Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Author Spotlight (AlTonya Washington)

AlTonya Washington is a South Carolina native and graduate of Winston Salem State University in North Carolina . She released her first contemporary romance with BET Books in 2003. “Remember Love” was nominated as Best First Multicultural Romance by Romantic Times Magazine. In 2004 she was named Best New Romance Author by the readers of Shades of Romance Magazine. Her 2nd novel “Guarded Love” was labeled a “TOP PICK’ by Romantic Times Magazine. Her third novel “Finding Love Again” won the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Multicultural Romance of 2004. 
Her fourth novel “Love Scheme” was nominated for the annual Romance Slam Jam ‘EMMA AWARD’ as Favorite Steamy Romance. In March 2007 she released the third title in her popular Ramsey series “A Lover’s Mask” which was nominated for the Romance Slam Jam ‘EMMA AWARD’. Her January 2010 Harlequin/Kimani release “The Doctor’s Private Visit” received an EMMA nomination for Favorite Hero. Under the pen name T. Onyx, AlTonya crafts her erotica titles and will release her third effort later this month: “Pleasure’s Powerhouse- Trois Plaisir”.
AlTonya plays many roles including “mom” and currently resides in North Carolina where she works for an academic library as a Serials Assistant. In fall 2010 she became a graduate student in pursuit of her Masters in Library Science. To learn more about her upcoming works visit her website .

  1. Which project was your longest project to complete? My lengthiest projects are the historical romances. So far I’ve crafted two and I’d have to say my second title by far required the greatest time commitment. “Passion’s Furies” (Genesis Press 2008). Historical romances have always been my favorites and the chance to create them has been a phenomenal experience. There is however considerable work to be done before the book is actually written- lots of reading & researching everything from the subject matter, to patterns of speech, dress, furnishings, modes of travel, etc. in Passions I used the Denmark Vesey rebellion in Charleston, SC as the backdrop of the story. Educating myself about the man, his mission and his followers was extremely enlightening and very enjoyable.
  2. How did you make the time to write if you’re working a daytime job? I truly believe that it is only possible to write while working a day job if writing is in your heart. If you’re writing with the intentions of striking it rich so you can quit your day job, then you won’t get very far. Writing definitely has to be in your heart- a part of who you are. I write several times a day throughout the day- I write during my 20min morning break, my lunch hour, in the morning when I first arrive at the library and have that time before it’s time to begin the workday. I write after work (most days) I try writing during the weekends mostly when my son is away visiting family- it’s important that I make time for him and that he not see my writing as something that always keeps mommy busy and away from him. My writing schedule may seem extreme (even more so now with grad work) but it works for me. That’s what’s important, finding a schedule that works for you no matter how weird it may seem to others.
  3. Why do authors give up? Is it due to instant gratification? Writing is not an easy thing, it takes time, dedication, discipline. Once the book is written, I think that’s where the real work begins. As involved as writing can be, marketing can be just as involved- even more so. It’s an entirely different animal, but very necessary if one expects to have some success in the writing world. It takes a lot of time to get your name out there especially if you don’t have a publicist or someone who handles that for you. Most of us don’t and it takes so much effort. I started writing in 1994, got published in 2003, but I don’t think people were really starting to know who I was until 2009. I did tons of book signings back then. I didn’t always sell a lot of books but made a lot of contacts and those emails were the seeds of my early marketing strategy. There’s no set rule for marketing success but you have to begin somewhere. It can be such a tedious/time consuming process that I feel many of us become discouraged. I feel I still have a long way to go, but I plan to have fun getting there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Church Issues (Unity - The Lesson)

Remember in the prelude, the greatest impact the church has made on the world is our lack of togetherness. The body of Christ (the church of Jesus Christ) is divided, denominationally, racially, and probably economically. The tragedy of the matter is that we put more emphasis on our denomination, our pastor, and our church over the Bible. Some churches and/or denominations (or folks within their congregations) swear up & down they are the right church and every other church is the wrong church. This goes to show that we are taking pride in our division!

Now because of all this division, it’s easy to assume that those who are antagonistic will not attend church. And if they’re smart enough, they’re probably thinking, “Why do I need to go to church where there’s division; I can stay home and be divided.” It’s our division and attitude within the church why the rest of the world is going to hell first class. Consider, we as the church have talked the talk, but have not walked the walk. We have not demonstrated to the world by our actions, togetherness. In fact, we’re the greatest perpetrators of division in the world! We have got to come together. Here’s a great example of how we create division among ourselves. Once you start talking about denominations with certain people, they will get so indignant over that (I was born this denomination, and will die this denomination) than they do over Jesus & the Bible. God instituted a plan and is allowing us to be a part of it. We have an awesome responsibility but we’ve been playing church (being about the denominational business instead of the Kingdom business). I’d like for us all to do some independent thinking for a moment. Just because you were raised a certain way doesn’t mean you were raised correctly! Don’t forget, that judgment must begin with the house of God? How do you think our report card as a church would look?

Note that I’m not saying to leave the denominational church; I just want you to think about how divided we are. Here are some thoughts:
  1. Some of us in our respective churches have become so worldly, that no one can tell the difference between saved people and worldly people. In fact, we have forgotten about a dying world, but we tend to those within our own church and/or denomination.
  2. Now this will offend some people, but think about this. Some people will have the audacity to put our denominational doctrine over the scripture that we become overbearing and judging those who don’t measure up to the denominational doctrine. To me, this really a tragedy.
  3. There are missions who are really preaching the Bible, Jesus & the cross. And there are some who are bent on missions to get people to their respective church and/or denomination that we lose the real purpose of missions. Again, adding on to the division (and lack of unity).
  4. Sometimes leaders in churches are tuned to the spirit of God; but will avoid heeding what God is trying to say to them for it not measuring up to the doctrine of the church. What happens is God’s plan is subverted to the local church and we’re not leaning on the spirit of God. Leaders can place such emphasis on another man’s doctrine, whether it’s Calvinism, Lutherism, and so on. Again, I’m not saying that’s wrong, but everything needs to be subject to the Bible, not the Bible being subject to us.

Another problem in some churches is this: everybody wants to “be,” but not everybody wants to “be obedient.” It’s because people want to be leaders, but we won’t have followers. In fact, if the leaders can’t come together on one accord, what chance does the church have?

If you have a bible, look at 1 Corinthians 1:10; 4:6 and Ephesians 4:11-13. The section in Ephesians is crucial; unfortunately, many churches lack this. If you back up to the book of Acts, you’ll find multiple times within the first 3 chapters that the disciples were on one accord. When that happened, miracles & blessings came. Many people were saved. We need a shake-up in our respective churches. I also understand that within this time, there were some coming with strange teachings, and as a result, wars would erupt. I believe this is a result of our division and us (as human beings) being downright selfish! We need to go back to the basics: where is your relationship with God (just between you and Him)? And I’m talking about, you studying the Bible and not based on what another person (whether it be a fellow church member, or your church leader)! The Bible is to be our standard, not the other way around.

All we have to do is put our personal agenda’s aside, and decide to agree to agree! Remember we need “U” in Unity!