Oh, I'm going to be straight GLUED to the Lifetime Movie Network on Sunday, when "Orange Mint and Honey," the breathtakingly beautiful novel written by fellow author Carleen Brice, comes to life as the original made-for-TV movie, Sins of the Mother. The movie chronicles the coming home of grad student Shay Hunter (American Violet's Nicole Beharie), who, broken, burned out, and unable to cope with the stress of school, journeys home to Tacoma, Washington to face her abusive, alcoholic, estranged mother, Nona (Jill Scott!). When she returns home, Shay finds her mother living life as a recovered alcoholic, living right and raising a new daughter—a sea change that forces Shay to move past her anger and toward acceptance.
Let the reviews tell it, Sins of the Mother is going to be a good one:
"As a reformed alcoholic mother trying to reconnect with her tightly wound, emotionally stunted daughter, Jill Scott (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) delivers a performance that makes you forget you knew her as a singer first." — ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“The magnificent Jill Scott shines as a former mess of a mother struggling to make amends to the daughter she abused…“—TV GUIDE, Hot List
But beyond how geeked I am to watch Jill Scott in this beautiful story, I'm excited for my friend Carleen, a writer as passionate about supporting black authors as she is her craft. It's a HUGE deal for authors—particularly African-American authors—to have someone purchase the movie rights to their work, but an even bigger, more rare accomplishment when it actually gets made and finds its way to the screen. No one is more deserving of such an honor than Carleen, who toiled four years writing "Orange Mint and Honey" while working a full-time job, all the time unsure whether anyone other than she would ever see her words. She recounts her unease with the writing process in a piece that recently appeared HERE on The Defenders Online:
Writing a novel isn’t digging ditches or picking cotton, but it’s hard. And it tests your spirit all day almost every day. Will I get an agent? Will I get a publisher? And if I do, will people like what I write? Hell, will anyone else ever read it or will it turn out that I’ve only been talking to myself?
For sure, Carleen doesn't just talk to herself. She's the host of two magnificent blogs, The Pajama Gardener and White Readers Meet Black Authors, a blog dedicated to getting white readers to read and celebrate books written by black folks. And when she's not blogging, she's on FaceBook, telling all of her friends about the accomplishments of other terrific writers who publish great works, sometimes with little recognition or fanfare.
Carleen, who's second book, "Children of the Waters," was published in June 2009, deserves to be celebrated—for her hard work, her dedication, and certainly her accomplishments. Fete her this Sunday by tuning into the Lifetime Movie Network to watch her characters come to life. Visit the official Sins of the Mother page on myLifetime.com for more information about the movie (it airs at 8 pm EST, 7 pm CST, 6 pm MST, and 5 pm PST) plus interviews and other goodies tied in to the flick.
Make your evening even more special by inviting a few girlfriends over for a Sins of the Mother "Watch Party," and you'll qualify for a basket of autographed books, Jill Scott CDs and other goodies as part of Carleen's Sins of the Mother Watch Party Contest, as described HERE. You can even up the Orange Mint and Honey factor by whipping up one of Carleen's delicious orange mint recipes. I know I'm going to really enjoy this one, as presented in Cocktails With Writers on author Tayari Jones's ridiculously delicious blog:
Carleen's Orange Mint Mojitos
What You'll Need
½ cup orange blossom honey (or any honey or sugar)
12-18* mint sprigs
2 cups orange juice**
Seltzer (orange or plain)
White rum or orange rum
How To Make It
1. Grate the rind of ½ lime. Squeeze juice from that lime and 1 other. Slice 3rd lime into 6 pieces and set aside.
2. Combine honey, 6 mint sprigs, lime juice, and lime zest in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat until honey dissolves. Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Strain.
3. Combine honey mixture and orange juice in a pitcher. Stir until honey dissolves.
4. Divide honey-orange juice mixture into 6 tall glasses. Place 1 mint sprig in each glass, and muddle (crush) the leaves with the back of a wooden spoon into honey-orange juice mixture. Add ice to glasses.
5. If desired, add 1.5 ounces of rum per glass. Top with seltzer, and stir. Garnish with lime slices.
*For an especially nice presentation, garnish with mint in flower.
**You can substitute orange liqueur for orange juice, but 2 cups is probably too much! You’ll probably only want a shot or so per glass.
Carleen: I'm SO proud of and happy for you. Do the doggone thing!
Enjoy the movie, everyone—and happy weekend!