Tuesday, July 31, 2007

You in a Bubble

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This Saturday I attended my friend, Sherri Lewis' book release party. We shared a very special time. Her family surprised her when her favorite aunts came to town for the party. Her sisters and coworkers shared how they all have had a hand in bringing her debut novel to fruition. Then her family began to tease her about disappearing for days in the name of writing her book.

While listening to all of this humor, I found the answer to a question I often receive from some of my other writing friends and reader's of this blog:

How do I write a book[make a CD, paint, create] without alienating my family and friends?

It's easier than you think. In fact by doing a few of the things I will share with you, you will begin the foundation of taking your inspired art public.

Why is this important, Dee?

As The Master's Artist we do not only exist in this world to help ourselves. We also exist to edify the Body of Christ. Yet creating art is a solitary act. We must draw into ourselves to tap into souls and God's plan for our works. We need to be alone to concentrate, create and conference with God about it. But we can't do this alone. We aren't designed to do this alone. In the Book of Acts we read that Paul did not work alone. He had a team. While in prison[Book of Timothy] Paul was imprisoned, yet his works went forth, because he shared his expression and his teaching with Timothy. So how successful will we be? Like the old proverb if a tree falls n a forest with on one to hear it, then does it make a sound? If you write a novel and no one knows about it, then do you have a book?

You do, if you invite your family and friends to do one or all of these things:
  1. To become members of your personal crit group.
  2. To become members of your prayer cell.
  3. To become a member of your street team.
  4. To become a city host.
  5. To host a bookclub.
Next week I will go into each point in more detail. How do you include your loved ones in your art process?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mom's Win a Flat Panel LCD HDTV

Yes, you read that correctly - even though I can hardly believe it myself - 5 Minutes for Mom are giving away an Insignia® 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV!!! This incredible prize is valued at $799.99 and is courtesy of Best Buy.

What do you have to do to enter this contest?

Click here

This is not a spam blog entry.Come back here and let me know if you enter.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Evolution of Christian Fiction Blog

I created Christian Fiction Blog three years ago to post a few book reviews, snippets of my magazine and newspaper articles, and share my joys and frustrations about Christian media industry and parenting my seven-year-old, Selah. Since then this blog and my life have evolved. I've met more people and discovered a movement that I didn't know I was a part of until it found me. Not only are The Master's Artist creating quality, relevant, entertaining, and illuminating literature, but they are producing music, movies, plays, clothes...an urban Christian lifestyle.

What is an urban Christian lifestyle?

A way of living that recognizes that we live in the world, we have a mission to speak truth to that world, yet we haven't negated the world. We don't belong to a Christian counterculture. We don't spend our dollars in only Christian retail stores. We don't just watch Christian TV. We don't just listen to safe music. We don't just worship in a church with just our race. Our bodies and souls were built for praise and worship. We are not afraid of the world. We are not afraid to fight for the souls that exist in it. We are not afraid to live boldly for Christ.

I want to begin talking about this life movement and how it relates your writing, your world and your purpose.

Is that okay with you?

Thanks, Dee

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First Chapter Romance Contest

Gather is very pleased to announce the next generation of First Chapters: The Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. On August 1, we’ll launch this new competition in conjunction with Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books imprint and Borders. This unique opportunity will enable one talented Gather member to win a guaranteed publishing contract, along with a $5000 cash advance!

Here’s How It Works: From August 1 through August 22, aspiring romance writers will have the opportunity to submit a full-length romantic fiction manuscript for consideration. Over the course of the competition, authors will post chapter one of their manuscripts in the First Chapters Romance Group. These chapters will be rated by the Gather community and the Gather Editorial Team, and five finalists will be selected through two rounds of voting. (See our new voting guidelines.) One Grand Prize Winner will then be chosen for publication by a panel of judges.

So are you an unpublished author who’s passionate about getting your romance novel into bookstores? Well, put away your unrequited query letters and enter The Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. For those of you who don’t have a romance novel at the ready, readers are needed, too! In the weeks to come, you can join other romance lovers and writers to help read and rate the entries. Who deserves their big break? YOU can help decide. Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer Reading Meme to the Enth Power

I said I was not going to do these kind of things anymore, but then I saw lisa Samson take a stab at this, then Claudia, so I need to break anyway...Hey! Why don't you join me.

Here's the Rules.
* Bold the ones you’ve read.
* Italicize the ones you want to read.
* Leave in normal text the ones that don’t interest you.
* Put in ALL CAPS those you haven’t heard of.
* Put a couple of asterisks by the ones you recommend.

Like Lisa and Claudia and whoever else, I put a ++ by those I started but didn't finish.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)++

5. The Lord of the Rings:Return of the King (Tolkein)

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings (Tolkein)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

10. A FINE BALANCE (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)

13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix** (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)++

16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)**

17. FALL ON YOUR KNEES (Ann-Marie MacDonald)

18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)**

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)**

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

31. Dune (Frank Herbert)

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell)**

35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)


37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much Is True (Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) **

43.Confessions of a Shopahaulic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. The Bible **

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)**

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) Received the collection for a highschool graduation gift.**

53. ENDER'S GAME (Orson Scott Card)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens)

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)**

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)**

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

5. FIFTH BUSINESS (Robertson Davies)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) **

67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)**

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden(Frances Hodgson)

76. THE SUMMER TREE (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)**

81. NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE (Timothy Findley)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83.Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. WIZARD'S FIRST RULE (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

88. THE STONE DIARIES (Carol Shields)

89. BLINDNESS (Jose Saramago)

90. KANE AND ABEL (Jeffrey Archer)

91. IN THE SKIN OF A LION (Michael Ondaatje)

92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)**

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)**

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)**

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Forensics & Faith: Book Expo

Forensics & Faith: Book Expo

I'm on the fence about book fairs. We have quite a few here in Atlanta. My concern would be how would authors be seen. Will they purchase their own booth space? Does the publishing house decide which authors to feature? Christian writers of color rarely receive exposure. However I wouldn't feel comfortable with an African-American section either.

But having a place where readers can meet their favorite authors would be great.

Last year I coordinated the Christian Fiction Panels for the Romantic Times Booklover's Convention. Next year there will not be a Christian Fiction Panel. So we need more outlets for our authors to meet its readers.

Write Your Own Story Challenge

This week I thought we would do something fun here at Christian Fiction. We would Write Our Own Story. I will begin with a paragraph from a story I dug up out of my trashcan and you will add onto it. You can add on here in the comments section. In Meebo in the sidebar or your own blog. Let's get started.

by Christian Fiction Blog

My purpose in this life-- until two weeks ago-- was to make men Gods.
To be honest, we, women do it for free all the time. Take my family for instance. My grandma cleaned houses and steamed clothes, so that Grandpa Johnny wouldn’t feel bad every time he blew the harvest money on a new moonshine still or on promoting a new, shady blues band. Mama straightened her hair and bleached her skin, so that Daddy wouldn’t stand out too much at the annual company picnics. And my sister, Dana knocked on doors, seeking money to support my brother-in-law, David’s newest church efforts.
So to be paid ridiculous amounts of money to fluff their feathers and shout their names to every rooftop, magazine editor, club owner and radio dj in my grasp, is a done deal.
God made me a publicist. It’s what I do best until I acquired the worst client ever.
Jason Griffith.
- Dee Stewart

Saturday, July 21, 2007

How do retreat for a Write Weekend?

Wednesday I left my home to have a write weekend.
What's that, Dee?

It's my version of a writer's retreat, except you have your kids and your family tagging along. Selah's sleeping at the foot of the bed. We're an hour and a half at my mom's. She lives in the boonies and has a real nice printer and Windows XP. It's better than a retreat. I have free nanny service (my little sister lives with my mom,) I can write without distractions of my normal life and I get to use updated equipment. Best thing about my write weekend is that I get the chance to be focus on what i do best for God, The Master I get to to hone in on my craft and write. If you're like me you're constantly editing books, reviewing books, building book marketing campaigns and the consultant work. But you're not doing the thing you love more than reading...writing. Sharing your own voice with the world. So I'm here. It's 1:20 in the morning. I'm not tired. The house is quiet and I'm taking a teeny tiny break to ask you:

What are you doing to make sure that your writing life is your life? Do you attend writer's retreats? Do you hire babysitters for the weekend? What?

My tried and true suggestions:

1. Go on a Writer's Retreat
Two years ago my ride or die chicks, The Black Atlanta Christian Writers Group went on a writer's retreat here in Atlanta for the weekend. We received a group rate at the Girl Scouts Retreat Center. The lodging included meeting space, our rooms, and incredible food. We had a chef y'all. Check your local B&B's and hotels for something similiar.

2. Have a Write or Die Night.
Get your chicks or dudes and head out to an all night cafe and write.

3. Turn your Critique Group meeting into a Write Day.

4. Writer's Day Out
Reserve a meeting room in your public library. Pay a sitter. Take the kids and you to the library. Let the sitter keep the kids in the meeting room, while your chicks and dudes write and research.

5. Host a BB&Write at your own home.

Any more suggestions or things you've done?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Book Cover Survey & Contest

Bethany House Publishers are seeking reading enthusiasts to complete a bookcover survey for an upcoming release. Participants can register for a free book giveaway. If you participate in the survey come back here and let me no which cover you picked. Click here to get started.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Suwanee: Best Place to Live

Money Magazine has named my town, Suwanee, GA as the 10th Best Place to Live in America. You can click the link to learn more about Suwanee.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Plug & Play: What are you Writing?

It's the weekend. I'm writing. A publisher wants my full manuscript, although I'm still on the fence whether my story is suitable for this publisher. I need an agent folks. Anyway...while I'm writing, I want to know what you're writing? Plug and Play in the comments section.

Friday, July 13, 2007

CF Project: Good Read Bookclub

Before I was a blogger, book reviewer I founded one of the largest interracial bookclubs in Atlanta- The Suwanee Reading Social Club. And believe me...we had fun.

So I'm missing the old gang ad thinking seriously about starting anew. This bookclub would both online and at the local level with a big goal to become national. It's objective would be to focus on fiction and non-fiction books written with a Christian worldview. We Members can choose the books and vote on their picks via online. Authors would share the first three chapters for free. Members would purchase the books on a subscription basis. Local Booksense or a publisher would provide rates for this club. The club would host reader and booksigning events.

This club idea is what I'm thinking about.
I would love feedback, interested parties willing to form an advisory board with me, authors wishing to be featured, and anything else that will bring to fruition. I will host online web conference in August to share what we have come up with. Anyone interested in receiving an invite to that conference, please contact me offline.

Thank you.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Review: Bottom Line

Title: Bottom Line (Heidi Elliott Series #2)
Author: Kimberly Stuart

The Mom's Group that had saved Heidi Elliot's sanity back when she was pregnant with her four-year-old daughter, Nora has gone on hiatus. In its place, the Friday Strut-n-Stroll club has provided two miles of adult company and release. As much as she loves being home finances are straining her relationship with her husband, Jake. So when she meets perky business-mom, Kyle Zimmerman, she thinks she has found the answer to their prayers. But the bottom line is can will she be able to mix salesmanship with spirituality?

The book is a nice read. It starts slow for me, but for its genre the pacing is about right. What I like the most about this [outside of one of the Solomon's Closet reps being named Laura Ingalls Wilder] was that Stuart began a discussion that Christian business women, particularly those of us who service the Christian Culture needs to be talked about further. (June 2008, NavPress, pp 272, $16.99. Lay your mouse on the underlined title to see Amazon prices)

But I don't think we should limit this discussion to just women.

This week was the Christian Retail Show in Atlanta. Now we're gearing up for the National Black Arts Festival, Women of Faith, the Harriette Austin Conference at UGA(a half hour from me), the Moonlight & Magnolia, For Sistahs Only, ACFW and God knows what else. So Christian artists are scrambling around trying to either get into the Christian Marketplace or stay in. And it's becoming more frenzied every year.

What can we do to ensure balance with our stories and our service to Kingdom Building?

I will be hosting an online conference for Christian Writers at Sormag in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for registration and workshop details.

Speedlinking: Coffee Break for Women

Filename: j0423792.wmf Keywords: beverages, books, breaks ... File Size: 19 KBEvery morning before I start my reading day I peruse my email, my myspace, my newsfeeds and bloglines. And I noticed a trend. Women are blogging and writing like mad!

Charlotte Morris is guestblogger at The Crime Sistahs Blog today. Talking about her love for Encyclopedia Brown.Je
anne Damoff writes about the beauty of imagery in God's Word at The Master's Artist Community. Beautiful post. My buddy, Tee C. Royal has a great post at Blogging in Black about Mommies, Balance & the Writing Life. She has interviewed authors: Lalita Tademy, Tiffany L. Warren, Gwynne Forster and many others.
Happy belated thirteenth birthday to Ty Samson, Lisa Samson's son.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Position Announcement, Publicist

Company: Thomas Nelson
Location: Nashville, TN


Thomas Nelson Publishers has an immediate opening for a Publicist to join the Fiction team. If you are looking for a career with a company that produces products that inspire the world, look no further!

Our ideal candidate will have previous experience in arranging author tours, booking national media, pitching feature articles, creating press releases, and arranging local interviews/bookstore events. 2- 3 years experience in publishing or an entertainment-related publicity/marketing field is required. A Bachelor's degree in Public Relations, Communications, Journalism, or related field is essential.

To learn more about this outstanding opportunity, our history and values, go to www.thomasnelson.com and click on the links for Employment, and About Nelson, respectively.

For immediate consideration, please send your resume and salary history to kcantrell@thomasnelson.com

Review: A Time for Hope

Time For Hope
Maxine Billings

Ex Model/horse riding enthusiast, Tyla Jefferson leaves Atlanta and returns home after her father’s death. She goes back to college and begins work as a registration clerk for Mercy Medical Center’s ER. But when she befriends her trainer, Hope Mason her faith in their friendship is tested.
(Kimani/New Spirit, August, 288pp., $14.95)

Read full my review in the August Romantic Times Magazine newstands now.
—Dee Y. Stewart, Reviewer

I love this cover.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

2007 Hurston/Wright Award Nominees Announced

The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation is pleased to announce nominees for its annual Legacy Award program.

The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award 2007 nominees are:
(Listed alphabetically by author)


Dominion (Grove/Atlantic, Inc.)
by Calvin Baker

All Aunt Hagar's Children (HarperCollins Publishers)
by Edward P. Jones

Nowhere is a Place (Dutton)
by Bernice L. McFadden

Jump at the Sun (HarperCollins Publishers)
by Kim McLarin

Half of a Yellow Sun (Knopf)
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Wizard of the Crow (Pantheon Books)
by Ngugi Wa'Thiong'O

Debut Fiction:

Ancestor Stones (Grove/Atlantic, Inc.)
by Aminatta Forna

Unburnable (HarperCollins Publishers)
by Marie-Elena John

Get Down (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux)
by Asali Solomon


The Last "Darky": Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (Duke University Press)
by Louis Chude-Sokei

Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley (HarperCollins Publishers)
by Christopher John Farley

BookMarks: Reading in Black and White (Rutgers University Press)
by Karla FC Holloway

Unbowed: A Memoir (Knopf)
by Wangari Maathai

The Skin Between Us: A Memoir of Race, Beauty and Belonging (WW Norton)
by Kym Ragusa

The River Flows On: Black Resistance, Culture and Identity Formation in Early America (Louisiana State University Press)
by Walter C. Rucker


Wind in a Box (Penguin)
by Terrance Hayes

Teahouse of the Almighty (Coffee House Press)
By Patricia Smith

The Architecture of Language (Coffee House Press)
by Quincy Troupe

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Speedlink: 2007 Christy Award Winners Announced

Atlanta- Yesterday the 8th annual Christy Awards dinner, sponsored inpart by Christianity Today International was held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, in advance of the International Christian Retail Show.

Michelle McKinney Hammond, author and speaker, hosted the event. I'm a big fan of her and was a little shy to be around her. Didn't bring one book of hers to autograph. But:I did score her new book-How to Make Love Work. And if you know my issues, you know God put this book in my hand : )

Exec. Dir.Donna Kehoe gave a surprise, honorary award to author, lecturer phenom, Phyllis Tickle. She was told that she would be introducing Lauren Winner, the keynote speaker not receiving an award. She did both with gusto and eloquence.

Lauren Winner, author and teacher at Duke University Divinity School gave the keynote address. She took us on a historical and humorous journey about women's fiction, redemption and identity. I was surprised to learn that she was a huge Sweet Valley fan and converted to Christianity after two Mitford novels.

The Christys honors the best in Christian fiction in eight categories. Winners below:

Contemporary Stand Alone - Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner(Bethany House)
Contemporary Series - The Brethren, Beverly Lewis (Bethany House)
Historical- Madman, Tracy Groot (Moody Press)
Lits- Sisterchicks in Gondolas, Robin Jones Gunn (Multnomah)
Romance- The Measure of a Lady, Deanne Gist (Bethany House)
Suspense- The Plague Maker, Tim Downs (Thomas Nelson)
First Novel- Where Mercy Flows, Karen Harter (Center Street)
Young Adult- William Henry is a Fine Man, Cathy Gohlke (Moody)

I met and made some new friends, interviewed some great authors and received the best hugs from: Jeanne Wynn, Donna Kehoe, Brandilyn Collins, Mary G, Camy Tang, Creston Mapes, Amy Wallace, Deanne Gist, Ane Mulligan, Gina Holmes, Claudia Burney, Meg Mosley & Lisa Samson. And I know I missed somebody, but I'm sleepy, so sorry.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Which 7 Conventions Must a Writer Attend?

This weekend I'm gearing up for the ICRS and CAABA Conventions. Both will be here in Atlanta and will be working in conjunction with one another. Tomorrow I will attend the Christy Awards and I will be eating too much the rest of the week, since so many writing buddies will be in town. To top it of my mother' s birthday is Sunday and I just baked a batch of rev velvet cupcakes. yum!

Yet, I wonder. All these conventions which ones are a must to attend.

I attended last year. The conference was great for meeting up with writing friends, befriending agents and editors that work in the CBA industry. Gina and I prayed in the prayer room. That was awesome. I attended Mary Demuth's workshop. The best thing there. I met Dave Long in the flesh. That was surreal. And I ate the juiciest brisket from a bbq stand I found in Dallas. I didn't have any. I just wanted to see what the fuss was about and sit kneecaps to kneecaps with the best people in the world. One good thing I learned was I had a more clear understanding of what CBA likes in an author. My only reservation for me was feeling separate because of my race. I thank God for the Atlanta Black Christian Writers Group,Claudia, Mary G, Ane Mulligan and Deborah Gyapong for having my back.

This convention isn't for non-published authors. However, next Tuesday CAABA will host an evening workshop for budding writers that is open to the public. Pam Perry, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Michelle Gipson, and myself will be there. Georgia Dome. Hit me off loop for details. CAABA are the AA arm of ICRS. Since many AA writers rely on Essence Magazine Stores you should check this conference out to meet with actual black bookstore owners. I hope in the future that more CBA members will include CAABA and that eventual there won't be a division.

3. The Raw Affair
Coming in September. This is a great convention filled with book reviewers, book clubs, authors and fun.

4. For Sisters Only
If you are an african-american woman author you need to plug into FSO. I always attend. Where can you go and sign books at one station and have Heather Headley singing two stations down, Joyce Littel making love connections on the other side of you and THe Original Diva's modeling new christian gear for ladies? Where?

5. Romantic Times Booklovers Convention
LAst year I facilitated the Christian Workshop there. I want to do more for next year. I'm relying on your input. But this is a great big, big convention designed for book buying fans.

6. BEA
I really want to go to this. I watched some great workshops on CSPAN two weeks ago. My writing buddies love it. It is the Bookexpo of America. The name alone says you have to go. I have some video of BEA in the sidebar.

National Book Club Conference. No brainer. A great convention to connect with bookclubs.

Now what would you add or change from this list?

Seitz III: The Spirit of Gullah

What fascinates you about the Gullah people?
What fascinates me the most is that the Gullah people have kept parts of their history, their heritage, in a place and time where it may not be the most popular or easy thing to do. The Gullah people revere their ancestors and work hard to bring honor to them. In modern-day times, this is refreshing and rare.
How did you obtain your research?
I began by researching on the internet, reading articles from newspapers and such. What I learned ultimately was that the media is often incorrect in its relaying of facts. After the book was written, I had a couple of people who knew first-hand about the Gullah culture read it and help me with my Gullah translations and Mount Pleasant African-American vernacular—not to mention customs and other important details. Those people were Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Alada Shinault-Small of the Avery Research Center at College of Charleston. Their help was immeasurable.
Why do you think their culture is important for a national platform?
I think I was drawn to the Gullah culture because I grew up on a South Carolina Sea Island. There was a large Gullah population on Hilton Head, yet I never understood the importance of it until I moved a little north to Mount Pleasant where basket makers are celebrated. When my eyes were opened, I wondered, “How did I not know about this culture sooner?” or maybe more importantly, “Did I not care?”
What I realized was that too many times Americans consider “black history” to be for blacks only. This is not true. Black history is “American history”. It’s important to all Americans to understand our beginnings—to understand one another. Learning about the Gullah culture, whether you’re black, white, Asian, it doesn’t matter…it’s important because it helps us to understand our beginnings and also how we can each retain unique aspects of our heritage, yet strengthen our connections between ethnicities. As a Southerner, there are also so many facets of Southern culture that are a result of direct contributions of the Gullah people—food, art, language, you name it.

Stay tuned next week Nicole will share her road to publication with us. If you have any questions for her, please leave them here in the comments section.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance: Island Inferno by Chuck Holton

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing



Chuck Holton


Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.

In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.

He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, and
Allah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.

Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.




As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.

A new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.

Fernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.

When Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?

"Island Inferno (Task Force Valor Series) is a boy-meets-girl story. But in Chuck Holton's world, boy meets girl in the middle of a jungle at 25mph. hanging under a parachute with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. You'd better plan on reading this in one sitting. And once you're done, you'd better give yourself time for your pulse to calm down."
----TOM MORRISEY, Author of Deep Blue, and Dark Fathom

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What Workshop Panel You'd Fight to Attend?

I'm in the planning stages of building Christian Reader Workshops for the 2008 RT Convention and a few other conventions I've been asked to think about facilitating. Learning from this year's panelists I would first like to know what kind of workshops would readers and/or writers bend over backward to attend. So I have set up a poll in the sidebar. Please vote. However, I think I'm missing a few topics to add to this poll and I need your help to do that.

What Workshop Panel You'd Fight to Attend?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Coral Moon: AN excerpt

Brandilyn Collins is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Web Of Lies, Dead of Night, Stain of Guilt, Brink of Death, and Eyes of Elisha just to name a few. She maintains an informative blog called Forensics and Faith where she daily dispenses wisdom on writing, life, and the Christian book industry.

Brandilyn also hosts the blog Kanner Lake: Scenes and Beans where you can read entertaining and eclectic posts about life in Kanner Lake from Bailey, Wilbur, S-Man, Jake, and other of your favorite characters from the Java Joint. Coral Moon (Kanner Lake Series) is the second book in the Kanner Lake Series.

Chapter 1

Kill tonight—or die.

The words burned, hot acid eating through his eyes, his brain. Right down to
his soul.

Only a crazy person would obey.

He slapped both hands to his ears, squeezed hard against his head. Screwed his
eyes shut. He hung there, cut off from the world, snagged on the life sounds of
his body. The whoosh of breath, the beat of his heart.

The words boiled.

His skull hurt. He pulled his hands away, let them fall. The kitchen spun. He dropped into a chair, bent forward, and breathed deeply until the dizziness passed.

He sat up, looked again to the table.

The note lay upon the unfolded Kanner Lake Times newspaper, each word horrific against the backdrop of a coral crescent moon.

How did they get in here?

What a stupid question. As if they lacked stealth, as if mere walls and locked entrances could keep them out. He’d been down the hall in the bedroom watching TV, door wide open, yet had heard nothing. Hadn’t even sensed their presence as he pushed off the bed and walked to the kitchen for some water.

A chill blew over his feet.

His eyes bugged, then scanned the room. Over white refrigerator and oak cabinets, wiped-down counters and empty sink. To the threshold of the kitchen and into the hallway. There his gaze lingered as the chill worked up to his ankles.

It had to be coming from the front of the house.

His skin oozed sweat, a web of sticky fear spinning down over him. Trembling, he pulled himself out of the chair. He clung to the smooth table edge, ensuring his balance. Then, heart beating in his throat, he forced himself across the floor, around the corner, and toward the front door.

It hung open a few inches.

They were taunting him.

He approached, hands up and fingers spread, as if pushing through phantoms.Sounds of the night wafted on the frigid air—the rustle of breeze through tree limbs, distant car tires singing against pavement. He reached the door, peered around it, knowing he was a fool to seek sign of them. The air smelled crisp, tanged with the purity of pine trees. The last vestiges of snow dusted his porch, bearing the tracks of his footprints alone.

He closed the door and locked it. As if that would do any good. He sagged against the wall, defeated and sick. How stupid to think they would leave him in peace. Hadn’t he seen this coming? All the events of the last few months . . .

Shoulders drawn, he made his way back to the kitchen and his inevitable fate.Each footstep drew him away from the life he’d built, reasoning and confidence seeping from him like blood from a fatal wound. His conscience pulsed at what he had to do.

The message sat on his table, an executioner beckoning victim to the noose. He fell into the chair, wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. He read the words, fresh nausea rising in his stomach. No misunderstanding their commands.They had a chess score to settle. He was their pawn.
He pushed back against the chair, arms crossed and hugging himself, the way he
used to do as a boy. Dully, he stared at the window, seeing only his own
pitiable reflection. For a long time he watched himself, first transfixed in
fright, then with the evolving expression of self-preservation.

If he just did this one thing, his debt would be paid. They’d leave him alone.

For another hour...two…he sat, forcing down the queasiness as he thought
through dozens of details. How he should do it. What could go wrong.

By the time he rose near midnight, he’d laid his plans.

Gathering the necessary items, shrugging on a coat, he slipped out into the
cold and soulless night.

Now that was creepy.Brandilyn you need to cut that out :)


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