Friday, May 30, 2008

Christian Fiction Weekly Wrap

For the week May 26-May 31, 2008
Filename: j0438363.jpg Keywords: Asian, books, candid ... File Size: 833 KB Provided by:
I have been so busy this week I couldn't post as regularly as I do. I discovered many things I want to share, so I am going to do this digest version from now on on Friday along with the Weekend Chatterbox, at least through the summer.

The 2008 Summer Beach Read Nominees Are...

Below are my top book pics for the summer. I had to choose from 100 titles. I may have missed a genre(crime and horror.) I added an extra young adult, because I love reading YA during the summer. You can continue to add to this list in comments.

On another note, in my sidebar I have Faith Point(Books A Million) button that has many of these titles on sale for the summer. Since Amazon doesn't count for book reporting, then Faith Point would help the authors and purchasing through us, supports Christian Fiction Blog. Thanks for all who have helped keep this blog going.

So here's the list:
  1. So You're One of Them? (Literary)
  2. Too Little, Too Late (Urban Contemporary)
  3. Dance Into Destiny (Women's Fiction Young Adult Urban)
  4. Skizzer (Transcontinental Women's Fiction)
  5. Rick Acker's Blood Brothers (Legal Thriller)
  6. You Had me at Good Bye (Romantic Comedy)
  7. Danny Gospel (Romance)
  8. The Summer of Cotton Candy (Young Adult)
  9. Lisa Samon's Bella: The Movie Novelized (Mainstream)
  10. Claudia Mair Burney, Death, Deceit & some Smooth Jazz (Romantic Suspense Comedy)
  11. Melody Carlson's Mixed Bag (Young Adult)
Click to see a larger image of The Summer of Cotton Candy by Debbie ViguiƩMixed Bags, Carter House Girls #1Cover Image

Still Time to Sign up for the VIP Online Writer's Conference.

A Mini Concert I Recommend to my Atlanta Friends...




Chandra Currelley




Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Days To VIP: Have an Online Promotions Plan

Published authors have signed up for the ACFW VIP Writer's Conference anticipating learning tons about online book promotion. Today at CFB Dana Pittman, owner and operator of Nia Promotions--the company hosting Nia Virtual Book Tours participates in our 2 Question Author Interview VIP Conference Series.

Question 1: What's the worst mistake a newbie author makes when it comes to online promotion?

The worst mistake an author can make regarding online promotions is not planning in advance. I know the intended question is geared towards new authors but many authors make this mistake. Having, and working, your online promotions plan will yield greater results when marketing your book online.

Question 2: What's the solution?

Sit down. Grab a pen. And write your online marketing plan.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

1. Who are you targeting?

2. What is your budget?

3. What type of results would make you happy?

4. What type of results would make you ecstatic?

5. How much time can you dedicate to this campaign?

Short Bio:

Dana Pittman, JD is owner and operator of Nia Promotions--the company hosting Nia Virtual Book Tours. Nia Promotions is a marketing company that specializes in online, virtual marketing. Our niche is in the area of author promotions.

For more details visit,, and You can also view our MySpace page at

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Two Soulfilled Shows to offset American Idol Withdrawal

American Idol® is over for the season, gone until 2009. Yet, Idol® viewers who enjoy watching exciting new talent pursue their dreams; can continue to experience it Sunday nights, thanks to the Gospel Music Channel television network.

Sunday, June 1, Gospel Music Channel presents the series premiere of Bobby Jones: Next Generation at 8:00 p.m., followed at 9:00 p.m. by the third season premiere of Gospel Dream 2008, the channel’s popular American Idol®-like talent search series. Premiere episodes of both shows will be seen back-to-back on Sunday nights over the summer.

Dr. Bobby Jones, the man who helped revolutionize Gospel music as a creator, producer, director and performer, brings his explosive and colorful personality to GMC in Bobby Jones Next Generation, an hour-long emerging artist showcase of musical performances and interviews with up-and-coming performers. Lisa Kimmey (Out of Eden) co-hosts.

GMC, Atlanta-based Kingdom Come Productions and Dr. Jones are producing the new series. Dr. Jones has dominated Sunday programming as the host and executive producer of Bobby Jones Gospel, seen on BET since 1980. In addition to Bobby Jones Gospel, he is also the producer of Video Gospel, which debuted on BET in 1989, the first national television outlet for Gospel videos.

VIP Scholarship Announcement

I planned to post another interview today, but Rhonda sent this great info over, and I thought this was more comprehensive and would answer all.

The deadline for participating in the Visions in Print Online Conference is quickly approaching. REGISTRATION CLOSES FRIDAY, MAY 30TH.

We are giving away 2 (two) registrations away to participants who have a finacial need. In order to qualify submit a one page essay explaining how the conference would be of benefit to you, where you are in your writing journey and why you can't afford to pay the ten dollar registration fee to visionsinprintacfw at with the subject Scholarship Applicant.

Conference details are:

Location: www.myspace. com/visionsinpri nt

Online Workshops & Sessions to Help You Take Your Skills to the Next Level

May 31, 2008 - $10 Registration Fee Includes All Sessions!

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Date: Saturday, May 31, 2008

Where: A Computer Near You!

Philanthropy: Visions in Print Writer’s Group is raising money to award a college scholarship to a Class of 2009 high school student. We invite you to attend an online writer’s conference. We’re offering ten workshops and chat sessions that will help you improve your writing and/or market your current work.

Craft of Writing Sessions

Business of Writing Sessions

I’ve Signed A Contract, Now What? – Ashea Goldson

Networking Your Way to a Bestseller List – Dwan Abrams

Virtual Marketing and Promotion – Dana Pittman

How an Online Conference Works: An online-conference is a conference hosted on the Internet. Participants can attend without leaving the comfort of their home.

Who it is for: This conference is for anyone who is writing fiction or thinking about writing. It’s also for those published authors who would like to learn more about the craft of writing to improve your skills or take advantage of our industry professionals who will discuss tips on getting a book review, marketing, networking and the advantages of a virtual tour.

How You Will Participate:

You register for the conference by emailing us at visionsinprintacfw at . We’ll send you an invoice for the $10 registration fee. A few days before the conference you’ll receive instructions on how to enter the main site for the conference. On the day of the conference, the workshops are presented in the forms of articles that are posted on the conference site by the presenter. Participants will review the material and post follow-up questions or comments in a threaded discussion format. At some point in the afternoon or perhaps several times during the day, the presenter will come into the forum and answer all the questions. Additionally, each presenter will hold a live chat for 45 minutes to an hour where they will talk with participants. This is another opportunity to have your questions answered or just have an opportunity to speak with one of your favorite authors.

Door prizes: Book Giveaway and all registered participants who are interested will be entered in a raffle to win a 10-page critique from author, Sherri Lewis!

Don't miss out on the learning or the fun! Contact us at visionsinprintacfw at

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2008 Summer Beach Read Nominee #2: Say Your're One of Them

Our Second Nominee for the CFB Summer Beach Read Festival is Ukem Akpan's Say You're One of Them Cover Image
I've been talking about Akpan for a while. Some of you know that I often in awe over the great writing coming from Nigeria. Every year I add a new author to our summer read-in. Akpan's short story collection was a no-brainer nominee in my book.

Synopis: 5 short stories set in war torn Africa. One of those stories, An Ex-Mas Feast was featured in The New Yorker eight years ago.

Uwem Akpan was born in a village in Nigeria and currently teaches in Zimbabwe. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of East Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. "My Parents' Bedroom," a story included in this, his first collection, was one of five short stories by African writers chosen as finalists for The Caine Prize for African Writing.

Here is an excerpt from "Say You're One of Them"

Monday, May 26, 2008

2008 Summer Beach Read Nominee #1: Skizzer

It's that time again, y'all. Christian Fiction is taking nominations for the 2008 Summer Beach Reading Festival. On June 1 I will set up a poll in the sidebar for you to pick. I will post a nominee every day until May 31, this Saturday. So, if you have a book you want to nominate, then email me or post your nomination and email me the link. Email me at vidae dot writing dot com. Now

Cover Image
Skizzer: A Novel

Synopsis: After receiving news of her sister Becca's sudden disappearance, [Skizzer]Claire Trowling must piece together the shadowy remnants of a past she's long forgotten in order to find her. A cryptic note scrawled in Becca's handwriting leaves more questions than it answers, and when a stack of mysterious letters bound by a rare necklace is found, Claire heads to England-the source of the heirloom-for answers.

My review: I like that the story's structure isn't linear. Kiesling weaves from one decade to the next to help her find her missing sister. However, Claire's voice should have a natural progression from childhood to adulthood. In Chapter 4/1977/ her childhood, she describes her world with the same vocabulary and insight as she does in the present. Having Claire's childhood mind tell the story, having Claire's teenage mind tell the story would have added to the uniqueness of the story's plot. Instead it appears as if Kiesling either got lost in her own intrigue or didn't see her own potential to be the kind of storyteller new novelists need to pattern after.

As for whether it is worthy to be nominated as a summer beach read...

I say yes. It is a great novel for sisters to read together. It has intrigue, a transcontinental adventure, Brit/American romance, and a great escape, since gas and flights are higher than kites.

My favorite line:
He[Colin] looked at me steadily."Breathe easily, Claire, If you heart is as open as it sounds, God will fall over himself to rush out to meet you."

What next? Read some of last year picks here.

20th Carnival of Christian Writers: CFB Featured

Writer . . . Interrupted’s Blog Carnival of Christian Writers
has been runningfor over a year and a half now and features blog
posts about the craft and call of Christian Writing.

To celebrate the 20th carnival they are giving away
an awesome prize ~

p2 weeks - month of Free Advertising on
Writer . . . Interrupted

A Writing Critique of a
First Chapter (up to 10 pages)

Participants will get one entry and referring participants will get
an extra entry for each participating referral to the carnival.
Winners will be selected at and notified by email
& posted at Writer . . . Interrupted on Saturday, May 31, 2008.


icon_cotton.jpg Dee Stewart is starting a series on self-editing with an emphasis on the major pieces of junk that bogs down your prose. See what she has to say at “Self Editing Habits: My Writing Hygiene“.

5 Days til VIP: Building Believable Book Characters

Greetings and Happy Memorial Day. This week is going to be a fantabulous week. We are counting down to the ACFW-VIP Online Conference, which is this Saturday, May 31 and we are also taking nominations for the 2008 Best Summer Beach Reads for Christian Fiction. The deadline to nominate is May 31. I will begin posting our nominees and set up a poll in the sidebar on June 1. Some of the books that have been nominated will be given away this summer, so I'm pleased about that. Now back to VIP...

Today I have Rhonda McKnight, the president of ACFW-VIP, author of Issues of the Heart(Urban Christian, Dec, 2009,) and one of my write-or-die chicks chatting with us today. She will be teaching a workshop on Building Believable Characters. Today she will participate in our 2 question author interview series for the week.

Question #1: What novel characters is the most believable for you and why?

Honestly, I have so many. But the one I've enjoyed of late is Jasmine Larks Bush from Victoria Christopher Murray's "A Sin and A Shame". I'm anxiously awaiting her new novel, "To Little To Late" to see what Jasmine is up to now. Two other great studies in character are James Scott Bell's "Presumed Guilty" and BeBe Moore Campbell's "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine".

Question #2: What is one tip you know will help make a character believable?
One tip about making characters believable would be to honestly know the character. I know that sounds simple, but I want to now the source of a character's traits and mannerisms. Why does she play with her wedding rings or why is he so compulsive in his spending? I need an author to show me who this person is and how they got that way or you haven't really done your job in developing the characters for me.

I recommend a very detailed character sketch where I look into the childhood of the character, things that scarred them as children and why, and even things they were proud of in elementary school. What did they love or hate most about their parents?

Things like that go deeper in building a three dimensional character. The entire person unfolds as you write, not just someone who has brown eyes, long hair, works at ABC company and went to school at UGA. There are lots of character sketch forms available, but some are only sufficient for minor characters. The protagonist and antagonist of a novel need a deeper look to be authentic.
Thanks for spotlighting me.

What next? If you haven't registered for the ACFW-VIP Online Writer's Conference, you still have a chance. If you would like to attend, but are having a financial hardship, ACFW-VIP are giving two scholarships. Check the site. Christian Fiction Blog is also giving away a free registration for the conference. Search the site to learn how to enter. Subscribe

Christian Fiction News: The Shack Controversy

Welcome to this weeks Christian Fiction News for the week ending May 23, 2008.

The Shack Controversy

1. Are six-figure book deals for niche bloggers good business?
Newsweek article

2. Why aren't more memoirs made into novels?

Pamela Binnings Ewan of Mandeville, author of Walk Back the Cat, has just released The Moon in the Mango Tree (B&H Publishing Group), a novel based on a true story about an opera singer in the roaring '20s who must choose between career and marriage. Publisher's Weekly called it " and heartfelt ... prose is laudably rich in specific and colorful detail ... Ewen is a talented writer, and this is a strong addition to Christian fiction." -Chere Coen reporting for The Advertiser
3. Is the Shack Heresy or a Miracle?
“This story[The Shack] is meant to teach theology that Young really believes to be true. The story is a wrapper for the theology. In theory, this is well and good; in practice, the book is only as good as its theology. And in this case, the theology just is not good enough. -Pastor Daniel Runke, former pastor at Albion Evangelical Free Church.

More: The Shack on NPR

"There is a God who is involved in things like this," he says. "There is really no human explanation for some of what's going on here." Young calls himself an "accidental author," one who has happened into a publishing miracle.

4. Are African American Christian BookStores going bust?
According to Christian Retailing, yes after New Life Christian(NY) and Rainbow Family in Ohio.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Dorinda Clark-Cole Presents...

Friday, May 30 @ 7:00 pm or Saturday, May 31 @ noon at the Comfort Suites
Located at 24977 Northwestern HWY, Southfield, MI 48075
RSVP BY WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2008, TO smcchoir at
Please bring a Head Shot photo of yourself and $10 registration fee(both are non-returnable)

10th Annual Singers and Musicians Conference
September 24-27, 2008
Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God In Christ
Detroit, Michigan
1-866-744-SONG (7664)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekend Chatterbox: 20 Must Reads Before You Fly MEME

Since the New York Times has this fantabulous article, "Volumes To Go Before I Die" inspired by the book, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die I thought it would be fun to open this weekend's chatterbox to the blog literati.Do you agree with the list? And, What are the 20 Must Reads everyone should read before you fly away. :) I think our recommendations will also reflect our nationality, faith, ethnicity and personal reflections. A few books that come to mind for me are books that helped me to define who I am. I welcome your list. You can post them here in comments or post them on your blog and link them here. In fact, I want to go a step further and make this a Meme. I'm tagging Rhonda McKnight
and anyone who reads this blog and is avid reader.

My Recommendations(in no rank or aesthetic value:)

  1. Alice Walker's A Color Purple
  2. Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye
  3. Plato's Republic
  4. John Milton Paradise Lost
  5. Thomas Hardy Tess of the d'Ubbervilles
  6. Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice
  7. Alexandre Dumas's Count of Monte Christo
  8. Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy
  9. Francis Ellen Harper's Iola Leroy
  10. The Autobiography of Malcom X
  11. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus
  12. The Holy Bible
  13. Philip Roth's The Human Stain
  14. Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees
  15. Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club
  16. Walter Mosley's A Devil in a Blue Dress
  17. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  18. Terry McMillan's Disappearing Acts
  19. Marilynne Robinson's Gilead
  20. Leif Enger's Peace Like a River
What next? Subscribe or Join the Network and Register for next week's Online Writer's Conference
African American Christian Publishing Company is seeking a Creative
Director. The qualified person will take the lead in designing and
maintaining the quality brand and image for our products. Also includes
development of daily graphic design/operation and web graphics design,
oversight of special productions, and project management. Manages a
minimum staff of 5 people providing them with direction and expertise.
Directs covers and interior designs for core and ancillary titles in
specified content areas and styles for related illustration programs.
Works collaboratively with our Editorial and Marketing departments to
establish and articulate design and art goals. Email resume and cover to igordon at urbanministries dot com.

Vanessa Miller's Sunday Brunch & the Essence Bestseller's List

Vanessa Miller
CLICK HERE to visit Vanessa's Website.

Come celebrate Vanessa Miller make #9 on Essence Magazine's Bestsellers List(6/08)

Others on the list:
#4 hardback: Sin No More By Kimberla Lawson Roby

What next: Subscribe or Join the Network

Best Blog Week Ever: Too Little, Too Late

Week ending May 22, 2008

My write or die chick, Rhonda McNight is spotlighting Victoria Christopher Murray's Too Little Too Late.
Cindy Swanson
shares Steven Curtis Chapman condolences link. David Foster praises Thomas Nelson's Michael Hyatt for Christian publishing optimism. Literary agent, Rachelle Gardner allows a published anon author to rant. Purple Hearts recaps more publishing talk. Hop over to Christian Bookshop Blog to see who Phil Groom nominated for The Encyclopedia of Christian Cheese's The Cheesiest Christian Book Title Contest. Hint: It's a Baker Publishing Book. I like the title. Rebecca Miller defends Christian Sci-Fi

CSFF blog tour is up and they are promoting the webzine, Mindflights.

Participants’ Links and TEXT DOC:
Brandon Barr,
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Kameron M. Franklin
Beth Goddard
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Pamela Morrisson
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
Rachelle Sperling
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Linda Wichman
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Nominate your blog entry to be include next week at vidae at writing dot com.



Gospel Dream 2008 Premieres Sunday, June 1 @ 9:00 PM (ET/PT)

ATLANTA - May 19, 2008 – The fate of 16 aspiring Gospel/Christian music singers from across the country competing in Gospel Music Channel’s American Idol®-inspired talent search series Gospel Dream 2008 will be in the hands of the Gospel/Christian music’s version of Simon, Paula and Randy: famed producer Big Jim Wright, Award-winning artist Martha Munizzi and multi-platinum artist/producer J. Moss, the network announced today. GMC also announced that Gospel Dream 2008 will be hosted by Sparrow Records recording artist and Award-winning songwriter Matthew West.

The season premiere of Gospel Dream 2008 is set for Sunday, June 1 and the series will run for five consecutive Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT), culminating with the grand finale coronation of the winner on June 29. Gospel Dream 2008 invited performers from all Gospel/Christian styles, including traditional, soul, rock, blues and country, to audition in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Miami and Atlanta. The winner will receive a record & music video deal and a Royal Caribbean Cruise.

Gospel Music Channel ( is the fastest-growing network in television today and can be seen in nearly 40 million homes on various cable systems around the country and nationwide on DIRECTV.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Girl Talk: A Stage Play about BookClubs!

The Stage Play
June 21 & 22

"GIRL.TALK." It's all about a women's book club discussion that evolves into an explosive evening of confession, declaration and liberation! First Lady Katrina Katrell (the over the top prissy from The ME Nobody Knows) is back!

Katrina, who has struggled with insecurity most of her life, made a decision that embarrassed her husband, the church and her entire family. Hoping and praying that it would all just blow over, someone calls her out at her book club party. Oh my goodness!

The exposure is devastating for First Lady but proves an entertaining and unforgettable time for all who witness it! Candid talk about self-love, sexuality, the color complex and sisterhood meshed with an entertaining presentation you'll be talking about long after it's over. Bring your girlfriends! Book Clubs! Women's Groups! This is one you want to see for yourself!

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. with light refreshments and an opportunity to meet friends and network!

The Gaithersburg Arts Barn is located @ 311 Kent Square Road, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878. For tickets and more information, visit or call 301.802.315.

Hollywood Screenwriter Takes On Real Life

Hollywood Screenwriter Takes On Real Life
Misty's Photo

"I thought my life was over."

Hollywood's Dirty Little Secret
by Misty Taggart

I was living my dream. To be a Hollywood writer was everything I had wanted since I was a very young child. There was never a time in my life when I didn't know absolutely what I wanted to do. And there I was, a member of the WGA, a working Hollywood screenwriter. It was glorious. My life was so exciting! Each day was an adventure full of running to studios, pitching stories, writing and rewriting. Location shoots and lunching with Hollywood insiders.

I was so very fortunate to meet William Hanna of Hanna/Barbera fame. He told me he liked my "drive" ... my passion. It reminded him of his own. Bill quickly became my mentor and very good friend. He believed in me and my talent so much that it was this famous and very generous man who made it possible for me to be one of the first women to ever write for animation. Until then, it had been a closed boys club ... and yet, there I was writing dog dialogue for Scooby Doo in my own office at Hanna/Barbera Productions! How incredible it was to be sitting in the many recording sessions with all the big name voice-over talent.

I was so proud as I watched my talented husband, Joe, appearing on Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and Three's Company. Our friends were all in the business. We were surrounded by lights, cameras and action, all the things I had dreamed of and worked so hard to attain. It was an exciting time in my life. The strange thing was, I thought it would go on forever.

But under all the glamour and the fun, if you are in this industry very long you will find Hollywood's dirty little secret. What is that? Well ... Hollywood will not allow you to grow older! They simply won't allow it! They don't say it ... but it is made very clear. Opportunities to pitch stories stop coming your way. Meetings are difficult, if not impossible to get. It is heartbreaking and irreversible. You are on your way out! It is as though the "Hollywood Powers-That-Be" believe a human brain stops working, in any cognitive fashion, when you near the BIG 50! (A testimony to that thinking can be had by simply watching current TV.) I laugh when I think that just perhaps their skewed thinking has come back to bite them in the behind!

When it was clear that my life as a Hollywood Screenwriter was over, I was truly devastated. I felt my whole life finished. Depression and fears set in--stealing any joy I had left. Hollywood had done a good job on me. I bought all of the lies. And those lies almost killed me.

I was convinced my dream had been stolen. I was too old to ever have other dreams or to truly enjoy my life ever again. Going on living that way, wasn't an option.

But I was so very wrong! God simply had new dreams for me in this season of my life. But I didn't come to this discovery easily. It's taken time and the willingness to work with my own Life Coach. No, she didn't do it for me, but she listened to me ... gave me new ways to look at my life. Things I hadn't thought about in my devastated, crisis state. She asked the hard questions and I found answers. It was an amazing process.

Could it be that I was getting excited about life again? Together, my coach and I made a PLAN OF ACTION that fit me perfectly. I began slowly but surely to move toward a new dream.

My life coach shared her knowledge, giving me many incredible and solid life tools to deal head on with my depression and feelings of worthlessness. My faith became stronger and I was empowered to see the possibilities God was offering to me. And, with her encouragement, I had the desire to reach out and grab them! Wasn't this what Bill Hanna had loved about me? My drive! My enthusiasm? I realized I was the only one who had given up on me. God had done His part, as always .. now it took action on my part.

Would I give up on the rest of my life, brokenhearted over the past? Or would I find new vistas to conquer? I had a choice to make and I chose LIFE! I chose TODAY and all of my tomorrows. I looked at my life and all of the many trials and victories. I longed to share that with other women. To let them know they could achieve their dreams. It all became so clear! I began the study necessary for me to become a Certified Christian Life Coach. With my faithful readers, like you, at Ordinary Woman/Extraordinary God, who had been with me for so long, I began my practice.

Now, I want YOU all to experience the POSSIBILITIES for your lives! Don't give up! The definition of life is CHANGE. Helping other women walk through transitions using what I had been through myself became my passion ... My life is once again filled with excitement and I get up each day with true joy. I look forward to the day.

God had not taken dreams away, but given me new ones.

This is why I'm so passionate about Life Coaching. I've been where you are! Let's do this together.

Don't you want a Life Coach who has been in those stuck and dark places ... a coach who knows how it feels to be frozen in place by fear and hopelessness? Give it a 4-week try! You will be amazed at what you will accomplish.


For more about Misty's Life Coaching, go to:

apple photo


Misty is making this new 1-month Life Coaching experience available to you for free, if you are the grand prize winner of this blog tour drawing. Did I say free? I meant to say FREE! $75 value. Great opportunity. Don't miss out! Leave your comment here to be entered in this great contest.

And for those of you who don't win, here's another freebie for you:

Start your week off with inspiration & a coaching tip of the week!

Listen as Misty gives 2 - Live 10-min Laser Coaching Sessions. Each Monday!

10am (Pacific) - 11am (MNT) - Noon (Central) - 1pm (Eastern)

To join us on this Free call or to receive a Free Laser Session with Misty on the call CLICK HERE to SEND an Email!

You will receive a return email with the Dial-In number and Access Code! MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Gospel High Schol Musical

Gospel High School Musical
Friday, May 30, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Willow Run High School Auditorium
235 Spencer Lane, Ypsilanti, MI
For more information call 734-487-7054

Send Me Your First Chapter Today

Not blogging today, but would love to read what you're working on. If you want me to take a look at your first chapter or short story, send them today and today only. I will email my comments and suggestions for improvement back today. Email me at vidae at writing dot com.

Pray for the Chapman family.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

OT: Roswell Beacon & Obama Crosshair

I'm a bit rich tonight. I am a GRITS. Georgia reared in the south, but I'm tired now, especially when it comes to Senator Obama and race.

This newspaper cover of the Roswell Beacon is ridiculous. Roswell, which is an affluent town in North Atlanta don't see why this cover choice was inappropriate. I once worked in that town and left after the bombing of the abortion clinic during the summer olympics. That was over ten years ago...
We knew we were on the provocative edge," Altork said. "But it's a very fair piece, a smart piece."- AJC
And then this quip from Huckabee...

"That was Barack Obama," Huckabee said. "He just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he — he dove for the floor."

Can you believe this? I am so concerned with about my daughter's future. I don't know how to protect her from a world that is scary to me...

Self Editing Habits: My Writing Hygiene

For those of you following me on Twitter, you know that I'm self-editing Blessed to Kill, while building a story arc for the next one(Working Title: Black Male Bride.) This week at The Writer's View we have been talking about craft improvement. My response was using a writing hygiene during my self-editing process.

What is that? It's a term I use to clean up the gunk in my prose:
  • misplaced backstory
  • poorly hidden guns and other story framing devices
  • redundant exposition
  • unnecessary dialogue
  • padded description
  • monsters and metaphors
  • adjective drowning
  • grammar rules
  • dropped threads
  • the usual dust bunnies
I think of my writing as southern minimalism(if a word exists.) Sometimes my Faulkner-esque streams of conscience gets carried away, so I have to scale back, clean things up.

Why is this important?

For three reasons:
  1. The industry isn't the same. Agents and editors want your stories clean when you submit for consideration. Although they make minor tweeks to your story for market value, they don't have time to delete your first paragraph/character sketch. You need to do that on your end.
  2. The industry isn't the same. I'm a book reviewer and I can't tell you how many books I read(am reading) that clearly got a shoddy copyedit from their publisher or author pals who submitted a rough draft of their manuscript to find it bound and sitting on my review table just the way they sent it. Publishing houses don't have the man power to cherry pick all your flaws anymore. You need to do that on your end.
  3. The industry isn't the same. There are too many books in too few bookstores for two short weeks that never get reviewed, publicity, or anything. Reviewers, avid readers and book club presidents love great books. But when we have to step out of your story to correct a grammar mistake, if we have to step out the story because you're telling us way too much information on the front end, or you left a loose theme thread hanging in the wind on the end, then guess what chicas we won't read the book. We'll return it to the store or if I have to read don't want that.
So from time to time this year I will share some techniques I use to get my prose clean and welcome any scrubbing tools you use.

In the meantime here are a few books that I keep next to me as resources while I self edit:

Some online blogs I read that help, you can find on my sidebar under links

Elspeth cleaning her car. Photo courtesy of Gothelina

FIRST: Robert Liparulo's House of Dark Shadows

It's May 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 (May 6, 2008)


Robert Liparulo is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly. He has sold or optioned three screenplays.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Here are some of his titles:

“A house of which one knows every room isn't worth living in.”

—Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa


Thirty years ago

The walls of the house absorbed the woman’s screams, until they felt to her as muffled and pointless as yelling underwater. Still, her lungs kept pushing out cries for help. Her attacker carried her over his shoulder. The stench of his sweat filled her nostrils. He paid no heed to her frantic writhing, or the pounding of her fists on his back, or even her fingernails, which dug furrows into his flesh. He simply lumbered, as steadily as a freight train, through the corridors of the big house.

She knew where they were heading, but not where she would end up. In this house, nothing was normal, nothing as it appeared. So while she knew in advance the turns her attacker would take, which hallways and doors he would traverse, their destination was as unknowable as a faraway galaxy. And that meant her taking would be untraceable. She would be unreachable to searchers. To would-be rescuers. To her family— and that realization terrified her more than being grabbed out of her bed. More than the flashes of imagined cruelty she would suffer away from the protection of the people who loved her. More than death.

But then she saw something more terrifying: her children, scrambling to catch up, to help. Their eyes were wide, streaming. They stumbled up the narrow staircase behind her attacker, seeming far below, rising to meet her. The thought of them following her into the chasm of her fate was more than she could stand.

“Go back,” she said, but by this time her throat was raw, her voice weak.

The man reached the landing and turned into another corridor.

Temporarily out of sight, her son yelled, “Mom!” His seven-year-old voice was almost lost in the shrillness of his panic. He appeared on the landing. His socked feet slipped on the hardwood floor and he went down. Behind him, his little sister stopped. She was frightened and confused, too young to do anything more than follow her brother. He clambered up and started to run again.

A hand gripped his shoulder, jarring him back.

The boy’s father had something in his fist: the lamp from his nightstand! He past the boy in the hallway. His bare feet gave him traction.

Thank God, she thought.

He reached her in seconds. With the lamp raised over his head, he grabbed her wrist. He pulled, tried to anchor himself to the floor, to the carpeted runner now covering the wood planks. But the brute under her walked on, tugging him with them. The man yanked on her arm. Pain flared in her shoulder. He might as well have tried pulling her from a car as it sped passed.

She caught a glimpse of the bizarrely shaped light fixtures on the corridor walls—mostly carved faces with glowing eyes. The bulbs flickered in time with her racing heart. She could not remember any of the lights doing that before. It was as though the electrical current running through the wires was responding to a disruption in the way things were supposed to be, a glitch in reality.

“Henry,” she said, pleading, hopeful.

His grip tightened as he stumbled along behind them. He brought the lamp’s heavy base down on her assailant. If the man carrying her flinched, she did not feel it. If he grunted or yelled out, she did not hear it.

What he did was stop. He spun around so quickly, the woman’s husband lost his grip on her. And now facing the other direction, she lost sight of him. Being suddenly denied her husband’s visage felt like getting the wind knocked out of her. She realized he was face to face with the man who’d taken her, and that felt like watching him step off a cliff.

“Nooo!” she screamed, her voice finding some volume. “Henry!”

His hand gripped her ankle, then broke free. The man under her moved in a violent dance, jostling her wildly. He spun again and her head struck the wall.

The lights went out completely . . . . but no, not the lights . . . her consciousness. It came back to her slowly, like the warmth of fire on a blistery day.

She tasted blood. She’d bitten her tongue. She opened her eyes. Henry was crumpled on the floor, receding as she was carried away. The children stood over him, touching him, calling him. Her son’s eyes found hers again. Determination hardened his jaw, pushed away the fear . . . at least a measure of it. He stepped over his father’s legs, coming to her rescue. Henry raised his head, weary, stunned. He reached for the boy, but missed.

Over the huffing breath of the man, the soft patter of her son’s feet reached her ears. How she’d loved that sound, knowing it was bringing him to her. Now she wanted it to carry him away, away from this danger. Her husband called to him in a croaking, strained voice. The boy kept coming.

She spread her arms. Her left hand clutched at open air, but the right one touched a wall. She clawed at it. Her nails snagged the wallpaper. One nail peeled back from her finger and snapped off.

Her assailant turned again, into a room—one of the small antechambers, like a mud room before the real room. He strode straight toward the next threshold.

Her son reached the first door, catching it as it was closing.

“Mom!” Panic etched old-man lines into his young face. His eyes appeared as wide as his mouth. He banged his shoulder on the jamb, trying to hurry in.

“Stay!” she said. She showed him her palms in a “stop” gesture, hoping he would understand, hoping he would obey. She took in his face, as a diver takes in a deep breath before plunging into the depths. He was fully in the antechamber now, reaching for her with both arms, but her captor had already opened the second door and was stepping through. The door was swinging shut behind him.

The light they were stepping into was bright. It swept around her, through the opening, and made pinpoints of the boy’s irises. His blue eyes dazzled. His cheeks glistened with tears. He wore his favorite pajamas—little R2D2s and C3P0s all over them, becoming threadbare and too small for him.

“I—“ she started, meaning to say she loved him, but the brute bounded downward, driving his shoulder into her stomach. Air rushed from her, unformed by vocal chords, tongue, lips. Just air.

“Moooom!” her son screamed. Full of despair. Reaching. Almost to the door.

The door closed, separating her from her family forever.



Saturday, 4:55 P.M.

“Nothing but trees,” the bear said in Xander’s voice. It repeated itself: “Nothing but trees.”

Xander King turned away from the car window and stared into the smiling furry face, with its shiny half-bead eyes and stitched-on nose. He said, “I mean it, Toria. Get that thing out of my face. And turn it off.”

His sister’s hands moved quickly over the teddy bear’s paws, all the while keeping it suspended three inches in front of Xander. The bear said, “I mean it, Toria. Get that—”

At fifteen years old, Xander was too old to be messing around with little-kid toys. He seized the bear, squeezing the paw that silenced it.

“Mom!” Toria yelled. ”Make him give Wuzzy back!” She grabbed for it.

Xander turned away from her, tucking Wuzzy between his body and the car door. Outside his window, nothing but trees—as he had said and Wuzzy had agreed. It reminded him of a movie, as almost everything did. This time, it was The Edge, about a bear intent on eating Anthony Hopkins. An opening shot of the wilderness where it was filmed showed miles and miles of lush forest. Nothing but trees.

A month ago, his dad had announced that he had accepted a position as principal of a school six hundred miles away, and the whole King family had to move from the only home Xander had ever known. It was a place he had never even heard of: Pinedale, almost straight north from their home in Pasadena. Still in California, but barely. Pinedale. The name itself said “hick,” “small,” and “If you don’t die here, you’ll wish you had.” Of course, he had screamed, begged, sulked, and threatened to run away. But in the end here he was, wedged in the back seat with his nine-year-old sister and twelve-year-old brother.

The longer they drove, the thicker the woods grew and the more miserable he became. It was bad enough, leaving his friends, his school—everything!—but to be leaving them for hicksville, in the middle of nowhere, was a stake through his heart.

“Mom!” Toria yelled again, reaching for the bear.

Xander squeezed closer to the door, away from her. He must have put pressure on the bear in the wrong place: It began chanting in Toria’s whiny voice: “Mom! Mom! Mom!”

He frantically squeezed Wuzzy’s paws, but could not make it stop.

“Mom! Mom! Mom!”

The controls in the bear’s arms weren’t working. Frustrated by its continuous one-word poking at his brain—and a little concerned he had broken it and would have to buy her a new one—he looked to his sister for help.

She wasn’t grabbing for it anymore. Just grinning. One of those see-what-happens-when-you-mess-with-me smiles.

“Mom! Mom! Mom!”

Xander was about to show her what happened when you messed with him—the possibilities ranged from a display of his superior vocal volume to ripping Mr. Wuzzy’s arms right off—when the absurdity of it struck him. He cracked up.

“I mean it,” he laughed. “This thing is driving me crazy.” He shook the bear at her. It continued yelling for their mother.

His brother David, who was sitting on the other side of Toria and who had been doing a good job of staying out of the fight, started laughing too. He mimicked the bear, who was mimicking their sister: “Mom! Mom! Mom!”

Mrs. King shifted around in the front passenger seat. She was smiling, but her eyes were curious.

“Xander broke Wuzzy!” Toria whined. “He won’t turn off.” She pulled the bear out of Xander’s hands.

The furry beast stopped talking: “Mo—” Then, blessed silence.

Toria looked from brother to brother and they laugh again.

Xander shrugged. “I guess he just doesn’t like me.”

“He only likes me,” Toria said, hugging it.

“Oh, brother,” David said. He went back to the PSP game that had kept him occupied most of the drive.

Mom raised her eyebrows at Xander and said, “Be nice.”

Xander rolled his eyes. He adjusted his shoulders and wiggled his behind, nudging Toria. “It’s too cramped back here. It may be an SUV, but it isn’t big enough for us anymore.”

“Don’t start that,” his father warned from behind the wheel. He angled the rearview mirror to see his son.

“What?” Xander said, acting innocent.

“I did the same thing with my father,” Dad said. “The car’s too small . . . it uses too much gas . . . it’s too run down . . . ”

Xander smiled. “Well, it is.”

“And if we get a new car, what should we do with this one?”

“Well . . . .” Xander said. “You know. It’d be a safe car for me.” A ten-year-old Toyota 4Runner wasn’t his idea of cool wheels, but it was transportation.

Dad nodded. “Getting you a car is something we can talk about, okay? Let’s see how you do.”

“I have my driver’s permit. You know I’m a good driver.”

“He is,” Toria chimed in.

David added, “And then he can drive us to school.”

“I didn’t mean just the driving,” Dad said. He paused, catching Xander’s eyes in the mirror. “I mean with all of this, the move and everything.”

Xander stared out the window again. He mumbled, “Guess I’ll never get a car, then.”

“Xander?” Dad said. “I didn’t hear that.”


“He said he’ll never get a car,” Toria said.

Silence. David’s thumbs clicked furiously over the PSP buttons. Xander was aware of his mom watching him. If he looked, her eyes would be all sad-like, and she would be frowning in sympathy for him. He thought maybe his dad was looking too, but only for an opportunity to explain himself again. Xander didn’t want to hear it. Nothing his old man said would make this okay, would make ripping him out of his world less awful than it was.

“Dad, is the school’s soccer team good? Did they place?” David asked. Xander knew his brother wasn’t happy about the move either, but jumping right into the sport he was so obsessed about went a long way toward making the change something he could handle. Maybe Xander was like that three years ago, just rolling with the punches. He couldn’t remember. But now he had things in his life David didn’t: friends who truly mattered, ones he thought he’d spend the rest of his life with. Kids didn’t think that way. Friends could come and go and they adjusted. True, Xander had known his current friends for years, but they hadn’t become like blood until the last year or so.

That got him thinking about Danielle. He pulled his mobile phone from his shirt pocket and checked it. No text messages from her. No calls. She hadn’t replied to the last text he’d sent. He keyed in another: “Forget me already? JK.” But he wasn’t Just Kidding. He knew the score: Out of sight, out of mind. She had said all the right things, like We’ll talk on the phone all the time; You come down and see me and I’ll come up to see you, okay? and I’ll wait for you.

Yeah, sure you will, he thought. Even during the past week, he’d sensed a coldness in her, an emotional distancing. When he’d told his best friend, Dean had shrugged. Trying to sound world-wise, he’d said, “Forget her, dude. She’s a hot young babe. She’s gotta move on. You too. Not like you’re married, right?” Dean had never liked Danielle.

Xander tried to convince himself she was just another friend he was forced to leave behind. But there was a different kind of ache in his chest when he thought about her. A heavy weight in his stomach.

Stop it! he told himself. He flipped his phone closed.

On his mental list of the reasons to hate the move to Pinedale, he moved on to the one titled “career.” He had just started making short films with his buddies, and was pretty sure it was something he would eventually do for a living. They weren’t much, just short skits he and his friends acted out. He and Dean wrote the scripts, did the filming, used computer software to edit an hour of video into five-minute films, and laid music over them. They had six already on YouTube—with an average rating of four-and-a-half stars and a boatload of praise. Xander had dreams of getting a short film into the festival circuit, which of course would lead to offers to do music videos and commercials, probably an Oscar and onto feature movies starring Russell Crowe and Jim Carrey. Pasadena was right next to Hollywood, a twenty-minute drive. You couldn’t ask for a better place to live if you were the next Steven Spielberg. What in God’s creation would he find to film in Pinedale? Trees, he thought glumly, watching them fly past his window.

Dad, addressing David’s soccer concern, said, “We’ll talk about it later.”

Mom reached through the seatbacks to shake Xander’s knee. “It’ll work out,” she whispered.

“Wait a minute,” David said, understanding Dad-talk as well as Xander did. “Are you saying they suck—or that they don’t have a soccer team? You told me they did!”

“I said later, Dae.” His nickname came from Toria’s inability as a toddler to say David. She had also called Xander Xan, but it hadn’t stuck.

David slumped down in his seat.

Xander let the full extent of his misery show on his face for his mother.

She gave his knee a shake, sharing his misery. She was good that way. “Give it some time,” she whispered. “You’ll make new friends and find new things to do. Wait and see.”


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