Category Archives: Author Profiles

Profile: Shawanda R. Randolph

Shawanda R. Randolph is the eldest of four children. She has a lot of cousins too, and think of them as her siblings. She’s from New Jersey. She’s lived in 4 different states and attended 5 high schools. A few years after graduating high school, and briefly attending Rutgers University, she joined the United States Air Force. She retired from the Air Force after proudly serving 20 years. She writes mostly Christian nonfiction.

She currently resides in Arizona with her son. She loves spending time with family when she is not busy. Shawanda’s work is inspirational and also includes some biblically inspired poetry.


We asked her to tell us about her upcoming novel. Here’s what she had to share:

Fresh Manna: Journey To A New Beginning, is a devotional.  The idea is for the reader to take a personal 40-day journey through the book.

It can be used to help individuals “stuck” in life situations. By taking time to venture through the journey, the book will provide challenges to help gain a better perspective on how to move forward, by first discovering why they were stuck in the first place.

It was republished 1 April 2018 with new content. The new book contains thought-provoking questions or challenges at the end of each day. The idea is for the reader to reflect and (possibly) journal their responses, for continued reflection that will contribute to their growth.

It is currently only available in paperback. I understand we love our electronic devices, yet, I present a challenge to “unplug” with no possible distractions and spend that time reading and reflecting.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Stay with us to find out where you can buy it. Hint: It’s toward the end of this article.

We asked what inspired her to write this book. Here’s her response:

This book was truly inspired during my personal devotional time with God. I explain in greater detail during the first devotional day, how the day’s events unfolded.

The goal, however, is to challenge the reader’s thought process along their journey. The reader will examine what influences their views and why. Do we view society through the eyes of God or view God through the eyes of society?

Once our eyes are open, we can begin to realign ourselves, our minds, and actions with God, and begin learning what it means to walk in covenant with him. Decisions and choices become easier to make when we walk with God.

We wanted to know if she had any more information to give us about her experience writing this book. She did:

Unlike, many other devotionals, this can be used time and time again and can accompany a period of fasting. It, in a sense, takes the reader on a personal exodus or wilderness journey.

One does not have to be stuck either. Perhaps, one is just seeking a closer time with God. This will surely help anyone no matter where they are in their walk with God, even an unbeliever or one uncertain.

A plus about this devotional is there are ways to connect with me for additional support/guidance as readers embark on their journey. This was added due to requests made by previous readers and others I continue to work with.

There are programs available where people can request individual time to ask questions or talk through challenges they have during their journey.

 Wondering if this is her first published book?

This is my first published novel.  Initially, it was released in December 2017.  It was republished with additional content in April 2018.

The second release contains questions and challenges at the end of each day. The idea is for the reader to take additional time to reflect and possibly journal their responses.

We asked if she had anything she’s currently working on. She does!

I plan to have it completed by August 2018 and published no later than September.  Readers can follow me on social media to learn more about the release date.

The work in progress is about how we “see, feel, and relate” to God.  As with all of my writings, this novel is for the ‘churched’ and ‘unchurched’ alike.  It takes a look at how and why people may struggle with relationships (or deeper relationships) with God as well as ways to move forward.  The key is using practical and relatable lessons to explore these areas.

Here’s what she really wants you to get from her work:

I am merely a vessel.  I desire that people get to really know God and His Love. If I can help in any way, through my life or my writings, then that is what I want.

I strongly believe we are all born with a purpose. God desires that we come to discover our identity and purpose in Him.  It’s my passion and purpose to help others rediscover themselves and the world through the eyes of God, the Creator.

In some ways, this is done through the healing of past wounds and gaining the ability to have a fresh outlook on life.

There is no greater joy than to help people realize or begin to work towards their God-given purpose and beginning to fulfill their destiny rather than walking in the identity that others have created for them. I want to see people begin to understand what it means to “walk with God” and following Him in a relationship rather than leaning on their own understanding and struggling to get through life.

Fresh Manna is available for purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and other online retailers.

Readers can purchase autographed copies of Fresh Manna here.

Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook to receive inspirational messages as well as, updates on the upcoming book.

Her advice for people wanting to follow their dreams:

GO FOR IT!!  Do not be discouraged by what anyone else does. Your work will always reach those who need it the most. Stay true to your writing and never let anyone change your message.  God gave you a gift to reach certain people, not everyone, so stay encouraged.

Profile: G.D. Talbot

Greg Talbot (G. D. Talbot) started writing 6 years ago and quickly discovered that a lot of Christians were looking for exciting, mysterious, and intriguing stories. While filling this need he’s also put in some modern day societal problems like racism into his stories.


 I write mostly Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy but I have, and will dive into other areas when inspired to.

 Tell our readers about your latest book:

The last book I published was The Crystal Sphinx. Where the story of The Tower of Babel meets The Twilight Zone in present day. I wanted to share how I envisioned what happened at The Tower of Babel. Sorry, no spoilers, but it will make you think. I wanted to make people think about how we are one people of the earth in a very entertaining way.

He has several unpublished stories. He’s currently searching for representation for some of them. We asked about his first ever story, because the first story is one of the most significant for writers.

The first book I wrote was called Alien Racism. I was trying to give my views on modern day racism in an entertaining way that wouldn’t make people think I was trying to preach to them. I discovered that I had written a Good Samaritan story.

Here’s what he had to say about his writing progress:

I have gotten better, longer and more emotionally powerful stories. Also, I made my way into Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy stories that entertain.

I want people to be entertained by my faith. Not be preached to or depressed, which I have noticed that Christian stories have been becoming over the years.

If interested, you can buy all his books on Amazon. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter

Here’s some encouragement for writers!

Never stop writing. Never stop dreaming. Remember to write the story you want to hear and let the world conform around you, not the other way around. It is better to have a failed book that you love, than a successful book that you compromised on and don’t like. And there will always be people that will like your vision. The hard part isn’t writing, it’s finding the people.

Profile: Amber Conley

Amber Conley is a 19 year-old novelist from West Virginia. She enjoys spending time with her family, when she isn’t consumed by writing. She’s written upwards of seven novels, most of them unpublished. She began writing four years ago, and hasn’t stopped since!

Her latest novel is Rise to Fame. Here’s the description:

 Austin Clark was an ordinary teenager who loved to sing. He was just posting covers of songs on YouTube. One day after school, he came home and checked his email. A music producer had contacted him stating that he wanted to meet. He asked his parents about it and they told him that they wanted him to focus on his school work but, he doesn’t listen to them. Instead he fly’s out to California to meet with the music producer. His parents later find out that he went behind their backs. They decide to fly out their and find their son. Their plan was just to bring him back home but, their minds changed when they saw how happy he truly was. Then out of the blue he loses his father. Will he be able to get over the loss and still be able to pursue his music career or will he lose sight of everything that he’s worked so hard for.

You can purchase this book on Amazon in both E-book and paperback formats. When asked what inspired her to write this specific story, she told Peaks Journal:

Well, it all started out when I first started high school and I kind of just fell in love with writing and that’s what inspired me to write this story.

We asked her about the first story she ever wrote, and if she can notice any changes in her skill:

Yes, it has gotten much better! It was called She Thinks She’s all That. It’s about a girl who goes to a new school and is bullied for pretty much anything that she does.

She wants everyone who reads her novels to gain confidence in who they are. Her singular message in her novels is to pursue your dreams, no matter what.

 If you have a dream then go for it! Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do something.

To new writers, she says:

Just keep on writing! Never stop!

Connect with Amber on Instagram.

 

Profile: Lamar Neal

Lamar Neal is a 28 year-old poet and novelist. Other than writing, his main interest is music. Due to his passion for music, but lack of musical talent, he likes to believe he must have been a musician in a past life. He’s described himself as being logical, but emotional, scatter-brained and a day-dreamer.


He writes under no pen name, but told Peaks Journal that he used to go by the name “Naadir.” He told us:

I hated my real name. I thought by using it, I would somehow succumb to the same temptations as my dad. I was terrified of being him so I tried to distance myself from anything related to him. I googled Swahili names and saw Naadir. I thought it looked and sounded cool so I went with it. As I got older, I realized I was trying way too hard. I’m happy with myself and who I am. Lamar Neal. That sounds corny, but it’s true.

 Lamar is all about being true to self, but he wasn’t always like this. He learned to value his true self as he grew older. As a 28 year-old successful black author, being ‘true’ was an ongoing battle. Growing up, Lamar didn’t have the pleasure of watching black people on TV in non-stereotypical roles. As a result, his main goal for all of his works is to:

Normalize black people in positions of power and respect.

He went on to describe his hopes as well:

I want every kid to grow up knowing that they can be anything, not that they can be an exception.

Lamar believes that Black Panther was a major shift toward normalizing black people in positions of power, but there is more work to be done. As it stands, Black Panther is the exception.


If you’re wondering what inspired him to first put pen to paper, keep reading!


As a kid, Lamar used to create mini shows (yes, actual shows) with his toys. It wasn’t until his first heartbreak in middle school that he began to write poetry. At that time, his poetry was a form of therapy. He’d write about his deep emotions, and then destroy the paper.

Like most writers, his characters and the worlds he creates are intertwined within his mind. He sees worlds, and can hear them. They’re creations that are 3 dimensional, alive and breathing.

After his first breakup, he was an emotional wreck. He told Peaks Journal that he had been depressed for days, and had to be comforted by his mom. During that time he watched, and thoroughly enjoyed Death Note so much that he had forgotten about his heartbreak. The next thing he knew, he felt nothing. Lamar told us:

I want to do that for other people. I want to create something so entertaining that it can make a person forget all the bad happening around them.

Lamar Neal has written over 10 unpublished novels, since the age 14. Each novel belongs to a different genre, and include various inspirational and educational themes.

Currently, he has no upcoming novels, but recommends reading his poetry collection, Charm Bracelet. Through deep poems, it details his struggles with depression and suicide. It includes warm poems about familial and romantic love. Overall, it’s a book that he describes as his therapy session on paper. Charm Bracelet can be found on Amazon, in both electronic and print formats.

His first published novel is A Misc. Eden. We asked him to tell us more about it, and here’s what he had to say:

It is a pseudo anthology. The story mostly centers on a boy named Adam, who believes his mother is a goddess, and his three friends as they navigate through adolescence. Each chapter is a different genre. And it just gets plain weird at times. When I say weird, it really is. I’ve gotten complaints and bad reviews because the first chapter is just nonsensical and bizarre.

The story is supposed to show the jovial imagination of children. The narrators-the kids-are supposed to be unreliable, kinda like Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. The reader has to make sense of what’s going on and, at times, doubt what they’re told. The first chapter has talking dragons, ghosts who speak in a fake Shakespearean dialect, and so much more random stuff. 

Spoiler: Adam has a terrible life and he is trying to escape the harsh reality by living in a fantasy world. The story comes back down to earth after that. The story came to me in a dream and I wanted to keep that dreamlike feel throughout the novel. 

We asked him about his first story, and if he can detect any significant changes in his writing. Here’s what he had to say:

The Wind Only Blows South. I have no idea why I titled it that. It was about a teenage boy who had to give up living the normal life of a teenager to take care of his little sister because their mom was a drug addict. I thought I was Spike Lee or Tyler Perry back in the day. I still have it too. It’s in a purple notebook in my closet. Sometimes I go back and read it just to see where it all started.

[Before], I didn’t understand the concept of show-not-tell. My best friend is a creative writing major and he used to give me a copy of his notes from class. That and reading more books helped me. My dialogue tags used to be crazy! “Said” is supposed to be your go-to word when writing descriptions. It’s repetitive, but it keeps the focus on the writing. I used to write stuff like “I like you,” he smiled. I learned that this is a big no-no.

I [also] toned down the explaining since my first novel. I rarely wrote dialogue. Now I can’t get enough.

Learning to love and utilize dialogue is something many writers have to grow into. However, he’s a firm believer in creative freedom. The Greats (the likes of Poe, Shakespeare, Angelou, Emerson, etc) were always true to their art first. Writing conventions came second.

We asked Lamar if he had any advice for writers with doubts about publishing. Here’s what he had to say:

Don’t let your fears prevent you from sharing your work. Your words could be what someone needed to see at that moment.

If you want to connect with him, click the links below.

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Profile: Simi Sunny

Simi Sunny is from Philadelphia, and is a published author of several novels. She has five solid years of creative writing experience, and published her first novel at 18. She loves writing, but she also loves to read. She enjoys watching anime and drawing anime-like characters when she isn’t preoccupied by a story.

She has credited reading and writing as being some of the more influential activities in her life.

She writes, “I have suffered from anxiety and depression, and I still try to manage them. It’s not easy, but I try to cope by doing what I love most while spending time with my loved ones.”

Her favorite genres to read are young adult, fantasy and historical fiction, with fantasy being her most favorite. The most common genres she writes in are fantasy, mystery and young adult. However, she believes that writing is an experience, so she refuses to stay within the parameters of these genres.

It’s always good to experiment with other genres when you’re having fun. If you don’t love it, then that’s ok. Part of this writing experience is to learn more about yourself.

We asked her about her upcoming  novel, The Serpent Girl. She says she got inspired to write the story after seeing a Hindi TV show called Naagin. The word Naagin comes from Hindu mythology that refers to a creature with snake powers. She’s incorporating this mythology, along with some engaging themes she’s sure readers will love. Her upcoming book is a young adult and fantasy novel about Anvi, a woman who lives in a forest as a result of being cast from home due to a deadly curse. Anvi is alone and thinks of her powers as a curse until Drishya, a 15 year-old, helps and befriends her. The story follows Drishya and Anvi as they meet various obstacles and trials.

“This is unlike other Fantasy and Young Adult books you have read recently.” 

The Serpent Girl will only be available online, in ebook form. However, Simi Sunny will distribute printed books once it becomes widely popular.

If you’re wondering about her other works, then no worries! We asked her to tell us about her first ever story, and here’s what she had to say:

I wrote fanfiction. The first one was called “The Ghost Inside.” It was a Michael Jackson fanfic, to be specific. It was based off of the mini movie that Michael created, but I made something so original. I cannot remember exactly what it’s about…

Michael is trying to escape from his mansion, since the Mayor is trying to hunt him down. He comes across a girl, who has a secret of her own. They both have some kind of connection and they bond overtime. It was an odd story, but it was no surprise that MJ fans loved it. It’s still on Wattpad, and everyone keeps talking about how that story was amazing.

She has another published book that she shared with us as well. Here’s what she had to say:

It’s a mystery novel called The White Sirens. It’s about a woman named Eliza Thorne, who wanted to start fresh in life after being released from jail. In order for her to clear her name and earn a living, she has to aid the police, thanks to great knowledge and strength when it comes to serving justice in her community.

Simi Sunny has come a long way since creating her first story. As all writers know, improvements are bound to be made as time goes on. Simi Sunny explains that her job as a writer never stops. She has never stopped actively learning how to improve her writings skills.

We asked her to tell us more about her upcoming novel, The Serpent Girl.

I want people to, not only enjoy my work, but also learn from the themes that I have
alluded to in the story. I make sure to put them in because I know all people—young and old—are struggling in life. They never had guidance, nor did they ever get any advice from people. Plus, I want to reach out to tell them that they are not alone.

There are also pieces that come from my personal experience. So I hope readers can catch that. More importantly, I do wish that they recognize that some of the themes resonate with the social issues today. I bet they can catch that as well.

Her upcoming book, as well as her other published works can be purchased on Amazon. For those who would like to read excerpts of her works, you can find them on Wattpad and Goodreads. Click here to see her Goodreads profile.

Click here to interact with her on Instagram. To interact with her on twitter, click here.

For writers who have doubts about publishing, she has a few words for you:

I can understand the pressure you have been going through. I have seen that with other writers, so I will say that you are not alone. I remember when I attempted to publish my first book. I was having doubts about my work. But I told myself that everything is going to be ok and “just get it over with.” Sure, it’ll be both scary and exciting, but just know that you’re doing this because you love to share your work with the world.