OWN’ Ready To Love’ Reality Star Ashlee Akins Debuts New Book “Authentically Ashlee”

Ashlee Akins is more than just a face on the OWN network. She’s an educated, entrepreneur making her way while using her platform. After being on Will Packer’s Ready To Love, she decided to take advantage of her loyal fan base she had on the show and create a brand bigger than herself, empowering women, managing artists and plenty.



Patrice: What motivated/inspired you to start a business?

Ashlee: I motivated myself!! Ok let me keep it real I have a huge support system .my brothers are a blessing to me and my mother is the fire behind everything I do.   I always knew that I wanted a business. I just wanted to make sure that it made me feel good about myself when I went to sleep at night! You know, it embodies who I am. 

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Ashlee: What makes me a pretty woman the hustle is my go getter mentality there is nothing that I won’t try and I can’t do.  During my college years my stepdad and mom had opened a family restaurant named Ashlee Diner. I loved being a young restaurant co-owner but I then understood all the hard work running a business took. I guess you could say I was a young hustler. I was able to go to school and understand what it takes to run a full restaurant business. I’ve always been a hustler I’m always trying to figure out ways to make money. It’s no question that I’m beautiful. Lol, I looked in the mirror. I received, I believed that I am that!!! I am definitely pretty woman that hustler I’m going to hustle to the day I check up out of here. More or less my mom and dad prepared me for my life now!!

Patrice: What is the name of your business(es) and what are they all about?

Ashlee: The name of my business is AA Dimensions; it’s an entertainment and empowerment company. We offer photography, music, dance and fitness, books, community events and more to come. I knew that I wanted to continue my life in the entertainment field. After being on the hit show ‘Ready to Love’, I wanted to make sure whatever business that I involved myself with I empowered people. I love making a difference. So my mother didn’t hesitate when I brought her my ideas. Then boom we birthed AA dimensions and have been going strong since 2019!

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Ashlee: Yes, I have definitely faced challenges in my business. It’s tough trying to juggle everything plus your life and make a profit with your business. You go broke before you get rich! Lol; everything that glitter is not gold! But what I have learned is that hard work pays off and consistency is key. Keep going!

Patrice: What projects are you currently working on?

Ashlee: Yes, I am currently working on some projects!  I have a brand new book out titled “Authentically Ashlee” and it’s available on all platforms. You can get it directly from http://www.chocolatereadings.com/authenticallyashlee

Also I am planning my first community fest on June 5th in my hometown in Jackson, Tennessee where we are going to highlight gun violence awareness, mental health awareness and I am definitely working on bridging the gap and getting my community back to a safer state and creating an opportunity for networking and bringing all of the entrepreneurs the small business and large businesses out in my community!!!

Patrice: How do you face diversity as a woman entrepreneur?

Ashlee: It’s simple! I don’t face diversity when someone is doing something that is not God- like. I simply take a deep breath and figure out a way to go around that speedbump. At the end of the day that’s all it is; a speedbump!  I don’t let diversity bother me; I move around diversity.

Patrice: Is balancing your personal life, work life and business life difficult for you at times?

Ashlee: Honestly, yes sometimes it can be difficult to balance everything. But I got to keep it real yall. To be honest balancing your career personal life and work life can be done with a little scheduling LOL. But you make time for what you want. Understand that you need to set short-term goals because you don’t want to cram your brain or your week. Always save some time for yourself each day!


Connect with Ashlee:

Ig: @_iamashlee007

Fb: Ashlee Akins

Twitter: Ashlee Akins


Cross-Genre Author Takes a Walk on the Mystery-Thriller Side with Novels By Jodaea

Born on June 14, 1973, Jodaéa is a cross-genre author of romantic suspense and mystery thrillers. Raised in both Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland. She attended Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland as well as Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia. She is also a Registered Nurse and member of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. All of her life, Jodaéa always seemed to find herself either in or around the most unusual {and sometimes unbelievable} situations, often asking herself ‘Why me?’  From witnessing a neighbor’s death in 1979 at the age of 5; being the first on the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident in 1999; to observing the supernatural in a hospital room in 2006.  In 2008, after much encouragement from family and friends to chronicle her past experiences, Jodaéa finally decided to give writing a try. She says her inspirations come from recalling past experiences then asking herself, What’s the worst that could have happened? Then letting the stories write themselves!     


Patrice: What motivated/inspired you to start a business?

Jodaea: I wanted to do my books my way and I felt like “why waste my time trying to convince someone that my stories are good enough for print when I have all the tools to do so myself?” So, I took my degree and put it to use.

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Jodaea: I don’t take NO for an answer. What one won’t do, the next one will. I don’t fear having to go back to the drawing board to regroup. I’m a firm believer in the fact that sometimes we have to take one step back in order to take more steps forward.

Patrice: What is the name of your business(es) and what are they all about?

Jodaea: NOVELS BY JODAEA, LLC. I started it as a means of self-publishing my work but it has since morphed into more of a brand with NBJ merch, book bundles; and book boxes. In addition to assisting others in their self-publishing journeys I also donate bundles of my titles to community services to support reading programs.

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Jodaea: Yes. When I initially started back in 2009, I really just flew by the seat of my pants, eager to see my work in print. After falling on my face, I realized there’s a process and I had to learn it. I took some years off, learned literary terms and the importance of networking and came back stronger with my second novel CAREFUL WHAT YOU PREY FOR.

Patrice: What projects are you’re currently working on?

Jodaea:  My third novel is with the editor now. I have some expos and book fairs on the schedule as we’re beginning to reopen from COVID and I am ALWAYS looking for new opportunities for NBJ to shine.

Patrice: Is balancing your personal life, work life and business life difficult for you at times?

Jodaea: Not really because my family works with and fully supports me. They know if I win, WE WIN!

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur or business owner mean to you?

Jodaea: It means independence. It means being a role model to my children and my people. Most importantly, it means being able to put respect on my family’s name.

Connect with Jodaea:

Website: NOVELSBYJODAEA.COM

IG: @JODAEANOVELS

FB: NOVELS BY JODAEA


DEBUT AUTHOR KIMBERLY GOWDY SHARES HER TRUTH IN THE BOOK “THE COLORLESS WOMB”

Debut author Kimberly Gowdy tackles the topic of surrogacy and infertility head-on. In The Colorless Womb, Gowdy talks about her struggles to conceive and carry a child. She discusses complications of three miscarriages and being trapped in an abusive marriage with her former spouse who valued his drug addiction more than his wife. The book follows her journey in search of alternative ways to have a family and how her faith kept her strong even in the darkest of days. After seven failed surrogacy attempts with two embryos left, the biggest surprise comes in an unexpected package.

Gowdy’s openness to share her truth is refreshing and brings the reader along for an emotional ride sprinkled with humor, pain, encouragement, faith, and transparency. She proves that help in any form can come in unseen ways and in people. “Since this is a true story, it was just a matter of telling my truth. The Colorless Womb shows that even with the racial tensions in our country, love is above racism. The person on the inside matters more than what is on the outside,” Gowdy says.

Patrice: Who is Kimberly Gowdy?

Kimberly: Kimberly is the eldest of eight children.  A woman who previously lived a life under the secret of domestic abuse, the shame of enabling drug addiction, and a believer that she would never carry the title of mom,  who’s now living her best life as a business professional, wife of a doctor and mother to a son.   

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman who hustles?

Kimberly: I’m a woman who has looked down the barrel of life’s darkest days and still decided I wanted more.  I’m a woman who knows struggle, pain, and disappointment, but I also knew how to use it for my good. We can be blessed even by the mistakes we make.  It all works together for your good.

Patrice: What is the name of your book, and what is it about?

Kimberly:  “The Colorless Womb. “The Colorless Womb” is about the most painful part of my life.  It’s about loss, brokenness, and the journey it took for me to become a mother.  I’ve always believed that I would someday wear that title, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes God saves us from ourselves.  The timing, the person, even the place may not be right.  This book is a testament that our blessings may not always be recognizable. 

Patrice: Did you face any challenges in your journey when writing your book?

Kimberly: I faced some challenges.  The first was a matter of time.  When I thought about writing, my son was two years old.  My husband and I were also caregivers to my 90-year-old father-in-law.  Having a child and a senior citizen in the house, we were going from the pediatrician for my son to the geriatric ward for my father-in-law all in the same week.  I was a wife, mother and working full time outside the home. Between that challenge and not believing enough in my writing skills, it was difficult.  But obviously, I overcame those barriers.

Patrice: What does a pretty woman who hustles mean to you?

 Kimberly: A woman who is about her business.  A woman who drowns out the negativity that she hears and sees on television and social media.  A woman who believes that if I don’t believe in me, no one else will.

Patrice: Are you working on any current projects right now?

Kimberly:  I am working on writing my second book.  I’ll just say it’s more political.  I’m also working on developing MOBY™.  Mommy Older Baby Younger.  It’s a name I trademarked to represent women who became mothers at or over 35.  There are many of us.  Not just actresses but everyday women.  Women who may have married someone with children, surrogacy, adoption, or the good old-fashioned way. But we are to be celebrated because we didn’t focus on society’s timeline. 

Patrice: How do you face diversity as a woman author?

Kimberly: I’m new to this industry, but I will say the books that I plan to write will reach a wide audience.  Growing up in Connecticut, in a very diverse community, my experiences dictate that I will be cast a wide net in terms of those who will appreciate my stories.

Patrice: Is balancing your personal life, work, and business life difficult for you at times?

Kimberly: It can be difficult at times. I work hard, both in my profession and now as an Author.  Most women are guilty of doing way too much to please others, it’s just what we do.  When it gets too overwhelming, I step back, pray, and then imagine life without those around me who need me, and that usually takes me out of my pity party, that and a glass of Cabernet.

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

Kimberly: It means leaving a legacy. It means knowing that when I leave this earth, there will be something with my name on it.  I can say “Google me,” and you’ll see more than just my previous address history; you’ll see hard work, dedication, and commitment to my dreams.

Patrice: What do you want the readers to take away from your book?

Kimberly: That with race relations at an all-time low, we are more alike than different.  And that one of life’s greatest blessings may come in an unsuspecting package.

Connect with Kimberly:

Instagram: colorlesswomb_

Twitter: colorlesswomb_

Facebook: thecolorlesswomb

Website: www.thecolorlesswomb.com

NATURAL IDEALIST EMILIE RAWLINGS TURNS HER PAIN INTO A BOOK IN “FOUNDATION BOOK,” BOOK OF HOPE

Patrice: Tell the readers about yourself.

Emilie: Emilie Rawlings is a natural Idealist where she suffered from anxiety most of her life. During the breakdown, Emilie realized she didn’t know how to listen to herself to determine what she needed. This empowered her to determine what the real issue was and address it once and for all, never to return to this place in her life. Now, Emilie has devoted her time and energy to helping others who have suffered similar instances in their lives with her self-care strategy program. Emilie is determined to spread self-love and care through her books and courses that have changed many lives.

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Emilie: I have been at my lowest and still didn’t give up. Your strongest enemy is yourself, and I went 12 rounds and won. Now I am reaching back and helping female entrepreneurs with self-care tips and strategies to successfully combat anxiety, imposter syndrome, and depression.

Patrice: What is the name of your business, and what does it intel?

Emilie: My book is called “Foundation book,” a book of hope and a book of new beginnings. Are you ready for this to be your year? The year you go from wanting, wishing, and hoping to be, doing, and having. In this book, I speak on my experiences and my 8-point strategy for self-care and self-love as you are pursuing your goals and dreams.

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Emilie: Of course. The Mental battle, self-worth, self-love, organization, and being in tune with my intuition and determining what I wanted in my business and life. It’s a daily battle and something female entrepreneurs juggle in their everyday life.

Patrice: Are you currently working on any current projects right now?

Emilie: I am currently working on my next book and courses to provide more help and understanding for women entrepreneurs and their success.

Patrice: How do you face diversity as an author?

Emilie: I am a huge advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. I am a firm believer in acceptance and understanding. We are all humans and should be seen as equals without prejudice, bias, or stereotype.

Patrice: Is balancing your personal life, work-life, and business life challenging for you at times?

Emilie: It gets complicated at times, as I am sure any full-time wife, mother, father, and entrepreneur goes through. But honestly, it’s about listening to what your body and spirit need and keeping those needs fulfilled. You can’t pour into anyone if your cup is empty.

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur or business owner mean to you?

Emilie: It means impact. I am a natural enthusiast and believer in helping others actually ends up helping yourself in the long run. Running a business at the most primal level essentially means you are solving a problem or providing a solution to an issue. If that isn’t making an impact and the world a better place, I am not sure what else is.

Connect with Emilie:

https://www.instagram.com/emilie.rawlings/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/emilierawlings/?ref=share

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1hf6ictrcAQVEz_4avRBhg

BEST-SELLING AUTHOR AND EVANGELIST PAMELA SMITH CONTINUES TO ELEVATE WOMEN THROUGH HER LITERARY TALENT

Pamela D. Smith is an Evangelist, Best-Selling Author, and Authorpreneur who has dedicated her diverse pursuits to elevating the lives of women and authors around the world. She uses her literary talent to evangelize and bring others into the saving faith of Jesus Christ. She started a movement #healedlifewholewoman to help women release past hurt and pain and live a life of purpose and abundance. As an Authorpreneur, Pamela serves as a life and book coach and a self-publishing consultant. Pamela has worked with many authors and helped them pursue their dream of becoming published. She has been featured in several magazines, articles, podcasts, and blogs. She was recently named one of 11 Women in Marketplace Ministry to watch in 2021 by Sheen Magazine. To learn more about Pamela D. Smith visit her website at www.pameladsmith.net

My inspiration comes from the things I have been able to heal and break through from. My inspiration also comes from living, breathing examples of the gospel in demonstration. People who I watch who have mastered the art of overcoming!

Patrice: For those who do not know you, tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Pamela: I am a Wife, Mother of 3 boys, Glam Ma, and an Authorpreneur. In the Author Space, I write and self-publish my books, which are used to evangelize and minister to readers, help them heal and live a purpose driven life. I coach other aspiring, faith-based authors on how to do the same.

Patrice: What makes a pretty woman that hustles?

Pamela: Her spirit. Her tenacity. Her courage. The fact that she is not truly hustling as the word defines hustle, but she is in divine flow and living her life purposefully. A healed, whole woman is a pretty woman who hustles.

Patrice: How did you get your big start in business?

Pamela: I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pen. From journaling to re-wording and rewriting my friends love letters to their boyfriends, it’s something I have always done. About 16 years ago I gave God my “real” yes and decided to use writing as a ministry tool so I started self-publishing my writing and then other aspiring authors started asking if I could help them self-publish their books and from there the business was birthed.

Patrice: You are a woman that wears many hats in entrepreneurship such as being an evangelist, author, inspirational speaker and more! Where does your inspiration come from?

Pamela: My inspiration comes from the things I have been able to heal and break through from. My inspiration also comes from living, breathing examples of the gospel in demonstration. People who I watch who have mastered the art of overcoming!

Patrice: I want to talk about your love to help others in the literary world. How long have you been a literary agent to new and upcoming authors?

Pamela: I’ve been helping others self-publish for the last 5 years.

Patrice: Speaking of authors, you are one yourself! How many books have you published?

Pamela: I have published 9 books.

Patrice: Out of all the books you wrote, which one seems to be the reader’s favorite?

Pamela: I think there’s a split between my very first one-E3: Encouraged, Equipped, Empowered and my last one, While at the Altar.

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

Pamela: To me it means I have the liberty to enter an industry and set my own rules. Yes, I think it’s important to be knowledgeable in what is trending, but one can also be innovative and disrupt the industry. You can’t do that when you are working for someone else. Their rules and processes are their rules and processes.

Patrice: Tell us more about your business and what it intel.

 Pamela: As an Authorpreneur, I am a Christian Author, Speaker, and Coach so I write, publish, and sell books. I speak at Churches, Women Conferences and Empowerment Events. I also coach and serve as a Self-Publishing Consultant to aspiring authors to help them through the writing process and with self-publishing and launching their books

Patrice: Are you currently working on any new projects?

 Pamela: I am working on 3 client projects and from there I have some more that have already signed on. I’m booked with client projects until September. Glory be to God

Patrice: Do you plan on writing any more books soon?

Pamela: Yes. With every book I say it’s my last one because I want to focus 100% on clients, but God continues to download to me and I am always drawn back to writing another book. I have accepted that I have a writing ministry so I will never be able to get out of literary evangelism, whether that be through publishing books or blogs, God will continue to give me a message to share through a book.

Connect with Pamela:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1pameladsmith

Instagram: @pameladsmith1

Email: smith.pamela391@gmail.com

Website: www.pameladsmith.net

Shift Your Mindset One Thought at a Time with Author and Mental Health Advocate Shawnee Palmer

 

After working in healthcare for many years, Shawnee developed a desire to become more active in helping people overcome the challenges in their lives. This desire soon transformed into a passion, which led Shawnee to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Addiction Counselor. She named her private mental health practice Alpine’s Empowerment Agency, both as a tribute to what she works with her clients toward—self-empowerment and overcoming their challenges—and after her grandmother, who has been a spiritual guide and angel for Shawnee, guiding her life long after she’s passed.  Alpine’s Empowerment Agency provides a private space where individuals and families can receive counseling to uncover and address the root causes of today’s problems. Shawnee has a passion for working with individuals who battle with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, PTSD, trauma, anger, low self-esteem, and those who are grieving a loved one or having difficulties adjusting to a sudden life change. Through her agency, Shawnee strives to serve as her grandmother did, as a guide to those who are struggling in life, bringing them to a statement of acceptance and contentment. Shawnee has a new book out, “Shifting Your Mindset: A Guide to Overcome Depression, Anxiety & Trauma”. The book focuses on identifying ways to change your perspective on life for unmanaged and unresolved anxiety, depression, and trauma. As a mental health therapist, she wrote scenarios based on her own life experiences to give the readers ideas on overcoming life obstacles. She provides the readers with knowledge that helps them reflect on their current mental processes. This book experience helps readers to enhance their critical thinking skills.

“I had a desire to share my story on how I overcame depression, anxiety, and traumatic childhood memories in hopes that it would help others become victorious over their life woes.”

 

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman who hustles?

Shawnee: My demeanor and how I carry myself with peace, confidence, and security. The love that I have for myself that helps me to stay self-motivated to create and accomplish all of my goals makes me a pretty woman who hustles!

Patrice: I was looking at your book “Shifting Your Mindset” and in the Preface section, it asked the question “If you had a chance to redo your life, what would you change?” I really like that question. So, I want to ask you that question. If you had to redo your life, what would you change and why?

Shawnee: For me, I wouldn’t change anything because those life experiences brought me to where I am today. I wouldn’t have the knowledge, wisdom, or understanding without those experiences. They led me to loving and nurturing myself more than I ever knew that I could!

Patrice: Tell us more about your journey as an author. What was your inspiration behind it?

Shawnee: I’ve been writing poems and short stories since elementary. I won a Young Author’s award in the 4th grade for a book I wrote on dinosaurs. I wrote off and on throughout the years but never shared the work I completed with others. As a therapist, I noticed that the calling on my life required me to reach a larger population of people and I wouldn’t be able to do that just with 1:1 therapy. Expanding my influence through books assisted me in connecting with more people. I’m a big advocate for people healing so I wanted to be part of many people’s healing journeys. This is the first self-published book of many to come in the future.

Patrice: Why did you choose this book you wrote to share with the world?

Shawnee: I had a desire to share my story on how I overcame depression, anxiety, and traumatic childhood memories in hopes that it would help others become victorious over their life woes.

Patrice: What message do you want readers to gain by reading your book?

Shawnee: My goal is for readers to learn more about themselves and ways to address their hidden pain. I want them to explore it from a different perspective so that way, they can get the healing that they need and deserve.

Patrice: In your book, you talk about self-care and I think that topic is so important especially if you are an author, established business owner, or entrepreneur. Why do you think that topic is so valuable and important to learn?

Shawnee: It’s valuable because stress is common but in order to truly address the life stressors we have and not allow them to break us down, we have to find outlets to release stress. Self-care should be practiced daily to keep a healthy balance between ourselves and life experiences that we have no control over.

Patrice: What is the best part about being a clinical social worker?

Shawnee: I have the ability to help others heal themselves. When people give me feedback about how I have helped change their lives, it warms my heart. It gives me the momentum to keep going and thriving to offer more to the people. It also encourages me to keep enhancing myself so that I am always presenting myself to my clients as my best self.

Patrice: Let us talk about your company Love and Serenity Wellness. What is the inspiration behind it? What type of skincare products does your company provide?

Shawnee: I believe in holistic healing for the mind, body, and spirit, Love & Serenity Wellness has the mental health sector by providing books and consultation services that aid in healing, understanding, and gaining wisdom that guides individuals to fulfill their true purpose in life. I enjoy teaching others how to reduce the barriers in their life, gain the knowledge that they need to be successful, and obtain the resources that they need to gain a sense of serenity and love for themselves as they venture out on their financial journey. I offer body and skincare products such as body butter, sugar scrubs, fragrance oils, detox bath salts, pain relief, and eczema cream. All products are therapeutic items that enhance the quality of the skin.

Patrice: Overall, what is the goal for your business?

Shawnee: To educate and empower business owners about mental, emotional wellness so that they are able to overcome any and all adversities that may come their way on their entrepreneurial journey.

Patrice: Do you plan to write any more books soon? If so, will it be on the same concept as the Shifting Your Mindset book?

Shawnee: I have started working on concepts for the next book and it will be a book about overcoming emotional hurt from a parent. It will allow the reader to address unhealed wounds and find ways to forgive their parents so that the issues with them no longer impact intimate relationships with others.

Patrice: Are you currently working on any projects for the remainder of the year?

Shawnee: I have several projects in the works for 2021! First, I am working on some workshops, courses and collaborating with others on panels to educate others about mental and emotional wellness. My biggest launch this month will be my non-profit, “Kindred Youth Foundation.” The mission is to build healthier emotional and mental wellness foundations through education and support for teens in underprivileged areas who have challenges with a parent or caregiver who is recovering from substance abuse.

 

 

Connect with Shawnee:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/LoveAndSerenityWellness

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LoveSerenityW

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoveAndSerenityWellness

Website: https://www.loveandserenitywellness.com

YouTube: Shifting Mindsets with Shawnee https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8xUxlR-Bd5sgJuVf7HaEfQ

 

Patrice Rivers is a media mogul with the mind-set to tell “inspiring” stories in the world of journalism. She has also published nine books and is the owner of her brand ‘That Riverz Gurl Brand LLC’ that consists of her freelance writing, journalism skills, writing services, media platform and health platform. Learn more about this boss in the making by visiting her website at http://www.thatriverzgurlbrandllc.com Follow her on IG at http://www.instagram.com/thatriverzgurlbrandllc

A Dream Fulfilled! Author, Writer LaWanda Burrell Shares Her Vision To Starting Her Journey as an Author

LaWanda Lewis Burrell was born and raised in Greenville, Alabama. She was a shy, small town girl with big city dreams that learned to speak her truth in the time of adversity. LaWanda is grateful for her good upbringing, love and support from her parents and older sister. At a very young age she discovered what absolutely fulfilled her purpose was being compassionate and helping others. Her love for people and working in the community helped her to gain numerous job and volunteer opportunities. LaWanda stepped out on faith and moved to Houston, Texas in 1998, two months after graduating from Stillman College, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She is a former educator and HR professional believing that success has no limits, if you can dream it, then you can do it! LaWanda is a proud member of the Order of Eastern Star and her beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., as she served as the undergraduate chapter President for many years. She is a leader in the community volunteering as a historical researcher and board member for the African American Library at the Gregory School Friends Group, Harris County Remembrance Project as a historical researcher, and volunteer in the greeter’s ministry at Lakewood Church. She has been a guest speaker at sorority events, churches, book clubs and Houston Baptist University Board of Directors as she plans to further her education. LaWanda was overjoyed when her book Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up was selected to be on the summer reading list for the Houston Texas Book Club.

 

 

Patrice: What makes LaWanda a pretty woman that hustles?

LaWanda: What makes me a pretty woman that hustles is having a character full of faith, compassion, respect, integrity, kindness, and love. I believe that there is no limit to success, if you can dream it, then you can do it! “To whom much is given, much will be required”. (Luke 12:48) I believe in myself and that my life has purpose. I know that nothing worth having comes easy; it takes hard work and sacrifices. I believe in the successes of others and understand that what God has for me is for me. I am open to receive God’s favor and blessings to help others along the way. Like many BLACK QUEENS, we are powerful, beautiful, talented, unique, the strongest, most educated and creative beings to ever grace this earth. We are everything to everybody, always imitated but never duplicated. No matter what knocks us down, we always find a way to get back up again stronger, better, and wiser.

We rise up and continue to stay in faith because our problems have a purpose. We teach and esteem our little black boys and little black girls about who they are and whose they are. We pray, praise, and read our bibles daily to keep our spirits lifted. I believe when prayer becomes our habit, miracles will become our lifestyle. It takes courage not to be discouraged. We are children of God; we deserve life’s greatest blessings. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) I believe in staying positive, loving one another, supporting and encouraging each other. We have a heart to hustle so that we can leave a legacy for our families. Always keep your head up and celebrate you. Dream BIG and Work HARDER!!

 

Patrice: Tell the readers a little bit about your career as an author.

LaWanda: I’ve always enjoyed journaling, it is a fun way for me to fertilize my spirit with positive self-thoughts, decrease stress, clear my mind, and give me reassurance of who I am in Christ. As a child, I was often told that I was a great storyteller with an active imagination. I love using my writing to inspire, uplift, engage, and encourage. There is no greater rush than a storyteller having the ability to share inspirational stories and discover that you have helped someone through their struggles.

My vision of writing a book happened after I accepted a position as a HR Director, but later noticed it was in a toxic work environment. Everyone will not be on board with doing things the right way, especially when it has worked the wrong way for so long. A year later, I got the courage to stand up and speak up for the unethical behaviors, but was continuously harassed and later terminated. As I prayed in the closet, I asked God to direct my path. I reached for a box on the top shelf and out fell a journal that I had written 5 years prior. I immediately started to type my first draft of my book. I was so engulfed in my thoughts that I had typed my book of over 250 pages within two weeks. I was persuaded by my husband to submit my book to a publisher, but was fearful of rejection because I had gotten rejected from job interviews a lot during that year. The harassment I endured played constantly in my head and created hatred in my heart.

Months later, I went back in the closet and asked God to forgive the ones that caused me harm. Finally, after 9 months of persuasion from my family, I submitted my manuscript, and the next week I was blessed with a book contract from Christian Faith Publishing after I forgave the ones that mistreated me in the workplace. My pain turned into my passion and God revealed my purpose!

 

Patrice: This year has been crazy with the whole pandemic, the BLM movement and violence. Have these events affected your writing at all?

LaWanda: Thankfully the pandemic and horrific events that has occurred to our black men and black women hasn’t affected my writing but has changed the way I market. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to attend in person festivals and book signings like before, but I have been able to attend virtual book festivals, podcasts, and market my book on social media. It is exhausting and very frustrating to witness the injustices among our culture. Writing helps me release stress and anger, and is truly therapy for me. Our black lives do matter. This is why we should vote; it is our voice. The malicious behavior and systematic racism that our black culture have endured for over 400 years is why I write and continue to be a catalyst for change. The injustices that black women are facing is the story of my life as I experienced discrimination and racism as a teenager, in college and in corporate America.

Women sometimes don’t speak up because they don’t feel their voice is strong enough to be heard and accepted. There are so many like Breonna Taylor, Korryn Gaines, Pamela Turner, Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, and Shantel Davis, whom story was never told and didn’t make it to the media. “Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up” is a book that will encourage you to stand up and speak up for your beliefs, whether it is time’s up for un-forgiveness, domestic violence, depression, discrimination, infidelity, police brutality, fear, toxic relationships, bullying, poverty, low self-esteem, or workplace politics.  No matter what trials I endure I continue to trust God because faith and worry cannot function in the same space. Worrying kills while worshipping heals, take your concerns to God in prayer.

 

Patrice: You recently attended the 2020 National Black Book Festival held in Houston, Texas. What was that experience like for you? Is there anything that you learned from attending?

LaWanda: It was a wonderful celebration of authors of all genres. This was my first time attending and although it was virtual, it was an amazing experience. The National Black Book Festival for 13 years has invited an array of authors from the New York Time’s Best Sellers to your first- time authors, enabling everyone to showcase their books from every perspective, and offer authors critical opportunities to promote their books to a circle of readers most likely to engage with them.  It was an opportunity to listen to other author’s journeys and vision of writing their books. You get to share your struggles and strengths through group chats and podcast interviews. You are able to mingle with celebrity authors to gain knowledge of do’s and don’ts in the entertainment industry. Most were very transparent in explaining how their success didn’t happen overnight, they faced years of rejections.

They gave great tips on marketing your books, a variety of platforms to use for your specific type of genres, a lot of success stories, a lot of positive feedback to encourage the first time writer, and understanding the differences between publishing through a publishing company and self-publishing. I am very thankful for Founder Mrs. Gwen Richardson and The National Black Book Festival staff in blessing Houston, Texas and surrounding areas with this event year round.

 

Patrice: Are there any current projects you are working on?

LaWanda: My plans are to continue to market my book through radio and TV broadcasts, word of mouth, social media, podcast, magazine publications, book signings and festivals. This year of 2020 has been very challenging and unpredictable for everyone. However, God continues to bless us through the storm. Recently, I was approached by a production company in Atlanta, Georgia interested in turning my book Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up into a film. I am super excited about this once in a lifetime opportunity!! Our mission for the film will be to inspire everyone through hope, faith, forgiveness, and love. Our film will have a number of provisions in the content to help individuals understand the power of prayer, live a happy and fulfilled life of purpose, and respect and love for all mankind. This movie will make you laugh, make you cry, but most of all make you love and forgive.

Our plans are to start production of the movie Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up, in 2021.

Patrice: Congrats on that opportunity! Your book “Stand Up Speak Up Because Your Time’s Up” is based on a true story/facts correct?

LaWanda: That’s correct.  Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up is a 5.0 out of 5 stars gripping story about Ananda (main character) a shy, small town girl from Alabama with big city dreams who learns to speak her truth in the time of adversity. Her life is an emotional rollercoaster, as she deals with childhood bullying, relationship issues, happiness, death of loved ones, finding true love, health issues, loneliness, harassment, hardships, and cherishing marriage and family. I share inspirational true stories of my challenges and personal struggles where I had to lean to God for understanding and stand up and speak up for my beliefs. My book will motivate you live a life of purpose, understand your self-worth, and be kind to one another. My powerful testimony will fill you with hope and faith and encourage you to love and forgive.

 

Patrice: What messages do you want readers to take away from reading your book?

LaWanda: Everyone goes through struggles, it is not what you go through, but how you go through it. Understand that your trials and tribulations may be God redirecting your path in life. Be open to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Forgiveness is power, always trust God’s timing. Be different and learn to stand up, and speak up for your beliefs, even if you are standing alone.

Fasting from people that are not for you is very important. Mend relationships with the ones that truly matter, and stop wasting your precious time with the ones that don’t. Procrastination is a DREAM KILLER! You are the creator of your own destiny! Stay positive, Work Hard, Make It Happen

Patrice: For aspiring authors, what advice would you give them?

LaWanda: If you are an aspiring author start by thinking about your purpose of writing and the message you want to relay to your readers. Create goals and a timeline of when you may want to start and have your project completed. I wrote my book within two weeks, however it may take you a lot longer. Try a paragraph a day and before you know it, you will have completed an entire book. Make sure it is realistic and attainable goals, because you want to eliminate any pressure. Writing should be fun and enjoyable, something that you truly like to do. If you make it a chore, you won’t be able to enjoy the journey. Occasionally I face writer’s block, I lose my train of thought, don’t know what to write, or just get tired of writing. This is normal and may require you to take a break, get a bite to eat, spend quality time with your family, or take a walk.

If you get discouraged take a breath, read positive affirmations, pray, take it word by word and day by day. Your story is your story that God has blessed you to write. You don’t have to discuss your ambitions with everyone, because they may not understand your journey, and negative influences will increase your stress, and before you know it, you will have feelings to give up. Work hard in silence and let success be your noise. Always surround yourself around positive and influential people. Remember, it is just a chapter you may be stuck on not the whole story.

Patrice: How can readers purchase your book?

LaWanda: Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up is available in paperback, hardcover, audiobook (narrated by the author), and Kindle. It is available online at Walmart, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Books-A-Million, Apple iTunes, Audible and several independent bookstores in the US and UK. You can purchase signed copies of the paperback and hardcover on my website at www.sosweetauthor.com.

Email:

lawanda.burrell02@yahoo.com

Facebook:

@authorlawandaburrell

Instagram:

@wandavision2020

Twitter:

@lawandalewisbu2

 

 

Survivor’s Jewelz: Woman Empowerment Advocate Sprinkle Jewelz on Young Women By Keeping Them Inspired

Kendra Hall, passionately champions for young women and other at-risk populations who are entering into adulthood, through her writing, mentoring, and avid connectivity to resources that she shares to uplift and prosper others. She is a devoted advocate for young women, sharing her own life experiences like being a teenage mother of three children by the age of 18 years, overcoming homelessness and domestic violence. Ms. Hall celebrates, especially, the continued success of at least 30+ women whose lives she’s directly mentored, while still achieving her own professional milestones like graduating with a Bachelors in Arts in Law and Justice from Rider University as an adult learner. She also believes in making time for the things she enjoys like learning about the metaphysical and heightened spiritual awareness, connecting people, networking, reading, tennis, studying and traveling. She is also the Host of her Newest Instagram Live series, #SurvivorsJewelz, where she offers her platform to allow Survivors to share their stories. She believes that everyone’s survival has power and that it is through the sharing of those stories that we let that power serve its purpose. She is spreading hope through the understanding that the power to succeed comes from within and not without, and by letting young women know that support is available. By teaching a philosophy of hope she inspires others to maximize their life, no matter the obstacle. Kendra hopes to help as many young women as she can succeed in life.

 

Patrice: Tell us a little about the leadership role you carry out for your family and the community.

Kendra: The leadership role that I carry out for my family and community is administered and based on an “each one teach one” philosophy.  Also, I offer referrals to community resources and one-on-one mentoring.

Patrice:  How long have you been mentoring young women and girls?

Kendra: I’ve been mentoring for over 20 years.

Patrice: What do you hope your mentees take away from your mentorship?

Kendra: I want those I mentor to understand that life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful. We all have trials and tribulations in life; however, we define our journey. Our journey does not define us.

Patrice: How did your journey start as an author? Any inspiration?

Kendra: My journey as an author started as a young girl having my poetry published in ‘Highlights Magazine.’ I love to write creatively.  Over time, and through many inspirations, my first self-help book,” Droppin Jewelz: Guiding Principals to Help Girls Live Their Best Life,” was born!

Patrice: Can you tell the readers more about your first book?

Kendra: My first self-help book is based on my real-life journey as a 13-year-old pregnant teenager, kicked out of home, and trying to survive.  I discuss what decisions led me to have three children by the age of 18 years old and how I could prosper beyond my circumstances.   My book takes you on a faith-based journey filled with life lessons that give foundation to and highlight life’s ebbs and flows.

Patrice: You are also writing a second book. That must be very exciting for you! What genre is it on, and what is it about?

Kendra: My second book is a self-help book exploring more of life’s foundational principles to success.

Patrice: Sometimes juggling more than one thing at a time can be challenging. How are you balancing motherhood and business all at the same time?

Kendra: I still have my challenges at times; however, having a morning routine has been my saving grace. I wake up at 4 A.M. daily to pray and meditate.  I find waking up at this time allows me to maximize my day.  I also workout, which gives me energy and provides stress relief.

Patrice: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are trying to balance their work and life?

 Kendra: My advice to entrepreneurs looking to find a balance between their work and home life to find and stick to a routine that allows you to maximize your day.

Patrice: What was the writing process like for your first book?

Kendra: Writing my first book was a challenging yet mentally freeing experience.  It’s the same feeling I have now writing my second book.

Patrice: Do you have a specific spot or place that you like to write at?

Kendra: I don’t have a specific spot or place I like to write at.

Patrice: What advice can you give teen moms that don’t have any family support?

Kendra: My advice to teen mothers who lack family support is finding the community resources in your area.  Please feel free to contact me if you need assistance in finding community resources.

Patrice: What does women/girl empowerment mean to you, and why do you think it is important?

Kendra: Woman empowerment is when self-love and intrinsic motivation collide.  In a male-dominated society, women must find their voice and use it. We have fought so long for equal rights, and the fight is not over.  We must continue to push forth.

Patrice: How is the process of going with being a personal trainer/wellness coach? 

Kendra: The process is excellent! I find it fulfilling and rewarding, helping others to reach their health and wellness goals.

Patrice: How can readers connect with you? 

Kendra: You can visit my website: www.DroppinJewelz.com and on social media @justusjewelz

Patrice: What does being a pretty woman that hustle mean to you?

Kendra: Being a pretty woman that hustles means work hard in life; however, know you don’t have to look like what you’ve been through.

Connect with Kendra:

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/justusjewelwz

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/justusjewelz

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justusjewelz

Reiki Master and Crystal Dealer Makes Six Figures on Pinterest!

Sharena created The Regal Phoenix from a place that she calls her Rock Bottom Season. During her most challenging times, she found herself still buying and gifting crystals to her friends and associates who needed to begin a healing process or were starting to explore the metaphysical realm. Launched on her daughter’s first birthday, November 20, 2018, and amid heavy postpartum depression, The Regal Phoenix was born and quickly placed on hold. Although barely operating for the first quarter of the year, The Regal Phoenix promptly went viral on Pinterest in 2019, and the rest has been history. A true testimony that when you heal and become aligned, you can manifest anything!

Patrice: What makes Sharena, Sharena?

Sharena: Sharena is authentic. Indeed a dope soul, I was sent here to help those who want to do the work to heal. My superpower is being non-judgmental, probably because I’ve been through some unimaginable things throughout my life, so my empathy for people runs deep. It allows me to connect with people uniquely. After experiencing healing for myself, it has become my purpose to share and see the light that beams when people heal their minds, bodies, and souls.

Patrice: Before you started your current business, you were a Real Estate Broker for fifteen years. What sparked your interest in real estate?

Sharena: I always had a love for architecture and interior design as a teenager. My Mom supported my interest and paid for me to take my first real estate class right after finishing college. I got my license a few years before the bubble burst in 2008, and it’s been lucrative for me ever since.

Patrice: Now that you have your own business and make six figures, what was the motivation/inspiration behind that? Is there a story?

Sharena: I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 15 years. I have a few businesses under my belt, including a real estate brokerage and construction company. This is my first e-commerce business. God gave me this business to create a legacy for my family. Initially, it wasn’t something that I was considering or even wanted to do. It was something that I needed to do, and God was telling me to d, through those close to me, but I wasn’t listening. The Regal Phoenix is the result of me finally listening and being obedient to God’s word.

Patrice: You specialize in crystal dealing and healing. What types of crystals do you use?

Sharena: I use all types, shapes, and sizes. My collection consists of tumbles, rough stones, points, towers, pyramids, animal figurines; you name it. In my daily practice, I use tumbles and pendulums the most. My absolute favorite crystals would probably be black tourmaline and selenite because of their abilities to transmute negative energy. Black tourmaline can be used for protection, and selenite can be used to cleanse your stones as well as your aura of psychic smog.

Patrice: Within The Regal Phoenix, what type of crystal prescriptions does your business offer?

Sharena: The Regal Phoenix offers various crystal kits to help heal our society’s most common issues, such as anxiety, obesity, insomnia, chronic pain, and more. On our Etsy shop, The Anxiety Kit is our #1 bestseller, followed by The Empath Kit. This signals that our society is hugely stressed and overstimulated emotionally. We must make more of a conscious effort to include self-care and healing into our lives, and our crystal kits offer an easy and inexpensive way to do so.

Patrice: In 2019 your business went viral on Pinterest. Congratulations on that! When you heard the news, what was going through your mind?

Sharena: I watched it unfold. Pinterest was just a portion of my marketing strategy. I didn’t think it would go viral, but I knew I needed a platform presence. It took off for about five months, and I wasn’t paying any attention to it or engaging with my audience. I started watching the numbers and putting forth the effort to grow Pinterest when my profile was about 17,000 views. That was in April 2019. From April to May, my account had 15,000 more views, so I knew it was about to pop, and I decided to master the platform through education. Pinterest is most likely the reason why The Regal Phoenix is here today. For the first quarter of the year, the website was in view mode, so customers couldn’t even check out because I couldn’t afford the monthly fees with no sales. The traffic from Pinterest was my motivation to reactivate the site, and the rest is herstory.

Patrice: A lot of people don’t know about marketing and promoting their business on Pinterest. What tips do you have for entrepreneurs and business owners for using Pinterest?

Sharena: Pinterest is not your typical social media platform. Pinterest is unique because it acts as a sort of a “dream board” for people. People use Pinterest to manifest their “wants,” so essentially, they plan their purchases for every part of their lives via this app! Use this app to sell, not to socialize. I give all the action items you need to get started strong in the Pinterest Hack 101.

Patrice: Let’s talk about your “crystal alchemy gifts.” When did you realize what your gifts were?

Sharena: When I first started collecting crystals, they gave me major headaches when I had too many near me at one time, so there was no doubt in my mind that they worked and possessed powerful energy. I was initially super sensitive to the strengths and had to be careful about using them as I learned how they work. Over time, I became obsessed with them.

Patrice: How is your business helping other women or men in their lives?

Sharena: The Regal Phoenix helps people across the globe heal, unlock their magic, and live their best lives by providing them with genuine healing crystals, authentic spiritual tools, and supplies. Often we don’t know what we need to heal from or that we even need to recover in the first place. Our shop provides the tools you need to help cleanse, heal, and manifest your greatest desires. Our products also offer a great way to give the gift of healing to someone you love or care about!

Patrice: Does your business offer any workshops for healing?

Sharena: We do not offer workshops at the moment. We offer virtual Reiki healing sessions, and we host Full Moon ceremonies from time to time.

Patrice: In what year did you publish your e-book “The Pinterest Hack 101”?

Sharena: I published it earlier this year. It was just more comfortable for me to do it that way and share my initial strategy that launched my brand. I had promised my audience training, but I could not wrap my head around delivering information. It’s a super short read, but the tips I give are vital to winning Pinterest with any product, service, or blog.

Patrice: What do you want the readers to take away from reading your book?

Sharena: It’s truly a hack, so there’s nothing to think about. The book is all about taking action. I tell you exactly what you need to do to get traffic to your website from Pinterest. The only takeaway is results, that is if you do the work. I have a Facebook Group that can be accessed via the book to support those who need help making sense of the information.

Patrice: Do you have any new projects planned for the remainder of the year?

Sharena: Right now, I am focused on Black Friday. Getting our campaigns ready and making sure we have inventory on hand. We are launching a couple of new products that weekend, so it’s been a beautiful nightmare and a simple learning process, but I wouldn’t change anything.

Connect with Sharena:

Website: www.theregalphoenix.com

Instagram: @theregalphoenix

Facebook: @shopregalphoenix

Pinterest: @theregalphoenix

Twitter: @theregalphoenix

 

 

Patrice Rivers is a 9x published author, freelance writer, certified journalist and creator/owner of That Riverz Gurl Brand, LLC. Learn more by visiting http://www.thatriverzgurlbrandllc.com

Follow That Riverz Gurl on Instagram http://www.instagram.com/thatriverzgurlbrandllc