Saturday, November 29, 2008

Borders 2008 Original Voices Awards

The nominees for the 2008 Original Voices Awards are:

-- "Dear American Airlines," by Jonathan Miles (Houghton Mifflin)
-- "The Cellist of Sarajevo," by Steven Galloway (Riverhead)
-- "The Good Thief," by Hannah Tinti (The Dial Press)
-- "The Lace Reader," by Brunonia Barry (William Morrow)
-- "The Somnambulist," by Jonathan Barnes (William Morrow)
-- "The White Tiger," by Aravind Adiga (Free Press)

-- "The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the
Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler,"
by Thomas Hager (Harmony)
-- "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese
Food," by Jennifer 8 Lee (Twelve)
-- "The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in
the World," by Eric Weiner (Twelve)
-- "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood," by
Helene Cooper (Simon & Schuster)
-- "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a
Great Victorian Detective," by Kate Summerscale (Walker & Company)
-- "We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken
Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever," by
Benjamin Mee (Weinstein Books)

Young Adult/Independent Reader
-- "Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go," by Dale Basye (Random House Books for
Young Readers)
-- "I Am Apache," by Tanya Landman (Candlewick)
-- "The Patron Saint of Butterflies," by Cecilia Galante (Bloomsbury USA
Children's Books)
-- "Tunnels," by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (The Chicken House)
-- "Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines," by Nic Sheff (Ginee Seo Books)
-- "Wake," by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse)

Children's Picture Books
-- "Do You Do a Didgeridoo?," written by Nick Page and illustrated by Sara
Baker (Make Believe Ideas)
-- "Ladybug Girl," written by Jacky Davis and illustrated by David Soman
-- "Little Bunny Kung Fu," written and illustrated by Regan Johnson
(Blooming Tree Press)
-- "Those Darn Squirrels!," written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by
Daniel Salmieri (Clarion Books)
-- "Wave," written and illustrated by Suzy Lee (Chronicle Books)
-- "What's Under The Bed?," written and illustrated by Joe Fenton (Simon &
Schuster Children's Publishing)

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Would Jesus Buy

Ah! Black Friday! The largest shopping day of the year! The day after thanksgiving!

A great DVD for those who want to challenge our nation's addiction to buying is What would Jesus Buy? Ah! Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Now!

Here's the synopsis:
Take heed brothers and sisters! The shopacalypse is upon us! America is fat with greed and addicted to shopping. Luckily, Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir are here to save our souls from overspending! In the weeks leading to Christmas, Reverend Billy and the Choir board a bus headed from advertising-thick Times Square through the heartland’s shopping malls to the commercial mecca—Disneyland. Part performance art, part spendthrift evangelism, they cross the US singing and preaching to spend gently. With the average American holding about $8,500 in credit card debt, his work is overdue. Reverend Billy is serious in his message. He doesn’t preach the impossible task of never buying again, but encourages us to be mindful of where our dollars go. We visit a Main Street men’s clothing store struggling for customers against the Wal-Mart up the road and a line of Christmas shoppers waiting to buy an Xbox 360 lest they feel the wrath of their consumption-addicted children. Billy and the choir go caroling to incite ‘change-a-lujah!’ along front porches in gated community and from church pulpits. They’re making trouble, evading Mall of America security, and just like the rest of us, they’re fighting the urge to buy for the sake of spending. By the time they get to Disneyland, you may find yourself converted, ready to buy American and swear-off big box stores in favor of your local merchants. -Rose Vincelli, SilverDocs

One of the producers is Morgan Spurlock, the same guy who did Supersize Me.

Here's a youtube trailer:

Another clip:

Here's an article on the documentary over at democracy now.

It played at the SF Indie documentary festival Oct -Nov 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Henry Cho, Comedian

Henry Cho is a Korean-American comedian from Tennessee. He's also a Christian.

These youtube thingeys should be clickable but in case they aren't. Click on the youtube links.

A bit of Henry Cho's standup routine

Henry Cho radio appearance

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.
By recording the stories of our lives with the people we care about, we experience our history, hopes, and humanity. Since 2003, tens of thousands of everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to take home and share, and is archived for generations to come at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to our award-winning broadcasts on public radio and the Internet. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, creating a growing portrait of who we really are as Americans.

It has recorded nearly 40,000 interviews since it began and has created the first-ever National Day of Listening (NDL), which will be held November 28.

Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps, explains that the goal of NDL is to
"encourage, instruct, and inspire everyday people to start a new
holiday tradition: sit down with a loved one on the day after Thanksgiving and record a meaningful conversation to preserve for years to come. It's a chance to give the gift of listening, a priceless treasure that costs nothing but a little time."

National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the United States are promoting National Day of Listening. You can listen live on the Internet at the KWMU website

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let the right one in

If you see any romantic young adult vampire movie, this year, check out Let the Right One In

It's in swedish with sub-titles but search it out at your local art house.
Here's the blurb:
A fragile, anxious boy, 12-year-old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates but never strikes back. The lonely boy's wish for a friend seems to come true when he meets Eli, also 12, who moves in next door to him with her father. A pale, serious young girl, she only comes out at night and doesn't seem affected by the freezing temperatures.

Coinciding with Eli's arrival is a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders. One man is found tied to a tree, another frozen in the lake, a woman bitten in the neck. Blood seems to be the common denominator – and for an introverted boy like Oskar, who is fascinated by gruesome stories, it doesn't take long before he figures out that Eli is a vampire. But by now a subtle romance has blossomed between Oskar and Eli, and she gives him the strength to fight back against his aggressors. Oskar becomes increasingly aware of the tragic, inhuman dimension of Eli's plight, but cannot bring himself to forsake her. Frozen forever in a twelve-year-old's body, with all the burgeoning feelings and confused emotions of a young adolescent, Eli knows that she can only continue to live if she keeps on moving. But when Oskar faces his darkest hour, Eli returns to defend him the only way she can ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

CFBA: Beloved Captive

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Beloved Captive

Barbour Publishing, Inc (November 1, 2008)


Kathleen Y’Barbo


There’s never a dull moment in the Y’Barbo household! From hockey and cheer mom to publicist to bestselling author, Kathleen Y’Barbo somehow manages to do it all - and well. While wearing her publicist’s hat, Kathleen has secured interviews with radio, television, and print media for clients at NavPress, Hatchette, Integrity, Barbour Publishing, and Broadman & Holman, to name a few. She also brings her own unique blend of Southern charm and witty prose to the more than 350,000 award-winning novels and novellas currently in print. Her novels have been nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006; and 2007 will see the release of her 25th book.

Kathleen is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.

The first book in this series is Beloved Castaway.


In this sequel to Beloved Castaway, Emilie Gayarre is learning to accept her mixed race heritage while finding fulfillment in teaching children of the key. There is no denying the attraction between Emilie and the handsome young naval commander, Caleb Spencer, who is shadowed by his own flock of secrets. But if her heritage is found out, even greater things than his career are at risk. Enjoy this historical romance full of risk and redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beloved Captive, go HERE.

The Mocha Club

I was asked by Mocha Club to write about the concept of why ‘I need Africa more than Africa needs me.’ Mocha Club is a community-based website where members can start a team and invite friends to join them in giving $7 a month – the cost of 2 mochas – to support a project in Africa. Mocha Club's vision is to provide a way for people who don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to make a difference in Africa.

Okay, so why do I need Africa more than Africa needs me?
Because I like its idea of kinship and tribes. Honestly, the world we live in is so homogeneous and we in the west have lost track of extended families, extended communities, etc that I think we need to really look back to Africa about communal living.

I also need Africa because I always feel as if we in the west have forgotten what it's like to be human. When I see Africa, I am reminded about humanity's basic need: companionship, fun, friendliness.

Share your thoughts and even blog about it yourself. Join in the worthwhile cause of recasting the damaging images that force pity over partnership. Come back Dec 1st to see what Mocha Club is doing about reforming that image.”

“I need Africa more than Africa needs me.”

Check out to learn more about Mocha Club’s vision to provide a way for people who don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to make a difference in Africa.

At Mocha Club, one of our biggest missions at the onset was to challenge the preconceptions that people have of this continent and it’s 54 unique nations. We have always cared about building an accurate perception of both the challenges that Africans face, and the BEAUTY of Africa.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Asian American Modern Art Exhibit

Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900?1970 runs through January 18, 2009 at the de Young Museum. Do check out the extensive schedule of related community programs.

For more info, check out the Chinese Culture Center and the Kearney Street Workshop websites.

Here's a review from KQED

New News, Real News, Everyone's News

I swear, American News has always been pretty provincial. I don't know what my problem is but I've always liked hearing about what happens to other folks in the world -- whether good or bad.

Since the election started ooooh, two or so years ago all news seems to be focused on politics. This means that I totally would not know what the heck is happening in the rest of the world if it weren't for Democracy Now and other news shows on Link TV and the BBC America and its news channel, and the French news on PBS.

I also have to give a shoutout for some blogs.

The Angry Indian Blog

Global Voices Online

And for those who want to know what's happening with Black folks (that the Media doesn't tell us) there's the Electronic Village and Black and Missing


Friday, November 21, 2008

Interestinger and Interestinger

So there were hubby and me on the bed in between passionate lovemaking thinking about the Book of Revelations. (Trust me: this is very common with Christians.)

We got to talking about whether we would be ready if we are raptured or not, how strong we are and the new financial order

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wind Follower review

Well, I got a rejection about three weeks ago from a Christian publisher who thought my male female character was too vengeful -- among other things. I was utterly unable to write but then I got this review from a bunch of women devoted to feminism, and many of whom arenot Christians. I am feeling supremely blessed. Christians may not like my book but perhaps I am not made to write for non-Christians.

Plus I had an interview on booksbeyondtheboundaries

Funny but scary. Supposedly, the number one fear of Americans is having to speak in public. This is even bigger than the fear of dying? My friend Marvin told me a joke on this topic: The warden goes to the condemned man with bad news: “John, I’m sorry, but your execution date has been moved up to tomorrow.” To which John replies: “Oh, thank God. I was afraid you were going to ask me to speak in public.”

Anyways, here's the interview if you wish to listen.

And here is Stella's site

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Painkiller death epidemic

Truthout declares what we have always known: Doctors and legal prescription drugs kill more folks than drug-dealers.

An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together. According to state law enforcement officials, this is a sign of a burgeoning prescription drug abuse problem.

Monday, November 17, 2008

CFRB: White Christmas Pie

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

White Christmas Pie

Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)


Wanda E. Brunstetter


Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband's family in Pennsylvania, WANDA E. BRUNSTETTER combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

This year Wanda also publishedA Sister's Hope


Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Abandoned by his father, Will Henderson was raised by an Amish couple. Now he's about to marry Karen Yoder but is having second thoughts. Can Will overcome the bitterness of his past in order to secure his future? Karen cannot break through the barrier her fiance has suddenly constructed around his heart. When she seeks the advice of an old boyfriend, Will begins to see green. Has he already lost his chance for happiness?

When an accident threatens Will's life, the strength of blood ties is tested. Will a recipe for White Christmas pie contain the ingredients for a happily-ever-after?

If you would like to read the first chapter of White Christmas Pie, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:

Weekend movie-viewing

I saw four old movies over the weekend. Total recall which I had all but forgotten, the old titanic (still haven't seen the dicaprio one) and The lake house with keanu reeves and sandra bullock. And a horror flick called Tale of the Mummy.

The Tale of The Mummy is about yet another mummy looking for his body parts. I shouldn't laugh but i was actually terrified by the way this mummy appeared when he was stalking his victims. Loose bands of dirty mummy cloth floating in the air. That's all he was. Something about it felt very worms or slithery cloths from toilets. Strange but I shuddered looking at them when I really should have laughed. Maybe i have an issue with dirty cloths, who knows?

Watching Total Recall I think it was the first time I actually said, "uhm, Arnold S is really quite a hunk." I had never thought of him as handsome.

I actually burst into tears with the titanic. The star was clifton webb who majored in those sophisticated seeming cold and repressed but really a sweetie. I cried so much hubby started laughing at me. It was definitely manipulative but well-earned manipulation.

I'd wanted to see the lake house for a while. I'm a sucker for films that play with reality. And as we all know, folks in love can make folks they love not die by protecting them against the future. The weird thing is that I noticed what a good actor Keanu Reeves has become. He used to be so crappy. He's really grown! But the manipulation was a bit much. There's a point where one thinks, "Oh come on!!!" It's weird to finally see a movie you've always wanted to see and to feel that it didn't quite live up to one's hopes. And it was also trying to be arty. IT was almost pretentious with all that architecture talk. One more movi e about the sorrows of rich folks. But it worked. Didn't make me cry as the old titanic did. Somehow it lacked soul. Shows the difference between a story that really earns the tears it jerks and one which doesn't quite pull you in. Perhaps I was too busying trying to find the scientific fallacy of the story or maybe I kept wondering how they could be so passionately in love with each other after a few letters. ..whatever it was it didn't work.

The best thing about Lake House was the UST -- the unresolved sexual tension. That's what I need to do in my story. And the entire story is about these two people having to "wait."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wondering: anti-global warming

Hubby and I were pondering -- yep, while in bed-- why so many Christian evangelicals seem to want to not believe in the global warming.

One would think that with the book of Revelations we'd want to believe in GW. (No, not George W.) Is it because the idea of messing up the earth offends them because they don't want to believe man's stewardship can mess up the earth? Is it because global warming tends to blame United States for this problem and American Christians don't want to change their way of life or judge the United States?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PEN's Day of the imprisoned author

November 15th is PEN's Day of the imprisoned author.

Every year on November 15, PEN marks the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to honor the courage of all writers who stand up against repression and defend freedom of expression and the right to information. On this Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN is focusing on five cases—one from each world region and each illustrating the type of repression that is brought to bear every day against those who question, challenge or expose official lies or who paint portraits of everyday lives through their writings. PEN invites its members and friends around the world to send appeals on their behalf.

Check out the website to learn more.

While you're at it, check out Voices Against Torture: Writers and Lawyers on the Way Forward. On December 16th,
The American Constitution Society and PEN will host a panel featuring writers and lawyers discussing their work and its relationship to combating torture. With: Jane Mayer, Anouar Benmalek, Elisa Massimino, and Scott Horton; moderated by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick. The discussion panel will be held in NYC
Check here on the PEN website for More

Gypsy Tears by Cora Schwartz

On this day in history, Nov 15th 1943, the Nazis began putting gypsies into concentration camps.

ISBN 978-0-9760896-9-8
Published 2007
244 pages

Rating: Excellent
Gypsy Tears -- Loving a Holocaust Survivor By Cora Schwartz
published by Hobblebush Books,

Here's the blurb:
An unusual, beautifully written, and important first novel by Cora Schwartz, based on the true story of her life living with a holocaust survivor. In a magical and haunting style, Ms. Schwartz weaves an intense love story that answers the question asked so many times since her husband's death: "What was it really like living with a holocaust survivor?" As Ms. Schwartz carries us along in a grand sweep through Yugoslavia, Russia and Romania in the 1960s, the depth of her relationship with Rudy becomes a tragic work of art as she allows us a peek into the soul of a holocaust victim in an artful and deeply moving way. The timeliness of this cannot be overstated now when there are those who deny the holocaust happened.

My review is up at blogcritics

She also wrote another book:

Here's the blurb:
Forty-five Holocaust survivors in a small town in Ukraine would have been forgotten but for an American woman, Cora T. Schwartz. Cora first visited Mogelov with her companion, Rudy, who spent four years in a Nazi labor camp in the region. Although he is gone, Cora carries on their commitment to "never forget" these elderly citizens. The Forgotten Few is a small book with a big message conveyed in both text and photographs. Despite suffering and destitution, the seniors' faces light up when Cora arrives - laden with medicines and donations. Beauty is within them. Describing Frida Shvarzbahn, for example, the author writes, "Here is a woman...who has survived all the horrors of the camps, the ghetto and the war… and yet ...manages to create beautiful poetry. She sits in her little room, rations out 5 grams of sugar a day for her tea and writes about love."

Anyways, check out my review on blogcritics.

-CShe operates a Writers' retreat center called My Retreat in South Fallsburg, NY

what the heck is going on? Picking on the sistahs

I was over at my ebuddy's website Her name is Erica and her post was about T-Pain's Chopped and Screwed. So of course I went over to check this video out.

As luck or fate or gestalt would have it, another ebuddy --this one a black guy-- had also sent me an email about a youtube video. it looks as if black women are the devil now. All these black guys bewailing our meanness.

Okay, I'm the mother of sons so maybe that will make me distrust a few girls. And I DO tend to think that Black guys are pretty sweet. But hey, we black women can't all be that bad.

I really have to do some pondering though because I've been watching The Real Chance of Love on Vh1 and I DO kinda find myself thinking the non-black girls are a might more polite and sweet than the black girls. Thank God for Rabbit, though. She looks sweet. I hope black women haven't really gone overboard with their toughness.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Stephen Baldwin's fiction book

Okay, I'm reading Stephen Baldwin's Book, "The Life and Death of Gabriel Phillips." It's the first book I'll be reading for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance since I joined them. Okay, let me admit it: I like Christian films, the kind of stuff you see on Lifetime which is all rural and nostalgic. Heck, I'm a black girl but I'm American. I like country boys. I like sweet corn fed guys with decent rural natures. I like a guy in flannel and denim sitting behind the wheel of a pickup truck. But, okay, those are movies.

When it comes to books, I really have a problem with Christian fiction because like much of Christianity, Christian fiction tends to be sentimental, preachy, nostalgic about Caucasian ways. And honestly, some of the folks I see in Christian fiction are folks who would probably think I'm a sinner or at least not Christian enough. Their tolerance for non-normal behavior just isn't there. And some of these folks would probably have "reasons" to dislike me...ranging from politics to race to my interracial marriage. It's very hard to root for a character when she reminds you of racist folks you've dealt with and when you're saying, "Heck! This woman would be totally racist against me in real life." (Yeah, I think that when I watch old thirties heart-felt films like Grapes of Wrath too. I'm a cynic; I just can't help it.)

So imagine my joy when I got what seemed like a dark novel from a Christian company. If you've followed this blog of mine, you'll notice that I seem to have a dark streak. I'll post books but the ones I actually read or review for or or are books like Somaly Mam's autobiography of her life as a child prostitute. I just feel better with the darker side of life.

So then, up comes this book and dang, if it isn't well-written! Toooo well-written, I think. Heck, I don't write that well! Stephen Baldwin co-wrote it with Mike Tabb. So, what exactly does co-write mean? Did Stephen do the plot and Mike write the actual book? Call me a cynic but the book is so well written I just don't think a new writer could write this well. Unless Stephen's been secretly practicing writing all these years.

Anyways, some Christian folks are actually squirming about the bad words in this book. I love my Christian brothers and sisters but sometimes I want to scream: "Stop acting as if you have all these rarefied emotions. Are you really going to get all bent out of shape over the F-word? or the d-word? or the h-word?" ::rolling eyes:: come on, folks! I (generally) don't use the words. Once or twice a year, maybe. But I will say that people who seem so pristine and unworldly kinda turn me off.

I don't want to talk about the review, though. Will write the review and post it to blogcritics over the weekend. But the book has a premise I really find hard to swallow...and it better prove itself -- believably-- to me by the end or else I will scream about how preachy it is.

Enough said.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dexter, Dexter, Dexter

Well, on HBO's Dexter -- Dexter is a serial killer who has managed to hold himself to killing only bad folks-- Dexter killed a Catholic woman who was dying and who needed euthanasia.

So then...
Oh brother, they are really fooling around with moral issues, uh? Slippery slope city. Remember the third aliens. All these issues pop up and one sees the need for moral relativity. Like when Ripley gets pregnant with the alien and has to abort herself. I'm wondering about the moral issue in the Dexter stories. First, can/should a serial killer kill other serial killers if that serial killer only kills bad folks and folks in need of death? Who knows?

Next, Catholic woman has been failed by her faith and finds a way out of the crisis put on her by her faith by getting someone else to kill her. No thought of maybe a miracle healing her because God is dead or at least seriously missing and the woman is following her religion's doctrine but it has betrayed her. Who knows? Very scary. Stuff for greater minds than mine to figure out. But it seems to be very well done. I've seen stories by moral folks which are so crappy that the moral or doctrine comes off preachy and doesn't exactly challenge the slippery slopes. Is there a stalwart type with black and white morality in Dexter? And -- probably, because it's hollywood-- I bet he's an asshole. Isn't it interesting when you find yourself totally disliking everything a character believes in but still liking a show or a character? It's such a moral quandary. Moral quandaries are good, I suspect because it shows that we are empathetic character and at the same time we want some standard of behavior. What to do?

The lady asked Dexter to kill her, out of desperation – she was in constant pain, and had been told by the doctors that her tumor had slowed its growth, so she was actually doomed to live and suffer even longer. And after asking him she regretted it, and apologized to Dexter. The regret and apology is all part of what's expected alas. She has asked and that is what matters. I always like seeing how these things are handled. We the audience think "pain is a terrible thing and yes, let's free her from her sorrows." Very difficult morally to disagree with empathizing with another person's pain.

The closest the series came to a stalwart type with black and white morality would be an FBI guy from last season but then there was the hanky-panky with someone under his command.

So no black and white types. I wonder if that's a good thing. I like varying shades of gray but I also like total black/immoral and total white/moral. The nearest thing we have to total black, it seems, are the baddies Dexter kills. Moral folks on TV tend to be really smarmy, though. Or innocently naive. Or idealistic and young. Or hypocritical. Or assholes. The trouble is that in real life the types who consider themselves moral are usually not so moral. Everytime I hear a right wing politician defend his views on abortion by saying they value the sanctity of life, I tell myself I would believe them if they weren't so keen on the death penalty and if they weren't so greedy or so imperialistic. Hey, I'm a pro-lifer but I'm pro-life all the way. And I don't go around pretending to be so holy and pious.

FILM: A Good day to be black and sexy

I'll recommend this because it's black and I have to support black arts. Alas I DO wonder about the morality of some of our people. One of these stories is about adultery. Sharing men seem to be pretty overdone in the black community. But that's all I'll say.

A Good day to be black and sexy

Official Selection: Sundance Festival
Nominee for Breakthrough Director: Gotham Independent Film Awards
Official Selection: AFI Fest

written and directed by dennis dortch
produced by layla mashavu, dennis dortch, adetoro makinde
cinematography by brian ali-harding
editing by dennis dortch, tangier a. clarke
casting by adetoro makinde
original music by henry "lukecage" willis
executive producers angela flowers-dortch, ben ramsey, jonathan cutler, paula parsons
site curator/fotographer miss numa

Here's a bit of the blurb from their myspace page :

I set out to make a relationship film updating the theme of "Black is Beautiful." Even though the stories are not necessarily directly on that theme, it's all there in the imagery and composition. A film with soul. The Blackness. I was purposely looking to approach each vignette with a slightly different approach, style, and tone. It was a chance to be creative with film language and music in multiple directions in the same film that spoke to the same goal. The result is a 'Mixtape on Film.’

-d. dortch

Here's the youtube video

For more information contact them at blackandsexymovie (at)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CFBA: One Holy Night

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Holy Night

Sheaf House (April 1, 2008)


J. M. Hochstetler


J. M. Hochstetler writes stories that always involve some element of the past and of finding home. Born in central Indiana, the daughter of Mennonite farmers, she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Germanic languages. She was an editor with Abingdon Press for twelve years and has published three novels.

One Holy Night, a contemporary miracle story for all seasons, released in April 2008. Daughter of Liberty (2004) and Native Son (2005), books 1 and 2 of the American Patriot Series are set during the American Revolution. Book 3, Wind of the Spirit, is scheduled for release in March 2009. Hochstetler is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and Historical Novels Society.


In 1967 the military build-up in Viet Nam is undergoing a dramatic surge. The resulting explosion of anti-war sentiment tears the country apart, slicing through generations and shattering families. In the quiet bedroom community of Shepherdsville, Minnesota, the war comes home to Frank and Maggie McRae, whose only son, Mike, is serving as a grunt in Viet Nam.

Frank despises all Asians because of what he witnessed as a young soldier fighting the Japanese in the south Pacific during WWII. The news that his son has fallen in love with and married Thi Nhuong, a young Vietnamese woman, shocks him. To Frank all Asians are enemies of his country, his family, and himself. A Buddhist, Thi Nhuong represents everything he despises. So he cuts Mike out of his life despite the pleas of his wife, Maggie; daughter, Julie; and Julie s husband, Dan, the pastor of a growing congregation.

Maggie is fighting her own battle--against cancer. Convinced that God is going to heal her, Frank plays the part of a model Christian. Her death on Thanksgiving Day devastates him. Worse, as they arrive home from the gravesite, the family receives news of Mike s death in battle. Embittered, Frank stops attending church and cuts off family and friends.

By the time a very pregnant Thi Nhuong arrives on his doorstep on a stormy Christmas Eve, Frank is so filled with hate that he slams the door in her face, shutting her out in the bitter cold. Finally, overcome by guilt, he tries to go after her, but driving wind and snow force him back inside. With the storm rising to blizzard strength, he confronts the wrenching truth that what hate has driven him to do is as evil as what the Japanese did all those years earlier, and that he needs forgiveness as desperately as they did ...

Frank doesn't know that what God has in mind this night is a miracle. As on that holy night so many years ago, a baby will be born and laid in a manger--a baby who will bring forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Holy Night, go HERE.

Monday, November 10, 2008

CFBA: Until We Reach Home

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Until We Reach Home

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


Lynn Austin


For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. She has published twelve novels. Three of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, and Fire by Night have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, and 2004 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005.

Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

Among her lastest books are A Proper Pursuit and A Woman's Place


Life in Sweden seems like an endless winter for three sisters after their mother's and father's suicide. Ellin feels the weight of responsibility for her sisters' welfare and when it circumstances become unbearable, she writes to her relatives in Chicago, pleading for help.

Joining sixteen million other immigrants who left their homelands for America between 1890 and 1920, Ellin, Kirsten, and Sophia begin the long, difficult journey. Enduring the ocean voyage in steerage and detention on Ellis Island, their story is America's story. And in a journey fraught with hardships, each woman will come to understand her secret longings and the meaning of home.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Until We Reach Home, go HERE

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Illegitimate: How a Loving God Rescued a Son of Polygamy

Illegitimate: How a Loving God Rescued a Son of Polygamy
By: Brian J. Mackert, Susan Martins Miller
320 pages
Vendor: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 1434766918
ISBN-13: 9781434766915

Here's the blurb:
Brian J. Mackert was raised in a splinter group of the LDS church that endorsed polygamy. He later embraced a true relationship with Christ and became a licensed Baptist minister. In addition to his profession as a telecom engineer, Brian regularly speaks to church groups about the realities of radical Mormonism. In Illegitimate, Brian Mackert shares his testimony of growing up on a Fundamentalist Mormon compound in Utah. As a son in a family of one father, four wives and 31 children, Mackert experienced firsthand the devastating realities of polygamous cults. He reveals a world of loving mothers and abusive fathers, deceptive religion and the truth that he eventually found in Jesus Christ. His amazing story of healing and redemption demonstrates the incredible love of God, and His ability to bring light into the darkest of places.

Here is the youtube video

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Who am I? Myself

Well, the election is over. Mercifully! I suppose I'm glad Obama won (as opposed to the other one). It's historic. It's good for the African-American soul.

But I was for Nader. I'm always for Nader. Hence my problem. I am also so myself, always have been, and yet I've never been at peace being myself.

The last two years have been interesting and burdensome. My Christian evangelical friends -- mostly the white and hispanic ones-- kept expecting Christians to vote for McCain. Good lord, the way they were acting it was as if Obama was the anti-christ himself. In fact, I remember getting an email to the effect that someone had dreamt that Obama was indeed the anti-christ. Nah, I don't think so. (Of course I could be wrong, but who knows?) I just think Obama wouldn't like me as a friend. I think he'd think he was better than me. I think he'd scorn me -- in much the same way atheists scorn me.

Then there were my black friends. Whether Democrat or Republicans, most of them assumed I would vote for Obama. But why exactly should I vote for him?

Honestly, I'm 48 -- soon to be 49. I've spent a great deal of my life being treated badly by Christian and atheist whites and by rich and poor blacks. I could tell you stories but I won't go on. I tend to go through life on the borderline. The way I figure it, I live in God's kingdom. To the white christians, America is an extension of that kingdom. And to the black christians Obama's success is some kind of joyous enthronement of good.

A part of my problem is that I've been so wounded by every side that I'm a bit of a curmudgeon. I just don't give much of a damn about what certain herds to which I ostensibly belong do or have or praise. Besides, as I have said, I don't really believe Obama would include me in his herd. But the other part of it is that I always think that Ralph Nader speaks deeply on the issues. When I say this, folks say, "You're throwing away your vote!" So? If my integrity says to do something I do it. My integrity is not dependent on who will win. I'm a Christian, after all. If I knew Jesus would have been crucified I still would follow him. I have no great need to win. Besides, voting for Nader helps the guy pay for his campaign and helps to establish the third party system.

In the meantime, I have returned to myself. And I am brave enough to say it here. Hopefully this bravery will help remove the woundedness I often feel when I get rejections from those who think I should be more herdlike. Truly for someone who walks the borderlands and who has integrity I care way too much what people think of me. And that isn't good for one's health. But at least I'm being a tiny little bit brave. On this day after the historic election, I dare to say that I voted for Nader. Life's fine. And perhaps I'm learning not to care what either of my herd thinks.

Part of the situation is this: I have never been able to be swept away or carried away by anything earthly or human. It's probably not exactly the best of traits but alas that's the way I am. I didn't get all swoony when Mel Gibson created The Passion. I don't go into paroxysms of grief when some great leader of the black or Christian or whatever community dies. And if I get all carried away about anything or anyone, it's usually about someone no one else in the world would have liked or thought twice about. And it's often about someone the world has hated. In short I save my extreme joy and my extreme grief for God and for those very like Jesus. I don't try to do it. That's just the way I am. It takes a lot to rock me; what can I say?

Wow!!! Mattilda also posted on not being too excited about Obama. Nice. We folks who battle fibromyalgia are definitely fighters against the norm...even when we seem to be fighting those normal expectations of those who are supposedly on our side.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Am presently in geek heaven. The studio hubby works for also does a magazine that reviews PC games. So, of course yours truly ends up with one of these games. Am totally enjoying it. I love puzzle games and this one is very sweet, kinda remininicient of Myst although not as beautiful. But it's innocent and no guns or sex in sight. (Okay, so I'm trying to figure out puzzles in order to crack safes and steal someone's will, but hey that's relatively harmless when we're in the realm of computer game crimes.) Definitely a book an old-fashioned goodie-two-shoe puzzle-loving Christian would love. It's very intuitive, especially if you understand puzzles. So yeah, safecracker is super fun. You KNOW I'll be spending my thanksgiving playing this thing. And I'm super-grateful it fell into my hands. Little things like this just make my day.

Plus I'm totally addicted to Estate of Panic on SciFi channe1. It's a great put painfully scary (vicariously) scifi reality game. -C

CFBA: Rain Song

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Rain Song

Bethany House (October 1, 2008)


Alice J. Wisler


Alice sold her first story to David C. Cook for a take-home Sunday School paper called Sprint. The year was 1988, this was her first submission to a paying market, and the check sent to her was for $125.00.

She was on her way!

Since then, Alice has sold articles and devotions to the Upper Room, Alive Now, Standard Publishing, ByLine magazine and others.

In 2006 she sent her novel Rain Songto Bethany House...and the rest is history! She signed a two -book deal and the second, How Sweet It Is will be out in 2009.


Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his emails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rain Song, go HERE

Sunday, November 02, 2008

CFRB: Leaps of Faith

This month, CFRB presents Leaps of Faith, an anthology edited by Karina and Robert Fabian.

About the Book:
Believe in a future where science and faith live side-by-side? Leaps of Faith contains 15 stories exploring space, time and faith. Can an ancient religion bring hope to first-line explorers for whom each trip is potential suicide? What does it mean when a physicist finds God's face in the stars? Is there a "saint gene" and can it be reproduced to create miracles? What happens to your soul when your body is shattered into quantum elements and reassembled on another world? How will the Christian faith transform alien thoughts and traditions?

Read as time travelers seeking to change Biblical history and space travelers harvesting "angels" are brought to faith by their experiences. Experience tender romance and heart-pounding adventure. Laugh at the foilables of man.

A 2002 EPPIE finalist for Best Electronic Anthology, Leaps of Faith promises the best in Christian sci-fi.

Purchase Leaps of Faith at The Writer's Cafe Press.
Check out the YouTube Video.
Visit the Leaps of Faith Website.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

First Nations/Native American heritage speculative fiction

The CARL BRANDON SOCIETY recommends the following speculative fiction books by writers of First Nations/Native American heritage for American Indian Heritage Month (November):

THE WAY OF THORN AND THUNDER trilogy, Daniel Heath Justice
This trilogy speculatively re-imagines the Cherokee history of removal and relocation and redefines European fantastical tropes using Cherokee-centered imagery and worldviews.

One of the best books I've ever read: a funny, sad, gorgeous story that ties together a contemporary narrative about 
Indians living on Canada's prairies with slightly skewed creation myths and accounts of the historical horrors endured by First Nations people during the continent's European colonization

A wry love story that also incorporates critiques of nuclear testing and dumping on Native lands.

A collection of short stories from Sanders' entire career. You can see some of his best here, including the alternate history "The Undiscovered," in which a shanghaied, shipwrecked Shakespeare is trapped in 16th Century Appalachia and must stage his plays among the Cherokee, and the near-future "When the World is All on Fire" when climate change and toxic waste have caused Indian reservations to become prime property again.

ALMANAC OF THE DEAD, Leslie Marmon Silko
Silko uses magical realism to chronicle numerous characters' journeys toward the prophetic, violent end of white dominance in the Americas.

TANTALIZE, Cynthia Leitich Smith
A departure from Smith's previous, realistic Indian YA stories, this YA novel jumps onto the vampire bandwagon, this time in a vampire-themed restaurant in Texas.

THE BONE WHISTLE, Eva Swan (Erzebet Yellowboy)
The Bone Whistle is about a woman who discovers her true heritage. She is the child of a wanaghi, one of the creatures of Native-American folklore.

THE NIGHT WANDERER, Drew Hayden Taylor
A gothic young adult vampire story.

A coming-of-age story of a native Canadian boy obsessed with Iron Maiden. Has elements of magical realism.

Perhaps the first Native American science fiction, this is a journey through a dystopian future United States destroyed by the collapse of the fuel supply.

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