We first wrote this story about Local Author Night, which occurred April 25 at the Riviera Beach Public Library, and focused on just that: people in Palm Beach County (PBC) who’ve written and published books. There were five authors on the program, which featured Library Director Cynthia N. Cobb asking questions–such as ‘why did you write this book?’—and the authors reading passages, networking and signing their publications.
But did you know there’s lots of PBC residents who have books on shelves with their names on them? Yes. So, we gathered a few of them here, including those who were at the municipal library that April night, and included short takes on their books.
We also received calls and emails about other local published authors and, because we just love that, we will be continually updating this story with these new additions. Most of their work is available on Amazon.com and, in some cases, on their or other websites, which we also list if available. Most of their books are about life’s experiences and how to celebrate or overcome them. Interesting! For more on the writers in the April 25 event, see below, and click on the link under the picture.
As for the other authors about which we know (in the main picture):
The Rev. I Renai Collins is a longtime, skilled community activist who combines faith and spirituality with uplift and celebration. Her book of poetry, Can’t, Can’t Be is also the name of a signature verse that, in simple language, covers most aspects of daily living. Read more about her here and, about the book, here.
Valerie Grimsley is the very committed director of the Riviera Beach Youth Empowerment Program. Her book, The Repair: Broken But Not Destroyed, is about, as she says, “a life that came untangled.” The book explores why life got off track thanks to, in part, an unavailable father and worldly relationships, but came back together through God’s intervention and “purpose.” Find the book here. Ms. Grimsley also does audience-focused, uplift-inspired talks; contact her at Launchinnovativeinstitute@gmail.com or 561-425-3173.
Jervonte Edmonds is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Suits for Seniors, which launched in 2016 as an eight-week, life-skills training program for high school men of color but has since expanded to include high school women and children in elementary and middle schools of all races and colors. It’s now about achievement for all. His book, Adventures of the Rich and Famous, is about encouraging all children to follow their dreams and believe in themselves. It’s getting traction: in March, he did a month-long, 10-stop book tour across PBC with Bridges, a program of the Children’s Services Council of PBC. Learn more about his nonprofit here and, the book, here.
Addie L. Greene. Need we say anything more than that name? A former mayor in Mangonia Park, former state Representative, former County Commissioner and founder of the Palm Beach County Caucus of Black Elected Officials, Madame Greene is well-known for what her book, From the Coal Mines to the Board Room: Reflections on the Rise of Black Politicians in Palm Beach County, is about. But it also speaks to the critical importance of participatory democracy–especially for the young. Indeed, her book has such value that the School District of PBC is buying it for some school libraries. Find the book here.
Betty Turso is a longtime teacher of English who is now at John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres. She self-published her book, John Horse: Florida’s First Freedom Fighter in 2015 and received a silver medal from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. John Horse was a black Seminole leader during the second Seminole War in Florida who grew to become a major force in the Seminoles’ successful battles for freedom. Visit her website here, where you can learn much more about John Horse as well as how to, well, write. The book can be purchased here.
Others we’ve since learned about as well:
Dan Calloway. A Riviera Beach native who spent 25 years with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, is revered in his hometown for the work he has done with children over the last half-century. He founded the Youth Recreation Association in 1965, which has mentored and coached thousands of kids on and off athletic fields, and, recently, also finished his book. Holes in the Tar Paper was featured at a book-signing event on April 26.
Pat Fedina. The founder and CEO of the nonprofit Care Managers of South Florida, published her book, No Time to Grieve: Give Me My Flowers While I Yet Live in 2011, after the deaths of her mother, father, grandmother, sister, brother and four other immediate family members in a small window of time. The book focuses on the intimate pain of the loss of loved ones and the critical importance of faith, spirituality and love in life to deal with it.
Linda Rose Williams. Her book, The People I Have Met, is about, as she says, “short stories of real people that I have met, and the spiritual connection between us.” It can be purchased here.
Do you know about other local authors? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep this list going–and growing!