Saturday, November 17, 2012


Perspective. It's the vantage point from which you view a given situation. It's your mind frame, your thought process, your stability. Perspective can determine if you make it to the finish line. A negative, doubtful perspective can slow you down and make the task seem that more difficult. But a positive perspective will help you endure, finish the task and receive that which your striving for.

 Have you ever felt like giving up and then had to talk yourself into persisting? Or have you ever looked at your situation and felt like it was over, hopeless and dark but still had to keep believing in something positive? Having a positive perspective is easier said than done. It takes mental will power and A LOT of positive mind talks. During the toughest situations in life, a positive perspective is essential. Though it may not LOOK LIKE things are working out, believe that they are. Though it may not feel like your going to make it or get to where you need to be, you will. I guess it simply comes down to putting 100% into having a positive perspective.

 You're got to believe with all of the energy that you have inside of you and not give into doubt or negatively. It seems easier to give it all you've got and believe like you have nothing else to fall back on when you know that in this life we live we have to believe anyway. So be conscious that you're thoughts are positive and above the situation. See it already done and successful.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


That's the five letter word that came into my mind when I decided to write this post. I'd been delaying this entry waiting for the magic to happen. I had the moment visualized in my mind and knew exactly what I wanted my celebratory post to declare: 'TIME TO CELEBRATE!' I took an hiatus from blogging because I wanted my next post to share my good news of being picked up by an agent and on the road to novel publication.
But it has not happened yet. And I am still waiting. Are you? Can you relate to what it feels like to be waiting for your dream to materialize? I feel as if I've done the work, put in the time, learned the lesson, re-learned the lesson, made mistakes and mishaps along the way, kept on going, etc. etc. etc. and now..................... I'm just plain ole' ready.
Metaphorically, I've been at this stop for a while now. And every time I hear a engine roar or a bright light flash, I get up, put a big smile on my face and wait for my dream train to come and ride me into destiny. But it hasn't happened yet. I've only been in practice. Although I know it's coming, I sure can't wait for my ship to arrive. Cuz' I'm ReAdY. Plain and Simple.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Leaders of the NU SKOOL

School is starting. Everyone is putting their summer thinking away and gearing up for school. For many of us, that means shopping for new school clothes, shoes, school supplies and all of coolest gadgets. All of this is cool for those that can do it, but what are you doing about your mind and your body and your inner thoughts? Are you thinking positive and preparing to study hard and make good grades? Are you becoming comfortable or working to change those things you don't like about your body? Are you feeding your mind positive, mind-renewing thoughts about yourself and your worth? I know you've got your look together on the outside, but do you have your mind ready on the inside?

This new school year needs to be about YOU. Making good grade. Giving your all to your team, club, organization and most importantly your GRADES. Done are the times when you worry about who's cool and popular, or how you're going to impress the guy you think is fine, or if your body is what you would like. They are real issues in your life right now, don't get me wrong, but in comparison to the bigger picture-All of that stuff can be pushed to the side. It's not a part of BIG PICTURE. It's only temporary.

Now I know that school wouldn't be the same without it. I mean, after all, middle school and high school wouldn't exist without drama. But it doesn't have to consume you and it doesn't have to be you. You can make up your mind that you're going to DO U, BE U and LOVE U, no matter what. It's easier said than done, I know. Nobody wants to be too different and not 'fit in'. But if 'fitting in' means that you've got to be something or act one way or do things that you know are not you, DON'T DO IT!

So, my advice to you is; make this school year different. TRY SOMETHING NEW. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Give your all to MATH this year. Think about writing ENGLISH papers in a new way. GO outside the box with SCIENCE. IGNORE the people trying to distract you. CELEBRATE the people on your side, even if it's just you. And concerning the inner you; Show your BRILLIANCE! BE THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR OWN DESTINY! BE COOL, CONFIDENT and COLLECTED BY BEING U! LOVE YOURSELF AND SPEAK POSITIVE WORDS ABOUT YOURSELF EVERYDAY! YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED, I PROMISE YOU.

Besides, LEADERS are usually loners. Which means, half of people that will laughing and giving you a hard time, will not make it to the top, but U WILL.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I'm Me-ee

Willow Smith has done it again with her latest song release, I'm me.  In this song, she eloquently captures the feelings that many teen girls face on the road to learning themselves, accepting themselves and loving themselves, whole. Willow sings with courage and expresses herself with confidence. She is content with her individuality, although I know that it is not this easy for other girls.

So for the girls with no support systems, no positive mentors or role models, take inspiration from Willow. For the girls whose perspectives are limited and can only see the negative images in your hood, barrio, track, development, project or impoverished side of town; believe . If it was up to me, I'd make this song the hood summer anthem. I'd be blaring it from drop-top, pimped out impala's and inside every over-priced, teen fashion store, unhealthy fast food restaurant and beauty/nail salon. Girls everywhere need this. This freedom song has got to be heard.

The message is clear: It's okay to be who you are AND that's who you have to be. No matter how different, weird, strange, awkward or opposite you may be from the norm, you are YOU and you're very special. Shine in your uniqueness. Bask in your eccentric glory. There isn't anyone in this world like U, which means we need U. Willow songs echos the freedom to; Defy the odds, redefine the standard, release your desire to fit in and DO U! After all, it's exactly how you were created to be.......

 Thank you, Willow Smith, for lighting flames of confidence, self-acceptance and freedom in our hearts. The world embraces you. We must now live in the music. Find our lights in the lyrics. Love in our souls. Deep, deep down inside. This is the start of a LOVE revolution.


Willow Smith
I Am Me lyrics

I'm me-ee
I'm me-ee

And that's all I can be

I'm me-ee
I'm me-ee

And that's all I can be

I'm free-ee-ee
And you can't stop ME!

I'm free-ee-ee
And that's all I can be-ee-ee-ee

Days pass
I'm try'na find you I'm really am
(I've been lookin')

People don't like the way I dress
So, ?
(I've been lookin')

I've done my hair and it's not just?
(I've been lookin')

Your validation is just not that important to ME!

I'm me-ee
I'm me-ee
And that's all I can be

I'm me-ee
I'm me-ee
It's my born ability

I'm free-ee-ee
And you can't stop me

I'm free, I'm me
And that's all I can be-ee-ee

Night falls
And I find, it's here I am in peace
(I've been lookin')

Makin' friends with spirits lost and it
Set's me free
(I've been lookin')

Express myse-e-elf
'Cuz it's my liberty-y
(I've been lookin')

Your validation is just not that important to ME!

I'm me-ee
I'm me-ee
And that's all I can be (and that's all I can be! )
[ Lyrics from: ]
I'm me-ee
I'm me-ee

I'm free-ee-ee
And you can't stop me!

I'm me-ee
I'm free-ee
And that's all I can be

I am me, I am me, I am me
I am free, I am free, I am free

I am me, I am ME, I an me-ah

I am me, I am me, I am me
I am free, I am free, I am free

I am me, I am ME, I am ME
I am FREE I am FREE!

Create youself
Redeem yourself
Renew yourself

Be you, do what you dooo

Hold you head up high
Everything's gonna be alri-i-ight

You're you
I'm me
Let's live in harmony

Co-exist with each other
Love each other

Be yourself
You have to be yourself
Be rea-eal!

Be honest
'Cuz ain't nobody got time for that
They really don't

So, listen to me
Listen to this song

Because this is real facts (heh-heh-heh)
That will help you move along
Yeah, a-heh!

That's all I wanted to say, so
I love you guys, so much

Hope you like this song and...
You know, YOLO

?, yeah, A-heh-heh!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Here we go again, right? Having to go through, confront, endure this same situation as before. Of course life would be too simple if we had to repeat, relive and enjoy only the happy times. But we all know that life is not like that. Usually when we talk about going through a situation again, we're talking about the hard, life defining moments. Or the thoughts attached to negative, hurtful memories. Or the day when you just had to go through a storm, tornado and hurricane all at the same time....head shake...

But believe that these are the moments that define who your are. Though they seem as if they will never end, they also help to build your character and self-esteem. In the moments when you have no idea how you're going to make it out, you do and come to discover just how strong you really are.

The secret in these moments is the knowledge that this too is going to pass. All of your hard work and positive energy is going to pay off for you. So, shed a tear if you must but don't stay there long. Pick your head up, smile your most golden grin and walk into the world with confidence. Because you are PROTECTED, VALUED and LOVED.The next AgAIn moment will be sunshine.
Shine On, Pretty Girl. Shine On.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Live life 2 the Fullest

Life is an adventure that is best lived through action. Whether you're making baby steps or giant leaps, you must not be afraid to live, love and enjoy every moment of your life.

Many events are happening that can effect your life journey. People die, the world changes, friends leave, school gets complicated, boyfriends break your heart, parents don't understand etc. etc. etc.

 In spite of it all, keep living and growing. Don't allow anyone or anything to cause you to stop loving yourself and living this life you've been given.
There's so much to explore. A new world awaits you and adventure are yet to be discovered. Maybe you should: Travel, learn a new idea, meet a new person, try a new hair style, become a new you, love a different way, explore a new territory, go forward with a dream. The bottoms line is, "Do whatever you have to do to live this life now. It is the only life you have to live.....
Breathe! Let Go! Do Something Great! Soar! Achieve! Dream Big ! Accomplish ....More! Live your life now!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Discipline-Do U Have It?

Do you have it? Can you make up in your mind to accomplish a certain goal and then discipline yourself to get into action? Do you have the discipline it requires to live out your dreams? Achieve your goals? Check off those tasks on your "to-do" list? Do you have the DISCIPLINE to DO U and not somebody else? BE U regardless of what other people say or think or LIVE LIFE out loud in your space of happiness.

I try to always exercise discipline, although most of the time I'm pushing myself and quieting those thoughts in my mind that tell me to sit down, stop, give it up, try another day, etc. etc. etc. Recently, I accepted the fact that nothing is going to come easy. If I want to achieve my goals and make it to the finish line, I am going to have to push, pull, crawl, walk, run, soar my way into success. Discipline myself into my destiny.........and stop just talking about it like the cartoon humorously illustrates. 

This cartoon is funny but true. So, let's not trick ourselves and play games with our purpose. Now is the time to make it happen and discipline will get you there.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Sometimes the only way to grow is to go through.
Through that painful situations.
Through the storm.
Through that experience, situation, relationship that makes you ask why.
Through whatever it is that will produce the God desired outcomes that cause you to shine.
Reach your fullest potential.
Come out of your comfort zones.
Away from your insecurities.
Into your YOU place.
Your place where you exist freely, trusting GOD and believing that tomorrow is going to be better than your today.
Sometimes the only way to GROW
go through....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon

I'd like to say, "No introduction necessary." Like a Micheal Jackson album or D'Angelo's 90's hit, "Brown Sugar," some books get better with time, just like music. All you need to do is simply put the book in your hand, and like pressing play on a boom box or placing the needle on the vinyl, all the emotions, memories, and deeply felt lyrics or characters drift back into your mental space making you have to stop what you're doing, put a big smile on your face and say, "that's my song!" or in this case, "this book is the bomb!"

Such is the case with Kalisha Buckhanon's debut novel, Upstate. This novel is euphoric, timeless, elegant, masterfully written, ingeniously delivered, iconicly remembered, literally A-MAZ-ING. If I had to sum it up in one phrase, I would simply call it, "the real deal."

Upstate tells the story of two teenage lovers, Antonio and Natasha who struggle to keep their love alive, their lives connected and their dreams and truths in front of them. Told exclusively through letters, readers experience the test and triumphs as they confront Antonio's jail sentence and Natasha's press to attend college and fulfill her dreams. Through communications that span across ten years, readers are emotionally drawn into a bittersweet love story that will fill your heart with hope and touch you in a place where you will always remember. Upstate is a classic that is sure to remain highly sought after in bookstores, library shelves and teacher's classrooms because like so many teen readers, you just can't get enough. Kalisha shared her thoughts with us below.

1. What inspired you to write Upstate?
My inspiration was pure. I didn't really have any particular agenda. I was 25 years old. Living in Harlem focused on graduating with my Masters Degree in Creative Writing. It was a beautiful time in my life. I was optimistic and in a good space and I fell in love with the story. It became my first love. It was all consuming where I couldn't wait to get home and write.

2. Will there be a sequel to Upstate?
Not right now. I am comfortable leaving it the way it is. Upstate was written during a different time in my life. I can't go back and get that chemistry so I am comfortable to let it stand on its own for now.

3. Do any of your characters mirror real people you know or come from situations you've been through?
Not really. My characters are a recipe of different ideas, people and my imagination.

4. Who or What inspires you?
I feel as if I was called by God to be a writer and what motivates me are the black writers who came before me. I am also motivated to write stories that portray proper and informed images of black people.

5. What is the message you want readers to remember?
I want readers to remember to have fun and be entertained.

6. What is your greatest writing accomplishment?
My greatest writing accomplishment thus far has been writing my second novel Conception. It was a brave subject to write about and challenged me to grapple with the past and get into history. Plus, I love the language. Conception is an artistic prize that I never thought I'd be able to write.

7. What are your hobbies? Are you at all into music, reality TV?
I love to shop. And of course, I love reality TV. But overall, I am pretty much a routine person. I go for walks, work out at the gym, go to Wal-mart, watch things on Youtube, listen to music and do normal things.

8. What advice would you give to teen readers?
Be smart financially. Find a mentor. I'd also like to say that there is nothing wrong with being simple or nerdy, geekish, bookish or being a good person. Messages you are hearing or seeing may be contrary, but be yourself. Stay on the straight and narrow and don't be ashamed. Seize the day and take full advantage of life. Keep your senses delighted and be original.

9. How can readers stay connected with you?
Via my website: I am also on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.

10. Do you have any current projects we can look out for?
Yes. I am writing a new book that I can't talk much about at this time. I am going to use the summer to bring it together. You should hear more about it soon.

Kalisha Buckhanon is also author of Conception. In the same vein as what she's sold us on before, Conception delivers a story that will inspire you rise about any circumstance you may be facing. I'm going to stop before I hit rewind or in this case, turn the pages back to the beginning and get lifted on this natural high all over again. In closing, I will say this; Elle magazine said it best when they reviewed Upstate and called it "....a poetry uniquely it's own." It rises to the occasion and performs in genius fashion. What else is there to say.....Lights off, drop the mic and exit stage left.----

P.S- Happy Birthday Kalisha :) April 1

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Life is quiet. Thoughts are still. Situations of what you want to happen replay themselves over and over again in your head. But on the outside, the world is cold. The environment is sterile. Flowers don't seem to be swaying with the breeze and you're wondering what the silence really means. Is it time to turn back? Try something new? Embrace a new reality? Let go of this one? Do something different, unexpected, altogether new? Redefine this simple, seamless, existence.
However, hope is on the horizon. Silence can be cool and stillness can be refreshing. It's all in your perspective. Once you understand that silence is a part of the process and an integral part of the cycle, it becomes easier to get through. I'm using my time of silence to do a mental spring cleaning. Getting rid of doubt, negative thinking, complaining, complacency. Filling my space with optimism, attainable goals, faith, you know those attributes our dreams are made of.
Most of all, I'm taking up the beauty in the simple things. The sweet melodies in the trees. The chirping of the birds, the freedom songs in the music, the whistling of the wind, the innocence of children's laughter, the twinkling of the stars. Even the predictable sounds in urban community can be cool. The horn from the white car every morning, the screeching of the brakes on the public bus, rap sounds (no matter how explicit) blaring from oversize car speakers. Dressing my boys in layered clothes and rain boots one day and shorts and flip flops the next. Its the simple things, right?
Nevertheless, spring is here. I'm taking notice of the colorful flowers blooming in every color of the rainbow and getting ready. Ready for my moment. My milestone. My ministry elevation. I'm inspired and moving forward because I know, we have to conquer the quiet to be able to appreciate the praise.
Author Dev B.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Christopher Grant revisits TEENIE

You know that you've read a great book when the character's voices echo in your head long after you've finished. This is the case with Christopher Grant's debut novel, Teenie. The sound of Martine (Teenie's) parents yelling out, "Mar-tine," in thier thick carribean dialect, passes through my mind as clear as the sound of my mother's voice when she used to call out my name during my teen years. 
Teenie is a cool and comfortable story that you won't be able to put down. It tells the story of a fourteen year old girl, Martine (Teenie) who is book smart and curious about the world. Raised in Brooklyn, Teenie wants to experience love from her high school crush, visit distant places through a study abroad program to Spain and make good grades as her parents have instructed her. But of course life couldn't be so simple. As the story unfolds, Teenie is faced with challenging situations that test her beliefs about her self and what it means to be a real friend. Like so many teen girls growing into womanhood, Teenie's story is familiar with situations so easy to relate to, you would think you were reading through your friend's diary. 
Writing from a young girl's perspective, Grant amazingly address mature situations girls will encounter. Situations like peer pressure, sexual temptations and emotional/physical abuse are covered with a clear message about standing strong in the face of difficult situations. Teenie's story mirrors every girls journey to discover exactly who they are and what they will stand for as young ladies. It is a story of transformation with the beauty unfolding being as captivating as the beautiful brown face on the cover. Please enjoy my interview with Mr. Christopher Grant below.

1. What inspired you to write Teenie?
I had written an adult novel, but was unable to get it published.  However, that novel opened doors for me.  A senior editor at a young adult publishing house read my first novel and asked me if I could write YA.  TEENIE popped into my head.  I read an article around the same time which talked about publishing houses looking for men writing as women.  I grew up in a household dominated by strong female personalities (my mother and her three sisters), and felt I was uniquely equipped to tell a story from the perspective of the opposite sex.

2. How did you prepare and/or transition to write from a young girl's point-of-view?
As I mentioned in the above answer, my upbringing helped a great deal.  In addition to that, I do the majority of my writing on the NYC subway.  You can't ask for a better place to get raw, unfiltered dialogue.  When things needed fine-tuning, my niece was a big help also.

3. What is the central message(s) you would like girls to walk away with?
There a few themes in the story.  In my mind, one of the most important is improving the lines of communication between parents and their children. There should never be a topic that's off limits.  A lot of times, kids get in over their heads and don't feel comfortable talking to their parents.  I hope that by reading this book, and seeing some of the things that TEENIE goes through, kids and parents will realize the importance of fostering a healthy, communicative environment.  

4. Will there be a part two to this book?
I have a sequel mapped out in my head.  When I finish my sci-fi project, I will get back to work on the next installment of TEENIE.

5. Your book covers REAL issues that girls encounter in relationships and in becoming comfortable in their own skin. Were you at all hesitant to write about these issues?
I wasn't hesitant at all.  I did want them to be accurate, and based on the input I got during the process (and the feedback afterwards), I think I did as well as I possibly could have.  When people read this story, I want them to experience the full gamut of emotion, from laughter to genuine concern.  Weaving real life issues into the story was one tool I used to try to keep the reader engaged.

6. The novel centers around school and achieving academic goals.What is your view on education in the lives of teens?
We live in a very competitive world so making the most of an education is of the utmost importance.  Education was something that was stressed in my household.  Though I may have been resentful at the time, I would not be where I am today without my mother pushing as hard as she did.  Growing up, some of my friends used to make fun of me for doing well in school.  I hope kids realize that doing well in school is a good thing.  One of my teachers in high school said it best.  "The person you call nerd in school is the one you call boss at work."

7.What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to read, watch movies, hang out with my friends and family, and play basketball.  That life experience gives me stuff to write about.

8. What are your current writing projects? Anything new coming soon?
I'm working on a sci-fi/fantasy novel.  It should be out late 2013, early 2014.  It's actually more difficult writing sci-fi than it was writing as a girl.

9. What are your favorite books/music/TV shows?
I read all kinds of books and listen to all types of music.  I love YA (Hunger Games, Harry Potter), Junot Diaz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Tom Clancy.  I always have a book in my bag.  Music-wise I love Sade, Bob Marley, Kem, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G.,  Kenny G, Adele, Esperanza Spalding, Foo Fighters... and so many more.

10. Are you connected with any social media sites? How can readers interact with you?
twitter: @nycsubwaywriter
facebook: If the link doesn't work, just search for TEENIE.

And there you have it. Told in a simply dialect young adult girls can relate to, Teenie is one of those books you must have and probably will never forget. Be sure to stay tuned for the sequel. I know I will.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Get Back UP!

What happens when you're told "NO" or a door closes that you really wanted to be open for you? How are you supposed to feel when you do everything right, follow the rules, turn it in by the deadline and you're denied? What are you supposed to think when you've done ALL you can and it's still not enough?
I write this blog entry about myself today. While exploring this journey of getting my first novel published, a successful literary agent that I really wanted to work with, told me, "No." She didn't provide any feedback or reasons for her denial. It was a short and simple, NO.
I was completely caught off guard. When I opened the message, my heart was beating a thousand beats a minute and I was a trillion percent positive that all of my hard work, effort, persistence, dedication, etc. etc. etc. was going to pay off and put me on the road to publication. But the message was the opposite. She said, No.
I sat in my chair, lifeless, staring at the computer screen as if the words would scramble up and form the words I wanted to read. Something celebratory and not rejecting. But nothing happened. I imagined making it past 1st, 2nd and 3rd base, only to be struck out and told to return back to the pitchers mount. A SWING AND A MISS! What a terrible hit to my ego? Can you relate to how I was feelings?
But there is HOPE. I honestly couldn't remain down for too long. My little bruised heart beat faintly inside of me, but I REFUSE to give up. My passion is just to great. My purpose propels me to greatness. And my pride pushes me to accomplish my goal in this face of this opposition.
So, for some of you in a position like myself today, hold on. Keep your head up HIGH. Keep thinking and speaking positive. Hide if you must, but only for a little while. Get back up, brush yourself off and GO. Something great is going to come out of this!!! Something great for YOU and something great for ME!!! Allow me to encourage you as I encourage myself. And wait for me at the finish line. I would like for us to CELEBRATE together.
Dev B.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No Sweeter Name

What is in a name?
 A name is comprised of everything that embodies you. Your actions, attributes, personality, and character are all attached to your name. Now, we all know that there are negative names given to and spoken about people. But I'm not talking about those kinds of names. I'm talking about the name you were born with or the name you embrace with esteem.
So what does your name say to the world? I hope it says it all. All things positive, assuring and full of goodness. I hope you speak your name BOLDLY and PROUDLY with total confidence in yourself and in everything that represents YOU. Because your name is special. And you are special too, no matter what you've done or will do!
Featured in the video link is the recording artist, Cherubim. She is singing a christian song from her debut album, It's Time. Her music wraps you in the arms of love. As a mentor to many, she inspires people to, "look at yourself through the eyes of God where you'll see how great you really are. Because He saw you and said it was good."
We don't have to share the same religion to understand Good. Like the title of her CD, we must decide, It is Time. Time for us to know ourselves, love ourselves and cherish ourselves intimately... because deep down inside, we MUST believe that our name, like the name of God is sweet. No sweeter name....
Check out Cherubim at the link below 
Cherubim Singing No Sweeter Name

Friday, February 24, 2012

Encourage Yo'Self

Have you ever had to talk to yourself and speak positive and encouraging words? When and if you did, were you in front of a mirror? Or washing dishes? Or crying on your way home from school or work? It doesn't matter. We've all had those moments when doubt seems to want to overtake us. So don't worry. There is hope. If you only believe, you will see that you've already won. Your victory, your success, your accomplishment is there. Beyond the trees. Around the fold. Down the road. In a short while.
 So, whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP. Keep the mind frame of a winner and have these pep talks with yourself when ever you need them. But DON'T GIVE UP!
Not only are you destined to succeed, someone you may have never met is depending on YOU and your SUCCESS to inspire them. Yep, you read this correctly. Your success is not only for you, but for someone else as well.
 So, hang in there and keep keeping on. Things are going to get better. Better for you and better for me. In the meantime or in between time, ENCOURAGE YO'SELF, you beautiful, intelligent, talented, chosen to impact this world, girl, lady, woman...... we all need it and could all use some. I'm showering down mine on you, so shine some this way for me. OUR DREAMS AND SUCCESSES ARE GOLDEN.  


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

REAL Talk with Writer Ni-Ni Simone

Hold Up! Stop the press! Ni-Ni Simone has entered the building. Now please everybody, I know this is going to be hard, but let's try to control our standing ovations, wild applause and loud cheers although everybody knows that when it comes to books about the real, day-to-day situations teenage girls' face, no one tells a story like the fabulous, Ni-Ni Simone.

Her writing is honest and trendy like new fashion. She writes stories that are so engaging, you'll find yourself in a trance as your eyes race across the pages, full of excitement and anticipation, wondering what's going to happen next. Like your favorite reality TV show that is full of drama, crazy conflicts and real life scenarios, her books are just that good and if you're not careful, you'll be all tripped up in the head, questioning if one of her characters is really your boyfriend, your BFF, or even yourself.

Ni-Ni's writing is in a class of her own. She is not afraid to write about the deep, unspoken and often hidden situations girls face on a daily basis. Her characters are familiar like the faces you see in your third period class and her stories read like the conversation you had on the phone last night.

To Date, Ni-Ni Simone has written: Shortie Like Mine, Upgrade U, A girl Like Me, Teenage Love Affair, If I was your Girl and The Break-Up Diaries. Her books sizzle while mirroring the happenings of teenage life and if you don't already know, try to read just one, and you'll discover an addiction to her books that's as real as a craving for chocolate or as serious as your need to coat your lips with your favorite shiny pink lip gloss. Please enjoy our interview below.

1.   What or who inspired you to write your first book? 
When I was 9 years old, I used to rewrite the endings to my favorite TV shows (i.e Smurfs) and my mother would comment about how good of a writer I was. At the time, I didn't realize it was something special until many years later a friend of mine inspired me to write a young adult novel. I took the challenge as an opportunity to see what I could do. I wrote my first novel, Shortie Like Mine in 2 weeks. From there, it was no turning back. I was hooked and have been writing every since.
2.   Out of all of your books, do you have a favorite? 
Shortie Like Mine is one of my favorites. When I wrote the book, I felt like I was the character, Seven, going through the various situations with her. I also LOVE my new book coming out, No Boyz Allowed. The character in this book, Gem's message is one I think all teens can embrace.
3.   Do any of your characters mirror people you actually know or come from situations you’ve faced? 
Not particularly. My characters come from a combination of different people and events. For example, Seven's mom is like my mom in the sense that she was protective and no non-sense. But for the most part, I let the stories speak for themselves. I like to lose myself in each particular story and allow the story to take shape on its own.
4.   What books have most influenced your life? 
In college, I was an English major, so I fell in LOVE with Shakespeare. I love his plays, Mid Summer Knight's Dream and The 12th Night. I also LOVE Terry McMillian, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. 
5.   If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about any of your books?
NO! If anything about my books would be different, my journey would be different and I wouldn't want to change my journey. It has made me who I am.
6.   Can you share with us a challenge that you faced as a teenager and how you overcame it?
When I was in the 10th grade, I was suspended for being accused of fighting. The fight never happened although all of my friends stopped talking to me and made false assumptions about me. I was crushed and it was a difficult time because I couldn't understand why my friends completely shut me out. But it turned out good for me in the end. My parents transferred me to another school which worked out good. I ended up finishing high school in 3 years (instead of 4) and going to college early.
7.   You write stories about intimate issues teen girls face; boys, peer pressure, body image, acceptance, sex, teen-pregnancy, alcoholism, drug addiction, physically and emotionally abuse etc. What inspires you to write about these issues? AND above all, what is the central message you want girls to grasp from your novels?
I am inspired to touch everyday girls and these are some of the real issues girls face. I don't want to preach messages about what girls should or should not be doing. I want to show them through their own experiences the outcomes that they can have. Above all, my central message is that you can be anything you wish to become, no matter what the circumstances are.  Keep believing and working towards your goal and what you desire will manifest itself. 
8.   We've heard that you’re really into fashion, music and celebrity gossip. Who can we catch you listening to?
    I LOVE Jay-Z, Beyonce, Oprah and celebrity Gossip, LOL.  
9.   Can you tell us more about your new project?
      I've got 2 new books coming out. The first is called, No Boyz Allowed. It's about a girl name Gem who learns what it is to be loved. Then I have, Hollywood High, which I wrote with Amir Abrams. This book is about super rich teens who we think have it all (money, fame, clothes, cars) but we learn about the not so glamorous side of their lives (loneliness, drug abuse, eating disorders etc). These are both fun books in the same lane as my others. Readers will be impressed.  
10.   Can you tell us about your website and the ways teen girls can interact with you?
    I love to hear from my fans. Feel free to visit my website at There are ways to send me messages in my, Hall of fans, section. Also, fans can send me pictures of themselves holding my books and I post them on Facebook and on my site.
11. Do you have any words of wisdom you can leave with us?
To ALL of the, "Gems" of the world; Wherever there is hope, there is love. Wherever there is Love, there is God, because God is love. Wherever you have God, you have the ability to be whoever you want to be.

Ms. Ni-Ni simone



Friday, February 10, 2012

When No One's Looking

How do you act when no one's looking? Do you still give it your all? Do you dance, sing, work, try, persevere as hard as you would if someone was looking? Success comes when we do our best under any circumstances. Spotlight or no spotlight. Shining lights or darkness. A peeking eye of attention or no attention at ALL.
So, it is best to give it your ALL-ALL THE TIME, shoot for the stars regardless of whose looking, strive to reach the finish line and go forward with positive thinking .... at ALL times, even when you're tired, sad, or feel like giving up. Even when it doesn't seem like that thing you want to happen will come to pass. BELIEVE that it WILL happen for you. Your desires WILL be realized, Your DREAMS will become your reality, if you continue at it, even when you think no one's looking.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Chat with Writing Diva, ReShonda Tate Billingsley

ReShonda Tate Billingsley has won many awards and has created her own space amongst the greatest in the world of commercial women's fiction. A writer who freely declares, "I am an 'open book'," ReShonda writes page-turning stories about REAL situations offering positive messages we can relate to. Enjoying success in a changing industry, ReShonda shines as a national best-selling author, professional editor, ghost writer, public speaker, talk show host, freelance reporter, actress, MOGUL, and literary sensation. 
Though many of us know her because of her mind-sizzling stories, she is doing it ALL! To date, she has successfully published over 21 titles (8 adult novels, 8 teen novels, 1 non-fiction book, 3 anthologies and 1 poetry book) and doesn't plan to stop any time soon. She has a movie deal in the works, a popular book tour that is attracting large crowds and an Image Award nomination.
   With her calendar full, tour dates booked and book deadlines looming, she took a minute to chat with us about her teen series titled, The Good Girlz. Please enjoy the insight provided by this, Woman on the Move. 
     What inspired you to write the Good Girlz teen series?
      I wanted to write drama-filled pages that teens would want to read. I noticed that teens weren't interested in the books I read when I was growing up, so I wrote stories that were interesting with positive messages (without all the sex and demeaning aspects) that I wouldn't mind my children reading.
     What is the central message you want girls to grasp, understand or learn from the series?
     The Good Girlz Teen series is focused around the 10 commandments. Each book has a fun and engaging message inspired by the bible. That way, young girls are having a good time reading stories they can relate to, while also learning a message that will help them.  
         Many teen girls are dealing with difficult situations concerning; boys, self-esteem, body image, fitting in, family life etc. How do your characters speak to these issues and help teens find solutions and inspiration?
     My characters reflect real life situations. I write about the good, the bad and ugly aspects of being a teen. My characters make mistakes and learn from them, learn what to do and what NOT to do and ultimately take a second look at their actions so they can make better ones. These are some of the messages teen girls can learn from my books.  
         You’ve done it all: books, movies, tours etc. What is your message about achieving your goals, persevering past obstacles and dreaming BIG?
    Don't let ANYONE but YOU determine your destiny. There were people who told me 'NO' and said that I couldn't make it. I found another way to make it happen and came to realize that I have to believe in MY OWN DREAMS and find out a way to make them happen. 
   What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Are you a fan of any current fashion or music?
    I am a BIG Reality TV fan. I watch Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop etc. I play music on my I-PAD. I also have my 11 year old daughter who keeps me on top of all the latest dances and music.   
    What project are you currently working on? Will there be any more books in the Good Girlz series?
    Currently, I am touring my latest book, Sinners & Saints that I co-wrote with novelist, Victoria Christopher Murray. I also have a movie in the works (which I executive produce along with actress Regina King) and another line of books for teens.   
    What advice or words of wisdom would you share with girls who are going through their teen years?
     It doesn't matter where you've been, it only matters where you are going. Don't EVER give up. Stay determined to achieve your dreams and if someone tells you 'No', find another way!
   ReShonda is proving that any and everything is possible when you believe. She has managed to stay on top throughout all of the changes in the book publishing industry and has created a brand loyal readers embrace. She is.... the Queen of her Dynasty. 
  Visit her website at www.reshondatatebillingsley for more information or connect with her via facebook and twitter. Whatever you do, don’t get caught without one of her books.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ode to Passion & Purpose

Here’s 2 U….
My passion
My purpose
My God-Given Gift.
My love
My joy
My life-fulfilled wish.
My reason for living
My connection to Good.
My arms around humanity
Love flowing freely as it should.
I sing
I dance
I smile
I’m free
Because passion and purpose is connected in me.
I’m touching this world
Bringing light to darkened eyes
Sharing the God in me
Helping girls stand tall and rise
Fierce, wild and free
Catch hold of your purpose
And Passion will ignite your destiny 

Author Dev B. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Natural Beauty

Willow Smith has shaved her head bald. Cheers to her. Because there is nothing more powerful than a young girl comfortable in her own skin and hair.  Please continue to represent for the girls who need to see natural beauty.
Love the new look, Ms. Whipmyhair Willow. You Rock!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Do you have what it takes to make it? To win? Succeed? To reach your goal or the finish line? CAN you and WILL you persevere?

The dictionary defines persevering as; persisting in anything undertaken; maintaining a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continuing steadfastly. 

Included in the definition is the acceptance that there may be obstacles or really hard situations you will have to endure. But if you can and choose to continue steadfastly, you will reach your finish line and earn your well-deserved reward.

Stand up tall as you endure the process. And don't be held back, distracted or discouraged by the "haters" and/or "Nay-sayers." Know that you are putting in the time to receive something, A-MAZ-ING! SPECTACULAR! EXCLUSIVE TO WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WORKING FOR!

So, take a step back and enjoy the journey. Smell the roses and gaze into the sunshine. Realize that this moment, yes this very moment right now, is a place you must cross to reach your destiny. Smile beautiful girl..... because you are a rare and chosen young lady ....destined to kiss this life with your genius and rain love and so much goodness in your place of purpose. 
Persevere because....    You were made for this....

Monday, January 2, 2012


Today is the first Monday of the new year. Everybody is excited and filled with purpose and positivity. People are  talking about their new goals or resolutions and how wonderful they are going to be in 2012. I catch the flow of this energy. I mean afterall, there's nothing wrong with starting the new year off running, right?

As for me, I'm taking it small, slow and simple. I'm making the best of THIS MOMENT, MAXIMIZING THIS BREATH, CELEBRATING LIFE AND LIVING IN THE NOW! I mean, if LIFE is a compilation of all things combined, than this MOMENT is as critically important to the bigger picture as the next.

Thinking in the now helps me to be calm and confident about the future. I rest assured that everything I am planning is going to happen for me because I am taking full advantage of today. As I sit here right now, the California sun is shining warmth and happiness, the ocean blue sky covers the atmosphere as clear as a professional picture and I inhale nature's fragrances from trees, flowers, dirt, wood. The smells remind of me freedom, stillness, tranquility, THE FUTURE. Happy New Year to you and to all of your DREAMS that will come to pass!