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Tiffany Sunday

For me, books will always be great holiday gifts!

Learning to read took time because I’m dyslexic. So, when I was in junior high, my mother started a tradition of giving me books for Christmas. She had a knack for curating an eclectic reading list.

Each year, I waited impatiently, wondering which books she had selected. After opening my gifts, I immediately found a quiet place and would read for hours. As a result, my fondest holiday memories are sitting next to the Christmas Tree or fireplace, admiring my new books.

Novels and nonfiction books have changed my life. Each year, I discover a new author, learn something new, or read a story that leaves its mark. I have continued my mother’s tradition of giving books as gifts and prefer printed copies, which never need charging. Plus, you can dog tag pages, make notes in the margin, and like a good friend, you can always take the book with you.

Purchasing books as gifts can seem overwhelming since there are many lovely and thought-provoking stories to choose from while shopping. Independent book stores can offer suggestions, and in larger bookstores team members share feedback about books throughout the store. This year, I selected a couple of cookbooks for my son – don’t tell him! He’s picked up the family cooking gene.

For friends, I’ve chosen Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury. I love Norbury’s books. Another favorite book is The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendiziwol; the book has an unexpected ending. A classic favorite is Pride and Prejudice – Mr. Darcy! Also, my books are available for direct purchase too. When selecting books, I prefer to read random pages, instead of choosing a book based solely on reviews especially today. We all know when we connect with a book.

Books matter they allow us to gain a new perspective and empathy for others. I can’t imagine a world without books, music, and the arts! So be sure to add books to your shopping list this season. If you are unsure which book to select, Barnes & Noble and independent bookshop gift cards are another great option.

Tiffany Sunday

In September, I decided not to republish Proper Grey Areas. It was my second poetry collection released in 2020. After reviewing the book and discussing the next steps with Lynne Knight, my new editor, I let the book go. Proper Grey Areas has been removed from the market. I have learned that better things will arrive when we are willing to trust our gut and let go.

So, the new thing is a new book that focuses on flash fiction and short stories. The book may include a novelette. Since August, I’ve had several epiphanies related to my writing. I also discovered a hidden interest in writing flash fiction and short stories. This leads us to Mystic, Ct.

Why Mystic, Ct. It’s more than 1600 miles away. Why does my writer’s soul seek to be there? I have no clue. I know that four years ago, starting in September, my soul longed to visit Mystic, Ct, and Cape Cod. Each year, the feeling intensified. I could not understand why. My soul’s longing to walk around the village and write was intense. So, last Christmas (2021), my son and I made the trip. When we arrived in Plymouth, MA, my soul felt at home. I wrote about the experience in my January in my post 2021 Holiday Road Trip to New England.

In September, I shifted my focus to completing my seventh book, which may include several poems from Proper Grey Areas. One Sunday afternoon, I started writing a story about a young woman who made unexpected decision to quit her job and move halfway across the country to Mystic. In the story, she closes her eyes and places her finger on a map of the U.S., and under her finger is Mystic Sea Museum. This is how she determined where she was going. The story is set in the 1990s.

At first, I thought the story would be about the character (Nicole) finding herself by channelling Thoreau (Walden and Cape Cod). Last year, while walking on the Cape Cod beaches, I felt a tiny spark of transformative energy, and thought to myself – am I willing to accept the opportunity to change course? The tall cliffs lining the beaches were intimidating as they stand tall against the mighty and unforgiving Atlantic Ocean. Gazing across the ocean, I thought of Mystic, the community, river and bridge and the area felt like a protective womb for healing and rebirth.

Instead, as I have worked on the story, it shifted with Nicole becoming part of a fishing family in Mystic, Ct. The family is healing from the unthinkable loss of losing a key family member at sea. The men are fishermen who fish for lobster and Black Sea Bass in Long Island Sound. This shift has surprised me. However, my intuition nudges me to follow the story and its characters, so I continue write and conduct research.

As a result, I’ve been making phone calls to Mystic seeking information about the area and the fishing business during the 1990s. As an author, my goal is avoid writing mistakes about the fishing industry and community. I’m reading everything I can find about the area, history, and fishing industry. As the character and story change, my research shifts as well. Nicole is discovering an interest in Maritime history which has been added to my research list.
 
For now, my writer’s soul is hyper-focused on the Mystic, Ct, and the characters as they make their way through life. The story has been in my subconscious as I feel a strong internal pull to be near the ocean. To walk, like Thoreau, along miles of open beaches with the sea challenging my thoughts.
Tiffany Sunday

In the box, people are protected by the box. Artistic, creative, visionary thinkers are, by nature, outside the box. I was placed in a box with the lid shut as a child. When I became an adult, the box was placed in the recycle bin and never seen again.

Inside the box is void of light, curiosity, imagination, and expanding thought. The box is designed for limitations. Individuals who reside inside the protected corrugated fibers find it difficult to understand an artist’s desire to go beyond and test ideas daily while fully exposing themselves to others and their ridicule.

Being outside the box has greater demands on artists as there is always the internal duality of developing their artistic vision or conceding just a little by stepping back into the edge of the fold. For a split moment, we long to be considered members of the herd. Then, overnight, the confinement suffocates and drains our energy, triggering our departure and return to the artistry wilderness.

Tiffany Sunday

In the revised second edition of "Insatiable Consumption of Being," Tiffany Sunday's micro stories showcase her endless creative energy.

Her poetry, composed using tight visual language, navigates a woman's determination to overcome shattering relationships to regain her strength. This book includes new poems and micro stories demonstrating Sunday’s writing depth and visceral imagery.

In a touching passage of Musings, her old manual typewriter creates a space in the house that allows the usually complicated nature of communications with a teenage son to flourish.

Sunday's new micro stories are an imaginative feast, offering readers tight dialogue balanced with enticing characters in assorted story genres.

Her understanding of advanced technology adds mystery to her dystopian world. Sunday poignantly strips away inhumanity in a flawed virtual reality program by employing a lowly sea bean.

The book is available from Itasca.

Tiffany Sunday

Several years ago, a stranger offered advice as we waited for our haircuts. We were talking about life and the problems we were encountering. Then, as his name was called, he turned to me and said, "I discovered there is always silver lining. The fun is finding it." To this day, I can recall the memory and his advice.  

For me, 2022 has been an interesting and challenging year, both professionally and personally. So in April, I started encountering problems with my book distributor, which only compounded my stress. The company stopped paying royalties, books disappeared, and readers didn't receive their orders. 

After weeks of researching a solution, I realized the only way to solve the problem was to change distributors and republish all my poetry collections. All reviews and work I had done would disappear. However, I knew continuing with the distributor would only make matters worse.  

The advice I received so long ago kept looping in my mind, telling me to search for the silver lining. Finally, weeks passed, and I knew I had to take a chance and change distributors. The best part of this transition was being introduced to a brilliant new editor and book designer. Little did I know, she would be my silver lining. Thinking back, I never thought I would say, "I am glad" the previous distributor created so much stress and then failed to correct the problem, but I am. Because if I had not made the change, I would not have met my new editor. 

Taking risks isn't easy because we are unsure of the future, the unknown. Listening to the advice I received, I searched for the silver lining. I glazed across the ocean of possibilities and imagined a better path. So often, we become caught up and trapped by the drama of the problem that we miss the silver lining. 

Even as a writer, I struggle to think of the words or phrases that could describe the transformation that occurred working with my new editor - she has helped me become a better writer and is now an invaluable part of my writing process. 

I am excited about the new editions: To Be Human - Always and Insatiable Consumption of Being. The books also honor my editor's artistic skills as a book designer. 

Both books include new content, design, and editing. In addition, new flash fiction stories were added to Insatiable Consumption of Being. 

The first editions of my poetry books have been removed from the market, and Proper Grey Areas will not be re-released as a second edition. So instead, I am writing a new book focusing on fiction and dystopian short stories. 

To Be Human - Always Second Edition is available now from Itasca and will soon be available at independent bookstores and Barnes and Noble. 

May you always find a silver lining, 

Tiffany 

Tiffany Sunday

Visual Thinkers (Neurodiversity)

Like other neurodiverse individuals, I am a visual thinker, which means all my thoughts and ideas appear like movies in my mind. I can imagine an idea in 3D with a 360-degree perspective. This skill and talent are great when creating art or new products or services. Once we have a lock on what we are creating, we back into the idea to transform thought into a tangible product. As a visual thinker, I rarely, if ever, read instructions for putting things together. Instead, I look at the IKEA box and then build it. 
 
The downside of being a visual thinker is conveying what we see in our mind's eye to others. We see the forest, the trees, and everything in the forest from top to bottom. Most of the time, we can envision all the details and have a gut on how our vision will work. Transferring our mental blueprint to others is always the most challenging part of the process, which is rarely a straight line. Instead, the process consists of squiggly movement as we test and build the idea. However, often, what we envision is created. 

Being neurodiverse, I rely heavily on visual cues. However, when I receive too much visual information, I become overwhelmed, which is why I avoid clutter. Last month, I spoke with a group of college students, and we talked about how we had to "see it" to create it. Whatever it was, we had to see it. The group discussed dealing with research and term papers. One of the students talked about their frustration as the professor did not provide a template or sample paper. As a result, the student had no roadmap to follow, which added to her frustration. For the past month, I have thought about our discussion and realized just how much time I spend seeking visual templates for my brain each day. If my dyslexic brain cannot see, it does not exist. Period. 

With all the frustrations of finding templates, I would not trade the visual thinking and spatial reasoning skills my dyslexic brain possess. From my book research for, How Dyslexics Will Rule the Future, I concluded that visual thinking might be another form of human intelligence as information can quickly be conveyed through visual images derived from our imagination. I believe this is why Einstein felt that imagination was more powerful than knowledge because he understood the importance of visual thinking. 

Tiffany Sunday

Language Observation: 

The words we say are important for two reasons. First, our brains are always listening, and second, individuals determine what they think about us by listening to our words.

Last week, during a conversation, one of the individuals talked about how “busy” they were at work. When I asked about the person’s project, they said, “I’m really busy at work.” Busy has become a badge of honor or a default comment. A couple of years ago, individuals would say, “I’m slammed” or “in the weeds.” I know of very few people who have days of empty nothingness.

Our brains listen to what we say. These works creep into our subconscious, impacting our thinking more than we realize. So, the next time someone asks me about my week or inquires about my work, I plan to respond differently.

I will say, “I’m working on a new project,” “I am creating something new,” “I’m a solving a client problem,” or “I am working on a new speech.” Then I will ask about their projects to learn more about them and their interest. I am curious about how my brain and others will respond.

My guess is the conversation may be more engaging as we focus on what we are doing instead of using default comments.

Tiffany Sunday

Since my brief visit to New England in the fall 2017, I had longed to return to the East Coast. Last October (2021) this longing intensified and I started thinking about taking a road trip with my son to Plymouth, Massachusetts for Christmas. My son is a college sophomore majoring in history.  As Thanksgiving approached, I was torn between staying home or traveling east for the holidays. Driving from Dallas, Texas, to Plymouth, MA would be our longest road trip to date and would cover ten states and an estimated 3,800 miles.

On December 13th, we decided to make the trip, weather permitting. As I write this post, I am unsure why my soul craved a New England fix.  I knew last month; I needed a break from the rut I had dug. I needed to recharge my creative battery and ease the longing that consumed my thoughts. Most importantly, I needed to get away and travel for the sanity of my soul.

At 5:45 am Christmas morning we departed Dallas. The tension from the year felt like a vice clamped shut on my being. This feeling persisted through eastern Texas, Arkansas, and the western part of Tennessee.  We made a fuel and lunch stop in Jackson, TN. My son took a break, and I took over driving. The beautiful rolling hills slowly unwound my stress. The fresh landscape with perseverance subtleties unveiled its peaceful beauty as we consumed miles.

I drank the scenery and I thought – am I traveling to Plymouth, MA for clam chowder, or am I traveling to Cape Cod, like Thoreau and others before me in search of something greater? Does my soul long to walk along the Atlantic beach seeking mental freedom from the confines of family chains? Or to break free from the constant family pressure to remain invisible where they seek to keep me?  By evening, we had arrived in Knoxville, TN, and spent the night.

Sunday morning, we were greeted with heavy fog as we continued our drive north through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Instead of staying a second night in PA, we continued driving and found a hotel on Staten Island, New York. Earlier in my career, I commuted to NYC for a while and always loved the city’s energy.  I was excited to be back and wanted Italian for dinner.  We ordered pasta and pizza from Patrizio’s.  

I woke early Monday morning (December 27th) and was excited to share the city with my son.

We visited the Liberty State Park and then drove north along the Hudson to view Manhattan from New Jersey. While driving, we were gifted with snow flurries which were a welcome treat from the unseasonable warm temperatures back home.

We made a brief stop in Greenwich to visit Miller Motorcars. Afterward, we continued northward and stopped again in Mystic, Connecticut where we grabbed a toasted bagel at Anchor Mystic Café & Sweets. By the time we arrived in Plymouth, the weather was perfect – misty, chilly, with a hint of snow!  Before the trip, I searched for restaurants and had selected Tavern on the Wharf for dinner. I had clam chowder and cod, my son selected surf and turf. 

While we enjoyed our meal, I knew that I was finally where I longed to be.

Following dinner, we viewed the Plymouth Rock. My mother taught AP Honors English and visited New England twice to enrich the learning experience for her students. For us, the Plymouth Rock did not disappoint as it represents the risk individuals took to settle a new land over 400 years ago.  While looking across the dark harbor, my son, rhetorically asked, “how did these individuals survive in an area with little land to farm?” I wondered myself staring down at the rock.

The next morning, Tuesday, December 28th, we viewed the Plymouth Rock again and the nearby historical sights. At every step, I thought about the settlers and the difficult terrain and conditions they encountered. Afterward, we traveled south to Cape Cod. While planning the trip, we considered driving to Salem later in the day. However, once we were on the Cape, we knew exploring the island and walking along the beach was where we wanted to spend our time. At Fisherman’s View in Sandwich, MA we enjoyed a relaxing lunch.  I ordered clam chowder again, and my son and I shared crab cakes and lobster. Any motivation to return home flew away on the sea gulls’ wings as I savored the food and harbor view. 

After lunch, while making our way to the Atlantic side of the Cape, I discovered the most enchanting bookshop – Titcomb’s Bookshop, in East Sandwich.  The instant I walked through the doors, I was simultaneously in love with the shop and overwhelmed. THIS was the bookshop I had envisioned as an author. If any of my characters ever owned a shop, it would be exactly like Titcomb’s. My son helped me search for books that were on my “to buy” list. As I glanced at the books, I felt as if I was viewing a list of fine wines. Carefully curated selections of new, old, and rare books were displayed throughout the shop along with unique gifts. I purchased Thoreau’s Cape Cod by Dan Tobyne.

The sandy walkway and beach on the Atlantic side looked exactly like every picture I had seen of Cape Cod. Like a kid on summer vacation, I ran to the shoreline joining the birds who were busy hunting for food. The ocean was mellow and offered a welcoming hand to its Texas visitors. We took photos, walked along the beach, and soaked in the Cape as much as possible while intentionally delaying our departure. As the sun began to set, we reluctantly resumed our travel and headed to Mystic, CT for the night. 

Dinner at Bravo Bravo in Mystic was an excellent choice to conclude our New England trip. While enjoying dinner at the bar, I mentioned to the bartender how tempted I was to stay and find a cabin either in Mystic or on the Cape. I could walk, write, and follow in the footsteps of fellow authors and poets. Our meal of shrimp pasta and crab cakes was delicious. The service from the bartender was excellent, which only caused us to linger for dessert which was divine.

On Wednesday morning we left Mystic and headed back to Texas. We stopped again in Knoxville, TN, and arrived in Dallas Thursday evening having traveled 3867 miles. For now, my longing for the East Coast has subsided as I recall our trip memories. However, I know the longing will return pulling me back to the Cape to write as others did before me.

Longing for the Cape

I am a poet

who longs to be near the sea,

to be one with the surf.

To feel the Earth’s tide

to relax into the ebb and flow of time

to walk along the shores of Cape Cod.

For now, I sit at home 1932 miles away,] and dream of my return.

Tiffany Sunday

In my latest poetry book, To Be Human - Always, several of the writings in the book discuss the question, "if we dared to live the life we seek to live - would we do it?" So, each day I ask myself, am I living the life I seek to live.

Do I really want to spend hours scrolling on social media or spend energy dealing with toxic situations that I can leave? Do I make a stand for myself, my vision, and my personal journey? Do I have the courage to be me?

This week, I made several decisions that enabled me to resume my personal journey, as I had been taken off course. We each have a North Star, an internal guide of where we are headed. I was reminded this week that when times are cloudy, I must trust my inner compass (core principles and vision) to stay on course. All too often, we become caught in the storm of others, and their drama can cause us to detour off our path, which costs us valuable time and resources. 

Tiffany Sunday

Tilton House Press announces the release of To Be Human - Always by Tiffany Sunday. Ms. Sunday is the author of To Be Human Always, Proper Grey Areas, Insatiable Consumption of Being, and three nonfiction business books. The book is available from online retailers and independent bookstores.

To Be Human - Always Book Description

If you could change your life and live how you want to live, would you dare do it? Even though others seek to convince you to stay the same.

Often, we feel stuck, trapped within the demands of others and their constant flood of controlling messages. Unable to move, a voice within us wonders, "Do I have the strength to be who I seek to be? Can I make the difficult decision to initiate change, or will I allow fear to keep me in place? These soul-searching questions were the catalyst for this thought-provoking and inspiring book, To Be Human – Always by Tiffany Sunday. In her third poetry collection, Sunday ponders these questions during her search for her authentic self while defending her humanity from the invasive nature of digital technology.  

Sunday’s poetry reflects a new awareness gained after peeling away layers of obsolete conditioning. For Sunday, nature offers solace, inspiration, and mental space for self-discovery. Her love of the outdoors is evident in the book's nature-themed poems, which provide subtle wisdom from her observations. While contemplating questions about life and what you seek to achieve, Sunday’s poems and writings offer guidance for finding the courage to be you.   

Courage to Be is a poem from the newly released poetry collection, To Be Human - Always by Tiffany Sunday.

Courage to Be 

The courage to be me

feels as foreign as a distant land

across the sea,

an unfamiliar place that I have yet to see.

 

The courage I seek lies beyond the horizon,

along the miles of hidden roads

that have yet to experience my footsteps.

 

A decision must be made,

stay and become one with groupthink,

or pack my gear,

let go of the fear,

and walk along the roads I have yet to travel.

 

For more information about Tiffany Sunday and her books, please visit her website at www.tiffanysunday.com.