Born January 24, 1975 in Saint Petersburg, Florida to Katie Mae Smiley, Shalona was the last of twelve children. She was often sick as a child and her illness caused her to be separated from the rest of the kids. After being isolated for more than a year she began to get bored with watching television so she began to write. She wrote anything that came to mind and anything that rhymed. Shalona’s writing was first noticed in the fifth grade when she won a poetry contest for grandparent’s day. She touched the lives of many grandparent’s that day. However, she never had any grandparent’s of her own. Her grandmother was poisoned when her mother was just six weeks old and her mother never knew her father. Her teachers all saw something in her that she was too young at the time to understand.
When entering middle school she continued writing hiding her work under her bed. The amazing thing about her writing as a child is that many of her writings she can recite still today.
As the years passed Shalona went on to high school finishing in her tenth month of pregnancy. By the time she graduated she was already the mother of a 2 year old little girl then later gave birth to her second child ten days after her graduation. She was just eighteen years old at the time. Two days after bringing her new child home from the hospital the devil tried to take her joy. Her first child’s father had showed up to her door with the police after filing an emergency ex parte motion. He was accusing her of abusing her child. After thirty days without her child custody was returned to her. Her child was finally able to return home but the incident scarred her daughter for life. It didn’t take her long to notice that the daughter that had left her wasn’t the same one that returned.
She was in college when she conceived her third child and later dropped out to help her mother who was caring for eleven children that were placed in her home by the court system. In 1994 she gave birth to her third child a baby girl. Three years after giving birth to her daughter she gave birth to her last child and only son. Ten months later she buried him after he died from Myocarditis a heart condition. One month later she closed on her first home, she was only 21 years of age. Shalona went on to work at a well known company for the next four years doing telemarketing making no less than nine hundred dollars a week. She realized that if she could make the company she was working for money then she could make money starting her own company. At the time she had three little kids and really didn’t know which way to go so she did the thing that she knew how to do she kept working.
While working with the company she met someone and entered into a long term relationship. After the first year of the relationship her partner began to be unfaithful, drink heavily, and use cocaine. Her relationship went downhill from that point on.
After ending a three year relationship, Shalona left her house and everything in it to start fresh. Many people thought she was crazy for doing so but she told them that the house was a material thing. It meant nothing to her. She knew that God would bless her with much more. Shalona knew that leaving her home would leave her homeless but she took that chance. Things were rough at times and there were times when she lived without electricity, water, or very little food. Prayer brought her through. Her youngest daughter said to her one day. “Mommy we still have each other.” Shalona realized that the things that she went through just made her stronger. She lived in what most would call the hood and little did she know these would be the same people that would support her years later.
In 2006, Shalona began to focus more on her writing. She began submitting her work to different sites and even was featured on a couple of them. Her work has been featured on Invisible Verse and also Kuma 2.net under the pseudonym Shaylove. Not long after she received news that her mother’s kidney’s were failing. She put everything on hold to take care of her. After a year of caring for her mom and attending college full time her sister took over and in 2008 as she began writing an empowerment book. When she told people that she was writing a book many of them laughed at her. The laughs didn’t discourage her instead they empowered her. With God’s blessing she started her company Soul on Fire Publishing then she met a sex addict. Just Years earlier she had started to write diary entries and named them Diary of a Sex Addict hoping one day to write a book. She then put the empowerment book on hold and in a week in a half wrote the true story of a sex addict from Tampa Florida. After getting positive feedback on part one she decided to give the readers what they asked for part two. Shalona has several other projects that she is also working on. All of them will be published under her publishing company Soul on Fire Publishing. She’s not interested in being signed with a major company or working for someone else.
In marketing her books Shalona returned to the same place where she had experienced hard times “the hood.” She was shown so much love and today her books are in the hands of many that she met years ago. She began feeding the homeless at Christmas and in 2008 and will feed them every year for many years to come. She believes that when she’s blessed she should give back to those that are in need. She knows what it’s like to go without and she knows what it’s like to be homeless.
Shalona resides in Pinellas Park ,Florida with her three kids. Her future plans include starting her own magazine and an organization for kids of single parents or with no parent. She would also like to start an organization that helps grandparents that are raising their grandkids also. Her goal is to see her books made into movies. Until then she will keep writing and giving her readers what they want, good writing. Her books are available on www.soulonfirepublishing.com or www.myspace.com/soulonfirepublishing or www.amazon.com. Also Read her poetry on www.kuma2.net under the pseudonym Shaylove.