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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Author, Poet April Mahoney To Interview Media Mogul Cyrus Webb

For Immediate Release
Contact: April Mahoney, 619-573-5532 or

Author, Poet April Mahoney To Interview Media Mogul Cyrus Webb

(San Diego, CA)---San Diego author, poet, and community activist April Mahoney has been selected to interview media mogul Cyrus A. Webb for his 8th anniversary of his BlogTalk radio show Conversations Live on Sunday, July 3rd, at 6:30p.m. est (5:30p.m. cst/3:30p pst).

Often referred to as the "Male Oprah", Cyrus Webb is a Mississippi-based nationally-renowned author, magazine publisher, and radio and television host who works
daily to encourage, inspire and learn. To learn more about Cyrus Webb and his
Conversation Brand visit

The Conversations Live radio show can be accessed online at For more information about author April Mahoney, visit or call 619-573-5532

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bigg Marv To Host July 4th Celebration In Honor Of Troops

Many have gotten to know TV Personality Bigg Marv as the cousin of legendary rapper M. C. Hammer and co-star of the hit reality show on A&E HAMMERTIME. However his commitment to helping children and those serving our country in the military is something that has been on his heart and a part of his life for some time. On Saturday, July 2, 2011 Bigg Marv will be the host of a concert featuring three-time Grammy Award-winning Def Jam recording artist Ne-Yo at Fort Hamilton, N.Y. This event will be to honor the brave men and women serving in the U.S. military. For the second consecutive year, Fort Hamilton's Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation ( ), Lerer Media and The Source Magazine have partnered to showcase some of music's top performers.

"This is what having celebrity and a public platform is all about," says Bigg Marv. "Those of us who have garnered the spotlight have a responsibility to shine it on those who are keeping us safe as well as their families who give so much of themselves. I'm excited and honored to be a part of this event as a public display of our support and gratitude."

Ne-Yo agrees. "I am extremely proud to work with FMWR to bring live music to the troops and their families," he says. "We hope to entertain them while we bring attention the fact that military families also give a great personal sacrifice. They sometimes are forgotten in the bigger picture."

Held at the newly dedicated Sgt. Deon Taylor Ball Fields, soldiers and their families, active duty service members, retirees, veterans, DOD civilians and their families and NYPD/ FDNY first responders will have access to each artist for a personal meet and greet beginning at 2 p.m. (rain or shine). The gates will then open to the general public at 4 p.m. at the Dyker Park entrance at Dyker Park and Poly Place Aves. The concert will start promptly at 6 p.m. with a spectacular fireworks display by Grucci immediately following the show. Those wishing to attend should RSVP at to expedite entrance and must have valid identification, such as a driver's license or a passport to gain entry - no exceptions. It is highly recommended that guests arrive by public transportation due to extremely limited parking and vehicle access onto the installation.

"We are looking forward to hosting the concert for our military families," says Sarah Johnson, FMWR director. "After a successful event last year, we look to make this an annual event to give back to our military personnel and their families. It is exciting to hold an event like this to bring celebrities like, Ne-Yo and others here. Our Soldiers and their families are in for a real treat for this year's Independence Day celebration at Fort Hamilton."

Fort Hamilton is the only active duty military installation in New York City and serves service members and their families within a 50 mile radius of Brooklyn. Invited guests include Soldiers of Fort Hamilton, the joint base Fort Dix, McGuire Air Force, Lakehurst Naval Station and the National Guard and Reserves units in the area, police and fire personnel, government employees, The Wounded Warrior Program and Soldiers from West Point, Picatinny and their families. The concert will also feature up and coming DTP/Def Jam artist BXC and will introduce Center for American Military Music Opportunities artist, Specialist Rena Marie Cunningham and more.

For more information about the event, visit You can keep up with Bigg Marv and his other upcoming events at

Interview requests for Bigg Marv can be directed to Cyrus Webb of Shadow Play Entertainment by emailing or calling 601.896.5616. You can also visit

Monday, June 6, 2011

PROFILE: Recording Artist Crystal Johnson

As new voices are being discovered and enjoyed everyday, when you come across a multi-talented individual like Crystal Johnson you take notice. She has been in love with music and the entertainment industry for most of her life, and now the world is able to enjoy the skills she has to bring to music lovers.

Her album THE DAY BEFORE HEAVEN brings Crystal's world into your home and makes her a part of your life. She talks about that feeling with Conversations' Cyrus Webb.

When did you first realize that you had a gift when it came to singing?
I first realized my singing gift at 5 or 6 years old. I used to sings songs around the house with my mother (who is also a professional singer). My first solo in the children's choir was at age 7

Who are your musical influence?
70's music in general. Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin,Stevie Wonder, The Crusaders, My Uncle Sam Johnson, My mother Carolyn Johnson-White. Female Producers such as Twinkie Clark, Angela Winbush, Patrice Rushen,

When people hear THE DAY BEFORE HEAVEN what do you want them to take away from it?
When listening to "The Day Before Heaven, I want to take people to a place of inspiration. My desire is to motivate and encourage life and love by sharing my personal testimony.

What advice do you have for individuals pursuing their own goals and dreams?
Never give up. Never! Let no one keep you from your purpose. With focus and determination you can achieve anything your heart desires.

Find out more information about Crystal Johnson by visiting To listen to Crystal Johnson's interview on Conversations LIVE with Cyrus Webb click here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Conversations' "Model Citizen": Holli-Amber Woods

Conversations' "Model Citizen": Holli-Amber Woods
Hometown: Revere, MA
Currently resides in Newton, NH
Age: 16 years old
Height: 5' 5''
Weight: 127 pounds
Holli in her own words: "I've decided on modeling as a profession, because I feel that it would extend my reaches in the world. My original love is hip-hop dancing and I'd love to do videos but I've also always wanted to model. Modeling boosts self confidence and induces a sense of pride in an individual.

Holli, what keeps you motivated as you are pursuing your dreams?
When I know for a fact that I've set my mind to doing something I'll do anything in my power to get there. My dream has always been to make it big. I've taught myself everything I know through pure motivation. As soon as any form of a doubt creeps into my thoughts I just think of the future and how bright I can make it for myself and others as long as I keep my head up and work hard. I've pushed and stayed devoted and made it this far and I know I can do so much better!

What advice do you have for others looking to see their dreams come true?
My best advice I'd give to others who have dreams that they want to reach more than anything else would definitely be to just keep looking to the sky and imagine the feeling you'll have when you know you've finally made it. The sky truly is the limit!! Always think of how you can better yourself and absolutely never be afraid to be yourself!! The only way to have the drive to make it to the sky, and your dreams is to be fully comfortable and confident within yourself. With all of that being said, anyone can make it to anywhere they could ever dream to be!!!

Holli can be reached at and found on Facebook.

PROFILE: R&B Artists Two Out Of Three

by Cyrus Webb

From the very beginning they were destined to be unique. Kyle and Cody Mead are twin brothers in a set of triplets that are making their mark not just because what they look like, but because of what they sound like. At the age of twenty-one they are not just singer/songwriters but are living their dreams as R&B artists following their dreams and seeing results.

Managed by their father Wayne, the two are signed to the TMG label and are excited about all of the great feedback they are receiving about their music but also the example they are setting for so many other young people.

They sat down exclusively with me to discuss their beginnings, their drive and why Two Out Of Three is here to stay.

When did this all begin for you two?
K.M.: We were really young, like nine years old. Both of us have always liked to sing. Around the age of 10 we started entering competitions and were hooked It's really just taken off from there. The response just kept us going, inspiring us to move forward.

How does it feel to be following your dreams the way that you are?
C.M.: It's really a blessing. I feel like we are blessed, because alot of people don't get the opportunity to do what we are doing. That's why we both are giving it our all. There really is no better feeling in the world.

How do you carve out individual time for yourself? It has to be difficult since you are together so much writing and performing.
K.M.: I do write by myself, too. Though we sound good together we are different, so we do work on our own things as well.
C.M.: When we are working together we are Two Out Of Three, but we do things separately as well. I have my own family, so I do things with them like go to the park, watching sports,etc. We do have our own lives even though we do spend so much of our time together.

What do you hope people take away from your music?
C.M.: I want them to feel the love, energy and freedom that we project. This is our way of talking to people and telling them how we feel.
K.M.: I agree with Cody. I love energy, and we want others to know how we feel. Once you hear us you will know that we have our own style. We are not like everyone else.

You are getting a taste of success right now, but what are your other goals?
K.M.: Our goals include for the world to hear us. I want our music to be available in store everywhere. We just got a marketing and distribution contract TMG. This is going to help us continue in the right direction.
C.M.: I just want us to be successful. Music is my life, and I want it to be my livelihood, my way of supporting my family. I also want to continue to help and bless others,too.

Thanks to both of you for allowing me to share with our readers your story. Any advice you have for those reading this conversation and need some encouragement in their own lives?
K. M.: Never give up. Keep pushing. If anyone tries to slow you down, get away from them. What's in your heart is in your mind and that is what you should listen to. Whatever you are trying to accomplish in your own life don't ever stop. Nothing's impossible.
C.M.: That goes for me, too. No matter how you were raised, do what you love to do. Go with your heart. If people inspire you, stay around those people. If you give up now you'll never know what you could accomplish.

Find out more information about Two Out Of Three by visiting /. You can also find them on Twitter @ttwwoouuttooff3.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Conversations' "Model Citizen": Eric Barkhorn

Conversations' "Model Citizen": Eric Barkhorn

Age: 19 years old

Height: 5'5"

Weight: 130lbs

Interests: acting,singing,modeling,dancing

Eric in his own words: "I decided on modeling as a profession, because I would love to model clothing and accessories in magazines. I love being in photos.

How do you stay encouraged and inspired as you pursue your dreams?
Well, for one my mom is a huge help. She's always telling me to keep trying and never give up no matter how many tries it takes. Also shes driven me everywhere to try and get opportunities, I love her so much she's such a huge help.

What would you say to motivate someone else to keep pursuing their own goals and dreams?
I would say no matter who tells you that you can't and how many times you try, never give up because if you want something bad enough and you really work for it, you can do it.

Eric can be reached by email at

Conversations' "Model Citizen": Francesca Pucher

Conversations' "Model Citizen": Francesca Pucher

Age: 31 years old

Height: 5'3 1/2

Weight: 98lbs

Francesca in her own words: "I am a Fitness Professional and healthy cook, my interest growing up has always been modeling, the only problem I had was my height and frame. I was always interested in modeling even before training became
my life. I was into performance theatre so I always loved the ability
to express myself through my voice and dance.

I feel modeling is the same way, like they say a picture can say a thousand words. I did some modeling when I was younger but nothing big. I always wanted the
chance to be in a models shoes even for a short period of time (even
tried fitness modeling).

How do she stay motivated in pursuing your dreams?
"I continue to envision myself reaching my goal. I imagine what it
would feel like and or be like. I think that if you have a vision and
put it out there it will be that much easier to achieve."

What advice does Francesca have for others who are pursuing their own goals in life?
"No dream is unattainable, if you want it bad enough them make it
happen. Realize things don't happen overnight, but if you have faith
and a strong support system anything is possible."

Find out more information about Francesca by visiting

Conversations' "Model Citizen: Supermodel Miguel Perdomo

In less than a decade, supermodel Miguel Perdomo* has achieved more in his professional than most people see in their entire lifetime---and he's not even thirty. Whether it is on national tv, international fashion events, print campaigns with Sean John and others as well as runways, there's no getting away from this talented go-getter, and he wouldn't have it any other way.

Cyrus Webb* recently caught up with Miguel to talk about his accomplishments, what keeps him grounded and what those looking up to him need to know about his career.

Here is their conversation.

C. W.: First of all, Miguel, thank you for taking out a few moments to talk with us. I guess we'll start at the beginning. What initially got you interested in modeling?
M.P. Modeling was a career that I kind of fell into. I never really wanted to model. I wanted to play ball or box. What got me in the modeling world was basically doing something people wouldn't think I can do. When I use to say I'm going to become a fashion model, people thought I was joking. I prove myself and them wrong, and it's been working ever since.

C.W.: Is this a career that those close to you initially supported?
M.P.: The response my family and friends have is that they can't believe how much I have accomplished in such short time. It's very overwhelming to see them embrace it.

C.W.: What would you say is your most notable achievement?
M.P.: My most notable credit is being recognized as "The 1st Dominican Male Model" even though there have been some before me, none to represent the culture the way I do.

C. W.: The business can be quite competitive. How do you remain relevant and build on your brand?
M.P.: I keep myself relevant through networking and all social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Model Mayhem, etc. This is all about hustling. Hustle means hard work, so I definitely grind out. Any event that New York has to offer I'm there just for networking purposes.

C. W.: All of us are faced with challenges in our career. How have you remained focused in the face of challenges?
M.P.: I have been successful my whole life just because of my belief in myself and my family. They support my every move and every goal.

C.W.: Outside of modeling, what are some of your interests?
M.P.: Outside of modeling I do graphic design and freelance as well for other brands. Fashion for me is a lifestyle, not a job, so I stay busy however I can.

C.W.: What advice would you give those who are looking at you, Miguel, as a model of what they can accomplished?
M.P.: My only advice is remain humble as all times and definitely open your eyes to the world surrounding you. There's more to the eye once you open your mind.

C. W.: Thank you again for your time. Where can people find out more information about you online (website, social networking,etc)?
M.P.: Thank you for the opportunity. I can be found at,, and also

* Photos of Miguel Perdomo are by Angel Hernandez used with permission by 2Rs Entertainment and Media.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Recording Artist Dashawn:Rockin' The World With Music While Ballin' With Books

For 23 year old recording artist Dashawn the success he has experienced so far in 2011 has been a culmination of hard work and incredible blessings. The Waco, TX native is living his dreams and sharing his love of music with the world in ways that few artists have been able to.

The singer/songwriter took out some time from recording to talk with Conversations' Cyrus Webb about the rollercoaster ride of his life,what others who want to find success in the business should be doing now, and how he along with good friend Bryan McCann of the Dallas Cowboys is ballin' with books.
(This article appears in the June/July issue of Conversations Magazine.)

Dashawn, we really appreciate your support with the Ballin' With Books literacy campaign. We'll talk about that later. First, though, when did you first realize music was something that you had a real interest in?
It was early in life, about the age of twelve. My mom played alot of R&B in the house, and I fell in love with it.

Now that you are writing and producing your own music, what does it feel like to be focusing on what you love?
It's a crazy feeling, but it's also a blessing. When you have alot of people all over the place who like your music, that means alot.

How would you describe your particular lyrical style?
My music is more for when you are trying to set the mood right for that special person. If you find yourself loving groups like H-Town, Sillk as well as K Cee and Jo Jo then more than likely you will like Dashawn.

Congratulations on the digital distribution deal with Def Jam for the song "Can You Handle It?" Tell us about the meaning behind the song.
Thank you. The deal with Def Jam is just proof that all of the grinding with this music is paying off. I'm really grateful. As for the song, "Can You Handle It?" is more of a slow, club song. Basically I'm asking the girl if I give you my all can you handle that?

Because of the popularity you are generating, Dashawn, it is inevitable that you will have individuals looking up to you. Is being a role model something that you are comfortable with?
You know, I do want to be seen as a role model. That's why I try to keep my image clean. I want to portray myself in a way that others will look at me and what I"m doing and say they want to be like that person. That's important to me.

When it comes to getting your music out there, how have social networking sites like Twitter, Myspace and Facebook helped you reach a larger audience?
It makes it alot easier for your fans to connect with you, and you can get their feedback. It is also great for networking, linking up with producers and songwriters. For me, it's been a big part of my lifeline to the world.

I mentioned earlier about other individuals including artists looking up to you and what you have accomplished. Do you have an advice for them?
I would tell them that you have to keep doing it everyday. In the music industry there is no such thing as an off day. Even if and when you get the negative feedback, you have to keep going. Believe me, I am living proof that it will all pay off in the end. Repetition is the key to success.

I know there have been alot of people in your life that have helped you up to this point, Dashawn. Do you have anyone you would like to thank?
Yes. I would like to thank God for blessing me with this talent. Thank yous go out to Tonya Wilkerson, Jamal Stephens, Darren Baucham, Joseph Stephens & Terrance Baucom for believing in me since day one. Thanks to my management company (L-G Entertainment) & Def Jam Music Group for giving me a opportunity. Thanks to my beautiful mother Jeanette Miller for being my biggest supporter. Thank you, Cyrus, for taking time out to give me a platform to showcase my talent. Last but not least I want to thank all the fans worldwide that listen and support my music. I do this for you. I am your biggest fan. Keep supporting!

In June 2011 recording artist Dashawn and good friend Bryan McCann of the Dallas Cowboys became the national spokespersons for the Ballin' With Books Literacy Campaign. Ballin' With Books unites sports lovers with books that fit their particular interests.

It was in six grade that Dashawn started getting interested in sports, namely football. His uncle played and was really good at it. "I always looked up to him," says Dashawn. "I even wore the same number he wore (45) and played the same position." From football, Dashawn began to show an interest in basketball. When he began to pursue his music, he was able to do so balancing his love of sports.

No matter what he was doing, though, education was something he was going to excel in regardless---and that included reading.

Dashawn met Bryan McCann of the Dallas Cowboys (seen here) three years ago. The two shared a drive for their respective fields and together have been encouraging young people that they can do anything they want as long as they put their minds and hearts into it.

"It's an exciting thing to be promoting reading to the youth," says McCann. If I can use the status I am getting to make a difference, then that's what success is all about." Dashawn agrees. "We are in this world to make a difference," he says. "That goes on and off the stage."
Find out more about Dashawn by visiting

"Walking" a poem by Jennifer Vess

An automatic activity that is taken for granted until it requires specific effort.

A well-orchestrated symphony of muscles, nerves, tendons, bones, and thought

Blended together to create a beautiful result.

Choose each step carefully, think before each movement.

Know your destination, and select the best route before beginning the journey.

Decide how far to go before tiring out; limit distractions; unload burdens.

Understand the process before engaging in the effort.

The pace must be steady, the exertion consistent.

The reward is in taking the next step.

2011 All Rights Reserved. This poem appears in the June/July issue of Conversations Magazine.

Jennifer Vess can be reached at and found on Facebook at

LARRY WILSON: Erotica's King Holds Court On Life, Love & His Legacy

by Cyrus Webb (for the June/July issue of Conversations Magazine)

For many looking at his life, the journey of DaPharoah69 is one that seems almost impossible. Born Larry Wilson, the thirty-something young man has endured rape, abuse and feelings of worthlessness and emerged not only victorious but ready to take on the world. His books have become bestsellers around the world, giving readers not only a spicy read but thoughtful commentaries on where we are as a society and the problems we all face.

Throughout it all, Wilson has been able to deal with his own personal demons while being a beacon of light and voice for individuals that have long felt ignored or without someone to speak for them. That time is over. With the release of his two-part autobiography (Pharoah and Lord Jennings), the writer from Goulds, Florida that many said would never make it is living a life that was destined for him from the beginning.

In this conversation we talk about his highs, lows and the moments in between that have made him not just a better man but a model for others as well.

First of all, Larry, thank you for agreeing to do this interview and allow us to feature you in our Summer issue of Conversations Magazine. Before we get into your journey as a writer, I want to talk about your role in the public eye. How does it feel to have achieved what you have in such a short period of time?

Before I answer those questions, thank you for giving me the opportunity and the avenue to share my views through my art. Thank you for having me! How do I feel about my achievements? I feel honored, stunned and blessed. Honored because, to write your first book while you're homeless with the world, even members of your family against you because of your sexuality, and to see it open so many doors to inspire others I am just Stunned because I'm not perfect, and I'm a man with many flaws yet so many have been inspired by my life story that I can't be but truly Blessed that God instilled the gift of Words inside of me.

Looking back at your childhood, could you have expected your life would have had as many highs as it has?

I never imagined this in my wildest dreams! I never liked or loved myself as a kid because I was being abused so much that the ability to dream died somewhere in my soul. I thank God for my teacher Miss Mike. When I was 8 years old she gave me a journal and told me to write my life after turning me on to Sara Teasdale poetry. And present day, to live a dream my teachers had for me, even when I didn't believe it myself, makes me truly happy. I feel like this is only the beginning.

Abuse is something that we still have an issue discussing in 2011. At the time when you were being betrayed by those around you how did you manage to find the courage to speak out?

My support system helped me get beyond it. I got tired of the silence eating me inside out. To carry the weight of another's mistakes truly broke me down. I got tired of being a certain way in public because it was what they expected of me, and in the darkness, when I go to bed at night I am crying myself to sleep begging God to kill me before I wake because I was living a Lie. Funny thing was I kept waking up and I was that much stronger. I used to write how I felt in my journals every day. It was the only thing I had to look forward to. When I discovered I could write a book I wanted to share that with people, so I wrote The King of Erotica Book 1. Since that book came out...nine books later people are now reading the journey of how I came to forgiving myself for the abuse, how I survived it and in that I am encouraged to write my next book. Its about my testimony inspiring someone going through abuse or an identity crises and ofering a solution.

In your autobiography you begin by sharing a letter to Janet Jackson in which you admit the abuse and some of the trials you have endured. What is it about Janet that led you to share something so personal?

For me, growing up in the 'Hood, Mom sometimes on and off welfare, as a fatherless inner city kid at the time the only images I saw on TV were of The Two Live Crew. They had half naked women stealing a form of African dance via bubble butts to hypnotize us youngins' into having a perverse train of thought. I was into it, the stuff I was writing in my journals taking a more erotic feel. Then Janet Jackson burst onto MTV, clad in black with 1814 on her hat and chest and I wanted to be a part of that. A woman, her body covered up, singing about prejudice and racism, things that was my reality at the time. In my writing that form of entertainment added the back stories to the characters I was writing in my journal at the time. After being raped by The Pail Man, something in my heart made me write her that letter. Sending it to her was my way of reaching out for help.

Your moniker includes the title "King of Erotica", but your work is about much more than sex. Can you tell me how you came to the decision to use sex and issues of sexuality to bring attention to larger issues facing the world every day?

Being inspired by Janet's Rhythm Nation sealed the deal for me. I wanted to use sex (Two Live Crew) to create stories about characters living the product of their upbringings. We love and we fail, we mess up and we succeed. We hate and we get angry, we gossip and we have our days. So I used those elements and sex to get my message across. Entice them with steamy sex, then unravel their checkered pasts . Its deeper than sex. These characters worship two masters and struggle for redemption. Its about writing characters that you can either relate to or identify with. The King of Erotica is an embodiment of all those elements. The trails of my life and surviving them gives me the credibility and the expertise to write the books that I do. So a piece of my life is in every character in every book I've ever written.

Discussing sexuality is not always easy, as is being comfortable with ones sexual truth. When it comes to identifying yourself, how have you been able to find out what Larry really wants and is versus what others have wanted from you?

I lived for others in the past. Did anything to make them smile. Laugh and dance and give them all my money. If they wanted me to be a Giraffe for the day I was the best Giraffe they'd ever seen. After being betrayed by many of them, I got tired of being their puppet. I got tired of winding up with nothing but a brokenheart. I was going through the darkest time of my life. A teenager sleeping with adults twice my age, and had no one to talk to about it. My daddy wasn't there. I validated myself through sex. I was promiscuous. As I matured in age I got tired of playing the victim. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I prayed to God for guidance and cut my old friends and got new ones. My bestfriend/brother Demetrius Mozell, my brother Artevia, my favorite cousin Aaron Harvey (Bread), Trevor Alfred and my earth John Wilson keep me grounded. Now I can be Larry without the circus act.

Larry, someone who you have looked up to in the literary world is E. Lynn Harris. The world lost him not long ago. Tell our readers how he influenced you and how his death has affected the way you look at your career now.  

Meeting E Lynn Harris was a full circle moment. I looked up to him beyond measure, his books being about things I could identify with. I wrote him 4 years ago, when my first book was out and he never responded. I felt so rejected, like ok I am inspired by you and not so much as a Thank You in response.  I fed from it to become a better writer. In 2009, when three of my books hit the Barnes and Top 100 Bestseller list at the same time, I was excited.

Then I found out I had HIV and I told my Facebook family. E Lynn Harris was the first one to reach out to me, totally shocking me. He offered his shoulder if I needed to cry. He told me he's been following my entire career and told me of the email I once sent him. He knew the names of all my books. He invited me to be a part of his Literary Cafe in May of 2009 and he took a photo with my books. We were very close in a short time. When he died I was devastated. E Lynn was like the father I never had. I still miss him. Very much.

One of the issues you have been front and center on has been HIV/AIDS awareness. This is something personal to you. Do you mind sharing your own experience with HIV and how you are using it to help and educate others?

I know where I contracted the disease from. My ex boyfriend. I was in a three year relationship with him, truly committed. Both of us took HIV tests and they were negative and four months later we took another and we were negative so I gave myself to him with my heart and soul. He was cheating on me with someone else without rubbers and contracted HIV and never told me out of fear of losing me. To find this out a year and 9 months after we broke up, when my third book became a bestseller, destroyed me inside. I actually had AIDS and nearly no immune system. I thought my life was over! After praying to God with the pastor of my church, Pastor Carlos Malone, a month on meds my antibody count dropped from 1.3 million to 2,000, and my T4 cells rose at an alarming rate and in that I saw hope to take charge of my health and survive HIV. Now HIV is undetectable in my blood, and I changed my diet, what I eat and how I carry myself. Now I am in the position to talk to my fans about my experince, so they can see you can survive HIV, and look good doing it. It taught me how to love myself.

We talk alot in this publication and on Conversations the radio show about success and how it is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. Seeing what you have been able to do and what is to come, what does success look like for you?

Success, for me, isn't defined by money or the awards I've won. I don't write for money. You can get money anywhere. An award fades with time. I don't take my writing for granted. I'm too afraid of losing the ability to write. I write to express myself, to StimYOUlate then EdYOUcate. I wanted my writing to be about something you can take with you so I tackled taboo subjects to create controversy. I can't please everyone so I write from my heart. I don't care if you like it or not, as long as you get something from it my job is done. Success, for me, is in knowing I can put out any book that I want, from the heart, and know that in some way it's gonna connect with my fans. And that means more to me than money. That's success to me!

Aspiring writers will also want to know any advice you might have for them as they look at beginning their own literary journey. What would you say to them about getting started?

Research. Know what you're getting into before you do. I get tired of getting emails with people saying "Well, I wanna write a book." Okay, WRITE IT! Worry about grammar and spell check after you write it. Making corrections while you write distracts you. Educate yourself on publishing, contracts and copyrights. Write a book that is actually talking about something. Be original. Know the market. Know who your books are competing against. Know your target audience. Have a marketing plan before you inquiry an agent. Without an agent getting published has become 99% harder. If you can't get published DO IT YOURSELF. Invest in a legit publisher, like Xlibris, and do it yourself. It's a hard road. Writing a book that inspires someone is a very serious thing to me. I cherish it. Use online forums to publish examples of your work and get a universal opinion. Build your fan base that way. Network with other writers. They know people who know people that can help you. So to the aspiring writers out there don't give up! You can do it!

Thank you for your time, Larry. For our listeners, all of your books are available through online outlets like and Barnes and Noble, but they should also be able to order them from their favorite bookstore. How can our readers keep up with you?

Again, thank you Cyrus for having me. I appreciate that. Readers can follow me on Twitter (Dapharoah69), Facebook, Larry Jabreel Wilson, www.dapharoah69,, or

"Maintaining A Thankful Spirit" by Mary E. Gilder

Recently, I was asked to revisit this topic because we need to fed wisdom continuously. Especially as it pertains to: Having a Thankful Spirit, Faith, Love, Joy, Forgiveness, Peace, Kindness and did I say Love.

With that said, I have spent the last several months re-assessing my life. I shared with Cyrus during my last interview on Conversations Radio Live Show, how I’m in a transition. How many of you feel that within your life you are being called to make a shift; being called to reassess your journey.

If you are a person who is skeptical of change, this can be overwhelming. Many of you at this very moment may feel as though you are in the midst of yet, another storm; your personal storm or journey. And for many finding your way through it can leave you feeling as though you are traveling through a maze and at times life can make you feel like you are stuck in a maze. You may feel as though, everywhere you turn there is a road block. While in that maze for most, it can be difficult to remember the value in your existence and what you should be THANKFUL for. Because in that moment, you may feel as though, the world is weighing down on you. The people of Japan know what it is I’m talking about, the residents of Haiti know what it is I’m referring too, all those impacted by Hurricane Katrina are feeling me and all those impacted by the recent tornado's understand this message. You see, many times when we are in our personal storm, we seek out support and we are met with unsympathetic ears, judgment or our level of faith is questioned. Because within that moment, our moment, many may see, hear or feel our despair.

Sometimes, the needed prescription is simply in the form of a hug, validation or just a reminder that this moment will pass. You know, we all have had those moments, moments when we doubt or question. But it is during those struggles, that you come to discover, just how resilient you truly are. Working through those struggles allows growth to manifest.

Let’s focus back on the maze, as you travel through that maze, which is reflective of your life, each corner you turn, every bump you encounter, challenges you to trust in GODS promise that he will not lead you astray, that HE has your back and that every STEP BACK is not a SET BACK. It took me awhile to learn that very powerful lesson but I got it!!! And that every road block is not necessarily a block of your potential. Perhaps, you are actually being directed down a path that leads to new opportunities and a greater sense of self awareness.

My Message To You Is To Stay Thankful:
In the midst of your journey never lose touch with all GOD has done within your life. You may have lost your home, your marriage, your job and your dream car but you are still here, be THANKFUL:
- Be THANKFUL for the people who have crossed your life. Perhaps, every experience was not pleasant but you learned something from it.
-Be THANKFUL for the people who love you and the people you love.
-Be THANKFUL of how GOD has blessed all of us with special gifts. Perhaps, you have not tapped into yours at this very moment but HE did not forget you.
-Be THANKFUL that GOD loves you unconditionally and has instilled within you the power to forgive others as well as, yourself
-Be thankful of your journey. Your stay here is simply a short visit but GOD allowed you to be born.
-BE THANKFUL as you make a list outlining all that you are THANKFUL for and the very next time you have one of those moments, pull your list out and read it. Read it over and over again and over and over again and over again.

Never forget that as a Nation we set aside one day out of each year to focus on having a THANKFUL spirit and we do it big. However, it is important that we maintain a THANKFUL spirit each and every day.

Love, Peace and Endless Joy,
Mary E. Gilder-Author of the award winning novel, A Misrepresentation of Myself,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

CONVERSATIONS' "Model Citizen": Bruce Banks

Conversations' Model Citizen: Bruce Banks aka East Atlanta Vegas


Height: 6'1"

Weight: 165 lbs

Hometown (city/state): Los Angeles, CA

Current city: Washington D. C.

Bruce was eight years old when he realized that modeling was something he was interested in. His sister was modeling, and he wanted to be a part of the world that she was in.

Who is your favorite designer? Ed Hardy

Being in the public requires alot of confidence. Have you always been a confident individual?
Yeah, I was always a person who believed in himself. That was the way I was brought up.

Outside of modeling, Bruce is interested in pursuing acting and dancing and has already been a part of casting calls for various projects.

His advice for others? "Make sure that no matter who says what about you always follow your dreams. Believing in yourself is the only thing that matters."

Bruce can be contacted by email at and found online at

Conversations recognizes individuals of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds that are following their dreams and encouraging others to do the same. Know someone who should be featured as one of Conversations' "Model Citizens"? Contact Cyrus Webb at with "Model Citizen" in the subject line.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blue Ridge Bookfest In Flat Rock, NC Connects Authors and Readers

On May 20th and 21st, Conversations Magazine contributor and children's book author M. Beatryce Shaw attended the Blue Ridge Bookfest in Flat Rock, NC.

Here is the report of her amazing experience:

"How many festivals, workshops, book signings, etc. does one have to attend to be knowledgeable? I’m somewhat an “old hat” at such by now. I think they all offer a special flavor to the literary marketing stew. Blue Ridge Bookfest in Flat Rock, NC is relatively new, but truly enjoyable. Every conceivable effort was made to facilitate interaction between authors and readers. I especially appreciated the author’s lounge and generous display areas.

"The trip itself was amazing. I thought several times about the cost of gas but beautiful weather and miles and miles of unspoiled scenery quickly dismissed negative vibes.

"Time flies when you’re having fun. Two days went very quickly. The program was well planned and executed. I look forward to visiting again."

M. Beatryce Shaw is the creator of the Mr. Browne's children's book series discussing the diversity that exist throughout the world. To find out more information about Beatryce and her books visit her website

SHANNON MICOL: Proving Dreams Do Come True

(Recording artist Shannon Micol is Conversations' Artist of the Month for June 2011. Pick up her album NO MORE CINDERELLA today at
by Cyrus Webb (for the May/June Issue of Conversations Magazine)

(Photo by Javier Lovera)For many the idea of sharing the thoughts of your diary or personal thoughts with the world is too much for them to consider. When it comes to recording artist Shannon Micol, she would honestly have it no other way. The Toronto, Ontario native is sharing her inner-most thoughts with the world through her music, and we are all the benefactors of the result. Her debut album NO MORE CINDERELLA takes you into her journey with relationships as well as the way she looks at herself.


In this interview she does the same, allowing you to see from the beginning how the road that began so long ago has brought her here and to a unspecified destination yet to come.


Here is our conversation...

Shannon, thank you for the opportunity to share your story with our readers. We recently had an opportunity to talk on Conversations the radio show, but for those who missed it, why don't we begin at the beginning. When did you realize your ability to tell stories through songs?

It was something that seemed to come naturally. I grew up singing, and writing was an instinctive way of expressing myself. Writers write. Singers sing. It's difficult to truly appreciate and recognize your talents when you've never experienced a life without them. I do however, remember a time in tenth grade English class when I requested to write a song in lieu of a paper we were supposed to submit on "To Kill A Mockingbird". I was granted permission, on the condition that I perform it in front of the class. Although I had never consciously recognized it as an ability, it's safe to say that by that point, I was fully aware of it.

I have found that having encouragement is so important to keeping you motivated. How did having the support of your family encourage you to move onward and upward?

The unconditional support and encouragement from my family is most likely the reason I became so resilient. My parents supported all my artistic whims and flights of fancy, not only because they loved me, but because they truly believed in my abilities. I never believed anything wasn't possible, because I grew up in an environment where everything was. So I perceived any rejection as merely another obstacle that was a part of the process, as opposed to a source of discouragement. I've been granted so much freedom many artists don't have the luxury of having while in the pursuit of such a career, as a direct result of the continued support (both emotional and financial) my family has always offered. There really is no way to properly articulate the gratitude I have for them in this regard.  I'm not sure I always deserve it, but I'm doing my best to justify their faith.

Writing can sometimes be such a personal thing, almost like journaling. Did you ever see your songs that way and what is it like for you to now share those thoughts and feelings with the world?

With the exception of a few failed attempts, I never really kept a journal. I just didn't have the patience. In my teens, my songs were more scattered in terms of subject matter, and writing them was (like I mentioned previously) just a natural way of expressing myself. Things began to change when I started writing the songs that would eventually become my album. I never set out to write a full body of work, but that's exactly what it became. There was definitely a journaling aspect to my approach by this point, because suddenly I had a story to tell, and it was a story that inspired me to sing about and acknowledge in the only way I knew how. Writing was my only recourse. It was my way of archiving every moment worth remembering, every choice I was proud to have made, all deserving of their own chapters. With the exception of a couple of songs I wrote in my teens, NO MORE CINDERELLA is a diary I am proud to share with the world, as it's representative of my truest self. The story behind it continues to inspire the best version of myself, and the album is a fair and relevant reflection of that.

Your debut album is NO MORE CINDERELLA and to me tells a story of a woman becoming comfortable in her own skin, with what she wants and who she is becoming. Is that what you were hoping was reflected in the tracks, and how has it been having people coming up with their own message from your lyrical story?

In all honesty, I had absolutely no preconceived notions as to what my songs would reflect or how they might be interpreted. Nor did I have any hopes about how they might be perceived. That just never mattered, as I wasn't writing them for anyone but myself. I don't care how others interpret me based on the songs, because I know what they mean to me. It's interesting to hear what you took from it, because although I certainly wasn't able to intellectualize it at the time, it's a pretty fair assessment now, listening to it as a whole. All my favorite songs growing up were songs that resonated because of something about them I could relate to. That others can now listen to my songs and have that same feeling is one of my favorite things about sharing them. I would never want to taint your personal interpretation of a song by imposing my own upon you. Whatever the song means to you, is ultimately exactly what it's about. When you share something, it's no longer just yours anymore. (Photo by Josh Cornell)

Shannon, as you know personally so much of introducing yourself to the world is the marketing and promoting of you along with your music. Has that been easy for you, and is it possible to separate the life of Shannon the woman from Shannon the recording artist? 

Introducing myself to the world has not been, by any means, an easy part of this process. The marketing and promotional world is one I'm just not educated enough about to assume control in any way, and I find it incredibly overwhelming. I just want to be told when and where to show up, and what to do once I get there! When it comes to Shannon the woman and Shannon the recording artist, they are one in the same. It's just something I do that is a part of who I am. I don't go to a regular job every day that I want to leave at the office until I return there the next morning. It's not me, and it's not what I do. I grew up believing it was possible to carve out a hugely successful living by doing something you loved. Perhaps that's rare, but I'm determined to make myself lucky.

One place we all seem to be on an equal footing is the internet. Can you talk about how social networking and sites like Youtube have helped you to reach a larger audience?

I appreciate the unprecedented access the internet provides artists, and am grateful for the fan base I am cultivating through such sites that was impossible to reach at this point in another era. But it's a world so far removed from actual human contact that I find it incredibly isolating, and try not to exceed a certain amount of time per day being there. 

I feel really strong about the importance of passion when it comes to anything you do, especially if you are going to do it well. What keeps you so passionate about your career as an entertainer?

I don't believe there's any other recourse for me! I'm at my most comfortable on stage, in the spotlight,  when I'm under the lights and in front of an audience. I feel more at home there than I do anywhere else in the world. Everything I do in my career is done ultimately to create that platform, for that's when I really feel at home. In regards to passion, it's sometimes the only thing that fuels me, especially when my faith begins to waver. Passion is what inspired the album, and the relevance of that passion is what inspires me to be the best I can be. 

Congratulations again on all of your success, Shannon. Glad we were able to connect. How can our readers stay in contact with you and purchase the album?

Thank you so very much, Cyrus! It's been my pleasure to connect and answer all your questions. Your readers can go to my website, where they can purchase my album through Itunes and Amazon. They can also visit my fanpage on facebook, where I invite them to share their experiences in listening to the album. I'll do my best to answer any questions anyone has for me! Thank you again.


Listen to Shannon Micol's interview on Conversations LIVE with Cyrus Webb here: