Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reader's Paradise Book Club

Today I welcome Reader’s Paradise for my monthly book club feature. Laverne Brown aka Missy to avid readers and writers all over the Internet graciously agreed to answer my questions.
When I asked for the name of the president of Reader’s Paradise, she said “All members take ownership of the group, but my our co-founders is Melody Vernor.” I thought that was a particularly cool statement. So let’s find out more about this tight knit group of sisters.
Welcome Missy. Tell us about Reader’s Paradise Book Club. Reader’s Paradise is not only a book club but a sister circle. We take pride in nurturing our circle and being autonomous. We actually started with two and no more for a long time.

After church Mel and I would sit around and just talk about everything. But our conversations were always centered on books; the ones we read those we wanted to buy and some we’ve collected. After several chats we realized we enjoyed many of the same authors and genre, except Mel is a huge fan of mystery while I have an affinity for inspirational reads. One Sunday after church Mel said she was starting a book club and I told her to count me in. We had our first official meeting October 8th, 2006, and at that time we were called “Fat Gurrl Book Club” affectionately named after Mel’s business.

After a few months I told a few friends and I told more friends and so on and so on. Then in August as a book club we went to the “Soul Expression Tour “and met someone who practically joined that day. Rewind just a little bit; in April 2007 we were four strong and decided to change the name to reflect all members of the book club and we took a vote and came up with “Reader’s Paradise”. The name came from us truly escaping into that book and it becoming our paradise until the last page. Fast forward beyond August 2008 currently Reader’s Paradise has 7 members; 4 of which are active.

Each member take turns hosting our BOM discussions; the host plans the food, theme, discussion and location, and as a group we vote on the book of the month. We meet on a monthly basis preferably the last Saturday of the month. During the holidays we prefer to meet the week before.

When I invited you on the blog, part of your response included, “…we are small but we’re here.” Chicago is a big city, tell me why you remain small? Every year I create a survey and ask all active members to complete it. Each year when the results are returned the majority says “I rather keep it 10 and no more”. We enjoy the intimacy of a small group and blessing other book clubs with our presence. In October this year we had our second year celebration at a cafĂ© in the Hype Park section of Chicago and invited another book club to join us named Kreative Readers and we had a blast! We also invited 2 Chicago authors D.J. McLaurin and Phylydia Hudson. We shared a meal, our thoughts, and some personal things about us. One of the benefits of keeping it small is space, all of us have small homes so trying to host a BOM at home works. (smile) We recently opened our membership to serious readers in the Chicagoland area. But we will keep the number under 10. Prior to joining the member will have to attend 4 meetings and be able to meet on Saturdays for 2-3 hours for the discussions. The prospective member must also have email, and check it daily much of our communications are done online.

Tell me about a Christian or inspirational book your group recently read and enjoyed and what you liked about it. I would have to say “Conversations with God”: a true story by Neale Walsch. We watched the DVD and was truly inspired by it. Sometimes many of us walk around wondering is God speaking to us if He is why can’t I hear Him, How is it that she can hear Him and I can’t. Mr. Walsch believes that communicating with God could be a feeling, or those voices you hear while asleep, and that in fact it is audible. We just have to fine tune our receivers, absolutely a spiritual reawakening.

Anything you’d like to see more of in Christian Fiction? Less of? I’d like to see fewer stories about characters losing faith and more of Christians dealing with life and the struggles. How we call on the Lord and journey with one another while trying to live righteous.
You’re an avid reader and book reviewer, tell us about your process for reviewing books. I love to read and will read a cereal box or label because of my affinity for reading. I began reviewing with RAW SISTAZ in 2000 and APOOO shortly after that. I really didn’t know I had anything to say about a book I thought I just enjoyed books. But once you get started you find yourself with a unique opportunity; the chance to revisit the characters and the plot all over again and share that with others. (simply outstanding!)

While reading I keep a note pad with me at all times. I jot down things I think I might want to add to my review, locations, events, characters words and my feelings. I also look within the book to find out if the author tells us what he or she is attempting to do with the book. If it is listed I will mention whether I felt the author succeeded or not.

Does Reader’s Paradise have any special plans or goals for 2009? 2009 we’ll be planning our annual retreat for 2010; also we are partnering with a ministry in the Chicagoland area to do some Outreach and mentoring. I’m very excited about this because I have always wanted us to be more than a book club. In the last 2 years we have grown and our circle continues to grown closer and I am grateful to God for each and every member and what they add to Reader’s Paradise.

Anything else you want to share about your book club? I would like to say Reader’s Paradise is a fantastic book club and the nucleus of our group is our Lord & Saviour. I don’t think a business can flourish unless you go through some things and it is then that you know what you KNOW! Stay in His grip ladies of Reader’s Paradise!

How can readers and authors find out more about Reader’s Paradise? If you are interested in more information about Reader’s Paradise you can stop by my inbox anytime at or visit use 24/7 at
We also have a presence on Shelfari c’mon stop by and stay current on the book we are reading, we you can spot us and what authors will be blessing us.

Great Interview, Missy. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blessed Thoughts from Iris Celeste

Give Thanks…

As this year comes to an end, I can’t help but wonder where the months have gone. I remember vividly this very time LAST year and it seems just like yesterday! Now as we are entering into another year, emotions overwhelm me as I think of the many memories I shared over the closing of this time span. The most dominant being thankfulness. I’m thankful for the family that loves me unconditionally. I’m thankful for my friends—my extended family—who are always so supportive of me…I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I’m thankful for God’s provisions that enables me to provide a decent life for me and my children… Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. I’m thankful for His shield of protection and covering us under His wing…When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. I’m thankful for His mercy and that I wasn’t cut off long ago…. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. I’m even thankful for the pitfalls, because its there that I grew nearer to Him…In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I’m thankful for all the bad decisions He allowed me to make, because now I know better and do better as a result…And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. I’m thankful for all the dark and lonely nights, because it was then I rediscovered the greatness in me…I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. I’m thankful for all the people who didn’t believe in me, because it helped me to believe in myself… may God give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, may the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. But more importantly, I’m thankful for life…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance…to the full, till it overflows! May all your days be a day of thanksgiving.

Iris Celeste, Author

Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Comes Love

First Comes Love was a great read. Tell us a little about it. It's about two best friends who wake up married after a night of broken hearts, drinking, and partying in Vegas. They face the difficult challenge of trying to transition from "homeboy/homegirl" to husband and wife. Ultimately, they have to decide if loving someone means holding on to that person at all costs or being willing to let that person go.

Shana, where you got the idea for this story? One of my best friends is a guy I met in college named Demetrius. We always seem to go through drama with our spouses around the same time. One day, we were both venting about something, and he mentioned that if people married their friends instead of people they were in love with, they would have a stronger marriage. His theory is that love and emotions cloud judgment, but when people marry based on logic (like friends would do), you avoid problems. My argument was that a marriage without chemistry would be dull, and that friends who are like brothers and sisters would not make good spouses. As we went back and forth with that argument, I thought that this topic would be fun to explore as a book.

London had some real issues. Without giving too much away, what do you want women to learn from her character? They should learn not to carry baggage from past relationships into a new one. Also, they should recognize a good man when they see one, even if he doesn't line up with the ideal "wish list."

If you had to use a scripture to describe Rayne’s role in the story, what would it be? I'm paraphrasing, but it is from Proverbs 5:3 about a woman whose words are like honey but who can lead a man down a dangerous path.

Share your tour schedule.
I have signings all through December all over Georgia in Barnes and Nobles and Books-a-Million stores. I am also meeting a lot of book clubs and some independent stores. I am putting together a virtual book tour right now. Hopefully, that will get underway in January.

Thanks for stopping by, Shana and sharing a little about your new book. First Comes Love (Urban Christian) is available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million and wherever books are sold.

For more about Shana, visit archived interviews for September 2008 and also visit her website

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sell a book without writing a query letter???

Want to get your book in front of an agent without having to write a query letter? Of course you do. Here's your chance:

Firebrand Literary Agency is allowing you to take a holiday from querying. They believe the ability to write an amazing first chapter is a much more important skill, as a novelist, than the ability to write a good query letter. So why even bother with a query? That’s why we’re announcing the first annual FIREBRAND QUERY HOLIDAY—to support authors who want to spend their time and energy perfecting their manuscripts and not just polishing their sales skills. We want to read your first chapter. Click here for more...

I say if you've got a finished, polished manuscript, go for it!

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, December 25, 2008

What I'm Most Grateful For This Christmas

When I asked my guests to visit and share the thing they were most grateful for this Christmas, I had no idea what a huge task I had asked of them. That is of course until I had to sit and do it myself. It’s been a great year. It seems impossible to narrow the best of it all down to one thing. I mentally ran through a list of ten incredible blessings; things that happened for me personally and professionally. I moved out of a very demanding 9 to 5 position into something that’s much less stressful and mentally draining. My husband and I amicably decided to call it quits on our failing marriage. It’s been a peaceful transition back to singlehood and God has carried me all the way. Then there are the things related to my writing. I thought of the people that came into my life with gifts of wisdom large enough to fill a Santa sack. Authors, readers, book clubs, and reviewers who I’ve connected with as a result of this blog; new associates on various Yahoo Groups, and Internet radio; my new family at Urban Christian Books and my clients at Legacy Editing. It seems even my creativity was on overdrive this year. I’m so excited about my upcoming writing projects I could just bust, and the contributions I’ve made to other projects has also given me a rush. There are so many more blessings I could list, but I realized in the end no matter what great thing came to mind, my thoughts would always come back to my children. So what I’m most grateful for this Christmas is my two sons, Aaron and Micah; their health, their awesome personalities, and the love they give back to me every day.
Thanks so much for visiting me at Urban Christian Fiction Today. Merry, Merry Christmas to You!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm Not Published Yet

Story Structure: Getting Started
by Tyora Moody

It's a new year around the corner. Maybe last year's New Year's resolution or goal was to write a novel. Don't despair. You're still here, despite any bumps and bruises from this past year. If God has instilled a deep desire in you to write, take some time to organize your goals again. My goal is to encourage you. I'm not published yet, but I have two manuscripts, one in which I plan to start submitting to literary agents in 2009. I'm very excited about the process because I stopped writing for several years.

A few years ago, I was talking with a woman from my church. I made the mistake of confessing to her I wanted to write a book. She proceeded to ask me a question that put a damper on my spirit. "But Ty, there are so many books in the world, what could you write that's any different?" Yeah, that's a real "encouraging" statement. I want you to believe you can get over the hurdle of writing your first book. For the next few articles, I will spend some time on story structure.

Creating a Story (Main Plot and Subplots)

The main plot consist of the series of the events that drive the reader to turn the pages of the book. If you have a story idea and you are also a reader, you might have noticed there are quite a few similarities in most stories. Let's look at two.

Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl break-ups with boy. Boy and girl make-up and get married. How original is that story? Well, that's the underlining plot for most romance novels. Still, romance remains the most popular genre.

Same with mystery. Somebody was killed. Several people are suspects. The real murderer is found.

According to some research, there are only 36 basic plots. Those novels that get published have something about them that set them apart from ever other story. Paying particular attention to your character development and adding subplots that support the main plot can set your future novel apart. Okay, so how do you come up with stories?

Exploring Writing Processes

Once I started letting people know I finished a manuscript, they wanted to know how I did it. In all honesty, just like DNA everybody has their own particular process for structuring a story. Discovering a process that worked for me, made all the difference when it came to writing the second manuscript. There are two main writing processes and in some cases the processes will overlap depending on the writer. Now what I'm introducing does not include all the little bitty "things" a writer might do (playing music, writing in a coffee shop, morning vs. night writing, etc.) to really set their process apart from another writer.

A. Seat of the Pants (Pantser)

This style I can say is NOT me and also happens to be the format I started with for the first manuscript. I think it's safe to say most writers start out this way when presented with a blank screen or notebook paper. With this process, the writer types up the scenes as they appear in their minds. They can sit at the keyboard for hours and write a reasonable set of chapters. Somehow the action flows from one scene to the next, making up a believable story.

I admire writers who write not really knowing what's coming next. Recently, for the NaNoWrimo contest, I tried this style. Again. I cranked out three chapters and then quickly ran out of steam. Mainly because I am NOT a seat of the pants writer. I fit in the other category.

B. The Plotter (Planner)

I write mysteries. It's important to keep up with clues and suspects. Some of those clues point to the real suspect, while other clues, known as red herrings, point to possible suspects. It took me a while, but I learned it helped me to keep track of the main plot and subplots by keeping a detailed chapter outline. Now when I start a manuscript, I have a pretty good idea of how many chapters and scenes I will need.

Now remember, I said earlier that sometimes the processes overlap. While I outline the chapters, I still have a blank canvas in front of me. This means my characters are still going to tell the story. They might decide to throw a wrench in the plot. That's okay, I will stop and refer back to the chapter outline and make adjustments.

So, Let's Do This!

It's almost the end of the year. I encourage you to grab a notebook and write down a few ideas. Do some of these ideas make sense as a main plot? How can you take your characters and create subplots to support the main plot? No matter what process you use to write, a little bit of planning doesn't hurt. Write a few chapters. It's okay to write bad. Don't worry about editing. Does the story flow easily from one scene to the next (seat of the pants)? Do you need to think about the scenes a little more with a chart or an outline (plotter)?

After the new year, I will continue talking about story structure. I'm looking forward to sharing more on the writing process in 2009. Keep me in your prayers. Next year might not be the best timing to submit proposals, but you never know, right? :)

Have a Blessed Christmas and Joyous New Year!
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

Monday, December 22, 2008

What I'm Most Grateful For This Christmas

What I’m grateful for this Christmas is multi-faceted. I’ll begin with my immediate circle. My family is still healthy and we’re all together. My children are both excelling in their high school classes. God has provided for our needs and given my husband and I extra jobs when we need the additional income. My husband and I are more in love than ever. We’d weather some storms over the past few years but God has brought us through them. There is so much more I could say about my family but those are the highlights.

In regards to being an author, I am grateful that I had my first book in print this year and it has been very well-received, thank the Lord. Because of the edgy content I wasn’t sure how that would go, but the people have spoken and they want real fiction and not stuff that is unrealistically chipper. Real life hurts, but there is also healing in Christ. I love writing about those things that touch the hearts of everyone around me. And many non-Christians have discovered my book. I’m praising God for that, too, because I want so badly to reach the lost. God showed me this is one way to reach people who I would otherwise never meet.

I’ve also become Editor in Chief of Christian Fiction Online magazine and have had many talented columnists write articles since the debut issue in July. This month, Stacy Hawkins Adams will be providing food for thought in the multicultural fiction column, which is one of my favorite columns, so check it out y’all.

About my book Second Glances series – all titles by Michelle Sutton

There are three titles coming from Sheaf House publishers.

It's Not About Me - When a young woman's future is destroyed by a senseless attack, two brothers who say they have her best interests in mind fight to win her heart.

It's Not About Him Sept 2009 - When a young woman places her fatherless infant for adoption, her best friend tries to persuade her to marry him and keep her child.

It's Not About Her (not contracted yet, but planned release date is Sept 2010) - When an unassuming, plain girl befriends a young man who only dates beautiful people, she longs to have him love her...until he starts looking her way.

Michelle Sutton’s website

Her blog is

Her social site is

Her online magazine is

Her novel, It's Not About Me is available by clicking below!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christ a Gift to You

Christ His Gift to You

A gift worth opening

NOW WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking,

Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east at its rising and have come to worship Him.

And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts--gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 10:1, 2, 11 Amplified

No one can out beat God on giving. No matter how much money you possess, you can not give more than the Lord. We are approaching another Holy season in which many of us have had to revaluate what the true meaning of Christmas is. When I was a child growing up I loved Christmas and still do. Even though I received all those wonderful gifts I never asked my mother why I didn’t give a gift to God since it was suppose to be his birthday. For weeks leading up to Christmas I couldn’t wait to see all those gifts under my tree. Just like all kids I would go and snoop for the gifts that had my name on them; shake the box and try to guest which one of the ten things I had asked for was inside. How excited I was. Oh I couldn’t wait. The closer it got to Christmas the more excitement built up within my heart. All I knew it was a time for me to receive.

I didn’t really understand the true meaning of Christmas until I was much older. Christmas is a time for giving but we must understand it is not about us giving to each other but giving to God the one who gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus Christ.

Inside God’s gift, so indescribable I can only give you bits and pieces to what this gift actually entails. When Christ is presented to us we only think of Him saving us from our sins but that is just a prelude to all He has provided for us. The Greek word for salvation is “Soteria” which is translated rescue, safety, deliver, health, saving, to save. When I accepted the gift that God had presented to me I accepted the benefits that come alone with the package. Not only can He save me from my sins but He provides deliverance, healing, forgiveness, wholeness, peace, joy, mercy and grace.

If God has given us such a wonderful gift what on earth can we give back to Him? Believe it or not God wants you! Just like God presented Christ to the world, you can present yourself to God. He doesn’t want your good works but He does want your heart.

When you give your heart to God, what you are presenting to Him is your very life. God gave us His best by sending Christ to die for the world, so this season do something you haven’t done before, give yourself to God and God will give you a life worth living.

Instead of giving gifts that will tarnish and get old, present to your family, friends and loved one the greatest gift of all and that is Jesus. Just as excited I was when I was a child to get all those gifts, I’m even more excited today about sharing the gift of Salvation with the world.

Many Blessings,

Paulette Harper

About the Author

Paulette Harper is the Author of “That Was Then, This Is Now, This Broken Vessel Restored”. A heart-wrenching account of one woman’s true story of determination, loss and triumph. In her book, she outlines how a heart attitude of surrender allows God to use a broken vessel for His ultimate plans of Glory.
A native of Pittsburg, Ca, Paulette travels as an inspirational speaker teaching people how to overcome life’s unexpected experiences by delivering a strong message of hope.Her passion is to lead people to a clear and precise understanding of how life challenges can become one’s ultimate source of victory by sharing solid, biblical principles that will enable people to find a way out of every trial so they can reach their God given potential.

She has been featured on Comcast Channel 26, Gospel Search TV, San Francisco Radio Station KPOO, Artistfirst Radio Station, Access TV Channel 29 San Francisco, Grace and Mercy Magazine and on

Paulette resides in Northern California and is a member of NewBirth Church in Pittsburg under the leadership of Pastor Carl Smith.For more information about “That Was Then, This Is Now visit or

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What I'm Most Grateful For This Christmas

I am most grateful that God has given me another year to experience motherhood with my daughter, Selah. I can honestly say that every day on this planet is a miracle for me. And I am so thankful I am here to see her grow and help her grow. Now if some of her sweetness could rub off of me...
Dee Stewart
Dee battles daily with heart disease. She writes Christian Fiction Blog to support writer’s of Christian Faith. She started Christian Fiction Blog in 2004 to help other writer’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of book promotion and book events marketing while still running a household and increasing in spiritual maturity. Today Christian Fiction Blog receives on average 10,000 hits a month. Dee is also the Atlanta satellite for Mocha Readers Books, an Essence Magazine Reporting bookseller, and for the past three years she has served as a Christys Book Awards Judge. Her writing has appeared in: Gospel Today, Precious Times, Anointed, Hope for Women, Rejoice Atlanta, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman, Mosaic Literary Journal, Atlanta Christian Family and Spirit Led Writer to name a few.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Readers let's bail out the bookstores and booksellers!

Reposted from Edgy Christian Fiction Author

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards."We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!"There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild.""Enjoy the holidays."

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild

Blount then sent this "P.S." to the above:"The Guild's staff informs me that many of you are writing to ask whether you can forward and post my holiday message encouraging orgiastic book-buying. Yes! Forward! Yes! Post!

Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet: Hang in there, bookstores! We're coming! And we're coming to buy!..."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blessed Thoughts from Iris Celeste

New Every Morning

I am continuously astonished at how God not only listens to my prayers, but when I see evidence of those prayers being answered. My heart swells with sheer joy at the thought that a God so big cares so much about little old me. With millions of people in the world, wars and famine; He values the significance of my well-being. It’s then that the guilt starts to settle in and I feel ashamed for ever doubting Him. I don’t know if any of you are like this, but sometimes I will pray about a particular situation and still fret over it. I find myself lying awake at night hoping God comes through all the while devising a backup plan in case He doesn’t. Surely God must shake His head as He unyieldingly rains down my daily manna...o, you of little faith.

This week I was wringing my hands worrying over the probability of things to come. Though I had prayed, the situation was still at the forefront of my mind. Exhausted over excessive toiling, I decided to fully let go and whole-heartedly trust God. Afterall, He has yet to fail me. As always when the walls appeared to be closing in on me He provided a way of escape. Just when I thought I couldn’t make it another day, God stepped in. His overpowering love kept me from being consumed. Great is His faithfulness.

No matter how hard I try, I am unable to put into words the emotions that engulf me to know my Father in heaven is concerned about my every need. He knows them all before I can even ask. His sole desire is to bless me.
ME, a little country girl from rural South Carolina.
ME, with no more than a high school diploma.
ME, a mom single-handedly raising her young boys into men.
ME, broken—damaged and sometimes misguided.
He loves me and when it is I feel overwhelmed and think no one else cares, understands or notices…His compassions never fail and are new every morning.

Iris Celeste, Author
Praise Your Way Through

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I'm Grateful For This Christmas

What I'm most grateful for this Christmas is this anointing that God has given me to write these books. I'm still amazed with every email I receive where someone says my book touched them. I'm still shocked when new authors say they write because of me. I feel so honored that God chose me and my fingers. And on top of that to have such wonderful friends and supportive family - is there anything else that anyone needs?

Victoria was the receipient of two African American Literary Awards in the categories of "Best Fiction Book" for her most recent release, Too Little, Too Late and "Best Female Author" for 2008. Congrats to you, Victoria.
Make sure to share one of her great books as a Christmas present this year. A good book makes a great gift!

You may learn more about Victoria by visiting for women's fiction or for her phenomenal teen series.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Interview with Author, Michelle Sutton

Remember that feature I did a few weeks ago on "Buy a book by a black author and give it to someone who isn't black?" Well today on Urban Christian Today, a forum for African American Christian Fiction, we're going to highlight an author who isn't black, and I hope you will buy the book by the white author and read it just because it's good and because the Kingdom of God is not built on division, but unity.

Today I welcome debut author, Michelle Sutton. I met Michelle at the American Christian Fiction Writers Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas in the fall of 2006. We had common ideas about wanting to see realistic stories in Christian Fiction. That led to a fast friendship that has endured via emails over the years. I'm so excited that since the conference, she and I are both realizing our dreams of being published. (My book is in the pipeline, but hers is in the stores.)

In addition to being a new author, Michelle wears many hats. She'a a highly sought after reviewer and this year as Senior Editor, she helped launch the Christian Fiction Online Magazine. CFOM has had 26,872 visitors and 53,876 pageloads to the magazine since it's launch in July. That's alot to be proud of and it keeps Michelle very busy. I'm glad I could steal a few minutes of her time for this week's feature.

Welcome, Michelle, since I've already introduced you, how about you introduce your readers to my readers. Let’s see, my readers are between the ages of 9 and 81 and they are about two thirds female and one third male. I’ve gotten endorsements from and acquired readers from all racial backgrounds, too. Oh, and about half of my readers are not Christians. (Insert victory punch here!) They so need to read about a real Savior and real faith and not the candy coated stuff they think Christianity offers.

Tell us about It’s Not About Me and the rest of the series. In regards to content, It’s Not About Me is edgy when it comes to CBA standards, but not by typical secular fiction comparisons. The difference is that in my book I talk plainly about faith and I offer the reader hope. My book also shows the importance of faith and that is evident in the characters’ journeys and growth. I also talk about sin and temptation and that tends to scare some people who want to think their children will never sin. (Yes, I’m jaded, but come on, people, pull your heads out of the sand.) But for the rest of the world who is willing to take their blinders off, they say it’s just about real life. I agree, of course.

It’s Not About Me is the story of a nineteen-year-old girl who is for the most part a nice teen, obedient, and cares about doing what her parents want her to. The problem is she doesn’t know what she wants because she is too busy trying to make everyone else happy. When tragedy strikes her life, she has to look inside her heart and she doesn’t like what she sees. But because of the encouragement from a friend—her boyfriend’s brother Dan, she is encouraged to do something about it. In the process of being encouraged by Dan, she begins to develop feelings for him. That complicates things because she was supposed to have loved his brother. So the love triangle begins. However, she does discover the difference between real love and infatuation from this experience. She has to make some difficult decisions, because for once in her life, she won’t be able to please everybody. Someone will get hurt.

The next book in the series is called It’s Not About Him. It’s the story of Susie and Jeff from the first book. Both were not very nice people or even decent friends. They had issues, to say the least. But in this book you see the world the way they see it and you understand why they did what they did in the first book. I love doing that with characters – showing you their bad side, then redeeming them in the next book. I like this story even better than the first, but that’s because it’s edgier. Silly, I know, but I love pushing that envelope!

I personally know you’ve penned some riveting women’s fiction that is currently being shopped with by your agent, so tell me about the decision to write YA Fiction. Actually I wrote this YA series three years ago and I had it down as women’s fiction because it was part of a women’s fiction series. One publisher said she felt that was more YA so we changed it since YA seems to be increasing in popularity recently and let’s be honest, teens don’t have much good fiction to read, especially not in CBA land. At any rate, if you read the reviews a lot have stated how you don’t have to be young adult to enjoy the story, which was why I had originally listed it under women’s fiction. But the switch to YA was helpful because I now have a male readership as a result.

Any personal experience with the angst of the characters? I’ve known people like all of the characters, yes, but they are all a mixture of people and no character is exactly like anyone I know.

What do you want readers to take away from this story? I want them to explore their own faith. I want them to think about why they do what they do and who they are trying to please. I also want them to think about the difference between love and infatuation (puppy love) and to choose the right kind of love.

I do know you have made a personal connection with your cover models. How neat. Tell me how that came to be. What happened was I was talking to my friend Angie one day and said, “I really need two brothers for the cover because in my head I see them posing but I don’t know two guys who look enough like brothers to model for it.” She said, “I have two sons!” They are the ages I needed and the rest is history. The redhead on the front looks amazingly like how I pictured Annie and she is married to one of the brothers.

Michelle, your brand is Edgy Christian Fiction. Your blog “Edgy Inspirational Author” is extremely popular. Tell us what “edgy” means to you, and how challenging is it to write and market your brand in a genre that can be so conservative. To me edgy means telling it like it is. Telling the truth. Even the ugly side. Christians do bad things. We are not perfect. Non-Christians need to see that in our books or how will they ever feel like Christianity is something for them, too. A lot of CBA fiction shies away from what people really feel. They want to teach, “Just say no.” I write to tell the reader why they would want to say no, but I never tell them what to think. They just figure it out by reading the story. I’ve had several readers who are 19 and 20 thank me for writing a story that shows the struggle young people face in a realistic way and they said this has firmed up their commitment to wait for marriage. Bravo! That is what I want. No one told me anything like that when I was a teen and if anything the message was, “If it feels good, do it.” Bad advice, I’m telling you. How I wish I had been able to read edgy fiction with a moral message in those days but it simply didn’t exist. I’ve been referred to as a modern day Judy Blume with an inspirational twist. Not a bad comparison, I’d say.

You have a very unique voice and you write like you have twenty bestsellers under your belt. Tell me how you learned to write. What resources have been the biggest helps to you in honing the craft. Well, I learned to write mainly from reading a lot of well-written (not crap) fiction and by writing a lot and working the same thing over and over. But I also wrote entire books and got feedback from crit groups. As I got to know more authors I started getting their feedback, too. I have read a few writing-related books that helped me gain insight, too. There is a book by Scott Orson Card about character emotion and the gist of it is that if as the author you tell your readers how your character feels then they don’t experience that emotion for themselves. REALLY? Huh, well I tried changing how I do that and IT WORKS! I also read Stein on Writing. He talks about creating an envelope and letting your reader fill it. Really? Yep, and that works, too. In fact, that book totally changed how I viewed writing from that point on (about four years ago.) I have about three junk books that were learning experiences and about nine that are publishable, two of which have sold to Sheaf House. My Anatomy of Temptation book is the last book I actually wrote and sadly, I don’t think it will sell to a large publisher. The ABA publishers say it is too Christian and the CBA publishers can’t believe we would even consider publishing something so… honest. Well, dang.

Give aspiring writers some advice. Don’t worry about selling your book right off the bat. Work on making it the best book it can be. Then don’t stick with that one book or you’ll be a one book wonder. Move on to your next book and keep writing until you get an agent or something sells. Get feedback from honest people who know what they are talking about (like published authors) whenever possible.

Any parting words…
Have I told you lately, Rhonda, how cool I think you are? Peace!

Visit the following sites to learn more about Michelle, her books and to hook up with some more edgy folks. (my blog – I give away books!) (hasn’t been update in awhile) (my website – designed it myself) (my online magazine – check it out) (my edgy fiction lovers group – all people welcome!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

What I'm Grateful For This Christmas

I'm grateful for the simplest of things this year, as well as for the opportunity to be living at a time when historic changes are sweeping our world.

Seeing the first black president elected and watching the preparations leading up to his inauguration have been a gift. My sister's miraculous return from the brink of death this past spring was a joyful reminder of God's awesome power and grace.
Knowing that God is my protector and provider during these uncertain economic times has kept me centered amid the media's cries of doom and gloom.

Reflecting on all that I've mentioned, I can't think of one trinket that would mean more or give me more joy this Dec. 25. Everything I've experienced this year has left me more grateful than ever for the birth of a very special babe 2,000 years ago. On Christmas morning, I'll celebrate Jesus’ birthday with my family, watch my children's glee over what they find under our tree, and spend the day building memories that will leave me even more thankful when I remember Christmas 2008 many years from now.

Christmas blessings to you and yours!

Stacy Hawkins Adams is the author of three bestselling novels, Speak to My Heart, Nothing But the Right Thing, and Watercolored Pearls. Her new title, The Someday List will be available on January 1, 2009.

The Someday List
Rachelle Covington has it all. A fabulous home, a handsome and prestigious husband, two beautiful children, and a place in the upper crust that's quite comfortable. But her life is not all it's cracked up to be. When her husband goes away on business and the kids are sent off to the grandparents for a month, Rachelle takes up the challenge of a dying friend to start a list of things to do before she dies. She heads back to Jubilant, Texas, to reconnect with her past, her purpose, and herself. But when her ex shows up in town looking very fine and very single, Rachelle must confront feelings she thought she'd long buried. Will she give up everything to recover the past? Or will she find a reason to plan for the future.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christ Less the Holiday Mess

There is a song by Nat King Cole “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” that instantly brings a smile to my face simply because the words give me a visual of a peaceful and inviting holiday. It is what I aspire to have even in moments when that doesn't feel like a possibility.
That being said, I also recognize that for many the Christmas season brings great sadness, bitterness and despair. This is the season where old hurts are revisited right after the ham is sliced, its the emptiness left from a loved ones recent passing who kept the family together or the frustration at not being able to buy any gifts for the children due to a less than ideal financial situation. I even remember when all the Christmas presents were stolen from under the tree of a relative. To imagine that someone would be desperate and/or disrespectful enough to walk in your home and steal precious gifts or life...Events seem unimaginable until they actually happen. Trying situations can take the glow from the most positive of people. To the point that even the most graceful song and music becomes empty noise.
It's during this time that Christ can be the greatest influence, a formidable buffer for pain, grievance and inadequacy. Jesus wasn't just born for our souls to be saved, he's there for us to seek him when life isn't making sense. I've learned that my relationship with Christ can carry me through many storms. Through his example I recognize what battles aren't meant for me to fight... by loving myself and those that surround me even when we aren't all on one giving my heart and time even if my pocketbook is empty. By being an encouragement in spite of...
I've learned to tune into things that bring me joy like “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”, because it's the little song or word or positive action that can enhance the Christ already in me.

T.N. Williams was born and raised in Muskegon, MI. Writing short stories and poems had been a passion from childhood, but it wasn't until graduating from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor degree in Sociology, that she began to fully embrace that God-given gift and relate it to the diversity of people. She has received several awards for recognition from the International Society of Poets and collaborated poetic work in the published collection entitled Traces of the Infinite. Since college, T.N. uses her experience in the field of Employment Services and currently resides outside of Charlotte, NC with her husband and three children. Something on the Inside is her debut novel.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What I'm Most Grateful For This Christmas

Grateful for the Gift

As leaves turn from red to yellow then fall to the ground our thoughts turn toward one of the most celebrated holidays of the year, Christmas.

It is during this time that the preoccupation of what we can give overshadows what has been given. In the name of capitalism, the blitz to capture our shopping dollars literally begins one day past Halloween. Evidence of the now legislated holiday is heard in the extension of the politically correct offering of Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas.

In spite of society’s determination to publicly remove Christ from Christmas, I am eternally blessed for the unconditional love, grace and mercy God daily bestows upon me. I am grateful for the Son who was given, the life He gave and the choice that I made to surrender my all to the true and living God.

Merry Christmas to all – Linda Beed!

Dr. Linda F. Beed is the author of Business Unusual.

Bernadette Lewis, without apology walks with confidence and humility upon the path to fulfilling purpose. Her serene world turns into a whirlwind of emotions when she finds herself faced with the forced re-acquaintance of her maternal grandmother; the possibility of insubordination by a key employee and the option of choice regarding the one man her father cautioned her to be careful with.

Business Unusual connects readers with those they can identify with and find themselves rooting for and against as they read of their process through life.

Business Unusual
A story of forgiveness, obedience and the option of choice!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm Not Published Yet

I’m Veronica Fields Johnson and it’s my dream to become a published novelist. My writer-sister-friend Rhonda graciously extended me the opportunity to write about my aspirations, which I hope will inspire other future writers to keep pressing forward.

My journey toward that dream has taken much longer than I anticipated. As an elementary school student, I wrote poems for class and even ventured out to write a play about a king and a queen and a horse. I sent that off to a children’s PBS program, hoping they would pick the play and put on a performance. (they didn’t, but did at least send me a cookie recipe card in return.) I wrote a humorous epitaph for a fictional character in my 10th grade English class that my teacher really enjoyed and read aloud to the class.

Whenever I had something to say, whether it was in response to something that made me laugh or made me angry, made me smile or made me think, I found it easier to write it down. I loved writing letters to family and friends, and still do the same via email.

I studied journalism in college and was drawn to feature writing, which gave me a little more leeway for creativity. I entered a short story contest sponsored by Essence magazine in the early 90s, and was a reporter for, and eventually editor of, my college newspaper.

As a youngster, I wasn’t afraid to step out on faith and submit my work. Even when I grew up, but was still less knowledgeable about the craft of fiction writing, I happily submitted to writing contests and various greeting card publishers, without much success. So why, once I started studying the craft of writing, did I lose my confidence?

I knew, I mean, really, really knew I wanted to be a novelist when I read a short story by J. California Cooper entitled, “The Life You Live May Not Be Your Own," which was featured in the Breaking Ice anthology, edited by Terry McMillan. I was fascinated by the fact that Ms. Cooper used literature as social commentary. Her words have a rich texture and meaning and make people reassess how we view the world and ourselves.

When I tried to emulate that style, my words didn’t sing on the page like hers did. All the vivid story ideas that came to me in various forms didn’t seem so vivid when I wrote them down. Disappointment started to creep into everything I tried to do that was writing-related. Would I ever get it right?

It’s easy to give up on writing, if it’s not what you’ve been called to do. But that nagging feeling that you just can’t live without that creativity, and use it to bring about God’s purpose for your life and send a message to His people, may signal that you really shouldn’t leave the path, no matter how hard you need to study to make it right.

A few years ago I thought I needed to quit and agonized over it for days, only for the Lord to wake me up in the middle of the night to write a poem for a friend who had just gotten married.

If He won’t let you loose, maybe it’s time to surrender. According to God’s word in 2 Timothy 2:15 we must “study to show ourselves approved.” I had to find out what that meant for me. This included joining a supportive writing group, burying my nose in as many craft books as I could until they started making sense (which took years) and asking the Lord to help me stay focused, even with all that comes with being a wife, mother of two small children, working full-time and volunteering at church, in my sorority and just living life.

If I can do it, so can you. Let’s keep each other accountable, shall we?


Veronica Fields Johnson is a freelance writer, trivia buff, game show enthusiast and avid reader. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and is a member of the Visions in Print chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two daughters and is currently working on her first novel. Email her at veronicawrites4him(at) yahoo(dot)com.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Online Reader and Writer Conference - Dec 8-13, 2008

RawSistaz is holding their annual event online this year. Seems like a great idea in light of the fact that the organizations's founder Tee C. Royal has a newborn and the economy is not condusive to travel for many people. Here are the details.

Register by clicking here or going to



Event Overview
Meet & Greet


Book Discussion - What Readers Want

Panel - Self-Publishing vs Mainstream vs POD Renee Flagler, Shelia Goss, Earl Sewell, Tina McKinney, Nakea Murray

Panel - On Writing: From Romance to Christian Fiction to Non-Fiction Michelle Larks, Gwyneth Bolton, Bettye Griffin, Marilyn Griffith, LaConnie Taylor-Jones

Workshop - Creating a Publishing Business Barbara Joe Williams

Workshop - The Road to Getting Published Gwynne Forster

Spotlight - Authors Ana’Gia Wright, Pynk, Trice Hickman, Terra Little, Dyanne Davis


Book Discussion - A Different Kind of Blues by Gwynne Forster

Panel - Books, Book Clubs & Book Reviews aNN Brown/RAWSISTAZ, Renee Williams/All the Buzz, Dee Dee Dalton/Sexy Ebony BBWS, J’me Adams/Passion for Reading, Eraina Tinnin/Piedmont Triad RAWSISTAZ

Panel - Guiding Young Readers Through the Literary Jungle Paula Chase, Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling-Lyons, Carla Sarratt and Don Tate

Panel - Depicting the Black Family in Literature Angela Winters, Swaggie Coleman, Evelyn Palfrey, Carleen Brice, Toschia

Workshop - Focus on the Story Dwight Fryer

Workshop - Blogging for Fun Sheila Goss

Workshop - Fast Books Victor McGlothin

Spotlight - Poetry & Non-Fiction RJ Poet, a. Kai, Ms. T, Vanessa Johnson


Book Discussion Unexpected Interruptions by Trice Hickman

Panel - On Writing: Why We Write What We Write Allison Hobbs, Rodney Hurst, Rose Beavers, Nikki Rashan, Angeline Bandon-Bibum

Panel - Book Promotion & Publicity Dana Pittman/Nia Promotions, Lissa Woodson/Macro Marketing & Promotions Group , Nakea Murray/Literary Consultants Group

Workshop - Mistakes First Time Authors Make Barbara Joe Williams

Workshop - Structuring Your Novel Dr. Fredrick Williams

Workshop - How to Be Your Own Publicist Ella D. Curry

Spotlight - Authors Robert Greer, Byron Harmon, Nicole Bailey-Williams, T.L. James, M. LaVora Perry


Book Discussion - Our Favorite Books of All Time

Panel - Industry Insider Roundtable Candace K - Web Designer/, Melissa Forbes - Freelance Editor/Carbon Copy Editing, Doug Siebold - Publisher/Agate Publishing, Misherald Brown - Literary Agent/ML Brown & Associates, Chanel Smith/Web Design Presence

Workshop - What You Need to Know Before You Sign on the Dotted Line Pamela Samuels-Young

Workshop - The Inner Self/The Outer Self Dr. Ni

Spotlight - Literary Professionals Marlive Harris - Literary Services, Pam Perry - Ministry Marketing Solutions, Ella Curry-EDC Creations, Sylvia Hubbard - Motown Writers Network, LaShaunda Hoffman - SORMAG, 3 Chicks on Lit


Workshop - So You Want to Write Renee Flagler

Author Spotlights - TBA

Event Wrap-Up

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Married Strangers by Dwan Abrams

Today I welcome back Author, Dwan Abrams to share a little about her new release Married Strangers (Urban Christian)

Here's a synopsis:

What do you do when you think you've married the wrong person? If anybody has ever found themselves asking that question, it's Rayna. And coming up with the answer is no easy feat as far as she's concerned.

Shortly after getting married, Rayna discovered that marriage is not all it was cracked up to be. On the outside, she appears to be the happily married newlywed, but on the inside, she secretly wants out of this marriage that she knows she entered into for all the wrong reasons. And now she knows that she needs to get out of the marriage for all the right ones; because she's not physically compatible with her husband.

Her friend, Aja, has problems of her own. She's dealing with baby momma drama and sometimes regrets her decision to get married, too.

Shania is in love and recently engaged…until she uncovers a secret that could rip her world apart. Will she even make it to the altar?

These three main characters in Married Strangers take the question "Why Did I Get Married?" to a whole other level.

Tell us what inspired you to write this story? Originally, Married Strangers was a short story entitled, Favor, which appeared in The Midnight Clear anthology. My sister was actually the inspiration for the short story. She had recently eloped, and I was upset about not being a part of the wedding. To help me through my disappointment, I crafted Favor as a form of therapy, so to speak. Well, after my sister read Favor, she was upset because the young couple, Jonathan and Cheyenne, had such tragic circumstances. She insisted I change their fate. Eventually, I started working on Married Strangers, which chronicles the lives of the three women.

What do you want readers to take away? I want readers to understand that getting married is one of, if not the biggest decision you'll ever make. Before considering taking such a big step, take the time to really get to know each other.

What local events are you doing to promote the book during the holidays? December has been a busy month for me, and I still have quite a few events lined up. I have to laugh at myself for thinking that December would be a slow month because of the holidays. Even still, I've been pretty good about keeping my events current on my web site,

However, here are a few things happening.

December 9 -- Dee and Marina Reports,, 8:00-8:45 p.m.

December 13 -- Married Strangers Book Release Party/Birthday Celebration,
Milk and Honey Midtown Restaurant, 1082 Huff Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318,
Brunch will be served from 2:00-4:00 p.m. I'll be sighing until 5 p.m.

Attire: Trendy or Business Casual

Visit to view the menu selection,

December 18 -- DryerBuzz Lunch and Stream, Discussion: Married Strangers, 3330 Cumberland Blvd., Suite 500, Atlanta, GA 30339,, 12:00-2:00 p.m.

December 22 -- Podcast Interview,

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Buy a Black Book and Give It To Someone Not Black Month

This is a brilliant idea, and honestly, African Americans read books by non-African American authors all the time and it just seems fair that this should be reciprocal.

APOOO Book Club had a thoughtful, yet very funny post by author, Carleen Brice. Carleen is spearheading this effort on her blog (She's not a Christian fiction author, but I've been told her book, Orange Mint and Honey, is excellent.).

Click here to see the video

I ask my non-African American readers (I hate using the word "white", seems so uncool. Save us from our labels) to not be offended. If you watch the video you'll find it's very cute, done in fun and certainly in no way offensive. I had to share and I also think it's a good idea to diversify the old book shopping list, which I'm sure you already do or you wouldn't be visiting my blog. But maybe you can share with friends who don't feel the same way.

In honor of this post, I'm going to post an interview by a non-African American author real soon and ask my readers to please buy her very well written book.

Thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What I’m Most Grateful For This Christmas

Although I am grateful for so many things, I am most grateful for a renewed sense of purpose. Not so many years ago, I came from a very dark place where I was drifting along with no real vision, or atleast without God’s vision. The plan I had for my life was my own,exceptionally flawed and unfulfilling. On the outside I looked fairly successful, but inside I was trapped in a continual cycle God never intended for me to be in. I was moving and producing, but not in God’s perfect will for my life. In fact, I didn’t even know at first that such a thing existed.
My writing, which had been my passion and dream since I was a little girl, had been sucked out by post college life, student loans, marriage, children, bills, and a multitude of responsibilities. Somehow the passion, that had once burned so brightly , was lost and eventually buried alive.
It wasn’t until I had a revelation from God about purpose many years later, and ultimately about his purpose for my life, that my whole world started to turn around. God used a simple conversation to remind me of who I was in Christ-a writer- but no longer just a writer, one who was ordained to write for Him.
When I stopped fighting my destiny, God was able to supernaturally restore and favor me. I was blessed to not only complete my first novel, The Lovechild,but to also document the journey in my first non-fiction book, Resurrecting Vision. I was born to be a kingdom writer and just knowing my purpose gives me the strength and tenacity to forge ahead in Jesus’ name. Now I experience the unspeakable joy of knowing both whose I am and also who I am. So as we celebrate this Jesus’ birth, I am eternally grateful for what my Lord and Savior has birthed in me.

Ashea Goldson is the author of The Lovechild and several non-fiction books.

The Lovechild provides a riveting ride through the life of Makaeli Lovechild Hunt, a successful fashion designer who struggles with her biracial identity and her spirituality. Born into a dysfunctional family, and enduring many hardships,she eventually becomes estranged from them. She escapes to Italy where she dives into her career and masks her resentment for her family, for God, and for herself. Finally, a family emergency forces her to face her tumultuous past. In seven life altering days, she discovers what forgiveness really means and amidst crises painful enough to make her turn her back on God forever, she learns what it means to be God’s lovechild.

Vist Ashea at and at

Thanks for sharing, Ashea and enjoy the holidays. All of them.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Blessed Thoughts with Iris Celeste

The Way, The Truth and The Life

Yesterday I cried. Not from grief or sorrow, but out of pure joy. I was happy! As I reflected over my life my heart instinctively overflowed with gratitude. I endured hardships, heartaches, disappointments, and loss. Though my path was encumbered with numerous obstacles and landed me in various pitfalls, still I stand. What I considered as my demise gave birth to a miraculously new beginning. He reached down from on high and took hold of me. You see, each trial was designed for a purpose. Through it all God held me, protected me and kept me for such a time as this.

As long as I was at the steering wheel wrong turns were made. I often traveled down dead end roads. Some were rocky and in need of repair. Others were smooth, but held many curves. I admit to being hard-headed and sometimes taking the long road home. As a result, I found myself wasting time driving in circles passing the same scenery…dizzy and confused. My destination always the same—lost. I was in need of a road map. That’s when it hit me! Let not your heart be troubled. I had a comforter; an advocate on my behalf. The Spirit of Truth. After years of struggling to make it on my own I no longer had to. So I took advantage of the situation and conferred with my Counselor. As soon as I began to align my will with His will life made sense. I realized my path was already paved out for me, all I had to do was take the first step in the right direction. With each step of faith God opened doors of opportunity for me to succeed and with that I found love, joy and peace. I found life abundant.

Iris Celeste

Author of Praise Your Way Through