Friday, February 29, 2008
Why write a novel, then call it a memoir?
News for Discussion: BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Misha Defonesca, a Belgian writer has admitted that she made up her bestselling "memoir" depicting how, as a Jewish child, she lived with a pack of wolves in the woods during the Holocaust, her lawyers said Friday. The book, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France.
Book giveaways: Camy Tang gives Missing in Atlanta.
Author Interview: Mary Demuth at Christian Writer's Forum
Publishing debate: CBA Fiction Limitations
Book Conferences: Faith in Fiction Booklover's Retreat
Book News: Pen America's tribute to Chinua Akebe and the 50th anniversay of his incredible book, "Things Fall Apart."
Book Reviews: Claudia Burney's Murder, Mayhem & a Fine Man reviewed at Mystery Book News
Book Buzz: The ESV Literary Study Bible.
Ariel at Bittersweet Life has a very good example of a book review for you to read. The book is The ESV Literary STudy Bible.
"The editorial input is succinct, lucid, and well-informed. It's also non-invasive, in that it doesn't attempt to insert apologetic, devotional, archaeological or theological material, except when it's directly tied to the main gist of the author's intent. "
If you're an author or blogger wanting to get into next week's speedlink, hit me up.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
This month, Christianity Today's , Gregory Wolfe featured his favorite blogs on spiritual literary writing. The Master's Artist, a team blog I write for every other Monday was picked. Yeah, Team!
The Master’s Artist
This site is an excellent example of a group blog, a true community of like-minded but highly individual writers. As they put it, they are “united by the blood of Christ and a love for language.” Topics range from the state of Christian publishing to craft issues to lyrical meditations on writing as a spiritual discipline.
If you have only read my posts, I encourage you to stop by every day and read the other bloggers. All wonderful people, whom I know and love personally. I'm so excited!
What's your favorite blog? (Hint, I'm cool if it isn't CFB. :)
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Thanks for all the emails supporting our newest feature: A Good Man Blog Watch. Today Christian Fiction Blog is featuring my college fan crush, Malik Yoba's MySpace Blog. Ever since I saw him on the Phil Donahue show speaking about The City Kids Foundation, then scorching the television screen as Detective J.C. Williams in Fox's New York Undercover , and now his sweet performance in Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married" the Movie I have been a fan. Met him once at For Sisters Only in Atlanta ions ago and he's the real deal good man. He's very nice and thoughtful if you've ever met him.
His blog doesn't just keep you updated with his latest projects, he has a working blog whereby he responds and seeks answers from his readers. This week he wants to know,What's On The Heart Of Men ?
I want to know that answer, too. So go over chime in and tell me something good.. :)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
From Publisher's Weekly's Review of Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White...
At this novel's heart are love and race-what happens when a self-described BAP (black American princess), the daughter of a famous megachurch leader, falls in love with a young white man. Zora & Nicky's dialogue about race is unflinching, with attitude, honesty and occasional humor. Burney pushes her prose to the edge of the edgiest in the "Christian fiction" genre, and then barrels right over. She doesn't sugar-coat, especially when it comes to sex, yet she manages to create a love story that's both erotic and chaste. Faith in Jesus comes to life on the page through Zora and Nicky's intense, if imperfect, soul searching.
I'm excited for you, Claudia.
Gospel Music Channel (GMC), the nation’s first and only 24/7 all-Gospel/Christian music television network, and DIRECTV, Inc., announced today that beginning March 19, GMC will be available to DIRECTV customers nationally on channel 338. Yey!!
I called DIRECTV last year asking that they add the channel. It's great others did, too. Yeah!!! BBJay, I can't wait to see your show.
"When do you think is the best time to love somebody, when they done good and easy for everybody is that what you think? You ain't done learning...The time to love the most is when his head is lowest and can't believe in himself 'cause the world don't whipped him so ." -Lena Younger, A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry
Today is Part 2 of Last week's discussion, Releasing the Spirit of Your Story. I received many comments. (Thank you.) As I read them I noticed a pattern emerge, which shape today's discussion.
For those of you who don't know I have been a Christy Book Awards Judge for the past three years. The Christy's awards honors excellent fiction written in a Christian Worldview. I am honored to participate and always excited to see what novels each publishing houses chooses as an entrant for this award.
What I have learned from this experience is that all of the novels nominated are written in a compelling way that captures a Christian's view of their world. Today let's take a look at some of the 2007 nominees in the romance category as an example and a tip builder for this segment of this series.
1. Build a Strong Spiritual Character Sketch
Know your character inside out before you begin your story. Tracy Groot's (Madman: A Novel) did so much research on Legion's character that she used the historical, geographical, political and cultural issues of that time period to shape his story arc. What emerges is a stark troubling image of a kidnapped soul.
You have to do a lot of prep work to not only build this character, but to keep his soul's journey a focus through the life of the novel.
2. Make Your Character's Dilemma Almost Redemptive Impossible.
What separates Christian fiction from others is the notion of redemption. There are novels with characters who have a measure of grace(Interview with a Vampire) or the human condition becomes universal(Field of Dreams,) but a Christian novel glorifies a universal, omnipotent, merciful God. The stories that capture this reality the best are those whereby their characters get themselves so stuck that even the reader can't figure how they will get out. (Example:Tim Downs, The Plague Maker.)
3. Learn the Power of Big Voice and Little Voice
What makes the stories that I review and judge crème is the story’s voice. The spirit of the story. I believe that character development, plot, theme, style, setting all hinge on how well we tap into the story’s spirit. Stories where the author allow their characters to speak about the world around them and their world at large understands the quiet power of voice.( Example:
Lisa Samson’s Straight up.)
So what if your character is a hooker, who snuck in a church balcony during early worship service on Sundays to hide from her pimp? It's believable, a hot mess and has a glint of light piercing through and is what your readers are after. They want to invest their time in a character they can see existing in their mind. They want to invest their time in a character who presents God in a way that hadn't seen before, but felt all along.
Keep these 3 ideas in mind as you tweak your novels. Subscribe.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
by Dee Stewart
As I prepare to submit my book proposal to agents for consideration I pause to talk with you about a few good book trends I have seen over the years. One is cross genre stories. An example of a cross genre would be People Choice Award Favorite Debut TV Show/ Drama, CBS' Moonlight - part vampire/detective/romance/historical. The lead is quite nice on the eyes.
Or Sharon Dunn's Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear(Random House,) a mystery/romance/comedy/bargain hunting tip builder novel. Yeah. She has bargain hunting tips sprinkled throughout the novel. And there's a sweet romance that builds between the teddy bear and Kindra that is so cinematic I could see this story turn into a movie. The novel is infectious. And that's what I want to talk about.
What makes a story irresistibly cool?
1. Have a great title
Your title should hint to what's behind the book, but also tease us. Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear surely does that.
The new movie, Jumper excites me to
2. Write What You Love
Cross genre stories that do well do well because the author has built a story around something they love. Sharon loves clearance racks and snooping for bargains. Of course, writing a cozy mystery suits her personality.
I love man gazing. My novels show this love for the male species. :) Actually I love African American church history and iconography, too. But that sounds so boring.
What do you love more than sunshine? Write about it and see what pops up.
3. Have a sense of Humor
Most great cross overs have humor infused in its tone. You have to have a sense of humor if you think you can couple a caper, art history and political thriller in one book. But Jill Nelson does it well with her To Catch a Thief Series.
4. Write well.
This is a no brainer, but it's a given. Plant your butt in your chair and write your heart out. When you start writing and you get to page 80 your real story begins to shape. Things you didn't think to include you find room for, a better plot twist than before becomes more apparent and you see how making your beloved pastor romantic lead into a fallen angel more fun to read then where he is right now.
5. Have fun.
Finally! That's what cross genre books are about. Having fun. The best writing advice I received from Chuck Pahlaniuk. He sent me a birthday letter and a gift box, as a thank you for participating in his writing workshop. In that letter he gave me more writing encouragement and begged me to have fun when I write. Three years later I finally agree!
More about Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear...
When a man turns up dead in a teddy bear costume, Ginger and the other ladies of the Bargain Hunters Network learn a lesson about trusting in God rather than in wealth as they try to solve the crime and clear one of their own.
Dee Stewart is a writing diva mother, Entertainment Editor for Hope for Women Magazine, inspirational book reviewer for Romantic Times Magazine, The Master's Artist Blogger and owner of Christian Fiction Blog. Her writings have appeared in: Spirit Led Woman, Gospel Today, Hope for Women, Anointed, The Dabbling Mum, Atlanta Christian Family, Infuze, Precious Times, just a few. Visit her at Christian Fiction Blog.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Most compelling contemporary stories don't spend a lot of time inside the head. Most romance plots aren't moving because of what someone thinks, but because of what someone feels about another person. So I have a problem.
Between my writing time I review and judge romance novels. And for some odd reason the stories published by a house that does not care for Christian orthodoxy seems to have more compelling and redemptive stories. The aesthetic value is higher. The characters are sticky and unforgettable. The plot matters. God pops on their pages. And nobody has to preach to me for me to see Him.
Don't get me wrong. Every year I read more and more works by Christian authors who deliver the big Wow. I believe more are coming. I have a few titles at my feet that I can't wait to share with you guys about. So I can't blame CBA houses for our lack of umph, I blame the writer. I blame myself.
Writing with Christ mind sometimes stilts me. How do you keep from watering down your story with too much inner talk? How do you free yourself from your own box where the spirit of your story breaks through and holds the story up? What must I do as a writer when Christ wants to do his thing?
This week we'll look at a few stories that are great examples to guide me and hopefully you. What stories have helped you? Subscribe.
Kim Brooks' He's Fine...But Is He Saved?
It's been almost two years since Michelle Williamson's boyfriend, Pierre Dupree, walked out on her to marry a minister's daughter. Since then, Michelle's friendship with her church buddy David has deepened into something sweet and special, but learning that Pierre has called off his wedding throws her into confusion. When Pierre wants Michelle back, she's forced to make a choice—one she may regret.
Monday, February 18, 2008
God made you, so of course, he believes in you. But why don't you? You know your daily schedule, commitments and limits. You also know what you are capable of doing.
For me. I'm an at home mom. Most of my day is spent managing my disability, helping Selah with school, reading and writing. Most of my down time is reading. What if I switch that around to most of my down time is writing? What could I possibly do? I believe I could write more.
One of my favorite songs of last year was Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers 's "Encourage Yourself." An excerpt from the lyrics...
Sometimes you have to speak the word over yourself, the pressure is all around, but God is present help. The enemy created walls, but remember giants, they do fall; speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord.
Write your favorite bible verse or author quote and stick it on your computer, put it by your bedside and inside your wallet and every where you visit the most in your home. Let those words encourage you to meet your mark every day.
My favorite quote: "Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere... You don't have to dress up, for instance, and you can't hear them boo you right away. " Anne Lamont
Allow yourself playtime
As children we played more than observed. We hated to sit on the bench. Now I am an adult and I'm beating other authors to sit on the bench. I'll read your book. I''l review your book. I'll line edit your book. I'll research more. Everything, but I'll write the book. This week let's switch that around. Let's play more. Write more. You know what you can do.
This week's goal: Let's have fun writing.
Share with me all week your writing goals and what did you do to meet it. The Christian Fiction Network is looking for critique partners. Sign up.
Nelson will publish roughly 20 graphic novels over the next two years, with the adaptations of Dekker's bestsellers the centerpiece. In 2007, Nelson released the Circle Trilogy, three fantasy graphic novels taken from Dekker's 10-volume Books of History Chronicles. The house will adapt at least four more YA novels (called the Lost Novels) from Dekker's prose series, two in 2008 and two more in 2009.
Tyndale signs fantasy author to book deal
Friday, February 15, 2008
When does that 15 minutes begin? Is it when you have crystallized a theme or idea in your mind and proudly announce to friends and loved ones, “I am writing a book?” Is it the minute you learn to juggle the creative and business side of writing, shopping your completed manuscript and securing a publishing deal? Or does it happen much later when you see your finished product properly bound with your name prominently on the packaging?
As writers, we are all somewhere in that process. Even though we may not have submitted our offerings for recognition and fame, we ultimately want someone to read it, right? I mean, we did have something to say. Somehow we are lead to believe that our book’s release date is the starting time and like a Domino Pizza delivery guy we are hell bent to deliver in 30 minutes or less.
Is the clock ticking on our book’s relevance? Does the amount of time our books sit on the shelves before being noticed and appreciated by the masses diminish its poignancy? Don’t we all wish that we have written a classic and definitive novel in our particular genre that will receive steady sales that leave our publishers with no other choice but to go into a second, third or fourth reprinting?
New authors, especially those not use to running into that phone booth as a mere citizen of the creative world and emerging as a book marketing expert, are particularly concerned about their book’s shelf life. They may still be on hold with the publicity department trying to figure out what their publisher is going to do to help market their book for them or in the line at Kinko’s printing out a thousand homemade flyers. What is a press release?
In Biblical times, Hezekiah, the King of Judah faced the end of his life. The prophet, Isaiah was sent to tell him, “set your affairs in order, for you are going to die.” A premature death was prescribed to Hezekiah. How does a man face his last and final days?
Hezekiah had a mild breakdown, similar to the one many authors have when they think of the thousands of books in the bookstore, or worse, in their living room, that they have no idea how to move. Hezekiah didn’t accept the timeline given to him. It is written that on his sick bed, he turned his faith to the wall and prayed to the Lord, reminding Him at the same time of how faithful he had been.
“Father, remember the countless hours I have spent, writing, researching, editing and re-writing this novel. I got up every morning and completed my morning papers like Julia Cameron suggested in The Artist Way. I cut my ties to the literal and tried my best to show-not-tell as outlined in the Elements of Style, by Shrunk and White. Not to mention the money I spent in conferences, writer’s workshops and retreats. I understand its all part of the deal. The books are not going to sale themselves. Please don’t let them send my book back to the publisher. Please, Lord, I’ve got to make back my advance.”
The Lord heard Hezekiah’s plea and agreed he was indeed faithful to his craft. God promised he would heal him and added fifteen more years on to his life. Another fifteen. What could we do with another fifteen minutes of fame. Maybe we could truly make a coast to coast book tour. That might be just enough time for the producers at Oprah to unearth your book from the slush pile of perspective Oprah Book Club picks. Heck, you need that extra time just to explore the infinite possibilities of on-line marketing-the real new frontier.
So we can learn a thing or two from Hezekiah: don’t let critics mark the time of death for your book, stay faithful to your craft, and take a kneel beside your laptop or PC, stare at that that wall cluttered with pin ups of character sketches, outlines and literary contacts and pray for mercy.
Sherryle Kiser Jackson is a fresh new voice in Christian Fiction. Her style is an honest commentary on her life with Christ. Soon and Very Soon is her debut novel from Urban Christian. Experience her christian chronicles that are Biblically based and out-the-Christian-box at the same time.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day! I have decided to choose my daughter, Selah and my mom, DJ as my Valentines this year. My ex's will duke it out this weekend. Pray for them. :) So I got Selah some goodies today and we will go eat somewhere kids can eat free tonight. If you go to Target stores today all the Valentine things on the $1 aisle are 25 cents. I loaded up everything. At Dollar tree I got her a green dinosaur valentine balloon with a matching snow globe, then found a card at Target on the same clearance aisle that matched that. Found a white poodle at Dollar General for $3 for my mom. I need to stop being a cheapskate and get a digital camera, so I can show you this poodle.
My gifts to myself: Dove chocolate bar, John Legend's Live from Philadelphia CD, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married DVD, two dresses my ex's would loose their eyes if they saw me wearing them and an ex-hubby I can carry in my purse. It's a stress reliever doll. If I get angry I can squeeze it. Got that at the Dollar Tree, too.
My parting favorite quote for today...
You have bewitched me body and soul and i love...i love...i love you. (Mr. Darcy.)
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Who are your favorite fictional couple?
I hate to be a cliche' but I'd have to say Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara. They're a charming, cantankerous relational disaster. You just want to smack 'em both.
And what have you learned about them that helps you build the romance arc of your own stories?
Like Rhett and Scarlett (at this point, any southerner knows to add "bless their hearts" -which is required if you're insulting someone) my characters are extremely flawed. My books tend to be populated with broken - or at least bent - people. But they're so likeable, you're rooting for them anyway. Dylan Foster (bless her heart) just can't quite seem to get it right, which keeps the tension running all the way through the story. You WANT it to work out between her and David-who-owns-a-funeral-home-in-Hillsboro, but you're also sitting there thinking, Dylan, you need to go to time out, and David, for crying out loud, get a SPINE and stand up to this woman. They're a mess. That's what makes the story work. Happiness is sort of boring, if you think about it.
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As Dr. Bynum has stated in the past, she feels that reconciliation with her estranged husband could be a tremendous testimony to the body of Christ; however that is not the case at this time.
- From Bynum's Publicist
Whatever...I am thankful that the reconciliation story is rumor, but from reading the entire press release Bynum is digging a whole for herself by agreeing to continue in a relationship with Week's family for business matters.
See. This is a problem many domestic violence survivors can smell from a mile away. You leave yor abuser. His family and him ask for the chance to support your other endeavors. You accept. What you're saying is. I was hurt, but my basic needs instead of allowing God to supply them I am going to accept your proposal, because it is a safe, comfortable and familiar place.
I am struggling with this same issue right now. My ex wants to reconcile. He knows my situation, because he help put me here. We have a child together and he knows my position on Christian parenting. So it's Valentine's Week, a week after my birthday. I'm feeling nostalgic. Just watched Perry's Why Did I Get MArried and Fool's GOld all in one week. I'm in a forgetful, romantic, pressed for money mood. But if I allow his family to babysit our daughter, what I am saying to my daughter is that I will risk putting her in harm's way, because I want to be the good girl. I want my fantasy romance with this man to be storybook real. Bologna.
You want to talk about ministering to women who have suffered abuse, then you dig in and experience the discomfort, the separation, the heartbreak and the longing until God moves it. I'm not talking to Bynum, I'm talking to sisters like me who are struggling with whether I should give this man another chance, because I miss the roses more than the look in his eyes when darkness disconnects from you.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
On Serenading Tyler Perry and her 3 WOW Moments
Chandra has worked with some of the most influential people in the entertainment industry today including: Kenny Leon, Debbie Allen and Roy Ayers. In 1986 she replaced Mary Davis as lead singer for the S.O.S. band, a Billboard chart-topping R& B Band. Later she returned to the stage to perform off Broadway in musicals like “The Amen Corner” and “Sophisticated Ladies.” So it was no surprise that Tyler Perry recognized her talent and cast Chandra in three of his plays: “I Know I Been Changed”, “Madea’s Class Reunion” and “What’s Done In the Dark.”
He’s so enthused with Chandra’s sound that he wants the entire world to embrace her. This February when his last year’s hit stage play, “What’s Done in the Dark[which she stars in]” hits the DVD stores shelves a promotional insert has been included in ever DVD. The insert introduces Chandra’s new CD, “The Real Me.”
In January WOW! Magazine chatted with Ms. Currelley about the CD, her personal WOW moments and how she serenaded Tyler Perry’s soul.
Monday, February 11, 2008
The suit, filed Monday, claims New Line was required to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts to Tolkien's estate and other plaintiffs, who contend they only received an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began.
The writer's estate, a British charity dubbed The Tolkien Trust, and original "Lord of the Rings" publisher HarperCollins filed the lawsuit against New Line Cinema in
..."The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court," Steven Maier, an attorney for the Tolkien estate based in , said in a statement. "New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures."
My thoughts: Are you serious? Not a penny?
Ever get to the end of a project, then wonder was this the best use of my talent? I am in the final editing phase of a novel, but lately my heart has been tugging at me. My story is good. No complaints. But...this year I want to go a level higher in my writing. So when I received John Legend's Live from Philadelphia CD from my godmother for my birthday that tug turned into a bonafide-only-Dee-could-write purpose.
So I have begun another rewrite to make sure I infuze what I know God has been telling me to say, but I felt it was too uncommercial/unmarketable to discuss. Social justice--unlike anyother thing in my life right now--makes me want to write stronger. Be better. Affect the world. Now I wonder. Has anyone else been changed?
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I'm on the fence about entering the ACFW Genesis Contest. Entered before I had good marks, but...'
- what is the benefit for participating?
- how does help an unpubished writer?
- can a writer of color receive a fair shot to enter?
More Chatter Box:
- Weekend Chatter: Obama on Christianity Today
- My Weekend Chatter Box Response: Christian Curse
- How Twitter can Create Momentum for your Book Tour
The contest is open to any writer who has never been contracted in book-length fiction (40,000 words or more) from any publisher.
Any manuscript that has previously finaled in the Daphne including honorable mentions is not eligible for entry again.There is no limit to the number of entries per author, but each entry may be entered in ONLY ONE category.
Membership in Romance Writers of America® and/or MRSRWA is not a requirement for entry.
Winners will be announced at the RWA® National Conference in San Francisco in 2008.
The first place entry in each category will receive an engraved bookmark, a cash prize of $25 and a gift certificate for one COFFIN online class.
The second-place entry will be awarded a certificate, a cash prize of $15 and a gift certificate for one COFFIN online class.
The third-place entry will be awarded a certificate, a cash prize of $10 and a gift certificate for one COFFIN online class.
The remaining finalists will receive certificates.
The top overall scoring entry will receive the Daphne du Maurier Award.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Every campaign has its theme song, and now, apparently, every Democratic
candidate must also have his or her own dowager African-American
literary icon. Last week, poet, memoirist and greeting card scribe Maya Angelou
-- who read "On the Pulse of the Morning," a poem she wrote in honor of the
occasion, at the 1993 inauguration of Bill Clinton -- has just published a poem paying tribute to Hillary Clinton.
This week, novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison sent a public letter of endorsement to Clinton's main rival, Barack Obama.
Wekend Two Cent Question: Who gives a flying flip? Although I am a writer and a fan of both writers, who they endorse don't amount to a hill of beans with me. Does it you? If so, why?
Friday, February 08, 2008
"They[Bymun & Weeks] both need spiritual healing from the Lord, but they're committed to rebuilding their marriage ... Please give them some privacy."Oh, they can have some privacy alright. I don't know these people and I'm trying hard not to be judgmental. I'm a domestic violence survivor and I hope that whatever is going on between the two also results in an apology to others like me. We struggle daily with shame, heartbreak and financial woes, because we have left our abuser. I'm a bit rich right now. I hope all goes well...Better yet, I hope this is a rumor.
Becoming Jane Austen(Bethany House). This is the novelized version of the movie, Becoming Jane, which is a fictional account of Jane Austen before she became an author. Both the novel and CD are available just in time for Valentine's Day.
Melanie Well's My Soul to Keep (Dylan Foster Series #3)(Multnomah.) SMU psych professor, Dylan Foster witnesses a kidnapping during a child's birthday party in the park. The police have no leads and she's a little compulsive to give up on finding Nicholas, the kidnapped. So with the help of the six-year-old Christine, the party host and a girl with a special spiritual and psychological gift they set out to recover him. But what she finds is more than her worst nightmare. There's a good chance that her nemesis, Peter Terry (The Soul Hunter .) is behind this. If he is, then she's in for more than a fight for her life, but her soul.
This book is a psychothriller with a little romance sprinkled around. If you're a Allison Breenan or Dean Koontz fan, then you will warm up to this chiller. (Feb, 320 pp, $12.99)
Thursday, February 07, 2008
More than 350 people stayed in shelters last night as a rash of 60 tornadoes scarred Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky. Wednesday morning has brought to light the stark realization of damage done. Based on the scope of the disaster, the Red Cross is moving volunteers, equipment and supplies from around the Southeast to help with the relief effort to come, while keeping a close eye on the weather as more storms and flooding threaten other parts of the nation.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year,disasters like these tornadoes, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the
Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting http://www.redcross.org.
For Season Married Sisters - Stephanie Perry Moore's Wearing My Halo Tilted
For New Moms- Marilynn Griffith's Happily Even After
For College Chicas- Sherri Lewis' Dance into Destiny
For CSI/ Law & Order Lover's- Claudia Burney's Murder, Mayhem & a Fine Man
For Single Sisters- Kim Brook's He's Saved, But is He for Real
For BFFS and Bookclubs- Tia McCollors' The Truth About Love
I've read all these books and you will love them all. Check the both the top and bottom slideshows on Christian Fiction Blog to purchase these titles.
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North Atlanta Christian Fiction author, Cindy Woodsmall just crcaked the New York Times Bestseller's List for When the Morning Comes(34.) SO excited. If you know Cindy like I do she so deserves this. SHe is so giving and her books are so great to read. I'm not saying this because she's one of my ACFW benefactors and great friend, but because she is a phenomenal writer. Kudos.
Uwem Akpan at Calvin's Festival of Faith & Writing
New notable authors to Calvin Festival 2008 roster. Among them are preacher and writer , young-adult author (and two-time Newbery Honor recipient) Gary Schmidt, short-story writer Uwem Akpan, and poets Thom Satterlee and Linda Nemec Foster. More on Akpan.
Christian Fiction Needs you
This is the time of year when I am working on a special project for CBA. It is also the time when I receive tons of book review requests. So I'm seeking reviewers. Get at me.
New Cave Henricks Christian Program Head
Dennis Welch, Cave Henricks Communications's v-p and publicity director, will head the agency's Christian program. Earlier he was a senior staff writer and director of marketing for the Gallup Organization's Faith division for 12 years.
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008
We are not converted only once in our lives but many times, and this endless series of large and small conversions, inner revolutions, leads to our transformation in Christ.
"WHAT ARE YOU GIVING UP FOR LENT?" This long-established custom of giving up treats, chocolates, caffeinated or sugary beverages, alcohol, or tobacco is perhaps the way we most often think of Lenten discipline. And it makes good conversation in casual situations. But we know it is surface stuff. Choosing to give up something good for something a bit less is a play-it-safe strategy. Something tells us there is more to spiritual transformation than this. We suspect that playing it safe is not what Christ lived and died for.
Thomas Merton's view, that we must undergo a series of large and small inner revolutions, is a truer picture of Christian transformation. When we choose some exercise for Lent, daily worship, daily prayer, abstinence from one thing or another, it is not so much the practice that transforms us. It is our willingness to change. And Merton says the process is endless. It's not about getting there, it's about being on the way.
Lent is our chance for a fresh start, a new page. We consciously let down our defenses against the grace of God. We admit to ourselves our need for improvement. We notice how hopeless we are. We tell God we're doing our best but we wish we could do better. We put ourselves in God's hands.
That is what Jesus does when he goes into the desert. He puts himself completely in God's hands. In Matthew's Gospel we read: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. (My first thought: don't try this at home.) By exposing himself to hunger Jesus opens himself up to assaults from the Devil. But he isn't just performing daredevil stunts. He makes a deliberate surrender of the will, a spiritual exercise. Jesus is placing himself in the Father's hands.
The time Jesus spends in the wilderness is a time of preparation. It is a kind of training. Jesus has a larger mission to fulfill, a ministry, a life's work. He is preparing himself for a larger call. When we go into the wilderness with Jesus our motive is similar, surrendering ourselves as a kind of preparation.
But how can we compare our little Lents to the walk Jesus takes in the wilderness? Of course the gap is huge between our holiness and his. We can hardly say our own names in his presence. But Jesus doesn't notice this gap, or he seems to overlook it.
The huge divide between our lives and his is a gap he is constantly closing. He wants us to come into the wilderness with him, if only just to observe at first. "Watch how I do this," he seems to be saying. "Notice these steps, this maneuver." Practice, he is telling us. Practice, and you'll improve, without even knowing it. Practice.
One thing we can learn from Jesus in the desert is to fortify ourselves with God's word. When the Devil tries to goad him into turning stones to bread, as a kind of power play, Jesus answers with words from Deuteronomy, Scriptures he knows by heart: It is written, "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." The Devil wants him to break his fast. More important, he wants to weaken Jesus' allegiance.
What can we learn from just this little visit with Jesus in the wilderness? From watching him resist the Evil One?
We know, by watching Jesus, that emptiness is the beginning of holiness.
We know that we are blessed when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. We know we will be filled.
We walk with Jesus to be purified. We walk with him to be fortified. Nourished by sacrament and word, we walk through desert places more easily. We learn to deal with our own gaps, our lapses. We find that we can tolerate our hunger and our thirst.
We are converted not only once in our lives but many times. And the conversion is little by little. Sometimes it is as imperceptible as grass growing. But Lent gives us a time to move the process along. Intentionally. By small surrenders.
Merton says we "may have the generosity to undergo one or two such upheavals, (but) we cannot face the necessity of further and greater rendings of our inner self. . . ."
Merton says we cannot. But I think he knows we can. That is how our holiness grows, by small surrenders, without which we cannot finally become free.
If you would like to submit articles for this year's lent devotion, email me.
I thought I'd do something a little fun this year for my birthday and Christian Fiction Blog. Three years ago I wrote a piece for Rejoice Atlanta News titled, "Why Christian Men Don't Date Christian Women." I interviewed 3 eligible bachelors in Atlanta, author Tony Hunter was one of them and the results cracked me up. Anyway...I put the story to bed and hadn't thought about it until; last month when I was approached by James Riley of Finding Morris.com, a podcast devoted to 5 Christian men talking about real romance and showmance.
Now I can't disclose the entire interview, because I am prepping it for a magazine article. Instead I want to highlight James and other Christian men bloggers, who are doing it big right now. I think Every Wednesday this Month I will spotlight a new blogger. If yo want me to continue with this fun feature, then email me and subscribe.
Featured Blog: FindingMorris.com, Finding Halle Blog
Owner: James Riley
Other cast: Five male friends and an occasional guest
Location: Atlanta, but heard nationwide
Date launched: 2 years ago
Format: Podcast, episodes available for download or CD conversion.
Reason why he began blog: "My male friends and I have dated a tremendous amount of women and we wanted to share our discovers and help bridge the gap between Christian men and women.
Brothers know that most of us want a woman that looks like Halle Berry, knows Jesus for herself but knows when to put the bible down, and make love to her husband. On Finding Morris we have this saying, that says: "We may not know women, but men we know" Finding Halle will serve the purpose of informing the brothers on the way women see dating as a Christian. "
Season: Season begins February 11 when James reveals the results of his holiday marriage proposal to a young woman he is smitten with.
"Why don't Christian men date Christian Women?"
James Response: "Sex."
Stay tuned to FindingMorris. I hope to make a guest appearance this year. :) If they put me on what would you want me to ask the guys?
If you want to nominate your blog to be featured, join my mybloglog community.
My prayers are out to the people in Tennessee, especially the students at Union University in Jackson, TN, who were trapped in their dorms last night.
"This has been an incredible night for us...The campus has suffered major damage. About 40% of the residential life area is completely destroyed. We are grateful that there was no loss of life."Update: The nine students who extended injuries will recover. Good news. Expected damage to that school 30 mil.
-Dr. David Dockery, Union University President
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Today let's look at :
If you look at the top center of Christian Fiction Blog you will see my top book picks for February 2008 in a slideshow called CFB's Feb Faves. I sell about one or two books a day with this feature alone. Here are some other great ways to use Slideshow Widgets for your book blog/site: 1.To drive traffic to your site I don't upload all my blog entries to every social network platform that I have, because my purpose for joining those networks is to drive my members here to Christian Fiction Blog. However, the slideshow widget is so dynamic and eye catching that my Myspace buddies will recognize and remember to come to my site when they want to purchase a book. Amazon has made duplicating this widget so easy that you can plug your show into your:
- Any site that takes ajax application
3.To invite new visitors to linger on your site Just like soft music in a grocery store site visitors will stick around your site to watch the slideshow. As they watch they will peruse the site. They may see entries of interest to them.
4. To increase your subscriber base Send an email to your subscribers, who may not visit your site every month because they have an email subscription to alert them of the new books that you are highlighting on your site
5. To showcase bookstore specials I have not set this up on CFb yet because of time, but if you are an online bookseller you should use SLideshow WIdgets and Twitter to promote your store specials and book signings.
6. ??? You tell me what are other great reasons to use Slideshow Widgets?
Want to stay in the loop about this topic? Subscribe.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Christian music reality show, "Inspired Ambition," has been picked up for 12 episodes. The show follows budding CCM artist Erica Lane. Christian artists Everlife, Casting Pearls, Michel Tait of DC Talk, Family Force 5 and John Schlitt of Petra will share their personal stories of faith and the ups and downs of the music business on the series. The premier episode will air on JCTV at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 23.
Christian Fiction Blog Tours Defined
Frank Creed published an article today about the growing popularity of the blog tour. He breaks down the larger ones, then reviews th Sese review sources. I didn't know that blog tour creation had become a nice side business. I participate in blog tours, but t don't receive a dime. I guess I better maximize my moments in 2008.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
The Tyler Talent Contest
A day in His Life
Meet the House of Payne Cast
I watched it a few minutes ago and almost threw this laptop in the wall. Y'all I'm tired. I've been writing for years, but this year I have been writing day and night. I have a seven-year-old child who probably who sees the back of my head more than me. I'm writing a book review and blogging right now and will work on a few pages of my novel and I'm tired. Then I see all that Tyler does and guess what?He's tired, too!!
All I can say is if you think you want to be a writer ask yourself. Is this the kind of thing you will do rain or shine, day or night, flight to flight, no money, no recognition? If the answer is yes, then join me, cause I need some prayer partners and some good coffee. :)Also, which contestant did you like the best? I'll tell you my pick in comments...
Friday, February 01, 2008
It is February FIRST, time
for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST
day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST
and her book:
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER EXCERPT...
Tandy took a deep breath, tightened her grip on the sagging violet, sent up a prayer of thanks that she’d picked the Ann Taylor suit today—must look sharp when being fired--and stepped across the threshold.
"He’s waiting for you." Sympathy shimmered in Anna’s blue eyes. The Orlando sun shining through the window made Anna’s hair glow like a fresh pearl.
Tandy set the violet down on Anna’s desk. "Thanks, Anna. It’s been good knowing you. I wonder if you might coax this little guy back to life?"
Anna raised her eyebrows. "Tandy, how many times do I have to tell you? You’re a danger to plants." She smiled and wagged her finger. "You taking them in isn’t an act of kindness. You leave the greenery to us old chicks."
Tandy laughed. "Yes ma’am." She took another breath. "I guess I should go in now."
Anna sobered. "Guess so."
"Still on cup number three?"
"I just took in cup four. I doubt he’s taken a sip yet, though. He’s slowing
"Thanks for everything, Anna."
"You’re welcome, honey. Take care of yourself. And you call me if you need
Tandy nodded, only now realizing that losing her job also meant losing Anna’s
kind wisdom. She blinked hard. Crying at work would not do. She stepped to
Christopher’s door and knocked.
"Come." His deep voice bellowed through the door and Tandy’s pulse kicked up
again. This was it. For the first time ever, Tandy Sinclair was about to be
fired from a job. When she’d moved to Orlando to take this job and declare war
on the city that took her childhood, Tandy never would have guessed she’d
become an actual beach bum.
"Tandy, sit down, sit down." Christopher stood, gesturing to a chair and
patting the telltale stripes of his Ben Silver tie. "Seems we have a little
situation on our hands." The hawks circled one story below his window, the tops
of their feathered backs lit by the sun.
Tandy sat down and nodded.
Christopher’s padded leather chair creaked with his weight. He settled back,
propped his elbows on the arms, and templed his fingers. "Harry tells me he’s
headed for a prison cell."
She nodded again.
"He also tells me that would be your fault."
Another nod. This must be what bobbleheads felt like.
"And he says he’s ready to sue this firm for inadequate representation unless I
do something about it."
She quirked an eyebrow. Score one for Harry.
"I’ve assured Harry that there must be some misunderstanding since you’re one
of the most capable attorneys this firm has seen in quite some time. So,
please, Tandy, explain to me how one of our biggest clients, someone for whom
you serve as lead counsel, suddenly finds himself facing jail."
Read the full chapter here.