Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Journey: Sidebar

Hey, don’t tell my editor that I’m not working on my edits right now. It’s been a bear, I’m making my way through, but I need a break.

So, since the last time I shared about the writing process, I've had to juggle that with prep for pre and post release promotions.  Love my team because they've created a great plan. Some I like some I don’t. One that appealed to me is the photo-shoot. I pulled out my camera and was ready to roll. Well, that didn’t set well with them. I knew that because they wouldn’t stop laughing until I threatened to walk out.

Hurt feelings set aside I listened to them and now I’m sharing with you.

Selfies, those spontaneous cute pics we take of ourselves are okay to post on our FB or blogs. However, when you’re running a business (and yes publishing a book is a business), you need to put your best self forward. That begins by enlisting the services of a professional photographer. It also requires you spending hours in a studio or on location.

Why? Because the photo-shoot is more than getting glammed up and striking a few poses.

Before we set up the shoot we had to look at the duration of the book campaign. This shoot had to include photos appropriate for all seasons of the promotion. Included on the list of needs are photos for the website, media kit, speaker/conference bio, print articles and much more.

That meant I needed clothing and accessories that ranged from business to casual and suitable for any holidays that fell in between. I’m not a big makeup person so that also had to be made clear. Most of all I needed the shots to portray the real me, therefore location/backdrops had to reflect that as well. 
And here’s a big SIDENOTE. Don’t change the color of your hair after the shoot. Yes, I did that (note this pic and the one in the banner). Yes we had to setup a second shoot.
Okay, I’ve got to get back to work. Talk to you soon.
Until then, remember to use your words to bear good fruit.






Sunday, December 15, 2013

In ‘A Shoulda Woulda Christmas', Chaka Stringer is in the place many can identify with. It’s the holidays and she doesn’t have the finances for little more than basics. She struggles with raising two sons; one who is mildly autistic. Her additional concern is being married to a man she considers to be an under-achiever. 
Like many she often wonders what life would be like had she made different choices. Traveling home after losing not one, but two jobs, she soon finds out.
With a modern day twist on an often told tale, Author Michelle Stimpson takes readers on a journey through what Chaka thought ‘shoulda or woulda’ been her life.
Hilarious in some ways, but primarily thought-provoking, this Christmas tale brings home the fact that life isn’t always what we want. It also displays that what we have isn’t always as bad as we make it seem.
Learn more about the author and her works at:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

THE JOURNEY - Editing!!!!!!!

I'm consistently asked these two questions. One - When is your next book coming out.? Two - What's the process for getting a book into publication?

Well, I'm proud to say that I have an answer for question number one. Through the Fire, the sequel to Business Unusual, releases in 2014.

As for the process question, it will take up more space to adequately answer than you want to read in one sitting. Instead, I made a decision, (actually I was bullied into this by some so-called friends and supporters). Instead of hosting a blog class, I'm taking you all on the journey with me.

What this means is that once a month I'm giving you updates on what I went through to get this book into publication. You'll get to see my triumphs, my pitfalls and at times, my less than stellar personality.

That said, let me bring you up to speed as to where I'm at in this process and how I got here.

Editing. I’m currently in the third phase of editing. The first phase began with my critique group.

After the first draft I took a look at the characters I’d created. I then revisited my character's professions and highlighted processes that are key to the story. Next I assembled a group of those who could lend authenticity to my work. Love this group because I got to bounce ideas off of them and receive feedback. I also didn’t like them for periods of time because they challenged me in ways I didn't appreciate. I'll give you an example.

There's a scene that includes a 911 call, an arrest, being processed into the system and an arraignment. I was so proud of it. That was until the 911 dispatcher, police officer and homicide detective tore it apart.

What? I was offended. I’ve been watching Law & Order (the original and every spin off for years). How was I to know that what they show you on television isn't true? Sheesh.

Now this was just the beginning. After I got my act together and did some serious research each member of my assembled group gave me their seal of approval.
Next I had to engage the content/developmental editor.
Here's where you really know that you need fresh eyes. Writing requires multiple rewrites. In that process one can easily make small, large and sloppy errors. Since I promised to be real I'll share a couple of mine.
Cut and paste. I would move a sentence from one place to other. The problem was, I'd somehow miss the punctuation. I promise you I had extra periods all over the place. Also, I didn't use the find option as well as I should have. You need this if you've changed the name of a character, place or thing. If you don't and you don't catch your changes, I promise, your editor will want to know who Jerri, Jerry and Jeri are. I could go on, but I must preserve my reputation.

Now, we've arrived at my current destination, copy editing. I so love my editor, but not at the moment. We've hashed out a majority of the returned comments. Now I really have to roll up my sleeves and get the edits done on what remains.

Bottom line short, the editing process is not for the faint of heart. It is however one of the most important and time-consuming steps in the writing process.

Now that I've shared, I need to get back to work. I have a deadline to meet and editors expect you to meet them. But between you and me, check back soon because I'll have some sidebars to slip between the monthly updates. 

Until next time – remember to use your words to bear good fruit!


Saturday, November 30, 2013


Christmas is nearing and Olanma Obinze is not in the holiday spirit. In order to bypass eviction and catch up on her bills, she needs to  land the interview of a lifetime. Her blessing is that her best friend Zara can make that happen.  The challenge in the plan is Zara’s brother Abayomi Rice.

Olanma has had it up to her eyebrows with rich men who disregard the feelings of others. And now here comes Abayomi. He’s rich, handsome, powerful and giving her an ultimatum that could become the barrier between her and the answer to her needs. 

The Christmas Ultimatum by Unoma Nwankwor takes readers on an international journey. Along the way the travelers will visit the stations of ‘Uncertainty, Vulnerability and Forgiveness’.
To learn more about Ms. Nwankwor and her works visit her online at:


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


There are books that are interesting due to the ‘what if’ factor of the content. Then there are books like Anybody’s Daughter  by Pamela Samuels Young that lives within the souls of its readers.

Although a work of fiction, this novel goes to the heart of the matter of what most believe happens only in third-world countries. It is the story of a young girl who sets out meet who she considers to be the boy of her dreams. That meeting turns into the nightmare of her life as she is plunged into the world of human trafficking and child prostitution.

The content of this book is raw and very real. That reality supported by facts makes this a compelling and necessary read for parents and guardians. It should also be shared with and discussed with children.

Most would say it isn’t for the faint-of-heart. For those who fit that category, it would serve well to ‘buck up’ and read. Why? Because what we don’t know and aren’t teaching our children can hurt them.

Author Samuels-Young is to be commended for exposing the depth of this fast-growing industry.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Up To Date

As I began the process of updating my website ( I found areas that needed my immediate attention; especially my bio.
As I looked it over I wondered if what I had was enough or too much. I wasn’t really sure. After speaking to a few I consider well-versed in this area I set up a strategy based on their suggestions. I've shared those suggestions below.

*Read the bio of several authors and make a list of what you like and don’t like
*Prepare your bio taking care to make it professional and     that it also conveys your personal style

*Include information that lends credibility to you as it pertains to the purpose of the bio
*Include any personal affiliation you may have (especially those that connect with the story line of any of your works)  
*From that create a mini, short, medium and extended bio appropriate for the multiple areas you operate in

Some reading this might question the last two items on the list above. Here is the sensible answer. Most writers are talented in multiple areas and are often called upon for interviews and speaking engagements. By creating a mini, small, medium and extended bio in each of your disciplines, you’ll be prepared for the opportunities that arise.

I hope this information will help you in some way. Feel free to respond with information you may have to add to what’s been offered here.


Until next time – remember to use your words to bear good fruit!










Thursday, October 31, 2013


Have you ever felt like the entire world is against you? That nobody cares. Then out of the blue comes a word of encouragement. The source is unexpected, but exactly what you needed to see you through; verify that you're not alone.
Joshua DuBois became that source of inspiration to President Barak Obama.
Over the years Joshua DuBois kept those daily transmissions and has now parlayed them into The President's Devotional.
The President's Devotional is a compilation of scripture and prayers meant to inspire and comfort those searching for daily breath of fresh air.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

They're Back!

When I was asked if I wanted to attend an event featuring Jason Mott, my eyes glazed over. Who in the world is Jason Mott?
My lack of name recognition must have promoted itself like a neon sign across my forehead. I came to that conclusion because of the humorous expression on my friend's face. Rather than verbalize my lack of knowledge I was again extended the opportunity to partake of an evening with this unknown. I'm so happy that I accepted.
Jason Mott is a delightful, humorous and extremely humble young man. He is also a debut author. Oh, and did I mention that his novel--The Returned debuted at the top of the New York bestsellers list? And, did I mention that this debut novel has been picked up by Brad Pitt's production company?
 Resurrection (the renaming) will become a part of the ABC line up in March 2014.
So what's this story all about?
The Returned centers around Harold and Lucille Hargrove who lost their son Jacob when he was eight years old. A knock at the door thirty-two years later turns their world upside down. It is  impossible for Jacob to be standing there. It's even more impossible for people around the world be experiencing the same phenomenon.
It is an intriguing story from beginning to end. The prose are strong, the characters are ones you become invested in. Beyond that Jason takes the reader to realm that provokes the thought that maybe, just maybe, we're not alone.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Butler

There was a time when being a domestic paid little; came with long hours and an aura of shame. Shame came into play as people of color embraced opportunities for education and secured livable wage jobs. Sadly, as we prospered, respect for the toil that placed food on the table and clothes on backs, disappeared. So too did our stories. Stories that reminded us to be grateful for what those who went before us endured. 
On August 16th, 'The Butler' will premiere on screens in theaters we of color were once prohibited from entering. I invite you to partake of the authorized preview.
Also, if you haven't had the opportunity to read the novel, a synopsis is provided for you below.
When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he’d highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served no fewer than eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. During his thirty-four years of service, Allen became what the Independent described as a “discreet stagehand who for three decades helped keep the show running in the most important political theatre of all.”

While serving tea and supervising buffets, Allen was also a witness to history as decisions about America’s most momentous events were being made. Here he is at the White House while Kennedy contemplates the Cuban missile crisis; here he is again when Kennedy’s widow returns from that fateful day in Dallas. Here he is when Johnson and his cabinet debate Vietnam, and here he is again when Ronald Reagan is finally forced to get tough on apartheid. Perhaps hitting closest to home was the civil rights legislation that was developed, often with passions flaring, right in front of his eyes even as his own community of neighbors, friends, and family were contending with Jim Crow America.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trouble On Every Hand

Newly retired school teacher Eugeena Patterson  is a feisty woman many can identify with, especially mothers.
Out for her daily walk she stumbles  upon the body of an estranged friend.  From that moment the world as she knew is turned upside down.

Along her way to investigating the crime readers will be introduced to a few interesting characters.  Those characters include Amos Jones, her neighbor and retired detective, her daughter, two sons, a handful of grandchildren, a nosey neighbor and an over-indulged dog.

This story will give readers  much to consider as the police view her daughter Leesa as a person of interest in the crime. Contrary to their belief, Eugeena suspects and investigates a few suspects of her own. Author Moody’s ability to  combine information about diabetes and post-partum depression makes for a flavorful helping of  Deep Fried Trouble.
Managing Diabetes Tip #6 – Rest
“A sweet, sweet spirit hovered around me. I inhaled and began my morning session with Jesus. It had taken me a long time to learn that going to church wasn’t all about what I could get from the Lord. Prayer was a time to bless the Lord. Praise Him.
I hummed, ‘Oh how I love Jesus, Oh...’”
 ~ Eugeena Patterson, Deep Fried Trouble
I’ve known about my diabetes for over a year now, but it doesn’t mean that I have my lifestyle of managing it under control. It takes some serious discipline to stay healthy and alive. Just in case you know someone or you have this disease yourself, I want to provide you with some tips I’ve learned over the last year.
Diabetes can wear you out, don’t I know. However, I make myself go to bed early and allow myself some extra time to get up in the morning. I don’t push myself to be active short of my daily walks, but I do make sure I take the time to simply rest and let my body repair itself. Do yourself a favor and buy some pretty bed clothes and buy some pretty sheets with matching covers. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Rest yourself.
Now that’s just one tip, child. You keep your eye on the Deep Fried Trouble Virtual Book Tour (July 15- 26, 2013) for more tips.
Take Care Now!
~ Ms. Eugeena
Book Giveaway! Are you ready to get into Deep Fried Trouble?
This contest is so easy! Do you want to win an autographed copy of Deep Fried Trouble? Stop by one or more of the blogs this week and leave your answer to the following questions.
You know I’m a retired social studies school teacher.  I kind of miss my students. I said kind of… Anyhow, I was curious to know, who was your favorite teacher and what subject did they teach?
 About the Author                            

Tyora Moody is an author and entrepreneur. Her debut novel, When Rain Falls, was released March 2012 (Urban Christian). This is the first book in the Victory Gospel series. The second book in the Victory Gospel Series, When Memories Fade, was released in April 2013 (Urban Christian).

Deep Fried Trouble, the first in the Eugeena Patterson Mystery series will be released June 2013.
Tyora has coined her books as Soul-Searching Suspense. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. She has served as a judge for the Christy Awards for three years.

She owns and operates, a design and marketing company. For over twelve years, she has worked with authors, small business owners and non-profit organizations to develop their online presence. For free tips, how-to guides and e-courses, visit:

When Tyora isn't working for a client or doing something literary, she enjoys spending time with family, catching a movie on the big screen, traveling and when the mood hits her, baking cookies. Visit the author online at:



Monday, July 22, 2013

Black and Write

The ability to move one's creativity from the realm of a good idea to a viable product does not come without its challenges.
Challenges sharpen the artist in a variety of ways. However, there are obstacles that, although build character and determination, are unique to a certain segment of creative artists.
Black and Write, the debut documentary by filmmaker Mikki C. Mikki explores the successes and challenges of traditional and self-published African American artists and the business side of publishing. Below is a preview of this this soul-stirring work of art.
To learn more about Mikki C. Mikki and her works, visit her online at: and

Saturday, May 11, 2013

It is often said that there is nothing more precious, strong and enduring as a mother's love. As a mother and having the love of a wonderful mother, I must agree.
Today I have the honor of presenting to you the inner thoughts of two women I’m proud to call ‘friend’. So sit back have a cup or glass of your favorite beverage and enjoy ‘A Bouquet of Love’. And to all it applies -- Happy Mother's Day!
 All-Star Cheerleader
While I lay claim to the all-star cheerleading mother of all time, I know that what she did wasn’t easy.
She had four children of her own. Their personalities were so diverse that DNA testing would be required to validate with any degree of certainty that we were ‘blood kin’. Then take into account the countless first and second cousins, children of family friends that needed to live with us for a little while. Not one went hungry, without clean clothes, medical care, a place to sleep or felt different from her own children.
She stood four-foot ten inches, had an eighth grade education and more sense than many Ph.D. candidates. She remains an untiring cheerleader and encourager, teacher, leader and strong tower. And I remain in awe at all this ninety-three dynamo does.
So, today for all those times I forgot, for my brothers who didn’t think you knew how to raise a boy, to our cousins, friends and neighborhood children I want to not only say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ but also extend a truly heartfelt ‘Thank you’.
Jeanette W. Hill is a playwright, director, producer and author. You can visit her online at:
Seedtime and Harvest Time
As a young child, I never even knew we were (by the country’s definition) “poor.” I never knew I was supposed to be inferior to anyone else. I never knew there were things I couldn’t or shouldn’t be able to do in life. I credit a lot of this to my wonderful mother. What she taught me as a baby. What she told me as I grew up. What she expected from me, knowing there was greater inside of me than what was in the world that would, without a doubt, try to stop me from being all God had called me to be.
My mother made sure that we, her children, knew we could do anything in life if we believed and worked hard enough for it. Growing up, I really thought we were rich. In all that ever mattered in life I suppose you can say that my siblings and I were. We had the love of a mother who worked diligently to ensure we had what we needed. Even greater than that: We had a mother who introduced us to the Lord. She and my father didn’t send us to church; they took us to church—the ultimate concept of showing, not telling as we continued our relationship with God the Father (who gave His only begotten Son that we might be saved), Jesus (who shed His blood for the remission of our sins that we might have eternal life in Heaven), and the Holy Spirit (our Comforter and Guide).
I have the privilege of being on both ends of motherhood. I am the daughter of Josephine Davis and the mother of Jeffery, Jeremy, and Johnathan. Being a mother, you quickly learn it’s no cakewalk by any means. There are things you may have never imagined you find you’ll have to deal with. But once you’ve given your heart away to that child, it’s worth whatever you may have to do or go through. Love is truly a powerful thing. And the love of a mother will move mountains if and when a mountain gets in the way.
Mothers are like those who work a garden. The ground might be hard, but she’ll take what is needed to break up the soil so she can plant those things she desires to grow. She takes the time to plant the seeds or bulbs in the ground, knowing that what she has planted will, out of necessity, be out of sight for a certain time. Equally, she knows that even though no one can see what has been planted or what is happening below the surface, something is happening. Roots are taking hold. A shell (if applicable) is being broken open so that the tender plant can begin to break ground and move upward. And as she waits patiently, she’ll see that budding plant spring forth.
But a mother knows that when she sees the first sign something is indeed growing, her work has only just begun. She must nourish it in order for it to grow and grow strong. She must work to keep weeds at bay. There are times she might have to pinch back or prune some offshoots, move those plants that are too crowded some distances from each other. Not to hurt the thing that’s growing, but to make it bear bigger and stronger fruit. She’s diligent in keeping the bugs away, as certain parasites can eat…destroy what is promising to eventually produce. Then comes the time when what was planted has matured and is producing. She picks fruit from it and smiles, seeing that the produce has turned out even more wonderfully that she may have ever imagined. And in those times when there are problems with the fruit, she works to save what she can, knowing full well the effort that went into this labor of love. If it can be saved, she will do whatever she can to accomplish just that.  

So to the mothers who have given so much,
to mothers who may not know how much you’re appreciated or loved, to the mothers who have wondered how you made it through: Please allow me to say on behalf of all the lives you have touched in a positive way, “Thank you.” Continue to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding, and know that (in the end) your labor will not be in vain. After seedtime, there will be a time of harvest. Talk about a bouquet of love!   
Vanessa Davis Griggs is the author of 15 novels (which includes The Blessed Trinity Series) with number 16, The Other Side of Divine, releasing July 30, 2013. She also contributed ten devotionals to the Sister in Faith Holy Bible released by Thomas Nelson.
Visit her website:


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963

The Hallmark Channel is releasing an original movie, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, based on the works of Christopher Paul Curtis.
The story is of the Watson family who travel from Flint, Michigan in the summer of 1963. It will be the same year that four little girls die in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing.
The movie is expected to air in September. Ironically, September 15, 2013 is the 50th observance of that bombing.      
I’ll also keep you abreast of the progress of ‘Tell Them’, my one woman monologue as Denise McNair, the youngest victim of that bombing.


Monday, May 6, 2013

From the Writer’s Well

 What’s Your Fit?
Last month we spoke of the necessity of turning the often told tale into one that is uniquely yours. Today I’d like to take this a bit further by asking this simple question – What’s your fit?
By that I’m asking, what’s your comfort zone? What's your skill set?
Far too often authors will jump on the ‘popular’ bandwagon in order to cash in on the latest literary trend. My response to that is to be careful. Readers have an expectation of what they want from specific genre's. If you haven't truly mastered the art, wait until you have. Your reader deserves that.

Does that mean only write what you know? To a degree, yes. But what I’m really suggesting is that you not jump head-long into a genre without the proper tools, (writing style, formula knowledge, a compelling rather than lukewarm story).
That said, there are two questions to consider as you ponder crossing over into something new. 
What Is My Fit?
Most have the desire to write the great American novel. Few will accomplish that goal, but there’s no harm in trying. Begin by making a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Do so by employing all the honesty that’s within you. Share that list with a trusted (honest) colleague for their input.
How Do I Grow Beyond Where I Am?
Knowledge truly is power. Taking writing classes, attending literary conferences, reading online and print articles and/or joining a writing group, can be quite helpful. You might even consider writing practice stories and having them critiqued. Most important – read in the genre you're considering writing in. 

There are many more outlets to pursue in your quest to grow as a writer. Space does not allow me to list them in detail here. However, I would be remiss if I didn't leave you with this one last suggestion – write your vision.

Setting your sights and efforts on becoming the best writer you can be is admirable. As admirable as it is you'll be better armed for the task with the assistance of a written plan that includes the weaknesses identified on your original assessment list.

That written mission is your roadmap leading to the completion of your goal. Be mindful to not just write it, but to also go over it as often as possible. And, don’t become impatient. Rarely will the manifestation of the new craft materialize overnight.