Thursday, December 29, 2005

Black Christian Fiction Top25

Best 25 of 2005 Black Christian Fiction
by Dee

Note: This listing isn't ranked. You can check the best top ten Gospel Fiction for ranking of this category. If you disagree with my picks, please comment and give me your top picks.

1. Plenty Good Room by Cheri Paris Edwards
2. Amen Sisters by Angela Benson
3. Made of Honor by Marilynn Griffith
4. Still Waters by Patricia Haley
5. Sacred Sons Linda Hudson-Smith,
6. Heaven Sent by Montre’ Bible
7. Because of Grace by Kendra Norman-Bellamy
8. Crossing Jhordan’s River by Kendra Norman-Bellamy
9. Wings of Grace by Vanessa Davis Griggs
10. Seasons by Bonnie Hopkins
11. What Ana Mae Left Behind by Felicia Mason
12. Dark Things by David Humphrey, Sr.
13. A Heart of Devotion by Tia McCollors
14. Thicker than Water by Kendra Norman-Bellamy, Linda Hudson-Smith, Maxine Billings
15. Saved in the City by Jacqueline Thomas
16. How Sweet the Sound by Jacqueline Thomas, Francis Ray, Felicia Mason
17. A Test of Faith by Maxine Billings
18. Soul Matters by Yolanda Sanders
19. Good to Me by Latonya Mason
20. Choose Me by Xenia Ruiz
21. What’s a Sistah to Do by Tiffany Warren
22. Ain’t no Valley by Sharon Ewell Foster
23. A Love so Strong by Kendra Norman-Bellamy
24. Expired by Evie Rhodes
25. A Man Inspired by Derek Jackson

I will upload pics of these book covers in a few weeks, as I am out of in the swamps with my Dad and he doesn't have DSL, Firefox, Quamana...bless him. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: "The Deal" by Don Hoesel

Dave Long is highlighting the best conversion short stories submitted to him for the next two weeks. You can read one everyday on his blog. But this onef a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: "The Deal" by Don Hoesel is a must read, if you're talking about New Year's Resolutions.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year
by Dee D. Stewart

Here we go again, Lord God, almighty. Rest assured I’m sincere this year.
Your girl is going to lose that weight come first thing smoking this new year.
I ain’t joking, Lord God almighty. For sure.
See. Baby Doll needs a daddy.
Yeah, I know.
She has a daddy. What I mean is she needs a good one.
Yea. Uh-huh. You know what I’m talking.
I’m going to do it for real. Stop eating. Stop cooking. Stop whatever.
‘Cause my thirty-two is starting to look like fifty-two.
And Beyonce, Halle, and Oprah needs a run for their money.
It’s hard enough competing with these cheerleading candy stripers all over town, let alone all the new celebrities moving into Suwanee, Alpharetta, and what not.
Mama, needs to compete.
And I need you to help me.

Why now?

Ttt...Lord, please tell me you had something to do with that new church that’s set up shop down the street.

Which one?

Lord God, almighty. That big glass looking icicle up Sugarloaf Parkway--The Atlanta Cathedral.
Bishop Gerome “He’s so fine He blows my mind” Alexander pastor and CEO, according to this business card one his Alexanderlites places in my hand the other day over, while I was shopping in Krogers.
Now you know the one I’m talking about?
Well...good. So you see my predicament.
The man can’t see me when my entourage is a moving tent.

What about Baby Doll?

Like I said, Baby Doll needs a daddy. And Bishop Gerome “He’ s so--

What does she want from all this?

Baby Doll’s six-years-old. All she wants is a Cabbage Patch and 24/7 Disney Channel.

What about what she needs?

She’s getting her needs met. And when I drop this quick fifty, she’ll get more than that.

What about me?

Wait a minute now. I’m asking you to help me, so that I won’t keep having to bother you all the time. I’m doing this for you.


So as to free up your time so that you can rescue people from natural disasters, world hunger, AIDS, fake wars, real wars...What?

Why don’t I stop eating for you?
Hmmm. Never thought of that.
You say if I give up feeding myself with food to please my appetite and instead feed myself with you to please my soul; then I can have more than a daddy for Baby Doll and I won’t have to compete with the Alexanderlites.
I don’t know...

Why not give it a try?

Because--no offense--that doesn’t motivate me. I need to feel a man holding me, wanting me and vice versa. I need to see my daughter go to sleep without worrying me to death about monsters in the closet. Shoot. I need a little help. She’s handful. Shoot. I’m a handful.
I don’t want to be alone. And Baby Doll doesn’t count.
Yeah, I know. I’m being selfish, but why can’t I have somebody for me for a change?
There’s two of me, because I need a companion. Look at me.

That‘s not the reason.

Because I don’t have faith in your companionship?
Tttt...I should’ve kept my resolution to myself.

“What if I kept my resolution to myself?” HE speaks clearly now. “What if I gave up the cross for a young girl I met in the market once. Or to take a position with the chief priests? What if I gave up everything I am to you now for my own ambition?”

Then I wouldn’t have Baby Doll.

Yep. And?

Or my health...


Atlanta Cathedral, Bishop Gerome,


The only friend who would listen to your crap 24/7.

I said I was a handful.
OK. More than a handful.
OK. I get your point.
Happy New Year.

Happy New Year to you, too. And by the way--the church around the corner--the small one that you pass everyday has Overeaters Anonymous. If you’re interested.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Gospel Fiction Top 10

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

This summer Chris Wells of CCM Magazine asked me to refer him to great writing by Christian African-American authors. Well, I've done more than that here and at CFB. I'm penning a new literary term- Gospel Fiction.

Oftentimes, I'm asked what's the difference between Gospel Fiction and Christian Fiction. There isn't a difference. All authors write from where they stand, regardless of color. The uniqueness of work written by African-Americans from what I've read so far--and remember this genre is only five-years-old--is its ability to include dominational settings without alienating other Christian views; its clever inclusion of sermons and psalms, and an unashamed, authentic voice that doesn't concern itself with political correctness, homogenized faith, intimate physicality, and stream of conscience prayer in asides. Simply- gospel fiction is about praising God through the story and making him the third element of the triangle to complete every relationship involved. Now onto the list...

Dee's Best 10 African-American Gospel Fiction of 2005.

This compilation is based on rankings by Dee's Books Reviewed-reviewer service, Christian Fiction Blog mailing list nominations, Dee's Books Reviewed bookstore owner compiled books sold stats, readers ratings, and Romantic Times BookClub Reviews by Dee Y. Stewart.

10.  Ain't No Valley by Sharon Ewell Foster
Foster pulls her Ain't No series together for a wedding finale must read.
What a Sista Should Do
9. What's A Sistah to Do by Tiffany Warren
Great writing from a debut author who knows how to pull three stories together in parallel and in an African-American Christian worldview.
How Sweet the Sound (Thorndike Press Large Print African American Series)
8. How Sweet the Sound
This analogy shows us why Thomas, Mason and Ray are legends of this genre.

Made Of Honor

7. Made of Honor by Marilynn Griffith
Came across this jewel of a novel this month. A full review is posted this month as well.

6. Amen Sisters by Angela Benson

Angela Benson isn't afraid to tackle church politics, scandal and how they affect the congregation in this novel about two twins, who are destined to help each other.

Book Cover
5. Crossing Jhordan's River by Kendra Norman-Bellamy

Kendra is one of the hardest working writers out there right now. She had at least four books on shelves this year and another one on the way in March. But this book unlike her Grace Series is in my opinion her soul-searching romantic best.

4. A Heart of Devotion by Tia McCollors

Can't be anything but biased when it comes to Tia McCollors. We crit this book in our writer's group-The Atlanta Black Christian Writer's Group. We prayed over this book, so I have loads to say about the process of this book. But what I like about it from a readers standpoint is that its not syrupy sweet and Tia has a gift of creating these characters that seek God as if he were air, as if it should be. Be prepared for Zora's Cry this spring.

Good to Me
3. Good to Me
Denise Stinson and the Walk Worthy crew have cranked out some gems this year. Plan to discuss this year's line in detail this week. But Good to Me was a good read to me. Great writing, pacing, plot. Good to Me.

What Ana Mae Left Behind
2. What Ana Mae Left Behind by Felicia Mason

I'm not a fan of stories where the reader has to learn about the main character threw flashbacks, letters found in the attic or any of those Bridges of Madison County type devices. But Ana Mae did leave something behind that was larger than her small fortune, that needed to be told, and found, in order to enrich your soul.

Book Cover
1. Dark Things by David M. Humphrey, Sr.
Best book written by an African American Christian writer ever! Fast paced, medical thriller. Universality. Great prose. Moody Press needs a tap on the hand for not publicizing this book better. And why didn't I find this book in Lifeway?
Comeback toChristian Fiction Blog to see the Complete Top 25 of 2005 this week and my discussion about a novel that deserved to be on the list-Athol Dickson's River Rising
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Against Narnia as CF

An excerpt from "FAR FROM NARNIA: Philip Pullman’s secular fantasy for children"...

for The New Yorker
Issue of 2005-12-26 and 2006-01-02. Posted 2005-12-19

Pullman also makes the argument that Lewis really isn’t all that Christian. The fate of Susan Pevensie, he told me, indicates “some sort of crazed, deranged Manichaeism. Here’s a simple test: What is the greatest Christian virtue? Well, it’s charity, isn’t it? It’s love. If somebody who knew nothing about Christian doctrine, and who had been told that Lewis was a great Christian teacher, read all the way through those books, would he get that message? No.”
- Phillip Pullman

Read this article and when my mind reached this passage, I reread it twice. Before I give my response, I would like to know from you before the year ends--

Is there one theme that should define Christian Fiction?

Free Gift for CF Lovers

Are you curious about the best christian fiction offered every month? Sign up for this free service, and they will send you a free first chapter of the most buzzwortjy Christian novel. What a free gift for yourself this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Made of Honor Reviewed

Made of Honor
Marilynn Griffith
Steeple Hill Cafe
ISBN 0-373-78554-2

Made Of Honor

**** 4 stars
Dana Rose has lost her bridesmaiding, punch  drinking mind when her best friend and roommate weds her ex-boyfriend. It's not the ex that's driving her mad. It's her past regrets-not opening her dream business, not wedding her dream man, not getting to her dream weight, and not having the love she thinks she deserves from her family--all the things that she thinks she needs to believe that she is worthy and favored--that haunts her. She seeks solace in her Sassy Sistahood email chat group, who seek solace in her and eventually help her see that God has favor of her and has made her of the highest honor.
Mary's Dana Rose is as funny and quirky as any woman's best-friend. She's the girl-next-door, big sister, and some of our biggest insecurities all wrapped up in less than 300 pages. And most importantly she is everything good others see in us, but we can't see in ourselves.
This Steeple Hill Cafe release isn't a sappy, sweet,  fru fru Austen remake, but a comedic and cute dose of inspirational comfort for a more mature romance reading audience. Although the plot was predictable in spots, Griffith's way of words and her larger than life-Dana Rose makes this novel a page-turning good time(Dec. 2005, 292 p, $12.95.)
Dee Stewart, Reviewer
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Top 5 Fiction

Christian Retailing Top 5 Fiction for October 2005
1. Forgiven, Karen Kingsbury
2. The Preacher's Daughter, Beverly Lewis
3. Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, David Gregory
4. Last Light, Terri Blackstock
5. Fame, Karen Kingsbury

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Conference Watch: BoneFire

Bonefire! Conference for Writers and Readers

St. Joseph's AME Church

Durham, North Carolina

February 3-4, 2006

Speakers and workshop leaders include:  Stanice Anderson, Michelle Andrea Bowen Brown, Claudia Burney, Sharon Ewell Foster, Marilynn Griffith, Dr. Gail Hayes, Victoria Johnson, Rebecca Osaigbovo and Jacquelin Thomas. Conference highlights include an evening of tea and books, a praise concert with Jennifer Evans, inspiring speakers and writing workshop

Register Now

Write is Might Writing Contest

As part of its year-long 35th Anniversary celebration, The Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center & Bookstore ("The Shrine"), one of America's largest and oldest Black-owned bookstore chains, is sponsoring a nationwide Write is Might short story competition open to all new and unpublished writers. Along with cash prizes, the winning entry will be published on the website of the Black Issues Book Review, the only large circulation forum solely devoted to covering both fiction and nonfiction books written by Black authors.
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Before Dawn

If you read my blog entry at The Master Artist today, you saw an excerpt from another Christmas short story I wrote. I will post the entire story in parts here throughout the week.
Before Dawn: A Christmas Story
Filename: j0399986.jpg
Keywords: babies, children, families ...
File Size: 269 KB
by Davidae Stewart

"Are you telling me that the Ritz Carlton is booked to capacity?" My husband, Joe asked the guest services clerk, Rhonda. "That never happens. Can you check again?"
Rhonda looked at my belly; then at me; then back at her computer screen. Shook her head. "Sir, there are no rooms available tonight."
"Any rooms nearby?" I asked.
 "With the Microsoft Tech Conference, Vibe Music Fest and NBA Finals all in one weekend..." Rhonda bit her lip. "Atlanta's booked solid. Sorry."
Joe turned and looked at me with those Bambi brown eyes that sucked me into his world six months ago. They made me feel safe, because I always knew what he was thinking. But I couldn't bare riding in that truck another minute let alone to Decatur or Marietta. My hips were feeling crampy and I just needed to sit still for a minute.
He turned back to Rhonda and whispered. "She's in her final trimester. My wife needs to rest like two hours ago."
Rhonda hooked us up with a construction trailer out in the back where they were adding a new wing to the building. "Look, the contractor are gon' for at least two days. Soon as a room is available, I'll key you in."
Joseph handed her a wad of money and shook her hand. "Bless you, Rhonda."
Before she closed the door, she peeped back in. "You sure she doesn't need to go to Northside. Look like she's about to pop."
I shook my head. "I'm good." I wasn't completely sure, but I prayed the belief into truth.
She nodded her head and left us to the trailer and the task at hand-- to have this baby sight unseen and definitely before dawn.
To be continued...

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TMA: Dee

I'm talking about Christmas stories over at The Master Artist. Click here to check it out.
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

And the Romance Novel Winner is...

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The winners is:

Kendra Norman-Bellamy's Grace Series

Product Cover

Product Cover

Special mention to Janet Elaine Smith, Marilynn Griffith, Suzanne Wolfe, Tia McCollors, Dee Henderson, Karen Kingsbury, and Deanne Gist for being nominated. Thanks to all who participated via email or commenting here.

Put your thinking caps on for our next contest: The Best Christian Fiction Novel of 2005. Start emailing me your nominations.

 Maurice M. Gray is the winner of Marilynn Griffith's Made of Honor novel prize. Maurice, email me your mailing address, so that I can send your prize.
Related articles:
Dee's interview with Kendra
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Notice: The prior winner was changed, because the book nominated was not published in 2005. Sorry.

OT: Chapbook Review: Marcus Harris

Following yesterday's conversation on Walter Moseley's Washington Post article, I thought it was great timing to be in the process of preparing a review of a rising American poet, Marcus Harris. As Moseley states that poetry and politics should have a place in writing fiction, Harris speaks on the things of controversy, sound and reason. Notice: This is not a book of christian poetry.

My PhotoMarcus Harris Songs in Search of a Voice doesn't have to look any further than its author for what it seeks. This lover's lament, romantic refrain, psalms politik paints a truthful experience line after line. Divided into six chapters appropriately titled for the sound of mood: umbrous undertones (hushed quiet,) key of melancholy(lover's lament), etc. when read aloud these poems sing at their loudest. Tight prose, packed emotion. A perfect compliment to the silence in the room.

My favorite poem, "Heart Shaped Bruises: The Truth According to Tonya."
you claim you love me--
;so your heart must have been tucked
somewhere in your fist...

 Great small, huge work!

Click on the title to order the book.

Related article:
Moseley's Truth

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Moseley's Writer's Truth

"The foremost goal on our minds should be to create a story that is true to its own world view...The job of the writer is to take a close and uncomfortable look at the world they inhabit, the world we all inhabit, and the job of the novel is to make the corpse stink."

-Walter Moseley's Writing Life from the Washington Post

Great article about a writer's purpose. Some may not agree, but I do. The stories that have moved me to change my actions were books that pointed out some wrongs in my life.

I want to write such a book that shed a light on a truth God wants me to show. But I must confess, oftentimes I think that my personal relationship with Christ is not where it needs to be for me to illuminate someone else. I need truth for my own self.

I've been sick this week. Didn't won't to talk about it. But the truth of the matter is I have a chronic illness. I overextend myself as if my body is still 100% and then suffer for my pride. Pride is a problem. Perhaps it is the truth I need to shed light on, the thing my protagonist Marlo grapples with as she raises her daughter own her own.

Tell me. How do you view the world in your writing? Or do you?


Related article:

Tayari's Blog: Walter Mosley Tells the Truth

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Friday, December 16, 2005

ACFW Book Club

American Christian Fiction Writers has launched its own book club with a launch on January 2006. The four books selected for the book club are:

*Christian Fiction Blog will be reviewing this selection for January.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Prime Time Daniel

An Episcopalian minister(Aidann Quinn) and father finds himself going to his best friend, Jesus,  to helps him overcrome family challenges(gay son, drug dealing daughter for short,) church politics and his co-dependence of Vicadin, prescription painkillers. But here's the catch... Maybe Jesus is a figment of his drug induced imagination.
I'm a big fan of Aidann Quinn, so I will watch and pray that the show delivers. Premier date January 6, 2006.
There is a bit of controversy behind the show already. setup a great poll that I would like to ask here. What is a good, Good Christian television show?
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Landon's Libro-land

Click the pic to purchase the book.
Conflicted with the Harry Potter series' magic references, but want your child to love to read and also learn about his place in Christ's world? R.K. Mortenson's Landon Snow may be your best bet. It's reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, because of talking inanimate objects. Chock full or riddles and clues that your child will have to ponder over to solve( a good thing) like Dora the Explorer interactive. And what I liked most is that Landon's voice was clever and smart for his young age, which is quite true. My five-year-old talks on the phone with her five-year-old best friend, Tora, and their conversation is what I did when I was a tweenager. They are so ahead of us with diction.
As a book artist, I adored the uniqueness of the design of the book. It is small for a child to keep in his backpack or to carry in their hand. The paper that the story is printed on reminds me of the Strathmore paper I use to draw portraits on. Its a great texture and the cover art is incredibly beautiful like a Byzantine era  illuminated Gospel Book.

Nativity / M Gerona

The Nativity, Master of Gerona, late 1200s

The design and the story creates what young people of that age are searching--the meaning of life and death, mystery, fantasy, direction and God.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Even Now

Even Now by Karen Kingsbury

Lifeway Synopsis:
Shane wonders about the love that hasn't faded with time. Lauren gave up on happily-ever-after when it was ripped away. Emily is a college freshman who discovers a love story that ended with her birth. This Christian novel is a tapestry of lost love, faith and the miracle of resurrection.

Lifeway : $11.99
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Michael Nelson & Digital Library Devices

The Death of Traditional Book Publishing

by Michael Nelson, President & CEO of Thomas Nelson

I had to bring this discussion to your attention, irregardless of my sleep deprived self. Michael Nelson is thinking outside the box of book publishing and into a more digital handheld library device. Been devouring this month's Fast Company, which parallels to Nelson discussion except they are talking about how e-commerce and downloading is changing Hollywood. Book publishing must follow.So I would like to know from you...if there was a digital device to store our favorite books what would it look like?


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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Don't Forget to Breathe...

This week I will be cutting back on blogging to complete countless book reviews, help out at Selah's school, work on my Girl Scout troops community service project and work on my own writing for a change.  follow doctor's orders to cut back and take my two rest breaks a day like I'm prescribed. We'll talk about that later. Now onto Bonnie...
My PhotoHello Christian Fiction visitors. My name is Bonnie Calhoun. Dee invited me over here as a guest blogger.
First and foremost I was raised in a Christian household, but eight years ago I became 'born again' and started a real relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Secondly, I am a writer, unpublished as of yet, but with one completed action-adventure novel and two more in progress. I love to talk, but since the internet is not mainly a verbal medium that helped me to title my blog succinctly as Bonnie Writes.
   "Don't forget to breathe..."
I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite Christian fiction authors.
Her name is Brandilyn Collins.  She is a best-selling author of Crime thrillers, writing for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers.
Well, you ask, how can I call her a best selling author? I'm glad you asked that. Right now all of her suspense novels are in reprint. That is a feat that all writers aspire to achieve. Stain of Guilt and Dead of Night the second and third in Brandilyn's Hidden Faces series are in their second printing. Brink of Death the first in the Hidden Faces series is in its fourth printing and Eyes of Elisha first in the Chelsea Adams series is in the sixth printing. has a new book called Web of Lies , that will start hitting the book stores in the end of January. I got an ARC (advanced reading copy), let me tell you that it is FABULOUS.  Two of my favorite characters from different series are pitted against the bad guy for a spine tingling, roller coaster ride, that is synonymous with her "Seatbelt Suspense" tagline—"Don't forget to breathe..."
Brandilyn also hosts a blog called Forensics and Faith , where she teaches the craft of writing and answers questions. Drop by and check out her archives. There's a treasure trove of sound advice for budding writers.
Also visit her website, there's a button to click to lead you to free stuff. She will send you hand autographed book plates for her seven suspense novels, and you can also get a book mark for the Hidden Faces series.
If you love thrillers, you'll love Brandilyn Collins and when you read her books..."Don't forget to breathe..."

Listing Solomon Long

EUGENE, OREGON – December 12, 2005 – Two Harvest House authors not only made it onto Santa’s “nice” list, they ended up on another – Booklist’s Top Ten Christian Novels of the Year.

Cover ImageA Window to the World by Susan Meissner and Forgiving Solomon Long by Chris Well, both made the Top Ten Christian Novels list from Booklist magazine, published by the American Library Association.  The list was selected from all Christian novels released between October 2004 and October 2005.

“It's certainly a shocking and wonderful piece of news,” he[Well] says. “This year as a first–time novelist has already been such a whirlwind — but to be included by Booklist among such distinguished names as Philip Gulley and Melody Carlson and W. Dale Cramer is a greater honor than I could ever have expected.”

Congrats, Chris!

Related articles:

Monday, December 12, 2005

Whitlock's Miracle Letter

Oftentimes, I receive e-mails and phone calls for prayer requests, book review requests, and help to get a book published. Last week I received an email that spoke to me in a way that I thought I would share it with you.
Thank you for reading this. I got your email address from your blog site.
The reason I am writing is to bring awareness to a book I have written called 10-4, Good Buddy: A Miracle Story.  The story is about my son and the many miracles God performed in his life following a tragic accident.
On October 4, 2003, Evan received a severe head injury due to a car crash caused by a suspected drunk driver. He was 5 years old at the time. The car crash nearly took his life, but through countless prayers and pleadings, God chose to allow Evan to stay with my wife and me. God intervened in so many ways and showed us so much during this journey that I felt the burden on my heart to write this book as a testiment to God's love for us.
If you or anyone you know interested are in this book, it is for sale online (address below). Please read below and visit for more infomation on my son, our story, and this book
Please let me know if this is of interest to you or if you desire more information. Anything you can do to help bring awareness to this book would be appreciated.
Hal Whitlock
All proceeds from the sale of this book goes towards the care and future care of Evan.
Evan spent some time here in Atlanta at Scottish Rite Children's hospital-one of the best saving graces of this area. So, I will keep this book cover on display in my left side-bar.
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Faulk's Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas stories for your reading download it to an MP3 player click the title

A Transcript of John Henry Faulk's Christmas Story

The day after Christmas a number of years ago, I was driving down a country road in Texas. And it was a bitter cold, cold morning. And walking ahead of me on the gravel road was a little bare-footed boy with non-descript ragged overalls and a makeshift sleeved sweater tied around his little ears. I stopped and picked him up. Looked like he was about 12 years old and his little feet were blue with the cold. He was carrying an orange.

And he got in and had the brightest blue eyes one ever saw. And he turned a bright smile on my face and says, "I'm-a going down the road about two miles to my cousins. I want to show him my orange old Santa Claus brought me." But I wasn't going to mention Christmas to him because I figured he came from a family -- the kind that don't have Christmas. But he brought it up himself. He said, "Did old Santa Claus come to see you, Mister?" And I said, "Yes. We had a real nice Christmas at our house and I hope you had the same."

He paused for a moment, looked at me. And then with all the sincerity in the world said, "Mister, we had the wonderfulest Christmas in the United States down to our place. Lordy, it was the first one we ever had had there. See, we never do have them out there much. Don't notice when Christmastime comes. We heared about it, but never did have one 'cause -- well, you know, it's just papa says that old Santa Claus -- papa hoorahs a lot and said old Santa Claus was scared to bring his reindeer down into our section of the county because folks down there so hard up that they liable to catch one of his reindeer and butcher him for meat. But just several days before Christmas, a lady come out from town and she told all the families through there, our family, too, that they was -- old Santa Claus was come in town to leave some things for us and if papa'd go in town, he could get some Christmastime for all of us. And papa hooked up the mule and wagon. He went in town. But he told us children, said, "Now don't ya'll get all worked up and excited because there might not be nothing to this yarn that lady told."

And--but, shucks, she hadn't got out of sight up the lane there till we was done a-watching for him to come back. We couldn't get our minds on nothing else, you know. And mama, she'd come to the door once in a while and say, "Now ya'll quit that looking up the lane because papa told you there might not be nothing." And -- but long about the middle of the afternoon, well, we heared the team a-jangling harness a-coming and we ran out in the front yard, and Ernie, my little brother, called out and said, "Yonder come papa." And here come them mules just in a big trot, you know, and papa standing upright in the bed of that wagon holding two big old chickens, all the feathers picked off. And he was just yelling, "Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas." And the team stopped right in front of the gate. And all us children just went a-swarming out there like a flock of chichis, you know, and just a-crawling over that wagon and a-looking in.

And, Mister, I wish you could have seen what was in that wagon. It's bags of stripety candy and apples and oranges and sacks of flour and some real coffee, you know, and just all tinselly and pretty and we couldn't say nothing. Just kind of held our breath and looked at it, you know. And papa standing there just waving them two chickens, a-yelling, "Merry Christmas to you. Merry Christmas to you," and a-laughing that big old grin on his face. And mama, she come a-hurrying out with the baby in her arms, you know. And when she looked in that wagon, she just stopped, and then papa, he dropped them two chickens and reached and caught the baby out of her arms, you know, and held him up and said, "Merry Christmas to you, Santa Claus." And baby, little old Alvie Lee, he just laughed like he knowed it was Christmas, too, you know. And mama, she started telling us the name of all of them nuts. They wasn't just peanuts. They was -- she had names for all of them. She -- mama knows a heap of things like that. She'd seen that stuff before, you know? And we was, all of us, just a-chattering and a-going on at the same time, us young'uns, a-looking in there.

And all of a sudden, we heared papa call out, "Merry Christmas to you, Sam Jackson." And we stopped and looked. And here comes Sam Jackson a-leading that old cripple-legged mule of his up the lane. And papa said, "Sam Jackson, did you get in town to get some Christmas this year?" Sam Jackson, you know, he sharecrops over there across the creek from our place. And he shook his head and said, "Well, no, sir, Mister. Well, I didn't go in town. I heared about that, but I didn't know it was for colored folks, too. I thought it was just for you white families." All of a sudden, none of us children were saying nothing. Papa, he looked down at mama and mama looked up at him and they didn't say nothing, like they don't a heap of times, but they know what the other one's a-thinking. They're like that, you know. And all of a sudden, papa, he broke out in a big grin again. He said, "Dad-blame-it, Sam Jackson, it's a sure a good thing you come by here. Lord have mercy, I liked to forgot. Old Santa Claus would have me in court if he heared about this. The last thing he asked me if I lived out here near you. Said he hadn't seen you around and said he wanted me to bring part of this out here to you and your family, your woman and your children."

Well, sir, Sam Jackson, he broke out in a big grin. Papa says, "I'll tell you what to do. You get your wife and children and you come down here tomorrow morning. It's going to be Christmastime all day long. Come early and stay late." Sam Jackson said, "You reckon?" And mama called out to him and said, "Yes, and you tell your wife to be sure and bring some pots and pans because we're going to have a heap of cookin' to do and I ain't sure I've got enough to take care of all of it." Well, sir, old Sam Jackson, he started off a-leading that mule up the lane in a full trot, you know, and he was a-heading home to get the word to his folks and his children, you know.

And next morning, it just -- you remember how it was yesterday morning, just rosy red and looked like Christmastime. It was cold, but you didn't notice the cold, you know, when the sun just come up, just all rosy red. And us young'uns were all out of bed before daylight seemed like, just running in the kitchen and smelling and looking. And it was all there sure enough. And here come Sam Jackson and his team and his wife and his five young'uns in there. And they's all lookin' over the edge. And we run out and yelled, "Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas." And papa said, "Christmas gift to you, Sam Jackson. Ya'll come on in." And they come in and mama and Sister Jackson, they got in the kitchen and they started a-cooking things up. And us young'uns started playing Christmastime. And it's a lot of fun, you know. We'd just play Christmas Gift with one another and run around and around the house and just roll in the dirt, you know, and then we started playing Go Up To The Kitchen Door And Smell. And we'd run up and smell inside that kitchen door where mama and Sister Jackson was a-cooking at, and then we'd just die laughing and roll in the dirt, you know, and go chasing around and playing Christmas Gift.

And we played Christmastime till we just wore ourselves out. And papa and Sam Jackson--they put a table up and put some sheets over it, some boards up over some sawhorses. And everybody had a place, even the baby. And mama and Sister Jackson said, "Well, now it's ready to come on in. We're going to have Christmas dinner." And I sit right next to Willy Jackson, you know, and he just rolled his eyes at me and I'd roll mine at him. And we'd just die laughing, you know, and there was an apple and an orange and some stripety candy at everybody's place. And that was just dessert, see. That wasn't the real Christmas dinner. Mama and them had done cooked that up. And they just had it spread up and down the table.

And so papa and Sam Jackson, they'd been sitting on the front porch and they come in. Papa, he sit at one end of the table, Sam Jackson sit at the other. And it was just a beautiful table like you never had seen. And I didn't know nothing could ever look like that and smell that good, you know. And Sam Jackson, you know, he's real black and he had on that white clean shirt of his and then them overalls. Everything had been washed and was real clean. Papa, he said, "Brother Jackson, I believe you're a deacon in the church. I ain't much of a church man myself, but I believe you're a deacon. Maybe you'd be willing to give grace." Well, Sam Jackson, he stood up there and his hands is real big and he kind of held onto the side of the table, you know. But he didn't bow his head like a heap of folks do when they're saying the blessing. He just looked up and smiled. And he said, "Lord, I hope you having as nice a Christmas up there with your angels as we're having down here because it sure is Christmastime down here. And I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to you, Lord.

Like I say, Mister, I believe that was the wonderfulest Christmas in the United States of America."'

Friday, December 09, 2005

Weekly Write-Up

Here's my list of interesting write-ups from Christian Bloggers for the week.
1. Lisa Samson's the Littlest Star-Christmas Story. This story is small enough to print and read to your own child.
2. Made of Honor at Camy's Loft. Mary Griffith is having a blog tour for her debut release, Made of Honor.  What I really liked about Camy's work on the tour is she stopped  on Sunday for a moment of prayer and to take some prayer requests. Christian writing outshines any other genre, because our first focus isn't to our own celebrity and book sales, but to edifying the body of Christ and putting God first. Kudos Camy and Mary for your gracious display.         
3.Dave Long laments over the Narnia bandwagon. My girl scout troop opted out of seeing it because,  these movie ratings are flimsy. Saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. No child should see that movie, so we're a tad concerned about Narnia. However, I will see the movie with my comedian friend, Roger. I hope it meets my expectations. And I hope Roger doesn't jone the movie. (Of course he will.) Just saw Sky High and the Fantastic Four, so I need to watch something a little more grounded before I go see it like The Golden Girls reruns or another episode of Sleeper Cell. Dont ask.    
4. Ooh, this is a good one. JSB had me perplexed. Great discussion and brain teaser on how to build a page turning story. Read the article and then ask yourself which writing perspective fits you. Dog gone it. Stephen King has my heart, but I'm such a Martha about plotting. I wrote a novel this summer in three months. It's sitting on my desk. I knew the ending. I have another novel I wrote a year and a half ago. Same deal. I'm not happy with either. But, Lord have mercy I need to do something fast or I may have to stop writing fiction all together. I hate being undecisive.
5. Fridays and Bertrand. J's The Master Artist entry is slowly becoming a Friday afternoon ritual. And it makes so mad, because my mind is set on his entry the rest of the weekend. Look, J. I have a lot of books to review and it's not fair for me to critique these books on your bertrandisms. :)
"Perhaps we{Christian writers] must take a page from Job, from Quoheleth, from the Psalmist, and react not against a subculture or even a culture, not against the niche or the mainstream, but against the one who stands over men and the worlds they make."
Oh, my word. There were so many great entries this week that I can't highlight them all. I don't know if its the Glad Season at work or every one's gearing up for Kwanzaa with me. Yea, I said it. But great blogging to all you guys: Claudia, Mary, Julana, Camy, Lisa, J. Mark, Michael, Princess, Sheila, Lashaunda, Dave, Chris M., George, Mary, Deborah, T.L.,Linda, Marcus, Bonnie, Milk Mick, Tayari, Mike, Gina, Chris Well, you, and you, and you, too! 
OT: I need a guest blogger for next week. Any takers?
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Writing Getaway

Fast Company's December edition published Lucas Conley's Creative Confinement article, which is a great article about the MacDowell Colony and its fellows tradition of helping churning out exquisit work: 65 Pulitzers, 12 MacArthur Foundation "genius awards", Academy awards, Grammys, Guggenheims and National Book Awards. Amazing.
Last summer my writing group went to TimberRidge Conference Center here in Georgia. It was so good. For those of you award winning writers where do you go to meet with other creatives and concentrate solely on your craft? I'm going home in a few weeks to South Georgia and get some work done down there.

Friday Items

1. Tomorrow is the last day to vote for your favorite christian romance novel of the year.
2. If you haven't voted for your favorite short story at Infuze Magazine, I think you still have time. There is a free registration process involved.
3. I've been contemplating doing a Christian Fiction Top 25 of 2005. In the past I did African American Top 50 all genres. But this year, since I've reviewed mostly Christian Fiction, I thought of doing a Top 25 and a Top 5 Category. Hit me up, if you think this is a good idea. And also nominate your favorit Christian novel of  2005 for our fan favorite Category.
Related articles:
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Forbidden Words

If I use the term "freak that" in my WIP, will I get in trouble? I'm cleaning up my WIP for the Genesis Awards contest and I never saw the word before in a novel, but I don't want to disqualify myself. It's the best word to fit my character's response, but I don't know. Do you?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Template Changes & Website Name

Sorry, guys. I'm playing around with blog design this week, so it will change again. I have a lot of content, but I need to simplify the look, so that you can find things and see what's going on in this genre.

Coming in 2006 I will be launching a new website and moving this blog to the site, so stay tuned to the name change-- Gospel Fiction. I like the name. I've saved the domain, But I also like davidaestewart dot com, too! But it's hard to spell. Dee Stewart is boring and I'm not, so...Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dee's Infuze Best Shorts!

Infuze Magazine is publishing a Best of 2005 book (yes, a real, print book) early next year, according to editor, Robin Parrish.  And my short story made the nominee list! But I need you to help me make the final cut.
Infuze readers are voting now to help Robin determine which stories will make it into the book (a final print count has not been determined, but there are 20 nominees). You can only vote once, so make it count--vote for me:) Sorry, my christian writing cronies.

View the nominees and cast your own vote here:
The highest vote-getter will receive a free copy of Infuze Magazine: Best of 2005 Short Stories & Poems when it is released, straight out of the pocket of Robin Parrish! You will have to register to vote at Infuze.
Related article:
My submission: Straddling the Fence
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No Church for Christmas

Why Fiction Matters: No Church for Christmas
This Christmas, no prayers will be said in several megachurches around the country. Even though the holiday falls this year on a Sunday, when churches normally host thousands for worship, pastors are canceling services, anticipating low attendance on what they call a family day.
 --By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
Are you kidding me? Megachurches aren't holding service on Christmas, because of low attendance? Is that an oxymoron--megachurch/big attendance?
These past few months I've tried to stay clear of ranting about christian writing, but I have to write about American Christian life.
Is that why the last three years I've been heading to Christmas Mass? Our church has both a Christmas Eve, and a Christmas service and Advent services all month, but I like taking Selah to Christmas Mass, because I want her to understand that Christmas is a Holy Day not a holiday. And I like the ritual part of it. Plus cathedrals are beautiful at Christmas time.

Nativity Scene at Koeln Cathedral(my senior thesis topic)

But, Lord, have mercy...churches not open for Christmas is a clear indicator that people's souls aren't being fed the right thing all year long.
Now let's take a look at our writing...Are our works meeting a market greed or feeding a soul's need? Let's talk about it here. Is your church open for Christmas?
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Fun: E-Lingo Fiction

So, I'm reading Chapter seven of Chris Mikesell's WIP when I notice something similiar to a newsfeed I read earlier today. Shorthand.
devl kikd outa hevn coz jelus of jesus&strts war.pd'off wiv god so corupts man(md by god) wiv apel.devl stays serpnt 4hole life&man ruind. Woe un2mnkind.
-synopsis of Milton's Paradise Lost in E-lingo
Read Frances Stead Sellers article at Washington's Post on texting literature. Interesting. I can't imagine Selah's teenage academic life at all now.
Here's a bonus...Pride & Prejudice:
5SistrsWntngHsbnds. NwMenInTwn-Bingly&DarcyFit&Loadd.BigSisJ aneFals4B,2ndSisLizH8sDCozHesProud. SlimySoljrWikamSysDHSShadyPast.TrnsOutHe sActulyARlyNysGuy&RlyFancysLiz. SheDecydSheLyksHim.Evry1GtsMaryd.
Can you do an elingo synopsis of Gilead?
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Never Too Old to Publish

"How cool is that: To be 61 and sell your first book?" said Jane Watson, winner of last Christian Writers Guild "Operation First Novel" Contest.

Troublesome Creek - click to enlargeGreg Kocher of Central Kentucky Bureau wrote a nice article on Watson's new career and debut novel, Troublesome Creek.

Did anyone enter the contest this year?

Rockin' Good Writing

A Good Writer

Monday, December 05, 2005

Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Bertrand's Structure and Definition in Fiction, an excerpt...

Click the pic to direct you to my The Master's Artist post for this week.



Creston Rocking Strongconfessions.jpg

Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol, has been chosen by Christian Book Distributors as one of its  Top 20 Editorial Picks for 2005! You can meet Creston is at Borders-Mall of Georgia, Dec. 17, 4-7 p.m.

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Christmas Wish: Pen & Cross

Lifeway's Pen & Cross Keychain Set
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Narnia News

A Breakdown of Current Narnia News for your reading pleasure..

New film creates fresh debate over Christian author C.S. Lewis

MSN-Mainichi Daily News -

"Americans United for Separation of Church and State has informed Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that he offended the U.S. Constitution by choosing "Lion" for his state's annual student reading campaign because it's "filled with allusions to Christianity."
The Lion, the Witch ... and the Turkish delight
Daily Mail -
"Sales of the sticky confectionery have trebled in the past few weeks as youngsters clamour to buy and read copies of C. S. Lewis's book The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, on which the Disney film is based, and discover what a pivotal role it plays.."
The professor, the Christian, and the storyteller
The Boston Globe - Yesterday
... though Tolkien considered it a thoroughly Christian book .) Those who dislike Christianity itself can be far more harsh: Thus the English novelist Philip Hensher chastised Lewis a ...
Faith in 'Narnia'
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin -
Journal Gazette -
Related articles:

CBA 's FictionTop Ten

 CBA Bestseller List for December 2005
Ranking   Title   Author/Publisher
1 (1)   The Preacher's Daughter   Beverly Lewis, Bethany House, p
2 (4)   Forgiven   Karen Kingsbury, Tyndale, p
3 (8)   Last Light   Terri Blackstock, Zondervan, p
4 (10)   The Assassins   Oliver North, Broadman & Holman, c
5 (21)   Just Above a Whisper   Lori Wick, Harvest House, p
6 (28)   Fame   Karen Kingsbury, Tyndale, p
7 (29)   Redeeming Love   Francine Rivers, Multnomah, p
8 (31)   Amethyst   Lauraine Snelling, Bethany House, p
9 (33)   Monster   Frank Peretti, WestBow (Nelson), c
10 (44)   What She Left for Me   Tracie Peterson, Bethany House, p
I can tell you why the top three are where they are. Because all those books sit on a Fiction kiosk near the Wal-mart Checkout counters. However, I also wonder if C.S. Lewis novels were counted in this calculation as well.
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Saturday, December 03, 2005

An exericse

Just playing around with pacing and scene creation. Trying to get better at something I discovered...
She sat folded up on their secret bed clinging to his pillow, crying, wanting to repent for her thoughts, but too afraid of losing the way she felt when he was just here, making, yet, another dead promise to her.

"Is it worth it, Samantha?" A voice spoke to her clearer than the glass candle holders dazzling against the flickering flames inside the fireplace.
She sat up, cringed, then lowered her head. "Noooo..." She crushed the pillow against her face and groaned.
Sugar Mountain B & B sat far off the major Atlanta streets to be noticed. Most people who came here were travelers or old married couples reminiscing about the good old days when Blacks didn't rule downtown. He always snuck her in after ten after the hosts stopped registering boarders.
Samantha wasn't her name.
Her mother and grandma prayed for her since the day she was born. Prayed for her to come back from her lust-filled ways before she knew what Jason Griffin meant to her world.
"But I love him." She groaned at the nothing that enveloped the air and her brain.
"But he doesn't love you back." Clear. Loud. Truth.
"Yes. He does." She peeled the pillow from her face and stood up. "He just can't love me like he wants to right now, but he'll be free in another six months. So come back and tell me that again." 
Then the doorknob shook. 
Jason must've left something behind. Her heart leaped. Forgot all about the voice. She ran to open it. "I knew you would come back!" She blurted before she saw who was really at the door.
Her heart hit the floor at the sight of him. A tall man. Broad shoulders.  Not Jason. Looked down at her; then pushed himself inside. "Get your stuff before the cops get here."
She folded her arms across her chest and planted her feet firmly on the ground. This wasn't the first time she caught her step-daddy stalking her. "And why would the cops come here,Walt?"
"Because Jason is dead, and you're the last one that was with him."
Her legs trembled. Shoulders quaked. "Huh...?" Her mouth quivered.
"He's dead. Now get your stuff."
All she heard was dead before her mind blacked out.
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Friday, December 02, 2005

Dee's Seven Meme

 TL Hines, author of soon to be released, Waking Nazarus and Chocolatey Goodness Blogger tagged me for the 7 Meme. Don't be surprised if you see this meme again here from Marina. :)
Dee's Seven Meme
Seven Things to Do Before I Die
1. Go back to Disney World and rock it better than I did when I was ten.
2. Go to the Bahamas and fall in love with God all over again.
3. Design & Build Selah's wedding dress.
4. Become a great-grandmother
5. Marry for the right reason
6. Meet Michael Vick
7. Leave a reputable  and inspirational small press for the world to cherish

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. Do upward dog and downward dog without laughing.
2. Stop accepting books to review
3. Give up on the possibility of my heart's full healing
4. Stop snuggling up with Selah
5. Being frank or matter of fact
6. Go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink
7. Stop dating very handsome men, who are all wrong for me. I need prayer.

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Wife [husband,
romantic interest, best friend, whomever] 
 (my fiancee and I called it quits in October, but I'm dating, so I will do what attracts me to certain men)

1. Assertiveness
2. A great accent(My fiancee was French. The guy I'm dating is Texan. Selah's father is Puerto-Rican. See what I mean.)
3. Believes in God more than himself and can admit it.
4. Respects my commitment to Selah
5. Very intelligent
6. Has his own life
7. Treats his mother, sister, daughter like queens.

Seven Things I Say Most Often

1. For real
2. For real?
3. I do declare.
4. Hot Freaky Deaky.
5. Great Day in the Morning.
6. Come on, Now!
7. Help me, Holy Ghost.

Seven Books (or Book Series) I Love 
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Aditchie's Purple Hibiscus
2. Thomas Hardy Tess of D'Ubbervilles
3. Plato's Republic
4. The Color Purple
5. Best American Non-Required Reading series
6. Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure(the only book that made me cry)
7. William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliette

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again
1. Imitation of Life
2. For Love of Ivy  
3. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
4. The Gladiator
5. Love Actually
6. King Arthur
7. BBC's Pride & Prejudice

Seven People I Want to Join in Too
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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Plotting workshop @ DancingWord

 Join Dancing Word for Susan May Warren's writing workshop "Plotting for the Heart, Soul and Mind" on Friday, December 2nd, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific in the Dancing Word chat room. She will teach plotting techniques to participants in this moderated online workshop.   The Perfect Match In Sheep's Clothing Susan's titles include: IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING, HAPPILY EVER AFTER, TYING THE KNOT, PERFECT MATCH, FLEE THE NIGHT, and ESCAPE TO MORNING.  Eligible workshop participants will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of the author's latest novel in the Team Hope series, ESCAPE TO MORNING.

To learn more visit Dancing Word.
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A Horeseman Cometh

   Comes A Horseman Comes a Horseman is the 2nd most talked about book on Technorati. TL Hines and the Christian Fiction Book Alliance, featured the novel last month. It sounds so juicy like a great New Year's Eve read post, New Year's Eve service at church. I'm so behind in all my personal reading, which is good. It means that this genre is crunk to deaf.:)
Who's read it, already?
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Walk Worthy's 5th Anniversary

Happy Anniversay, Walk Worthy Press!

   "A lot of urban fiction tends to be hardcore, what I call booty books," says Pam Perry, owner of Ministry Marketing Solutions and avid reader of   Stinson's books. "If you're a Christian, you don't want that in your spirit. When you pick up a Walk Worthy book, you know this book is good and it ministers to me and inspires me."

Come Celebrate with Denise Stinson, her staff, and authors at:

 Featuring authors Yolanda Tonette Sanders, Angela Benson and Judy Candis

  • Gospel skits and praise and worship service

    1 p.m. Saturday

    Eastlake Baptist Church, 12400 E. Jefferson, Detroit


    248-737-1747 or

  • Cassandra Spratling of Free Press did  a nice tribute article to Denise. Check it out here.


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