Sunday, October 31, 2010

Want the Same Wristband Israel Houghton,Lee DeWyze, and I have?

Mend Mark Bracelet Thanksgiving Contest

photo: Israel Houghton wearing the Mend Mark Bracelet

The Mend Mark tells a powerful story in two words

image001 Have you been “Marked?” The Mend Mark is an innovative and distinctive bracelet that is designed to reflect the scars and nail holes of Jesus. It is meant to inspire and motivate wearers to live a life of service. A portion of each bracelet sold goes to support Living Water International, an organization combating the clean water crisis victimizing over one billion people worldwide. Each $5,000 given will result in one well drilled, providing a community with clean water.

But wearers should be prepared to be seen. Unique in its design, the Mend Mark is sure to be noticed and gives wearers an opportunity to share the story of the profound love of Jesus for each and every person.

image002“It was important to me that the design was simple and generic enough that the observer had to ask about it to know what it meant. But I also wanted it to appear distinctive enough that it sparked curiosity,” reveals creator Hunter Harrison. “I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them.”

The Mend Mark bracelet movement has grown to further fame after being worn during performances by American Idol winner Lee Dewyze, Idol runner up Siobhan Magnus, Decifer Down, Israel Houghton & New Breed, Pillar, and Finding Favour, to name a few, including myself.


Would you like this bracelet?

There are two ways to receive it:

  • You can purchase here, or
  • You can win one from me

How you do win a Mend Mark?

  • No purchase necessary
  • Visit Mend Mark’s Facebook Page (optional)
  • then share with me how you will be of service to your world

I will put the entries into a hat and let Selah pick the winner. Cool? I will pick the winner November 19, 2010, so you can get your gift of thanks before Thanksgiving.

*Note. If you’re not a Facebook Friend, invite me to be your Friend and leave a special message that you are entering the Mend Mark contest.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Read: Vampire Horror: Mike Dellosso’s Darlington Road

Something evil is drawing them here . . .

Well not to Christian Fiction Blog, but to Mike Dellosso’s Darlington Road. This weekend Christian Fiction Read is a vampire fic. Really?! Yes, read why.

Rob Shields has just lost his wife and son. Battling depression, denial, and an irrational fear of darkness, Rob travels to the small town of Mayfield, MD to check out a house he has inherited from his great aunt Wilda, a woman he has never even met. There in Mayfield strange things begin to happen that lead Rob to believe his son, Jimmy, is not really dead. After a restless night and eerie dream, Rob is convinced the answer to the mystery surrounding Jimmy’s disappearance and alleged death is to be found in a village called Darlington, a town found on no map.

Teaming up with a quirky local waitress who insists she has been there, Shields begins his quest to find the truth about the town—and his son. In Darlington, Rob and Juli come face to face with the town’s secret, creatures called Darklings inhabit the night and instill paralyzing fear in Darlington’s citizens. Their search for Jimmy leads them into the woods surrounding Darlington where, once in, there seems to be no way out.

Never indulging in long boring tangents or fussy character descriptions, Dellosso’s pacing is perfect and passionate. Readers . . . will find this new combo of Christian vampire fare a quick and breathless read and will scream for more.
Publisher’s Weekly

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Can You Build a Christmas Story with Me?

Thank you for reading my MD column at Christian Fiction Online Magazine.It has been a joy sharing some wonderful writers and stories with you. As this year begins to close, I thought it would great if we could present a community authored Christmas story for my December article.

What is a Community Authored Story?


It’s a story whereby a group of people create a story together. We would take turns, sentence-by-sentence, writing the story.  I’ve participated in them on blogs and on Facebook. Thought it would be fun to see what we come up with. And since I only have 1200 words this would definitely not take up your time.

Moreover, I would monitor and move the direction of the story so that we have a  clear plot with a definite ending. So if you’re game for  some festive fun and a completely unique story.  You can do this with me, but BEWARE,  the more authors involved, the merrier it can get!

If you would like to join me, leave a comment here with your Facebook profile link. I have created a Writing Project Facebook Group to house the project. You can jump in and add your sentence at any time. I will cap the story at 1000 words so that I have room to mention every author participating.

I will begin the story and provide details on November 1, 2010. My deadline for this project is November 17, 2010. And Yes, I’m doing Nanowrimo, too. I hope you join me.

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Wednesday Book Review: Catching Moondrops

Christian Fiction Fall Book Spotlight

Catching MoondropsAn excerpt from Jennifer Erin Valent’s Catching Moondrops
“Now, I’m all for civil uprisin’,” Tal continued. “I don’t see nothin’ wrong with colored folk sayin’ they won’t be walked on no more. I don’t see nothin’ wrong with wantin’ to use the same bathroom as white folks or sit in the same chairs as white folks. Way I see it, none of that’s goin’ to change unless someone says it has to.” He squatted in front of Malachi again and stared him down nose to nose. “But all this hotshottin’ and showboatin’ ain’t goin’ to do nothin’ but get your rear end kicked. Or worse. You aim to stand tall for somethin’? Fine. Stand tall for it. But don’t you go around thinkin’ these battle scars say somethin’ for you. You ain’t got them by bein’ noble; you got them by bein’ stupid. All’s these scars say is you’re an idiot.”
Summary: Jessilyn Lassiter no longer has to convince people she’s not a child. Having just turned 19 in the summer of 1938, her love for Luke Talley has never been more real. And Luke is finally beginning to care for her in the way she’s always dreamed of. But their budding romance is interrupted when Tal Pritchett—a young, black doctor—comes to Calloway, stealing the heart of Jessilyn’s best friend, Gemma, and stirring up the racial prejudice that has been simmering just beneath the town’s surface. The tension starts to bubble over when Jessie’s elderly neighbor Miss Cleta becomes the first white townsperson to accept Tal’s treatment. And when a young black man is lynched, Calloway is brought to its knees once again as Jessilyn realizes that her anger can make her heart as full of hate as the klan members who have terrorized her town and her family.
My review: The first lines of the book bothered me. It reminded me of  James McGovern’s  Anatomy o f a Lynching: The Killing of Claude Neal.  I’m still not sure if I’m in the right mental place to revisit this horrific era in American history. With the November elections and the nasty name calling of our President, I know this book is a relevant read. Perhaps this era is a safer read for the audience it was written for.
I would have loved for Tyndale to acquire an African American historical author, who could right about the same era, sort of like a literary diptych. Perhaps I will revisit this story when Sharon Ewell Foster’s novel of The Resurrection of Nat Turner comes out 2011
Gemma and Tal’s romance doesn’t satisfy me, but I wasn’t expecting it to. The relationship was the framework for the true story of Jessilyn’s self actualization and journey toward understanding social justice.
Moreover, Valent’s Jessilyn makes this story a worthwhile read. However, just like The Help I’ve grown tired of reading stories of southern white women’s rebuttals about Jim Crowe. What I liked most is that Valent didn’t dare try to be the voice of The Woman’s Club Movement or Black Womanist Thought like the Help. She showed a level of respect for a culture she can only know from the outside looking in. Catching Moondrops’s Jessilyn definitely personified that reality.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TPT: Lydia’s Charm

Today Christian Fiction is pleased to announce our Trailer Park Tuesday pick for the week of October 26, 2010 is Wanda E. Brustetter's Lydia's Charm.

Summary: Visit Amish Country during the fall as Lydia King attempts to make Charm, Ohio, feel like home after losing her husband. But is her heart ready to open back up to love when gifts appear on her porch from a mystery source? Could it be from the widowed father of four energetic boys, or is it from the man who has rejected romance to be his family's caregiver? When life hands Lydia another challenge, will the gift giver be there to support her?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Lydia's Charm, go HERE.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Soul Seeks a Circle of Friends

This week I am reading and reviewing Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook’s Becoming a Woman of Destiny for Urban Reviews. While reading, I thought of a personal challenge I am going through with a friend. I’ve been down this road before with other friendships, so I know what the end will be.We will get through this. However, I wonder should I form a Destiny Circle, composed of girl friends who would like to join forces for the safety and upkeeping of our souls. There have been times when I’ve felt spiritual stronger. I’ve witnessed and encouraged my friends. Then there are other times when I’ve been so weak that if it weren’t for my twin telepathy (joke) I surely would have run off into a ditch. My good friends have carried me. I wish to hold hands with a circle of women who don’t want to talk politics[including publishing politics] or business, but to talk about how are souls are doing. I want that.

Don’t you?

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What We Do Now Echoes in Eternity

Lately, I’m wondering what God is saying about how close we now resemble bad reality tv shows. Every month there has been one church scandal, bigger than the one before. Every week, more foolishness, wilder, incredulous.  For example, this past week I had the great pleasure of watching a rebroadcast of a local pastor confessing to his congregation about a rumor that had gotten too big to ignore. His confession made the front page of all our local papers and can be watched even now on his church streaming page.

Usually when church gossip makes broadcast news, I ignore it. As a publicist and former journ, it’s very easy to do, because I understand the Spin machine. But this last news...I’m tired.

Continue reading "What We Do Now Echoes in Eternity" »

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GA Teacher joins Pulitzer Winners

shanaandru Author Shana Burton with Actress/Author  Victoria Rowell

Author and High School Teacher Shana Burton joins NY Times Bestsellers, GA Writers Hall of Fame, & Pulitzer Prize Winners this weekend at the 12th annual Georgia Literary Festival.

Northeast High school English Teacher Shana Burton, who is also a 2008  and 2009 Georgia Book of the Year Nominee meets her fans this weekend  in Statesboro, Georgia, at the Georgia Literary Festival.  On October 23, 2010 The Georgia Literary festival will feature 25 writers including special appearances by popular author Ferrol Sams, former U.S. Senator Max Cleland, Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey, Hall of Fame author Philip Lee Williams, bestselling novelist Tina Ansa, cookbook author Damon Lee Fowler, gardening expert Walter Reeve and Poet Laureate David Bottoms.

Georgia Literary Festival

Shana Burton is high school teacher at Northeast High School in Macon, Ga. She is also a published author of Suddenly Single(GA Book of the Year Nomination,) First Comes Love and Flaws and All under Kensington Publishing, Flaws & All released August, 2010, has been selected as a BlackExpressions Book Club Pick. She will also host the Peach County Public Library Fall  Literary Trunk Show in Fort Valley, Georiga November 6, 2010.

Chocolate City Magazine calls Flaws & All a “Sex and the City meets Waiting to Exhale meets Christ. Flaws and All is a tell-it-like-it-is saga of redemption, sisterhood, and unconditional love.”

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

WaterBrook Press (October 5, 2010)

***Special thanks to Ashley Boyer and Staci Carmichael of Waterbrook Multnomah for sending me a review copy.***


Expertly weaving together fantasy, romance and Biblical truths, Donita K. Paul penned the best-selling, fan-favorite DragonKeeper Chronicles series. After retiring early from teaching, she began a second career as an award-winning author and loves serving as a mentor for new writers of all ages. And when she’s not putting pen to paper, Donita makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys spending time with her grandsons, cooking, beading, stamping, and knitting.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307458997
ISBN-13: 978-0307458995


Sweet book. Perfect for Holiday Romance lovers like myself. I’m a fan of Donita’s fantasy line, but this has become my new favorite.


Christmas. Cora had been trying to catch it for four years. She scurried down the sidewalk, thankful that streetlights and brightly lit storefronts counteracted the gloom of early nightfall. Somewhere, sometime, she’d get a hold of how to celebrate Christmas. Maybe even tonight.

With snowflakes sticking to her black coat, Christmas lights blinking around shop windows, and incessant bells jingling, Cora should have felt some holiday cheer.

And she did.


Just not much.

At least she was on a Christmas errand this very minute. One present for a member of the family. Shouldn’t that count for a bit of credit in the Christmas-spirit department?

Cora planned out her Christmas gift giving in a reasonable manner. The execution of her purchasing schedule gave her a great deal of satisfaction. Tonight’s quest was a book for Uncle Eric—something about knights and castles, sword fights, shining armor, and all that.

One or two gifts purchased each week from Labor Day until December 15, and her obligations were discharged efficiently, economically, and without the excruciating last-minute frenzy that descended upon other people…like her three sisters, her mother, her grandmother, her aunts.

Cora refused to behave like her female relatives and had decided not to emulate the male side of the family either. The men didn’t buy gifts. They sometimes exchanged bottles from the liquor store, but more often they drank the spirits themselves.

Her adult ambition had been to develop her own traditions for the season, ones that sprouted from the Christianity she’d discovered in college. The right way to celebrate the birth of Christ. She avoided the chaos that could choke Christmas. Oh dear. Judgmental again. At least now she recognized when she slipped.

She glanced around Sage Street. Not too many shoppers. The quaint old shops were decked out for the holidays, but not with LED bulbs and inflated cartoon figures.

Since discovering Christianity, she’d been confused about the trappings of Christmas—the gift giving, the nativity scenes, the carols, even the Christmas tree. Every year she tried to acquire some historical background on the festivities. She was learning. She had hope. But she hadn’t wrapped her head around all the traditions yet.

The worst part was shopping.

Frenzy undid her. Order sustained her. And that was a good reason to steer clear of any commercialized holiday rush. She’d rather screw red light bulbs into plastic reindeer faces than push through a crowd of shoppers.

Cora examined the paper in her hand and compared it to the address above the nearest shop. Number 483 on the paper and 527 on the building. Close.

When she’d found the bookstore online, she had been amazed that a row of old-fashioned retailers still existed a few blocks from the high-rise office building where she worked. Truthfully, it was more like the bookstore found her. Every time she opened her browser, and on every site she visited, the ad for the old-fashioned new- and used-book store showed up in a banner or sidebar. She’d asked around, but none of her co-workers patronized the Sage Street Shopping District.

“Sounds like a derelict area to me,” said Meg, the receptionist. “Sage Street is near the old railroad station, isn’t it? The one they decided was historic so they wouldn’t tear it down, even though it’s empty and an eyesore?”

An odd desire to explore something other than the mall near her apartment seized Cora. “I’m going to check it out.”

Jake, the security guard, frowned at her. “Take a cab. You don’t want to be out too late over there.”

Cora walked. The brisk air strengthened her lungs, right? The exercise pumped her blood, right? A cab would cost three, maybe four dollars, right?

An old man, sitting on the stoop of a door marked 503, nodded at her. She smiled, and he winked as he gave her a toothless grin. Startled, she quickened her pace and gladly joined the four other pedestrians waiting at the corner for the light to change.

Number 497 emblazoned the window of an ancient shoe store on the opposite corner. She marched on. In this block she’d find the book and check another item off her Christmas list.

Finally! “Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad, Books,” Cora read the sign aloud and then grasped the shiny knob. It didn’t turn. She frowned. Stuck? Locked? The lights were on. She pressed her face against the glass. A man sat at the counter. Reading. How appropriate.

Cora wrenched the knob. A gust of wind pushed with her against the door, and she blew into the room. She stumbled and straightened, and before she could grab the door and close it properly, it swung closed, without the loud bang she expected.

“I don’t like loud noises,” the man said without looking up from his book.

“Neither do I,” said Cora.

He nodded over his book. With one gnarled finger, he pushed his glasses back up his nose.

Must be an interesting book. Cora took a quick look around. The place could use stronger lights. She glanced back at the clerk. His bright lamp cast him and his book in a golden glow.

Should she peruse the stacks or ask?

She decided to browse. She started to enter the aisle between two towering bookcases.

“Not there,” said the old man.

“I beg your pardon?” said Cora.

“How-to books. How to fix a leaky faucet. How to build a bridge. How to mulch tomatoes. How to sing opera. How-to books. You don’t need to know any of that, do you?”


“Wrong aisle, then.” He placed the heavy volume on the counter and leaned over it, apparently absorbed once more.

Cora took a step toward him. “I think I saw a movie like this once.”

His head jerked up, his scowl heavier. He glared over the top of his glasses at the books on the shelves as if they had suddenly moved or spoken or turned bright orange.

“A movie? Here? I suppose you mean the backdrop of a bookstore. Not so unusual.” He arched an eyebrow. “You’ve Got Mail and 84 Charing Cross Road.”

“I meant the dialogue. You spoke as if you knew what I needed.”

He hunched his shoulders. The dark suspenders stretched across the faded blue of his shirt. “Reading customers. Been in the business a long time.”

“I’m looking for a book for my uncle. He likes castles, knights, tales of adventure. That sort of thing.”

He sighed, closed his book, and tapped its cover. “This is it.” He stood as Cora came to the desk. “Do you want me to wrap it and send it? We have the service. My grandson’s idea.”

Cora schooled her face and her voice. One of the things she excelled in was not showing her exasperation. She’d been trained by a dysfunctional family, and that had its benefits. She knew how to take guff and not give it back. Maintaining a calm attitude was a good job skill.

She tried a friendly smile and addressed the salesclerk.

“I want to look at it first and find out how much it costs.”

“It’s the book you want, and the price is eleven dollars and thirteen cents.”

Cora rubbed her hand over the cover. It looked and felt like leather, old leather, but in good repair. The book must be ancient.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Which?” the old man barked.

“Which what?”

“Which part of the statement am I sure about? It doesn’t matter because I’m sure about both.”

Cora felt her armor of detachment suffer a dent. The man was impossible. She could probably order a book online and get it wrapped and delivered right to her uncle with less aggravation. But dollar signs blinked in neon red in her mind as she thought how much that would cost. No need to be hasty.

Curtain rings rattled on a rod, and Cora looked up to see a younger version of the curmudgeon step into the area behind the counter.

The younger man smiled. He had the same small, wiry build as the older version, but his smile was warm and genuine. He looked to be about fifty, but his hair was still black, as black as the old man’s hair was white. He stretched out his hand, and Cora shook it.

“I’m Bill Wizbotterdad. This is my granddad, William Wizbotterdad.”

“Let me guess. Your father is named Will?”

Bill grinned, obviously pleased she’d caught on quickly. “Willie Wizbotterdad. He’s off in Europe collecting rare books.”

“He’s not!” said the elder shop owner.

“He is.” Bill cast his granddad a worried look.

“That’s just the reason he gave for not being here.” William shook his head and leaned across the counter. “He doesn’t like Christmas. We have a special job to do at Christmas, and he doesn’t like people and dancing and matrimony.”

Bill put his arm around his grandfather and pulled him back. He let go of his granddad and spun the book on the scarred wooden counter so that Cora could read the contents. “Take a look.” He opened the cover and flipped through the pages. “Colored illustrations.”

A rattling of the door knob was followed by the sound of a shoulder thudding against the wood. Cora turned to see the door fly open with a tall man attached to it. The stranger brushed snow from his sleeves, then looked up at the two shop owners. Cora caught them giving each other a smug smile, a wink, and a nod of the head.

Odd. Lots of oddness in this shop.

She liked the book, and she wanted to leave before more snow accumulated on the streets. Yet something peculiar about this shop and the two men made her curious. Part of her longed to linger. However, smart girls trusted their instincts and didn’t hang around places that oozed mystery. She didn’t feel threatened, just intrigued. But getting to know the peculiar booksellers better was the last thing she wanted, right? She needed to get home and be done with this Christmas shopping business. “I’ll take the book.”

The newcomer stomped his feet on the mat by the door, then took off his hat.

Cora did a double take. “Mr. Derrick!”

He cocked his head and scrunched his face. “Do I know you?” The man was handsome, even wearing that comical lost expression. “Excuse me. Have we met?”

“We work in the same office.”

He studied her a moment, and a look of recognition lifted the frown. “Third desk on the right.” He hesitated, then snapped his fingers. “Cora Crowden.”


He jammed his hand in his pocket, moving his jacket aside. His tie hung loosely around his neck. She’d never seen him looking relaxed. The office clerks called him Serious Simon Derrick.

“I drew your name,” she said.

He looked puzzled.

“For the gift exchange. Tomorrow night. Office party.”

“Oh. Of course.” He nodded. “I drew Mrs. Hudson. She’s going to retire, and I heard her say she wanted to redecorate on a shoestring.”

“That’s Mrs. Wilson. Mrs. Hudson is taking leave to be with her daughter, who is giving birth to triplets.”

He frowned and began looking at the books.

“You won’t be there, will you?” Cora asked.

“At the party? No, I never come.”

“I know. I mean, I’ve worked at Sorenby’s for five years, and you’ve never been there.”

The puzzled expression returned to Serious Simon’s face. He glanced to the side. “I’m looking for the how-to section.”

Cora grinned. “On your left. Second aisle.”

He turned to stare at her, and she pointed to the shelves Mr. Wizbotterdad had not let her examine. Mr. Derrick took a step in that direction.

Cora looked back at the shop owners and caught them leaning back in identical postures, grins on their faces, and arms crossed over their chests.

Bill jerked away from the wall, grabbed her book, rummaged below the counter, and brought out a bag. He slid the book inside, then looked at her. “You didn’t want the book wrapped and delivered?”

“No, I’ll just pay for it now.”

“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to look around some more?” asked Bill.

“Right,” said William. “No hurry. Look around. Browse. You might find something you like.”

Bill elbowed William.

Simon Derrick had disappeared between the stacks.

William nodded toward the how-to books. “Get a book. We have a copy of How to Choose Gifts for Ungrateful Relatives. Third from the bottom shelf, second case from the wall.”

The statement earned him a “shh” from his grandson.

Cora shifted her attention to the man from her office and walked a few paces to peek around the shelves. “Mr. Derrick, I’m getting ready to leave. If you’re not coming to the party, may I just leave the gift on your desk tomorrow?”

He glanced at her before concentrating again on the many books. “That’s fine. Nice to see you, Miss Crowden.”

“Crowder,” she corrected, but he didn’t answer.

She went to the counter and paid. Mr. Derrick grunted when she said good-bye at the door.

“Come back again,” said Bill.

“Yes,” said William. “We have all your heart’s desires.”

Bill elbowed him, and Cora escaped into the blustering weather.

She hiked back to the office building. Snow sprayed her with tiny crystals, and the sharp wind nipped her nose. Inside the parking garage, warm air helped her thaw a bit as she walked to the spot she leased by the month. It would be a long ride home on slippery roads. But once she arrived, there would be no one there to interrupt her plans. She got in the car, turned the key, pushed the gearshift into reverse, looked over her shoulder, and backed out of her space.

She would get the gift ready to mail off and address a few cards in the quiet of her living room. There would be no yelling. That’s what she liked about living states away from her family. No one would ambush her with complaints and arguments when she walked through the door.

Except Skippy. Skippy waited. One fat, getting fatter, cat to talk to. She did complain at times about her mistress being gone too long, about her dinner being late, about things Cora could not fathom. But Cora never felt condemned by Skippy, just prodded a little.


Once inside her second-floor apartment, she pulled off her gloves, blew her nose, and went looking for Skippy.

The cat was not behind the curtain, sitting on the window seat, staring at falling snow. Not in her closet, curled up in a boot she’d knocked over. Not in the linen closet, sleeping on clean towels. She wasn’t in any of her favorite spots. Cora looked around and saw the paper bag that, this morning, had been filled with wadded scraps of Christmas paper. Balls of pretty paper and bits of ribbon littered the floor. There. Cora bent over and spied her calico cat in the bag.

“Did you have fun, Skippy?”

The cat rolled on her back and batted the top of the paper bag. Skippy then jumped from her cave and padded after Cora, as her owner headed for the bedroom.

Thirty minutes later, Cora sat at the dining room table in her cozy pink robe that enveloped her from neck to ankles. She stirred a bowl of soup and eyed the fifteen packages she’d wrapped earlier in the week. Two more sat waiting for their ribbons.

These would cost a lot less to send if some of these people were on speaking terms. She could box them together and ship them off in large boxes.

She spooned chicken and rice into her mouth and swallowed.

The soup was a tad too hot. She kept stirring.

She could send one package with seven gifts inside to Grandma Peterson, who could dispense them to her side of the family. She could send three to Aunt Carol.

She took another sip. Cooler.

Aunt Carol could keep her gift and give two to her kids. She could send five to her mom…

Cora grimaced. She had three much older sisters and one younger. “If Mom were on speaking terms with my sisters, that would help.”

She eyed Skippy, who had lifted a rear leg to clean between her back toes. “You don’t care, do you? Well, I’m trying to. And I think I’m doing a pretty good job with this Christmas thing.”

She reached over and flipped the switch on her radio. A Christmas carol poured out and jarred her nerves. She really should think about Christmas and not who received the presents. Better to think “my uncle” than “Joe, that bar bum and pool shark.”

She finished her dinner, watching her cat wash her front paws.

“You and I need to play. You’re”—she paused as Skippy turned

a meaningful glare at her—“getting a bit rotund, dear kitty.”

Skippy sneezed and commenced licking her chest.

After dinner, Cora curled up on the couch with her Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad bag. Skippy came to investigate the rattling paper.

Uncle Eric. Uncle Eric used to recite “You Are Old, Father William.” He said it was about a knight. But Cora wasn’t so sure. She dredged up memories from college English. The poem was by Lewis Carroll, who was really named Dodson, Dogson, Dodgson, or something.

“He wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” she said. “There’s a cat in the story, but not as fine a cat as you. He smiles too much.”

Skippy gave her a squint-eyed look.

Cora eased the leather-bound book out of the bag. “The William I met at the bookstore qualifies for at least ancient.”

She put the book in her lap and ran her fingers over the embossed title: How the Knights Found Their Ladies.

She might have been hasty. She didn’t know if Uncle Eric would like this. She hefted the book, guessing its weight to be around four pounds. She should have found a lighter gift. This would cost a fortune to mail.

Skippy sniffed at the binding, feline curiosity piqued. Cora stroked her fur and pushed her back. She opened the book to have a peek inside. A piece of thick paper fell out. Skippy pounced on it as it twirled to the floor.

“What is it, kitty? A bookmark?” She slipped it out from between Skippy’s paws, then turned the rectangle over in her hands. Not a bookmark. A ticket.

Admit one to the Wizards’ Christmas Ball

Costumes required

Dinner and Dancing

and your Destiny

Never heard of it. She tucked the ticket in between the pages and continued to flip through the book, stopping to read an occasional paragraph.

This book wasn’t for Uncle Eric at all. It was not a history, it was a story. Kind of romantic too. Definitely not Uncle Eric’s preferred reading.

Skippy curled against her thigh and purred.

“You know what, cat? I’m going to keep it.”

Skippy made her approval known by stretching her neck up and rubbing her chin on the edge of the leather cover. Cora put the book on the sofa and picked up Skippy for a cuddle. The cat squirmed out of her arms, batted at the ticket sticking out of the pages, and scampered off.

“I love you too,” called Cora.

She pulled the ticket out and read it again: Wizards’ Christmas Ball. She turned out the light and headed for bed. But as she got ready, her eye caught the computer on her desk. Maybe she could find a bit more information.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Fiction Matters:Billerbeck in the New York Post

Christian Fiction News for the week ending 10/22/10

Hello, all. Today I’m spotlighting a few top stories in our Christian Fiction Newspaper. Every day we receive tons of stories that are included in the paper. This past week we chronicled more than 600 entries. Enjoy!

Movie News

The Grace Card: Watch the Trailer above.

Synopsis: When police officer Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and just about everyone else.

When pastor Sam Wright his promoted to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate. because leading a small church doesn't put enough food on the table for a young family.

Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it's impossible for either of them to look past their difference? Movie opens February 2011

Left Behind' movie remake planned

Cloud Ten Pictures plans to try this again, but this time on a blockbuster scale. In my opinion I didn’t like the original versions. Hopefully, a bigger budget will produce a better quality looking picture. However, if the script isn’t rewritten to something more tighter, plausible, and less cliche, then it doesn’t matter how pretty it is. Our works should be better: written better, produced better, acted better…better. PERIOD.

Book NEWS:

2010 Harvest Festival Choose Your Own Romance with Lacy Williams

Harlequin’s Write Your Own Romance, a new Harvest Festival game/story. New LIH author Lacy Williams will be your host for this event.

Trophy Wives Article in the New York Post

Kristin Billerbeck quoted in a The New York Post article on Trophy Wives. Great PR. BTW


To read the full the newspaper click here

Monday, October 18, 2010

Remembering Barbara Billingsley

Barbara Billingsley, the 94-year-old Billingsley, who played June Cleaver in the 1950s-1960s television series, died Saturday after a long illness at her home in Santa Monica.

This is sad news in our home, because Selah has fallen in love with Leave it to Beaver, the television series. It is a special thing to know that some of those older shows still carry a great deal of value in American households, especially Christian ones.


We talk mainly about Christian books and movies here, rarely television shows. In honor of June Cleaver, who I think was a great example of humility and patience on air. What did you love about the show?

And on the controversial front? Did you ever feel like you could never live up to June Cleaver?  And did you crack up seeing her talk jive in Airplane, the movie?

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Holiday Book Spotlight: The King’s Christmas List

Every Friday I will be spotlighting a holiday book. This week we will look at Tommy Nelson(Thomas Nelson’s) children book The King’s Christmas List . It tells the story of Emma who can’t wait to go to the King’s birthday party, but wonders what she should bring. Emma and her dog, Shu-Shu, decide to bring a Christmas cake and put on their Sunday best, but at the end of their journey, they are chilly, rumpled and empty-handed. What will the King think? Children and parents will be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and that the greatest gifts we can offer to the Savior are gifts to the least of his brothers and sisters (based on Matt. 25:40). Families are invited to go online and be directed to charities to give their own gift to the King.

If you are an author or publicist with a holiday book coming out this year, let me know.


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

32 Candles, Twitter PJ Party, ,Ernessa T. Carter & 2 Giveaways


We are pleased to announce that this Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 9pm EST 32 Candles author, Ernessa T. Carter will be our first author of #blacklitchat Tweet Chat on Twitter!!!!!!!!!!

So wear your 32 Candles T-shirt or pull your book out of your pink 32 Candles bag and lets have an online book chat with her. 

Umm…who is Ernessa T. Carter?

sauthorphotocolormediumErnessa T. Carter has worked as an ESL teacher in Japan, a music journalist in Pittsburgh, a payroll administrator in Burbank, and a radio writer for American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest in Hollywood. She’s also a retired L.A. Derby Doll. A graduate of Smith College and Carnegie Mellon University’s MFA program, 32 CANDLES is her first novel.

I’ve heard about 32 Candles, but don’t know what it’s about?

32 Candles

Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure she’s ugly. Just when she’s resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn’t imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname “Monkey Night,” and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.

Davie is finally a million miles from where she started—until she bumps into her former obsession, James Farrell. To Davie’s astonishment, James doesn’t recognize her, and she can’t bring herself to end the fantasy. She lets him fall as deeply in love with her as she once was with him. But is life ever that simple? Just as they’re about to ride off into the sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davie’s dreams—

A disarmingly moving tale”

–Bridgette Bartlett, Essence magazine

“Carter’s first novel is a winner on all fronts.”

–Kristine Huntley, The Booklist (STARRED review)

32 Candles is a perfect bookclub choice!! I want everyone to read this book so we can all talk about the absolutely wonderful and utterly imperfect and refreshingly real Davie Jones. If you have ever been teased about anything at all, you will fall head over heels in love with Davie.”

Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of Wench

“First there was Stella and she got her groove back, then there was Bridget Jones and she managed to find love despite her own loveable neuroses. Now there is Davie Jones. 32 Candles, at last, is the answer to the question ‘What should I read next?”

–Erica Kennedy, author of Feminista and Bling

After the chat I’ll add your praise here. (wink, nod)

What is BlackLit Chat?

It's a stream of tweets about books by Black[including Pan-African, African-American, Brit, Caribbean, Canadian Black, etc.] authors in real time during a specified time. Our time  for this chat is Sunday, October 17, 2010 from 7-8 PM EST. Remember it here via Facebook.

More about #BlackLitChat is here at my co-host Bernadette Davis’ Black Books Blog.  She is giving away a copy of 32 Candles this week. So check it out.


How does it Work? 3 Easy Steps

  1. 1. Get a Twitter account, or login, or remember your Twitter Password.
  2. 2. Join the chat by clicking this link.
  3. 3. Now login with your Twitter Password.

My Giveaway?

Want a copy of 32 Candles? The first person to RT this announcement link (), leave a question you would like to ask Ernessa to my Facebook comment , then  share it on your Facebook profile, and follow #blacklitchat get’s it.  Ernessa will answer your question live Sunday. How kewl?!

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Tithing Peanuts

In celebration of Peanuts 60th Birthday I thought I would share my favorite Christian themed strips. As a child I never noticed the religious topics discussed. But as a mother, who now shares Peanuts with my child I’m amused by it. I wanted to amuse you this Monday, but then something surprising, not as comical, happened.

Continue reading "Tithing Peanuts" »

Friday, October 08, 2010

Weekend Chatterbox: What is Your Favorite Albertina Walker Song?

Today we have learned that Gospel great Albertina Walker has passed.

Albertina discovery of new talent, the legendary Caravans launched the careers of Pastor Shirley Caesar, Inez Andrews, Delores Washington, Cassietta George, Evangelist Dorothy Norwood and the "King of Gospel" the Reverend James Cleveland. This rightfully earned Albertina the title "The Star Maker". The Caravans achieved great success acclaimed household name with hits like: Sweeping Through The City, Mary Don't You Weep, Walk Around Heaven, and Lord Keep Me Day By Day.

Learn more about this Gospel Queen of Music  here.

Question for you: What is your favorite Albertina Walker Song?

Mine is Mary Don’t You Weep.  Leave your favorites in comments or hit me up on my Facebook Page or on Twitter with the hashtag #albertinawalker

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

INSPY Awards Short List Announced

The INSPY Advisory Board is pleased to announce the shortlists for the 2010 INSPY Awards.  We thank you for your enthusiastic nominations of books and acknowledge the difficulties in narrowing the field with so many quality nominations.

General & Literary Fiction

The Christmas Glass by Marci Alborghetti, Guideposts, 1st October, 2009

Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth, Zondervan, 1st May, 2010

Lost Mission by Athol Dickson, Howard Books, 1st September, 2009

Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken, Howard Books, 13th April, 2010

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes, Tyndale House, 1st May, 2010

Creative Non-Fiction

Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans, Zondervan, 15th June, 2010

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, Thomas Nelson, 29th September, 2009

Halfway to Each Other by Susan Pohlman, Guideposts, 1st September, 2009

God Hides in Plain Sight by Dean Nelson, Brazos Press, 1st October, 2009

Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner, Waterbrook Press, 16th February, 2010

Historical Fiction

The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Frantz, Revell Books, 1st August, 2009

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen, Bethany House, 1st January, 2010

The Fiddler’s Gun by AS Peterson, Rabbit Room Press, 1st December, 2009

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell, Bethany House, 1st April, 2010

Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers, Tyndale House, 1st March, 2010

Thriller/Suspense/Crime (the category I will be judging)

Priceless by Tom Davis, David C Cook, 1st June, 2010

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker, Center Street, 27th May, 2010

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello, Thomas Nelson, 16th March, 2010

The Knight by Steven James, Revell Books, 1st August, 2009

Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig, Abingdon Press, 1st March, 2010

Speculative Fiction

Green by Ted Dekker, Thomas Nelson, 1st September, 2009

The Last Christian by David Gregory, Waterbrook Press, 4th May, 2010

A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz, Marcher Lord Press, 1st October, 2009

Eternity Falls by Kirk Outerbridge, Marcher Lord Press, 1st October, 2009

Rooms by James L. Rubart, B&H Publishing, 1st April, 2010

Amish Fiction

Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio by Annalisa Daughety, Summerside Press, 1st September, 2009

An Honest Love by Kathleen Fuller, Thomas Nelson, 16th March, 2010

Winter’s Awakening by Shelley Shepard Gray, Avon Inspire, 1st February, 2010

Anna’s Return by Marta Perry, Berkley, 1st June, 2010

Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman, Thomas Nelson, 30th March, 2010

Romance/Romantic Suspense

A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley, Thomas Nelson, 29th December, 2009

Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris, Zondervan, 1st April, 2010

Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter, Thomas Nelson, 6th October, 2009

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Patillo, Guideposts, 1st February, 2010

Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren, Summerside Press, 1st February, 2010

Young Adult Fiction

A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt, FaithWords, 15thOctober, 2009

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 25th May, 2010

So Over My Head by Jenny B Jones, Thomas Nelson, 4th May, 2010

Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen Coloma, Thomas Nelson, 3rd November, 2009

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, Little Brown, 1st October, 2009

Note: Dates from the publishers’ sites were used to determine eligibility

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What I’m Reading: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

This week I’m reading Christian Fiction Author Donita K. Paul’s Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball.  The story is about a most unusual bookshop, two mischievous matchmakers, two special tickets, an unlikely couple, and an evening for romance. Doesn’t it sound great?

Donita is a great writer. I love her Christian fantasy novels, but so far this novella is becoming my new favorite of hers.

It is also beautiful navy & gold book, which I like, because I carry books around, so the prettier the better. I might make me some cute book jewelry to hold my page. If I make more than one, perhaps I’ll give some away on the blog.

Purchase your book from your local bookstore here, then come back and lets discover the mystery behind this story together.


Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Also I will be compiling a Christmas Gift Book Guide for Indiebound. If you would like to nominate a 2010 title, email me.

Now, what are you reading this week?

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

To Pubit! or Not to Pubit

pubit This week Barnes & Noble released Pubit!,  a free direct-to-device self-publishing service for its Nook e-reader. Authors, who own the electronic rights to their books can take their books live in 24 hours for come cases.

A few things of note:

  • For authors who don’t have a MAC, you can use Smashwords to configure.
  • Your book will be converted to EPub open ebook Standard.
  • Your book will be lendable, which means that Nook users can share your book with one another.
  • B&N pays royalties on your book's retail price, instead of what an ebook distributors pay, which is usually net (retail less whatever discount B&N demands).
  • If you price your book between $2.99-$9.99 use will receive  a 65% royalty of the list price (> Apple, > Amazon which pays of the sales price)
  • You can publish direct to Kindle for free as well to DTP with a 70% royalty and your ebook will be available on Kindle devices and Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Android-based devices.

Full Pubit! information

  • Read the publishing agreement here.
  • The pricing agreement is here.
  • The content policy is here .

In my opinion,  if I were seeking to epublish my book, I would:

  • publish direct to Kindle. they pay monthly.
  • publish to Smashwords only for Epub but not Amazon or B & N distribution
  • Publish through Pub-It because your book will be categorized by genre not just ebooks like Smashwords, which is hard for a reader to sift through
  • make sure you opt out of Nook for Smashwords when you have successfully converted to EPubit
  • join DigiBookWorld, so you can learn the vocabulary and how to format DTP properly, because Pubit is new Thus, you may have to do some reformatting. Which means you need to use a an WYSIWYG ebook editor like Sigil.
  • And if I just went over your head, do the last thing I said first.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Fall Hard for Amish Lit


An interview with Cindy Woodsmall Part I

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. This fall she sits down with Christian Fiction Online Magazine to share her new novel series and some truths about Amish culture in Christian fiction with a 2 part series.

Cindy, you live in Georgia, where there is no Amish community, so how did this happen for you?

My childhood roots are in Amish and Plain Mennonite country. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy lands of Maryland, I became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. The moment I stepped into her home, I noticed a lot of differences between us, and my imagination took off.

 Continue reading Part 1 of this interview at Christian Fiction Online Magazine.

Friday, October 01, 2010

October 2010 Top Ten

We are proud to announce our top ten Christian book releases for October 2010.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

1. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

The list author says:"Isabel Wilkerson is an authority on African-American History. I've been a fan of her work for years. Learn the story of our migration to the West."


Medical Error (Prescription for Trouble Series #2)

2. Medical Error (Prescription for Trouble Series #2) by Richard L. Mabry MD

"When a medical doctor pens a medical thriller you must take notice. Mabry never disappoints me."

3. Last Temptation by Michelle Stimpson

"Been waiting for this book for a while. My book club friends have been talking about it. Hope it lives up to our expectation."


4. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

"Now this isn't a CBA title, but it's theme is based on angel mythology, which I think is a topic we need to be aware of, especially if we have Teen kids."

A Girl Named Mister

5.A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes

"I am so excited about this book. Nikki is one of my favorite children authors. Excited about her relationship with Zondervan."

Torment (Fallen)

6.Torment (Fallen) by Lauren Kate

"another YA novel about angel mythology."

Long Time Coming

7.Long Time Coming by Vanessa Miller

"Vanessa is a great writer and sweet lady to meet. So proud of her. You will enjoy this week."

Dragons of the Valley: A Novel

8.Dragons of the Valley: A Novel by Donita K. Paul

"Donita Paul is a great fantasy writer. I'm a huge fan. Come join her worlds."

Her Daughter's Dream (Marta's Legacy)

9. Her Daughter's Dream (Marta's Legacy) by Francine Rivers

"Who doesn't enjoy a Francine Rivers novel?"

Black Megachurch Culture: Models for Education and Empowerment (Black Studies & Critical Thinking)

10.  Black Megachurch Culture: Models for Education and Empowerment (Black Studies & Critical Thinking) by Sandra L. Barnes

"a must read"


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