DERRICK Interview with Author C.J. Daniels

May 13, 2016

CJDanielsEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with C.J. Daniels who has penned three novels, as well as a short story within the Lost Planets anthology alongside Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick and Edgar Allan Poe. He is the founder of Off the Beaten Path Press, which he first created for Evolution’s End, then opened up to others looking for a publisher offering freedom to publish under a label while collecting their net royalties.

D is for Dream: What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

My goal is to become a writer of thought provoking literature. I wanted to create the stories that I grew up enjoying, but with a bit of my own DNA inserted in it.

E is for Education: What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

I have a degree in communications and a minor in English. As a writer I find use for both as an asset in finding ways to communicate my stories in ways that readers can not only enjoy as fiction, but also write in a way that can be appreciated for its style.

R is for Resources: What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

I think the more than 50 years of genre exposure and an almost youthful love of superheroes gives me a leg up.

R is for Ready: When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

I think I was about ten years old when I dug out an ancient typewriter and started crafting my first story- about a moonbase under attack by aliens.

I is for Individual: Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

Gordon Bean. I met Gordon during my time with the New England Horror Writers Association. He’s a heck of a horror writer, and a friend.

C is for Challenges: What challenges have you had to overcome?

I’m a cancer survivor. I had stage 3 colon cancer after my first book came out in 2002. After that, it was balancing work with family and my own health commitments.

K is for Keys: What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

In a line from one of my favorite movies, Galaxy Quest. “Never give up. Never surrender.”

Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to inspire others with?

Just the fact that if you become a writer, it takes patience to hone your skills. No one becomes a bestselling writer overnight. In addition to that, you need a thick skin if you want to succeed. This is not a business that compliments you easily or often, and as I said before, if you want something like this enough, and you have something that you know people want to read about, then keep at it.

For more information, connect with Daniels on his website, or through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn or Pinterest.

Evolution’s End is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers.

(If you want to promote what you do with a DERRICK Interview visit Derrick Hayes or email him at

DERRICK Interview with 15 Time Author Vanessa Davis Griggs

March 13, 2013

VanessaDavisGriggsEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Vanessa Davis Griggs who is a motivational speaker and the author of 15 novels including The Blessed Trinity Series: Blessed Trinity,  Strongholds, If Memory Serves, Practicing What You Preach, Goodness and MercyThe Truth Is the Light, The Other Side of Goodness, The Other Side of Dare,  and July 30 release, The Other Side of Divine. Stand-alone novels  include: Ray of  Hope, Redeeming Waters, and Forever Soul Ties.

D is for Dream. What is your Dream?

To be able to do what I was put on the earth to do which is to use my gift of  words–written and spoken. I’d love to see movies made from my novels or even a  television series which would definitely work. I see that in my dreams, for  sure!

VanessaDGE is for Encourage. What encourages you?

Knowing that God loves me and has chosen me to do what I do. That’s an awesome concept–to know that before God formed me in my mother’s belly, He knew  me. To know that God has a plan for my life and that I get to be a part of what  He’s doing.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that  makes you unique or stand out?

The fact that I AM unique. That I’m not like anybody else, and that’s a good thing. I’m not a copy of anyone; I’m an original, created by God. So  I know who I am and WHOSE I am! Also, I walk in a spirit of  excellence.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are  doing now?

Wow, what an excellent question! I believe we know things even as young children. The problem is that people who have lived a while try to convince  children to dream a different dream than what’s in their hearts thinking they are protecting them from being hurt. But that has messed a lot of folks up from even pursuing what they’re on this earth to do. I have known since I was a  young girl that I love words, I love to talk, so that has helped me in being a  speaker. I love to write and create, which is perfect for someone who enjoys  penning books and even scripts (which is what I did). I wrote and directed  plays when I was in elementary school.

I is for Individual. Name at least one person that you know that you  feel others should learn about and why?

Too easy! My mother, Josephine Davis. I learned to love and not quit having this wonderful woman in my life. She made me feel that nothing was out of reach  for me to accomplish no matter where I may have started from. She’s a powerful  woman, and if you ever had the pleasure of crossing her path, you would know  what real love is.

C is for Continue. When you fail, things look bleak or are not  optimistic what makes you want to continue?dareb

I learned a long time ago that if you quit, you’re assured definitely not to  win or accomplish what you’ve set out to do. I just learned to enjoy the journey because I love seeing how God somehow works things out in the  end.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

Study and learn all that you can about what you’re interested in. Love what you do so that it’s never really a job but something you look forward to each  and every day. Whatever you do, do it with a spirit of excellence. Know that you  can’t truly be considered a leader if no one is following you. And  do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.  That’s golden!

Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to  inspire others with?

Believe in yourself and what you’re here to do. Decide you’re not going to quit before you even begin a thing. Because following your dreams is hard, but  oh so rewarding if you stick with it.

Visit Vanessa Davis Griggs for more information.

University of Illinois Alum Melda Beaty Gives Words of Encouragement to College Students

January 8, 2013

MeldaBeatyA Degree is Only The Beginning by Melda Beaty

I just knew I was going to be the next Carole Simpson. Carole was the first black female CNN reporter when I was in high school and college. She made me believe that with my voice, look, and power of the pen, I too could report the news to millions of viewers every night. However, what Carole didn’t tell me was that even with a college degree in Broadcast Journalism, I would still have to start at the bottom. My degree meant I had book knowledge of the profession, but no real experience.

In college, I gained all types of experiences both in and out of the classroom. I served on the student council, joined a sorority, produced a talent show for women, served as a resident advisor, played intramural basketball, and held internships. These experiences afforded me more than a college degree. They helped to define my passions in life. I learned that I love creative writing, teaching, leading, organizing, speaking, etc. more than I love “air time.”

Today, I have written two books, a stage play, and published several academic articles. College is a time to develop your passions while gaining the experiences needed to pursue them.

BookLimeAuthor, playwright, English lecturer, and writing consultant, Melda Beaty is the “one to watch.” Melda resides in Chicago, Illinois with her three gifted and beautiful daughters.

Her debut novel, Lime (2012), is being hailed as America’s Next Top Model meets Burning Bed. It is the first book to explore notions of beauty against the horrors of domestic violence. Melda is also the author/editor of a diverse and cathartic compilation of non-fiction writings by black women from across the United States. My Soul to His Spirit: Soulful Expressions from Black Daughters to Their Fathers won the 2006 National Fresh Voices Award. She published articles on minority student recruitment and retention in Black Issues in Higher Education, Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education, In Search of Fatherhood Forum and Proud Parent Journal. Melda’s prolific writing style led to an invitation to pen several short stories and poems for the Educational Testing Service for the California Achievement Test. Her current play, Front Porch Society, delves into the complex lives of four elderly black women in rural Mississippi Delta on the eve of the 2008 presidential election.

Melda earned a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.A. in Writing at Illinois State University. She currently teaches college Composition at South University. She is also a college writing specialist for Chicago Public Schools through her consulting business, College Bound Consulting.

Melda enjoys cardio and strength training, cycling, swimming, the theater, concerts, reading, and listening to NPR.

Visit Melda Beaty for more information.