Friday, November 28, 2008

Weekend Chat: Should Christian Novels Become Better Movies

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Today's Weekend Chatterbox is about novels becoming books.

Bishop TD Jakes second novel turned movie, What's Easily Broken is about to hit a theater near you January 9, 2009. Although I didn't give the novel a favorable review, I wonder is the story better suited for cinema.

Question: What is your favorite movie adaptation of a novel and why do you think it worked?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Readup: Mainstream Christian or Perish?


Today Publisher's Weekly posed an interesting discussion regarding the smart moves mainstream publishing houses have taken to bring contemporary Christian stories to the marketplace. The author further implied a challenge to Christian publishers to make the same choices or else:

“By limiting our choices in publishing and retailing to only those books that have a direct Christian message, we are effectively driving [readers] to buy from the competition.” Reidy called for publishers, retailers, agents and authors to “expand the universe of what's possible in the world of Christian publishing and retailing.”
Source: Publisher's Weekly: Mainstream Houses Market Christian Fiction.

My response:

“By limiting our choices in publishing and retailing to only those books that have a direct Christian message, we are effectively driving [readers] to buy from the competition.” Reidy called for publishers, retailers, agents and authors to “expand the universe of what's possible in the world of Christian publishing and retailing.”

I so agree. Not only are Christian publishers driving readers to buy from the competition, they are driving writers to not see CBA publishers as a viable option for them. Mainstream faith fiction writers, who oftentimes write about urban themes or are African-American writers have been ignored, shunned and sometimes ridiculed for writing with a more expansive Christian worldview. Kudos to Thomas Nelson for giving Nicole the spotlight she deserves.

Kudos to Reshonda, Jacquelin, Pat. The list is growin with more authors who have been successful mainstream writers are Sherri Lewis, Tiffany Warren, Pat Simmons and Victoria Christopher Murray to name a few.

Submit your responses to Publisher's Weekly to be a part of this conversation. Digg the article and mine, then join me on Twitter this month as we begin counting down the best Gospel Fiction books of 2008.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Discuss Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's New Acquisitions Changes Tonight

63/366 Books by hellohazellucia

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher of authors including Philip Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer, Günter Grass and J. R. R. Tolkien, has temporarily suspended acquisitions of new manuscripts, a company spokesman said Monday...He added, “Every new manuscript that comes in is going to be subjected to a higher degree of scrutiny and consideration than has previously been the case.”

He said he could not be specific about what criteria would govern decisions about what manuscripts to buy, but said that editors would have to prove to an acquisitions committee that the book showed concrete evidence of “market interest.”
(Read Full Article Here)

Moreover, last week I mentioned that some bookstores aren't taking new book orders at the top of 09 to stay solvent.

So how do authors adjust and prepare for these changes?

I'll be discussing these developments with Marina Woods in more detail tonight and what they may mean for authors (both newbies and midlisters) on The Dee and Marina Reports Show Tonight. You're welcome to call in and add to the conversation. Or email me questions to address during the show. The Show airs tonight at 8 -8:45 pm. with a fifteen minute Real Talk After Show. Visit the show and chat at The call in # is (646) 649-1066.

Dee Stewart


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Monday, November 24, 2008

A Humbling Approach to Organic Spiritual Content

I read many stories that attempt to illuminate and fail. To set a soul artist vertical, upward toward Heaven, one must allow the soul to write.

I read J. Mark's very well done blog entry on Organic Spiritual Content. In a nutshell he provided a few observations on how most Christian novelists infuse spirituality in their stories, offered three methods of adding spiritual content organically to our writing, and then opened the post for more interpretation, discussion and methods to try.

I read the post three times, and believe the post to be a great tool for Christian novelists to bookmark and use, but I felt something was missing. Something that mattered to me and I believe those who worship similar to me. So here is my method to try:

Writing as Worship: Vertical Writing

Continue reading "A Humbling Approach to Organic Spiritual Content" »

Saturday, November 22, 2008

FIRST: In Charge: Finding the Leader Within You by Myles Monroe

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

In Charge: Finding the Leader Within You

FaithWords (November 10, 2008)


Myles Munroe is the founder of the Bahamas Faith Ministries, a network of outreaches and churches headquartered in Nassau, Bahamas. He is a gifted orator and speaks to audiences around the world as both a preacher in church and parachurch settings and as a motivational speaker at large business gatherings and for other non-church organizations. He's authored more than a half-dozen books.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (November 10, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446580465
ISBN-13: 978-0446580465


Chapter 1

“I’m In Charge”: The Battery and the Wire

Who’s Got the Power?

“The value in each human is the gift they were born to deliver to humanity”

Which one of these is the most important part of a car: the battery or the terminal wire? You’ve probably never heard of the little red wire that connects the battery to the rest of the engine in the car. If you’re like most people you will say, “The battery. It has the power.”

Your car has about 60,000 parts. The battery says, “I’m in charge of all of them. Nothing starts without me. I’m the battery. I have the power. Power! Power! Power! I’m the one who starts everything. Nothing starts until I arrive. I’m the power. I’ve got the power to start the engine.”

Does that sound like some people you know?

Well, if the battery is the most important part of the car, let’s disconnect the wire. The battery costs about $150. The little red wire missing from the car costs about $10. You have 59,999 working parts and only a $10 wire missing. Without it, the car will not start. Your car may be worth $40,000, $50,000 or $100,000, but it can be immobilized by this $10 wire. You want to go somewhere. You have something to do! The car says, “I’m ready, but there’s a little $10 wire missing.”

The battery says, “I’ve got the power.”

A spark plug says, “I’ve got the fire.”

“The engine says, “I run the car!”

That little wire is very quiet. He does not have to say, “You need me. You can’t start without me.” All the other parts soon realize it, and they say, “Go find the wire.” The terminal wire was created to transmit electrical current from the battery to the generator and to the engine to ignite the spark plugs that provide the fire to turn the pistons and turn the engine over. In essence, the little terminal wire was designed to be the “leader” in the area of electrical transmission. In the domain of the terminal wire, the terminal wire is in charge. It might be just a little wire, but it could shut down the engine.

If that spot is empty, the car shuts down.

Each one of the car’s parts is a leader. A spark plug can never be a battery. A battery can never be a manifold. A manifold can never be a generator. Therefore, in the domain of the battery, the battery is in charge. It is unique because only it can be the battery — no matter how jealous the battery or the spark plug gets, no matter how much the steering wheel wishes to be a battery.

Each part is important. Every component of the car was designed to lead in a specific area and to serve a purpose or function in the context of the whole. Each one is a leader!

This concept of leadership contradicts the philosophy that leadership is reserved for a small, elite group of individuals “chosen by providence” and entitled to lead the masses of incapable subordinates in need of guidance by those of superior status. It is a direct challenge to what I was taught in the colonial experience of my childhood.

My view of leadership is this: each of us has an inherent gift and must serve that gift to the world. You are a leader. You have power. Your gift is your power. You are in charge in your area of gifting, your domain. You have a leadership spot to fill and a function to carry out. Your gift determines that spot and that function. Just as the value of the terminal wire is determined not by size or cost but by function, your value is not determined by anything but your gift. Someone needs your gift, and you must serve it to the world. You also need the gifts others bear to live.

So who’s in charge? You are! Who’s got the power? Everyone of us.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Chat: What Feels Like Home? Thanksgiving

My grandmother, Minnie owned a cleaning service in Miami, Florida, but her passion was quilt-making. She made me a quilt for a college, made Selah a quilt before she was born, and then another one for when she would get bigger. And before she died she was working on my wedding quilt. I am not married.

The last few days have been very cold, and so I pulled out our quilts and put them in our beds. Selah hers and mine. And the unfinished wedding quilt I decided to complete for grandma. Last night after I tucked Selah in her quilt and snuggled in mine, I remembered her smell and began to miss her. I have been having family issues.

This morning my mom woke me up to tell me that my great-aunt Kate(my grandmother's twin) had passed through the night. I exhaled and cried. I did. I knew that my grandmother had touched me last night and her spirit was bring Aunt Kate home. I miss her more.

This weekend's chatterbox question isn't so much a question, but an opportunity for us to give thanks. Thanksgiving in the United States is next week. So the question is:

What feels like home to you? What are you most thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Night in the Life of Dee Stewart, Publicist Tonight at 9:20 PM

If you missed my teleseminar, you can hear me live tonight with on Blog Talk Radio @infinitemms sharing a day in a life of a publicist

Dwan Abrams E-Lunch Date on DryerBuzz TV

Watch It Live "The Expectation of Change"

Join author, public speaker & publisher, Dwan Abrams for a lunch date in Atlanta or an e-lunch online today on DryerBuzzTV. Where?

Atlanta: DryerBuzz 2nd Lunch and Stream "The Expectation of Change," 3330 Cumberland Blvd., Suite 500, Atlanta, GA 30339,, 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Online: DryerBuzzTV

Visit Dwan at
Her newest novel, Married Strangers releases November 25, 2008 at a bookstore near you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Readup: Bookstores not Buying New Books

Wednesday Readup for week of November 19, 2008

Nicole C. Mullen Atlanta Revolve the Holidays

Come see Nicole C. Mullen in Atlanta December 5-6 2008 at the Revolve Tour. The Revolve Tour is a weekend (Friday evening – Saturday) event for teen girls. Trendy Down Due to Economy

In October, online spending grew just 1%, its lowest rate since 2001, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to comScore, the biggest drop in sales online has been from "mid-to-lower income familes that make less than $50,000 a year." Higher-income consumers have increased spending online but not as much as in the past. Source: Shelf Awareness

Question: Will you be using for holiday shopping this year? I am. I haven't yet, because I have bills to pay, but plan to December 1. What about you?

blonde librarian by girl enchanted

Bookstores New Book Order Reduction Problematic for Authors

In order for some bookstores to say in the black, they are opting to sell used and older books and relaxing on purchasing new books in early 2009. What will this mean for authors who have books coming out in early 2009? I recommend you talk with your publisher about assisting you with hosting book events. If you don't know I am an Atlanta satellite for Mocha Readers books, an Essence Magazine reporting bookseller. I can assist you and your publishing house if you're in Atlanta or coming here. And if you're in Ohio, please contact Rhonda Bogan at

The trend "doesn't bode well" for and eBay, among other large online retailers, the Journal added.

The Exorsistah

Recommendation: A Christian Alternative to Twilight
This weekend the movie Twilight hits the big screen. The movie is an adaptation to Stephanie Meyers novel. If you are seeking a teen novel for your daughter that is more Christian based, I recommend Claudia Burney's the Exorsistah.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Book Preview: My Mother's Wish

The winner of this book will be announced this Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book: My Mother’s Wish


A grandfather’s song turns a diner into hallowed ground, like a church. A contrary girl with a gypsy heart feels the tug of home. A mother, far away, confronts impossible expectations. And a truck driver named Jedidah keeps his foot on the gas to sweep you into an unforgettable story of belonging and grace.

Readers looking for a meaningful, powerful read on a winter’s evening or with the family will love the rich 1960s nostalgia captured in the Midwest of Jedidiah’s and Ellee’s story; the peace found when family strife boils over, and the gentle reminders of the influence and effect every life has on another.

My Mother’s Wish is an unforgettable, powerful tale that ends on a memorable Christmastime note, but will be cherished and reread year-round for its bold message of grand hopes, impossible expectations, and the gift of grace that comes in between.

Author Bio:

Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Vanguard University, in Costa Mesa, California. A professional storyteller, he is the author of the highly-acclaimed Christmas stories When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four (in trade adult and children’s picture book editions) and Givers of Gifts; plus Irony in Mark’s Gospel and Grapevine: A Spirituality of Gossip. His passion is theology and storytelling, which he believes are meant to go together. Jerry and his wife, Shaleen, are the parents of three children.

This book can be purchased via:




Related Article:

Wednesday Readup: Thomas Nelson Book Bloggers & My Christmas Book Giveaway Contest

FIRST: Infidel--Graphic Novel: The Lost Books Series by Ted Dekker

It's the 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 (November 11, 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:

Chosen (The Lost Books, Book 1) (The Books of History Chronicles)


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


Product Details

List Price:$15.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 11, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595546049
ISBN-13: 978-1595546043


(Click Pictures to Zoom!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do you need free help with your book marketing plan?

For those of you who have questions about book marketing, why you need a marketing plan, how to build a plan around your budget, components of the plan, and writing an effective marketing analysis for your book proposals, then register for my free teleseminar, Dee-Coding the Book Marketing Plan. The chat will go live this Tuesday, November 18, 2008 8PM EST.

If you have specific questions you want me to discuss during the chat, leave your comment here or DM me on Twitter or hit me up on Facebook.

Don't forget to tune into Dee & Marina Reports Radio Show every Tuesday at 7pm.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Who do you see your first commitment being to in book reviewing (besides God)?

This week's Saturday question: you receive review copies of Christian books? If so, do you review them honestly? How do you handle it when you don't like a book but are obligated to provide a review? Who do you see your first commitment being to in book reviewing (besides God)? Yourself? The author? Your readers? Does your review change based on the spiritual content of the book or is it solely based on technical or artistic merit? Have you ever had a negative experience with an author after giving them a negative review? (please don't name names)

Do I review Christian books?


Do I review them honestly?

I review books. I don't know what dishonest reviewing is.

How do you handle it when you don't like a book but are obligated to provide a review?

I am a book reviewer. My obligation is to do what I do, review the book. If the review rating isn't stellar then so be it. I love all books, maybe not the execution of the story. It is a feat to complete a book, so I give every book at least that respect.

Who do you see your first commitment being to in book reviewing (besides God)? Yourself? The author? Your readers?

The book. I am a book reviewer. My first commitment is to the book, more importantly the story.

Why do I say that? I believe that a book has its own life, almost an eternal life if the book is worthy of constant reprinting. Just like a piece of art or a piece of music, the book defines a culture and it deserves a certain level of respect. When I review a book I don't just look at story, but its build, its cover, its pricing and the story. I use a five point rating system and 4.5 for Romantic Times Magazine book reviews. 4 points in the rating is comprised of the story. The last point goes to the extras that make the book a keeper.

Second to the reader. Third to the author. God above all others of course.

Does your review change based on the spiritual content of the book or is it solely based on technical or artistic merit?

When it comes to Christian Book reviews orthodoxy is important and I include it in my rating regarding theme. What separates a Christian book from an inspirational title is its orthodoxy without it what's the difference between the two?

Have you ever had a negative experience with an author after giving them a negative review?

I had an author upset with my review, because she thought I revealed too much of the story. I only used the summary the publicist and the back cover provided.

The Fantastic Fall Giveaway Contest

Welcome to the 1st ever Blog Tour!

This week we're chatting about:

The Fantastic Fall Giveaway Contest!

Just in time for the holidays, you could win over
$335 worth of books, cds and dvds!

Sponsored by our friends at:

The Grand Prize Winner will receive:


Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark
Rachel's Secret by BJ Hoff
Beach Dreams by Trish Perry
Playing God by Michelle McKinney Hammond
White Soul by Brandt Dodson
The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka
Finding Marie by Susan Paige Davis
The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Omartian
A Man After God's Own Heart by Jim George
Evidence for Faith 101 by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz


Wake Up! Wake Up! by Everyday Sunday
Rock What You Got by Superchick
Sunday by Tree63
Houston We Are Go by Newsboys (Live CD/DVD)
Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney
I Am Free Worship Collection
Salvation Station by Newworldson
Not Without Love by Jimmy Needham
Pages by Shane & Shane
Colors and Sounds by Article One


Love's Unfolding Dream
The Ten Commandments Animated
Between the Walls

But that's not all!
We're giving away even more!

During this blog tour (November 10th - 16th) we'll be drawing 2 winners daily from the contest entries to win an additional free book or cd!

Visit the Contest page today to enter the contest and place yourself in the running to receive the Grand Prize, plus all the daily prizes! Deadline to enter is November 17th.

Founded in 2006 by Tracy & C.J. Darlington, is an interactive website spotlighting Christian books, music & movies. Updated weekly, we feature author and musician interviews, album and book reviews, music videos, movie reviews and interviews, book excerpts, surveys, polls, and fun contests. Learn more:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chatterbox: A Weeks Economy Eviction Excuse

This weekend's Chatterbox comes from news regarding Global Destiny Church in GA:

Bishop Thomas Weeks cofounder blames his church's eviction on the economy. Global Destiny Church in Duluth, GA owes more than $400,000 according to Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office. Deputies served two eviction notices today and the employees were asked to leave the premises. Since Weeks divorced Juanita Bynum in a sensationalized marriage scandal the congregation dropped from 3000 to 300 members. He stated he couldn't keep up the bills. The inventory inside the building will be sold to pay down the debt.

Weekend Chatterbox question: Have your church been affected by the economy or is Weeks to blame?

Related Articles

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Using Forums to Manage & Grow your Readership

Picture 21:  "Everyone!  Your attention please!" by Sydnee Bee.
Back in 2005 I was introduced to a great blog and forum, David Long's Faith in Fiction. At the B & F I befriended and have met some of the best people in Christian publishing. We are all still friend even now. We don't connect at Faith*in*Fiction as we once did, which is sort of bittersweet. However, what I've learned through FiF is that social media has the power to galvanize groups of people, empower authors, connect them with other readers and then take those conversations and relationships offline.

Last night I was reminded of Dave's FiF while watching Successfool TV. This discussion was about forums and how they can service a community like nobody's business. And then I thought about my clients, my blog, and my forums.

Forums when thoughtfully created can provide value to you as an author and to your book brand by:

  1. Galvanizing your readers to start grass roots projects like: book release parties, pajama parties, library readings, requesting libraries to stock your book. Manga and Comic book fans share book party ideas on Comic Book Forums
  2. Build a community around your book series: Stephanie Myer's, author of Twilight has fan forums for her series.
  3. Build an effective and focused email newsletter campaign: Tyler Perry has a great forum that feeds off his special message email newsletter campaign.
  4. Serve as a help desk for aspiring authors: I have a Vertical Promo Help Desk for Christian Professionals who seek Marketing support. They can leave me a questions and I will respond within 24 hours. Other readers can see the Q & A and interact.
  5. Others? How do you use forums
Don't forget to sign up for my free book marketing plan teleseminar. The date is next tuesday, November 18, 2008.

FIRST: Godly Love: A Rose Planted in the Desert of our Heart

It's the 15th, time for the Non~FIRST blog tour!(Non~FIRST will be merging with FIRST Wild Card Tours on January 1, 2009...if interested in joining, click HERE!)

The feature author is:

and his book:

Templeton Foundation Press (September 26, 2008)


Stephen G. Post has spent a lifetime studying love in its theological, scientific, and practical dimensions. He is president of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (IRUL) and professor of bioethics and family medicine in the School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Post has published one hundred thirty articles in peerreviewed journals and has written or edited fifteen scholarly books on subjects relating to the dynamic of love in our lives. His most recent book is Why Good Things Happen to Good People, coauthored with Jill Neimark. Dr. Post has chaired nine national conferences in his field and has received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Board of the Alzheimers Association. He lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with his wife, Mitsuko, and their two children, Emma and Andrew.

Product Details

List Price: $12.95
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press (September 26, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599471515
ISBN-13: 978-1599471518


Godly Love and Human Hatreds

In March 2007 I had the honor of spending several days north of Paris with the great Jean Vanier, then in his early eighties. Jean had founded L’Arche (“The Ark”) some four decades earlier, when he was inspired by an experience of Godly love to invite two men with cognitive developmental disabilities into his home. Over the years, L’Arche homes have flourished worldwide as volunteers dwell with the disabled in communities of faith, prayer, and Godly love. I had attended meals in L’Arche homes in Cleveland on a number of occasions, and I had heard the grace said before eating, the hymns sung, and the energy of love that was palpable in the lives of those caregivers and in the experience of those they cared for and lived with.

Jean struck me as one of the most loving, Godly, and humble men I had ever met. He spoke quietly and brilliantly, and he exuded an infectious sense of fun. On one Sunday evening there was a Catholic Mass in an old renovated chapel from the fourteenth century. About one hundred people had gathered there, mostly L’Arche volunteers and people with disabilities. I saw a volunteer wheel one older man named David up to the priest for communion. That night, at dinner, I asked Jean what he thought David had gotten from receiving communion, for David was probably the most severely disabled and agitated person I had encountered there. Jean said, “Whenever David receives communion, he becomes more peaceful, and that is the power of God’s love. Remember, Stephen, we do not know much about the mystery of God’s love and presence.” Jean’s pure, enduring, and expansive love clearly encompassed such a severely disabled man, and counted him among God’s blessed.

Evil in God’s Name

When I encounter a man like Jean Vanier, I feel that we must all stop thinking of God as the epitome of awesome power and strength in the conventional sense. This convention may be partly true, but we need to set it aside; otherwise, we begin to think of God primarily in terms of might, and human arrogance propels us into thinking that because my God is stronger than your God, violence is justified in God’s name. If we think about God in terms of power, then religions become tainted with human arrogance. Far too many prayerful people are carrying rifles in the spirit of pure hatred and pretending that their hatred is somehow divinely sanctioned. This amounts to shallow religiosity, which only causes pain and undermines Godly love. The Lord of power and might is first and foremost the author and giver of all good things, the Divine Entity who nourishes us in love and brings forth from us good works.

We need to stop thinking that our definitions of God are finite and that our knowledge of God’s will is total. Our definitions, even if divinely inspired, are still products of the human mind, and we can never fully understand the Divine. Religious doctrines, if adhered to arrogantly, tend to separate us from one another and shatter the unifying spirit of Godly love that all spirituality seeks to cultivate. When religions place doctrine and force above love, they foment massive evil—from torture to terror, from coercion to conflict. Religious wars exemplify human tribalism and arrogance, both of which bring out the worst in us.

Hatred, hostility, and revenge are such strong emotions that they can crush our fragile sense of Godly love. The pseudospirituality of hatred runs counter to all genuine spirituality, which is always an adventure in love, an expression of love’s deepest desires.

Countering Hatred with Godly Love

The love of power can sometimes overwhelm the power of love, so we must remain humble and guard against this. No matter how little we know about God, we can still experience Godly love. Only by taking Godly love much more seriously than we do now—even inculcating a profound love for one another among ancient, sworn enemies—can we expect to head off a spiral of widespread destruction.

Most of religion and spirituality is rooted in healing emotions, grounded in love. We will never achieve sustained peace in the twenty-first century unless all religions live up to those intrinsic ideals of Godly love, applying those ideals to all of humankind without exception.

The world shows no signs of becoming any less religious; we as humans will always have a passion for Ultimate Truth that provides safe haven and emotional security in times of distress. Yet we will only have a human future if we infuse universal Godly love into the rituals that religions create, and express through our actions spiritual emotions such as forgiveness and compassion. If our religions fail to promote universal Godly love, violence will sweep us all away in a cataclysmic firestorm.

Promoting Harmony and Peace

Godly love alone can realign the world in harmony and peace. Too many kill in God’s name, claiming that they alone know the destiny God intends for humankind. Our limited human knowledge of any divinely inspired destiny to be played out on the human stage belies this specious—and dangerous—claim.

Love is the source of our greatest happiness and security; therefore love is the Ultimate Good, the Supreme Good. Nothing else comes close, for love underlies the creative energy that propels us from birth to death. The withholding of love drives to destruction those deprived of love’s nurturing, its compassion, and its life-giving blessings. This occurs most notably in critical developmental periods during childhood. And it holds just as true for a child in a nursery as it does for an older adult in a hospice.

Our religions, which offer models of righteous living, must put into practice their visions of Godly love, or they risk becoming sidelined, or, worse, irrelevant.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christian Fiction News: Dee & Marina Reports, Tony Dungy 1Million Sold

Christian Fiction News for the week of November 10, 2008

Dee & Marina Reports Talk Radio gone Gospel

Join me, Dee Stewart and my galpal Marina Woods as we host a new talk radio show covering current Christian news, rumor control, people to watch and more hot topics. The show airs tomorrow 7pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.

Call-in Number: (646) 649-1066

Cross Walk Book Review: Burney's Wounded
You may be skeptical when it comes to the phenomenon of stigmatica; many evangelicals are. But the boo k does not push a conclusion. Instead, the issue is merely an invitation to shed your preconceived ideas about the way God works, much as first-century Jews were forced to do when Jesus arrived. If you can embrace this mindset, you’ll be blessed by the book. And if, like Gina, you are truly hungering for more of Jesus, this story will whet your appetite even more.
Author: Claudia Mair Burney
Title: Wounded (A Love Story)
Publisher: David C. Cook
Click for Full Review:Burney’s Talent Conveys Love for People, Jesus and Fiction
Bertrand's Book Proposal Tips for Novel Writers

Bertrand_headshot_bw_smallHow likely are you to put down money for the rough, uncut rock? Not very.For one thing, you're looking for finished stones, and there are plenty out there to choose from. Why would you bother with one that needs so much work-- especially when the seller expects you to pay top dollar?

As a consumer, you don't expect to have the jeweler's work thrown into our lap. What you're looking for is a stone ready to wear. That's common sense. But you'd be surprised how many aspiring authors neglect common sense when it comes to shopping around manuscripts.

Read On...

>Tony Dungy Wins ECPA Platinum Awards DungyPlatinum award with Nathan Whitaker wins the PLATINUM AWARD. This award is a statement that his book, Quiet Strength has sold over 1,000,000 copies.

NANOWRIMO Tip: Embrace Your Oddity

Madison with closed eyes and pink tulips by vpasson.
Photo Source: VPasson
Update: This is a repost. The entire post is up on TMA today, because of schedule changes.

Last Week I asked my Twitter and Facebook buddies was it weird for me to write fiction (well type on puter)with my eyes closed. I also play music that fits the mood of the scene I'm writing and before I write I think visually of the setting and how my character is working the room in that setting. Closing my eyes help me visualize the story. I become a recorder of a world I see clearer on the inside of me and feel in my heart.

I learned that many of my friends now know that I'm a wee bit weird, while I found that I was not alone. Lisa T. Bergren, author of The Betrayal closes her eyes and writes when she is in "The Zone." She even uses music to write her wonderfully written Christy Award nominated stories.

However, there was one response that stood out more than others"

"Embrace your Oddity. "

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wildcard: The Enemy Between My Legs

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Enemy Between My Legs

Stephanie L. Jones, LLC; 1st edition (November 16, 2007)


Stephanie L. Jones, author of ESSENCE Magazine and best-selling book, The Enemy Between My Legs, is a highly sought after speaker for schools, churches, and organizations. After spending several years working for Fortune 500 companies and as a successful book publicist, she opted out of the corporate world to become a sexual abuse advocate. Having experienced sexual abuse for over seven years beginning at age five, she understands how it affects victims long-term and is committed to helping others heal from the pain of their past. Stephanie is known for her honest approach in dealing with sexual abuse, a subject that few people will openly discuss. She’s been featured in several newspapers and magazines around the world and has been a guest on many top shows, including The Michael Baisden Show, Keeping it Real with Rev. Al Sharpton and the Open Line on KISS FM.

Visit Stephanie's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: Stephanie L. Jones, LLC; 1st edition (November 16, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 097945560X
ISBN-13: 978-0979455605



“The beauty of the past is that it is the past. The beauty of the now is to know it. The beauty of the future is to see where one is going.” ~Unknown


After all of these years, it’s as clear in my mind as if it happened just last week. I was about five years old, and it was a beautiful summer night. Because the weather was so nice that evening, all of us children were allowed to sleep outdoors in our sleeping bags and make-shift beds. It was a simpler time, and adult supervision wasn’t necessary for such an outing. The memory of his touching me between my legs is so vivid because it was coupled with another embarrassing event; I had peed the bed. I remember lying there wrapped in those wet sheets until the next morning. I don’t know if I was more ashamed of wetting myself or of the abuse that had taken place.

As you can see, sexual abuse didn’t begin in my life like it’s typically portrayed in the media, which is usually the image of an adult male hovering over an innocent little girl. My first two abusers were, in fact, quite young themselves. They were both only between 12 to 14 years old. On the outside they appeared to be normal young men. They attended school, played sports, chased girls, and hung out with their friends. They were very nice to me, too. I was around them often, and I thought of them as my big brothers. In fact, I loved them.

Since I was only five years old when the sexual abuse with these young men began, I can’t say that I remember all of the intimate details about it, such as whether there was intercourse or oral sex. Having spent so much time lately digging into my past, I find it interesting how much the mind will suppress in order to avoid pain. However, I know without a doubt that I was molested by these young men, especially the older one. I remember spending a lot of time with him in his bedroom kissing him, fondling, rubbing, and grinding on his legs and penis. Usually, I was on top of him following directions as a kid is taught to do. I remember very little about the abuse with the second young man, except for the bed-wetting experience mentioned above and that it was ongoing over a period of time.

I was between 7 and 12 years old when the molestation began with other people, and for a long time, I assumed that this was the beginning of the abuse. I had no idea that it went back as far as age five. I had buried the events with the two young men deep in my subconscious. At some point I even questioned whether or not it happened, but I know it did. The memories of it have always haunted me. There was a two-year period in my life that I had recurring images of a man on top of me. I knew that it was someone different, not one of my offenders whom I already knew about. Here is a letter that I wrote several years ago about these images.

I have images in my head. There are images of me lying in bed next to a man. There are also images of me on top of him. The images are real and powerful, but this man’s touch is unfamiliar. It’s not like the others. It’s not one that I’m used to. So many times over the years I’ve tried to see his face, but I can’t. Was there sexual penetration? How about oral sex? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I knew that it was someone I least expected. His presence was very strong. It was as if I could literally still feel his touch, but I couldn’t see his face. I tried to guess who it was, but I kept drawing a blank. Then one day out of nowhere, a very familiar face, one that I hadn’t seen in years, appeared in my mind. It was like someone was holding a photograph or a police mugshot in front of my eyes and saying, “This is him.” I knew immediately who it was. I knew that it was the young man who was the first person to sexually abuse me, the one I looked up to like a brother. Being able to finally see his face answered so many questions for me about the past and how the abuse began in the first place.

I can’t really say why I didn’t tell back then. Obviously these were people I cared about, and I didn’t want to get them in trouble. Maybe that’s what kept me quiet for so long. It could’ve been that my own curiosity just got the best of me, and I didn’t want to tell. Perhaps it felt good to me, and I didn’t want it to stop. It could’ve been one or a combination of reasons. Although I didn’t know the seriousness of the situation at the time, I knew that it was wrong, not because someone had told me that it was; I just knew. Even as a young child I knew how to act, what not to say and do, and how to pretend that all things were normal between me and these young men. I knew to jump up and pull up my little pants or pull down my little dress when a door would suddenly open or when footsteps were approaching. I knew never to tell anyone, and until now, I never did. I never told a soul.

To think that I had my first sexual experience at only five years old is unimaginable. I often wonder what I knew at five. Could I recite my ABCs without singing them? How far was I able to count? What was my favorite doll’s name? Did I know how to ride my bike without training wheels? Undoubtedly, my concerns were much greater than these. I had more serious matters to contend with.

Even after having experienced sexual abuse for many years, writing about it and speaking about it around the world, it’s still hard for me to fathom the idea of a five-year-old child engaged in a sexual act with a teenager or an adult man or woman.


One of the many questions I’m often asked is where my parents were when the sexual abuse was going on, so I want to address this subject early on. I must be honest and admit that if the tables were turned and I was reading this story instead of sharing it, it would probably be the number one question on my mind, too. “Where in the world were this girl’s mother and father, and did they know about it?”

I have great parents. They are wonderful people who love me, and I love them. They are two of my best friends. The bond that I share with them is very special and has been throughout my life. As a matter of fact, the bond keeps getting stronger over the years. My parents have always encouraged me to reach for my dreams and accomplish my goals.

However, I would be less than truthful if I told you that things were always good in our household. Obviously, there was some negligence on their part. My father did the father stuff, such as teaching me how to cook and coming to school events, but he definitely didn’t do the daddy stuff. He didn’t get involved with my personal development. I don’t recall our having conversations about the clothes I wore, the friends I hung out with, where I was spending my free time, or the young men that were calling or stopping by to visit me. We never had a single conversation about sex. These are very critical areas in which a daughter needs her father to be involved, and my father wasn’t.

Coming from a broken home herself, my mother did the best she could at that time. She was very much on her own and taking care of herself and her siblings from the time she was 14 years old. She never had the opportunity to learn parenting skills before becoming a parent herself, but she definitely was more involved in my personal life than my father was. My mother had a lot of faith in me. I think she just accepted what I told her because I was the “good girl.” I didn’t fit society’s profile of a troubled teen. I was a straight “A” student whom everyone considered perfect. I rarely got into trouble, and that kept my mother content. But as the saying goes: Never judge a book by its cover!

Though I can explain, I can’t paint a true picture of what growing up in our house was really like. Having been homeless herself, my mother didn’t like to see people without a place to live. Therefore, we sometimes had 10 to 15 different people living with us at one time. The House that Sharon Built, as we affectionately called it, included relatives, friends, neighbors and homeless people. Our home had a revolving door; people came, people went, and then came back again. Although her intentions were good and her heart was right, these living arrangements left me exposed to all kinds of things that a child should never see, hear, or be around, including drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex. These things became the norm to me; they were a part of my life and played a major role in the choices that I would eventually make.

I used to be really angry with my parents for bringing me up in such a horrid environment. But, now that I’m old enough to understand, I realize that most of what was going on around me simply trickled down from generational problems that have existed in my family for years. I recently learned that both my grandmother and great-grandmother suffered many years of severe physical abuse from my great-grandfather. Eventually, this led to my grandmother living on the streets at a very young age. By the age of 32, she had 12 children and had become an alcoholic. She died when she was just 40 years old, leaving her children without a stable place to call home. This is one of the reasons why we always had so many people living with us.

I don’t know much about my father’s parents’ marriage, except that it ended in a bitter divorce when he was a young man. I’ve heard some frightening stories about what happened, but my father doesn’t talk about it, so I no longer ask.

I’m sure you’re wondering if my parents knew about the abuse. The answer is no. I know for sure that neither one of them knew about it. That may seem impossible, but like so many other parents, they didn’t recognize the signs of child sexual abuse or simply dismissed them as something benign. Besides, they never expected something like this to happen to their child. They would have never imagined that the very people they call brother and friend could do such horrible things to their little girl. Despite the fact that the abuse usually happened in our home and sometimes when they were just a few feet away — in the kitchen cooking a meal, in their bedroom, or outside talking with a neighbor — I know they had no idea what was happening to me. Most of it is being revealed to them within the pages of this book.


Not long after my 29th birthday, I dropped what seemed like a deadly bomb on my mother. With a few carefully selected words, my nightmare became her reality. I had already settled in my spirit that I was going to tell her about the abuse, but I didn’t expect it to be so difficult. Thankfully, the night before I’d heard Bible teacher and best-selling author Joyce Meyer talk about the importance of getting the hard stuff over with in order to move on in life. She described it as rocking back and forth like preparing to jump between two ropes for a round of Double Dutch. “At some point, you just have to jump in there,” she said. That night I sat on my mother’s couch rocking back and forth for hours.

Since my mother and I have always spent a lot of time together, she didn’t find it strange that I was taking up so much of her time with idle conversation. More than three hours went by before the words flew out of my mouth, and when they did, it was as if the ton of bricks that had been resting on my chest for years was finally lifted. My mother broke down crying. She said that she had let me down and hadn’t protected me. That still hurts me today because I know that she loves me very much. I knew that she would be totally devastated, so I was prepared to combat her anger with some scriptures on healing and forgiveness. Most importantly, I could honestly look her in the eyes and say, “Mom, it’s okay. Look at the woman I am today. It is well.”

There’s not much to say about my father and his finding out. As I expected, things went much easier with him. He asked two questions: “What are you talking about?,” and “Why didn’t I know about this before now?” Still today, he doesn’t talk about it. He was caught totally off guard with all of this, and I believe he’s still in a state of shock and denial. To him, I’m still his little girl, so I could only imagine how difficult this must be for him to handle. I think not talking about it is his way of dealing with his own pain and feelings of guilt.

As of today, neither one of my parents has confronted any of the people who were abusing me. Since my parents are no longer in a relationship together, my father’s relationship with certain family members and the people that I was close to as a child is drastically different. He rarely sees them and chances are, some of them he will never see again. My mother is not ready to confront anyone. This has been really hard for her to deal with. I haven’t even told her who all of my perpetrators were. I will tell her when she’s ready.

Although neither of my parents knew about the sexual abuse, a lack of responsibility played a major role in what happened to me as a child. However, I’ve forgiven them both and moved on. Being able to forgive my parents and strengthen my relationship with them has been one of the greatest benefits of opening up about the abuse. Many abuse victims never come forward. They quietly seethe in anger and blame their parents for it. However, I refused to become a victim twice.


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