Monday, February 28, 2005

March Release from Arabesque?

Can I Get an Amen Posted by Hello

BET's New Spirit imprint carries christian fiction, so I am not sure if this short story collection is considered faith fiction or another novel centered around a church setting(i.e, Carl Weber, Kimberly Roby.) I have the book on my desk. And will give you a thumbs up or down about it later in the week.

Critiquing Christian Fiction

For those of you who don't know me. I'm a book reviewer by trade and by craziness on my part...It was brought to my attention by a christian fiction author that book reviews are subjective and you can't critique God's work. Two both of those assumptions I flat out said she was wrong and more than likely she will either pray for my change of heart or never speak to me again, but I will sleep at night regardless. But I bring this question to you.

My answers are as follows?

1. Book reviews are subjective.

I use a five point star criteria to review a book. Each criteria gets a maximum 1 point score:

Plot -1 star
Character Development- 1 star
Theme/Content/Big Voice- 1 star
Style/Flow- 1 star
POV/Little Voice- 1 star

There's nothing subjective about this scoring basis.

2. Christian books shouldn't be critiqued.

If christian fiction authors want this genre to evolve and to be respected, our work must hold up to some sort of literary standard. Although your book maybe littered with church scenes, scripture and angels saving the world I can't negate the fact that the other 2/3rds of the book plods through Egypt and back to Po Dunk county, georgia with as much cohesion as water downed glue on wet paper.

American literature includes faith genre and it has standards. Our work holds a better standard, because of our message. But no one can see our light shine, if they are knee deep in poor grammar, and a sagging middle.

In April I will begin posting my reviews on this blog and you can debate with me whether my review is justified.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Sequel Promises Mysterious Thrill

Wings of Grace Posted by Hello

Click on the link to direct you to this book. Have heard good things about it, but can't vouch it for myself.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Christian Fiction Literary Magazine

I've been reading various blogs, novels by christian fiction authors, essays from ministers and poems from christian poets and it hit me. Is there a faith based online literary journal somewhere in cyberspace?

Coming from someone who can esurf better than David Hasselhoff pretends to do on Baywatch, I haven't found one. If you have, let me know. Else I may start one on my own. Any editors or contributors willing to contribute?


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Cheadle or Foxx vs. Ali or Washington

Hotel Rwaanda and Ray Posted by Hello

In 2002 Denzel Washington and Will Smith made Black History when the two African American actors went head to head for best actor for the 2002 Oscar Awards. Although Smith's performance was impressive. Come on...beating Denzel...No WAY!!

Three years later another heavy weight bout, but this time we have a real showdown--
Jamie Foxx vs. Don Cheadle.

My opinion, Don Cheadle is off the hoozook for Hotel Rwaanda. Off the hook. And he should have received best supporting for Devil in a Blue Dress a decade ago, and an Emmy for his role in ER, but who's going that far but me. Cheadle is just too many things and deserves it.

However, Foxx, should have gotten best supporting for Any Given Sunday, and Ali. He tore the thing down in Ali. You hear me. To be honest, he should get the best supporting for Collateral and the best actor for Ray. Anyman that walks around blind to get in character should get the thing.

So I have I made you more confused or more excited? Whoever wins; wins. And whoever loses, watchout!!

They both win in my book.

But if Will Smith, DEnzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Jamie Foxx, and Morgan Freeman are nominated in 2007...Have mercy, Lord.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Nothing to See Here...Keep it Praising

Car problems, doctor appointments, a writer's group meeting to attend, a book review due by Monday, and...a book to write. No new revelations, new news, or ephiphanies to report. I will blow your email up next week after I get through all the press releases, emails, and return phone calls.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Inciting Incidents for a Gospel Diva

OK. I've been up, since 6:30 reading my email, learning from Chuck, reading Dave Long's Blog archive and taking Selah to school. Last night I began reading a MS of a novel that wowed me. I'm now very confident in the Black Voice in Christian Fiction. Thanks to this emerging author and a message I received from Marilynn Griffith.

She exclaimed, "It's[my breakthrough] is Coming!"

And I'm starting to believe it. Most of this morning I've went back to my plot and added higher stakes, which changes the story completely, but emphasises my theme more clearer and more powerful.

Today I will complete my outline. Not outline it to death as Chucky P told me. Just going to get a feel of where Peaches and I are going. Write at least five pages with Peaches, pick up my baby from PreK and return to reviewing this MS. Hopefully, learn some techniques and possibly write some more tonight after Selah goes to sleep.

So, Chris the novel is coming. Watch out there now!!

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sex Crimes, Congo & The United Nations

Didier Bourguet, a U.N. official from France, is pictured here in an image found on his hard drive, which was obtained by ABC News. Also on the hard drive were thousands of photos of him having sex with hundreds of young Congolese girls. (ABC News)
 Posted by Hello

I was messing around at Lisa Samson's blog and read something that shocked the bejesus out of me. I had to stop reviewing a book to add this discovery to my blog.

You can click on the title to read ABC News Investigative report on United Nations Sex Crimes in the African Congo for more detail. But the gist of the story "includes reported rapes of young Congolese girls by U.N. troops; an Internet pedophile ring run from Congo by Didier Bourguet, a senior U.N. official from France; a colonel from South Africa accused of molesting his teenage male translators; and estimates of hundreds of underage girls having babies fathered by U.N. soldiers who have been able to simply leave their children and their crimes behind."

Right now I am so saddened by the news I can't comment. But I can tell you that although I am in america where everything seems to be safe, I fear for myself and my five year old daughter most. What kind of world have we created for our children?

Yesterday, I wanted to write a fun story about a whacky woman trying to find herself when everything is changing around her, but today I feel that God wants me to write more than fluff. With news like this, I'm starting to believe it. I find myself wanted to dig deeper, but don't know how far to go. I find myself wanting to write deeper, but afraid I'll go too far.

But those men went too far for the wrong reasons. Someone has to go too far for the right.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Rise of the Sistah Agent-Kimberly Matthews

Last year, I began to seek literary agent referrals. Two friends in the writing community- Christian fiction, author, Jacqueline Thomas and RAW SISTAZ Book Club President, Tee C. Royal both referred me to the same person—Kimberly T. Matthews. For me I found that coincidence very interesting and so, I had to make contact with her and she has been kind enough to grant me an interview. You can click on the title and it will redirect you to my Channel.

...It’s frustrating for me to ask an author to send sample chapters,
and then have the author turn around,,and ask me "what do you mean by sample chapters?"

And stick around in my suite... I have some interviews from Pam Perry, Owner of Christian PR Company, Ministry Marketing Solutions, christian fiction author, Kendra Norman Bellamy, Tia McCollor's literary agent, Sha Shana Crichton and christian small press publisher, LaMonica Smith.

I hope you enjoy!

Writing to see what the end gon’ be,

Dee, but Equal

Separate, but Equal is implied, according to this comprehensive site on the black book industry. Maybe we will get to the bottom of our answer about what is Black Christian Fiction.

Target Market News and Black Issues Book Review form strategic alliance to create news and information source

(February 1, 2005), a new information Web site, has been launched to target those who want authoritative business information about African-American authors, publishers and booksellers. The new venture brings together Target Market News and Black Issues Book Review magazine in a strategic alliance.

"We have long recognized the need for more trade information about African-Americans' rising profile in book publishing - not just as authors, but as publishing professionals, booksellers, agents and consumers," says Ken Smikle, founder, president and publisher of Target Market News, which is publishing

"The African-American consumer market represents one of the leading growth opportunities in the publishing industry," continues Smikle. "We have seen black household spending on books grow from $258 million in 1996 to $331 million spent in 2003 [the most recent year in which data is available].

In the weeks ahead will be adding exclusive news stories, features and statistics related to African-Americans and book publishing. The Web site will also track the sales figures and bestselling book figures for titles by and for African-Americans.

Black Issues Book Review (BIBR) founding editor and editorial director Susan McHenry is editing from New York City, while she continues contributing to BIBR and its web site The the two companies will be cross-promoting their sites and collaborating on other resources.

" is very fortunate to have Susan McHenry as our editor," says founding publisher Smikle. "Her extensive experience will be invaluable in establishing the unique information environment that we're seeking for the site."

"The content we are launching with is just a modest example of how we intend to change the flow of information and availability of these facts," said Smikle. "We believe that we can ultimately change the paradigm of how African-Americans are viewed in the publishing business."

Target Market News, a Chicago-based news and research company that specializes in tracking African-American marketing, media and consumer behavior, owns
Click here to go to

Monday, February 21, 2005

Separate, But Equal?

I'm back home from a weekend down home and instead of taking my sinus infected self to bed, I'm surfing, replying to gazillion emails, getting mad and now perplexed about my latest soap box issue.

...Is there such a thing as
as Black Christian Fiction,and should Separate, but Equal Laws apply?

For those of you who can't see my picture on this blog page let me tell you a secret about me--I'm Black. Let me tell you another secret--I'm tired of having to see my friends books separated, because some one a few decades ago decided that all black books deserve their own dedicated if black writing is a separate genre, equal to whom...

Moreover, I'm tired of so called reviewers(me included) tring to pigeonhole my voice based on my skin. My writing cronies know that I have more in common with an Okefenokee Swamp Gator than Atlanta, Blacklanta, whateveryouwanttocallitlanta. Yet, when I walk into anystore (ABA or CBA) where are the books? Either on a reserved shelf space highlighted around February for Black History Month or when an author is in the hood.

Sue Monk Kidd discussed the Shrine of the Black Madonna Movement in The Secret Life of Bees, but I have never seen the book on display at Black History Month or set aside with the other books dealing with black life.

Well, I came across this article[you can click on the title to read it] which I thought would help me understand what is Black Christian Fiction. I read and found nothing. Just generic definitions on christian fiction and some links.

I don't have time to sleuth for more information, so I will leave this discussion for you to discuss as tomorrow I am writing my novel and that's all, but I would like to know do you think there is a difference?

Is there such a thing as Black Christian Fiction and should Separate, but Equal Laws apply?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

How to Get Your Book into Lifeway Part Three

Read Part One and Two to catch up. This response is the latest from Lifeway Christian Bookstores. It is interesting to see how things work on the business side. Where can I get more behind the scenes information about book distribution and store placement?

Dear Dee,

Thank you for asking for more Christian
fiction books in LifeWay Christian Stores. I am pleased to respond.

Our fiction book assortment determination is based on several
parameters,and the final assortment is determined by the Book Buyer. One of the
most important determining factor is quality of content. Other factors are
theauthor sales history, publisher's promotional plans for titles, our
space availability, and funds available for not only Christian books but the
fiction area within the books category. We are able to offer a broader
selection at our Internet store, and you may find what you are looking
for there...

Thank you for shopping at Atlanta area LifeWay Christian Stores and for
taking the time to write and express your concerns on this issue. Your
input is important to us as we make decisions that will meet customer
needs and help people know Jesus Christ and seek His Kingdom.


Jim Shull
LifeWay Christian Stores

So You Want to Be Published?

On my quest to become a serious christian writer, I came across this list of possible periodicals that could use this gospel diva's writing voice.
Note: This list is partial click on the title to get to the full directory.



AGAIN MAGAZINE * http://www.conciliarpress.comT

Check back regularly as I will contine adding to the list, D-Z, respectively.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

On Holiday

I have been away from the blog, since Friday. Had to leave town for a family emergency. Be safe. Happy President's Day.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Thursday, February 17, 2005

My Prayer for Balance

An excerpt from Untitled:Gospel Diva...

Reverend Pugh spit the fish out his mouth into the tin foil that it once laid in and threw the disgusting contents in the trash can sitting beside him. “Thank you, sweetheart.” He yelled back to me.

If I didn’t believe that God had anointed him, I probably would have gagged the remaining bits of my morning croissant and orange juice breakfast and ran out of the park or quit on him a long time ago. But when you hear Pugh squawk/squeal/sang every fiber in your being knows that God is moving through his raspy voice. And to be honest I would work for him for free just to have the holy spirit shiver through my body the way it does every time Pugh sings.

But his manners…Lord, knows the man needs an etiquette adjustment.

Today has been a doozy. I had to cancel an important staff/committee meeting today, because of no shows, including myself, who has problems with my car after I drove two cities over to pick up a committee member. My driving scared her so, I know she won't step one foot in my ride again. One of my editors lost two book reviews I submitted last year and I just don't have the time to hit the Find button on my very slow computer to search for them. Not I owe them another review. I have to pay a deposit for my daughter's 5th birthday party, submit another response from Lifeways Christian Bookstore's Jim Shull on this blog, interview someone for ???, buy a birthday gift for a relative. Another paper is harassing me about two stories that I didn't promise them I would do. All the while frustrated, because I have run out of excuses for why my book is only 25% complete.

So the only thing I have time to do [i have to pick up my daughter from prek in an thirty minutes]is something else that I was supposed to do last month for my writing group-- write my prayer for balance. Here goes...

Lord, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for giving us a life we enjoy so much that we are too busy to sit still. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
But I know your spirit told me ions ago I need to make myself rest.
I need to rest in your will.
I need to remove some things that although are good for you, but are not the things you want me to do.
I need to realize/stop/understand that I can't do all things. Only you can...
Lord, I need balance.
And I need you to forgive me for my mistake.
Help me not make this mistake again.
I need the strength to choose balance over ambition, over my inability to say no, over my fear of success.
You told me to write this book.
You expect me to write this book.
And the spiritual balance that you have given to me will make it so.
In your son's precious name.
Because you are so good and sweet to me.

Scriptural Reference:Corinthians 10:13 (King James Version)

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Hope your life stays in balance. As of today mine will.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Click on the title to for tips on finding in your life

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

How to Get Your Book into Lifeway. Part Two

Jim Shull, director of LifeWay's corporate services department, responds and here is that response. However, before you read it let me tell you that I have bolded a part of this response, which I would like your comments on--what is strong quality of content?

For those of you who don't know me very well let me clue you in on a few things about me: (1) I'm very persistent, downright agressive at times and (2) I'm from the South, so I need things simplified for me. So you guessed it--I will be responding to this email.

Yet, this time I would like your input. Should Jim Shull's answer suffice? If the book buyer is the final determinant of shelf placement, then why do I have to keep ordering books by the same author under the same publisher that Lifeway carries? Do I need to start launch some grassroots e-campaign, whereby every month my fellow Lifeway patriots, christian book club and writing group club cronies blow up Jim's email when we want to make sure that a particular author's work is on the shelf? I mean...I know a few people in most major cities, who could oblige my sick request. Or will I create a monster? Or worse will Lifeway bar me from their store and press harassment charges against me? I know...I''m way over the loop. That's why I need your input. Jim Shull's response below. Your comments coming?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Dear Dee,

Thank you for your email of February 15 asking for more Christian
books in LifeWay Christian Stores. I am pleased to respond.

Our fiction book assortment determination is based on several
parameters,and the final assortment is determined by the Book Buyer. One of the
mostimportant determining factor is quality of content. Other factors are the author sales history, publisher's promotional plans for titles, our
space availability, and funds available for not only Christian books but the
fiction area within the books category.

Thank you for shopping at Atlanta area LifeWay Christian Stores and for
taking the time to write and express your concerns on this issue. Your
input is important to us as we make decisions that will meet customer
needsand help people know Jesus Christ and seek His Kingdom.


Jim Shull
LifeWay Christian Stores

Why Christian Writing Groups Matter

Why Writing Groups Matter Posted by Hello

An excerpt from Untitled:The Gospel Diva.....

Reverend Toliver Pugh’s sweaty handkerchief fell in my lap, and drenched his press release that was resting ontop of it.

“Sorry, baby.” His voice heeved as much air as his big frame could take in when he leaned down to take his napkin off the paper and my lap.

My eyes followed him weeble back and forth on the smallest Stacy Adams I’ve ever seen on a man, all the while praying that he wouldn’t keel over and die or worse have a stroke and spew out whatever clogged his throat to the point that every word came out of his mouth began with a hiss.

Reverend Pugh weighed more than a rotund man, but less than a bull. His sweat soaked his collar and the back of his shirt and his polyester jacket. And it dripped all over everyone, especially me.

Whoever, told him to dress like the three tenors combined under a sweltering Suwanee summer stage deserved to be fired. As his publicist, I could only make him appear crisp and cool on paper…not in person. And that was a major problem.

I didn’t know which was worst being on tour with a struggling gospel singing group or being stuck to this wooden bench because a dull nail or worse—a dried up piece of gum—held my sundress hostage.




That's my gigantor head seated in the middle of the prettiest women writers on the planet (got to represent for my peeps.) Hee Hee.

This photo was taken at Tia McCollor's[the lady in red]Heart of Devotion Book Release Party this past Sunday at Copeland's cajun inspired restaurant in Buckhead.

We had a blast. Not only because the food was great, but because we were all together fellowshipping with each other and cheering on our pace settter, Tia, who's spirit personifies her title.

I joined this group--The Atlanta Black Christian Fiction Writer's Group--about a year and a half ago when I decided it was time to take off my journalist hat and jump into the land of novel writing. At the time I was a short story writing phenom, but committing to a novel I knew would be a challenge.

This group turned out to be more than I had hoped for. They have become my prayer partners, confidants, ride-or-die chicks, and a safe place to fall. I don't have to be gospel diva/book critic-The Reaper. I just have to be me. Belonging to this group I've had the chance to have Jacqueline Thomas critique my first novel chapter(another book long gone.) Sat down with Kendra Norman Bellamy, Victoria Christopher Murray and Stephanie Perry Moore and talk shop. And most importantly find my voice.

Why do writing groups matter outside of the obvious?

For me they let me know that I matter, my book matters, and my soul matters.

Kudos, ladies.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Someone Good is Reading My Blog

Click on the title and you will be directed to faith*in*fiction blog. Dave blurbed my blog saying, "You all may know these sites but they're newer to me and I like them a lot."

Help me, holy ghost!

A Bethany House acquisitions editor is reading and recommending my blog. Will Lifeway Christian Bookstores stumble upon me as well?


Writing to see what the end gon' be,

How to Get Your Book in Lifeway. Part One.

An excerpt from my Untitled:Gospel Diva novel...

If he[Sampson Solomon] weren’t a minister, I would have taken that statement as a truth instead of a pick up line. But in my business you learn quick to watch out for young, handsome ministers. They know that they can build a strong membership off of faith-filled, single women with strong desires to wed a young, handsome minister who has even stronger desires to be greater than T.D. Jakes and Billy Graham combined.

Ambition coupled with faith intoxicates the best of intentions like muscadine wine drizzled over Mama's buttered down pound cake for me when I’m on a diet. Sampson looked at me in that fall-off-the-wagon kind of way and so, my feet prepared to take off.

Today I spoke to Kathy, the manager at my local Lifeway Christian Store. Asked her why hadn't I seen any contemporary novels in the store, particulary those written under Moody publishers's Lift Every Voice imprint.

She said that Lifeway's corporate department makes the decisions. "There are so many books out there we don't have enough shelf space for them."

I asked her did demographics play a part in the demographics.

She honestly couldn't answer. Bless her heart. But she could order them for me.

However, I didn't want to order a book that I already had. I wanted to make sure that these authors get a fair share in the marketplace. When patrons come into Lifeway, I notice that they spend an extra ten minutes just browsing around in the store. If my friend, Tia McCollor, or my friend, Kendra Norman Bellamy's books aren't on the shelves, then how can let's say my friend Adrianne, who lives in Buford or my friends Maria and Tasha, who live in Atlanta who both used to frequent LifeWay stores stop going inside, because "there aren't any sistah books on the shelves", then how will Tia and Kendra compete? Or any contemporary fiction author(white, black or korean for that matter? What if my girlfriend, Ashley, a minister living in Denver, tells her church to go out and purchase my book(once I get a deal and get's published God willing)and her congregation can't find the book in the store? What if you happen to be in Lifeway and you just browse around to see what's new and my great book is stuck in cyberland on the Lifeway database?

Ordering is nice, but seeing a book on the shelf is tons better.

How many of us pick up a book we see in Walmart or Lifeway, because we saw it in the store and it peaked our interest?

How many of us would rather buy the book today, then wait ten days for Kathy to call us to pick it up?

How many of us authors would love to do a book signing there, but there aren't any books in stock for our audience to purchase?

How will contemporary fiction get on the shelves, if we can't get in good with a bookstore chain's corporate office.

Needless to say, I contacted Corporate. When I receive a response from then, then I will write Part 2.

Now back to Sampson Solomon and the Gospel Diva.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,


Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day for the Nun Incognito

In this month's Precious Times Magazine I wrote an article about single christian women, romance and Valentine's in an article titled, The Nun Incognito. To my surprise I have received many inquiries from people who read the article and want to know where they can purchase my novel(I blurbed my work in progress in my bio.) So I came up with a nice excuse, vowed to send them a chapbook of a short story, added them to my blog mailing list and told God that I would complete this book before Spring or else.

Since my book is supposed to have a hint of romance in it, you'd think I would be writing my heart out today--Valentine's Day.


I'm hiding out like my character Peaches Parker, hiding out from my true calling, afraid of what lies beneath the excuses.

What if I finish this book and can't find a publisher? I mean--my audience isn't anywhere in the ballpark of a midwestern fifty something-right winger. I wished my writing audience were more like Christ, universal. But most non African American readers will look at my picture or read my name and have a prejudiced view of what's inside despite the fact that my characters aren't just African American, but American and spanning the rainbow.

I have all these things stacked up against me, but one little email this morning gave me hope. Someone out there is reading me, and liking it. So I guess I better cook an unclassic Valentines's dinner, kiss the loved ones and get to that first turning point this week.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sign & Dine on Sunday

Nothing new to report yet. However, I am attended Tia McCollors sign and dine at Copeland's Restaurant in Atlanta for supper. So I may have something to talk about later. Otherwise...Be blessed.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Saturday, February 12, 2005

NYTBL suggests Blacks love books about church scandal more than faith

The Preacher's Son Posted by Hello

Three African American Authors sit on the New York Times Bestseller's List this week. Although my writing cronies applaud this feat, I question its deeper meaning. As I read which books made the list I see a peculiar similiarity, two of the books premise concerns black ministers with dirty secrets.

Now I know scandal sells, but I wonder does christianity do as well?

The African American Christian Fiction Market struggles to have equal footing in its genre. Yesterday I went to one of my local Lifeway Bookstores to observe book placement in the store and I only saw one Christian fiction book written by an African American Author on all the shelves. This month I meet with the manager of the store to ask him about this oversight, to speak with him about the demographics of his store, and give him a list of AA written christian novels that will be released this year.

Yet, as I peruse this New York Times Best Seller's list, I know what he is going to say. "We don't place many books written by African American authors because they don't meet CBA(Christian Booksellers Association) guidelines."

And although both and he and I understand that Carl Weber and Kimberly Roby, both of whom albeit are good writers, are not christian fiction authors, we will debate over a particular publisher of African American christian fiction books that publish novels just as racy as those. And I honestly don't know how to defend that.

Because what this list tells me concurs with the publisher in question's notion that black people don't care as much about faith, but about what go's on at church. Yet, how can christian fiction authors who refuse to sex up/dumb down their books find a place in this market?

Your thoughts...

New York Times Best Seller's List

Hardcover Fiction

Published: February 20, 2005

On List
1 THE BROKER, by John Grisham. (Doubleday, $27.95.) The C.I.A. arranges a presidential pardon for a power broker who may know crucial secrets, laying a trap for the foreign intelligence service that wants him dead. 1 4
2 THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown. (Doubleday, $24.95.) The murder of a curator at the Louvre leads to a trail of clues found in the work of Leonardo and to the discovery of a centuries-old secret society. 2 99
3 SURVIVOR IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb. (Putnam, $23.95.) In 2059, Lt. Eve Dallas has an eyewitness to the brutal murder of a family: the sole survivor, a 9-year-old girl; by Nora Roberts, writing pseudonymously. 1
4 THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, by Mitch Albom. (Hyperion, $19.95.) An old man who died while trying to rescue a little girl from danger discovers that all will be explained to him in the afterlife. 3 72
5 STATE OF FEAR, by Michael Crichton. (HarperCollins, $27.95.) Reverse eco-terrorists create natural disasters to convince the public that global warming is real. 5 9
16 *THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, by Kimberla Lawson Roby. (Morrow, $23.95.) The further romantic adventures of the Rev. Curtis Black, who, after two failed marriages, tries hard to be faithful to his latest wife. 1

Also Selling
17 AFTERBURN, by Zane. (Atria, $24.95.)

32 THE PREACHER'S SON, by Carl Weber. (Dafina, $24.)

You can learn more about African American christian fiction authors at my Christian Writer's Market Series at

Friday, February 11, 2005

Understanding Our Market-Bridget Jones, Barbara Bush, Not Black

-An excerpt from Today's The Master' s Artist Blogspot discussion...

"The market for hardback fiction is rich, married or widowed women over fifty (until you all start buying hardback books). The junior editors who choose new work are New York women in their twenties who are interested in what is chic in New York that week, and who have become experts in what the older women will buy in hardcover."- an excerpt from Annie Dillard's "Notes for Young Writers" Essay.

This morning after I wrote 2 pages for my novel, dropped Selah off at PreK, purchased groceries, and decided not to wash my clothes or do my morning walk(it's too cold outside I'll praise dance at 11:30) I came home sat at my computer and begin to review my must-read blogs. Last night I followed a link from faith*in*fiction, David Long, fiction acquisitions editor for Bethany House Publishers to The Master's Artist Blog. And there I read there discussion today, "The Audience"(You can click on the title above to read the discussion yourself.

But I included an excerpt of this discussion that interested me the most and I know should interest you, if you are an African American Christian Fiction author.

Upon reading this statement, I ask three questions and I would love to hear your comments. Please post comment on this blog.


(1)If our audience aren't rich white married or widowed women, or young Paris Hilton wannabees, then will our writing have any value in the market?

(2) Although we know that God values what we do, how can we determine whether we are on the mark with the audience we do have(african american christian women)?

(3) If what Anne Dillard says is true, then why do we care about CBA guidelines?

(4) A bonus question- Who cares what Anne Dillard and New York Publishing World thinks? My book has a mass appeal and the highest calling?

My comment to the Master's Artist group:

I found this assessment accurate, but scary for me as I am southern african american writer. Although the past five years I have been a journalist for various AA Christian publications, this year I wanted to take some time out and write a well written faith novel. However, I have spoken with many AA christian fiction authors, two agents, a publisher, and two editors who tell me that black people do not want to read great prose, but "a whole lot of mess." So I don't know where I fit, because my soul want let me write like that. And to find out today that the decision makers more than likely will not relate to my african american point of view discourages me. But what you said at the end gave me hope. God wants me to write and so I must. Thanks for a great blog. I will go back to mine and present these issues.

Your thoughts

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Is African American Christian Fiction vs CBA

Tonight I read an interesting blog about African American Christian Fiction, which I found interesting and echoed my sentiment. You can read the full blog in its entirety if you click on my title. It begins:

In an article [“Let the Readers Say ‘Amen’”] for Publishers Weekly, a marketing professional explains, “Christian retailers have guidelines for what’s in the books: no bad language, nothing that might offend anybody. Recently, one of the publishers said it was okay [for a character] to drink a glass of wine, which had been unheard of before! Yet, there are a lot of people out there who want wholesome values but are not core CBA buyers. Plus, there are authors who want to break beyond the ‘Christian bubble,’ and secular retailers who see a demand for wholesome books. Christian retailers are missing out on those good books.”

From writing my own novel, I struggle with whether my book will fit in CBA's category not because its racy, but because my writing style is more literary, my characters have very human emotions and more importantly my christian characters sin.

Your thoughts...

Monday, February 07, 2005

February Book of the Month...How Sweet The Sound

How Sweet They Sound Posted by Hello

Three uplifting novellas by three beloved, bestselling African-American authors

Make a Joyful Noise by Jacquelin Thomas

Bradley Rhodes knows that the Peaceful Rest Church choir is his ticket back to the big time, but he arrives at the church to find the current standout voice in the choir stands out for all the wrong reasons. Yet as he helps Desiree Coleman, her music starts to work on his soul…and his heart.

Then Sings My Soul by Francis Ray

Tempers flare and sparks fly when Summerset Junior College's hip band leader and Peaceful Rest Church's prim choir director are teamed to organize a musical for a college celebration. It seems opposites do attract. Soon Grace Thompson and Caleb Jackson are meshing more than just their music.

Heart Songs by Felicia Mason

Reverend TC Holloway, Peaceful Rest Church's most famous alum and a renowned television evangelist, finds a second chance at love at his reunion with Carys Shaw. Can TC and Carys's musical talents combine to create a love song that will last forever?

Click on the title to learn more about this collection and read an excerpt.

Also check my newest blog- Gospel Diva Blog .


Friday, February 04, 2005

Child Support and Other Guarantees

Child Support and Other Guarantees Posted by Hello

Inspirational Fiction Novella
Child Support and Other Guarantees
Laverne Lewis Gaskins
ISBN 1-4134-1620-9

Jason Calliner, an aspiring CEO whose haunting past childhood experiences threatens his ascent up the corporate ladder has an even larger problem—his wife, Olga. Their expenses far exceeds Jason’s albeit hefty paycheck. But if he can’t keep up this lifestyle, he may lose Olga, a woman who wouldn’t have given him the time of day otherwise.

Olga Calliner, a former accountant thinks she is losing her husband, Jason. He’s rarely home and quite aloof. Every time she has a concern he pacifies her and their kids with gifts. When she begins to dig around Jason’s world, she finds more information than she was prepared to handle. She must rely on her faith as Jason’s mounting misbehavior becomes more and more dangerous and his psychological instability looms and threatens to destroy their marriage.

Check the title to read my full review and to purchase the book at Amazon.


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