Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best Christian Fiction Reads of 2009

I enjoyed many great books this year. It seems with each passing of an old year I find myself more torn about which ten books to list as my favorites because there are really just so many great books that have been released this year. But it's my responsibility as a book blogger to compile a list, so I'll join all the other bloggers and post my best of the best of 2009.

Gold Star Award goes out to my novel, Secrets and Lies. Why? Because I wrote it and I can't not say something about it. It certainly gave me the most joy to read in 2009 because my life long dream of being published had been realized. LOL. On to the list: 

1. The Bishop's Daughter - Tiffany L. Warren

Loved this one for it's fresh, original voice and humor.

2. The List - Sherri Lewis

It's no secret that Sherri Lewis is my favorite author. Again loved the humor. If you knew what I did for a living you'd understand why I need it.

3. The Someday List - Stacy Hawkins Adams

Stacy is also a favorite of mine, but the fact that I loved this novel did in fact suprise me. I reflect on life almost daily, so a novel about a character "reflecting on life" did not appeal to me at the onset, but as usual with Stacy's work, the characters took me by surprise. I absolutely loved it.

4. What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy

Gripping, haunting and painfully real. Great writing. Great story.

5. Lady Jasmine by Victoria Christopher Murray

I just love that wicked Jasmine. What can I say. It's all in fun. Defer to #1 and #2. Great writing and humor.

6. The Ideal Wife by Jacquelin Thomas

Most original premise I've read in a long time.

7. Step to This by Nikki Carter (Young Adult novel)

I rarely ever, ever read YA novels. I'm just old I think and I don't get them, but this one was fabulous. Had to make my list. I recommend the entire series for your teens.

8. Sins of the Father by Angela Benson

Great story. Nuff said.

9. Not Guilty of Love by Pat Simmons

Really great story. Made me want to go back and read the first book, but I didn't feel like I had to.

10. Redemption Lake by Monique Miller

Again, great story. Great writing. Great themes. Definitely worth the wait from this author.

Other notable page turners: The Devil Is A Lie by ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Worth A Thousand Words by Stacy Hawkins Adams, The Last Woman Standing by Tia McCollors

Books that touch on subjects of pornography, child molestation and gambling, you know those subjects that needed some touching: Illusions by Wanda B. Campbell, After The Feeling by T.N. Williams, A Deep Dark Secret by Kimberla Lawson Roby, and Til Debt Do Us Part by Michelle Larks.

Books that I look forward to reading in early 2010 that were released in 2009 that I just didn't get to:

Prodigal by Zaria Garrison
The Manual by Sherryle K. Jackson
Amaryllis by Nikita Nichols

I did the first chapter test with all three of these. That's where I read chapter 1 to determine if the book is going in one of three piles: 1) TBR ASAP, 2) TBR as time permits and 3) To be given away. Making #1 is a huge deal and usually a book that makes it in that pile never disappoints. So, I'll report on those early in the year. The Manual is first on the list.

What are some great reads you've read this year?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Author Sherri Lewis Shares: What She's Grateful For This Christmas

What I'm Grateful For This Christmas
Sherri Lewis

This has been a huge year for me and it would be hard to say everything I’m grateful for. For one, I took a huge leap of faith walked away from my 15-year career as a Family Physician to chase God and chase my dreams. I’ve always wanted to be an artist – writer, singer, songwriter – anything creative. In the past year, I’ve been able to focus on my writing career more. I feel like God is flooding me with creativity. If I had time to sit down and write novels for all the stories that are in my mind right now, I’d have a full library. Haven’t gotten back to my music yet, but I’ll get there soon.
I’m also called to teach the word of God and to go to the nations. It’s always been my dream to minister to young people in Africa. Since leaving my job, I’ve been to Cameroon twice and it’s been beyond my greatest expectations. God is opening doors in other nations in Africa. I feel like Dora the Explorer and can’t wait to see the treasures each country holds. I’m looking forward to taking in new sights, sounds, music, dress, cultures, but most importantly new people. I’m amazed at the divine connections God has been setting up – I’m meeting long lost friends in other nations.
So my life is exciting and scary at the same time. I feel like I’m waking up from a long, deep sleep and rediscovering who I am and what I love. I’m coming into that space of knowing what I’m on the planet for and living in the amazingly adventurous place of purpose and destiny. There’s nothing more exciting and fulfilling than being in the center of God’s perfect plan for your life.
Even with all that, what I’m most thankful for this year is my family. We went through a health nightmare this summer when my father almost died several times from complications of routine surgery. God was faithful not only to spare his life, but to restore his health beyond any doctor’s prediction. I’m glad that Daddy is alive and still brilliant, loving and completely hilarious. But I’m even more grateful to have a new appreciation for family, friends, and just life in general. I tend to be very purpose driven and often forget what’s most important in life. Watching my Dad literally come back from the dead completely changed my perspective on what matters most. I’m learning to relax more. Rest more. Enjoy the simple things in life more. I’m spending more time with my family and reaching out to meet new friends. Love, family, friends, and “fruit that remains” are now my priority.
Finally, I’m grateful for a deeper intimacy with God. Living “by faith”, being completely dependent on Him and fighting for my father’s life this summer has taken me to a deeper relationship with God. I’m celebrating the true meaning of Christmas this year.

About The Author
Sherri Lewis is the author of three Essence Bestselling novels that bring new life to the words "edgy Christian Fiction". She writes from her heart with the a spirit of excellence that has marked her place at the top of the list of must read authors. Her highly acclaimed novels My Soul Cries Out, Dance Into Destiny and The List receive rave reviews by all. On March 1, 2010, her fourth novel, Selling My Soul will be released. You may learn more about Sherri at her website  

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Author Daphine Robinson shares "What She's Grateful For This Christmas"

"What I'm Grateful For This Christmas"
Daphine Robinson

Many years ago, it looked as if my husband and I might end up a childless couple. After two devastating miscarriages and much prayer, we had our first child and three years later, a son.

This time of year I am particularly reflective as I remember the promise I made to God many years ago. "Lord, if you allow me to have children, I promise I'll raise them in your will and way and let them know they are special gifts from you to us." As I look at them each day, I remember that promise and thank the Lord for being faithful and true. It may sound cliché, but I'm very thankful for my family. I'm surrounded each day by people who have no special person in their life, no one to make them smile-and worse, no faith.

I honestly believe without faith, I would have nothing.

I realize the Lord has given me a special gift in my family and not just the family in my house. My biological family, my husband's family, and friends who are like family make me thank the Lord that I am loved. I am so thankful the Lord loved my husband and me enough to bless us with our own family, but I'm even more thankful he sent his son to us many years ago.

About The Author
Daphine Glenn Robinson is the author of Brotherly Love and Betrayal, and Caring What People Think. She lives in NC with her family and is currently working on her third novel Untold Lies. Visit her website for more information.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Author Myra Rutledge: Shares What She's Grateful For This Christmas

Gratefulness This Christmas
Myra Rutledge

Through the storms of life I am learning what it means to be grateful in all things. No matter what happens God is still in control. This is the reason to be forever grateful.
But going through, sometimes our faith can be challenged. Being human, we tend to lean more on what is seen rather than the unseen. That is why I can honestly say that I am learning to be thankful in all situations because the battle is not mine but the Lord’s. I pray daily, to walk more in the spirit rather than the flesh. It is a learning process that can be accomplished as we grow in the Lord.
During this Christmas Season I am most grateful for the people I have met and the creative gifts the Lord has blessed me to have. I am most grateful for the internet and the websites, such as faceback, and myspace. I have met some great people on these sites.
I am grateful for the love and support of family and the beginning of new acquaintances. And most of all, I thank God for sparing my husband. He suffered a severe heart attack the earlier part of this year. God spared his life, and delivered him from smoking. God is good, God is great, God is…and I am just so grateful!
As we go about this Christmas Season, I am remembering the reason for Christmas. God sent His Son to redeem us (lost souls) back to Him. God is forever giving and that is why we should give back to Him what He has given to us.  

About the Author
Myra Rutledge is a Christian writer and a life-long resident of Birmingham, Al. She’s the author of the poetry book, A Powerful Woman. The upcoming Souls Harbor, published through Nevaeh publishing, is her debut novel. As a poet, speaker, or gospel singer, Myra Rutledge is available for bookings at women’s events, schools, church programs, or anywhere she may uplift the Lord’s name by using her voice. While on Facebook, please join the group, Souls Harbor (Inspirational Romance Novel). This is a page dedicated to promoting the novel, “Souls Harbor.”

Website:  and

Friday, December 18, 2009

Author Bernard Boulton: What He's Grateful For This Christmas

Bernard Boulton
            Gratitude is an emotion that stirs my heart and causes me to reflect on all that the Father has given me.  Gratitude reminds me that I am endowed and not entitled. What I mean is all that I have has been graciously given to by my heavenly Father was not because of who I am but because of who He is. He has chosen to bless me not because of, but in spite of. I have been endowed with life and family. I have been endowed with good health and because of the health challenges that I went through at the beginning of this year I went on a diet and lost a considerable amount of weight and have successfully made some good lifestyle changes that allowed me to experience healing in my body. I am in the ministry that God has called me to and He has given me many opportunities to minister in His name. I am grateful for old relationships and for new relationships with persons who has impacted my life and motivated me to walk in my destiny.
            I am grateful because I know that the list of blessings that I could write was not given to me because of my pedigree or societal connections or because my family has a famous name. I am not entitled to any of the blessings that I enjoy. I have experienced favor in my relationships and in my life because God has delighted in me.
            I am grateful for memories of past Christmases from my childhood. My mother really sacrificed to make Christmas a time of joy for her children. She was a single parent with three sons and a daughter and as children we had no idea what it took for her to give us everything that we wanted for Christmas. My mother’s objective in this season was to see her children happy. As I reflect on her and all that she was to us and all that she did for us I have to say thank You God for my mother.
            I am grateful that my understanding of the sacrifice that God our Father made by giving His Son is realized through my faith and belief in His word but I also have an understanding of His gift through the example that my Mother illustrated for me in her own life. I am grateful for her example and I try to live by
daily. I am grateful because I have found liberation through making sacrifices for the ones that I love.
I am grateful for my history, my journey and my future. I want to encourage everyone to use gratitude as a measuring stick. Measure your blessings from yesterday with a grateful heart and anticipate what is coming for you tomorrow because your gratitude is energized by your hope. Be grateful during this Christmas season.
About The Author 
Bernard Boulton is a writer with a mission to write relevant stories that reach real people. His debut novel is Do You Wanna Be Made Whole? You can read an excerpt or contact him at

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Author Shawneda Marks: What I'm Grateful For This Christmas

What I'm Grateful For This Christmas
Shawneda Marks

This time two years ago financial challenges become life changing as my husband’s trucking company hauling housing materials began to feel the beginning of the economic downturn. While I was not even a month pregnant my Dad fell ill, misdiagnosed three time by the end of my first trimester he passed. I experienced several unresolved medical issues during my pregnancy after we buried my Dad. Clamoring for peace I prayed and God gave me assurance our child would be fine. God blessed us with a successful birth I shared the news with my birth son given up for adoption, and all communication from his side stood still. As the forecast of my life began to look bleak I had two choices give in to the pressure or reach out to God to be my strength. My faith in God and love of worship called me back from the invitation to look at the glass half empty.

This Christmas I'm grateful for what some consider the basic things in life. I am blessed to have my relationship with God, health, safety, shelter, loving family and a few sincere friends. Instead of focusing on the things I've lost I focus on how much God loves me. I thank Him for a temporary work assignment to help rebuild financially, a husband who supports my purpose as well as dreams and a healthy happy little girl. In addition to the basic blessings I'm thankful for the people God has brought into my life who share my passions worshipping God, wellness and words.

About the Author
Shawneda Marks is affectionately known as the activist author. Her new novel, It's in My Blood was available on December 1, 2009, World AIDS Day. She lives in metropolitan Atlanta with her husband and daughter. Find out more about her visit

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Author Nikita Nichols: What I'm Grateful For This Christmas

“What I’m Most Grateful For This Christmas”
Nikita Nichols

What I'm most grateful for this Christmas is the fact that I actually lived this long to see it. It is truly God's blessing that I've come this far in life. Sometimes health and strength can be taken for granted not realizing that in a blink of an eye, the very things we don't always appreciate, can be taken away. This holiday season is a special one for me. I am releasing my 4th fictional novel, "A Woman's Worth" on December 24th, Christmas Eve. Truly this is my gift from the Lord and I appreciate the talent He has instilled in me. It puts joy in my heart to know that readers are satisfied and happy. I've come to learn that Christmas isn't about receiving gifts but it's about gift giving. Most of all, it's a day to acknowledge the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I celebrate Him.
About the Author
Nikita Lynnette Nichols is employed at the Chicago Transit Authority. She is a member of The Progressive Life-Giving Word Cathedral under the leadership of Apostle Donald Lawrence Alford. She enjoys shoe shopping and indulging in milk chocolate every chance she gets. Nichols is currently writing her fifth and most anticipated novel entitled, 'Crossroads', releasing April, 2011. She resides in the southwest suburbs of Illinois.
You may learn more about Nikita at her website

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Author Vanessa Richardson: What She's Grateful For This Christmas

"What I'm Grateful For This Christmas"
Vanessa Richardson

There is so much I am grateful for!  I fear I don’t have enough space to list them all. There is not a day that goes by that I am not both mindful and grateful to my first love. God.  I am grateful to God for life, happiness, health, family, and His gifts (oh, how I wish singing was one of them!), He has deemed fit to bless me with.  In additions to those things; I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to share with you (thanks Rhonda!) my forth coming inspirational stage production: God Knows My Heart!

It is my desire to give back to my community every year.  Annually, I inquire of my attendee’s  to give apart of themselves, by donating non perishable food items and donated winter clothes to give to those facing economic hardship around the Christmas Holiday. I must confess that there is something about Christmas that mellows even the hardest of hearts.  Last year, I didn’t charge an admittance fee, out of my heart and financial coffers, we-- my fierce drama team performed the stage production: God Knows My Heart!  We requested non perishable food items and donated winter clothing’s be given. I was overwhelmed with the feedback I received; particularly from our; African American community, it was enduring to witness.   There were those who couldn’t stay to see the performance, due to other established obligations; but sacrificed the time to bring their donated items to us. It was awesome! Just like our up and coming production: God Knows My Heart! The singing, the acting, and the message itself are awesome!

 If you're in the North Carolina are please come out and enjoy a night of soul stirring, thought provoking, and deep belly laughing good time.  Saturday, December 19th, 2009|6:00pm at The Sampson Community Center. Further inquires can be made by contacting Vanessa at
Synopsis for the Stage Play: God Knows My Heart!

Things are not always what they seem. Harmony Stillwater appears to have the picture perfect life. She has a wonderful husband and is owner of a successful Women’s Health Advocate Facility. Harmony has held a secret in her heart for years. To cope with the sins of the past, she buries herself into her work. Although becoming quite successful; Harmony can’t shake the feeling that something is missing in her life.

Just when Harmony thought she had put the past behind her, someone from her past knows of her secret and is on a revengeful mission to ruin Harmony’s happiness and home. Harmony will be forced to deal with her past or lose everything she loves dearly.

About the Author
Vanessa Richardson is an artist who is having a very exciting day on December 19th. Not only is her stage play God Knows My Heart debuting, but Love Found Me, her first Christian novel is also making it's debut. Vist Vanessa's website and blogs to learn more about

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Author Pat Simmons: "What She's Grateful For This Christmas."

What I’m Grateful This Christmas
By author Pat Simmons

Is it possible to be grateful for the same thing year after year? If not, let me break protocol.

Last year around Memorial’s Day, my son, Jared, was involved in a horrific car accident. He was a passenger in an SUV. The driver was racing down a busy street in speeds excessive of one hundred miles her hour. The vehicle crashed into a pole, rolled over, and exploded. His friend was ejected from the SUV. This time last year, I was praising the Lord for sparing his life when during the same night, other wrecks killed people.

A few days ago, my son, who is twenty-five, and I revisited that life-alternating day. Jared told me a woman who was traveling behind that SUV was an eye-witness to the accident. She didn’t know Jared at the time, and she described how his foot was shaking uncontrollably as it hung from the twisted metal of the SUV.
Most bystanders thought Jared was dying, so did the investigating officer. Even the reconstruction team was dispatched then turned away. God snatched him and the driver from Satan’s death grip that they should live. Read the complete story in my June 2008 newsletter at, and view pictures of Jared and the vehicle’s remains at entitled Jared.

So, here I am again, another Christmas, not only grateful for my material possessions: money, clothes, a house, car (well when it starts anyway) and my spiritual benefits of salvation, but I have no doubt next Christmas and the Christmas after that, and even as many Christmases as the Lord Jesus will give me that I’ll continue to be grateful for one thing—how God miraculously spared my son’s life.

About the Author
Pat Simmons is the author of the national bestselling and award winning "Guility Series". Her latest release Not Guilty of Love is avaliable wherever books are sold. You may learn more about Pat at

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Zaria Garrison shares "What She's Grateful for this Christmas"

What I am grateful for this Christmas

By Zaria Garrison

As the Christmas season approaches, I hear many people complaining. It surprises me that so many people have a negative image of what should be one of most joyous times of the year.  I have heard people moan about how Christmas is too commercial. Then others have talked about how the economy is so bad they can’t even think about celebrating. While others bemoan the fact that they are not in love, don’t have a large family, or otherwise may be alone during the holidays.  Lastly, there are those who feel that Christmas magic ends after childhood. The joy of Christmas disappears along with belief in Santa Clause.

I suppose all of these whiners do have valid points. It’s true that for many Christmas is very commercial. It’s about making money, selling items, and the almighty dollar. I also realize that the economy is bad right now. Many people are out of work and finances are tighter than Mariah Carey’s leggings.  It’s also true for many that Christmas becomes a lonely time without loves ones.  Lastly, I have to give validity to the fact that I don’t wake up on Christmas morning searching for a new Barbie, or a shiny red bicycle the way that I used to. All of these things are valid, in some ways.

However, this article is about what I’m grateful for this Christmas, and I have to say I am grateful that I do not feel any of those negative things when I think of Christmas.  I am grateful that while the rest of the world is caught up in black Friday sales, the lowest price of a Wii, and how much cash can be earned during the holidays, these things do not control me.  Of course I look for good prices, and I have a teen-ager to buy gifts for, but those things are not most important.

I am grateful that even though I don’t have a job God has continued to bless me and my son. We have a roof over our heads, we have food to eat, and we will have gifts on Christmas morning. Even in a bad economy, God is still in the blessing business.

On Christmas morning my mother will not be present, she is in heaven celebrating with my brother, and her other relatives who have gone to glory. Those of us left behind will miss them, but I am grateful that we have each other. 

As an adult, with a teen-aged son, I won’t wake up Christmas morning looking for toys with excitement. But I currently feel excited because I know what Christmas is all about. The joy of knowing that God sent his only son as a gift for me far outweighs any present I’ve ever received.  This Christmas I am grateful for his presence in my life.

If you are not happy with the commercialism of Christmas, then don’t buy into the hype. Your children will be happy with love on Christmas morning, even if that’s all that you can give them. Real genuine love lasts all year and doesn’t end up broken by December 27th.

This year at Christmas I am grateful that I have that love in my life. I am grateful that God is ordering my steps and blessing me abundantly.

This Christmas I hope you’ll allow Jesus to be born into your heart, so that you can feel the true joy of Christmas as well.

About the Author

Zaria Garrison is an award-winning author of Christian fiction who is committed to writing and publishing literature that ministers as well as entertains.  Her ministry goal is to promote literacy in the Christian community, by helping Christians to hear the gospel within the pages of literature.

Her first Christian fiction novel Prodigal was released by Urban Christian Imprint, a division of Kensington Publishers, October 2009.  She is also co-owner and staff writing of EKG Literary Magazine, which caters to all members of the literary community.

You can find her online at or                                                                

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Author Rhonda McKnight shares "What I'm Grateful For This Christmas"

I am grateful for so many things this Christmas. Typical things like my family, health, and income. I don't take them for granted. I reflect weekly on God's grace with respect to those areas in in my life. So when I thought about what I would share today for the start of this series I considered my book release party yesterday. It was an awesome time. I was so blessed by the number of people that came out to support me, and the kind words that people said about me. But there was one moment that touched my heart more than any other, and that was when I looked out in the crowd and saw the look of pride on my mother's face as she watched me sign books. Both my parents have lived to see my novel, Secrets and Lies released. I dedicated the novel to my aunt Laura who very much wanted to see the novel finished, but died three years ago. I have had to forgive myself for my procrastination and really accept that God’s timing is always the right time, but I would have so liked to look out and see her smiling at me too. I know she's looking down on me from heaven and she’s smiling. So, I thank God that my parents held my book last week and got the chance to tell me how very proud they are. Can you tell I’m crying? I am very grateful indeed.

Here's a picture of me with my awesome writers group, Faith Based Fiction Writers of Atlanta. I couldn't have done it without these ladies.  From left to right, starting at the top: Veronica F. Johnson, Sharon Ball (blogger-A Break from the Norm), author-Tia McCollors and she's holding her daughter, Regan (The Last Woman Standing), Tangie Henry (Inspired Sister), Pamela English (blogger-Pam's Perspective), me-Rhonda McKnight (Secrets and Lies), Vanessa Madden, author-Sherri Lewis (The List), author-T.S. Jones (Everything But The Ring), author-Melissa Ewell Miller (A Reason To Love). Bottom, from left to right: Trina Charles, author-Ashea Goldson (The Lovechild),  publicist-Dee Stewart (DeeGospelPR), and author-LaMonica Smith (A Meeting In The Ladies Room).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Secrets and Lies Book Release

This has been the most exciting week of my life. My novel, Secrets and Lies was released on last Tuesday. Some stores won't put it out until this coming Tuesday, but suffice to day, it's been sighted on the shelves in bookstores all over the county. Above is a picture I took and below is a picture of a reader in California digging in. Hi Sheryl! She finished it literally overnight. I was so pleased. I really appreciated the picture too. Readers are making this so fun.

So, I'm here, at the place I've been anticipating for two years and I have to tell you, it feels even better than I thought it would. I've had some great reviews. Click here to read them on Amazon. More are coming, they just haven't been posted. I've also had some great emails from readers. Here's a little from one I received just last night:

"Wow..I just finished the book and I am typing this between tears. It was AWESOME. I can't wait for you to publish another."

Can I say, wow, I'm typing through tears too? That's the best. The absolute best. I mean, I didn't mean to make her cry, but I'm glad she was moved. I'm glad the story touched her heart.

I'll keep you updated this week. For now you can visit two blogs for a chance to win the novel.

Here's a little from my interview at A Christian Writer's World and the link to read the rest:

SECRETS AND LIES - Rhonda McKnight - Free Book

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I actually think there’s very little of me in my characters. They’re a combination of different people I know, and my bad girl walked right out of my imagination. I had to dig deep to create her persona. But I will say there are elements of my life in the actual stories, more so in Secrets and Lies than my other projects, probably because it was my first novel.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Oh dear, I’m not too quirky, but I did perform Mariah Carey’s song “Hero” on a cruise boat during Karaoke. What was I thinking?

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

That’s an interesting question, click here for more and to comment to win a free book.

I'm also over at Chocolate City which is a cool urban site. Here's a little and link:

Secrets and lies in relationships: Is it ever okay to keep your past hidden?

“Communication is critical in relationships, but the only thing worse than a lack of communication is secrets and lies between you.”Rhonda McKnight, author of the novel, Secrets and Lies

I’ve always been blessed with nice skin, so whenever I have a pimple on my face it’s a major intrusion. I hate that toxic, bacteria and whatever else is in there brewing under the surface of my skin. But to keep from the dreaded thing from scaring, I don’t touch it. I always wait until the pimple comes to a head and burst on its own. Once the gook is out, I know that if I don’t pick or scratch at the surface my skin will eventually return to its clear, smooth state. 

I liken this to the hidden issues people bring into relationships. They’re toxins and bacteria that are growing under the surface waiting to erupt and spill their gook. But will everything go back to its normal state if the hidden issues are discovered rather than shared? Or will the source of the information pick and scratch at the heart of the person who feels deceived and betrayed? Click here to read more and enter to win a copy of Secrets and Lies.

As always, thanks for stopping by and I wish you a life where no one keeps secrets or tells lies.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I love this time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are my absolute favorite. I spend quality time with my parents and siblings and cousins. We play, laugh, hug and overeat until we just can't do it anymore. I consider myself to be very blessed. I know all families aren't that way. I know some people grieve the deaths of close loved-ones on holidays and honestly feel like they have nothing to feel grateful for. Many have relatives that are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and their absence is felt, the worry for their safety is foremost in your minds. But I implore you, no matter your situation, to embrace the grace God extends us all year long and do not let sadness, worry or depression overtake you. Be blessed and be grateful, no matter what the situation. In this life, it can always, always be worse than it is. God is always good and we always have things we can be thankful for. 

Enjoy and Love to You!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

African-American Authors Need Help

I'm reposting this letter because of all the niche genres in African-American fiction that are struggling, Christian Fiction is the hardest hit. I and my peers love writing these stories, but if they aren't purchased, if people share books rather than buy them, or at least ask their local libraries to stock them, our voices will be silenced. I know people who can't get books deals. People I've blogged about and authors you love. I trust God. I know that He is my source in all things, but I do ask you to pray, because He has told us to share our concerns with Him. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey (From Virginia DeBerry)

Dear Oprah:

We don't sing karaoke or dance with the stars. We have been contributing to the cultural landscape long before Jon & Kate, Britney,Rhianna and Chris or Stephanie Meyer and most of America, including you have probably never even heard of us.

We have railed against Kanye's proud pronouncement upon the publication of his 52 page book: Thank You and You're Welcome, that "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph." Huh?

We are writers and we are in trouble. Big trouble.

I would never have imagined myself writing this with the hundreds of thousands of emails and letters the show receives, I know the chances of this one actually getting through are somewhere between slim and non-existent. But one of the mantras my best friend/business partner and I lived by in the early days, was “It’s only postage.” Now it’s not even that. So I could not find a reason not to write and hit ‘send’. Like I said--we are in trouble.

Everyone knows that Oprah is a champion of reading, that books are one of her favorite things and it is precisely because of that passion that I send this note. I’m sure you are aware that publishing, like so many industries today—especially those centered around the arts, is struggling to keep up and figure their way through the maze of new media. What I’m not sure you know is how that struggle is affecting, or more accurately disaffecting an entire segment of writers--black novelists. Not the few who live in the rarefied literary echelons—Toni Morrison, Stephen Carter, Edwidge Dandicat etc. are doing fine—they enjoy the support of the media and the "wider" (whiter) population. These struggling authors also don’t include those who now make up the largest growing segment of Af-Am writers—urban/erotica authors whose books are acquired by publishers at little expense and sold at great profit. A quick look at the Af-Am displays in bookstores will make this trend abundantly clear. 

Click here to read more and please do pray about the state of quality African-American literature.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Interview with author, Shawneda Marks

Today I have the pleasure of introducing my friend and writing buddy, Shawneda Marks. Shawneda is a member of the writers group I'm in here in Atlanta. I got to peek at It's In My Blood during the early stages of it's development and it held much promise. I look forward to getting my copy and seeing how the story progressed.

Hello Shawneda.(I'll forgo calling you by your nickname this one time).  Introduce yourself to my readers. Hello readers, it all started on a farm in Mississippi three generations ago…kidding kidding. I’m a word lover whose been writing as long as I can recall. My favorite writing is creative writing: fiction, poetry and songs.

Tell us in your words what an author activist is. Activist author is someone who writes to inspire readers into action. In my case it is also someone who publishes books to hopefully add something to the readers’ life and deserving charitable organizations related to the focus of the book. Each of my books will have a portion of the net proceeds going to charities.

It’s In My Blood. Great title. What’s it about? It’s in My Blood is about an HIV positive young lady who is forced to go home by the circumstances in her life. Her short trip to garner her Dad’s wisdom becomes an appointment with destiny.

You’re releasing this novel on December 1st, World Aids Day. Tell us why that’s significant to you? Awareness about living with HIV/AIDS is a major part of this story. Rosalyn the main character is someone’s daughter, mother and friend. It was important to release the book on this day in honor of those who are living with and have lost their lives to complications caused by this disease.

Shawneda, you’re a busy wife, mother, employee , etc. All the stuff that makes this author stuff tough. Tell me how you balance it all and what do you say to a woman out there who’s trying to make her dreams come true, but feels like she can’t push past the family and work obligations?
It’s cheesy but I have a theme song “It’s the God in me” by Mary Mary. Before I’m any of these things I’m God’s. My day begins and ends with intercession and prayer. I turn my day over to Him and ask Him to enable me to get everything done in decency, order and excellence. I also rely heavily on support from my immediate family…my husband is very supportive. I do a lot of multi tasking and am reembracing an important word…no!

Besides Jesus, who inspires you? My mom Bernadette Thompson is my biggest inspiration. We lost my dad last year and her strength has really taught me something about love, fortitude and hope. Instead of falling apart she’s become stronger.

What’s your next project? I’m currently working on two projects Diamond Butterfly, a devotional for teen and adult women who have experienced emotional trauma and My True Essence a novel about how triple negative breast cancer impacts the lives of three friends.

Where can readers find you on the Internet? Easiest way to connect with me is to go to a link to the social media sites I frequent and my website community is there!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Marriage 101 - Blog Tour

Pursue the One You Love
by Jewell  Powell

Most couples reminisce about how the person they ultimately married actively pursued them for their time, attention, or love when they were dating. The pursuit to gain the affection of another person is known as courting. This active pursuit should not end just because you are now married. Women have been most noted to complain about their spouse’s lack of time and attention once they were married. All of the special things he once did (romantic dates, flowers, candy, thoughtful cards and gifts) have disappeared into the sea of forgetfulness.
Now, your husband sexually approaches you without even stroking your hair or kissing your neck. If this becomes the norm and you are frustrated by it, be sure to lovingly let your hubby know that you would like to include more romance into your sex life instead of just diving right into the act!
Remind him of all of the wonderful things that he did to get your attention and how this really made you fall in love with him. Married couples should continue to court one another and offer tokens of love and appreciation. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Even little signs of gratitude and courtship can go a long way in having a great marriage. Ladies, this cuts both ways. Be prepared to be reminded of some things that you may have done or let slip during your time of dating or early in your marriage when things were fresh, new and exciting. Both men and women need to remember how hard they once worked to impress each other. Why not do it now?
Another point that many couples will remember is that while courting and dating, it was difficult for them to keep their hands off one another and resist the sexual attraction they felt toward each other. Although the Scriptures clearly tell us that it is God’s desire that we abstain from sex until marriage, sex inside of marriage is His perfect plan for couples. Sex outside of marriage is fornication. Fornication is a sin against God. It is just like the enemy to entice and put pressure on couples to have sex before marriage. Then once they are married, couples may not find sex pleasurable anymore or they become disinterested. It is also a tactic of the enemy to make sexual intimacy that is sanctioned and blessed by God into something that couples want to avoid. Couples must be vigilant to submit themselves to God (His will) and resist the devil in every area of their lives, including their sexual relationship with their spouse, and he will flee (James 4:7). It is the will of God and His desire for married couples to have sex.   
Most couples listened carefully to one another when they were dating. Once married, it may be more difficult to find interest in some of the same stories your spouse shares. However, it is important to put the time and energy into listening to them talk about work, concerns about friends, and their outside interests. No matter how boring this may seem to you now, and how you may tire of hearing them rambling on about things that don’t interest you, this is an important part of making them feel important.
Think back. Remember how glad you were to be allowed into their inner-most thoughts, emotions, and dreams when you first started dating. Well, you got what you were looking for! Now, you are their friend and lover forever! Intently listen to what your spouse has to say and share your feelings and thoughts with them, as well. This verbal intimacy between couples is the preliminary step toward physical intimacy.
The courting process is very different for each couple. If your husband loves a good evening meal, you can court him with his favorite dinner. If your wife loves flowers, buy her flowers for no reason. There are countless ways to “court” each other. Wear the perfume that makes his toes curl. Bring her a small box of her favorite chocolates. Men, washing the dishes for your wife after she has an exhausting day at work or at home with the kids could be the sexiest thing you’ve done in weeks because it demonstrates your care and concern to meet her needs. All of these examples are simple ways of communicating that your spouse is still the most important person to you and that you don’t take them for granted.
If you have realized that you have become lazy in your pursuit of the one you love, pick up the wonderful little things that you use to do for them to communicate your love and affection. If you have forgotten, ask them! By expressing your love and appreciation through small tokens, you set the stage for intimacy and open the door for lovemaking.
© Jewell R. Powell, The Marriage Coach and Author of Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith. This is an excerpt from the Marriage 101 mini series, Sex & Intimacy.  For more information, visit

In July of 1992, Jewell met her Prince Charming at a Roy Rogers restaurant. When the couple decided to marry four years later, both were aware of the latest marriage statistics and the legacy of divorce that lay between them. Her parents divorced when she was four, after moving the family to Maryland, leaving her to be raised by a single mother. To circumvent the odds, they went through pre-marital counseling, attended church regularly and felt a strong love for one another. They believed they were ready for marriage.
While desiring to have a happily ever after, Jewell found life after marriage anything but a fairy tale. In 2001, she and her husband, Lewis, had been married for five years but were growing apart, after experiencing problems with infertility, sleeping in separate bedrooms and Lewis’s increasing disinterest in going to church. As she searched for answers to her marital troubles, Jewell found herself on a journey, seeking answers to save her marriage.
Despite a shaky beginning, the Powells now have a relationship with a strong foundation. After successfully resolving their marital problems, they started the Happily Ever After Marriage Ministry to help others do the same. Her new book, Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith (Revell Books February 2009, ISBN 978-0-8007-3332-2, $13.99), offers hope and guidance to help transform broken relationships through the use of biblical wisdom in a simple workbook format.
Jewell serves as co-owner of Antiok Holdings, an emerging full-service management consulting firm, which she owns with her husband. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Maryland and is pursuing a Master of Divinity. The Powells reside in southern Maryland with their two daughters.
Your marriage can be strong, healthy, happy, and blessed. Marriage coach Jewell Powell shows you how in this 8-week plan for marital success. She reveals how God’s truths can transform two individuals into the union he desires. Laying a spiritual foundation is crucial to your marriage. In Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith, you will discover God’s purpose for marriage, how to develop godly character, how to communicate effectively, and much more. With biblical examples, study questions, and Scripture meditations perfect for individuals or couples, you will be challenged to examine areas in your life that may need change so that your marriage can thrive.

Follow the blog tour at
For more information about, visit Jewell at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Release Event for Secrets and Lies

 Are you in the Atlanta area or close? My debut novel, Secrets and Lies will be released on November 24th. That's less than six days away. 

I'm celebrating by inviting friends to the book release party my family is planning. We'd love to see you there. 

Date: Saturday, December 5th 
Time: 2:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Place: Big Miller Grove Baptist Church
3800 Big Miller Grove Way
Lithonia, GA 

RSVP or email questions to publicity (at) rhondamcknight (dot) net

It’s hard enough to keep a secret without telling a lie, but when you’re married it’s almost impossible. In Secrets and Lies, the Morgan’s marriage is collapsing under the weight of both. Against the backdrop of old memories, new enemies, and a plot for revenge this intense drama unfolds addressing several relationship issues; communication, honesty and trust among them.

The story takes readers into the complex mind of Dr. Jonah Morgan, a man who’s dedicated his life to physically healing children, but he’s emotionally and spiritually sick himself. And can his wife, Faith, keep the “faith” after Jonah’s accused of the unthinkable? Or when a woman’s fed up, is she truly fed up?

Learn more at SecretandLiestheNovel or at my website  and please, sign my guestbook. I'd love to know you stopped by. 



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Coming soon...Selling My Soul

Selling My Soul 

Sherri Lewis

In Stores March 2010
When Trina Michaels steps off the plane after her two-year missions trip in Africa, she realizes that other than longing to see her mother and her best friend, her heart aches to fly back to the place that now feels more like home than anywhere she’s... ever lived. And to the man who’s stolen her heart.

Her dream of a quick return to Mozambique fades within hours when Trina discovers that her mother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Trina is forced to go back to her job as a publicist to cover her mother’s health costs.

She’s assigned a damage control client, Bishop Walker, a megachurch pastor accused of covering up a church sex scandal within his church involving the molestation of young boys. Representing him could cost Trina her most valued friendship, the love of her life, and her soul.

Visit Sherri's website to read an excerpt

Have you read  the book that started it all?  Selling My Soul is the sequel to My Soul Cries Out. My SoulCries Out is now available in mass market form for $6.99. You still have time to read it before Selling My Soul is released.

My Soul Cries Out
Sherri Lewis

Monica Harris Day's perfect world begins a downward spiral the day she comes home to find her husband in bed with another man.  After confronting Kevin, her husband of two years, Monica discovers he's had a lifelong struggle with homosexuality that began at the age of ten, when he was molested by a deacon in the church. 
For years, Kevin has sought deliverance, crying out to God to make him straight.  He explains his deceit by saying he truly thought he had been delivered when he married Monica, but was afraid to share his past with her for fear she wouldn't marry him.  Kevin begs Monica's forgiveness and wants to save their marriage.  He is convinced that God has indeed delivered him from the spirit of homosexuality and that the one time mistake was just his past coming back to haunt him. Their pastor offers them marital counsel but Monica suspects that his real concern is in maintaining his mega-ministry.  The membership has grown to 10,000 since Kevin became the minister of music.
When the pastor swears them to secrecy and urges Monica to stay in the marriage, she thinks Bishop Walter isn't willing to risk the potential scandal and church division that would result if the truth is leaked to the congregation. My Soul Cries Out is a compassionate look at the issue of Christians struggling with homosexuality and the redemptive power of God to bring deliverance.