Friday, March 11, 2011

AOTR Interviews Tamika Newhouse

AOTR is happy to bring you an interview with Tamika Newhouse. Tamika is doing so many wonderful things in the literary community. Please show your support by visiting her website and purchasing her books! Also listen to her talk show and follow her on twitter.

AOTR: Tell us about you and your book.

Tamika: Cookie A Fort Worth Story synopsis: Born Latoya James, when starting high school, Cookie believes this is her time to stand out from underneath her sister's shadow. Always declared the odd one, she makes it her mission to be noticed by anyone who will pay attention. Reality starts to settle in when she realizes life isn't always peaches and cream. After witnessing the rape of her best friend, and then the death of one of her classmates, she starts to believe life isn't what she thought it would be. Sex, drugs, catering to her new demons, and hanging out with the older crowd become her escape, and not even her high school sweetheart can steer her straight. It isn't until she realizes everyone around her is not who they seem to be when she decides to change her life. But when she experiences an unwanted pregnancy and the death of her mother, Cookie is left to wonder if this is the way her life will always be. Based on a true story, Cookie is a gripping tale of a teen girl who had to grow up sooner than later. Taking place in one of the fastest-growing suburbs of Fort Worth, witness the life of Cookie and her quest to be loved, appreciated, and wanted. You will soon discover life is never what it seems.

AOTR: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Tamika: I knew I loved to write in the third grade when I was assigned by my English teacher to write a short story. I knew then that I wanted to write.

AOTR: What inspired you to write your first book?

Tamika: I had been in the lowest points in my life and everything was going wrong. To escape the problems of my life I started to write. It was my way of healing.

AOTR: Was it difficult to write or easy?

AOTR: It was very easy to write; it’s like entertainment for me. I am reading the book as I write so I want to know what’s going to happen next so I have to keep writing; it’s a drug when I’m writing my books.

AOTR: How did you go about creating your characters?

Tamika: I knew I wanted realistic women who had their options of playing the field. I got tired of reading about women being cheated on and becoming depressed. We all aren’t like that some can move just as quickly as a man can.

AOTR: Did you struggle with any of your characters, or did they just speak to you?

Tamika: Not at all, it was very easy. They become my friends and I become engrossed in their life.

AOTR: What was your writing process like? Did you outline or just write naturally?

Tamika: I do some note taking but I rarely do a precise time line. There are things I want to make note of to remember to place in the book. Now if and when I place it in the book is always unknown.

AOTR: In a few words tell an interested reader why they should read your book next.

Tamika: If you want a realistic book with realistic people, I am the author for you. You get lost in my books because you know someone in my stories.

AOTR: What are you working on now?

Tamika: I am writing Cookie Too Lyric’s song the follow up to my Independence Day release Cookie

AOTR: What do you hope to accomplish in the literary world?

Tamika: I want to be known as one of the leading writers.

AOTR: When you are not crafting novels what do you like to do?

Tamika: I am a publisher, radio host, and mother. I am always doing something.

AOTR: How can readers contact you?

Tamika: http://www.tamikanewhouse

Follow on Twitter and FB @tamikanewhouse

AOTR: Thanks Tamika for taking the time to chat with us. We wish you continued success!

Tamika's Ten favorite things:

Chips~ Fire hot Fritos

Season- Spring and fall cause the weather is not hot or cold

Holiday ~Independence Day we get to eat, wear small amount of clothes and be around family.

Television show ~ The Game

Song ~ hard one I guess I’ll say Aaron Hall when you need me

Past time ~Home with my Mama any setting will do

Social networking site

Author ~ Zuri Day

City ~I love DC

Time of day~ Night

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Authors On The Rise Interviews LaDonna M. Smith

Authors On The Rise is happy to bring you an Interview with Ladonna M. Smith. Please visit her site and order a copy of her book today!

AOTR: Please tell us about yourself and your books.

LaDonna: First and foremost I give honor to God. Thank you Dee for this opportunity.

I always find it hard to answer this question because I am humble, and a giver who doesn’t know how to receive. So here is my stab at it…I am the most down to earth individual in the world. I always say that I am a “homeboy’s homegirl and a homegirl’s home girl.” I try my best to get along with most people.

By my mother I have one younger brother Tommy, and by my dad I have 2 younger sisters.

I am a native of Fairmont Heights MD (Prince George’s County) and graduated from Fairmont Heights High School (1996), Prince George’s Community College (Associate of Arts in General Studies 2001) and am only 26 credits away from graduating at Bowie State University. However, it was not until I had to survived on my own going from house to house or “house hopping” until I ultimately ended up in Philadelphia, PA and heard the voice of God that I grew wiser, and more mature in me own walk of life. I was 19 years old. Despite me being raised in church and serving as a church musician since age 12, (I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into me life at age 13 and I was baptized that same year) I soon found that becoming a new creature in Christ was difficult especially without the proper encouragement and general “growing pains”; not to mention the peer pressure of being a teenager. Coincidentally in my adult hood, most of the situations that I hear young people discuss cause me to blurt out words like “I have been there” and “trust me I know”. I have experienced situations in several realms of my life to include but definitely not limited to: physical, mental, sexual, spiritual and emotional abuse; homelessness; hunger; depression, and suicidal thoughts, to name a few. All of this by the age of 29 years old. If you ever hear my testimony you would not believe that I am still able to smile despite of and just because. And I believe that I have to smile because there is nothing else to do.

AOTR: Why did you write your book and what was the inspiration that made you complete it?

LaDonna: My own personal experience allowed me to write this book. I had actually began the book while launching G.R.A.Y. Magazine and co-founding another magazine, and working on an article. I started typing my experience with my “marriage” and before I knew it I had the mind set to get revenge on my ex for what he had done for me. I was going to tell the entire story and get him in trouble with the law. But as I wrote and more importantly my mind and heart transitioned from wanting revenge to becoming healed and delivered from him and the circumstances.

I completed it because I kept meeting people (notice I didn’t just say women) who had similar stories and we were both relieved to discover that we were not alone in going through these situations. We had survived and were now helping others.

To be “The voice of so many whose voices have been silenced” soon became my motto and goal for the book.

AOTR: Are there any important social issues your characters faced or discussed in your book?

LaDonna: The characters discuss domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, feelings of being unwanted and being lonely, and the cycle of family and generational curses. Oh and endurance and survival, until inner strength is discovered and USED by the power of God!

AOTR: Who was your favorite character in your book and why?

LaDonna: Hmmm…that is a hard one…I really do not have a favorite character in the book.

AOTR: What do you hope a reader will take away after closing your book?

LaDonna: That like the bible says “this too shall pass”. I want people to know that you do not have to stay in a bad relationship. There is hope, there is a way out and most importantly God never leaves you during all of this. Reach out to Him for His guidance and direction and He will direct your path. There are 12 steps which help “jump start” a person’s motivation to begin to prepare themselves mentally for the process. Bottom line know that just because you may have had a ruff life up until the point you are at in it-there is still time to change, and redirect it. It’ not too late. No matter who counted you out or what obstacles you have been thrown – keep it moving. Your dreams and visions can still come into fruition.

AOTR: With so many books in the market, what sets your book apart?

LaDonna: My book gives you the perspective of domestic violence and abuse from the inside out. Meaning through my eyes. The preface tells you how I ended up getting into a marriage packed with domestic violence and I am totally transparent in this book. I didn’t try to appease to the Christian or non Christian market –I just told my story. I get “wows” and “for reals” all the time when I start explaining the premise behind the book.

AOTR: What projects are working you working on now?

LaDonna: God has allowed me to have so many different types of experiences and to see so much that I have several other books being worked on. Without realizing it I have become a cross-genre author.

Hannah’s Song”: A Musical Approach to Potty Training is a children’s book which has the most annoying yet affective potty training song to go with it. It is copywritten and awaiting illustrations. I have also finished a children’s book for kids sleeping in the own bed. My works in progress are a motivational book, a ministry book, another book dealing with relationships and life and more.

AOTR: What keeps you typing and creating books? Is there a person, place, or thing that inspires you to do what you do?

LaDonna: God sends me through my experiences. I write from my personal life situations and events as well as what I see around me.

AOTR: Finish this sentence. Twenty years from now I hope to have accomplished.... in my writing career.

LaDonna: Success with my own publishing company, whereas I have helped other authors transition through the process. Without sounding selfish I hope to have several other books completed and released and at least one movie. These are the minimal milestones I would like to have accomplished in much less than 20 years.

AOTR: How can readers contact you?

LaDonna: The best way is through my website because a copy of ALL emails comes to my personal email. Next would be I’m on the site very often.

LaDonna's ten favorite things:

Fruit: tropical fruits-strawberries, pineapples, mangos, kiwi, cherries, juicy sweet green grapes, watermelon, cantelope, honey dew…most of the fruits.

Season: late spring into early summer when the temperatures are around 75 degrees consistantly unlike now when it’s 70 one day and 30-40 the next day.

Restaurant: of all time would have been Shakey’s Pizza which now has been closed. I guess I really don’t have a favorite one anymore but I do like to eat at the Olive Garden.

Actor: Male-Idris Elba Female: Loretta Devine and although he’s not really an actor Tyler Perry –I’m a true fan! It’s almost guaranteed that projects which any or all of these people are in-I’m going to buy a ticket.

Food: Soul food; I can eat candied yams and macaroni and cheese with just about anything!)

Author: Terry McMillan when I think about her and her accomplishments as an author I say “I wanna be like her when I grow up”.

Movie: Beat Street- the part when Ramone died still makes me cry every time I watch it. I have gotten more into plays now-I watched Tyler Perry’s “Diary of A Mad Black Woman” just about every day when I first separated from my “husband”.

Social networking site: Facebook

Accessory: Unique rings and earrings. Without earrings my face looks “funny” and “different” lol and I feel like I’m not totally dressed.

Time of day: early afternoon. I’m not a morning person and can be considered a “late owl”.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Authors On The Rise Interviews Dianne Jones

AOTR is proud to bring you an Interview With Dianne Jones. Please order her books and visit her website:

AOTR: Tell us about your book.

Dianne: My book is titled “Tragic Treasures: Discovering Spoils of War in the Midst of Tragedy.” It’s a non-fictional, self-help, inspirational book. It’s a very personal look at how a tremendous amount of personal tragedy at a young age led me to depression. I suffered in silence from depression until my self-destructive lifestyle ended with a suicide attempt. I discuss candidly how I overcame that battle. It’s my journey to discovering purpose in pain and hidden treasures in the debris from the battles of life. My book offers insight and encouragement to others. It’s takes the reader on their own journey to discovering purpose in their pain, overcoming life tragic moments, finding hidden treasures, and using those lessons to reach their destiny.

AOTR: What's the significance of the book's title?

Dianne: The term “Tragic Treasures” means that something of value can often be found in the midst of something terrible.

“Discovering Spoils of War in the Midst of Tragedy” was inspired by one of my favorite Bible stories about King Jehosophat and the battle against the great multitude. He prepares for the battle with pray and fasting and sets his worshippers in front of his warriors and goes to the battlefield. God goes before him and kills his enemies before he even arrives. When he gets to the battlefield he finds himself surrounded by dead bodies and what I refer to as “dead things.” However, also on the battlefield in the midst of the dead things lies what the bible refers to as “Spoils of war.” So, the King does something that most of us wouldn’t do. He stays on the battlefield surrounded by dead things [loss, death, destruction, pain, anguish] for 3 days gathering the spoils of war [valuables, hidden treasures, lessons learned]. He recovers hidden treasures that we often overlook because they lie in the debris of our tragic life battles.

AOTR: What inspired you to write this very candor book?

Dianne: I’ve known since I was a teenager that I would write books. However, it was about 16 years ago when I realized that I had the opportunity and a responsibility to use my tragedies to inspire others to overcome theirs. I realized it wasn’t too late to gain the victory over a past defeat, but there would be no victory, if I couldn’t be completely and totally transparent with the reader.

AOTR: Was it difficult for you to share some of the more intimate, personal details of your life?

Dianne: Yes. It frightened me to the point that I almost didn’t write this book. I feared how people would look at me if they knew about the depression, the suicide attempt, the psych ward visit, the abortion, and all my previous self-destructive behavior. I tried to write it without revealing my truth but the words wouldn’t fall into place. The words poured out onto the page once I freed myself of the fear of rejection and stopped worrying about the approval of others and just began to tell the story as the spirit would have me reveal it.

Dianne: What type of response have you gotten towards your book?

Dianne: I’ve had so many wonderful responses from readers who say they cried, they laughed, they were inspired and encouraged. My book was also named best inspirational book of the year by readers according to Disilgold magazine out of New York.

AOTR: What other projects are you working on?

Dianne: I’m working on my 2nd book that I hope to have released by the end of this year. I’ll be in Baltimore, April 10th at Baltimore Urban Book Fest. In April, I will also be Co-host of a morning Radio Show on Blogtalk Radio. My Publishing Company is accepting manuscripts. I’m planning to offer seminars and workshops in the Atlanta area starting this summer.

AOTR: How can our readers learn more about you and your ongoing efforts?

Dianne: Readers can learn more about me by going to my website at where they can also purchase an autographed copy of my book. For speaking engagements, seminars, or conferences they can email me directly at

AOTR: Where can readers buy your latest book and meet you?

Dianne: Tragic Treasures is available online at,, and autographed copies at my website : Readers can sign up for my newsletter at my website for regular updates about an upcoming events.

AOTR: What motivates you to write and stay focused on your craft?

Dianne: My motivation to write stems from what I believe is my purpose in life, "to minister to hurting people." I’ve been a Christian minister in the traditional sense of the word for a decade with deep roots in the church, but I was never quite comfortable with the position I was encouraged to pursue [the role of Pastor]. As a result, I had to step away from what I perceived to be "man's vision for my life", go back, and tap into "my Creator's vision for my life." I knew I had a gift, but it took me a number of years to realize that helping others doesn’t require a title, a position, a pulpit, or even a church. I made a decision in 2006 to pursue my ministry in a different way. God has given me an ability to identify with, communicate, and facilitate healing to hurting people through writing and inspirational/motivational speaking. What I am destined to do reaches far beyond religion, titles, positions, and church attendance; because "pain" has a spiritual component, but it has no denomination or religious affiliation.

AOTR: What inspired you to write your book?

Dianne: A number of things inspired me. I'm an avid reader. I've read hundreds of self-help and inspirational books. All were helpful in some way, but most were never transparent and the writer went to great lengths to establish themselves as the authority on the "subject", while distancing themselves from the pain. I realized while working with downtrodden people for 8 years in the heart of Baltimore's Inner City that hurting people long to connect with someone who feels their pain. When I grabbed a razor blade out of a sister's hand, who was trying to slit her wrist, in broad daylight on the corner in Baltimore, I did it because I could identify with her pain. I knew what despair and hopelessness looked like on the face of another human being, because I had been there, and I had to intervene.

So, when I began to write my book I was compelled to become so transparent about my pain until it frightened me. My book was at a standstill for a few years because of my fear about sharing all the horrid details. But I knew that I had to take the reader on a journey through the valley of my despair and we would come out together. I knew that my transparency would enable me to connect with the reader’s pain, thereby enabling me to draw the reader into a journey towards recovery.

AOTR: What message do you want people to take away after reading one of your books?

Dianne: The main message that I hope each reader takes away when finishing "Tragic Treasures" is that deep within every tragedy there are hidden lessons that are precious and priceless. Our soul's journey is to find the hidden treasures in the midst of the debris from the battles in life. Once we discover those "Spoils of War", we should embrace the life lessons and share the positive outcome. When we can do this, we can walk out our purpose, and achieve our destiny.

AOTR: How long does it take you to write a book?

Dianne: I write Inspirational non-fiction with spiritual components, so I find that my writing process is not systematic but intuitive. I allow the words to flow through me on to the pages of my books. So, however long it takes to me to get into a place where I can hear the words from within my spirit determines how long it takes for my book to manifest. My first book took years, because I was trying to control the story, as oppose to allowing the words to flow through me.

AOTR: You speak a lot on purpose, do you believe everyone has one?

Dianne: Yes, I do believe that everyone is born with a purpose. However, I also believe that many of us live our entire lives without discovery or walking out our purpose.

AOTR: Do you think people are born writers or is it something that can be taught?

Dianne: I think it’s both. Some people are natural writers and others can be taught the foundation of creating a story. However, a good writer has the ability to tell an incredible story and I think that’s something that some possess and some don’t.

AOTR: Name two people who inspired you/Why?

Dianne Maya Angelou inspires me, because she was an under-educated, single mother who struggled and overcame many tragedies to become a world-renowned story-teller and truth speaker. She is truly a phenomenal woman of grace, faith, and peace.

Nelson Mandela inspires me, because he fought back and changed a Nation. Despite physical incarceration, in his spirit he never gave up. He conquered his fear of death and was willing to die, so others could be free. He is truly a courageous and fearless man.

AOTR: Thank you for taking time to chat with us. AOTR wishes you much success!