Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interview, author Edwin De Leon

Today I wrap up the "Month of Men" of Christian Fiction with an interview with a multi-talented artist, Edwin De Leon.

Edwin has written a very intersting novella that touches on a topic near and dear to the hearts of many of us. Welcome to Urban Christian Fiction Today, Edwin. Introduce yourself to my readers. I was born in NY and raised in the projects of the South Bronx. I'm the fifth of six children and youngest son of Eulalio and Maria De Leon. After graduating from high school in 1978, I enlisted in the U.S. Marines and served over 12 years. After leaving the Marines, I joined the ranks of corporate America and I'm currently the Security Manager for a government contractor. I'm also an entrepreneur and I've owned and operated my own personal training and private investigation business. I'm the founder and CEO of 4APurpose Enterprises a business that provides inspirational services in the area of life coaching, speaking, entertainment and books. I'm also a comedian, actor, dancer, singer and musician.

Great titles for the novel. Tell us a little about your novel, A Forgiver’s Consequences? My novel "A Forgiver's Consequences" is a story about a young woman who marries the man of her dreams. But shortly upon marrying him, the marriage evolved to a nightmare, filled with emotional, psychological and physical abuse.

Introduce us to the characters.
Lisa Fontaine: The wife is beautiful wonderful loving and forgiving woman who is doing all she can to try to keep her marriage. She’s a very spiritual woman as well, which along with her faith is the prominent force that compels her to keep trying to make her marriage work.

David Fontaine (The husband): David is a man that had a very difficult childhood, filled with abuse and pain. However, despite that he was able to rise above it and become a very educated and successful person. This fuels his intolerance and lack of patience for failure and/or excuses.

Javier (Lisa’s friend): Javier is the unequivocal loyal friend that is there for you no matter what. He also had always had a “secret’ crush on Lisa, but he has always felt that he was not her type.

Joyce (Lisa’s friend): Joyce is Lisa’s co-worker and friend who is very concern for Lisa because she has suspected the abuse Lisa had been facing at the hands of David.

Why did you choose to write about domestic violence? Domestic violence is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. And it’s an unfortunate epidemic all too prevalent in our society. I was exposed to it as a child and it left a profound impression on my life. And as an adult I had to make a decision not to allow that experience to make me a victim or a perpetuator of that behavior.

Tell us about your writing journey. My writing journey began when as a child I developed a strong affinity for poetry and short stories. The environment in my home and its surroundings was very dysfunctional and I realized that through reading and writing I was able to vicariously travel and live beyond my reality.

You are involved in ministry. Tell us about it. I'm involved in this wonderful Christian based prison ministry called the Match-Patch Program. It’s a program that provides incarcerated mothers and fathers the opportunity to receive mentor ship on an array of subjects, to include parenting skills, anger management, substance abuse etc. As a volunteer I speak to the inmates twice a month about various subject matters, to include the ones mentioned.

I asked Edwin to get personal and he answered the following:

Favorite inspirational scripture
: Mark 14:36 NASB "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will."

Favorite worship song: "He Touched Me" By Bill Gaithers

Favorite dessert: Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

Beach or mountains: Mountains

If you could spend one hour with someone, living or deceased, who would it be and why? Dr. Martin L. King Jr. I was deeply impacted by Dr. King's life and his commitment to justice and equality. In addition, I was equally moved to know that this devotion and commitment began at such a young age.

If you were going to a deserted island and could only take one fiction book that you didn't write, what would it be and why? The Short Stories of Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was one of my greatest influences as a reader and writer in my youth. I was amazed at how he was able to move, inspire while telling a story with such few words. And every time I re-read his stories I walk away with a new found appreciation of his commitment to write about the plight of his people and people of color.

What should people expect from you in the future?
People should expect a plethora of things from me in the future. To include more writings, comedy, acting and speaking engagements. I believe I’ve been blessed with certain gifts from God for a reason. And it’s not for them to lie dormant within me, but to be used as tools to minister to others about life and God.

Thanks so much for stopping by Edwin. Tell my readers how they can find out more about you.
You can find me, Edwin De Leon, author of A Forgiver’s Consequences online at or at where I have a recorded interview archived.

This interview with Edwin De Leon was made possible by Nia Promotions, a marketing company that assists authors and publishers with Internet book marketing using strategy, branding and education.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Women of Character Book Club

This month our book club feature shines the spotlight on an awesome group of ladies in sunny, Orlando, Florida. The Women of Character Book Club is another group dedicated to reading books that uplift and grow them spiritually. I interviewed the group's president, Jenelle.

Welcome to UCF Blog, Jenelle, tell us about how the Women of Character Book Club Inc. come to be? I was introduced to Christian fiction in 2004 by an angel in disguise, Pamela, who suggested that I read Jamellah Ellis’ book, “That Faith, That Trust, That Love”. This novel was given to me at a time in my life when I was going “THROUGH”, both spiritually and emotionally! It was as if the Lord spoke directly to me through this novel. Soon after, I began reading so much that it had become like oxygen; I needed it to survive. This divine intervention caused a newfound interest in Christian fiction, which was very empowering and inspirational because I was able to see myself in many of the characters with a spiritual lesson being revealed in each one. I believe that because of the seed that was sown into my life, it is now my ministry to share the word of God by blessing others with the opportunity of experiencing God’s love through Christian fiction.

Our mission is to provide women an arena to fellowship, encourage and empower each other by discussing personal experiences as it relates to the Word of God through Christian Fiction. The “Women of Character Book Club” has a sincere desire to be used as a vessel to enable a passionate discovery of each woman’s destiny, to share the Word of God, and to advocate for women with compassion

The Women of Character Book Club is located in Orlando, Florida and was “born” in 2005, with the makings of eight women. The interest and excitement of the group members sort of fueled a reading frenzy and is continually growing by word of mouth. We are a group of women of all ages from different backgrounds, but share a common bond- we love the Lord and enjoy reading Christian Fiction. The fellowship and new friendships that have been formed have really been a blessing.

Romans 1:12- “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”

Great history and mission. Tell me, what format do your meetings take place?
We currently meet on the 3rd Saturday every other month at a member’s church. We always open up in prayer for the Lord to lead our discussions. When we have women that are visiting, we discuss our mission statement and review the importance of confidentiality. A designated member will open up with an Ice Breaker. This is a time for them to share a word of inspiration, empowerment and sister-building.

It is through the story lines portrayed in the novels that sometimes hit really close to home, which allows an opportunity for self-discovery in a supportive and compassionate environment. Our discussions are based on real-life experiences as it relates to the word of God.
We have had the opportunity to talk with authors such as Kendra Norman-Bellamy, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Victoria Christopher Murray, Sherri L. Lewis and ReShonda Tate Billingsley via speakerphone. We were blessed to have met Patricia Haley at a book signing for “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”. We have also been blessed to have Tia Collors visit us as our guest as we discussed “The Truth about Love”.

Women of Character with Author, Tia McCollors.

We have open membership at this time. For more information, please e-mail Jenelle at

Tell us about a recent Christian Fiction book that I have recently enjoyed and why? Wow…that is a tough one. I would have to say that I really enjoyed, “Dance into Destiny” written by Sherri L. Lewis. This novel has a little bit of everything; love, how past relationships can affect current ones , finding true friendship, Christian dating and a lot more. The way that Sherri wrote about what it means to build a relationship with God and how she used the characters to explain it was very realistic and inspirational. If you have ever asked yourself,” Why was I created?” or “What is God’s pre-ordained purpose?”, then this novel will definitely get the creative juices flowing.

What would you like to see more and/or less of in Christian Fiction?
We are enjoying the realistic issues. Please continue to keep it real. May God continue to inspire the authors of the Christian Fiction genre. I am sure that whatever the Lord puts on the authors heart to write will be a blessing to someone.

Any aspiring writers in your group?
Yes, there is a couple that I am aware of. Ellena who has started a writing blog called, she is also in the process of writing a book. There is also Shawn who feels that she will be finished with her book by the end of the year. I can’t wait for the world to see what these ladies have in store.

As you know, book clubs come and go, how does the Women of Character Book Club stand the test of time? I feel our book club has lasted as long as it has mainly because God has always been the center of every decision made .In the beginning the majority of us came together with mostly one thing in common, and that was our love of reading. Over time a bond was formed from the discussions and personal testimonies. So over the years it has become about more than reading a book. We are excited to see each, to encourage, and be encouraged in our daily walk. We are a small intimate group that truly love each other.

The WOC is also a safe haven, a place where members can share their joy’s and sorrow’s, it’s a sisterhood built on faith bound by our desire to go beyond the boundary of books and see what God is speaking into our hearts and minds. It is for this reason that I think we have been able to maintain and grow. WOC has allowed me to experience sisterly fellowship with women who understand that we are all “Water Colored Pearls” (a novel written by Stacy Hawkins Adams that was our 2007 book of the year).

Please share anything else you’d like to know about your book club.
There is something special that I enjoy doing for the women that attend our book club discussions. I make bookmarks to remember the novel that was discussed. These bookmarks have a biblical scripture relating to message in the novel. I also send the author one as well.

The W.O.C. will be participating in our 3rd Annual “Girls Night Out (sleepover).This is time when the members of the Book Club come together for a night of fellowship, food, games, movies and most of all sisterhood. The morning after, we have our book club discussion over breakfast.

In 2007, members of the W.O.C. participated in the first “Crusin For Christ” Cruise hosted by Kendra Norman -Bellamy. This was my first experience on a Cruise, and I must say, the participants were truly blessed.

Since the Faith and Fiction Retreat will be in our hometown next year, the members of the W.O.C. are making plans to participate in this event.

Here we are on the Cruising For Christ trip, doing what we do best!

Jenelle, I enjoyed learning more about you ladies and I look forward to seeing you in Orlando next summer.

Thanks for giving the Women of Character an opportunity to share with you why we love our book club. We ask for your prays and your continued support, and when you need a break…grab a good book, kick back, let go, and let God!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What's New on UCF Blog

Exciting things are happening on this blog. Last month we added a bi-weekly column called "Blessed Thoughts" by Iris Celeste and this month I have a new column titled "I'm Not Published Yet." Two gifted writer friends, Tyora Moody and Veronica Johnson will be sharing their thoughts on writing, the unpublished writer's life, and then just life in general. Look for their bi-weekly submissions on Tuesdays, starting today!

Happy Thanksgivings and Much Love,


I'm Not Published Yet

Getting to Know Your Character

by Tyora Moody

"I want to write a book." How many times have you heard someone make that statement? Maybe it’s one of your deepest desires in life. For me, I had a mid-thirties moment. It wasn’t anything major like a mid-life crisis where one loses their senses. This was more of a clarifying moment in my life where I believe God planted a few seeds.

I'm no gardener, but if someone gave me a packet of seeds without a label, out of curiosity I might plant them to see what I would get. That's kind of what I did a few years ago. I took some recurring thoughts (seeds) and scribbled them down in my journal. Over a period of time, I expanded these ideas into scenes and chapters. I started several books and currently have two manuscripts under my belt. For this article, I'm focusing on the first manuscript mainly because it took me two and half years to write.

I learned a lot about the art of writing from this first manuscript. I will never forget the day I finally typed, The End. In some weird way I felt official. No more I want to write a book. I did it.
Okay, I have a long way to go with being published, but transferring a story to blank pages is not an easy venture. These are the same pages where a writer needs to come up with a beginning, middle and end. To even call your book a novel, a certain word count is needed. 50,000 words are the minimum for a novel. Oh and of course, you want to write a novel that one day critics will use that famous line, "This book was a page-turner." This process can be frustrating. Those ideas start to resemble a puzzle and you have to somehow put them together logically.

I started my first manuscript with a prologue. Over the years, I've heard many writers go back and forth over the need for a prologue. I'm not going to get into that argument here, but I can tell you my instincts told me this story required one. My prologue starts with a young girl in the back of a police car. But then what? I wrote countless chapters in an attempt to tell the story of this little girl. Who was she? Why should the reader care about her being in the back of the police car? What does this event have to do with the adult woman who is the main character? Can I just cut this whole scene and start with Chapter 1?


Who said no? The little girl from the prologue. Through all my writing (and chopping), she wouldn't leave me alone until I told her story. It took me years, but I finally did. During the process, my main character took me on a journey through her past. She also took me on a journey to face my present. What if these events happened to me, how would I react? To bring this fictional character to life, I needed to take the seed given to me and tend to it so it could grow. In essence, I needed to know her to be able to share her story.
Now there are a lot of tips and tricks to getting to know your character. These are three basic steps, with each one taking as long as the writer needs.

STEP 1. Character Sketch
During this stage, make notes on the character looks (eye color, hair color, height, weight), personality (joyful, moody), profession, relationships (wife, husband, sister), age, physical location, status and any other details that will help form the character. Some writers have elaborate charts to help them dissect their characters on paper. Others may clip or download photos and put together a visual scrapbook page.
My initial meeting with my protagonist (the main character) started with pen and paper. This particular manuscript was written in the third person, but while I worked on character development, I wrote her dialogue and thoughts in the first person. The conversational journal entry gave me the deepest glimpse into my character's life.
Try several methods until you find one that helps you tap into your character(s).

STEP 2. Character Connections
You might start to sketch out other characters at this point. Who's your antagonist (the person who has it out for your main character)? Who are the other major characters? Minor characters?
I did not do elaborate character sketches on the minor characters, but I often wrote scenes where the protagonist interacted with a minor character. I started to see where one minor character provided comic relief and another one provided wisdom at just the right time. These supporting characters help create more depth for the main character and vice versa.

STEP 3. Character Goals, Motivation and Conflict
As much of a bookworm as I am, it took me awhile to catch onto this third essential to writing a "pageturner." I couldn't figure out why certain scenes seemed to fall flat. Thanks to a critique partner, my eyes were opened to what was missing.

GOALS: What was the goal or purpose for a particular scene in the story? Did it really keep the story moving?

MOTIVATION: Why does the character choose to respond to a situation in such a way? Was there something from the past or present driving the character's motive?

CONFLICT: What happens if conflict is thrown in the mix? When the character is kept from achieving their goal, how does this change the story?
These are the kinds of questions that really help a writer with the plotting process. The character starts to take on a life beyond the initial sketch in Step 1 above. Before you know it, the seed planted a few months ago has not grown into a viable story.

For Further Reading

The writing process is on-going. Here are a few books on my shelf about character development.

Characters, Emotions, & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger

Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors by Brandilyn Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Tyora Moody is the editor of where she features “AA Literature that Edifies the Soul”. She often finds herself trying to juggle various hats on her short frame. Those hats include being a military wife, writer, blogger, book reviewer, web developer, and “momma” to two spoiled cats. Follow her journey to publication on

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Interview with author, Titus Pollard

Today, I welcome author, Titus Pollard. Titus is one of my label-mates at Urban Christian Books.

Glad to have you, Titus. Tell us about your novel, Living Right On Wrong Street.
In short, it is a twenty-first century version of the struggles of Job (that’s with a long ooo sound!) Job’s real estate partner, Delvin Storm, pays a group of conspirators to destroy Job’s life while he (Delvin) sits in a Kentucky prison. Job, believing that a move out west (Phoenix) will give he and his wife a new lease on life, then deals with a three-way struggle (with himself, his wife & his former partner) to regain a sense of stability. It is only with a renewed faith in God that Job’s life turns for the better.
What do you want readers to take away from this story?
It’s my aim to let the readers know that no matter where you live, no matter the “street”, trouble will find you… how you work through your trouble depends on your faith.

Tell us about your journey to publication.
It has taken me four years with three rewrites, three or four queries to secure a literary agent, one writer’s conference, and the design of an ongoing marketing campaign just for this novel. But I am thankful; of course, to God, and to Kim T. Matthews, my agent, Jacquelin Thomas, my mentor, and to Joylynn Jossel, my editor at Urban Christian.

What do you wish you knew about being an author before you sold your novel.
I guess one of the main ideas that I wished I had was the amount of marketing that you as an author has to put into the book before, during, and after the publication of the work. You need to consider your marketing campaign when you select your title, when you give input on the cover art, who will give reviews for the work; everything. When I go out to do something as simple as – fill my tank with gas – I will deliberately ask a stranger, “Have you heard about Living Right On Wrong Street?”

You have other interests, music is one of them. Tell us about that.
I am a former high school and college instructor, composer and arranger with over 30 years of experience. I’ve performed twice in the White House, and played for the memorial service of Ron Brown (Clinton’s Commerce Secretary).

I enjoy, no, I love music of every genre, and I am constantly trying to improve my novel writing by correlating the poetic rhythms found in music to the patterns of great prose.
I still travel across the country, singing and playing, especially in the Gospel music arena.

That's fascinating and such an honor. You must be a very accomplished musican to have had the opportunity to play at the White House.

Tell us about the response from readers and one experience in particular that touched your heart. My friends and relatives will try to associate some aspect of the story to my life. I’m not Job and visa versa, but I guess every story has the writer in it somewhere, in some way. A few weeks ago, in Virginia, I ran into a lady who had read the novel, and who wanted me to know that her husband was like my main character in many respects. There were things she (my reader) wanted her husband to change. She told me that she’d seen a turnaround in him, and he has since read the book, and is one of my biggest fans – this coming from yet another male who “hated fiction!”

I asked Titus to get personal and he shared the following answers.

Favorite Worship Song:
Hallelujah (He’s Worthy) by Titus Pollard. Google it sometime.

What is the last scripture that you meditated on:
II Timothy 3:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."

If you could visit with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
I would love to be able to talk with my father, Fletcher Pollard, who died when I was 19, only sixth months after I lost my mother. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that, in my eyes, he walked on water. There was an infinite amount of wisdom in this Baptist preacher who only had a third-grade formal education, but made his money trading on the Stock Exchanges.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Ghana; this is where Ephraim Amu, the father of African Musicology, once resided (now deceased). Just to be able to breathe the air that he breathed and walk where he walked would inspire me on a whole new level with my writing and rhythmic artistry.

If you were going to a deserted island and could only take one fiction book, that you didn’t write, what would it be and why?
I would take Blessed Assurance, a compilation of short stories by some of my favorite writers. This book would deliver to me what I would need based on its subtitle: Inspirational short stories full of Hope & Strength for Life’s Journey.

What’s next for Titus Pollard?
I’m working on a nonfiction book that will, hopefully, assist churches with their music departments. I am working on about 4 novels simultaneously, as well as a historical fiction work. I am also beginning work on a new music CD, and in the discussion stages for the development of a new, home-study piano course. Am I busy?

You are definitey very busy. How can readers contact you or find out more about your work?
I can be reached by e-mail me at or at my social media sites:
Then there's always snail mail:
P.O. Box 6165
Raleigh, NC 27628

Thanks so much for stopping by, Titus and sharing your novel and your very interesting life with us.

Thanks for having me, Rhonda.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't Forget the Teens!

While you're out Christmas shopping don't forget to pick up a book for a teen. Most of them have more than two weeks out of school and they'll spend it talking on the phone, sending text messages or worse - watching television. Why not put a book in their stocking that will not not only entertain them, but steer their heart in the direction of Christ.

I featured lots of great teen reads in July, but have to add the release of Victoria Christopher Murray's India from the Divas series. I just finished it tonight. Had me all in some teeny boppers business and up late to boot. Here's a little about it:

While India Morrow is happy her BFFs included her in the Divas, she knows she's not cute like Diamond, cool like Veronique, or smart like Aaliyah. Maybe if she were supermodel-thin, like her mom, she'd stand out in a crowd, but dieting never seems to work for her. The Divas are poised to win the next level of the competition and India is scared she'll let her friends down. With only fifty-eight days to get it all right, her cousin Jill tells her the secret -- how to lose weight while still eating.

The pounds start falling away; India is finally getting lots of attention. If only she didn't feel bad about keeping a secret. She's scared of what her friends, parents, and Pastor Ford would say. What she's doing isn't so wrong, is it? All she wants is to be a star...but will the price be too great for her, body and soul?

If you haven't blessed a teen with the first book one in the series, you'll also want to pick up Diamond. You know those teens read fast!

Thanks for stopping by!



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blessed Thoughts from Iris Celeste

Dream Deferred—Waiting For It

One of my favorite stories in the bible is the record of Joseph. The accounts of his life have made a profound influence over my own. God had big plans for Joseph and revealed it to him in a dream. But poor Joseph made the mistake of sharing his dream with his already envious brothers and the bible says…they hated him all the more. Being guided by their envy the brothers plotted to kill Joseph. But their greed was greater and they sold him into slavery. This landed him into the hands of Potiphar. Now most would think this would be the end of the road for Joseph. However, the bible states…the Lord was with him and he prospered. With God’s favor upon him, Joseph became Potiphar’s attendant. That position placed him in charge of Potiphar’s entire household and everything he owned. But once again, trouble found Joseph. He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned. Nonetheless, the Lord was with him and Joseph was entrusted with the responsibility of safekeeping the other inmates. Why you ask would God follow Joseph to the dungeon? He was preparing him for what was to come. The dream was still in effect. But before God could usher Joseph into his destiny He first had to train him for the task. What better place then amongst the lowly in spirit.

Lessons I learned from Joseph’s journey: Be careful who you share your dreams with. People in your very own family will not want to see you succeed and will scheme against you. But God in His infinite wisdom knew this ahead of time and declared…no weapon formed against you shall prosper. God is everywhere. So don’t despise the miry pit. Before He can set you high, He has to take you through. And Job knew this best. When all hell was breaking loose around him and his friends had jumped ship, Job kept his faith on the Blesser and not his blessings…though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. When God gives you a vision perceive it, believe it; then rest on it. But expect opposition. Nothing worth having comes without difficulty. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it… rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us. Lastly, stand firm! Know that even the devil himself can’t stop what God has already set into motion…For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come.

Iris Celeste, Author
Praise Your Way Through

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Interview, Author Dijorn Moss

Today, as we continue the feature on the "Men of Christian" I welcome Urban Christian Books author, Dijorn Moss.

Welcome to Urban Christian Fiction, Dijorn, introduce yourself to my readers.
My name is Dijorn Moss and I am a writer for Urban Christian Books. I love California especially in the summer time. I love to go to movies and read books. If I am not writing then I am probably watching TV with my wife of three years Trinea.

Tell us about your novel, My Father’s House.
My Father’s House is a story about a Pastor who unexpectedly takes over a church and has to negative through financial woes and members who lives are in turmoil.

What inspired you to write this story?
I got sick and tired of seeing stories that only highlights a Pastor’s greed or lust. I have spent a lot of time with my former Pastor, Dr. Oscar Dace and seeing all of the responsibilities of a Pastor, I felt it was incumbent upon me to write a story that gives an intimate look into the life of a Pastor.

What would you like readers to take away from My Father’s House?
To keep God first, so much of our society is engaged in idol worship that if you have anything other than God as your foundation you are setting yourself up for a disappointment.

Share with us how you began writing and your journey to publication.
An English teacher had me read poems by Langston Hughes and Edgar Allen Poe. I fell in-love with writing and started to write poems. Then I branched into playwriting and I wanted to be the next August Wilson. I came up with the idea for My Father’s House and I was encouraged to turn the story into a novel by my best friend. I enrolled in a novel writing class and while working on my manuscript, my co-worker put me in contact with Urban Christian. I sent my manuscript to Joylynn Jossel and was offered a book deal.

“Making Your Dreams a Reality” is your website slogan and I see you have other writing gifts. Tell us about them and how they tie into your slogan.
I dreamed of writing a play and seeing it performed. I saw that dream come to realty in 2003 with the production of my play the North Train. I dreamed of writing a book and having the book published; I am now living that dream. Finally I dreamed of writing a screenplay and seeing it on the big screen. I look forward to seeing that dream come to pass.

I asked Dijorn soem personal questions and he shared his answers as follows:
Favorite Dessert
: Strawberry cheesecake and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
Favorite Movie: I have so many: Love Jones, With Honors, Shakespeare in-love, Last Samurai and Colored Purple to name a few.
Favorite Bible Story: The story of Joseph teaches so many great lessons. I learned the importance of being careful of you tell your dreams to because may plot against you. I learned that if you have integrity you will always come out on top and how important it is during times of prosperity to save and store away because times of famine will come.
Favorite worship song: I have Kirk Franklin’s The Last Jesus song on repeat. I find that song so powerful because the Bible talks about how we are living epistles and every day we have to walk out the principles that Jesus taught.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Africa, I dream of viewing an African night full of stars and the natural beauty that Africa possesses.
If you could spend an hour with any person, living or deceased, who would it be and why? Barrack Obama. I have read his story and I find his life inspiring.
If you were going to a deserted island and could only take one novel that you didn’t write, what would it be and why? The Idiot by Dostoevsky. He is my favorite writer and the book was inspired by a painting of the crucifixion that Dostoevsky was fascinated by.
Dijorn, what do you know that you know?
That because Jesus lives, the possibilities of what an individual can do in this life is endless.

Thanks so much for visiting Urban Christian Fiction. Please let my readers know how they may contact you.

I can be reached on at my website. has all of my contact info. I really enjoyed doing the interview. Thanks for having me.

Dijorn Moss is a graduate of San Jose State. He holds a degree in English. He is the winner of the prestigous crain award for dramatic writing. His play the North train was peoduced at San Jose State, making him the first studnet in over three decades to have a play produced. His second play Mothers to the Struggle enjoyed a stage reading at the National Black Theater Festival in 2005. He is currently working on his next book and resides in long Beach with his wife Trinea.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Author Interview, Xavier Knight

Today we have the second interview in our 'Men of Christian Fiction" series with author, C Kelly Robinson aka Xavier Knight in the world of Christian Fiction, who also allows friends and loved ones to call him Chet. I'm glad to be in the number.

Welcome to Urban Christian Fiction, Chet. Please introduce yourself to my readers. In 1996, I was a young man in my mid-twenties, newly married and successfully pursuing a career in corporate finance after attending Howard University and earning an MBA. The only problem was, I was still filled with a need to pursue a dream that bore its way into my thoughts from a young age: becoming an author. It was around this time I began a program of formal and self-study in creative writing, a process that led to the self-publication of BETWEEN BROTHERS, a novel I released and promoted heavily with my wife’s help. By 2002 Random House had purchased the rights to that book and a second one, NO MORE MR. NICE GUY, which had topped the Essence best-seller list. I have had five additional novels published since.

Tell us about your novel, The Things We Do For Love.
The story is an inspirational tale about two Christian marriages struggling under the weight of scandalous behavior. Jesse and Dionne are a seemingly perfect couple with high-profile careers – he is an R&B star turned gospel singer, she is a successful evangelist. As the story opens, though, Jesse is trying to perpetrate an unthinkable fraud on his wife, one concerning an infant boy they are trying to adopt after years struggling to have a child of their own. There is only one person in Jesse’s life with a bigger scandal in his closet – Coleman, who is his best friend and fellow lead singer in their gospel group. And although Coleman has been perfectly faithful to his wife, Suzette, when uncomfortable truths about his past love life emerge, he faces far more scorn than Jesse ever would.

This novel’s reading group discussion questions thoughtfully draw on the themes in the novel. Some of them are a little controversial. I can imagine a pretty lively book club meeting discussion. Tell us about some of these exchanges.
The real controversies I’ve observed in the book club discussions revolve around 1) whether Dionne and Suzette should choose to stay with their husbands, and why or why not and 2) whether Coleman’s claims about his sexuality are true and are in line with God’s will. I have seen the full range of reactions out there – from women who cringe at the very thought of homosexuality, but are quick to forgive Jesse’s heterosexual adultery, to others who sympathize with Coleman because they have several gay family members.

What would you like readers to take away from this story?
I hope that people are reminded of the fact that marriage, and the Christian walk in general, are not always easy nor pretty journeys. While the struggles of these characters are hopefully entertaining, I find that a lot of people see aspects of their own lives and relationships in these pages. Hopefully it holds up a mirror that helps encourage them to stick it out in those marital rough patches, while keeping an open line with God to ensure that we all respect our marital vows without sacrificing our respective well-being.

Can we expect to see any of these characters again?
I have no plans to bring them back, but that could change.

Share a little about the journey from mainstream fiction to Christian Fiction writing. It has been a great joy – I always tended to have Christian themes or characters woven throughout my stories. No w I have the freedom to be more open about it.

Wow! Five books under your belt and you decide to switch genres. Some would say career suicide. I applaud your for the courage to follow the call on your life, but tell us about the response from your readers. Well, between you and me career considerations went out the door a while ago when it comes to competing in the African-American fiction market. I choose to write what God places on my heart and trust Him to open doors at the right publisher if it is meant to be. Reader response has been encouraging – I have yet to receive a bad review, which is not something you can always count on!

Please share some wisdom with aspiring writers and new authors like myself.
If you’re serious about getting a book written, commit first to honing your craft and secondarily to setting aside a time slot several times a week in which you just GET IT DONE. Get that first draft down, then you can take all the time needed to edit it and get feedback from other writers and experts.

I asked Chet to get personal and he answered the following:

Favorite Worship Song:
“Breathe” by Mitchell Jones (former Commissioned lead singer)

Favorite Scripture: II Corinthians 12:9

Favorite Food: These days, burritos from Chipotle Mexican Grille.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I still need to get my wife back to Maui, where we honeymooned 12 years ago. Most beautiful place in which I have ever vacationed, out of a dozen or more tropical locations.

If you could spend an hour with any person, living or deceased, who would it be and why? If we’re talking about mortals, I’d probably say any of my grandparents. Most of them passed away before I was 21, so only now do I really appreciate the strength and faith they had in order to accomplish so much in a society that was much more restrictive of their rights and opportunities. Beyond earthly beings of course, it would be Jesus Christ.

If you were going to a deserted island and could only take one novel that you didn’t write what would it be and why? Tough one. I don’t think I could do just one, but since it sounds like I’d have some time on my hands it would probably be something like Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man so I could chew over the texture and imagery of the story, maybe a Toni Morrison collection so I could take time to really dig deep and catch more of the significance that evades me when I’m reading amidst a typically hectic day; and then one of the most heralded works of someone like Saul Bellow or Richard Ford, whom I know of by reputation but have never prioritized actually reading.

This was a great book. I really enjoyed it. When will we see another title from Xavier Knight? GOD ONLY KNOWS, a story of four female friends who confront a violent act from their youth, comes out in March 2009.

Thanks so much for visiting Urban Christian Fiction. Please let me my readers know how they may get in contact with you.

Thank you for the opportunity! Look me up at or at Also, pre-order God Only Knows at

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Apparently, Yes We Can!

Praise the Lord!

I have been successful at staying away from politics on this blog, but now that the election is over, I have to say a few things. As an African-American in this great country known as the United States of America, I have to use this platform to celebrate what I consider the one of the greatest moments of my life and certainly one of the greatest in African-American history. The USA, has elected it's first African-American President. This is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime.

I'm amazed, I'm proud, but most importantly, I feel blessed. Blessed not only because I know in my heart that things will get better in this country -- our economy, healthcare system, and education. We'll end this war and bring our sons home, but mostly, I feel blessed, because I know that there is hope. Hope for a better, brighter tomorrow where we perhaps won't be segregated by race and class, but where we as the Christian nation, will begin to walk in the love and peace that Jesus left us as a living legacy.
I appreciate Mr. Obama, not only for the will and endurance to run this race, but I appreciate him for having the audacity to hope. He has truly proved the words that "Yes, We Can!"
God Bless Mr. Obama and his family.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What's New On UCF

I'm excited to debut my first columnist on Urban Christian Fiction Blog. I've been following Iris Celeste's inspirational writings on another online site and decided to snatch her up before some national magazine like Christianity Today makes her an offer. Iris will be sharing her musings biweekly on Tuesdays. Make sure to leave her a comment and let her know how her words bless you.

Thanks for stopping by!



Blessed Thoughts from Iris Celeste

All Things Work Together...

Who knew five short years ago I would be in this very spot--healthy and sane. I, for one, certainly did not. I would have never predicted after experiencing one of the most traumatic events to date that I would live to write about it. You see, I lost someone very dear to me and life as I knew it was no more. It left me bruised, broken and emotionally bankrupt. I felt God had abandoned me and was punishing me for past sins committed. I started repenting for them all, including the time I had twisted my younger sister's arm out of frustration back in 1983. No stone was left unturned. No sin too small. In a word, I was 'desperate.' Desperate for relief from this painstaking ordeal that was being inflicted upon me. I stood alone and left to my own devices. The sista circle had quit calling. My so-called friends were nowhere to be found. No prayer warriors were praying on my behalf. So as most humans do, I self-medicated. The frightened and dejected little girl inside attached herself to any and everything that helped to sooth her pain. There were many mistakes made and regrets that soon followed. I ran as fast as I could into the arms of denial, but was unable to hide. Before long the pain would quickly resurface and the hurt returned unbearable as before, if not more intense. Still I wasn't ready to surrender. I was angry with God and told Him so religiously! I couldn't understand why He had forsaken me. Why me? Why now? All that I perceived to be true and all that I was were stripped away. I was naked. Unclothed for the world to see. Bleeding internally. Dying a slow spiritual death and no one I thought.

I conducted myself as though I wasn't raised to know who God was. I behaved as the orphan I believed to be. I did exactly as I pleased with no regard of the consequences. Remember I was wounded! But after months of crying and rebelling, disappointments and failings something deep within me shook loose. I grew tired of listening to the devil's lies and the dark deceit he purposely kept me covered in. The resistance I fought against was tearing down my stronghold with a gentle force. A transformation was taking place. I recalled in the bible it stating for everything there is a reason. I began to question the recent occurrences that had transpired in my life. Why had God ostracized me? It was then in my darkest hour I heard His still small voice whisper to my spirit, "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you." Revelation! I came to realize I had survived solely because God had a bigger purpose for me. He HAD to allow me to be separated from the distractions in my life. He HAD to allow me to be set apart from associations and untie unions that never should have been. What I thought was an attack from the enemy was God ushering me into my destiny. I Had To Go Through It! When I felt I was alone and cast aside, He was with me ordering my steps. What the devil meant for evil, God used to elevate me to my wealthy place. The pain I endured, the hurt imposed, the dying of self all worked together for my good. Because in the end I found what I was destined to be. A writer!

Iris Celeste,

Author of Praise Your Way Through

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's Raining Men

I've decided it's time to give some attention to the brothers who write Christian Fiction, so for the month of November, I'll feature a different male CF author in the Sunday interview slot. I know most of my readers are women and God knows I love my sistahs, but ladies, this should be a nice treat. And for the men who follow the blog, I know, it's about time I recognized you're equally as creative.

Interview with Author, Victor McGlothin

First up is Victor McGlothin. Victor is the author of nine novels and a two novella collaborations. His latest release, Sinful Too was released on Oct. 31 with Hachette Book Group. He resides near Dallas, Tx with his wife and two sons.

Welcome to Urban Christian Fiction, Victor. I visited your website and you have a very interesting bio. You entered college and almost lost an athletic scholarship because you were not prepared academically, but then went on to complete a Masters degree. Share a little of about this.

VM: When I entered college ill-prepared and reading on a 6th grade level, I quickly learned that doing it and getting it done were two different things entirely. I’m fortunate to have faced that mountain of adversity because it forced me to reach much farther than my grasp. After teaching myself to read and comprehend better, my education was secured. I’ve been a lover of the written word every since.

Tell us a little about your current novel, Sinful Too.
VM: “Sinful Too” is a wickedly charming story about a woman who decides to take another woman’s man and her role as First Lady of Dallas’ biggest Mega church. It takes the reader through the measures associated with manipulating a man via intrigue and intellect then driving him crazy enough to risk his marriage and his responsibilities to the church. Dior is an especially talented deviant and she’s very proud of it. She can get any man but really enjoys the challenge to stealing the rich ones.

What would you like readers to take way from this story?
This story explains in vivid detail what the temptress and her prey are going through from the outset to the very end, including every juicy step in between. Men who think a sordid affair could never happen to them should read this novel then think again. Women will get a great look at a potential threat to their own relationship. That alone is well worth the price of purchase. There’s a good reason bad girls finish first, unless kept in check.

Share your journey to publication.
VM: I started writing as a hobby then had other ideas once I finished the manuscript 16 months later. The book sold a few thousand copies literally from the trunk of my car. My second novel was picked up by a major publisher after selling 4,000 copies. I’ve been blessed to have an outstanding editor for my last seven books. Now, I’m working hard on movie projects. Don’t laugh… sweat equity has gotten me this far and I ain’t even tired yet.

You’ve been classified by many as a Christian Fiction author. Do you believe this genre captures the audience you want to read your stories?
Actually, only three of my eleven titles deal with Christian or Inspirational Fiction. “Down on My Knees”, “Sinful” and “Sinful Too” delve deep into the lives of Christians who become at odds with themselves, lovers, family members, and sometimes church leaders as well.

I love your brand, The Write Brother and you have an advice column on your blog. Very original. Tell us how that got started and why you feel you are the “right” brother to give your readers advice.
Years ago, I was at a book signing with a club in Dallas. Because of a situation I’d written about in the novel they selected, some of the sistahs starting needling me for more insight from a male’s perspective. Afterwards, someone suggested I make my opinions available for others who might be dealing with similar issues. Victor Said… was born out of necessity I guess. Kinda cool huh? Now, I answer submissions on my website every Friday.

I asked Victor to get personal and he shared the answers to the following questions:

Favorite time of year and why:
Fall – because it’s a welcomed change after long scorching Texas summers.

Favorite scripture: Hebrews 11:1 ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.’ Without the proper measure of faith, defeat is nearly certain in every aspect of life.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Egypt, I’ve always had a thing for Pyramids.

If you could spend an hour with any person, living or deceased, who would it be and why? Jesus. There’s so much I want to ask Him about the struggles he faced as a man. Guess I’ll have to wait until He has a spare minute in Heaven.

If you were going to a deserted island and could only take one novel, that you didn’t write, what would it be and why? Walter Mosley’s “Little Yellow Dog.” It’s set in the late 1940’s, my most favorite time in history. After the soldiers came home from World War II, Black servicemen shared what they saw oversees and how they were treated much better abroad. It caused a rise in their consciousness and inspired a higher standard of living back home.

Victor, you’ve been very successful, any advice for aspiring writers?
Work hard at honing your craft, read lots of other authors and keep pushing until something pops.

Victor, thanks so much for visiting Urban Christian Fiction. You may visit Victor at his website or

Make sure to stop by, sign his guest book and check out the advice column. Oh and please pick up a copy or two of Sinful Too. Remember books make great Christmas gifts.