L. M. Reynolds is a mom of two tiny artists, a budding gardener, and a puzzle extraordinaire. She is a proud black woman, dedicated to making stories that not only matter but make you laugh, draws you in like a sister, an auntie, or a friend, and most importantly, just a good tale. Though she typically writes in Speculative Fiction with titles such as I Am Sasha Grey: Divulge, Funny Meeting You Again is her first romance novella.
PWH: What sparked your interest in writing?
L.M: I always say there is a voice inside of writers that becomes so loud that it’s hard to ignore. I quit ignoring that voice. Now it feels like second nature to have stories play throughout my head daily. Specifically, a show called The Gates. It ended horribly so I decided to write the story better. lol
PWH: What inspired your title “I am Sasha Grey”?
L.M: It’s a statement. I wanted to make sure that throughout this series, she never forgot who she was. That labels that others put upon you, don’t matter if you know who you are.
PWH: How would you describe your writing style?
L.M.: First-person and real, down to earth, and usually talking to you. If the character laughs, I think it’s okay for them to say, “Yeah okay. I lol’d at that. I won’t lie to you.”
PWH: What advice do you have for new upcoming authors?
L.M. Find your niche in your writing that works for you. I think I do well at characters, so you’ll find lots of dialogue in my writing. If you like creating scenery, focus on that. If you like building the world, focus on that. I think anything else can be plugged in later. And chill but keep learning, however that means for you. Even veterans get it wrong sometimes.
Nicole Vick has spent the last fifteen years providing tools and strategies to stakeholders, community-based organizations, students, and residents to improve health and prevent disease in some of Los Angeles County’s most underserved communities.
She also has 12 years of teaching experience. She is currently an adjunct professor in the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College and has taught at Cal State LA, Ashford University, and the University of Phoenix.
Ms. Vick serves on three boards. She was most recently appointed to the boards of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles and Public Health Advocates. For the past 5 years, she has served as Board Secretary at Esperanza Community Housing, an organization that works to achieve community development in the Figueroa Corridor neighborhood of South Los Angeles. For two years she chaired the City of Los Angeles’ newest Commission, appointed by District 8 Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
Ms. Vick earned both her B.S. in Public Policy and Management and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Southern California.
In her first book “Pushing Through: Finding the Light in Every Lesson” she shares both the heartbreaking pain and the extraordinary triumphs that led her to advocacy and social justice work. Her story takes place against the background of the long-neglected and overlooked community of South-Central Los Angeles, where she grapples with the grotesque imbalance of power and privilege as it unfolds in every aspect of her life and those around her. She traversed seamlessly between the past and the present, and poverty and privilege. As time passed, the duality in her world grew larger and much more complex, manifesting very deep and painful emotional experiences. She learned to make sense of the two worlds she existed in and used that skill to connect, build, and create community, comradery, and a sense of purpose.
PWH: Describe what you do in five words.
NV: Public health professional, educator, author
PWH: How do you balance being in the work field and a full-time entrepreneur, author, and speaker?
NV: Interestingly enough, I feel quite uncomfortable if I’m not busy. I prefer to have a lot going on. Also, all of my endeavors are an extension of who I am, so it doesn’t feel foreign to make them all work. My day job takes up the majority of my day and I make everything else fit around it. My daughter is an adult so I don’t really have anything else to fill my time other than working on all of my endeavors.
PWH: You are a known speaker, what message do you hope your audience receives at every engagement?
NV: That everyone has the power to change their community. It doesn’t require being a celebrity or having a huge amount of money. Everyone has a talent or skill that they can share with others or use to help a community-based organization in some way.
PWH: What sparked your interest in writing?
NV: First, I honestly believed my story was worth telling. I believed that the world needed to hear how I grew up, the struggles I had with my body and my self-image, my journey as a teen mom, and all the other things I went through to get where I am today. Secondly, at the time I decided I needed to tell my story, I had just turned 40, which to me was a good point in time to reflect on where I came from and where I was going. Lastly, I had an interesting reaction to a bit of information that was shared during a work meeting that really got the ball rolling for me on writing my book.
PWH: Tell us about your first book, “Pushing Through: Finding the Light in Every Lesson”?
NV: The book outlines my journey to public health and social justice work. I also spend quite a bit of time sharing key points in my life that played a big part in shaping who I am today. I highlight those points in my life through public health and social just lens. In essence, the book is an example of a life lived through a public health framework. I also give tips on how a woman can change their lives and their communities.
PWH: What motivated your title?
NV: I originally wanted to name the book, “Made in South LA”, but my book coach Kim O’Hara was against it. I mentioned it on a video podcast once and Kim said “Nope, I watched their reaction when you said it and there was nothing. You gotta change the title”. I was lost at that point because I was so sure that “Made in South LA” was what I wanted. Before I started writing my book Kim gave me a questionnaire to complete and so I decided to take another look at it to see if I could find something there to help me land on a title. One of the questions asked what I most proud of or something like that. My response was “I’m most proud of my ability to push through”. I decided on “Pushing Through” was more appropriate because it indicated action as if I was continuously working, moving, achieving, thriving. The subtitle came from my publisher, Juliet Clark. I told her that when I think of “Pushing Through” I think of a plant growing through concrete and she wanted to play on that by using “light” since plants need light. She came up with it while on one of our scheduled planning calls. I was at work on my lunch break and on a zoom call with her and when she said “finding the light in every lesson”, I remember being so happy that I rolled back in my office chair. It hit that hard.
PWH: What challenges did you face during the writing process?
NV: In the beginning, finding a writing routine was hard. It took a while to get into the groove of writing, but once I figured out a strategy, it all came together.
Another challenge was trying to remember past events in sufficient detail so that when I wrote them out readers would feel as if they were right there with me. One example of a moment I had trouble with was when I found out I was pregnant. I could not remember how I felt when the doctor told me. I had a relatively good memory of what happened leading up to that moment and what happened after it, but that moment was gone. It was really weird.
PWH: Where can readers find your book?
NV: My book is available on Amazon. The Kindle version is available now and the paperback version is available on September 14
PWH: Bonus: What advice do you have for upcoming writers?
NV: Don’t be afraid to tell your story. It’s valuable and someone will benefit from the lessons you’ve learned. It’s also okay to use a book coach or some process to keep you on track. I benefited greatly from the insight and guidance from my coach.
Click on the image below to purchase a book and support Nicole
Sharon Jones-Scaife is a native of Marvell, Arkansas. Born to the late Mr. & Mrs. E.J. & Beatrice Jones, she is the fourth child of fifteen. Sharon graduated from Marvell High School in 1985. She later attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design and minored in Illustration. Upon graduation from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, she moved to Dallas and began working as a graphic artist for Jones Custom Products, Inc. There she created and designed specialty food labels for clients like Decker Foods, J.C. Potter Sausage, Oak Farms Dairy, etc.
Sharon was married to the late Albert Scaife and they have 2 loving sons (Cedric, 34 and Christopher, 21) and 3 grandchildren (Rihanna, 12 and Deshawn 9). Mrs. Jones-Scaife is a member of Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church. She is a member of The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce and American Business Women Association (ABWA).
During Sharon’s stay at Jones Custom Products, she began free-lancing offering her graphic design services to individuals and friends within the community to build her company and client list. In 1994, Sharon decided to form her own company called “SJS Graphic Arts”. After a year of freelancing part-time and gaining over 10 years of graphic design and printing experience, Sharon left Jones Custom Products to pursue her company full-time. To date, some of her clients include NTTA, The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, Commissioner John Wiley Price, St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, Joy Promotions, Inc., North Dallas Gazette, The Black Economic Times, Mail-Well Label, All Temps 1 Personnel Service, Inc., Blue Ivey Schools, Garland NAACP, Galaxy Ranch Schools, Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church and many other local businesses to name a few.
Mrs. Jones Scaife founded Teens Reaching Teens, Inc. a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Teen Graffiti, a project of Teens Reaching Teens, Incorporated; mission is to be the voice of all youth by providing quality, community-based programs, and services that motivate and empower youth to strengthen and enhance their social development, educational, leadership, and business skills.
In October 1999, aware of the growing number of teens seeking answers to life’s circumstances and situations from places not in there; nor society’s best interest. Mrs. Jones-Scaife’s goal became to create a forum where inspiring and positive information and advice are shared. A forum that would give our young people recognition and encouragement to continue to do positive things in our community and make a difference in the lives of others. Therefore she founded Teens Reaching Teens, Inc. a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, and later in February 2000, as a project of Teens Reaching Teens, Inc. she started a monthly magazine known as Teen Graffiti. This magazine is designed with teens in mind, to share the positive creativity and energy of our young people and to serve as an avenue of communication. The imaginary walls once responsible for preventing the sharing of information will be the same walls she will use to scatter their achievements, concerns, and opinions throughout the Metroplex and the world. Sharon will accomplish this without defacing property, but by capturing the artful effectiveness of graffiti on the pages of her magazine.
Within the pages of Teen Graffiti, Sharon features scholar students and athletes, teen entrepreneurs and volunteers, unsung heroes, and other teens that are making a contribution to society. Also, she features the creativity of our youth by including original essays, poems, and artwork that allow teens, our future leaders of tomorrow, to Speak Out, Speak Up, and Become a Voice!
Sharon’s mission for Teen Graffiti is to provide an avenue for teens to voice their opinions and concerns on issues they are faced with today and to highlight their positive achievements and accomplishments. The most effective way of doing this is by eliminating the imaginary walls once responsible for preventing the sharing of this information. Her vision is to become the premier teen magazine that voices the opinions, concerns, and ideas of teens while providing nuggets of information that will help build the solid foundation they will depend on for years to come.
In August 2004, Teens Reaching Teens and Teen Graffiti magazine hosted its first back-to-school conference entitled, “Keepin’ It Real: Youth Empowerment Summit” at Lakewest YMCA. The purpose of this FREE one-day youth conference was to provide our teens with “real life” solutions to problems they face and in the process help build their self-confidence as they prepare to return to school. During the day, each student participated in a series of workshops on topics such as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)/AIDS, cheese, school security, college financial aid, relationships, getting fit, and many other great topics. Our first year we served over 150 students from throughout the DFW Metroplex. Since its inception, we have grown tremendously from serving over 150 students to over 500 each year since.
During our second year (August 2005) of hosting Teen Graffiti’s “Keepin’ It Real”, we wanted to do more. Therefore, we introduced our Backpacking for Education program where we would provide low-income students with the necessary school supplies to start their school year off right. This program has been a big success as well, since its inception, we have provided over 20,000 low-income students with backpacks filled with school supplies.
Sharon Jones-Scaife is also the author/illustrator of I Miss You Papa, Mrs. Hughes is Missing, It’s Bedtime Lil’ Marco, Lil’ Marco Plays Hide, and Seek, Maddie on a Mission and Becoming, a collection of original poems and illustrations. She is also the illustrator of the soon to be released book, A Champion’s Heart, written by former NFL player, Brian Mitchell.
A resident of Sachse, Texas, Sharon Jones-Scaife spends her time supporting her son in basketball, creating adventures with her grandchildren, running, cycling, playing softball, writing, and of course, reading.
PWH: What inspired you to start writing?
SS: First, I’m the 4th of fifteen children, so I experienced plenty of fun and exciting things on a daily basis while I was growing up. I think this helped fuel my very over-active imagination. And lastly, I was inspired more recently by the passing of my husband of 25 years. Now I’ve found an outlet that I get to put to good use!
PWH: What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
SS: If you can’t find writing that represents you, take it as your chance to fill in the gap. You have a right to be in the world fully and you have a right to see representations of yourself wherever you go. If you don’t, write your way out.
PWH: How do you come up with the titles to your books?
SS: Most times, I use these steps to find my titles. I get clarity on my book goals; Brainstorm several potential titles; make sure this title is not already popular. Then I pick my favorites and test them within other author groups. I imagine people saying the title and which they prefer.
PWH: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
SS: I considered myself a writer from the time I made my decision to write. I considered myself an author when I got my first manuscript finished and published.
PWH: Describe your writing space.
SS: My ideal writing space is my bedroom, at my computer desk with a little R&B playing in the background. I do not mind anyone being around, but I do want it QUIET – free from talking.
PWH: What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
SS: Writing is hard, plain, and simple. There are days when it comes easy when every word you type is gold and every page is poetry. Getting started, putting my ideas on paper. The middle, starting out with the steam and then hitting the dreaded writer’s block. The end, you’ve finally pushed through the middle and hit your stride. It’s been built up so much in your head, it can get tricky trying to create the perfect ending.
PWH: On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?
SS: On a typical day, I spend a minimum of an hour writing; however, depending on the day and how I’m feeling, it could go longer.
PWH: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
SS: Have fun! Write the things you really want to write, in the way you want to write to them. Re-write; re-write; re-write and listen to your publishing editor. Remember that though you can learn techniques all writers operate differently. Learn your craft by practicing and practicing and allow your work to be constructively criticized. Read a lot and enjoy the process.
PWH: How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
Haelee P. Moone is the author of The Rules of a Big Boss: A book of self-love. She is a 7th Grader and Honor Student. She resides in North Carolina with her dad, Dedrick and their dog, Oreo. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, writing, drawing, and designing various products.
The Rules of a Big Boss is a personal journey of how she overcame depression, anxieties, and betrayal. She found the Lioness within her and rose up (found her self esteem) instead of sinking
Haelee and Dedrick worked in concert to develop a clothing and accessory line. The products are centered around her book. The products allow women, men, and children to increase their self-esteem through the visualization of wearing her Big Boss Rules.
Please check out her collection, grab a few products, and join her in finding the Lioness/Lion within you.
PWH: What sparked her interest in writing?
HM: My fourth-grade teacher told my [former] classmates and me that one of her former students went onto becoming an author. She shared with how she went onto doing big things like travel the world through it. I told myself that I would love to do that one day and I shared it with my Dad when he picked me up that. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about though, but I always kept it in the back of my mind.
I had a lot of free time over the summer with everything being shut down due to COVID-19. I used that free time to journal. I started writing about past and present feelings and experiences (e.g. low self-esteem). I began to think that I could turn my journal into a book. I shared my thoughts with my friends Rachel and Myanna. They encouraged me to go for it. To get started, I searched for templates in Microsoft Word that I could use as a model for it. I showed my manuscript to my Dad once I was halfway done with it. He said that I was too good not to share with the world and he asked me if I wanted to publish it. I said yes. He responded that we could do it together and that he would invest in my dream. He did so by editing and publishing it for me free of charge. He taught me about distribution rights, copyrights, citing sources, royalties, and marketing. We worked together to choose a cover design, size, sales price, and distributor. Finally, my dad helped me set up social media accounts and record a promo video for the book.
PWH: What was the inspiration behind the title “The Rules of a Big Boss”?
HM: Based off of Amber Rose’s book, How to Be a Bad Bish. She has all of these rules in it that she feels are essential.
The second thing that inspired the title was that I was on this girl’s Instagram Live feed. She called herself a “big boss.” I thought to myself that would be a good name for a book, my book.
PWH: What message are you wanting readers to gain from your work?
HM: I want people to love themselves and embrace the things that make them different. Those things that make us different are what makes all of us beautiful. I want readers to appreciate that and grow within themselves.
They will receive better results when they manifest their self-love.
PWH: You have a clothing line along with the book, what can readers expect when going online to shop?
HM: I sell clothing and accessories. I do it through two levels. My Dad helped me create a promo video for that too.
• Level one is the basic product level. These products have my trademarked logo adorned on the front. It is also inserted on either the inside collar or back of the products for branding. It encourages the wearers to remember the rules that they read about in the book.
• Level two products go deeper in that the basic rules are adorned on the front using customized fonts and clip art. It allows the wearer a visual representation of their favorite rule (e.g. Self-love, Respect, etc). My thoughts are that it will help them most improve in that area. My logo is also inserted on either the inside collar or the back of the products for branding purposes.
Do be mindful that I do not include all of the rules in my clothing line. I did this on purpose to encourage people to read the book. It’s like my personal drip. The combination of my clothing, accessories, and book are keys to finding a better version of yourself.
PWH: What’s next for you?
HM: My current book is the first in a series. Version two will dive deeper into affirmations and the psychological aspect of things. I’m planning to release it sometime next summer but don’t quote me on that. I will continue to sell clothing and accessories that are centered around self-esteem building both now and into the future while also promoting version one of my book. I hope to open boutiques around the world as I grow and hopefully become a successful luxury brand.
Elder Yolanda “Monique” Coleman was born May 26, 1970, in South Jamaica Queens, New York. She is married to Elder Jerome Coleman of twenty-two years. She is a mother of a “blended” family which consists of eight adult children and twelve grandchildren combined.
Elder Yolanda Coleman is the only child born to her mother, Cheryl Pinkney-Jones. She graduated from Satellite Academy High School in June 1989 and her first child was born three days after graduation. She graduated in 2006 from John Tyler Community College with her Associates in Human Services: Substance Abuse.
She later graduated in 2013 from Liberty University with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology: Christian Counseling. In 2015, her studies led her to South University under their Doctorates in Ministry program where she is currently attending. She took biblical training classes in Evangelism and received a certificate of completion and her Evangelism license from St. Paul’s Church of Christ Disciples of Christ, Bronx NY in 1999. She attended Mason Kelly Washington Religious Training Institute where she successfully completed Chaplains Ecosystems and received a Para Chaplain badge in 2001. Where she and her husband ministered the Word of God in the prisons of New York City.
Elder Yolanda Coleman has been saved and serving the Lord for over twenty-four years. She was told by her former Pastor back in 1998 that, “God has something special for you to do!” She didn’t have any idea how this was going to happen or when it would happen. God continued to tug on her heart and eventually, Elder Yolanda Coleman surrendered to the call on her life and to do the Will of her Heavenly Father. She was ordained as a Minister in 2015 and in October 2017, she was ordained to the office of Elder by Apostle John Gray of Life Touch Ministries, Williamsburg, VA. She is a faithful member and currently serves at Restoration Assemblies Church RVA under the leadership of Pastor Steven M. Hawley, Jr. She is one of the Senior Administrator Leaders, she teaches Christian Education and serves on the Outreach Ministry Team. She solely believes the Bible is the engrafted Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit & contains every answer to people’s problems. “It is The Lord’s will for us to reach out to all those who are poor, oppressed, widowed, brokenhearted, and orphaned.” By using the “Word of God” and the “Love of God!” She proclaims the gospel verbally, no matter how intriguing a person’s lifestyle might be.
Elder Yolanda Coleman is the CEO and Founder of F.A.I.T.H. (Families Attaining Integrity Thru Hope) Mentoring Program, Hearts Desire Wedding Officiant, and holds public office as a Notary Public for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Elder Yolanda Coleman and her husband Minister Jerome Coleman both hosted an Internet radio talk show called L.I.F.E. (Living in Freedom every day) Broadcast Ministries. Elder Yolanda Coleman is a published author and released her first book in April 2019 called, “From Broken to Reborn!”
She has over nineteen years of experience working in the Human Service field which include substance and alcohol abuse and mental health. With all of Elder Yolanda Coleman’s skills, ability, and life experience. She is committed to mentoring at-risk youth, teens, and young adults who struggle with addiction, mental health disorders, domestic violence, and who is the transition from the Criminal Justice back into their communities. Elder Yolanda Coleman’s prayer is that someone’s life would be healed, delivered, and set free. Elder Yolanda Coleman believes in her motto, “Be Stronger Than Your Excuses!”
PWH: Describe Yolanda in four words.
YC: I would describe myself as Compassionate, Tenacious, Modest, and Down-to-earth. I have other words that I could use to describe myself but these four came to mind.
If you would have asked me this a few years ago, I probably would have a different response.
PWH: How do you balance the demand of Ministry, Author, Coach, and Entrepreneur?
YC: I have to set healthy boundaries, prioritize, and knew my limitations, not taking on more than I could chew. I’ve learned my lesson from my past experience with burn out. Which entailed working a full-time job, attend college(working on Doctorates), fulfilling ministry assignments, and supporting a Mom who was ill at the time and a child with mental health disorders. It was a lot on me. When I became ill myself, it put a lot of things in perspective and I had to learn that being busy doesn’t mean being productive.
PWH: At what moment did you realize you had a calling on your life?
YC: Honestly, after I nearly overdose on drugs. I had a flashback of my childhood and seen how God’s hand of protection was over me. After I said, “Yes” to His will, I knew He had called me to the ministry of reconciliation and evangelism. I enjoy outreach ministry the most just because of where I came from. I know first hand how it is when someone can’t relate to the things a person is going through. I’m grateful for the experience.
PWH: What does self-care and devotional time look like for you?
YC: Self-care means different things for different people. My self-care could consist of doing nothing at all to binge-watch a television program, read(books & Bible), listening to music(good ole Gospel), take a relaxing bath, sleep, or just take a 15-minute time-out from everything(peace & quiet). As I stated in the previous question, I’ve learned my lesson of burn out. I don’t want to burn out again. It depleted me, physically, mentally & spiritually. I’m comfortable with saying, “No” and not feel guilty about it.
PWH: Tell us about your ministry F.A.I.T.H and Talk Show L.I.F.E.?
YC: Families Attaining Integrity Thru Hope (F.A.I.T.H.) Mentoring Services is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 2013. I had just graduated from college getting my Bachelors degree. I had a turning point in my career. Yes, I went back to school when I was 42 years old & graduated. You’re never too old. My focus were to assist youth, teens and young adults with mental health disorders, childhood traumas, substance abuse, legal issues and vocational so they could live a productive & healthy lifestyle
Living In Freedom Everyday(L.I.F.E.) talk show began in 2017. My husband JColeman who is my cohost had given the name “L.I.F.E.” once we were accepted to begin our show on Legacy Internet Radio, December 2017. The name no longer became a talk show for us but a Ministry. As we continued to embrace the name “L.I.F.E.” We decided to brand it as part of our ministry and what we do. Recently, maybe a year ago, we decided to make the name stand out as part of our ministry assignment. Which is now called “L.I.F.E. Outreach Ministries”
PWH: What inspired the title of your book, “From Broken to Reborn?”
YC: When I began to write the first book, I actually had a different name. It was called, “My Story, His Glory!” One day I was discussing my book with a particular family member. It was funny how she interrupted me and said, “God told her the name of my book was called, From Broken To Reborn.” I was sitting on the phone with my mouth open. She continued to tell me, I would be writing several books and gave me the name for 3 books. Well, let’s say I’ve almost fulfilled my project.
PWH: What message do you hope readers gain from your book?
YC: I would like readers to gain insight into just how much childhood trauma, abuse, and addiction couldn’t impact, distrust, and destroy your self worth, your career goals, and family relationships. The main purpose of my book was to disclosed the traumatic events and to shine the light on how I became addicted to drugs. I wanted individuals to see everyone using drugs is not “junkies” but maybe a product of some suffering that may have been afflicted by someone or something. Just don’t judge a book by its cover before you had a chance to know the story! I feel this is my message.
PWH: Do you have any upcoming projects, you would like to share with us?
Yes, I do. I have a few projects coming up. One, I’ll be releasing my second book called “Road To Recovery: Predestined for a purpose” which discusses the process of healing and recovery. It is scheduled to be on Amazon the second week in August. I’m currently working on book three, called “Transparency: The Naked Truth” which will discuss church hurt, infidelity, and other struggles individuals have in the church but are hidden because no one wants to talk about it. I call it, “Silent Sufferers!”
My husband and I will be releasing our new Podcast called L.I.F.E. Living In Freedom Podcast every Saturday beginning at 7 PM streaming on Anchor.com, and other platforms like Spotify, Breaker, Google Podcast, & RadioPublic.
Amy Watkins is a Washington, D.C. native. She received an undergraduate degree from Frostburg State University and a medical degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She served in the US Navy for 8 years. She currently works as a family medicine physician for the Navy. She is a single mother of three and has one adopted fur-baby. She is a very active member of her church. She also is a strong advocate for justice, equality, and human rights. Writing has always been a hobby for her and now she is making it into a career. 200 Letters is her debut novel.
PWH: What sparked your interest in writing?
AW: In childhood, I hated reading. Then I picked up The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Souljah and my life changed. Books turned from boring stories assigned by my teachers of which I could not relate to exciting dramatic relatable creations that I could learn life lessons from. I started writing poetry and short stories in college. 200 Letters is my first published novel.
PWH: What motivated your book 200 Letters?
AW: 200 Letters is based on my personal life and the lives of some of my closest friends. I combined our stories of struggle and growth into this novel. The book started as a stress reliever for me as I was going through these horrible circumstances and it developed beautifully into a very inspirational work of art.
PWH: What message do you hope readers gain when reading 200 Letters?
AW: There are many enlightening messages in 200 Letters. Some of those lessons include:
1. Know your worth. You are not obligated to put up with abuse. 2. Realize the difference between love and lust. 3. Mass incarceration is a very real and unjust profit scheme. 4. Forgive those who hurt you. 5. Do not judge others. We all sin and fall short of God’s glory 6. The Bible is still very applicable to modern life and problems. 7. Both kindness and betrayal can come from the most unlikely sources.
KjDunn was born and raised in Texas. She is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, mentor, and friend. She began writing at a young age and noticed in 5th grade the potential of her poetry. Her sophomore year, Robert “OG Bobby” Cox, her English teacher gave her a challenge to push past poetry and tap into her full writing capability. Her imagination is endless and her writing is real, raw, and transparent. Although “My Mother’s Daughter” is her first published book, she looks forward to creating more relatable material to promote hope and freedom.
PWH: What inspired you to start writing?
KJ: Honestly, LIFE! I had a lot going on when I was a kid and I had a teacher who would make us journal every day. Then we learned poetry. From there, I was hooked.
PWH: How would you describe your writing style?
KJ: Organically, I just flow. My finger touches the keys or the pen/pencil and I just start writing. No real plan or heavy thought.
PWH: What does a typical writing session look like for you?
KJ: A yeti cup full of tea, silence, and my CPU or notebook. PWH: What inspired the title “My Mother’s Daughter”? KJ: Growing up as a kid who was abused and scared into silence, it formed a huge wedge in my relationship with my mother. As I grew older, I realized, there were more women in the world like me. All of us, afraid to heal and be free. I took small steps, then huge leaps with mending the relationship with my mom. It was a long, hard process but through me taking those steps, I was able to discover how much we had in common. It became clear that I was chosen to carry the torch because I was her daughter. That mandate to tear down the strongholds and generational curses fell into my lap. I couldn’t fail the women that will grow in lineage. Then I got to thinking, how many others could benefit from hearing my story?
PWH: What message do you hope readers gain from reading your story?
KJ: I hope that people read my story and see a light. I hope that they see a chance to heal and flourish. I hope that this book helps people change their perspective in some areas and start the conversation to heal the mother-daughter relationship. Childhood trauma is not an easy thing to escape but it most definitely is possible. The one thing that I have been saying a lot is that their voice has SOUND. You don’t have to be silent anymore. Your healing and your peace for that little girl who is stuck in captivity in your mind, is yours for the taking.
Francis Perdue, Sr. Publicist of PS Media Talent has been a full-time publicist since 2009. Ms. Perdue currently holds the position of The Director of Communications for My Beverages, a new water company, based in West Hollywood, California. In 2016 and 2018, her firm was nominated for a Black Business Hall of Fame Award by The Hart Foundation and City National Bank in the categories of Philanthropy and Innovation, Technology, and Entertainment. Her feature in She Boom was a catalyst that leads to the discovery of her talents and philanthropy work. This has deemed her a hot commodity in the Product Placement side of events and television & film. With 100 plus products placed for high-end events, The Doctor’s TV Show, and her annual FUSE Pre-ESPY Event Ms. Perdue added a product division to her company.
As a new venture Francis has become a producer with her long term management client Charnele Brown’s company, Tri-Wen Productions starting with the film, The Coffee Pot. As a seasoned publicist and talent manager Francis is sought after for sponsorship, public relations for businesses and individuals. After 8-plus years in education, Perdue decided to take teaching beyond a confined classroom and started PS Media Talent in 2009. Always known as “The Hub” for information and research, people approached Perdue daily within and outside of education for solution strategies and connections. When thinking of making her life more fulfilling she pondered how she could help people attain their goals without boundaries and went into Public Relations. Ms. Perdue has been asked to speak at prestigious universities such as UC Riverside and panels such as The Diverse Representation at Lionsgate centered around issues of diversity, business, and the entertainment industry, from the perspective of a publicist and industry executive.
PWH: What inspired you to start writing?
FP: Regan Farley came out with Can’t Knock The Hustle Journal and she inspired me to write. My friends encouraged me to write as well. I really want to assist people’s journey to peace by showing how to overcome obstacles. Helping people is my passion so this journal gives a vulnerable side to me for a genuine connection with the reader.
PWH: What motivated your title “Life is in session”?
FP: Life Is In Session was inspired by my God Sister, Felicia Fuller. Every time we would talk about life and issues going on she’d say, “Life Is In Session.” Then we’d come up with something for a solution or I would vent. It’s the theme of life that everything is a learning lesson. Is a session in a part of your life that has a beginning and an end that you can gain from.
PWH: What message do you hope readers gain from this book?
FP: I want readers to gain a knowledge of self, attain tools to get through challenges, and most of all become successful at whatever their heart desires.
PWH: How did your long work history as a publicist play a part in preparing for your book release?
FP: As a publicist, I know what it takes to create awareness for a person, product, or service. My preparation was easier since I knew what tools I needed to be able to publicize the journal. Getting headshots, photos, picture versions of the chapters, social media flyers etc. were a small part of the preparation.
PWH: What can readers expect from you next?
FP: I will publish a memoir about my life. My father wrote a memoir prior to me being born that I want to place my book next to his on the mantlepiece. I want to tell my story about my life and how I became a serial entrepreneur.
I’m open to speaking engagements. Empowering people to live their best lives through my speaking engagements is next on my agenda.
My company, Perdue Inc., has created acquisitions in beauty and commodities. Selling PPE and Xenon Fever machines for businesses and non-profits in our current venture.
Cherie Feemster is an educator of over thirteen years with the passion to helpchildren to learn beyond the classroom. She is passionate about encouraging children to use their imagination to learn and wrote the children’s book A Walk Down Phonics Lane, helping children see how they have the ability to do just that with bringing nature to life! Cherie graduated from Ashford University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and North Carolina A& T State University with a Master of Arts in Teaching. She is an advocate of education and literacy for young children becoming readers. Cherie hopes to continue her writing journey with her next book in the series of A walk Down Phonics lane and continue to inspire children to ignite their imagination within and learn everywhere they go!
PWH: What inspired you to start writing?
CF: I was inspired to write by my own children and students as an educator. I wanted to create stories that children could relate to and would ignite the desire to use their imagination in their learning.
PWH: How would you describe your writing style?
CF: My writing style would be one of adventure that stimulates the mind of a young reader to continue after their own adventures of learning and reading.
PWH: What motivated your title “A Walk Down Phonics Lane”?
CF: I wanted children to understand and learn that you can learn EVERYWHERE you go using your imagination!
PWH: What key message do you hope readers gain from your work?
CF: Being an Educator of Early Education I would love for my audience to see the importance of displaying opportunities of reading and learning for children early and help with the beginning stages of phonics and literacy.
PWH: Where can readers support and purchase this book?
CF: You may visit my website www.akinderbalance.com for autographed copies and amazon for both paperback and Kindle version. (Click on the book to purchase via Amazon)
Shondra M. Quarles is an early childhood educator and children’s book author
who resides in Dallas. In 2014, Ms. Quarles’ students inspired her to write and self-publish her first e-book titled Kindergartner Wisdom: The Best Advice I Ever Got Came from Kindergartners. Shondra later went on to publish her first paperback book titled The Teacher Who Didn’t Want to go to school, in 2016. This book earned her a prestigious award from the National Celebrity Educators for authoring a book about teachers. The Teacher Who Didn’t Want to go to School was also a children’s book finalist for the 2017 and 2018 Indie Author Legacy Awards.
In 2017, Shondra co-authored a book about diversity titled Trees. In 2018, she published Black Lives Matter: A Picture Book for Kids, and My Black is Beautiful. Both books were written to promote self-love. Shondra went on to be a featured author at the 2018 NAACP Convention, and her books were featured at the 2018 Essence Music Festival.
Her book Curly Hair, Don’t Care, was written to encourage children to be proud of their natural hair. Shondra’s recent projects include Young King and Fati’s Garden. Young King is a book of affirmations for young boys, and Fati’s Garden follows a young girl who discovers the power of planting seeds.
Shondra’s most recent publications include The Three Bears go to School. The Teacher Who Was Quarantined and Couldn’t go to school, Jamal’s Nursery Rhyme Remix, and No Calvin. You can follow Shondra’s writing journey on all social media platforms @eyeheartteaching.
PWH: What motivated you to start writing?
SQ: I was motivated to write by my kindergartners. They were the inspiration for my first e-book.
PWH: How would you describe your writing style?
SQ: My writing style can be described as Poetic at times.
PWH: What inspired the title “The Teacher Who Didn’t want to go to school”?
SQ: I was inspired to write The Teacher Who Didn’t want to go to school because I was overwhelmed with the duties of being a teacher.
PWH: What key message do you hope readers gain from your work?
SQ: While being a teacher, I learned that 3rd-grade reading scores are a determinate of the number of prisons and/or prison beds built. I want kids to love reading. I promote literacy!