Saturday, December 28, 2013

Authors Ashley & JaQuavis: Young, Successful & Ready For The World

by Cyrus Webb

The success of New York Times bestselling authors Ashley and JaQuavis is measured not just in their book sales and the loyalty of their fans. It's seen just as much in how they have been able to grow together, experience the roller coaster ride of the literary industry together and their willingness to share the journey together.

In less than half a decade the husband and wife team from Flint, Michigan has risen to the top of the urban genre and branched out to diversify their readership. Make no mistake: this was by no means an accident. It was part of their plan from the beginning. Confident in their abilities yet seemingly unaware of their influence, it is no doubt that they will be talked about for quite some time.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the power couple when they visited Mississippi in September 2011 promoting their novel MURDERVILLE and the anticipated MURDER MAMAS. After a day of watching them interact with their fans, it was obvious that they loved what they do and most importantly they love each other. It was that love that led them to be a literary team in the first place.

After experiencing a personal loss, JaQuavis suggested they have a friendly competition to see who could write the best story. For Ashley, who has always wanted to write and wanted to go into journalism, this was a great distraction. That was the beginning. Their literary career officially began in 2005, and now dozens of books later (written separately, together and some ghostwritten) these two have no intention of stopping or slowing down.

"It surprises me that something that comes so easy to us is loved by so many people," JaQuavis confesses. "It's fulfilling to know we have so many readers in such a little time." When talking about their influence especially among readers of what is considered urban or street lit, Ashley adds: "We are the CNN for the streets. We are writing a life that we and our readers can relate to. It's the journey of going from the gutter to the top."

Though they have their success as solo writers, JaQuavis knows that their ability to tell a great story together is appreciated by readers. "We tell both sides of the coin as a couple," he says. "We can tell you how the characters (both male and female) feel in a voice and style that is authentic." That relatability,though, is not just confined to a certain genre. "We are writers first," Ashley explains. "When people meet us we change opinions about the type of fiction we write. In a way we are telling everyone's story."

That cross-over ability is something I saw right away in their book MURDERVILLE, published by Cash Money Content this year. It is indicative of how the authors see themselves now and where they want to go. "We like to be the best at everything we attempt," Ashley told me. JaQuavis quickly agreed. "We want to be mentioned as one of the greatest," he says. And that greatness goes beyond just writing books. They have already set their sights on their next objective: films.

With the confidence that comes across from them in their books and in their conversation, I was surprised at their reaction to being called role models for aspiring authors and individuals going after their dreams. After giving it some thought their responses were tempered with both humility and appreciation. "Study what we do," JaQuavis advises, "but know that you have to mix up your own formula." This was mirrored by Ashley as well. "It's an honor to be considered a role model," she said to me, "but I hope people realize there is not just one blueprint for success. You have to find your own way."

For sure the way that these two have gone about their journey to success has worked and continues to inspire others and thrill their devoted fans. Here's wishing the same for all who dare to dream.

To find out more about Ashley and JaQuavis visit .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Polly Campbell's Imperfect Spirituality

by Cyrus Webb

This year I read hundreds of books, but I have to say that those that really stuck with me (both fiction and non-fiction) were the ones that included something that I could see pieces of myself in. A perfect example of such a title is IMPERFECT SPIRITUALITY by Polly Campbell. This book was just the kind of resource I and others need to realize the importance of who we are today and the many reasons we have to love ourselves.

Thankfully I was able to connect with the author and during our conversation we discussed not just teh book but how it is making a difference in the lives of others by just stating this basic truth: You are enough.

"It's been inspiring and gratifying for me," Campbell says when I asked her about the response. "This message resonates with them but they're teaching me as well. Many of us are saddled with this concept that we need to live up to some ideal, that we have to be somehow different than how we are to be accepted." She admits that this was a part of how she lived but something changed. "I don't do that anymore. I decided that I'm imperfect. I got all this stuff, good and bad, within me. When I found my way through imperfect spirituality I really became free and liberated to live a whole life." It is that message that is also speaking to people around the world.

One of the big lessons that I learned in IMPERFECT SPIRITUALITY is the importance of realizing your value and where you can find real happiness. "People are realizing that the solution to these things is not outside of us any more," Polly says. "That's not working. It's within us, and when we realize that we are good enough to handle whatever comes we are free to do it." The process can be scary but it's necessary. "Often we have outgrown our value systems," she explains. In order to move forward we have to reexamine where we are and where we want to go. "When we know our values we can move towards them."

A great deal of this process of not just loving yourself for who you are but recognizing the gifts you bring has a great deal to do with being one within yourself. "I think a lot of times our mind and our heart are separate," Polly says. "I want to bring those things back into alignment." To do that, however, takes courage, something that she writes about a great deal in IMPERFECT SPIRITUALITY. "Courage is the thing that gives us movement. Without it we are stuck. Anytime you step into a transition in your life it requires some courage. It's an innate quality. The rest can be developed. The best way to learn is to practice it."

When you are thinking about this and the transformation in the way you think and react to life it can be a little overwhelming. The great thing to remember, though, is that you don't have to try to change everything all at once. "Take a baby step. Take a stand when the stakes are low. It's the best way to practice courage and develop more of it. When the stakes are higher it shows up for you in those moments."

Polly told me that in just reading the book IMPERFECT SPIRITUALITY readers are showing they have the courage necessary to go further. This means that you have to be open to what can be and be willing to surrender when you believe you can't go any further.

"Surrender is about being aware of myself both as a marvel and something that is so small and minute that I can't manage the entire universe by myself," she says. "When I am able to give up that element of control there is nothing but peace because then there's room for optimism and faith to push in. I make space for the larger possibility."

In the book she talks about the various ways we can show this courage and surrender. It can be as easy as stepping out of your comfort zone. "The reason I was saying no was because I was fearful.  It was easier to say no. What I realized is that my life became really restrictive. It's our nature to be creative and expansive. The energy of yes is different than the energy of no.

"When we say yes the energy in our life shifts where we attract greater possibilities and people to us. The energy of yes pushes us towards our passions and purposes and makes space for things to arrive."

Are you ready to see where you can go in the New Year? If so it begins with a decision. Find out more about Polly Campbell's own transformation and how you can begin your own at

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


The worst thing you can do is count me out.
If you think saying something about me is going to stop me, then you really don't know what I'm about...
and that means you'll underestimate me.

I can understand why you are afraid...and you should be.
Not because I am that powerful, but because of the power within me.

What separates you from me is the passion that drives each day of my life.
I don't focus on the negativity and the strife of the day.
I look for a way to make my next 24 hours better than the ones before it.

You might just want to get ahead, and that's okay---for you.
But to really be successful you have to think about the bigger picture.
Life is about the impact you have on those around you, and what you do to really make a difference.

It's not about how many people know your name
or living the celebrity life that brings you money and fame.
I'm more about another reward.

I want the peace of mind that one finds by using their skills for good...and I do.
If I am to excel and the talents I've been given propel me into the spotlight, then I want to make sure I'm using that opportunity well.

This is not about me.
It's about the endless possibilities that we all can achieve.

So when you think you're doing something to defame me, think again.
I'm no longer a person who needs your praise to get through my day or feel good about myself.
That's why you can't stop me.
Only I can stop me.
And stopping is something I have no intention of doing.
As long as there is breath in my body I will continue to be the best I can.

I can't be stopped.

(c) 2013    C. A. Webb

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Celebrity Fitness Trainer/Model Branden Nicholson Shares How to Discover Your 'Why' In Life

by Cyrus Webb

As 2013 is coming to a close and we are looking forward to the New Year there are those of you who have said you are going to bring about some significant changes for yourself in 2014. For some it will be issues of weight. Others will look to improve their finances. Still others will be looking for love. In order to be successful in whatever it is you want to do, however, an important question has to be asked: Have you identified your Why?

The question might seem strange to some, but it is one that each of us no matter where we are in life have to consider.

Every day we make decisions about things that we do or don't do. These decisions then affect not just ourselves but those around us. How many of us have seen something and said "I want that" or "I wish I could do that" The obvious question to ask is "Why?" The answer will determine if we are willing to do the work necessary to get what we say we want.

Fitness model and trainer Branden Nicholson has not only identified his why, but it literally affects each and every aspect of his life. Today he is literally affecting the lives of individuals around the world through his coaching and motivational tips, but the journey began with himself and the question of Why.

Nicholson, who is the founder and CEO of B. Nick Fitness, has dedicated his life to not just getting his clients in the best shape possible but stimulating them mentally to face the challenges in front of them. His love of fitness and wellness came 8 years ago when he snapped his right femur bone in half.

"I was rushed to the hospital and had three major surgeries that left me with a 28 inch rod in me with four screws to hold it in place," he says "I was in the hospital for over 2 months. I could not walk for a full year." During this time Nicholson went through the doubt that so plagues so many. "I went from people and coaches calling me everyday to everyone giving up on me including the doctors. I was told I would never return to the football field and would never be able to walk again in life."

Some would have allowed that diagnosis to end any hope they had. Not Branden Nicholson. "Through all of this God was showing and telling me that this is not where I was going to end up at. I used my pain to push me through prosperity. I beat all odds against me.I am here to tell you that when you are going through pain I know exactly what you are feeling, because I have been there. I will tell you this much, if you work through your pain, the other side is your reward.I learned that pain isn't permanent, you can get through this because you are bigger and better then your pain. I proved everyone wrong that tried to stop me, kill my dreams to walk again, that Impossible is nothing.I got this far using my pain. God showed me he had a bigger plan for my life."

That plan has included the work that B. Nick Fitness is doing through in-person training and online. "There's nothing like this," says Nicholson. "Through social media I'm helping people that I can't reach change their lives by getting in shape and motivating them to get on the right track and stay there."

This is when the Why is so important. "What keeps me motivated is knowing that I have people looking up to me. My clients and family look to me for support and assurance. My whole personal experience also motivates me." He also realizes the importance of focusing on what is important. Though many are impress by the physical appearance, Nicholson says that you can't be defined by what people see. "That comes and goes," he explains. "You can look healthy on the outside and be crappy on the inside. It has to start within. That is your base. If the base isn't grounded it all falls apart. You have to stay focused and grounded. It's all about discipline."

Through the pictures of his clients that he shares online we know the approach that Branden Nicholson uses is paying off in the lives of others. "That's the best feeling in the world," he told me. "Even when I was playing ball I never felt like this. Just to be a part of someone's life is big. When I get the chance to see them that's a thrill for me. I came into this industry saying that if I can change one life then this is the job for me. It's all about progression and taking one step at a time. All the lives I continue to change I give all the glory to God."

Because of his inspiring approach to life I asked Branden to partner with Conversations Media Group in sharing some of his motivational tips with our audience. He agreed, and the result is what we call "31 Days of Inspiration". Through the entire month of we have been sharing these tips online through social media. Now they are available to you in this issue of the magazine. Many of them have to do with self-reflection. Others address issues of faith and some even tackle the importance of the company you keep.

Through the "31 Days of Inspiration" it is our hope that you will be able to find that inner strength to push forward even when the odds seem against them. Nicholson has this message for anyone going through a trial or situation where they feel there is no hope: "I'm telling you not to give up but to push through it. Pain is temporary.It may last for a minute, hour, day or even a year, but eventually it will subside and something else would take its place. But if you quit that will last forever! " Missed any of the "31 Days of Inspiration?" Catch up here:

So what is your Why? What will drive who you become? Begin to answer that question now and watch the shift that occurs in everything you say and do. For more information about Branden Nicholson visit You can also stay in touch with him through Twitter at and his Facebook page

Photo credits: Top photograph of Nicholson: Black Russian Studios NYC / Bottom photograph of Nicholson: JRW Photograph Hawaii

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Actor Patrick Faucette: Setting the Bar Higher with Every Role

by Cyrus Webb

Mystery. Suspense. Betrayal. Secrets. All of these elements have come together in the hit show The Haves and the Have Nots on the Oprah Winfrey Network and actor Patrick Faucette's character Tony Watson is right in the middle of it all.

Known for his roles on shows like Southland and Hot In Cleveland, Faucette told me that it felt great to be a part of the show's success on OWN. "I've done a lot of shows and have been working so hard," he says during our conversation. The result of his hard work has been his getting more parts on mainstream projects. "It's exciting to have all of this happening. To be a recurring character on a show like this is like everything is paying off. I see it as the beginning of a new chapter in my career. It's a dream come true."

In his first episode on the show we found out that his character Tony is the father of Hannah's son Benny (played by Tyler Lepley). We are also given some of the backstory as to what happened to his relationship with Hannah (played by Crystal Fox). I asked Patrick if it was easy to watch himself. "I am one of those people who critiques everything I do," he told me, "but I am proud of my role and the character."

After it was announced that more episodes had been ordered that opened the door for the character Tony to be more flushed out. "This is one of those shows where there is so much more possibility," he told me. "It's like an open palette to start painting a new picture on."

Patrick Faucette's love for acting came after attending college. Seeing some of his friends perform ignited something inside him that led to theater. Now as his light continues to shine bright, he is able to see his dedication pay off. "You just have to go for it," he told me. "Don't allow fear to stop you." It might seem easier said than done, but it is necessary. "You have to put all that doubt behind you and just keep going."

Because of his dedication Patrick is not just garnering fans but individuals who see his passion and want to emulate it. I asked him who were some actors that he looked up to. He told me that Denzel Washington and George Clooney were two that he admired because of their work ethic and dedication. They also show him what is possible. "It's something I try to see in my mind"--- he explained---"that this possibility is out there. You can't set your bar anywhere but high so you can keep striving to go higher. There is no limit to what I can do."

Patrick's advice for all of us? "You can't allow any circumstance or fear to get in your way of getting to your dream. Whatever passion you have you have to keep letting it push you."

To stay in touch with Patrick on Twitter visit him at You can also find him on Facebook at

*     Photo credit: Cornia Marie Howell

Cyrus Webb's Dec. Pick: IMPERFECT SPIRITUALITY by Polly Campbell

Popular Entertainment Internet Radio with Cyrus Webb Presents on BlogTalkRadio

Listen in as Conversations LIVE host Cyrus Webb and award-winning author Polly Campbell have an interactive discussion of her book IMPERFECT SPIRITUALITY.