Valerie Twyman was born and raised in Joliet, Ill, a thriving town outside Chicago. Valerie began her career in the corporate world as an expert in Business Administration, Training, Coaching / Mentoring, Account Management, Vendor Relations, Workforce Management, and Human Resources. Although she enjoyed success in business, her passion for writing kept calling her. She suffered trauma at the young age of 9 and found comfort in writing. This childhood trauma was the basis of her 2022 Hurston Wright Foundation’s Crossover Award Winning memoir Blue Butterfly: Explorations of Innocence. The judge of the 2022 Crossover Award, writer Ron Nixon described her submission as "a wonderfully written and moving story about childhood trauma. She also established NHerself Expressions in 2019 to focus on helping others heal from childhood trauma. An excerpt from her memoir was subsequently published in Text Power Telling Magazine. She found community at Lit Diaries, a book lounge and event space that curates literary and cultural events, where she serves as the Communications Coordinator. With so many stories to tell, Valerie has only just begun
Sha'Quiel Smith is a Graphic Designer from Chicago, Illinois. Recently is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Communication Design at Purdue Northwest University in Hammond, Indiana. She also has an Associate in Applied Science for Multimedia Arts. She specializes in Branding, Advertising, and Illustrations. In her spare time, she loves a good book or two and also is an avid horror movie watcher. When not busy with work and schooling, she is a wife and also a mother to a beautiful little girl. Sha'Quiel loves creating art that inspires awe in the mind and is continuing to craft her skills in hopes of one day starting her own business.