to throw one of her pillows at Tasha. Her thinking was that if it hit Tasha's head, it would certainly do more good than damage. "BlackAbby, huh? Now that's original. Did you take all morning to think of that, or did it just come to you?"
"As a matter of fact, I was up half the night thinking about it," Tasha responded with a smile as she leaped off the bed and dashed over to the stereo. Within seconds the announcer's intro to the program she and millions of others loved and listened to entered the spacious bedroom in surround sound.
"Everybody in America, listen up! It's time for the hottest hour on the radio waves! If you're driving your car, get over to the slow lane; if you're at work, then take a lunch break and turn the volume way, way up! 'Cause coming to you right now is the most dynamic speaker in the nation today, the man with the golden voice guaranteed to get you excited and inspired about life! Here he is, America-Jermaaaaaaiiiiinnnnne Hiiiiiiillllll!"
The pulsating beat and feel-good lyrics of Kool & the Gang's "Celebration," the standard music accompanying Jermaine Hill's intro, rang out all over the room.
As Candace re-fluffed the five lace embroidered pillows now strewn all over her bedspread from Tasha's hasty departure, she laughed out loud at her friend's pitiful attempts to dance in tune with the popular song.
"Shhh, Candi! He's about to come on!" "This is Jermaine Hill once again coming to you live with an OD of inspiration for your soul," proclaimed the smooth, sexy voice through the speakers. "That's right-an overdose, because you and I both know you need it. So let's kick things off with my theme for today-how to make every day meaningful."
"Oh Jermaine, yeeesss," cooed Tasha. "Help me to make my days more meaningful!"
Candace caught Tasha's eye and made a brief gagging motion with her hands at her throat. "I can't believe I'm letting this go on in my own bedroom," she mumbled. "What is it with you and this guy, anyway? His material isn't that good."
"Shh!!!" Tasha's fiery glare made it clear that Candace was treading on some very thin ice. Fine, Tasha, fine ... Never mind that this is my house you're flappin' those lips in. And my own bedroom for that matter ...
Jermaine Hill continued speaking. "Don't you sometimes wonder where all the time goes? Those days turn into weeks, months, and before you know it another year has gone by. And what do you have to show for it? More debt? More family problems? More promises you made to yourself that have gone unresolved? Yeah, you're going around in circles, aren't you? A cycle that leaves you distracted, unfulfilled, and wanting more." He paused for a second.
"So how do we change that, hmm? How can we make our days more meaningful? Let Jermaine give you some simple suggestions ..."
CANDACE SLIPPED OUT OF her bedroom a few moments later, leaving Tasha all alone with her radio fantasy man, and made her way down the spiral staircase, shaking her head at her friend's naivete. Then again, if listening to Jermaine Hill inspired Tasha, who was Candace to say otherwise?
That poor girl is going to do what she wants ... that'll never change ... I still love ya, though ...
Opening the custom-made ivory French doors that led into her sunroom, she stepped gracefully across the threshold and inhaled deeply. The intermingling smells of the richly polished golden oak floor, the white gardenia-scented potpourri baskets on the bar countertop, and the French vanilla candles lit on the coffee table immediately filled Candace's senses. Of the five bedrooms, four bathrooms, den, kitchen, and dining room that were enclosed in the spacious house, this room was definitely her favorite. There was a uniquely feminine atmosphere saturating the room, from the soft and sensual fragrances to the lavender and gold pillows embellishing the cream-colored sofa to the paintings hanging along the walls. The three large canvas prints adorning the room were intimate portraits depicting various stages of womanhood-a young girl playing hopscotch, a mother nursing an infant child at her breast, and a grandmother looking to the heavens clutching a worn Bible to her bosom.
Incidentally, this was the only room in the house where she did not (and in fact, could not) write any thing at all. No magazine columns, articles, poetry, or short stories were birthed in here; no, there wasn't so much as a sheet of paper or a pen in the entire room. This was her getaway-a personal refuge and sanctuary where she could fully celebrate being a woman-and where she could taste the savory fruits of success that life had bestowed upon her.
Three years ago at the ripe old age of twenty-six, she had become a syndicated columnist for a nationally distributed magazine; at twenty-eight her published collection of feature stories had reached the "you've made it now" status of the top ten on the New York Times best-seller list; and last year, she had been considered for a Pulitzer Prize after capturing the moving story of a Dallas schoolteacher's fight to be reinstated after being fired when her district found out that she was HIV-positive. Though Candace hadn't won the Pulitzer for that feature, the young columnist was nevertheless making waves in the journalism industry as a voice to be seriously reckoned with. It didn't matter that she had what was usually considered to be two strikes against her-being both a minority and a woman- because whenever Candace Clark was written on the byline, chances were very good that it was a story worth reading.
She leisurely strolled over to the large bay window next to the bar and gazed outside. It was late April in Houston, and the brightness of the shining sun's reflection cast shimmering ripples across the top of the water in her backyard pool. Not that she herself swam-the pool was just another fruit of her success- but such amenities would come in handy at times; for example, in a few weeks she would be hosting a reception at her home.
"I've become just like my mother in that way," she told herself, thinking again of how her late mother, Analee Clark, used to sit her down in a chair when she was a little girl to teach her how to be a prim and proper lady at dinner parties. Taught her how, on the night before a gala, to sleep in such a way so as to not mess up the expensive perm in her hair, how to sit with her legs demurely crossed at the ankles, how to wait for others to begin dining before you started eating, which fork and spoon to use, and so on. Somehow Analee had known that her daughter would grow up into a beautiful lady and continue the legacy of the Clark debutante tradition. And so, partly to honor the memory of her mother, Candace would from time to time hold lavish engagements at her home-NAACP fund-raisers, benefits for the Ensemble Theatre, the Urban League, NABJ. Mostly, though, she hosted the extravagant parties because they were wonderful opportunities to network and stay abreast of cultural happenings around the country. She could gather more information for features from just one of her parties than through days of sifting through the latest reports from the AP wire. It never ceased to amaze her how much people loved to dish when you wined and dined them.
Just below the bar's counter was a beehive-shaped cluster of bottle racks that held only nonalcoholic beverages. Her choice of beverages was deliberate; when she was growing up, she had one too many uncles who excessively indulged in alcohol. One haunting memory from her adolescence was of an uncle's trying to force himself on her in a drunken stupor. Ever since that day merely the smell of alcohol justifiably repulsed her. Now, she retrieved a sparkling apple cider, removed the cork from the bottle, and half filled a tumbler that was already on the counter. To her surprise, all the fond recollections of her mother had caused tears to well up at the corners of her eyes. She quickly dabbed them away.
God, it seems like just yesterday ... "Here's to you, Analee," she whispered, raising the glass. Her mind's eye could vividly see the petite, lithe woman who had poured so much love and knowledge into her life. "Here's to everything that you've given me." It was a fitting, commemorative toast to a touching occasion, and as Candace took a sip of the bubbling drink she couldn't help but notice the twinge of sadness that was tugging at her heart. It would be six years to the day next Thursday that Analee had lost her valiant battle with breast cancer.
"Get it together, Candi," she encouragingly and firmly said to herself after drinking the last drops of cider from the tumbler. "Tasha's the emotional basket case, not me."
"THAT'S ALL THE TIME I have, people," Jermaine announced as he prepared the send-off to the broadcast. "So until we talk again, remember to be good to yourself, work hard before you play hard, treat your mama right, and if you can't say something nice ..."
At this moment, he pressed the button for the recording of what could only be described as a ghettofied, high-pitched squeal of a voice (an animated Chris Tucker, perhaps) shouting, "then keep your mouth shut!" Taking off his headset, he swiveled around in his chair and confidently strolled to the door of KKTL's recording studio. The station manager, Vic Trevino, was waiting in the hallway with a high five for his star host.
"You're on top of the game as always, my man! Muy bien, muy bien. Our numbers for the last quarter were off the charts again-the best ratings in Orange County!" The short, fiery Hispanic man shook his head then, wagging his finger and playfully giving Jermaine the kind of look a school principal ordinarily would give a tardy student. "I'm warning you, though. You keep this kind of behavior up and you're going to force me to restructure our entire budget just to keep you on the payroll."
"Hey Vic-you just do what you need to do," Jermaine countered as he flashed his trademark winning smile. "Because I'm gonna handle my business, you can best believe that."
Vic laughed quickly. A little too quickly, almost. "Oh I believe that, my man. I certainly do." The manager stole a glance over his shoulder, a little guiltily, then inched closer to Jermaine. "In fact, since I know how well you're gonna handle your business, I gotta little something for you," he said, lowering his voice, not that there was a need to, since they were the only ones in the hallway. Jermaine arched an eyebrow slightly-otherwise his face was a blank slate. Favors offered to him under-the-table and special unsolicited treatment were nothing new anymore. His growing clout was making him A-list; just last week he had strolled into Spago Beverly Hills without a reservation, yet still managed to be seated in the finest booth in the restaurant.
Vic produced two tickets from his inside coat pocket and handed them to Jermaine. "These are for the Lakers' play-off game this Sunday, my friend." Jermaine barely even looked at the purple-and-goldtrimmed pieces of paper. "I already got tickets, Vic." "Yeah?" The manager didn't even blink, didn't miss a beat. "But did I mention where these seats are located? Courtside, amigo. Right behind Jack Nicholson himself."
Jermaine turned to Vic with a wide smile. "Now that's what I'm talking about." He delicately lifted the tickets from Vic's hand like they were precious, rare, imported diamonds. "And this is my reward for simply taking care of business?"
"That's right." He approvingly held out his hands in the manner of a proud padre. "That's all I'm asking for, my friend."
Jermaine, of course, knew better than that. By now it was commonly known throughout the industry that his own agent was fielding offers from various radio and television studios since his two-year contract with KKTL was set to expire in December. Vic had more than enough reason to be worried about losing his most visible employee to these tempting opportunities, so in hopes of re-signing his star he had been handling Jermaine with royal treatment from the year's onset.
"Muchas gracias, Vic." "Aha!" The proud padre became even prouder. "So you have been listening to that easy-learning Spanish tape I gave you, hmm?"
"Yeah, but I'm only using it for the parts that let me rap to those fine Latino mamas in East L.A." They both shared a good laugh over that one, although as Jermaine moved on down the hallway, he thought Vic's facial expression still seemed a bit strained.
THE SNARLED TRAFFIC ON Interstate 5 forced Jermaine's onyx-black Cadillac Escalade into an insulting crawl as he traveled away from downtown Los Angeles, heading north to a studio address in Burbank. According to his agent, he was scheduled to do a taped interview for some late-night television show, but that certainly didn't mean that he was in a big rush. Not only was he unsure as to which show it was; he honestly didn't care, either. It was all becoming one big continual bore to him, this unending life under a microscope of celebrity. Host a benefit dinner here, attend a movie premiere there, shake a few hands back over there again and please, Mr. Hill, don't forget to smile for the camera right here.
The people pulling on his time and skyrocketing fame had no clue as to who he really was. If you read the New Yorker, then you knew Jermaine Hill to be the larger-than-life motivational guru with the golden voice and requisite sex appeal to be a bona fide star.
Vibe described him as having the political savvy of Tavis Smiley delivered with a Master P hip-hop blend. And word on the street had it that he was slated to be on the cover of the next issue of Ebony magazine. "All this fame," he ruefully thought to himself. "And don't nobody have a clue ..."
Excerpted from A Man Inspired by Derek Jackson Copyright © 2005 by Derek Jackson. Excerpted by permission.
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'Divine Intervention' will be the title of my 1st book, with the grace of God. I have known all my life that the love of reading and writing , that God has placed in me the power to do both. After reading this great work of Derek Jackson, 'a Man Inspired', has inspired me to finally write about my life and struggles. After recently being healed from a bout of depression, this was a soothing moment in my life. Thank you Mr Jackson for your writings and allowing the Lord to direct your steps. The character of Jermaine Hill came alive in me. His sruggle with accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior was a battle within his mind and spirit. I also have a passion to do speaking regarding domestic violence within in my the church and this was confirmation to proceed. Prayer for me as I will be lifting you in prayer. Continue to write and Inspire with the Lord's blessings.
Dereek Jackson is an excellent writer, I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in two days. I truly hope there is a follow up to this book.
Gifted orator Jermaine Hill has reached the pinnacle of American life. He is famous, wealthy, and has his choice of beautiful women desiring him. In spite of living what everyone assumes is the good life; Jermaine is depressed having never recovered from the car accident that killed his best friends even though the tragedy occurred nine years ago.--- Freelance writer Candace Clark wants to do an article on Jermaine; he reluctantly agrees perhaps because fame has left him lonely and she is a rarity as he is attracted to her. However, Candace is a pious soul and Jermaine¿s lifestyle leaves him undesirable even if she desires him. Meanwhile Gossip columnist Chantal Dixon sees a story breaking with this couple; she hires a detective to trail the couple in hopes of capturing a romantic scoop, but instead captures something more valuable, Jermaine¿s suicide attempt.--- A MAN INSPIRED is a strong contemporary tale yet falls short due to a too easy resolution at the climax to complex issues. The story line starts slow as the audience meets the interesting despondent star while gaining insight into this suicidal soul, picks up when the inspirational Candace arrives in Hollywood, and goes stratospheric when the conniving Chantal takes aim at the couple. Well written, Derek Jackson furbishes an intriguing story starring a multifaceted tortured lead character, whose salvation comes too easily and abruptly.--- Harriet Klausner