Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Secret Life of Bees, the Movie

If I am alive, please believe that on October 17, 2008 I will be at an AMC watching the movie adaptation of Secret Life of Bees. Will Smith produces, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Tristan Wilds and Jennifer Hudson will star. This info and that Gina Prince-Blythewood is pulling this movie together are just as exciting as the novel.

I knew Dakota would play Lily, just knew it Selah is ecstatic now that we live in Dakota's home town. I told her she doesn't live in Conyers anymore. But you know how bright-eyed girls are... :)

Here is a snippet of Sue Monk Kidd's Reflections about the movie...

An adaptation is not a clone of the novel. It’s the story rendered in a different artistic medium, and in order to translate it from one to the other, changes are needed... It[a change in Tristan's abduction] enhances the drama considerably. It wasn’t one of those things I wished I’d thought of, but I didn’t mind it. I could see the wisdom in it for the movie. All in all, though, Gina has been remarkably faithful to the story. In her note that accompanied the script, she wrote: “Your novel was my bible.”

Children Book Bonanza: P is for Princess

This morning I took Selah to her School's Scholastic Book Fair and I found some great buys. All books were half off and it was get one free, so I loaded up on hardbacks, especially the Caldecott Honors and Coretta Scott King Award books. Can't get enough of those, but the book that I can't put down is my spotlight for today, and perhaps...the start of a new bimonthly feature here at CFB and possibly a new blog. Children Book Bonanza. The book I'm so excited about is P Is for Princess: A Royal Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Alphabets)

Dr. Steven and Deborah Layne wrote this book. Please visit Dr. Layne's site if you want to help to encourage your children to love reading. I am a huge fan now.

The best advice he gave to me as a parent that you can download from his site free here is to schedule a reading night just like a soccer practice or ballet. I am book fool. I host a reader series and never thought of that. Bananas!

What I loved most about this book is that it's multicultural. It is a great geography primer. You learn about Russia, China, Asia, Africa, the Middle East. You learn about fairy tale origin, greek mythology in a way that isn't so overtop an eight-year-old would hate it. Love it!

Robert and Lisa Papp the artists did a wonderful job capturing the glorious beauty that reminds of what a princess should possess. Here are a few pics courtesy of his site.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008 Christy Nominees Announced

Whew, chil'ren. I can finally announce the Christy nominees! I enjoyed reading the books this year. Congratulations. And here we go...

The Christy Advisory Board is pleased to announce nominees in nine categories for the 2008 Christy Awards honoring Christian fiction. The ChristyAwards dinner will be held Saturday evening, July 12, 2008, at The Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida. Visit the Christy Awards online at for more information about the dinner and to make reservations.

The Christy Awards 2008 Nominees


  • Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)
  • In High Places by Tom Morrisey (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
  • Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)


  • Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon (Viking Penguin)
  • A Time to Mend by Sally John and Gary Smalley (Thomas Nelson)
  • What Lies Within by Karen Ball (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)


  • Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
  • A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
  • Tendering in the Storm by Jane Kirkpatrick (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

LITS (four nominees due to a tie)
  • Doesn't She Look Natural by Angela Elwell Hunt (Tyndale House Publishers)
  • Hallie's Heart by Shelly Beach (Kregel Publications)
  • Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
  • Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck (Avon Inspire, a division of HarperCollins Publishers)

  • Lightning and Lace by DiAnn Mills (Barbour Publishing)
  • Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney (Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster)
  • Remembered by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

  • The Cure by Athol Dickson (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
  • My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay (Moody Publishers)
  • The Pawn by Steven James (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

  • Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
  • The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (NavPress Publishing Group)
  • Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead (Thomas Nelson)

  • Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
  • Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee (NavPress Publishing Group)
  • The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

  • Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (NavPress Publishing Group)
  • In Between by Jenny B.Jones (NavPress Publishing Group)
  • Maggie Come Lately by Michelle Buckman (NavPress Publishing Group)

Review: Vanessa Davis Griggs' Strongholds

Inspirational, African American Romance
Vanessa Davis Griggs
3 Halleljah Handclaps, Mild

The congregation of Followers of Jesus Faith Church embark on a spiritual journey together as they tackle their personal strongholds(addictive behavior, traditions, anything that keeps a Christian from moving forward in spiritual maturity.) Fatima tackles adultery, Edwin: gambling, Desiree: overeating, Trinity: personality disorders, Bentley and Marcella: emotional infidelity, Arletha:self-righteousness, and Elaine: deception.(Dafina, 299 pp, $15) Read entire review on Romantic Times Magazine newstands now

The cover is churchtastic!

Dee Stewart

Pat G'Orge Walker on Authors In Your Pocket

Check out my interview with Peggy Hicks of Second Life Podcast and AUTHORS IN YOUR POCKET... Make sure to pick up your copy of SOMEWHAT's sure to put some pep in your step... take the slack out of your back and somewhere along the line, ya just might get delivered!!!! - Pat

Watch Christian comedienne, speaker, & award winning author, Pat G'Orge-Walker talk about her latest novel SOMEWHAT SAVED and shedding some light on what the 'church ladies' are like.

What next?

10 Ways to Keep Your Inner Pulpit Out of Your Writing

Last night during the Ella Curry Radio Show we got into a discussion about Christian Fiction naysayers. Is Christian Fiction an oxymoron? Can you write Christian Fiction without sounding preachy? Great questions and great comments for the authors participating in the show, but I want to go a step further with this discussion. Christian writers create characters whot live within the world, but adjust to it, explores it, and loves it because of their Christian Worldview. Granted this worldview changes according to generation, denomination, culture adnd geography. These characters live according to it. WE all agree great storytellers infuse these worldviews into the character's story arc without taking away from the beauty of experiencing a great story. Writing becomes a form of worship between the Master Artist and His vessel. And the work is gracious expression of truth.

So how we do this? How do we write stories that invite our readers to the greatness of this world as we know it? By writing non-preachy stories.

Here are Tips to Taking Your Inner Pulpit out of Your Writing.

1. Save your scripture zeal for metaphor.

I am a huge Grisham fan. Have you noticed that many of his novels are titled after Biblical principles: "A Time to Kill",

2. Understand basic storytelling.

I know this sounds weird, but we all have read Christian novels that were really pulpit propaganda. Each chapter is a sermon. Each dialogue is a sermonette. Novels aren't that. Can't be that. Understand what a story is and how a plot is developed.

3. Remove the idea in your mind that your story has to have a scriptural reference in the beginning.

Some Christian Fiction editors and agents require that you submit a scriptural reference to buttress the theme thread of your story. I understand that. But when you're building your story you should put that out your mind and come up with a compelling, competitive story idea. Remember, you're Christian. Orthodoxy will emerge as you draft the story and especially during the rewriting process.

4. Stop naming your characters after Bible concepts and Characters.

We get the parable idea, but this kind of thing is like robbed or cheated metaphor. Change your character's names until you're final edit. These characters will become fleshy entities and then the best names for them will come. But if every story you write has a Jezebel, and Sheba, or Ezra in it I'll think twice before I read. Remember: your readers are smart.

5. Remove all sermons and sermonette dialogue scenes

Self explanatory. Redundancy does not prevail. Take a cue from the Preacher's Wife the Movie or Little House on the Prairie the series. The sermons are short, conclusive moments, reserved for the end, very end after the resolution...can we say epilogue.

Any others?

Photo courtesy of Gothelina

Monday, April 28, 2008

Christian Fiction News: Thomas Nelson/ Tyler Perry

Thomas Nelson's Title Drop
Oh boy, have we been talking about Thomas Nelson. (here, here, here, here , here, and here.) But for the few of you who are still out the loop. This is the gist of the story. The publishing house laid off 10% of its workforce and is cutting 50% of new titles published a year.

My favorite quote from Michael Hyatt...
As a heavy book reader myself, I contend that we need better books not more books. I can’t tell you how many books I started this past year and never finished. Why? Because, frankly, they weren’t worth finishing. Most of them left me underwhelmed. The authors would have done better to boil down the content and make it a magazine article.
I won't talk about the layoffs, because that's a hard and different thing I won't tackle. Cutting books I applaud. I've been complaining about shelf space since I started this blog. AA authors, particularly Christian authors get no space. My friends have to rely on prebook orders in order to hope to have one book on somebody's shelf. In the same regard, we're not writing our best. Let's be honest. And some of us really don't write in this market. I know of an author who moved over to Christian fiction because his agent told him about the market was still wide open for his demographic. Unfortunately, it is...if you're a reader who wants to read a good, soulful story.
Tyler Perry Stalker
When a grown woman makes a media mogul afraid to leave his home we have a problem, idol worship to the enth power. My galpal, Princess Dominque has Ann's response.

Let me just say we, women go off the deep end when we're rejected. I know I do...But Tyler Perry? Come on.

Wright the Black Church
What's wrong with being pro African-American? What's wrong with Black spiritualism which preaches race reconciliation? Or is it fear from other cultures who didn't know that we talk about the elephant room in our pews... I praythat all this media attention sparks more dialogue and real reconciiation.

Meet the Mann's
David and Tamela Mann{Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns] will headline the church's benefit concert for its Youth of the Future program, which assists with after-school tutoring, mentoring and gang preventio

Christian Fiction Showcase Tonight

My write-or-die chicks, Sherri Lewis, Rhonda McKnight and Tia McCollors will be chatting it up live on Black Authors Network Radio Show tonight at 8pm. Meet me there. If you figure out my alias I have a prize for you. Here's the call in number (646) 200-0402 or listen here. Other authors participating: Sherryle K. Jackson, Michelle Lark, Stephanie Worth, Dwan Abrams, Celeste Kelley,
Shelia Dansby Harvey, Delores King- Freeman, Nicole Rouse, Cecelia Dowdy, Shelia Lipsey.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Is Book Reviewing Ridiculous?

Just posting my response to a few blog entries on book reviewing Christian fiction. (Here and here)

I also agree that writing a review isn't as subjective as it seems to be among Christian authors. (I only here this rhetoric among Christian fiction authors for some odd reason...)

I am paid to review inspirational fiction for Romantic Times Magazine, paid to write literary anaylsis of African American literary titles for Mosaic Literary Journal, gospel fiction for Gospel Today Magazine and non-fiction AA titles for Spirit Led Woman magazines. And for free I am a Christys Book Awards Judge, reviewed for Romance in Color, Anointed Magazine, AALBC, You-name-it-I review it, and also on this blog.

I love reviews...reviewing
I began as an editor of my alma mater's literary journal[Agnes Scott College,] moved onto GSU Review, Carriage Review and some other literary journals. An editor friend got me hooked on doing commercial book reviews, and I have fallen in love with this penniless profession.:)

Needless to say, I have a discussion at Novel Journey on how to craft a decent Book Review.

In my experience I have learned to build my book rating on a five point criteria(for RT we use a 4.5.) Each point fits an element of great storytelling: (1) character, (2) plot, (3) theme(big voice/little voice,) (4) style/flow and the last point or .5 I reserve for voice. Voice is the cherry on top for me.

When I write my reviews, however, I don't tell my readership how the book stacks based upon my point system. What I do is craft a review that a book reader can understand, then point out the flaws in a way that the book reader understands. For example. If the character's story arc falls flat. I know a reader won't understand what I mean. Instead I say that for me I couldn't get into this character. I wanted to put the book down because I didn't care if she had a happy ending. I didn't care about her at all. The reader understands that.

Now when I write a critical analysis I break those points down in detail and then show inside the book where the challenges I found are. As well as point out the best points to the book.
I wish our Christian literary circle encouraged more critical reviews and more honest book reviews. I say honest because I've heard on more than one occasion writers saying that they read a novel and didn't write the review because they didn't want to offend or hurt the Body of Christ.

That's ridiculous to me.

As I said in my response to Chip's Andrea's post about reviewing friends books reviewing and writing a novel are two different things. Writing reviews will not get you a book contract. A headache, a little pocket change, but not a novel. The only way to become a published novelist is to write a publishable novel.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekend Chatterbox: NY PD Groom Killers Unacquitted

This week's Weekend Chatterbox is unrelated to Christian Fiction, but worth the chatter. Just a few minutes ago the detectives, who NY unarmed groom leaving his bachelor party were acquitted or reckless endangerment.

Sean Bell, a 23-year-old black man, was killed in a hail of gunfire outside a seedy strip club in Queens on Nov. 25, 2006 — his wedding day — as he was leaving his bachelor party with two friends. The officers, complaining that pretrial publicity had unfairly painted them as cold-blooded killers, opted to have the judge decide the case rather than a jury.
-Associated Press

Sean was shot with 50 bullets.

Question: Granted they weren't charged for manslaughter a felony charge, is their justice here for the bride and groom?

Photo courtesy of Sean, his fiance, Nicole and their daughter Sydney Morning Herald. They have two children.

Speedlink: Chip on Calvin

This is Friday's Speedlink showcasing the best blog entries of the week on Christian Fiction. Here goes:

Agent, Chip MacGregor talks about the Calvin Conference on Faith and Writing[i wanted to be there ridiculously badly,]his "The Right Way to Sharpen a Pencil" spiel, listening to Edward P. Jones, lunching with Lisa Samson, Claudia, and J. Mark, who has a 2 book deal with Bethany House. Woo Hoo.

Author, Brandilyn scares, Camy sings, and J. Mark swashbuckles.

Happy Reading

Excerpts: To my Beloved Eve

Check out this new book, blog and site. by Francis Testa. Here's an excerpt...

Justice... many millions of women in the world are made to suffer just for being
women. I cannot do much for many of them, so I wrote this book to show that I
have never believed that God ever wanted to make women suffer.-

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tips to Keep from Burning Out Before the Black Moment

I'm on the gazzilionth draft of my WIP, because I can't sit well with my conclusion section. I'm not feeling my Black Moment- the place in the novel when it seems that my girl's goose is cooked and there's no way she can get out of her trouble. And for a few weeks I believed I burned out trying to fix it until this week. Let me share a few things that helped me get out the to speak.

1. I read about the bad moments in my life.
Keep a journal or a blog. Here on CFB and especially at The Master's Artist Blog I have shared some candid times that at the time seemed impossible to get away from. Returning to those journals gives me a reference point to infuse into my character.

2.Return to old prayer requests.
My email and my calendar is filled with personal prayer requests from friends and family members. I read their situation and notice the words they use to share their despair.

3. Watch well written movies for advice.
Michael Clayton the Movie had my head spinning. I didn't have a clue how he would fix his mess. I felt so bad for him, but then understand how he got in that position. I went back to my character and looked at her story arc. Does she deserve where she is? Is there a line of redemption for her in this horrible spot?

4. Read award winning books, who have tackled your problem very well.
Purple Hibiscus[Adichie] and Secret Life of Bees[Kidd] are the kind of books that sweep me in. These characters are so fragile when they get to their Black Moments. I fear they'll break.

5. Revisit your character's story arc.
The Black Moment should be the place she didn't want to be in the beginning. Make sure that information is clear, but subtle at the beginning. For instance in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth believed that she was the smarter more wise sister and friend. She later learns that her own pride in her self set off a chain reaction that has hurt the people she loved most. So instead of her sister almost ruining the family. She almost did.

6. Step away from it until your best writing time
I tried to write these chapters in different times of the day, although I know very late or very early is my best times to write. Save the juiciest parts of the story for writing at the quietest more thoughtful times in your day.

7. Write something else.
I took a week away from the book and began working on a short story. Plotting out that story and building a character for it cleared my mind. I found myself answering my problem while writing this new piece

8. What about You?

Cite: Rebecca's Hat Photo Courtesy of BestyJean79

Trailer Park Thursday: The Moon in the Mango Tree

This week's Trailer Park Spotlight is Pamela Ewen's The Moon in the Mango Tree. Synopsis: Set in Siam and Europe during the 1920s, the glittering decade of change, The Moon In The Mango Tree is based upon the true story of Barbara Bond, a beautiful young ex-patriot and opera singer from Philadelphia who is forced to choose between her fierce desire for independence-a desire to create something of her own to give purpose and meaning to her life-and a deep abiding love for her faithful missionary husband whose work seems to create a gap between them. But when you choose between two things you love, must one be lost forever?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring Book Break 08: Jane Kilpatrick Giveaway

It's time for our spring book break. This is the time when I introduce our summer reading challenge to you, guys. Between now and Memorial Day nominate one book you would like for us to read this summer. I want to setup a meetup for you who stay near each other to hang out together. I'll setup one here in conjunction with my new summer reading series. Stay tuned it's going to fabulouso! So if you're an Atlanta based Christian recording artist, poet, published author, dancer, hit me up. If you have a coffeehouse, outhouse, baby mama house you would like to host the reader series, slap me twice. We're doing it in South East Atlanta instead of North Atlanta this year. Holla.

In the meantime, while the pollen count is high, the nights are still cool and we're planning Memorial Day barbeques and movie go sees, lets take a book break. A Spring Book Break. I have a great series(three books) that could satisfy your need. And two books to giveaway to get this book break started.

CFB's Spring Book Break 08 Pick: The Change and Cherish series, a historical

I chose this series, because Jane was nice enough to do the book giveaway :), but most importantly I get to use a little German. I'm a bit a rusty, so...What I also love his the way Jane writes. Here's a taste of of A Tendering in the Storm...

That was what was missing of course: I'd stopped praising, stopped praying, and so I was hungry all the time, never satisfied. Now in my night watch I didn't feel like meditating. I only knew the shadow and not the sun.

Gorgeous writing. Her prose is clean and romantic and sweeping and spirit filled. I've learned something today.

Author: Jane Kirkpatrick

Summary: The Change and Cherish series follows the story of feisty Emma Giesy

A Clearing in the Wild

Spirited young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of her 1850s religious community, which values conformity over independent thought, especially in women. Skeptical of the colony’s growing emphasis on preparing for “the last days,” Emma clashes with their increasingly autocratic leader—and faces the unexpected consequences of pursuing independence.

A Tendering in the Storm

This lyrical novel, based on an historical figure of the 1800s, follows the spirited and intelligent Emma Giesy, who achieves her goal of separating her family from the repressive religious community in which she grew up. But unexpected and dire consequences leave her family—and her faith—struggling to survive.

A Mending at the Edge (newest and the giveaway book!)

This richly textured novel, the third in the acclaimed Change and Cherish series, follows the historical figure of Emma Wagner Giesy, who chafes under the restrictions of her 1860s religious colony. When her bid to belong in her unique way unravels her most precious relationships, she seeks new ways to stitch meaning into her life.

To enter to win Mending at the Edge, you must nominate a book for the summer reading challenge, I will announce the winner to this day May 9, so you can receive it before Memorial Day. You will love these books. I tell you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Review: Somewhat Saved

Inspirational, African American Romantic Comedy
Somewhat Saved
Pat G’Orge-Walker

Summary: Mother Sarah Shady and Sasha Pray Onn's, the feisty Mother Board leaders of Ain't Nobody Saved But Us--All Others Going to Hell church believe God's favor shines only on them. But when the new pastor[Leotis Walker] takes the helms of the church the Mother Board becomes disheveled. Instead of sending Sarah and Sasha he sends Sister Betty, Pelzer's moral compass. All learn an important lesson about themselves and their faith.

Zipoorah Moses[Sister Sasha's niece], was homeless and dejected by a two-bit hustler when Chandler Lamb[Sister Betty's godson] hires her as a casino cocktail waitress. Zipporah needs this job or she's back on the streets, but she can't control her growing attraction to her boss. (Dafina, April, 288pp., $22.00)

Read full review and rating in Romantic Times Magazine at newstands now.

Why Fiction Matters: Bynum on Divorce Court

We writers spend months trying to come up with compelling fiction to write about. Yet we are often trumped by sad and weird reality. Televangelist Juanita Bynum will be on television... this time on Divorce Court? Please explain this to me...

Any writing prompts from this one? I feel a new Law & Order episode in the near future.

Earth Day: Handmade Books & Byzantine Bling

In College I fell in love with two things: The Byzantine Era Illuminated Bibles and Artists books. One day the Lord will bless me with another digital camera and I will show the books I've made. I'm currently building a mockup of an African-American girls Bible stories book for Selah. By the time I'm done she'll be a tween. This thing is hard. Until then--in honor of Earth Day I want to showcase some nice spots I found devoted to book arts.

To my write is an illuminated page of Saint Mark writing his Gospel. Real gold is inked on those pages. Bling, bling!

The one below is a book made from discarded blue jeans. Love the pocket. The artist is Farkkukirja

Also of note: A Children's handsewn book: Why Am I Christian?

We talk often about writing books, but can you imagine the craftsmanship it takes to build a book with your hand? It is a humbling experience I encourage you to do. Handsewn books are great gifts.

Off Topic: Writer, Brandon Satrom and I are chatting on Twitter about this question: When is it time to scrap a story and start over? Not abandon it but start fresh? Come twit with.

What's your answer?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ted Dekker's CHOSEN

It's April 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour!(Join our alliance! Click the button!) Every 21st, we will feature an author and his/her latest Teen fiction book's FIRST chapter!

and his book:

Thomas Nelson (January 1, 2008)


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. To see a complete list of Dekker's work, visit The Works section of

Here are some of his latest titles:


Black: The Birth of Evil (The Circle Trilogy Graphic Novels, Book 1)




Our story begins in a world totally like our own, yet completely different. What once happened here in our own history seems to be repeating itself thousands of years from now,
some time beyond the year 4000 AD.

But this time the future belongs to those who see opportunity before it becomes obvious. To the young, to the warriors, to the lovers. To those who can follow hidden clues and find a great
treasure that will unlock the mysteries of life and wealth.

Thirteen years have passed since the lush, colored forests were turned to desert by Teeleh, the enemy of Elyon and the vilest of all creatures. Evil now rules the land and shows itself as a painful, scaly disease that covers the flesh of the Horde, a people who live in the desert.

The powerful green waters, once precious to Elyon, have vanished from the earth except in seven small forests surrounding seven small lakes. Those few who have chosen to follow the ways of Elyon now live in these forests, bathing once daily in the powerful waters to cleanse their skin of the disease.

The number of their sworn enemy, the Horde, has grown in thirteen years and, fearing the green waters above all else, these desert dwellers have sworn to wipe all traces of the forests from
the earth.

Only the Forest Guard stands in their way. Ten thousand elite fighters against an army of nearly four hundred thousand Horde. But the Forest Guard is starting to crumble.


Day One

Qurong, general of the Horde, stood on the tall dune five miles west of the green forest, ignoring the fly that buzzed around his left eye.

His flesh was nearly white, covered with a paste that kept his skin from itching too badly. His long hair was pulled back and woven into dreadlocks, then tucked beneath the leather body armor
cinched tightly around his massive chest.

"Do you think they know?" the young major beside him asked.

Qurong's milky white horse, chosen for its ability to blend with the desert, stamped and snorted.

The general spit to one side. "They know what we want them to know," he said. "That we are gathering for war. And that we will march from the east in four days."

"It seems risky," the major said. His right cheek twitched, sending three flies to flight.
"Their forces are half what they once were. As long as they think we are coming from the east, we will smother them from the west."

"The traitor insists that they are building their forces," the major said.

"With young pups!" Qurong scoffed.

"The young can be crafty."

"And I'm not? They know nothing about the traitor. This time we will kill them all."

Qurong turned back to the valley behind him. The tents of his third division, the largest of all Horde armies, which numbered well over three hundred thousand of the most experienced warriors, stretched out nearly as far as he could see.

"We march in four days," Qurong said. "We will slaughter them from the west."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tyler Perry 26 More

FYI: The House of Payne was picked up for 26 more episodes, but the taping of these have yet to be scheduled. Who's watching? Do you think the show has gotten better? I do.

On another note: EW buzzes about Keshia Knight Pulliam's role as Candy, the prostitute in Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail the Movie. I didn't think the article was that noteworthy. Keshia has played many different roles since The Cosby Show. She wasn't squeaky clean in Queen Latifah's The Beauty Shop. What do you think? Who's seen Madea Goes to Jail the stageplay?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekend Chatter Box: Does your Book Need Walmart?

This week my phone, email and twitter feed has been burning up with this topic. Now I'm passing it onto you for chitter chatter. Tweet me.

With many mom/pop bookstore closings, Borders books ebbing and flowing and online bookstore sales surging, how important is Walmart to your book? Do you buy your books from Walmart? Are you torn between Walmarts ties to China and China's tie to Darfur? Does ethics affect the books you buy? As an author how does Walmart affect your booksales? Why does you need Wally World?

More Chatterbox:
What next? Subscribe to christianfiction by Email

Speed: Best Christian Fiction Blogs of the Week. Joyce Meyers

How do? I just received a nice box of goodies from my UPS Bud. He sent me Joyce Meyer's The Penny and autographed copies of Pamela Binnings Ewen's The Moon in the Mango Tree" and "Walk Back the Cat." Let me just say Pamela writes the mangos off that tree!

Now what's going on the Christian Fiction Blogosphere...
Nominate your best post next week for the Speedlink.

Speed: Best Christian Fiction Blogs of the Week. Joyce Meyers

How do? I just received a nice box of goodies from my UPS Bud. He sent me Joyce Meyer's The Penny and autographed copies of Pamela Binnings Ewen's The Moon in the Mango Tree" and "Walk Back the Cat." Let me just say Pamela writes the mangos off that tree!

Now what's going on the Christian Fiction Blogosphere...
Nominate your best post next week for the Speedlink.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why I Love Twitter

Daren Rowse at ProBlogger asked a question on Twitter yesterday: Why I love Twitter? Didn't know he would make a video out of it. I answered don't know if I made the video cut. Check it out here.

Review: Seasons of Love

Seasons of Love (Massachusetts Weddings Series #3) (Heartsong Presents #777)
Elizabeth Goddard

Rating: 3 /5 Hallelujah Handclaps

For years Riley O’ Hare’s grandfather has asked her to leave her lush, but exhausting life in California to run his cranberry farm in Massachusetts. She barely considers option except for the fact that she will be closer to her long lost brother, John. She learned of his existence a year ago and would like to get to know him better. But when John and his wife Sarah die in a car accident, she has no more time or options to consider. John named her guardian of their two-year-old son, Chad. She returns.

Zane Baldwyn’s business is in trouble now that John, his business party—and also Riley’s brother—has passed away. John was also the programmer to his software company. He knew of Riley’s business acumen and wanted her help. Problem was…his tact…rubbed her the wrong way.

But when Zane finds evidence that suggests that John’s car accident wasn’t an accident the two join forces to solve the mystery. What they discover is far more than they set out, the mystery of our faith and love.

This romance is fast paced. Quick witted, not preachy. It is also a bit too predictable for the ride and Riley’s discovery of her love for Zane takes away her strength. A woman this smart and intuitive should realize when she has begun develop feelings for a man. I can’t entirely fault Goddard for this weak character trait in Christian romance leads. I fault the genre’s overall unwillingness to push for female characters with realistic desires for the men and realistic portrayals of the difficulties of romance. Nonetheless, A Season of Love is nice bedtime snack for the evangelical woman. (Heartsongs Presents, $4.95. Click the title link for great pricing deals for this and other books.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why Fiction Matters: Lost Love

GRACIE BONDS STAPLES wrote a beautiful article on Author, Kendra Norman Bellamy in todays Atlanta Journal Constitution . Here's an excerpt...

I shall not die.

They were [deceased husband]Jimmy's words but they belonged now to Kendra Norman-Bellamy. For two years, they'd moved around inside of her, strumming her heartstrings every time she remembered the title of the last sermon he preached.

Growing up, it wasn't usual for her to record events of her life in diaries. She wrote plays, skits and poems and proudly shared them at her church, funerals, weddings and family reunions.

But not these words. These were meant for her eyes only.

Bellamy typed and cried and typed and cried until all the pain was gone, until there was nothing left but stories like hers and Jimmy's.

What would she do with those? More here...

Did Rowlings Give Potter Away to Fans?

J.K. Rowlings suit against Steven Vander Ark's lexicon is huge news. Shelf Awareness, USA Today, Times of London,MediaBistro to name a few are talking about this case.

Yeah, I know...Harry Potter is frowned upon in certain Christian writing circles, but this issue is noteworthy. Because the issue at stake isn't as clear, cut and dry as it seems.

Question: How much leeway does an author give a fan website?
Rowling acknowledged she once bestowed an award on Vander Ark's Web site because, she said, she wanted to encourage a very enthusiastic fan.

But she said she "almost choked on my coffee" one morning when she realized Vander Ark had warned others not to copy portions of his Web site. She said she now has second thoughts about all the encouragement she has given to online discussions and Web sites devoted to her books.

"I never censored it or wanted to censor it," she said, adding that if she loses the lawsuit, she will conclude she essentially gave away her copyrights by encouraging the Web sites.

"Other authors will say, `I need to exercise more control. She was an idiot. She let it all go,'" Rowling said. -Associated Press

I had the same reaction as she a few months ago...:)

Your thoughts.

Cite: Harry Potter Reading Map Courtesy of Round Lake Library

Could Your Debut Novel be an Orange?

The Orange Prize shortlist:
  • The Outcast by Sadie Jones
  • Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
  • Lottery by Patricia Wood
  • When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain
  • Fault Lines by Nancy Huston

The prize celebrates fiction by women and is open to any novel written in English. The winner will receive £30,000 (US$58,893) at a ceremony in London's Royal Festival Hall on June 4.

Three authors: Sadie Jones, Heather O'Neiil and Patricia Wood are debut novelists.

Imagine your debut nominated. How would you feel? I think I better go back and rewrite one more time on mine. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Christian Fiction News: National Library Week

Compilation of news affecting the Christian Fiction Community.

New Audience for Amish
Bevely Lewis[The Forbidden] may be finding new audiences through film. Her novel "Saving
Sarah Cain" was made into a film for the Lifetime TV network by
producer Michael Landon Jr. It has just been released on DVD, and sales
are going "very, very well," she said. Lewis has signed a deal for
several more of her books to be adapted to film. Continue reading...

Jerry Jenkins on Stewardship

"It's a burden when you've sort of hit the
lottery. I was raised to love God, but I was also taught that love of
money ... was the root of evil."

Intoning the word "love,"
Jenkins emphasized an upbringing that taught him "personal wealth will
not make you a better person, it will just show who you are." More here...

Stretched But Not Broken
"This book speaks to those who have suffered mental and physical abuse,
as well as, those who have been imprisoned by drug addiction and mental
illness. I have personally lived every aspect of this novel, from being
an abused child to [possessing the sexual morality that corrupts a
person's body. Everything I write about comes from experience as well
as God-given creativity." Tawana Jackson, author More...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Get Readers Talking About Your Book

Romance author,Rachel Hauck[Sweet Caroline]stops by Christian Fiction Blog today to participate in our 1author interview spring series.

The question: What is the best way to promote your book release?

Rachel: There isn't a best way. There are many good ways, but probably one of the most effective promotional tools is word of mouth. Get readers talking about your book. Book clubs. Blog tours.

More about Sweet Caroline:
Released: Feb 2008, Thomas Nelson
Review: "Hauck's adorable novel contains the multilayered characters readers
have come to expect from her books. . . " - 4.5 Stars, Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Global Day for Darfur

Joining Modern Musins Global Day for Darfur Campaign. I've talked about this issue for while here. Today I want to talk about what the world has done so far:

Britain's Peace Offering...
LONDON (AFP) — Britain offered Sunday to host peace talks on the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur under proposals put forward by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. British officials have been in contact with the Khartoum regime and rebel groups to offer the possibility of a summit....The offer came as activists in 30 countries held a global day of action Sunday to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the Darfur conflict. Continue reading...

Celebrities Kill Toys
Matt Damon, Thandie Newton destroy toys in an image campaign to end genocide in Darfur. Pics here...

Flickr photos on Global Day for Darfur:

Related Topics: Enabling Sudan

What Next? Subscribe

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tavis Talks TJMS

An excerpt from Tavis Smiley statement on leaving the Tom Joyner Morning Show

There is no way to put into words the love and respect that Tom Joyner and I have for each other, or the love affair that I've had with TJMS listeners for almost 12 years now.

Due to the overwhelming amount of phone calls and e-mails I have received from listeners and other media, I wanted to briefly clarify a few issues that I will address more fully in my regular TJMS commentary on Tuesday morning, April 15, at 8:20 a.m. ET.

I did not "quit" the Tom Joyner Morning Show effective immediately. In July, I will celebrate my 12th anniversary with the show, and as I discussed with Tom, it is my intention to take on the issues of the day in my commentary twice every week with the same energy, passion and commitment until the end of June.

Contrary to what has been suggested, I have decided to clear some things off my plate so that I can devote my time and attention to some exciting and empowering projects that The Smiley Group, Inc. and other divisions of my company have underway this summer, this fall, and beyond.

I look forward to continuing the dialogue on Tuesday and in the coming months.

My two cents. I can't believe that's the only thing he's stepping down from.

Question for you guys: If you add to drop only one project in your life(not including family obligations) what would it be?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekend Chatterbox: What Do You Owe Your Readers?

I'm still rewriting the end of a novel and storyboarding a possible sequel to it. One tool that helps me keep me mind focused on storytelling is listen to author interviews or movie commentaries.

Last night I listened to John and Tony Gilroy talk about creating Michael Clayton, the Movie. During their conversation they spoke about building a film based on framing, and staying consistent with the style of filmmaking they envisioned for Michael Clayton. And it got me to thinking...

Throughout the week I've been having conversations with my published author friends. Some about their current works and others their frustration with selling their works to their publisher.

My years as a reviewer has taught me that once you become a published author there is an understood obligation you have to your readership. Whether you would like to believe it or not these readers expect your next novel to give them the same return. In essence they are seeking consistency. And it got me to thinking...

I wasn't aware of how thick a cord it[moral complexity] was through my work until it came time to start talking about the film a month or so ago. You begin to figure out how you're going to talk about the movie and put it in context with whatever else you've done. And there is a common thread.
-Gilroy on his realization that his stories were about moral complexity.
What is the total vision for my stories, what is the best way to convey that and what will I sacrifice--in terms of story ideas-- in order to maintain this vision?

Since I already owe you a response to the last chatterbox question, I will answer this question today. Then open the discussion up for you, because I want to know what you're working on and what are you doing to make sure that the style of your story compliments your voice and vision.

You can discuss here or at The Christian Fiction Network. Let me just say we have Maurice Gray, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Kim Brooks, Mary Griffith, Linda Beed, Linda Hargrove, Lashaunda Hoffman and new members of our community chiming in over there everyday, so join up. Here.

Now my answer:

I build my stories around the same question that keeps me up most nights- where is my faith in my most darkest times? Pearl's Miracle speaks to that clearly. Straddling the Fence slides the theme in the back door. My WIP, Blessed to Kill weaves it throughout the mystery.

In order for me to convey my idea I write in a minimalist style laced with a bit of southern romanticism which should be an oxymoron, but if you've read any of my stories you get my meaning. My visions is that my stories fills my readers with my notion of a Beautiful Mystery. I think Christ is a beautiful myster, so... I hope that is what you experience when you read my works.

Next week I will share my styling process, more so to record the process for myself, and as a tool that may help you in your writing endeavors.

Now...what is your stories' common thread?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Zora & Nicky: A Review Inspired

I love to read, but lately all I've been doing is reviewing and editing books. These tasks somehow drain my love for reading until this month. My friend, Claudia Mair Burney, who write the hot pants off me sent me three of her latest novels, all divine, but this one--Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White--it did something I rarely get, something that justifies my reasoning for writing inspired fiction...illumination.

Zora & Nicky in short is an interracial/interdenominational love story. How do people of different races build a world together? How do people of different ideas of sound doctrine live a life together? How do people love through Christ? A not so simple love story written with simple, elegant, honest, passionate prose. Best book of the year so far.

My favorite passage:
Because I have broken into a million pieces. Because I have scattered all over the sidewalk. Because I am not flesh and blood, only glass and dangerous dust that can burrow in your eyes and cause you to bleed, I try to remember that my broken soul is embodied and no one can see that only some shell of a soul is nearly all that is left.
Embodied, this shell I am makes a move toward the cab. The body of Zora has hands, and one of those brown and barely responsive hands takes hold of the handle of the back passenger side door, and somehow I enter the cab. I sit down inside. I watch Nicky give the driver what looks like more money than he should. I see them shake hands.
It is this Zora that still feels Nicky's hands at my waist while the pieces inside of me slide downward. I still feel the sensation of my stomach dropping to my knees. Oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord. Could he hear those pieces of me shifting to my toes, sounding like falling water? Like a rain stick turned upside down again and again?
I put my hand to my mouth and press my lips to my open palm. I can still feel the pressure of his lips, in turn fierce, firm, gentle. I can still taste him on my tongue, and I savor him.
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth:for thy love is better than wine."
No wonder that mysterious book of songs starts that way. I understand this now.


"hold out" (1) 1question (4) 1questionMay (2) 1questionspring (3) 1questionsummer (2) 1questionwinter (7) 2011 (2) 30 Days to Build a Better Blog (5) 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog (17) 9/11 (2) a good man blog watch (2) aaliyah (2) about me (1) Academy award (2) acfw-vip (2) Africa (1) african america (3) african american christian fiction (19) african american history (8) altartainment (1) amazon (9) american heart (1) american idol (1) amish (4) amy grant (1) Amy wallace (1) andrew carroll (1) angela bassett (1) Arts (2) atlanta (3) atlanta journal (1) atlanta tornado (1) audition (1) authentic creation (1) author (1) author interview (12) author read-in (3) authors (6) authors read in (2) authors read-in (1) awards (11) barbie (1) Basketball (1) bath luxe (2) bational wear red day (1) bbaw (1) bea (2) best of (8) bestsellers (2) bethany house (4) bible (3) bible study (3) bill gates (1) billie jean (1) birthday (3) black authors (2) black authors network (1) black christian novel (1) black christmas plays (4) black hawk down (1) black history (1) black in america (2) black men in america (1) black spiritualism (4) blacklitchat (2) blog alliances (1) blog talk radio (22) blog tour (14) blogalicious (2) blogcatalog (1) bloggers unite (9) blogging (7) bloglight (1) blogtalkradio (6) blythe (1) book (3) book arts (1) book awards (12) book blogging (5) book chat (3) book club (6) book cover (4) book deals (1) book events (9) book fun (2) book marketing (51) book pick (1) book pr (1) book preview (9) book promotion (7) book proposal (2) book release party (2) book review (52) book review submission form (5) book signing (4) book tour (4) book trailer (21) bookbyte (3) bookclub (2) books (3) brook promotion (1) bubble bath (1) bynum (1) c.s. lewis (1) camy tang (2) career (1) carl weber (1) carleen brice (1) casting call (9) cba (2) cfba (4) children books (7) chip macgregor (2) choir (1) chris well (2) christian (2) christian comedy (1) christian detective novel (1) christian ethics (7) christian fiction (13) christian fiction blog alliance (2) christian fiction news (28) christian fiction online magazine (26) christian living (2) christian movie (1) christian novel (4) christian publisher (2) christian retailing (2) christian romance (4) christian summer book (9) christian writer's carnival (1) christian writer's guide (1) Christianity (4) christmas (14) christmas story (14) Christy Award (4) christy awards (3) chronicles of narnia (2) chuck holton (1) chuck palahniuk (1) church news (1) cindy (1) cindy woodsmall (9) civil rights (1) claudia burney (10) clown girl (1) cnn (2) coco brother (2) contest (20) contests (6) controversy (1) convention (3) copyright (1) craft (1) creston mapes (1) cupcakes (2) cyndy salzmann (1) darfur (2) dargur (1) david c. cook (4) David Talbert (1) deanne gist (2) deborah raney (1) decaturbookfestival (1) dee and marina (4) dee stewart (19) dee stewart hezekiah walker (1) dee stewart linda beed (1) deegospelpr (11) dekker (5) denzel washington (1) denzel washington. (1) Derek Fisher (1) designer shoes (1) devotions (1) DiAnn Mills (1) digital publishing (2) disney (2) domestic violence (1) don hoesel (1) doodle (1) dwan abrams (2) e-reader (4) e. lynn harris (1) Earth day (2) eartha kitt (1) easter (4) ecpa (1) editing (2) ella curry (2) England (1) eric wilson (1) essence magazine (3) ethics (3) excerpts (9) facebook (3) faith and fiction retreat (11) Faith anf fiction retreat (1) faith*in*fiction (3) fashion show (1) father's day (1) fictin in rather short takes (1) Fiction (1) fiction in rather short takes (33) flag of our fathers (1) followthereader (1) fox faith (1) frank peretti (1) friday afternoon club myster (1) friday afternoon club mystery (1) friday fest (8) fuge recipes (1) genesis awards (1) George Jackson (1) giveaway (8) Golden State Warriors (1) good reads (4) gospel dream (1) gospel fiction (3) gospel music (19) gospel play (13) Grace (1) guestblog (9) haiti (1) haley kilpatrick (1) hank stewart (1) harper collins (1) Harriet Beecher Stowe (1) harry potter (2) Hawaiian Islands (1) heart disease (2) help wanted (1) historical (9) hope for women (1) horror (3) house of faith (1) human trafficking (1) I Dream of Jeannie (1) ibook (2) imprints (1) inciting incident (1) infuze magazine (1) inspirational monday (2) inspys (1) interviews (12) iThink (1) itw (3) jeanee damoff (2) jeff gerke (1) jena 6 (3) jill elizabeth nelson (1) job announcement (1) juanita bynum (3) juanita bynumemkm (1) juneteenth (4) karen kingsbury (3) kathy herman (1) kim brooks (1) kim cash tate (1) kimani press (1) kimberla lawson roby (2) Kindle (1) kristy dykes (2) laura bush (1) lent (11) leny (1) librarything book reviews (2) lifetime tv (1) lifeway (2) linda hargrove (2) links (1) lisa samson (3) literacy (1) literary agent (3) Literature (2) love (1) M M (1) madea girl talk (1) marcher lord press (1) marilynne robinson (1) marilynnn griffith (5) marina woods (2) marines (2) marketing (5) marketing christian fiction blog (1) marriage (1) mary demuth (1) mary hart (1) media candy (10) medical fiction (2) melody carlson (2) meme (1) Memorial day (3) michael jackson (1) mike duran (1) ministry (3) miranda parker (26) mochareaders (1) mombloggers (2) mommyfest (5) monday mention (3) monika drake (1) morgan freeman (1) mothers (3) motivationmonday (6) movie (14) mtv awards (1) myspace (1) nanowrimo (7) Nat Turner (1) National Basketball Association (1) national book month (1) NBA (1) networking (1) New York Times (1) Newsletters (1) nicole seitz (5) non-fiction (2) novel (2) novel writing (10) ny times bestseller (1) obama (14) off-topic Thursday (3) offf-topic Thursday (2) olympia vernon (1) online bookstore (5) oprah (2) ott (2) Pacific War (1) pam perry (1) parenting (2) party (1) pat simmons (1) pay it forward (2) Pearl Harbor (1) people magazine (1) Philippines (1) play (2) plug and play (1) po bronson (1) politics of the mass media (1) poll (1) prayer cell (4) prayer request (3) preorder pick (2) prince caspian (1) princess dominique (1) publishing (14) race and religion (3) radio (1) radio talk show (4) rawsistaz (4) reading series (4) rebeca seitz (1) reflections (1) relief journal (1) Relief Journal christian writing (3) Religion and Spirituality (3) renovating becky miller (1) reshonda tate billingsley (5) retreat (1) rhonda bowen (5) rhonda mcknight (9) richmond (1) romance (6) romantic times (2) romantic times magazine (8) rt convention (2) saint patrick's day (1) sally e.stuart (1) saturday christian carnival (3) Science fiction (3) secret life of bees (2) selah (3) self-publish (2) shana burton (8) sharon ewell foster (6) sharon hink (3) shawneda marks (1) shelfari (1) sher (1) sherri lewis (12) shine in 09 (5) shoes (1) Shopping (1) short story (2) Sidney Sheldon (1) single women (1) sistahfaith (1) skype (2) Slave ship (1) social media (7) social network (2) social network problogger (7) social networking (2) social networkingh (1) sormag (1) South Carolina (1) specfiction (3) speedlink (8) spiritual autobiography (3) Sports (1) spotlight (2) stacy hawkins adams (6) star wars (1) steeple hill (1) storytellers (3) stranger than fiction (1) sudan (1) summer (8) sunrise (1) survey (2) sxsw (1) t.l. hines angela hunt (1) tavis smiley (2) tavis smley (2) teen (4) the first lady (3) the master's artis (2) the master's artist (56) the masters artist (6) the shack (2) the spirit of your story (1) the stones cry out (1) the trouble with publishing (2) theology (2) thomas nelson (7) thriller thursday (7) tia mccollors (1) tiffany warren (7) titletrakk (1) to (1) tolkien (1) top ten (25) tosca lee (1) tours (1) trailer park tuesday (61) trailer park tuesdaycngdkvb (1) travis Hunter (1) tribute (12) tricia goyer (4) tuesday (2) tv (1) twitter (22) ty moody (3) tyler perry (55) tyler pery (1) tyler play (1) United States (3) urban christian book (5) Utah Jazz (1) utterz (10) valentine (2) vanessa davis griggs (1) vanessa miller (2) veteran's day (2) video (2) wachooreading (2) walmart (1) wanza leftwich (1) warren buffet (1) WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group (1) weakend read (2) wedding (1) wednesday wrap (11) weekend chat (29) weekend chatter (17) weekend read (11) westbow (1) what i'm reading (3) what's done in the dark (1) why fiction matters (9) widcard (1) wiki (1) wild card (12) wildcard (32) Wings of Glory (1) womanist thought (1) women (1) women of faith (2) women's ministry (1) workshops (4) world aids day (1) World War II (1) write-or-die chick (3) writer's call (3) writer's conference (8) writer's prompt (2) writing (4) writing conference (8) writing contest (8) writing journey (2) writing life (38) writing opportunities (2) writing project (5) writing tip (3) writing workshop (2) x-files (1) yolanda king (1) young adult (5) youtube (4) zondervan (5)