Monday, October 22, 2007

secular books with Scriptural themes

Hi all:

I've been over at Tia's website, Fantasy Debut Blogspot and she commented that there are a lot of books with Bible themes being published by secular publishing houses. Including Wind Follower of course.

Wonder why?

I'm not as up on the novels and religions of other cultures so I can't say if there is a universal resurgence in books based on Scripture. Offhand, I can only think of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which was connected to the Koran. Honestly, I don't know if there's even a resurgence in North America. Many folks around the world are religious or philosophical...after all. But the Holy Bible is a great book and has some issues that will connect to atheists and religious folks alike.

The first is the nature of suffering. Mark Ferrari's, The Book of Joby, deals with this. And what better Biblical book for an author to play with than the Book of Job!

You know the story: God and Satan get into a wager and use Job as a pawn. (Of course there are many different ways of interpreting how they even got into this battle. Some word-of-faith Christians say Job got himself in that mess by speaking wrong words over his life....he removed the hedge God had put around him. Some say linguistically, that the Hebrew implies that God didn't start the challenge at all. The "have you considered my servant Job?" statement is God's referring to a past event in Lucifer's mind. Something like, "So I see you have been thinking about my servant Job?")

Mark Ferrari takes one of the more traditional Christian views: that God can do whatever He wants to with the lives of His creations.

I've got to say from the sampler I read that this is a really good book. I had my issues with it of course. The smallest first: I didn't like it that God was so flip about human suffering. Sure he believes in Joby and in humans, but I have a thing against cold humorous tongue-in-cheek portrayals of God. That's just me, though. As seen in movies like Evan Almighty, Oh God, and other small and large or printed or digital media, some folks like doing that with representations of God. Now, I only read the first chapter excerpt. It's in PDF format so I can't give you a snippet. But you can download the first chapter here.

It's possible --probable-- that Ferrari's portrayal of God in the rest of the story will amaze and awe me. I would try to get the book and check it out. But ...well there's my biggest problem with Book of Joby. Little Joby himself.

The first chapter has some humorous moments ...and I'm sure the humor will continue. But I have to tell you. I cannot cannot cannot deal with the suffering of children. This is my own issue. I simply cannot deal with suffering children. Yep, I walked out of many a movie, stopped reading many a book, and simply stand transfixed watching the TV whenever some suffering child is shown. For instance, I loved the film, A I: Artificial Intelligence. But I simply cannot see it again.

This is a mom thing. This is a mom with a disabled kid thing. It's probably even a dad with a disabled kid thing. Joby is an innocent and we moms with disabled kids understand innocence in a way most parents don't because we have to live with that continued innocence year after year after year. It makes it hard to see innocence wounded or hurt. Honestly, as I read the sample chapter, I kept anticipating all the struggles this little Joby was going to go through...and frankly it comes way too close to home. So, I have no intention of going out and buying the book. Again, I say this is entirely my issue. But I suspect mothers and dads (and brothers and sisters) of wounded children won't be able to read it without feeling a heartfelt pain.

Yes, yes, I know. All great books push some painful areas of our souls. But when it comes to kids suffering I just can't "go there."

The second book coming out is God's Demon and it's about the nature/possibility of redemption. Here's an exceprt.

There was the Fall. And no one was permitted to speak of it, or of the time before or of the Above. But it was the Fall that established many things in Hell, not the least of which was the distribution of territory. The future wards of Hell were randomly determined as each Demon Major, on his own sizzling trajectory from the Above, plunged headlong, meteoric, into the unknown wilds of the Inferno. Some impacted far apart, setting up their realms in relative seclusion and safety, while others, less fortunate, found themselves in close proximity, able to see the rising smoke of their neighbor’s arrival. These close arrivals began plotting and campaigning as soon as they could gather about them enough minor demons to form a court. The fratricidal wars that erupted lingered for millennia, occasionally flaring up into major conflagrations. These were the volatile times of Settlement and they were never forgotten by the survivors. Many of Lucifer’s original Host were lost, but those that remained, the strong and the cunning, established powerful kingdoms that would grow and prosper.

You can read the prologue and first chapter here

In this novel, the author Wayne Barlowe takes Milton's idea of Pandemonium and runs with it. (In Paradise Lost, the demons build Pandemonium and basically said, "I'd rather rule in hell than serve in heaven.")

There is a mass case of selective memory, building, and worldbuilding going on in Barlowe's hell. Who wants to remember how low they have fallen? Besides, a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand long, can it? There are a lot of demons out there who are seriously peeved that they were deceived into rebelling against God.

Both these books deal with demons. And both these books deal with demons who rebel against God. Perhaps that's why their authors were intrigued by them. Rebellion against God, rebellion against authority. Rebellion against goodness. We still live with the effects of the Romantic Era. Rebels are seen as romantic. But I don't think so. In these stories, the rebels will be seen as having been wrong-headed, unknowing, limited in their demonic thinking. Very conservative thinking that. Father DOES know best.

But there is something else here...something very much like soul.

I remember reading Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire -- years before she returned to the Faith-- and thinking.... "this woman understands the need for a saviour. Most atheists don't understand it to such an extent. Or else they wouldn't be so snide, cruel and arrogant toward Christians." (Especially to poor innocent sickly black women like myself who never did them any harm.) When I read her books I saw something very much like soul. Well, these guys have something like soul.

Not that we Christians are the only ones who have the longing for a saviour or a loving understanding incomprehensible God. All nations look toward the Desire of Nations. It is only the Christian who knows that God not only understands suffering but that he came as a man of sorrows ACQUAINTED with grief (GOD-WITH-US suffering even as we suffer), and that God's love depends not on our righteousness or good behavior but on his mercy, the He is able to reach even into the depths of hell to save a repentant sinner who longs to be saved by him. -C

Sunday, October 21, 2007

passing this along

An reader is working on a project and would like your help. I do not know her personally and I am not endorsing her or her project, but after exchanging a couple of emails I feel that her efforts are sincere and I am comfortable passing along this request:

“Are you a person of African decent who has worked hard to achieve the
“American dream”? Did you work hard in school, get into to college,
graduate, and do all the “right” things, but still found yourself
struggling professionally? Have you gotten a concussion, bumping your
head into that glass ceiling? Did you believe that if you just worked
hard and stayed out of trouble, that dream job and picket fence would
be yours? I am interested in talking to you about your trials and
tribulations. I want to know what types of obstacles you have faced
and what you have done to overcome them. I want to know what your
struggles are today and what your triumphs are too. Maybe it forced
you to start your own business or go in your own direction. Maybe you
eventually did get that “dream” together but the road was treacherous.
Maybe you are still struggling today and need direction…. I am
sure there are a lot of you out there because it has happened to me.
Ivy league education, top grades, all the right stuff, but still
struggling. Get in touch with me, let me know that you are out there
and we can talk about what I am doing more in-depth. I know that
these things can be painful and embarrassing because it feels like a
personal failure. Don’t worry about that. There are no judgments
here… just a kind ear and support for my brothers and sisters! I
hope to hear from you soon.”

If you are interested or have questions, please contact EA directly at:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

First Wind Follower book signing

Well, I'm all signed up. They are ironing out whether or not we'll actually be reading excerpts. Will see.

Carole McDonnell (Wind Follower) and other local authors will discuss and sign their books.

Carole's book is story about a quest, a vendetta, and a spiritual battle. It is a multicultural Christian fantasy about the relationship between race and religion.

WHEN: Saturday, November 17, 2007 @ 12:00 noon
WHERE: Barnes & Noble Cortlandt Town Center
3089 East Main Street, Route 6
Mohegan Lake, NY 10547
store: 914-528-6275


Do you want to do something scary? For an enlightening and scary adventure, go and google "teenage statistics"

Here are a few DAILY statistics I picked up. NOTE: some of these statistics are old, from 2002 or you can decide if they have gotten worse or better.

2353 become pregnant
367 have miscarriages
4000 have abortions
40% of teenage pregnancies end in abortions
1287 give birth
666 born to poor women
74 babies die before one mont
9 die from gunshot wounds
10 die everyday from car crashes
8984 every year from
10 die from suicide
one teen dies every five days from workplace injuries
3 die from drinking and driving
over 1000 teenagers die every day from smoking
600 gonorrhea
8000 with STD's
988 abused
3288 child run away
49000 in juvie
2999 see their parents divorced
There is a suicide every 17 minutes
More kids die from suicide than homicide

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Second Chance Act

Hat Tip to Eddie Griffin,

Please take action to give offenders a second chance and help keep our brothers and sisters out of jail This is VERY IMPORTANT. Please visit this link to read more

This is the action alert...

Dear Friends,
We need your help immediately to pass the Second Chance Act, HR 1593. The bill is ready to be brought to a vote on the floor of the House. Yet, the poisoned partisan atmosphere may keep it from ever getting voted upon.
Leaders from both parties have reached agreement on virtually everything that will be in the bill, but there remains some Republican opposition. The Democratic leadership is reluctant to schedule a vote if it turns into a donnybrook on the floor. However, they will schedule a vote next week if they are assured that the bill has the support of at least 100 Republicans.
Therefore, I urge you to call your representative and tell them how important it is that this bill passes. If your legislator is a Republican, please ask them to call Rep. Chris Cannon, the lead Republican sponsor, and let him know that they will vote for the Second Chance Act. It is important that they let Mr. Cannon know by tomorrow (Thursday) so that it can be scheduled for a vote next week. If your legislator is a Democrat, please ask them to tell Rep. Hoyer, the Democratic Whip, that they support the bill.
The Second Chance Act will help ex-offenders with their transition to life on the outside—specifically, in five key areas: jobs, housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and strengthening families.
You can find out more about this bill at Justice Fellowship's Legislative Action Center, where you can also find out the name and phone number of your representative. Please do not close this email before you call your representative. It is that important to the bill.
In His service,
Pat Nolan
Vice President, Prison Fellowship

Second Chance Act is on the schedule for Tuesday Nov, 13th

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Spotlight: Cecil Washington

Cecil Washington is the editor and Publisher of Creative Brother , a magazine that publishes and explores speculative fiction about the black culture. I recently interviewed both Cecil and Frank Creed. See my post on marginalized scifi below.

Creative Brother is a zine that contains fiction, opinion essays, poetry, and sometimes analysis of issues at the juncture of speculative fiction and Black culture.

Authors included in Issue #10, which I believe is the latest issue, include Paul Blakeford and Malon Edwards.

Creative Brother doesn't shy away from controversial issues, two of which are included in this issue.

The first is: The Sophia Stewart plagiarism lawsuit against the Brothers Wachowski asserting they stole the Matrix idea from her. (I've heard a lot about this lawsuit and honestly I don't know what to think about it. It's possible they used her short story as a seed for the movie but where does influence begin and plagiarism end?) Mr Washington seems to have taken up her cause. I'll stand mute. If you wish to read more about the lawsuit, you can check out Sophia's website. She's pretty angry...and if she is indeed right about being plagiarized, she has every right to be angry. If, if, if. Whatever the outcome of the courtcase, it certainly should make writers pause about sending their unpublished novels off to folks in Hollywood.

Another controversial topic mentioned in Creative Brother is the philosophy of Dr Frances Cress-Welsing and Neely Fuller, Jr. In fact it takes up much of this issue. If you don't know what the United Independent Compensatory Code/System/Concept is, you can either count yourself unlucky (according to Felix) or lucky (in that you just don't get into such far reaches of racial flakiness.) Sorry, Felix, but honestly! I consider you a great writer and I'm not particularly wimpy about racism...but I seriously wonder how anyone could believe in that entire Cress-Welsing concept.

The ezine also contains a great segment on black scifi resources on the web and in print. If you want to read some race-based scifi...or if you want to get an somewhat biased analysis on the Sophia Stewart case or the Cress-Welsing/Fuller philosophy, check out the zine:

Creative Brother Website

Other bloggers taking part in the tour are:

Interview with Cecil Washington

Check out the spotlight of Cecil on:
Spotlight on moondancerdrake's livejournal

Gregory Banks' website

Rachel Lindley

Plus I did an earlier interview with Cecil and Frank Creed, another writer of marginalized speculative fiction.

Cecil's websites are:

Creative Brother Website


Spotlight: Frank Creed

Frank Creed's new book Flashpoint has just come out. I think a day ago.

Here's the blurb:

Persecution in Chicago has reached the Flashpoint.

In the year 2036, all nations are run by a one-world government.
The One State has only one threat:
Fundamentalist terrorists.
The One State has declared that
Bible believing Christians are now ‘terrorists’!

But the One State has not yet encountered Calamity Kid and e-girl . .

As you know already from my previous post, Frank writes Biblical speculative fiction. This means among other things that the values, truths and prophecies used in his fiction are the same shown in the Bible.

That doesn't mean Frank slavishly follows the mold of other Bible writers. This ain't your Mom's (or Janet Oke's or Beode Theone's) Christian fiction.

Like Cyber-punk? How about trying Biblical cyber-punk?


Click here to check out the youtube book trailer fof FLASH POINT

Christian Fiction Review Blog

Buy on Amazon

And check out some of Frank's sites:

Blog Archive

Popular Posts