Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mammon in Film

Well, I've been watching some foreign films lately on LinkTV, a kind of global channel. I just love movies a lot so it doesn' t matter what country they're from. Saw two films which gave two different takes on mammon. One was called Singapore Dreaming and it was basically about debt and how the rush for money and the need for money have just become the center of the lives of middle class folks.

The other film is called Takva and it's Turkish. It's about a lowly man who becomes the bookkeeper for a mosque and its rich sheikh. It kinda picks on fundamentalists who mix capitalism and spirituality. The specific religion here is Islam but it could be any religion. It shows the spirituality of Islam, that the people are always praying, that they mention God in all their conversations. Hey, religious people are alike...uh? Sometimes when I listen to the conversation I have with some of my friends (Christian or Buddhist or Muslim) I think, "Wow, secular people will think we're so odd." But it's par for the course. I mean, a film that deals with real religious people would have folks like us mentioning spirituality all the time...God in one breath, cookies, in another, weird husbands, in the next, God in the next, movies in the other. But it's a different kind of normalcy that Americans aren't used to. But everywhere in Takva people talk about Allah as par for the course.

I can't remember the last American film I saw where greed and money were shown as so powerful and so pervasive. When American films talk about greed, they kinda single out a specific bad guy, but not about an entire generation (as in Singapore Dreaming) or about a good man slowly going bad.

We are a wealthy people and probably quite addicted to mammon but since we don't really want to examine it -- the business of america is business-- most of our art forms don't examine it. I mean...there's a book genre in Japan called the Business Novel. No such genre in the US.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Often the subject of slaves and servants pop up in the Bible. Christians often apply those slave/servants passages to mean belonging to someone else. Such as: "we are Christ's servants." We are servants and slaves of sin. Or we can update them a bit and make them equivalent to the employer employee relationship. Sometimes parents can even use a servant verse to talk about the child-parent relationship. As in: Proverbs 29: 21

But consider that servants and slaves can also mean something that serves us and that we should be careful to always keep under our power. Not the other way around.

Money for instance is a servant. We must not be ruled by it.

Desires are servants also. The desire to be a famous writer serves a writer. But it should not rule a writer.
Luke 17:7 "But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?"

Desires are put into our lives to help us not to rule us. We must learn to rule these desires. A servant doesn't push the boss around. It's one thing to say I want to watch this television show. But we shouldn't say "I simply have to watch this television show." OR it's okay to say, "Wow, that guy is cute!" But it's entirely different for us to say "I really must sleep with that guy. I will toss over my husband and enter into an affair with this gorgeous hot guy!"

Our bodies are servants also. Sins are sins. Plain and simple, they are things we should not ever do. But succumbing to what our body wants is falling into the role of letting your servant push you around. When we fast, we are telling our body -- our servant-- to behave itself. WE are the ones telling it what to do. Not the other way around. We batter and buffet our body as St Paul says. And we train it to listen to our spirit and to be ruled by our spirit.

Romans 7:5 "For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death."

So then, let's play the game right. Let's let our spirit teach our flesh who rules! If I'm on a fast, my body might shout and beg! If I am enduring something for God, my mouth may want to whine! But it is my spirit that rules! My spirit must rule!

1 Timothy 4:8 "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

2 Timothy 2:5 "Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules."

When a Man Loves a Woman by LaConnie Taylor Jones

When a Man Loves a Woman
by LaConnie Taylor Jones
304 pages
Genesis Press
ISBN-10: 1585712744
ISBN-13: 978-1585712748

When a Man loves a woman tour begins over at Writers of Color Blog Tour

Here's the Blurb:

Nursing administrator Victoria Bennett has soured on love. She has sworn off men; they bring too much drama and too much pain into her life. That is, until she meets pediatrician A. J. Baptiste, a single parent who is determined to woo her. A. J. will stop at nothing to have her, and Victoria finds her resolve put to the test...but is this a fight she really wants to win?

Visit LaConnie online at &

You can buy it on amazon

Tough read, tough review: So many ways to sleep badly

Publisher City Lights Publishers
ISBN-10 0872864685
ISBN-13 9780872864689
Publication Date July 2008
List Price $15.95

Got a book written by a gay author I know who is a also in the sex business Mattilda Bernstein. He also has fibromyalgia. Anyways, I have to review his book which is called So Many Ways To Sleep Badly .

Here's the blurb:
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's exhilarating new novel is about struggling to find hope in the ruins of everyday San Francisco—battling roaches, Bikram Yoga, chronically bad sex, NPR, internet cruising, tweakers, the cops, $100 bills, chronic pain, the gay vote, vegan restaurants, and incest, with the help of air-raid sirens, herbal medicine, late-night epiphanies, sea lions, and sleeping pills. So Many Ways to Sleep Badly unveils a gender-bending queer world where nothing flows smoothly, except for those sudden moments when everything becomes lighter or brighter or easier to imagine.Lord knows how a born againer is gonna review a book in which almost every other page has a guy who needs to satisfy some inner persistent craving for anonymous kinky sex. I like him a lot and I also like him because in so many ways I think he is like me.Try having a methodist grandfather who beat you whenever you were naked in the bathroom. It's only now that I realize how kinky the old man was and why his son is such a pervert. And why I've had so many flaky relatinships with cruel men.

I did a review for it over at blogcritics but I don't think Christians would like it. It's a good book but it makes a person realize the pain and grief caused by incest that many homosexuals and lesbians have to endure. He's neither Christian nor black but I like him and so.....


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

National Geographic National All Roads Film Festival

The National Geographic National All Roads Film Festival is now on.

2008 All Roads Film Festival "Images & Story: A New Generation"
Los Angeles, California: September 25-28
The Egyptian Theater6712 Hollywood Boulevard (at Highland)
Phone: 1 323 466 FILM
Tickets available at

Hat Tip To Krystyn Media Blog To see some of the films they're showing go on over to her site. Here are a few

Saturday, Sept. 27
10:00 p.m.

WEAVING LIFE - Director: Roberto Arévalo
Following in his father's footsteps, Rubiel Velasquez weaves baskets from bejuco, a wood similar to bamboo, which is disappearing from the central Colombian landscape. Colombian-born media educator and documentary filmmaker Roberto Arévalo teaches and produces documentary projects that promote social, cultural, and personal awareness. Colombia | 2007 | 26 minutes | Spanish (English subtitles)

UNDER THE OPEN SKY - Directors: José Luis Matías and Carlos Pérez Rojas
The community of El Carizalillo's battle with Goldcorp Mining is a story of a people that organized, fought, and won. Carlos Pérez Rojas is a video maker who has focused his work on indigenous people, social movements, and human rights.
Mexico | 2007 | 38 minutes | Spanish (English subtitles)

Sunday, September 28
1:30 p.m.
****highly recommended****
AS WE FORGIVE - Director: Laura Waters Hinson
Two women, Rosaria and Chantal, come face-to-face with the men who slaughtered their families during the 1994 Rwandan genocide in this redemptive story. Laura Waters Hinson is a filmmaker and photographer based in the Washington, D.C., area.
Rwanda | 2008 | 53 minutes | English and Kinyarwanda (English subtitles)

Sunday, Sept. 28
4:00 p.m.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Seeds of Change Anthology

Seeds of Change
edited by John Joseph Adams
Published by Prime Books
Forthcoming August 2008

Here’s the cover copy and the full table of contents of my forthcoming original SF anthology for Prime Books, Seeds of Change.

Imagine the moment when the present ends, and the future begins–when the world we knew is no more and a brave new world is thrust upon us. Gathering stories by nine of today’s most incisive minds, Seeds of Change confronts the pivotal issues facing our society today: racism, global warming, peak oil, technological advancement, and political revolution. Many serve as a call to action. How will you change with the future?

These nine stories sow seeds of change across familiar and foreign territory, from our own backyards to the Niger Delta to worlds not yet discovered. Pepper, the mysterious mercenary from Tobias S. Buckell’s Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin, works as an agent for change—if the price is right—in “Resistance.” Ken MacLeod envisions the end-game in the Middle East in “A Dance Called Armageddon.” New writer Blake Charlton imagines a revolutionary advance in cancer research in “Endosymbiont.” Award-winning author Jay Lake tackles technological change and the forces that will stop at nothing to prevent it in “The Future by Degrees.” Other stories by K.D. Wentworth, Jeremiah Tolbert, Mark Budz, Ted Kosmatka, and Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu range from the darkly satirical to the exotic. All explore the notion that change will come.

Will you be ready?

Table of Contents:

Introduction by John Joseph Adams
N-Words by Ted Kosmatka
The Future by Degrees by Jay Lake
Drinking Problem by K. D. Wentworth
Endosymbiont by Blake Charlton
A Dance Called Armageddon by Ken MacLeod
Arties Aren’t Stupid by Jeremiah Tolbert
Faceless in Gethsemane by Mark Budz
Spider the Artist by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
Resistance by Tobias S. Buckell
The cover features a very nice blurb provided by Robert J. Sawyer, which says “A first-rate anthology of provocative stories.” Which was redacted down from:

“Isaac Asimov said science fiction is the branch of literature that deals with the responses of human beings to changes in science and technology. His definition put humans in a reactive role, and essentially had science and technology changing on their own. But we can also be proactive, actively making the future what we want — or what we dread. A first-rate anthology of provocative and disturbing stories gathered by the always reliable John Joseph Adams.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of HOMINIDS

There's a review over at Grasping for the wind also.

Biology in Science Fiction Blog also has a neat take on it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Darker Mask: Heroes from the Shadows

The Darker Mask: Heroes from the Shadows
edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers

Check out the description of it at Tananarive Due's blog
, an anthology of black superhero stories that is unlike anything that has come before.

Call For Entries: Encyclopedia of Latino Folklore

Call for Entries: Encyclopedia of Latino Folklore

Edited by Maria Herrera-Sobek, Ph.D.
Greenwood Press
4 page double-spaced entries due on Nov.15, 2008
*A $25 stipend will be provided for each 4 page entry. *
*Date of payment: Upon Publication*

20 page double-spaced entries due on Nov. 15, 2008
*A $100 stipend will be provided for each 20 page entry.*
*Date of payment: Upon Publication*

If you are interested in writing an entry or multiple entries for the Encyclopedia of Latino Folklore, please email Dr. Herrera-Sobek at maria.sobek (AT) for a list of entries available and entry guidelines. Include “Encyclopedia of Latino Folklore” in the subject line.

This is the website

Once you choose the entry/entries you would like to write send Dr. Herrera-Sobek a second email and include your name, contact information and the entry/entries you would like to submit.

If you would like to include photo(s) with your entry/entries (publication of photos not guaranteed), please include citation(s) and who to contact for copyright information.
Mary Delgado Garcia
Email: magarcia (AT)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summer 2008 religious films

Film I might see:
Henry Poole
I've always suspected the Wilson Brothers were Christians or at least very spiritual.

Stone Angel:
Hey, I like anything that connects to the Hagar story.

The Fall:
Okay, it's totally confusing and I like trying to figure out confusing movies

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Supposedly a great film about Creation-Intelligent Design-Creation

If a movie mixes horror and religion, I'm there! Plus I like Keifer Sutherland

(Released on DVD this year) Okay, i like Mexican athletes. Besides this won a lotta prizes. Which says a lot for a Christian film

The List:
(Released on DVD this year) Yep, a foxfaith film but it actually looks quite good. I like mysterious forces doing evil type of movies.

The Longshots:
Hey, I like a black feel good movie about fighting the good fight

Prince Caspian:
I love C S Lewis. Plus the actor who plays Caspian is cute.

Not gonna see:

Hamlet 2. I just don't like seeing my Lord mocked. Folks don't pick on Mohammed or Buddha. Why pick on Jesus? Because in their hearts they know He is Savior and Lord. And the hatred they have against God shows up here. I mean...isn't it a bit strange that of all the gods, avatars, saviors, prophets that exist in the world, the world mocks only one. There has to be evil behind that.

Israeli film about Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
I so stress out when I see these kinda films. I'll be a wimp and pass. I have to deal with my angry Israeli friends and my angry Muslim/Arab friends. And they're the ones I go to movies with. If I go with them, I'll never hear the end of it.

Who is Sara Baartman?

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Road to Lost Innocence


Book: The Road to Lost Innocence
Author: Somaly Mam
Dates: September 15- 19
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Publication Date: September 9, 2008
Blog tour September 15 and 19
WaterBrook Multnomah, a division of Random House

Will probably be involved in this tour in a month or so. And will post a review here and also at Blogcritics


Born in Cambodia and orphaned at an early age, Somaly Mam, a Buddhist sex trade survivor, grew up never knowing her real name or birthday.

As a teenager, Somaly Mam was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them. Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscious, such as our Christian community, to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these." Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing.

A bit of a documentary is on youtube

to purchase the book at

This is her update page at her website

You can also pre-order it from her store on her website before it hits the bookstores.

VEINS by Lawrence C Connolly

by Lawrence C. Connolly
illustrated by Star E. Olson
Supernatural Thriller
Retail Price: $15.00
Direct Price: $11.25
Here's the blurb:

Fleeing from what should have been a perfect crime, four crooks in a black Mustang race into the Pennsylvania highlands. On the backseat, a briefcase full of cash. On their tail, a tattooed madman who wants them dead.

The driver calls himself Axle. A local boy, he knows the landscape, the coal-hauling roads and steep trails that lead to the perfect hideout: the crater of an abandoned mine. But Axle fears the crater. Terrible things happened there. Things that he has spent years trying to forget. Enter Kwetis, the nightflyer, a specter from Axle’s ancestral past. Part memory, part nightmare, Kwetis has planned a heist of his own. And soon Axle, his partners in crime, and their pursuer will learn that their arrival at the mine was foretold long ago . . . and that each of them is a piece of a plan devised by the spirits of the Earth.

Be sure to go to for a complete synopsis,
character studies, and bonus material.

You can also order the book from FE's main site at

There's also a VEINS soundtrack composed and performed by the author, Lawrence C. Connolly. For more information,
go to
Borders Books and Music in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 12th as part of the ongoing writing group and lecture & panel series presented by Fantasist Enterprises. For more information, email

Mr. Connolly will also be signing books at Between Books in Claymont, Delaware on Saturday, September 13th.

For more VEINS events featuring Lawrence C. Connolly, visit and click on "EVENTS."

Seeking suggestions for Hispanic Heritage Month SpecFic

The Carl Brandon Society has a program in book advocacy: every ethnic heritage month we will be sending out a list of ten speculative fiction books, which are still in print, by authors of that heritage to bookstores and libraries so that they can feature these books and encourage readers to pick them up.

The way we arrive at the list is by asking our members to submit nominations, and then by polling members to choose the top ten. Right now we're taking nominations of speculative fiction books by writers of Latino/Hispanic heritage (they don't have to be American) for Hispanic Heritage Month.

To participate, you have to be on the Carl Brandon Society yahoogroup because we use the polling function there. Please go here and sign up:
Once you're on the list, you can simply send your suggestions to the list. These should include author, title, and a brief (one sentence) description of the book.

Once the deadline for nominations has passed, they compile the nominations into a poll on the yahoogroup website and you will have time to vote for the top ten.

So now, to the nominations! You will have until FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, AT 6 PM to make nominations. Please be sure to:
include author and title
include a brief description of the book: this list will be advocating
for readers to buy the book and we will be using your description, so
please make it enticing!
check and make sure the book is still in print.
This list will be used by bookstores and libraries, so they have to be able to get the books

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Landmark Peeksill FireHouse falls

Everyone loved this old firehouse. We're all kinda in shock.

Here's something on the history of the firehouse

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Memoriam: Jason Ng

Sirens Chronicles

Transcript for Democracy Now

He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer. Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.

But when Mr. Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to immigration headquarters in Manhattan last summer for his final interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England states.

For the rest of the article go to Jason Ng and on other immigration atrocities check out truthinimmigration

Also check out Free immigration

Also, please help pass the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act.

This is a NYTimes opinion page.

Honestly, it really just made me cry and cry and cry. It's a shame and an evil. To me, this is not about politics. Politically, I'm not really into the idea of free borders. But this is about humanity and cruelty...and you know me... cruelty pisses this sistah off. -C

Gotta See: Ping Pong Playa

Humble is the Way by David Jones

Humble is the Way
David Jones
Publisher: McDougal & Associates
Pub. Date: July 2007
ISBN-13: 9780977705368

I usually just post the info about a book but I've decided that maybe -- I won't promise this, mind you-- I'll just give a little intro before I go on to post the book info.

Last week I had a near run-in with my husband's boss. He's an okay person but let's just say that my husband has been the longest-employed guy at this firm. Because, well, the boss is a tough one. So I called hubby's office and the boss has this weird rule that if an employee gets a non-business-related call from family or friends -- and if the phone isn't picked up by said employee-- that the phoner should hang up the phone after the third ring. (yes, the guy is a bit on the anal side.) So I always follow this rule. But on this particular day I kinda faded out into a daydream while I waited for hubby to pick up the phone. When my mind returned to me, I realized the phone had rung about seven times. The secretary picks up the phone and says to me, "The boss said to remind you to not let the phone ring more than three times." I was so peeved with this jerk. I felt the holy spirit say to me, "you have got to learn to deal with folks who use authority badly. You have got to learn to be humble no matter how badly you are treated or no matter how cruel or stupid you think someone is." I realized, of course, that this was the same exact situation I had been in before...with asholey neighbor down the road. I hung up the phone. I wanted to call my husband later and tell him to quit this job (my husband is a super-asset in this company.) but then I thought, "Let's not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Do something out of anger and God might not watch your back." I wanted to tell this boss off and say, "Excuse me! Everyone who works for you has left you. You are not exactly liked. Do you know why?" But I didn't. It took a whole lotta strength.

I can't say, though, that I won this battle of humility. I'm still pretty strongwilled and arrogant. Immediately after the secretary gave me that message from the boss, I called back the office and made the phone ring four times. Just to be a pain. I wanted to make it ring seven times. To really nag this guy. But I held back. Yes, yes, I know. Childish. My neighbor got a good laugh at it. Remember, she's the one who saw me being dragged off to the police station because I got pissed off at menacing gun-toting neighbor.

I think that those of us who have been abused and treated really shabbily by family, racists, etc...tend to have a chip on our shoulder. But as C S Lewis says, "The devil of resentment is that it's justified." I find myself getting very short-tempered with Christians sometimes. I still haven't forgotten how cruel they have been to me. (Imagine being in a great deal of pain about one's son's illness and some minister who is supposed to be praying for you saying that black folks shouldn't be married to white folks.) I suspect that the reason many black christians have had nothing to do with the church is because of white racism and the slave trade. But what if the power of God cannot be manifested if we aren't humble?

Here it is on Barnes and Noble

Here is the blurb:
Humble Is the Way: The way to what? The way to God's favor, the way to form and then maintain a relationship with Him and, as surprising as it may seem, the way to maintain our human relationships as well. Humility is not just required before God; it is also required before one another. Because of this, humility is one of the most needed characteristics and virtues in the Body of Christ today.
The Bible clearly shows us that humility is indispensable in the Christian life. "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility" (Proverbs 15:33). Jesus Himself demonstrated the greatest degree of humility in His earthly life and ministry, and in so doing, He set a pattern for us. The result was this: "God highly exalted him," (Philippians 2:9). So humble is where we must begin, and humble is where we must remain.
In these pages, Pastor David Jones masterfully lays out, in the simplest of terms, what terrible consequences pride will bring and what glorious rewards humility will bring, and, best of all, he shows us what is required for each of us to walk humbly before God.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Race in the blogs

No...not Obama.

But check out this article on black pregnant women mortality rate...especially in New York. Hat tip to Angry Indian

Those offensive Spanish photos

Angry Asian Man says it better than I ever could. So I'll just pass the link along. It certainly makes one wonder though. If they were in an African country, would they have used blackface?

Black women blow the trumpet discusses a documentary on the vanishing black male

White Men who prefer black women has a post on negative comments he receives from black folks who can't talk honestly about race.

Afrospear has a really good depiction of statistics and racial profiling

A great article on the history of the Olympics and how it balances/relates beauty with Tyranny is over at Orion

Raw Dawg has a great post in which he ponders the relationship between dependency and need

Over at Chicklitgurrl, there's an interview with the founder of APOOO, a group dedicated to promoting writing by writers of color

And Electronic Village has the list of the best black blogs finalists. Tons o categories

Some feminine stuff in the blogs too.

Really loved this Jonalyn Fincher post: Compare Jesus


Living Waters Family Powwow and Family Camp two weeks ago was again a huge success! Native American Pastor Richard Twiss was extremely excited to have more than 90 youth and young adults this year!

Special thanks to Corey and Gina Greaves from the Yakima Rez for giving leadership to Native American youth. To find out more about this great work, visit,

This year's Wiconi Wacipi theme was Restoring Authentic Community in a Broken World. Here's the rest from the newsletter:

In response to this challenge our entire three days together was focused on friendship making, relationship strengthening and community building in the spirit of Jesus. For example, as opposed to years past, I did not plan a speaking schedule with invited speakers or musicians/worship leaders. Each morning our extended camp staff met to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to direct our main gatherings. From these times, knowing there were many outstanding leaders attending, I then asked individuals to share a morning bible devotional, short message from their heart and music. It was amazing to see how all the messages and music and stories simply flowing together with some powerful times of being touched by the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday morning I found myself deeply weeping as I stood with my arms wrapped around two of my sons as a group of Polynesian young men prayed for our young warriors through a Maori haka or war dance.

This year we added a second location for our sunrise prayer gatherings with a new “sweat lodge.” Traditionally, these places/ceremonies have always been used by tribes as places of worship, cleansing, dedication and always prayerful intercession. Each morning the fire was made and the stones heated so that at sunrise our appointed Native leaders, pastors and elders could lead these times of personal prayer, confession, worship and intercession in the lodges. Like last year, they were especially spiritually significant for numbers of people. This year we had a “sweat” to especially encourage our youth in their spiritual journey as well as special time for married couples.

This years “family talent night” was filled with skits, songs, dancing, poetry and heaps of fun and laughter! We had powwow hoop dancing, country & western line dancing, hip-hop dancing, hand-drum songs, little girls singing praise songs in Navajo, rap songs, slam poetry and other very cool presentations. There’s some footage on youtube under “wiconi powwow” you can check out.

Serving Jesus and finding His healing for our lives, families and communities in the context of our cultural ways is the hope and goal of every Living Waters Gathering.

At the powwow we had dozens of dancers along with seven drums. It is always great seeing old friends and reconnecting in the circle as we dance our prayers. My extended family had a give-a-way in honor of my mom, Winona LaPointe, who turns 80 this year.

A special thanks to all who provided a financial scholarship to enable numbers of Native families from Montana, Arizona, Nevada, and Canada to attend this year. As in years past, numbers of young people said our family camp is the one event they look forward to attending more than anything else each summer. So much more could be said, but thanks for your prayers and financial gifts that helped us make such a positive impact for Christ in the lives of so many!!

2008 powwow t-shirts for sale
Our Mni Wiconi Powwow t-shirts were a big hit at camp. As previously announced, you can order one thru the month of August. All proceeds will go to Jacob Trevizo who donated his art-work for the powwow poster and t-shirt. Jacob and his wife Jodi (our Wiconi secretary) are taking pre-orders for the t-shirts. There will only be 30 and that they will be on a black t-shirt. You can view the design on the website. To order and pre-pay for your shirt call our office, 360-546-1867 and ask for Jodi. They are beautiful!


We are calling all First Nations dancers to join us for a historic outreach among the thousands of tribal people in the region surrounding Oaxaca City, Mexico, this November 7-17. We are honored to partner together with Forward Edge International and the Luis Palau Association with our Dancing Our Prayers Team. Our teams have been to China, Peru, Tibet, Argentina, France, Germany and Switzerland over the years. I would love to take a team of about twenty. Our team will be on the stage with Luis Palau at the main venue and leading our own outreaches at locations throughout the city and in tribal villages in the region. You can read all the details on our website including costs, schedules, etc. If you are interested please call our office 360-546-1867.
Peace and blessings

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sea, Swallow Me and other stories by Craig Gidney

Sea, Swallow Me and other stories by Craig Gidney is coming out from Lethe Press in October, and is available for pre-order at Amazon.
The back cover copy is:

Magic and myth mingle in dark and dazzling ways in Craig Laurance Gidney's debut collection.
A tourist meets an African sea god... A 12th century Japanese monk attracts the attention of a mischievous shapeshifter... The Erl King lives in a briar patch on an antebellum plantation... Spirits of the past haunt a young boy on a Southern coastal island.... Gidney turns the familiar strange and the strange familiar in this landmark debut.

The amazon link is here:

trying to open my mind and see clearly.

Am in a crappy mood today. But I'm always in a crappy mood. It's illness-related. Three days straight without sleep can do that. Makes me a real bitch to be around. But there's also a kind of crappitude that comes from trying to figure out my present WIP. The logistics of it.

In a world where A is turned upside-down, what else would be turned around? The foundations of the world in Constant Tower is unlike the foundations in our communal (normal) world. So I really have to get into what kind of society, what kind of marriage, what kind of child-rearing, what kind of weaponry, what kind of cities, would involve in such a society. I find it opening up to me very slowly. That's what's kinda p*ssing me off. I'd like it to come to me quicker. I mean, today I realized that diseased children are thrown out of longhouses and cast upon the care of the night. I JUST now realized that. I've been working on this story for six months. At that rate of realization, when will I actually figure out what the story and this world is really like?

I also seem to be addicted to niceness. I want to empty my mind of this nice guy hero stuff. These are warriors, for heaven's sake. My warriors should be cold-hearted, like the guy Chiklis plays in The Shield. I have to free my mind and really allow the warriors to be harsh, cruel, fearsome. So the Christian reader as well as the secular reader can tremble in his 20th century politically-correct boots. I feel as if there are walls around my thinking and I can't see my way through and I can't push them down. Maybe I should spend a great deal of time watching cops-gone-bad movies and world war II prison flicks. I need to delve into evil and least ---morality from that world's point-of-view. (which would seem amoral or immoral in ours.)

Something else kinda annoying me or putting a stranglehold on me. Reining me in, I guess. The book is for a Christian company. That creates creative borders and moral barriers I am loath to transgress. Other realization: the warriors tend to have shared wives. Brothers share a wife, or best friends share a wife. It's logical in this world that they should. But argh! how am I going to get away with putting that into a Christian novel? Kings with Concubines and multiple wives are acceptable but women with multiple husbands??? Ah gee! Gotta think.

I was made really happy when I saw this post over at Galaxy Express, . Gosh I wish I had been at Denvention for Bujold's speech! But the galaxy express blogger does a good job of pinpointing the main points and adding her opinion about the importance of politics, romance, and fiction. I'm psyched.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chinese Olympics lyp-synching silliness

The child in question was 9-year-old Lin Miaoke, who was seen belting out "Ode to the Motherland" as the Chinese flag entered the National Stadium. She became an instant celebrity and was quickly christened a "smiling angel." The image of her in a pretty red dress appeared around the world.

But it wasn't Miaoke who was singing. Chen Qigang, the ceremony's music director, told state broadcaster Beijing Radio that the voice heard around the world belonged to 7-year-old Yang Peiyi.

Peiyi had the voice and was supposed to perform, but was yanked at the last minute because her looks were deemed not suitable by a senior Communist Party official, Chen said.

"It was for the national interest," Chen told Beijing Radio. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."

Here's a video from the latimes site where the above was excerpted from:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

John Edwards and adultery

Okay, this is my humble opinion on adultery...not that anyone asked me.

It’s pretty much par for the course, politicians having mistresses. The only thing than can be said about John Edwards is that unlike John McCain, Bob Dole, and countless others is that he didn’t leave his sick or ailing wife as the others did.
On the whole, having endured my father’s tendency to sleep around, I can only say that adultery is definitely not a private matter. It’s the perfect school for learning how to lie. When one can lie to one’s family, to the person in one’s bed, one becomes a master speaker of ambiguities, slick lies, straight-out lies. And the long one does it, the better one becomes at lying without feeling too guilty about it. Adultery definitely teaches a person how to not feel guilty about lies. The perfect stepping stone to be a politician if you ask me. Thus the stuff we learn in private because the skill we use in public.

Is tomorrow promised?

I so loved Bernie Mac. I'm going to miss him. I went looking all over youtube for clips of him doing his comedy.

I wasn't going to post on him but I went over to a site I always visit, a woman of wise words, and she said, "Tomorrow is never promised." A part of me says...yes, that's true. But the other part of me thought about 1 Timothy 1:18

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare
and I said to myself: True, we don't know when we are going to die. But if we have a prophecy given us of some great work we have to do, then should we not shout to the devil, "I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord because the Lord has appointed me to do these great works! HE told me this by prophecy and I will not give up."

True, tomorrow is not promised us, but when death comes to us can we not challenge it as many in the Bible also challenged it? Christianity isn't a religion of fatalism. Once we're dead, we're dead. But in the parable of the useless vineyard, in the story of Hezekiah, in the story of the syro-phoenician woman, we see that there is such a thing as bargaining with God. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross lists bargaining as one of the five stages of dying. But she doesn't mention that sometimes -- very rarely-- bargaining works. I suspect bargaining doesn't work for the most part because God knows the sick person simply will not change or that the sick person has fulfilled his work on earth already and must go home to a greater reward. But I don't want to accept the fact that tomorrow is not promised. As far as I am concerned, Tomorrow is promised me until God tells me it is not.

Yes, we should definitely live as best and as happily as we can...and do all the good we can to as many as we can. I tend to be a bit on the morbid side, unfortunately so I tend to always think that in the end, we'll be dead much longer than we're alive. And am hoping and trusting that that place where the dead go, if there is an afterlife, will be full of great joys (minus the great sex, probably.) But I totally feel we should enjoy this life under the sun. And we must do all the good we can. Because it's our goodness in this life -- much more than our happiness-- that will count. When I hear that someone I love has died, I think: Have I enjoyed life? But I also think: Have I done all the great works I am supposed to do? It gets me working as well as enjoying. Death cracks a mean whip.

For your enjoyment...a couple of his routines. BE WARNED EXPLICIT MATERIAL


Monday, August 11, 2008

The Forever Story Autism Project

Got the following from Nick's Writing Blog

The project launches today and aims to create the world's longest collectively written story. There are no fees on offer for writers, however; instead the project aims to raise a large sum of money for children with autism.

The money will be donated by the telecoms company TalkTalk. For every contribution to the story via the website at, TalkTalk will donate £1 (around $2 US) to the British children's autism charity Treehouse. The project press release explains:

There are around 100,000 children with Autism in the UK, with around half a million family members directly affected by the condition. We want to raise awareness of the work Treehouse does to alleviate the often huge financial and emotional pressures associated with looking after a child with Autism and raise the much needed money so their work can continue.

The rest of the article is here: Nick's Writing Blog

There is also the Autism Solution Center's Call:

ASC NEEDS YOUR HELP! Our annual fundraiser scheduled to have taken place in April did not happen as scheduled. This fundraiser typically helps to fund our operational expenses and some programs during a 6 month period, while we work on funding from other sources. We are now in need of financial assistance, to help get us through to our next major fundraising event, our Autism 5K Run/Walk in September.

We need to raise $10,000.00 during this month to help keep our programs running and keep our services available to families in need until our next event in September. We know that it's difficult for individuals to find extra funds for contributions these days, but we have a solution and hope you will choose to play a part!

We are starting a $1 Drive, recognizing that most are experiencing financial hardship at this time. Not everyone can give $10,000.00, but we know that there are 10,000 people out there who can easily give just $1.00. Many can give more!

Please participate and help us spread the word to find 10,000 people willing to donate $1.00 and make a difference in the lives of those effected by autism.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

favorite blogs

A terrified kind of life

For as long as I can remember I’ve been terrified. I don’t think I can remember a time when I was not terrified. I remember hiding under beds fearing my mother’s or grandfather’s or aunt’s or uncle’s belt. I truly don’t think I was especially abused. It’s just the Jamaican terrify, threaten, and cripple children with fear. Every relative had a belt and they would pick it up and hurt you anytime it pleased them.

I would not consider my mother cruel but before she earned her double masters and PH.D at Brooklyn College, she had strange ideas about fear. Fear was the power to keep girl children from coming home with the belly. Not that my sister and I were even sexual enough to even think of sex. By age thirteen both or us were pretty much emotionally destroyed. She would wake us at night by beating us with a belt if she came home to find the house messy. My mother must have had some inkling about the power of fear – she apologized for all the things she had done to me when we were growing up. And she also talked about the fear the whippings she received from her parents had caused her.

The trouble with all this terror is that it was interwoven with a kind of rebuked life. When they terrified you, they rebuked you. You were always wrong. And when they rebuked you, they always terrified you. Kinda like those people on television who always warn about how fat black women are going to get cancer anytime soon.

The image I have in my mind is this: a group of well-meaning vaguely sadistic folks digging a deep pit in my heart and mind that can only be filled with fear. If you do not believe me when I tell you how sadistic Jamaican parents generally are, I won’t try to convince you. Trying to convince people stresses me out. I will only say that rebukers -- media health nuts, telephoning collection agents, parents, know-it-all church people use terror in much the same way these old country folks delighted in telling me ghost stories. (Won't mention the sneering cruelty of atheists in this post cause they generally don't terrify.) The faces of the old folks lit up when they saw how their evil cruel stories made you tremble. To this day I can see and imagine this trace of spiteful joy on the faces of folks who rebuke and terrify me.

I once saw on the news a story about a little two year old who died of fright when halloweeners arrived at her door. This kind of thing is understandable. Fright is an emotion that literally – I mean “literally” tugs at the heart strings. I remember once a friend of mine played a practical joke on me. “Look, Carole, a bee is on your shoulder.” My chest became so tight that for about two weeks I had a burning tearing in my chest.

I am actually quite used to that tightness in my chest. It pops up all the time quite dependably whenever I hear bad news. But it also pops up when I only fear bad news. My body seems to be running overtime and fear seems to have its way with me. For instance, whenever the gate opens, I anticipate the mailman bringing bills and the chest pain rises.

This is not a panic attack, mind you. Panic attacks come and go. This is a kind of sustained emotional state that I can only say that my body is worn down with stress and fear. I do not add the fact that since my second son was born eighteen years ago I have spent every night fearing he will die. So then, what to do?

The trouble with this fear is that it has persisted through my adult years. Because it comes in various form even when one has become an adult. There is always some person out there who wants to either rebuke or terrify a person (or both.) I’ll admit two things: One, I used to terrify my child with stories about what would happen to him if he didn't finish school. I have terrified the soul of that kid. Mercifully, he has forgiven me. And I have tried to bless him with good words instead of cursing his spirit with negative terrors and rebuke.

And my second admission: I myself have fed and nurtured this terror within my own soul. For instance, whenever I get into a discussion with anyone, I find I am utterly unable to pick up the phone...lest the person I had a disagreement with is calling. If I owe bills, I try not to pick up my phone at all. And if I accidentally pick up the phone when a bill collector calls, the terror I feel rivals anything a good slasher fill could conjure up. Before my mother’s death she used to visit us. On those Saturdays, I would lie in my bed in a fetal position – remember, I was way past 30 by then– and tremble in fear until I psyched myself to come down.

May I rest in the peace of God.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

He honestly doesn't quit

I stand here amazed. I got my first really really really bad review from Neth in MARCH 2008. It's up at Neth Space.

I thought it was all over with. I mean... let it drop already. But honestly! What an annoyance! And it just kicks in the fibro whenever I see it pop up. He posted the link for the review in the comments of the post up at A Dribble of Ink. For no good reason, I think. But why? For spite? To show how wonderful he is? For his own ego? And then, the blogsphere being what it is, that made someone else take that ball and put it on wonderlands (again with the link to my post)...and then that caused a whole 'nother rumbling...and it's just one link to another to another. So my defense against this guy is now all over the white blogosphere, causing me a great deal of frickin' stress. I will have to just thank God for all this. I mean... I keep being told that one bad review often does more good than harm. So, let's see what happens.

Once again, I will defend myself. Although it only puts me on the same level of a guy who seems to be out to mention me on every forum he belongs to. Now, I haven't re-read his review so it's possible that he has removed those portions of his review that are applicable to my defense (thus making it look as if I'm totally off base) but I'll just mention my objections to the review as he wrote it in March.

1) He says Wind Follower was so bad he could only make it through the first 100 pages.
I don't know if he actually read the book at all though because he says
"Much of the first hundred pages are told in a first person narration."
But ALL of the first 100 pages are told in the first person. So am not sure what he means?

Then he says the book lacks subtly with religious things and says things are
"a bit on the conservative side for me."
But there isn't any kind of Christian religiosity in the first 100 pages. There is nothing religious at all. It's a tribal culture. And there's definitely no "conservative side" going on. I mean...WTF? Someone on a forum he and I belong to stated to Neth that the book was heavy-handed in some areas. Okay, putting aside that my muslim buddhist friends and my atheist friends didn't find it heavy-handed, I'll just say that any Christian elements appear in the last 100 pages of Wind Follower. Not the first 100 pages.

He says my main
female character goes from strong-willed to meek and subservient for no apparent reason
. Apparently, those three scenes where her mother tells her that if her father's debt isn't paid off he will be sold into slavery weren't reason enough. I've been told by an Arabian friend that my story shows how many women feel when they realize they might have married a man who might be a bully. Apparently Satha's fears and the moments when she does challenge her husband is deemed subservient.

Then, a poster Charlotte Byrd, posted that the book contained sections that were anti-Gnostics. This was weird cause she too admits that she didn't finish reading the book and even weirder cause I wasn't even thinking of the gnostics when I wrote Wind Follower. Heck, Christianity has tons of denominations that have added their own texts and prophets: Mary Baker Eddy's Health and Science, The Seventh Day Adventists and the Writings of Miss White, Joseph Smith's Writings. And if one considers that Mohammed was connected to the early Christians, one might even wish to add him into the mix of books influenced by the Jewish and Christian Bibles. So I was pretty much making fun of all Christian denominationalism, including my own.

Then, Neth answered that if I was picking on gnosticism then he definitely wouldn't read Wind Follower. Totally odd! What's that about? Gossip and assumptions build and build on top of false foundations. Now Neth's going to go around saying Wind Follower has an anti-Gnostics swipe.....all based on his not finishing the book and his believing the comment from someone else who didn't finish reading the book.

Well Wind Follower has gotten some great reviews. Publishers Weekly (September 07) gave it a good review and said,
her elegant, meticulous world-building shimmers with the ambience of an old-world folktale

Library Journal (October 07) recommended it as a book for Black History Month.
Other reviewers have also really liked it.
J Kaye's Book Blog, The long and short, John Ottinger's Grasping the Wind, Mir's Mind Flight and Karen McSpadden's Disturbing The Universe: Reviews And Rants

Then Carl Brandon Society chose me as one of their recommended books for Black History Month and Wind Follower was nominated for the Clive Staples Award and the Pluto Award

Well, this is what Danielle Steele says about critics
"It's very simple. I haven't read them in years," she says. "My feelings get very hurt when people say mean things about me. The trouble I find is that they don't just criticize the book -- they then get nasty personally. And so I stopped reading them."

And I think from now on I will heed what she says.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Something With Bite

Hat Tip to the notice about the NBC Horror Summer anthology, Fear Itself . The episode “Something With Bite,” which debuts tomorrow night on NBC was directed by a black director, Ernest Dickerson. Check your listings.

Tribute to Lavena Johnson

I swear! When I look at her she reminds me of the kids I used to teach in the high school. It's not even a race thing with me. I mean... I get weepy when I see all those young dead American soldiers. Native American, White, Black, Hispanic, Asian -- it doesn't matter. It just feels so horrible. And when one considers what happened to Lavena. Well...

The Children by Rudyard Kipling

('The Honours of War' - A Diversity of Creatures)

These were our children who died for our lands; they were dear in our sight.
We have only the memory left of their home-treasured sayings and laughter.
The price of our loss shall be paid to our hands, but not to another's hereafter.
Neither Alien nor Priest shall decide on it. That is our right.
But who shall return us the children?

At the hour the barbarian chose to disclose his pretences,
And raged against Man, they engaged, on the breasts that they bared for us,
The first felon-stroke of the sword he had long-time prepared for us -
Their bodies were all our defence while we wrought our defences.

They brought us anew with their blood, forbearing to blame us.
Those hours which we had not made good when the judgement o'ercame us.
They believed us and perished for it. Our statecraft, our learning
Delivered them bound to the Pit and alive to the burning
Whither they mirthfully hastened as jostling for honour -
Not since her birth has our Earth seen such worth loosed upon her.

Nor was their agony brief, or once only imposed on them.
The wounded, the war-spent, the sick received no exemption:
Being cured, they returned and endured and achieved our redemption.
Hopeless themselves of relief, till death, marvelling, closed on them.

That flesh we had nursed from the first in all cleanness was given
To corruption unveiled and assailed by the malice of Heaven -
By the heart-shaking jests of Decay where it lolled on the wires -
To be blanched or gay-painted by fumes - to be cindered by fires -
To be senselessly tossed and re-tossed in stale mutilation
From crater to crater. For this we shall take expiation.
But who shall return us our children?

Tribute to Lavena Johnson over at Electric Village

I won't say anymore. But if you haven't heard about LaVena Johnson.

If you can believe

Well, here I am. After being up all night from sleeplessness. It's 6:15 our time and I got up to write. Why did I get up to write? you may ask. Because younger son came and pushed me off my bed. For 18 years it's been like that. No sleep or 2 hours sleep, and then when morning comes I get pushed off my bed.

We've tried to teach him not to come to our bed but ... to no avail. And on those mornings when I spent the entire night looking up at the ceiling I get really annoyed when he comes to my bed to sleep.

The question is: with all this faith talk...after living a life like this for 20 years and after having a son who cannot talk for 18 years...can I actually believe in something better and more normal? Can my mind even imagine what a good life could possibly be? For me the idea of sleeping normally every night and not being in pain is so exotic and unusual an idea I can't get my mind around it. The idea of not wasting money on doctors and the idea of younger son behaving normally and going to movies and having friends and talking and not being in pain....well, my imagination just can't get up to it.

Before Jesus healed the boy who had been sick, the father of the boy said to Jesus, "If you can do anything to help us."

Jesus said to the boy's father, "Why do you say, 'If you can?' All things are possible to him that believes."
(Most of the translations translate it this way.)

I think that being healed after being sick for a long time requires a belief that there is another kind of possible life for one's self. And that's a hard thing to be able to imagine. Think of the man who had been by the pool of Bethesda for so many years. Jesus "knew that he had been a long time in that case." Think of the woman with the issue of blood. Almost thirteen years.

I'm glad we have those stories in the Bible. The miracle i's not only about degree of difficulty...but about seeing one's life in a whole new way after one has had to live it in a bad way for so long. I so hope I can believe. From age 27 I've been sleepless and in pain. From a year after his birth Gabe has been sick and in pain. I'm 48 now. I feel so very very old and so very very sick and so very very weepy because I am almost 50. What if my healing doesn't manifest? The first 20 years of this illness came and went so quickly. One slips into the sad bad wrong kind of life without actually being aware that one's life is simply disappearing into a whole. And if those past 20 years went so quickly, won't the next 20 come and go as quickly? I will have lived to 70 in a great deal of pain with a weird kind of painful weepy normalcy. And my son will have lived his life in pain and solitariness.

It just makes me cry and cry and cry. But maybe I'm crying cause it's morning and I'm at my computer. Usually by 8:00 am or so I'm a whole lot better and less weepy. Or actually, my weepiness turns into a kind of impatient anger. (Yep, it's true...chronically sick people are grouchy. And sleepless sick people are even more grouchy.) Sometimes I just sit on the ground and cry and cry and say, "So this is my life?" I amazes me that this is indeed my life. Sick me. Sick child.

Ephesians 3:20 (The Amplified Bible)
20Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]--

I just have to hope and train my imagination to believe that life will be well. I have to Expect Great Things. I look at Wind Follower and I tell myself, "Carole, you wrote that book while you were sleepless and in a great deal of pain! You will finish Constant Tower and Inheritance also. Hope in God." So I will. In the meantime, gotta deal with practicalities. I suspect I was entirely sleepless last night because I didn't drink enough water yesterday and I accidentally ate something I was allergic to. I've been thinking that rice is safe but maybe I really should avoid all grains. Gabe and I must be very careful what we eat. It's not funny all this pain and sleeplessness. My Father in heaven, I hope in you. -C

Friday, August 01, 2008

Frozen River

Okay, Ive got to see this film. Frozen River contains Native American culture and is about smuggling in an upstate New York reservation. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Hopefully that means it'll be at my local art theater and also IFC or Sundance channel. From what I've heard of it it really depicts the life of folks just living near the poverty level and it's a bit like Thelma and Louise (only a lot more realistic.) Well, I love movies about folks who work in Dollar Stores and who have money issues. And I also like Native American films. So there you go! Besides, the At the Movies folks gave it two thumbs up.

Check it out along with some other Native American-related posts over at Krystyn Media's blog

And the folks at Gospel com's Pass the popcorn liked it.

Library Journal Call for Books for Black History Month

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Dear Publicist:

To help libraries prepare for Black History Month as well as support
their ongoing purchasing of multicultural books, Library Journal will
again feature in its November 1 issue works by and about African

This issue will include books being published between November 1,
2008, and February 28, 2009. Please supply us with two galleys (or books) if
possible in all subject areas, including reference, art,
literature, poetry, religion, biography, history, politics, health,
science, sociology, economics, and fiction, as well as promotional
information and catalog copy. Please do not include children's books.

This material is due on August 25, 2008. If you have any questions
please call (646) 746-6800
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