Friday, September 30, 2005

Mapes Atlanta Live

Catch Creston Mapes, author of Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Star Idol this week at:
- Book signing 2-4 pm, Sat., Oct. 1, Lifeway, Mall of Georgia
- live author chat at 9pm, Fri., Oct. 14,
-Atlanta Live TV show, 7 pm, Tues., Oct. 18, WATC TV 57.

Dark Star has sold over 15,000 books. Congrats, Creston.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Halo's Eve Project

Every year I host a slumber party for Selah in lieu of Halloween. This year the party theme is angel's and Tinker Bell. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever.
Anyway...Next month faith*in*fiction will showcase conversion story contestants and have an e-book club discussion on Dave Long's Ezekiel's Shadow.

Christian Fiction will host The Halo's Eve Project: 31 Days to finishing your WIP. I am 15,000 words short of my first draft, but I have many more drafts to go. Can I do it? Can you do it? So dust off your WIP and meet me here. I will set up a Project Forum on this blog to discuss my writing progress, as well as some downloads to let you see what I'm doing. I would like to see what you are doing as well. If you are not a member of, please join me. It is a free service. I will host the forum and a contest there. Let's end 2005 as we dreamt it. Let's finish a WIP we will fight for? What say you?

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

Recommend a Christian Novel to me

This is Christian Fiction Blog. We talk about christian fiction, the Falcons, my child and some other good stuff. But most importantly we talk about Christian Fiction.
So tell me...what are you reading? And would you recommend it to me? And why?


Titans(24) take Falcons(21)

Vick did a superback job as usual. But I have to throw down my napkin at TJ Duckett for the 72 yard romp of a touchdown. Titans are a great team. But Dee lub her some Falcons!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Exodus: My Conversion Story Contest Entry

My conversion story contest submission.

by Davidae

“Every son who is born you shall cast into the river...” - Exodus 1:22


e suffocated in the dark in the plaza level seats of the Superdome when we heard the ceiling tear, a National Guard patrolman shout himself hoarse, overrun toilets spill steady drips, and then--the sound of my real fear--my baby boy’s squeal after two more gunshots rang out near the 20-yard-line. My heart raced up my throat. I looked down at him, but couldn’t see. Picked him up and took off the monogrammed blue blanket my grandmother, Madear made for him a few months before she died. Couldn’t see any wounds, so I leaned close and listened for anything wrong. Only smelled a soiled diaper. Not good news. See. I ran out of diapers last night. And so did everyone else in New Orleans.

I yanked my bag out of the seat to my right, and stood up. Spoke to my roommate, Evie Estevez who was nowhere to be felt. “We need to go, Cher.”

Evie now knelt near my legs. Couldn’t see her face in the dark except for the whites of her eyes and her Kool-Aid-smile. Her skin reminded me of my grandmother’s chinaberries that pelted and cursed the chickens in the backyard. Brown leathery. Cool; hot- an enigma to me. And the fact that she wore a cross around her neck and carried both a gris gris bag and rosaries in her purse added to her mystery, charm, and my decision to not believe in any of her religions.

She yanked my leg until I stumbled back a bit. “Bebe(sounded more like Baby,) get your smart-behind down here before you get shot.”

“Tttt…I’m fix’in to leave. You need to get off that filthy floor and come on.”

“Nada.” She flipped her wrist and popped her tongue to the roof of her mouth. “I’m staying right here. Didn’t they tell us this was the safest place to be?”

“Who?” I looked around the dark to see the police and army. “They can’t help us.”

“Ahi, va…It don madda…” She grumbled a hodgepodge between Creole and Boriken. “But something does stink in here besides the trash. It’s not safe here and not safe out there. That’s the God’s honest truth. Madre de Dios.” She crossed her heart and kissed her cross necklace pendant.


I looked up. More stars. Either a bullet or three punctured the roof, or Hurricane Katrina stuck a fork in it to see if we were cooked.

I stepped in the aisle. “Oh. Uh-huh. If God’s confused, then I really need to bounce. Tell, Him. I’ll take my chances outside. Thank you very much.”

“Outside with the locos, broken levees and the gators? I guess Tulane hadn’t rubbed off on you, yet. Besides, Diva Chica, they…” She pointed toward the guards standing near the 30, 40 and 50. “Won’t let us leave.”

My nose turned up at her, this situation and the stench of where we had been sitting the past forty-eight hours: soiled diapers, musty underarm funk, urine, and bodies rotting from the inside out. I leaned down toward my baby’s mouth and listened to his breathing. His cooing comforted me.

So I took a step up. “At this point we’re all crazy gator people.”

“I’m neither. I’m just too scared.” Her smile fell. “I-I-I’ve never been shot at before. ”

I reached for her. Felt her fingers trembling. My body shivered. “Neither have I.”

The guard standing at the top of our aisle shouted. “We’ll allow some of you to spend the night outside on the concourse where its cooler, but you can’t go any further than that, because you’ll be evacuated in the morning and water still floods the streets.”

My body relaxed. The baby’s feet wiggled against my chest. But my shivers remained.
I removed my hold of Evie’s hand. “That’s my cue, Cher.”

She jumped up and grabbed me. “Don’t leave me. God’s gonna take care--”

But I slipped from her grasp before she told me what God would take care of. Other people were pushing themselves around and through us toward the exit. I shuffled upward with them and lost the sound of her voice. But it was okay. I didn’t care to hear her talk about God anyway. If God was so caring, then why was Madear dead, our home flooded, and my man overseas fighting for some unbeliever’s freedom? Obviously we’re not free here, packed away like slaves aboard a ship. Didn’t make sense to me. The only thing that made sense right now was that I needed to take care of my baby. Period.

The night stank, but was breathable. I saw wet, souring trash bags, browning diapers, broken glass, gray milk puddles, and an occasional dead body covered in a corner. The living found mildewed cardboard boxes, cots, and vinyl ripped from the stadium walls to sleep on. And I found a crevice near where a bench used to be. Or so I thought until I saw an old friend, whom I swore I would never speak to again.

It wasn’t until I laid my receiving blanket down to sit on, that I noticed the tag. A graffiti marked in a signature pink jagged text that belonged to only one man, Delroy “D-Rock” Fontenot, “Thug Nasty” to the Lower Ninth Ward.

I’ve called him D-Rock since we were mud-pie babies, ever since he used to put cooled river rocks in his mouth and suck on them like Now/Laters candy. We were five then. He was my first boyfriend and best friend until he went away to juvie four years later for commandeering a Frito Lay truck from the driver with a plastic water gun. He changed his name and converted to thug life--Thug Nasty Life. Foolish.

I gasped when I saw him. He turned around slow just like in a movie. My mouth wide open. He still turning, muscles rippling against the moonlight and his eyes staring down my new mom’s body. His eyes lit up. Crocodile grin. My mouth closed.

He licked his lips and stopped moving. “Cher, Baby Doll. How you been?”

I nodded. Knees knocking. “It’s all gravy.” Hated for him to call me Baby Doll.

“Sorry about Madear. But no worries. I got you and lil’ man.” He nodded his head in the direction of where I stood. “Take a squat.”

He whispered to one of his thugs. They brought me a pack of diapers (in the right size no doubt,) two large t-shirts, a water bottle, a box of cookies and some canned evaporated milk. Should’ve known Thug Nasty were behind the break-in down at the food service entrance.

I mouthed. “Thank you.” And took the corner.

They fawned over me as I changed my boy, ate, drank, and gave the baby sips of water. I’d feed him before morning, but not in front of those fools. I took the t-shirts and made a makeshift pillow. Leaned my head on it. But didn’t sleep. Held my baby tight and my gaze on D-Rock even tighter. See. You pay a tax to hang with Thug Nasty. The minute they nodded off, we’d leave. And if God took care of us like Evie said, now was his chance to prove it.


Three buzzards breezed above us the moment my head slid off the pillow. I opened my eyes to dawn. Checked the area. D-Rock asleep, but his crew was not. They watched me closer than the birds above. God sucks big time.

Imagine my exhaustion, the stiffness of my neck and back, and the tightness of my arms from clutching the baby and clinching my fists through each night-doze. All night my mind sat in an infinite loop and kept rerunning the same script over and over: What am I going to do? What am I going to do? Then Imagine me sitting crumpled in a corner searching for someone, anyone to rescue me from these hungry men, while no one—I mean no one-would look my way. Maybe they thought I now belonged to Thug Nasty. Maybe I did.

Then all Hell broke lose. People ran past me screaming. “Buses.”

Thug Nasty bolted and joined them.

I crooked my neck to see for myself. “Dear God.” Could it be He heard me?

I turned around to see. On Interstate 10 just above the Hyatt hotel a caravan of chartered buses gleamed in the sunlight like Madear’s chariot vision she cross-stitched on the blanket. I scrambled off the ground. Something dropped out of my pocket, Evie’s rosary. I put it back in my pocket and squished through the mob in my soggy shoes. I found a safe spot near two guardsmen. They wore army green fitted tees, camouflage pants and boots. I wanted those boots.

I stood there rocking the baby, sorry for leaving Evie and doubting God. I looked around to see if she was here. But everyone looked like her. Packed tight like sardines. Catholic Voodoo Christian sardines, to me.

I tapped a guardsmen’s shoulder. He turned toward me. Nice smile. Yankee. “Ma’am?”

“Have you seen a woman…?”

Sh ...raa…oar… A roar far worse than the sound of the surf breaking against Madear’s chinaberry trees made the hairs on the back of my arms stand up. The soldier grabbed me. He thrust us behind him. I peaked around his side and gasped. A riot had ensued.
The charter buses had stopped a few yards short of us. Hyatt hotel staff and guests piled into the buses. We-- the dirty and dehydrated watched them peel away to Heaven. My shoulders slumped. I clutched his t-shirt’s back and moaned.

We were left behind...

My heart sank, but I couldn’t dwell on it then. The baby had awoken and he was ready to feed. So I took one of D-Rock’s t-shirts and put it over my old one. Lifted the shirt I had on underneath and slid the baby under there. I walked around the mania like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, while the baby nursed.

Then I saw Thug Nasty pushing through the crowd. My chest tightened. God, you gotta be kidding me.

I jumped behind a wide pillar and held my breath. My baby’s feet wiggled against my chest again. I loosed the swaddling for air. He smiled at me in the same bright-eyed way he did the day he was born, as if he held all my answers.

I kissed his cheek and whispered. “Mama’s gonna get us out of here or die trying.”

Someone tapped my shoulder. I spun around. The only thing I saw were droves of people lining the interstate for miles. My knees buckled. I could feel my crying bubbling up my throat. Why was God doing this to us?

The baby cried as if my decision to walk back toward Madear’s house sealed our doom. But my heart began to feed me a faith in something greater than all that was around me. So I stomped through slimy water, around Canal, through my Hood. Have faith, baby. I told him. Can you believe that?

The water was not as high as I had imagined in the Ninth Ward. The superettes hallowed out except for trash. Washaterias exploded into the streets. But it was pretty quiet for noon. I became worried.

A helicopter chopped through the air. It hovered low. And scared me, so that I leaned toward the nasty water and vomit liquid.

“Baby Doll, you sick?”

I jumped out of my shoes and turned around. Thug Nasty waded toward me, but D-Rock--he walked on water. My feet prepared to sprint.

He reached for the baby. “Give ‘lil man here. I’ll hold him until you’re better.”

I pushed him away. “Uh-huh. It’s all good.”

“Don’t look like it, Baby Doll.”

His men surrounded me. I stepped forward, stumbled back, tripped over those same shoes. Fumbled the baby right into his arms. Where was God?

I wanted to curse upside Monday through Sundays, but my heart only allowed me to whimper to D-Rock. “Give him back, please.”

He croc-grinned and shook his head. “Tax is due, cher.”

I looked in his eyes, in all of their eyes. “What do you want with my boy?”

He smirked through his gold teeth. “Don’t want him. I want you.”

His men took my arms behind my back. Then he gave my baby to a retarded-looking thug. That fool put my boy on a piece of cardboard floating atop the flooded water. I kicked my legs, swung my hair until it fell out of its ponytail, but I couldn’t break free. “No, idiot!”

D-Rock smacked him. “Get him up, Keith.”

But Baby drifted down the street before Stupid Keith could catch him. I cursed Christ when Baby was no longer in my sights; then fainted. I hoped I would die before God took whatever was left of me, since my best just washed away.

Someone placed a moist cloth over my forehead. “Ma’am, are you awake?”

I opened my eyes. Focused. Soldiers standing up? Their rifles pointed toward the sky?

I sat up. Looked around. I’m inside a five-ton truck. A black woman with golden skin, light hair and hazel eyes dressed in green fatigues knelt near me, holding my hand. From what she told me her name was SPC Lepret Parker of the Army National Guard, Mobile, Alabama. They drove up on Thug Nasty. D-Rock’s scatterbrained-behind panicked, dropped me in the water and ran. Stupid fool... I heard someone call SPC Lepret “Lemonade.” Wondered why.

I reached for my baby; then I remembered. God hated me. I turned over in Lemonade’s lap and cried until I slept some more.


The next time I woke up I’m feeling like my older self except the usual feeling of being Mother-mugged and moving in a big open top truck. Lemonade stood by another soldier with an automatic rifle in his hand. He was tall, bronze, Adonis. He looked down at me, shook his head and muttered something to Lemonade.

I sat up again. “Hey?” I called the snooty rifleman. Tried to stand up, but the vehicle was in motion. “Could you shoot me, please?” Why wait for Hell when I’ve been living in it most of my life?

God hated me now. I understood that. But my boy… the only good thing I’ve ever done, my only reason to be in college, was dead. Dead! I flung my head over the truck and heaved everything, but the pain.

The truck stopped. I fell backward.

Lemonade caught me and laid me back down. She put her hand on my forehead and spoke to the Rifleman. “She has a very high temp.”

He moved his gun toward his back. Knelt. “What’s your name, Ma’am?”

“It doesn’t matter just let me die with my baby.”

He looked at me. His eyes touched me somehow. They mirrored my baby’s, not by color, but by my soul’s connection. Could it be the same connection I saw in my boy? No. I tried to shake it off, but his gaze wouldn’t let me. His face, Lemonade’s, the Yank’s, Evie’s, Madear’s all held the same sweetness and care. Why hadn’t I saw it before?

Oh, God. My heart raced.

Madear was right. She would never leave me. She couldn’t if she still lived. Jesus. He really did it? He really died and lived again? Madear. My baby. All living. All waiting…

I grabbed the Rifleman, and spoke to God through him. “Please tell me my baby’s safe with you. Please change me, so that I can’t hurt like this again. I’m tired of feeling so bad. If you took my boy, then give me yours. Give me something good.”

I know I scared the man.

And just before I passed out again, something inside me said aloud. “It’s already done.”

My head bobbed as the rifleman carried me up a flight of steps upon a clearing in the middle of nowhere. It was night. Something exploded nearby. I grabbed his shoulders. We stepped onto the tarmac. Whoop. Whoop. Whoop. Heavy helicopter wings rotated above our heads.

The Rifleman smelled like old New Orleans, sweet and salty. “Don’t be afraid,” he whispered.

My fear stopped.

He placed me into the chopper with two other people. They were not Army, but Angel Flight, according to their t-shirts. The rifleman threw up some gang signs to the pilot. But he didn’t get on with me. I reached for him, but they laid me on the cot.

I stretched out toward him again. “Don’t leave me.”

And then he smiled. I could see what my son could have been in him.

He yelled back to me. “You’re in good hands.”

Then the plane began to rise. My eyes widened. I clutched the cot, tried to stand.


The rifleman waved at me. “Stay down.”

I screamed myself hoarse. “But I don’t know your name.”

He cupped his hands and shouted. “It’s the same as your son’s.”

My neck popped. I snapped around toward the men. “What’s he mean?”

One spoke. “You’re Moses’ mom aren’t you?”

All my nerves stood up like a cat on her tippy toes. “My baby?”

“Yes. Apparently he floated up to one of the Army convoys over in Holy Cross like a scene from the Ten Commandments. Your friend, Captain Moses McDonald identified your son by the blanket he was wrapped in. Your information was on it. We couldn’t find you, but your mother was on the Atlanta news--”

My throat choked. “Is he—?”

“He’s fine. Your mother has him. And we’re taking you to Atlanta…”

Something in my pocket rubbed against my skin. Evie’s rosary. I rubbed it and cried. I looked down. Moses had gone. N’awlins gone, but not forever. Just like Atlanta it would rise from its ashes. Resurrect. Become Jesus. And that fact wasn’t an enigma. It was the God’s honest truth. Madre de Dios.

The End.

Winfrey produces the Color Purple

From the New York Times...
The Color Purple," a new musical based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker that is scheduled to open on Broadway in December, has enlisted Oprah Winfrey as an investor and producer whose name will appear above the title on the show's marquee.
Oprah Winfrey played Sofia in the movie adaptation of the novel.

The Color Purple musical showed in Atlanta last year at the Alliance Theatre. It was fantabulous. Can't wait to see what the big wigs pull off. And if you still haven't decided my Christmas gift--a copy of the novel would be great. I destroyed mine years ago.


Clever Way to Fund Writing Groups

To fund Christian Writer's Guild, President R.T. Bynum self-publishes an annual anthology. The writings are derived mostly from unpublished members of the writing guild.
Now, for the third year in a row, the members and the cover artist have taken the Guild's unofficial slogan to heart; "Writers must always be writing, and should write what should be published.
To learn more about how your writing group could grow in confidence, financial funding and camaraderie click here to read the article in detail.
As a final word, our Guild encourages all writing groups to consider similar projects. Get a copy of one of the many anthologies on the market or try one of ours listed above. See how the book is put together and accept our challenge to write and publish. After all, that's what we, as authors, do. If we can be of any help to you, you may contact us at

Georgia Boiling Over School Closing

Last Friday, Governor Sonny Perdue forced a "voluntary closing" of most of the public schools here in Georgia on Monday and Tuesday. To conserve gas in Georgia that has been in short supply since the two gulf coast hurricanes(Katrina and Rita) public schools will take two snow days early. According to Gov. Perdue Georgia has used 2/3 of its gas reserves.

News4Jax reports...
Perdue made his decision after learning that a Houston-to-New York pipeline that supplies most of Georgia's gasoline had been shut down, said Dan McLagan, Perdue's spokesman. On Sunday, the pipeline was operating only sporadically.

AJC reports...
Gov. Sonny Perdue asked for the closings on Friday, estimating that closing all of the state's schools would save about 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel by idling buses, plus an undetermined amount of gasoline by allowing teachers, staff members and some parents to stay home. Electricity also would be conserved by keeping the schools closed, he said.

are hopping mad at about it.

Well, I can only assume that Sonny wants to be viewed as a bigger moron than his hero W Bush. As far as symbols go, how about the State exercising emminent domain and confiscating all SUV’s over 5000 lbs. Now that would be a real gas saver.-Rongshi

What an absolutely bone-headed move to close all public schools. Parents will have to take off work, therby losing productivity, and our already poor education system will get even worse. Governer Perdue, I am a republican, but I cannot support you on this one.
-Chris Berry

And suprisingly, I'm not. :) Perdue can't force hummer, limo, monster truck drivers to leave their cars home. But he can keep the buses off the road, shut down the cafeteria, to ensure that the hummer drivers have free reign to hog the road. I'm not sure if any parents in my neighborhood had a problem, since most of us are stay-at-home moms, homeschoolers or work at home moms. I thought for sure one of Selah's friend's parents would have called me to child sit. Instead Selah had offers to spend the school holiday at her friends homes. I took them on that offer.

My best advice. As a single, disabled, poor mother...always have friends who are homeschoolers, stay-at homes, Girl Scout Leaders or business owners. You never run out of cheap or free sitters. :)


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Deboray Gyapong has posed a question at The Master Artist that has been simmering around the christian view and other christian writing groups potts? Denominationalism in our writing.
Deborah asks...
Where do you draw the line in denominational distinctives?
What would turn you off and perhaps deter you from reading a particular author. If you knew the author were a Mormon or Jehovah's witness, would you be as enthusiastic about picking up a book? What about a Catholic? Calvinist? Arminian? Liberal Episcopalian? What are the things in a work that allow you to overcome a leeriness about a worldview you disagree with?

I've been reading comments from other members of the Writers View Forum and didn't think I should post. But I will post a quick response here for Deborah as it relates to christian fiction not self-help or nonfiction.

Where do you draw the line in denominational distinctives?
When it places itself above other Christians. When it seeks to separate or divide us.

What would turn you off and perhaps deter you from reading a particular author.

The denomination wouldn't bother me, but preachy dialogue and propaganda pieces turn me off.

What are the things in a work that allow you to overcome a leeriness about a worldview you disagree with?

Hadn't had that happened yet. But the second I read a character call a black person "colored," the book goes back.The only books that I will allow that is historical fiction or classics. Otherwise, I don't see denomination. I see unapologetic ignorance.


The Craft: Short Story Creation

I received the current issue of AWP's magazine, The Writer's Chronicle, this weekend at the Independent Small Press Conference and ran across a great article, "How to Write like Alice Munro" by Canadian writer, Kim Aubrey.

The article is seven pages long and chocked full of works cited. I love that. So you will have to pick up a copy to read the article in full detail. But since this my short story writing season, I thought I would a snippet of one point of this article to the blog for a craft exercise--Munro's thoughts on short story creation.

Who is Munro? And why should I care? Click here.

Munro believes that you should tackle a short story(particularly character development) like a novel. "I can't see them just as now, packed into the stress of the moment."

Aubrey buttresses her finding with an interview Munro had with Deborah Treisman of the New Yorker(Telling Stories.) Munro states. "I always think it[her short story] is a novel." You can hear the full interview here.

Craft exercise for the week: Do you have a WIP sleeping under your bed? Take it out and condense it into a long short story. Then email it to me and we will talk about it. I will post mine on the blog sometime this month. Remind me.

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

Monday, September 26, 2005

BET Books on Black Christian Fiction Trend

An excerpt from the article, "Christian Fiction Fills an Inspirational void for Readers", written By Tamara Holmes, Special to
Faith is particularly important to the Black community. In fact, 91 percent of Black adults surveyed reported that they had prayed in the past week compared to 81 percent of White adults, 86 percent of Hispanics and 46 percent of Asians, according to Barna Research Group, Ltd.

Publishing outfits such as Time Warner Book Group’s Walk Worthy Press and BET Books’ New Spirit line have sought to capture this burgeoning market.

“Daily routines, life challenges and tragedies often provoke spiritual questions of existence, purpose, and of a possible higher power in understanding the ways of the world,” says Linda Gill, vice president of BET Books. “These are the issues addressed in New Spirit titles.”

Click on title for full article which includes syndicated columnist and author,Stacy Hawkins Adams and Walk Worthy Press Publisher, Denise Stinson.

Submission Call: Creative Non-fiction/AIDS

My good friend, media guru and noted syndicated columnist, Gil Robertson wants your story. If you have been impacted by the HIV crisis, be a part of a upcoming book. "Not in My Family - AIDS in the African-American Community," will be released next year on World AIDS Day. Robertson is soliciting submissions for the book. If you have a story to tell about your family's experience with AIDS, or want more information about the project please contact Gil via gilrobertson at robertsontreatment dot com.


Bookwatch: Thicker than Water

Thicker than Water BET/New Spirit releases Kendra Norman-Bellamy, Maxine Billings, Linda Hudson-Smith's anthalogy Thicker than Water about the power of twins.

Anthology overview:

"A Gracious Thanksgiving(Norman-Bellamy") is the story of fraternal twins, Deshawn and Shandi who were raised apart and have led very different lives. When Shandi, now in her twenties, seeks out her birth mother, she instead finds Deshawn. DJ, as he is affectionately known, is now a pastor and has enjoyed a privileged middle-class life, nothing like Shandi's lifelong struggle to survive. Only with DJ's heartfelt love and guidance will she be able to break through the feelings of resentment and jealousy that threaten to overtake her.

"The Devil's Advocate(Hudson-Smith)" chronicles the life of Malachi Trudeaux who was estranged from his wife for many years and denied access to twins Stephen and Stephanie during their childhood. Now a wealthy man, Malachi invites his children to visit his New Orleans estate. His generosity divides them. Stephanie is willing to forgive, but Stephen is bitterly clinging to the hurts of the past. Can Stephanie help her brother accept the unconditional love that will bring him home?

"A Healing of the Hearts(Billings)" is the tale of twins, Kenya and Zaire, once inseparable but now strangers at the age of thirty. Raised by their maternal grandmother after their parents' tragic deaths, they vowed to stay together forever. And they did...until Zaire met a man and fell in love after high school. Zaire followed her new love to New York, leaving Kenya to look after their elderly grandmother. It'll take a special wish to erase years of misunderstanding and prove that family bonds still hold strong.

"A dazzling trio of authors brings you tales of hope, true faith and reconciliation, as three sets of twins rediscover what really matters..."

~ BET Books

I'm awaiting my copy of this novel. Because I have a twin brother('sup, Big Dave! :) ,) I'm interested to see, if the authors come close to the bond we have. Note: Kendra, you could've called me for research. :)


Friday, September 23, 2005

Have You Got a Book for My Wife?

BBC has a nifty article, Fancy a Free Book online today. In a nutshell it suggests that men like adventurous fast reads and women like mind and heart reads. Its a no brainer article, but nice to keep in mind as you write your works. Who's your audience? And as Martha Stewart said on this week's Apprentice: does your WIP fit in?

Writing to see what the end's gon' be,
54,000 words and counting for the first draft.

The Genesis Award

ACFW's Noble Theme Award has been restructered and renamed for 2006. IT's new name: The Genesis Award. For the next three years, the top 5 scoring manuscripts will go to committee at Warner Faith. The overall top entry will win $500.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In Memoriam: Renita Riley 9.21.05

My friend and young adult ministry confidant, Renita Riley passed yesterday, unexpectedly. Today I will write in her memory. She suffered from a heart ailment. I am healing from post partum heart failure. We both have daughters. We're both in our thirties. We both love God.

This senryu I wrote when my doctor's told me I was terminal four years ago. I am still here and no longer terminal, but chronic. And from the doctor's expressions soon to be recovering. The poem is named after my daughter, Selah.

She sleeps near my heart
Enlarged, wide open for her
God heals mothers posed for praise

God blesses and keeps you now, Renita. We will all meet perfection and you again.

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

What I'm Reading this Week

BGina Holmes Conference Prep Tips

Gina Holmes tells her mind blowing account of the ACFW Conference in Nashville as she tells her story she pauses to give us novice authors very important prep tips:

When I see writers who are starting out, trying to sell manuscripts that aren't finished, not even close, and that have major mechanics to learn, I want to shake them with a warning. 'Don't rush, you're going to blow your shot!'

I too was once in a hurry with unready work. I blew a shot or two.

A pause for a tip: Finish your manuscript. Either pay the money to have it proffessionally edited or run it through the toughest critique group you can find. One that will shred it if neccessary. Then give it to five readers or more and have them read it as a whole. Get their honest reactions.

Then go back and fix what they collectively didn't like and then give it to more readers, until the only reaction you seem to be getting is, 'this is as good or better than any book out there.'

Some people may not like your kind of story, that's okay, they'll say, 'I don't normally read scary stuff, or historicals or romances, but this was very well written.'

Then and only then, go search for an agent or publisher. You get one shot with each contact with your ms. And this is a SMALL business. "

Click on the Title of this entry to redirect you to Gina's blog, to more about her time at the conference.


2005 Pushcart Nominations: Lorraine & James

"The Lorraine and James : 2005 Pushcart Nominations Are In!:">Lorraine and James editorial staff is proud to announce our 2005 Pushcart Nominees for Fiction and Poetry:

Jess Stuart, 'Blood of the Lamb'
Max Sparber, 'A Gift For Effective Language'
Cathleen Richardson Bailey, 'The Mutilated Woman'
Kristi Swadley, “Too Many Saltine Crackers Will Dry Out Your Mouth'
Daniel M. Jaffe, “Modern Times”
Pamela MacIsaac, 'Sweet Potatoes and Coconut'


Lorraine and James"

Jasai, congrats. When can I speak with Jess about Blood of the Lamb? :)


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Southern Arts Journal: Writing Submissions Requested

We seek experienced Writers, Journalists, Interviewers. Our scope is southern regional as well as destination specific. We are interested in content of the South, about the South and those in it, from it, and talking about it. We present a range of topics, including history, art, artists, road trips, antiques, collectibles, interesting destinations, people and much more.

In our first quarterly issue, appearing at independent bookstores across the South by September end, we have a number of known, and presently less known, contributors. Ultimately the quality and clarity of the work is what is of importance to us. Here are some first issue content listings that reflect the kind of content we're seeking:

*Wedgwood's Historic College & University Plates of the South: 1930s-1960s. Highly prized today, thousands of sets of plates with campus scenes were sold throughout the South at colleges and universities. With identification guide.
*Musicians: Sacred Steel: The Lee Boys Gospel Band.
*Precious Memories. One of the a cappella group Flatt Sisters reflects on growing up in the Flatt family.
*Southern Writer Interview with Michael Swindle, author of Slouching towards Birmingham.
*Tampa's Henry B. Plant Museum
*Pies like Mother Made…the secrets to Icebox Lemon and Key Lime pies.
*Fiction: Year of the Cicada A story of loss, times past, and the family farm. “...the soil is not magic, it is money, a new harvest…"
*Atlanta’s Varsity Restaurant Since 1928 this downtown drive-in has hosted Elvis, four presidents, and tens of thousands of hungry visitors.
*Collecting Civil War Postcards: Postcards didn’t even exist during the Civil War so how are they so widely collected?
*Review of A Book of Minutes: Poet Cathy Smith Bowers proves herself a Southern girl again in this poetry collection.
*Musicians: Sacred Steel: The Lee Boys Gospel Band.
*Precious Memories. One of the a cappella group Flatt Sisters reflects on growing up in the Flatt family.
*Southern Writer Interview with Michael Swindle, author of Slouching towards Birmingham.
*Tampa's Henry B. Plant Museum

We're seeking feature length material, short pieces, essays, book and music reviews, overviews and surveys, short fiction, poetry and interviews. Topics are broad, ranging from history, gardening, southern cooking, art and furniture conservation to antiques, collectibles, gospel supper clubs, museums, music; 300 - 3000 words. Our founding editor and publisher has decades of experience in niche publishing, ranging from computing and emerging technology to regional topics, histories, antiques and collectibles, folklore, narratives, and more.

Our modest pay typically ranges from $25 to $250 per contribution, with only our longest features on the higher end of the scale and most else on the lower end. If we respond favorably to a submission query, we'll include information on acceptance terms, rights and price, so that you may then decide before proceeding with our contract. We pay on acceptance.

Infrequently we'll publish previously published material if it fits our mix and needs, so feel free to query us. We're less likely to pay for reprinted material but are happy to consider republishing it.

Although the content portions of our site aren't fully working yet, our Writer's Guidelines and Submission form can be viewed and used at

From this page, link to
to better understand the kinds of content we're seeking.

Thank you for your interest.

* this is in or around Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, the South
* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: Pay typically ranges from $25 to $250 per contribution. (See text.)

ain't no Valley discussion #2: The Invitation

I've tried to read this book two times this summer. Upon my third time(this time) I decided to share my view of the book as I read it and couple it with remarks my writing group has said about the book along with maybe some explanations to their comments and concerns. Hopefully, this weeklong discussion will be a new addition to the blog as sort of a online bookclub forum. What do you think, Marina, Mary and Lashaunda?

ain't no valley
is broken down into three parts: invitation, the preparation, the wedding. During the Invitation section Mary and Moor, the wedding couple, invite their wedding party and friends to their San Francisco wedding destination. In the first few chapters we are introduced to Naomi, who has shirked her dentistry profession and ditched the other bridesmaids to appear on The Wheel of Fortune. Garvin, Mary's cousin and the wedding planner try to pull a last-minute weddding together. While Mary and Latrice search for something borrowed, something blue, etc. In the final chapter of this section Moor's reluctant best man, Anthony walks on stage. He's just been fired from his great job and cannot understand why his Lesothian transport coworker wants to make him his best man. There is so many things and so many people moving around no wonder my writing buddies felt lost, and , thus, abandoned the novel. I try to look at it as reminiscent to the first ten minutes of the movie, "The Best Man" and McMillan's movie adaptation of "Waiting to Exhale." Everything moves fast, since these busy people have to make time for what seems to be a busy and mysterious nuptial.

However, I am a little concerned that various point of views and many characters keep a Ewell novice from enjoying the book. For instance in Chapter three I had to read it twice to understand that MeeMaw wasn't the chapter's voice, but Garvin. And then when Garvin was talking to Esther over the phone I became lost again, because about two pages were devoted to Esther talking to people in her beauty shop instead of Garvin, so the pace was slowed down by that and a little confusing. When I back tracked I found my place. But I rarely backtrack when I read a book. In fact, if I have to backtrack I drop the book in my 3 and under rating pile. I assume it will be a difficult book to review and won't go any further until I have reviewed all the other books i have under deadline. But I wanted to give this book a chance. Afterall, Ewell won a Christy, so I want to see how she earned it.

Am I alone(I know I'm not: Rhonda, Lamonica :) ) But are there others who found the first part of the book hard to get through? And if not, can you help me get through Part Two faster?


Bookwatch: Tersias: A Harry Potter Alternative?

Andy Morgan reviews GP Taylor's Tersias over at Ancient Modern PostModern Blog.

Book Premise: London is living through one of its darkest times - a comet has just missed the Earth, leaving the city in chaos and the people fearing an apocalypse. Tersias, a blind boy oracle, has predicted the comet and sees visions of the future through the darkness. As Tersias's powers strengthen, people who seek to use them are drawn from the shadows; Malachi, a charlatan magician, Jonah, a desperate highwayman and Lord Malpas, a keeper of mysterious powers. But none of them are aware of a much darker force that torments Tersias's soul...A gripping tale of intrigue and sorcery set in a richly atmospheric London.

Morgan's review snippet...
after Shadowmancer and Wormwood, where the writing was a bit sloppy and the plot line not so well developed and easy to guess, here all the ingredients have come together. the story idea is excellent (as was the two other books) but this time taylor really delivers with the writing and the plot development and that makes it an extremely good book.


Abundant Rain Playbill

A gospel drama adapted from the bestselling novel by award winning author Vanessa Miller. This heart wrenching, laugh out loud production tells the story of Elizabeth Underwood. A successful songstress, she had it all; fame, fortune and faith. But when the storms of life rock Elizabeth's world, she yearns for the peace that only God can give.

Join us for the ABUNDANT RAIN Stage Play on October 28th – 30th to discover how Elizabeth overcame the pain of the RAIN in her life. Click here to purchase tickets.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

ain't no valley discussion #1

Discussion #1.

Did you find ain't no valley easy to follow?

Sea Hawks Clipped the Falcons

Have you noticed there are quite a few NFL teams named after birds?

Seattle Seahawks defeated the Falcons 21:18.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Oprah's Angel Network: Katrina Home Registry

HurricaneKatrinaRelief: Oprah's Angel Network: Katrina Home Registry

Converting You to Convert Me

An excerpt from Dee's Untitled Conversion Story...

We camped in the suffocating dark in the plaza level seats of the Superdome when we heard the ceiling tear, a National Guard patrolman shout himself hoarse, overrun toilets spill steady drips, and then--the sound of my real fear--my baby boy’s squeal after two more gunshots rang out near the 20-yard-line

I'm completing the final draft of my conversion story for the faith*in*fiction contest. I know I'm probably one of the few who still haven't submitted. I know submitting near deadline is not something I recommend. But I really wanted to do a good job with this story. Not just so that my f*i*f friends can see that I am serious about writing with faithful focus, but the idea of conversion as a theme is controversial and commonplace. And I wanted to do something outside the box, which meant it would take more time.

Readers tire of reading pieces that are camouflaged converstion attempts. But shouldn't the role of christian fiction be to convert? Whether to convict a person to come to Christ or convict a Christian to have a better relationship with Him? Either case, we know we need it, but do we want to be tricked into it. No. Amen?

Amen, Dee.

We love to read, because we want to experience a great something. We want to learn about something and hope from reading the story that our life is a little better for the time and money invested. We go to movies to be entertained and to learn something. Be it funny, romantic, whatever. In fact movies, plays and good novels convert us into becoming avid readers. Walker's A Color Purple converted me to praise God for everything. Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Star idol converted me to believing in the power of prayerful persistence. Tia McCollor's Heart of Devotion converted me to drop my burdens and consentrate on God.

Books convict us. Convert us sometimes. Life converts us all the time.

Has anything converted you into a newer focus this year? For example, this weekend I attended Girl Scout Training now I am Girl Scout convert. Every woman I meet with a school age daughter I find myself asking, Is your daughter in girlscouts? Last year, my fitness trainer converted me to fifteen minute workouts. Every time an old friend says Dee you're doing the thang I preach the fifteen minute kick. So...what's new about you this year? How were you converted into it? And how can you convert me?


Discussing Foster's Valley

This summer my writing group friends have been talking about Sharon Ewell Foster's Aint No Valley. Christian Fiction Blog has decided to bring our talks to the blog, so this week we will pose some discussion questions regarding this book. You can post your comments here or on the tag board.

I will post today's discussion question by the days end. If you have any questions you would like to post for this week's discussion, please leave me a comment or email me.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Left Behind-Nonconservative Christian Novelists

Jennifer Bridges asks an interesting question about the intermingling of conservative talk celebrities with christian novel promotion at her blog Random Rants and Ravings.When she refers to the novel, Ezekiel Option that received recommendations from Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Tim LaHaye, and NewsMax.
Free market capitalism and conservative Christianity aren't natural bedfellows. But, they have become aligned and I'm really curious how and why.
My question: How does a non-left wing christian author[let's say a single black healing mother] form a successful book marketing campaign when most Christian media is linked to christian organizations that are against the plight of a single black healing mom? Or in simpler terms is their room for non-left Christian authors in the industry? How would this kind of author convince a publisher to take a chance on her? Even if she has a built in audience that isn't mainstream christian counterculture?


The Craft: Jump Cuts

Starting this week Christian Fiction Blog will try to post at least once a week on the writing craft, writing techniques and the like. Ray Rhamey at Flogging the Quill teaches a pacing technique to collapse time. So if you are trying to get around describing every thing your character must do to get from point A to point B, this technique is for you. Definitely a good idea to use when writing the second draft.

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

Friday, September 16, 2005

Nashville ACFW Conference Bloggers

If you couldn't attend this weekend's American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference[because you have Girl Scout Leader Training :)], then you can come here as Christian Fiction Blog has links of authors who are there and are giving blow by blow details of the event.

Jill Johnson

Brandilyn Collins

I will keep adding to this list as more blogs come to my attention.


Tavis Smiley Hosts PBS Hurricane Relief Concert

Davidae "Dee" Stewart: Tavis Smiley Hosts PBS Hurricane Relief Concert">Tavis Smiley had some very good reasons for accepting PBS's offer to host the
television coverage for Live From Lincoln Center's Jazz at Lincoln Center's
Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert airing nationwide on PBS stations
Saturday, September 17, 8-11 p.m. E.T.

Crossing Jhordan's River Crosses over to #1

#1 on Essence Bestsellers List!!! Crossing Jhordan's River(Christian Fiction Blog's May Book of the Month,) the book that graced the #3 spot on September's Essence Bestsellers List makes the #1 spot its new home for the month of October!

In the September issue of Essence Magazine, Kendra was officially given the title of National Bestseller when her novel Crossing Jhordan's River made the #3 spot on the list for bestselling paperback fiction. This month, God gave her the increase and Crossing Jhordan's River now sits at #1 on the list in the newly released October
issue of Essence Magazine.

Kendra says, "Reaching national bestseller status was a direct answer to prayer. However, I never asked God to make any of my books a #1 national bestselling novel. But He did promise to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, so I know this is His doing. And I thank Him continuously." The new Essence listing has not been loaded onto their website yet, but feel free to go out and pick up a copy of the October issue - in stores NOW.

Kendra Norman-Bellamy is the author of five current Christian fiction titles: A Love So Strong (Moody Publishers), For Love & Grace (BET Books), Crossing Jhordan's River (Moody Publishers), Because of Grace (BET Books) and Three Fifty- Seven A.M. (KNB Publications, LLC).

Congrats, Kendra.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

10.7.05 The Gospel Movie

I've been wanting to talk about this movie, since they began shooting the film at the beginning of this year, but I was forced into keeping all my behind the scenes info to myself. My sister, MeLana, who's sitting directly behind Boris Kodjoe with a smirk on her face, is in the movie as a choir member. She also performs in the movie as well. She forced me to keep silent (contract violation she claimed. Well, now I have the greenlight to chat about it. Did I tell you my sister can sing the shivers out ya? :)

The cast:
Rainforest Films' The Gospel, which stars Boris Kodjoe, Idris Elba (HBO's The Wire), Omar Gooding (Showtime's Barbershop series, Baby Boy) and Nona Gaye (Crash, The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions), Keisha Knight Pulliam(The Cosby Show,Beauty Shop) with a special guest appearance by gospel songstress Yolanda Adams. Others: Clifton Powell, Dwayne Boyd,Frank Taylor, American Idol's Tamyra Gray, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, Martha Munizzi, Michael J. Pagan, John Fitzgerald Page, Brandon Thaxton, Hezekiah Walker, Delores Winans, Aloma Wright. Atlanta's Frank Ski, B Chase Williams, our Music Minister, Ms. Latonya Moore, MeLana Jones-my lil sis.

The Premise as quoted from Upscale Magazine Online:
The Gospel tells the story of David (Boris), an R&B artist who abandoned his church-based family for superstardom. After learning that his pastor father (played by Clifton Powell) is near death, he returns home only to be confronted by his family's hostility. Not to mention his music empire is in jeopardy and his childhood rival (Idris Elba) is campaigning to become his father's successor.

The Heart of the Story as quoted from Yahoo! Movies:
A young singer turns his back on God and his father's church when tragedy strikes. He returns years later to find the once powerful congregation in disarray. With his childhood nemesis creating a "new vision" for the church, he is forced to deal with family turmoil, career suicide and relationship issues that send him on a collision course with redemption or destruction.

The music: Kirk Franklin produced the soundtrack. We have been playing it in our home since August. I'm telling you this is the best gospel album of the past three years. Its's that good.

Click on this Blog Title to direct you to The Gospel Movie Site. The movie will be at a theatre near you 10.07.05.

Dee (Can you see how proud I am of my sister:) )

9.05 Celebration of Christian Fiction

Mary Demuth, author of Building the Christian Family You Never Had, sponsor's this months' Celebration of Christian Fiction.
We writers are a communal bunch. Every month, several writers get together for a writers jamboree, pontificating about some aspect of writing. This month's subject is the craft of writing. Scroll through the entries below to feed your writerly soul.

Writer's blogging this month include:

Marcia Laycock of Writer-Lee
Kathleen Popa
Paula Moldenhauer of GraceReign
Melanie Beroth Dobson
Mary E DeMuth of RelevantBlog, this month's sponsor.
Linda Gillmore
Deborah Gyapong
Dee Stewart of Christian Fiction Blog. Your entry- Writing as Craft
Violet Nesdoly
Sandra Glahn of Aspire2

If you are seeking inspiration for your own writing, or a lover of Christian Fiction, please click on the title of this entry to direct you to this month's Celebration.


One Nation under an American God

An excerpt from Evangelical Outpost's Rousseau’s Allies:
Civil Religion and the Pledge of Allegiance...
Yesterday a federal judge in California declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional...Our nation has restricted such sentiments of “ceremonial deism” to the most unobtrusive areas, allowing “In God We Trust” to be printed on our coins and the phrase “under God” to slip in our Pledge of Allegiance (which, curiously, isn’t a pledge of “allegiance” to God but to a flag). We allow recognition for a “Divinity, possessed of foresight and providence” but what we don’t allow is the recognition of the Christian God. And that is what should give Christians pause...That is not to say that we can’t say the Pledge and think of the one true God. But we should keep in mind that this fight isn’t our fight and the “god” of America’s civil religion is not the God who died on the Cross.

Writing Prompt: Create a character who is a minister and a lawyer, who agrees with Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost, and who must defend the atheist who brought this case before your own state's court. Could his congregation and family understand his position? Could Christ prevail through the outcome? If you write this story, or at least an outline, shoot it to vidae at writing dot com.

Whoah! Deep POV.

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Public Booksigning for ACFW Conference Participants

An excerpt from Deborah Raney's blog...

Saturday, September 17 at the Sheraton Music City Hotel, in conjunction with the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference, there will be a public booksigning with a roomful of Christian fiction authors signing books. ACFW will have a bookstore set up in the hotel, or you can bring your own copies to be signed.

Blog Crush of the Month: WordPraize

Darren Rouse at ProBlogger is handing out blog crushes. I thought I would hand out one every month, to showcase some of the great bloggers out there, who inspire me to keep at it.

I have a serious jones for Mary Griffith's Rhythm of Grace Blog.
It's so colorful, fun, and candid. There are also different bloggers on there, including myself. :) I have to stop by every day and see what the ladies are doing. I also love the Wordpraize Yahoo group as well. If you haven't checked out her blog, please do. It'll brighten your day and your Spirit.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Writing as Craft

Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message.-Jeremiah 18:2

Pulitzer prize-winning author, Richard Rhodes on writing...
Writing is a craft. Its primary function is communication. I mean "craft" strictly: like carpentry or pottery, writing is handmade.... The best way to learn is by doing - and thinking about what you're doing while you're doing it. You wouldn't expect to make superior pottery the first time you sat down at a wheel. People often assume they know how to write because they know how to speak. There are deep and important connections between spoken and written language, but they're not the same thing. If you think they are, tape a conversation and transcribe it verbatim and see how it reads. Better to imagine that you'll be writing in a foreign language of which, at the outset, you know only a few words and only the rudiments of syntax.

I love this pottery analogy, because it reminds me of the parable of the Potter's House. Jerehmiah learns that God is sovereign and in the exercise of his sovereignity he is just and unconditional.

And I thought. Could this analogy also relate to writing also? Does God reign supreme over our writing?

I hope so.

But then I fear what if he does? Am I allowing him to work or is my laziness, my fear of going broke in this writing thing, my urge to see my name on a bound book keeping God from doing his work?

When I don't turn in my monthly writing workshop assignment am I setting God back on his creation?

I hope not.

But if I am, then I can't argue with the notion that writing is a craft that I need to study to show my self approved to the Lord.

Few people know that I am a landscape painter. My works have appeared in art galleries. I remember an Interior Designer called me after one of my exhibitions a few years back. She wanted to purchase a piece for a client. She said my work was great, because it didn't look artsy. Well, Great. I thought. That was the point. I wanted to invite a viewer in to my space, this colorful garden that I created and stay a while. As a fiction writer, I hope to do the same. But just as it took me years of study and practice from understanding different painting techniques, brush strokes, the difference between horse hair and plastic, to critiquing my classmates art. It was a process I needed, in order to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish as an artist. Therefore, craft is important to me. I hope it becomes important to you.

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

OT: This week's Scriptural Nugget & Writing Prompt

Scriptural Nugget: Let brotherly love continue- Hebrews 13:1

From Evangelical Outpost...
The fact that the government has to have a “safety net” to catch those who would slip between the cracks of our economic system is evidence that Christians fail to do God’s work. The government cannot take the place of Christian charity. A loving embrace isn’t given with food stamps. The care of a community isn’t provided with government housing. The face of our Creator can’t be seen on a welfare voucher. What the poor need is not another government program but Christians who are willing to honor their savior.
Now how can we use this statement to build a short story piece or a novel premace?

Falcons Soared over the Eagles

Michael Vick threw for 156 yards and ran for a touchdown as Atlanta beat Philadelphia 14-10 at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons and Eagles were involved in two mid-field pregame scuffles, the first of which resulted in the ejection of Eagles starting LB Jeremiah Trotter and Falcons backup CB Kevin Mathis. About two dozen members of both teams traded punches and pushes about 40 minutes prior to kickoff. After coaches and referees restrained those fighting, the referees huddled and annouced the ejection of the aforementioned players.

Quarterback Michael Vick on being around the fight at the beginning of the game:
"First of all, I want to give all the praise to God. No, I wasn't in the middle of all that. I ain't got time for that. I was focused and all ready to go. You know, things like that are going to happen sometimes tempers flare."


Monday, September 12, 2005

Fish Sticker Sighted Scary

Mike Duran talks about Fish Sticker Sighted Hollywood, Scott Derrickson's The Exorcism of Emily Rose and what some of us having been discussing at the faith*in*fiction message board about Horror as the Perfect Christian Fiction Genre at his Decompose Blog.

Duran: I've always believed the line between "christian" and "non-christian" films is artificial. I believe we can find God in the most unlikely of places.

Scott Derrickson, writer and director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose states in the current Infuze Magazine issue.
"Horror is a genre that is often disrespected, because it is sometimes very exploited. And yet, historically, Christians have been making scary paintings and writing scary stories, like Dante's Inferno, for centuries. There's a lot of moral and spiritual passion behind thousands of years of church art that deals with this kind of dark subject matter."
Tidings Online has an interesting article that suggests that Derickson exploits horror instead of using it as a theological tool.
An excerpt from Theological Horror:'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' writtenBy Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP
"Emily" shows that Derrickson has not moved far from the via negativa approach he has to salvation or spirituality for that matter. ... Given that this is a horror film we don't expect much light. We accept the gothic darkness, but this kind of theology seems rather manipulative to me. Fear is a medieval way to bring people to God that does not invite a free response to faith, nor hint at God's loving providence... But faith and Christian living are so much more than the sum total of fear of the devil on a dark and rainy night. This more than anything is why "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is a horror film.

Now I'm not going to front. I told Mike Duran I was too scared to see the movie and make a judgement for myself. So any horror flick fans, please let me know how you feel? Is this movie quality fiction or a Hollywood version of the Bible?

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

Guerilla Book Promotion: Church Bookstore Fundraising

From the New Publisher's Journal:

Spread The Word Ministries allows other ministries to set up their own online bookstores, for fundraising purposes. Their 'fundraising,' from a purely business standpoint, is the difference between their wholesale cost and their retail price...pretty much what all bookstores deal with. The wholesale discount Spread The Word gives ministries is 30%, so if they're getting something akin to the 50% large retailers get, the main ministry is keeping a good chunk of money, their middlemen ministries keep another chunk, while customers can still see 10-20% discounts comparable to distributor gets sales without marketing, small groups share the power of volume purchasing, and everybody goes home happy. I believe there's home electronics companies who do this; booksellers can benefit as well.

Hmmm.... :)


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Lorraine & James Issue One

Last week, a nice nifty package came in the mail address to me. Usually I take these type packages an add them to the bottom of my review pile, because most of the time they are either galleys and ARC's for me to review or someone's unsolicited manuscript, who thinks I am more than what I say I am. (Note: I'm not an agent or a publisher. Maybe a small press owner someday, but...)
I get this package from Jasai Madden, publisher of Lorraine and James literary journal. Lorraine and James is a triannual global urban print journal that produces a summer, fall and winter issue of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. As I open the book and began to read, I notice my name in the acknowledgements section. Hotdog! Then I began to read some of the work included in this issue.
Let me just say I am excited about Lorraine and James. I am ecstatic for Jasai. Hon, this is an awesome publication. Each story whether this was planned or not deals with the issue of discovery. From spending the last year talking with Jasai about how this publication would come to fruition, these stories seem to parallel with Jasai's own discovery on what she could accomplish with this book. She wanted a publication similiar to Glimmer Train and McSweeney's, but held the voice of people of different ethnicities and races. But this issue #1 does more than that. It speaks on the discovery of the spirit. And since I'm still working on my conversion story. (Yeah. That's right. I am.) I found it helpful for me to read something outside the voices of Christian speak.
One of my favorite shorts in the issue is Jess Stuart's Blood of the Lamb. The story is about, a Jewish virgin who lost her assignment to bring the Christ child into the world, because she stood up to God and asked for a woman Messiah.
My other favorite is Debbie Annie Ice's Sculpting and Jasai's interview with Nicholas Montemarano.
To learn more about Lorraine and James, to read an excerpt of volume 1 click on the title. If you plan to submit to them, click on the title or check out their blog at LorraineandJames Blog.
Kudos, Jasai!


Friday, September 09, 2005

A South African Parable, Prayer and Katrina

Bonnie Calhoun has a wonderful story on her blog, Bonnie Writes. If you don't do any reading this weekend, read this story. Let's support the Gulf Coast this weekend. I still like taking my food to the Salvation Army in Lawrenceville. I actually see the evacuees getting the food and supplies, so I will do that this weekend.

I have so much stuff to post this week. I will save for next week. To ensure I want have a dryspell. J. Mark Bertrand talks about Arts divinity at The Master's Artist today. I will talk about that more later. And I will tell you about Lorraine and James and my mention in the acknowledgement section of their fall publication early next week the latest. Have a great weekend. Thanks, Bonnie, for the great weekender to my blog.

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

Man Booker Short List Announced

McEwan's Saturday taken off. Zadie Smith's On Beauty still holding on. I think Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go will win. I was rooting for either McEwan or Zadie Smith's, Ishiguro has more backing. I think.

Click on the title to learn more about these books.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Vanessa Davis Griggs a Good Girl

Good Girl Magazine's September/October issue spotlights my sweet blog editor and prolific author, Vanessa Davis Griggs. Click on the title to direct you to the interview.

Marina, keep doing the thing. Call me later. :)

Dee's Books Reviewed: Dark Star

DeathStroke frontman and rockstar legend, Everett Lester almost waited to late to remove the demons out of his life. But his old ultraegotistical boozing ways lands him him a murder one arrest warrant when his psychic, Madam Endora Crystal is murdered. The only person who believes that he's not capable of killing is a fan of his soul, Karen Bayliss, a woman that brought him to Christ through a fan letter.

Kansas christian, Karen Bayliss's soul want let her give up on the ugliest soul she's ever encountered, alternative rockband, Deathstroke's lead singer, Everett Lester. Little does she kow that his psychic, Endora wants his soul, too. But it is up to Everett to decided who he wants to believe in.

Creston Mapes weaves this tale from past to present without making the reader gag from all the flashbacks. In fact, the flashback is more than just backstory, it is The Story, our story, a redemption story. How does a God hating unbeliever, find and adore God? How does someone full of excess find that he is just as destitute as his poorest fan? And how one person--Karen Bayliss--can save a man's life.

This novel is more than a mystery/court room novel. Mapes threw in a kidnapping, demonization, a suicide attempt, a romance and two Rolling Stone interviews to keep it interesting.

I've talked about this book before, in regards to how Mapes uses nonfiction techniques to connect with his readers. Everett's thoughts about how could God exist, and why many don't believe in God anymore--add more realism and incite to this series. Although I thought the dialogue at times didn't push the story along, I understood why it was necessary for readers to see Everett's transformation and his band members and the media's struggle with believeing that Everett's Jesus talk wasn't just "foxhole religion."

Moreover, this book is a testament to the power of intercessory prayer. Every Saturday my friend, Dr. Vanessa Battle holds a prayer meeting at our galpal, BJ's church. I have told myself that I was too busy to go until I read the book. Now I think there are some souls in and around my house that need extra praying over. Don't you? So I'll be there Saturday. If you have any prayer requests hit me up.



Dear Christian Fiction Lover,

There comes a time when you discover an author whose writing is  so rich and inspiring that you simply cannot keep it to yourself. I hope you'll check out, The Allure by Jackie Scott - King. If you've read it, let me know what you think.

Happy Reading,
Marina Woods,
Good Girls Book Club Online
A Christian Book Lovers Community for Everyone!

The Allure 

Words: Sabrina Hall

Jackie King Scott’s short novel, The Allure is packed with much wisdom and spiritual insight that is helpful whether you happened to be married or single. This novel teaches us how quickly things can spiral out of control when two people lean on their own understanding and stop letting God direct their paths.  

Valerie Townsend is experiencing what is commonly referred to as the seven year itch. After going through the ups and downs of marriage and trying to conceive a child, Patricia feels as if God is leading her to end her marriage to John. To make matters worse, Patricia thinks that God is offering her a second chance at marriage by bring Curtis, an attractive divorced Christian man into her life. What Patricia fails to realize until she attends a women’s retreat and attends a session entitled “Wait on the Lord” is that waiting does not mean that you sit back, expecting God to provide an automatic solution to your problems. Waiting is preparing yourself by remaining in God’s will so you will be ready to act when He intervenes. Patricia also comes to realize that while she has been blaming much of the marital problems on John, she is too must shoulders some of the blame. Her way of thinking led her to believe that it was John who needed to make changes when in actuality she needed to make some changes in herself in order to improve her marriage.  

The Allure is full of messages that offer hope, fidelity, real love, commitment and restoration. By the conclusion of this short but powerful novel, Valerie learns what we all eventually learn. We cannot direct our own paths. We must pray and allow God’s will to be done.


Book Watch: David's Maine's Fallen

David Maine's sophomore biblical fiction novel, Fallen falls on bookstore shelves this month.'s Book description...

Beginning with the murder of Abel by Cain, Fallen rewinds to mankind's first taste of shame - through the fury and jealousy, the lust and despair - right back to that bite from the apple.

An interesting article about Fallen in the New York Times. Booklist and Publishers Weekly gave it nice reviews.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

When You Don't Write what God Dictates

Spiritual food for thought...

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 3:14

Today I had an urgent need to work on my novel. Last month I wrote half of it. I hoped to do the same this month. I was going to write all day until Selah came home. And then I received an urgent email from one of my old magazine editors. She needed an article fast, because she was approaching her deadline. I dropped what I was doing[my novel] and went to work. Closed my novel document and concentrated on completing this project. By day closeI had a fact checked article and was prepared to send. But there was a new email waiting for me now. She didn't need my article after all. Rats! Now I don't blame her or am at all upset by her cancelling me like that. But I am upset with myself for not following God's plan for me today. See. This reason is why my novel isn't done. I spread myself thin trying to cover articles and reviews and what not, instead of writing my stories. I have six unfinished novels in my computer(Lamonica and Tia know this)Good stories. But I haven't put the time in to complete them and take them to the market.
So this message is for all of you who write me wanting to know what do they need to do to write a novel. Listen to God. Stay Focused and Pressed toward the Mark. Even if christians ask you to do christian things, press toward the mark, say no and do what you are supposed to do.
I will not make that mistake again. I may pull an all nighter to get my novel on track. Tia, Claudia, Mary, I know y'all are waiting on me. I'm coming. For real:)

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

Midafternoon Apocalypse

J. Mark Bertrand has a short story over at the New Pantagruel titled, Midafternoon Apocalypse. I'm always talking about writing outside of the box. Well...Bertrand writes outside of our time. :) Check it out. Then email him or go to his website and tell him what you thought of it. Tell him, Dee sent you, too.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Submission Call: Mark Gilroy

2. Cheer-Me-Up Book — Mark Gilroy Communications

* We're still taking submissions for our newest project, a fun, cheer-me-up book. We're looking for a mix of lengths and genres-stories, poems, inspirational essays and devotion-style Bible studies, how-to's, lists, activities, factoids, anything that will give the reader a little boost.
* Feel free to send in as many submissions as you'd like; we'll send a note when we're getting ready to close the book.
* Writer's guidelines:
* Stories should keep a sense of whimsy and lightheartedness, even when dealing with tough issues and difficulties. This will be a Christian inspiration book, but some portions of the material can and should be general life principles and humor.
* E-mail submissions are preferred: Send to Jessica and/or Mark. You can also send via post to: Mark Gilroy Communications; 6528 E. 101st St. Suite 416; Tulsa, OK 74133-6754.
* We'd like to keep stories below 1,000 words, though longish stories (800-1000 words) are more than welcome. Shorts are also welcome.
* Upon acceptance, we'll provide a gift of appreciation anywhere from $20 to $75, evaluating each piece based on length, etc.
* Please feel free to contact us with questions, comments, or ideas. 918-607-0069 (phone) / 918-298-0041 (fax) Email


Writing In the Spirit

A half hour ago I cranked out the first draft of my conversion scene short story for the faith*in*fiction contest. Okay, Mahalia (Mahalia Jackson is still singing in my ears.) We--my spirit and the Holy spirit--cranked out first copy of my short, Short.

How do I know this?

Before I began to devote all my writing to faith based I used to write anything(articles, fiction) for a particular subject. If I wanted to write something for Carriage House Review, I'd write something scary. For Arabella, romance. You know the spiel. would take me a while to find the atmosphere for my story. More time to visualize my main characters, and even more to get into my characters psyche. But when I write in the spirit it is almost as if I have been haunted. No. Possessed. Not with a character nor a demon or a ghost, but with the Holy Spirit. She has a story to tell that will work better than what I came up with. She has a story to tell that sounds so true I feel a chill run down the back of my arm. Girlfriend tells the story and God emerges from the shadows. She tells the story and by the time I'm done bamming the thing out on the computer I'm exhausted. I have to go and run through the house. Jump rope for about a minute. Or crank up Amerie's 1 Thing, or Coldplay's Speed of Sound. Both songs have had me on lock most of the summer. Then Mahalia puts me back in perspective. I'm thinking Mary Mary's Heaven might kick it up a knotch, though. Yeah. Heaven's the joint. It'll to take me through my high, so that I can come down and get back to writing.

Does this happen to you? I never became exhausted writing for just profit. What say you?


Prayer Requests 3 Men

Usually I don't do this, but I know I am on one accord with you.

My prayer requests:

My dad. David:
He had to go into the hospital last night. He lives in Valdosta, Georgia. He has an infection and a high fever and he's in a lot of pain. Also, pray for his spirit. My dad is a retired Marine, and since the war in Iraq he has had a lot of flashbacks. He's started drinking again and stopped going to church.

My boyfriend. Gaspard:
He started is final rounds of clinical this month. He is in grad school for respiratory therapy. During this time he works at the hospital twelve + hour shifts. It is our silent time. He gave me his new number to call him, and I lost it. God, have mercy. Pray I find it or he calls...soon.

My brother, my twin. David Vidal:
He is the chicken king of Georgia. Just left his four year plant manager gig at Tyson Chicken now he is a plant supervisor at Gold Kist chicken. This is what happens when you grow up feeding chickens before you go to school. I love Big Dave. Send me a case of chicken why don't you. He's going through a divorce. And I don't want him to do it. But it's almost done. Pray for his spirit. His old minister is his ex-father-in-law.

My sister-in-law, Shonda.
Shonda is an Airwoman(Serves in the Air Force.) Shonda, my step-brother Marc and their kids have been living at Daddy's, since the Hurricane. The baby had to be lifeflighted to Jacksonville. Pray for her recovery.

She's still missing. We haven't heard from her, since last Monday. She went home to N'awlins to bring her family here to Atlanta. She's a church member at Saint Phillip.Pray for word from her.

For your inspiration. Mahalia Jackson has been singing Move on Up a Little Higher in my ear this morning. That's right. She lives. Hallelujah! Click on this site to hear what I'm hearing right now.

I have some exciting fiction news to talk about later. But now I have to work on my novel and the faith*in*fiction short story. I'm pulling double duty./

I want to throw my church handkerchief out(black southern church folk know you through the handkerchief when the preacher or the singer takes you a little higher) to my Sunday School Class at McKendree United Methodist in Lawrenceville: Jason,Jami, Andy, Kim, Darlene, Doug, John and Sweet Denise. They have came by and taken care of Selah when I was sick last week. Brought me a washer and dryer. And helped me look for my mother this weekend(I'm saving that story for another entry.)I am not a member of McKendree. I am the only African American in that class. I am the only Democrat in that class. And I am the only single parent in that class. But they treat me like a queen and Selah like a princess. God, Bless them.

Bless all of you. Listen to Mahalia. Congratulate Claudia and let's write on to see what the end's gon' be,

PS. Oprah's live in N'awlins today.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dee's Labor Day Christian Fiction Weekend Roundup

1. Anne Rice speaks about New Orleans racial legacy. Great article.

2.Check out Focus on Fiction. I have a review of Tia McCollors' A Heart of Devotion on there. Let me tell you I will be buzzing Tia's second novel throughout next year. She has me hooked already. Did I tell you I'm with Focus on Fiction now?

3.For the last two weeks most people who have come to my site have come to read my entry on Anne Rice's next novel, Christ the Lord out of Egypt. Thanks, for stopping by. I hope you see that we have more to offer here.

4.This week I will post my review of Creston Mapes'Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Star Idol here and on Amazon. Creston, here's a headsup. :)

5.Marina Woods, my partner in mercy here at Christian Fiction, will be planning the 23rd annual Romantic Times Magazine Booklovers Convention in Daytona Beach, Florida. May 2006. She's busier than me.

6. A September Book Recommendation- Linda Hudson-Smith's Sacred Sons. BET New Spirit. Romance in Color(another place you can find my reviews) has a great interview there. I reviewed this book for Romantic Times.

7. Christian publisher Baker Publishing Group will match all donations made by its employees for the Katrina relief efforts, with donations distributed through International Aid. Maybe Dave Long at Bethany House(a part of Baker) will set up a tip jar at Faith*in*Fiction for us to donate and help the cause. Just a hint, don't ask Dave.

8. Deanne Gist cracks top ten in CBA

September 2005 CBA Bestellers List

Ranking Title Author/Publisher
1 (5) Just Above a Whisper Lori Wick, Harvest House, p
2 (7) Fame Karen Kingsbury, Tyndale, p
3 (11) The Revelation Beverly Lewis, Bethany House, p
4 (14) One Tuesday Morning Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, p
5 (15) Monster Frank Peretti, WestBow (Nelson), c
6 (18) Redeeming Love Francine Rivers, Multnomah, p
7 (19) Moonlight on the Millpond Lori Wick, Harvest House, p
8 (26) Breaker's Reef Terri Blackstock, Zondervan, p
9 (32) Beyond Tuesday Morning Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, p
10 (37) A Bride Most Begrudging Deeanne Gist, Bethany House, p
11 (40) Evidence of Mercy Terri Blackstock, Zondervan, p
12 (42) The Ezekiel Option Joel Rosenberg, Tyndale, c
13 (44) The Rising Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale, c
14 (49) Oceans Apart Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, p
15 The Covenant Beverly Lewis, Bethany House, p
16 Unforgotten Kristen Heitzmann, Bethany House, p
17 Redemption Gary Smalley & Karen Kingsbury, Tyndale, p
18 Seasons Under Heaven Beverly LaHaye & Terri Blackstock, Zondervan, p
19 A Perilous Proposal Michael Phillips, Bethany House, p
20 London Refrain Bodie Thoene, Tyndale, p

More news and hints for later. Now I have to install a washer and get back to my WIP. I have to make up a lot of time. Hopefully one day I will be newsworthy.

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


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