Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Steppin’ Into the Good Life Blog Tour

Steppin' Into the Good Life by Tia McCollors will be released on February 1st.

About the Book

Shelia Rushmore thought she’d be the last woman standing when it was time to fight for her man. Instead Ace, her boyfriend of two years, chose to reunite with his ex-wife, leaving Shelia emotionally devastated. It’s a year later when Sheila is convinced that sneaking into their wedding ceremony will put closure on the gaping hole in her heart.

But it’s on the back pew of the church where a new relationship begins for Shelia. She can’t explain the touch she received from God on that day, but she’s determined to be a better woman-a woman of faith. Since high school, Shelia has been chasing her definition of the good life – it’s left her with no home, no man, and no money. But now that’s she’s living life for God, things should get better, right? Shelia learns that living a faith-filled life isn’t always easy.

With faith, tough love, and some tough decisions, Shelia realizes that the life she’d been praying for she could have for herself is actually attainable. Being wrapped in God’s arms, she decided, was by far the safest place she’d ever been.
Purchase the Book Online at:

About the Author

TIA MCCOLLORS is a national bestselling author who secured her spot in the publishing industry with the release of her debut novel, Zora’s Cry. She received her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina. After ten years as a public relations professional, Tia emerged as an inspirational speaker and author of faith-based novels. Her other titles include The Truth About Love and A Heart of Devotion. She continues to pen inspirational works and is currently writing a series of children’s early reader chapter books targeted towards girls, ages 7-9.

In addition to being a novelist, Tia is a motivational speaker and instructor for writing workshops. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization, and serves as the vice president of Visions In Print. Tia was voted as the Breakout Author of the Year by the Open Book Awards of the African American Literary Awards Show.

Tia lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with her husband and son. For more information, visit her online at


How did you come up with the concept for this novel?

I think it was a natural “literary reaction.” After reading my previous book, The Last Woman Standing, some readers felt sorry for Sheila and others didn’t care for her at all. But regardless of how they felt, readers wanted to know what happened to Sheila Rushmore, the girlfriend of two years that was kicked [to] the curb. Well, she’s dusted herself off and trying to get back into life.
I guess the concept for both of these stories boils down to me asking the “What if?” question. I knew an associate who had a close relationship with her ex-spouse. I had a chance to see how they reacted and treated each other, and wondered if there was still an attraction for either. I couldn’t help but think that they would give each other a “second chance” if one of them was brave enough to express their feelings.

And so was birthed…The Last Woman Standing…and the Steppin’ Into The Good Life.

Do you write only Christian fiction?

Currently all of my books are fiction. I do have an idea for a devotional floating around in my head that would uplift and inspire women like me. By “women like me,” I mean those who are driven to live a purpose-filled life, and do so while taking care of children who pull out toys as soon as you’ve cleaned up, being a helpmate to your husband, and trying to think of something new to put on the table instead of recycling old recipes, etc. The list goes on!

How long have you been a published author?

My first novel, A Heart of Devotion, was released by Moody Publishers in January 2005. That was an awesome way to celebrate the new year!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think it originally started in seventh grade when I had an “advice column” in my school’s newspaper, called Tia Talks. When I entered high school, I decided to take “Newspaper” as one of my electives…and I was hooked. But even before that I used to enter every fiction writing competition that was school and county-wide. However, I never fathomed that my love for writing would lead to a career as a novelist. I’d planned on going into broadcast journalism…and writing the truth, and nothing but the truth! It wasn’t until I was included in a round of layoffs at a job in 1999 that God I truly began to search for my passion and purpose. I guess you could say God married my love for reading and my love for writing!

Any advice for other authors or aspiring authors?

Keep writing until the end, even if it’s not your best. In fact, your first draft WON’T be your best. But you can’t edit or revise blank pages.

For More Information
• Visit the author online at
• View the blog tour schedule at

Monday, January 24, 2011

The African Divide in America

That was the topic of our panel discussion yesterday in which I had the honor of being a panelist. I didn't voice out even a tenth of what I wanted to say during the discussion, because I didn't want to cry and we would run out of time. But as I sat in church this morning, I let it all out. I cried.

Here's what I had to let out and let go of, so I can move forward: How long will I have to pay for my ancestors being among those who were left behind? It is not my fault and every single day in this country, I feel guilty about slavery. I can never come to terms with it. But I can't change slavery. I can only change what is going on now; help to fix the aftermath of slavery. As I assimilate and imbibe the beautiful things about the American culture, I would like to share those things about the Nigerian culture that I intend to teach to my child which have been lost through the years in the African American culture, those things I never want to forget. But nobody wants to listen to me. Maybe not nobody! But you get the drift. There aren't enough people who want to know.

I even wrote a book about it. And while some understood and loved it, others have called me prideful and arrogant, perceiving my confidence and pride in my heritage to be me looking down on African Americans. Some think that I am saying Nigeria is better than America and I have to remind them that Nigeria is a developing country and though there are several good things about Nigeria that you don't see on TV, they are missing the point.

We do have tribalism and religious divides in Nigeria. But we will come together in a heartbeat against any other group of people. The one thing nobody expects in a developed country is resistance from other black folk because it does not happen like that among blacks in Europe.

Yesterday, we all agreed that to fix the divide between African American and Africans, we would need to collaborate and unite more, we would need to educate our kids, African Americans would need to visit Africa more, we would need to show people in Africa the worst of America (for balance), we would all need to study each other's cultures more and be more tolerant of our differences. Most of all, if we concentrate more on the ways we are alike than the ways we are different, the world would be a much better place.

One of the statements I found to be the most profound yesterday was when John McQueen mentioned that what changed his life was when he spent a year and a half in Europe and he got a chance to see America as the world sees it and realize there truly are opportunities. And it saddened me when he mentioned that he did not grow up knowing America was full of opportunities and it was not taught to him. I realized that growing up to see and know that the world is full of opportunity was special and we all need to make sure we instill that in our kids. If you want it, go get it. It's there. But nobody is going to hand it to you.

Another issue that touched me was when Alistair Edwards said he was taught that when you meet people, the next thing you do is ask what you can do for them to make their life better. That is a winner!

Delson Adeoye and Muyiwa Babalola went so deep into history and research on this issue, they had my head spinning!!! Brandi Mitchell reminded us that whether giving service, or being serviced, as African Americans/ Blacks in general, we need to step it up and make sure we are competitive in the business world and providing quality service. And if we are receiving service, appreciate and value it, pay what it is worth and don't try to get it for free.

While Klarque Garrison was helping me with my things and walking me to my vehicle last night, I casually looked up at Grady hospital and mentioned how I worked out of there for three years during residency. I also mentioned some other places farther out where I had worked and he wondered how I had worked in all these cities he'd never been to. When I explained to him how needing a work visa almost guarantees you can't get a job in certain desired locations as a foreigner, he was almost speechless. "We have a different set of challenges that y'all don't understand," I had said to him. And because we're programmed to be resilient as Africans, you might look at me and think I have it all, because I don't complain. But you don't know how many thousands of dollars go to my attorney to process immigration related issues or the challenges that are unique to me as a non-American.

For Africans in America, our challenges are current. We don't hold on to the past, we let that go. Whatever things were lacked while back home are quickly forgotten. Whatever you suffered in your early years here become something to laugh over. For African Americans, half of the challenges are perceived, psychological or emotional (which doesn't make it less important) and half is current. Like Brandi said last night, slavery is a mindset that is hard to break. But we all have unique problems and only in coming together can we have power in numbers.

When I got home last night, I was rejuvenated and drained at the same time, so much so that I felt weak in my body, like I had run a marathon. My hips hurt and I hadn't been standing all day. That was my personal breakthrough working through every fiber of my being. So while I was giving, I received as well.

After I let it all out in church today, I fell in love all over again with my blackness, my Africaness and especially being black in America. I love this country. I love living here and this is my home now. I love Atlanta especially. I'm here to stay. And I won't give up, until all our voices are heard and we all become one.

Give us a chance people. We are one!

Thank you Survive 365 and Klarque Garrison for giving me this opportunity and I look forward to future collaborations with you.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Invite to FREE Panel Discussion: "The African Divide in America"


D.K. Garrison, Author/Speaker

(866) 642-9125 office

(404) 447-8265 local

Atlanta based author hosts 6 panel discussion: African vs African-American sociological divide

“The African Divide in America”


Atlanta, Ga.—January 22, 2011—Since 1865, blacks in America have had their freedoms. Soon after, African immigrants started migrating to the US for better education and opportunities. Almost instantly African-Americans and their brothers from Africa have had an invisible divide between the two communities. Rarely is there an economic or social collaboration anywhere in the US between them.

On Saturday January 22, 2011 4pm-6pm EST at the Auburn Ave. Research Library, 4th floor (101 Auburn Ave. NE Atlanta,Ga. 30303), a panel of six successful entrepreneurs (3 Africans, 3 African Americans) will meet to openly discuss why? The event will be hosted by D. Klarque Garrison author of “How to Survive the Next 365” & Moderated by Michael McFadden host of the wildly popular radio show “Real Talk with Michael McFadden”. Special Presenter/Speaker will be Mr. Chris Gloss who is the Nation’s #1 Possibility speaker. The six person panel includes stalwarts Dr. Folake Taylor (Author), John McQueen (entrepreneur), Delson Adeoye (businessman), Alistair Edwards (motivational speaker), Chloe Taylor-Brown (Life Coach), Muyiwa Babalola (attorney). The event is FREE and open to the general public. The format will be a moderated forum with a Q&A period for the audience. Our goal is to enlighten, provide insight and create an open dialog for future partnerships.

For more information, contact D. Klarque Garrison (404) 447-8265, Folake Taylor (770) 312-7973, or Delson Adeoye (404) 781-5909

Media: Contact Host D. Klarque Garrison for interviews or coverage at klarque@survivethenext365. For ad, bios, headshots or more info call (866) 642-9125.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Day, A New Year...

Happy New Year!

Now, about those New Year Resolutions we all insist on having every year. Though I have a slightly different take on those, since it is January now, whatever was not already implemented in 2010 is now something we are struggling with and hopefull succeeding at. First rule of thumb is this: If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. My second rule is I have renamed them All Year Resolutions and not just to be implemented at the start of a new year. I believe that as soon as you recognize and decide the change is needed, you should plan for it in the near future if not immediately, so as not to load up this one magical day of the year with too many changes that you couldn't possibly keep to.

That being said. If you have more than three things on your list of New Year Resolutions, I suggest you stagger them. By that I mean set a date to implement each one so that you are not working on ten different things at once. I say that because if you get overwhelmed, you stand a huge chance of not succeeding at any of it. This is the advice I give with any kind of life changes, except if they are related. For example, if your resolutions are all along the lines of "I'll stop cheating on my spouse; I'll spend more time with family; I'll skip the strip clubs..." those to me don't count as different resolutions! They essentially count as one. But if on the other hand they are "I'll lose twenty pounds; I'll stop smoking; I'll stop taking prescription pain medications I'm dependent on..." then you might need to stagger it. I give the last example of course with my dear patients in minds. Those are probably three of the most common changes I hear people wanting to make, especially at the beginning of the year. Other common ones of course are alcoholism, non-adherence to medications or diets for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol as well as preventive care.

Let me break it down for you. One of the hardest things to do at the same time is stop smoking and lose weight. This is because when you stop smoking, you gain weight. I think this is multi-factorial. People who smoke are used to having something to do with their fingers a lot of the time. They replace the cigarette with food. Also, many people have anxiety which the nicotin deals with and without the nicotine, they suddenly get very nervous and jittery and comfort eat. What I normally suggest is that you stop smoking first, allow yourself to gain whatever weight might come with it and figure out how to get past that and be at a stable weight before you try to lose weight, with or without help.

I know this is not the scenrio for the general populace or outside of a doctor's office setting of course. On the street, you might hear more of "I want to be closer to God this year; I want to start a business and be successful with it; I want to write a book; I want to be a better parent to my children; I want to be a better spouse; I want to be a better child to my parents..." etc.

We are not machines. We are humans. We want to do all these things but rather than set ourselves up to fail, I suggest we map out a plan to stagger it and once we achieve one or two goals and master them, we can take up the next challenge. I use the same technique with lifetyle nutritional changes (note we are not saying diet anymore) and that way, the ability to stick with the changes are permanent and not temporary or intermittent. In turn, the results are also more permanent.

I think the traditional way of approaching New Year Resolutions sets us up for failure and by the third month, many people have given up on many of their resolutions. It seems like it's too hard.

If you chose to adopt my approach, I would love to hear back from you by email or otherwise. I wish us all a fantastic year full of blessings, progress and growth. More importanly, let us remember to give back. Be a blessing to somebody else. That is the only resolution I am working on presently; to be a blessing. With the exception of less time on fecebook. Shhhh. You'll be surprised that by the time you are done, God has taken care of your business.