Author Biographies

Henry O. Adkins

HENRY O. ADKINS, MPA, SWA is an Author, Inspirational Speaker, Musician, Watercolor Artist, College Professor and Public Administrator, who for the last twenty-five years has worked in Community and Human Services. Mr. Adkins believes that to work with community and humanity is the best work of all. Mr. Adkins is an advocate for the Homeless, low-income families, Children and Senior Citizens. He proclaims that by using common sense, success is unlimited.


A. Peter Baily

PETER BAILEY is an acclaimed Journalist, Author, and Lecturer. He was a founding member of The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), organized in 1964 by Brother Malcolm X. Bailey was editor of the OAAU newsletter, Blacklash. He was one of the last few persons to speak with Brother Malcolm X on the day of his assassination (February 21, 1965) and served as one of the pallbearers at his funeral.

Bailey, a former editor of Ebony magazine, is the author of Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, The Master Teacher:A Memoir, Harlem: Precious Memories, Great Expectations, co-author of Revelations: The Autobiography of Alvin Ailey with Alvin Ailey and co-author of Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X with Rodnell P. Collins (nephew of Malcolm X). He assisted John Henrik Clarke with the editing of Malcolm X: The Man and His Times.

While Associate Director of The Black Theatre Alliance (BTA), Bailey edited the BTA Newsletter. He has also contributed articles to numerous publications including Essence, Black Enterprise, Jet Magazine, the New York Times, the Negro Digest, Black World, The Black Collegian, and the New York Daily News. Bailey, born in Columbus, Georgia and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, attended Howard University. He currently resides in Washington, D.C. where he has taught Communication courses as an Adjunct Professor and conducted workshops on writing memoirs and autobiographies.


Xavier Bronton

XAVIER BRONTEN is the author of his first novel called, “Breakout”. Born on December 30, in 1992, he is raised in Dallas, Texas and currently resides in DeSoto, Texas with his parents and three siblings. Throughout childhood, Xavier has constantly shown a fascination with aviation and traveling up in the air. By the time of his sophomore year of high school, Xavier has gained his own physical experience within an aviation-based course; a career development for future mechanics and pilots, established at Dallas Executive Airport. Enrolled within the program for two years, he has trained under simulation and airborne flight in a light sport aircraft, for the goal of a pilot’s license. At the age of 17 and with almost twenty hours logged, Xavier achieved half of the goal by performing his first solo flight. However shortly after his greatest milestone a tragic event, detained within the program, leaves his goal of gaining his first pilot’s license impossible.



VELMA CANADAY is by trade a web developer but her passion lies in healthy living. Having a balanced diet came naturally to her, but over the course of the past few years that interest has sky-rocketed. She recently made the decision to obtain her certification as a Health & Nutrition Consultant. She plans to continue to inspire people to use nutrition as the catalyst for living their best life. Her book Melt Into Your Kick-Ass Body Food Diary will be her debut into the health and nutrition industry. As a life-long runner, she is also committed to fitness as well. Originally from Virginia, she is now based in Dallas.



J. A. FAULKERSON is a writer, speaker and educator with Culturally Coded Content, a creative writing and community education firm based in Northern Texas. He is the author of Adinkrahene: Fear of a Black Planet (fiction) and Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner COACH (nonfiction). In June 2015, Faulkerson's Adinkrahene: Fear of a Black Planet was named one of three finalists for a Phillis Wheatley Book Award (in the "First Fiction" category). The Phillis Wheatley Book Awards are held annually in conjunction with the Harlem Book Fair in New York City. A certified parent educator through Active Parenting Publishers, Inc., J. A. is committed to showing all parents how to positively influence their children’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. He earned his Masters of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, and has worked with professionals in both the public and private sectors for over 20 years to improve outcomes for low-income children and their families.



VICKIE FRANKS was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. She was educated there, as were her six children. In 2005 when hurricane Rita hit the east coast of Texas she had to evacuate. She was sheltered in Big Sandy, Texas for a short time, and then relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada. Vickie and her three teenage daughters had to "start from scratch" in building a life and a home. They had lost every possession, except three days of clothing in the hurricane. In 2012 Vickie began to write her first book titled, Supernaturally Blessed. It has been published and is now available to the public. In August of 2014 she founded Supernaturalized Ministries of God,INC. This is a traveling, preaching, and teaching ministry where she will minister the Word of God to the lost and hurting.



AISHA RENEE HALL worked as an Agricultural Biologist in California before she retired and moved to Texas. A graduate of California Polytechnic University and an Air Force airman, she considered her best talent to be Photography because although she began writing short stories at the age of eight, they were never published. She later learned that even though her stories were not published, that writing was her passion. That knowledge came about by discovering through the Holy Spirit, that the desire to write would never go away until she had accomplished what God placed her on earth to do. She is now a Minister, Photographer, Writer, Author and Speaker.



JHORDYNN (pronounced Jordan) is an African American author born and raised in Shreveport, LA. She is a Registered Nurse who has worked in multiple medical fields. Jhordynn has written numerous poems, books, and songs that are soon to be published. Her current book I liked You Better When I Didn’t Like You is available on



REV. DR RONALD E. JONES , a dedicated, committed servant of God, is the thirteenth senior pastor of the historic New Hope Baptist Church, the oldest African American Church in Dallas. Dr. Jones was born and raised in Dallas and graduated from James Madison High School in 1962. He earned his Baccalaureate Degree from Dallas Baptist University, a Master of Science Degree in Human Relations and Business Management from Abilene Christian University, and a Doctorate Degree in Clinical Christian Counseling from Cornerstone University. Dr. Jones was elected as Mayor of the City of Garland in 2007. He subsequently served three terms as the Mayor. He also served as an adjunct professor of business for 10 years at El Centro College in Dallas. As a servant leader, Rev. Dr. Ronald Jones is involved in many Christian and civic organizations. Dr. Jones is a devoted husband of 48 years to his lovely wife Dr. Peggy R. Jones. He is an honorable father of two sons.



WARREN G. LANDRUM, JR. was born in East Chicago, Indiana. He grew up and was raised there until he went off to college to Purdue University, from which he graduated with a degree in Information Systems and Computer Programming. He later received a B.S. in Management from the University of Phoenix. He served in the U.S. Air Force, both at home and abroad. It was during that time that he first became exposed to overseas travel, a passion that he would pursue at every opportunity. Warren is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first Black Greek Letter Fraternity and is also the author of four published books - "The Heart & Soul of a Black Man," "Let’s Go Home to Indiana Harbor: Reflections From Mid-Town America," "Texas Politics – Grand Prairie Style: Campaign 2013." And the latest one, "Stroke of Grace: The Juaquin Hawkins Story," the autobiography of former NBA and Houston Rockets basketball player Juaquin Hawkins, which he co-wrote with Mr. Hawkins. Warren and his beautiful wife Carol recently celebrated their 26th Wedding Anniversary and are the proud parents of one daughter, Suzette, one Lhasa Apso, Niko and a granddaughter – Mia.



DAEZEL MAE born on the island of Galveston, Texas now resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where she earned an Associates and Bachelor’s degree in business arts from Northwood University Texas Campus. Daezel Mae is an up and coming neo soul poet, who takes her everyday life encounters as inspiration for her art. A PEACE of Mind is the first of many expressions to be shared with the world. A PEACE of Mind is experience of short poems from the view of a single urban thirty something woman. It touches on family, kids, relationships, sex, love, pain, joy, and motivation. Pick any situation or emotion and it is covered. A PEACE of Mind is an emotional rollercoaster that is well worth the ride.



DR. DOUGLAS MCDUFFIE is a minister who lectures and presents workshops across the country. Dr. McDuffie spent six and half years in federal prison. Where he quickly learned the rules of prison protocol and became a recognized leader among his fellow inmates. This was a time of atonement and reconciliation with himself and his family. He has begun to Bounce Back by helping others that have no one to help them avoid the pitfalls and the numerous dangerous obstacles of prison life. He was able to Bounce Back and is willing to help others to do the same. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hiram College, a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Amberton University, Dallas, Texas; a Masters and a Doctorate in Ministry from Slidell Theological Seminary and is a Certified Family Development Specialist from the University of Iowa.



PATRICK OLIVER is a program manager and literary consultant dedicated to promoting reading and writing as tools of empowerment. Through a variety of innovative projects Oliver engages children, youth and adults in activities such as writing workshops, author talks, book discussions, professional development sessions and community forums. Creator, executive producer and host of Literary Nation Talk Radio a live weekly broadcast on KABF FM 88.3 with past guest such as Marian Wright Edelman, Common, Hill Harper, Sonia Sanchez, Susan Taylor and numerous others. He is publisher and editor of the Essence Magazine best-selling anthology "Turn the Page" and "You Don't Stop: Sharing Successful Chapters in Our Lives with Youth" (April 2006). Oliver has made two appearances on CSPAN BookTV, Black America Web feature "Faces of Hope: Patrick Oliver Teaches Kids to Be Successful Readers and Writers", special guest author at the National Book Club Conference (2014) and Literary Excellence Award Recipient (2014). Recently named advisory board member Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University.



AKELA RENAE is a first-time author and published her first novella, The Cost of Baggage in 2015. The story idea came to her in the form of a dream and she decided it was time to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming an author. Akela graduated from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education and a Masters in Healthcare Administration at Texas Woman's University in Houston, Texas. Akela Renae knew early on that by furthering her career in healthcare, it would help fund her writing career. She calls these her Plan A and B. Akela is already working on her second novel and lives in Dallas, TX.



KING SHAKUR is a fun loving poet, activist, mentor, lover, fighter, and everything in between. Born in Dallas, TX and raised in the South Dallas neighborhood. He wrote his first poem at 12 and his first performance was in a Baptist church, at the age of 17. King has been a feature performer in over fifteen states, competed in Southern Fried Poetry Slams in New Orleans, Durham NC and the National Poetry Slam in Chicago. He was also a member of New Danger Poetry Slam Team in 2009. King opened for Amiri Baraka at Wake Forest University and was featured at Rust College in Holly Springs MS at the National African American Student Leadership Conference, with Dr. Sonja Sanchez. He has released three chap books; That's My Soul Talking, and A Field Slaves' Dream, A Slave Masters' Nightmare and Nakupenda. He was recently published in the Anthology of African American poets, by the University of South Carolina and will release his first full length book of poetry April 2015.


Pearl Sharp

SAUNDRA PEARL SHARP was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Clarence Sharp and Faythe Bell McIntyre Sharp. Graduating from John Adams High School in 1960, Sharp attended Bowling Green State University where she cultivated her voice and hosted a classical music program. Earning her B.S. degree in media production in 1964, Sharp headed for New York City where she was a copywriter for T.V. Guide and singing guest on TV's Captain Kangaroo. Sharp studied acting with Karamu alumni Al Fann and Minnie Gentry and joined Poets and Performers. Playing Nettie in J.E. Franklin's Black Girl, Sharp won a part in the Pearl Bailey production of Hello Dolly in 1967. Sharp appeared in Up the Down Staircase in 1969 and was cast as Prissy in Gordon Parks' film, The Learning Tree. Appearing in the TV movies Minstrel Man (1976) and Hollow Image (1980), Sharp also had recurring roles on Wonder Woman (1978), St. Elsewhere (1984/87), and Knots Landing (1985).

A poet from childhood, Sharp attended John O. Killen's Writers Workshop at Columbia University and subsequently published: From the Windows of My Mind (1970), In the Midst of Change (1972), Soft Song (1978) and Typing in the Dark (1991). In 1993, she published Black Women for Beginners: A Writers & Readers Documentary Comic Book. Sharp served as editor of The Black History Film List (1989), Directory of Black Film/TV Technicians and Artists (1980) and the BAD-C Newsletter. A playwright too, Sharp wrote The Sistuhs in 1975. A recipient of the 1992 Best Script Award from the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, Sharp directed and produced Back Inside Herself (1984), Life is a Saxophone (1985), Picking Tribes (1988), It’s OK to Peek (1996), The Healing Passage (2005) and Fertile Ground: Stories from the Watts Towers Arts Center (2005).

In 1980, Sharp formed the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition with Robert Price and became director of Black Film Television Technicians and Artists. A founder of Reel Black Women: Atlanta African Film Society and a member of the Black American Cinema Society, Sharp lives in Los Angeles.



This Dallas, TX native has always studied people. As a youth, she always took in the nature of relationships and the outcomes of situations. After a bit of a culture shock and receiving her degree from a private college, she had seen an eclectic mixture of culturally and sexually diverse interactions. In her work, you witness her own relationships weaving their essences into her works as she uses emotions that are raw and real to add authenticity to her character. Whether in a novel like Lover's Redemption or through urban short stories like "Ciera's Reign", SH' MOORE builds believable "people" that leave readers completely connected. As a host of the internet radio show, Wed. Nite Wine Down, she interacts with entrepreneurs, authors and music artists. As a youth life coach who created and presides over a non-profit organization, you can find her helping young ladies in community service, group forums, or through her writing of young adult literature. Sh' Moore is a woman who never stops embracing the now



SHIRLEY TAPLINan exciting communicator, inspiring speaker, coach and author, empowering audiences since 2001. What Shirley shares with people is not just theory it is from her own personal experiences and family history of health challenges. Her life has progressed through research and practice on integrated healthy choices. Shirley is enthusiastic and passionate about sharing with others how to embrace healthy habits. Ms. Taplin earned a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in Communication Studies from Dallas Baptist University. Her love for the arts awarded her a degree from The Colorado Institute of Arts, Visual Communications. It is rewarding for her to seek and understand the beauty of creation and how we communicate. Ms. Taplin teaches the “BE WISE” principles that can help you to live a Healthy Lifestyle. A professional speaker and coach, she has spoken at workshops, community services, church groups, and assisted with a local BET Health Fair on tour. Not a day goes by that health is not a part of her agenda.



ARQUILA A. TODD, a graduate of Auburn University, an Air Traffic Controller for 23 years and a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters for 18 years, Arquila’s passion is for ministry. Her three books: My Testimony: How God Used the Pain of My Dating Relationship to Get My Attention and Had Me Return to Him, The Brain Washing of Black America: How God Helped Me Overcome, and DATE SMART: Practical Biblical Dating Lessons For All The Single Ladies, attest to her care and concern for her community. Her mission is to educate and protect. For wisdom repulses a mighty and vicious predator determined to plunder one of his or her treasures and to ravish and enslave. Her writings teach men to take a stand for the protection and stability of the family. Her purpose is to turn false hope for a successful relationship from a lack of training and knowledge into successful unions. Arquila hopes to prove that each individual can succeed in relationships with the right study. Her teachings, based on the Word of God, establish confidence, good judgment and honorable behavior.



REV. DR. MICHAEL W. WATERS The Reverend Dr. Michael W. Waters is founder and Senior Pastor of Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Dallas, Texas, one of the fastest-growing A.M.E. Churches in the State. As pastor, preacher, professor, author, motivational speaker and community organizer, Waters' words of hope and empowerment have inspired national and international audiences.

Named among America's top young leaders by EBONY Magazine, called a "Prophetic Scribe" by Epitome Magazine, named "One-to-Watch" by SMU Magazine, and featured in D Magazine's "The List," Waters' keen insights have been engaged upon such esteemed platforms as the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Newshour, Newsday, and Focus on Africa, National Public Radio, The NBC Nightly News, HuffPost Live, and The Associated Press. His commentaries on public life have been quoted, shared, and tweeted by such diverse personalities and institutions as Bill Moyers, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, the NAACP, and seminal hip hop group De La Soul. Waters has made numerous presentations before church, civic, collegiate, and corporate bodies on topics of interest ranging from Fortune 500 diversity practices and ethical leadership principles to the intersections of religion and hip hop culture. His professional background spans corporate America, party politics, university chaplaincy and undergraduate and graduate level teaching.

Waters matriculated at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (Pi Sigma Alpha) and in Religious Studies with a minor in History (2002). Elected student body vice president, he graduated as a recipient of The "M" Award, SMU"s "most highly prized recognition bestowed upon students, faculty, staff and administrators on the SMU Campus." Waters continued his studies at the Perkins School of Theology at SMU as a recipient of the Prothro Promise for Ministry Full Academic Merit Scholarship. He was named a Ministry Fellow of the now Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) in Atlanta, Georgia, and served as the founding director of two nationally recognized programs: The Macedonian Project, an outreach ministry empowering adolescent males through education, spiritual development, life skills training, and mentoring, lauded as a "national model" for community outreach by FTE; and the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage to cities and sites significant to the American Civil Rights Movement featured in the Associated Press article "Traveling classroom uses landmark civil rights sites as teaching tool" (May 2007).

Elected to two terms as Perkins student body president, Waters earned a Master of Divinity degree, cum laude, with Certificates in African American Church Studies and in Urban Ministry (2006) and a Doctor of Ministry degree, with Honors, in Urban Ministry (2012). He now serves as an adjunct instructor in the Doctor of Ministry Degree Program and mentor pastor in the Center for Preaching Excellence at Perkins. Waters is a 2014 recipient of The Louisville Institute's Pastoral Study Project Grant to support his continuing research on hip hop spirituality and the church.

Named "Best Author" in The Dallas Weekly’s 2014 "Best of Black Dallas" Readership Poll, Waters is the author of the critically-acclaimed book Freestyle: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture, selected as an Award-Winning Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Awards in two categories - Religion: Christianity and Social Change - and as a recipient of a 2015 Illumination Book Award recognizing "the year's best new titles written and published with a Christian worldview." A frequent blogger on The Huffington Post with multiple front page commentaries and blog series contributions to his credit, Waters' writings have also appeared in such respected publications as The African American Pulpit, Media Development, Ministry Matters, The Root,, Upper Room Disciplines and Feasting on the Gospels Bible Commentary.

Waters serves as chair of the City of Dallas' Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center Board which offers comprehensive social services and cultural and educational opportunities to over 325,000 Dallas citizens annually. His board service also includes the Working in Neighborhoods Strategically (W.I.N.S.) Collective Impact Steering Committee, the Revitalize South Dallas Coalition, the Community Council of Greater Dallas, and as an advisory boardmember of the CitySquare Health Clinic. Waters is co-chair of the Social Action Commission of the Greater Dallas District of the A.M.E. Church, and he is co-founder of the Sankofa Coalition which seeks to bring racial healing through a recognition of and atonement for past historical injustices.

Listed among the Dallas Business Journal’s 2015 "40 Under 40," Waters is a recipient of the White House's Presidential Youth Service Award, The Humanitarian Award of the South Dallas Professional and Business Women's Club, the Harold M. Kaufman Memorial Award in Social Ethics, the William K. McElvaney Award in Peace and Justice, and the History Maker Award of the Black Alumni of SMU. During SMU's Centennial Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration on September 24, 2015, Waters will be honored with the SMU Emerging Leader Award presented to "an emerging leader in a particular discipline, organization, or cause that has brought distinction to the University." Waters is wonderfully married to Dallas Assistant City Attorney Yulise Reaves Waters. They are the proud parents of three children: Michael Jeremiah, Hope Yulise, and Liberty Grace. The family resides in the historic South Dallas community.



TONI WATKINS is the author of the romance novel titled, Swinging-out & Chicago Style Steppin’ into Love. She is returning with her up-coming novel is titled Quiet As It's Kept that will be released in 2012. She has also written two screen plays. In 2011, she received an award and was inducted into the Omaha, Nebraska's Black Music & Community Hall of Fame. She can also be found in Who's Who in Black Dallas 2012 Inaugural Edition. She's a Swing-out dancer and a Chicago Style Stepper, which contributed to her motivation to write the novel. She has performed on land and at sea, on Festival at Sea’s Cruise Ship, also performed in African American Idol Show. Toni is the Director of Personnel with Prodigal Group LLC. She has a Masters Degree from Amberton University, Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a Paralegal Certification from the College of Saint Mary's. She is a member of the National Black MBA Association. She’s an avid snow skier and a member of the Texas Ski Rangers/National Brotherhood of Skiers for nineteen years. Toni resides in Dallas, TX, and has a daughter, Shanell.



SANDRA WILKINSON The sincerity and passion displayed in 'Memoirs of a Teenage Angel' allows the reader to view the heartaches that comes with the loss of a loved one especially a small child, while at the same time providing an intimate portrait of compassion the Lord shows to each of us. This book will be a blessing to all who read it, especially to those experiencing grief. I pray that you can visualize the story and see the "Glory".