Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Talent, humility, and specialness

Okay, I find myself getting peeved at how democracy has affected everything. There's a mentality out there which democratizes suffering by saying stuff like, "Everyone suffers." Well, yeah, everyone suffers. But a woman suffering in India because she lost four children has suffered more than a rich man in America who has lost all his money. Plain and simple. Perhaps we democratize suffering because we don't want to be left out...we don't want to think we really should worry a little more about other people...or perhaps we just want to always be equal to everyone.

The same thing goes for the idea of talent. Did you see American Idol last night? I swear I am so in love with that little kid David Archuleta. Talent, charisma, humility.

I didn't know I was such a respector of knowledge and authority. But folks whose job it is to know talent and to understand giftedness should be respected. Trust me, I'm not Little Miss Superwriter but I know what it's like to butt my head against a wall trying to talk to a writer who thinks she doesn't have anything else to learn. So let's get to the point: Simon Cowell knows his stuff and when any contestant starts arguing back with him I get just about as steamed as Simon does. I'm like...who do you think you are kid, talking back to Simon like that?

Okay, okay, I understand that Simon has had his moments of extreme shallowness when he picks on a singer's personal appearance and I don't much like that -- he's a rich milliionarie who hangs around the pretty people. That kind of shallowness shouldn't surprise anyone. But when it comes to singing and knowing what talent is...Simon is dead on.

Last night Simon told a guy with no charisma that the guy had no charisma. The guy said he did. Upshot..i don't even remember the guy's name. If I don't remember his name, then the guy's charisma didn't make him memorable. I don't know what charisma is all about or if there is generalized charisma and specialized charisma. (Some folks have a face which feel as if they are overflowing with joy or have a deep grief or are very simply loving or good people. Some have a kind of demonic charisma.) Maybe there's a kind of charisma this particular guy has .....he just doesn't have it in a general way. I don't want to heal him, care for him, protect him, or sleep with him. Nothing about him attracts or makes him memorable and there he was talking back to Simon. Simon told him pretty much to stop whining and asked that if it was the Oscar show the music would've started to drown him out....and mercifully the music came on. I just don't like folks who aren't humble or who have way too much sass. As Simon said, "You are a quite-good singer but you are not an idol, you are not a star." So why can't these folks accept their small talent or work to make it better? Why can't they just accept the fact that perhaps they are a little mediocre? Why the heck do they want to believe they are stars already? It just makes anyone with a teacher's soul want to scream.

Other guys i DO like and who i voted for were Jason Castro. Gosh, is he a sweetie. Very kind face....almost feminine. Dreadlocks. Sensitive soul. Then there was David Hernandez...who didn't do much for me but who is really talented. So there's Jason who needs to bring more game and show his stuff more and is cute, then there's David H who always sings wonderfully and whom i feel other women would like but who does zip for me...and then there's David Archuleta who is a sweet good little kid from Utah....with the most wonderful talent.

Will see what happens with the women tonight. I can only hope I don't have to deal with listening to their attitudes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Tribal peoples from around the world are making preparations to attend this historic, 7th WCGIP in Jerusalem, Israel this September 9-19. Delegations from many lands including Indonesia, Iryan Jaya, Brazil, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Northern India, and many more are coming. EVERYONE is invited to join together with us as “the one new person” in Christ! For eight days we will worship together with the many sights and sounds of indigenous cultures from around the world. There will be various cultural presentations, panels/forums addressing critical concerns of Indigenous populations and biblical dialogue to envision a new and hopeful future of a post-colonial Christianity among tribal peoples globally. Visit the newly designed and informative website for all the details concerning registration and the gathering itself at


Monday, February 25, 2008

Arguing with a reviewer

Daniel Ausema gave a passing review of Wind Follower on Fantasy Forum. He says the book was heavy-handed. Interestingly, he's the only one who thinks this. Other christian reviewers haven't thought that at all. Strangely, secular writers don't think it is.

In fact, the book is seen as so unusual that a noted feminist, atheist academic will be presenting a paper on it at Swancon, an academic conference on Speculative Fiction...and at Wiscon, the feminist, alternative annual speculative conference. Check out the title of her paper: Out Of Egypt: The Palimpsest Of Speculative And Other Fiction(S) In Carole Mcdonnell’s Wind Follower. She sees Wind Follower as a book which innovately deals with and plays with different kinds of genres including slave narrative, romance, missionary testimony, high romance, interracial romance. But then again, she's an academic and secular -- therefore well-read-- and understands what I was trying to do.

Heck, the book has been read by a Yemeni-muslim, by several atheists, by narcissitic teenaged kids, by my angry-with-Christians-Orthodox neighbor and no one else saw the book as heavy-handed. So, what's going on?

Maybe he's ashamed of the gospel or getting his cringing moments mixed up with thinking that I'm being heavy-handed. Trust me: I know the feeling. I've been known to cringe when some musician walks up to receive an award and says, "I thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ." I then realize the musician isn't being heavy-handed at all. He said what he felt was necessary to say. So I suspect that Mr Ausema thinking I was heavy-handed had more to do with his own issues of what was allowable in a Christian novel than with any heavy-handedness on my part. His heavy-handedness-gauge and cringe-o-meter are way too sensitive. Besides, the book is about a pagan conversion. I was just as heavy-handed in depiciting the religion of the pagans as I was with depicting Christian spirituality. Wind Follower is a multicultural Christian high fantasy novel which tells the story of First Peoples as they encounter imperialism mixed with religion. That is an important issue to People of Color who are Christians. White Christians have written books for centuries but never have they written stories from a pagan's point of view which showed the spirituality of pagans. Perhaps, like Mr Ausema, they just are so inured in their white reality they don't care about the lives and loves of non-whites.

Once thing that is really dawning on me is how individual tastes are affected by region, race, and culture. So far immigrants, folks with strong immigrant backgrounds, white folks who deal with black culture, and minorities immediately like andn understand the book. The Carl Brandon Society has recommended this book as one of the twelve books by Speculative Fiction writers that should be read during Black History Month 2008. And several atheists in that society have read the book and truly liked it. So if atheists don't think it's heavy-handed, and if most Christians don't think it's heavy-handed...what is Mr Ausema's problem? The folks who tend to like it least are white Christian men who live among other white Christian men. Something about not having to learn to deal with other cultures going on there, i think.

Mr Ausema also stated was how uninterested he was in the love story. In C S Lewis essay, "On reviewing," Lewis stated that a reviewer should not review a genre he neither likes nor understand. Those who love romance love it immediately. Those who don't...well.... Why read a paranormal romance if the pages with the romance bores you or if you are not interested in how love grows between a man and a woman? In addition, if one isn't interested in anthropology or the study of religion and only wants a stereotypical Euro-fantasy then one should not pick up the book either.

Another reviewer....who was more open-minded had no problem with it.

I often forget that although conservative Christians are a large part of the population, this is one of the few countries where Christians tend to be pretty uninterested in social change. Abortion yes, but other than that, there are no conservative Christian groups against racism, etc. I have found that many Christians, like Mr Ausema are very provincial. Perhaps even shallow. As a culture our newscasts are filled with news stories about ourselves. If it weren't for the foreign news programs I watch, I sometimes wouldn't know about the latest flood catastrophe in India or the latest uprising or disaster in some other country. And talk about being shallow in his committment to story. He didn't even enter into the story well enough to spell my name correctly (McDonnell, thank you) or to state the book's title properly (Wind Follower, not Windfollower). If the guy couldn't read closely enough to know my name and the book title -- which are on every page-- I don't think he knows how to read closely to understand the book.

Daniel Ausema stated the first 150 pages of my book which is there to help the reader understand the marriage rituals and pagan spirituality of a world that is non-Euro well... is not of interest to him. Sometimes a reviewer simply doesn't understand a book and is afraid to admit that the book is a little above him. Or maybe that he thought the book was beneath him.

But I suppose what really annoys the heck outta me is that God and my friends and family know what I went through and that Wind Follower is a prayer to God. Those who suffer will understand that it is not heavy-handed in anyway. It is a plea to God to heal me, to heal my son, to help me to endure. But those who live at ease can always mock the prayers of other people. And that is what Wind Follower is to me...not a work of art, but a prayer to God.


Some excuses for The magical negro

Recently, I did an interview with Geralyn Beauchamp about her book, Time Masters: Book One, The Call.

Then, later, in yet another discussion among black specfic writers, I actually found myself defending the magical negro. Ah gee, how did that happen? Actually, it's not as if I defended that type of character. I just kinda excused white writers who use them. Yes, i do groan whenever this kind of character pops up in a book written by a white character. But I don't bent out of shape as some of my black colleagues do.

Okay, okay, I've heard the arguments against these characters:
1) characters like these pretend to be making us minorities look like good people but it's just another way of dehumanizing us and taking away our individuality.

Yeah, yeah...

As I said to my black friends -- and I was resoundedly challenged and put down for this-- sometimes white writers are trying to do a quota thing. In an email recently with Sylvia Kelso, she mentioned that Connie Willis did not mention any black people in the novel Lincoln's Dreams. Sylvia thought a black character was needed. I, on the other hand, thought... heck, if there was no room for a black character in the story... why put a black character into the story?

And yet, I DO kinda have patience with white writers who feel they need to put a person of color into a book. I remember hearing a Jewish author talk about how annoying it was to see Jews pop up in books merely to "mean" something or to be a symbol. I have seen so many books in which black folks and Jewish folks and Hispanic folks are in books simply to "mean" something.

So there are two reasons for this Magical Negro inclusion bit:

One, a white writer needs to symbolize a triumphant, noble, suffering person...and who best to put in to "mean" this kind of thing but a black person or a Jewish person or a spiritual Native American tree-hugger?

Two, the white writer sometimes needs to put in a black person because the white writer wants to say something about racism. Okay, sometimes it's done badly. Sometimes we're stuck with a poor starving black child of a drug-addicted black mom and they are rescued by a liberal kind-hearted white person. That is the "we as whites are put on earth to raise up the blacks" mentality. Of course this kind of thing is offensive. The "take up the white man's burden" kind of liberality or the "take up the white female's burden" type of liberalness and feminism does make a minority woman of color (whether the white woman is "helping" an Iranian women wearing a hajib or a poor little suffering latina escaping to El Norte or a deluded innocent Christian woman who has been oppressed by the evil patriarchal Christian world or a poor little uneducated black woman with great faith).

But what if the white writer wanted to do something against racism? Stephen King, for instance, is from Maine. I have no doubt -- no doubt, whatsover-- that he does these magical negro types because he lives among folks in Maine who well....may or may know any real Negroes...and who may very well have racist ideas about us. (One day I'll tell you my story about a trip I had in New England. Right now, sufficeth to say, Stephen is probably doing a great job of enlightening certain folks.) I mean...some groups have actually benefitted by being shown as magical. I have yet to hear a gay person complain about the use of the magical gay person in movies, TV, and books. That magical, funny, quirky, witty, idiosyncratic, and just-so-cuddly eccentric magical gay person and the suffering, noble, triumphant gay person has done a lot for making homosexuality more acceptable in modern society. And I have no doubt that all those wise-cracking jolly fat women who roam television have also helped (in some weird way) the black cause. And I am sure that all those movies in which an illegal alien from Mexico is shown as a sweet-faced oppressed person...have colored our view of the immigration degate. So there is some kind of benefit in these portrayals. Heck, even if they can't see us as humans, they at least see us as objects of humor or pity.

But back to my point...reasons for possibly excusing the magical negro. There is the question of honoring a person. By which I mean...what if the white racist actually did come from some lily-white town and actually knew a lovely kind black or minority person who was a symbol of strength and peace. Folks, this kind of thing still happens in this country. This is what Geralyn mentioned in her interview. In her small little town in the west, she had a black teacher. There are black folks all over this country doing the magical negro stuff in their daily lives. (Okay, in real life, they probably are as weak as anyone else...but in their public life as the only black person in the middle of nowhere, they dang well are triumphanting nobly.) What do we do with a black writer who wants to honor such a person?

So, I dunno.... I'm still kinda on the fence when it comes to whether I actually think magical negroes are a totally bad thing. Or maybe I just think that white writers who use them are not so very bad. And honestly, I'm not gonna jump down the throats of any white writer who includes in her novel something that makes me cringe. Of course, I do kinda groan when I see how religious people are treated in books by secular writers. And I'm hoping that whether my books are overtly religious (as in Wind Follower) or subtly so, that those who read my books will finish the book saying, "I know now what a real black person is like. I know now what a real religious person acts like. I will never again indulge in stereotyping magical people, as stupid-in-need-of-enlightenment people, or as evil people." IF I can do that, then I will have succeeded. -C

southern gothic

Yesterday i saw Monster's Ball. I haven't seen that film in years. Totally had forgotten how Christian the thing is. It's up there with The Apostle, Tender Mercies, Come Early Morning, Miss Firecracker, and a few others as really great spiritual stuff happening in everyday working class settings.

Of course, there are sexual and racial issues in some of this stuff...and I'm not saying that all movies about southerners dealing with their spirituality is free from racism....but these truly are films that delve into grace, persevereance, soul-searching and Christian spirituality.

Of course there are other great films out there that deal with spirituality: A prayer for the Dying, Festen, and the like. And I have to see the film The Bad Lieutenant one of these days (weird sex scenes and all). But what I like about this Southern Gothic thing is the way the authors just unabashedly drop you into the characters' spiritual world. That takes a lotta balanced world-building. The screenwriter has to show a possibly unlikable character (to American viewers who seem to have been trained to judge the likeability of story characters), the writer has to show how the character's religiousness exists side-by-side with the characters' crappy sinful traits. This is often tough because religious readers/viewers are always ready to judge religious characters and reject them for either doctrinal or behavioral reasons. And it's also tough because non-religious people are always ready to see Christians as deluded evil hypocrites anyway. The writer might also have to put in some supernatural stuff into the novel. And all this has to be shown in a casual normal natural way.

I'm glad I saw it. It's inspiring me with my present Work-in-Progress, the novel presently called Inheritance. Am trusting God I can carry it off.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Peeves, balance, moral courage

I'm in a peevish mood today.

First: televangelists who have gone to the Walmart yearly conference on marketing. Or SEEM as if they have. It's Missions Week over at my favorite christian television station and they're selling, selling, order to get our donations.

Now, I have no problems with giving money to Christian missions but I hate the packaging so much that I sometimes don't even look into the package. It's just so....hyped, so....greedy-sounding. And there are a few folks who get trotted out and who make the rounds of all those donations week that frankly kinda annoy me. Again, i have nothing against giving money and I do believe God wants to bless his people but there is something so programmed and packaged and marketing school about all this that I have no patient with it.

Second peeeve.... Books and sermons which lack moral courage. Yep, sermons that lack moral courage. When, oh when, was the last time I heard a minister tell his people that prejudiced people will probably go to hell because they hate their brother without a cause? Not lately. I mean think of it: we hear a lot about gay Christian folks going to hell. But why don't we hear that prejudiced Christians will go to matter how much they love Jesus. And when was the last time you ever heard a sermon against divorce? All those ministers have gotten all "understanding" to the point where they have forgotten that if one divorces it's best to remain unmarried and celibate or remarry one's spouse rather than thinking you're totally in the clear. It's a hard saying but heck....the Bible is full of hard sayings.

As for lack of moral courage in art and books, if I'm gonna watch something -- even if I'm gonna disagree with it-- I'd at least like the creatives behind a film or a book to be as brave as possible about their viewpoint. That's the one thing that annoyed the heck outta me when I watched The Golden Compass. Talk about watering down a book to make it palatable!

I remember watching Moonlight and Valentino and wondering about the Whoopi Goldberg character. What the heck was going on with her? Was she discovering she was a lesbian? Was she falling out of love with her husband for some other reason? Dang, if I know. The filmmakers decided to get all coy.

I also get pretty annoyed when a movie tones down racial issues or other "issues." For instance, I would probably like the film Frankie and Johnny if it had featured its Broadway star, Kathy Bates, as the main female character. Frankly, Michelle Pfeiffer may have been a better "draw" but I (and tons of fat women out there) would rather see a love story which deals with a fat woman who is psychologically wounded rather than a love story about a beautiful girl who is psychologically wounded. Another example-- I won't name the film but-- why does the main character have a vietnamese STEP-BROTHER? Why not a vietnamese HALF-brother? Heck, why can't the Vietnamese STEP-HALF be the main character? Folks, we have moved way past the time when Kwai-Chang Caine of Kung Fu fame was played by David Carradine instead of Bruce Lee because folks feared Asians wouldn't sell on a TV audience. And honestly, even if Asains don't sell...why should we care?

Third peeve
I recently read a Christian fantasy with a Gaelic main character. I;ll write a review for it one of these months. The book contained what we black folks often term as a Magical Negro. I kinda raised my eyebrow. I suspect there are noble writers out feel the need to show that Black folks are good people. So I tend to not dislike the Magical Negro whenever he/she pops up in a story. Besides, this is a Christian speculative fiction novel. So the author was being dang brave...and pretty much probably forcing some white extremely conservative Christian lover of time travel stories to deal with a Black character. So I'm cool with it.

I suspect there are writers out there who shut themselves down and write something tamer than they would like because they're thinking of what the audience will say. Or they're thinking the publisher won't go along with their creative choice. Or maybe it's not the writers' fault at time that they fail with moral courage because the publisher or producers did the shutting down. (I could tell you a few stories about my novel, Wind Follower.)

But honestly....when they make Wind Follower into a movie they sure as heck better get a dark-skinned girl to play Satha and an Asianish-Native-Americanish actor to play Loic. They also sure as heck better not overdo or under-do the religious and racial and imperialistic dynamics. I don't want them turning Wind Follower into an altar call with a speech on why we all need the savior plopped in the middle of it because the producers think Christian viewers need to see that. I don't want Wind Follower being given a "happy ending" because the producers think Christian viewers need to see that. And I do not want the racism and Manifest Destiny stuff toned down either.

Now, all this stuff about packaging, balance, moral courage aside....if a guy offered me $500,000 for the movie or television rights to make Wind Follower, would I stick to my guns? Would I have integrity? Lord, I hope so.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Elegant Neurosis

Balance, balance, balance!

Well, i'm only about 120 pages into Inheritance, The Claimed, or whatever it's going to be called. There I am writing along and sending sex scenes to Sylvia Kelso, the author of Amberlight and to Robert Fleming, the author of Fever in the Blood.

Both of them think the sex scene is cold. Well, ...uh...yeah. I tend to write third person novels very coldly. But also, I write sex scenes very coldly and distantly. Maybe it's cause I'm a little sexually cold myself. (Am just putting that out there but I don't think I am. At least I hope I'm not.) But the other problem, that Rob pointed out, was that I am putting too much of myself into the book.

Now, that is one of my major issues as a writer. I tend to put all my soul and self into a novel. That is the blessing and the curse of my writing. An elementary teacher of mine, my french teacher, Mrs Meyerowitz, used to say that the blessing was the curse. So my blessing, and the beauty of my stories is that I put all my joy, pain, and idiosyncracies into my stories.

For instance: ever since my East-Indian half-sister told me my father liked her better because she was light-skinned, I have never been able to look into a mirror. (Trust me, you would not want to see what I look like now.) I gave this trait to Satha, my main female character in Wind Follower.

Another example: My father cheated on my mother relentlessly. Mercifully, she divorced him. I have such an issue with adultery it isn't sane. So what do i do with it? I give it to Loic, my main male character in Wind Follower. The kid hates his adulterous step-mother even more than his father does...and even his father calls him on it: "You carry my offense as if it were your own." (Something like that. I don't have the book with me.)

My issues about the death of my mother and my existential despair over my own health of course pops into the book in a couple of Satha's soliloquies...even her fear that the Creator or her husband would not abandon her.

So yeah....everything...and I mean EVERYTHING....that goes on in my spiritual, physical, familial, and psychological life ends up in my stories. That's what makes my stories beautiful, i think. Not the beauty of the words, but the honesty and the self-revealing of my soul.

But dang! When I'm writing these things, I have to be very careful. At a storytelling conference, I once heard a storyteller say, "Storytelling is my most elegant use of my neurosis." That's what I aim for....elegance. Yeah, I want my neurosis out there in the book. But I want them to be so wonderfully rendered (nice word that, like clarified oil out of gross fat) that only the purity of soul and the soul's need for God and clarity can shine forth.

So back to this sex scene and to inheritance/the claimed/whatever. I am writing a love story between a kid 27 year old bi-racial Chinese-Native American guy and a Jamaican-American dark-skinned woman who is 48. And I have to see if I a dark-skinned black woman can actually believe that this could happen. (Sure it has happened in real life...and I think it's kinda cute when some cute young thing develops a crush on me. But I never take it matter how much the kid takes it seriously.) And that's the problem now. My female character has to take it seriously. She HAS to. She has to get rid of the familial and societal brainwashing and believe she can be loved.

And I have to believe it to. Or else the thing just won't work. The Bible says a true witness delivers souls. So as a Christian writer, I believe I am called to be a witness of what is true about the power of love, spiritual beauty and change. So, I have to make her journey neurotic and true....but also elegant.

Monday, February 11, 2008

What should a romantic hero be like?

A romantic hero should have amazing insight into the heroine. Even if he disagrees with her, he truly knows where she is coming from.

He should be a bit embattled on all sides. Not some minor diddly problem but good worthy issues. He should somehow change the world or the society he lives in.

He should have some inner issue he is struggling against. Not that he's insane or in a funk, but he should have some emotional issue that clouds his life that he conquers in the end.

He should be kind to animals, old folks, the mentally-infirmed, and children. I hate a guy who doesn't have an inate love for those who need protection in society.

He should have a sense of humor. Not particularly snarky or sarcastic, but he should make the heroine, himself, and the reader laugh. -C

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Giving Tree Band

One of my favorite bands. They're bluegrass. I did an interview with Todd a while back.

Here's a link to a video of a recent feature they had on nbc news in chicago:

Here's their website.

This is my favorite song on their Unified Folk Theory album. Weird, i know, cause i don't believe in reincarnation. The tune is just so catchy, though. And no, not all their songs are this cosmic. Just really great bluegrass. If you want to find out about them, check out my interview

Here's the interview of Todd over at blogcritics.

Here they are on youtube if you can't see the embedded video.

Very nice guys. -C

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lost Genres

I was thinking this morning about the phrase “lost genre” and all that phrase implies. I mean, I know we use it on the Lost Genre Guild Blog to mean Biblical speculative fiction. But the more I think about it, the more I think that there must be other lost genres out there. We just have to realize what they are.

After all, Christian fiction has done a pretty great job exploring slice-of-life genre, romance genre, even fantasy. But there are other other genres it could explore which it frankly has not. Genres such as mysteries, for instance. Not a lot of Christian mystery writers since G K Chesterton and Dorothea Sayers. The only one I can think of is P D James. I used to like even the flaky genres: the Christian boarding school genre for instance: Tom Brown's Schooldays and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, genres that explored coming of age and spiritual growth of either children or schoolteachers. And then there are genres which no one really has explored. The only recent coming of age schoolboy stories I can remember tend to be stories of nihilism or stories where someone accepts his sexuality or alienation from society, stories such as A Separate Peace and The Catcher in the Rye.

One lost genre I really miss is, ANTHROPOLOGICAL FANTASY. Being a minority, a person whose background is non-European, a lover of missionary stories, and someone who is always reading or watching something about tribal people, I'm drawn to this kind of fantasy. And it seems to me that with so many Christian missionaries out in the world, we Christians should really have done more anthropological fantasy than we have. Have we even done any? I can think of anthropological novels written by non-Christians --Michaela Roessner's Walkabout Woman, for example is one of many. But the only Christian anthropological I can think of is Susan Palwick’s second novel The Necessary Beggar. (The book is fairly kind to Christians so maybe Palwick is.)

We Christians have seen some missionary or other coming and we listen enrapt and look at the slides of exotice children, women and warriors in elaborate clothing... and then we leave the church and... forget.

Perhaps we just don’t like dealing with cultures that aren’t western. Perhaps we don’t connect to cultures that are too foreign to us. Perhaps we don't think they have grand noble stories, histories, and folklore. Perhaps we Christians are just insular. Perhaps we simply don’t love our far-off neighbors as ourselves.

Don Richardson’s missionary book, “Eternity in their hearts,” is a book which talks about the spirituality and folklore of pagan cultures. He describes the spiritual hooks contained in those cultures that lead people to Christ. Cultures which have prophecies of a Lost Book. Cultures where God’s name is known. Cultures which have some amazing folklore that points to God. Consider the Chinese definition of righteousness. It’s a pictograph depicting a man underneath a bloody lamb.

How much fun it would be to write a book about a person from one of those cultures finding that his religion and writing alphabet point to the risen Christ as savior. And if you don’t want to deal with actual societies, consider how much fun it is to create a whole society out of whole create clans, religions, tribes, and a spiritual hook that will lead the characters of that society to Christ.

How much fun it would be to trust the Comforter to create a society for us with a strange religion that secretly has the gospel hidden inside it. I’m creating a sotry world now where everyone is deaf-mute. I’m so excited wondering what kind of religion a culture like this will have...and what kind of spiritual hook God would put into a culture such as this.

We’re at the end of time now. We were called to go from Jerusalem first, then Samaria, then to the outermost parts of the world. It does make me sad to think that western Christian writers have spent so much time exploring European cultures when Christianity is (and the United States is fast becoming) multicultural.

Christian fantasy is to enamored of Gaelic fairies and English lords and dukes. And Christian science fiction concerns itself only with the apocalypse....and how the apocalypse affects the western world. Is anyone out there ready to do an apocalyptical story about an unsaved tribe in the middle of nowhere? I’d like to think someone could write it.

As I said there are probably many lost genres out there that most of us haven't thought of. I heard once that there is a genre in the Japanese publishing world called The Business Novel. Oh, that sounds neat! I could see that as a great Christian genre too. All the ethics of greed versus issues of poverty versus issues of stewardship. There's the social upheaval novel. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe comes to mind. Also those novels by Sinclair Lewis. (Okay, okay, Frank Peretti tackled abortion with The Prophet but that book was way way too preachy...and..if I may say so from a secular reader's viewpoint ...very badly written.)

Will anyone write these? And write them in an exciting way? God only knows. -C

I guest blogged at league of reluctant adults

Stacia Kane, who is also known as December Quinn, a great author of dark fantasy and erotic literature, has invited me to post over at the blog done by her group The League of Reluctant Adults.

Check out my guest post on the league of reluctant adults blog

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rissi Palmer: another black milestone

just discovered Rissi Palmer a Black Female Country Singer. YAY!!!!!! Yep, I'm happy. Know what it's like watching country music videos on television? Those cowboys defining country girls (and also defining beauty) as blonde-haired and blue-haired? Go, Rissi! Continue to be brave! All we black women out there want to see a gorgeous black woman on country television.

Check out her video Country Girl?

And her interview about performing at the Grand Old Opry

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Book Flaw Meme

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of my favorite writers, once stated that his book One Hundred Years of Solitude had 99 mistakes. Seeing my experience with Wind Follower, I can TOTALLY BELIEVE this.

Okay, unlike Marquez, I didn't forget I had killed off a character and have said character show up later. (I know better than to write: "All in the house were killed that night." Generalizing like that is just asking for trouble.)

Okay, I'll be the first to be painfully honest here....

I'm not talking about typos...Heck...that's not my fault. It's the copy-editor. Granted I should type and proof better but, well....

I'm talking about errors of continuity: Did I say it was night? If so, why, three paragraphs later, is the sun shining? I did this TWICE!!!

I'm talking memory lapses: Did I give the Third Wife brown hair at the beginning and make it red later on? I can only imagine what I did with eye color.

I'm talking unintentional humor because of bad editing and/or purple prose: "Standing in front of me, his fingers played upon my lips."

I'm talking about "the missing scene" which you should have written but simply didn't think of writing until the book had been published a year: I SOOO wish I had written a scene where Loic finds the body of a discarded decomposing newborn baby.

Now, who will I tag with this meme?

I think I'll tag Stacia Kane,
Greg Banks, moondancerdrake

Then tag three other people.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Indigenous wisdom, enduring love: An Anthology of Native and Indigenous voices

To Native Poets, Storytellers, Teachers, Farmers, Herders, Fishermen, Gatherers, Mid-wives, Craftspeople, Carvers, Pullers, Wildcrafters, Artists, Musicians, Authors, Spiritual Leaders… Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunties and Uncles… And those who want to offer their knowledge and spirit to our children as they face the future, you are invited:

Indigenous wisdom, enduring love: An Anthology of Native and Indigenous voices

The changing climate is threatening our children's sense of well-being. We know, from our own feelings of sadness, grief, anger, and despair that we cannot shelter our children from the fears they may feel. Yet we, as Native peoples, have our traditions, values, wisdom, strength, and resilience to offer them.
As I call on my own life lessons in guiding my daughter, I appreciate what it is I don't know. But what I can't see, others do. This project hopes to pool our collective voices and empower our next generations, as they look to the twenty-first century and beyond. Your words will be a comfort in the face of crisis, and a practical guide offering a steadying path in place of panic or despair. With the love we have for our children, I know these words can offer the gleam, and the know-how, of ever-ending hope. These are the personal stories, essays and poems I envision in this work. Please join me.

Submissions are encouraged no later than June 30, 2008. I am uncertain what the final title of the book will be, and I value your ideas and suggestions. This work is from the heart. I can't offer any fees for your work, but if published I will donate a book to the library of your choice.

Please email typed submissions to: submissions (at), or send by Please include your bio and full contact information. Your contact information will not be published.

Kindly forward or post this call for submissions to those who you feel it may interest. A copy of this invitation is attached.
My very best wishes,

[The editor, Terri Hansen, is an award-winning Native American journalist who lives and reports from the Pacific Northwest. She is a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. She specializes as an environment and science writer, and is well known for her wide-ranging coverage of Native American health, environment, cultural and political issues. Terri has an unparalleled relationship with the Native nations and peoples of the Pacific Northwest, and beyond those borders. She has forged streams, trailed wildlife, romped through deserts, hiked isolated ocean shores, and spent innumerable hours indoors and out with Native peoples, hearing their stories, and ensuring those stories are told with honor.]

Sunday, February 03, 2008

2008 Black History Month recommendations by the Carl Brandon Society

The Carl Brandon Society is a writing group dedicated to promoting science fiction, speculative fiction and fantasy written by people of color. Their list of recommended books for 2008 are as follows:

recommends the following books for BLACK HISTORY MONTH:

• "So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy"
edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan

• "Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler
• "Dhalgren" by Samuel R. Delany

• "My Soul to Keep" by Tananarive Due

• "The Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad" by
Minister Faust
• "Mindscape" by Andrea Hairston

• "Wind Follower" by Carole McDonnell

• "Futureland" by Walter Mosley

• "The Shadow Speaker" by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

• "Zahrah the Windseeker" by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu


• PARALLAX AWARD given to works of speculative fiction created by a
person of color: "47" by Walter Mosley

• KINDRED AWARD given to any work of speculative fiction dealing with
issues of race and ethnicity; nominees may be of any racial or ethnic
group: "Stormwitch" by Susan Vaught

Friday, February 01, 2008


Well, am in the first part of my WIP Inheritance. (Which I might be calling "Til all these things be done") and once again my characters are embattled.

I have to speak a word about embattledness and the dangers of melodrama. I am a total believer that there are a few folks in life who are embattled on many sides, that there is always human darkness, demonic darkness, world issues that get in the way of folks living some kind of a good, happy, or sane life.

The depiction of these kind of characters can either lead to wonderful heroes (in fantasy) or melodrama (in mainstream novels). There's also the question of believability. One wants to push the envelope by holding a mirror up to life -- as some great writer once said-- but at the same time holding up that mirror may not work because some folks simply are not going to believe that all that crap can happen to one person.

Let's say one has had -- or one knows a person who has had-- a really tough life. Then one really has to choose what aspects of that life one will describe and what aspects one will leave out of the story. Or else it won't work for some folks who think you're just engaging in character torture.

I had a Wyoming pen-pal who said to me once, "I don't see why black folks talk about racism. It's as if they think no one has suffered. I've suffered too. I had a child out of wedlock. I was married to a drunk." I realized to my extreme surprise that she thought that the ONLY problem black folks had was racism. She didn't realize that some Black folks have had her problems as well but then race gets added into the mix. Racism is just hard for some folks to understand. I'll just say, "Imagine dealing with having to take one's mother off life support and then add racist doctors and racist social workers in the mix." OR add "Anti-Christian racist doctors." Trust me, folks, it's a trip!

Black writers have to write a story that gives a character the sorrows of regular life ...and at the same time has to slip into the story the sorrows that racism brings. I've read stories that seem to be about either one or the other but not both. And I've read stories that have both of these challenges. Add being a Christian to the mix, or being sickly...and well...folks don't realize you're telling all your heart and sharing your experiences of life. They think you're piling it on.

I suppose one could compartmentalize one's sorrows into different books but what's the use of that? Not that a writer writes to be known by all her readers, but she writes to explain something. And I want to write about being embattled. (With of course some religion and kinky sex thrown in. We're talking succubus, after all.)

Blog Archive