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Grandparents are valuable vessels to connect their grandchildren with previous generations. International public speaker and therapist Dayle Malen’s bond with her grandchildren inspired her to create a unique children’s book that’s the first of its kind. Weeks before adding published author to her lengthy list of superlatives, I spoke with Dayle Malen to discuss her journey of becoming an author.


Ross: When did you first get the idea to write a book?

Dayle: When I would visit my grandchildren, they would ask me to make up a story on the spot using the characters they would give me. Since my granddaughter had just started reading chapter books, one day after telling a story, my daughter suggested I tell them Chapter 2 at the next visit. So the idea for a chapter book came from her. At the same time, I had an idea that it would be fun if there was a coloring page at the end of each chapter. They would then have a chapter book with their own interpretive color illustration to read again and again.

Ross: What were the biggest challenges with completing your book?

Dayle: Creating the story was easy compared to finding an illustrator that could capture the characters and scenes I had created in my head so perfectly. I was very fortunate to find Chandi and Jagath. They were so flexible and responded in a very reasonable timeframe. I plan on using them again.

Ross: What advice would you give to someone trying to publish their first book?

Dayle: I suggest they do the research to find the perfect team. I was intimidated (and still am) by self-publishing. While I was visiting my nephew and his family, I was shown a children’s book that had been written by one of their nannies and published by a friend in the business. What a gift Ross has been. I took my time finding an illustrator and saw many illustrations from many illustrators. Ross, Chandi and Jagath are my perfect team.

Ross: Which books inspired you to become an author?

Dayle: I have too many books to count! I am inspired by authors that inspire others to develop their own talents, such as Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “Don’t Let The Music Die Inside You”. Since I have published numerous articles for various magazines, I acknowledge the love of writing. I have already started writing a book based on one of the seminars I present – “How To Be Angry Better.” After many seminar participants asked me where they could find a book on the material and since the material was of my own design, I thought I should write a book.

Ross: Public speaking is one of the most desired ventures for authors and you have done public speaking internationally. What advice would you give to others trying to break into the public speaking realm?

Dayle: Practice in front of small crowds first, even if that means a gathering of friends and family. Your audience is there because they are interested in your topic. Remember, you are the expert on the topic and you get to choose the information you want to present. In other words, you know more than them.Unless you are a good storyteller, and know what to say and when, keep the information succinct. Your audience will lose interest if you ramble or give non-pertinent information. Last but not least, HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Ross: What do you have planned next for your literary career?

Dayle: I’ll continue writing the book “How To Be Angry Better.” I’ve indicated in “The Treasure in the Ocean” that there will be a sequel, so I’ll have to start that at some point. In addition, I promised my grandson I’d write a book with his preferred characters as well.

What are the main takeaways you want readers to have from your book?

I want the children to know that they had a part in creating a book that they can keep forever. There are also subtle lessons for the children within the book which I hope they pick up as well. And of course, I want this book to inspire the children to keep reading.

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The biggest misconception in therapy across various cultures is that something has to be "wrong with you" to see a therapist.


Until recent years, therapy and mental health have been swept under the rug by society. There is still progress to be made regarding social stigmas and systematic support for mental health, but there has been a shift in society to realize the importance and normalcy of therapy. Regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic status, each human will endure obstacles, situations, or challenges that will test our mental health. Therapy isn’t always utilized for crises. The best time to make sure your roof is in order is when the sun is shining. Crises are more prone to happen when regular maintenance hasn’t been performed. Therapy is often utilized as a resource for maintaining healthy mindsets, relationships, marriages, and careers. After learning of how important mental health professionals are, I made an intentional effort to lift the voices and publish books for Black Therapists that are making a difference in the culture, community, and economy. Dr. Shundrika Jones has been doing all three plus more. This week I had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Jones after she published her first book with Williams Commerce.


Ross: 2022 has been such a productive year for you, and I believe you have many more things to accomplish before 2023. Could you please tell the readers about your achievements this year?

Dr. Jones: 2022 has been a busy yet exciting year so far for me. I published my first book, and my business Collective Psychotherapy expanded. Additionally, I had a lot of success in my military career. I successfully completed my Company Command time.

Ross: What motivated you to start your business?

Dr. Jones: What motivated me to start my business was my passion to help others and my own mental health journey. I learned a long time ago to enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the results. That is truly what I teach my clients to do. Understanding that taking time to enjoy your healing journey creates mental stability like no other. Additionally, wanting to help the youth was another significant contributing factor to my business. For every child, I can reach and help equal one less emotionally and mentally damaged adult in the world.

Ross: What advice do you have for new authors wanting to grow their brand?

Dr. Jones: My advice for new authors is to follow your heart and be sure you are keeping your target audience in mind when you write or produce any new products. Most authors will probably agree that we are inspired to write in order to help others in some way, but as we build our brand, it is important that we continue to keep our purpose and customers in mind.

Ross: What are the unique aspects of your business?

Dr. Jones: At Collective Psychotherapy, we focus on helping individuals, families, and couples heal from traumatic events. We currently have two therapists, which allows potential clients to choose the therapists they resonate the best with. Additionally, I am hosting groups for teenagers to help them learn their emotions and effective ways to navigate and communicate with them.

Ross: How has releasing a book changed your career?

Dr. Jones: Releasing my book has been a bonus in my career. I talk a lot about shifting your perspective with my clients. One way to do that is to use positive affirmations and journaling. Therefore, my book has been used by many of my clients, and it has helped them identify their own thinking patterns.

Ross: What are the biggest misconceptions about mental health and therapy?

Dr: Jones: The biggest misconception in therapy across various cultures is that something has to be "wrong with you" to see a therapist. Therapy is viewed as a luxury expense for many people. Many people also only think of mental health as a label such as a diagnosis. The truth is you can see a therapist to learn ways to adjust to life changes or cope with life stressors, which we all experience in life. We do not have to go through life suffering in silence.

Follow Dr. Jones on Instagram & visit Collective Psychotherapy - Are you looking for relief from life’s daily... to learn more about her business.

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Ross: When did you first get the idea to write a book?

Brian: I first got the idea to write a book back in 2015. Writing was a cathartic experience for me and helped me to release a lot of the feelings that I was hiding and holding in. By writing things down I was able to find my voice to be able to talk about all the things that happened and start to process it all to move towards healing.

Ross: What were the biggest challenges with completing your book?

Brian: Some of the biggest challenges in completing the book for me were actually finishing it and making the decision to release it. I was struggling with how do I bring the book to a closing as well as deciding how vulnerable I wanted to be with sharing certain elements of my story. Completing this book was definitely a process that I learned to trust wholeheartedly. I had to understand my true job in this whole process was simply to share my story.

Ross: What are the biggest lessons you learned about the book creation process?

Brian: I have learned that writing a book can be a very tedious process overall especially when you want what you’re saying conveyed a certain way. There is a lot that goes into telling the story just the way you want it.

Ross: How has releasing a book impacted your career?

Brian: I believe overall it has raised awareness about who I am and what I am capable of. It also, has established my credibility as an author.

Ross: What is your profession aside from writing?

Brian: Aside from writing I have been a defense contractor since 2011.

Ross: What advice would you give to someone trying to publish their first book?

Brian: I would tell them to grant themselves grace along the journey and don’t be afraid to create visuals to develop how they want their book to flow from beginning to the end. Also, I would tell them that power lies in vulnerability because it helps to build true connection with readers.

Ross: That’s amazing advice! How did you find strength in your vulnerabilities?

Brian: I was able to find the vulnerabilities did not mean I was weak. It meant I was strong enough to be transparent and have a very human experience. Vulnerability requires you to get really honest with yourself about a lot of things. And if you won’t be honest with you then don’t expect anyone else to do it.

Ross: Which books inspired you to become an author?

Brian: The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, The Alchemist and A Course in Miracles. These books helped me to understand that all you really need is already inside of you if you’re just willing to tap into that power.

Ross: What do you have planned next for your literary career?

Brian: I want to explore some different genres of writing. I want to see what I can do with fiction and poetry. I don’t want to limit myself to one style of doing things. I believe there are some more ways to become innovative with literature.

Ross: What are the main takeaways you want readers to have from your book?

Brian: I want the reader to know that they can overcome anything and that they should never count themselves out. I also want the reader to understand that life is a learning process, and you have to be willing to grow through what you go through. Healing is a beautiful journey of becoming the best version of yourself along the way. Forgiveness is a powerful tool and making peace with your past sets you free to focus on the present moment and look to the future with optimism.

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