Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 1: If you Knew why your Blog was Special...?

Eight years ago while I sat watching television in a hospital bed I saw a commercial that changed my life. “BET books launches a new inspirational novel line –New Spirit—with the debut of its first Christian romance title Jacquelin Thomas’ Prodigal Husband, a love story about...” I couldn’t believe it. Someone had written a romance about black people, about black Christian people. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get that book in my hands. However, I couldn’t go out and get the book, because I was bed ridden. So I wrote the name of the book down, called my mom and my dad and asked them to get the book for me. I read the book in two hours.

Today I receive a new Christian novel every week. Truthfully, I could receive a new book every day. Some times during the year I literary receive a book for every day. One more thing...All of these books I receive for free. In fact, all these books I receive before they hit the store shelves and sometimes I receive books before they find a publishing house. Isn’t that something?

Six years ago before I began I had no clue there were other bloggers out there doing what I did. I had no clue there were book review blogs online. But by the end of that year I knew why I was doing it and for whom I was writing to. Christian Fiction Blog was launched the summer after I began.

So what happened? What changed me?

Welcome to Day 1 of 30 Days to Build a Better Blog: If You Knew Why Your Blog was Special...

To read the full post, go here to register for this free book blogging event.

The Before the Big Day: Why is Blogging having a Resurgence?

The story behind Christian Fiction Blog is very simple. I ran out of book review space for the paper I edited. We decided to put what we couldn’t afford to print online. Rejoice News was the publication. They gave me the books to do at will. I created Christian Fiction Blog, because those were the books that were not getting space in the pub. Six years ago and more so today Christian fiction titles have little room in periodicals. One of the reasons why the blog has become popular is because I began at a time when contemporary Christian fiction coverage was nil, and I stayed around even when bloggers had left the platform to explore podcasting and Nings and such.

At the top of the year many print mags folded or went online[especially Book Review publications,] businesses dropped advertising relations to explore more pr opps, blogs like Huffington Post and Perez Hilton were being legitimized, and blogs were reporting news faster than traditional media. Most importantly, with the invention of Smartphones, more and more people are coming online and searching for items that aren’t being covered on websites or news sites, but via blogs.

You can be that resource for not just online users and your community, but for the reading community at large. It is all up to you.

30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog is designed to help you answer the questions, you have about blogging. I am glad that you are here. If you have not signed up for the session, email me at deegospel pr at gmail dot com. We begin tomorrow. Content for this event will not be on this blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Free Goody: Register for 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog

Christian Fiction Blog is five years old now and will begin kindergarten next month. In celebration of her first school year we are inviting you to come to class with us. CFB's 30 Days to build a Better Book Blog Event begins September 1, 2009. I will teach you:

* How to set up your blog

* Where to find free blog templates that makes your blog look more professional

* Why RSS Feeds and burning your blog is important

* What is SEO and tips to get your Blog SEO optimized

* Different types of book blogs and the blog readers who read them

* Blog Content Basics

* Scheduling

* Microblogging using Twitter and Utterli

* The Power of Video

* A listing of publishing houses seeking book bloggers

* Other sources for free books to review

* How to write an online book review

* How to become an Amazon Affiliate and an affiliate for the major bookstore chains

* What are blog alliances and how to become a blog alliance member

* The Christian Fiction Blog Affiliate Program (yeah, that's new and it has nothing to do with book tours)

* Blog Tour Creation and Membership

* Podcasting and BlogTalk Radio

* Why Pretty Blogs Get More Readers

* Bookmarking your Blog with Digg, Mahalo and three other good ones

* Cracking Technorati

* Membership Blog Hosting

* How to translate Facebook Followers into Blog Readers

* Forums and Community Building

* Troubleshooting your Blog

* How to write a post in 10 minutes or less

* why authors should make their blogs their online hub

* Chatting on your Blog

* 10 Big Mistakes Book Bloggers Make

* How to Monetize your Blog

* Bookish Social Media Sites and How to Leverage your Blog through them

* and more and more and more...

Each day I will give you an assignment and you come back to the blog and post your homework for other members in the community to see and comment. 30 Days will also have a forum at Christian Fiction Network and our Facebook Fan Page Profile for you to participate and get to meet other members of this 30 Day Event. I will kick off this event by hosting an Atlanta tweetup here to meet some of you guys before we begin and then meet more of you who are women bloggers this October at Blogalicious Weekend(please register before next month.)

For authors, agents, publicists and publishing houses that blog you need to get to the Blogalicious Conference to meet professional bloggers who are women of color. If your target audience is women of color, then these are the women you need to begin building a relationship with. If you are a new blogger and you want to learn how to monetize or leverage your blog or meet me, then come one meet me there.

Now, here is how you participate....

To ensure that you are committed and to help hold you accountable for participating I need you to complete four tasks:

1. Email me at deegospelpr at gmail dot com with:

* your name

* email address

* twitter handle

* facebook profile url

* blog url

* blogtalkradio account url if you have one

* utterli account url if you have one

* book genre(s) you blog about

* books you would like to read

2. Blog about this event on your blog or send a Tweet about this event on Twitter

3. Place the link to this event in your Facebook Profile with the words I'm building in 30 Days.

4. and finally join our Facebook Fan Page.

I will set you up and tell you the next step to begin. When you give me this information I will not share it with anyone or spam you with a lot of junk or subscribe you to Christian Fiction Blog. It's purpose is solely to communicate with you and give your your daily homework and lession. I will also partner you up with a book blogger in this community. If you refer a friend to this free event, I will send you a free treat.

If you have any questions, contact me at deegospelpr at gmail dot com or tweet me @deegospel.


Dee Stewart
Christian Fiction Blog

Saturday, August 29, 2009

8 Points Online Marketing Plan

Join me this weekend at the SORMAG Online Writer's Conference. Yesterday my Workshop: 8 Points Online Marketing Plan is up . I will stop through today also, to answer any questions.

Don't forget it's not too late to register to my blogging event, 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog. The Fun begins September 1, 2009.

Related Posts:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael Jackson; Fine Artist

A very interesting article at TimesOnline regarding Michael Jackson's drawings that will be published as The Michael Jackson Orpus. This pick is a self portrait he created while on the Bad Tour.

The Michael Jackson Opus will be handbound in leather in a silk clamshell case and is being produced by the team behind several other Opus books, including one on Manchester United that changed hands this year for £1 million, making it the most expensive sports publication on record. But the singer made it clear that he wanted the book to be priced so it would be available to the majority of his fans.

Today is Michael Jackson's 51st birthday and although I know he was excited about this Orpus Project it makes me wonder about myself and my legacy. I never thought about putting all the things I've created in a book for Selah.

Has anyone else done this or are thinking about this. Read here to learn more about the project.

Weekend Chat: If you don't like what I wrote about you, then what? How to Handle Reporters & Critics

Last night I received an email from an author regarding their book review. Let's call this author "Author X," because this post isn't about a specific author, but about author relations in general, especially on the part of the reviewer(that be me.) From time to time I receive AARF's (an author review feedback.) This month I received two responses. As we prepare for our 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog Series(began September 1, 2009, so I hope you've registered--no content from this series will be on the blog, just the topics for discussion for the day) I want to talk briefly about AARF's as a part of our weekend chatterbox questions.

As I just said Author X sent me two different responses to two reviews I had completed earlier this year for a magazine I write for. In my reviewing experience I have received three kinds of responses: positive, rfp(request for help) and inquisitory. There are two other kinds that I will save for the blog series. The two AARFS were positive and inquisitory. Postive AARPs are simply a thanks accompanied with a gift of appreciation. who wouldn't love those? The inquisitory AARPs is my made up word for when an author questions my review, while providing background informationa about why they wrote what they wrote--a story inside the story. I love these AARP types most.


Inquisitory AARFs facilitates the grounds for having a deeper discussion about the book. As an avid reader I love deep talk about a book. How the book has a deeper meaning that can affect the world.This is the discussion Author X and I had through the night last night. I thank Author X for it. (wink, hope she's reading this.)

it is an honor to have national bestselling authors come to you privately to talk about their book. I am only limited to use 150 words or less for my reviews. So what I submit is a tweet version of a two page document that I have created. When I share a break down of this review ten times out of ten Author X (although they may not agree) understands how I made my decision. It is one thing to write a review(great or challenged) without any reasons to buttress the rating. It does not help the author or Author x's audience or other readers, who did not know that Author X existed and now wants to know more about Author X.

Moreover, I learn the author's position and more about the book, which usually makes me wand to reread the book. You know me I'll talk about an interesting book for years.

And here is the basis for the weekend chatterbox question...

This week Kim Zolciak of Bravo's Atlanta Housewives has blasted--what she believes--is a negative portrayal of an upcoming issue of the ladies in Atlanta Magazine. After reading her rant on her blog and a sneak peak of the article on the AM site I determined that Ms. Zolxiak's choice to communicate her frustration in an open source environment may have done more harm thatn good. It's one thing to chop it up with others within your circle or camp, but to take it on the web, you have to be a little careful. This rant has now turned into a request to boycott and an AJC article and a lot of celebrity bloggers digging in.

So here's my discussion for the weekend. Please comment here or on my facebook page. I will put a link to this blog up there and also comment on twitter:

1. For the author/celeb what is the best way to approach your gatekeepers when it seems as if they are guarding the door without harming yourself?

2. For the reviewer/reporter what is the best way to handle a conflict of New Media?

Three reminders:

  • Visit the blog to learn how to sign up for 30 DAYS BBB.
  • Visit me at SORMAG tomorrow. I will be discussing how to create an online marketing plan for authors
  • Send me Christian Fiction news at media.candy at gmail dot com
  • If you want to guestblog at CFB...better register. lol

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Angela Benson's The Good & Bad

15 years, 12 books, 5 publishers, 3 agents, 4 genres – What kind of career is that?

Well, it's mine. It's been 15 years since my first book, Bands of Gold, was published. 15 long years. Despite the $2000 advance I got with my first contract, I knew that my debut on the New York Times bestseller list was right around the corner. Well, it's been 15 years and I still haven't turned that corner.

It's not all bad though. Actually, I was really popping for the first four years (1994-1997). During that time I wrote seven books--two for Silhouette and five for Arabesque--along with an Arabesque novella. I was "cooking with gas" as we say in the South.

The gas turned out to be carbon monoxide as I went off the publishing radar for three years and my next book, Awakening Mercy, didn't see the light of day until 2000. Now I wasn't gassed up for those three years. Instead, my career took a turn as I moved from writing general market romance to Christian romance. The change also resulted in a new agent and signing with a new publisher, Tyndale House.

Tyndale and I lasted for two books and then I went off-radar again until I came back with my first mainstream Christian novel, this one negotiated without an agent. The move from Christian romance to mainstream Christian fiction was relatively painless, but it took some time. My mainstream Christian fiction title, The Amen Sisters, didn't arrive in bookstores until 2005, a full four years after Tyndale published my second (and last) Christian romance, Abiding Hope.

My story doesn't end there. My next book, Up Pops the Devil Avon A, August 2008, $13.95), came out three years after The Amen Sisters. The deal with HarperCollins to publish Up Pops the Devil and Sins of the Father Avon A, September 2009, $13.95) was negotiated by my third, and hopefully, last agent.

So that's my story. Now let's evaluate it for the good and the bad.

The Bad

1) Every time I changed publishers, I experienced a gap in publication that effectively slammed the brakes on any momentum and name-recognition I was building in the marketplace. This was a big loss. As a result, my new publishers have had to re-launch me to some extent so that readers know that I'm back. It's much easier to build a reader base if you publish regularly. My goal now is to publish regularly and to keep in touch with readers between books.

2) Every time I changed agents, I lost some control over the books they sold for me. Old agents aren't really receptive to taking care of business for authors who are no longer on their roster. So forget about getting help with rights reversion.

3) I don't have a long history with either my agent or my publisher so there is no depth to our relationship--yet. Right now, I'm only as good as my current book.

The Good

1) Every time I changed publishers, I got a significant bump in advance, significant but fair. My advances tend to equal the royalties earned on my last book.

2) Every time I changed agents, I had more clarity about what I wanted from my writing career so I did better with agent selection. An agent is only as good as your books and your vision for your career.

3) I have been able to follow my muse by moving from genre to genre. As a result, I feel I've found my niche, or voice, as a writer. My stories can now be characterized as inspirational family drama.

4) Readers have stuck with me despite the publication gaps and the genre changes. Many of the folks who read me today also read my first book, Bands of Gold.

5) The back-to-back publication of Up Pops the Devil and Sins of the Father marks the first time since 2000/2001 that I've had books come out in consecutive years. I'm really excited about that accomplishment. I hope to keep it up in the coming years.

15 years, 12 books, 5 publishers, 3 agents, 4 genres -- what kind of career is that?

It's mine and, right now, I don't think I'd change it. I'm not sure I'd recommend my path to anyone else though. What do you think?

About the Book – Sins of the Father

Successful media mogul Abraham Martin has great wealth, an elegant wife, Saralyn, and a rebellious son, Isaac. He also has a secret: a second family that no one knows about. Now, after thirty years—driven by the urging of his long dormant conscience—Abraham is determined to do the right thing by finally bringing his illegitimate children into the light…and into the family fold.

But beautiful, manipulative Saralyn will never accept the proof of her husband’s indiscretions. Isaac the heir, shaken by his father’s revelations, will fight mercilessly when his world is threatened, and may lose everything that matters as a result. And while Abraham’s forgotten daughter Deborah is open to the undreamed-of possibilities suddenly awaiting her, son Michael cannot forgive the man who cruelly abandoned them to near poverty. And he’s driven by only one desire: revenge!

Angela Benson’s ">Sins of the Father is a powerful story of a house bitterly divided—a rich, multilayered family saga of betrayal and redemption, rage and compassion, faith, forgiveness, and ultimately, of love.

Follow the blog tour at

For more information about Angela, visit her at

Let me Coach you, Literally!

This fall, beginning September 2009, I will be offering literary coaching programs for authors.

What are literary business coaching programs?

In this economy many authors and publishing houses do not have the funds to spend on large marketing campaigns and independent literary pr firms. Literary coaching programs afford authors the chance to work with a book marketing professional to either help retool and guide their current marketing efforts or to teach them how to use certain book marketing tools correctly and efficiently with reasonable rates.

What is individual coaching?

I will work with individual authors who have the capability to promote themselves(do-it-yourselfers) but needs someone to hold them accountable, guide their direction, and help them track their efforts throughout their current book marketing campaign. I take them through each month of preparation and action items completion.

What is traditional pr support?

My literary pr packages for authors. Simply, I do the work for you and use my professional network to support the authors campaign.

Below are the prices and services for the coaching program:

Christian authors have a daunting evangelical task to entertain and edify the Body of Christ with their works. However, in the past three years these writers have had to add another responsibility to promote. In the past John the Baptist promoted the coming of Christ, then His
disciples served as His street team. But today--like most ministries-- who will promote the message God gave to you to share with the world?

Targeted promotion with a Christian World View is the hallmark for DeeGospel PR. My mission is to help your message reach God's people, who need to hear your message.

Therefore I have created a service for Christian writers who need the promotion help, but don't have the monies to pay for our traditional services.

On September 1, 2009 we will offer group and individual coaching programs for Christian authors. Team group coaching will be reserved for authors who belong to the same publishing house or who tour together. Group coaching courses are also reserved for authors who need specific assistance(Facebook for Authors, Book Launch Strategy, How to Become Your Own Publicist.) You will have to check our calendar to prepare for those dates. Individual coaching programs are reserved for authors who want concentrated assistance and individual time with
me. These coaching programs do not consist of media coaching, media outreach, or media pitching services from me or customized marketing and support. If you are interested in our full pr service packages(which includes media outreach) or our ala carte services,email me for a rate/services sheet.

Below is a break down of our coaching programs. If you are interested in auditing a session, email me and I will send you an invite to listen in on our Tuesdays Summer Mastermind Session. .

DGP Coaching Services and Programs

Marketing Mastermind Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6 month minimum:)

* 4 Forty-five minute sessions a month(Designed for publishing
houses, independent book sellers)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

Book Marketing & PR Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6 month minimum:)

* 3 Fifty minute sessions a month(Designed for authors)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

New Media Marketing & PR Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6
month minimum:)

* 3 Fifty minute sessions a month(designed for journalists, new
media owners, editors)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

Publicist 101 Coaching Package $100/Month USD Includes(6 month minimum:)

* 3 Fifty minute sessions a month(Designed for publicists and
literary event planners)
* Unlimited e-mail access to my private e-mail address
* 5 minute follow-up phone calls for quick questions or clarification
* Includes a FREE 1-hour assessment (a $150 value)

Laser Coaching Sessions $100 USD One Time Fee Includes:

* A One Hour Intensive Laser Coaching Session. Designed for those
who need to move forward on a single issue and do not need long term
strategies to succeed.

Group Coaching Package $225($75 per member)/Month USD Includes:

* Three sixty minute coaching sessions a month
* Limited to party of three
* Subject to availability

Customized Programs:

Please click here to contact me for information regarding a customized individual program tailored for your individual requirements or company needs.

Email me at deegospel pr at gmail dot com or visit my site to learn more about me.

Ted Kennedy, the Dream Lives On

The more our feelings diverge, the more deeply felt they are, the greater is our obligation to grant the sincerity and essential decency of our fellow citizens on the other side. . . .

In short, I hope for an America where neither "fundamentalist" nor "humanist" will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls.

I hope for an America where no president, no public official, no individual will ever be deemed a greater or lesser American because of religious doubt -- or religious belief.

I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division.

I hope for an America where we can all contend freely and vigorously, but where we will treasure and guard those standards of civility which alone make this nation safe for both democracy and diversity.

-- Senator Ted Kennedy's Speech on "Truth and Tolerance in America," Oct. 3, 1983, Lynchburg, Va.

Rest in peace, Senator.

Quick question: what do you think is Senator's greatest achievement? Share your thoughts here.

Photo Credits: Getty Image

Related Posts
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Remembering Aaliyah

Align Center

Still one of my favorite singers Aaliyah Haughton. 1979-2001. RIP

Monday, August 24, 2009

Motivation Monday: Believe

Happy Monday.

in just a few minutes i leave my home to pick up Selah, because of early release day at school. i thank God that I can go and pick her up. i bless those parents who are challenged by early release days. although my life isn't where i would like it to be--certainly my finances-- God has still given me this little luxury, to be able to see about my child on my own terms.

many of you are seeking to become published or seeking to bolster consistent enough sales for a better book deal, so that you can call have more autonomy in your own life.

i feel ya.

today i present B. David's Believe to you. Take a listen or watch him perform. He's also a member of Destiny Praise. I'm a big fan of CCM music. Hope you get lifted by it.

Keep on writing to see what the end's gone be!


Don't forget to sign up for 31 Days to Build a Better Book Blog. You can also find me today at both The Master's Artist and the SORMAG Online Literary Conference. Or meet me in person tomorrow at The Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Proposal Creation: Retooling & Story Execution

I have a love/hate relationship with book proposal writing that may shock you. I love writing proposals. Authors pay me to upgrade or write their book proposal for them. But when it comes to my proposal. I love putting it together, but I hate realizing--particularly at marketing analysis stage-- that novel is not ready and needs to be retooled again. Another rewrite.

And this is the basis of today's post.

A literary agent requested my proposal. Usually I turn the proposal around within a few minutes, but I wanted to make sure that I presented the novel as I best as I knew I could. So I stopped working on my current WIP to take a look at the proposal. While reading through my sample chapters, I realized that my execution of my story was off pace. (I can hear my write-or-die-chicks throwing things, bBecause I am a revision-aholic.) Book reviewers and literary pr people a bigger view of the industry. I've witnessed new writers jumping the gun too soon or losing credibility in the industry because they keep pitching unready books. I don't want to be that person. However, I also don't want the writer who never got a deal because she didn't give herself a chance. I definitely fit the latter category. However, in this case I knew the novel needed to be fixed. So this week I had to retool the beginning of my novel.

Now it is ready to go. Halleljuah.

As I speed read through the final version, I thought of you guys. Two weeks ago during #writechat many authors shared how they despised book proposals. I understand their gripe. Here are three Dee-facts that may warm your hearts to your book proposals:
  1. Book Proposals help you determine which publishing houses will be a fit for your novel. As you write your market analysis, you should be comparing your book to other books in the publishing houses you think your book fit. If you don't know where you book fits, subscribe to Romantic Times Magazine, Black Issues Book Review, Book Pages, BookMarks(my fave!) NYT Book Review, Library Journal Book Reviews, visit or, and contact publishing houses and request their quarterly catalogue. I know every book in my genre that will be coming out between now and early 2011.
  2. Book Proposals help you explain to your publishing house why you may need additional marketing dollars expensed. Publishing houses don't have a lot of marketing dollars to spread around to newbie or midlist authors. Many of them are only doing online marketing for our crew. What will leverage you with an agency and the PH is adding your proposal a conversation that not only do you know your genre, but you can sell to it. Stress which events, advertisers, product promo items(like church fans) are essential for you to get a good footing in the market place. It also helps you determine whether you want to choose a certain publishing house, because historically they have done a null job promoting their other authors.
  3. Book Proposals help you retool your story arc or flow. Know matter how a great salesperson or presenter you are, if your story sucks rocks, your'e done. The proposal--particulary the synopsis section-- will help you see how good a book you have.
If you need help with writing your proposal, I provide the service. Ask me for my rates. If you want to see my current proposal email me.

Now here's a question for 3 questions for you:
  1. Have you signed up for 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog
  2. How do you approach your book proposal?
  3. Which movie did this Brad Pitt Doll play in? lol

Brad Pitt Doll Photo Courtesy of Tennis and Conversation blog

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Favorite Things: Wednesday Relate

At The Writer's View this week, author Tricia Goyer began a very fun and informative discussion: "What are your Favorite Things?" I've learned more about my buddies in the group, then the years I've been a member. I've also learned about some great writing tools, software, tech and fun stuff. So now I'm curious about the readers of Christian Fiction Blog:

What are your Favorite Things?

I'll start. My favorite things are:
  • discovering a great book, of course
  • Firefox Scribewire. I can work on my blog posts offline, dump pics and stats in there. Love it.
  • #journchat on Mondays.
  • my daughter, Selah is my best thing
  • Enzo's White Pizza with a little spinach on top
  • Namaste Yoga
  • a fresh canvas to paint on
  • a fresh composition book to write in
  • highschool football, it's pure and no money involved
  • walter mosley's easy rawlins mysteries
  • Girl Scouts
  • Hello Kitty
  • Aveeno moisturizer with SPF 35 great!
  • The Sunday Soundtrack visit for a free download
  • Michael Buble everything
  • Avon Skin so Soft bubble bath
  • My Bishop TD Jakes Woman Thou Art Loosed Bible
  • Donald Lawrence anything
  • my new Palm Treo Pro
  • John Legend
  • Michael Jackson's Butterflies
  • McSweeney's online
  • Sadie Jones novels
  • Sade
  • gold
  • The Sound of Music on DVD
Now tell me what are you favorite things

Monday, August 17, 2009

4 Reasons Why Christian Writers No Longer Worship

"Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or family for My sake and the gospel's who did not receive a hundredfold now in this time...and in the age to come, eternal life.
Mark 10:30

This year has been an inspirational roller coaster ride for me: successes and failures, laughter and tears, having and not having, worshipping and wondering why should I bother? According to The Barna Research Group "47% of American adults [said that they] attend church in a given weekend, not including a special event such as a wedding or a funeral." Wow. More than half of us aren't fellowshiping together, we're not inviting others to learn more about Christ, and we're not tapped into the heart of what we were designed to do, worship.


Here are a few reasons:
  1. There are too many false ministers and pimps in the pulpit, who spend more time preaching to you that their view of God is the only right one. They make you believe that the manifestation of God you witnessed in your personal life never existed.
  2. There are too many stars in the church, who intimidate other members by making them believe that if they aren't spear heading a ministry or project, then it is no good to the Kingdom. They make you think you're not Christian enough to be there.
  3. Some people think that God is their personal Genie and that he takes dictation and make your requests happen when you and how you want it. And if He doesn't, then you question His validity. You stop attending church, because you don't understand why God would allow you to lose something of value or hurt.
  4. Some folks don't know what truly surrendering to God really means.
In this post I want to talk about this last point and how it relates to the Christian writer, who's living a personal rollercoaster.

One of my favorite songs a few years back was Emotional Rollercoaster." I was dealing with a guy, who was putting through all kind of emotions. One day he loved me. One day he loved another. You know what I mean? After leaving that guy I promised myself I would never do that to anyone. But as I look back at my life, I realized I have been doing that to Christ.

I write a book and shop it. If the book doesn't get picked up, I put it down. I put writing down to do something that will give me immediate success: promoting authors, blogging, book reviewing, something that will give me validation and quick tangible results. Now there is nothing wrong with that, if your focus is worship. If your focus is taking any opportunity to share who Christ is, to express what Christ means to you, or to edify someone's soul. The trouble comes when you put down your purpose to chase an earthly goal.

In the passage that belongs to this post Christ meets a successful man, who wants to live as Christ. When Christ tells him to surrender all that he has built, created, thought of himself to follow a new way of living he couldn't. He wouldn't.

This life is tough, y'all. To become successful at anything is a feat. The sacrifices, the years of preparation and practice, and then the tangible fruits of our labor all of that adds up to the real cost of surrendering not just who we are, but what we've become. In this world to become successful without God we know that they are many skeletons kicked in our closets and that we have had to change our mindsets and lose our friends, so many things just to get a little success, just to get a book deal, just to get a paying client. That is alot to ask, especially when we know what life is without the success, an unyielding, fiery and scary roller coaster.

But God is good. He finds a way to remind us, even during the ride. It comes at this point where the rollercoaster stops and hovers above the city. You see everything around. It's beautiful. Your heart is now peaceful and full of appreciation. Or you are preparing for the fall, depending upon your mindset the fall may cause you to lose sight of the beauty you just saw and the worshipping you just practiced. Anticipating the worst that could happen makes or breaks you.

I'm reading Max Lucado's Fearless, and I tell you to see that fall as a child does. They wait. Their eyes are wide. They grab tight to handlebar with joy and laughable fear. Because they know that the fall makes the ride up so much exhilarating. They know that they want fall. More importantly, they know it's a thrill and only lasts for a little while.

As you write and submit(I am working on something myself) remind yourself that in five years when I look back at my situation will I feel proud that embraced the rollercoaster with faith or will this situation negatively affect who I become five years down the road.

Don't let the devil ride this Monday.

So here are four steps to get back on that ride:
  1. Begin to think in divine terms. How will this challenge in your life look if you were story was retold in the Bible? How do you want your story to end?
  2. Let go of your passion for this world. Instead insert a passion to bring to this world.
  3. You cannot fix the thing that separates you from God on your own. There is a reason why you are disconnected from your internal need to worship. You must surrender and allow God to remove those strongholds, even if it's a friend, a mentor, your penchant for sweets, allow God to do His thing.
  4. Remember (vs 29) Stop looking to be blessed, because you already are. Hasn't God blessed everyone that followed Him?
Do me a favor. It would really help me today, because I write these words to you I'm ministering to myself and I still need more...comment here or on facebook or on Twitter three ways God has blessed you today. Be blessed.

And as you leave here is a song that sums up this entire post. Donald Lawrence's the Blessings in You.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Novel Inspiration: Whitney Houston

While driving my daughter to school this morning, I listened to Whitney Houston's "I Look to You" on the radio, and thought...This song is my novel's theme. As I told you last week I am writing a new novel with hopes to have the first dirty draft completed by Labor Day and the full clean version as my Christmas gift to myself. I plotted this story years ago, and have pitched and played around with different plot points, and main characters, and even genre-switching util three weeks ago I finally met the main character of my novel. I don't know about you, but I can't write a book until I meet the character and he or she has to haunt me somehow. So three weeks ago, while dealing with my own personal crises(plural), Marisa(my main character) appeared in my mind. She was not at a cross roads by choice. You know what I mean? She's placed in this position of distress. She doesn't know who she is anymore or that all that she has done with her adult life so far has been in vain...I saw Marisa standing on a podium in front of a press corp unsure of herself and angry about her life. I saw her. One of my author buddies, Olympia Vernon often talked about her authors taking over her life and not letting her go until she wrote her story. Marisa is doing that to me. When I heard Whitney Houston's new song--again-- Marisa cried. THIS IS HER SONG!! I almost stopped the car mid school car pool dropoff lane. LOL. As I begin to write a new day in Marisa's life, while playing this song for inspiration of course, I wonder what tools inspire you to know your novel character better? Is it pictures, music, smells, the people in your life... What helps you bring your character's story to life for you?

Leave your comment here.

Also let me remind you that in September we will be building better book blogs. I will also host a special chat for Authors who Twitter and will begin a new program for Do-It-Yourself Marketers called Book Marketing Mastery: Online Marketing & New Media. In the next coming days I will share more about that program and how you can register for it. To receive Christian Fiction Blog in your email address visit the sidebar.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Write Your Novel by Christmas: Dirty Blind Writing & Openings

I'm writing an old novel from scratch and will chart my progress here. Oftentimes, I talk about creating a compelling, relevant, page-turner, but how to execute such a story is what writers would love to know. I know I did when I began writing some blah blah years ago. And since I'm not a published novelist, I get to do something my published author pals can't anymore, share the details and take your input.

My objective this month is to write this novel as fast as I can without any editing. I will clean it up after it's done. Author Anna DeStefano has an excellent class on novel writing, which I have attended twice. Walter Mosley states the same notes in his book Write Your Novel in a Year. So that's where my thought pattern is right now.

Before I began this dirty writing as my write-or-die chicks call it. I completed a character arc of my main characters and used J. Mark Bertrands 8 point plot system to create my plot. Took a mind break for a month and began writing on Friday past.

I spent Friday working on my hook. Before I put pen to paper I visualize the scene in my head, then I plot out the scene using Randy Ingermanson's scene and sequel method. I don't write anything until I have a plausible and juicy scene and sequel plotted. It usually takes me about an hour to plot out those, but it may take me all evening to visualize the scene. That is one reason why I will not spend a great deal of time editing this draft. I don't want to lose what's in my head, what I see and smell and taste. This is a blind written- Vida, not Dee the book reviewer--process going on.

The beginning of your novel should be either a hook opening scene or a sneak peak into a big moment later in the book. Since my book isn't a thriller, I chose the hook opener route.

Friday I shared this blind dirty drafted version with my write-or-die chicks. I will also share it with you here. Let me know what you think of it, please say the edit remarks for next month.

If you would like to participate with me and write your novel by Christmas, hit me up here.
(let me know if you can see it, I haven't used writing dot com in a minute)

A Prayer for The Wearied Master's Writer

Dear Lord, help me to erase what needs to be erased, say no to those things You
are closing before me, embrace the people You've placed in my life, and serve
You in a manner that doesn't burn me out. You edit my life, Lord. Add some
periods. Take out some exhausting sentences. Rewrite my story with energy, vigor
and truth. Streamline me for Your glory. I want my "the end" to be a mark of
finishing well, not limping to the finish. I love You Jesus. So much. Forgive me
for doing so much in my paltry strength. For saying yes when You wanted me to
say No. For fearing over trusting. Make me over, Lord. Renew me. Refresh me. Not
so I can wallow in that refreshment, but so that You through me can be a
refreshment for others. Amen
- an excerpt from Mary Demuth's The Master's Artist: "Time to Edit my Life."

When I read Mary's entry last week I looked above me and sighed, "God was this not my life!"

There are so many things to be doing, so many things that have to be done, and you find yourself asking yourself when did I sign up for all this? For years I had been asking God to simplify my life, my writing, my focus, but did I brace myself for how He would do it? No. Uh-uh.

However, peace and understanding is with me. I know I have some friends and family members not still pleased with me. I know my money is my funny, and I'm still short of the mark I want to make on this world.

But what does God want for us? Peace, love, joy, goodness, love, love, love.

I don't have to have money to love more. I don't have a published novel to love more. Shoot I don't have to promote another client to love more. If I can only start with loving myself...

Take a minute to read Mary's post and comment at The Master's Artist this week. I write there every 2nd and 4th Mondays. You may find an author, who speaks what your life is telling you right now. I know I did.


Happy Sunday. If you haven't seen this already, here's a sneak peek at Tyler Perry's "I Can do Bad All By Myself(releases 9/11)."

Premise: When Madea catches sixteen-year-old Jennifer and her two younger brothers looting her home, she decides to take matters into her own hands and delivers the young delinquents to the only relative they have: their aunt April. A heavy-drinking nightclub singer who lives off of Raymond, her married boyfriend, April wants nothing to do with the kids.

I'm very excited for Adam Rodriquez. I'm a big CSI Miami fan, because of him.

Be blessed,


Related Posts

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Tips to Write Christian Fiction

by Adrienne Carlson

It’s a wonderful feeling when you’re a writer and you’re able to give vent to your creativity and let the words fly as faster than your fingers can move over the keyboard. And when you’re writing Christian fiction, you feel a greater sense of achievement because you know you’re doing your readers a world of good. It’s a little different from writing regular fiction, so if you’re looking for tips on how to attract a larger target audience, read on:
Know Christian values: The very purpose of writing Christian fiction is to imbue in your readers a sense of Christian values. And only when you know and practice these values yourself will you be able to include them in your writing and pass them on to your target audience. Read the Bible and learn all you can about Christian values before you begin to write.

Offer advice subtly instead of preaching: Most people are put off by attempts to preach, even if they are meant to instill good values in them. It’s best to offer advice subtly, through the story rather than directly. It takes all your skill as a writer to be able to do this, to make readers realize the importance of values even as they are engrossed in your story.
Mix values into the story: Your story may be great, but when you’re trying to attract Christian readers, you must be able to mix values seamlessly into the story. This allows them to connect to both your story and you on different levels and provides you with a regular readership.

Provide a great story: Most important of all, your story must be able to captive readers, even those who are not interested in Christian values. When you’re able to weave a compelling yarn, you can use it as a foundation to spread Christian values and rope in more people into the fold. Your books and stories serve as a platform to spread Christianity and Christian values.

Christian fiction must be engrossing and filled with values that both the young and the old can enjoy. Only then are you doing your job as a good Christian writer.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of online bible colleges . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1 at

Friday, August 07, 2009

When your Virtual Publicist is Shut Down: Twitter

Yesterday the publishing world--mainly authors--silently screamed in unison when they woke up to a Twitter - less world. When they learned of the Twitter Hack their minds raced-- no, their Facebook messages stated:

  • "WTF(rankenbeans)! "

  • "I can't tweet."

  • "Why is Facebook moving so slow?"

  • and some other things I can't state on this blog...

But what they really wanted an answer for was "how will i promote my books if social media fails?"

In this economy publishing houses aren't expensing marketing dollars to many of their authors. In fact, some authors are only receiving online marketing support. But what if we have another day like tomorrow? What if Twitter fails for good?

As I've said many times, authors and publishing houses and publicists must create a strategic social media design that has an objective of moving it's followers off-line and to their on-line hub. Having a blog or a Facebook Fan Page, Amazon Page, or an embedded Forum inside a Ning or a very well put together site(I recommend Ty Moody and Linda Leigh Hargrove and Rochelle Mann web design services.) will ensure that when your people chatter they have a place to go. Imagine how many of your readers could have been chopping it up one on one with you on your own place yesterday? You would have a richer conversation, because they aren't distracted by tweeting to every tom, dick and Jane Austen on the World Wide Web.

If you need assistance on creating a strategic social media design, contact me. And yeah, you have a few more days to receive my Book Marketing Dee-Mystified Planning Workbook for $3. Authors have received it and are using it to their satisfaction. I hope you take this opportunity. Also next Monday I will be giving a Twitter for Authors Crash Course Teleseminar. It's my six week training condensed. $5 for Christian Fiction Blog Readers. Visit my paypal account at vidae dot writing dot com to pay for your registration.

Now a weekend chatterbox question for you: What did you do when the Tweets went out in America?

Related Posts:

If you haven't already, you can receive Christian Fiction Blog, as a newsletter format in your email inbox, just click here and it's set you up.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Help: Skype for BookClubs

Skype for Bookclubs

This summer I've decided to begin cataloging all that I've learned about Web 2.0 technology and hot it can help publishing houses, authors, bookstores, and book clubs. Before I put all these juicy bits into a book(hint, hint) I'm sharing some of the content.

One thing I think authors and readers need to have a basic grasp of is Skype. Not only can you talk to your family through your online service, but you can host your favorite author for a spot of e-tea. lol. So here's my Skype for BookClubs Guide... You can also read it above. Let me know if it's helpful.


Sneak Peek: Tia McCollors' The Last Woman Standing

Meet the Author

After leaving a 10-year career in the corporate arena as a public relations professional, Bestselling author Tia McCollors has emerged as a steadfast author of faith-based books. In addition to being a novelist, Tia is an inspirational speaker and instructor for writing workshops. In 2006, Tia was voted as the Breakout Author of the Year by the Open Book Awards of the African American Literary Awards Show and was honored to be featured in the 2006 edition of Who’s Who In Black Atlanta. She is also a member of Anointed Authors On Tour, (AAOT) AmericanChristian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She resides in the Atlanta, Georgia suburbs with her husband and children. Visit Tia

About The Last Woman Standing:
After being married to their careers instead of each other for ten years, “Ace” and Lynette Bowers ended their marriage. Four years later however, it seems as though their love never ended – to both of their surprise and denial. Sheila Rushmore is Ace’s current girlfriend and a woman who is used to getting what she wants – except Ace’s commitment to marriage. When Sheila realizes Lynette may be the cause, she launches a plan to play the hand of God, instead of allowing God to bring the love they all desire in His way.

Read the excerpt

The Last Woman Standing by Tia McCollors (excerpt) -


Listen to Tia Read an excerpt from The Last Woman Standing


Tia McCollors is the author of four Women's Fiction books. Read the question below to see if you can answer it and provide the name of the book in which it was featured.

In A Heart of Devotion, one of the main characters, Sherri Dawson, started her own line of clothing for petite women. What was the name of it?
Leave your answer in the comment section. All post with correct answers posted to the blog comment sections will be entered in a random drawing for prizes. The more you post (with correct answers) the better your chances. Winners will be contacted via email and also posted on Tia’s Blog, “From Tia’s Pen”.

Contest prizes include:

1. $5 gift card to Smoothie King or Panera Bread (Winner’s Choice)
2. $5 gift card to Chick-Fil-A
3. $10 gift card for Border’s
4. Autographed copy of The Last Woman Standing
5. Autographed copy of The Last Woman Standing

Follow the rest of The Last Woman Standing Blog Tour at:

Virtual Tour Schedule

Online Radio Schedule

Aug 3 - AAMBC Online Radio (9 pm EST / 8 pm CST)

Aug 6Chocolate Pages Show (6 pm EST)

Aug 6 - WordThirst Literary Online Radio Show (8 pm EST)

August 13 – Inspiration Station (6:30 pm EST)

Blog Tour Schedule

DAY 1 | Monday, Aug 3

DAY 2 | Tuesday, Aug 4

DAY 3 | Wednesday, Aug 5

DAY 4 | Thursday, Aug 6

DAY 5 | Friday, Aug 7

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Why Church Bookclubs Are Flocking to Town Center Mall after the Birthing Place Conference?

Charleston, West Virginia August 5/ -- Although many churches will be arriving in South Charleston to attend Bishop T. Jakes Birthing Place Conference this weekend, local church bookclubs have also begun flocking to Borders Express Stores for a Christian Bestsellers Book Event that has been buzzing all summer. Five Bestselling Christian Authors will travel to South Charleston West Virginia for a special Borders Bookstores
Booksigning at Town Center Mall. Bestselling authors, Tiffany L.Warren, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Dwan Abrams, Bonnie Hopkins and Reshonda Tate Billingsley will be signing their new released titles Friday and Saturday at Town Center Mall.

Dwan Abrams is a BlackExpressions Bestseller for both her novels Divorcing the Devil and Married Strangers. Bonnie Hopkins, Tiffany Warren and Stacy Hawkins Adams are Essence Magazine Bestselling authors. Reshonda Tate Billingsley is a Dallas Morning, Ebony, The Washington Post and Essence[20 times] Magazines.

Buzz began building about the book event last month. "We have put several of the authors books out to promote the signing and I am happy to announce that we have had to order more!!! People are so excited about the event," states Ashley Bentley, Borders Town Center Mall's manager assistant.

The event that first slated just for Friday will now extend into a two day event on both Friday and Saturday, August 14-15, 2009 from 2-5pm or as long as fans want to meet these authors. To learn more aboutthis event contact Borders Express, Town Center Mall at 304-342-3840

Dee Stewart
DeeGospel PR
PO Box 392833
Snelville, GA 30039

www.deestewart. com

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tribute: Naomi Sims

As I child my mom and aunts bought me Christie Barbie Dolls, because she wanted me to love my chocolate colored skin. She kept Diana Ross LPS hanging around, we watched Dionne Warick on Solid Gold, and she bought any magazines where African American women were on the cover. I remembered seeing old copies of Supermodel Naomi Sims in Ladies Home Journal and Life Magazine on my Aunt Hattie's coffee table. Being Black, pretty and proud was paramount. As a mother in this New Age it is still paramount. Unlike myself Selah lives in the world of Hannah Montana, That's So Raven and High School Musical, where it appears that all live together in harmony. I love that world; I fight for the coming of that world. So I was a little saddened today to learn that Naomi Sims have moved onto Glory. My fascination with magazine journalism came from my adoration of watching Ms. Sims and all those who've followed where us so well. She will be missed.

Update: I forgot to add that if it weren't for African American wig business launch, I don't know where we be today. least me. ;)

What's Your Favorite Author Newsletter? #Tip

Around the first of the month my email inboxes fill with author newsletters. When I first signed up for these online jewels I waited on baited breath to read them; now I wince. Why? Because although I know they mean well, they missed the mark.
Instead of writing a love letter to their readers, they are direct mailing/poorly begging their fans(redundant) to preorder, buy in the first two weeks, don't forget to buy, buy again because I don't want to return to my day job and need to continue adopting children from all over the world ilk. I get it-- really, but has these tactics really been effective?
Nope, well...not for me either..

What has worked are newsletters like Nicholas Sparks, who taught me how to write a great query letter, or Sue Monk Kidd's poetic anecdotes about her family life and her passion for the characters in her novels or to chuckle at Eric Wilson's endearing excitement when his books get featured in a national paper..

When I sign up for a newsletter, I'm signing up to learn about the author and to get a sneak peak into their world and their mind. I'm already buying your book, but don't make me change my mind.

Today in session 2 of my Media Candy summer marketing mastermind series we'll get real nitty gritty about newsletters. Hope you join us. Contact me at dEegospelpr at gmail dot com to for details..


Monday, August 03, 2009

Blogalicious Monday Update: People's Choice

People's Choice Panel - Extended

Now that BlogHer is over we can once again focus our attention on Blogalicious and on making sure that this conference rocks! We promised to plan this conference with you in mind and we are doing our best to make sure that there are many interactive opportunities - because, really, how bored will you be if all you did was sit at a conference and listen (or should I say sleep)?

We want to make sure that you get everything you want out of this conference and we therefore announced the People Choice Panel. But as I mentioned our energies were a bit diverted, as were yours, I'm sure, so we've extended the submission deadline for the PCP to August 16th. We also thought that you'll have better perspective on what you want to see and talk about post-BlogHer.'s how it works. The PCP is a panel voted upon by you. Tell us what topic you want to hear, who you want to speak on it (if you have a preference or an idea), and we’ll put your choice up for vote.

Here’s what you have to do: 1) What’s not on our agenda that you think we should include? In a few sentences, tell us what this panel will be about. 2) Do you have any recommendations on who you think should speak on this topic? 3) Submit your proposed panel to us by August 16th. Submissions should be sent to We will put all proposals up for vote and let the people decide.

So...let's get it rolling ladies!

In honor of Blogalicious. Next week I will begin hosting a one month to creating a community blog. If you wish to participate leave a comment here or on Twitter @deegospel


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