So…who is your favorite author?

So…who is your favorite author?

So…I often come across the question (and even ask), “what is your favorite book?”.  Occasionally, I’m asked who my favorite author is.  While I often confuse the two questions, I do know the difference when I take a moment to breathe.  Now, I cannot tell you my favorite book for real but I can tell you my favorite author.  It is none other than the wonderful Vanessa Davis Griggs!  She is absolutely awesome!  I came across her book Promises Beyond Jordan at the library one day.   Seemed like an interesting read.  Sure enough, it was!  So, I looked up this author and found that she had written several other books that were related to that one.  So, you know what I did right?  Yup!  I reserved them all at the library.  If you’ve never read a book by Mrs. Griggs you are truly missing out.  My favorite of those books is one called Strongholds.  I learned a lot about myself.  Get ready for a journey when you pick them up!   On top of that, she shares a birthday with The Girl…so…yeah…we’re supposed to know each other!  lol…Check out my interview with her to see why I love her oh so much!

SSK:  Thank you Mrs. Vanessa for agreeing to be interviewed on So Says Kimyatta!  I am so excited to have you!

I’m such a fan.  I do believe I’ve read EVERYTHING you’ve written.  You are certainly one of the names I call when someone asks me, “What’s a good book to read?”  (yeah, I call author’s names…not titles at first).  Tell us about your writing journey. 

VDG:  Thanks, Kimyatta for having me and thanks for your kind words. My writing journey actually started when I was in elementary school. Having a love for words, I enjoyed penning plays. In the sixth grade, I wrote, produced, and directed my classmates in a Christmas play my teacher asked me to put on (somehow she knew I loved writing). It was so great! Following that (in high school no less), I put my hands toward writing novels because I loved reading. But keep in mind this was pre-Terry McMillian making a mark and changing the direction of what most publishers published from the African-American community. At the end of 1996, I walked away from my job of 18 years at BellSouth and decided I would actively pursue my passion of writing. I once told the critically-acclaimed author Ernest Gaines and his wife at a writers’ conference that I was going to either sink or swim. Mrs. Gaines told me, “Vanessa, I think you’re going to swim.” So here I am, 16 novels and a few nonfiction projects later still stroking (even if during these economic times it feels more like the backstroke).

SSK:  Well swim on!  Just keep swimming…swimming…swimming! – Dori, Finding Nemo

SSK:  One of the things I love about your writing is that there is ALWAYS a message and always something uplifting in each of your books.  You’re labeled as Christian Fiction.  Some authors take pause with that and say it puts them in a box.  How do you feel about it?

VDG:  I’m the kind who will say it doesn’t matter what you call me as long as you’re calling me. LOL. I am a Christian, I write fiction, my novels are designed to encourage, uplift, educate, inspire, give hope, point people toward better, and to lift up Jesus the Christ. Personally, I just want to do God’s will for my life. God is not boxed in and He made us in His image, so there’s no box that will be able to contain and hold what He wants to do when He wants to do it how He wants to do it.

SSK:  When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

VDG:  Wait a minute, there’s a such thing as ‘not writing’? Well, apparently, someone forgot to CC me on that e-mail. LOL. No, actually, I love doing things with my grandchildren. I love music and dancing around the house with them (I call it my exercise now). When they’re not around, I work. When they’re around, I like giving them my full attention—being present with the moment and them.

SSK:  HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!  lol…I love it! 

SSK:  What kinds of things do you like to read? 

VDG:  I love reading nonfiction, motivational, and self-help type work. My favorite book was and is still the Bible (can’t get any more motivational and helping self than that book). I loved books by Og Mandino. I love fiction when it’s written well. I love how-to books when I want to hone a particular craft or fix something that needs my attention, which I often do and love it.

SSK:  Do you have a favorite book?  A favorite author?

VDG:  My favorite book is probably “The Greatest Miracle in the World” by Og Mandino. I tell folks I can read a book the way a thirsty man can drink a glass of water, so I’ve read lots of books (LOTS!) from all walks of the spectrum and genres. I do love a good book that’s well written both technically and with heightened rules of engagement.

SSK:  What was the last book you read?

VDG:  Well, I generally can read a book in one day, so I’ve read quite a few since my most recent book, “The Other Side of Divine” released on July 30, 2013 and I’ve been able to take a small breathier. One of those books was “Ciao, Bella” a novel by Ryan Phillips.

SSK:  I’ve read a few of hers!  I’ll have to go look that one up!  Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

VDG:  Aspiring authors have probably heard the usual drill about learning your craft, writing something every day, read to see what to do and sometimes what not to do. But I’d like to say that if your feelings are easily hurt and you don’t deal well with rejection, you might not want to move forward toward this goal or you may find that you’ll need to adjust those feelings. You’ll face the possibility of rejection in every turn in this business. Whether you’re trying to get an agent or publisher who may not “want you,” or if you do get a contract, having to deal with reviewers or critics who may find things wrong with what you did or how you chose to did it, to the people you desire to purchase your book who are “not interested” in you or maybe just not in what you’ve written, to those who do get your book and just didn’t like it for whatever reason. You definitely need a thick skin, but more than anything you need to believe in yourself and what you’re doing—committed to walk it through to the very end and back. I say the end and back because a true writer cannot NOT write, so you’ll find yourself desiring to do it again after the last one is done.

SSK;  Your latest book is The Other Side of Divine, tell us about it.

Can a dream come true be a mixed blessing?

Paris Simmons-Holyfield is finally pregnant with the baby she’s dreamed of for so long. There’s just one complication: she’s not sure who the father is. Apparently, after a night of drinking with her ex-coworker and ally Darius Connors, it could be him. Considering her husband’s track record, chances are it is. Still, Paris prays it’s not Darius, and decides to keep quiet about her worries. Especially because Darius isn’t ready to give up on his crumbling marriage. . .

Meanwhile, after a battle to keep her adopted daughter and an ugly confrontation with Paris’s family, Gabrielle Mercedes has finally found love and happiness. But when her father shows up, paroled from prison, she fears she’s in for another round of trouble. As all three navigate the path from sin to redemption, can they forgive their way to the other side?

THE OTHER SIDE OF DIVINE received 4.5 Stars, Top Pick! from RT (Romantic Times) Book Reviews which is their highest rating given. It was also a USA Today recommend. I’m thrilled with the feedback this novel is receiving and pray even more who read it are blessed by it.

SSK:  What can we expect next from you?

VDG:  Oh, that’s a good question! I’ll just say to stay tuned and keep checking my Web site or Facebook page to see what’s next.

SSK:  How can fans get in touch with you?

VDG:  My Web site is: http://www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com and my Facebook page is http://www.Facebook.com/vanessadavisgriggs. I have a Twitter page, but me and Twitter aren’t so cozy. I’m sure it’s me and not them. I post but it’s not as intimate feeling to me, so I don’t go there as much.

Thanks so much, Kimyatta! I enjoyed this.

SSK:  I loved having you!  Yup!  You’re my favorite! 

So…there you have it.  Connect with Mrs. Griggs and make sure to like her there.  You’re SURE to be inspired.  Also, don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Other Side of Divine today!

Until next time,

Hakuna MatataTheOtherSideofDivineWEB

So…there’s no God?

So…there’s no God?

So…yesterday, I woke up feeling horrid. My stomach and head were both not cooperating with my wellness plan. I snoozed twice but finally forced myself out of bed to get my walking done for the day. I was completely exhausted, achy and nauseous. I wanted nothing more than to stay in my bed under the covers. I finally beat my flesh and got out of bed. I walked my usual route and when I got to the ten minute mark, I was delighted to find that my speed was about four minutes faster than normal and I had walked farther in that 10 minutes than I usually do. Considering how I felt, I was very surprised. Then, I felt what I thought was a raindrop. I looked up at the sky and saw the clearest sky and the beautiful scattering of stars. Oh my wow! The sky was absolutely beautiful at 5:45 am. I was able to make out the big dipper and was suddenly overwhelmed with awe. In that moment I could feel God’s awesomeness. I wondered how people say there is no God. Something like that happened just by chance?! Uh…no…I don’t think so! I was close to my turn around point and when I walked back my the same area less than three minutes later, the same part of the sky was now cloud covered. At that moment, I was thankful God let me see a little bit of His awesomeness just minutes before. After that, I felt like I was being carried. I made my distance in record time this morning. My app that I use to track my walking gave me a sticker or badge or whatever that said, “flying”. I was laughing because I sure felt like it. I can’t describe it. I mean, I knew I was walking because…well..that’s what I set out to do! Aside from that, I could feel my legs working. It was truly amazing.

So, I will continue to worship the Lord with my body because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That’s what He says about me. It’s in His word! How special is that?

This leads me to thinking about India.Arie’s God is Real.  It’s quite thought provoking.  I love it.  You should listen to it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxZ2KBXDEcM

So the next time you’re out and you think there’s rain coming, just look up. You’ll be amazed at the wonders around you.

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

So…Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

So…Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

So…today is my 37th birthday.  I’m proud to say, I’m here by God’s grace.  I’ve been so blessed through 36.  I’m simply amazed at God’s grace…and His mercy!  When I think back over all the things I’ve been through and the bad choices I’ve made, I can only thank Him that I’m still here…I wanna dance!

Now, because I feel so great…I wanna do like Oprah and share one of my favorite things with you.  I used to love the TV show Pinky and the Brain.  I always loved the end, when Pinky turned to the Brain and asked, “What are we doing tonight Brain?”  I also loved the middle of each episode when Brain would turn to Pinky and say, “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”  Pinky would always come back with some of the MOST RIDICULOUS things that did not relate…like…

I think so Brain, but if you replace the P with an O, my name would be Oinky, wouldn’t it?
I think so Brain… but do I really need 2 tongues?
I think so, Brain, but this time, you put the trousers on the chimp.
I think so, Brain, but if they called them “sad meals” no one would buy them.
I think so, Brain, but then it’d be Snow White and the Seven Samurai…
I think so, Brain, but how are we going to make pencils that taste like bacon? Or maybe we should make bacon that tastes like pencils. Narf.
I think so Brain, but burlap chafes me so.
I think so, but where will we find an open tattoo parlor at this time of night?
I think so Brain, but Zero Mostel times anything will still give you Zero Mostel.
I think so, Brain, but how will we get the Spice Girls into the paella?
I think so Brain, but… Kevin Costner with an English accent? I dunno.
Well, I think so Brain, but balancing a family, and a career? Ooh, it’s all too much for me.
Well, I think so Brain, but isn’t Regis Philbin already married?
Well, I think so Brain, but if we didn’t have ears, we’d look like weasels.
I think so Brain, but pants with horizontal stripes make me look chubby.
I think so Brain, but why would anyone want a depressed tongue?

My favorite was:  “I think so Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why does he keep doing it?”  I also liked, “I think so Brain, but me and Pippi Longstocking…I mean what would the children look like?” (LOL!)

Every now and then, there was a time when what Brain thought was just soooooooo far out that you had to look at him twice!

The Brain:  Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Pinky?

Pinky:  Wha, I think so Brain, but – *snort* No, no, it’s too stupid.

The Brain:  We will disguise ourselves as a cow.

Pinky:  Narf. That was it *exactly*.

Then…there are the times when Pinky had to drop some wisdom on the brain.

The Brain:  Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

Pinky:  Woof, oh, I’d have to say the odds of that are terribly slim, Brain.

The Brain:  True.

Pinky:  I mean, really, when have I ever been pondering what you’ve been pondering?

The Brain:  To my knowledge, never.

Pinky:  Exactly. So, what are the chances that this time, I’m pondering what you’re pondering?

The Brain:  Next to nil.

Pinky:  Well, that’s exactly what I’m thinking, too.

The Brain:  Therefore, you ARE pondering what I’m pondering.

Pinky:  Poit, I guess I am.

Then, there were times when the humor was so gut busting, because of the slight nicks at other real life things…like…

The Brain:  Yes, finally! The Happy Sappy Children of Many Lands ride! Where cheering music will spread the message that a mouse should rule the world!

Pinky:  Oh no, Brain. Narf! You’re thinking of that other park in Orlando.

In the end though, Pinky was Pinky and The Brain was The Brain.

Alright…I just loved that show so much…truly mindless television…Nothing wrong with trying to take over the world, right?  Alright…so…I’m only queen for a day.  I’ll take it!

So…the next time you’re wondering what you’re going to do that night…just remember my friends Pinky and The Brain…They’re Pinky…Pinky…Pinky and the Brain Brain Brain Brain Brain!

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

Birthday Girl                                                                                                                                       Birthday Girl

So…The Sidelines are heating up again!

So…The Sidelines are heating up again!

I have to tell you, I’ve met some cool people on this literary journey.  Some of the coolest ones are those like Pat Tucker, who happens to be my sorority sister of Sigma Gamma Rho!  We’re sisters of the pen…and sisters of SGRHO!  Gotta love it!  So…without further adieu, the bluetiful, Pat Tucker!!!!

SSK:  Thank you Pat for agreeing to be interviewed on So Says Kimyatta!  I am truly honored to be able to be a part of this tour!  You’re completely awesome!

So let’s get to it!  Tell us about Sideline Scandals!  

PT:  Sideline Scandals is a follow up to Football Widows. Sasha Davenport wants her own reality TV show and she believes the only way to get one is to find a handsome, NFL Quarterback to marry. The problem is, the one she’s chosen is already married, to a member of Sasha’s Football Widows Social Club.

SSK:  Now see…that’s a mess already!  As the follow up to Football Widows, will readers be lost if they start here?

PT:  Readers can start with Sideline Scandals even if they didn’t read Football Widows, however, the main incentive to read Football Widows is because that story is being made into a movie. We are reviewing the contract as I type! But as for SS, it is a stand alone story because I introduce you to all new characters and their scandalsJ You notice I call it a follow-up and not a sequel.

SSK:  I absolutely LOVE that!  Did you read that?  MOVIE!!!!  Football Widows…be on the look out!

SSK:  Tell us about your writing journey?

PT:  My writing journey started from a young age. Once I decided I wanted a career in reading and writing I set out to become a TV News Reporter and a published author. I’m so honored to be able to say I accomplished both goals and am continuing to achieve other goals. The pinnacle of my writing career will be when we are sitting inside a theater to see the movie adaptation of Football Widows. I’m blessed, humbled, and grateful that I am living my dreams each and every day.

SSK:  That’s magnificent!  Not everyone can say that.  You completely ROCKED it!

SSK:  I love how relevant your writing is.  Even though some of the stuff that happens seems so out there in the eyes of some, your writing is relatable.  I see the tag that your writing is ripped from the headlines.  It reminds me of Law & Order in that way.  Are there any particular stories that you’re drawn to?

PT:  I am drawn to those stories that seem incredibly unbelievable. My goal is to educate people but in an entertaining way. Whether I’m writing about obscure laws that could be detrimental to us all or little known events that have mass impact and appeal, every story I choose to write usually begins with an idea that leaves me thirsty for more.

SSK:  When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

PT:  When I’m not writing, I’m usually spending time with my family, reading, watching movies or thinking of other stories I could tackle.

SSK:  What kinds of things do you like to read?  

PT:  I love to read great stories. There’s no specific genre, if a story’s synopsis sounds interesting to me, I’m going to read it.

SSK:  Do you have a favorite book?  A favorite author?

PT:  I don’t have a favorite author, but my favorite book is The Deal the Dance the Devil by Victoria Christopher Murray! I LOVE THAT BOOK! I read everyone from new authors to the all-time favorites.

SSK:  What was the last book you read?

PT:  The last book I read was an ebook by Allison Hobbs and Daamiah S. Poole, One Night Stand and I really enjoyed it.

SSK:  Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

PT:  My advice to aspiring authors is simple, always write! It’s the only way you’ll get that book done.

SSK:  What can we expect next from you?

PT:  Next up for me is another project with Earl Sewell. Loyalty Among Friends looks at a woman who’s torn between being loyal to her childhood friend or her best friend after the childhood friend begins an affair with the best friend.

SSK: *drooling* (umm…yeah…can’t wait for that one!)

SSK:  How can fans get in touch with you?

PT:  Readers can get in touch with me on social media. My website is www.authorpattucker.com, but I’m on Facebook as Pat Tucker and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE follow me on twitter. My handle is @authorpattucker.  I can assure you, I’m always talking about something so friend me on FB or follow me on Twitter.

Well…there you have it!  My first book by Pat was Daddy by Default…you won’t believe it!  But it could VERY well be a true story…don’t miss it.  Check out Sideline Scandals at your favorite book seller!  I tell you…it is hot…hot…hot!  (You will constantly go…OH NO SHE DIDN’T! – in you Shashantwaniqua voice).

Until next time,

Hakuna Matatapat tucker promo pic