Imani Wisdom's brainchild -- Pink Noire Publications -- has been known for her unpredictable style of storytelling. Now its founder is expanding the "pink and black" brand to shine on prolific artists. From the inspirationalist, Danica Worthy to bestselling author, Stacy Deanne, Pink Noire understand these talented individuals know how to express their craft through words, song, dance, and stroke of a brush.

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Lakia Nichole strives on becoming better than she was yesterday. Never one to back down from a fight, she uses her personal challenges as motivation to become the best woman she can be. Lakia prays and have daily conversations with God for peace and understanding about what life throws at her.  It's her way of maintaining balance and as a Libra, that's important for her. She believes that life can be easier when we worry less and love ourselves more. Those are two major lessons that she's learned the hard way. As she implements those lessons in her daily life, she continues to embark on a journey to personal evolution.

Lakia is the type of woman who would see the good in even her worst enemy. She knows that a troubled soul stems from an uninviting situation or circumstance. Therefore, she offers a friendly hand without judgment or criticism. However, she'll kindly let you know not to take her kindness as a weakness. 

Imani: Welcome to The Lounge! Let’s get right to it: Share a little background about Lakia Nichole – what makes her the woman she is today?

Lakia: Lakia Nichole is the woman today, because of the perseverance over many trials and tribulations. In fact, I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for the “teachers” and the lessons I’ve had that taught me what I deserve, what I don’t deserve, what I’m capable of, what my purpose is, etc.

Your anticipated novel, Number One Fan, is all ready creating a buzz before its release in May. Can you give a brief synopsis of the story and its characters?

Number One Fan releases May 1st, and I’m so excited. Basically, it’s about an over-zealous fan and the extreme adulation she has for her favorite star. She’ll go to great lengths to be with him.

This book is centered on a mental illness called Celebrity Worship Syndrome. What exactly is CWS, and who is likely to get it?

Yes. One of the main characters “Kennedy” suffers from Celebrity Worship Syndrome, which is an obsessive-addictive disorder in which a person becomes overly involved with the details of a celebrity's personal life. Folks who suffer from this usually have trouble with relationships in their personal lives. Hence, the need to fill a void with the star they admire.

Were there any challenges of writing this book?

No. Not at all. In fact, I couldn’t wait to complete the story. There are a lot of “Kennedys” in the world. I wanted to create this story with an “out of this world” plot, but with the reality behind CWS, it’ll be a story that a lot of women and men can relate to.

"I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for the “teachers” and the lessons I’ve had that taught me what I deserve, what I don’t deserve, what I’m capable of, what my purpose is, etc."

You’ve written an eloquent and honest statement in a recent press release about your experiences of CWS with one of the members from a Grammy Award-Winning group. You said in the statement, that it began during a time you’ve suffered loneliness and hopelessness, and their music had helped you through the darkness. So when did it go from admiration to an unhealthy obsession?

I can’t recall when my admiration transformed from simple to unhealthy, but I do recall seeing things within myself that I knew I needed to change. Because of my actions, I couldn’t remain focused on my business. As a result, my publishing business suffered, because of my unstable behavior. I’m just grateful to God that I was able to recognize the characteristics I’ve adopted and deal with them accordingly before it became more detrimental.

Did you seek professional help once you knew it was going out of hand?

No. It wasn’t that severe that I needed professional help. I simply stayed off of social media. LOL. When I did go on social media, I spent time on it promoting my business.

You also said you friended with one of its members on social media. Are you still friends with him or you’ve unfollowed (or unfriended) him for the sake of your sanity? 

As of today, I am still connected with the group via social media. If you would have asked me four years ago, I would be filled with enthusiasm. At this point in my life, it wouldn’t matter if we did or didn’t. During my transition, I’ve learned that celebrities are just ordinary folks with extra-ordinary jobs. They feel, bleed, $h!t, eat, and think like we do.

You said also Chase’s number one fan, Kennedy, is 35 percent you. Is there the slightest percentage of Chase’s character as the aforementioned group’s member?

Not at all. The only thing they have in common is that they’re singers. I wanted Chase to be a singer, because I’m a little more knowledgeable about the music business. I’m not familiar with what goes on in the business of sports and acting.

Now I want to move on and discuss your other endeavors. You’re a radio talk show host for Baltimore FlavaRadio. How did you fall into this fascinating opportunity?

 I was actually a guest twice on Baltimore Flava Radio and that’s how I got to know the hosts. They are great people and so fun to be around. When I discovered that they were holding auditions for a new co-host, I jumped at the chance. I submitted a video of a mock entertainment news report and eventually became one of three finalists. I was chosen as the winner during their one year anniversary celebration and it’s been non-stop fun with these guys ever since. I love those guys dearly, and I’m proud to be part of a group that created a platform to highlight DMV talent, much like I do with The YOUnique Mag.

And speaking of The YOUnique Mag...What were the most interesting guest you’ve interviewed and the most challenging? (You don’t have to give names)

I want to say the most interesting to interview was Ms. (Superwoman) Karyn White. She was so candid and open about her transition from the music biz to motherhood. The most challenging was Allan McNeil from the group Troop. I really tried to pull as much as I could out of him about his departure from the group, which wasn’t under good terms. He touched on it, but not as much as I wanted him to.

Tell us more about New Breed Publishing LLC and its mission to its authors and readers.

My mission as the publisher of New Breed is to bring together a team of talented authors that will create stand out material in an industry where stories are seemingly duplicated.

Number One Fan is your fourth book, third novel. Of all of your characters from your novels, which one you would love to interview?

Hmmmm. Good question. Probably Matthew from my first novel Hidden Confessions.  I’m re-releasing that one and its sequel Unveiled this year. I say Matthew because my poor character has been through a lot. However, he remains strong.

I want to quickly ask about your biography, Unbroken: A Story Faith, Struggle, and Triumph. According to the synopsis, you said, “No matter the strength of the storm, your umbrella of faith will keep you dry, as well as teach you when to dance in the rain. Eventually, the sun will come back out.” How therapeutic for you to literally be an open book for the world?

It was very therapeutic for me, because it helped me release the nagging and negative thoughts I carried. Upon writing, I knew that what I was writing was going to be something most women could relate to. Some will say I put too much of my personal business out there. What I say to that is… My comfort level won’t allow me to share/post what I don’t need to share/post. I find comfort in being transparent. I think being self-aware and sharing your thoughts with others is a gift from God, because you are possibly helping in spreading the message that people shouldn’t be afraid of who they are.

Before we conclude the interview, I want to congratulate you on this project. Like any artist, accomplishing a creative work to share with the world is an awesome feeling. With that said, what do you want readers to get from this book?

I want my readers to get a better understanding of why people do what they do. Before you judge or criticize, try to find out the core issue because there’s always something that triggers an action/behavior that you would deem “abnormal”. As far as the story itself…I want people to get the same feeling they get after they watch a crazy plot from their favorite television show. I want them to get the same feeling they get when they leave from watching an anticipated feature film that met their expectations.

What is your next project(s)?

I’m working on my next novel titled Hip Hop, Love, and Everything in Between. I’m looking to release that by Fall of 2015.

Finally, if you were to have a dinner party and invited five people you most admired – living or passed on. Who would they be, and what one question you would ask each of them?

Michael Jackson -I would ask him how he remained so humble throughout his amazing career. Queen Latifah said it best during his memorial. He really is the best entertainer on planet earth.
Lupita N’Yongo -I would ask if she has more meaningful roles coming to her more since 12 Years a Slave, or is that still a struggle for her as a black woman in Hollywood.

Oprah- I would ask her did she ever expected journalism to take her this far. She started out in Baltimore as a local news anchor. 

Mary J Blige- I would ask her if someone did a movie about her, who would play Mary or would she play herself. I think a Mary Bio would be epic.

J K Rowling- I would ask her if she knew the Harry Potter series would blow up like it did. It just goes to show that children really do love to read!

I would like to thank Lakia for this great interview. To follow or friend this multi-talented jewel find her at these sites:

Coming May 1st

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Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award winning novels "Monster", "Wounded", the poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and the new novel "Love and Happiness" He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and his novel "Monster" are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management, and a MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.

Imani: Pink Noire is please to have talented writer, Ben Burgess, Jr, this week to The Lounge – welcome. So, Ben, when did you discover writing was your talent?

Burgess: When I was in 8th grade, I read Richard Wright’s “Native Son” When I read that book, I felt that it was life changing for me. I knew that I wanted to one day write something that could have the same effect on people. While in 8th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Marcus gave the class a poetry assignment. My poem was on basketball. I don't remember what I wrote, but I remember my teacher was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. She was one of my most influential teachers, and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her. (She was Jewish, and had family that were survivors.) My dream was to publish a book. I continued to write throughout high school and college. My college professors told me I had talent as a poet and writer, so I decided to go to lounges that had open mics to perform my poetry. Hearing people cheer for me and appreciate my words, inspired me to keep writing. My first published book was a poetry book titled “Times Have changed and Life is Strange.” I wrote a poem for Mrs. Marcus titled “Holocaust”, keeping my promise. The poem “Ugly” from “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”, is the poem that inspired me to write my first novel “Monster.” I reflected on my life, and felt it would be a good story that would teach and possible change people’s lives the way Richard Wright’s “Native Son” had done for me.

Do you have a particular writing process? I know some authors rely on outlining, while others – like me – go with the flow. So do you have a preference?

I write whenever I have time or as soon as I have an idea. I have a Samsung Note 4 so if an idea comes to mind, I literally write it down or use the voice memos to record my thoughts and write them out when I get time. I try to write something every day, even if it’s only paragraph. I’m a huge perfectionist so I’m constantly editing and re-editing while I’m writing. Once my project is completed, I edit again to try to make my work the best it can be. When I’m writing, I can have music or a movie playing in the background, but I totally zone out and focus on writing. I turn the internet off when I’m working on my laptop because honestly, I usually end up looking at Facebook or checking out stuff on ESPN. To include my daughter in my writing process, she puts her desk next to mine while I’m writing and practices writing her letters and/or doing her homework.

Now, your award-winning novel, Monster, is well-loved by the literary community. Tell us the premise of this story and its main character, Ken Ferguson.

My story begins with my main character Ken Ferguson, a guy in his twenties that is put through the wringer growing up in a dysfunctional family. As an adult his heart and ego are ripped to pieces when his girlfriend, the one he thought was "the one", emasculates him and dumps him for a bad boy. Ken begins his transformation. Fueled by anger, and tired of being the “nice guy”, Ken drowns himself in one-night stands, threesomes, affairs with married women, and sleeping with one conquest after another. He adopts the philosophy of having no commitment and no attachments, but meets his match with Ashley, a girl that makes him want to stop his promiscuous ways. Ashley turns out to do even more damage to his ego and his heart, wounding him deeply. With his philosophy reinforced, Ken spirals out of control and becomes a MONSTER. Sleeping with and mistreating random women he meets at bars and clubs, Ken uses sex to forget about his insecurities, his anger, and his sadness. He becomes a predator that uses and abuses women to no consolable end.

Kenny from “Monster” is me. Ninety percent of “Monster” is real. Of course some situations and characters had to be changed, but for the most part, getting to know Kenny is like getting to know me. My “Ken” character is based off my past. After enduring some pretty interesting experiences, I believed that "Monster" is a story that can benefit everyone and a story that needed to be told. I was inspired to write it to teach people and I hope others will learn from my mistakes.  The poem “Ugly” from my first published work “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange”, is the poem that inspired me to write “Monster” I reflected on my life, and felt this would be a good story that would teach and possible change people’s lives.  I wanted people to learn that:

  • Every action has a consequence- It can be good or bad, but there is a result for everything we do.
  • We need to take time to truly heal emotionally and mentally after a break-up. If we don't we are bound to bring that pain into future relationships.
  • We need to be conscience of our actions. We never know the effects they can have on other people.
  • In order to move forward in life, we have to learn to let go of negativity, and to forgive ourselves.

What inspired you to write this book?

At first, I was working on another novel which has now turned into my next novel “Love and Happiness” when my co-workers asked me to write a book with a Lesbian protagonist. At first I thought it wouldn’t be possible since I wasn’t a woman, I knew nothing about being Gay or the LGBT community. My co-workers decided to take me to a Lesbian bar. (They took me to the Cubbyhole, which is the first bar I mentioned in Wounded.) After going there with them and talking to the women, I decided to work on the book. To make the book feel as authentic as possible, I did a lot of research. I interviewed fifteen women and five couples, to hear their thoughts, feelings, and philosophies about being a Lesbian, and life. I also used one of my family members as a basis for my character development, so I felt personally invested into creating “Samantha”

Usually, I don’t ask this of my guests, but your book cover for Monster is pure genius. Who came up the concept – your graphic designer or you?

I came up with the concept of the cover. I wanted the cover to let readers know what they were getting themselves into which is why I have the words “Sex, Love Deceit, Betrayal, and Pain” displayed on the cover. I wanted the cover to be “Dark” yet appealing. Sexy, yet not too over the top. I felt having the guy on the cover, hinted that the protagonist was African American, and the shadow was a metaphor that his actions were devilish.

Another wounded character is Samantha Miller from you other book aptly named, Wounded. How did you develop this character? Is it based from a real person, or just real life?

Samantha is my favorite character from Wounded because I wanted a tough, outspoken protagonist that had a lot of depth. I wanted her to be “layered” meaning that there are a lot of elements to her character. Samantha has a tough demeanor, but she is also suffering from PTSD due to child molestation, she’s a stripper, a lesbian, and she has so many stresses and struggles in her life. I wanted her to also be able to show that she could be naïve, loveable, and humble. I feel that all of these things makes her a survivor and makes her feel more human to the readers. I based Samantha off of some of my friends and one of my family members. I wanted a name that was feminine but could also be turned masculine (Samantha= Sam)

Ken Ferguson, Samantha Miller, and Karen from your upcoming novel, Love and   Happiness, all have some sort of embattled spirit. What makes these characters important and why should readers care?

When I write, I never write characters that are completely “The Good Guy”. Why? Because in life whether we want to believe/accept it, we are not always “The Good Guy” I make my characters flawed because I feel readers connect better and see themselves in the characters or are realistic and believable.

Now let’s switch gears: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received since becoming an author?

There will be lots of times when you want to give up. There will be times when people will talk bad about your book or sales might be low. Never give up. Believe in yourself and believe in your work. Listen to critiques and push your pride to the side. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you believe you are, you can always improve. There will be those who will not be fans of your writing, but you should never give up. Keep improving and learning your craft. Edit and re-edit. (*always have your books professionally edited. You want people to take your book seriously and not feel that it is amateurish.) Learn from your mistakes, take classes and read other authors. Research the industry. Two of the most important things to do are: 1. Find a credible editor and 2. Promote, promote, promote. You have to put your heart and soul into your work. While it will be hard and you will go through trials and tribulations, in the end it’s worth it when your book is entertaining people and it’s successful.

We all have that special person(s) that helped shape our craft. If they were here now, what would you say to them?

That person for me would be author Eric Jerome Dickey. To him, I would say “Thank you for influencing me to become a writer.” In the bonus section on my new book “Love and Happiness”, I actually made a poem in honor of him.

What’s your next project(s)?

My next project is called "Love and Happiness" It is a sort of spin off from "Monster" based off a character named Karen that was one of Ken's clients in that book. A sample for "Love and Happiness" can be found in the back of "Wounded" *All of my books are connected in some way. For example in "Wounded" Ron is friends with Dr. Andrews. They were in the same Fraternity and roommates. Also the characters Will and Lou make a cameo in "Wounded" they are in the next book "Love and Happiness" I like all of my books to share the same universe.

And finally, Pink Noire will begin a series call, Def:Hope (Definition Hope) to share stories of inspiration based on these simple four letters. So briefly, tell us your hope. How has these four letters helped you?

The word “Hope” is very big for me. I hope my books will be successful enough to be adapted to film. I hope I inspire other minorities to become authors. Having hope helps you to dream and aspire. Without those two things goals can’t be accomplished.

Thank you, Ben, for this interview. I had a blast. If readers would like to know more about your work, where should they go online?
Email address for fans to reach me:

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Award-winning playwright and director, Dee Dee M. Scott is making a name for herself in the business with her vivid imagination and creative writing. In 2011, Scott exploded onto the scene with her Stage play- My Husband’s Woman, which toured South Carolina, and is based on her book. Within a month after the show premiered, it was brought back by popular demand and continues to successfully tour. In 2013, Scott was named as one of the 30 women considered to be very influential in a positive way for the generation Y women by Miss Millennia Magazine. She also won: The Golden Pen Playwright award, and Columbia Theater Review named her as: Playwright to Watch. Dee Dee's productions have graced theatre stages at: The Town Theater, S.C State Museum, Francis Marion University (Chapman Auditorium), CD Joyner Auditorium and more. With one encounter of Scott’s realistic productions, it is evident that this talented playwright has been blessed with a gift from God to entertain and inspire audiences.

Scott is also a film producer, screenwriter author and publisher. Eight authors are signed to her publishing company, Ahsyad Publication, and she adapted the screen play, Lake House, which is based on her book, and will play in select theaters soon. When Scott is not working, she enjoys running a talent agency and PR firm (Awesome Scott PR Group) with her husband, and heading her Non-Profit: Joseph & Kathy Gregg's Child, which she named after her parents, who both passed away from Cancer. The Non-profit teaches theater and acting classes to children, teens, and adults. Scott also founded: Authors On The Rise. The online site is dedicated to promoting authors and their books. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Dee Dee is a certified life coach and certified personal trainer. She is also a mother and a wife of 18 years. Born and raised in Florence, South Carolina, she now resides in Columbia.
Courtesy of

Imani: Mrs. Scott, I am truly honored to have this interview. And from what I read from your bio, which is not only impressive, but inspiring to believe dreams do come true. So for those who aren’t familiar with your work, tell us a little about yourself?

Scott: Thank you for this, Imani. I am honored to be featured on your website.I am a mother, wife and down to earth lady who gives all the glory to Jehovah God and Jesus. I wear many hats. I am a playwright; film Producer, Publisher, author, entrepreneur, voice over actress, philanthropist and business woman.

For your writing process, how do you organize your storylines – outline by chapters or acts, or do you go with the flow?

I do a little bit of all of the above. Sometimes parts of the story or acts come to me and I outline those parts. At other times, I just go with the flow and let the characters drive the story.

How long have you been writing, and when was that “ah-ha” moment you knew you were a writer?

I have been writing since the age of six. That “ah-ha moment came shortly after the birth of my last son. I became ill and suffered with anemia. During the time I was recovering, I thought about all of the stories I had shelved, and all of the ideas and things that I wanted to do that I hadn’t done due to fear. I promised God that if I recovered I would never hide any of the talents he’d blessed me with. Once I was well, I hit the ground running.

You’ve written several books based on love and heartache, where do you find the inspiration to write these bestsellers?

Most of the stories come from my mind. I’ve always had a good imagination. However, I want my stories to be heartfelt and realistic so I mix in situations that could happen in real life.

The Tucker Series is a hit among readers. Share with us the premise of the series, and its characters.

The Sent From Heaven Series is about a powerful family (One sister and five brothers) named The Tuckers who head a successful Insurance company. To the outside world they appear perfect, but in reality they are all still hurting and devastated due to an incident that destroyed their childhoods. Sent From Heaven is a  romantic suspense series that will consist of five books, each featuring a Tucker family member on the rocky road to finding love and healing from the past.
Another bestseller, My Husband’s Woman, is now a successful stage play. Was the transition difficult from converting the book into a play? And if so, how?

Yes, I had to study for quite some time on how to write a play. With a book, readers use their imagination to create images as they read the story. However, with the stage play, people would be watching live on stage. I had to be extra creative and create characters and situations that would keep them interested from start to finish.

You were named by Miss Millennia magazine as one of the 30 influential women. With all of the accolades and many credits to your resume; such as, film producer, screenwriter, and voice-over actress, you’re also a Publisher and CEO for Ahsyad Publication. What’s your company mission for its authors and readers?

Our mission is to create innovative stories with exciting twists that will keep the readers engaged from start to finish. While reading one of our novels, it is our mission to help you escape into another world filled with excitement and well-developed memorable characters. 

And speaking of film, you’ve adapted a screen play based on your book, Lake House, which will play in select theatres soon. And from what I understand it’s a psychological thriller, which I love by the way. How did the concept of this story developed?

I wanted to get out of the box and write something different. The screen play: Lake House had been in my head for quite some time. My husband, who is very honest with me about all of my projects, read the screen play along with some other investors. They loved it, and we moved forward with the production.  I don’t want to give too much away, but the plot is twisted and the main character is one of a kind crazy.

I'm looking forward to its release! It sounds intriguing. And speaking of your husband -- you and he have two nonprofits for great causes. Explain to the readers what these nonprofits entail.

Reading Through Cancer was the first ever EBook drive. It was created so that people who are suffering with cancer can have a book to escape to while in treatment or in recovery. Joseph & Kathy Gregg's Child was named after my parents who both passed away from Cancer. We have free workshops and classes that teach theater and acting to children and teens.

Mrs. Scott, you also founded “Authors on the Rise” – a website for promoting authors and their books. Which lead me to this question: What advice you have for up and coming or even the seasoned authors, who want to follow in your footsteps and create their own media empire?

Believe in yourself first, because there will be many people who do not understand your vision. Have a strong and determined mind. Study and do things daily to move you toward your goals. And that no is not the end. No just means you have keep going until you get a yes. And if you don’t get a yes, create your own yes.

After achieving success (and I know you’re far from finished), if you could go back and meet yourself as a novice writer, what advice would you share?

Keep writing, creating, studying and honing your craft even when it appears as if nothing is happening for you so that when the time does come, you will be ready. Flee from any negativity that may discourage you from following your dreams. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and lose the naysayers.

Every artist has that one person that has helped shape their craft. If the person who had influenced you were with us today, what would you say to them?

I would thank them. I had several key people who influenced me at a young age. I had two amazing English teachers: Mrs. Blackburn and Mrs, Usurer. I also had two college professors: Dr. Ann and Bret Breneman. Both are also authors. Mrs. Breneman always had me speak my poetry at the college she was teaching at, or other meetings she was a part of. That really shaped me and helped me to overcome being shy.  Mr. Breneman was the first person to look at one of my handwritten books when I was younger. He gave me so much encouragement and advice. He knew that I would be a writer before I did and encouraged me to study. I am so thankful to have had such influences in my life when I was developing as a writer.

And finally, what are the top five things on your bucket list?

I would have to say:
     1.)Teach at a college.
     2) I love psychology and the way the mind works, so I want to pursue a degree in that field.
     3.) Open my own film production studio.
     4.) Travel abroad and volunteer with my husband and children.
     5.) Bless other people and help them to achieve their dreams.

Thank you, Mrs. Scott for this awesome interview. If readers would like to know more about you and your stellar work, where should they go online?

My Husband's Woman

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By Imani Wisdom

Have you ever felt you were running on empty by the constant barrage of daily life: work, family, and for some, school?

Whether you’re a single parent or a parent with special responsibilities, such as, caring for a physically or mentally impaired relative or a parent who has to juggle with everyday life, we all fall into the trap of guilt and shame because we feel we’re underperforming our parental duties—or like me—doubting my duties as a daughter to aid my disabled mother. Thus, we push ourselves to the point of mental exhaustion—and when that breaks down—so does our bodies.

I speak from experience because I had been a caregiver to my mother, and then later for my aunt and grandparents and that was not including raising three small children at the time. However, during that journey I suffered health ailments: hypertension, obesity, and depression. There were times I didn’t know how I was going to get out of bed, not along to care for someone else. But by the grace God—I prevailed.

Still, I learned the mind can be a powerful thing. This amazing anatomy that weighs around three pounds can train the body and soul like a battery to an electronic device—powering it up and programming it where you want it to go. For me, I had to learn to shift my thoughts from the negative to the positive and believed all things were possible.

So, on Lent 2010, I made a committed effort for a lifestyle change. I also devised a plan to make my journey easier. If it worked for me, it could for you:

  1. Exercise the Mind: Read a book by your favorite author; challenge yourself to a crossword or word search puzzle; get up early while the house is quiet for prayer and meditation, or take spiritual walks. A simple five to ten minute mind vacation does work wonders. When you find something that relaxes you, your mind smiles.

  1. Eat Well: Maintaining a well-balanced diet by adding lean meats, like chicken or turkey. Do eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Eliminate or sparingly eat sugary foods and drinks, such as, cakes, cookies, and sodas. Do eat Omega-3 fatty foods (salmon is an excellent example). More importantly, water, water, water! It is a known fact that drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day cleanse unwanted toxins from the body and avoids you from overeating. As I say all the time: Treat the body well, and it’ll love you in return.

  1. Stay Connected: Make a phone call to an old friend and share laughs. If you have a church home, seek comfort and guidance with the pastor and/or parishioners. Join a book club. Take a class to learn something new, like pottery, cooking, or back to the first plan to help relax the mind and body—yoga.

  1. Seek Support: This may be a repeat with number three but this goes deeper if you’re suffering from burnout or depression—especially caring for a loved one. Most will seek comfort and advice from their pastor, which is great but if you’re having signs of feeling worthlessness, oversleeping, a change in your eating habits, irritability, or worse, suicidal thoughts, it’s imperative you seek mental health counseling. Also, just because you speak to a mental health professional doesn’t mean they’ll prescribe anti-depressants. Mental Health Professionals are not the boogeyman. They’re to help sort out problems and give their professional advice on which way to go.

  1. Loving the Body: Have you ever heard the cliché, your body is your temple. I also consider it as a gift from God. Like any precious gift you’ve received, shouldn’t your body be treated as such? Whether you’re out of shape or need to lose a few pounds, there are simple and common sense ways of getting fit, such as, take brisk thirty minute walks; participate in a physical activity with your children, like kickball; use the stairs at work instead of taking the elevator, and game consoles like Wii or Xbox have interactive games to fight against the bulge. Be creative with any physical activity you chose and make it fun.

These five tips aren’t a magic pill but it’s a start to alleviating the stress. If you don’t try all five, just try one of them. Better yet, devise your plan and share the results in the comment section or on Twitter under @imani_wisdom. I would love to hear from you. And who knows, whatever you share could benefit me.

Imani Wisdom is the founder of Pink Noire Publications.  Based in Indianapolis, IN, Pink Noire is a groundbreaking company with an unpredictable brand of literary storytelling.   Wisdom is also the creator of Pink Noire Blog, which hosts inspirational posts for the soul, along with social commentary.  Born and raised in “Indy,” Wisdom spends her days overseeing a family of five, writing short stories and books, cooking vegan dishes, running 5Ks and mini-marathons, and enjoying quality time with her friends and family.
Wisdom is a graduate of Ivy Tech Community College, earning a degree in Paralegal Studies. She is a prolific storyteller whose works depict an honest portrayal of societal issues. As a blogger and author, she has received numerous honors including 2012 nominee for Poet of the Year (AAMBC Book Club), March 2012 Up and Coming Author (The Writer’s POV Magazine), September 2011 Blog of the Month (The Writer’s POV Magazine), and February 2011 Editor’s Pick ( for her short story, The Shattered Mogul. Her works include Zion’s Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption, and her upcoming debut novel, The Journey of Ruthie Belle.

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Pink Noire is please to present April's Featured Artist,award-winning playwright, director,and author, Dee Dee M. Scott.

This is a big deal for The Lounge. So much so, that PN has dedicated two weeks of this CEO and philantropist's work in movies, stage, and literature for a full feature. 

So enjoy this synopsis from her latest book, Sent From Heaven 3. And be sure to come back next week for our in-depth one-on-one interview about Mrs. Scott's work, life, and what's in store for the future.

Sent From Heaven 3

On Sale Now


After a crime landed Xavier Tucker in prison for five years, and almost ruined his reputation, he swore off love. Free from jail, he is determined to avoid trouble at all cost. He is content traveling for Tucker Insurance, the multibillion dollar Insurance Agency he heads with his family. But when a business meeting takes him to Whitefield Kansas, the last thing he expects is a fierce tornado that causes him to get into an accident, and the irresistible woman who rescues him…
Widow Grace Evans is dedicated to preserving her late husband’s memory, and heading the ranch he left to her. When one of her horses causes an accident to happen near the farm, Grace has no choice but to rescue the injured man and take him to safety in her basement.
Once together, the attraction between Xavier and Grace is undeniable and the sexual chemistry is sizzling hot. Soon they succumb to their electrifying shared attraction. But it will take more than a few nights in a basement to heal Grace’s troubled past, and Xavier finds himself not only fighting for her love, but battling to remain in her life. Destiny brought them together, but it will take more than fate for their relationship to endure.

Kansas 2006

“The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Whitefield, Kansas. The storm will bring twisters, damaging winds and thunderstorms. Residents are advised to take cover.”
Half asleep, Grace turned onto her side. She hugged her handsome husband George. Soon, her tired body forced her into a deep slumber. Working at Blue Sky Ranch was hard and exhausting, but Grace loved every second.  With thirty horses to tend to, Grace and George never got a break until night time. Grace knew morning would come too soon. Even though Grace treasured the ranch, she loathed starting the day at four a.m. In no time, the sound of her light snores filled the room.
A loud boom jolted Grace from her snooze.  She wiped the sleep away from her eyes. Grace focused on the distraction coming from the weather radio.
 “All people are advised to take cover now!”
Sirens blared. The ranch home seemed to vibrate. Fear paralyzed Grace. She snapped from her shock. She shook George who was snoring beside her.  “Wake up!” She demanded.
“What is it, cookie?” George called her by her nickname.
Grace had no time to explain. A tree crashed through the bedroom window.  George hopped from the bed and wrapped his arms around Grace. He shielded her as the home ripped apart right before their eyes.
“To the bathroom!” George shouted.
“What about the horses?” Grace protested. “I can’t leave them.”
“We have no choice.” George’s eyes glowed with sadness. He hurried Grace into the bathroom. Once inside, he placed a blanket in the tub. He ordered her to get in.
“This isn’t safe,” Grace complained.
George inhaled deeply. “We don’t have time to make it to the outside basement.”
George appeared brave, but Grace saw fear in his eyes.
 “Trust me, cookie.” George caressed her cheek. “I’m going to protect you.”
Relenting, Grace did as George instructed. Inside the tub, he rested on top of her.
Grace’s mind drifted to happier times on the ranch. Memories played in her head like a picture show. Grace prayed the ranch would survive. It had been in George’s family for three generations.
                A loud explosion made Grace shudder. “I’m scared,” she cried into George’s arm.
“It’s going to be okay.” George soothed her. “I promise.”
 Grace tried to trust her husband, but she heard the house ripping apart. She cried out in fear.
“Do you remember the first time we met?” George interrupted her vexed thoughts.
 Grace felt terrified, but she managed a shaky smile. She appreciated George for trying to get her mind off of the awful storm.
“Yes.” She laughed.  “I was seventeen and had dreams of traveling the world. I told mama I wanted to leave Kansas. And what did she do? Sent me to stay with Aunt Ruth for the summer.  I was pissed that I was still in Kansas.”
George chuckled.
“Aunt Ruth tried to make me happy.” Grace smiled from the memory. “She sent me to the store for milk and eggs. Aunt Ruth promised me my thoughts about Kansas would change if I visited Blue Sky Ranch.  I didn’t understand how going to a store would help. When I walked into the store and I saw you…”
“You weren’t looking where you were going.” George finished the sentence. “You knocked over the crate of eggs and milk.”
 “You caused it.” Grace rubbed his hairy arm. “You looked so handsome I didn’t look where I was going.”
“You weren’t the only one mesmerized, baby.” George kissed her neck. “When I laid eyes on you, I couldn’t speak English anymore.”
Grace smiled and blushed.
 “You were and still are beautiful,” George praised her. “The most gorgeous woman in the world to me.”
Grace melted from his words, and then she chuckled. “Your mom was so angry at me for messing up the store. I thought she would throw me out on my head.”
George snuggled closer to her. “You’d better be glad I stepped in to save you,” he whispered softly against her ear.
 Grace jabbed him playfully in the stomach with her elbow. “By how? Offering me a job?”
“Yeah, you had to pay for the damage you’d caused at the store.”
“But I didn’t know the first thing about being a ranch hand.”
“I know,” George sighed.”I wanted to get to know you better. When you accepted the job, I had to teach you. That allowed us to spend time together.”
                 “By the end of the summer, my dream of traveling the world was gone.”
George smiled. “And I knew you would be my wife.”
Grace reminisced over the good old days again.  Her Aunt Ruth and her parents had passed away years ago. So had George’s father. Now, the only family they both had was George’s mother, Sarah. Sarah lived in a comfortable residence of her own up the road from them.
Another loud blast brought Grace from her memories.
George squeezed her tighter.  “I hope mom is okay.”
 “Your mother will be fine.” Grace reassured him. “Sarah is a smart, strong lady.”
George kissed her on the cheek. She felt his heart beating wildly.
“I love you, Cookie.” George whispered in her ear.
Grace kissed his hand. “I love …”
Before she finished the sentence, the entire house exploded. Grace experienced so much pressure and pain, she was knocked unconscious.

Grace cried out in agony as she came to. Her eyes opened. Everything was foggy. She felt lightheaded and befuddled. Her entire body pulsed with pain. She could not breathe. She comprehended she needed to get up from under the heavy weight pressing her down. As she began to wiggle for freedom, her heartbeat increased. At microwave speed, her memory returned. Her husband’s body was on top of her! There had been a terrible tornado! Scared and stunned, Grace called out to George.
No answer.
No thudding heartbeat.
Panicked, Grace shouted out for George again. Tears poured from her sockets. She worked her way from underneath George.  Once Grace was free, she noticed daylight breaking through the clouds. It took a few seconds for her to realize the entire house was gone. They were inside the bathtub and out in the open field. Ruble, metal and dead horses surrounded them. Grace’s heart ached from the surreal scene. However, her attention swiftly diverted back to her husband.
“George!” She screamed out his name and looked him over. An iron pole protruded from his back. “No! No! No! Oh my God! No!” She screamed.  With trembling hands, she turned him onto his side. His dilated eyes focused on her. The pole had not gone through him. It was lodged deep inside his torso.
George was gasping for air.
 Screaming, Grace begged him to hold on. “Please, baby, don’t you dare leave me. Do you hear me? Stay with me.”
George’s eyes rolled into his head.
“Our anniversary is next week.” Grace grabbed his face and kissed him. “We have to celebrate.”  Her body shook with sobs.
Fire trucks and ambulances blared in the distance. Grace knew it would be awhile before they got to them. She had to leave George and go for help. But before she could move, George grabbed her hand.
“No…don’t leave me,” George said, his voice strained.  “Don’t let me die alone.”
Grace felt her heart stop. George wouldn’t die. He couldn’t leave her. The thought of not having him made her feel sick and terrified. “You’re not gonna die,” Grace assured him. She squeezed his hand.
 George glued his eyes to hers. He tried to say something, but Grace shushed him. “Don’t talk. You’re gonna be okay. Please save your energy.”
Ignoring her, George called her name again. “Grace,” he mumbled, struggling for air. He squeezed her hand tight. “I…I got you an anniversary gift. I hid it.” He smiled weakly.
Grace would have smiled too if the situation had been different. George always hid the gifts he brought her. She had a bad habit of finding them before the time they were due.
George guided her tiny hand to his lips and kissed it.
“When the time is right, you will find my gift, sweetheart. Take care of mama. Promise me you will look after her.”
“I promise,” Grace sobbed.
“I love you… forever and always.”  George shivered and then his body went limp. His blank eyes stared up at her.
No movement.
No heartbeat.
No words.
Grace could feel the heat leaving his body. She noticed the glow fading away from his face. Life completely seeped from his body. All that remained was an empty, hollow shell. Her husband and first and only love was gone.
Grace screamed so hard her vocal cords ached. Tears soaked her face. Grace forced her lips to his for a last kiss. She knew this would be the final time she felt his warm mouth.

She was all alone.

To learn more about Mrs. Scott, her work, and her charities, visit her at these sites:

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