Friday, December 10, 2010

Sick and Tired of the Christian Fiction Argument

Okay...I need a moment to vent. But since I'm using my blog as a means by which to do it, let's just say I need to "blent." Get it? It's a combination of "blog" and "vent." Not a real word, I know. But, oh well. Let me start by admitting that this is not a new annoyance for me; however, it's a growing one, and I think I've about reached my limit. So here goes...
Why is it that we (authors who write Christian books) are always being put in the position to defend our craft? Why are people constantly trying to tell us that the books we write are only for "church folks?" I can't even count how many times I've heard one of my colleagues defend this issue, or the number of times a radio or online interviewer has posed the question to me of, "What kinds of people can enjoy Christian fiction novels?" It's an insane line of thinking, really. Why on earth would one think that only Christians can enjoy Christian books?
The people who can embrace and enjoy Christian fiction and nonfiction are READERS...plain and simple. What I write is definitely faith-based. It's romantic, dramatic, and sometimes it's even mysterious. It's not preachy and it's not saturated with scripture references, but rest assured, Christ is at the center of every book (whether fiction or nonfiction) that I pen. I say that without shame, question, or apology. I will never denounce what I write or the ONE for which I write. However, my audience is comparable to a quilt, not a blanket. It is not comprised of one color or one texture or one fabric. Just like I have, I know many other Christian fiction and Christian nonfiction authors who have received emails and letters from everyday readers who have been able to embrace our writings. They were just plain avid book lovers who read a variety of subject matters, and they counted our books worthy of being in the number. In the best of the best situations, we have received feedback from people who were introduced to Christ through our books. And if they were introduced to Him, that means that they didn't know Him on a personal level prior to reading the book. Thus, they were non-Christians who enjoyed reading our books. So what does that tell you?
Nobody ever says that the authors who write romance are only writing for romantics and lovers, or that the only people who can enjoy crime fiction are cops and criminals, or that the only people who should buy horror stories are zombies and vampires, or that the only people who can relate to street lit are users and abusers, or even that the writers who pen erotica are writing only for the world's nymphomanics. So why is it that Christian fiction is constantly under the gun and made a target for those who wish to pigeon hole it?
Simply put: Christian books are NOT written for Christians only. It is NOT true that only church-goers can relate to books like mine. They are written for readers, and just as readers can appreciate any other genre of books, they can do the same for books that are deemed faith-based. Period.
Vent over....The End. :-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

From Pain To Purpose

October is always a "disjoined" month for me. I have the tendency to feel somewhat out of sorts and a bit disconnected during the 10th month of the year. While October has its celebratory dad's mother-in-law's birthday, it stands out more to me for the painful things it marks. It's the month of my first husband's death. The month that I buried him. The month that we fell only ten days short of celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary.
This month (yesterday, to be exact) marked the fifteen-year anniversary of the date that I buried my first husband. I remember it as though it happened yesterday. It was the ultimate painful experience. In my mind's eye, the only heartache that could possibly be greater than that of losing a soul mate is losing a child. If you are one who has never had to experience either, no matter what other adversities you may be facing in your life, count yourself blessed beyond measure. You have so much for which to be thankful.
This month (last Friday, to be exact) also marked the official release date of my latest book. It is my 17th published title, but my first nonfiction/ministerial offering. The title is I Shall Not Die, and it is inspired by life. My life. The same life that includes the loss of my spouse. As uninviting as the ordeal was, I know that it was by way of that pain that God directed me to my purpose. I would even go so far as to say that I never would have become a published author had I not gone through that life-altering trial. It was at Jimmy's (my first husband's) urging that I first picked up a pen to write my first manuscript. Granted, I put the pen down once he passed away and it would be years before I would make another move toward manuscript writing, but the seed of purpose was planted during that most painful time of my life.
I've been interviewed countless times since my first book was published back in 2002, and one of the questions I am most asked is, "Which of your books is your favorite?" In times past, I've consistently said that there was no way I could answer that question. I likened it to having to choose which of my two daughers is my favorite. It's an impossible choice to make. I've created characters that I can dub as my favorite, but books? No. I love each of them equally, just as I do my children. I will forever feel that way about my daughters, but when it comes to my books, God has now allowed me to birth one that I view in a different light. It has a place in my heart that none of the others before it has ever occupied. I Shall Not Die is my favorite.
There is so much that God has already done through this ministerial tool. It has only been out for a few days, yet I've received an abundance of emails and website posts and Facebook notes from readers who have been touched by the words that God ordered me to write in this book. I have heard it said (and I often echo the words) that the things we go through in life are not for ourselves, but for others. God allows us to go through tests so that the resulting testimonies will be a blessing and an encouragement to others. Nobody likes pain. Even if we had advance knowledge that our pain would one day lead to our purpose, that wouldn't make the pain any more inviting. Yet, there is something humbling about discovering divine purpose that makes us grateful despite what we had to go through to find it.
Each weekend in the month of October, I will be traveling somewhere to promote the I Shall Not Die book, and the accompanying I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement ministry. In a million years, I never would have guessed that this would be the result of my story, but I feel favored to be able to share it all with the world. The platform to which God has entrusted me is one that I hold dear, and I am honored to answer His call. To follow, in detail, all of the goings on with the book and the ministry, please become a follower of the I Shall Not Die blog. Additionally, by clicking on the I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement link above, you can become a VIsion Partner (VIP) of the ministry itself and obtain several valuable perks, including $100 off of Cruisin' For Christ.
A journey from pain to purpose. That is what my 17th book - my favorite among my books - signifies to me. And with each copy that is sold, my most earnest prayer is that the reader of it is challenged to always LIVE a Psalm 118:17 existence. Order your copy today by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Celebrating... "Song of Solomon"

I remember that feeling I experienced eight years ago when my first novel was released. There was this overwhelming sense of gratefulness; this 'wow factor' at the realization that God had not only shown me my purpose, but was also allowing me to walk in it. This month, my sixteenth novel was unveiled, and that same level of gratefulness still overtakes me. "My passion, my purpose, my pen." The joy and fulfillment that the combinaton of them continues to bring never stales.
Song of Solomon hit bookstores nationally on July 1st, but the official release celebration didn't take place until Saturday, July 10th. On that afternoon, a conference room full of Mississippians joined me at the Willie Morris Library located in the capital city of Jackson to help commemorate the occasion. The hosts for the afternoon were the members of Savvy Book Club (president, Rose Wright) and Books And Beignets (BAB) Book Club (president, Sonya Ward) . . . and what a celebration it was!
One thing I never do is score the book release celebrations that are thrown in honor of any of my novels. I wouldn't dare try and list them numerically, saying which was best, which was second best, and so forth. God has been very gracious to me over the years, and trying to categorize the special events would be too difficult a task to undertake. Every book release event that I've been blessed to have for any of my novels has been applause worthy, and the Song of Solomon affair was no different. The food, the fellowship, the fun . . . in a word, all of it was fabulous!
While I refuse to even attempt to rank my book releases, I will readily admit that there was something very unique about the event that marked Song of Solomon. I experienced a few "firsts" at this event and they made it all the more special. For the first time in my literary career, a radio remote was pitched from the location of my book release. Nikki Dulaney, of 95.5 Hallelujah FM, came and broadcasted live from Willie Morris Library while we were there celebrating. I had the opportunity to be interviewed and to address her listening audience, inviting them to come and join the celebration. Add to that another first . . . An award winning, legendary gospel artist performed at my function. To be clear, I've had a nationally recognized, award winning artist to entertain at a book release event before. My friend and spiritual brother, Lowell Pye (of Men of Standard), captivated the guests who attended the Fifteen Years book release back in February of this year. But the Song of Solomon commemoration marked the first time I'd ever had one to perform who is a seven-time Grammy nominated artist. Not only a seven-time Grammy nominated artist, but he's also a three-time Stellar Award winner. Not only a seven-time Grammy nominated, three-time Stellar Award winning gospel artist, but a gospel music legend. And not just any gospel music legend.
For five decades, The Williams Brothers have been trailblazers, blessing the world with great gospel music. And for three of those five decades, they have been my all-time favorite group. And anyone who knows me well, knows that lead vocalist, Melvin Williams, is unrivaled as my best loved gospel artist. So it was more than a delight; it was incredibly humbling to have Melvin accept my request to be at the book release for Song of Solomon. And not only be there, but to perform live for me and my guests. Undeniably, his presence and participation was a personal gift for me, but there was more to my request for his presence than he was aware. I had a few surprises up my sleeves for him, and thanks to the help of his faithful assistant who worked with me behind the scenes for months, we pulled it all off without a hitch.
Melvin had no clue that I'd dedicated Song of Solomon in his honor. If you read the book, you'll see the titles of all of his solo albums (typed in italics) as a part of my expressions on the dedication page. In addition, he had no knowledge that the lead male character in the book was inspired by him. I revealed all of that at the celebration, and to top it all off, just before he took the mic to sing, the host book clubs helped me present him with a cake to honor his approaching July 21st birthday. Melvin's music, his character, and his presence has been such a blessing to me over the years (there's a testimony behind that, which I shared with the attendees of the book release), and I wanted to use the platform of Song of Solomon to show a little of my gratitude. His generosity at the event was overwhelming. Not only did he render a wonderful mini-concert for the attending supporters, but he also gave free (yes, I said free) autographed CDs to every person who purchased a copy of Song of Solomon!
The celebration didn't end with Saturday's event. Each time that I travel on tour, I make an effort to find a local church to worship with before returning back to my home in metropolitan Atlanta. While in Mississippi, I chose Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Smithdale. The shepherd of the house, Pastor Oliver Smith, is set to be the worship service speaker on Cruisin' For Christ IV when it launches next summer, so I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity to get an advance taste of his ministry. My publicist and I rose early Sunday morning and drove from Jackson to Smithdale to be a part of the service there. It was well worth the 90-minute commute, and Pastor Smith's message was a perfect topper for our weekend. Following the benediction, he invited me to have a book signing in the fellowship hall of the church. The members of Rose Hill were extremely generous in their support, and just like he had done at the Saturday event, Melvin Williams was there at Rose Hill giving complimentary autographed CDs to all those who purchased Song of Solomon.
Quite honestly, I couldn't have asked for much more. A successful weekend book launch tour wherein I was blessed to sell an impressive number of books, spend time with friends and supporters, partake in my first live radio remote feature, worship at the church where the man I now call my "Mississippi pastor" is the presiding shepherd, and not only have my best loved singer perform at my book release, but be favored to share a signing table with him during both appearances. Is there any wonder that the Song of Solomon release celebration will forever be etched favorably in my memory banks?
Aside from the millions of thanks that I want to shower on Savvy, BAB, 95.5 Hallelujah FM, Pastor Oliver Smith, and all of the supporters in the Jackson and Smithdale areas, I would also like to send a warm heart full of overflowing gratitude to my publicist (Terrance Wooten), Melvin's assistant (Bridget Flury), and of course, to the incomparable Melvin Williams for the special parts they played in making the weekend more than special. And even though the celebratory weekend has ended, the reasons to be thankful continue.
Since our departure from Mississippi, I have received word that the Nikki's Hallelujah Book Club (on-air book club founded by Nikki Delaney at 95.5 Hallelujah FM) has chosen Song of Solomon as their featured book of the month. Additionally, Saavy Book Club has selected it for their August book of the month.
To God be the glory!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

KC Girlfriend's 3rd Annual Literary Retreat

There's a first time for everything, and it is said that the first impression of anything is the lasting one. I can't decree that the saying rings true in every situation, but for certain, it is a fitting one when it comes to the impression of my very first visit to the state of Missouri.

After eight years of being a published author and being favored with the opportunity to fly all over the United States and even travel abroad, it's even a bit mind-boggling to me when I realize that even with all of my traveling, there are still unchartered states on my personal map. At times, it may feel like I've been everywhere, but I haven't. And until Friday, June 11, 2010, Missouri and Kansas were two of the state lines I had not crossed. However, during my time serving as featured author and keynote speaker for the KC Girlfriends 3rd Annual Literary Retreat, I was blessed to visit both.

I had a wonderful time of fellowship! KC Girlfriends Book Club president, TaNisha Webb, extended to me the royal treatment from the time my flight landed. Upon picking me up from the airport, TaNisha wisked me away on a sightseeing journey which included an educational tour of The Museums at 10th & Vine (which houses the Negro League Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum). Man...I wish they allowed picture-taking in that place because it was jam-packed with awesome photos, official documents, and other memorabilia. I couldn't take pictures inside, so the best I could do was capture one from the outside. In addition, I had the pleasure of visiting Willa's Books, a local African American owned bookstore that is stocked with not only fiction and nonfiction books, but wonderful collector's items like early editions of Time, Ebony, and Jet magazines and vinyl records (albums) of music of all genres.

The book club retreat was the following morning (June 12), and KC Girlfriends, along with Chocolate Pages Book Club, put together a very pleasant affair that I thoroughly enjoyed. Despite the fact that the skies opened up and heavy rains fell, the supporters braved the weather and filed into Holiday Inn at the Plaza for great fellowship and a delicious meal. I felt blessed to be in the presence of some wonderful local authors who were also a part of the day's program. Archuleta Chisholm and Rachelle Law were a pleasure to meet and hear, as they also served as speakers during the event. The fellowship among readers and writers who gathered there was delightful.

In addition to the opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with some of my loyal readers in the area, the highlight of the retreat for me was meeting a man by the name of Mike Dodson and his wife, Cindi. Only a few weeks earlier, Mike and I spoke via telephone after he was introduced to my work by a devoted "Kendra Norman-Bellamy reader" who (I believe) lives in the Witchita, Kansas area. After never having visited Missouri in my life, God orchestrated it so that I was booked to make an appearance shortly after my telephone conversation with Mike, and in doing so, I was blessed to meet him and his lovely wife when they came to hear me speak at the retreat. My connection with the Dodsons is one of those devine ones that only God could have made happen when, where, and how He made it happen. I hope to be sharing more about that with you at a later date.

A big THANK YOU goes from my heart to TaNisha and the ladies of KC Girlfriends Book Club as well as the sisters of Chocolate Pages Book Club for rolling out the red carpet. I enjoyed my time with you all, and I hope to do it again some time!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dayton Book Expo and More...

Needless to say, it's been awhile since I've updated the Blessed2Write Blog. Charge it to my head and not to my heart. It's not that I've not had anything to write about, but very much the opposite. My calendar has kept me so busy lately that I haven't taken the time to break away to journal in my web log. I guess that's both a good thing and a not-so-good one. I often say that in this business (the world of writing) "busy" is a wonderful thing. It means that there is a demand for you and/or your work. The alternative would leave you sitting at home looking at a blank computer screen or twiddling your thumbs, wondering why the telephone isn't ringing. So I thank God for being so snowed under that I haven't had the time to blog.
It's nearing two o'clock in the morning as I share these thoughts, and no doubt, it will be after two by the time I finish this entry. I just finished looking back on some of the photo memories that I have of my participation in the inaugural Dayton Book Expo in Dayton, Ohio, and decided that before I shut down my computer and call it a night, I'd take the time to share my experience.
The Dayton Book Expo took place at Sinclair Community College on Saturday, May 1st. There was wonderful fellowship among the attending authors (saw some faces I hadn't seen in awhile and met others I'd never seen before), very informative panel discussions (I facilitated one about traditional publishing), and great support from the reading community (met some faithful followers of my works). Traffic was constant throughout the six-hour affair, and the Dayton community supported in good numbers in spite of the off-and-on rainfall. And I must say that I received remarkable red carpet service from Charlotte Brown, owner of C's Gifts, who not only served as my onsite bookseller, but also arranged ground transportation for me to get everywhere that I needed to be over the course of the weekend. Though the DBA took place on Saturday, my tour of Ohio went beyond the expo itself.
In addition to the expo, I had a book signing appointment on Friday afternoon at a local library where I shared my writing journey, writing tips, and other information with an intentive group of readers who gathered there to meet and speak with me. I have to give a special thanks to my sister-friends and supporters, Rhonda Bogan (of Mocha Readers) and bestselling author, Vanessa Miller, for coming out to support my appearance at the library. Saturday evening at the Dayton Convention Center during the production of the gospel play, "Don't Drive Mama Away", and then on Sunday afternoon, I was escorted to an area right outside of Cincinnati, Ohio to a local Pappadeaux restaurant where I hosted a signing and enjoyed a great seafood meal along with Charlotte Brown and local playright, Stephanie Hammett. Then just before I had to head back to the Dayton Airport to catch my flight back to Atlanta on Sunday night, I was fortunate enough to have some extra time to stop by a local Dayton church where one of my favorite contemporary gospel groups, Christopher, was performing live in concert. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay long enough to enjoy their music ministry, but I took advantage of the opportunity to hang out with them off-stage for a few minutes before my 7pm flight home. All in all, an excellent trip.
Congratulations to Dayton Book Expo visionary, Valerie Coleman, for a job well done. With a first year as well-organized as DBA's was, I predict that it will be even more enjoyable next year. For those who are interested, save the date (April 30, 2011). Visit the Dayton Book Expo website reguarly for more information and updates.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My First Nonfiction Is Complete

It was a challenge to write, but that came as no surprise. I knew it would be, but with the Lord's help, it's finally finished! And believe me when I say that without Him it never would have gotten done. Truly all things are possible when you believe in God. To God be the glory for the things He has done! My first nonfiction/ministerial tool is complete, and what a joy (and a relief) it is to celebrate this accomplishment. The writing of I Shall Not Die serves as the final piece of a very big puzzle in my life. I won't go into that fullness of that in this blog post. . .you'll have to read the book (smile).

My most sincere prayer is that when this book is officially released in October, it will be a powerful source of encouragement to those who read it. I want this book, more than any book I've ever written, to get into the hands of those who need its message most and be a life-changing experience to the readers. Throughout my career as a writer, I've been asked many times during television, radio, magazine, and blog interviews which of my books is my personal favorite. My answer has always been that there is no answer for that. I just didn't see how I could love one more than the others. "That's like asking a mother which of her children are her favorite," I'd often reply. But I have an answer to that question now. By far, I Shall Not Die is my favorite among my titles. It's not necessarily better written than any of my other books, but because of the content, and because it's a personal testimony, it is dearer to my heart.

For any who saw the original cover (see photo below right) that was designed for this book, you will notice that it has been upgraded just a bit (see photo top left). I polled a few family members and asked them which cover they liked better and the revised design won by an overwhelming majority. A special thanks to Alex Johnson, III of AJ3 Photography for the picture of me that is on the new cover and for the cover design itself. Additionally, I'd like to send a special thanks to Lisa Zachery of Papered Wonders for designing the new logo for the I Shall Not Die motivational ministry. And for everyone who has gone through the website to pre-order your copy, thereby making you a VIsion Partner (VIP) with this ministry, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. As I head down the home stretch toward the finished line of getting this book in print, I thank God for you because I know that your support has made the process a little easier for me.

Stay tuned. . .

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Official Release of "Fifteen Years"

It seems that my life's meter has been locked on the setting of "whirlwind" since the beginning of the year, but even more so since the beginning of this month, when my fifteenth novel released on February 1st through Moody Publisher's Lift Every Voice imprint. Fifteenth novel. Wow. The realization of it sometimes even makes me have to catch my breath. I'm just so thankful to God that He equipped me for such a time as this. This writing ministry to which He assigned me in 2002 has been quite a journey. It hasn't always been easy. The road has been winding and bumpy at times. Every day of it hasn't brought me happiness, but there's not been a single day that hasn't brought me joy. I love what I do, and each novel reminds me of why I do it.

When many people hear that the title of my most recent novel is Fifteen Years, they assume that it was titled to match its placement in the lineup of my career. Totally not the case. The irony is definitely a God-thing. When I initially turned the completed manuscript in to my editor, the title was something completely different and unrelated. I still recall the day when she called me and told me that the publishing house loved the story itself, but wanted to change the title of it. She kept saying, "It's not that we don't like the title you have, but we feel led to change it." It was a first for me. In all the books I've previously written, never had the publishers of them wanted to change the title. I was told that the title they wanted to give it was Fifteen Years, and as much as I liked my original title for this novel, I had to admit that theirs was a better fit. I immediately loved and embraced it, and it wasn't until several weeks later that I realized it would also be my fifteenth published project. It wasn't in my plan nor the plan of the publisher, but I'm convinced that it was in God's, and I thank Him.

Though the book released nationwide on February 1st, the official release observance of Fifteen Years didn't take place until Saturday, February 20th, and what a celebration it was! It was a beautiful day that came with bright sunshine, perfect temperatures, and about 100 supporters (including friends, family, and fans) that filed into the fellowship hall of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Atlanta, GA at 2:00 in the afternoon to help me commemorate this milestone with an event so enjoyable that it made the three-hour celebration seem far shorter. The event was spearheaded jointly by the members of Something More Book Club and Book Talk Book Club, and hosted by on-air radio personality, Rhodell Lewis (aka 'Rhodell in the ATL') from Atlanta's Inspiration Station, Praise 102.5.

Along with wonderful fellowship, a treasure chest of door prizes, and a delicious catered lunch (prepared by Marquitta Rogers, president of Something More Book Club), the agenda was packed with live entertainment provided by Agape Award winning mime minister, The Master's Mime; Emmy Award winning poet, Hank Stewart; Stellar Award winning vocalist, Lowell Pye (from Men of Standard); comedy team, Willie Brown & Woody (from BET Comic View and HBO's Def Comedy Jam), and gospel/jazz saxophonist, Antonio Allen (of Five Men on a Stool). Talk about first-class entertainment! We sang, we worshipped, we laughed until we cried....and shhhhh....don't tell anybody, but there may have even been a bit of swooning and cat-calling going on in the mix (but I won't call any names). :-)

It was an afternoon to remember. Speaking personally, I know I won't soon forget it; especially since I have a ton of photos for my memory book that were captured by Alex Johnson III of AJ3 Photography, and a video diary of the entire event, filmed by Lloyd Caldway of Anointed Photography & Video. I know that I will be admiring photos and reviewing footage for many days to come. And I would like to publicly thank my wonderful family, my beautiful sorors (the Delta Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.), the awesome entertainers, and all of the fabulous book clubs, avid readers, business associates, friends, and supporters who came and were present for the celebration. Thank you for sharing your amazing talents, your warm smiles, your kind words, and of course, I thank you for maximizing your show of support by purchasing copies of my novel.

To view a few of the photos that were captured at the event, please click on the link that is provided at the close of this blog entry. To get your own copy of Fifteen Years, visit any local bookstore or online bookstore. To read a synopsis of this story, visit my website by clicking HERE, and then clicking on the "Books" tab in the website menu. While browsing the site, stop by and sign my guest book. I'm always excited to hear from readers and supporters, and signing the guest book will automatically get you added to my newsletter which will keep you abreast of all of the important goings on in my career; including upcoming releases.

View photos by clicking HERE. For easier viewing, choose the "View Album" link at the bottom of the web page, and then click the "Play Slideshow" link at the top of the next page.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blog Contest Winner

Congratulations to Nicole Williams - winner of our blog contest! She answered the question correctly regarding the significance of the title Crossing Jhordan's River to the story itself.

In her email response, Nicole said:
The significance of the title"Crossing Jhordan's River" to the novel is that, Jhordan was unable to congueror his fear of trusting women, this was the major problem (river) in his life and marriage. So , in order for Jhordan to save his marriage he had to overcome his fears (cross the river) and reclaim his marriage and life.

Thank you for your participation, Nicole....and thank you to all others who responded. As the winning submission, Nicole will receive a FREE autographed copy of my hot-off-the-press title, Fifteen Years!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Here's Your Chance To Win A Free Book!

My latest novel, Fifteen Years, officially released on February 1, 2010, and I have partnered with Review magazine (click on the magazine's name to read my latest online interview) to give a free copy to one blog reader as a way to kick off the book's debut. To qualify for the free book, all you have to do is carefully read the information below....
In 2005, I released a book entitled Crossing Jhordan's River, which reached the #1 slot on Essence magazine's bestsellers list. I hope you were one of those who read it! It would help you to have a better chance of winning this contest. :-)
In order to have your name placed on the qualifying list to receive a free copy of Fifteen Years, you must do two things. First, if you are not already an official follower of the Blessed2Write Blog, you must click on the appropriate link to become one. And second, you will need to send an email directly to me at and tell me the significance of the title, Crossing Jhordan's River. In other words, how did the title of that book relate to the story?
The names of all those who answer correctly will be place in the qualifying bowl, and one blessed participant will receive a free personally autographed, hot-off-the-press copy of Fifteen Years! The clock is ticking. This contest is ONE DAY ONLY! I will announce the winner on tomorrow (Wednesday) night. Will it be you?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Make That A Triple!

Happy New Year to all of those who take the time to read the Blessed 2 Write Blog. I hope this year has gotten off to a great start for you. I believe that 2010 is a year of great things. During the Watch Night Service at my church here in Atlanta, Bishop Johnathan and Co-Pastor Toni Alvarado tag teamed together and preached a message titled "Continuing With The Lord." That's my aim, and I hope you'll make it yours too. I believe that by doing so, God will allow us to reap great rewards. Amen? Okay....that's the end of my mini-sermon. Now on to the blog! :-)
I'd announced on a few online forums a couple of weeks ago, that God had handed me a double blessing in the month of January. Well, make that a triple! The year 2010 has met me with three wonderful honors thus far....To God Be The Glory!
First, I was one of the recipients of the "Best Series Books of the Decade" award, which is an honor that was given to twenty African American authors by Ella Curry and EDC Creations. The award recognizes authors who the judging committee viewed as those who rendered the most outstanding series books between the years 2000-2009. This honor is particularly humbling for me because the judges didn't just focus on Christian fiction books. They looked at all of the books of every fiction genre that was released from every African American author over the past ten years and named those that they felt had written the best series. And my books in the Shelton Heights Series (In Greene Pastures, Battle of Jericho, and The Lyons Den) made the list!
My second honor was to be chosen to grace the cover of the new "The Grove" online literary magazine. The magazine's creator, Brian W. Smith, approached me several weeks ago and asked if I would consider being one of the authors that he would feature in his inaugural issue. The edition released a couple at the beginning of the year. In it are insightful interviews that were conducted with me and the other cover authors: Mary "Honey B" Morrison, Kimberla Lawson Roby, and T-Styles. To read the online magazine, click HERE. This particular complimentary edition will be available online for viewing through the end of January 2010. If you'd like to have access to future issues, subscriptions are available on the website as well. To read the magazine, click on the upper right corner of each page to make them turn. Technology is amazing, isn't it? :-)
The third honor I received was that for the first time, one of my novels was chosen as a "Featured Pick" by Black Expressions Book Club. Several of my novels have been made available in the hardcopy format through Black Expressions, and many of them have been chosen as "alternate picks," but my new January release, The Morning After (with co-author, Hank Stewart) is the first to be chosen a "featured pick." This may seem like a small thing to some, but for me, it was a prayer answered, and I consider it a blessing and an honor. If you are a member of Black Expressions Book Club, please consider accepting the automatic shipment of this book and add it to your library. The Morning After is the long-awaited sequel to Three Fifty-Seven A.M., and is the final installment in what has been dubbed the "God's Timing Series." Pick up a copy wherever books are sold. I'm certain that you will enjoy reading this dramatic and inspiring story.
I'm grateful for the early blessings that I have enjoyed in the year 2010, and as I thank God for those, I also thank Him in advance for those that I pray are to come.