Conversations Magazine's #BooksYouNeedtoRead Issue

Conversations Magazine's #BooksYouNeedtoRead Issue
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Thursday, February 15, 2024

[MOVIE REVIEW] FRACTURED breaks through with a searing message of picking up the pieces after trauma

 by Cyrus Webb

For those looking for a film that will take you up and out of yourself, giving you important messages while also entertaining you, then FRACTURED is a must-watch.

We're introduced to Ava, a woman who is subjected to some traumatic events in her life that could have destroyed her. When we fast-forward in the film we see her seemingly whole, navigating a marriage, family and a successful profession. But nothing is ever as it seems, right? As the story unfolds we get revealing flashbacks to the trauma Ava has been impacted by and when her sister appears and starts causing chaos, every Ava has worked so hard to build seems to start crashing down.

FRACTURED has so many interesting points that will have you talking: 1) How the events of our lives can impact the person we become and our dealings with others, 2) The role that secrets can play in destroying a family and 3) The danger of perfectionism and how it can destroy you from the inside out to name just a few. 

If you're like me you'll have to watch it more than once to catch some of the things that slipped by you the first time. It's that kind of film that draws you in with the story and leaves you with a lot to talk about. 

Ready for a rollercoaster of a ride? FRACTURED breaks through with a searing message of picking up the pieces after trauma.

FRACTURED is available to rent and buy on Amazon

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

One on One with author Sonya Howell Barrow


by Cyrus Webb


 Sonya, first of all congratulations on Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of

 FIRE Inspirations.” What has it been like for you to see the response to the book?

 Thank you.  Also, thank you for allowing me to showcase my book on your platform.

Since the book launch of my FIRE inspirations, my heart has been bursting with pride and joy as I have turned my dream of becoming a published author into the reality.  During the past several weeks my readers have contacted me via email, Facebook messenger as well as in-person just to let me know how proud they are of me and my published works.  Readers really enjoyed reading my FIRE inspirations and emphasized how my bullet comments encouraged them to have a positive mindset.  

  Is inspiring others something you have always wanted to do or felt led to do?

 As a single parent of two African American young men (my heartbeats) and a Retired United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Five with over 26 years of active-duty military service, I have always strived to be an inspiration to others.  I always encourage my children, family, friends, Soldiers and other to develop a positive mindset.  My # 1 motivation to myself and to others is always “so can you” because you can and you will get it done.

 Talk with our readers about the meaning of FIRE for you?

 My inspirations were written with a purpose which are centered around my tagline, “FIRE

Igniting the Joy and Love Within.”

                                                                BE FEARLESS.

                                                                BE INSPIRED.

                                                                BE RESILIENT.

                                                                BE EMPOWERED.

 Each of my FIRE Inspirations is showcased with a color that represents my Authorpreneur Sonya Brand.  BE FEARLESS is represented by Magenta.   BE INSPIRED is represented by Purple.  BE RESILIENT is represented by Red.  BE EMPOWERED is represented by Yellow.  My FIRE Inspirations are a reminder for me to continue to live my best and blessed life.

 My FIRE Inspirations are the chapter names within Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations,” and Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations: For Journaling.”  Each chapter was written in an attempt to help ignite the burning desire that is inside each of us.  The bullet comments that follow each FIRE inspiration within the main guide is what enabled me to ignite my FIRE, change my mindset and get out of my own way.   


One of the things you have written about is the importance of self-love. How has that helped you in life?

 Although individuals may have quit on me, I am reminded to never quit on myself.  This is why self-love is very important to me. I am my #1 fan, because I will always love myself first.  Therefore, it is important that I show up for myself and cheer for myself.  More importantly, I will always ignite my FIRE  and take a chance on the Beautiful, Empowered, Triumphant Soldier Girl, that’s me.  So, as I continue to live my best and blessed life I will always “BET” on me.

  Has it been easy for you to embrace your role as a coach, helping others on their own journey?

 No, my journey to embrace my role as a life-coach has not been easy.  Simply because although change is inevitable, some individuals are fearful of change.  These individuals have not chosen to be fearless as they refuse to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.  Individuals who appreciate lessons learned are ready to be inspired as they forge ahead on their life’s journey. Some individuals realize they need to be resilient in order to pursue their purpose with passion. Whereas individuals with the be empowered mindset are unstoppable champions in pursuit of their goals, dreams and ambitions.

 When did you realize that was a gift you had been given?

 Perhaps having the gift came naturally for me.  Especially since the name Sonya has Ukrainian and Russian origins and means “wisdom.”  Because of my natural wisdom and the belief that a better day is coming, I always strive to maintain a positive mindset.  By doing this, it allows me to continuously defy my life’s obstacles by not becoming a statistic. Ultimately, my two heartbeats are my “Why” I overcame many obstacles.  My FIRE inspirations are my “How” I overcame these obstacles.  My upcoming memoir entitled, “SHE IS ME!  Defying My Life’s Obstacles By Not Becoming A Statistic, Book-I:  The Struggle Is Real and Book-II: Smile For Me” provides my “What” obstacles I overcame. 

 Speaking about your experience writing the book, how did Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations” come about?

 Nikki, my cousin and my very first best friend, recommended that I write my very own inspirational quote guide.  Nikki enjoyed reading my FIRE Inspirations that are showcased on my social media platforms daily and was motivated by them.  Nikki believes others will benefit from reading my FIRE Inspirations too.

 When people finish reading the book what do you hope it does for them?

 After reading “Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations” I hope readers are inspired to ignite their burning FIRE and never lose focus on being their own best friend.  I hope readers are encouraged to practice mindful journaling by utilizing Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations:  For Journaling.”  Mindful journaling will allow writers to be present and show up for their emotions.  The journaling guide will allow writers to interpret my FIRE inspirations and write down their own personal thoughts and feelings without interruptions.

  Any advice you want to share for aspiring writers out there?

 The advice that I share with aspiring writers is the same advice that I tell myself, which is, “What are you afraid of?  Tomorrow is not promised.  It is time to take the chance on you.”  I want writers to remember to be grateful to those who tell you “NO!”  The “NO” will continue to force you to BE FEARLESS.  BE INSPIRED.  BE RESILIENT.  BE EMPOWERED.  You are in control of the outcome of “YOUR” own destiny.  Remember that “YOU” hold the pen in your hand to write the future that God has planned for you.  So, it’s Go Time!  Be fearless and write your book.

 Thanks for your time, Sonya. How can our readers stay connected with you?

Readers can connect with me via my social media platforms of LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.  However, the easiest way to access my social media platforms, my Calendly and my website is via my Link Tree URL at https://linktr.ee/sonyahowellbarrow

Also, if you would like to stay up to date on all of my upcoming book projects (solo and collaborations), or if you would like to book an appointment with me or to simply get a daily dose of my FIRE Inspirations please visit my website at www.sonyahowellbarrow.com.

 

 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Dr. Teresa A. Smith: Bouncing Back Through Her Own Transformation, Helping Others to do the Same


by Cyrus Webb


"Change is challenging."

That is something Dr. Teresa A. Smith aka Dr. TAS knows all too well. She addresses that topic in her book TRANSFORMATION, however, it is an ongoing lesson. 2023 has had its challenges for many, Dr. TAS included. As she continues to come out of the other side she is helping others learn from her own lessons in the new book TRANSFORMATION: The Bounce Back. 

Dr. TAS, it’s great to have you back in Conversations Magazine. Let’s start off with talking about this year. If you had to describe 2023 for yourself how would you do it? 

Thank you so much for having me back in Conversations Magazine. Reflecting on 2023, I would describe it as a year of deep self-reflection and humility. It began with me grappling with an undiagnosed illness that kept me in pain and sidelined for three long months. However, I'm grateful to share that my health has greatly improved. This year has served as a bridge between my past and my future, offering me the opportunity to confront any lingering concerns or emotions that might hinder me from living an authentic life I truly honor. It's about breaking free from the confines of living by others' expectations and embracing activities that align with my internal compass and external goals rather than out of a sense of obligation.

So much of your platform has been about helping others. What has it been like for you to remember the importance of taking care of yourself? 

It’s true that much of my platform has been centered around helping others, but I've also realized the vital importance of taking care of myself. Overcoming my own trauma has been a transformative journey, and realizing that I haven't cared for myself properly was tough. If not for my belief in resilience, I might have found myself curled up in a corner, overcome with shame and self-pity. However, I firmly believe in the power of forgiveness, both from a higher power and from oneself.

 Sometimes, we become our own worst enemies, piling unnecessary stress upon ourselves. Perhaps, we do it out of the belief that it's easier than negotiating with others. I have learned that there's a limit to how many hits we can endure before we find ourselves down for the count. So, I must take the first step if change is to occur.

So many people, especially women, feel they have to put others first. We both know that’s not the proper order. Has that been difficult for you, putting yourself first? 

Every day, I face the ongoing struggle of putting myself first. In the past, I prioritized taking care of others before even considering my own needs. I vividly recall a recent experience with a faculty member I was working with who was trapped in a perpetual cycle of stress and overwhelm. I observed her closely during a Zoom meeting and noticed the range of emotions flickering across her face, including frustration. It became clear that she was teetering on the edge, struggling to balance multiple deadlines. 

During a conversation about her work performance, we delved deeper into her inability to prioritize herself. It was a breakthrough moment when she cried, releasing the weight of unrealistic expectations and beginning her journey toward a Bounce Back. This story serves as a reminder that society often socializes women to endure, take hits, and be unbreakable superwomen. But it's time to transform this mindset because we are not superheroes, and our well-being matters, too.


Transformation: The Bounce Back is not the book you thought you would be releasing in 2023. A lot of our readers might find themselves in a place they didn’t expect to be as well. What has helped you to adjust?
 

Cyrus, "Transformation: The Bounce Back" isn't the book I initially planned to release in 2023, and I understand that many readers may find themselves in unexpected places as well. Adjusting to these unexpected turns has been an ongoing process for me. I approach it with intentionality and mindfulness, constantly questioning the realism of my expectations. Whenever I sink into the quicksand of unrealistic demands and expectations, I pull myself out by sprinkling positive self-talk and affirmations into my mindset. 

Admittedly, it's a challenging journey. Adjusting may also mean letting go of relationships that were once considered mutually nurturing but were one-sided. It's the price we pay for prioritizing our own well-being. It's not selfish—it's about self-preservation. I've realized that I no longer have the luxury of merely existing; I must embrace life fully and authentically.

Social media is a big deal for us both. How have you used it in your work? Social media plays a significant role in my work, providing a platform for me to share my message and amplify the voices of other like-minded creatives. It's an ever-evolving space, and I'm continuously adapting and finding new ways to connect and inspire through various social media channels.

Being an influencer or person in the public is not easy. It comes with a lot of responsibility. Has that been something easy for you to embrace? 

Becoming an influencer or being in the public eye is far from easy—it carries immense responsibility. Although I didn't set out to become an influencer, my primary focus has always been helping others overcome trauma and offering hope through practical strategies. Embracing the role of an influencer has made me aware of the responsibility that comes with it. I strive for transparency, letting my audience know I have both good and challenging days, just like everyone else. It's how I choose to face and handle those challenges that can make a real difference in my life and the lives of those around me. My goal is always to show up authentically.

You and I talk a lot about the importance of being kind to yourself. How has that helped you when it comes to the expectations you place on yourself and what you’re able to do? 

Our discussions on the importance of self-kindness have been truly transformative. Being kind to myself takes on various forms, and it has been eye-opening to explore this concept. Practicing self-kindness has profoundly influenced my expectations of myself and what I can achieve. Admittedly, it requires considerable effort, which can be disheartening at times. Yet, I've learned not to second-guess the importance of being kind to myself. 

I ask myself, "Are you truly being authentic when you are kind to others but neglecting your needs?" The answer is a resounding "no." To prevent myself from constantly feeling overwhelmed, I've prioritized taking care of myself and ensuring that I am in a good place before extending care to others.

You give the reader a lot of work in TRANSFORMATION: The Bounce Back. What do you hope the book does for them? 

In "Transformation: The Bounce Back," I offer readers a significant amount of introspective work, but I have specific hopes for what the book can do for them. Firstly, I aim to normalize what readers might perceive as abnormal behavior or experiences, letting them know they are not alone. 

Secondly, I want readers to understand that unexpected setbacks happen to all of us. 

Thirdly, I want to foster a community of individuals committed to transforming their current circumstances. Above all, I aim to provide a safe space within the book’s pages for readers to explore their true selves behind any masks they may wear and emerge stronger and transformed.

Sharing one’s story is not easy. What advice would you give to others about the importance of using their story to help others? 

Sharing one's story is undoubtedly challenging, but it carries immense importance. My advice to others considering sharing their stories is this: Never be ashamed of your life or your story. Each of us plays a crucial role in this complex journey called life. Your story might be precisely what someone else has been waiting for, allowing them to experience a complete transformation. Remember, both you and your story are necessary; never diminish your worth or the power of your narrative.

What are you looking forward to during the rest of the year? 

This year, I look forward to making intentional changes, closing the doors on aspects of my life that no longer nourish my true self. Living a balanced and authentic life, fully immersed in my personal expectations, will affirm my resilience and ability to bounce back. That is the most important accomplishment.

Thank you for your time, TAS. How can our readers stay connected to you? 

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and work with your audience. To stay connected with me, readers can visit www.Linktr.ee/DRTAS, where they can access all my social media platforms, YouTube channel, information about the Transform With TAS Show, my website, and purchase my books.


[BOOK REVIEW] Sonya's Little Book of Quotes by Sonya Howell Barrow helps you keep going in spite of the challenge

 


Sometimes all it takes is the right word to get us to realize that we can overcome any challenge that we encounter. With SONYA'S LITTLE BOOK OF QUOTES we see how Sonya Howell Barrow uses scripture and positive affirmations to buffer her in different situations. 

She's even developed her own method: FIRE (stands for Fearless, Inspired, Resilient and Empowered) to remind her of the action she needs to take. It doesn't mean that we won't face dark times, but it DOES mean we won't allow them to consume us. 

Out of the FIRE method it was RESILIENT that stood out to me. Sonya writes in the book "My Be Resilient approach in life has helped me to remain vigilant and focused despite my circumstances. This skill allowed me to bounce back wiser and stronger."

That is something all of us can appreciate and strive for in our lives. When challenges present themselves allow FIRE to help you stay on track so you can win. 

Get your copy of the book on Amazon


[Book Review] Chanelle Coleman shows that by saying yes to yourself it makes room for everything else


 This is the kind of book that women as well as men can benefit from. SHE SAID YES TO HERSELF UNAPOLOGETTICALLY captures the importance of knowing who you are, identifying your self-worth and not allowing others to keep you from walking in your own greatness.

Love that the message is all about realizing that where you are now does not have to determine how far you can go. And even if you have put others ahead of you in the past, now is the time to say yes to you.

Get your copy on Amazon

Monday, December 11, 2023

Conversations Top 25 Fiction Books of 2023

 


Conversations Media Group President Cyrus Webb is pleased to announce his Top 25 Fiction Books of 2023. This list showcases the books that Webb has personally enjoyed and is glad to share with the world. 

Conversations Top 25 Fiction Books of 2023 (Listed in no particular order) 

  1. A Likeaable Woman by May Cobb (Berkley)
  2. Backlash by Iris Bolling (Siri Austin Entertainment, LLC)
  3. Girls in Search of Cover, Part 2 by Pamela Mshana (Seven Visions Entertainment & Consulting, LLC)
  4. A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing (Berkley)
  5. Unnatural Death by Patricia Cornwell (Grand Central)
  6. Pride by Victoria Christopher Murray (Gallvery Books)
  7. Havana Hangover by Randy Richardson (Renegade Press)
  8. Laws of Annihilation by Eriq La Salle (Lavette Books)
  9. The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen (Thomas & Mercer)
  10. Flipping Boxcars by Cedric Kyles aka Cedric "The Entertainer" (Amistad)
  11. Tides of Fire by James Rollins (William Morrow)
  12. My Magnolia Summer by Victoria Benton Frank (William Morrow)
  13. Whispers on the Wind by Marta Moran Bishop (Marta Moran Bishop)
  14. These Things Happen by Michael Eon (Girl Friday Books)
  15. Layers of Truth by Rosalie T. Turner (Sunstone Press)
  16. The Wrong Seat by Natasha D. Frazier (Encouraging Works)
  17. Out of the Darkness by David A. Jacinto (Forefront Books)
  18. The Sisters We Were by Wendy Willis Baldwin (Sourcebooks Landmark)
  19. What Never Happened by Rachel Howzell Hall (Thomas & Mercer)
  20. The Intern by Michele Campbell (St. Martin's Press)
  21. The Wrong Catch by Dr. Velma Bagby (Adoni Publishing, LLC)
  22. The Golden Rose by Jodi Lea Stewart (Progressive Rising Phoenix Press)
  23. Malibu Burning by Lee Goldberg (Thomas & Mercer)
  24. One For Sorrow by D. G. Torrens (D. G. Torrens)
  25. The Brill Pill by Akemi C. Brodsky (She Writes Press)

Conversations' Top 25 Non-Fiction Books of 2023

 


 
Conversations Media Group President Cyrus Webb is proud to announce his picks for Top 25 Non-Fiction Books of 2023. The list is one of Conversations' most diverse in years, and Webb believes there is something for everyone when it comes to inspiration, motivation and practical encouragement. 

Conversations' Top 25 Non-Fiction Books of 2023 (Listed in no particular order)

  1. Adversity for Sale by Jay Jeezy Jenkins (HarperCollins Leadership)
  2. I Am Debra Lee by Debra Lee (Legacy Lit)
  3. Sing Your Name Out Loud by Jason Derulo (Harper One)
  4. Claim Your Swagger by Jennifer Mrozek Sukalo (Morgan James Publishing)
  5. Unmaking the Hurt by Ronnie Cyrus-Jackson (Ronnie Cyrus-Jackson)
  6. Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Penguin Press)
  7. Ride or Die by Jarie Bolander (Spark Press)
  8. Dancing in the Darkness by Otis Moss III (Simon & Schuster)
  9. Troublemaker by Lisa Cornwell (Triumph Books)
  10. The Unlikely Village of Eden by Emma Nadler (Central Recovery Press)
  11. Dream by Design Inspirational Journal by Melissa Banks (Conversations Media Group)
  12. Professionally Lynched by Tanya White (SNT Publishing)
  13. Return to the River by Dave Pelzer (Health Communications, Inc.)
  14. Tinderbox by Lynn Alsup (She Writes Press)
  15. She Said Yes to Herself Unapolegetically EmpowerHER Guide (Pa-Pro-Vi Publishing)
  16. A Few Days Full of Trouble by Wheeler Parker, Jr. and Christopher Benson (One World)
  17. Share My Life by KEM (Simon & Schuster)
  18. Top Billin' by Bill Bellamy (Amistad)
  19. Write, Now by Sylvia Dickey Smith (Bookmark Publishing House)
  20. Understanding My Assignment by Dorian L. Evans (Archway Publishing)
  21. From Bars and Scars by Pauline Rogers (Conversations Media Group)
  22. Silent Voices by Robert L. Okin (Golden Pine Press)
  23. Trauma Breakthough by Jessica James Henry, MPH (Breakthrough Tribe Publishing)
  24. The Return Trip by Maya Golden (Rising Action Publishing)
  25. Move Forward Stronger by Julia A. Nicholson (Diamante Press)