Monday, March 31, 2008

The Angel’s Visitation

It first appeared as a gentle glow, almost like a child’s night-light. Heavy shadows filled the room as the boy lay face up, covers tucked neatly under his arms. A slight smile on his face hinted that he was in the midst of a pleasant dream. Ryann Watters, who had just celebrated his twelfth birthday, rolled lazily onto his side, his blond hair matted into the pillow, unaware of the glow as it began to intensify.

Shadows searched for hiding places throughout the room as the glow transformed from a pale yellow hue to brilliant white.Ryann’s eyelids fluttered briefly and then flickered at the glare reflecting off his pale blue bedroom walls. Drowsily, he turned toward the light expecting to see one of his parents coming in to check on him.

“What’s going on?” his voice cracked as he reached up to rub the crusty sleep from his eyes.

... Ryann was fully awake now and quite positive that the dazzling aura facing him from in front of his window was not the hall light from his parents entering the bedroom. Golden hues flowed out of the whiteness, showering itself on everything in the room. It reminded Ryann of sprinkles of pixie dust in some of his favorite childhood books. His blue eyes grew wide trying to capture the unbelievable event unfolding before him.

“Fear not, Ryann,” a confident, yet kind, voice began. “I have come to do the bidding of one much greater than I and who you have found favor with.”

Rapid pulses in his chest gripped Ryann as he struggled to understand what was happening. Instinctively he grasped his navy blue bed sheets and pulled them up so that only his eyes and the top of his head peeked out from his self-made cocoon. Squinting to reduce the brilliance before him, Ryann stared into the light, trying to detect a form while questions scrambled around his mind. What had the voice meant by “finding favor,” and who had sent him?


It is April FIRST--no foolin'--, 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 chapter!This month's special feature author is:ERIC REINHOLDand his book:

Ryan Watters and the King's Sword

(Creation HouseMay 2008)

Illustrated by: Corey Wolfe

Blogcation: A Writing Prompt

Morning, today I decided not to post my reply to this weekend's chatterbox question: Why isn't AA Christian Fiction Good for two reasons:
  1. So that those of you who wanted to respond can
  2. So that I can take a blogcation for the week.
  3. Take this time as an opportunity to find bloggers for Christian Fiction.
I have received emails from readers who didn't want to comment on the blog, because they didn't want to add fuel to the fire. The question is controversial, but not meant to bash these writers, as I am one. However, the question is one I've heard too many times to not address and put this theory to end. If you want to respond, you can anonymously or email me off loop. I will pull together my best responses from you in my reply.

I have a goal to complete the final edits of my novel this week. It's time that I move on to another book that won't let me go, as well as write the first chapters of Book Two of Angel on the Back Pew, Working Title The Black Male Bride. So this week check out the blog and the Christian Fiction Network, people are talking.

In April Christian Fiction Blog will make a huge announcement. With that announcement I would love our readers to be a part of what I will share. Christian Fiction Blog is looking for guestbloggers, regular feature bloggers, and vloggers. Email me off loop and I will send you are guidelines. These bloggers will receive perks, so I want be wasting your time.

Thanks all and continue talking. If you want to nominate your best blog entry this week for CFB's Best Blog Post ever, leave it in the comments with your trackback information. If you don't have one, then consider this a writing prompt for your blogs.

Happy Day Before April Fools

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekend Chatterbox: Why Isn't AA Christian Fiction Good?

It's a little gray in Atlanta, so if you're inside, here' s this weekend's chatterbox question?

This question comes from Josette, a Christian Fiction Blog reader . I've heard the same question in a roundabout way in my writing circle, so have your way at it. I'll post my reply on Monday.

Question: Why Isn't AA Christian Fiction Good?

Dee, I hesitate to make this comment because I call myself a Christian fiction writer... But I have NO BOOK, NO AGENT, and only a terrible first draft of my novel as my claim to fame. What gives me the right to criticize anyone's work, you might say. In my defense, I do support African-American Christian Fiction, as my bookshelf and my wallet can attest. Honestly, though, *sigh* most of it is not good. With the exception of a few of my favorite authors (I won't name names), I struggle to make it to the end of most Christian novels written by African Americans. I see many of the cardinal flaws that I try to avoid or edit out of my own writing: there's too much telling and not showing, characters are stereotypical or flat, conflicts and stakes aren't high enough, and much of the dialog is unnatural. Since a lot of Christian fiction is being published by imprints of large publishing houses, I'm beginning to wonder how these novels made it past editors? Why isn't our stuff good enough to win Christy Awards?

Related article: Releasing the Spirit of your Story, Part 2":

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prayer Request: Kristy Aussietigger

Author Kristy Aussietigger's husband drowned on Easter. Please lift her and her family up in prayers. You can speak to her through her blog at South East Country Wife

5 Things to Do at 2008 BEA AA Pavilion in LA

. May 30 - June 1, 2008.

National BookExpo America, one of the largest book trade exhibits in the world, provides independent African American book publishers, self publishers, authors, Black Interest Imprints at major publishing houses, distributors, literary agents, publicists, librarians and bookstore owners exposure to more than eighty thousand book buyers and booksellers from across the globe. Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA

Here are 5 Things You Should Participate in while there:

  1. The African American Pavilion and BookExpo America , Friday, May 30th at 9:00am, beginning with a ribbon cutting, celebrity speakers, and unveiling the art of Synthia SAINT JAMES throughout the pavilion.
  2. The African American Pavilion Welcoming Reception, Friday, May 30, 3-5pm, In the African American Pavilion Main Staging Area, hosted by Heather Covington of and speakers including:
    • Keynote Speaker, Terrie Williams, President, The Terrie Williams Agency,
    • Max Rodriguez, Founder, The Harlem Book Fair and Publisher QBR The Black Book Review
    • Melody Guy, Senior Editor, Ballantine Book and Publishing Director for One World,
    • Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes, Founding Artistic Director, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University (ASU)
    • Synthia SAINT JAMES
    • Donna Hill, National Best-Selling Author,
    • Curt Matthews, CEO, Independent Publishers Group (IPG)
    • Cevin Bryerman, Associate Publisher, Publishers Weekly
    • Pam Perry, Chief Visionary, Ministry Marketing Solutions, Inc.
    • Dr. Philip S. Hart, National Best-Selling Author
    • Kevin Wayne Johnson, Publisher, Writing for the Lord Ministries
    • Steve Rosato, Director of Industry Development, BookExpo America.
    • Ms. Denise Nicholas Two Golden Globe Nominations and Two Emmy Awards for the PBS special, Voices of Our People: In Celebration of African American Poetry as well as Four NAACP Image Awards for her embodiment of work. Ms. Nicholas is also the National Best-Selling Author of Freshwater Road.
  3. The African American Pavilion Exhibitors Forum (Meet the Exhibitors) Saturday, May 31, 1-3pm hosted by Renee Flagler of ASPICOMM Media and MC'd by Therez Fleetwood, author of The Afro-Centric Bride, featuring author Rachael Vassel, reading from her National Bestselling Book, Daughters of Men: Portraits of African American Woman and Their Fathers
  4. The African American Pavilion Reception and Awards Program, Saturday, May 31, 3-5pm, sponsored by Sheridan Books, Inc., Scholastic Inc., Oxford University Press, Amber Communications Group, Inc. and hosted by Heather Covington of will celebrate the achievements of these African American publishing professionals
    • The "Haki Madhubuti" Independent African American Publisher of the Year
    • Self Publisher of the Year
    • Christian Book Publisher of the Year
    • Bookstore of the Year
    • and Distributor of the Year
    • Sevenn industry professionals will be honored with The Third Annual Glenn Thompson "Lifetime Achievement" Award:
      • Toni Trent Parker "Author of the Year" Award,
      • The James Haskins "Pioneer" Award,
      • The Audre Lorde "Gamba Adisa" Award,
      • The Chester B. Himes "Street Lit" Award,
      • and The Octavia Butler "Distinctive Voice Writer and Publisher" Award.
  5. Keynote Speaker for the African American Pavilion Reception and Awards Program will be the tremendous George C. Fraser, National Best-Selling Author, Founder of FraserNet and the PowerNetworking Conference, author of CLICK: Ten Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships;.............
    • Cheryl D. Woodruff, President and Associate Publisher of SmileyBooks, the publishing co-venture between Tavis Smiley and Hay House, Founder and Former Associate Publisher of One World, Random House's multi-cultural imprint where Ms. Woodruff published such authors as Bebe Moore Campbell, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., and Connie Briscoe, upcoming authors being published this fall on SmileyBooks will be Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Cornell West and Tavis Smiley; AND ............Judith Curr, Executive Vice President, Publisher and Founder of Atria Books a division of Simon and Schuster, Ms. Curr to date has published over 105 New York Times Best-Sellers, incuding THE SECRET by Rhonda Byrne, the number one overall bestselling book in the United States;........ALSO
    • Dawn Davis, Vice President, Editorial Director, Armisted Press/Harper Collins and Pulitzer Prize Winning Editor, The Known World; Wade Hudson, President/CEO, Just Us Books, The nations largest African American Children's Book Publisher; Darrell Miller, Miller and Pliakas, LLP, client list includes Angela Bassett, Courtney Vance, Outkast and Ludacris; Tonya Evans-Walls, Publisher, Legal Write Publications, author, Literary Law Guide For Authors; Dr. Kenneth Edelin, Publisher, Pond View Press, author of Broken Justice: A True Story of Race, Sex and Revenge In A Boston Courtroom. More speakers and performers TBA.

This year The 2008 African American Pavilion at BookExpo America Glenn Thompson "Lifetime Achievement " Award is being presented to two of America's greatest literary and media giants:

  • Lerone Bennett Jr., the former Executive Editor now Executive Editor Emeritus of Ebony Magazine".
  • Tavis Smiley, the author of eleven books, including: The Covenant with Black America

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Three Deadly Words of this Book Reviewer

Stephanie Klose at Romantic Times Magazine sent me the link of a funny, informative compelling article the New York Times wrote about book reviewing called Seven Deadly Words of Book Reviewing.

For those who read my reviews I would love to know what words out of that group and more you've read in my reviews to the point you have dulled to my conversation. :) Here are a few words I know I say far too much are with my definitions for them:
  1. compelling-a story that has depth and expounds upon our culture in a deeper way than commercial fiction. good examples are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun
  2. balance-I use this word a lot. I mean I'm searching for a story that has a cast of characters that buttress the theme
  3. buttress- to hold up, to hold up the foundation of the story, usually the theme.
  4. ghost- the plot disappeared before the ending
  5. captivating-fascinating. few books captivate me, but i do use a lot
  6. lost its fizzle- story has lost its focus before it reaches the end
  7. stilted dialogue- the dialogue doesn't seem natural
  8. what others?

Prince Caspian Church Leader Event

Are you a Youth Church leader or a member of the youth laity concerned? Then attend Family Christian Bookstore's Leader Event Series on Disney's Prince Caspian(Chronicles of Narnia,) the Movie. The movie opens in May. Many church groups will be attending and talking about the movie through summer. Click here to learn more.

OT: Billy Jean 08

I know this is off topic, but I haven't been a fan of American Idol this year, but last night I flipped to it and saw this:

And I have to say I enjoyed Cook's take on Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. So I did a little online sleuthing and found a similar version from Sweden's Chris Cornell's 2007 Acoustic Live performance. Have anyone seen this one? What do you think? I'll throw in MJ's version, too for good measure...

Harry Potter. A Christian Theology Course

Harry Potter taught in a Christian theology course?

Danielle Tumminio, a Yale Divinity School graduate student and the instructor for Yale's Harry Potter course "Christian Theology and Harry Potter," said her academic background in literature and theology, combined with her personal interest in the books, inspired her to design the course.

The course uses all seven Potter books and the students examine Christian themes such as sin, evil and resurrection. - CNNU campus correspondent Patrick Lee
There have been debates over the past decade about Harry Potter's influence. Does it promote Witchcraft or does it contain Christian elements? Apparently the debate continues. My question is do you think Harry Potter, the series is worthy of literary analysis? Advise: Don't comment unless you've read the books. It wouldn't be a fair debate.

Harry Potter Reading Map courtesy of Round Lake Library

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Trailer Park Tuesday: Divine Divas

Every Tuesday Christian Fiction Blog spotlights a new movie, book or running stage play. Our pick for this week is Victoria Christopher Murray's Divine Divas, Young Adult Novel Series. I am so glad to see Victoria, Claudia, Jacquelin, Stephanie and other AA Women Writers write in this market, because I cringe every time I see a teen reading a Zane novel. This is a great response to that challenge. Watch and enjoy. Not for nothing I am concerned with the cover. Your thoughts? Click here to see the trailer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Who Met the Browns?

Haven't heard any good feedback about TP's Meet the Browns from those who have seen the movie already. I'll see for myself this week, but I want to know your thoughts? Late weekend chatterbox question: What do you think?

Cleaning the Edges of Contempo Christian Lit

The ACFW loop this week and weekend still chirps a discussion on edgy vs traditional Christian novels. Part of me thinks that that the argument is absurd. Christian aesthetics is as varied as Hip Hop. Why debate this? We can't homogenize this thing, even though at times we try. Christian Fiction are works that edify the Body of Christ and glorify God. But in Contemporary Lit an edge emerges, the objective blurs, faith seems as if it fades. But does it? No, of course not. So then the question--the real debate isn't about which style is better. The debate secretly becomes where is our faith in our stories? What is our Christian Worldview and is the true account apparent in our art?

Should we water it down or steep it in legalese? Should we beat a reader over the head with scripture or make new parables our generation can respond to? What hinders a novel from having a contemporary point of view, yet keep a razor's edge truth about whom we belong to? How do we do that without having our faith questioned?

These are all questions that don't continue the debate. They make the debate ridiculous. We're not preaching to the choir. We're not listening to ourselves, because I think we're afraid of the answers and what they might mean. Let's discuss...

Continue reading "Cleaning the Edges of Contempo Christian Lit" »

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Problogger Guest Post: How to Breathe Life Back into Your Blog

This weekend while I celebrated Selah's eighth birthday and Christ's Resurrection I learned that my article, How to Breathe Life Back into Your Blog was selected as a guest post at Daren Rowse's Problogger. Here's the link and a snippet from the blog.

photo courtesy of Dav O on Flikr
Updated: Thinking about pulling the plug on your blog?

I almost did last year after I found myself busy with other projects, my Adsense and Chitika checks were waining and especially after I noticed that many of my blog friends had shut down their blogs or were barely using them. At first I wondered was I kissing a dinosaur? Should I stop blogging and move onto something better?

But for some odd reason my blog would not go gentle into that goodnight.

Furthermore, as a host of niche book blog I still had tons of books to review, local and national book events planned, authors penned in my interview calendar and book news to get out. I couldn't end things, if I wanted to.

So I went back through some of the blog comments to get another perspective on the matter. To my surprise, I discovered the blog, had ideas, plans and things to share with me about our future. We began to reconnect and slowly CFB has brought back that blogging feeling to me. Perhaps your blog wants to do that to you.

Here are 5 things your blog comments provide that can help breathe life back into your blog.

Thanks, Daren for the opportunity.

Feedback for CFB: Do you use your comments to build a better blog?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bibles for Our Troops

Dear friend,

Requests for Bibles for our troops continue to pour in. This email just arrived:

"My husband's cousin is in charge of a brigade in Iraq and we would like to send Bibles to his whole brigade. They have already lost a Sgt. We could probably find out where to send them. How much would this cost? I believe there are 700 men and women in all. We have been praying for a way to reach these soldiers. His cousin, a Lt. Col., is not saved so we pray for his salvation also. Thank you."

Meeting the tremendous need for God's Word among our men and women in uniform is only possible with the support of people like you. Campus Crusade for Christ's Military Ministry is still receiving requests for 15,000 to 20,000 Rapid Deployment Kits each month.

To learn how you can help place these Kits-each with a New Testament, daily devotional, and evangelistic booklet-into the hands of our troops,
click here. Or visit:

Thank you for your support and prayers for our troops.

Blessings in Christ,

Megan Hawkes
Director, Donor Relations
Campus Crusade for Christ, International

Please feel free to forward this on to a friend. All gifts are tax deductible.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Review, Secrets of a Sinner

Secrets Of A Sinner
Author: Yolanda Tonette Sanders
Publisher: Kimani New Spirit
Release: May
Aspiring model, Natalie Coleman’s dream to live in the Big Apple is detoured when her mother dies of cancer. Natalie decides to sell her family home and move to New York. But all changes when she meets another obstacle, handsome Detective Troy Evans, then another, then others until she sees her truth…she’s her problem. She travels to her family home in Mississippi for redemption...

The full review is in the May issue of Romantic Times Magazine.


It is the Ides of March when we have a special blog tour for one of our FIRST members! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) Normally, on the FIRST day of every month we feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter! As this is a special tour, we are featuring it on a special day!

The special feature author is:
CAMY TANGwebsite and her book Only Uni

Zondervan (March 2008)

Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One) was her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) is now available. The next book in the series, Single Sashimi (Sushi Series, Book Three) will be coming out in September 2008!


Chapter One

Trish Sakai walked through the door and the entire room hushed.

Well, not exactly pin-drop hushed. More like a handful of the several dozen people in her aunty’s enormous living room paused their conversations to glance her way. Maybe Trish had simply expected them to laugh and point.

She shouldn’t have worn white. She’d chosen the Bebe dress from her closet in a rebellious mood, which abandoned her at her aunt’s doorstep. Maybe because the explosion of red, orange, or gold outfits made her head swim.

At least the expert cut of her dress made her rather average figure curvier and more slender at the same time. She loved how well-tailored clothes ensured she didn’t have to work as hard to look good.

Trish kicked off her sandals, and they promptly disappeared in the sea of shoes filling the foyer. She swatted away a flimsy paper dragon drooping from the door frame and smoothed down her skirt. She snatched her hand back and wrung her fingers behind her.

No, that’ll make your hips look huge.

She clenched her hands in front.

Sure, show all the relatives that you’re nervous.

She clasped them loosely at her waist and tried to adopt a regal expression.

“Trish, you okay? You look constipated.”

Her cousin Bobby snickered while she sneered at him. “Oh, you’re so funny I could puke.”

“May as well do it now before Grandma gets here.”

“She’s not here yet?” Oops, that came out sounding a little too relieved. She cleared her throat and modulated her voice to less-than-ecstatic levels. “When’s she coming?”

“Uncle picked her up, but he called Aunty and said Grandma forgot something, so he had to go back.”

Thank goodness for little favors. “Is Lex here?”

“By the food.”

Where else would she be? Last week, her cousin Lex had mentioned that her knee surgeon let her go back to playing volleyball three nights a week and coaching the other two nights, so her metabolism had revved up again. She would be eating like a horse.

Sometimes Trish could just kill her.

Taken from Only Uni, Copyright © 2008 by Camy Tang. Used by permission of Zondervan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

TPT: Meet the Browns Reprise

Today Christian Fiction spotlights a book trailer or movie trailer for our Trailer Park Tuesday feature. This week we will revisit Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns with Tavis Smiley's interview of Angela Basset, since it premiers this week. I received a free ticket to attend. Would love to treat someone to go with, but Selah's birthday is Saturday and Easter is Sunday, so when can we go. Selah's slumber party is Friday, so...Sunday evening? Let me know.

Using Song to Inspire Story

I am in love with a song, John Legend's Coming Home. The moment after I heard it for the first time. I envisioned a man and a woman and a story inspired from that song. Has that ever happened to you? Has a song inspired a story idea? If so, what? And what did you do to make that song a story?


As you answer, let me tell you what I'm doing.

1. Obtain the lyrics. Self explanatory.Coming Home lyrics

2. I watched a video of the song. Why?

  • I wanted to be sure what I thought of the song could be transferrable into a character driven story.
  • I didn't want my idea to be the same as the video.
  • I use it to brainstorm horses(a chain of themes to build the story)
  • It helps me determine whether this story will be flash, short, novella or novel. Depending on how many elements this song springs out, tells me what kind of story I'm going to have.
  • I just love that song. :)
3. I ask my friends and family their thoughts about my horses. Why?
  • I'm searching for a chain to link these horses up. Usually when you ask people questions, they send you anecdotes. These anecdotes could become subplots, plot points who knows.
  • You get another chance to listen to the story. :)
4. I began a rough story arc sketch of the story with the lyrics. Next post I will show you a picture of how I do this for my WIP, LoveBound.

Now I have to go back to rewrites on Blessed to Kill:)

Now share with me what would you do?

Creating Romance Couples: Tense Twosomes

This week ACFW has a fun topic question going on: What couples in literature and/or cinema has the most tension, were the most fun, and the most unforgettable? My picks are below. But before you peak I want to ask you 2 things:
  1. Are Christian romances playing into the Romeo and Juliette Syndrome, whereby love isn't good unless it's full of near death experiences and trauma? Is that a true account of love? Or does Christ think otherwise?
  2. What are your favorite tense twosomes and why?
My answers:

  • The Sound of Music: Fraulein Maria and Captain Van Trapp.
  • The Matrix: Trinity and Neo.
  • Nicholas Sparks' A Walk to Remember: Landon and Jamie
  • Dirty Dancing: Baby and Johnnie
  • Claudia Burney's Zora and Nicky (April 2008 release)
  • Rocky: The Movies: Adrienne and Rocky
  • The Bodyguard: Frank and Rachel
Photocredit: Molodova

Monday, March 17, 2008

Being Black, Living Christian: Clearly Obama

Two article regarding Bishop Jeremiah Wright and Obama's response to the controversy cause me pause.
Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor. -Senator Obama.
I appreciated his response, but as I read comments and have listened to my white Sunday School friends(who are all Republican mind you), I'm sad to say that without Jesus I don't think black people will ever be treated equal anywhere, especially in an American church. Thank God for Christ.

He doesn't judge us, require us to disavow our heritage, ask us to leave the black church, to act as if the way we have been treated daily doesn't matter, nor does he chide us for venting about it sometime. He listens, he corrects, he comforts.

I need comfort this morning, because as a black progressive there are some issues I want answer to instead of more nice nasty politicking. I want to talk about:

  1. Why so many of my cousins(mainly Marines) are still in Afghanistan, when clearly we aren't trying to find Bin Laden, when clearly when they return they can't get a job, because of their skin color?
  2. Clayton County school system in Atlanta, and whether there troubles is another way to disenfranchise urban schools?
  3. Christian publishing and why we don't have an African-American imprint yet, clearly this genre makes money, so what's the problem?
  4. Why after seven years did Legs Mason(formerly Smith Barney) return my Coverdell account holdings for my daughter's college fund? Middle class people can't save for college anymore?
  5. Why is Grady Hospital becoming privatized?
  6. Why is everything American made in China?
  7. And why do eggs, gas and milk cost so dadgum much?
  8. Why aren't the media(or Clinton pr people) not jumping on the McCain/John Hagee issue? Unless they, too believe that God brought Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, because the town was mostly black--I mean mostly bad?
  9. Why are so many people undergoing foreclosure and living in campgrounds?
  10. And here can I get that teacake? I love teacakes!!
Photo courtesy of Mary Wells.

CF News: Chocolate Starbucks Motivation

Christian Fiction News for week ending March 16, 2008

Inciting Incidents
OT, but could be a great inciting incident for my next novel, this tornado in Atlanta. I was out on a date fifteen minutes from there at a sports bar. Two police officers came inside and spoke to the operations manager. They changed the channels(we were watching the SEC game at the Dome.) Question: Why weren't we informed? Then got home and no news. No local meteorologists wanted to say it was a tornado. Come on now...story of a meteorologist who's lost his focus, faith, and.... I say. Yes

Caffeine Addiction in Christian Fiction
After wading through many book proposals Bethany House editor, Dave Long noticed authors fascination with coffee had meandered into their submissions. As I continue in my covert book review project and complete a line edit for a friend's upcoming book release I confirm Long's discovery. So I wasn't too surprised when Christianity Today Magazine featured Jo Kadlecek and her caffeine addicted reporter protagonist.

An Inspired Easter Story
Last week I asked CFB readers to recommend me a great easter story to share with Selah. Zondervan answered my call. Zondervan is giving e-mail newsletter subscribers the opportunity to download free the Easter story from Matthew 26-28 as featured in its best-selling Inspired By ... The Bible Experience audio edition. Listen here.

Atlanta St. Patties

Yeah. I didn't forget. Atlanta is 10% Irish(30% if you add 4th generation southern African Americans,) and we've been celebrating St. Patrick's day since Friday's tornado. So who is St. Patrick and why do Catholics and straddling Christians become lushes on this day? Click here, then pray for your laddies.

Strange Bird's Sneaking Up on a Leprechaun.
Shane Durrance: Photographer. According to the AJC, he has the only photo of the tornado. Beautifully Feared.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weekend Chatterbox: Easter Stories

What children books would you recommend to parents to share Easter with their kids?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guestblog: The Power of Christian Fiction

The Power of Christian Fiction

By Guestblogger, Wanza Leftwich

Christian Fiction has the ability to reach millions of people for an unlimited number of years. Words in print do not die, but continue to live each time it is read.Jesus, the man himself, spoke in parables and illustrated pertinent principles of living through stories. Christian Fiction is our modern day parable. Authors conjured up stories that are real, honest and filled with God’s grace. It is in these stories where the author has the power to effect change in the lives of the readers.Who would have thought that I would find my answer in a novel? Reading Christian Fiction gives you the opportunity to know Jesus in a way you’ve never seen him before.
Yes, the protagonist may be experiencing some level of difficulty, but don’t we all. Did your latest CF novel give you a solution you never thought of before? Perhaps your favorite heroine spoke to God on a level that you didn’t know existed. And let us not forget, our Urban Christian Fiction novels that give you all the drama and laughs, but vividly show you how Christians may mess up, but God is always there for us.Whether you’re the author or the reader of Christian Fiction, know that this genre has more power than you assumed or even imagined. As pages turn, lives are changed, people are set free and hearts are drawn closer to our loving God.
Wanza Leftwich, The Gospel Writer is a missionary, freelance writer, speaker and author of Sunday Morning. She is married to the love of her life and best friend, Arthur, III. Log on and visit her inspiring blog, The Gospel Writer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gospel Dream Auditions

The Event Could you be the 2008 Gospel singing sensation? Gospel Music Channel wants to know! Auditions will be held in five cities across the U.S. where contestants will sing a capella from an approved song list in front of music industry talent scouts. Contestants from each city will advance to the semi-finals in Nashville for a chance to win an exclusive record and music video deal and a Royal Caribbean Cruise! 2008 Audition Cities Chicago – Sat. March 8 – Embassy Suites, Downtown Chicago, 600 North State Street, 866.451.3191 Los Angeles – Sat. March 29 – Radisson at LAX – 6225 W. Century Blvd., 310.670.9000 Phoenix – Sat. April 5 – Embassy Suites-Airport, 1515 N. 44th Street, 602.244.8800 Miami – Sat. April 12 – Hyatt Regency, 400 S.E. Second Ave., 305.358.1234 Atlanta – Sat. April 19 – Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Ave., 404.586.6044Nashville – Gospel Dream Finals – May 2008 Eligibility Requirements You must sing from our approved song list without accompaniment (a capella).Ages 18–40 only. You must be age 18 by the day of your audition.Soloists only. No groups or duets.RegistrationRegister free online at www. gospelmusicchannel. com. Click on shows and the Gospel Dream. The deadline to register online is 5 PM ET on the day before the audition. If you do not register online, you may register on-site for a $25 fee from 9–11 a.m. local time on the day of the audition. You must register on-site by 11 a.m. local time to secure your audition slot. Event Details Doors open at 9 a.m.Registration is from 9–11 a.m. on the day of the audition. All contestants must register first by either registering online at gospelmusicchannel. com, printing and bringing all forms filled out and signed, or registering on-site.All contestants will receive a Gospel Dream 2008 t-shirt and audition pass.Auditions are private. Contestants will have :30 to sing a capella from the approved song list.Contestants may leave the audition area after they try out, but should return to the hotel at the end of the day (time TBA) to hear the announcement of the semi-finalists. Gospel Dream 2008 will air on Gospel Music Channel every Sunday at 9 PM ET beginning June 1st. Catch the 2005 and 2006 seasons of Gospel Dream on Sunday nights at 9 beginning February 17th

Why are there so many historical Christian Fiction releases?

At my feet are stacks of historical Christian fiction romance novels. So far the reads are easy, but I wonder where are the other books? Are Christian readers gravitating back to more prairie romances and regencies or are Christian writers who write outside of those genres moving to ABA publishers?

Your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Laughing thru Cancer

March is woman's history month, so CFB will be featuring not just novels , but more real stories by and for women this month. Inspirational speaker and breast cancer survivor, Yvonne Ortega's new book, Hope for the Journey through Cancer: Inspiration for Each Day is this week's spotlight. Her book offers 60 short inspirational readings, each containing a part of Ortega's own story from diagnosis to recovery. She stops by today to participate in our 1question interview series.

Is there ever a time when you can laugh about cancer?

I asked God to help me keep my sense of humor. The day my hair started to fall out, I went to work with wet hair. My colleagues thought I had a power outage. I told them I was afraid to blow dry my hair because I might blow it all off and arrive looking like a Buddhist monk. I laugh now about how angry I was with God. I thought he had made a mistake. Now I understand he used the cancer for good in my life and the lives of others. I laugh every time I reminisce about George, my radiation therapist. He entertained me with stories about his childhood adventures.

Monday, March 10, 2008

CFB Weekend Read: The Next Level

Bestselling author, David Gregory(Dinner with a Perfect Stranger) is back with another choice read,The Next Level: A Parable of Finding Your Place in Life.[Note: Place your cursor over the link to learn more] This novella is small enough to fit in your purse or overnight bag. You can read it in the car in less than 2 hours. I did on the way home last weekend for a family funeral. Easy prose, great lesson learned. Pick up the book. I'm giving one away to one subscriber here who has participated in Vonda Skelton's Spa Treasure Box Sweepstakes. If you haven't entered check Christian Fiction Blog, to participate. I will pick a winner for this book on April1.

Business degree in hand, Logan enters the immense Universal Systems building and is hired as an organizational analyst - a trouble-shooter. His job: evaluate the company's five divisions, each on a separate level and each operating on startlingly unique principles. Which set of principles is successful? Why is most of the company's profit generated by one tiny division? What is real profit, anyway? And who is the enigmatic executive that Logan ends up reporting to?

Logan engages in a life-changing pursuit for The Next Level-a fascinating parable that will help readers answer some of life's most perplexing, vital questions. Joining Logan in evaluating each level's approach, readers will be inspired to consider the big picture of their own life from an entirely different perspective - one that holds the key to life's ultimate purpose. No matter where you are now, get ready to embark on your own passionate pursuit of The Next Level. (Waterbrook, 120 pp, $12.99)

Ten Book/CD Release Party Dont's

If you've been reviewing books and music as long as me, then you've also had your share of attending book release parties. This weekend was my fourth of the year and since I became Entertainment Editor for a national print mag my calendar is quickly filling up with more invites. Not good. I'm a closet introvert and I must admit. I've become a bit of a BRP snob. Pray for me. So as The Master helps me work on my new vice, let me share ten book release party don'ts that should help your next BRP be a great Big To Do.
Continue reading "10 Book/CD Release Party Don'ts" »

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Tyler Perry Show on BET tomorrow

Tomorrow at 10pm BET will air the Tyler Perry Show Movie Special for Meet the Browns. Check local listing.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Weekend Chatterbox: Web 3.0 and theTrusted Blogger

An excerpt from Newsweek article, "Is User Generated Content Out?...

Last summer researchers in Palo Alto, Calif., uncovered secret elitism at Wikipedia when they found that 1 percent of the reference site's users make more than 50 percent of its edits. Perhaps more notoriously, four years ago a computer glitch revealed that's customer-written book reviews are often written by the book's author or a shill for the publisher.

"The wisdom of the crowds has peaked," says Calacanis. "Web 3.0 is taking what we've built in Web 2.0—the wisdom of the crowds—and putting an editorial layer on it of truly talented, compensated people to make the product more trusted and refined."

Weekend Chatterbo Question: What makes a blogger reputable? Or does it matter?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why Fiction Matters: Abyei, Sudan

I'm completing final edits on my novel the rest of this week, so today I want to direct your attention to a new storm brewing in the Sudan. It's not a new storm, but with the Presidential elections taking up most of media space, we haven't seen much of what's going on with the rest of the world.Abyei, Sudan is one place to start. This story is from The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof reports. There is also an interesting article on his blog, Did the Clinton Campaign Darken Obama’s Complexion? And don't forget to participate in Vonda Skelton's Spa Basket Giveway Sweepstakes her and throughout the blogosphere.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Souls of My Sisters Launch

NEW YORK, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Steven Zacharius, Chief Executive Officer and President of Kensington Publishing Corp. announced today a joint publishing agreement between Kensington Publishing Corp. and Souls of My Sisters, Inc., which takes its name from the highly successful Essence Bestseller SOULS OF MY SISTERS: Black Women Break Their Silence, Tell
Their Stories, and Heal Their Spirits, written and edited by Dawn Marie Daniels and Candace Sandy.

Souls of My Sisters Books, the imprint launched this month with an update of SOULS OF MY SISTERS and the new SOULS REVEALED: A SOULS OF MY SISTERS BOOK OF REVELATIONS AND TOOLS FOR HEALING YOUR LIFE, SOUL AND SPIRIT with a foreword by Star Jones. Other projects include It Happened In Church: Stories of Humor from the Pulpit to the Pews written by Patti S. Webster.

Souls of My Sisters Books will publish a minimum of four titles per year. Kensington will distribute the books, building upon its base as the country's leading distributor of African American titles.

Connie Briscoe chats with Kimberla Roby

Today: Connie Briscoe Presents Kimberla Lawson Roby

You can check out my review of Roby's Sin No More in the Feb issue of Romantic Times Magazine. Click the link and view it online.


Christian Fiction News: Anne Rice & Tyler Perry

Anne Rice speaks about her second Christ chronicle, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana (Anne Rice) and her disgust with Dan Brown's Davinci Code.
I think this new book is a very radical book," she said. "The bar of realism is so high, and yet it's so completely orthodox. My faith in the Bible and in Jesus is absolute. I don't rationalize. Everything I write is based on what he does in the Bible and what the Bible tells us about him.

It's a radical accomplishment -- and I don't know whether people will see that -- to combine an accurate history of the period and archaeology and geology and be completely faithful to the Bible and yet write a novel that keeps people turning the pages. I have created an emotional life for him that fits my faith in him as God and man.
Tyler Perry has been spotted in New Orleans this week scouting possible scene locations for his next movie, "The Family that Preys Together." Taraji P. Henderson, Rockmond Dunbar(Prison Break) and Robin Givens are confirmed to the cast. The story's premise is two families come together. After this movie, He will prepare for "Madea Goes to Jail" the movie.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How to Win Vonda Skelton's Treasure Box

Vonda's celebrating the release of her new book, Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe by hosting a blog basket bonanza!!! There are many sweet treats in this goody pack, but the book is divalicious enough to stand on its own as a gift for your girlfriends' souls.

Why? You can use it to build a summer girlfriend bible study. The book include eleven chapters that could be used as lessons, with the appendix acting as a chapter by chapter question primer. And if you win Vonda's treasure box, you and your girlfriends can share the loot!

What's inside the Treasure Box:

  • Designer Gift Box
  • One copy of: Seeing Through the Lies, Bitsy and the Mystery at Amelia Island, Bitsy and the Mystery at Tybee Island.
  • A stretchy bracelet with Sterling Silver Beads, Gold Swarovski Pearls, Turquoise and Blue Zircon Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver Masquerade Mask Charm.
  • Bookmark custom-made with Sterling Silver Beads, Gold Swarovski Pearls, Turquoise, Blue Zircon and Clear Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver Masquerade Mask Charm on a 4.75 inch Silver Plated Bookmark.
  • Gold Tri-fold picture frame.
  • Pewter-colored oval picture frame.
  • Jeweled decorated cross.
  • Peanut caramel clusters.
  • Caramel Truffles.
  • Mini-Yankee Candle.
  • Three-pack sample tea bags.
  • Sample Columbian Supremo Coffee.
  • Oh My! Itty Bitty Chai Packet.

Wow! That's a lot.

So how do I enter this contest, Dee?

Answer my question below either here, via email or in a separate blog post, but link back to this post, so that I can track you. Once you respond I will add your name to the Christian Fiction Kitty, then send it to Vonda. Check Vonda's blog everyday. Other bloggers on the tour will be blogging about this contest. Leave a comment on their blog and you get another chance to enter. Every time you post, you earn a ticket! On April 4 she will pick a name from her hat to be the winner. Just in time to for your class kickoff. Cool beans!!

And now the question:

What is the biggest myth you believed in that made a mess

Break Agendas to Become a More Authentic Writer

Vivacious author and speaker, Vonda Skelton stops by Christian Fiction Blog to participate in our 1 Question Author Interview series and to invite us to participate in her Gorgeous Spring Goody Bag Sweepstakes. This month's question:

What truth has God taught you that also affected your writing career?

He's teaching me that I need to trust Him more. I recently had so many things going on that I couldn't prepare for three events as thoroughly as I usually do. I found myself feeling vulnerable, weak, and needy. Not that I don't ask for His help every time I speak, but this was different. I was crying out to God, begging Him to fill me with His words, His message. And you know what? Those three events were the most powerful, most amazing events I've ever had! Instead of working from a well-defined plan, I spoke the words God placed in my heart and mind. As always, I had been praying God would use the week's events to change hearts...and He did. He changed mine. I learned to relinquish my agenda and plans to His; to trust Him in a way I hadn't truly trusted Him before. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That week, God's power was made perfect through my weakness. I never want to work in my strength again.

Thanks Vonda. Stay tuned(Subscribe). The next post will explore the book and discuss Vonda's sweepstakes giveaway.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Quills Suspended

Reed Business Information, has announced plans to suspend support of the Quill Awards program.

The first Quills event took place in October 2005 to celebrate the best in book publishing while promoting the cause of literacy in the U.S. Former Variety publisher Gerry Byrne chaired the Quills Literacy Foundation, which was overseen by an Advisory board made up of 40 members of the publishing and media community.

“To help create a program to celebrate the written word was a privilege,” says Byrne. “Thank you to all my colleagues at Reed, NBC and throughout the book publishing world for their support."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

FIRST: The Restorer's Journey

It is March 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 chapter! This month's feature is: Sharon Hinck and her book: The Restorers Journey (The Sword of Lyric) (Navpress, February 2008) . You can read Sharon's Blog: Stories for the Hero in All of Us. More about the Sword of Lyric Series: The Restorer and The Restorer’s Son. The FIRST chapter shown here is from the third book, The Restorer's Journey. Enjoy!

It is March 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 chapter! This month's feature is: Sharon Hinck and her book: The Restorers Journey (The Sword of Lyric) (Navpress, February 2008) . You can read Sharon's Blog: Stories for the Hero in All of Us. More about the Sword of Lyric Series: The Restorer and The Restorer’s Son. The FIRST chapter shown here is from the third book, The Restorer's Journey. Enjoy!

Chapter One - JAKE

My mom was freaking out.
She stared out the dining room window as if major-league monsters were hiding in the darkness beyond the glass. Give me a break. Our neighborhood was as boring as they came. Ridgeview Drive’s square lawns and generic houses held
nothing more menacing than basketball hoops and tire swings. Still, Mom’s backwas tight, and in the shadowed reflection on the pane, I could see her bitingher lip. I didn’t know what to say to make her feel better.

My parents gathered up the pizza stuff and carried it to the kitchen, out of
sight, but not out of earshot.

“If we hide the portal stones Cameron and Medea won’t be able to go back,” Dad
said over the crinkling of a sheet of aluminum foil.

Someone slammed the fridge door shut hard enough to make the salad dressing
bottles rattle. “We don’t want them running around our world. They don’t belong
here.” Mom sounded tense.

“I know. We have to send them back. But on our terms. Without anything that
would hurt the People of the Verses. And what about Jake?”

Silence crackled, and I leaned forward from my spot on the couch.

When Mom refused to answer, Dad spoke again, so quiet I almost couldn’t hear.
“We need to keep the portal available in case he’s needed there. But how will
we know?”

Needed there? Did he really think . . .?

I waited for them to head back to their bedroom, then slipped down the steps
from the kitchen to the basement. Most of the basement was still unfinished –
except for my corner bedroom and Dad’s workbench.

I hurried into my room and shut out the world behind me. Tonight everything
looked different. The movie posters, the bookshelves, the soccer team trophy.
Smaller, foreign, unfamiliar.

I pulled a thumbtack from my bulletin board and scratched it across my thumb. A
line of blood appeared, but in a microsecond the tiny scrape healed completely.
I had assumed the healing power was some heebie-jeebie thing that Medea had
given me, or that had transferred over from my interactions with Kieran.

But now that my head had stopped throbbing, I could put the pieces together.
Excitement stronger than caffeine zipped around my nerve endings. My folks
thought this was more than a weird effect left over from my travels through the
portal. They thought I might be the next RestorerTo read the full excerpt visit here


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