Saturday, July 30, 2005

Why Fiction Matters: The Girl in the Cafe

The Girl in the Cafe-an HBO Film.
Although this movie is not a christian themed movie, it is a great example for me to understand how a writer can use fiction to portray a real and timely issue-world poverty.

Premise:He's a shy civil servant working for the British delegation to the 2005 G8 Summit. She's an alluring young woman he meets at a café - and invites to the Summit on a whim. Together, this unlikely couple might just change history. Written by award-winning screenwriter Richard Curtis.

I'm not saying that all fiction should possess some underlying cause, but for those writers, who have them in their WIP, this movie is an example to study.

Why this movie(actually the script)helps me?
The story is simple. They aren't many characters, so the issues have time to be explored. At first I didn't know how the love story would intertwine with the G8 Summit, but as things began to unfold it made great sense. What would happen if a summit delegate brought someone to the retreat, who could destroy his whole life's work? What would happen if you bite the hand that would fed you?

I'll admit. I felt uneasy with the way the American delegation was portrayed. We looked like oil obsessed, debt collectors. But again, if Americans wrote the script, then we would probably portray the Brits as...another topic for a different blog.

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

Friday, July 29, 2005

Who are my Cousins/God's Writers?

We, my brother David and I, grew up near the Suwanee River in a cul de sac surrounded by a tobacco field, Ocean's Pond and three tiny white churches of different denominations, who met one week a month, so that everyone could rotate and experience each other's way of worship.
We were cousins.
I've been praying for a while about my blog, about what I read on other blogs. About what my play cousins--my writing friends in Christ-- agree and argue with me about. And lately, I've been pretty much to my self, afraid to rock any more boats, lose friends, or hurt anyone's feelings. Afterall, I am southern lady, who takes great pleasure in helping smile's spring forth on people's faces and sharing my constant supply of 'Nana Puddin.'
But lately, just cousins and I have been playing Hide and Seek by ourselves.
Thank, God, for my sugarbear-Gaspard, David(my twin), MeLana(my lil' sis,)and my play cousins: J. Mark Bertrand, Lamonica Smith, Dave Long, Pat Loomis, Marina Woods, Stephanie Jones, Chris Wells, Rhonda Nain, Chris Mikesell, Claudia Burney, Mary Griffin, and all y'all who I have run out of room to recognize and Selah(my angel baby.)
Today God granted me more illumination.
Please, I ask. Direct yourselves to J. Mark's revelation about Christian storytelling. His words have sat in my soul since David and I played with cotton fuzz drops and dandelions. God knew I couldn't express it(tough as I may sound I cry easily,) but as Sophia say, "There is a God." And in this secret place(our emerging stories) he also resides.
Have a good weekend.

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

Agent Call: Mary Sue Seymour

The Seymour Literary Agency is looking for "well-written Christian chik-lit" with a wordcount between 75,000-90,000 words.

For information about submitting to The Seymour Agency:
Click on the Blog entry title to direct yourself to her site.
Or email her at :
Or send SASE for guidelines to:
475 Miner Street Road, Canton NY 13617.

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

Rise of the Sistah Agent: Kimberly Matthews

Earlier this year Tee C. Royal, President of RAWSISTAZ Bookclub and best selling christian novelist, Jacquelin Thomas referred me to an up and coming literary agent, Kimberly Matthews of Kissed Publications.

Click on the title of this entry and it will send you to my interview with Kimberly at my Suite 101 Channel.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Grown Falks Talking: Me & Victoria Finale

This entry is the part III of my interview with Victoria Christopher Murray.

Dee: What's your writing process?

Victoria: I try to spend at least an hour writing my novel everyday. Many days, I can write four, five, even six hours. On other days most of it is spent thinking about the characters, talking the story through with my other author friends, etc. I don't work from an outline...I just let the story flow. That's what works best for me.

Dee: How many drafts did you go through before you finished Grown Folks?

Victoria: Three.

Dee: Did you have to do a great deal of research on the gay lifestyle before you wrote this novel?

Victoria: No, I didn't do any research on the gay lifestyle because the book wasn't about gay men or gay women. Grown Folks Business is about the woman's journey, what life would look after a husband revealed he was gay. Period. I wanted my book to be different from the others out there in that way.

Dee: How important is craft to your writing?

Craft is second only to my Christian themes. Kim Roby and I were talking about this this morning. I want each book to be better than my last. I take writing courses and I spend a lot of time rewriting my books to get them to be the best they can be.

Dee What is the message that God is saying in this book?

Victoria: I can't tell you that God has a specific message. I can tell you MY message that I pray came from God. My message is that I know the Word of God and the truth of God's Word. I wrote this book to address that. I also know how judgmental we can be as Christians. And although we are to judge each other, I think we spend more time pushing people away, than pulling them to Christ. I hope people recognize this as they read the book.
One more thing about God's messages through these books-I think God reaches people on their own level. Many times people will tell me something they got out of one of my books and I am totally shocked because that is not what I thought the book was about at all. With that, I've come to realize that God reaches everyone in different ways. When He wants to use my book to give a message, He will give it to each individual reader. I hope that makes sense.

Dee: What are you working on now?

Victoria:I'm working on the sequel to my first novel, Temptation. My next book, which will be out next June is called, A Sin and A Shame.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Christian Script Consulting?

Dreaming about turning your novel into a screenplay? What about becoming a Christian consultant on a movie script? The New York Times' Sharon Waxman writes in her article "Hollywood's newfound passion for Christ."

I would like to know what qualifies you to become a "newly minted expert?"
Paul Lauer, who on his Web site calls himself an expert in the "faith and family" market, has been hired to work on "The Chronicles of Narnia," based on the C.S. Lewis literary fantasies, which Christian groups regard as an explicit allegory of Christ's Resurrection.

I think I have my answer here:
Jonathan Bock, a former sitcom writer who founded Grace Hill Media to specialize in Christian marketing, was hired to help sell Universal's "Cinderella Man," Fox's "Kingdom of Heaven" and Sony's "Christmas With the Kranks." And he is currently advising Sony on what is likely to be one of the most problematic movies of the coming year for Christian moviegoers, "The Da Vinci Code," based on the best-selling novel that challenges basic Christian dogma.

Two years ago I took a screenwriting course. I think I better pull out my notebook. What say you?

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

Bible Study: Velvet Elvis

Controversal look at Christianity. Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis:Repainting the Christian Faith.. If anyone is reading this book right now I would love for them to share their thoughts about it on this blog. I have a backlog of other books to read, but I may just have to read this. Because something in it disturbs me and something in it resonates with me. Isn't that weird?

Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill, one of the fastest growing churches in American history. He is featured in the first series of spiritual short films called NOOMA.

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

Black Portrayals: A Perilous Proposal

One of the best books I've ever read was Sue Monk Kidd's the Secret Life of Bees. What I loved most about it was how authentic Ms. Kidd portrayed her African American characters and her ability to weave in the history of the Black Madonna phenomenon . I wondered were there any other white authors creating black characters in their novels, and tackling the subject of faith despite of societal woes.
Charles Martin's Wrapped in Rain I featured earlier.
But this month I found a few new ones. And as I read them I will share them with you.
For three reasons. (1) If you're a white writer, maybe you can use these books as examples to build your own characters, if you choose to put people of different ethnicity in your book.
(2) If you're black. It's informative to read how others portray our universal conflicts.
(3) I thought it would be interesting.

A Perilous Proposal is Book One in Michael Phillips: Carolina Cousins Series. The story is about a young, angry freedman, named Jake, who is on the run for killing a white man, who's also on the run from the resentment inside. During his escape he searches for his father and falls in love with another freewoman with secrets of her own.

I will be reading this book through August along with two other christian historicals with themes on race & African American History:
Patricia Hickman's Whisper Town and Judith Miller's First Dawn.

I hope you check back on the blog about these books.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Grown Folks Still Talking: Part II Me mit Victoria

Dee: What led you to dealing with prostate cancer in Grown Folks Business?

Victoria: My father had prostate cancer and I thought it was an issue that we all needed to be more aware of.

Dee: Deja's name seems similiar to the word deja vu. Did you think of that when you named this character?

Victoria: That was EXACTLY the point of her name!

Dee: Christian fiction writing is both a ministry and a business. Do you agree?Why or why not?

Victoria: I think any kind of writing is creative and a business. I would never say that what someone else is doing is their ministry because I don't know how they've been called to use their gifts. For ME writing is a ministry. I hope to reach women who may never enter the church and show them the love of the Lord. It is a business because this is my job. I get paid by the number of books I write and the number of books that are sold. So, I have to write a book a year. I can't wait for "inspiration" (although I don't know what people mean when they say that.) I have to write because it is the way I make my living. That is the business part of it. And, that's the way it is for all writers who write full time.

Dee: Do you welcome critical book reviews or do you believe that literary
experts can't review anything with a Christian theme? (some people think
reviews are unnecessary since you can't judge God)

Victoria: I welcome all kinds of reviews although I don't think reviews do anything. I don't think people buy more or less of my books based on the reviews. I don't think my Christian themes should stop anyone from reviewing my books.

Dee: Did you know the ending of Grown Folks Business before you wrote the book or did you have to change it as you moved along?

Victoria: All of my endings change as I move along. I didn't know the ending of Grown Folks Business until I was there. That's what I love about writing. The characters surprise me as much as the characters surprise the readers.

Victoria talks more about her writing process tomorrow. Thanks, Victoria, for sharing this with us.

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

Monday, July 25, 2005

Good Vs Christian..Something to Think About



One of the things I most enjoy about reading is that it gives me something to think about. With a “to do” list about 200 pages long, I should really read to escape the cares of the world during my Calgon bath moments. But, I digress.


As a Christian book promoter and marketing strategist, when I meet with emerging and established fiction and nonfiction authors to design their marketing plan for personal use and submission to their publisher or when they do online promotion via, I am often asked the same question: “What is the difference between Christian and inspirational books and just good books?” I refrain from eye-ball rolling as I'm pretty sure I've answered this question  like a million times over the past five years. Everywhere I go people ask me to answer and clarify the perplexing distinction between inspirational, CBA, evangelical and ABA markets etc. etc.


I came across something from a writer/author today (see below) that made me think. Agree? Disagree? Let discuss it.


On the Christian book promotion trail,

Marina Woods,


What defines a Christian novel? © Donna Fleisher

Is your novel truly a Christian novel, or just a G-rated novel?

What is a G-rated novel?
G-rated novels are clean and safe stories written for readers who are offended
by such things as violent behavior or lewd language. Like a G-rated movie.
What is a Christian novel? Is it the same as a G-rated novel?

What follows is strictly my opinion.
Seriously, I don't want to make myself out to be some kind of expert on this.
I just write and edit the stories; I don't make up the rules.
But if I did . . .

Some questions to ponder.
What really makes a story a Christian story?
If a story mentions God in that "Big Guy in the Sky" mentality,
is that enough to label it a Christian story?
Does a story have to openly proclaim the work of our Lord Jesus Christ
on the Cross to define it as Christian?
What if Christ isn't mentioned at all? Can that story still be a Christian story?

If you find yourself pondering in regards to your own story, ponder this:
What is the point of your novel? What is the reason for its existence?
Is there any edification going on? Any evangelizing?
Did you simply want to tell an entertaining story?

It's okay to write a novel for that one and only purpose, to entertain your audience. That's what 90%
of all novelists do. That's why people read novels in the first place. As Christian novelists writing
for a Christian audience, we want to entertain the Christian community.
It's okay to want to be entertained.
But would the rest of the world also be entertained by your novel?
Would they be challenged to consider or reconsider their faith?
Would they be convicted of their sins?
Would they only be entertained?
If non-believers read your Christian novel and are not challenged, outraged, disgusted, or convicted,
then you have not written a Christian novel.
You've written a G-rated novel.

Must a Christian novel actively evangelize non-believers
by boldly presenting the Gospel on every page?
Must a Christian novel actively inspire and uplift believers
by boldly presenting the goodness of our Lord on every page?
What must a Christian novel actively seek to do?
Bottom line? Entertain.
We are talking about making up imaginary stories about imaginary adventures
happening to imaginary people.
Stories made up by Christians for the entire world to read, both believers and non-believers alike.
If you don't entertain your reader, your story is dead.

But can a novel entertain, yet still evangelize and edify at the same time?
This, in my opinion, is what defines a Christian novel.
It is what sets Christian novelists apart from other novelists.
Other novelists only care about entertaining their readers.
We, as believers, know we have a higher responsibility, and that is to present the
Gospel of Christ Jesus as hope and salvation for ALL.
We should not be satisfied by simply telling an entertaining tale.

The Christian novels we write must first and foremost glorify
the Lord God of Heaven and Earth and His Risen Son, Jesus Christ.
It must make a difference in the world.
It must be a tool that God can use to change lives.
Christian novels must also uplift and encourage fellow believers.
It must edify them.
Christian novels must also present the Father God to non-believers.
Yes, it must evangelize.
And, no, this does not mean your characters must preach the Gospel on every page.

We have our work cut out for us. God has given us a huge responsibility to go along with the story
He has given us to tell. Our stories must lift up the name of the Lord Jesus, lift up the hearts of
believers, and lift up the eyes of non-believers to the Father.
And, don't forget, our stories must also entertain.

If we compromise and steer away from any of these three things, we tend to write G-rated novels:
good, clean, safe stories devoid of gratuitous sex, violence, offensive language, and the like.
G-rated novels are good. The world needs more G-rated novels.
But in a G-rated novel, no one is edified. No one is evangelized.
And personally, I think that is a shame.
When we step away from writing novels that openly glorify and honor God,
I think we step away from the concept of writing a Christian novel,
and from having our novel make a true difference in the world.
Even the most highly entertaining novels are quickly forgotten.
When God reaches into the heart of a reader because of what is written in a story,
that Heavenly Touch remains forever.

What is the final point to ponder?
Ask yourself:
If I take out all the "Christian" parts of my story, do I still have a story left to tell?
If I take out all the "Christian" parts, do I now have a story that will work in the general market?
If you answer yes to either question, your story isn't a Christian story at all.
It's one of those G-rated ones.
If you take out the "Christian" parts of a true work of Christian fiction, the story will collapse.
The "Christian" parts are as vital as plot, characterization, dialogue, and setting.
Don't take them out. Bolster them.
Give God every chance to touch your reader's heart.
His touch will cause your story to stay with your reader . . . forever.


A CBA Divided

Last week I decided to stop posting arguments within the industry on the blog. I have so much more to discuss and share, then other people's opinions about something they haven't even prayed about before they began ranting.

Yet, this weekend I read a post that struck a nerve. Of course, it related to the validity of reviews. And--of course--that meant the validity of Dee.

Well, my divaliciousness has been validated by my Lover, my Lord-Christ, so I'm cool. :)

But...I think referring you to a link about this new watercooler issue can keep you abreast of this ungoing saga inside our industry.

Moreover, you will understand the response I have for it below:

Why Christian Reviews Matter: Explained Yet Again.

The whole notion of CBA being sub-par didn't come from JoBlo critic. It came from Publishers Weekly, Booklist and so forth. And the reason for it--we know--is that the genre is young and growing. CBA, to me is in an adolescene phase. It doesn't want to stay young, but it doesn't want to grow up just yet either.

How can you say this, Dee?

1. Authors are arguing with advid readers over the validity of their work. Authors are arguing with their own market about the validity of their work. Unwise. Adolescent.
2. Some authors do not understand that publishing house do find value in reviews that has nothing to with how great you are as a Christian, but in will this book get across kitchen tables. Reviews help them determine how will we market this book? Is this book sellable? Your publicist uses reviews to, in order to find an angle for good copy. If you're published, I'm sure you know this.
3. But catch this...This system is also why Amazon is important. Authors may not like it. Reviewers like me feel robbed by it, but it is the largest indicator for your book by your market. If a book isn't good, most of its reader reviewers aren't good. JaneBlo doesn't read publishers weekly or her local papers book section, they logon or flip their phone and see what book is getting all the buzz. Reviews light the buzz match. Good or bad. Life. The growing up part.
4. Christ didn't give a hoot about whether a few people who attended the sermon on the mount disliked his parable. He said if they don't receive you, dust your sandals off and keep stepping. Do we know if anyone disagreed with Christ's teaching? Yes. But did they disagree with his delivery? No. Why? Because he stayed in the trenches. And he tweeked and explained it so well that a fool could understand. Good writing reaches fools. And until we writers, reviewers, and believers understand that where Christ is so is where the least of us are, then we are going to continue writing superhero fairy tale novels that don't mean a hill of beans to a scared mother in London wandering what kind of world has she brought her child into. And we're going to keep bickering over old wives tales about why criticism isn't godly. If we read our bible more, we'd see that would be a flat out lie.
So let's stop majoring in minor details and do the job.
I can give my own Amen on this one.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunday Muze: Selah and IceCream

Yesterday, my sister and I went to market. We bumped into an old friend, who works in seafood. He sells me two pounds of sockeye salmon--the best Alaskan salmon I've ever tasted and quite expensive I might add--for less than what I usually pay for a pound and a half of white tiger shrimp...CHEAP!!

So today I make this great Sunday dinner with one of the sockeyes(they are that big.) I call Selah in to eat. Put the salmon and vegetable linguine sautee that I prepared to go with it on her favorite Hello Kitty plate.

She starts to eat and puts her fork down. "Mama, I can't eat this."
"Why?" I ask.
"Because if I eat this fish it'll be like me eating IceCream(her goldfish.) I could never eat my fish. That's sad."

Now I'm shocked. First of all. She's wasting good sockeye. Two. She just hit a cognitive skill milestone for her age. And three. We've watched Dear Frankie way too many times.

And guess what? As I am typing right now, she's bringing the DVD in here for us to watch it again. And what's even funnier? We both love to watch the same scene-the aquaruim scene. I like watching Gerard Butler in easy view; She likes watching the cute fish. Go figure. :)


Friday, July 22, 2005

GROWN FOLKS BUSINESS: A Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray

I first fell in love with Victoria Christopher Murrays' writing style with her very first book, Temptation several years ago. Several novels later, I am not disappointed. While I loved Temptation, Joy and Truth Be Told, GROWN FOLKS BUSINESS is among my very favorite summer reads!!

DL men and the women who love them (or) were left by them have been all the buzz, and Christian women alike have been trying to sort through the various emotions of the realization, that DL was happening in everyday life and in some cases their very own lives. With GROWN FOLKS BUSINESS, Murray has masterfully spun a delicious fast paced read with just the right doses of spirituality and faith that is sure to make GROWN FOLKS BUSINESS a bestseller while an answer to prayer for every woman, every age.

Let's follow Sheridan as she relies on GOD as never before. If you didn't believe GOD was with you in the storms of life, you will definitely see HIM present in Sheridan's.

GROWN FOLKS BUSINESS is a page-turner. A stay in all weekend and up all night type of novel. You'll love it and don't forget to grab one for a friend or two, too. You'll have lots to talk about!

(c) Marina Woods,

It's NEVER Too Late for a Lova' Like No Otha'!

My hands are up. Okay. Okay.
I know, I know. Last time I mentioned I would share with you some of the hottest Christian fiction novels on the scene at present but I couldn't resist sharing one with your from the past that is truly unforgettable just in case you may have been sleeping on Christian fiction back in 2003. I promise to get back on track next time. *wink
 I don't want to give too much of this delightful fast paced read away. Simply put, it's a book you don't want to miss! But okay, I'll tell you just a few reasons why we really loved it:

"A Lova Like No Other" is an excellent Christian novel! Author Stephanie Perry Moore did a magnificent job capturing the struggles of what it means to have faith in God. This book is so captivating that it was difficult to put down. Moore allows the reader to experience the same range of thoughts and emotions that accompany us when we attempt to compromise or rob God instead of allowing His will to be done. This book is real, it does not sugar coat, gloss over or mask the natural needs and desires we have as Christian women. This book reveals the Christian woman's most intimate prayers and longings, even those that are not always pure.
Never have I read a book that has had such a strong male Christian character. It is easy to settle for the Christian man that just attends church on Sundays. But what about the Christian man who is sold out for Christ? What about the man who loves Christ so much that he will not allow anyone, or anything to come between his love for Christ? It is so awesome to read of such love and devotion, and as a result, it forces you to reconsider being complacent with a partner who has simply given their life to God, but has not dedicated his life to God.
It is truly an exhilarating and secure feeling knowing that we (as women) don't have to worry about positioning ourselves or manipulating men and situations in order to find and receive love. This book confirms that putting God first in your life above all else makes Him "A Lova Like No Otha."
Check it out and let me know what you think. Happy Reading!

© Marina Woods,



Grown Falks Talking: Me & Victoria Part I


Last year I joined a writer's group--the Atlanta Black Christian Writer's Group, which consists of ten devotional divas and a host of writing mentors. One of our mentors, is bestselling author, Victoria Christopher Murray.

This woman, who lives all the way on the west coast(California) takes the time to encourage, give advise, line edit, and offer agent referrals to us wee woman in the South(excuse my Scottish accent. I just watched Dear Frankie.)

On top of that she agreed to let me interview her about her bestselling, watercooler buzz novel, Grown Folks Business.

My two line snippet of the novel: Grown Folks Business is about a wife and mother, who relies on her faith when her husband leaves her for another man.

This interview will consist of Three Parts. Part One below.

Dee:Why the title[Grown Folks Business]?

Victoria: That's a good question, but why not this title? When I write a novel, I try to come up with a title that fits the story. I think with the topic of this book, I couldn't have come up with anything better than Grown Folks Business. Because this is the kind of stuff that we usually send children out of the room when we're discussing.

Dee: Homosexual lifestyle and writing about it in any context is off limits in most CBA fiction. When did God call you to write on this subject? And were you apprehensive at first?

Victoria: I was never apprehensive about writing this novel. I'm not part of the CBA market so there are no restrictions to what I can write. In the mainstream market, there are no writing guidelines. I first got the idea for this book in 2002.

Dee: Some readers think of you as more of a crossover Christian fiction author. Would you agree?

Victoria: I'm not sure I know what you mean by crossover. I hate labels and categories, but if I HAD to classify myself, I am an author who is a Christian. I think being a Christian is not an adjective, it's a verb. So in my walk with Christ, I pray that you can see Him in everything I do. But I just write every ordinary stories...with Christ in the center. Interestingly, I think by saying that I'm a Christian author, takes away from other writers - who are Christian, but who do not necessarily write books with a Christian message. I've had other authors (Brian Egeston, for one) question why I'm called Christian when they are not.

Dee: Wouldn't you agree that people want to read good and real stories over anything else?

Victoria: Yes.

Dee: Do the story's come to you or do you wait on the Holy Spirit to direct you?

Victoria: The Holy Spirit directs every part of my life, everyday. So blessedly, I don't have to sit and wait for the stories. I am so blessed because God has filled me so many stories already. Honestly, I don't know how I will have the time to write them all. But He will make the time.

To be continued...Part Two will be posted next Monday.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The E-Literary Rundown: Week of 7/21/04

Library Books Possible Explosive
What will I do if I can't take a good book on MARTA shuttle?
In today's Herald Sun Geraldine Mitchell reports that library books have been banned on a community bus service for the elderly.
It leaves the most vulnerable in our community unsure how they will get shopping home and continue to enjoy visiting the library and borrowing books,
Sunshine Residents and Ratepayers Association treasurer, Ms. Darlene Reilly said.

Litblogs Provide a New Alternative for Readers
by Scott Esposito
What litblogs arguably add to the scene is the chance for readers to enter into the discussion and talk books with other intelligent readers; it is by posting daily and by opening interactivity to not just bloggers, but also their readers, that litblogs have taken the tradition of an alternative literary community in a new direction

What's the best christian litblog?
Beam us up, Scotty.

Yesterday James Boohan, Startrek's Beloved Scotty passed. The ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan, who died on Wednesday, are to be sent into space at his request.
Doohan, who was 85, played engineer Scotty in the original sci-fi series. He died of pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease at his home in Washington.
In BBC's obit of Boohan:
His plaintive, if somewhat unauthentic, Scottish cry - "I dannae if she can take any more, Captain!" - rang through the outer edges of the cosmos as Captain James T Kirk urged even more power out of the craft.

Using Fiction to Sell Fiction
Book Publishers Create Fake Web Sites,Blogs,
Offer Free Downloads to Promote Titles

July 15, 2005

I can't summaraize this article. You have to read this for yourself.
Reader's Digest hits 1000th edition

Christian Fiction Summer picks from the Accidental Poet
Vanity Fair as Christian Fiction?

Thackeray wrote Vanity Fair to illustrate the emptiness and futility of life without God. He expressed this sentiment in a letter to his mother:
‘What I want is to make a set of people living without God in the world (only that is a cant phrase) greedy pompous mean perfectly self-satisfied for the most part and at ease about their superior virtue.’”

Have you read it? Would you agree?

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

Shooting Myself in the Foot

Yesterday, I shared with you a little personal struggle and the possibility of me stepping away from the blog, if the situation isn't corrected and shot myself in the foot.
What I didn't say is please don't stop plugging in and stopping by.
Marina, Editor in Chief of Good Girls Book Club is here. And I would love a male blogger or a non-black blogger to throw two more cents in here as well.
Nonetheless, I plan to post at least one entry a week, if I do have to move or whatever. And things will be back to normal once I achieve my goal. So keeping it coming, subscribing, tagging, and praying here at ChristianFiction.

Praying for London,

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The End for Now?

I have a passion for God that takes my body and soul to the breaking point. Just like listening to BeBe Winans sing Safe from Harm. I take flight when the best combinations of words come together to manifest God.

I have a passion for God...

Tomorrow I will host the second session of my summer reading series, Third Thursdays, and I'm not anxious like I was last month. But ready for the healing. The right combination of words spoken outloud from the saints--oh, Halleluhah--is what I need right now.

See. My life, my real life is no crystal stair. I'm contemplating something heavy that I may have to do, in order to be the best mom God knows I can be for Selah. That may mean that I will not be posting again for a few months. That may mean I may have to leave Atlanta. But it won't mean that I will ever leave the comfort of the Word. Because he is in me.

As you go out and do your thang' the remainder of this year. Remember me. Pray for me. I hope I will still be here, to meet with you on this blog, to continue writing spirit out onto paper, and to be encouraged by your words.

The Word was God. The Word was Life. Can we make life in our words again?
Can we make the sacrifice?Can we be the sacrifice?
Bebe sangs yes:
For the Lord is Good. For the Lord is Good. For the Lord is Good. And I'm safe from harm.

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

And if I go, please be as sweet to Marina Woods, my guestblogger, as you have been to me.

Buzz Factor: Forgiving Chris Wells

My loyal buddy, Chris Wells of CCM Magazine gets kudos for having the strongest work ethic I know(unless he has oompa loompas and angels doing all his work instead.)

We echat often, but he hadn't told me that this highly anticipated and critically acclaimed debut novel, Forgiving Solomon Long also had the Juice--a Ghetto Fabulous term for Street Buzz/clout. But he's so nice to me that I forgive him.

According to Terry Glaspey, director of acquisitions and development for Harvest House, Chris Well's publisher, Harvest House has committed to producing Well's four next books into 2009:

We feel Chris is at the forefront of a group of talented up-and-coming authors in CBA fiction exploring new ways of dealing with the classic themes of the 'old, old story...His unique voice, his humor, his compulsively readable style, and his abundant creativity make his books such a pleasure to read. Personally, I can't wait to read his next book.

Neither can I...

But if you haven't read Forgiving Solomon Long let me give you a two line snippet of what's the buzz all about:

See. This hitman[Solomon] loses his will to kill after he offs a nice priest, who tells Solomon that he forgives him for murdering him. Isn't that wild?

Anyway, I highly recommend this book. It's action packed with short chapters, no play play dialogue. God's words creeps up on you like Fat Cat and his crew. It's the Juice.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My Writing in Progess (WIP)

Don't give up on me. I am still writing, but editing the second draft of an old novel. Here's a snippet for your reading pleasure:

When Laurel awoke she found herself snug in her bed, safe in Oaks Grove, Georgia. Blue jays and cardinals chirping outside and the Easter morning sun lighting her entire bedroom.

She sat up and looked around the room. “Thank, goodness. It was just a dream.”

Then she let her eyes and mind clear for a moment. They stopped and focused at a glass and a wood frame mounted on her wall. The frame encased the American flag folded in a triangular shape with the field of blue and stars in full view.

Lord, please let me still be dreaming.

She felt two wedding bands dangling inside her nightgown.


She looked down and reached for them. Observed them. One large enough for a husband; the other used to be her perfect fit.

Her jaw tightened. Her eyes burned. She snatched the necklace off her neck and threw it at the flag’s glass case.

Crack. Crack.

They missed. Fell on the bible lying in her rocking chair instead.

She cursed; then bowed her head.

A bubbling fury rose from her belly. “This is worse than a dream. It was my life…it is my life.”

Then she pulled her bed sheets tighter to her chest. And cried into them until her stomach emptied her heartbreak into the sheets, until she repented for the bad words she said, until her soul found a little peace. Until she saw a possible solution to this situation.

The answer sat on her night stand. It had been there for at least a week. Unopened.

Third Thursday's Reader Series: July Performers

You are invited to:
Third Thursdays House Readings Series
At Somethin's Brewin' Coffee & Tea
2133 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road (Kroger Plaza), Suwanee, GA. 678-377-0034
After work enjoy your favorite Christian artists in a cozy environment with refreshments and friends. Bring your listening ear, a taste for tea or Joe, and your love of the Lord.
*Coming up: Thursday, July 18, 7:00pm to 9:00pm

A reading by:

Author, Michelle Bailey Webster is a Suwanee resident, speaker and author of The Christmas of Miracles, the first book in the Miracle Series. She owns her own publishing company, Four Sonkist Angels.

Author, Tia McCollors is a Stone Mountain resident, a public relations professional and Essence Magazine’s bestselling author of her debut novel, Heart of Devotion.

Writer, Davidae 'Dee' Stewart is Third Thursdays host, and a Suwanee resident. She is an editor, book reviewer, speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in Gospel Today, SpiritLedWriter, Spirit Led Woman, Atlanta Christian Family, Precious Times, and Rejoice! Magazines.

Spoken Word/Poetry by:

Key Martin

Vanessa Madden is a Conyers resident, poet, and member of the Atlanta African American Christian Writers Group.

Fhena, Atlanta resident and a spoken- word artist, who has just completed her debut CD, “Beauty From Ashez.” She has appeared on “Spoken” – Black Family Channel (MBC,) Mira’s Garden, and theatrical play “When a Good Man Cries.”

A performance by:

M.A.J.O.R.S. (William Brown) is an Atlanta resident, music producer and holy hip artist. His debut CD, “Out Da Belly 2 Da World” was released in 2005.

A psalm by:

Singer, Traci Herron is a Lawrenceville resident.

Tenor, Brian Sanders is a Suwanee resident.

You can map this event from this online location:

* this roster is based on confirmed performers as of Wednesday, July 19, 2005.

Click on title to get on the guestlist.

Book Review Tracking: Spirit Led Woman Magazine

I thought I worked hard at keeping up with all my book review submissions. But this morning I ran across my WomenRisktakers review in Spirit Led Woman magazine. Awesome!
Forgot about this book review submission for months. Remember getting paid for it, but forgetting to post the success. Harrison House has the article on their website now. Click on the title and it will link you there.

A snippet of my review that may minister to you, writers:

As a writer and speaker sometimes I find myself taking on projects without any monetary compensation. I agree to these projects not to exalt myself, but to evangelize God’s word. However, as a disabled, single mother I find myself struggling to make ends meet. For the past few months I strongly considering giving it all up, to find something more lucrative for my family.

However, this book has shown me that writing for God will always reward me. Whether I receive money or not, God will reward me for spreading his word and edifying the church. Not only will he reward me spiritually, but he will supply my daughter and me more abundantly than what we need.

I must submit, surrender to my fear and believe that our needs and wants will be met by God. Everytime I write I sow a seed, but my unwillingness to believe and my reliance on what others think of me will hold me back if I allow it. Just by reciting Bailey’s prayer on submission every time I felt discouraged, things have really changed for me overnight. I have received many paying projects and book offers this month alone. And I credit that to this book.

July's Celebration of New Christian Fiction: Art from the Inside Out

Paula, GraceReign Blogger hosts this month Celebration of New Christian Fiction and writes:

"Every third Tuesday of the month several of us writer types submit our blogs for a celebration. This time I'm privileged to host and we've got some great blogs. Of course I might be a bit prejudiced, since I selected the topic: 'Art can only be art by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some face of the interior life.' (Margaret Fuller)
I have an entry in there, so check it out.

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

Monday, July 18, 2005

Christian Novel Contest

I'm sure you know of this contest, but just in case you don't.

Jerry Jenkins Christian Writing
Guild Operation First Novel For Unpublished Authors
Entrant may not have had a book published or accepted for publication prior to the Wednesday, October 19, 2005 entry deadline.
Winners announced Febrauary 6, 2005.
You must be a member of Jerry Jenkins Christian Writing Guild to participate.
Click on the title and it will direct you to the official site.

Georgia News: Send the Light acquires Appalachian


Carlisle, England-based Send The Light Limited (STL) announced its subsidiary, Send The Light Inc. (STL Inc.) in Waynesboro, GA, signed an agreement yesterday afternoon to acquire Appalachian Distributors from its owner and founder Tom Torbett. The transaction is scheduled to close by the end of July.

Appalachian Distributors, who employs over 100 people in 100,000 square feet of warehouses, will continue to operate from its Johnson City, TN and Reno, NV facilities as a division of STL Inc. Torbett’s sons Tommy and Lance will continue working in the business.

Businessman and STL board member David Passman was appointed STL Inc. president and CEO.

Munce Marketing president Bob Munce, who originally introduced Torbett to STL said, “It’s not surprising that Tom, in wishing to retire, would pick [STL] to acquire his business.”

STL’s U.S. operation also includes FaithWorks, Great Value Books, Authentic Publishing, and Paternoster. U.S. sales revenues are projected to be $65 million in 2006 and STL Inc. will donate a percentage of earnings to support world missions.

In 2001 Word Entertainment sold its U.K. subsidiary to STL, which entered the U.S. market in 2003 when it purchased OM Literature from Operation Mobilization.

Earlier this year, STL acquired FaithWorks, the largest full-service Christian distributor, from National Book Network in Washington, D.C. These acquisitions provide a substantial presence for STL in the U.S., and complement its global strategy of advancing the Christian faith through literature distribution.

July Christian BestSellers List

Ranking Title Author/Publisher
1 (4) The Revelation Beverly Lewis, Bethany House, p
2 (6) Monster Frank Peretti, WestBow (Nelson), c
3 (7) The Shunning Beverly Lewis, Bethany House, p
4 (14) Soon Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale, c
5 (17) Moonlight on the Millpond Lori Wick, Harvest House, p
6 (22) Breaker's Reef Terri Blackstock, Zondervan, p
7 (27) The Rising Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale, c
8 (37) Redeeming Love Francine Rivers, Multnomah, p
9 The Warrior Francine Rivers, Tyndale, c
10 The Covenant Beverly Lewis, Bethany House, p
11 A Thousand Tomorrows Karen Kingsbury, Center Street (Warner Faith), c
12 Beyond Tuesday Morning Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, p
13 Whence Came a Prince Liz Curtis Higgs, WaterBrook, p
14 Oceans Apart Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, p
15 Sisterchicks Down Under Robin Jones Gunn, Multnomah, p
16 The Storekeeper's Daughter Wanda Brunstetter, Barbour, p
17 One Tuesday Morning Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, p
18 River's Edge Terri Blackstock, Zondervan, p
19 A Kingsbury Collection Karen Kingsbury, Multnomah, c
20 Redemption Gary Smalley & Karen Kingsbury, Tyndale, p

Numbers in ( ) denote Top 50 placement. / p designates paper; c, cloth

This list is based on actual sales in Christian retail stores in the United States and Canada during May, using STATS as the source for data collection. All rights reserved. Distribution and copyright ©2004 CBA and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

The Business: Wal-Mart Picks Off Share from Christian Retailers

Dale Wolf of Context Rules Marketing writes:

"Independent retailers who attended the recent Christian Booksellers Association meeting were lamenting the loss of market share to Wal-Mart. Share dropped from 57% to 53% as Wal-Mart cherry picks the high volume SKUs for Bibles, faith-based DVDs and videos, books, crucifixes and choir robes."

If you are interested in scheduling a booksigning, please call 1-800-WALMART. Prepare for a long wait.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

CFS: Black Fatherhood Anthology

Black Fatherhood Anthology
Black Fatherhood Anthology ISO Submissions Kinship
Press, a Philadelphia-based imprint, is soliciting
personal essays of not more than 1,500 words from men
or women who can tell a short, uplifting anecdote or
thumbnail sketch of a loving, supportive black father
who was willing to make enormous sacrifices to raise
healthy, productive children. The selected essays will
appear in an anthology designed to paint a
well-rounded portrait of black men as loving,
committed role models. A portion of the proceeds from
the sale of the book will benefit The Fatherhood
Initiative Program.

Submissions should be e-mailed to
( no later than
August 15, 2005. The authors of the selected essays
will receive five copies of the anthology and have an
opportunity to share in a meaningful project that
celebrates the black experience.

Please include your name, contact info and e-mail
address with your submission. Feel free to forward
this request for submissions to black writers'
groups, conferences, or other talented individuals
who may be interested in contributing to the

Kinship Press
7715 Crittenden Street, Suite 308
Philadelphia, PA 19118-4421

Dee Stewart, Editor

Saturday, July 16, 2005

God's Self Portrait

Art can only be Art by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact of the interior life.
- Margaret Fuller

Every third Saturday of the month my writing group/prayer partners meet. We met today. And we celebrated our first published prayer partner, Tia McCollors. Her debut novel, Heart of Devotion is top three on this month's Essence Magazine Bestsellers List. (The African American equivalent of the New York Times BL. )

We-the group-have shamelessly been plugging this novel all year not just because we have read and critiqued it through most of its phases. And not because we are living our own dreams through her success vicariously. But because we believe that Tia's story is divine. Although it is romance based, this novel discusses God's romance with us and how that romance is more important and more heartfelt than any kiss a man can give. We believed God moves in this book. And now we see the evidence, since nonbelievers are buying the book and being ministered by it.

Margaret Fuller talks about aesthetics(art philosophy) and how to define its essence. Art cannot be art, if it doesn't speak to us on some divine level. She doesn't say divine, but a presentation of an adequate symbol of some facet of the interior life. For the believer that interior life is the soul, a divine thing.

In Tia's case her novel manifestated God as a lover. In Purple Hibiscus it is the illuminaton of a God through family tragedy. In Eden it is the manifestation of God's healing ability even through death and racism.
The house was warm. I once heard that whatever god a person believed in, that god would look just like him. But something was wrong with the gods in my house. None of them looked like me. They were blue-eyed and dirty-blond. Upright, narrow-jawed. Those same gods I saw during communion where there was no wine or cracker if I didn’t first praise Him and believe that He gave me life. I did until I went to take Miss Hattie Mae, the neighbor, a bowl of sugar for her potato pone. There I saw, for the first time, a black God.
-an excerpt from Eden

If we can't see God moving, then we see nothing.

Before I became a mother, I was many things, but alive inside was not one of them. The Child Terrific in me disappeared after years of disappointments, deaths, other things that ate at my left me with amnesia.

But I remember that I once was a gifted painter. My paintings were the size of walls. They were so huge. I only have one painting of mine in my home, because they are too ginormous for Dee's Duplex. The others rest in my dad's warehouse in Valdosta. And every now and then I go there just to look at who I once was. What motivated me?

To my astonishment I realized why my paintings were so large...because I was screaming. I was screaming: Who am I? Who do I belong to?

And as I read and review many books now I have found that the books that scream Who am I? Who do I belong to? the loudest are the books that I find God in.

They are all symbols of a big facet in our life's core. Who are we? Who do we belong to? We so called faith ficton authors believe that we know the answer, but when we create a painting with our words I hope we know for sure that until we start writing what's on the inside, what beats us up when someone doesn't give us a glowing book review, or that one thing that we are not willing to surrender to a God we can't see that are imperfections makes us works of art to Heaven. We are wonder. We are beautiful...flawed. Art.

So what does this mean, Dee?

When I begin to write the second draft of the novel that I have let sit in my closet for a year I need to write about why I sat it up there somehow metaphorically in this second draft. Outside of the fact that the novel holds all my fears about myself, my faith, my future, my maternity, my hopes, my failures, my everything wrapped in a rubber band and a Publix shopping bag, it also holds my clinging urgent faith that God will eventually get tired of my whining and get me the thing I want, a book contract. (Like I do when Selah whines about wanting to watch the Cheetah girls for the umpteenth time.

See. It is in these truth's that we find ourselves connected. And without this connectedness there would be no whining, no doubts. And without those questions there is not art. Because Art isn't just about what looks interesting or pretty it's about finding the self-portait hidden inside.

And since we were made in the image of God...

Let's write on to see what the end's gon' be,

This entry is a part of July's Celebration of New Christian Fiction. Please click on the link to read what others are saying about the interior life.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Lessons in Reading Christian Fiction Books

By Marina Woods,



It’s no secret that I looove a good book! But equally important is the message that the book leaves with me long after I am done. Have you ever felt that way? Read a book and it became so good and meaningful to you that you carried it everywhere you went and you couldn’t wait to wind down long enough to find enough time to finish it. Then, when you did finish, you realized the characters had become a part of you and thus a void of sorts was left in your life?


I was just speaking to a friend about this and we shared the same sentiment. She began to tell me the books that had impacted her reading time the most, and without a doubt they were all Christian fiction books. (Yippee!)


One in particular was That Faith, That Hope, That Love by Jamella Ellis,. Of course I couldn't  forget the sister-girl of Christian fiction, Victoria Christopher Murray when she released Temptation. (She had me up two nights in a row reading it!) And last but not least, there is a sweet lady I call the God Mama of fiction, the beloved Sharon Ewell Foster. I fell in love with historical Christian fiction with Passing by Samaria. The pages were overflowing with so much wisdom and love that I had to use two different color highlighters for passages I didn’t want to ever forget.


My, oh my, where has the time gone? These titles impacted me over four or five years ago, and yet they still live inside of me. I know there are many awesome Christian fiction books on the scene at present and I will surely share those with you next time.


I hope you find a good book that you won’t soon forget either. You’ll meet unforgettable characters and discover lessons that the characters learned which you can apply to your own life.  When you do, don't forget to share with a friend!


Happy Reading!


© Marina Woods

Dee's Reviewed: Purple Hibiscus

Purple Hibiscus
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
2003, 307 pages (hard)
ISBN # 1-56512-387-5
+++++ Star Rating

Fifteen-year-old Kambili barely breaths, speaks or exists in her privileged, but suffocating Nigerian home with her brother Jaja and her parents. Kambili’s father’s dominance is felt not only in her home, but in all of Nigeria except for her Aunt Ifeoma. When Aunt Ifeoma persuades Kambili’s father to allow the children to visit her in Nsukka, while they are on holiday. Kambili and Jaja’s minds blossom into free spirits. JaJa learns the beauty of life, while Kambili falls in love with a handsome young priest. How will these two go back to such a strict and abusive home when they have been surrounded around love and the beauty of the purple hibiscus?

Adichie writes so effortlessly that you find yourself transported to Nigeria, smelling the rich soil and tasting the flowers. It is enchanting and engaging all at once. One of my favorite lines in the book is:

“It was what Aunty Ideoma did to my cousins, I realized then, setting higher and higher jumos for them in the way she talked to them, what she expected of them. She did it all the time believing they would scale the rod. And they did. It was different for JaJa and me, We did not scale the rod because we believed we could, we scaled it because we were terrified that we couldn’t.”

From the first page, you know the conflict, the characters and a hint at the ending all at once. After the third page, I was excited to know the end. It was a page turner, which forced me to either stay up late at night or throw the book on the floor, to make myself go to sleep. This book will haunt you for months after you have put it down.

Adichie does an excellent job at fleshing out her characters. She makes them real at an instant. Kambili is so shy and afraid to live that you want to take a flight to Nigeria and remove her from that mansion. JaJa is so strong and silent that you want to shake him to make him scream. Their mother, Beatrice is such a caterpillar. You wait for her to become the butterfly and I can see Father Adami’s clay colored skin and brilliant smile in my mind, behind my eyes. Adichie makes these characters so likable and so real.

This book reminds me of Olympia Vernon’s Eden, but it is set in Nigeria not Mississipi. Both books brilliantly tell the story of people of African descent in such a magical way that you feel power in every page. You feel this undying will that manifests the struggle of African people, their struggle to be heard, recognized and loved. Purple Hibiscus is as timeless as the sand and as beautiful as the flower it is named after.

Dee's Reviewed: Flippin' the Script

Flippin’ the Script
Aisha Ford
Warner/Walk Worthy Press
2004, 324 pages
ISBN # 0-446-53182-0
++++ crosses rating

Sabrina Bradley, production assistant for the Daily Dose, needs a makeover and a chance to cultivate a new relationship with the show’s producer, Avery Benjamin. Then a window of opportunity opens for her. Her boss asks her to produce and star in a segment on whether people keep their New Year's resolutions. There's only one hitch. She has to keep all her resolutions---one of which is not falling in love.

Darci Oliver is the host of the Daily Dose, the Midwest’s hottest daytime talk show and the soon to be fiancée to Avery Benjamin. When television critics berate her show and Avery diverts his attention from her to her comely PA, Sabrina Bradley she has to turn up her Diva-devilish ways.

With a sweet voice and an even sweeter underdog character, Alicia Ford shares the struggles of contemporary Christians seeking God’s message for unconditional love.

Dee's Reviewed: Casting the First Stone

Casting the First Stone
Kimberly Lawson Roby
Dafina Books 2000
ISBN # 0-7582-0179-6
384 pages (pbk) first trade paperpback
++ crosses rating

Tanya Black abhors her husband, Curtis. Every thing he now stands for disgusts her. Regardless of Curtis’ very powerful position as the head pastor of a prominent black Chicago church, Tanya can’t stand the sight of him and starts to think about not only ending their relationship, but also Curtis’ tenure as senior pastor, since Curtis had to maintain his marriage in order to keep his position at the church.

Kimberly Roby churns out another formula story about a woman’s self-discovery.
This novel begins promising, but turns into this poorly written, attention grabbing, cookie cutter. When Roby describes church activities and rituals in very stereotypical ways like “Sunday go to meeting clothes,” she turns her characters into caricatures instead of three dimensional very human people who struggle with their faith and their marriage. Why Tanya Black continues to live in this dead marriage never comes to full view. If there is a Christian message it is clouded by cliché plot points and cliché characters.

For those whose guilty pleasure is reading super dramas; then this book is for you. If you’re looking for a book that will help you understand how your romantic relationship relates to your spiritual relationship with God, pass.

Dee Y. Stewart

Dee's Reviewed:For love and Grace

For Love and Grace
Kendra Norman-Bellamy
BET Books (October 15, 2004)
ISBN: 1583145494
Paperback: 261 pages

+++ crosses rating

Kendra Norman-Bellamy brings southern charm and grace to inspirational romance fiction with For love and Grace, her debut novel. Set in Atlanta, Georgia we are introduced to two male friends who've known each other since both of their mother's shared a maternity ward room at their births.

Dr. Gregory Dixon, one of the brightest stars in brain medicine, finds his professional duties at odds with his best friend, Derrick Madison, esquire, when the patient Gregory has committed to save has supposedly killed Derrick’s mother in a hit and run accident. To make matters worse, Gregory rehabilitates the patient, Grace, behind Derrick’s back. During these late night treatments he falls for the patient, Grace, although she is in a coma most of the time. Gregory is torn between his allegiance to God and his childhood allegiance to Derrick, as well as his mounting love for Grace, a romance that he questioning himself.

Attorney Derrick Madison is on a mission to make Grace pay for his mother’s death. He uses his legalese and work allies to help him punish Grace once she is fit for trial, despite the fact that he has been forbidden to stay away from the criminal in

vestigation. Derrick's grief turns into unjustified hatred and he struggles with what he knows about forgiveness and what he feels inside. When he finds that his wife has sided with Gregory his own relationship is in jeopardy.

Although the story is sweet, there are many challenges in the novel. It is hard to understand why Gregory falls for a sleeping Grace. What does that say about God's ideas for marriage? What does that say about God's definition of a true romance? What does God say about the role of women in marriage? Are we just Sleeping Beauties waiting for our Prince Charming to show up or are do we have our own God given purposes in this world?

Although the characters are not perfect, some of their actions are a bit unbelievable. Gregory spends his nights rehabilitating a patient. When does he have time to record his medical notes? Gregory is a gorgeous Christian man, who has women falling at his feet. Yet, he picks a person that he cannot participate in any real dialogue with, because she is in a coma.

The most realistic character in the story is Derrick, who struggles with his faith and changes for the better.

If you are a hopeless romantic, this book is for you. If you want to read a book about black men who aren’t keeping secrets and having baby Mama Drama, then this book is for you. If you are a christian woman and you want to find a good read that nurtures your soul, this book is for you, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Publicist Power: VideoLit

Bertice Berry's When Love Calls...

My new friend, Christian Marketing Guru, Pam Perry wrote a nice article,So Can You Afford Not To Promote Your Book If God Told You To Write It?

It’s really a disservice to the name of Jesus when I see authors who are in the book business and have not done their “homework.” They make a mockery out of the gospel by not doing things in an excellent manner. If the book that God told them to write is so important, then why don’t they do all that is humanly possible to make it appealing so people can buy it?

I agree. And boy, was I surprised today when I was doing a little market research of mine own that I came across an author that I really admire, Bertice Berry, and her new book. And most importantly, the way she is promoting it online--through vidlit.

Vidlit is service that takes an excerpt from your book and turns it into a little video with music and graphics and a voice. Better than audio book. So click on the title and check out the video. I want this book now.

Deanne Gist has a nice video of her book, Bride Most Begrudging. Want that one, too.

I think it's the video's hooking me. Something to think about as you plan your book promotion.

Why Fiction Matters: GT, Christian Gaming

Senator Clinton wants to launch a Federal Trade Commission investigation into video gaming.
A downloadable mod [for Grand Theft Auto named Hot Coffee] was put together by Dutch GTA fan Patrick Wildenborg and is said to unlock mini-games in the recently-released PC version of San Andreas that lets players make game characters have sex.

Can you imagine walking in your children playing this game?

"There is no doubting the fact that the widespread availability of sexually explicit and graphically violent video games makes the challenge of parenting much harder," said the senator[Hilary Clinton] in her missive to the FTC.

An Alternative. Christian video games?

Potter, Pope Benedict & Cute American Boy

- Thursday, 14 July, 2005, New York. From BBC News: A nine-year-old boy has returned the latest Harry Potter book to a shop which accidentally sold it to him.

In the same article is a quote from then Cardinal now Pope Bendict:

Pope Benedict wrote:
"It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly."

Hadn't read it, yet. But I plan to before someone passes it on to Selah. Or her school requires her to read it next year in first grade.


Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer: More on Crouch's Speech at CBA

Pat Loomis coined a term "Christian Ghetto" that I am feening about over here(excuse my Jodeci's reference--a ghetto term, for wanting very much.)

Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer: More on Crouch's Speech at CBA: "Yet, just as some Christians hang out in church on Sundays and Wednesdays, shop in Christian bookstores, visit Christian friends, drink cofee in Christian coffee shops, and generally never dip their toe into secular water, so we perpetuate that Christian ghetto by reading escapist Christian literature. Some of us never dream that we might find profound insight into the mind of Christ by reading something different. As if God is limited somehow as to how He might minister to us."

Faith in Fiction is also talking about this as well.

But I'm telling you read some novels written by African American Authors(Victoria Christopher Murray, Tia McCollors, plug plug) and you will see some real deal issues going on. I just reviewed Sacred Sons by Linda Hudson-Smith, girlfriend goes deep with the problems with young men today and how we, saved sisters condone it, Girl....:)

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

I'm taking my own sermonic advice and rewriting the finished novel sitting in my closet needed a much needed second draft.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

From the Pulpit: Stop Hating on Reviews

Bible Verse for Thought: Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes."

Newsflash. I am a book reviewer.

Mostly, I write commercial reviews for a few local newspapers, two national print mags(one secular and one faith based,) and a slew of e-zines for free. My cashflow comes from writing reviews for publicists seeking an angle for their client or publishing houses looking for an in-house review before they decide if the book is contract worthy. And my bread and butter comes from literary magazines, whose soul's purpose is to dissect what's artistic. I also critique oils on canvas for my father's store, african dolls(a bad investment,) book arts(my love and pedigree), slave burial grounds and church iconography(my Master's thesis,) and people who criticize reviewers...priceless.

If you are a writer and not a reader first, then what are you writing about? If you are a reader and can't give a constructive review, then what are you learning about the craft? What do you know about your genre? And how can you defend it against unbelievers?

Breaking news. I am a writer.

I write christian celebrity interviews and christian life teachings for national print. Local christian news for local papers. Short stories for literary reviews. And I'm writing a novel.

For some strange reason I know that someone will go into my coat closet and read my novel and hate it. I also know that that same person won't call my characters two-dimensional, my writing weak and passive, my theme trite, and my voice unmoving. They may not like the story, but they will appreciate the effort to write something strong of all literary points.

See I don't care about reviewers, because I understand them. I don't care about people who may won't to tear down my business for unholy reasons, because I have on the whole Armor of God.

So if you can't write, for being upset with reviewers. If you can't do God's will for blaming reviewers, then stop typing. Get on your knees. And get yourself right. Because when it's all over, Christ don't care about your excuse and wouldn't have read the reviews.

Bless him why you can.

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

BJ Huff is Back Blogging

Click on the title and it will direct you to her blog.

Fill in the Blank

An almighty market
God is a big business in the publishing world, as long as writers steer clear of any forbidden territory

By Heather Grimshaw
Special to The Denver Post

Typical article about Christian Publishing, but the title was interesting.

as long as writers steer clear of any forbidden territory

I wished these type articles could also ask _____________

Million Dollar Baby, Unity & Midnight Prayer

Last night I watched Million Dollar Baby. Let me just say I am a big sucker for punishment. Everytime I watch Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman together they take me way up in the sky; then drop me below the ground. Take me up; drop me again. By the time they are done with me; I've come undone.

So after that cryfest I click on TBN and Juanita Bynum is on there, talking about racism in church. Now she didn't have to go there. Because I stayed up until 4:00 am praying with her and the Church Universal. Lord, Jesus...

So I get up late. Make Selah a sugar induced breakfast(pop tart and carrot juice,) click on Alvin & The Chipmunks for her and stagger in the living room. 'Cause I'm writing from my comfy couch this mid-morning. My female self needs this week to rejuvenate.(Thanks, Lisa Samson, for being on one accord.)

I'm writing Chapter nine of my novel and then my editor calls me about a book review that she extended for me, but decided to take back, because I'm thinking her body is on the same accord as mine.

So then I send my review(the real reason why I was watching Million Dollar Baby in the first place,) then check my blog and news feeds and finds, yet, someone else on one accord with me this morning--The Master Artist Blog. But on the part of lazy writing, poetic prose and book reviews.

So(see how many times I cluttered this blog with this bad word) I am instead of getting back to Chapter nine or taking a Midol and passing out until the Chipmunks movie is over I'm telling the five/ten people that read this gunk, because...

God is calling us to unify. I believe in my spirit. It has led me all week to one connection, another connection, and then another. God wants us to connect. Pray together. Work together. Maybe it's the CBA Convention. I couldn't go, but I know a few who are there and so I'm there in spirit. Or maybe it's that my best friend, Ashley, assistant pastor at Wellshire Presbyterian in Denver is there, smiling and praising GOD for all of you who were there. Or maybe it's the world and the things that are happening in it. The Good things like Christian gothic novels, Kindergarten, Hello Kitty, and Funnel Cakes at IHOP.

Whatever it is my soul seeks prayer partners. If you want to pray together with me. You don't have to email me. Just meet me with the Lord at midnight(your time) and let's hear what he is trying to say to us. I will tell you what he said to me in the morning. Maybe you can tell me what he said to you, too. And be lifted up.

Until then let's get back to our writing.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Book Review Tracking: Levi's Will

Christianity Today's Susan Bauer's review of Levi's Will.

Christian Alien Adventure Invades Cell Phones...

Jenny Jet

Go underground with Sheba Jones as she investigates the truth about the demon/government conspiracy. Featuring her angel sidekick-Tetris, the Washington Post, the Feds, and other unsavory demons. Get text alerts from Sheba as she uncovers satanic installations, biogentic labs, and the coming Armageddon.

Invading your cell phone as soon as I can get it an investor:)

Really, cell phone adventures are already here just not faith based. Meet Jenny Jet.

(PRWEB) July 12, 2005 -- Cell phones everywhere are being invaded by a new action adventure called Jenny Jet. Featuring Alien Greys, Reptoids, the Feds, and other unsavory characters, Jenny Jet combines text messages, blogging, and a cutting-edge story.

Can you imagine? But it has to be more realistic like War of the Worlds or a Dateline Special...

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

Monday, July 11, 2005

Seventeen Magazine: Fiction Contest

Pass this onto any young writers.

Seventeen Magazine: Fiction Contest
> <>
No purchase necessary. A purchase does not improve
your chances of winning.

Contestants must be between 13 and 21 years old as
of December 31, 2005, and be legal residents of the
fifty (50) United States and the District of

Dee Stewart, Editor
May Highlights

"Confessions of a Mother's Day Hating Mama"in Precious Times Mag nationwide Spring 2005.
Cheri Paris Edwards Speaksw

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Realism, Rolling Stone & Rock Star Chronicles

This week I planned to review Creston Mapes, Dark Star for this blog. After reading a few feeds about the Christy Awards, faith fiction's focus and Hurricane Dennis I decided to take a deeper approach to my book review of Dark Star.

...If we're so bad and so anti-religious why hasn't this big bad God
struck us down by now?...There is no God.

Today. I want to address Crouch's notion of christian fiction written with real and human eyes. I would also like to show how current nonfiction story formats can be a successful way for fiction authors to bring reality into their work.

Outside of the Harry Potter franchise most book buyers purchase nonfiction titles. If you look at media trends-reality shows and news talk radio shows continue to grow in popularity. News grazers like my generation tend to stay current via reading Blogs, online news feeds, watching news tickers and sports stats on their cell phone or laptop, and streamline news. Our culture wants to know what they want to know when they want to know it and they want to know it short and fast when they want to have it.

This need for quickie info. has filtered into our market's interest in fiction. Our chapters are too long. And it takes to long to get into the story. We need to structure our stories in ways that won't lose reader's interest, that accomodates the real world today.

We need to take a look at how Creston Mapes accomplishes this in Dark Star.

Dark Star, the first book in Multonomah 's The Rock Star Chronicles trilogy, is the story of Everett Lester, lead singer of alternative rock band, Death Stroke and on trial for first degree murder.

Everett's character has many vices. In the beginning of the novel, even he doesn't root for himself. So Mapes has to slip in some backstory so that the reader can identify with Everett and at least care about him. But who has times to read boring and long text about someone's past? If we did, then Harry Potter and the Davinci Code wouldn't have had as strong a following as it has, if the novel wasn't action packed. If we did, then we wouldn't be reading bloglines instead of hopping to every blog or news site. We like things fast. We like to know why bad things happen, but we don't want the long drawn out version(reminds me of Blanche's tall tales on the Golden Girls.) We want to take reality in bits and spades.

So what does Mapes do?
He uses a nonfiction magazine article device to hide Everett's backstory and Big Voice. He creates a fictitious Rolling Stone interview that not only gets the reader to see Everett's madness, but helps to create quick authority so that the reader will think, "Hey, I think I might have read something similiar to his in that magazine."

In other words, "this could be real."

Moreover, this interview gives Christian readers a quick peak at what unbelievers really think about God today.

An excerpt of the Rolling Stone
Interview with Everett Lester of Death Stroke...

SM(Steve Meek Rolling Stone: All of your records have parental advisories. They advocate adultery, drugs, sex and violence. Does it ever concern you that--?
EL: You don't get it, do you? There ARE no rules! My rules are as good as anyone's. Look at our following. DeathStroke has millions of fans around the world. We're millionaires. If we're so bad and so anti-religious, why hasn't this big bad God struck us down by now? Why are we so popular?

A great question. A real question. Why do the people who negate God prosper? As you read DARKSTAR you may find the answer.

If you haven't ordered DARKSTAR, add it to your shopping cart, so that you don't forget it. And please...keep writing.

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

Sunday, July 10, 2005

2004 Christy Award Winner-Bad Ground

W. Dale Cramer's Bad Ground does it again. Won this year's Christy for General Fiction.

First line:
A boy afraid of the dark; a man afraid of the light.

"Be anxious for nothing,” his mother said, and then she went on to a better place and left the seventeen-year-old boy by himself, with nothing.

Focus on Fiction Live @ ICRS

Keeping it Real

Deborah Gyapong at The Master Artist discusses the Christy Award Ceremony. She posed a question that I have read discussed about in other round about ways throughout the faith fiction community:

What is the correct focus for faith fiction? Escapism or Reality?"
The challenge he[Andy Croch] gave, one that spread a thoughtful silence across the room, was that Christian novelists are not called to write stories that offer those reality exits. Instead... Christian novelists are called to portray reality in all its strangeness and beauty. To help readers find meaning and hope within reality rather than escape from it.

So now I have a few questions:
(1) When doesn't a christian fiction novel show sort of realism? (2)Are there any examples I can read through to buttress Crouch's statement? (3) Is this an argument against a particular genre-like sci fi, which I actually find quite real at times.

I live in the Atlanta area. I grew up between Bufort, South Carolina, Valdosta, Georgia and Avon Park, Florida, between a swamp water hog farm, Marine base housing and the Florida orange groves. I'm Black with Geechee and Cherokee roots, Missionary Baptist and AME. Yet, it isn't hard for me to believe that someone living in Omaha, Nebraska would not relate to my very different worldview. Because what I write about has universality-mostly in theme and conflict.

(3)How do you bring realism into your work?


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