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Profiles in Excellence

Intimate Conversation with authors Rhonda Joy McLean and Marsha Haygood 

Rhonda Joy McLean is Deputy General Counsel of Time Inc. and former Assistant Regional Director of the Northeast Region of the Federal Trade Commission. A graduate of Yale Law School, she served as chair of its alumni association, which has more than 10,000 members, and was recently elected to its fund board of directors. In 2007, McLean was chosen as one of The Network Journal's "25 Influential Black Women in Business." Born in Chicago, IL and reared in Smithfield, NC, McLean is a classically trained pianist and mezzo-soprano. She performs sacred music with chorales throughout the New York metropolitan area, where she resides.

Marsha Haygood is the president and founder of StepWise Associates, LLC, a career and personal development consultancy. She was formerly the executive vice president of human resources and administration at New Line Cinema and Orion Pictures. She lives in New York and Florida.

BPM: Rhonda, who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
RJM: My co-authors Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and the other members of our “Girls Night Out” group are my peer mentors, and we have been helping each other move forward personally and professionally for many years. My parents and my maternal aunt are also mentors who have believed in me from the very beginning. I am grateful that they are still with me. They are extremely supportive.

My grandmothers, who have been gone a long time now but who still live in my spirit, inspire me. They were each extremely powerful women who rose above their limited circumstances to bring their families out of poverty into spiritual and actual abundance and intellectual achievement. They were awesome! I hope that the work I do every single day honors them and all of the sacrifices they made so that my family members and I could thrive.

BPM: Marsha, who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
MH: When I look back and review my career, I can think of several mentors that have guided me along the way. The first was my mother who instilled confidence in me and assured me that I could do anything that I put my mind to.

My co-authors, Elaine and Rhonda and the other members of the Girls Night Out group who have been good friends, good listeners and good advisors have really been an inspiration.

My husband of 25 years, who continues to inspire me and keep me centered and focused on my goals. Also there have been a few colleagues, some who were a different race, gender and religion who helped by giving me guidance and a different perspective along my career journey.

BPM: Introduce us to the primary message in The Little Black Book of Success.
RJM: Our primary message is that leaders are not only born, leaders can be made and many African-American women are unaware of their leadership potential. We believe that our book provides practical principles of leadership that can guide women, indeed, anyone of any gender or race as they navigate their career pathways and attain leadership positions in any employment sector, including entrepreneurship. 

MH: Besides the message that Rhonda mentioned, we also want to remind each black women that she is not alone in some of the challenges that she faces and that we all have choices in how we handle those challenges. Often times a change in attitude can change our outcome and we share our perspective on this with the readers.

BPM: What motivated the trio to write 
The Little Black Book of Success

RJM: Each of us mentors a large number of younger employees of all backgrounds and ethnicities and we have found that while they may be highly educated, they have often not been exposed to leadership development strategies. They also may not be aware that the leadership skills they display in their communities – in church or service organizations – even in social clubs and sports groups, can be transferred effectively to their workplaces. When our co-author and team leader Elaine Meryl Brown researched the issue of leadership, she found no books on leadership for and about Black women and we set about changing that fact. We have each been working for 30 years or more and felt that we should share the learning we had obtained over those years. We also wanted to write the book we wish we had had access to when we set out in our careers.

BPM: What issues in today’s society do you address in the book?
RJM: We are quite candid in the book about institutional racism and sexism and their pervasive influence in many workplaces in America. However, we also prescribe specific strategies for using the challenges we face as professional women of color to inspire us and invoke our creativity so that we can find new and innovative ways to become the leaders we know we can be. We also dispel the myth that Black women cannot work together and support each other -- that we “pull each other down.” We have been friends for more than a decade and have worked closely together for four years to write, publish and promote this book. We are still friends and continue to enjoy working together.

We also speak frankly about self-sabotage in our “cultural code” sections that can be found in every chapter and how we can “get out of our own way” to achieve leadership success.

BPM: There appears to be a limited amount of Black women in media. Industry wide, do you think women in media lack aggressiveness to promote themselves? 
RJM: I don’t agree, we hear this all the time about the personality of women, their unwillingness or inability to promote themselves, and therefore getting stagnated in their positions or not being able to project what value they are bringing to the bottom line. 

This is the reason I wrote my book [The Little Black Book of Success] so that women understand that you are your own best advocate, and you have to step outside your own comfort zone to do so. What we say in the book is that you have to get used to and study 
the culture of the community that you’re in. There is a certain way that people work and a certain way that they promote ideas, and if you don’t get that then it’s going to be very difficult for you to move forward. 

BPM: What makes your book different from others on the same subject?
MH: The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of A Leadership for Black Women is a practical, no nonsense “mentor in your pocket” that is an easy read resource for leaders at all levels.

BPM: Who should read The Little Black Book of Success and why? 
RJM: Our book has been embraced by young people who are about to enter the job market, as well as high school, college and graduate school students. Many mentoring organizations have found our work to be useful as they provide career guidance to their program participants. We also recommend our book for anyone who is already working, no matter where they are along their career timeline. Even very senior employees (male and female) and retirees have told us that they find our book to be helpful to them, as many of them are considering career transitions and/or launching businesses of their own. We believe that ANYONE can benefit from our work, since the basic leadership principles that we have identified apply across a wide variety of organizations.

BPM: Before we end the interview, define LEADERSHIP.
MH: Leadership is not only a skill but an attitude. Good leaders have a healthy dose of self confidence and the ability to self reflect and make adjustments as needed. Good leaders are not only born but are made by continuing to learn about themselves as well as those they want to follow them.

BPM: How can our readers reach you all online? 
MH: You can learn more about The Little Black Book of Success and about Elaine, Rhonda and me by visiting our website at  We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Also information about my career and life coaching services can be found on my company website at 

For more information on Elaine visit 
For more information on Marsha visit 
For more information on Rhonda visit 


About Elaine Meryl Brown
Elaine Meryl Brown, former VP, Creative Services at HBO, is an Emmy® Award-winning writer and producer who has won numerous awards in the broadcast industry. In 2007, Brown was chosen as one of The Network Journal's "25 Influential Black Women in Business." A favorite of Black Enterprise, she was featured in the magazine and at their Women of Power Summit. A Wheaton College Alumni Trustee and member of the Coalition of 100 Black Women (Bergen/Passaic Chapter), Brown is also the author of two novels published by One World. She lives in New Jersey. 

About Rhonda Joy McLean
Rhonda Joy McLean is deputy general counsel of Time Inc. and the former assistant regional director of the Northeast Region of the Federal Trade Commission. She has worked as a corporate litigator in a major New York law firm and taught administrative law at the City University of New York. She lives in New York City.

About Marsha Haygood
Marsha Haygood
is the president and founder of StepWise Associates, LLC, a career and personal development consultancy. She was formerly the executive vice president of human resources and administration at New Line Cinema and Orion Pictures. She lives in New York and Florida.

Visit the Authors Website: 

The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women
by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean 
Foreword by Essence® Magazine editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray

ISBN-10: 0345518489 | ISBN-13: 978-0345518484 
Business & Economics - Motivational; Self-Help - Personal Growth

Available at Barnes and Noble - Purchase Your Copy Today!


The Little Black Book of Success
Laws of Leadership for Black Women
Written by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood 
and Rhonda Joy McLean 

 Little Black Book is a #2 Bestseller on Amazon 
in the "Management and Leadership" category! 

 In this engaging and invaluable “mentor in your pocket,” three dynamic and successful black female executives share their strategies to help all black women, at any level of their careers, play the power game—and win.

Rich with wisdom, this practical gem focuses on the building blocks of true leadership—self-confidence, effective communication, collaboration, and courage—while dealing specifically with stereotypes (avoid the Mammy Trap, and don’t become the Angry Black Woman) and the perils of self-victimization (don’t assume that every challenge occurs because you are black or female). Some leaders are born, but most leaders are made—and The Little Black Book of Success will show you how to make it to the top, one step at a time.

Read Excerpt from Chapter Two- The Little Black Book of Success

To Attain Victory, Stay Positive

Master the art of positive thinking. To become a leader you must have a positive mental attitude, which you can achieve with positive self- talk and looking at what is right with people instead of what is wrong with them. Positive self-talk means saying positive things about yourself to yourself and to others. You are what you think, and you can accomplish what you think you can. For example, if you tell yourself that you can’t perform a particular task or difficult assignment, then you are setting yourself up for failure. You must tell yourself that you can meet professional challenges that come your way. Instead of thinking, “Oh, I can’t do this. I’ve never done this before,” say, “This is new to me. I’ll give it my best shot.” Then go do your homework, consult with others, go online, request the reports, do whatever you need to do to get the information to complete the assignment to the best of your ability. Positive thoughts create constructive energy around you.

You must establish this habit of positive self-talk in your mind, because it requires regular reinforcement. Make it a habit. Invest five minutes a day before you head out to work. Tell yourself you can meet any professional challenges that life has to offer. Write down your positive affirmations in your Personal Leadership Notebook and read them out loud, or write a positive prayer. The spoken word is extremely powerful.

For example:

• I release the past and now allow myself to be filled with positive thoughts.
• I deserve the best and welcome it into my life.
• I see the good in everyone.
• I accept for myself all the good things that life and work have to offer.
• I am worthy and deserving of new challenges that come my way.
• I am in the process of making positive changes.

Be actively aware of what you’re thinking. What kind of voice do you hear in your head? Does a voice tell you that you can’t do something because a family member warned years ago that you were going to fail? Or that trying something new was too risky? Or that traveling abroad or to other parts of the country is dangerous? If you begin to see a pattern of negative thoughts, write them down and then create positive affirmations to cancel them. You must reprogram your thoughts. It’s the only way good things are going to come to you in life. You can make it a good day or a bad day by controlling your thought process. Even if something bad happens to you during the day, you can decide how to react to the situation. Your reaction is your choice and your choice determines how you will respond—positive or negative. Create positive images, statements, situations, outcomes, interactions, and exchanges. You can change your life if you change your thinking.

Having a sense of humor also comes in handy and can help you with your positive attitude. There will be times when you’ll just have to throw up your hands and laugh.

Negative self-talk can lower your expectations, and do damage to your self-confidence and leadership ability. People want to follow leaders who are positive. One of a leader’s most important jobs is to set a positive tone.

People who are positive tend to be:

• More productive at work.
• More likely to be noticed and recognized by their boss.
• More likely to attract co-workers to them.
• More likely to be open to new experiences.
• More likely to recognize opportunity when it comes their way.

Cultural Code
We haven’t always been exposed to positive images in life, whether due to the media or the racial divide. Not everyone was raised by supportive or well-educated or instructive parents. We haven’t always been around positive family and friends. While growing up, some of us didn’t receive the attention and encouragement we deserved in classrooms from teachers. While our parents were sometimes struggling to make ends meet, or being challenged by more obstacles than we experience today, we haven’t always had the most positive view of the world. Unfortunately, we can even be negative about ourselves. 

Sometimes we assume that the challenges we are facing have been set before us because we are Black or women. While this may or may not be true, we may become paralyzed with anger or fear because of our own beliefs. We can get in our own way by deciding that “they’re out to get me,” or “they just don’t understand or value me,” and that nothing can be done about it. Look beyond skin color and don’t focus on it. We cannot let differences, or what others think or feel, get in the way of achieving our leadership goals. 

Despite the negative forces around us or inside us, we must overcome them as we embark upon this journey. We have to be positive and view the world in a positive light. For not to be positive would be to give up all hope. We are a strong and spiritual people. We have survived through the ages with physical strength and the strength of our minds. Negative thinking that creates negative emotions can lead to stress, anger, and hostility, as well as disease. So keep your thinking positive.

Write a list of your good qualities and assets in your PLN. Place positive messages to yourself around your home, tape them to your dresser and medicine cabinet mirrors. Read them out loud and often. Carry them with you in your purse and keep them in your desk drawer at the office and refer to them as a reminder whenever necessary. Refresh or update these positive messages or affirmations to yourself on an as- needed basis. Even if you’ve been in your position for years, look at today as if it’s your first day on the job and immerse yourself in positive thinking.


Excerpted from The Little Black Book of Success by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean Copyright © 2010 by Elaine Meryl Brown. Excerpted by permission of One World/Ballantine, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Visit the Author's Website: 

Available at Barnes and Noble - Purchase Your Copy Today!
ISBN-10: 0345518489 | ISBN-13: 978-0345518484 
Genre: Business & Economics - Motivational; Self-Help - Personal Growth

12 Ways to Keep your Non-fiction Book in the News 
By Sandra Beckwith

Publishers are willing to publicize nonfiction books when they’re released, but they rarely do much after the launch to keep books in the news, even though most deserve ongoing media exposure. Here are some easy things you can do to generate continuing publicity for your title. Use a mix of these ideas to develop a 12-month publicity plan that will provide the support your book needs.

Turn the advice in your chapters into a series of monthly tip sheets. A tip sheet is a press release that offers tips or advice in a bulleted or numbered format. Start your tip sheet with an introductory paragraph that explains why the tips you’re offering are important, list your bulleted advice, then tie it all together at the end with a concluding paragraph. Send it to appropriate media outlets; the distribution list will depend on your topic.

Contact the press immediately when your topic is making headlines to offer your expert perspective. This is a sure thing with most local media outlets when it’s a national news story because you’re giving them a local angle. Fax or e-mail (no attachments) your bio and a cover letter explaining your position on the breaking news to the appropriate media contact. If you’ve done enough interviews to prepare for the big time, pitch the national news outlets, too.

Add the media to your newsletter distribution list. The same useful advice or information you offer subscribers in your print or electronic newsletter could be of interest to reporters covering that topic, too. I got a book contract several years ago from the publicity that resulted from adding the media to the distribution list of a newsletter I publish.

Repackage your book content into by-lined trade magazine articles. Depending on the terms of your publishing contract, you might need to do some rewriting so it’s “new” material. Make sure the author credit at the end of the article includes your book title.

Capitalize on holidays and special months, weeks and days by distributing a press release with useful, newsworthy information related to the topic, or by contacting the press to offer yourself as an expert information source. For example, many daily newspapers run articles in December about how the holidays are especially difficult for people who are grieving the recent loss of a loved one or facing the anniversary of a loss. This presents many coast-to-coast interview opportunities for the author of a book on grief and loss – but only if the author reaches out to the press.

Contact the public relations department of your industry’s trade association to offer yourself for media interviews. Association public relations people are often contacted by writers like us looking for members with a particular expertise to interview. Make sure your association knows about your qualifications and the topics you can comment on, and you’ll get referral calls.

Conduct a newsworthy and relevant survey on your topic and announce the interesting results in a press release. The author of a cookbook designed to make cooking simple and easy can survey people about why they don’t cook more, and release the findings in a press release sent to newspaper food editors and cooking magazines. The release should include information about your book’s connection to the survey topic.

Sponsor an attention-getting contest and announce the results in a press release. To promote my humor book about men, I conducted a “Worst Gift from a Man Contest.” The resulting press release led to nationwide media attention, including a holiday appearance on a national cable TV talk show.

Push your publisher’s publicist to monitor ProfNet for reporter queries related to your topic all year. Alternatively, subscribe to ProfNet via its PR Leads reseller and respond to appropriate queries. A $99 per month subscription via  is more affordable than a ProfNet subscription. 

Monitor writer forums for source requests. Members frequently post requests on the magazines and newspapers forum for interview sources. 

Tell the media when you’re visiting their market. Reporters love to interview experts who aren’t local, so if you’re in another city for any reason, contact the appropriate media people two weeks before your trip to offer ideas for articles they can write based on an in-person interview with you. If you’re in town to speak, send an announcement press release several weeks in advance and offer to do a pre-event telephone interview.

Repurpose your best tips into a free booklet. Write and distribute a press release that describes the booklet and how people can get a free copy; make sure both the booklet and the release include information about your book, too.

Generating ongoing publicity is work, but it’s not rocket science. Invest the time so you boost sales while contributing to your author platform. You’ll see the rewards at the end of the year.

About the Author Expert:
Sandra Beckwith offers a free book publicity and promotion e-zine at  and teaches the “Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz” e-course.

Ten Ways to Know if Your (Internet) Marketing is Paying Off

So you're out there marketing. You're doing all the right things (or so you think). You're following the book marketing advice of some leaders in the industry. You've got a checklist and you're methodically checking off your goals. But how do you know you're doing everything right? The fact is, most of us don't. Yet we forge ahead, keeping pace with our marketing plan, without ever knowing if it's paying off. We don't see it in sales. Does that mean it's not working? Not at all. You could be seeing the effects in other places but just aren't keeping track of it.

I find that especially in social media you need to keep a close eye on what's working and what's not. If you've spent *any* kind of time online you know that you can be in front of your computer for what seems like 20 minutes and yet three hours have gone by. If the three hours of marketing is paying off, then it's fine to spend the time. But you need to know the difference. Here are a few things you can review to measure the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of your marketing.

1. Jumping in without a plan: Set clear, measureable goals because most marketing is invisible. Let's face it, you send an email and wonder half the time if the intended recipient got it or if it ended up in a spam filter, never to be seen again. That's the power behind goals. You need them and you need to run your campaign by them. So what are your goals? And no, you may not say sell books. Yes, that factors in - but there are a million small steps along the way before you even get to sales. Consider these goals and see if any of them fit your book, topic, and future:

a. Establish yourself as an expert or get known in your particular field. Hey, maybe you just want to be known as the go-to person for everything related to paranormal romance. That's great and it's a realistic, attainable goal.

b. Increase the visibility of your brand. OK, sort of the same as the bullet before this one but more geared to the non-fiction author.

c. Increase traffic and incoming links to your website. This is a great goal. Whether you are fiction or non-fiction, it's a great focus.

d. Do what makes sense for your book: If your followers aren't on Twitter then why have you spent the last month or so promoting yourself on there? Mind you, Twitter works for most of the books we manage, but there are a few that don't make sense. Twitter skews older than most people think so don't be surprised if your YA reader isn't on there. Before you launch head first into a campaign, make sure it fits your demographic.

2. Neglecting other marketing: I know it's easy to get all a-twitter about Twitter, but what else are you doing to promote yourself and your book? If you're good at events and speaking, are you still focused on that? Don't get too myopic on doing just one thing for your marketing. The truth is, you need to do a lot of different things, balanced out over a week or a month for your marketing to really make sense.

3. Set goals - be clear on what you hope to achieve in social media: What are your goals for Twitter? If it's just about gathering followers then you are missing a big piece of this social networking tool. For many marketing people it's all about the number, but numbers don't make as much sense unless they are driving interest to you and your book. If the numbers keep growing, along with traffic to your website, then you're on the right track. But if you're just growing numbers for the sake of being able to say that you have 10,000 followers then it makes no sense. That's like buying a fancy car you can't really afford. Eventually the debt of it will drag you down. It's the same with Twitter and Facebook and any other social media site. It's not about the numbers. It's about the activity.

4. Be clear on who you are trying to reach: Many of you say you're trying to reach readers, but is that really true? We all want to sell books, but who are you really going after? In all likelihood you will have a variety of different targets you are going after. Consider these: booksellers, speaking opportunities, interviews, bulk sale targets, reviewers, and readers to name a few.

5. Measure effectively: In order to know if stuff is working you'll need to measure effectively. As I pointed out earlier on in this article you may not want to do that by fans or followers - instead consider these ideas as ways to measure your success:

a. Retweets on Twitter: The best sign of success on Twitter is the amount of retweets. Are you getting them and if so, how often? If your tweets are good and your followers are active, you should see a few a week at least (depending on the amount of followers you have). If you're curious about the amount of Tweets that get RT'd - check out Twitter Analyzer ( is another great tool for determining how far tweets have traveled.

b. Site hits: Are the hits to your site increasing? Are you watching your analytics to be sure? If you're not, you should be. Watch your site stats closely and monitor the increase in traffic and where it's coming from.

c. Inbound links: How many new ones are you getting? Did you do a vanity search before you started this campaign? If not, do that now. Make sure you know how many new incoming links you're getting as a result of your efforts.

d. Sign-ups to your mailing list: Are they increasing? If you're doing the right stuff in your social media they should be increasing weekly.

6. Increasing the contacts in your industry: Remember that social media marketing is just like going to a networking meeting. You want to expand your reach and get to know others in your industry. If you're not increasing your reach and contact base, then you need to be. This is another great way to gauge how effective your marketing is.

We always want to make progress in our marketing but we're not always sure how to do it or if what we're doing is making a difference. Follow these steps and see if it doesn't help your marketing momentum. If it's paying off, you'll know sooner rather than later and you can keep doing the good stuff, and punt the bad.

Bonus: additional tools for tracking marketing This site serves as both a URL shortener and also as a measurement tool. can help get you real-time results on clicks to links you are posting to Facebook and Twitter.

Google Analytics: If you don't have any back end web analytics (and even if you do), Google gives you a lot of valuable data.

Trackur: This is a great monitoring site to see what's being featured on you online and off. It's not free like Google Alerts, but much more comprehensive. Their basic package is $18 a month.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.


How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free

by Harrine Freeman 

Harrine Freeman is the CEO and owner of H.E. Freeman Enterprises which provides credit repair services to help people restore their credit rating and develop good money management skills to pay off debts and plan for retirement for the past 10 years. 

She is an energetic speaker, author, personal finance expert, and freelance writer. She was once in $19,000 in debt, only making $21,000 a year and was successfully able to get herself out of debt without filing for bankruptcy. 

She has appeared in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Pink Magazine, Forbes, Redbook, Heart & Soul, the Prince Georges Gazette,,,, and on NPR, NBC and ABC. She has been a guest columnist for the Washington Informer and PBS Parents.

She is also the author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free", a self help book on credit repair that provides consumers with a step by step plan on how to get out of debt, increase their credit rating and maintain their good credit. 

Book: How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free

Can you imagine how your life would change if you had good credit? Imagine the relief? Less stress, not worrying about bill collectors calling you at home or at work, and putting an end to your fights with your partner, spouse or children that are caused by not having any money. You would be able to buy things that you needed or wanted, and get a great interest rate for a home or car loan. These are just some of the many benefits of having good credit and using this book can help you reach that important financial goal. 

This comprehensive self help book provides step by step details on how to repair your credit, get out of debt, create your own flexible spending plan and maintain your good credit without having to go to a credit counseling agency or file for bankruptcy.

Harrine Freeman Website - 
Bookseller - Borders, Barnes & Noble,

Harrine Freeman - CEO/Owner, H.E. Freeman Enterprises
Speaker, Freelance Writer, Author of How to Get Out of Debt

Genre - Non-fiction; ISBN - 9781933949437
Target Audience - 21-50, low-to-middle income
Primary Subject Matter - personal finance 

Intimate Conversation with Dawn McCoy

Dawn McCoy, the leadership guru, and is president of Flourish Leadership Group. She a nationally-recognized speaker and author of Leadership Building Blocks: An Insider's Guide to Success. She was among the youngest African-Americans elected to the Sacramento City Unified School Board of Trustees, one the nation’s top fifty largest school systems. She has been legislative aide and nonprofit executive. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and master’s degree from Georgetown University.

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
My grandmother and my aunts are my mentors. They are the ones who have inspired me to write because of their legacy sewing quilts. For years, I’ve watched them weave together from scrap materials and clothing creative home-spun blankets, quilts, and wall-hangings. From fabric and decorative embellishments, they have created stories that come alive. When I received a quilted square handed down from a great-great aunt, I knew I had obligation to tell a story a story using my creativity.

Leadership Building Blocks came to me as a way to both tell my story about life in public office and the local political landscape. In the process, I shared lessons learned with the intent to help others get in, survive, and manage leadership roles.

BPM: Introduce us to the primary message in your book.
Leadership Building Blocks: An Insider’s Guide to Success outlines seven strategies to help ordinary people become extraordinary leaders and achieve success. These seven strategies include vision, balance, courage, dynamic creativity (relationship building), fortitude, and infinite possibilities (legacy). It is an inspirational account based on leadership lessons Dawn McCoy learned as an elected Sacramento City Unified School board trustee. Readers get step-by-step procedures about leadership including pictorial images, leadership self-assessments, and goal-setting worksheets. Purchase at Amazon today!

Leadership Building Blocks includes seven strategies essential to bring about success.
These include Vision, Balance, Courage, Dynamic Creativity, Everything Global, Fortitude, and Legacy. 

Also included:
• vision is forecasting,
• balance is maintaining focus between personal and professional worlds,
• courage refers to persevering during difficulties,
• dynamic creativity describes flexibility,
• everything global is about really connecting with people,
• fortitude describes crisis management and communication skills, and finally
• legacy is about gracefully rounding any leadership journey.

BPM: What led you to create Leadership Building Blocks now?
It was so interesting while writing Leadership Building Blocks to discover how pivotal my service as an elected school board member REALLY was. After serving 52,000 Sacramento students in a school district ranked as one of the top 50 largest in the nation, I felt compelled to help other current and aspiring leaders in a meaningful way.

Even with the high-profile and public school district challenges that I talk about in the book, I wanted to share lessons learned, the inside track per se, about how to manage any leadership journey. Writing Leadership Building Blocks after I did not seek re-election was a cathartic experience. It brought forth this process to help others to courageously face adversity, to build solid relationships, and to maintain their integrity.

BPM: Who did you write Leadership Building Blocks for? Why?
What’s so unique about Leadership Building Blocks is that it’s a practical resource for everyday people. First, this book is useful for beginners and seasoned veterans alike. This book was written to guide high school and college students who are at the beginning or turning points along their leadership paths. On a practical level, this book is written specifically for nonprofit directors and neighborhood team captains, political leaders and entrepreneurs, and PTA moms and even t-ball dads.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
Leadership Building Blocks is an essential guide for how good people in leadership positions become extraordinary leaders. Too often we hear about leaders making bad decisions. This book is the perfect solution to bring integrity back to leadership. It’s based upon my experiences in political office. It is filled with kernels of wisdom, chapter-by-chapter icons, and self-assessments. What makes Leadership Building Blocks so distinct is that it will inspire you to jump in, take on, or tackle any leadership role.

BPM: Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.
Last fall, I rolled out a new audio CD, Effective Community Engagement: Seven Steps to Make a Real Difference. Included are excerpts from chapter 13 of Leadership Building Blocks and also concrete ways about how to become a better champion for a cause, community group, or faith-based organization. These step-by-step techniques are timeless insights to help people really take action rather than just talk about it.

Right now, I’m excited to be on a national tour for Leadership Building Blocks speaking at conferences and visiting local bookstores and colleges. This includes lectures and book signings in New York, Baltimore, Richmond, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas
City, and Los Angeles. It’s really an exciting time!

BPM: How can our readers reach you online? 
Readers can reach me on at:


Dawn McCoy, President and CEO Flourish Leadership Group, LLC
Motivational Speaker, Leadership Consultant, and Author of Leadership
Building Blocks: An Insider's Guide to Success
"Empower Effective Leaders for Today and Tomorrow"

Purchase at
Purchase at

Book Intro: The 8 Principles Of Goals And S.U.C.C.E.S.S. 
by  Mark D. Watt

The 8 Principles Of Goals And S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is Mark D. Watt first book. Mark is an author, technology enthusiast, and entrepreneur at heart. He was born in Evansville, IN. After graduating from high school, he attended Vincennes University, where he majored in computer programming. He has worked for various established companies and startups throughout his corporate career. In 2002, he started GLO-HEL Property Investments, LLC and in 2009 MB Media Group, a company that is developing mobile media. He resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is currently working on his next book.

In a world full of self-help books and personal growth seminars, we are bombarded with images of what life should be and what success really is. From the moment of birth, we are surrounded by temptation and by pressure to conform, and we are conditioned to adhere to society’s standards. It is this problem, says author Mark D. Watt that distracts us from the true issue: What is success, and where does it really come from.

BPM: What motivated you to write this type of goals and success book?
A: The reason why I wrote a biblically goals and success book is that I realized that true success did not come from man; it came from the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth - Bible) manual. I noticed that there are a lot of life coaches, goals and success guru’s that are deceiving a lot of people regarding goals and success, and how it came about, and where it originated from. These gurus are making a lot of money using what truly came from the (Bible) and taking credit for it as if they came up with it, and not acknowledging God or the Bible, the true originator success. 

BPM: What sets this book apart from other goals and success books?
A: The 8 Principles Of Goals And S.U.C.C.E.S.S. dispels the myth and removes doubt of who, what, when, where, why and how success came about. This book spells out the truth about goals and success in a unique way. The word (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.) itself is unique in how the letters spell out the word success in a Biblical manner and understanding. As one reads this book, it provides divine directions, and a process one will go through. The (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth - Bible) manual provides anyone and everyone who desires to apply these principles supernatural success in every area of one’s life. So, I ask this question, what is your definition of success?

BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
A: Other men and women of God, whose walk and talk line up with the written Word of God. I find inspiration from the Holy Spirit; it instructs me and provides me directions on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

BPM: What is the primary goal of (The 8 Principles Of Goals And S.U.C.C.E.S.S.)?
A: First of all this book is not about getting rich, it is not about worldly standards of goals and success, done that way is only temporary. However, the (material things) is not a primary focus here; it is the obedience to the written Word of God. It is the spiritual things first. Read, Matthew 6:33 and obtain revelation (understanding) from it. The primary goal of this book is 1: bring forth the truth regarding the true goals and success. 2: to provide basic instructions on how to achieve true success in every area of one’s life. 3: how to apply the principles, because they really do work.

BPM: What do you desire your readers to ultimately gain from The 8 Principles Of Goals And S.U.C.C.E.S.S.?
A: To follow the right instructions and directions from the (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth - Bible) manual. In order to do this one must have a change of mind by the renewing his or her mind with the written Word of God. When done God’s way, your success will manifest supernaturally, and success is, permanent not temporary like it is in the world.

BPM: How can our readers stay in touch with you? 
A: For additional updates regarding my book, articles and additional information, readers can visit my website, blog and mobile site or email me from my website contact form.

Connect with author Mark D. Watt
Author Website:

Book Available Now! Everywhere Books Are Sold…

A PURSE OF YOUR OWN by Wealth Coach Deborah Owens

You’ve seen her, know her, and might even be her! The woman with the “counterfeit purse.”  That’s the term for the symbolic bag that some of us may carry.  Those who might dress fashionably and drive a nice car but have nothing of real value. Many women are smart enough to know that they should put their hard-earned money to work for them.  However, most are too overwhelmed, bored or intimidated by the particulars of stocks, bonds and mutual funds to be proactive.  

In A PURSE OF YOUR OWN: An Easy Guide to Financial Security (ISBN: 9781416570813; $15.00), Wealth Coach Deborah Owens shares how women can use what they know about fashion, dieting and romance to take charge of their finances. This book offers respite to women who are tired of “renting” a wealthy lifestyle with credit cards and are ready to utilize their unique strengths to build wealth-a la Oprah and J.K Rowling.  In this straight-forward and easy to understand financial guide, women learn how to increase their PQ or Purse Quotient and learn the principles to becoming financially fit in any economy.  

The purse is a reflection of a woman’s economic power and Owens insists that in order to fill up a purse, women must adopt wealthy habits that put them on the path to fiscal independence and a financial identity. These are the behaviors that Deborah observed in financially successful women throughout her more than twenty years in financial services.  She is a former financial advisor and was a vice president at Fidelity Investments.  A PURSE OF YOUR OWN shares examples of women practicing The 7 Wealthy Habits,” which include: 1. A Wealthy Outlook 2. A Wealthy Appetite 3. A Wealthy Vision 4. A Wealthy Mindset 5. A Wealthy Legacy 6. A Wealthy System and 7. A Wealthy Focus. A PURSE OF YOUR OWN provides a distinctly feminine financial perspective.  

By adopting these habits, Owens was able to fill her own purse. As an author, radio talk show host and TV wealth coach she now shares her successful strategies with others.  Each chapter of A PURSE OF YOUR OWN focuses on one of these principles and discusses how to acquire and then apply the wealthy habits.  In this easy to follow financial guide, Owens covers the basics and intersperses stories from real women who have used the 7 Wealthy Habits and achieved their own success. Owens empowers women to discover their own Purse-onality, and use their female intuition to take control of their finances and create financial security in their lives. In addition, A PURSE OF YOUR OWN includes helpful quizzes and exercises and offers a free online supplement.  

A PURSE OF YOUR OWN will show you:

How to clean out your purse and create a Purse-onal Financial Statement
How to shift your mindset from earning income to building wealth
Why “bonds are the new sexy” and how they complement your portfolio
How to detox your finances by adding liquidity
How to turn your shopping sprees into investment research
How to increase your (PQ) Purse-onality Quotient by acquiring a wealthy appetite
How to form a Purse Group for accountability and support 
How to pass on your investment knowledge to your daughter

 A PURSE OF YOUR OWN implements clear cut strategies to build and add wealth to your purse wealth to maintain financial security. For more information on A PURSE OF YOUR OWN please visit: and


Black Professionals Leveraging Corporate Knowledge 
for Today’s College Graduates  

Are you prepared for tomorrow’s future challenges? Do you know how to take advantage of future job opportunities? As the financial crisis continues and the US labor market continues to weaken, many college students are wondering how they will survive these difficult times.  With the fierce competition for limited jobs, they wonder if they will be able to land a good job in the marketplace. 


I understand and see it. Hope isn’t lost. As a professor, I frequently find myself encouraging students to keep hope and plan for their career aspirations. The mistake is that many in my generation believed that a company was looking out for their career development. They were not! Black professionals can share their experiences with young college students. In fact, today’s job market requires that college students develop their own personal strategy for employment.  This article explores how black professionals can assist college graduates with job strategies.


The Economic Picture

Economic troubles in our nation and abroad continue to create an unstable and unpredictable job market. Parents across this country tell their children “get a good education and you will get a good job.” However, in this economic rollercoaster, this is not always true. US manufacturing jobs continue to evaporate as global outsourcing becomes the norm for businesses that seek to increase their profits.


According to the Forrester Research, approximately 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $136 billion in wages could be moved overseas to countries like India or China by 2015.  The industries potentially impacted include electronics, computer programming, telecommunications, banking, engineering, management consulting, and other highly skilled services. Therefore, many students are concerned about their future employment.


The University-Corporate Connections

Some universities understand how to connect with corporations in order to make their students more competitive.  The economic picture has caused many organizations to reduce their presences on universities across the nation.  To a shrewd executive, it probably doesn’t make sense to hire young graduates when the economic picture for the company may be uncertainty. According to some business estimates, employers are expected to cut 2.7 million jobs in 2009 (2 million were cut in 2008).


Additionally, every state is predicted to end the year with fewer jobs. Only 2 industry sectors expect to add more jobs, education and health & government. However, some companies feel their support to academic institutions make business sense since it demonstrates the organizations’ social responsibility to their communities. Furthermore, some universities have been too busy attempting to shore up their economic woes to pay attention to other organizations. Yet, there are some bright signs. Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), one of the 16 constituents of the University of North Carolina , continues to make a high commitment to furthering alliances with the public and private institutions.


BEEP has a historical record of over 40 years working in partnership with corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and other institutions where black executives serve as "Visiting Professors" at primarily black colleges. The university is an active member of the National Urban League’s Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP). In March, WSSU invited several organizations to campus, including the Central Intelligence Agency, UPS, Department of Energy, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


LaMonica Singleton, WSSU Director of Career Services, understands the importance of students making a connection with corporate America : “Students can relate to individuals who have been where they are. Students can listen and relate to the professionals.” She further notes that students see positive role models and can see themselves personally in a different setting. Kevin Bryant, a WSSU junior from Goldsboro , North Carolina , sees the value in having professions coming to campus: “I think it’s important for students to broaden their horizons. Having this exposure is important.”


Bryant further adds that these professionals gave him a dose of reality in the fact of how the corporate world operates. However, the trends make it difficult for even college students to be optimistic. However, having a good plan can increase the odds for most students in landing a good job. Students should bee aware of opportunities and be prepared to act quickly on them.  Derrick Craver, Vice President - South Zone Strategic Accounts for UPS, explains, “An education is the foundation [for opportunities].” 


Bill Washington, Vice President, Strategic Account Sales for UPS, argues that having a plan is critical for taking advantage of opportunities: “In any area of life, it’s important to have a roadmap.” He encourages developing a 1 to 3 year plan to reach goals. Therefore, college students need to be proactive about landing a job.


The Path Forward

Although many students are feeling very pessimistic about future career opportunities, hope is not lost if people are prepared for the future. Black professionals can make a difference by sharing their knowledge. Wise students will listen. Throughout their schooling, most young people are shielded from the unpleasant realities of life. Today, students are bombarded with many obstacles. However, they can make a positive step in navigating these difficult economic times and landing their future jobs. Now is the perfect time to begin.


About the Columnist:

Dr. Daryl Green provides motivation, guidance, and training for leaders at critical ages and stages of their development. He has over 20 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, you can go to or



HEADLINES: Job Wanted? Personal Brand Strategies for Employability

 With fierce competition for limited jobs, many people wonder if they will be able to land a good job.  
Unfortunately, the economic situation feels like a bad dream. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs 
will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. In fact, the government 
estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018.  

As a result, today’s unemployed workers are unsure about their future. Hope is not lost! Building a personal brand may be the cornerstone of sustaining success in the future.  Many athletes and celebrities build successful brands over time. Some of them include Julia Roberts, Michael Jordan, and Stephen King.  Likewise, individuals can also build their own personal brand.

Brand Strategy

Personal branding showcases your public image. Personal branding can be defined as ‘the process whereby people and their careers are marked as personal impression or brand.’ Al Pies and Jack Trout, authors of Positioning, maintain that making the best impressions is critical for business success. With this strategy, an individual should create a ‘position in the prospect’s mind.’ This impression should reflect a person’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.

Branding includes personal appearance, oral and written communications, associations, or anything that identifies an individual. Derrick Craver, Vice President - South Zone Strategic Accounts for UPS, notes that even your work ethic serves as a brand: “It starts by coming to work on time.” Furthermore, branding defines, promotes, and protects an individual’s image online and off-line. 


Finally, individuals should protect their personal brands. Never dress inappropriately in a business setting or showcase a less flattering image on social media platforms like Facebook. Your future employer could be watching. People should be careful how they are perceived during the employment stage. When a person submits an application to an employer or starts the interview process, potential employers are evaluating the candidate based on his or her brand. Therefore, a personal branding strategy can assist people with standing out from the competition.    

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Dr. Daryl Green provides motivation, guidance, and training for leaders at critical ages and stages of their development. He has over 20 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, you can go to or



What Agents Look for in a Writer’s Works 
by Dr. Maxine E. Thompson 

Like many small business owners, I have to multi-task, so as a literary agent, I recently had this insight while at the Pacific Ocean. When I wear my agent cap, the stories that I love the most, are the ones which hold my attention. Simple as that. Nothing esoteric. The same way these stories hold my attention, they tend to hold an editor at a large publishing house’s attention. Ergo, these are the manuscripts which get the book deals. 

A writer’s work has to catch my attention in the first sentence, then the second, then the first page, or the next 5-10 pages. I don’t care how many projects I have in the hop, I should be able to sit down, block out the other things pressing, and read your book with interest. That’s a compelling read. Even if I can’t finish it, I should be drawn to want to come back to find out what happened. 

I’m an agent who happens to be a writer, too. This is another epiphany I had while at the ocean. As writers, we have to write as if we are writing for people with short attention spans. A book has to be very compelling to keep this type of person’s attention, and I think a lot of people suffer from a little of this syndrome now. Why? 

Because today, many people are on information overload. People tend to have short attention spans. We can get information on Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Squidoo, millions of websites,, emails, teleseminars, ipods, webinars, ezines, internet radio interviews, Youtube. The list goes on. 

People are busy, raising families, working jobs, or running businesses. They are caught up in the fast-pace of life that is the New Millennium. As a result, people tend to want instant gratification. So I take this into consideration when I read a client’s work. 

What are some of the things agents look for? 

Personally, I look for writers of fiction who have more than one book in them. Preferably, these writers have a number of stories to tell, and they can make a full-time career out of their writing. I’d like to see writers whose books can be translated to the silver screen one day. 

• Where should you begin? A good query letter is a place to begin. You can find out how to write them in the Literary Market Place, or The Writer’s Market. 

• A serious writer will take time to visit the guidelines when submitting to an agency. Do not send attachments unless the agency asks for it. Often the writers do not follow the guidelines, and this is a turn off to an agent. 

• If someone asks you for a synopsis, a logline for a screen play, or your novel’s first 3 chapters, then make sure this is what you provide—not your self-published book with the cover torn off. If you have already self-published, send in the manuscript version to the agent. 

These are some tips for writers: 

• Make sure there are no typos in your query letter, your synopsis or your manuscript. It not only discredits your work, it gives an impression that you don’t respect the craft of writing. 

• Have your work edited and proofread before submitting to an agent. Sometimes, as writers, we only get one shot at an opportunity. Be prepared if you want to be successful. 

• Follow the submission guidelines of a literary agency. For example, if the guidelines say they do not accept novellas, do not send novellas. Wait for your release letter, which says that you are the writer of said material. 

• Send a query letter and a screenplay in the proper format. Use Final Draft or other screenwriting software. 

• If you want to be a screenwriter, study the craft. 

• As a novelist, you should develop a good writing style and have an interesting flair for words. This is one reason why urban fiction is so popular. It is written in hip hop/urban vernacular, which has a very authentic feel and it reflects the world as seen by the characters who have lived the street life. 

• As a writer, you should develop a strong voice. Your particular world view should shine through your writing. 

• Create a page turner by studying the craft of fiction writing, (which includes the elements of fiction, such as pacing, revising, creating memorable characters, among other techniques.) You can read books, take classes, or join critique groups. 

• Write about exciting characters who take action. Do not use stereotypical characters. Write against character type. Don’t use your typical diva, typical tomboy, typical playboy.

• Use a compelling storyline. Stories are not about the character’s ordinary day or routine. The best stories are about disruption of the norm, and how the characters coped with the change. Good stories are about characters who go through a journey, which change their lives, for better or worse, by the end of the story. This is your character arc. 

These are some things you can learn to do which will help improve your writing. 

• Learn how to set up a scene, then pay it off. Raise a story question and make sure you answer it by the end of the story.

• Learn how to write dialogue which sings. This will really help with screenwriting. 

• Learn how to use descriptive words, vigorous verbs, and evoke emotions through the five senses. Learn how to make a novel move like a movie, with visuals, settings, showing vs. telling, and providing a life lesson. 

• Learn how to develop your characters so that they feel real and like someone a reader will spend 300 pages with. Give your characters backstory, an agenda, and conflicted desires. 

• Learn how to make a story flow, through different techniques, such as Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero’s Journey.” 

In conclusion, writing a fictional story is work. But who ever said anything worth having would be easy? Learn to be the best writer you can become, and an agent will be glad to represent and negotiate a decent book deal for your work. 

© Copyright Dr. Maxine E. Thompson 

About the Author
Dr. Maxine E. Thompson is a novelist, poet, columnist, short story writer, book reviewer, an editor, ghostwriter, Internet Radio Show Host, and a Literary Agent. She is the author of The Ebony Tree, No Pockets in a Shroud, A Place Called Home (A Short Story Collection), The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sell, a contributor to bestselling anthologies Secret Lovers, All in The Family, and Never Knew Love Like This Before, (Also a Kindle Bestseller), Proverbs for the People.
Hostage of Lies is her latest fiction novel, was voted a Best Book of 2009 by EDC Creations: 

You can sign up for her free newsletter at  

FREE REPORT: How you can write your book faster than you ever thought possible: 


by author/poet Marc Lacy

If you are a self-published poet, or an aspiring poet considering going that route for your first publication, I’m sure you’ve just about heard it all by now. “Poetry doesn’t sell.” “You’re better off writing a novel.” “You will not be accepted as a legitimate writer while writing poetry.”

Well, I know I have. People have been on my back since day one with regards to publishing something other than poetry. I mean I’ve had some knockdown drag outs about what “I” should do with “my” career. I’ve listened to just about everything people have to say. I take everything with a grain of salt. People are entitled to their opinion. It is what it is…and what it is, is “their opinion.” But, in processing all of the opinions, I realized how valuable their takes were and still are about writing and publishing.

Although I have produced works in other genres, I’m currently making a segue into the realm of fiction. Even though I have made my mark as a poet, I certainly want to be known as a quality “writer” first. So why now Marc, especially since you’ve been such an ambassador for poetry and spokenword? I’ll tell you why. Throughout all of those years of getting hounded (respectfully) by literary enthusiasts, book clubs, fellow authors, friends, and family…there was a perception that my only goal throughout my entire literary career was to only publish poetry and produce spoken word cds. No one ever asked me what my future plans were? All along, I knew I would someday take the fiction leap of faith; but I did not know exactly when. So why now? Well, if I’m going to make a transition, it is going to be at my own pace and on my own time. I humbly refuse to let another dictate how and where I should throw my passion’s weight around.

However, I’m no dummy. Remember…I “do” listen. I understand the reality of the situation. When people walk into a bookstore, the last thing they may say to themselves is, “Hmmmm, let me go to the poetry section.” Even if they convince themselves to do so, what makes me think my book is going to standout over a beautiful hard-covered Nikki Giovanni coffee table edition of a poetry collection? Yes, Nikki is the bomb. Or a nice volume of famous works by Edgar Allen Poe? Edgar was a poetical genius. Nothing wrong with having gumption, confidence or desire; but if you are a fish, compete with the best fish and do not try to fly with the fastest birds.

Be realistic in your goal-setting. In some areas, it’s okay to take the path of least resistance. If you are a pioneer and have visions of setting a trend, understand that you will be your own sacrificial lamb. In layman’s terms that means, you will go through more hardship before you realize any pleasure or relief. But, it is ultimately up to you. I do not want to be the one to deter someone from chasing dreams. We all have them.

As odd as it sounds, there needs to be some “reality” factored into our fantasies. Nothing wrong with learning to work smarter while pursuing goals. There is also nothing wrong with applying logic and truth to a creative vision and going forth.

There are several reasons to be encouraged. So many that I do not have the real-estate to cover them in this blog, but I need you to know this: although people tend to purchase fiction and other genres at a way higher rate than they do poetry, if they see you perform or somehow hear your material, they will at least be attentive for that time period. Once you have them, you have them. So continue honing your craft of writing poetry and performing spoken word. If poetry is your thing, then that is what it is, however, you can still retain these skills while going through a writing genre transition. 

Just think about it…if you are invited to present your material with a group of authors who write in other genres, depending on how your performance goes, you have the potential to stand out like no other. Why? Because you are performing your material and not necessarily just talking about it. If you stand out, then people are more apt to purchase your material; especially if you are the only one on the program performing or doing some sort of skit. Take full advantage of this opportunity should it arise. However, make sure you think about getting double the exposure by developing your writing skills in another genre.

Once you become acclimated to and sharp in another writing category, you will then have extra power in your literary engine to flex when it comes to publishing and presentation. By respecting all facets of the craft of writing, your game can be potentially stepped up more than you know.

If you are published and have aspirations of continuing to publish, your main objective should not only be selling books; but becoming a better writer. Even if you a performing poet, you should still focus on becoming a better writer. People get into the game for a variety of reasons. Some people are not concerned for state of being of the craft of writing as they are about making a dollar from selling a book. If you are passionate about any genre, then you should be just as passionate about improving your writing. 

Be encouraged to constantly digest and embody the change you are trying to make. If you are a poet or spoken word artist; continue being the best you can be; but also be encouraged to know that your talents are appreciated. Being that such is the case, why not take your writing to the next level by delving into another genre while still maintaining your skills in the realm of poetry/spoken word? I’d like to leave you with this thought: If you develop your writing in another genre, publish books to the effect, that fact alone may bring more attention to your poetry than that which was gained when you wrote only in that genre to begin with.

About the Author
Marc Lacy, a graduate of Alabama A&M University is a nationally renown, award winning poet/author and spoken word artist. He has performed all of over the country for many national literary events and spoken word venues. Marc is the author of Rock & Fire - Love Poetry from The Core, and The Looking Heart - Poetic Expressions from Within. He is also the producer of REFlux, RTIQLation, and LyriCode 256 spoken word CDs. Marc is the contributor to many anthologies such as: The Soul of a Man, Step up to The Mic, and Witness the Truth. 

Marc is a member of ArtNSoul Society of Expression, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Church Street CPCA, Huntsville Literary Association, and National Society of Black Engineers. He credits his faith in God and love of family for providing energy to succeed. 

Checkout his latest fiction book, Wretched Saints - When the Righteous Path Leads to Hell's Doorstep at: , , and 

11 Ways to Take a Mental Vacation
by Tinisha Johnson

During economic difficulties, you may not always have enough funds to take even one vacation, let alone more than one or two vacations per year. We live in a fast track world where time escapes us all, and the time that is available, is often not enough, leaving us tired and drained, while we try to squeeze in life’s little pleasures. Whether you take a physical vacation in the near future or not, why not schedule some mental and relaxing activities now, so you can take the edge off.

Our mind is the way we connect with our inner emotions, and with the outer world. With everyday stress, our minds can become overloaded and overwhelmed. This is usually the time when you find yourself easily frustrated, not sleeping well, irritated by the slightest of things, or feel a loss of energy on a frequent basis. Stop, take a deep breath, and learn ways you can relax your mind, body and spirit, even if it’s in the comfort of your own home.

1. Meditation
What does meditation do for you? It connects you with your inner self. It calms and places you in a relaxed state. It also helps to release stress and increases self-awareness. Those who practice meditation on a regular basis have said it’s transformed their entire body. If you’ve never meditated before, you could be missing out. There are several techniques and levels. To start off, you may want to experiment with the type of meditation where you close your eyes, and concentrate on various breathing techniques. There is free information online that can help get you started. Also, talk with a certified health specialist on the various ways to meditate.

2. Read a Book
Reading can be a relaxing and entertaining activity. Browse the library or a book store and spend just a few moments reading about subjects or genre’s you love. While you are reading, don’t allow your mind to wonder off to anything except the words that lay on the page. Become deeply involved in the book. Make a commitment that you will schedule out a few minutes each day, or an hour per week and engage your mind in the book of your choice. Make sure you keep your reading schedule until you’ve finished the book.

3. Take up a hobby
Kids seem to have more hobbies than adults. There has to be something you love besides plopping in front the TV set. It doesn’t have to be hard or farfetched. Things like gardening, taking photos, journaling, or drawing are just a few out of a thousand. Figure out what you love to do, or at least would like to try. Even if you think you don’t have the time, spend just a few moments and write out some suggestions. Then write out what steps you’d have to take to get started. 

4. Exercise
Exercise is one of those words some people cringe when they hear. You’ll also hear the most common excuse: “I don’t have time.” Exercise doesn’t have to be 2 hours at the gym body pumping and slaving away on a stair master or cardio machine. Start off with walking or any activity that will get your heart rate going. Exercise definitely makes you feel better after you’ve done it. You’re never hear anyone say after exercising, “I wish I hadn’t done that.” You will always feel better afterwards. Exercise gives you energy and clears your mind. 

5. Revisit your photo albums
Many of us have photos we cherish. Some may be sitting right in front of us or along the wall in our homes. Revisiting photo’s of friends and family allows you to take a mental trip down memory lane, and embrace the people you love, including those who are still present in your life. Every now and again, we need to reflect on where we’ve been in life, because it helps us become more aware of where we’re going. 

6. Take a walk
Depending on where you live, this could be just around your block, up a hill, at a nearby park, in the mountains, or along the sands of a beach. Life can go by in a flash if we let it. Why not take a walk and get to know nature a bit. We can take someone with us on the walk if we choose. If you’ve driven down a particular road hundreds of times, why not try walking along side that same road. You’ll notice the experience is quite different. Walking in general allows you to pay attention to your surroundings just a little bit more.

7. Visit the museum
I’m sure you can remember back when you were a kid, the museum trip you used to take with your school and classmates. You learned so many fascinating facts about history. Taking a visit to a museum is definitely something different. Just changing up our daily routine just a bit, could be all we need. It’s a positive experience if nothing else. Go by yourself, or take a friend, a child, or a family member. Take in the knowledge. What type of an effect has history had on you personally? Visit the museum with the insight that you will come out learning something new. 

8. Listen to soothing music
Music refreshes us in so many ways. Music can change our moods in an instant. What type of mood would you like to be in now? You can purchase CD’s with the sounds of nature on it. Take a risk and buy one, and lay back relax and listen to it. You’d be surprised how you’ll feel afterwards. You can be sure your mood will change. They say the sounds of nature changes the vibrations of the mind’s thought process, and provides a sense of peace, even if just for the moment.

9. Get a massage
Treat yourself and go to a spa or pay to get a professional massage. Let someone else help you smooth out your stresses of the day. It will definitely be worth it. Many massage locations give discounts for first-time customers. 

10. Cleanse your body
A body cleanse can rejuvenate and improve your digestive system, and your overall health. There are various body cleanses. When some people think of body cleanses, they think you have to go without food. Although those types of cleanses exists, there are also cleanses where you don’t have to eliminate your food intake. In fact, there are many ways to detoxify the body from toxics present in your body. Ask your doctor or a pharmacist what types of body cleanses may be right for you and your lifestyle. 

11. Write it out
Are you troubled by something or someone? Are you overworked and completely drained? If so, write it out. Put pen to paper, and write out your worries, concerns, and dislikes. Getting your feelings out on paper can be a major therapeutic release. In essence, writing out your emotions can release the negativity from inside. After you have written out your feelings and what you don’t want, you need to write what you want, to balance it all out. Writing out your problems and concerns helps you face and recognize them. Writing out what you want brings you closer to resolution. 

In conclusion, right now plan to take your mental vacation within a few days or weeks, and enjoy yourself and have fun!


Tinisha Nicole Johnson is an author, writer, and poet residing in Denver, Colorado. She’s written various books, and writes freelance articles for the Denver Examiner. Besides writing, she also hosts political and sports teleconferences. Books by Tinisha at Amazon.  Learn more about the author at her website:

Top 10 Ways to Make Money in 2010 
By Craig Garber

The annual "Top 10 Ways Entrepreneurs Will (And Won't) Be Making Money In 2010" list has just been released and it contains some compelling information this year:

1. Tighten up your marketing message - The way to be different and get noticed is by addressing the most specific and passionate needs of your customers. The more you match your marketing messages to your customers, the more money you will make, simple as that. Create good and services that cater to individuals, not to the generic 'everyman.' So for instance, if you're selling services, create programs that address the needs of busy executives, women, people who want to lose weight, and the elderly. When you cater to your customer's specific needs, you will sell much more, and you'll be able to charge top-dollar as well. This works for everything from healthcare to cupcakes.

2. Value and ethics pay off - Companies that offer quality goods and services, and who actually deliver on their promises, will continue growing, very rapidly. The world is getting smaller and smaller, and if you want to survive, you simply must provide first-class service. Deals and discounts alone will no longer make your cash register ring. People are very willing to pay top dollar for better quality, as long as you're giving them a valid reason why they should.

3. Curiosity is King - Because the number of marketing messages consumers are being hit with, is increasing by incremental proportions, understanding what makes your prospects "tick" is more important than ever. Entrepreneurs who can create compelling marketing messages that arouse curiosity and self-interest will be handsomely rewarded. Self-centered messages focusing on the company instead of the customer, however, will be ignored even more in 2010.

4. You must be a problem-solver, not a sales person - If you want to differentiate yourself, you're going to have to start being a teacher first, and a sales person second. Those entrepreneurs who can educate, entertain, and inform will easily attract and retain qualified business. If you focus on 'selling,' to the exclusion of everything else, you're going to find yourself in a terrible bind. Being a problem solver first and foremost, gives you the positioning you want and the credibility you need, to make big money. Remember, no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

5. Increased use of emotional direct-response marketing - With marketing costs spiraling out of control, using measurable direct-response marketing to evaluate the return on your marketing dollars, is more critical now than ever. On top of this, no matter how many bells and whistles you're using to get your prospect's attention, making an emotional connection is the most effective and reliable way of captivating prospects. People make buying decisions based on emotional factors. They may rationalize them later with logic, but all buying decisions are initially made to satisfy emotional needs. Doesn't matter whether it's vanity, greed, hope, or fear of loss -- pushing the right emotional buy-buttons is going to be a critical component of your success in 2010.

6. Increased use of direct mail - Advertising online is becoming extremely competitive. Every day you read stories about businesses spending more and more money on Google AdWords, just to make sure their ads show up higher on the page than their competitor's ads. However, successful businesses will focus on outsmarting their competition, not outspending them. And one of the most effective ways of doing this is through direct mail. You're able to select targeted mailing lists and create marketing messages that address your prospects unique and specific needs. Plus, mailboxes today are less cluttered, which means less competition for your prospects attention.

7. Your USP had better be strong and specific - Your USP is your "Unique Selling Proposition." It basically answers the question, "Why should I do business with you, instead of your competition?" This is actually the most important thing businesses need to focus on. See, most entrepreneurs try and 'convince' people they need their goods and services. That's a very frustrating and unrewarding way of marketing. Instead, you should 'attract' those people who already want to buy these goods and services, and simply show these prospects why they should buy from you, as opposed to someone else.

8. Increased use of two-step lead generation marketing - Two-step lead generation, when used correctly, is like the eighth wonder of the world. It gets you out of the 'convincing' business and it lets you attract pre-qualified leads who are eager and enthusiastic about doing business with you. It also ties in directly with you being a problem-solver and not a sales person. This kind of lead generation marketing has been around since the 1800's. An example of this is the old Charles Atlas ads, where you had to send in one penny to receive a booklet of free information. This qualifies prospects and lets you weed out tire-kickers and looky-loos. It also lets you share your story, which gives your prospects a much better opportunity to get to know you.

9. Take your cues from Reality TV - The most popular shows on television today are reality-based, and if you're not using reality-based marketing, then you're missing out, big-time. I communicate with my list daily, by e-mail and through my blog. I give out 40% direct content, which in my case is money-making direct marketing and copywriting strategies... 30% related information, on topics like success and maximizing your productivity... 20% personal stories and opinions, about myself and my family, or situational stories of how I overcame specific business or personal obstacles, and only 5-10% promotional content. This formula sounds unconventional, but if you follow conventional wisdom, you're only going to get conventional results.

10. More truth and transparency online - In today's day and age, with skepticism at an all-time high, especially online. You're going to need a lot more than a sales pitch or a clever logo to sell something. Businesses who don't provide information like a contact name and address, and a way of getting a hold of their office besides a generic e-mail address, are in for a rude awakening. Today, more than ever, people need to know you're in business for the long haul and that you're real. This means having a personality and creating a long-term relationship with your prospects.

The recent recession has leveled the playing field. Those businesses who have survived can make a lot of money if they know how to attract the right customers, and if they're willing to play by these new rules. Now go sell something, Craig Garber

About the Author
Lead generation marketing specialist, publisher, and copywriter Craig Garber is the author of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers: 21 Proven Direct-Marketing Strategies ANYONE Can Use!" This book the strategies he used to make over $578,463 with a small handful of customers, without spending even one thin dime on advertising -- and all at 90% profit. For more information about Craig and his new book, download his 23-page free Special Report, "What Every Entrepreneur MUST Know About Making Money: The 3 Most Critical And Costly Marketing Mistakes Business-Owners Make!",  right nowArticle Source   

How to Generate Income Online - 'Beginners Guide'
How Internet Marketing Really Works in Details 

By Alfred Sant

Earning income online is a very attractive idea because for many reasons; first you do not have to do direct or person to person sales and you get the flexibility of being your own boss and set your own hours. It does not take any special internet or computers skills and you can work from your home or from wherever you want.

You do need to know the right approach to be able to earn a sustainable income online. You must learn the right strategies, and some background information, in order to be successful on obtaining a full income online. The amount of money you earn depends on you and your ability to work hard and learn how the process works.

You always want to be careful of methods that are only scams:  pyramid schemes, reading offers, CPA offers, and many other kinds of programs. These products only benefit the people you buy them from.

These are the five most popular strategies to earn an income online:

5. Creating E-books: E-books are one of the most ambitious ways to earn online income and they are one of the most profitable. It is possible to generate a large income online with e-books, but it requires a lot of effort and experience. So if you are new to internet income, I would not recommend e-books as a starting business endeavor.

4. E-commerce: You can earn a large income online from e-commerce. You sell actual products, so you need to be able to maintain a good relationship with your clientele and providers, and it requires a lot of knowledge. This can be difficult and time consuming, so again if you are inexperienced this is not a good way to start your business ventures.

3. CPA Networks: You can generate quick money with a CPA network. You earn money by referring people to companies, product owners or big Marketing Networks. The income for each referral is usually very small, typically just a couple pennies, so this is not very profitable unless you have a large flow of traffic.

2. AdSense by Google: This is a lot like a CPA network. You earn money for referrals or clicks for advertisements, but this is managed all by Google.

1. Affiliate Marketing: This is my favorite way to generate income online. You don't keep an inventory of products, create products, and it doesn't pay in pennies. You promote products and get large commission for everything you promote, most of the time over half the price of the product. Internet marketers oftentimes use blogs and websites to promote their products, but that is optional. Many Affiliate marketers don't even have websites.

Affiliate marketing is the easiest ways to make income online. I can usually build a website in less than an hour to promote a product, and be generating cash the same day. This is a very fast way to earn money when you know what to do.

A lot of money can be made on the Internet; it's not hard once you know how things work. Obviously, you'll need a sound PROGRAM to follow. If you are serious about changing your life on the Internet, go to my website Internet Income. Most Internet programs are garbage or scams, and unless you have the time and money to test them all out, you'll basically go round in circles, and 'LOSE MONEY'. Before you make a costly mistake, come and check it out. CLICK HERE Internet Income.

About the Author
Alfred Sant is a Bestselling Book Writer and an expert in the area of Real Estate Foreclosure. He has written several books in this genre. Article Source  

Online Marketing Promotion - Time to Get Your Hands Dirty! 
By Bill Schmeggy

An online marketing promotion is no time to be timid, and stare at your screen. It is time to roll up your sleeves, get your fingers on your keyboard, and get busy. While you may not get your hands dirty, you need to have the attitude of a ditch digger. Keep working until you get the job done!

If you're just starting out in Internet marketing, you may be trying to figure out how to make your online marketing promotion effective, and not waste your efforts. You just need to stick to the basics, and you'll soon have traffic flowing to your site, and sales putting money in your pocket.

Today let's talk about one of the most basic fundamentals to online success. It's a very simple concept, and one you need to embrace for success. The website with the most quality incoming links is going to win! Very simply, if you are using Google as your primary source of traffic, you will need to generate more quality backlinks (incoming links from other sites), than competing websites. The good news, it just takes effort on your part to make this happen. It's not rocket science.

You can start arguing about having better content, your product is better, and all those other things, but they are simply not as important as links. When we talk about quailty backlinks it means two things.

1. They come from relevant and ranked websites. You want to generate incoming links from on-topic websites, blogs, or Web 2.0 pages. If the site is in your market, or a complementary market, links from it are more relevant, and carry a higher weight.

2. Use proper anchor text in your links. Anchor text is the words which are visible in the link. You want those words to reflect the keywords you have targeted for your web page as often as possible. Targeted incoming links increases your relevancy, giving you higher rankings on Google.

There are many ways to get these incoming links. One of the first places is to start by Social Bookmarking your web pages using Digg, StumbleUpon, and other bookmarking sites. Secondly, you can build your own Web 2.0 sites on Blogger,, Squidoo, and a host of other free sites, to generate targeted, relevant incoming links. This is one reason you'll need to keep your sleeves rolled up, you're going to be doing some work.

Another great place to find incoming links is in blog comments. Find blogs which are in your niche. Take time to read the posts, and then make good quality, helpful comments. You can often leave a link back to your website in the comments. Participate in forums within your niche, and include a link to your website in your niche. Don't spam the forums, actually contribute valuable information, and you'll get actual visitors to your site, along with more backlinks.

By rolling up your sleeve's and taking massive action, your efforts at online marketing promotion and increasing the rank of your site can be highly successful. If you just wait for magic to happen, your bank account will stay empty. Learn the basics, and take massive action. You'll be greatly rewarded for your efforts.   Article Source  

About the Author
Bill Schmeggy would like to offer you a free report and more helpful information on Internet Marketing, please visit Simplified Internet Marketing. If you are interested in Internet marketing visit

How to Make Money During a Down Economy
by Dr. Maxine E. Thompson

Are you angry about the economy? I don’t know about you, but I get angry in this down economy. Why? Because it has a trickle-down effect on all small businesses. In my case, particularly as a literary service provider, some clients don’t pay when they should because someone hasn’t paid them. We, as literary entrepreneurs, must adjust our marketing strategies. But, instead of getting angry, how about if we get busy? How about if our anger could move us to another level? A level of action. 

Let’s look back in history. During the depression, women found ways to make it for their families by cooking, sewing, quilting, washing and ironing clothes for other families, etc.  I grew up during a recession in the fifties, and I look back. How did my parents survive with six children? To supplement my construction worker father’s income, my mother did what we called “day work”-cleaning for white women. We often had filling meals of beans, soup, chili. We were seldom sick-later I found out we didn’t even have health care, which is happening a lot today because of layoffs. So I know, with God’s help, we can make it through this economy. It is something our ancestors always did. Make a way out of no way. 

In times like this, we need to examine ourselves. 

1) Find your strengths. 
2) Get around others who are strong where you are weak. 
3) Build your teams. 
4) Get people to fill in your gaps. 
5) Find multiple streams of income from your book, such as speeches, workshops, seminars, tele-seminars, webcasts, podcasts, blogs. 
6) Use your social networking to build teams, find resources, and exchange information, as well as socialize.

Build Your Action Plan
Ask yourself, what can I do to give people hope? Believe it or not, it starts with giving away what you have that has value. How can we be of value and how can we provide service to others? What do you have of value, which you can give away? Can you build business relationships, which are mutually beneficial to yourself as well as others? Can you teach what you learn as a literary entrepreneur? 

* Can you provide sales, marketing on line, coaching, or seminars first locally, then around the world? How can we get financial freedom? 

* We must take consistent action every day in our business. On one day a week, work on your business rather than in it. Have meetings to brainstorm with your team as to what your next steps will be. 

* The words we communicate to ourselves and to others will pay dividends to you. It will help you and others solve a problem. 

Connect with Your Readers
Right now, people are hungry for freedom. People want to get into sales and people want to write at least one book. 

* What are sales ingredients? First of all, you have to believe that the book you are offering has value. Ask your readers what do they like to read? Sell them on the benefits of your book. Find out what pains them.

* Often you’ll find readers who want to write a book themselves. This is how I started my literary services, then later my literary agency. I also have done Internet radio since March 5, 2002 to provide writers with an international platform to market their book. 

* What was the painful motivation? People were tired of not seeing their words in print, and then tired of not being able to get their books out to the market. So, find what pains people enough to move them to action and you will be able to make the sale.

© Copyright Dr. Maxine E. Thompson 


Meet the Author
Dr. Maxine E. Thompson is a novelist, poet, columnist, short story writer, book reviewer, an editor, ghostwriter, Internet Radio Show Host, and a Literary Agent. She is the author of The Ebony Tree, No Pockets in a Shroud, A Place Called Home (A Short Story Collection), The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sell, a contributor to bestselling anthologies Secret Lovers, All in The Family, and Never Knew Love Like This Before, (Also a Kindle Bestseller), Proverbs for the People. Hostage of Lies is her latest fiction novel, was voted a Best Book of 2009 by EDC Creations: 

Contact Maxine Online

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 Necessary Elements to Maintain Good Mental Health 
When You Face Financial Problems 
By Connor R Sullivan

David O'Malley owned a construction business that specialized in building new houses in what had become a well liked area of Texas known for the unique way it was designed to attract young families who wanted to be close to schools, shopping and beautiful natural surroundings. When builders in the area began to experience a sharp drop off in clients seeking their services it became apparent that the poor economy was taking its toll on new construction. When David found it difficult to pay his employees he discovered that he was unable to pay health insurance premiums also. It was not very long before he had to contact legal expertise to see how he could best salvage what was left of his business. He first looked for a Houston bankruptcy attorney through the normal sources; the phone book and online.

Seeking to find someone who was familiar with his community he soon decided to contact someone who was a member of The Woodlands Bankruptcy Attorney law firm. The Woodlands bankruptcy lawyer who was assigned to his case was quite sympathetic to the situation but he also laid the ground rules for David to follow in order to attend to closing up his current business and pave the way for a completely new start when the time came.

Economic failures such as the one described in the above story are always hard to deal with and are never a welcome interruption to life. In fact, there are many repercussions when dealing with insolvency and a poor self image and low confidence are chief among them. Depression is also a likely result when a person is confronted with losing everything he or she has worked for by failing to meet payment deadlines and contractual obligations. Some helpful habits are sometimes undervalued but they can actually aid a person who is undergoing such a stressful time.

1. Exercise - This is such a simple but effective tool that can keep a person physically active, take up time that would otherwise be given to excess worrying and be a health benefit as well. Incorporating exercise into a daily routine is a wonderful means of building physical and mental well being.

2. Reading - This is a great aid in the fight to maintain focus and concentration when fighting depression or low esteem. There are many uplifting non-fiction books to encourage a brighter outlook on life from people who have been through trying times themselves. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with losing oneself in a good mystery or a daring adventure novel to take your mind off of your own troubles.

3. Time with friends - Staying connected socially is vital to good mental health and will go a long way in helping a person feel he or she is not alone as they fight to regain a positive perspective. It also never hurts to keep your friends informed regarding your job search, etc. as they may be of help when it comes to networking with others they may know who could use your services.

About the Author
Connor Sullivan recently spent time researching law firms with The Woodlands bankruptcy attorney on staff. He hired The Woodlands bankruptcy lawyer to join his legal staff.   Article Source   

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