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).