Saturday, May 31, 2008

The stuff we Christian moms in the hood have to deal with!

Okay, so this is my very talented son rapping. It's a totally raunchy song...and a joke. Do NOT watch it if you're touchy about sex or if you're a feminist. But to show you the stuff I deal with...
That's his friend, Mehmet in the picture and Mehmet's little brother. Isn't that girl singing in the VID talented?

Marvelous World Book One: Marvelous Effect

Troy CLE, winner of the 2008 Essence Literary Award for Children’s Literature and author of the Marvelous World series. His YA fantasy novel Marvelous World is published by Simon and Schuster. Marvelous World is being called The Black Harry Potter.

All of this started because when I was nine I wanted to be a Goonie,” Troy explained. “But none of the Goonies looked like me. I never wanted to be a director, but I vowed that I would be instrumental in creating a movie where all kids, but especially ones that looked and lived like me, could see themselves on the big screen in an action packed fantasy adventure. The book is the first step to realizing that dream.”

Here is the trailer:

Here is the synopsis:
He loves listening to hip-hop, racing radio-controlled cars, and hanging out with his best friend, Brandon. Then a mysterious letter invites him to visit the local junkyard. There he finds a secret, underground amusement park like no other in existence. This is the best day of Louis's life. The park even has the most amazing race course for radio-controlled cars. Louis starts racing right away. It's a close contest; he's about to activate his nitro boost to take the lead, when...

This is the worst day of Louis's life. Without warning or reason, thirteen-year-old Louis Proof falls into a coma due to a virus of a mysterious, celestial origin. When he awakens three months later, the world that he once knew and loved is totally out of control. He will learn that his illness is connected to everything that is wrong, and that it's not only his responsibility but his destiny to set things right.

This story is a megadramatic, remarkably true, super action fantasy. Get ready!

Review is here at the

Here is an interview at Dark Fantasy
Here is his myspace page
And this is his website
Here is his blog

Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction's Newest New-Wave Trajectory

Edited by, Marleen S. Barr
304 pages
Ohio State University Press; 2 edition (May 8, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0814210783
Here's the Blurb
Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction's Newest New-Wave Trajectory, edited by Marleen S. Barr, is the first combined science fiction critical anthology and short story collection to focus upon black women via written and visual texts. The volume creates a dialogue with existing theories of Afro-
Futurism in order to generate fresh ideas about how to apply race to science fiction studies in terms of gender. The contributors, including Hortense Spillers, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, and Steven Barnes, formulate a woman-centered Afro-Futurism by repositioning previously excluded fiction to redefine science fiction as a broader fantastic endeavor. They articulate a platform for scholars to mount a vigorous argument in favor of redefining science fiction to encompass varieties of fantastic writing and, therefore, to include a range of black women's writing that would otherwise be excluded. Afro-Future Females builds upon Barr's previous work in black science fiction and fills a gap in the literature. It is the first critical anthology to address the "blackness" of outer space fiction in terms of feminism, emphasizing that it is necessary to revise the very nature of a genre that has been constructed in such a way as to exclude its new black participants. Black science fiction writers alter genre conventions to change how we read and define science fiction itself. The work's main point: black science fiction is the most exciting literature of the nascent twenty-first century.

Marleen S. Barr is a science fiction pioneer who broke new ground in feminist science fiction criticism with her book Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist Theory. She won the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for Lifetime Achievement in science fiction criticism.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bryan Thao Worra: Laotian-American Speculative Fiction Writer

Bryan Thao Worra is a Laotian-American Writer of speculative poetry. He is a member of the Carl Brandon Society and an advisor to AsianAmericanPoetry.Com . Bryan Thao Worra is an internationally known poet, playwright, and short story writer. His work appears in many acclaimed Asian poetry anthologies. He is the author of The Tuk-Tuk Diaries: My Dinner With Cluster Bombs and Touching Detonations.

His book of speculative fiction, On the other side of the eye, has been recommended by the Carl Brandon Society for Asian Pacific Islander month. Here is my mini-review (I'll be adding more stuff to it later and will submit the final version of this blog to the carnival around May 15th.)

Rodan, Ghidrah, Mothra. Porky’s, American Idol. Herodotus, Cerberus. Jack the Ripper, Hanibal Lecter. In Monstro, one of the poems in On the Other side of the Eye, Bryan Thao Worra has created a poetic world of cosmopolitan allusions. From Pop culture to ancient texts, from the east to the west, from Scripture to pop sound bytes, all are used to question his world, to face fears ancient, modern, near, far and multicultural.

In addition to roaming mental, spiritual and cultural lands, Worra also roams historical and geographical lands. From Laos to St. Paul.

The title is On the other side of the eye. But, one may ask, "What eye? Does it refer to the physical or the cultural human eye? Or does it refer to the eye of a cultural and emotional hurricane?" Probably all of the above. His poems invite you into many worlds as he questions and explores them.

Consider, New Myths of The Northern Land

“Dream,” I said,
“Aren’t you tired of making new legends
That no one but I ever hears?”
“Bones,” she said,
“Aren’t you ever tired of asking questions
That only I can answer?”
I went back to bed,
Waiting for the new king to arrive,
His talking mirror filled
With dire pronouncements of flame.

You can learn more about Bryan at his blog and check out the blog carnival for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

What kind of eye, one is tempted to ask, sees with equality and clarity concepts and symbols from art, religion, and history? An eye that is aware of what it sees but judges it with the eye of a skeptical mind?

In the first stanza of his poem, The Big G., Worra states,
We don't say his name aloud in serious poetry.
We close our eyes and say he doesn't exist.
I am a modern eastern Peter with a mouth of denials
While the cocks crow at the rising sun.

In this one stanza he brings together several of his contradictions, he is a skeptical believer in the face of an evident challenge to his own denials. He is aware of the requirements. In order to be considered a serious and important poet, one must close the eye -- a self-blinding-- but one must also consciously lie. As I began reading I wasn't sure if the rising sun of the St Peter story is supposed to also echo the rising sun of the east. Worra might be saying he is an eastern believer of a western religion and that also requires a kind of complicated "hiding" of himself. I didn't want to analyze. But the joy of Worra's poetry is how honest it is, and how transparent the poet attempts to be -- even through the allusions. The allusions to external mythic things only brings us closer to what's behind the author's eye.

The critical and intellectual problem that accompanies a work full of allusions is that many of the allusions are not accessible to the reader. Hey, I'm smart enough. Those days of watching Discovery TV, perusing Sci-fi channel, indulging in Pop Culture, reading the Bible and going to church have helped me understand much of the poems. But I am still at a loss with some of the allusions in these poems. And Worra doesn't help me out either. The poems are rich enough without me understand why a particular eastern God, writer, or politician is important. But there is no doubt I would have understood the poems even more if I had gone googling. On the other hand, Eastern readers who have not dived into American culture might not understand aspects of the poem that I readily understood. And, if culture doesn't block the reader's understanding, other things might. It is not only ethnicity that makes the poems comprehesive or incomprehensive. Someone who doesn't understand popular speculative movies won't understand the references to Rodan, Mothrah and Godzilla. Heck, (she smiles to herself) my soul has always understood that there IS a spiritual, cultural, and gender difference between Mothrah and Godzilla.

The experience of the immigrant is vast and it is always difficult to put all that one is into a work of art. Worra puts all that he is -- American, Lutheran-raised, Easterner, child of the media generation, intellectual-- into his works. In a world of expedience and easy generalizations, that is a brave thing to do. The poems in this volume challenge his first estimation of himself: No St Peter he.

Here's the link to an earlier draft of On The Other Side Of The Eye. Right-click on the link and choose Save target as. An earlier e-chapbook prepared for Diversicon in 2006 is located here Again, because it's a pdf, right-click then choose the save-target-as option.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shout out to Mattilda

I SO believe in honesty. There's a verse in the Bible: an true witness delivers souls. In the Black community, in the Christian community, there is often a great deal of mendacity. Which I suppose is understandable. There is this need to be seen as good, sane, etc. But then ...if we aren't careful, those in need of an honest conversation will have no one to talk to. And those who try to be honest will be slammed by those who prefer the lie. My writing is pretty honest. Especially my online writing.

My favorite writers are also honest folks too. Perhaps too honest for their own good, but they have an honesty that is brave. And I like bravery. So, am gonna give a shout-out to an ebuddy, Mattilda who is the editor of Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity published by Seal Press. He is also the blogger over at

Okay, yeah, I'm a Christian and theologically I know homosexuality is not the best God has for folks. But most of my good friends have been gay and so, I'm leaving all judgement of folks to God.

So this was part of his latest email:

My new novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, will be out in October!!!!!
City Lights is publishing it, and I will be touring October through December, and February as well – let me know if you want to bring me to your town or university... Also, I'll need all the help I can get, so certainly contact me if you'd like to review the book, that would be lovely!

Nobody Passes is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award – the decisions will be made at the ceremony in LA at the end of May…

The expanded second edition of That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation is finally out! There will be a delicious San Francisco book launch on June 5 at the Main Library -- info below…

The guy has fibro, by the way...and amazes me by his absolute tirelessnes.

Smoke Signals - Rwanda - Amahoro-Africa Report

I received the latest wiconi email newsletter from Native American pastor, Richard Twiss. Usually, I snip a bit here and there and post info on my blog but this last report was so powerful, I figured I'd include everything in this post.

Hau Kola’s

Greetings from Kigali, Rwanda. Here’s a short first report. Hope you are well by the way.

The Amahoro-Africa Gathering was a beautiful time of friendship making with some really fun and amazing people from around the world. Many of them are deeply engaged in local and global endeavors addressing situations of injustice, human rights, AIDS, micro-financing and community development as followers of Jesus. I now have friends who are actively involved in peace-making efforts in the conflicts in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. The story of the past twenty years of Rwanda was heartbreaking, tragic beyond comprehension, confusing and inspiring.

Many of you saw the movie Hotel Rwanda a few years ago that told the story of the horrific genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. In 90 days more than 1 million people were brutally/inhumanely murdered. It was people from the Tutsi tribe who carried out the genocide against the Hutu tribe. It is a long story that ultimately happened as the direct result of social engineering attempts on the part of the Belgian regime to scientifically classify the Tutsi tribe as being superior to the Hutu (size of head, wideness of nose, set of eyes, height, etc.) and thus preferring them in assigning roles of power in the colonial system of government established. This created the environment which led to animosity between these tribes who share the same language and have a long-standing history of shared living and relationship between them.

I listened to horrifying stories of Tutsi women tell of their brutalization in every way conceivable. I visited a mass grave site where 200,000 people were buried. I visited 2 catholic churches that were massacre sites. 5000 murdered in one and 20,000 in another. In the buildings the blood stained and dirt covered clothes from all the victims had been hung from the rafters and left to cover every inch of the floor space. In each of these places there were hundreds of unclaimed skeletal remains; skulls were carefully lined up in rows and the rest piled on shelves. At another site thousands of exhumed mummified bodies in distorted positions lay inside the school building on the desks and tables. These sites, and many others, are part of a national genocide memorial to keep the memories of loved ones alive and to remember that human beings are capable of great evil unless we learn to forgive and love one another.

I had taken tobacco ties with me so at the first site, I felt deeply compelled to sing a song of remembrance and put tobacco on the shelf with the bones. The skeletal remains were not enclosed in any way. If you wanted you could touch them. I asked two men from Africa to stand with me as our group had moved away from this spot. I sang a traditional style native song of mourning and remembrance for these people. Many in the building began to weep as the Spirit of the Lord visited with us. After I finished I wept too.

I then listened to Hutu believers confess their stories of shame, guilt and sorrow for what they had done and saw the forgiveness that was exhibited by the Tutsi believers toward them. I was completely blown away! I cannot relate to that depth of forgiveness. Listening to Freda tell how the attackers lined her (she was 14 then) entire family up in a pit and chopped off her mothers head with a machete, caved her brothers and sisters heads in with clubs and finally clubbed her and buried them all, then to see her so clothed in the love and mercy of God was beyond my ability to “get.”

One fact worth noting about the context of the genocide is that prior to April 1994, the western church generally regarded Rwanda as one of the most "Christian" countries in Africa and the world, one of the real "successes" of Christian missions in Africa! Statistically speaking some 80% to 90% of the population regard themselves as Christians. An absolute majority are Roman Catholics, and a strong minority Protestants. Much of this Christianity is of a strong evangelical persuasion (Patrick E. Johnstone, 1993. Operation World. Carlisle, UK: OM Publishing, P. 472: there are many sources available about this fact). “And yet all of this Christianity did not prevent genocide, a genocide which leading church officials did little to resist, in which a large number of Christians participated, and in which, according to African Rights, more people "died in churches and parishes than anywhere else." – (David P Gushee, The Christian Century, April 20, 2004, pp. 28-31)

While it is a very complex situation in Rwanda, with no clear conclusions, this one fact is cause for some reflection. What was meant by “Christian.” While many God-fearing people lost their lives as they resisted the slaughter, the Christian church was also complicit in many instances. Many times I heard the question, “where was the church when it was most needed?” Even more compelling is where is the church today in light of the global AID’s crisis, the new conflicts in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and many more areas. I was encouraged because it was African nationals asking the question among themselves.

However, what about us, you and me? Does injustice only exist in Africa? As we face the compelling questions of our day, the answers will not arise from whether or not someone is a Christian, republican, democrat, evangelical, Pentecostal – it will found in whether or not we following Jesus in community with others of differing cultures, expressions of our one faith, economic status and power or privilege.

Have you hugged an “Indian” lately? How about a white republican? How about a black democrat? How about a white democratic Pentecostal pro-life orthodox liberal emerging post-modern evangelical? Or how about a justice doing, mercy loving, humbly walking follower of Jesus …Hmmmm? Okay then, go ahead and hug yourself.

Hohecetuwe yelo – “and that’s the way it is”

Jesus is amazing! His love for us in the midst of our brokenness is way too good to be true! I am reminded of the Father’s grace and goodness in my life and challenged again to love and walk as Jesus walked among his followers, critiques, opponents and enemies.

Peace, as you walk in the Jesus Way!

Wiconi International

For those Christians who are Native American or for those interested in indigenous Christianity, you can subscribe to smoke signals by sending an email to
wiconi-subscribe (at)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Adulation, Spirit, Soul

Ever had the feeling that something has passed you by? Or ever jumped on a bandwagon when it's a bit too late? Well there I was, working away on The Constant Tower when I decided to go youtubing. I spend waaay too much time on youtube sometimes. I'll admit first that I have always loved fantasy. Deep fantasy, painful fantasy where you feel the deepest part of your heart is being yanked out for some great and noble good. The soul pain in fantasy, the psychological pleasure of seeing beautiful noble people doing beautiful noble things, the sexual and warlike passion! Ah the joys of fantasy!

So when I happened upon some wonderful soul-feeding Final Fantasy videos --Wow!!! A forum/clique/enclave of creative folks who looooooove Final Fantasy capture videos from Final Fantasy games and use popular musical tracks to do a kinda theme and variation kinda thing. Often, they use the same songs..but wow, the subtle differences! So, okay, I was never into Final Fantasy but after watching sooo many of these videos yesterday I am a total fan. I wish I could get into playing video games and creting videos like these.

But, of course, I got to thinking. It's such a fine line for me to walk. I think I've mentioned somewhere else that I love beauty --especially male beauty. I could just stop and stare at beautiful men all day. Very close to loving the Creature more than the Creator, very close to falling into the sin of adulation and idolatry. So on the one hand the beauty, the heartfelt passion, the utter lack of restraint of the creator of these videos and the creator of these games....were just totally awe-inspiring and helpful in my losing my soul and restraints in my present WIP, The Constant Tower. For lack of a better word, I love the naked emotions of these videos. Heck, I love naked emotions period. Especially the painful emotions found in fantasy literature. But on the other hand, dangnabit, I am now in love with a couple pixellated character. There is a joy and a passion that touches the soul and can also taint the soul. And there is a joy and a passion that touches the spirit. I always try to get both soul and spirit in my stories. By which I mean, I want to talk about human pain, grief, longing, etc...but I also waht to talk about the human relationship to God. I would hate to write a purely soullish book. May God help me with this new book as He did with the other.

Anyway, for your enjoyment, here are some of my favorites. They're favorites mostly because they were done so well and because the tracks over the videos are some of my favorite songs and performers. (Don't waste too much of your time as I did, though.)

Final Fantasy The Way of Love Cher
Final Fantasy Don't cry Guns and Roses
Evanescence - Bring me to life
Final Fantasy The Way Clay Aiken
Final Fantasy Invisible Clay Aiken
Truly madly deeply
Truly Madly Deeply another creator

Sunday, May 18, 2008

See, I get to take credit for that

"See, I get to take credit for that." That's one of my favorite author quotes. In order for you to understand it, I guess I should tell you about the circumstances in which Edward Albee came to say it. He was being interviewed by someone about one of his plays. The interviewer said, "Oh I love the way you brought in this myth and this religious allusion and this societal issue."

Sorry, I don't remember the specifics but you know what I mean. There are times when you write a book or a story and reviewers find such lovely things in it...things you had never consciously put into it. When I wrote Wind Follower I was aware of a few of the myths, social history, historical and political events I was addressing. But when the reviewers and critical text analysts got to it, wow!!!!! They saw such glories in my book.

Well, I suppose when notified of all the wonderful subtexts happening in my novel I remembered Edward Albee's words and said, "Actually, I wasn't even aware that that was in there, and I had no conscious plan to put it in the book. Thanks. I get to take credit for that."

I don't know about other folks but I was a lit major. I like analyzing stories in the larger context and I like being analyzed. Makes me feel valid. Some of my stories are thin, mind you and they have no resonance. But it's so wonderful when a story has all these layers and readers can see such interesting cultural, religious, and social issues in them.

Most writers tend to be pleased to see that their stories are rich enough to carry so many subtexts. When a reader finds stuff in a story that the writer didn't consciously put into the story, it shows the writer is A) listening to the universal unconscious B) allowing true creativity to flow through him and through his own experience of life C) taking part in the great creative communal conversation of his time, D) well-read and E) downright deep. It is that odd writer who says, "no, my work is not that rich. My work doesn't connect to these primal, or cultural, or social issues. My work only goes to this area and I refuse to see in it what I myself did not put into it."

Who wants to write stories that don't resonate? Who wants to write stories that echo only what one consciously puts into them? What is the glory of a story that is utterly man-made and lacking the true spirit of the universal subconscious? -C

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Ethical Imagination: Journeys of the Human Spirit

The Ethical Imagination: Journeys of the Human Spirit
Margaret Somerville,
208 pages
ISBN: 0887847471

I don't know if she's a believer but wow, what wonderful studies she writes about ethics and philosophy.

OUR DAILY MEDS by Melody Petersen

by Melody Peterson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
448 pages
Size: 6 x 9
Sarah Crichton Books
Pub Date: 03/2008
ISBN: 0-374-22827-2
In the last thirty years, the big pharmaceutical companies have transformed themselves into marketing machines selling dangerous medicines as if they were Coca-Cola or Cadillacs. They pitch drugs with video games and soft cuddly toys for children; promote them in churches and subways, at NASCAR races and state fairs. They’ve become experts at promoting fear of disease, just so they can sell us hope.

No question: drugs can save lives. But the relentless marketing that has enriched corporate executives and sent stock prices soaring has come with a dark side. Prescription pills taken as directed by physicians are estimated to kill one American every five minutes. And that figure doesn’t reflect the damage done as the overmedicated take to the roads.

Our Daily Meds connects the dots for the first time to show how corporate salesmanship has triumphed over science inside the biggest pharmaceutical companies and, in turn, how this promotion driven industry has taken over the practice of medicine and is changing American life.

It is an ageless story of the battle between good and evil, with potentially life-changing consequences for everyone, not just the 65 percent of Americans who unscrew a prescription cap every day. An industry with the promise to help so many is now leaving a legacy of needless harm.

I read somewhere -- sorry forgot where-- that it is often a patient who suggests a treatment to her doctor. Patient has seen the ads in some women's magazine or on television. When I used to work in the schools, the schools got so much advertising from ciba about ritalin ...the next thing you knew the teachers thought themselves experts on ADD, were diagnosing everyone with it, and thought ritalin was the only cure for it.

Check out more on the book here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Multicultural and Native American Christian happenings

Please visit their website for all the registration information (check out the list of speakers) and plan to go if you can. Envision ‘08 is about the power of the gospel to transform the public square. It’s about Jesus and justice, evangelical history and heritage, and practiced theology. It’s about the next one hundred years of the church and its impact on the common good. There is a significant Native representation among the speakers.
The theme for the fourth annual gathering is Our Journey – Restoring Community in a Broken World. Please visit our website for all the registration fees and process to provide a scholarship for many Native low-income families to attendor call the Wiconi office 360-546-1867.
Jay Moon from Sioux Falls Seminary and Pastor Richard Twiss of Wiconi International will again be teaching on the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. The dates are July 11-18. The course is available for academic credit. The $400 cost per person covers registration, lodging and food. Attendees will learn from tribal elders, church leaders, and traditional spiritual leaders as well as attend a powwow. For details call the Wiconi office 360-546-1867.
Plans are being finalized for some significant meetings with various leaders throughout the region on all sides of the various borders. This is part of our inheritance as First Nations people to speak a message of reconciliation in the Spirit of Jesus wherever brokenness is found. Visit the website at for details.
Wiconi is listed as one of the organizations you can donate to using your tax rebate through the organization, Network for Good - Rise 08. If you go to their website, you can locate Wiconi International in their list of ministries, then follow their instructions about how to make a gift.
In addition Pastor Twiss has the privilege of giving the commencement address for the Bakke Graduate School in Seattle on June 31 as well as deliver a major theological paper at the "Missiology of Jamestown 1607 and its Implications for 2007 and Beyond" consultation at Regent University on May 28 in Virginia Beach.

Independent Publishers semifinalists -- multicultural books

The 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards Semi-Finalist were announced. These are the Judging Results in 64 National Categories and Outstanding Book of the Year in the multicultural books categories

Multicultural Fiction Adult
Who’s Afraid of Red, by Alessandra Gelmi (Publish America);
Blue Turquoise, White Shell, by Virginia Nosky (Treble Heart Books);
The Guyanese Wanderer, by Jan Carew (Sarabande Books);
Dance Lest We Fall Down, by Margaret Willson (Cold Tree Press);
Osaka Heat, by Mary Claire Mahaney (Author House)
Graciela’s Dream/El SueƱo de Graciela: One Family’s Journey to College, by Max Benavidez & Katherine Del Monte (Lectura Books);
Up Mountain One Time, by Willie Wilson, illustrated by Karen Bertrand (Bonne Resolution Press);
The Little Saguaro/El sahuarito, by Shannon Young, illustrated by Kim Duffek (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Book Press);
Mei Ling in China City, by Icy Smith, illustrated by Gayle Garner Roski (East West Discovery Press);
How to Ruin My Teenage Life, by Simone Elkeles (Flux/Llewellyn)

Multicultural N-F Juv-Teen-YA
Latino Minnesota, by Leigh Roethke (Afton Historical Society Press);
Homeland: The Illustrated History of the State of Israel, by Marv Wolfman, Mario Ruiz, and William J. Rubin (Nachshon Press, LLC);
TB Aware, by Rachel von Roeschlaub (TB Aware, Inc.);
From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West, by Tom DeMund (Legends of the West Publishing Co.);
Taj Mahal, by Caroline Arnold and Madeleine Comora (Carolrhoda Books, Inc.)

Multicultural Non-Fiction Adult
The Sioux in South Dakota History: A Twentieth Century Reader, edited by Richmond L. Clow (South Dakota State Historical Society Press);
Askiwina: A Cree World, by Doug Cuthand (Coteau Books);
The Journey of Life: 100 Lessons from Around the World, by Sharon K. Sobotta (Intercultural Encounters/Channel Trade Editions);
Feeding the Ancestors: Tlingit Carved Horn Spoons, by Anne-Marie Victor-Howe (Peabody Museum Press/Harvard University);
Stones Witness, by Margaret Randall (University of Arizona Press);
The Red-Black Connection, by Valena Broussard Dismukes;
An American Paella; by Gloria Lopez

These and other books in other categories. Complete list is located at:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


African studies in Latin America and the Caribbean found its headquarters for American academia in Atlanta with the launch of the scholarly journal, Negritud," writes Redding News Review's International Editor Bruno Gaston.

"Luis Miletti, an Afro-Puerto Rican and assistant professor of Spanish at Clark Atlanta University, released the journal in March after an overwhelming global response to his announcement last year to start the publication. Negritud is published in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Some academic fields of study will include literature, history, anthropology and archeology.
" 'This is the only journal that accepts all writing styles within American academia,' Miletti said. 'That is unheard of because in the US, they tend to be very uniform.' "

Negritud could indeed be setting a new precedent for the academic medium. In addition to the Web edition, a weekly public radio program for the annually published journal is also under development. The radio show will showcase lectures, panel discussions, and current events regarding Afro-Latinos in the US and abroad."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blog Carnival for Asian Pacific Islander Heritage begins

Description ¤ The Carl Brandon Society is hosting a blog carnival for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Some good articles and reviews are there.

Host blog ¤ Carl Brandon Society blog

Welcome to the Carl Brandon Society's Asian and Pacific Islander
specfic blog carnival. This carnival is presented as an end-of-the-
month celebration of API contributions to the speculative fiction

The CARL BRANDON SOCIETY also recommended the following
speculative fiction books for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
A collection of stories from one of American speculative fiction's
most precise and beautiful writers.

Atomik Aztek by Sesshu Foster
An Aztec prince or a Los Angeles meatpacker? The protagonist travels
back and forth between two alternative realities, never sure which is

Hopeful Monsters by Hiromi Goto
Wonderful stories by the author of The Kappa Child.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
In a dystopian England, three children discover that they are clones
produced to provide organs to the sick.

Salt Fish Girl by Larissa Lai
Science fiction set in a dystopian near future in which corporate
enclaves house lucky employees, leaving most of humanity to deal with
increasingly strange ecological developments.

The Poet's Journey by Amirthi Mohanraj (illustrated by
Kat Beyer)
A young poet sets out into the wide world on a journey to find
poetry; with the help of a few magical creatures, she finds more than
she ever expected.

Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki
Mad experiments with the unleashed potential of the dreaming brain.

Of Love and Other Monsters by Vandana Singh
The main character wakes up from a fire and doesn't know who he is,
but can sense and manipulate the minds of others. He is not alone in
this ability. Singh takes us on a metamind ride.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
A wordless graphic novel about immigration and displacement.

On the Other Side of the Eye by Bryan Thao Worra
Speculative poems that take us from the secret wars of the CIA in
Laos to the secret edges of the human soul and the universe.

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Carole McDonnell presents href="
worra-laotian-american.html">Bryan Thao Worra: Laotian-American Speculative Fiction Writer posted at >Dark Parables - Reviews from a Christian Sister.

Claire Light presentshref="
-haiku.html">Starship & Haiku posted at SeeLight.

Gene van Troyer presents href="
-of-eighth-national.html">Proceedings of `Eighth national conference for science fictionwriters ' posted at >Science Fiction in India.

speculative fiction

Gene van Troyer presents Philippine Speculative Fiction » 2007 Philippine Speculative Fiction Lists posted at href="">Philippine Speculative Fiction, saying, "Excerpt: "Sorry, the Philippines has neither the Hugos nor the Nebulas (or even the Stoker) so instead, four SF&F fans posts their lists of favorite local speculative fiction short stories that was published in the previous year ... From the usual suspects (Philippine Speculative Fiction, Philippine Genre Stories and Story Philippines), 2007 saw new doors open which included a lifestyle magazine (Rogue) and off-shore e-zines which published Filipino Authors (Town Drunk, Serendipity and Clarkesworld).""


Gene van Troyer presents green blood posted at notes from the peanut gallery, saying, "Excerpt: "Manila Prints Sydney and Manila releases 'Green Blood and Other Stories', a collection of short stories by a talented
new author Erwin Cabucos.

Fifteen short stories exploring a range of themes, including
intercultural marriage, racism, social justice, bullying, religious
beliefs and growing up Filipino are packed in this new literary

Camille M. Picott presents camillemulan: How Raggedy Chan Got Out of Jail posted at Camille M. Picott, saying, "Specfic Author Camille M. Picott"

Gene van Troyer presents href="">Running to Neverland posted at Twelve Hours Later, saying, "Excerpt: "Pan Haitian's Run, Dajiao! Run, - Pan's most
recent work has been in the realm of fantasy, and he's been involved
with Jin He Zai in the Novoland project, an attempt to build an
indigenous fantasy universe.""

ng for cbs presents First Impressions: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World posted at href="">Nancy O. Greene, saying, "Initial thoughts on Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami."

Being Seen -- Moondancer's post on the writersofcolorblogtour

I figure she's too shy to toot her her horn, but since it's about wiscon, I figured, what the hey? Check out Being Seen at writersofcolorblogtour blogspot -C

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Nation Books (September 18, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1560255110
ISBN-13: 978-1560255116
Marijo Moore (Editor),

After five centuries of Eurocentrism, many people have little idea that Native American tribes still exist, or which traditions belong to what tribes. However over the past decade there has been a rising movement to accurately describe Native cultures and histories. In particular, people have begun to explore the experience of urban Indians—individuals who live in two worlds struggling to preserve traditional Native values within the context of an ever-changing modern society. In Genocide of the Mind, the experience and determination of these people is recorded in a revealing and compelling collection of essays that brings the Native American experience into the twenty-first century. Contributors include: Paula Gunn Allen, Simon Ortiz, Sherman Alexie, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Maurice Kenny, as well as emerging writers from different Indian nations.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Clive Staples Nominations 2008

Okay, some Christian speculative writer web-pals of mine are trying to create an award for Christian worldview fiction. Hey, I think it would be good. If you know of any Christian speculative fiction book --especially one written by a minority, please nominate it.

The works that are eligible are Christian worldview science fiction/ fantasy/allegory/furturistic/supernatural novels published in English by a royalty paying press between January 2007 and December 2007.
So far the nominees are:
Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook)
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee (NavPress)
DragonFire by Donita K. Paul (Waterbrook)
Father of Dragons by L.B. Graham (P&R)
Fearless by Robin Parrish (Bethany House)
Flashpoint by Frank Creed (The Writers Cafe Press)
Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson (Thomas Nelson)
Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon by Randy Mortenson (Barbour)
The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka (Harvest House)
The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (NavPress)
The Restorer’s Son by Sharon Hinck (NavPress)
Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead (Thomas Nelson)
A Wine Red Silence by George L. Duncan (Capstone Fiction)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My latest post on blogging in black

Please check out my latest post on Blogging in Black, a site for writers.

Isaiah 40, verse 2

Okay, it's gotten to the point where I either dream of the sermon the minister is gonna give or one of the Scriptures I happen to study during the week tend to be the ones the minister sermonizes on.

So I definitely feel God is with me and the holy spirit is touching me and teaching me.

This morning I got up and opened the Bible to Isaian 41. So I read Isaiah 40. Okay, I'll read Isaiah 41 later today. But I read chapter 40 because it's one of my absolute favorite chapters. The others are Isaiah chapter 6 and Isaiah chapter 53.

So there I am reading along and suddenly I had to stop at the end of verse 2.

Isaiah 40
Comfort for God's People
1 Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD's hand
double for all her sins.

Now, is it me? Focus on the line "double for all her sins." Have we been reading this line to mean double punishment? Or does Isaiah mean it as pointing to grace? Does he mean double blessings for all her sins?

I'm one of those people who really dislikes assumptions. Especially assumptions made by those of us as we read the Bible. I'm the one who annoys ministers by saying, "Wait a second! That's an assumption! The Bible says the rich young ruler went away sorrowful because he had much riches. It doesn't say he went away NOT intending to follow Jesus. Maybe he was sorrowful because he WAS going to follow Jesus. We just don't know."

I'm the type to say, "Okay, where does it say Delilah was a harlot and evil and a Phillistine? She might've been a nice Jewish farm girl for all you know!" Or I'll say, "What're you talking about 'three wise men'? Where the heck does it say there was three of them?"

Yes, my friends, I am a pill even in church groups. I cannot tell you how many times I have annoyed the heck out of someone by saying, "Well, you're assuming that. And the church has assumed that for 2000 years. Could you be wrong?"

So here I am, pondering the word "double." Thinking about God's personality, I find myself thinking, "Would God actually be so apologetic as to say to sinful Israel, 'yeah, I punished you...more than you deserved. I'm kinda unfair like that'???" I think not.

Next, the line comes in a verse that is talking about God's comfort. Okay, we humans might comfort someone else by saying, "I am so wrong, I shouldn't have punished you so bad." But God isn't human.

Of coure I have to go study the line in the original Hebrew but I am suspecting that Isaiah is talking about the power of the gospel restoration. For our great sin, what has God done? He has graciously given us so much more good.

I totally believe that when one is reading the Bible and something jumps up in one's mind that one has never considered before that it's the wonderful sweet holy spirit talking to you and enlightening you. I think he wants me to ponder this verse today. Maybe my pastor will talk about restoration next sunday...who knows? maybe he'll talk about something that connects to another verse that will be brought to my mind in the next few days. In the meantime, gonna ponder how graciously our God restores us....and how he gives us so much more than what we have lost. We really must ponder the love of God more. St Paul warned the Corinthians against saying, "Oh, so God gives us so much good because we have sinned, let us sin even more so that even more grace can flow!" I can understand how, when one fully understands God's grace, one can think such a thing. But as St Paul said, "yes, God is loving and gracious...but God forbid that we should do such a thing!"

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliasotti

ISBN: 978-0-8095-7256-4
392 pages, $6.99
Publication Date: March 2008

Here's the hook:
Flight is freedom--
but death hangs in the skies

Here's the blurb:
Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus, a courier privileged to travel freely across city's sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. But even she cannot outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on Ondinium's governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in the lowest sector of the city. Both hide dangerous secrets, in the city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart...

Clockwork Heart is one of the most enjoyable fantasies I have read in a long time; I didn't want the book to end. Clockwork Heart has everything you might want in a book-a strong girl hero, romance, intrigue, mystery, suspense, great humor, believable characters, strong writing, all in a fantasy setting....Clockwork Heart has just the right mix of fantasy and romance, with sprinkles of mystery and intrigue. There is so much to enjoy, here. For an entertaining, absorbing read, one you won't want to end, pick this book up. Clockwork Heart is the best YA fantasy-the best book-I have read in a long time."--

"...a fascinating, fast-paced and delightful novel in Clockwork Heart. The setting is intriguing and unique, melding the best of steampunk with the wonders of high fantasy, and is peopled with a rich blend of characters from all walks of life...Pagliasotti has brought forth a terrific novel, one that embodies a bold new direction in the fantasy genre. For those who enjoy the work of China Mieville or D.M. Cornish, here is another name to seek out on the bookshelves."--

Sunday, May 04, 2008


by William McGrath

Bill McGrath’s Asulon is the first book of a fantasy trilogy entitled The Sword of Fire. Aimed primarily at young adults, the book is written in such a way as to make biblical history and Christian morality exciting to a notoriously difficult group to reach.
The quest for The Sword of Fire. It began with a prophecy-

In fire's ring, where angels sing,
In holies’ home, sheathed in stone,
Where blood was spilt, one for all,
To make amends for the Fall.

The first of swords awaits the finding,
Of one whose oath, blood is binding,
Wisdom, strength, honor finding,
To whose arm the sword is binding.

Before the quest is over, kings shall fall, empires shall rise and one young man shall truly understand what it means to be a warrior.

You can check out the trailer also.

Book Two- ERETZEL Available Spring 2008Book Three- APOCALYPSE Available Spring 2009

Buy it on amazon or Barnes and Noble

For other reviews of this book, please go to the Christian Fiction Review Blog,, and

Friday, May 02, 2008

Being happy for others

Today I've got a bit of the blues. I suspect many moms in my position would be. My friend emailed me to say her son, about two years younger than my younger son, just got his first job. I was happy. Times fly! But at the same time, I have to admit I got all weepy. (sucking my teeth here cause I'm Jamaican and we Jamaicans do that to show our sorrow, etc.)

I get this way whenever someone's one year old kid starts talking or some other thing... I just have to bear up. It's not as if I'm not happy for them but then I just see how much the toxins in the world, food, medical vaccines have stolen my son's life from him.

Yet, I know that my redeemer lives. I know that God didn't make my son to have a life where no one understands what he says, a life where he has limited understanding of a Disney movie. I remember once I asked a Catholic priest to pray for my son. The jerk said, "Let me pray for you that you may bear the gracious gift God has given you." What an idiot! I can bear my own pain in my own body, thank you asshole pious theologian sentimentalist! But it takes a bit of nerve for me to say, "Yes, let me bear my son's loneliness. Let ME learn to live with his stomach and pain." I swear! Only a pious jerk would say that. And I told him so. YEP! I DID! I'm absolutely snippy with ministers who have sentimental crap always at the ready to say. And only a person who wasn't a parent would say that we are to accept our children's if the suffering child isn't a person in his own right. (I didn't tell the priest least I don't remember telling him that. Come to think of it...maybe I did. I can get pretty nasty when I'm riled. Plus being a minister's grand-daughter I have very little patience with ministers.)

Today I'm forcing the family to only eat fruits and veggies and nothing cooked for three days. Big aim: to get rid of son's congestion. Remember the old word "catarrh." The nutty health-nuts of days gone by used to use it. I totally believe it exists. And am doing what I have to do to get this kid cleaned up inside.

Trusting as usual the quick, active, healing word of God is working mightily in my son and me. And trying to be happy for my friends' son. I know that my redeemer liveth. -C

best romance covers

Voting for 2007 chosen covers

nomination for 2008 romance covers




For many thousands of years the African woman has been
worshipped, revered and idolized by individuals,
families and nations--not only in Africa but around
the world. Ancient records show her as queen, goddess,
scholar, diplomat, scientist, icon, prophet and
freedom fighting warrior exalted with and sometimes
above her father, husband and brothers.
Rest of article here:

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I came upon this poem yesterday. What a lovely poem it is! And many of us know this particular feeling. In college, I had this boyfriend....well, let's just say it was like Fleetwod Mac's "Over my head." It was just horrible. When I got engaged to my husband, I met a lovely fellow -- a blonde god and I never really liked blondes but wow!-- and developed this intense crush on him. Luckily I was sane enough to see that whatever emotion I felt just wasn't enough. The guy was a bit of a loon and we argued over everything. He was not really pleased when I decided to go on with my marriage.

I don't know if those two examples were true renouncement, though. A true renouncement, like a true sacrifice, is about giving up what you really like and love and need...for a higher truer cause. People use the word "sacrifice" way too loosely nowadays. Sacrificing going to movies in order to buy a car? Nope. That's not sacrifice.

Anyway, check out the poem. It's lovely, lovely.

Renouncement by Alice Meynell. b. 1850

I MUST not think of thee; and, tired yet strong,
I shun the love that lurks in all delight—
The love of thee—and in the blue heaven's height,
And in the dearest passage of a song.
Oh, just beyond the sweetest thoughts that throng
This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden yet bright;
But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away,—
With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gather'd to thy heart.

Italian Vogue devotes its July issue to black women

Italian Vogue devotes its July issue to black women.

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