Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

One-on-One with author Gerry Boylan

by Cyrus Webb

Author Gerry Boylan is someone I have had the pleasure of interviewing on Conversations LIVE the radio show in the past. This year I had a chance to welcome him back in a series of conversations with his grandson Eli Clark. Together they have written an entertaining book called SHOWDOWN AT FIREFLY ISLAND.

In this chat we talk about Gerry's love of storytelling and what it has been like sharing this experience with his grandson. 

Gerry, congratulations on your new book with your grandson Eli Clark. What has it been like to see the response to SHOWDOWN AT FIREFLY ISLAND?  

The response has been terrific and rewarding. Eli said that he learned that if you put the work in to making a book as good as possible, readers will enjoy the story and tell their friends about it. On both a personal level with friends and family enjoying the story and complete strangers appreciating the book, we’re thrilled. 

Storytelling is something you have been doing for some time. When did you realize that writing was a gift you had? 

You’re correct that I’ve been storytelling for a long time and I found I could entertain people from an early age. But putting the time in to learn and excel at the craft of writing started about 15 years ago. It takes time and good teachers/editors to write a story readers will love. 

The business of writing and publishing can be challenging. Has it been easy for you to navigate the changes that have occurred in the industry since you first started?

Like most things, change can be daunting, as you point out, so much has changed since I first published a book 12 years ago. But with the help of my daughter Moira, we’ve been able to adapt. And it helps to know someone like you, who has thrived in the high seas of change. 

Technology is such a big part of our world today. How has it helped you to amplify your message? I’ve found that the message still remains an important part of getting the word out…so that old-school part of the effort is still meaningful. But the ability to reach so many people, and quickly, is a huge benefit, if you have plan for how to maximize exposure via the right technology channels. Watching how you meld your messaging with technology is a great example, Cyrus. 

Part of what you are doing with SHOWDOWN AT FIREFLY ISLAND is raising awareness about the Detroit Police Athletic League. Tell us why that is important for you. 

I learned about giving back to the community from my parents and my wife Kathy, who was a nurse providing care for those without access to insurance. The Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) enabled me to be part of team of inspiring staff, volunteer mentor/coaches and dedicated, caring police officers. PAL helps thousands of Detroit’s children find their greatness via 11 athletic, leadership and enrichment programs. PAL’s programs connecting police officers and children in a positive way is another important part of PAL’s work. 

Thanks again for the time, Gerry. How can our readers stay connected with you

Our website is and my email is 

[Book Review] With SMART BREVITY the founders of Axios show how you can achieve more by saying less


No matter your profession I believe that SMART BREVITY is the kind of book you can read and apply to an aspect of your life, personal and professional.

What the founders of Axios have done is take their lessons learned and examples of others and put them together to share with the reader how you can achieve more with less---and keep people wanting more. The style of the book is brilliant, letting you know about how much time it will take to digest each section. The examples are spot-on, allowing us to realize the ways we can apply what others have gleaned along the way in their lives.

The end result? Writing and speaking in a way that gets the attention, conveys a thought and keeps the individual wanting more. Why? Because you have met their need, satisfied their want for information and they now see you a trusted, reliable source.

This is the kind of book that you'll want to reference for sure. SMART BREVITY is all about thinking, listening and responding in a way that meets your audience where they are with what they need.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Book Review] Evan Carmichael's MOMENTUM shows what it takes to go from a goal to success

 Anyone that has followed Evan Carmichael knows that he's a man of action. That is what he shows in the book MOMENTUM as well, letting you know what it takes to go from a goal to success.

The book reminds us of Evan's journey, what has helped me to have the success and reach he has----and how you can do the same. This means we have to be mindful of how we spend our time, who we spend time with and the importance of focus on what our mission is.

MOMENTUM propels us forward if you allow yourself space to do the work. Get out of your own way, stay focused and there is no way you won't win.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Book Review] With MASTER YOUR DIGITAL BUSINESS LIKE A BOSS Omegia Keeys shares valuable tips

 If you want to reach a level you have never been to before you need someone to help you on that journey. With MASTER YOUR DIGITAL BUSINESS LIKE A BOSS entrepreneur and author Omegia Keeys shares how she has gotten where she is, and how her roadmap can help you in attaining your own goals.

It's not about a shortcut. It's all about the helping hand that we all need when trying to navigate a new path. I love that the book is written in such a way that it will inspire you and give you real tips and strategies.

If you're ready to go to the next level this will help you on your way.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Movie Review] AboutFace Media outdid itself with this one. FATED REUNION is a must-watch!

 I have seen other productions from AboutFace Media, but this is by far my favorite.

FATED REUNION has a bit of it all: life lessons, love lessons, humor, social issues and facing consequences.

We meet Mandy Sanders, someone who has found success professionally but dealing with the past. When an opportunity comes to face some of those in that past she takes it, but decides not to do it alone. That leads to meeting Dante, someone is also doing well for himself. Helping out a friend initially he meets Mandy. Though it's not the welcome he was expecting it plants a seed that we see blossom as the film goes on.

Not to spoil it for anyone I'll say this: we see Mandy and Dante dealing with life, expectations and secrets that come up from the past. Will it bring them closer together or force them apart?

I honestly couldn't turn away from this movie, afraid I might miss something. It's just THAT GOOD. A great film that men and women can watch and enjoy---and maybe learn some lessons of our own.

Watch FATED REUNION on Amazon

[Book Review] When wondering about the next step, Ahmard Moore Vital's NOW WHAT helps you take action

 There is no doubt that Ahmard Moore Vital is a man of action. Any one who has watched his career would attest to the fact that he makes a plan and then goes about making it a reality. Ever wonder how YOU can do the same? That is what NOW WHAT does for the reader.

The book addresses areas where you might feel stuck and then shares ways you can take the steps to move forward and ultimately win. Will it take effort on your part? Yes. Will you have to make changes in your thoughts and actions? ABSOLUTELY. What the book shows, however, is that such movement is necessary if you truly want to win and live the best life possible.

Inspiring and full of actionable tips and strategies, NOW WHAT is the kind of book that will help you get where you want to go.

Get your copy of NOW WHAT on Amazon

[Book Review] Randy Richardson's HAVANA HANGOVER is the kind of book you can enjoy any time of year

 Whether you're looking for a great summer read or something that will keep you engaged and guessing, then HAVANA HANGOVER is the kind of book you want to add to your reading list.

Author Randy Richardson is someone I have gotten to enjoy over the years, and this newest book shows his range of writing a mystery and love story mixed with intrigue. Through Tanner and Jackson we see how friendships can change and when put under test the things that can be exposed---sometimes with deadly consequences.

The way the book unfolds allows us to better understand Tanner and though we might not always agree with his choices, we can see how he learns to fight for what matters to him. Will he get a happy ending? What does that even mean? Those are just a couple of the questions you'll find yourself asking.

HAVANA HANGOVER is a book you'll enjoy and want to talk about. You can't ask for more than that.


[Book Review] With HEART PEACES author Tracy Carzell shows where we can find real peace and happiness


I have read books by Tracy Carzell before, and with HEART PEACES she continues to do what she does well: INSPIRE.

The book takes you into a place where you can look at yourself and try to find the peace among the broken pieces of life. No matter what you're going through she shares how your faith can help you to weather the storm, remember why you are here and keep going forward.

This is the kind of book we need in times of trouble as well as when things are going well. We have to prepare for the trouble and strengthen our faith so we're ready. HEART PEACES can help you get there.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Book Review] With DISCOVERING LIFE'S PURPOSE author Del H. Smith shares the journey we all are on


"Why am I here?"

"What is my purpose"

Those are questions we can all relate to as we look at the world and try to figure out our place in it. For Del H. Smith it is a journey he has been on for some time, and he shares what he has learned in the book DISCOVERING LIFE'S PURPOSE.

You might not agree with everything that he has learned, but what I feel you will take away from the book is that our Creator saw fit to put us here for a reason. Our charge it to discover that and walk in it. The other thing that Del realizes is that our walk might be different than someone else's. What matters is that we go about being the best we can be, knowing our Heavenly Father can help with the rest.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Book Review] Even in the face of trials these women show what it takes to make it: FAITH

 All of us go through trials and difficult circumstances. What matters, however, is that we don't become overwhelmed by them. For those of faith, that means relying on God to get us through whatever it is that we're going through. And even if He doesn't remove the trial, we know he can give us the strength to endure it.

That is exactly what the contributors of the anthology Women with Unshakeable Faith understood. We are able to see how they dealt with betrayal, loss, sickness, doubt and fear---but were able to lean into their faith for help. Now they are reminding others how they can do the same.

This is exactly the kind of book you need to remind yourself that you're not alone in what you are facing. No matter what may come your way, with FAITH you can get through it.

Get yours on Amazon

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

[To You, From Me] Why NOW is the ONLY Time that Matters

It's hard to believe we are half-way through the year that is 2023. Like you, so much has happened both personally and professionally, and I am excited about what has helped me get here. But it's not the end, for me or for you.

I know life gets hard at times. This issue of Conversations Magazine has been in the works for over a year, and though there was discussion about moving on from it I knew the profiles here would be an encouragement for you to do one thing: KEEP GOING.

So many times we look at the past and think things can't get any better. I am here to tell you that is just not true. You have the opportunity to take advantage of NOW, making the most of it. Those profiled in this Business Issue of Conversations Magazine have been able to do just that, and all are benefiting from doing so.

I hope this issue reminds you of the importance of NOW and remember that this moment in front of you is the only time that matters. You can't do anything about yesterday. You can't control the future. You can only embrace what is in your power in this moment. May you take full advantage of it, and in the process encourage others to do the same. 

Happy Reading! 

Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
Conversations Magazine/ Mississippi Success Magazine

[AUTHOR CHAT] One-on-One with author Randy Richardson

by Cyrus Webb

Randy, it has been great following your journey since your book CHEESELAND. What has it been like for you to share your love of storytelling with the world?

It has been a journey unlike any I’ve ever taken. I write small stories that both entertain and hopefully make you think. You get thrown on an emotional roller-coaster where you’ll be laughing at one moment and then crying or screaming at the next. In the end, I hope they are stories that make you think and stick with you for a while. 

Because I write stories that are inspired by real parts of my own life, I like to think that they’ve given me a fresh perspective on my own life. Ultimately, I write the stories that I like to read. When you put them out into the world, you have no idea how others will react. It can be exciting. But it also can be frightening. 

It is the best feeling when someone who reads your words is moved by them. When I was looking for blurbs for the back cover of my latest novel, HAVANA HANGOVER, I took a leap of faith and asked Catherine Lanigan, who has written dozens of romance novels over a long career, including ROMANCING THE STONE and JEWEL OF THE NILE, under the penname, Joan Wilder. I’d met her at a book fair several years ago, and she was super nice. But I had not seen her or heard from her since then. I had no idea what to expect. Well, she agreed to read my book. And a few weeks later, she sent me what is probably the best email I’ve ever gotten. She wrote: “Your fascinating novel has kept me spellbound… Yours is some of the best writing I’ve read in years.” Needless to say, I was over the moon. Little things like that make it all worthwhile.

When did you realize writing was something you wanted to do?

I’m probably considered a late-bloomer when it comes to creative writing. I studied just about everything but creative writing in college. I earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, a master’s degree in journalism, and finally a law degree. Never took one creative writing class through all those degrees. While working as a lawyer, at the ripe age of 33, I got this seed in my head for a novel. That seed grew into my first novel, LOST IN THE IVY, a murder mystery set against the backdrop of Chicago’s Wrigley Field.  But I think I’ve always been a writer… it just took me some time to accept that and, obviously, I took a circuitous route to becoming one.

You are not only a gifted author yourself. You have used your platform to encourage aspiring writers as well. Why has that been so important to you?

My personal story goes back to 2005 when I had just finished writing that first novel. I felt a little like the protagonist in my story: lost and confused. I started looking for writing groups and stumbled upon the Chicago Writers Association (CWA), which was then just a Yahoo! group. The more I became involved in that email group, the more I saw that I needed more of a real community. When CWA became a nonprofit in 2006, I became its president – a role I still have today. In that time, we’ve grown from a steering committee of 13 members to over 800 dues-paying members. I think we’ve made a real difference in creating a community of writer that didn’t exist when I started as a fledgling writer. 

When I wrote that first novel, I didn’t have a community to support me. That all changed because of my work with CWA. My second novel, CHEESELAND, was written with the help and guidance of a critique group whose members I found through the CWA, and the book’s editor was someone I met through the organization. All the blurbs on the back cover came from people with whom I’d developed relationships through this community. Even its publisher came out of this network of writers I’d helped to create. It was just a better all-around experience that is 100 percent attributable to having a community around me that I didn’t have before.

Renegade Press, the publisher of my latest novel, HAVANA HANGOVER, I learned about by listening to the Chicago Writes podcast, which CWA launched about a year ago…you get the idea. I now have a whole network of people around me who help me to make this journey much less daunting. 

I feel that as writers we can and should all work together and support one another. You’re still going to make mistakes but hopefully not as many and the whole process can be just much smoother and easier to navigate. I’ve found that if you give a little, it comes back to you tenfold. 

Your newest book HAVANA HANGOVER shows how easily things can go wrong in friendship and life. Where did the idea for the book come from?

HAVANA HANGOVER is my third novel. Like the two that came before it, LOST IN THE IVY and CHEESELAND, HAVANA HANGOVER is inspired by my own personal real-life history. HAVANA HANGOVER begins in November 2016, which was the first time I traveled to Cuba. Two historic events occurred during the time of my travels. On the same morning I left for Cuba, my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, won their first World Series in 108 years. On the same morning that I returned to the states, the U.S. presidential election results had just been decided. Those two events served as a springboard for the story that becomes a runaway adventure with many twists and turns where little is as it seems. The characters behind it were mostly inspired by real-life people, including me and my travel companion, a friend who I’ve known since law school, and our tour operator and our tour guide. But the real seed for the story was planted on our second trip to Cuba, the following November. It was on that trip that my friend and I had been out on the town and at some point, we were separated. I went back to our casa particular, a Cuban bed-and-breakfast, and went to bed. The following morning, I woke to a string of text messages from my friend, the last of which read only: “Help Me!” So that served as the inspirational trigger for the disoriented protagonist who is telling the story. From there, the story is all fiction, including the back story of the complicated history between the protagonist, Tanner, and his missing friend who might not be his friend at all.

You seemed to stretch yourself in this one, Randy. I was surprised at how much suspense there was in HAVANA HANGOVER. Was that part of what you enjoyed about writing it?

To a large degree, it was my editor who pushed me to the make the story more vivid and suspenseful. But I wrote the story mostly during the pandemic, when I, like most everyone else, was stuck at home. So writing it became an escape for me and a way to mentally go back to a place that I wasn’t able to travel to any more. In many ways, it became my love letter to Havana, and to the people whom I had befriended there. 

Social media is a big part of how authors like yourself share your work with the world. Can you tell us about how you approach it in connecting with your readers?

I can’t say that I’ve ever felt truly comfortable on social media. There’s a very fine line between sharing too much about yourself and also being too self-serving. I try to keep my social media posts positive and inspirational, to not only promote my work but to also promote the work of others and to hopefully guide them in the right direction when I can. 

What advice do you have for authors beginning their own writing journey or considering it?

I guess my first piece of advice is to be realistic about writing and your writing goals and expectations. If you think that you’re going to be the next Stephen King or John Grisham or J.K. Rowling, you’re probably not being realistic. You have much better odds playing the lottery. At the outset, define what success as a writer is to you. Creative writing, for me, is a hobby; it’s not my profession (I have a day job as a lawyer). So I don’t measure my success as a writer by money. I also don’t define it by sales, or awards or other kinds of recognition. To me, success is writing the story I wanted to tell the way that I wanted to tell it. Simple as that. By that measure, I feel that I have achieved success as a writer, because I’ve been able to write three novels the way that I wanted to write them. 

My second piece of advice is to understand that writing isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work to do it well. The first draft is never going to be good enough. Not even for Stephen King or John Grisham or J.K. Rowling. I wrote four drafts of HAVANA HANGOVER before I was ready to put it out into the world.  It took me over two years to get to that final draft, with a lot of help from my editor along the way.

My third piece of advice is to read. You can’t be a good writer if you’re not a reader. 

And my fourth and final piece of advice is connect with other writers. Writing can be a lonely endeavor. But it doesn’t have to be. Get involved in your local writing community. Join writing groups and attend writing conferences and book and live lit events. Build a network of support around you. A writer’s best friend is another writer. Believe me, you can’t be successful as a writer if you try to do it all on your own.

How can our readers stay connected with you?

They can go to my website at They can find me on Facebook @RandyRichardsonWriter and on Instagram @randman61. 

OMEGIA KEEYS: Mastering Business (and Life) Daily!

by Cyrus Webb








These are just a few titles that can be used to describe the dynamic force that is Omegia Keeys*. For the sake of 2023 it can all be wrapped into one word: BOSS.

For years she has blazed her own trail, did things her own way---and set a standard and example of what it means to truly purpose your goals and dreams. When it was decided that Keeys would grace the cover of Conversations Magazine at the beginning of 2022 she was at the time sharing her latest book MASTER YOUR DIGITAL BUSINESS LIKE A BOSS. Now as we are halfway through 2023 she has also released two additional books and movies: FATED REUNION and KEEPING SECRETS. 

In this conversation we discuss the journey and advice for those who want to make the most of the moment. 

Omegia, I am glad I get to reconnect you with the Conversations readers. First of all congratulations on the past decade of work as an author, actress, filmmaker and entrepreneur. Have you had the time to stop and think about all you’ve been able to accomplish?

Moving into this next leg of my journey has forced me to stop and reflect on how far I’ve come. I actually had to sit down and write everything out and wow, what a journey. What is crazy is there are seeds that were planted years ago, that are just now taking root. I’m really just trying to wrap my head around it all.

Where did the love of storytelling come from for you? 

My love of storytelling came from my family. I am the youngest of seven, and we always had cousins or aunts in our home. I used to sit under the dining room table and absorb everything. The adventures with my action figures would be about them. And, my mother is an amazing storyteller. She would tell us black history but the way she did it, it seems as if it were written in a book and I couldn’t wait until the next installment. 

Over the past few years you have gotten a lot of attention for your films dealing with the social issues we see all around us. Talk to our readers about why projects like FROM JIM TO JAMES CROW and SURVIVING AMERICA have been so important for you to share? 

Both projects are very important to me because they are my creative love letter back to the community. I learned from, From Jim to James Crow and feel I made an even bigger step with Surviving America. A lot of times when I watch documentaries about social justice they make it seem so long ago and negate that we are still fighting the fight today. Also, it ignores the fact that not only were a lot of those who fought for justice in the 60s still alive today, but so are those who opposed the change. I have always been outspoken and this was my way of speaking out. I wanted to use our voices, and not the voices of those who are disconnected from the experience. 

Partnerships have been important for any of us trying to achieve great things. How has surrounding yourself with the right people benefited you over the years?

To be honest it took a while to find the right people. For years I had to go at it alone because people just didn’t get the creative side of me. Often times when you include people on your vision, your vision starts to get twisted into what they want your vision to be. Thankfully, I finally found the right people. My business partner Kathy Taylor is instrumental in not only seeing my vision, but pushing me even further. When people get you, it only makes you want to do even more. It is as if you were holding back until the right people come along, you know they have your back, and then comes the great flood of ideas. 

You began 2022 with a new book MASTER YOUR DIGITAL BUSINESS LIKE A BOSS as well as a new podcast. Where did the idea for business coaching come from?

The idea came from me always helping others along my journey. My inbox is always full of questions from those who need help. I am big on reaching back and lifting others who want to help themselves up and so is Kathy. The best way to do so now is in the form of the book, podcast, and the actual 10 lesson course, Master Your Digital Business Like a Boss. We show them our process and share my experiences to cut years off of their journey. 

In the book you share a bit of your own journey. People see where you are, Omegia, and want to get there now. Do you think most realize the amount of work it takes to achieve the success that you have today?

I honestly don’t think they understand all of the hard work it takes to get here. People don’t see the daily grind, and when you don’t see something it can’t be real. I will take Surviving America for example. I knew everything that needed to happen and it took a full year after the film was released of staying on the marketing. I had a plan prior to the release and the plan was flawed due to changes with the algorithms on social media. I had to figure it out and make a big pivot. For some that would have stopped them. I took it as a challenge. I researched more and figured it out until something stuck. 

 People see my updates about the numbers, but they don’t know what it takes behind the scenes. I used to run track so I considering it the conditioning phase in preparation for the big meet. 

Time is our most precious commodity for sure. We are all trying to make the most of every day. I have to ask, though, how do you carve out time for yourself so you’re not left behind?

Funny, I am in every creative thing I do. Even when I try to take a break, my mind is swirling with ideas. But, to combat the need for myself I plan things out. I get with my business partner and we hash out everything that needs to be done from now until 6, 12, and even 24 months down the road. We set deadlines and in staying organized you free up time for yourself. I’m never scrambling and feeling as if I’m behind. I can take those breaks when I need to.

Social media has helped the two of us stay connected and allowed you to reach a new audience. Especially during the pandemic how has your approach to social media changed or evolved?

Wow, the pandemic pushed me to be more open and share myself with my audience. I always shared the business, but I started to let them really see me and see that every day isn’t a great day but I’m still at it. I think going live and sharing more videos has been the biggest change. 

What is your hope that the book, podcast and training accomplish when it comes to those looking to start or grow their businesses?

My hope is that it encourages someone who was afraid to start and that once they start they see that they are not alone. Plus, by taking the advise they can avoid some of missteps me and Kathy made on our journeys. With the podcast they can see how Kathy and I work together. We don’t always agree but we do respect each other’s viewpoints. Having a yes person in your corner will not help your business.

I can’t have you here and not have you share some tips for our readers. What would you say to those who want to make this their year?

If you want to make it my biggest thing is to start! There are people out there who can’t hold a penny to your talent but you are too scared to make the leap. Stop being afraid. Stop allowing others to define who you are destined to be. Stop comparing yourself to someone else’s journey. Just start and if you need help get a copy of Master Your Digital Business Like a Boss, take the course, or listen to the podcast The Business LAB Unfiltered. 

Thanks again for all you do, Omegia. Again, so proud of you and all your accomplishments. How can we stay connected with you? 

Thank you so much Cyrus. I am thankful to have shared 90% of my entrepreneur journey with you over the years. Please stay connected with me at AboutFace Media on Facebook at  as well as Omegia Keeys on social media. 

*    Photos of Omegia Keeys by Mari'on Keeys 

[Book Chat] 10 Books to Help You in Business and Life


Looking for some actionable advice and examples to help you thrive both personally and professionally?

Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine, has compiled a list of 10 books that have personally benefited him that he believes can help you as well. Ready? Roll up your sleeves and dive into "10 Books to Help You in Business and Life"!

  1. The Martha Rules by Martha Stewart (Rodale)
  2. Rise and Grind by Daymond John (Currency)
  3. Momentum by Evan Carmichael (Freedom House Publishing)
  4. Lead Like Walt by Pat Williams (HCI)
  5. Identity Shift by Anthony Trucks (Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press)
  6. Master Your Digital Business Life a Boss by Omegia Keeys (AboutFace Media)
  7. Smart Brevity by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz (Workman)
  8. The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited by Emanuel Rosen (Doubleday)
  9. Linked by Omar Garriott and Jeremy Schifeling (Workman)
  10. Full Time CEO by Will Roundtree (We Management Services)

One-on-One with Earl Hall of Earl Hall Studio

 by Cyrus Webb

Earl Hall is a man of many talents. Having known him for a decade now, it's been great watching his brand grow and him use the skills that he possesses. Many have gotten to know him as a voice over artist and VO coach, but he is so much more than that. In 2023 alone he has had a bestselling book BECOMING A VOICE ACTOR and launched a brand new show called The Earl Hall Show which combines his work as a coach and as an interviewer, sharing the stories of others. 

Earl, you have already had quite the 2023. What has it been like for you to see what you’ve done both personally and professionally?

Personally and professionally, I have definitely grown.  I see 2023 as the culmination of what I began as an entrepreneur back in 1999.  The journey has had many twists and turns for my businesses and my family.  It has been a long journey, but when I look back over it I don’t see failure.  I see preparation, determination, and a lot of luck sprinkled into it all.

You have said many times that at your core you are a teacher. How does it feel to share what you have learned over the years with others?

As a teacher it always makes me smile when I see people grab hold to what I teach and actually execute on it.  Seeing them succeed with what I have taught is a great joy for me.  I tell them all I did was give you a tool.  They are the ones that actually make it happen.

Content creation is a big part of your work. When did you realize the importance of not just creating content but finding your audience for that content?

Finding the audience is simple not easy.  All we can do is create the content and hopefully people will consume it.  In the world we live in, creating content is a must for any small business owner.  When you do find your audience, you have a responsibility to stay loyal to them if you expect them to stay loyal to you.

Already in 2023 you’ve released a book and started a new show, The Earl Hall Show. Tell us about the show.

The Earl Hall Show is about building your brand by sharing your story.  Regardless of the industry, social media is essential if you want to build a successful brand and thriving business.  The guests that will be on The Earl Hall Show will be sharing their own journey to success with the products and services they offer.

As someone who has many interests and abilities how do you decide what you want to focus on?

This has always been a challenge for me.  When you have a lot of interests and talents as I do, I have had a tendency to chase shiny objects and opportunities.  What I have learned over time is that I needed to pick a lane and stick with it.

You recently said in an interview with Cyrus Webb Presents that work-life balance doesn’t exist. Tell us why you feel that way?

It is impossible to give 100% to 2 or more things at a time.  When I work, I am 100% focused on that, and I do not allow distractions.  When I am with family, I put 100% focus there. 

What are you excited about as we continue into the second half of the year?

What excites me the most is what will happen with The Earl Hall Show and my ability through Earl Hall Studio to extend the reach and influence of the clients that I help.  For all intents and purposes this is a relaunch of my entire brand, and I am really excited about the potential that I already see coming to fruition.

Any advice you want to share for those looking to start a new business or redefine their brand?

It all starts with a real plan that is not short-sighted.  Having the long game in mind is essential.  Quick wins will happen, but the real results require patience.  

Thanks again for the time, Earl, and congratulations again. How can our readers stay connected with you?

Thank you. The best way to stay connected is at, and I can be found an Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube with the handle @earlhallstudio.

Monday, May 29, 2023

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Angela Anderson of Angela's Literary Cafe

Angela, we are glad to have you with us in Conversations Magazine's Business Issue. You are the example of someone who has built a brand based on what they love. What has it been like to share your love of authors and books with the world?

OMGoodness! To see my passion for books and my love of authors in action is truly amazing. 

How did Angela’s Literary Café begin?

Do you want the long version or the short version? (laughs) 

Angela’s Literary Café was birthed out of my passion for all things literary. Add to that my enjoyment of events and event planning. I wanted to create a space for book lovers and authors to connect and grow their author-reader bond. 

I also know how much I enjoy being able to meet authors and be in a space with others in the bookish community. It is the perfect blend. I am intentional about connecting authors and readers together creating memorable moments of meeting their favorite authors to creating an unforgettable literary café experience. When you think of a café, you often think about great conversations in a great environment where you can be yourself and have fun. I wanted to bring that feeling and experience to others.  I also wanted to be able to talk about books and bookish things in a creative and fun way.

The literary café began with a thought and a desire that turned into me taking action. 

Outside of hosting the show you work with authors to share their books with readers.When did you realize that was a service you wanted to offer?

I have a genuine desire to add value to others. It is such a beautiful thing to see others develop and grow into their desired success. I saw that there was a need for these services, and I wanted to fulfill that need. I wanted to provide literary support to authors by providing editorial services, marketing, PR, and literary coaching. Creating a safe place for authors to nurture their craft and share their gifts is important to me. I have several workshops and mastermind classes that I teach individually and in group settings.

Most people don’t know this, but it is such a fulfilling place for me when I am coaching, teaching a course, or speaking at an event. There is no greater feeling than when you have coached someone, or they took a course of yours, and you see them put it into action with results. It makes for a proud teacher. 

Social media is critical for all influencers today. How did you decide the way you were going to use it for your own brand?

I found it to be a great way to network and connect with like-minded people. Social media is a place where you can reach people from all over the world. It is also a way for me to be the sunshine and bring others joy in a positive way. A smile and a kind word go a long way. In addition, I use it as a tool to share my passion for all things literary, marketing, and event planning in a fun and uplifting way that represents who I am and my brand. 

Showing up is not always easy. What helps you to stay consistent, not just online but offline, too?

Angela Anderson Presents, where excellence and relationships are at the forefront. This statement is more than a tagline for me. It is the foundation of my brand. It helps me to consistently show up for myself, my business, and my brand.  Behind the scenes is where it is at, meaning the preparation and planning. 

Has it been easy for you to embrace your own influencer as an Influencer?

Hmmm, great question. Has it been easy? Let’s just say I am learning to embrace it. 

What advice do you have for others when it comes to pursuing their own goals and dreams?

Believe in yourself! Be a forever learner. Be willing to try new things even if you have to do it afraid. Have an 'I can do' attitude! Remember to take care of yourself and refill your cup often. You are more than enough! And lastly, have fun!

Thanks, Angela. How can our readers stay connected with you?

Thank you for the opportunity. Readers can stay connected with me via my website at and my YouTube Channel, Angela Anderson. They can also find me on Facebook and Instagram:


Lakeasha Williams: Embracing Her Time to Shine, Encouraging Others to Do the Same


by Cyrus Webb

Congratulations again, Lakeasha, on your Amazon Bestseller SHINE ON BROWN GIRL. What has it been like for you to stand back and reflect on your first children’s book becoming a #1 bestseller?

Thank you! I’m speechless. Shine On Brown Girl has surpassed my goals within the first week. It’s only the beginning and this book is poised to do some amazing things for our children and people in general. 

Did you always believe that you were intended for greatness?

My parents instilled greatness in me from a very early age. I always knew that I was different, in a good way. However, I did not envision anything beyond teaching, marriage, nice house, and children. My life is nothing like I had originally planned! It’s so much more than I ever imagined. 

When did you decide that you wanted to work with young people and inspiring them to reach their fullest potential?

I made a final decision to work with children my sophomore year in college. Inspiring children to reach their fullest potential automatically came with that decision. If that’s not the goal then you shouldn’t work with young people. 

We live in a world where people of all ages are struggling to see themselves and what they can accomplish? What made you want to make that part of your mission in life, ensuring that others knew what was possible?

My own life serves as a constant reminder to me of the possibilities that can exist for our children, provided they believe in themselves. The biggest difference between children in different socio-economic groups is their experiences and confidence level. I want to be a part of the solution. I want children to know it is possible. Whatever it is that they hope to accomplish. That is the only way that we can change the narrative for the better for our children.

When it comes to the message of SHINE ON BROWN GIRL, I have mentioned to you before it is a timely message for all of us. Where did the idea for Layla and the book come from?

Layla came as a result of several things: My lived experiences. My Brown Girl video that went viral after Kamal Harris became Vice president elect. The current challenges that our children still grapple with. The message in SHINE ON BROWN GIRL is relevant. Therefore, it evokes a variety of emotions from the readers. 

Tell us about the SHINE ON series and what you hope it does?

I hope the SHINE ON series serves as a catalyst for change. Our stories matter. Children need to see themselves represented in literature in a profound manner. I also hope that it teaches tolerance, understanding, and appreciation for all. The next book in the series is SHINE ON BROWN BOY. 

Social media has helped us all to be better connected. How has it assisted you in sharing your message?

I am very intentional with the messaging that I share on social media. I want to convey a message of the importance of living a balanced life, setting and achieving goals, community is our responsibility, uplifting others, and being an equity warrior. I use the platform in a manner that’s consistent with advancing our people. 

What are you looking forward to next?

I am looking forward to the next book in this series, SHINE ON BROWN BOY, as well as, additional platforms to share the many different messages in SHINE ON BROWN GIRL. So, stay tuned!

What advice, Lakeasha, do you have for others when it comes to pursuing their own goals and dreams.

I would say never give up on you. Listen to your body and rest when you need to rest. Also know that only you will pursue your dreams relentlessly. After all, it’s your dream. You must have that tunnel vision. Don’t expect that same level of commitment from others. Know what you know. Know what you don’t know. Seek assistance whenever possible. 

Thanks again for the time. Let our readers know how they can stay connected with you.

Our readers can follow me on my Instagram page,

One-on-One with Dawn Marie Westmoreland

by Cyrus Webb

Dawn, we are glad to have you as part of our series. I want to first ask you about the reflection on your professional journey. What has it been like for you to look back on all you have achieved?

When I look in the mirror, I see a very different person. Many different traumatic experiences have shaped me to become a more empowered woman. After standing up to bullying and discrimination in my former federal job, I lost my home and most of my possessions. It created opportunities to learn from it and help others experiencing harassment in their workplaces. I feel powerful, humble, and a servant leader to help others.

Did you always know that helping others was something you were meant to do?

Yes. I grew up in a humanitarian family who raised money to clothe impoverished children and provide medical care so they could feel more dignified and have health care. I enjoy helping people, but most of all, teaching them how to be more empowered in their life. My stepfather and I invited the sanitation workers in our home for lunch every week for fried bologna sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. We were the last stop for garbage pickup in our rural, Interlachen, Florida.  

Your latest book is actually the workbook STAND UP TO WORKPLACE BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION. How did it come about?

In 2012, I had 22 years of HR experience, and I suspected racial discrimination and nepotism in my former federal job. I reported my managers to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and later to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). I reported my federal agency's concerns of only having five black employees and over 500 white employees. I noticed family and friends in management hiring close white friends and their families. Nepotism is illegal in the federal government. I often wondered if many people of color living in low-cost housing had been discriminated against, too. 

I suffered from numerous counts of severe retaliation, and my paycheck was cut off soon after informing these "watchdog" federal agencies about my concerns. The harassment I endured led to exhaustion, depletion of my health, and a genuine concern for my safety. I voluntarily spent three days in the Charles George VA Medical Center in the Mental Health Ward to help myself. At the time, I felt very victimized and dis-empowered. On the third day, I was allowed to shower, and I looked in a metal mirror and didn't recognize myself. It was the lowest point of my life. 

I became angry at myself for sinking so low, and I felt the anger grow into the realization that I did not have to be a victim. I hung in for the long run of waiting for the Formal Hearing with the EEOC. It was tough, but I managed and learned to live with a lot less money. I learned slowly how to recover and strive in all my endeavors. I later settled with my former federal agency and refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement to share my story with others and share my wisdom so they could also be empowered. Along the way, I also picked up clients and continued to learn even more, so I decided it was time to write my workbook, “How to Stand Up to Workplace Bullying and Discrimination.”

So sorry you had to go through all that, Dawn, just because you wanted to do what was right. What I, as a reader, appreciated about the book is how you share real-world examples with what the reader can do if in that situation or see something. How did you decide how you wanted to marry the facts with a call to action?

I made many edits and took a lot of time deciding how to write my workbook. I researched many books and workbooks to see what was available to the public. I didn't find anything like the workbook I decided to write. I wanted to author a workbook that was comprehensive and helped people. Many books I found had shards of advice and were not thorough to support the reader. I shared my experience with workplace bullying and discrimination and many of my clients' results while keeping their names anonymous. Some of my clients became homeless because they lost their jobs for speaking up. They didn't know their rights at the time.

Since the pandemic, it seems as though the workplace has been impacted just like everything else. What do you hope employers realize about valuing their employees in these challenging times?

We live in times of incivility in many workplaces. Many people experience workplace bullying and discrimination, depending on the statistics you read. Employers that maintain safe and respectful work environments will likely have more loyal employees. The cost of replacing employees is relatively high when you consider hiring recruiters to find employees, the cost of ads, boarding and training the new employee, and the loss of production in the workplace. The expense of litigation, months of investigations, and the embarrassment could shut down a business. Employees are the “backbone” of the company. Treat them fairly. 

As for the employees, Dawn, what do you want them to keep in mind regarding their rights and what they should and should not tolerate?

Often, employees rely on others to inform them of their rights. It's essential to be knowledgeable as possible to know right from wrong advice. Employees are likely to be more confident when they know their rights and feel empowered. No employee should ever accept harassment of any kind in the workplace. They have to decide whether to speak up, document the incident, and seek professional support if needed. No one is ever weak when leaving a job where they are not treated fairly and valued. 

We both are on social media. How have you used it to share the book's message and your work?

I believe in transparency and sharing my past experiences to inspire and empower people on social media. I have people reach out to me and seek to become a client because I offer consulting services and am a Life Coach. Companies reach out to me to help them reduce bullying and discrimination in their workplaces. Often, I will share insights out of my workbook on social media. My followers have increased, and so has my work. I also garnered attention from activist, Erin Brockovich and interviewed her about how we can all work together to support a better world. 

This type of book is so important. What do you hope it does for them when people finish reading it, even if they haven't experienced any discrimination?

Workplace bullying and discrimination have a negative rippling effect on all our communities. The workbook will empower the person who takes heed and takes action from the guidance provided. Employment attorneys, mental health professionals, behavior professionals, workplace investigators, and life coaches have endorsed the workbook. The reader may suggest the workbook to someone who could benefit from it. 

Thanks for the time, Dawn. Continued success to you. How can our readers stay connected with you?

You can connect with my social media platforms and listen to my weekly radio show, “The Empowered Whistleblower” on WPVM FM LP 103.7 as well as read my articles on safe and respectful work environments. 

One-on-One with Tracy Carzell, author of HEART PEACES


by Cyrus Webb

Tracy Carzell is an author that has been able to inspire readers through her words and the way she approaches life. It's been great watching her over the years and seeing the way she continues to use her gifts on behalf of others. 

In her newest book HEART PEACES we see that continue with Tracy using her love of poetry to share messages you are sure to enjoy. 

Tracy, congratulations on your latest book HEART PEACES. What has it been like for you to see

how readers are responding to it?

Thanks so much! My audience views have been different compared to my previous books. What I mean is, people haven’t really known me for my ’spoken word’ and prose.  When they’ve read Heart Peaces, they have commented that is so revealing and speaks to where they are or have been. People seem to look at this book as if I was directly peering into their heart’s mind.

Has writing always been something you wanted to do? 

As a little kid, I started writing after I read poems by Nikki Giovanni and some stories by Zora Neale Hurston. I had a creative writing class in elementary school and began to write down the stories I dreamt. I would write plays a lot and secretly wanted to write stories but didn’t really know how to go about it. As I got older, I wrote profusely. I shared it with no one. Why? Because they would see the real me. I wasn’t ready to be revealed yet! In high school my English teacher entered me into a national contest and surprisingly, I placed third! Unfortunately, my father wasn’t pleased when I revealed that was the path I wanted to take. My writing was silenced to the public but I always wrote for pleasure.

Your faith has been a guiding light for you. What’s been the response to your sharing how the

power of God and the love of God has sustained you?

My response: HALLELUJAH! The public’s response has been fan-tab-u-wonder-mous! (One of the words Tracy says she's allowed to create because she possesses dominion). Anyway, I believe the public’s response has pushed me even the more to tell of the great works of God and His son, Jesus Christ. My story, the call on my life, was revealed in my first book,’ Covered’ and from there people have been intrigued to find out more about not me, but who God really is. I have been asked many times to expound on how He/God has kept me through crisis, hardship and mental instabilities yet I have been able to sustain joy! 

 People of faith don’t always feel comfortable admitting their fears. What helps you when you

are feeling less than or afraid?

That statement is true, but what we as believers have to understand is one of my favorite scriptures, Revelation 12:11 KJV: 'And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the words of their testimony for they loved not their lives to death.'  It means we are victorious (over the devil),  over our issues and problems with the help of Christ and IF WE TELL WHAT WE WERE/ARE DEALING WITH. We cannot be afraid of saying what is the matter, but we must say it knowing that Christ is our Helper. Knowing that Christ is my succor, my support, my Helper I can move forward. No, I am not super Christ-girl. Definitely not. But I know in whom I believe. I see what He sees and what He sees is Truth. Therefore, I trust Him and move in truth. 

Has your assignment in life ever felt too great for you? If so, what’s help you to push forward


Everyday. I recognize who I am, just Tracy Michele (as my Mommy called me) But in Christ, He sees me as ‘more than a conqueror’. He sees me as ‘the head and not the tail’ so like the apostle Paul, I press toward the mark; I move forward with all the obstacles in front of me knowing that if God is before me who can be against me.

In HEART PEACES we are able to enjoy your love of poetry. When did you realize that gift?

I don’t think I ever really realized it. I write and speak from my heart. I am different and phrase things differently. At least that’s what my daughter, Mercedes tells me. 

What advice would you give to individuals who feel as though they have a story to tell?

Tell it. Regardless of the obstacles: family, rejection, money, tell your story. Write it down. Let the English people work out the grammar. You just write. I will say that everything that comes up shouldn’t come out. Your words may be lawful but not expedient. Be ready to back up what you put on paper and be ready to hear the response. 

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

Thank you for this platform. You can find me on Facebook/Tracy Carzell Elston and  my website

Monday, May 1, 2023

[To You, From Me] Celebrating the Year that was 2022


2022 was a year like no other in so many ways.

Coming out of the darkest part of the Covid-19 Pandemic, many of us adjusting to the life in front of us, and the results were amazing. For myself, 2022 was a year of reflection, acceptance of growth. It was also an opportunity to look outside myself and see all the greatness around me.

That doesn't mean the year didn't have its challenges. There continued to be unrest, distrust and the challenges that can make life hard. What I wanted to do with this look back at 2022, however, was focus on the things that helped us get through it all. Primarily for me that was my faith, but it was also great to have music, television, movies and inspiring voices around as well.

This issue is a love letter to the year and those who made it amazing. It includes features such as of our Person of the Year Viola Davis, who in 2023 is already blazing an incredible trail for herself and others. It also celebrates the music of individuals like Jennifer Holliday and Canaan Cox as well as the books that captured my attention along the way.

As we are going throughout the rest of 2023 I want you to look at this celebratory issue as a way of remember that good things are still happening. It's just up to us to look for them and embrace them.

Happy reading!

Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief

Conversations Magazine/ Conversations with Music Magazine/ Mississippi Success Magazine 

[REVIEW] Ruelle and UNSECRET's ANOTHER WORLD is on repeat almost daily. So beautifully done.


Since I heard this song in a movie trailer it has been on repeat almost daily. Ruelle's beautifully haunting voice and the lyrics craft such an amazing picture for the listener.

Who wouldn't want to be taken away with someone that they love. Being able to enjoy the world and all it has to over in an endless adventure is tempting---and this song takes you on that adventure.

ANOTHER WORLD is the kind of song that draws you in and carries you away.