Friday, November 12, 2010

Never Give Up On Your Goals

My guest is motivational author, Dr. Tiffany Brown. She believes life is about taking risks to pursue your dreams. You cannot fulfill your dreams without risking failure. Tiffany also thinks the purpose in life is not about pointing out the problems but providing solutions. To do that she feels each of us must look in ourselves, with the help of God, to find those solutions.

Tiffany is a busy and ambitious lady who has worked in government, ran for mayor, runs an Internet talk radio station, is a successful entrepreneur and now author. Tiffany says she originally started writing as a means “ to encourage myself and now decided to share it with others.”

Tiffany made time to chat with me a bit and answer some questions.


Tiffany, thank you for visiting with us. You’re quite the businesswoman. You’ve built up four businesses. You’re involved with a radio talk show and a non-profit organization. What made you decide to give writing a try?

I have always liked to write. But I really begin to write more through my Twitter page from my mayoral campaign. I started with leaving famous quotes and begin to gradually share my thoughts about life for the ambitious.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

No. It definitely a lot more business than I thought. You have to be really hands on and have a strategy to encourage book sales.

What’s something about writing you wish non-writers would understand?

That it’s not as easy as it looks and it is an emotional experience. You are really putting yourself out there, good and bad. You allow yourself to be completely transparent and it can be scary experience.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

Business strategy, marketing and publicity. Each are incredibly important when you building yourself as a brand.

Some Dos and Don’ts. Based on things you’ve learned, what advice would you give an aspiring author? How about one Do and one Don’t?

One do is to be to be strategic about selling your books. Hiring your own publicist may be a good idea to ensure you get your desired response. Don’t assume you’re a major priority just because you have book deal.

One don’t is similar to the do. Don’t wait on the publicity department for your publisher. Don't rely on your publisher for everything. You can miss out many additional revenue streams by waiting on your publisher to act.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

The best advice was to hire my own publicist and the worst advice was not worry about digital rights. The digital rights are extremely important and you should try to retain them if you can.

Any thoughts you'd like to share about the business side of writing?

Make sure to set goals for yourself and do your homework to achieve them. If you want to be a on the New York best seller list, then create a strategy to get there. Do not leave your fate in someone else’s hands.

 What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned not to take things so personally. Most decisions are based on individual personal ambition. Ambition is never right or wrong; it is the inner drive to have something more in your life. But sometimes your ambition can clash with others. You must not take it personally.

I also learned that having just me is enough because of God’s love. I feel comfortable in my own skin; imperfections in all. I may not be perfect but I am attempting to be a best that I can. And that is enough as long as I try to stay aligned with God.

I like how you have included your life stories in the pages. It makes it easy for the reader to relate to you and your experiences. What has been one of your biggest challenges in life and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was bouncing back from my failed mayoral bid that was a disappointment on a professional and emotional level. It was completely humiliating because I was marginalized and misunderstood throughout the campaign. I felt like people didn’t get me; they just stereotyped me.

There were many people that I had supported in the past that didn’t return the favor added to the humiliation. I was very disappointed in people that I had respected and loved in every facet of my life. It definitely changed the way I see the world.

How did you deal with the 'humiliation' and disappointment? It had to be a hard pill to swallow. 

I was able to overcome it all through forgiveness.  God forgives us for all our transgressions and I was forced to do the same.  All the inspirational stories I wrote are from perspective of a reader. I wrote what I needed to hear at those desperate, heart wrenching times in my life.  I wrote to encourage myself and now decided to share it with others.

 What message do you hope your readers will hear?

Never give up on your goals in life but allow God to revise or tweak them into being aligned with his Will. Every failure is not a nightmare and every opportunity is not a blessing.

Some failures can be blessings; some opportunities can be nightmares.

Allow God completely into your heart and watch your life begin to expand in the most amazing ways. I trust God in a completely different way than before because I now have a testimony that I never had before. There is nothing like spectacular fall to truly give you a new relationship with God.

Do you have a favorite section in the book? And why do you  like it?

My favorite sections are really the inspirations based upon my personal stories. I like it because it allows me to share a portion of myself with the world.

Was there a section of the book that was personally hard for you to discuss?

The sections related to my personal life because I had to allow myself to be completely transparent. While it was a little uncomfortable, it was definitely freeing.

On a lighter note, what’s something readers would be surprised you do?

I listen to an appalling amount of rap. I listen to very little R&B.  I am big fan of Young Jezzy, Jay Z, TI ,  Kayne and Drake.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

It would be Nico or Victory in Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell. They are such strong woman but are human as well.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book will be a book of prayers. There are some prayers in this book and it was such overwhelming positive response to them via Twitter that the next book will be just prayers.

I also may do a cookbook but that depends on my schedule during the holiday to do the legwork.

I wish you the best in your writing career, Tiffany! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I can see you truly put into practice the idea of being the master of your own destiny.

Readers: If you have any questions for Tiffany, she will be popping in and out today and she will try to answer them. She's also offering an autographed copy of her book to a commenter, so don't be shy. :-)


Back cover Blurb:

There are many times in life when you are overwhelmed and frustrated with life and need some inspiration. Now more than ever, as the world becomes increasingly complex, you need to find meaning in chaos, disappointment, difficult family relationships, and work stress.

Daily Reflections: A Book of Affirmations for the Ambitious can provide encouraging and motivational words for contemporary Christians while in this race called life.

This book will provide daily tools to endure storms while dealing with haters and toxic friends all while grindin’ to get to the next level of your life. Daily Reflections: A Book of Affirmations for the Ambitious consists of a series of 365 daily passages or “teachings” to help give you an inspirational boost to your day. While it is possible to read the passages straight through as you would a novel, think of the book as a collection of individual stories, each of which tells its own tale and can be approached one at a time.  Excerpt

Dr. Tiffany Brown is a native metro Atlantan, was born at Northside Hospital March 23, to a mother who was a teacher and a father who was a minister. Dr. Brown is received her Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science from Spelman College cum laude. She completed a Master's in Public Administration in Clark-Atlanta University magna cum laude. Dr. Brown is also graduate from Walden University with doctorate in public policy and administration summa cum laude.

Tiffany says shes a Diva, Mogul, and Idealist with the scars to prove it.
Tiffany is a self-proclaimed gym rat admits to being a below average golfer ("But in my mind I am great!"), an absolute sports fanatic, and a self described "avid health nut."  Tiffany is member of Cascade United Methodist Church where Rev Marvin Moss is the Senior Pastor.

The Reflections Of Daily Life, is her first book.

You can find Tiffany on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Art Of Writing Doesn't Always Come Easy

My guest is para romance author, Devyn Quinn. She admits that she’s had to struggle with her writing. Finding her voice and style has taken time. Devyn won the 2009 Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for paranormal. She certainly seems to have hit her stride with her new series, The Dark Tide.

What impressed me about Devyn is she had a goal and didn't let anything get in the way of accomplishing it. She was willing to learn and work hard to achieve  that goal. Kudos to Devyn!

Writing doesn't come easy to me.

Does that sound like something a writer would say? Well, it's true. The art of taking pen in hand and creating effervescent prose that fairly jumps off the page and catches the reader's attention is an art I've struggled to master for over 20 years.

Don't misunderstand me. Since grade school (the first grade, as a matter of fact) I knew--just knew--that I would grow up and write books. From the moment I learned that individual letters make words, and that words made sentences that contained fantastic stores of other worlds far away from my own, I had only one single goal in mind. To write my own books.

Unfortunately there is a lot more to the process than simply sitting down and telling the stories writing in your mind. There's that thing I like to call "mechanics", all the various pieces it takes to write a good book. By mechanics I mean more than simply being able to write and punctuate sentences. Mechanics also means arranging the words into dialogue and description that will convey the images living in your mind to your reader.

But how to do that?

For the longest time that answer eluded me. I thought the best way to learn to write was to read stories that interested me by authors I admired. And that's true. But only to a point. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When I go back over my earlier pre-publication work I can clearly pick out the style and influences of the writer I was reading at the time. Yes, the writing was competent. But it wasn't my own. It was me, trying to recreate the style of another author.

Although I wrote many books as the years passed, I came to a point where I began to doubt publication would ever arrive. The thing editors often refer to, as "a writer's voice" seemed to elude me. It was there, but always out of my reach. Where to find my voice and how to use it were questions I asked, but ones seemingly without answer. In quizzing my published friends, they would often shrug and admit they didn't know where that special inner touch came from. It just was.

Sounds so Zen, right?

Instead of feeling tranquil, I was gnashing my teeth. “So where's mine? “ I often demanded as I flogged myself with my metal whip for being too stupid to write a good sentence.

And then it dawned on me. Instead of trying to imitate my favorite authors, I needed to close their books and put them out of my mind. No, it wasn't that I forgot what their stories were about. In fact, it was just the opposite. I remembered those stories, but I made myself forget their words. Instead of thinking, for example, "How would King or Grisham write this line?” I began to make myself think about how I would write it.

And then it happened. I found my "voice" as a writer. No, it didn't happen overnight and it certainly wasn't easy. But as I grew older and began to call upon my own personal experiences in life and my conscious perception of the world around me, I realized I didn't need to look to other writers for knowledge on how to write my books. The know-how was inside me all along. Time, practice and a little bit of nurturing sharpened my rudimentary skills.

In the 20 years I’ve been writing, I’ve written almost 20 books and several short stories. No, I’m not a bestseller or well-known author by any means. But I am determined someday I will be. I came a little bit closer to my goal when I did what I had thought was impossible: I was nominated for, and won, the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for best paranormal erotic romance in 2009. Not only was I up against authors who I considered far more talented than I will ever be, there were a couple I considered virtually unbeatable.

So if I can do it, anybody can.

All it takes is a lot of determination, oodles of practice and the fortitude to shake of rejection and keep on working toward your goal.

Trust me on this one. I’ve been there, and I’m still learning the ropes.
  • What about you? What have you had to overcome in your writing journey?

Siren’s Call, Book One of Dark Tides Series

Between desire and love there are some things that can’t stay buried, even in the deep of the ocean.

As a woman with a secret, lighthouse keeper Tessa Lonike savors her solitude on the island of Little Mer, off the coast of Maine. During a violent storm, Tessa spots a man thrashing in the ice cold waters and dives in to save him, using her ability as a mermaid to easily pull him to shore.

When Kenneth Randall awakens on the beach he is alone, left with the haunting memory of his beautiful, flame-haired savior. But a year later, when Kenneth meets her again, he’s determined not to let Tessa slip away. Just as the desire between them begins to burn, Tessa’s archaeologist ex-lover comes back to town with a tantalizing clue to her murky heritage.

The trio travel to the Mediterranean in search of answers, and when Tessa inadvertently opens an underwater portal they find a lost mermaid city. But in the deep, not everything is as it seems, and Tessa must decide if she wants to take her place as the royal heir, or follow the call of her heart…Excerpt 


Devyn Quinn lives in the scenic Southwest, though she has called several other states home. She is a huge fan of dark gothic music & shoot-’em-up action movies. But reading is her first love and Devyn spends too much time with history books, as well as feeding her addiction for celebrity biographies. She especially enjoys reading books on Hollywood before the 1960′s and is crazy about Marilyn Monroe, her legend and her myth.

Be on the look out for book two in The Dark Tide series: THE SIREN'S SURRENDER February 2011


Monday, November 8, 2010

Chasing The Dream

Never be afraid to dream. Dreams are the doorway to Reality.~Sylvia Danzo

My guest is romance author Beth Andrews. She is a RITA winner and won for A-Not-So-Perfect Past, which I enjoyed reading. I can also see why it won.

What I admire the most about Beth is her persistence. It's hard, as a writer, to face those rejection slips. Even though we try, there is a twinge that says we've been rejected and it stings.

I like how Beth puts it:  "... rejections are a part of this business...I vowed to work harder, write better and to never give up." I like that philosophy.

I attended my first RWA National Conference in 2002 in Denver where I got to sit in the reserved seats at the RITA/Golden Heart ceremony. I wasn’t finalist—I didn’t even know what either award was about—but the published author who’d generously sponsored the conference scholarship I’d won was up for a RITA. Since she couldn’t attend she asked me to accept on her behalf should her name be called.

I’m what you might call…unassuming. Quiet. Watchful. Not someone who’s comfortable accepting an award in front of two thousand people. But while I ended up not leaving my seat that night, by the end of the ceremony, after watching all the talented, gracious women accept their awards, my viewpoint changed and I was certain of one thing:

I wanted to be up on that stage accepting my own award.
So I did what anyone would do in my situation. I wrote a book (my second) and entered it in the next year’s Golden Heart contest. It didn’t final. Neither did either of my two entries a year later. Or the year after that. Or the year after…well, you get the picture. I wrote more. I revised. I found some fabulous critique partners. Most importantly, I found my voice. And I entered the Golden Heart once again.

That year I was lucky enough to be a double finalist in the GH. I had a blast at the National conference in Atlanta, meeting my fellow finalists for the first time, proudly wearing my GH ribbons and buttons. There was a champagne reception for both RITA and GH finalists, rehearsals and finally, awards night.

I honestly didn’t expect to win and therefore didn’t experience more than a twinge of disappointment when my name wasn’t called. After all, it was an honor just to final and I was determined not to be eligible for the GH again. I was ready to sell.

Yeah, I hear you all laughing out there.

I knew it didn’t matter that I was ready to sell, what mattered was that an editor was ready to buy me (or in this case, my story). But I thought my story was good. And while the editor I was working with agreed, it wasn’t good enough to buy.

Not one to let a bit of bad news get me down, I forged ahead, entered the 2007 GH, and hoped that lightning could strike the same place twice. It did.

With that third final came the same excitement as the year before, along with healthy doses of relief, gratitude and, to be honest, a sense of validation that perhaps I was going in the right direction after all. I truly thought that this story, a story I’d worked so hard on, a story I’d received an eight page revision letter for, a story that had been sent up to the senior editor with a recommendation to buy, was THE ONE.

And then, a week before the conference, I—or rather, my story—was rejected.

It hurt. Oh, did it hurt. But, since rejections are a part of this business, I didn’t let it get me down (the hot fudge sundae I had for supper that night helped, too). Instead, I focused on making that conference the best ever. I was inspired by stories of authors who wrote for five, ten or even fifteen (yes, I said FIFTEEN) years before selling. Awed by their persistence, determined to achieve my own success and unable to imagine not writing, I vowed to work harder, write better and to never give up.

But by Saturday afternoon, the combination of too little down time and way too little sleep caught up with me. As I waited alone for a friend, the doubts hit. What if I was fooling myself? What if I never sold? How many times would I be able to push on after the door’s been slammed in my face again?

It was pitiful. I was pitiful. And I hate being pitiful.

That night at the awards ceremony, I was shocked and humbled when the presenter announced my title and my name.

I learned I can speak in front of 2,000 people and not make a total fool of myself. A partial fool, maybe, but not a total fool. Back at my seat, staring down at my shiny new Golden Heart necklace, I knew I would defeat those pesky doubts that had invaded my brain earlier in the day. Not because being a GH finalist or winner guaranteed I’d get published, but because I’d realized that no matter how hard this career might be, no matter how disappointing, I don’t want to do anything else.

A month later, I sold that book to Harlequin Superromance and this year I was lucky enough to get back on that stage to accept the RITA for A-Not-So-Perfect Past.

My GH win gave me a boost, an ego stroke if you will, but mostly it taught me to appreciate the steps along the way. To celebrate my successes and mourn my failures (for short amounts of time) and to never stop writing, believing or dreaming.
  • What inspires you to keep going when things get tough? How do you like to celebrate your successes or the good times in life?

A MARINE FOR CHRISTMAS Book One in The Diamond Dust Trilogy

It’s a wonderful life…?
Growing up in her perfect sister’s shadow wasn’t easy. Especially because JC Montgomery had been in love with Liz’s boyfriend for as long as she could remember. Brady Sheppard, a a guy who thought of her as only the kid sister. But that all changed when Liz married somebody else and Brady ended up in bed with JC! It was like a dream come true.

Except now JC’s pregnant. And Brady’s a wounded marine, so it’s going to be difficult for him to get down on one knee and tell her she’s his reason for living…But he will. Because she still believes in Santa Claus. Excerpt


Beth Andrews loves Christmas, wine and chocolate - though not necessarily in that order. During the writing of A MARINE FOR CHRISTMAS she listened to hours of Christmas carols, visited a local winery (several times) and made many, many homemade truffles. All for research purposes, of course.

Beth is a Romance Writers of America RITA ® Award Winner and a Golden Heart Winner. She lives in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and three teenagers who claim they are her children, but are a far cry from the sweet, quiet babies she gave birth lo those many years ago.

Her plans for the summer include finally reading The Harry Potter series, learning how to bend metal into pretty shapes for jewelry and writing the second book in her new Diamond Dust trilogy for Harlequin Superromance.

Beth loves to hear from her readers. Please email her at