Thursday, February 14, 2019

Keep the Change

I have a special treat for you today. I'm sitting here with a friend and author, Thaabit Hedgepeth. Thaabit has written a book that is probably not the type you normally read and is about a subject you most likely are not familiar with--life behind prison bars. Thaabit went to prison at age 16 for two counts of murder and is here today to show that a person CAN turn his life around, if he chooses to.

Welcome, Thaabit. I'm so happy to have you here. Tell us a little about your life now. 

Thaabit HedgepethI'm from Raleigh, NC. I've been married to my awesome wife for 11 years and we have two very beautiful children, ages 10 and 7. Outside of my writing and speaking career, I've been in the restaurant industry for the past 12 years and am currently a General Manager for Zaxby's.

How long have you been writing?

My infatuation with writing actually began in the first grade, over 30 years ago, writing love letters to various girls in school. While I received many 'no's' to the question, "Will you be my girlfriend?" I received great feedback on the writing itself. I could always see how moved they were by the words. Writing took on a different level of importance at the age of eight when I placed second in a North Carolina Public School poetry contest. 

What type of writing do you normally do?

Non-fiction and poetry.

Give us a brief synopsis of your book.  

Keep the Change: Transformation from the Inside-Out
My book, Keep the Change, is the blueprint for anyone struggling with life's challenges and obstacles, helping them become the person they've always desperately fought to be. 

Tell us what prompted you to write it?

Facing life in prison at the age of 16 for two counts of first degree murder, I was left with only two options. I could either accept responsibility for my actions and change my mindset and behaviors, or I could continue down a path of destruction which would ultimately result in death. I wrote, Keep the Change, for those like myself, who struggle with the idea of changing their thoughts and behaviors, which in turn, helps them change their lives. My goal is to touch and impact as many people as possible.

How long did it take you to write this book?

Nearly nine months.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

One of my favorite lines is, "On your path to change, commitment is the gift birthed from the womb of discipline and consistency. Its parent is determination."

Is Keep the Change published and, if so, when and by whom?

It was self-published through Amazon's KDP in January, 2019.

How can my readers get a copy?

Readers can get a copy on my website, It can also be purchased on

What do you do besides write?

Outside of writing, I'm also a keynote speaker and mentor, empowering today's youth and shaping tomorrow's leaders.

What is your advice to would-be writers?

I'm sure it's cliche, but no matter what, just write. I also believe it's very important to surround yourself with other writers via a group or just personal connections. This could not have been possible without the support, encouragement, and feedback from the awesome writers I've been blessed to have met and built relationships with. Shout-out to Linda, Barbara, Pam, Christine, and Jim for all of your help along the way!

What do you wish you knew when you started your writing career?

I wish I would've understood the importance of marketing and promotion long before the book is released. If it is to impact others, it must first reach them.

What’s next for Thaabit Hedgepeth?

Now that the weight of publishing my first book has been lifted and I'm officially an 'author', the next step is to continue writing and publishing books. My vision is to inspire and impact people across the world to live lives of greatness and reward!

Friends, I encourage you all to buy this book and read it. You'll get not only an inside look at life behind bars but also at the road that led Thaabit to prison in the first place. Find out what it took for him to turn his life around. 

Quote of the Day:  Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars. Beck

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dear Diary

Last week I bought a 2019 diary to have available for January 1st.  It sat at the ready on my nightstand waiting to be opened and have the first words of a new year etched in it.

On a personal note, my diaries are more like Sgt. Friday’s journals--just the facts, ma’am. No deep insights or personal reflections or heartfelt gushing. Just where I went, what I did and occasionally what celebrity died or who won the Superbowl. Period. If you suffer from insomnia and want a sleeping aid, read my diary. It’s boring with a capital B. BUT, it does serve a purpose as I’m able to look back and see when I took a vacation, bought a car, moved, you get the picture. Just don’t ask me how I felt about the vacation, car, or move, because you won’t find it there. I keep my emotions to myself so not even Dear Diary knows how I feel.

What’s the purpose of this? It's to say that we all have a brand-new year ahead of us and how we fill those empty pages is yet to be known. When the year comes to an end and you and I have bought a new 2020 diary, what will this current one be filled with? Will there be events we never could have imagined? Some really amazing thing that happened? Some bad news that took us to the brink?

It’s a good thing we don’t have a crystal ball and can see the future for if we could, we’d just go ahead and fill in all the pages without waiting for the days to arrive on the calendar. As it is, we have to wait and see what each new day brings. And that, my friends, is the beauty of life. Every day is different and, like a book, it has a new beginning, a half-way point, and a finale at day’s end. And the next day we arise to see what that day will bring.

What will you say at the end of this year: What a great ride 2019 was? How glad you are that it’s over?  Only time will tell and it's not telling us, just yet.

Quote of the day: “What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.”  Anne Frank