Thursday, March 31, 2005

Toni Morrison Tribute. March 31, 1988

Toni Morrison Posted by Hello


March 31, 1988 Toni Morrison, editor, novelist, professor became the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in American Literature for Beloved.

Why is this book important to Christian fiction?

Could it be Toni's revision of the Old and New Testaments. Or they way she made her main character, Sethe, a metaphor for Slavery in America, a study on black and white relations in America? Or is this another allegory on the Song of Solomon or The Jews in Exile in the Old testament ?

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."

--Song of Solomon (6:3)

"I AM BELOVED and she is mine."

--Toni Morrison, Beloved

Is Morrison's work an example for post post modern christian authors to discuss and explore?
She has no conversion scenes. No angels coming down from Heaven to speak to us. But she takes a deep seated hurt and dissects the African American psyche, a christian's psyche, our undying faith or simply an alienated heart. She uses simple observations, incredible circumstances and hidden truths to do this. And she won a Pulitzer in spite of it.
What say you?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Who wants to write after you've read a really good book?

Am I the only one out here who feel like this...when you read a really good book. You think. Why should I write anything after that? It's hard to regroup after a really good read.

For me. It's Sue Monk Kidd's Secret Life of Bees, Olympia Vernon's Eden, and Chimamanda Ngozie's Purple Hibiscus.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Angels in April: Previewing Heaven Sent


Apri Book Preview: Heaven Sent Posted by Hello

Today I received news of a new book release for April-Montre' Bible's Heaven Sent.

Synopsis:

Andrew Turner seems like your average small-town teenager. He struggles with his grades; he helps his mother make ends meet; he longs for the prettiest girl in school to see him as more than a friend. But when his mother succumbs to a mysterious disease, this quiet teen discovers his life-and his family-are anything but ordinary. What are at first frightening visions reveal that he has spiritual gifts-and that his mother's illness is part of an unholy plan that will test his faith and everything he loves. Now, an untried warrior in a centuries-old battle, Andrew must also deal with the pain and anger he feels about his long lost father's sudden return and strive to rescue the unsaved brother he didn't know existed. And if he is to become a man and accept his extraordinary legacy, he must also stand strong in the Word and rely in God's almighty strength and unlimited love

First Lines:(you can click on the title to read the first page)

Hurry! Get in the car!” She yells at the top of her lungs. She is running so frantically that she doesn’t notice the blood running down her leg. She doesn’t have time to notice. All she can see in the pitch-black darkness are the taillights of the car ahead of her. She runs with the wind, and even the broken branches on the stony trail don’t seem to trip her up. The young man in the car starts it up and she jumps in. He cranks the engine, and before she can even close the door he is off. Dark whispering shadows consume the forest behind them.

“It’s moving faster!” she yells.


Oooh, spooky. Can't wait to read this one. If you read before I do, please comment.

Montre' said to me this morning. "Just to give you a little heads up, I'm hoping to create a series of books with the same characters so this first book is just the beginning of so much more! My publisher already has the second and is reviewing it so I hope that this first one does real well."

Now back to writing...He's writing his angel wings off and I still haven't gotten to Chapter Two.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Marcus Aurelius, Certain Death & Johnnie Cochran

Pray and Not Give Up
-Luke 18:1

This morning my mother recieved a sad, but unsurprising phone call. She owns a financial service company, whereby she provides investments, insurance, mortgages for her clients. Today a client called. This afternoon mom has to meet her client to complete her son's death claim.
Death calls are normal in this house.
Out of eighteen years of such things, we have seen and heard it all.

Last night a twenty-nine year old man with two daughters died violently. Someone(s) gunned the house he and a friend visited last night.
No one knows why.
No one knows who.
No ones knows anything, because there were no survivors.
But there are grieving mothers, looking to my mother for financial solace.

I think about her day and I imagine what she will say, what she always says at time like these.
"Pray and not give up." (Luke 18:1)

My mother and I don't have a
Steel Magnolias
kind of relationship more like Daughters of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.
We laugh hard.
We argue hard.
We love hard.
It's the Georgia Peach in our blood stream.
We pray hard.

I pray for this man, who died last night. I probably seen him before, probably have been to his house. His father died last September.
Yes. I remember now.

He's four years younger than me with twice as many daughters, strong, handsome, healthy. I'm half of those things. Yet, I am still here.

If you know me you would be surprised to know that my two favorite movies are day and night, opposing, dichotomies: The Sound of Music and The Gladiator--the one starring Russell Crowe. One movie hails the possibility and beauty in living and the other hails the certainty and beauty of dying.
I cry when I watch both movies. I fizzle somewhere existing in the middle caught up somehow by what I feel inside.
I am caught up today, because this young man died yesterday...the same days as Johnnie Cochran, esq. One young, in his prime, and clueless:the other, young in spirit, in his prime, and filled with illumination.

I want to be the latter. I pray to be the latter.

But in the meantime I need to do something profound with my life.
I need to raise my daughter in the best way I can.
I need to spend more time writing the stories that I carry inside.
I need to live with a big heart like Fraulein Maria and Maximus.
I need to pray and not give up.

What say you?

Writing to see what the end gon' be
Dee

Untitled: Butter Me Not Faith Wordcount: 1000

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Altartainment & the Gospel Diva

Amy Grant Posted by Hello

This week I launch my Altartainment News eblog--Gospel Diva.
Why?
Because I write for a few christian newspapers, I receive boatloads of press releases and christian news. And sometimes they send them to me after deadline, so I decided I would share them with the world.
If you have any Good News to share or want to pass on, send them to me at vidae@writing.com.

Click on the title to see what Amy Grant's up to.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Monday, March 28, 2005


Easter Egg Hunt Posted by Hello

Confessions of a Book Reviewer Part One: The First Line

Virgin queen bees take what is known as a "nuptial flight" sometime within the first week or two after emerging from the pupal chamber. The new queen flies out of the hive and begins to produce a perfume-like substance called a "pheromone." The drones in the area are attracted to the pheromone and the queen will mate with as many as 20 of them.
-Arizona State University, Department of Agriculture. agriculture.state.az.us

Authors beware!
When you send me your book for review I don’t just read it. I try to find the pheromone in it.
Why?
With a BFA in Architectural Studies/Book Arts(dual degree,) ten years of newspaper editorial experience, fifteen years writing book reviews for national magazines, college literary journals and local press, my ego wants to have the best hive at Suite101.com and find the good stuff before anyone else. I want to be the Queen Bee in fiction reviews.
And lately, I’ve been thinking about dividing the colony and killing all the couch potato drones, because lazy writing is destroying the industry. Or at least making me sick.
When I receive media mail from my DHL crush, or my UPS crush or that skinny USPS postman that would rather stick a ms on top of my mailbox then step out of the truck and drop it at my door I don’t open the book. I just place it at the bottom of the stack of books and ms that pile behind my sofa and wait…for about five minutes and then I open the book to the first page.
Why?
Because by now I can look at a book and tell in one minute whether it is going to cost my two nice days of fun reading or two months of gut wrenching torture.
Now don’t take what I write here as a reviewer rant, but take it as a note on what I do and my technique on how I do it, so in the future you can decide if you want to receive a review from me(if you have the choice) or if you want to learn a little something about what a reviewer can do for you.
I cannot speak for every reviewer, so I open the door for discussion and will only tell you about myself.
I am a book reviewer, who mostly reviews for publicists, publishing houses, bookstores, and the occasional literary review, trade journal, some national print magazines and some ezines. In short, I review for just about anything.
Why am I important to an author? I cannot tell you whether a particular publishing house will take your manuscript, but I can tell you whether or not it has big buzz potential. I can tell you, which publishing house is a good fit for your work. I am almost (very, very close) to the point where I can tell you which editor will take your ms. But I am not an agent. And my suggestions are not guarantees or free.
I’ll review for free…maybe, but I won’t consult for free. So don’t blow my email up with manuscripts to review. Please.
But let’s look at what I can do free a charge and without fail—I can tell you if your book has big buzz potential in one minute. Big buzz potential is the ability to generate free good publicity from the people you need to back your book—in house marketing/publicists, your editors and the publishing house, and people you want to back your book—book store owners, reviewers, book club presidents. And I can produce my own version of literary pheromone. I can talk your book up to my editors, to my book club president friends and to some of the radio personalities, ministers, and magazine publishers that I know.
How?
With First Lines.

Click on the title to read my article in entirety.

Writing to see what the end gon' be.

Dee

Friday, March 25, 2005

African American Christian Writer's Coalition Launched

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marilynn Griffith (mgriffith32@aol.com) or

Pam Perry (pamperry@ministrymarketingsolutions.com)


Publicist and Authors Launch African American Christian Writer's Coalition

Detroit, MI (March 25, 2005) ---- As evidenced by recent finding by George Barna, (High African American Churches, Regal, 2004), the African American Christian Market (AACM) is here to stay, especially if publicist Pamela Perry has anything to do with it. "These books have been around for a while,but now with so many authors having success, the industry is paying attention," says Perry, whose publicity firm Ministry Marketing Solutions (www.MinistryMarketingSolutions.com) focuses on African American Christian authors.

To help publishers tap into the faith base of the black church, Perry and
several others have joined to form the African American Christian Market
Coalition (AACMC). The other founders include: Rebecca Florence Osaigbovo,
author of It's not About You, It's About God (Intervarsity Press, 2004) and
founder and executive director of Chosen Vessels Ministries (www.CVMI.org )
; Marilynn Griffith, poet, speaker, and debut novelist (Made of Honor,Steeple Hill, 2006) and editor of www.WordPraize.com; Dr. Gail Hayes,conference speaker, character value consultant and author of Daughters of the King, a self-published women's interest title that will be re-released by Warner Books/Walk Worthy Press in May 2005. See (www.DaughtersoftheKing.org).

Together, the AACMC seeks to bring greater exposure to authors and speakers
in this genre through workshops, teleseminars, conferences and greaterparticipation in CBA events. Perry's publicity firm continues to have great success teaching publishers how to interface with African American readers,authors and booksellers.

"We'd like to see the same infrastructure for gospel books as there is for gospel music. The market is the same. Our jobis to reach them," Perry says.

The AACMC hopes to reach more non-black readers as well. Today's hip hop
generation comes in many colors, as evidenced by the success of black books
in the general market.

"When you go to Book Expo, there is an entire African American Pavilion. We'd like to see something similar at CBA eventually...for authors. The first step though, is nurturing and promotingwriters," says Griffith, who uses her WordPraize blog to do interviews and circulate market information.

Dr. Hayes agrees, but thinks even more is needed. "Writing skills are good,but today's author has to learn to become a speaker as well. Those who succeed in the AACM won't only be writers, but Christian communicators."

To that end, the AACMC will support Bonefire 2005, a writer's conference forChristian women of color desiring to write and speak their stories. Confirmed speakers include Christy winner Sharon Ewell Foster, novelist Marilynn Griffith, recovery speaker and author Stanice Anderson, Walk Worthy Press (www.Walkworthypress.net) editor Denise Stinson and Glory GirlsReading Club founder (www.glorygirlsread.net).

"The sky islimit for this market," says Perry, who will host the conference in Detroit, Michigan.

Future plans for the AACMC include CBA/CAABA luncheons, awards presentations and an author referral service.

Good Friday & Meaningful Moments

An excerpt from Butter Me Not Faith

Letitia Mae Sanderson was a petite, older, white woman with sparkling eyes. She looked as if she held a great surprise captive inside her spirit.

Peaches often marveled at white people like her, because they all seemed to have those same stars in their eyes. They looked at life as a big world of opportunity and fun: southern blacks—people like her--looked at life as a big world filled with struggle and locked doors. And if it weren’t for a fervent faith that life no matter how hard was worth living and dying for, Peaches would have just smiled back at Letitia and continued cleaning the pans.

But her soul wouldn’t let her miss this slight chance for it yelled to her on the inside, “You’re change has come, girl!



This week Dave Long at faith*in*fiction sparked a discussion about creating a different kind of meaningul moment in faith fiction. He suggested that most christian fiction books deal with either big conversion scenes or individuals coming back to their faith. But very little other less obvious themes that also speak on faith.

Last night I attended Maundy Thursday(a special Eucharist commemoration) service with my family. My sister sang in the choir. My daughter clapped. It was great to see old friends.

Reverend Bernice Madden one of our many ministers gave the spoken word for the service. Her subject was: "When he[Christ] was on the cross we were on his mind."
As she taught us a few things about the last week of Christ's life, I felt a meaningful moment cropping up.

I am policy chairperson for my county's head start and prek programs. A former parent and policy committee member sent me a formal complaint to address to the committee. I copied the complaint and passed it out to the committee. The staff person who this complaint was against attacked me for bringing the complaint to the meeting, although this act is my job. And she accused me of trying to get her fired--something I didn't have the time, energy or care to do. The PC dismissed the complaint and we went on with the meeting. Meanwhile I felt awful that this person attacked me and I didn't have anything to do with it. We spoke in private after the meeting and she apologized for jumping the gun. But the sting still stuck. Because now I feel that the committee may have the wrong idea about my persona.

Yet when Rev. Madden continued to speak a sweeping peace fell upon me. No matter how dejected I felt over this petty committee thing, it paled in comparison to the nasty accusations the pharisees made to have Christ killed and the horrible comments people said while watching him suffer on that cross on Good Friday.

Christ died for people who spat on him, lied on him and wished him dead.
Could you do that? I don't think I could.
But I felt what my great grandma used to say--A change gon' come--a meaningful moment.

I could build a short story from my situation. I could write a GuidePost article from it, too. I could build a novel without having The Angel Gabriel appear and square the socks of Peaches Parkers'[my hero] feet to get her to move on with her life.

Hallelujah. Help me, Holy Ghost.

May you find more meaninful moments this Holy Week.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

8 Point Plot Structure & J. Mark Bertrand

An excerpt from Guns, God & SomeDudeAverageJoeRegularGuy

Opening Scene: When Tessa’s fiancĂ©e, Sampson got down on one knee in her living room and placed an engagement ring on her finger an old, familiar fury bubbled in her soul.

“If you’re serious about this, then yes. But if you’re yanking my chain…” She turned her direction away from him toward her armoire—the one that kept her Kahr 9mm handheld locked away from her pride. Then turned back to him and smiled. “then so help me God, I’ll kill you.”

He stumbled back. Because what Tessa Turner says--she means.


Hopscotching along in the blogosphere I stopped at J for J. Mark Bertrand, a community member in faith*in*fiction and a member of the Masters Artist Group. He always has something very thoughtful to say about the writing craft. And this girl needs all she can get on the subject.

While hopping around in his spot, I found an eight point plot structure plan that spoke to me. I'm the kind of writer, who has spent months plotting and replotting my story. And I am to the point where I think I might need to stick to creative non-fiction But this entry from Bertrand has helped the old hag--me. Not just the plot structure, but his entire Notes on Craft blog.

I will simplify it here for you. You can click on the title above that links to his Notes on Craft Blog and the Plot Structure in detail.

Eight Point Plot Structure:
Stasis, Trigger, Quest, Surprise, Critical Choice,Climax, Reversal, Resolution.

Why this structure helps me is that I can actually visualize what will happen in my story more clearer by this instead of my old structure:
Opening Scene, inciting incident, conflict....

In fact I completed my plot in an hour.

Thanks J. Mark Bertrand. You've made my week.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Selah Morning


Selah 6mths/5years Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday to my sweetheart, my daughter, Selah.

Selah's name means pause for praise and meditation. It is an instruction scattered throughout the Book of Psalms, to stop and observe God's message,and to continue our praise more uplifted than before. A perfect name for my child, who was the catalyst for me to take pause in my fast paced life and to hear God's message for me.

"I love you." Is a sentence my soul heard from a clear whisper in my ear the moment she looked at me right after she was born. And I knew then that God was with me.

"I love you." Kept me, held me when I wanted to die from the pain that congestive heart failure, lung failure and kidney failure torments the body. But I heard "I love you" and I planted my feet and waited on my HELP.

"I love you." My daughter kissed my cheek the Christmas before we moved back to Atlanta, my first Christmas in recovery/therapy/poverty/aloneness.

"I love you." My boyfriend shed tears for me the day he moved away to complete Grad School, a day I understood that waiting with God for the right man takes your relationship to a seperate peace.

"I love you." The day I turned 32, last month. I have lived longer than Christ and haven't suffered as much, and haven't accomplished as much, and haven't brough as many souls to the Kingdom as I could have, but He loves me inspite of it all.

"I love you." Today. My daughter has her fifth birthday. I pause this morning. OOOH, Glory. Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus. Hallelujah. You are a Healer. You are my Glory. Hallejuah. I love you, Lord. I praise you this morning. I cry out in praise.
I pause...
Pause with me.
Where is your faith?
Pause some more.
Who do you belong to?
Pause some more.
Who do you fight for?
Pause...
Who do you write for?
Hallelujah.
Somebody praise the Lord with me.
Angels on High!
Help me, Holy Ghost.
Selah.

Writing to see what the end must be,
dee

Monday, March 21, 2005

NAACP Image Award for Best Fiction...Woman Thou Art Loosed


Woman Thou Art Loosed Posted by Hello

NAACP awarded T.D. Jakes's novel, Woman Thou Art Loosed." the NAACP Image Award for Best Literary Work.

I watched the movie, bought and red the nonfiction help guide, and bought the bible, but have not read this book. I wasn't a fan of Cover Girls, so I was a bit skeptical about reading anymore Jakes fiction. If you have any thoughts about the book, let me know. And I would love to look at the first line.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

On Writing with both Romance & Spiritual Internal Plotlines

Award winning Christian fiction author, Vanessa Davis Griggs speaks to the Suite about her motivation, Promises Beyond Jordan sequel Wings of Grace and about successfully buildings two internal story lines.

Click on title and it will redirect you to my Suite101.com Channel.


Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Me and Selah Posted by Hello

Reflections on Parenting Selah

In five days my four-year-old daughter will be five. And I am in tears about it.
Five years ago my life travelled down a mind blowing, life altering shame spiral.
I was homeless, living in a battered woman's shelter, pregnant & talking to a priest about it all. I began my walk with the Lord when I was eleven-years-old. But somewhere between 23 and 25 I walked away for no good reason now that I look back over it. I had reached a point in my life when I thought I knew everything I needed to know about God.
Yeah. Young and stupid.
But for whatever reason God stood where I left him all that time, waiting for me to come back and take his hand.
When I had my daughter I drew a line in the sand. She would grow up the right way or I'd die trying. Little did I know that this line almost killed me.
For five years I have lived with two chronic illnesses both developed during and after my pregnancy. I am a lupus survivor and I live with a weakened heart that functions on goood days 40% of a normal heart. So I sit here and cry, because my doctor's told me that I wouldn't get to see Selah turn three. But I'm here and stronger than ever. I work out almost everyday not to lose weight(look at my picture. I'm plump) but because my heart requires it, in order to look normal to everyone else. This time is not just my daughter's birth day, but my rebirth day.
I had to resign from my high paying, total stressed out job to becoming a mommy and part-time writer. I am very thankful to have met all of you, who have dropped by my blog. I am very thankful to my fiancee, who wants to marry me despite of my poverty, health, and parental responsibilites. I am very thankful, for writing. Getting things out releaves the heart. I am very thankful to still be on this Earth, tucking my baby in, and feeling excited about what's in the future. I hope its a novel that I feel confident enough to submit to an editor. I hope its watching my daughter have her own children. Whatever it will be, I will be thankful. I will write about it and treasure it.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Radio Station seeks Christian Fiction Authors

Popular Northeast radio station looking for Christian Fiction and Inspirational authors to feature their books on gospel radio show. Radio station will feature book, interview the author and have guests call in. At the end of the month the radio station will hold a bookclub meeting for the author and the winners. Book signings will be scheduled with large Christian bookstore. If you are interested please contact Angie at adeeva@adeevapub.com. This is only for CF and inspirational authors.

Click on the title above to direct you to the Adeeva site.

Faith Based Fiction Lover's Weekend Postponed

Faith Based Fiction Lover's Weekend scheduled for June 24-26 2005 this year at HILTON LOS ANGELES AIRPORT, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA has been postponed.

Conference coordinator, and bestelling christian fiction author, Jacquelin Thomas states,

"Hello Everyone:

I am writing to inform you that I've decided to postpone the conference until June 2006 and I would love to have each of you join me at that time. My life has gone through several heavy storms and now I am raising my 3 grandchildren--2 of which are not school age. I can't focus on the conference right now and so I feel putting it off for a year will help me until I find some order in my life once again. The 2006 conference and all others will continue to be held here in the Raleigh-Durham area.

For the authors: those of you, who have sent in your donations for the Impact Movement and/or ordered guest packages--I will be refunding all monies. All registrations will be refunded as well. I am asking for your prayers as well as your understanding.

The hotel has been notified of the cancellation, so please cancel your hotel reservations as well. Again,I truly am sorry to do this, but I have too much on my
plate at the moment. However, I am very committed tothis conference and will be meeting with hotel reps in May to plan for 2006.

Jacquelin


Jacquelin, we have you in our prayers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

And Away I Go

An excerpt from Guns, God & SomeDudeAverageJoeRegularGuy

“Two people died last night in the exact way you described to me three days ago when you dreamt it.” He[Feltus] caught her arm, as she walked toward the foyer. “Those men were ministers just like me. I have no limits.”

I'm writing from a simple outline. I have a crisis, a black moment, a climax, but no end. It's a thriller. I don't want to ruin the ending for myself. Strange, but true. We'll see where it takes me.

I submitted two articles one to GuidePost and one to SpiritLed Writer. Pray for me.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Wacked Out Character Development

An excerpt from Guns, God & SomeDudeAverageJoeRegularGuy...

“Feltus?“
“Sh…” He placed his finger over his mouth. Took her hand and closed his eyes. “Let’s pray.”
Until then did she realize what a gorgeous face he had. Long, baby doll eyelashes didn’t seem out of place on such a strong man.
He popped his eye open.
She dropped her head.
“Dear Lord-“ he began.



I am writing a short story this week as an exercise to strengthen my ability to build a cohesive story with an interesting plot, strong characters, and godly message. I hope this exercise will help me formulate a strong crisis for a novel that I wish to create in the near future. Since last year, most of my short stories and novel ideas were about these strong women characters dealing with extreme intuition. Be it my character, Arson investigator-Ariel Arrington, my investigative reporter-Tess Cooper, a teeangage exorcist-Stacy, to my first novel heroine, Laurel Baytree, a christian overseas missions crisis negotiator. These characters had to deal with knowing to much about the world that we cannot see, feel or touch, but witness with another sense be it a sixth sense/intuition/the holy spirit. And now I'm dealing with a physic PI. Lord, why? Why? do I keep coming up with these woman? I want a simple, funny, non scary character, but I keep drawing myself to these mystics...

Any answers?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Last Word ... And the Word After That

An excerpt from Guns, God & SomeDudeAverageJoeRegularGuy...

"I assume you're here because what I told you last week happened yesterday." Jessie held the cracked front door open with her shoulder. Her Kahr T9 still in hand.

She watched Feltus Morgan observe the Kahr's direction. The way he looked at things-- especially her--kept her on guard.

"If you can really see the future-" He stepped toward her and leaned down to meet her eyes. "Then you would see that I'm not a bad guy. And I would never hurt you."

"Nowadays average Joes like you are the bad guy or..." She put the gun in her waist holster. "Maybe you'll hurt me in the near future and you just don't know it, yet."


While writing to see what the end gon' be, I ran across an interesting article at Christianity Today titled the Passion of Hotel Rwanda, a discussion about why Christian churches didn't flock to the cinema to see this very christian themed movie.

Since I was already a fan of the movie and mentioned how I thought Cheadle was apples to apples with Jamie Foxx in this past Oscars race, it tickled me to read an article that shared my sentiment about the movie and other things. Brian McLaren, the author of that article and of The Last Word and the Word after That : A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity presents a few great guestions about our mission and how to let brotherly love continue. This past Sunday, I assumed my Sunday school class would discuss this week's past events and also the Recut Passion movie. However, they didn't want to rock the boat with me after last week's discussion.

I'm not the kind of girl who jumps on band wagons(i.e, I belong to a left wing, all white, sunday school class,) but I am going to read this book once it is released[mar 26] and get back with you(from what I've gathered McLaren is a leftie.) You can check out McLaren's website by clicking on the title of this blog.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Guns, God & SomeDudeAverageJoeRegularGuy

An excerpt from Guns, God & SomeDudeAverageJoeRegularGuy

"What the..." Jessie Toliver slid her hand behind her bedpost, pulled her gun out its holster and observed the three phones ringing on the nightstand by her bed.

Her doorbell rang.

She fumbled with the lamp light. Kicked her bed sheets and The Dog off her legs and grabbed the red phone. "I'm on my way."


Oh, boy! This weekend has been a doozy down here in the Bible Belt.

...America had another crazy shootout
go down this weekend,and no less at a red state church.


Brian Nichols had white America and some blacks on lock down and the rest of us wishing a fool would try to carjack our rides.

I will not tell a lie. I wanted that $60k reward. The fact that he was captured five minutes from my abode made me hotter than a jack rabbit hopping on hot asphalt. Maybe he saw me and knew that I'd beat him down. OK. Let's laugh about that for a second. Maybe God knew that I'd piss in my pants, if the man stumbled on my doorstep.

So when I wake up on Monday prepared to write to see what the end gon' be I can't help, but to watch CNN's "American Morning" and to my suprise see that America had another crazy shootout go do down this weekend. And no less at a red state church by a member of said church. Like my great grandma Mudge used to say--"Great Day in the Morning."

Last week I was struggling with a compelling and timely theme and here one drops in my lap--Guns, God & Some Guy/Regular Joe. These men who appear normal, knows God, but snaps, loses faith, loses their identity. Forgets who they belong to(let's not forget the BTK Killer.)

Now I'm throwing this theme out as a writing exercise for anyone who needs something to jolt their writing juices this week. If you do decide to do this, please email me what you come up with 7500 word maximum and if I like it I'll upload it. I think I will do this writing exercise thing every Monday. What do you think?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Friday, March 11, 2005

Aha! Moment #1 Selah's 5th Birthday Plan Fiasco

My daughter, Selah, will be turning five on the 22nd and I will host her party on the 26th. My intentions were to give her a small, girl only dress up party at a local boutique, then call it a day. However, now I have twice the girls, more than a handful of adults. The store cannot accomodate all these people.
My wallet can't accomodate all these people.
My home can't accomododate all these people.
My chest is tight. An imaginary stress line is strangling me or at least trying to sever my head from body. Time is running out. And pretty soon the party goers parents will get tired of my changing plans.
This is not what I planned.

All I want to do is have some fun.

Aha!

All I wanted my book to do was have fun. Create a wacky character, who gets herself in some serious trouble and watch her scramble out of it. And learn a few things about my self and my relationship with God along the way. Nothing too fancy. Nothing too contrived.

But just like this party I have overplanned this book.
At this point I don't give a flying flip about what's supposed to be christian fiction.
I've read enough of everyone's expert opinion and written enough muddle of my own.
I've read enough books that poorly represent what I want in a book and have written enough muddle of my own.
I want to have fun. That's all.
So I pulled out the letter Chucky P wrote me. I reread the part where he wanted me to have more fun with my writing.

Aha!

And that's what I'm gon' do.

Selah's party will be great no matter what I decide.
And this book...Chris, this book must have Reverend Pugh in it.
And so it will. Aha!

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Miracle, Plotting & Diary of a Glad Black Woman

I won a free movie ticket at my christian author friend Tia McCollor's Heart of Devotion Book Release Party. I used it this week to see Diary of a Mad Black Woman(click title to direct you to the movie site.)

While I watched the movie, I thought about my book. No--To tell the truth, I've been replotting my book for the past week. Old and new author friends have helped me along with this. I thank you. Anyway...

I'm watching this movie and trying to parallel my novel to this screenplay. Does anyone else do that besides me? While I do this, I realize there are some things that my novel needs like: a big opening scene, an event for my climax and a universal conflict to pull my black moment together and raise the stakes of this story. By the time I left the movie I was more energized about my story, than how gorgeous Shemar Moore is--even with the beard, dried up cornrows, and the work clothes. I want creep you out by putting his pic on this site. You all know my weakness or rather my aesthetic love for beautiful formed men. Yes. there is a thin holy line between lust and art gazing. And yes. I know the difference. Just don't tell my boyfriend about Jason Momoa. You know what I'm saying. (By the way everyone pray for my sweety pie. He is in the hospital for a respiratory infection and flu. He's in Ohio and I'm in Atlanta, so imagine my frustration.)

Back to the point of this post...

I go home tweek some things and yes, realize that my premise needs to change a bit to make this story coherent. Refusing to throw my novel notebook in the trash I prayed for Miracle. No. Not a Miracle. Miracle, the movie with Kurt Russel speaking very Wisconsinee. (Yes. I love Kurt, too.) This movie exemplified unifying theme and using big events to drive the plot. It was on HBO yesterday.

Hallelujah!!

Now I'm a Glad Black Woman. At least for now until I send my changes to my writing cronies for them to tell me to stop this nonsense and write some something, anything, soon.

Pray for me, my G-man, and all the men I cited here today. Tyler Perry, you rock!!

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Relevant Writing & Minimum Wage

According to the Associate Press(click the title above to read more) Congress did not approve an increase in the minimum wage. "The GOP-controlled Senate defeated a labor-backed increase in the $5.15 wage floor on Monday, saying it would only hurt the entry-level workers it was designed to help."

Whatever that means...

At Sunday school this past Sunday one of my classmates asked me a question he's been wanting to ask, since this year's presidential election: how can I--a christian--be a Democrat?

My answer was providential and sweet. I didn't want to rock the boat at the church. And I didn't want to say that because as a black woman I am offended by Republican politics. That's a discussion for my personal blog-deestewart.blogspot.com.

Anyway...I say to this friend of mind. "That as a christian I can't judge people based on a sin that society wants to spotlight. We all fall short, so we all are gay/lesbian/abortion having sinners. Whether we participate in this activity or not. No sin is greater. No sin is more deplorable. I don't believe as a christian that you can unite government and religion in that way. It's pharisee-like."

The discussion was closed. Everyone smiled. And I didn't care what they said about me at their homes. As I am the only black, single, disabled mother amongst the crew. I am separate, but equal regardless of the statement I made.

So how does this affect my writing?

I read an article about stakes and conflict on faith in fiction blog last week and it changed my whole view about what I want to do as a fiction writer. As a journalist for christian press I discuss the world through my eyes and how it relates to my struggle as a christian woman. Yet, until then did I realize that I should also write about the same discussion in fiction.

See. I wanted to write something fluffy and cute that any women would want to buy and hopefully, through the jokes and catch phrases they would learn a little bit about God.

After reading Dave's article, watching another East Coast/West Coast rap "Game" rivalry shatter my hopes of a black-on-black crimeless future, and now reading this minimum wage issue in the Washington Post I am convicted and glad that I changed my premise. I changed my story from a sweet romance between a black preacher and a gospel diva into a story about faith and race. The haves and the have nots in this christian counter culture.

If we say we are christian, then why is the most segregated and prejudiced day of the week on Sunday? If we say we are christian, then why didn't we vote in November for Senators would have vote to increase the minimum wage as gas prices continue to soar? If we really care about America's freedom, then why don't we free the poor and the sick in this country? If we say we care about American's future, then why do we want to cut Head Start and Medicaid? If we say we are a God-fearing country, then why is the Ten Commandments and issue in the courthouse?

We say one thing and mean another. We are wolves in sheep clothing.

We write fluff instead of the truth.

We become the tax collector and the money changers.

Christ died for us, but didn't rise for weak minded writing. What say you?


Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Dee

Friday, March 04, 2005

Good Morning, Davidae


Jason Momoa Posted by Hello

An excerpt...

To the body, the day begins and ends the same, but the soul exists to know and praise the difference.

Around 6:00 am in my dreams the Lord met me. One minute he was Ben Affleck(not the superstar, but my nightdream boyfriend) and then he changed to Jason Momoa(not the incredibly gorgeous Hawaiian actor, but my daydream boyfriend)--neither of these men are my fiance mind you. But for a minute I don't think that my dream boy switches are absurd. It feels like the most casual occurence in the world. And then it strikes me.

I was late!

God knew my brain would trigger the moment I saw Momoa. If you're a girly girl like me I think your brain will trigger too, if this man popped up in your dreams all Willy Nilly. But it hit me again, while brushing my teeth and tiptoeing through the house, hoping not to disturb my daughter, Selah.

I laugh. The Lord has a sense of humor.

But what's rich about this illumination is the fact that for the first time I understood that the Lord knows what to do to get my juices flowing. He knows who I am.

Usually he sends the Holy Spirit to whisper to me, while I'm joking with Ben,"Good Morning, Davidae."

But not today. And I am too happy to wonder why.

I read a few pages of Mariette in Ectsasy and laughed--again, not at the book, but at myself.

I love beautiful things: people, planets, words...
I love the way they place on the page and how they sound when read aloud.
I love pleasant surprises like Jason Momoa and Mariette in Ecstasy.
I love my Lord's morning love notes that he only sends to me.
I love feeling a part of a great big, beautiful, Momoa-inspiring world.

May you find The Lord flirting with you this day.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Inciting Incidents in Blue Abstract

Yesterday after I dropped my daughter off at PreK I received a gift from God.

My mind has been in blue funk for the past week, because my latest story idea has no structure or at least that's how I felt about it. So anyway... I was feeling very anxious, because I promised myself I would fulfill this dream if noonwe reads this novel, but me.

You know?

So, I'm driving back home. The sky is a sweet periwinkle blue with a few white foam scribbles scattering in this areal blue sea. And then I see it Mars. It's huge, but not read just as blue as the sky and outlined by the fuzzy scribbles in the sky. NASA says that
The 2005-2006 apparition of Mars will be one of the most favorable of the twenty first century for two reasons: Mars will be close to Earth, and. it will be above the celestial equator in our sky
.

For me it says that God is still great.
God is still good,
And wanting to write for him is more than just about the five people who will read my work, but the millions in the heavens who await its release.
I feel good.
I feel like I've found the inciting incident that I was looking for.
Hopefully, Peaches can take it from here.
Go outside and give the Lord some praise today and see it for yourself.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

The Most Influential Black Spiritual Leaders

Click on this title and it will link you to an interesting article from belief.net regarding who they think are the most influential Black Spiritual Leaders of are time?

I do not agree with the list. Some people are not mentioned. Do you agree?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Inciting Incidents/Dialogue/"Imitation of Life"

An excerpt from my novel...

“No! Today’s sermon didn’t set me off; Craig’s proposal to that heartless wench is what turned me every shade of wrong,” my mouth misspoke, but told the truth and shamed the devil inside me.


I had an interesting discovery today. I write/think/speak in Turner Vision.

What is Turner Vision-seeing the world as a classic movie.

As I fumble, stumble, and erase my story's first premise I find myself trying to recover some of it just to keep this spunky, stormy novel beginning/grandiose opening scene idea that just want let me go.

Last year, I interviewed Eden author, Olympia Vernon and she told me that her character's haunted her until she put their stories down on paper, and after completion they released her mind.

Although, I do believe in spirits and exorcisms(read my short, "Sugar Rum Halloween", I don't want any thing, but the holy spirit guiding my thoughts.

Yet, I understand Olympia's urgent urgency about her stories. I just wished I could find some other fuel besides "Imitation of Life" and anything else on Turner Movie Classics station with Lana Turner or Dorothy Dandridge starring in it.

And then it hit me...God made this way and so my writing will be this ridiculously sultry way.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March Book of the Month- Wrapped in Rain


Wrapped in Rain Posted by Hello

Book Description from Thomas Nelson/West Bow

The only good thing Alabama business mogul Rex Mason ever did was hire Miss Ella Rain to take care of his mansion, Waverly Hall, and to keep his boys-Tucker and Mutt-out of sight. A single and childless black woman of abiding faith, Miss Ella raised the boys, loved them like her own, and did her best to protect them during Rex's drunken rages. After she died, however, Mutt's mental disorder rapidly deteriorated and Tucker, alone and overwhelmed, committed Mutt to a mental hospital.
Now Tucker hides behind a successful career -- traveling the world as an international photographer. But he can only run for so long. When Mutt escapes from the mental hospital and a childhood friend, Katie, reappears with an abusive husband on her trail, he must face the demons of his childhood. Rather than sink into tragedy, he must consider facing his father and opening his heart once again.

"Wrapped in Rain is a tough and tender novel about weathering adversity and recognizing the many faces of love, regardless of who, how, where, or why. Love is a risk -- but it's far more dangerous to live without it.


First Line-

Maybe it’s the July showers that appear at 3:00 p.m., regular as sunshine, maybe it’s the September hurricanes that cut a swath across the Atlantic and then dump their guts at landfall, or maybe it’s just God crying on Florida, but whatever it is, and however it works, the St. Johns River is and always has been the soul of Florida.


My thoughts...

For the first time on this blog, I spotlight a non African American author, but the story revolves around and African American matriarch, which moves me. Martin is a fantabulous writer and I'm in awe at the pictures he conjures in my mind. I grew up about an hour and a half from that river, so I was thrilled to find and author speak about JAX's mystique just as I would describe it. Can't wait to read what Miss Ella teaches.

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee

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