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Baltimorean co-authors dynamic book celebrating faith, turning trials into triumph

Andrea Blackstone | 4/8/2016, 6 a.m.
Patricia Johnson-Harris knows firsthand that making a change in life can open unexpected doors and reignite success.
Baltimore resident Patricia Johnson-Harris is co-author of the book “Shift On: Twenty Stories of Turning Trials Into Triumph!” The book brings together 20 inspirational voices from various backgrounds, who overcame setbacks in their lives. Johnson-Harris founded the popular African American Authors & Empowerment Expo, which is now in its seventh year, as well as the nonprofit organization, The Youth Writers Challenge. (Courtesy Photo)

Patricia Johnson-Harris knows firsthand that making a change in life can open unexpected doors and reignite success.

The Baltimorean who has lived in Maryland for 20 years relocated from Bronx, N.Y. to improve her two sons' lives and her own. Johnson-Harris is now sharing some of her insight about conquering failure in the Amazon bestselling anthology, “Shift On: Twenty Stories of Turning Trials Into Triumph!”

“My greatest obstacle was trusting God enough so that I can begin to walk in faith. See, I knew that If I was going to leave that place… where I lived and how I was living – depressed, lost, afraid and feeling defeated— I needed to trust that God had my back, and that He was going to protect me and my family, if I just stepped out on faith,” Johnson-Harris said. “I felt as if I was suffocating in New York. I was existing, but I wasn’t living. I know if I was to live, I need to get out of New York and Baltimore was the lucky city.”

“Shift On” was officially released in early February. However, Johnson-Harris’ book signing and reading of her chapter was held at Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore on March 24, 2016. The project accountant by trade founded the popular African American Authors & Empowerment Expo, now in its seventh year of operation. The local event creates a platform that exposes independent and national authors to the general public, by helping authors connect with national book clubs, organizations and readers abroad. Patricia Johnson-Harris is also the founder of a nonprofit called The Youth Writers Challenge. The organization’s mission is to provide a platform for youth to creatively express themselves through writing.

After helping a plethora of authors to embrace their passion to write and promote their work, Johnson-Harris finally realized that she had a nonfiction story of her own to put on paper. The opportunity to publish it began during the 2015 African American Authors & Empowerment Expo that was held in Timonium. Nikki Woods, CEO of Nikki Woods Media, CEO of Victoria Street Publishing and Media Solutions and senior producer of The Tom Joyner Morning Show, participated in the event and told the Johnson-Harris about the forthcoming project, “Shift On.”

After much prayer, Johnson-Harris explained that she opted to share her story in hopes of helping other people through writing her chapter, “Failure Isn’t Fatal or Final.” She hopes that readers will be reminded that, ‘trouble don’t last always.’

“I want them (readers) to build a relationship with God so that they can learn to walk in faith. My story is my faith journey. I want them to realize that no matter how many times you’ve failed at something, that is not fatal or final, Johnson-Harris said. “Failure will make you stronger... It’s a stepping stone to your success.”

Woods, creator of the project, is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, graduated from Howard University. She penned the foreword and introductions for both installments— “Shift” and “Shift On,” while telling part of her story. Twenty co-authors contributed to each book that is published through Nikki Woods Media. Woods explained that “Shift” was inspired by the belief that by sharing our stories, we give others permission to embrace their truth and use it to turn trials into triumphs.

“The target audience for “Shift” is anyone who is looking to get to the "better" in their life or experience,” Woods said. “We hope that they walk away knowing that they can overcome anything because we have all been there, done that and triumphed.”

To purchase “Shift On,” or to learn more about the 7th Annual African American Authors & Empowerment Expo to be held at Morgan State University on October 15, 2016, visit: www.aaaexpo.net. A free companion journal to the anthology is available at: www.ShiftOn-TheBook.com.