Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Guest Blog for Hire

I am embarrassed to report that I still need a guest blogger. So sad. Can't find a friend. Wa! Wa! Anyway...I will be writing the second draft of my first completed novel(thanks writing group buddies.) And I need to prioritize my time. So I will not be writing for any magazines, except my July 7th deadline for Mosaic Literary and for Romantic Times Magazines. I already agreed to those. Other than that I will be working on my second draft, cleaning up my short to submit to either Infuze or somewhere and booking July's ThirdThursday(hint hint.)

So what does it take to be a guest blogger? A love for the Lord and a love for Literature. That's it. You can even take one of my entries and rebuttal. I'm not looking for a clone. Just someone who can keep my blog's momentum up. I know for a fact at least ten read it daily(laughing at myself) those ten depend on me(laughing again.)

OT: Continue to support, encourage and pray for one another. Hurricane and shark attack season is upon us. Back to school shopping is making me nervous. And if I don't submit something this year...I need a blogger. For real.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Thanks Denise for the prayer.

Writing Black, Writing Christian: Sitting on the Bench in Your Own Genre

Am I becoming a Dave Long disciple this month or what?

Anyway...He has an itch over there again. But this time it concerns us[black folk] in particular. And think its about time African American Christian Fiction authors, editors, publishers, agents, chime into the discussion. Afterall I'm not an author, yet. And I don't want to blow my chances before I get started. But if things don't change then maybe I need to become an inhouse marketing contrator (hint, hint):)

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Other "Other": "I have no firm statistics, but I don't think it's shocking to anybody to say that our books don't reflect that diversity. This becomes a chicken-egg debate. Our readership is primarily white so that will mean the characters they most often choose to read about and identify with will also be white. Or, our writers are primarily white, so the characters they most often write about are also white, thus appealing to a white audience."
-Dave Long

Since this is my blog I'll throw in three cents on the subject and open up the floor for the rest of you guys...

From watching the NYT's bestseller list this year, three books that sat on the top twenty list for months this year were written by African American Authors about church life. They were ABA books with church settings.

Since I write for a few major black christian magazines and speak with many black Christian book clubs I have found that those three books were on their reading list. Why? They don't know the difference between CBA and ABA. And if you think about how blacks are supported in both markets is there a difference?

Because I have to blunt, it wouldn't be right if I wasn't--Stick a church or a man in a robe on a bookcover and black christians will buy it. Because black Christian books are in demand. Check the Gallup polls or Burna Studies, most Blacks say they live a Christian lifestyle.

Yet, Black Christian books are rarely displayed at Lifeway or Faith. But Carl Weber's the Preacher's Son(non ABA) is in every Walmart, in the top three black mags(Ebony, Jet & Essence,) at beauty shops and barber shops.

Christian publishing houses haven't done a great job marketing Christian fiction written by African American Authors. So Christians thirsting for a good read pick those books and become dismayed. Because they begin to believe that Christian fiction is no better than secular. All the meanwhile, black Christian fiction authors still struggle with getting their books to their market. They can't compete with Carl Weber or Kimberly Roby, because their own publisher doesn't have the wherewithall or care to take them beyond midlist.

Fact: Blacks do read. And they will pay whatever for a good novel. That is why black self-published authors are the best sellers in black bookstores. Regardless of how poorly written and how high the price. Blacks will take anything at this point. (Correction[Thanks Lashaunda]: Blacks will buy christian inspired books that are available to them. If there were better books to choose from, then they would gobble them up.)

Now can I can please get back to my WIP?

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,
don't forget I'm booking for July's thirdthursdays

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Faith & Feeling: Creating Conflict

Bible Verse for study: 1 John 2:9-11

An excerpt from Let the Lion Eat Straw...
The church sucked breath as Daniel pulled his head forward, opened his mouth to one side and again the blackest pure bass dropped lower and lower(couldn't hear nobody pray) until the whole Easter church slipped into the low-dark voice and cried out.

Every morning I check my Blogline Feeds, reply to emails, submit book reviews, articles, etc and prepare to write the next chapter of my novel. This morning I read an interesting article about a new trend in conflict creation-Islamic and Western Romances/Faith & Feeling. And it reminded me of Dave's entry at Faith in Fiction yesterday about creating fleshed out villains.

And then it reminded me of a book I am reviewing and recommending to my readers to read also--Let the Lion Eat Straw--whereby, the villain in this novel takes many forms. Sometimes it is Abeba's mother, Angela, a southern evangelical stoic who believes that Abeba's husband has ruined her daughter's life. Or death(not Brad Pitt's Meet Joe Black character,) but this fate that stole Abeba's father. Or Race...this unspoken demon that lurks in our faith and steals souls from God(bible verse for thought.)

Southerland's book, albeit lyrical, yet succinct creates loads of conflict through her diction, the way she makes words come together in unordinary ways, this tension, this closing off of sentences, dropping adjectives, making nouns verbs. It all creates conflict. It all creates feeling. It also shows the conflict we have with our own faith.

Imagine falling in love with an Armenian Christian, but his ethnicity obstracizes him. What conflict? Imagine falling in love with an illeducated evangelical preacher. Greater conflict? Or is it all the same?

What should matter most is that our stories get the reader to judge our characters. Root for them or against them, but feel something. And as we manipulate these cirmcumstances we take our readers on an inward journey of faith and feeling. Illumination. Christ.

What say you?

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,


Monday, June 27, 2005

The Christian Standard & Harry Potter

Click on the title to read the full article. What is your take on Harry Potter Books--Christian or Satanic?


Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Literary Paradise: Let the Lion Eat Straw

Let the Lion Eat Straw

My online buddy, Chris read my rant about promoting christian novelists of color.

Chris emailed me and asked:

What titles will hook us[white Christians] so we keep seeking out fiction by African-American authors? ... The Devil's having a field
day with our crappy handling of our racial squeamishness (we don't want
to presume and we don't want to offend -- so we do nothing). It needs to
stop. Help put an end to it. I want to read a good book. Period. What do you recommend?

Before I introduce a book that I am recommending this week as a great starter to reading christian themed fiction written by non-white authors, Chris, let me just say that I appreciate you coming to me with a very candid response(I didn't quote his entire email here.) When I go into a bookstore I ask for whatever book I want regardless of race. I don't think how others will think if I say I am a big fan of Thomas Hardy, Amy Tan and Sue Monk Kidd. As a christian I don't squirm from reading street fiction, I read what I want if it's good. The books that I will recommend on my blog are books that I have went through with a fine tooth comb. Because my little name(The Reaper) means a lot to me, I want to bring quality fiction to you.

So starting off this Primer, I recommed Let the Lion Eat Straw written twenty-five-years ago. Harper Collins has republished the critically acclaimed book. And I am reviewing it for Mosaic Literary Magazine.

Although this book is not a CBA title, it is christian themed and chock full of biblical choruses that crescendo until the main character, Abeba Torch leaves the proverbial stage. One of the most illuminating passages in this book is when Abeba accepts her illness:

It is God in the house when the curtains lift gently at the windows, and a young child sucks his itching gums. We do not understand the mysteries of God. God the winter. Summer, Septembers. Moody dark tones of fathers dying. The splash and laughter. Children playing.

-excerpt from Ellease Southerland's Let the Lion Eat Straw

For those of my nonblack sisters and brothers in Christ it would be glorious for you to read this book. For my bros and sis, it is a great reminder of how far we have come and how far we must go. It is short(186 pages,) it is lyrical and personifies the beauty of the human condition.

I will continue my discussion of this book throughout the week. And if you are with me, and hanging on to learn more about God through literature. Let us read the biblical text that this story symbolizes. Isaiah 11:6- God's message of World Peace/A New Heaven--what Dee's Christian Fiction hopes to accomplish.

Thanks, Chris.
Thanks, Creston Mapes for coming out and reading Dark Star at thirdthursdays.
Thanks, readers.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Friday, June 24, 2005

Christian Fiction Sheds Preachy Tone for Sales

I don't know if George Bush had an impact on this, but something to think about. Click on title for full article.


China Daily, Updated: 2005-06-23 10:58

Christian books test boundaries as sales surge

According to the Book Industry Study Group, which uses data from all sectors of the industry, total U.S. book sales rose 2.8 percent in 2004 to $28.6 billion, while religious books saw 11 percent growth to nearly $2 billion...Christian fiction too, long belittled as either low-quality dross or frivolous and a waste of time is enjoying a boom that has been linked by some to George W. Bush's presidency.

Joan Marlow Golan, executive editor of Steeple Hill, an imprint of romance publisher Harlequin dedicated to "faith-based" fiction, said the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were "very important in terms of the growth of Christian fiction."

Last year, Steeple Hill launched an imprint of "hip, fun and smart fiction for modern and savvy women of faith." Golan said. "My first thought was Christian girls just want to have fun too, so why not do a variant of chick lit."

Another publisher offering Christian chick lit is privately held Random House whose Broadway imprint will release "Emily Ever After" in July, the story of a country girl coming to New York. Doubleday-Broadway recently announced plans to more than double the sales of its religion unit.

Golan said Steeple Hill was also trying to shed the preachy tone of some Christian fiction. "It's rather tedious if characters talk like pastors giving a sermon."


Related article link
Reuters: Same articl, but includes Dekker and Kingsbury. 3 pages long

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia Trailer

I'm excited about this-C.S. Lewis's novel turned movie The Chronicles of Narnia. If you have Mozilla, the trailer won't show. Use Internet Explorer or Avant. It's a short teaser.

Writing to see what the end's gon' father,
Dee who's needs a guest blogger for tomorrow and/or Friday.

smackberry: Amazon is your friend... Really!

smackberry: Amazon is your friend... Really!

More fun stuff for ya.

Christy O'Flaherty, Content Manager for Thomas Nelson gives a candid look at's website and how the site works for the author.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,
Dee who still seeks a guest blogger for tomorrow and/or Friday!

You Know Where You're From...If

Click on the title and it will direct you to a fun quiz you can play between writing breaks(hint hint.)

Promising to supply some fun this week,
Dee who needs a guest blogger for tomorrow and FRiday

Writer-lee: Fiction Celebration

Writer-lee: Fiction Celebration

The June 2005 edition of the Celebration of Christian Fiction is up.

We were asked to write to the quote by E.B.White – “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” But some have posted other thoughts as well.

Somehow I am in the Celebration twice as a blogger and as a subject. Check it out and I hope you participate in next month's celebration.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,
Dee who is seeking a guest blogger for Thursday and Friday

Dee Needs a Vacation/GuestBlogger

Hey. I have family business that sends me to the swamps this weekend. Usually I keep up with my blog, but I have a critical review to write for a literary journal, a short story to tweek to submit to StorySouth for my annual rejection(hadn't had one all year, so I know its about that time for one,) and to do some research(oral interviews and iconography studies) on an African American/Seminole History and Burial Grounds of South Georgia collection I've been working on for three years.(Didn't know I was that smart did you?)
I need a guest blogger to pretend to not be me for a day or two. You don't have to submit anything as scathing as my usual stuff. My soap box is on hiatus for a moment. What I would like is someone who really thinks christian fiction is as useless as eating fish food.:) Anyone game?
Hit me up here or at vidae at writing dot com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Third Thursdays: Third Thursdays hits July's Rejoice Atlanta Edition

Third Thursdays: Third Thursdays hits July's Rejoice Atlanta Edition

My galpal, Lamonica Smith over at Rejoice reviewed Third Thursdays launch.

Guerilla Book Promotion: Rally the Blogosphere

This week I'm taking a soap box vacation and adding fun and useful things to my blog readers. For those of you who are wannabee independent publishers(my dream) Seth Godin spoke about how his publishing company, Chelsea Green Publishing produced a NYT bestseller without advanced preorders, a big advertising budget.

We did it[Don’t Think of an Elephant!] by partnering with key progressive organizations, including
AlterNet, MoveOn, the Sierra Club, Democracy for America, the Apollo
Alliance, the Institute for America’s Future, Green Festival, Hightower and
Associates, Anita and many others, who all helped launch the
book on the Internet. They sent out e-mail blasts and posted information on
all their Web sites, and we gave them free downloads of the first chapter.
Then, once the word started to spread, especially via the blogosphere and
other word-of-mouth venues, key independent booksellers across the country,
as well as the national chains, got behind it and made it the bestseller it
is. In short, the strategy worked for everyone and got a critically
important book out there at the right time and into the hands of people who
will put the ideas to work. In the end it’s about creating social change,
and the reason it worked so well is that we all worked together; together we
had an impact.

It also helped that we made the book short, readable, and cheap. There are
not many serious books you can buy for ten bucks..."

I wonder, if we can rally together to promote quality christian fiction?

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Half-Blood Prince preorders at 750K

By Associated Press
NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble, Inc. announced Monday that pre-orders for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" have topped 750,000 copies, well ahead of the pace of the last Potter book, which came out two years ago.

"The Harry Potter series has shattered all records in publishing history, and the enormous amount of pre-orders to date confirm that the latest Harry Potter title will be the most popular yet," Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio said in a statement. "In fact, we predict that our pre-orders will top one million."

Wow! My daughter's father buys these books for Selah. I haven't read them, yet. Maybe I should crack them open and see what's the fuss about?


Monday, June 20, 2005

Book Publishing via Cell Phones

A Dutch mobile soap opera that uses still photographs and text to tell a story. Posted by Hello

Could you imagine someone reading your book on your flip phone?

In Japan, major publishers like Shinchosha and Kadokawa Shoten have created Web sites to offer telephone reading material. Japan is also home to probably the most successful telephone venture. Earlier this year a mobile novel jumped from phone screens to the silver screen, evolving into a feature film, 'Deep Love.'

In the book industry in the United States, the initial reaction to mobile-lit is: 'Are you kidding?' as one veteran put it.

Still, some major New York publishing houses are pondering the future. 'We are paying attention, but we haven't entered the market yet,' said Kate Tentler, vice president and publisher for Simon & Schuster Online. 'It would be crazy not to look at this. Smart phones are everywhere and it's the fastest-growing device.' " [New York Times]

Writing to see what the end's go' be,

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Fashion of the Christ

dee sent you a Business Week link and the following message:
If you missed this article last month it speaks volumes about the industry, christian book distribution, and the problems with christian bookstores.

The Fashion of the Christ
Corporations like Sony and Time Warner are grabbing pieces of the religious music, movie, and book markets. The losers: Small specialty stores

Saturday, June 18, 2005

THE MEMOIRS OF A WRITER: Batman Begins is the Prequel of the Year

My bad. You have to go to my other blog for that review. Whoopsydaisies.

Writing Black, Writing Christian: Book Promotion

Bible verse for thought: James 2:1-13

Tayari Jones, wrote an excellent entry at Conversational Reading on living a double life as an African American author promoting her novel. Although her latest release is not a christian fiction title, I thought this entry was appropriate since it buttresses my experiences with trying to purchase christian literature written by writers of color in bookstores.

I would love for Christian booksellars to not participate in systemic racism as secular publishing houses do. Since our faith includes diversity, relishes in it even, we, writing evangelists of color should feel relief in knowing that christian booksellars do not participate in the acts Tayari describe. But I haven't found one, except my favorite bookstore that is more inclusive. However, the Potters House is an independent booksellar, who is losing battle with Wally World and Sams Club every week. Distributers don't come cheap and neither does salvation. So what can we writing evangelists of color do to change christian booksellars perception of us, if that is all possible?

How can we get our white christian authors to mobilize with us, to ensure that our stores are better than Walden and B& N? When can our stores display great books irregardless of the black people on the cover? If anyone knows a business investor, I'm thinking about starting my own online store Something must be done...

Ok. That's it. I'm putting that soapbox away for ninety days. The next week's blogs will show my spunky, christian kitty self. we will talk about juicy summer christian fiction. Grown Folks are talking:)

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Friday, June 17, 2005

Is Father There?

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Will to Publish: "There’s a sense of perspective, though, that’s sometimes lost in the desperate race to see our words on the printed page. Our industry does much to fuel that race. I hope we can also do much to offer perspective. You are God’s children, creators made in His image. What you put to paper is a splinter of what it took for Him to breathe us into being. There is you comfort, your joy. A bound book is its reward, a testament to many things, but the writing is of first importance. It’s where we can meet God, if we can suppress the will to publish long enough to hear Him in the echo of clattering keys or the scratch of a pen."
-Dave Long, Faith in Fiction"

It’s a little after noon and I feel as if my soul didn’t sleep with me last night. I am rejuvenated and my body tired from last night's first Third Thurdays. But overjoyed all over my self, rejoicing in constant rejoicing, because my soul exists in total praise right now.

We do what we do not because we are programmed machines, but because our creation means something important to God. Angels can’t do what we do. We choose. And with the choosing we are enveloped above a halo-like glow.

Our writing, if it is good, if it is holy, transcends best seller lists, race, this life... it is an eternal writing.

Dave is preaching over at Faith in Fiction this week-bring the anointing here, Dave:)

--As we began to thank our father’s for being fathers this weekend. Let us thank our Father in Heaven, our Father who gave his son-our lover our Lord, our Creator, our Perfect Peace, this weekend as well, especially in our writing.

Our Faith. Our faith in our writing.

If you’ve completed your first draft WIP, this weekend is the time to find God in it. And if we walked away from him prior to the Black Moment, lets ask him back in there. If we’re still writing, then let’s march on Christian soldiers, march on until the tale is told. If we’re critiquing each other’s work this week, let’s make sure we seek God and with grace and integrity let’s help our writing partners put Father back in there. Let's be there for each other like sisters and brothers should.

When I was a teenager our little missionary baptist church lost our minister and we gained a new one. A young, Airmen who was stationed at Moody Air Force Base in my hometown, Valdosta, Georgia. He was toweringl, statuesque-Rev. Reginald Benjamin. But what stuck out most for me was that he had this voice that was a hint stronger than thunder and it rolled through our bodies as he spoke, particularly when he prayed. He always began his prayer like this: “Father…” And the way he made it sound-- It was more than just Daddy or dad or daddio(my dad’s likes me to call him daddio.) It was sacred…Father…slow, deep, powerful. Better than when James Earl Jones says. “Luke, I am your father.” Close, but not as close as holy.

Now close your eyes and say "Father" like you know it should sound when we think about God. Say it before you began to work on your WIP.
May you have a blessed week. And keep on writing for...Father.

Writing to see what the end’s gon’ be,

Dee's on SIsters of the Vine

On Thursdays I google myself and found an article that I forgot about posted on Sisters of the Vine. Click on the title to read: The Feminine Mystique: Hagar, A Single Mother.

Now I'm going to sleep:)Third Thursdays was fantabulous. Will tell you in a few hours...

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Writing Life: Crossing Ts and Dotting I's

The Writing Life: Look At the Dark Side--Returns: "ccording to Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Time Warner Book Group has two warehouses near Indianapolis. One building is called the “happy warehouse” and another the “sad” warehouse. Trachtenberg’s article is fascinating and can be part of your ongoing education about the bookselling business.

So what can writers do about this dark side of publishing?"

Great blog entry from Terry Whalin and something to think about. As Dave had spoken earlier about raising the standard in our writing, this article adds to that on another level. Just from the little stories and articles I've freelanced to magazines, the writing game has changed the playing field. Whether we shoul devote a great deal of time thinking about it is a worthy debate for another day. But we should at least know the rules of the game.

Tonight is my first Third Thursdays event and I'm excited. And I can't believe I am not afraid, but I turned this event over to the Lord the moment the Holy Spirit whispered it in my ear. I've dotted my i's and crossed my t's. Everything is decent and in order just like God would like. We will bless him and ask him to spend a few minutes with us.

And so in reading Whalin's entry when we approach our writing we should take a leap and let the spirit move through our minds and fingertips. Then cross our t's (make sure we have a basic knowledge of the publishing industry-Terry) and dot are I's (make sure that we are conditioned to compete in the game-Dave:) ) So let's write on, good Christian soldiers.

I know you will be with us tonight in Spirit.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Anticipation Psalm

An ode to Gaspard on his arrival to Atlanta in two days

Anticipation Psalm
by Davidae

Egoiste, ivory soap, my peach bath salts perfumes my mind until it reaches the tip of my nose inside as i remember how his head smells when it rests atop my...selah...french creole, soft thunder and an octave raised into a hungry whisper when my names rolls off his tongue just before he leans toward my lips and...selah...hard,yet soft lean, yet mountaineous muscles lift me up toward his strong, dark'taime, davidae...i love you, davidae i anticipate this experience with him again for the rest of our lives, amen. Selah.

Anne Rice Defends her Christ POV Novel

Remember my post regarding Anne Rice's new book-Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Well, she replied to Chucky P's Cult Writing Workshop. Here is a snippet to wet your appetite.

Anne Rice comments:

Regarding Anne Rice and her upcoming book Christ the Lord, I was amazed that so many who had read so little of my work cared so much to say so much about it. For what it's worth, I appreciate your taking the time to focus on it, and be assured that the book is a deeply considered and deeply committed attempt to bring to life the Christ of the gospels for my regular readers and perhaps for many who've never thought about Christ before in any significant way. I'll do just about anything to get the word out. For me Christ is the ultimate supernatural hero, and the ultimate outsider, and the single most influential figure in western history. I could say more about that...

Click on the title to read what she has further to say.

Question: Have you ever wanted to tackle such a strong subject--writing a novel in Christ's point of view?

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,
PS. Next week will be a fun week for the blog. You will not believe :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Rejection Week

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Rejection Week:
Dave Long is hacking manuscripts over at Bethany House and he has a right to:

"No offense writers, but we[acquisition editors] need to be harder on you. YOU need to be harder on you. First drafts shouldn’t cut it. Dialogue manacled in cliche shouldn’t cut it. Inauthentic genre books plotted and detailed from Hollywood movies and not hardcore, intensive research shouldn’t cut it. Voiceless narrative without the punch of imaginative personality shouldn’t cut it."

And, unfortunately, I agree. I have read and reviewed at least ten books this year and have not yet, reviewed a five star book. Gilead came out in 2004. Just received Forgiving Solomon Long(Chris:) ) , Expiration Date and Grown Folks Business(Victoria.)

But I'm not harping and am taking full blame of my own writing. According to my writing group, I'm too hard on my writing. And you'll be the judge when I complete Angel's quest or submit the other adventure/boat trip novel that sits on the top of my coat closet.

In short...Let's remember we write for God. If we need more time to work on craft, then let's do so. God is patient. James Patterson does eight or nine drafts before he sends it to his editor.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Hidden Sermon Inside Little Country Church

Some of you know that I am a big-HUGE-short fiction fan. And today I ran across a whopper at Infuze Magazine. Chris Well wrote it. And it is awesome. Make sure you read the comments after the story. It's nice to see feedback from others, so that you know if you're really affecting people. I guess I better brush off my old shorts and tweek them(Claudia.) Christ has light years on me.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,

Unveiling-Summer Reading Project

Will not be able to discuss Unveiling just yet. My copy hasn't come in. Anyone else has the book?


Survey Reveals The Books and Authors That Have Most Influenced Pastors

- - content from - -

Image courtesy of BarnaFilms click for info

Survey Reveals The Books and Authors That Have Most Influenced Pastors

May 30, 2005

(Ventura, CA) –Books sales and book influence are two different factors. While bestseller lists identify the books that generate the greatest revenue, a new survey by The Barna Group, conducted among a nationwide, representative sample of Protestant pastors, shows that the most influential books often fail to reach the bestseller lists.

Monday, June 13, 2005

On Earth As it is in Heaven

This week I'm busy preparing for my first Third Thursday event. I'm checking out the location, confirming performers, responding to RSVPS, and preparing for July's event. On top of that today I read and reviewed a book for Romantic Times, took Selah to swim lessons, cooked a dinner from scratch and after this will begin working on my own novel.

What makes this day different than any other? Those of you who know me know most days I'm cooking on all four burners anyway...But today is different. My spirit is renewed and my purpose pumping my heart.


This week my writing group spent the weekend on a writer's retreat. We packed our manuscripts, pink rollers, and mumus and headed to Timber Ridge Conference Center(home of the Girl Scouts).

We had a fantabulous time. Fantabulous food, fellowship and friendship forging. And most importantly we had a fantabulous time with the Lord.

Who are we? What do we write for? Who do we write for?

We, Christian writers know the answer. The Lord. Hallelujah!!

But to take the time and to relish in it. Marvel in it...It makes you SuperWriter.

God chose us to run rings around other literary wannabees. He chose us, who knows how one word can define and clarify all things. He gave us creativity to build stories/parables that will help us understand him.

What are you working on right now that illuminates God to us?
Is it relevant to today?
Is your angel trying to cope with the 22nd century?
What is she doing? What are doing?

We will hold another retreat next year and I hope we can invite others to attend. But in the meantime let's think about our eternity and how we will continue to tell stories in Heaven. And how tickled Heaven will be with the stories we tell. We won't be tired or sleepy or stressed. We just tell stories. Our tongues won't tire. Our hands won't carpel. Our eyes won't hate computer screens.

We won't be rejected.

Imagine it. And live it now. On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Get after your calling.

Writin to see what the end's gon' be,

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Third Thursdays: Third Thursdays: June Reader Series Announced

Third Thursdays: Third Thursdays: June Reader Series Announced: "Coming up: Thursday, June 16, 7:00pm to 9:00pm

A reading by:

Author, Creston Mapes is a Buford resident and former creative director for Dr. Bruce Wilkinson (Prayer of Jabez.) Multnomah Publishers has published his debut novel/ the first of a three part series, DARK STAR: Confessions of a Rock Star Idol this month.

A performance by:

Former Miss Black Atlanta USA, Miss Eulene Adams

A psalm by:

Vocalist, MeLana Latrice Jones ...she performs as a choir member in the upcoming movie 'The Gospel' due for a November cinema release.

Click on the link to see who else is on the roster.

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Christian Writing with Mainstream Appeal

Release the Pain Posted by Hello

I was reading my Christian Retailing newsletter and came across a topic regarding the 2005 BEA. Apparently there was some concern that BEA and the mostly mainstream companies would only glance at the CBA Publisher booths. However, that was not the case...Good News...

However, what stood out about this subject was that many of the CBA market account managers displayed book titles that had more mainstream appeal like: Release the Pain, Embrace the Joy by Michelle McKinney Hammond.

Now, don't get me wrong I like Michelle McKinney Hammond books when the mood strikes. She's very helpful.

But I wondered about Christian Fiction. I'm thinking Eric Wilson's Expiration Date was on display Or it least it should have been. Chris Well's Forgiving Solomon Long might have been there somewhere. Victoria Christopher Murray's Grown Folks Business had to be there. It would be a crime, if it wasn't.

Which brings me to my point. Before I spreaded my wings and started searching other genres inside the Christian fiction booksophere, I spent much of my time reviewing christian fiction books written by African American authors. And if you look at the titles of some of these books: Singsation, He's Fine, but is He Saved, Flippin the Script, and Saved in the City. You will see that this whole "writing with mainstream appeal thing" isn't new.

Yet, why aren't these books displayed on the front bookshelves of Family or Lifeway Bookstores? Why aren't market account managers taking their African American authors to BEA?

If we're trying to compete in the market place, then why don't we beat our competition, Move beyond race, move up a little higher, and show the world what we got?
We don't need to be like the general market?
We don't need to try to emulate them either?
What we need to do is take all our books-literary, the emergent, the classic, the black, white, red(not just Dekker), the latino, the asian--yeah there's asian christian fiction. And we need to make sure that next year not only do we hold our own at BEA, but we take up the joint. Lift it up higher. Save some some souls.

Now I'm going to get back to my mainstream/christian/literary/Star Wars meets Big Mama's House/off the hook WIP:)

Writing to see what the end' gon' be,

CBa Bestsellers for Early June

Ranking Title Author/Publisher
1 (2) Monster Frank Peretti, WestBow (Nelson), c
2 (7) Moonlight on the Millpond Lori Wick, Harvest House, p
3 (11) Breaker's Reef Terri Blackstock, Zondervan, p
4 (14) The Rising Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale, c
5 (21) A Thousand Tomorrows Karen Kingsbury, Center Street (Warner Faith), c
6 (24) Whence Came A Prince Liz Curtis Higgs, WaterBrook, p
7 (25) Redeeming Love Francine Rivers, Multnomah, p
8 (27) The Warrior Francine Rivers, Tyndale, c
9 (47) Beyond Tuesday Morning Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, p
10 (48) Black Ted Dekker, WestBow (Nelson), p

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Third Thursdays: Part Two: CCM Magazine, Dee Stewart & Third Thursday

Third Thursdays: Part Two: CCM Magazine, Dee Stewart & Third Thursday

Check out Part Two of Chris Well's CCM Interview with me about Third Thursdays. I'm getting psyched. I can't wait to reveal the readers who will perform at the June Jump Off-Launch of the series. I'm stoked! And it's not too late to join the party. email me for an evite at

Writing to see what the end gon' be,
Dee Emergent Faith Store

You have to see this to believe's
Emergent Faith Store

Apparently Ted Dekker is the only Emergent fiction author.

Christ the Lord:Out of Anne Rice's Obsession

Although we all have so many things on our plates like writing our own work, reading others, supporting others, I wanted to highlight a bit of news that I forgot to post last month. Anne Rice is writing a novel--a first person POV of Christ.

NEW YORK May 7, 2005 — Vampires are usually her passion, but Anne Rice is getting biblical in her next book, due out in November from publisher Random House. Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt will tell the story of Jesus' early years in his own words.

Excerpts of a lengthy letter that will accompany advance review copies of the book this summer are published in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine.

"For over 10 years I've wanted to do this book Jesus in his own words," Rice writes. "For five years, I've been obsessed with how to do it, and for the last three years I've been consumed with nothing else."
Rice, who has moved from New Orleans to San Diego, brought the undead back to life in the 1970s with "Interview With the Vampire."

I will definitely keep you in the loop as snippets of this book trickles through the pipeline. What say you?

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Friday, June 03, 2005

Summer Reading Project Winner-Unveiling

The votes are counted and we have a winner! Posted by Hello

Suzanne M. Wolfe's Unveiling

Before I tell you about this book let me just say that I appreciated all those that sent in nominations. Other nominations were:

Marilynne Robinson's 2005 Pulitzer and Christiantity Today Award Winner -Gilead
Victoria Christopher Murray's -Grown Folks Business and Truth Be Told
Kimberly Brooks -He's Fine, but is He Saved
Peretti's -Monster
Karen's Kingsbury -Redemption Series
Vanessa Davis Griggs' -Wings of Grace
Tia McCollors' -Heart of Devotion
Chris Well's -Forgiving Solomon Long
Eric Wilson's -Expiration Date
Xena Ruiz's -Choose Me

Unveiling's Paraclete Press Book Description

Still reeling from her recent divorce, Rachel Piers steps off the plane in Rome, prepared to embark on a demanding art restoration project that could enhance her reputation as a rising star in her profession. As she uncovers layers of grime on what could prove to be a lost Flemish masterpiece, Rachel finds that layers of her own soul—layers that she would rather have kept hidden—are being stripped away.

Imbued with historical and artistic detail, Unveiling will appeal to readers of A.S. Byatt’s Possession and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl With a Pearl Earring. Beautifully written, it brings the venerable city of Rome vividly to life and illuminates the power of art, imagination, and beauty to speak directly to the heart.

I think this book will be a good choice for the summer, since so many wanted to read either a romance or a more literary novel. It's Rome setting also makes it a nice getaway without the travel costs. We will begin discussing this book next Friday, June 10th. So go to your local library, bookstore, or my favorite online book store-The Potter's House.

Email me at or leave comments here about the Summer Reading Project, your objections, your comments, your prayers.

Reading to see what the end' gon' be,

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Third Thursdays: CCM Magazine presents Third Thursdays

Third Thursdays: CCM Magazine presents Third Thursdays: "

Chris well at CCM Magazine interviewed me about Third Thursdays. The interview will broadcast on CCM Magazine, and Crosswalk. Thanks Chris, for the publicity.

Contact me this week to get on our performance roster."

Dee's on Dabbling Mum

Alyce Eldrich, Editor of Dabbling Mum loved my Spirit Led Writer article, so she has republished it for her June Issue. So if you missed it, here it is again with a new title, Confessions of a
Magazine Writing Mum

Writing to see what the end gon' be,

Putting Your Character in the Driver's Seat

For the next two week's Faith in Fiction will discuss Greg Garrett's Free Bird. I pick up my copy of the book at the library this afternoon. However, yesterday Dave Long started the book discussion about creating a protagonist that reader's will care about/redefining the hero-so to speak.

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 1 of Free Bird – Hero or Protagonist?

In much of the fiction I’ve read there are three things that seem to mark a character who we may not always like, but whom we care about.

1. Self-awareness – Someone who knows they’re going bad, but can’t help themselves—well, that’s most of us if we’re honest.

2. Charm – We’re always suckers for a laugh, so a rascal with a quick quip (™ Richard Russo) gets many of his sins overlooked. To a point.

3. Reason – Is there an understandable excuse (often emotional pain) that makes us understand the character’s behavior.

-Dave Long

Since I have a WIP that rests heavily on creating a main character--Angel-- that my readers must cheer for, I'm very interested in this discussion. And I have a little bit more to add to it.

I'm trying to create a character who is still reaping from a past mistake she made years ago. For her penance she has dropped all the things she once loved and cared for: her job, the money, the lifestyle, the man, her church, even her family. She has started a new life for herself and her daughter-a product of this past mistake and her saving grace. Then a disaster happens and she is forced to go back to where she was wrong, in order to save her sister-the last person on Earth she wants to save. In fact, in the beginnning I don't won't her to want to help her. I have to put her between a rock and a hard place, so she has to choose the lesser of two evils, upon which is helping her sister.

In the beginning of the novel to the reader Angel has to appear to a certain extent--a selfish unfeeling prick. However, her appeal comes from her endeering love for her daughter, her unconditional love for her mother, her devotion to God and her intelligence. As the story develops the reader will understand why she has become so aloof, so distrusting. However, to reel my reader in I have to throw a few cookie crumbs out there(clues) so that they can continue this quest with her. I even have to throw in a sidekick to bridge the two sisters and guide the reader to Angel's secret. So I hope this mechanic works for my character, since this is my second attempt at writing a sellable novel.

Now I've reviewed quite a few books :) And I judge quite heavily on character. So I think(my ego shines) I have enough head authority on this. A heroine needs to have those three attributes Dave describe plus they need to be put in a situation where all those things(self-awareness, charm and reason) must be the force that pushes the book along. They have to unite to form the trigger--the inciting incident/meaningful moment/whatever term you want to call it that will ignite the character to not want to change her norm, but must force her to. Then the reader will care what happens to her, because we all know what it feels like to be knocked out of our comfort zone.

What say you? I would love to know how you authors use character to drive your plots?

Writing to see what the end' gon' be,


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