It’s not everyday that you encounter genuine people who are beautiful from the inside out. For that reason, it’s important to hold onto them and cherish them when you find them.

This year has been an amazing year for me so far for many reasons but for one, in particular. This particular reason has led me to meet and form relationships with wonderful people and help spread awareness on domestic violence. In January, I posed as one of the cover models on the book cover of the novel Standing Firm by my friend and author Gerald C. Anderson, Sr. Little did I know how much more greatness would come after that one photo shoot.

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Since doing the shoot, I have had the opportunity to participate in radio interviews, attend both Standing Firm book release parties, and even sign autographs! I really enjoyed the book release parties. Check out the photos below from the Maryland party, featuring Renata Mikae’ on the left, Gerald in the middle, and myself on the right. (I am wearing this dress from Target and this necklace from Chloe + Isabel.)

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Photo Credit: C.King Photography

I have also had the opportunity to perform in my first ever acting role as Penny Davis, the oldest sister in the book. All of my cast mates are AH-MAZING, to say the least. It’s crazy how everything worked out with us coming together. Everyone is a “friend of a friend,” but we all fell into our roles perfectly. It’s like it was pre-destined. We have the best times together, no matter if we’re keeping up a sticker war in Facebook messenger or goofing off at rehearsals. I am beyond grateful and blessed to have met such exceptional, God-fearing people.

In the book trailer, Renata Mikae’ plays the youngest sister and main character Raine Davis. Damien Black, Raine’s husband and abuser, is played by Gregory Grist. Please be warned that this trailer is not for the faint of heart. Although this is a fictional situation, domestic violence happens everyday in real-life.

After the book trailer was released, the mini-movie was also released. Both were shot and edited by my husband’s company, O. Richardson Designs. As of now, the Standing Firm team is looking forward to having the first Standing Firm stage play at USF on October 17, 2015. It stars Renata Mikae’ as Raine Davis and co-stars Gregory Grist as Damien Black, Kelli Vonshay as the middle sister Nya Davis, and myself as Penny Davis. It is directed by none other than Katrina Brady of Pure Authority Productions, LLC. After the Tampa production, we look forward to taking the play on the road to New York City and Washington, D.C. All of the ladies’ wardrobe will be provided by my friend Sky Unikue, owner of Sky Unikue’s Elegant Clothing Boutique.

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Book Cover & Flyer Design: Madhouse Design Inc.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area and would like to attend, please purchase tickets at geraldcandersonsr.com and write ‘Andra Richardson’ in the comments. With each purchase of a Standing Firm item (novel, play, t-shirts, etc.), a donation will be made to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the None Lost Movement.  The Standing Firm team is also raising money for the completion of the full-length Standing Firm movie.  You can make a donation to this project on GoFundMe.  If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please do not hesitate to call The National Domestic Violence Hotline and 911. Help us save lives. I hope to see you at the play!

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