Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Monique Johnson

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Please help me extend a warm welcome to Monique Johnson.

Welcome to the PBS Blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

I am Monique R Johnson, Los Angeles, CA born and raised, but moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 2019.

Nice. Cali to Texas is a big transition. What inspired the move?

I considered Texas several years prior. A couple of people I grew up with made the move over 15 years ago. It was when I started dating a guy I worked with who, later took a job in Texas, that I reconsidered. 

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

My perfect writing and reading room would look like a university library.

Nicee! I’m loving it already.

I’d have a writing desk with the perfect desk lamp for late-night writing. I’d have a bookcase with books from various genres: motivation, Christian spiritual, financial, self-help, poetry, and a few children’s books for my grands. I would have a leather recliner and a tall, full bird of paradise plant in the corner near the window.

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

Correcting grammar. It gets on everyone’s nerves.

So YOU the grammar police!

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If you could do anything else, what job do you think you’d be really good at?

Lawyer. I love to make my point.

Lol. Any siblings Monique?

Three biological brothers, one step-brother, and three step-sisters.

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

Mansion, with an east and west wing, two kitchens, game room, media room, living room, enclosed patio, herb and vegetable garden on one side of the back yard, a dog run in the other, and an in-ground swimming pool in the center. The house would have a balcony with an amazing view. The bathroom would have a walk-in shower, with a waterfall feature and a sitting area.

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Let’s get into writing a bit. What genre do you write in and why?

Mixed Genre of non-fiction with a dramatic approach and a sprinkle of poetry to end each chapter. I love writing this way because it makes it more engaging and easier to explain how people can get unstuck.

Why is writing important to you?

I write for my family and generations to come so that they will know how I made it through the toughest times in my life. I want readers of my work, be it my poetry, my magazine articles, or my novel, to know that an everyday person like themselves can get through whatever they are dealing with if they decide to believe that they can.

When did you publish your first book?

My first Anthology was published December 2021. My first memoir was published June 30, 2022. It was exciting and challenging for me. I learned that publishing is not the hard part, it’s the promotion and marketing that’s hard for me.

I get it. So what takes up too much of your time?

Figuring out systems for my business and now my book journey.

In your book, you talked a lot about how your faith got you through a lot of the pain. Do you consider yourself a religious person?

I am not religious in that I do not believe in all of the rules and traditions that mark religions. I do follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe Christ was a spiritual teacher and healer, but the world was not ready to receive such a reality. Religion nailed him to the cross.

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If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

To make everyone love each other with a Godly love.

What does a Godly love look like?

A Godly love looks like a man and woman who puts God first, demonstrates unconditional love, sacrifices for one another, and goes to God in prayer over situations the couple cannot handle in their own strength.

What are your thoughts on race?

We should embrace our differences, and not be opinionated on who is the better of the races. The conflict is in the ignorance of one or the other and the fear.

What do you think of police brutality in the black community?

I am mixed on it. I am a mother of black sons and they express to me that they know how to do the psychological game with the police so, thank God, they’ve not been a victim of it. They have been stopped, even arrested, but never mishandled. How can we do better? I think all of our people who have been victimized, profiled, or targeted by law enforcement should learn to use psychology, or better yet wisdom instead of responding with emotions. That is not helping during intense situations.

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How would one use the study of the mind to avoid police brutality? Can you give some examples of how getting overly emotional could worsen already intense situations?

For example, if an officer is approaching a black man on a routine traffic stop, or suspicious activity, the black man should not react in a defensive, or in any way that can be taken as uncooperative, or threatening. Instead, he should be compliant, ask what the stop is for, ask if he is being put under arrest, and get the officers names. A calm, unemotional state of mind will put the officer a little more at ease, thus de-escalating the situation.

Now Monique…

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You KNOW I got more questions, chile. But, let’s move on.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again.

What is your best advice for reducing stress?

Get enough word in you to have something to meditate on when you are getting overwhelmed. Walk, bike ride, or spend time doing dedicated workouts. Eat healthy.

In your own words, what is humility?

Maintaining a grateful attitude, not thinking you deserve all the accolades, but are willing to share the spotlight. Gracious in your acceptance of gifts, complements, and is not easily offended.

What is love?

God. It is receiving others right where they are without judgement. Accepting the good and the bad. Tolerance. Caring about your fellow human. Forgiving.

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Thank you, Monique, for spending this time with us.We enjoyed you!


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Copyright©2022. Monique Johnson.

Monique Johnson is a native Californian who relocated to Texas in pursuit of new opportunities just before the world-wide pandemic and social unrest. She is the former founder and president of a nonprofit after school program she created to help keep teens off of the streets. She brought awareness to the Prison Industrial Complex and how it’s growth was planned based on statistics pulled from the minority population. These stats have been improperly used to build more prisons, thus keeping this population incarcerated. She mentored youth to keep them from making bad choices that could land them in the unforgiving criminal justice system.

Johnson motivates single mothers, women in general, as well as young men to push through the hard parts of life. She is an experienced trainer, speaker, project manager, and has a gift of leadership as displayed in her professional career and community. Her books and her upcoming workshops are geared toward her goal to help women and men in their business, personal and spiritual development.

Check out my review of Monique’s book here!

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Be Sure to Follow Monique online!

Email: mjohnson@envision1t.com

Website: http://www.envision1t.com

Instagram – envision.1t +  relentless.lyresilient

Facebook – Envisioning Possibilities

TikTok – MJENVISIONIT


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

The Power of Systems and Consistency

I’ve been Self-Publishing my books for twelve years now. Usually, after learning I’ve published fourteen books and counting, people are astonished. They want to know what the secret is. There’s only one problem.

I don’t have a secret.

But, I do have a system. 

System: A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized framework or method.

Every time I publish a book, I follow the same 5-7 steps. 

Call it a schedule if that’s easier, but this timetable helps me to publish with ease every time. 

Cover by Yocla Designs

This is the new book cover for my first novel, The Aftermath (2012), which I revealed years ago. I had planned to launch a second edition but still have not finished revising it. However, I won’t have to worry about a cover when I get around to it. It is bought and paid for.

As you can see, I don’t always keep my steps in exact order, but I am never too far off track because I have a blueprint to follow. 

Tip: Always get your book edited and formatted before your artist designs the entire book cover because the book’s trim size determines the book’s dimensions. A cover design (just the front) is okay if you’d like to use it to promote and build excitement, but for an accurate width of the spine, for instance, your artist will need your exact number of pages which you won’t know until the book is edited and formatted. Getting the text formatted before the final cover is complete is part of my system. 

What I am saying to you is I do the same thing repeatedly. No magic. No secret sauce. Just systems and consistency. 

I call this series Indie Author Basics because I genuinely believe simplicity is king. All you have to do is find a way that works for you and repeat it. That’s a system. A collection of parts working together. 

If you have not written your book, what can you do every day to move you closer to finishing? Could you write it every morning while drinking coffee? Could you write it before bed? During lunch? What system works for you?

If you’ve written your book but have not published it, click on the link below and schedule a call with me. If you are looking to Self-Publish, you don’t have to figure out a system. Just use mine!


Schedule a free discovery call.

Need more Indie Author Tips?

Check out the IAB archive here.

Black Only Awards

I hope you are doing well.

It’s finally time to reveal some news I’ve been sitting on.

I was nominated for the Book Author of the Year Award by the Black Only Awards a couple of months ago. I sat on this to give me time to verify their legitimacy as I had never heard of them.

My first thought was, what in the Indie BET awards is going on here? (I’m not in the business of being scammed, lol.)

It turns out that they’re legit. (And unlike BET they are black owned.) A little hood, but that’s alright! I’m from the south side of Chicago. These my people. No judgment here.

That said, I am excited at the opportunity to win a literary award. I don’t do it for the applause, but it is nice to be appreciated, and I thank whoever in the world who considered me for this and cast my name.

I am especially honored to end the year this way because of how the year started. I had an emergency surgery in February that took a long time to recover, and I am still healing. Also approaching is the second anniversary of my mom’s death (9/23). I needed this boost of encouragement.

How you start is not how you finish, that’s for sure! Keep striving, folks.

Now, here’s how to vote!

Visit the website at blackonlyawards.com.

Who Are You Voting For:

Yecheilyah

Category:

Book Author of the Year

Your Email

Why You Think I Should Win

That’s it! Easy peasy.

Note: Because I am asking for votes later than everyone else (I had to do my research first), I really need your support. You can vote as many times as you like, but voting ends October 1st.

Thank You!

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: Relentlessly Resilient: Overcoming the Resistance by Monique Johnson

Title: Relentlessly Resilient: Overcoming the Resistance
Author: Monique Johnson
Publisher: Monique Johnson
Published: July 4, 2022
Pages: 193

In Relentlessly Resilient, the author gives us an unflinching look at her life as a young woman enduring trial after trial and her resolve to overcome all the hurdles thrown her way. Seduced by the cute, play-boy, roughneck types, Monique learns the hard way that looks can deceive when a boy she falls for forces himself on her.

From the trauma of sexual assault, becoming a young mother, battling diabetes, and much more, this book kicks into gear quickly, starting with a series of tumultuous relationships, including dating a guy who had become addicted to drugs. I grew up around many addicts in the projects, including my parents, so I know their ways and could empathize with how she felt about the disappearing acts and stolen TV.

When she went to get the stolen bike back from the dealer, I was yelling at the book at this point. Girl, what are you doing? But nothing happened, to which the author credits her faith. The dealer actually gave her the bike back. Whew. That was close.

I enjoyed the author’s candor when discussing her thought patterns during these challenging times and talking us through the lessons she learned. One of the most important ones involved her son, Tyrell. Although she was working hard and providing for her son’s needs physically, she projected the stress she took on onto him every time she yelled at him to get ready or couldn’t spend time with him because of her busy schedule.

Relentlessly Resilient is a story I believe we can all relate to on some level. At the end of each chapter, the author shares a reflection as a final touch.

Monique’s story is a reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Constantly thrown through life’s curveballs, the author always recovers quickly and regains her strength.

Ratings:

Strong Introduction: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Organization: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Solid Conclusion: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Now Available in Digital and Paperback

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To have your book reviewed by me on this blog apply here.

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Please read through the entire policy. Space is very limited so don’t sleep. Apply by sending me the first three chapters.

(For more options, such as IG promo visit the services page of my website HERE.)

 

5 Things I Do to Stay Productive

Many people ask me how I manage doing so many things. First, you should know I don’t have a 9-5 and no small children to look out for, so this gives me more flexibility with my day. Here are some things I do daily to increase productivity.

I Walk Daily

One of the first things I do in the morning after prayer and coffee is walk a mile. Georgia is a hilly place and there’s this big hill around my house that will have you dying chile, but is a great way to get the blood pumping. If I don’t walk around the house, me and hubs go to the park and do two rounds around the area.

If I feel like doing more, I come back and hit the treadmill or the AB machine. You might wonder what this has to do with anything.

Physical activity helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and negative moods by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.The way I feel after a good workout and all the creativity flowing through me is thrilling. I feel energetic and happier than sluggish and irritated. It doesn’t have to be over the top. Thirty minutes a few times a week consistently can work wonders. You’ll find you have more mental clarity and creativity after working out.

I Don’t Watch Much TV

As much as I love my black movies and go around quoting them, the truth is I don’t actually watch a lot of TV during the day. Most of my TV watching is in the evenings and on the weekends. During the day, I’m working. If I finish early, I read or listen to a podcast or I’ll have an inspirational YouTube video playing in the background. I can listen to Maya Angelou interviews all day.

I Set Deadlines

This is important for me because I forget a lot. I set dates for important stuff I need to get done. I mark these dates on a calendar and it has to be a literal, physical calendar and not my phone because again, I’ll forget. Setting deadlines also helps me to be more accountable for what I said I would do.

Sleep

I sleep more now than I did before and it has made a tremendous difference. I don’t necessarily go to bed super early, but I take naps if I am feeling tired during the day. Yesterday, I got a lot of good rest because I went to bed earlier than usual. Slept for a few hours, woke up to eat and went back to bed. It was great. When we sleep, our brain reorganizes and recharges itself, and removes toxic waste byproducts which have accumulated throughout the day. This shows that sleeping can clear the brain and help maintain its normal functioning. If you are not getting enough sleep, it’s like a computer whose battery is low, it will eventually shut down. This means this “No days off, no sleep” grind culture is actually not very healthy.

Schedule Blog Posts

Far as keeping this blog updated is concerned, a lot of the posts ya’ll read I’ve scheduled to go live days in advance. First, I write a draft. When I come back to finish it I set a time I want it to publish. I also have the WordPress app on my phone so I can share the post on Twitter and respond to comments on the go.

Other things that help me is that I drink a lot of water and I don’t smoke or drink hard liquor. (I do drink wine.)

That’s it!

Speak to Me of My Mother, Who Was She by Jasmine Mans

As we get closer to September and the close of this year’s poetry contest, I will post more poems from other artists to help spark creativity.

This year’s theme is Freedom, so we will focus on poems that have to do with that in some way.

This one, “Speak to me of My Mother, Who was She,” is an excellent example of a freedom poem that digs deeper than the surface. Enjoy!

Photo by Thiago Borges

Tell me about the girl

my mother was,

before she traded in

all her girl

to be my mother.

What did she smell like?

How many friends did she have,

before she had no room?

Before I took up so much

space in her prayers,

who did she pray for?

  • Source: Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans, p. 13

Haven’t heard of the poetry contest yet? Wanna win interviews, cash prizes and more?

Click Here!

Dear Self-Published Author, Don’t Overpay to Play

“Don’t Overpay to Play”

– Vivica A. Fox

I low-key don’t like this picture because that black shirt was cuter in my mirror at home, lol.

I met Vivica in 2018 when she released her book Everyday I’m Hustling, which I read and reviewed. In it, she talks about not overpaying to play. When applied to Self-Publishing, this kind of advice can save us tons of money and wasted time.

The scammers are getting clever by the day, and they gear their tactics toward Self-Published authors. One thing we can do to arm ourselves is to understand the difference between investing in ourselves and our books and paying to play. 

Investments

An investment in your book is anything that will help with the publication, promotion, and marketing of your work in a way that brings value. These are usually services offered by well-known, reputable people and organizations that produce quality. It is when you vet and hire a competent editor, when you pay for a dope cover design, when you buy ads, when you pay for web design, coaching, and so forth. These are investments that can take you to new levels. It’s an investment because you get a return.

Paying to Play

Paying to play is paying an obscene amount of money for hype that offers no real value. They usually package these as opportunities to take your business to the next level. It could mean paying 10K to a vanity press to publish your book only to come out with a crappy cover and poorly edited book slapped up on Amazon or paying 2K to attend a pointless conference. 

Vivica explains it this way:

“When you get a little bit of success, you start getting invited to these big dinners and awards nights that on paper look like a great place to network. These invites can cost three hundred dollars and up! After you go to a few, you realize that you really just get the cocktail hour to network, and then it’s hard to see anyone once you’re seated for the presentation.”

Anytime you are paying tons of money to “get in the room,” you are overpaying to play. It doesn’t have to be literally in the room, as in Vivica’s example, but it could be anything that promises luxury but is not worth it in the end. Here are some examples from Anne R. Allen’s Bogus Agents, Phony Communities, Fake Conferences, and Pay-to-Play Anthologies: New Scam Warnings for Writers:

  • Republishing your book to send to “investors” or “get you a traditional publishing contract.”
  • Filming a pricey book trailer
  • Book-to-Film “licensing” (See my post on this heartbreaking scam And here’s Alli’s warning, including business names the book-to-film scammers use.) I hear from people every day who have been snagged by this scam.
  • High-ticket, useless marketing services.
  • Buying you an interview on a podcast or radio show nobody listens to.

And I will add to that:

  • Paying to be featured in an article no one knows exists or reads
  • Paying thousands to a vanity press only to receive poor editing and crappy cover art
  • Paying to speak at an event in exchange for “exposure” (seasoned speakers should get paid to speak)

Let’s say someone offers to promote your book to their 20K followers. What you want to look at is their engagement, not followers. No one will see your book if they have tons of followers, but no engagement. Engagement is likes, comments, saves, and shares. If they charge you money to promote on their page and they have 20K followers but 0-3 likes on a post, this is a red flag. It means chances are they bought their followers. (Buying followers is also a form of paying to play.)

Note: There’s nothing wrong with not having much engagement for the everyday social media user who is learning. I am talking about the people charging you money to be featured on their platform and using their millions of followers as bait.

Paying to play can also look like being offered a chance to be featured in an article in Forbes for the low price of $500.

Umm. Why would I pay to be featured in an article if I’m for real dope? Shouldn’t Forbes reach out to me?

This is the stuff we have to pay attention to. Many of these features in articles and media have been bought, not earned. This is paying to play the game.

I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this book tbh, but Fox drops some great gems.

Everything is Not a Scam, But Vet People

I am not one of those “everything is a scam,” type people. Some businesses are new to what they are offering and we all know to become an expert, you must start. Everybody was a newbie at something at some point. You will know the scammer by the services offered in relation to the price tag. Why am I paying 5K to attend a conference for you to tell me to have more faith? Not when I can take that money and pay for professional therapy.

AJC Book Festival

I’m passionate about sharing my experiences as a Self-Published author because there are so many scams aimed at us. They mainly target the novice Self-Publisher. I do not mean the novice writer. You can have written before and be a master of the English language and still get scammed because you know little about Self-Publishing a book. Or, you can have Self-Published and still get scammed. It can happen to any of us.

That’s why our greatest weapon against it is knowledge and experience.

“I always tell people to educate themselves with real experience.” – Vivica A. Fox


Need more Indie Author Tips?

Check out the IAB archive here.

Need More Guidance? Schedule a free discovery call or book a consult.