Road to the White House

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“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”  Marian Wright Edelman

That’s Right.  I agree with Marian and if I have no idea who she is or why she’s being quoted on the internet then who can tell me I can’t write an award winning New York Times Best Seller and meet the President of the United States and his lovely wife, Michelle?

I downloaded this picture of the President and First Lady as motivation and I spoke to it, telling them it was an honor meeting them.  Words have power, so I decided to speak my invitation to the White House into existence, calling those things that be not as they are.  It’s in the Bible and after all, this is a huge quest I have, so I need all God’s help.

DISTRACTIONS TO WRITING MY NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER:  THE FIRST DISTRACTION came last night.  I was all ready to write for a few hours when a distraction came a calling in the form of another writer.  We wrote on a t.v. show together and keep each other abreast weekly of what all is not going on in our dead and buried careers.  The problem is, he’s not as pressed as I am because he has several novels that he has self-published that bring in six-figures a year.  And he didn’t decide like I did that he wanted to meet the President and First Lady so he feels he has time to sit around and pontificate about nothing.

Anyway, often when he invites me to “get it in” as we call our writing sessions, we usually “get it in” with  A LOT of talking and very little writing.  Needless to say, we went to Tony Roma’s, talked, ordered our plates – he ordered a plate of ribs and I ordered barbecue chicken, a healthy side of broccoli, and a healthy baked potato with plenty of sour cream and extra butter – and well, by midnight I had not written one word, but I was tired and pleasantly full.  I REALLY can’t allow myself to fall for his blackmail, basically that I’m lazy if we don’t get together.  What he doesn’t know is I have 77,279 words written on my novel, precisely because I LIE (forgive me God) and make excuses NOT to “get it in” writing with him at Starbuck’s, because every session for the past two years has turned into tirades against our old show and his old agent and all agents and all of Hollywood and…!  Sigh.

THE SECOND DISTRACTION was another writer friend who has been plugging away the past ten years.  The writer asked me to give notes on a screenplay that’s been in the works the past two years.  It was my fourteenth or fifteenth set of notes.  SERIOUSLY.  Maybe even more.  I have a hard time finding people to give me feedback on ONE pass, much less FIFTEEN or a HUNDRED?  I REALLY don’t know how I walk since I have no backbone.  Anyways, I really like the story, but wanted to get it out the way so I could get back to my novel, and I was really hoping this version would be perfect and forever laid to rest.  Well, let’s just say I’m glad I’m not the suicidal type or a cutter, because I think pass one-hundred and one is coming…

THE THIRD DISTRACTION.  Beyonce and the Grammy’s.  She’s the queen of pop and she’s wearing a hot, shimmering silver number that hits just above her taut thighs, and her shoes are matching glimmering silver stilettos, which looks incredibly sexy and her blondish wig is flowing down her back, blown by a wind machine, accentuating the fact that she is just FLAWLESS.  How can I write the next best seller when Beyonce and all her fabulosity is on t.v.?

THE FOURTH DISTRACTION.  The Black Eyed Peas.  They were on the Grammy’s and they were dressed like toy soldiers or something and the performance was a hot smoking mess. I watched out of curiosity, primarily because two of my friends managed the group through their signing onto Interscope Records and the launch of their first album.

RANDOM DISTRACTION.  Taylor Swift.  NOBODY KNEW WHO SHE WAS BEFORE THE MTV INCIDENT, now she’s winning Grammys. Kanye West is a troubled bird, who had no business taking the mic from her and saying Beyonce should have won best video, but seriously, she needs to send him a box of something, Xanax, tampons, or perhaps a round trip ticket for he and his ex-stripper girlfriend to somewhere fabulous like the Cayman Islands or Hawaii because I had NO CLUE who she was before the MTV stunt he pulled.  Seriously.  He MADE TAYLOR FAMOUS.  Taylor, if you ever stumble upon this blog or just happen to be at the White House when I’m there dining with the President and First Lady.  Seriously.  Buy Kanye some chocolates or something.  You owe him for your spike in CD sales.  Seriously.  All jokes aside.  Please send Kanye something.


It’s not only about writing a great novel.

There are other dimensions to my quest to reach the highest echelon of U.S. society.  I’ve decided I must become a woman of refinement.  So I must take a refresher course on etiquette, which I could pay for a class, but why would I do that when there’s youtube?  I also must know my wines. I don’t have any depth of knowledge regarding wines.  Actually, I don’t have any knowledge about wines at all.

I feel I should learn something about wines to prepare myself for the trip to the White House.   When my novel becomes a best seller I imagine I’ll be traveling in higher, more sophisticated circles on a regular basis, holding conversations with people like my parents friends who always talked like their noses were stuffed or some of the people in Greenwich, Connecticut I interviewed when I was a young reporter and they always surveyed me up and down with their eyes before trying to use some word they assumed I wouldn’t know.  I know words people.  Don’t let the curly lashes fool ya.  It’s not that I haven’t been to events of society before, I just never paid attention and kind of blended in with the furniture.

I know Pinot Noire, because I’ve heard it before and of course all the rappers sing about Crystal and I remember having some Dom Perignon before .   But where should I start on my wine education?

Well, like any American seeking to find out what is appropriate in the rarefied air of upper society, I have begun my research with America’s number one billionaire celebrity aficionado on all things appropriate to live a high life: Oprah.

God bless Oprah!  She has a fine wine list!  So, I’ll begin there.

My goal is to become acquainted with the top twenty whites, reds, sparkling and of course the top five champagnes, as well as how to properly drink each, the proper glasses etc.  I will share of course, here.  I will taste each before I begin my writing, purchasing a bottle a week and try to develop my pallet, perhaps even discerning the flavors of the wood.   🙂



So, I wrote about two pages, then I got a little excited about my new wine refinement journey and well, I bought some Andre champagne for $4.99 from Ralph’s along with some Ralph brand orange juice, which I’m thinking probably isn’t very sophisticated, but I’m breaking new ground.


I purchased a wine glass for .99 cents at the .99 cents store and was feeling really grown up and sophisticated, although I was quite irritated when the cashier told me it was $1.10 and was pretty dismissive when I said, “um, isn’t this the .99 cent store?” She said, “It’s only ten cents more.”  There were a few people behind me and in this economy tempers are high, so I didn’t want to hold up the line and let it slide.  But didn’t it occur to her I was AT the .99 cent store to save money?  I have to put premium gas in my Mercedes and that ten cents is like an extra vapor or something.  Geez.  Anyways, I’m not sure if the glass is for white or red wine, but I’m positive it’s NOT for champagne, but I made myself some mimosas anyway, pretended the glass was fine crystal and the orange juice was fresh squeezed and then I started to write.


I was thinking, this is the life.  Here I am, a single woman with a masters degree, making $210 a week off of unemployment on checks that the state somehow never manages to send, drinking champagne out of my .99 cent wine glass, writing my award winning historical fiction novel in my cozy town home.


And I learned pretty quickly, after about two sentences, two glasses, and a three hour nap, that champagne and award-winning novels don’t mix, especially if you’re on a two year plan to meet the President and First Lady.  So I may have to rethink the wine refinement while writing.  It sounds romantic and cool, but it’s not cool at all if you fall asleep for three hours, that’s a good plan if your goal is not to get anything accomplished.

Stay tuned….

A.M. Calberg

AUTHOR’S QUEST TO MEET PRESIDENT OBAMA and help historical fiction community while pursuing the dream


Seattle from Beacon Hill

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France



The word emerged at some point during the 14th century.  Webster’s dictionary defines obscurity as “one who is obscure” or “the quality or state of being obscure,” while has a more apt meaning for the purposes of this blog: of little or no prominence, note, fame, or distinction.

As of today, January 30, 2010, I am an obscure American t.v. writer, former journalist, and aspiring novelist.  I wrote for Tyler Perry’s House of Payne on TBS and wrote for Meet The Browns.  Obscure aspirants in any field never receive invites to the White House to meet the President of the United States.  One must be a champion, a person of wealth, means, influence or the exact opposite of obscure – one must be noteworthy, which usually involves fame.

I am none of the above.

And I want to be received at the White House someday.


My goal is to meet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama before or on my birthday in October 2012, at their invitation.   How did I come to want this goal and how will I achieve this lofty, seemingly unattainable, outrageous quest? To answer the first part of the question, it just popped into my mind today, January 30, 2010, while watching a broadcast of Georgetown University’s men’s basketball team preparing to play Duke University and seeing close ups of the President of the United States slapping high five with the fans for Georgetown.

Man.  They got to high five the President.  I wonder if the players on the team got to meet him.  Kobe and the Lakers met him.  I saw a picture of Tiger Woods and the President.  Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith interviewed the president.  Aretha Franklin and Beyonce sang for the President.  Shiela E played the drums at a concert sponsored by the President.  Am I the only one seeing a pattern?  Greatness.  Fame.


It occurred to me that I really would love an opportunity to meet the President and First Lady.  But only great people get to meet the President and I think deep down, in the recesses of our unconscious desires, most people who are ambitious, want to do something outstanding in their lives.  If one perseveres and works hard it is possible to achieve the American Dream.


So what could I possibly do to meet Mr. Obama?  I’m a writer.  I’ve written for television.  I’ve won screenwriting awards.  I’ve placed in the semifinals of the prestigious Nicholl’s Fellowship and Chesterfield Screenwriting competitions.  I’ve had screenplays optioned.  Blah, blah, blah, but nothing GREAT.  Nothing of note.  But writing is the only gift I have, and it is something that could become noteworthy if I dare to attempt the seemingly impossible.  I will take a risk and do something I’ve never done before.


Yes.  I will write a novel.  I will write a historical fiction novel and along the way I will compile the most comprehensive historical fiction antebellum 19th century resource blog for historical fiction aspirants.  Why?  Primarily to fulfill a need.  I was surprised when I embarked upon the researching process for my historical novel that there wasn’t a site I could go to and find all I needed to know about antebellum America – work clothing, politics, weather patterns, harvesting, sowing, balls, etiquette, cutlery, perfumes, traders, imports, exports, steamers, politics, architecture, etc.  I assumed for some naive reason I would be able to do so and that was simply not the case.

Anyhoo, while I build the historical fiction blog, I will continue to write and hope for greatness.  After all, noteworthy novelists are feted and have the potential to attain access to the highest circles.  My only shot at making it to the steps of the White House is through words on the page.  A minimum of  85,000 words.  85,000 words read by millions of people and maybe that will give me a shot.


I will write a historical fiction novel that will make the New York Times best seller list, winning rave reviews from author Carolyn See, the Washington Post book critic, and star Brad Pitt and Will Smith in the leads as a motion picture.  (Hey, if I’m going to dream.  I’m dreaming big.)  Some of this seems a little far-fetched, but there are stories behind this story and reasons why I believe all things are possible if you have faith.

Starting today, I will blog the progress of this novel, entitled “Eighth Wonder,” sharing my quest to find an agent, the ups and downs of the journey, and ultimately what I hope to be the details of my trip to the White House.

I began writing “Eighth Wonder” on August 31, 2009 because I felt passionate it was a story that needed to be told.  I began with absolutely no idea I’d try and use it as a vehicle to meet the leader of the free world.

I’m currently on page 351, 76,343 words in and I hope to land around the 85,000 word mark.

Wish me luck!

And stay tuned…