Open discussion- Racial slurs: Are they necessary?

Happy Saturday, folks! I pray that your week was awesome. We had a good week here at Diversity Between the Pages. On Monday, we shared an author interview with Bonnie Engstrom; Wednesday, Jamie shared a book spotlight for one of Lynn Austin’s books; and Friday, Katie shared a review of The Bedwarmer’s Son. So you know what that means…yep, open discussion time!

Today’s question is a touchy one, so please be on your p’s and q’s. I want to ask if racial slurs in historical fiction (or any genre really) are ever necessary?

We all know that Mark Twain used racial slurs in his novels. I’ve heard the disclaimers that it was realistic for that time. I’ve also seen reprints or adaptions that have removed all derogatory slurs.

So what say you? Do racial slurs add authenticity to a work of fiction or is it adding to the dissension between minorities and majority ethnicities? Also, is it worse when written by a majority race versus a person from that ethnic background?


Open discussion post by Toni Shiloh

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Book Review: The Bedwarmer’s Son by Caryl McAdoo

~ About the Book ~

What if Abel had killed Cain, but there was no jury of his peers?

In 1928 Georgia, a black man who kills a white man is automatically guilty, but the bedwarmer’s son, an ex-slave, is no normal black man. And the dead white man is his half-brother. Once his lily-white lawyer lady learns the truth, everything changes. Can she save him from swinging?

Will the bedwarmer murder the one she’s been bought to serve?

From the antebellum South, come travel the dusty trails of Jim Crowe Dalton, Georgia, with slave and master, saint and sinner. See if God is really big enough, if He truly cares about His children.

Amazon  //  Goodreads


~ Excerpt ~

The door closed behind Jasmine.
A faint hint of smoke mixed with the soft scent of whisky and lemons and honey she carried on the silver tray Mammy put the mug on. Like she was some fancy house slave bringing the master his night cap.
Bathed in shadows, next to the brick hearth, her new owner sat in a stuffed chair, staring at the dying embers. A patchwork quilt wrapped him like a cocoon.
She eased up next to him and extended the tray. “Your hot toddy, sir.”
He turned toward her. “What did you say, girl?” His words poured out slow as sorghum on a freezing cold morn.
The tone in his voice sent shivers up her back, and a pesky woodpecker thumped against her chest. “Your drink, sir.”
Mister William didn’t look nearly as old as she thought he would. Pasty though; she had that right.
“Mammy fixed your toddy, and I got it right here for you, sir.”
“Oh.” He stared at her for a double fist full of her heartbeats before he finally nodded. Still didn’t take his toddy. “Who are you?” His question came as one word, and it took her a minute to get them separated and understand.
“Jasmine, sir.”
He nodded. “Oh. Yes. Now I remember.”
“Yes, sir. Your toddy, sir?”
“Mama told me all about you at supper.” He extended his hand and lifted the mug from her tray, but she didn’t move a muscle. Stood there holding that tray as steady as an old oak. After a sip, he held it to his chest and returned to his ember watching.
“Would you want me to put another log on, sir? It be a mite chilly tonight.”
Taking another sip, he reached down and retrieved a brown jug, the kind they put corn squeezin’s in. The man couldn’t be half as old as Miss June. The words of the old woman waiting outside the door wormed their way up, her baby boy.
So…this man was Miss June’s son. No wonder old Mammy wanted Jasmine to be nice to him, being his wet nurse and all. Probably raised him more than his own mam.
But that didn’t make any difference. She would kill him dead if he laid a hand on her.


~ Review ~

The Bedwarmer’s Son is a historical fiction novel with a few story lines woven through it. The primary story is that of Billy Sinclair, the son of cotton plantation owner William Abel Sinclair and his bedwarmer, Jasmine. Now in his seventies, Billy is about to go to trial for the murder of his half-brother, Jamieson Sinclair. But it’s not so much a question of ‘Who pulled the trigger?’ as whether a coloured man has the right to defend his life, even if the threat comes from a white man. Many at this time in history would have said not.

The second story is that of Billy’s mother, Jasmine, beginning from the time she arrives at Three Springs Plantation. Billy shares the story with his lawyer, Alice Parmalee, in order to help her prepare his defence, but it is actually told from Jasmine’s point of view as a step back in time. It’s an intriguing story that highlights some of the difficulties faced by an interracial couple prior to and following the Civil War, and while readers may not be comfortable with some of the choices made by the characters, the story is also realistic about the consequences of those choices and the difficulties they create—Billy’s situation included.

For young white lawyer Alice Parmalee, it’s a case that tests not only her legal mettle, but also her belief that faith in an invisible, all-powerful God is ludicrous. Her growing attachment to both Billy and his grandson, Will, only heightens her anxiety that she won’t be able to successfully defend Billy’s case.

The story was engaging, but I did feel as though some aspects developed a little simplistically: for example, the growing relationship between Alice and Will, and Alice’s beliefs regarding God. There was also a scene toward the end of the novel concerning Billy and his now-deceased brother Jamieson that I felt stretched credulity in order to wrap things in a nice neat bow.

Readers may also wish to be advised that there are 10 occurrences of the ‘n’ word used in reference to a black person (and not just by white characters). Due the way the story develops, this is mainly confined to the first half of the novel.

* Tomorrow’s open discussion will be on whether it is appropriate to use racial slurs in fiction. We’d love to you come and join the conversation.

~ About the Author ~

Caryl McAdooBorn in California, Caryl McAdoo got to Texas in time to celebrate her first birthday. As a Dallas seventh grader, she remembers a homework essay on ‘What will you be doing in 2000?’ Looking into the future, Caryl saw herself as an inter-galactically famous author, streaking from planet to planet signing books. She laughs, “But I didn’t start writing again until the late ’80s, then was so blessed to find the DFW Writers’ Workshop in ’93.”

Her first book debuted ’99, then for the next nine years, she averaged a title a year from four presses: two non-fiction, four novels, and three mid-grade chapter books. In March 2014, her first historical Christian romance Vow Unbroken debuted from Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In the three years since that release, she has published more than ten novels.

For every good blessing – including ten children (four by birth, six by marriage) and sixteen grandsugars – she gives God the glory. Caryl lives a country-life with Ron, her high school sweetheart husband of forty-seven years, and two grandsons in the woods a few miles south of Clarksville, Red River County seat, located in far Northeast Texas.

Connect with Caryl:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter

Book Spotlight: A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has forever been one of my favorite authors and her Civil War series is one of the many reasons why. Each book looks at three different young women whose lives are vastly affected by the way and A Light to My Path features Kitty, a slave in the south.

About the Book

Kitty, a house slave, always figured it was easiest to do what she’d always done–obey Missy and follow orders. But when word arrives that the Yankees are coming, Kitty is faced with a decision: will she continue to follow the bidding of her owners, or will she embrace this chance for freedom? Never allowed to have ideas of her own, Kitty is overwhelmed by the magnitude of her decision. Yet it is her hope to find the “happy ever after” ending to her life–and to follow Grady, whom she loves–that is the driving force behind her choice. Where will it lead her?

Where to Buy: Amazon | BN.com | CBD.com

About the Author

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan. Learn more at http://www.lynnaustin.org.

Connect with the author!
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Author Inview: Bonnie Engstrom’s Connie’s Silver Shoes

Happy Monday, Reader Friends!

Today, we’re kicking the week off with an interview with Bonnie Engstrom. Ms. Engstrom’s stopped by to talk about her novel, Connie’s Silver Shoes. Have you read it? If not, it’s free on KU.


About the Book

Connie’s life is about to change. Is she ready?

Jaeda, the banker who explained the financial windfall to her made a mistake. He needs to make up for it. But, how? The money is already spent.

Is there a way to keep his secret so he won’t lose his banking career? Is it possible she may be falling in love with the handsome, dark skinned banker? Should he resist her even though their skin colors are different? What will her Bible quoting mother say, and how will his family react? What part does Jake the little dog play in their romance?

When she takes off a shoe and rubs her leg against his ankle, will that make a difference in his feelings for her?

Can they really have a future together?

Links: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads


About the Candy Canes

This is book number four in the Candy Cane girls’ series, but it, as all the others before and in future (yes, there will be more) can be read as a standalone. It might be more fun to start with Noelle’s story in Noelle’s Christmas Wedding and progress to Cindy’s story in Cindy’s Perfect Dance, but Natalie and Candy will explain everything about the Candy Canes to you in Candy’s Wild Ride.

Ten years ago six high school freshmen formed a swim team that became legendary. They won the state relay swim championship four years in a row. In addition to their skill and devotion to daily practicing, they prayed together and vowed to be sisters forever. Another thing that set them apart was they chose their own swimsuits making them a team within a larger team. They chose red and white diagonally striped swim suits. Thus, became known as the Candy Canes. They always will be.

I hope you enjoy their stories.


About the Author

Bonnie Engstrom and her psychologist husband, Dave, live in Arizona near four of their six grandchildren. The other two live in Costa Rica where they surf. They share their Arizona home with Sam and Lola, their two rescued mutts in charge of the household.

Bonnie is passionate about Jesus, her husband, her grandchildren and romance writing. She writes exclusively for the Forget Me Not Romances division of Winged Publications. Connie’s Silver Shoes is Book Four in The Candy Cane Girls Series set in Newport Beach, California.

Because she loves to include real people in her stories, you may “see” yourself in a future one.

When she isn’t writing, she is either moderating two online prayer chains or driving grandchildren to activities or volunteering in their classrooms. Currently, she is attempting to grow orchids, and has been successful growing basil in abundance, both of which she coaxes to thrive in the Arizona heat.

After dinner she reads romance novels for relaxation, and just before bed she makes a snack of nachos using Cindy’s secret ingredient in Cindy’s Perfect Dance.

Bonnie can be reached via email. Be sure to put BOOK in the subject line so your post doesn’t float around in her junk folder. Her website is www.bonnieengstrom.com, and she can also be found occasionally on Facebook, although she’s not very astute at it. You can sign up for her Life on the Lake quarterly newsletter on either one.


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining us to talk about Connie’s Silver Shoes. I love to see more interracial relationships being explored. What made you decide to write this book?

Bonnie: I love to write about real people in my life, yet make them fictional characters. I was about to start on the fourth book in the Candy Cane series and was wondering about whom (real or otherwise) to feature as a hero. Then, I stopped in my bank to ask one of the managers for assistance with an account. Whoopee! Jaeda is a doll, handsome, and has an engaging presence and sense of humor. I got as far as the parking lot, turned and went back in. After he agreed to allow me to use his real name and make him a prominent male character, I dragged him out to the parking lot and took several photos of him. If you read the book, he really was wearing a red shirt. Cool!

Toni: That is beyond awesome! Hmm, I wonder if I can start going up to random strangers. Nah, too introverted. 🙂 Your hero, Jaeda Wayman is a banker and an African American. Was it hard to write about a Black man versus Connie’s character?

Bonnie: Not hard at all. Both Jaeda and Connie are pretty effusive characters with warm personalities. One in real life, and one totally fictional. Both have a lot of self-confidence, until Connie asks Jaeda to be a model for her clothing line. Then, the fun began.

Toni: Oh, I love when the fun begins! Always pulls me into the book further. How did you write their relationship without falling into racial stereotypes?

Bonnie: I didn’t totally. I have no problem with interracial couples or marriages. But, the story is set in very conservative Newport Beach, so I had to be thoughtful. I think I brought out the racial stereotypes briefly in a scene when Connie and Jaeda met an old high school friend of hers. I probably could have made more of it when they met at Starbucks, but even though Connie had issues with her family, I didn’t want their different races to become an overwhelming theme. They are two people who fall in love. Period.

Toni: Love is great and all I need in a romance. 🙂 Did you ever have any doubt while writing this story? Or consider changing the race of Jaeda?

Bonnie: Never! It is one of the most fun stories I’ve written. Well, to be honest, I did have a doubt about how Jaeda’s real life wife would accept the story. He assures me she has had no problem with his following in love with a Caucasian woman; he says she even loved the book. I sure hope he’s right because I want this woman to be my friend.

Toni: How awesome that they’ve both read it! Tell us about other ‘real’ characters in your books.

Bonnie: I have quite a few ~ Bill Lord is introduced in Candy’s Wild Ride, book three. He is a larger than life good friend and so appropriate. Some minor characters are Marg the owner of Scottsdale Floral, who appears in almost every story. But, Jill the wedding coordinator is in every story. She is very real, made each of my children’s weddings spectacular. I think she needs her own story soon. Although not yet in the Connie story, Shane Sullivan who is the owner of Spine Scottsdale is in Natalie’s Deception and will be prominent in Melanie’s story (untitled yet).

I have learned real people love being part of a novel story. It makes them feel special, and they are! My debut novel, Butterfly Dreams, features Kay and Duc, owners of Pauline’s Nails. They sell my books in their salon. Marg, owner of Scottsdale Floral throws her arms up when I enter. Shane Sullivan will be having a book signing after my next story is published. He was flattered I included him and his business. It’s so much fun for them, and for me.

The animals: Star the cat is real, but her name is really his ~ Bingo. Jake the dog featured on the cover of Connie’s Silver Shoes was real. Sweet Jake was my running partner for over fifteen years. Lola, the dog in Melanie’s story (yet untitled) will appear on the cover of Melanie’s story.

Toni: That is so awesome! It’s great that they all support you in your writing as well. How about some easier questions?
Heels or flats?

Bonnie: Flats! Always. Because of my ugly foot and my leg problem.

Toni: I’m the same way and for leg issues as well. Leggings or jeans?

Bonnie: I occasionally wear jeans, like to my grandchildren’s soccer games. But, mostly leggings from Eileen Fisher. Yeh, I have a designer fetish, but only for her clothes. And only on sale.

Toni: I confess, I’ve never heard of her. Must look her up. Favorite holiday?

Bonnie: Christmas, of course! We have a 9 ½ skinny, artificial tree hubby grumbles about putting up, but even he loves clicking the lights on. When our eldest grandchild (she turned twelve Saturday, bless her heart) was born, I decided to decorate with something she would understand at that age ~ so, Santa. I have collected Santas for over a decade. Many are representative of family members ~ a fishing Santa for my hubby, a surfing Santa for our son and a techie Santa for the other son, her uncles. There are dog and kitty Santas for our animals. I haven’t yet found a writing Santa to represent me, nor a teacher one for our daughter.

Of course, we have a lovely Nativity and even a stuffed bear Santa that recites the Nativity story if you squeeze his paw. The real reason for Christmas is never lost on us, but the Santa tree has become a tradition.

Toni: That sounds neat! Last but not least, what’s next for you on your writing journey?

Bonnie: I am writing Melanie’s story, number six in the Candy Cane Girls series. I hope it will give some very fun surprises, especially about Jaeda and Connie.

Toni: Yay! Praying God gives you the words for book six and continues to bless you on your writing journey. Thank you for stopping by to talk with us. We appreciate you. 🙂

Readers, do you have any questions for Bonnie?


This interview conducted by Toni Shiloh

Open Discussion – What is Appropriation?

Happy Saturday, folks! Hope you’re weekend is off to a great start.

For today’s open discussion topic, I wanted to discuss the subject of appropriation. You see the phrase tossed around a lot in the book world, especially when it comes to writing poc (people of color).

In case you’re not familiar with the term, it basically means taking something and using it for your own gain. There are some people in the Black community who feel that white R&B singers have appropriated the R&B culture and used it for their own gain. That also goes for non-minorities wearing cornrows (braid style), dreadlocks, singing Blues and other music attributed to the Black community.

(As I am Black, I’m not sure if other minority groups feel the same way. If so, please chime in.)

Anyway, I want to ask the question, when do you decide that a non-minority writer is appropriating poc’s culture for their gain in hopes to achieve literary success? What makes a story written by a Caucasian labeled appropriated material versus admiring them for adding diversity?

I can’t wait to hear (read) your thoughts on the subject!


Discussion written by Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

About the Book

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.

He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor.  And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or finally the courage to stay in the saddle for good?

goodreads | amazon | christianbook

 

My Thoughts

I just really love Ruth Logan Herne novels! The first page grabbed my attention and the whole book was one wild ride. Colt Stafford and Angelina Morales each bear secrets and past hurts that cloud their better judgment. Colt is the returning prodigal and hesitant to be reunited with the family he essentially shut out of his life. Coming home seems to soften his heart while familiar places and faces unlock memories long suppressed. Colt grows by leaps and bounds into the man he was always meant to be.

Angelina is used to being in control yet her father’s death has shaken her confidence in her own plans and left her with a very unfamiliar feeling, vulnerability. She’s a strong woman, willing to turn her life upside down and go into hiding to protect her son and her mother. Angelina is a force to be reckoned with and none of the men on the Double S dare cross her, until Colt. She never meant for ranch life to be any more than an escape but there’s no denying the growing attraction and respect she has for him.

Back in the Saddle is a great start to what promises to be a must-read series. Readers get to know the Stafford family in this first installment and I am excited to read more about each one of the different brothers and the various ranch hands too!

I received an advanced reader copy of this title from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
This review first appeared on Faithfully Bookish.

 

About the Author

Ruth Logan HerneRuth Logan Herne loves Charlie Brown Christmas trees, rooting for the underdog and people who go the distance while others see the path as too long or broken!

She loves God, chocolate, writing, dogs and is blessed by a sprawling family, oodles of grandkids and a sweet old farmhouse in constant need of work. She’s sure that clean rooms are over-rated, snakes and possums should mind their own business and buy their own farm and puppies and kittens and babies are about the cutest things on Earth.

A “pull-up-your-big-girl-panties-and-move-on” kind of gal, she is blessed to be married to her high school sweetheart, work with young families who allow her to exploit their sweet children on blogs, and rock babies on a regular basis. An author for Love Inspired Books and Summerside Press, she lives in upstate New York.

website | facebook | twitter | pinterest

 

Double S Ranch series


Goodreads | Amazon | christianbook

 

review by Beth Erin

Book Spotlight: Their Surprise Daddy by Ruth Logan Herne

Hi, y’all! Today’s book spotlight is a brand spanking new release from one of my favorite authors! I recently won a copy in a giveaway and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

About the Book

Their Surprise Daddy by Ruth Logan HerneCruz Maldonado has vowed to provide for his beloved cousin’s orphans. With his estranged mother’s health failing, they might soon be Cruz’s only family. But the kids’ immigration status brings complications.

Mostly “Miss Rory”—their idealistic young teacher—and Cruz’s court-appointed co-guardian.

Cruz has the means to give the kids a good home, yet Rory Gallagher wonders whether he has the heart. That is, until she glimpses the sweet small-town boy inside the polished, handsome Wall Street exterior.

Soon they both begin to wonder if this temporary partnership could turn into more—a chance to raise the children as husband and wife.

goodreads | amazon

 

About the Author

Ruth Logan HerneRuth Logan Herne loves Charlie Brown Christmas trees, rooting for the underdog and people who go the distance while others see the path as too long or broken!

She loves God, chocolate, writing, dogs and is blessed by a sprawling family, oodles of grandkids and a sweet old farmhouse in constant need of work. She’s sure that clean rooms are over-rated, snakes and possums should mind their own business and buy their own farm and puppies and kittens and babies are about the cutest things on Earth.

A “pull-up-your-big-girl-panties-and-move-on” kind of gal, she is blessed to be married to her high school sweetheart, work with young families who allow her to exploit their sweet children on blogs, and rock babies on a regular basis. An author for Love Inspired Books and Summerside Press, she lives in upstate New York.

website | facebook | twitter | pinterest

 

Enter to win Their Surprise Daddy plus THREE more books by Ruth Logan Herne on Faithfully Bookish

post created by Beth Erin

Author Interview: Alexis A. Goring

Today we are featuring one of our very own contributors, Alexis A. Goring! I not only got to chat with her about writing, but also about Hope in My Heart. Hope y’all enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.

Connect with Alexis:
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Pinterest | Goodreads | “God is Love” Blog

INTERVIEW

1. Why did you want to write three short stories in Hope In My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories? What were the inspirations for each?
It was more of a matter of “What’s ready to publish?” with my first book. So, I chose three of my best short stories that I’d written over the years, found a good book editor and the rest is history! ☺ Since I wrote these short stories over a time span of about maybe 12 years, I don’t remember the inspirations for each one. But I can say that my love for music, movies and people fuel my creativity for each story that I write.

2. What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading the collection?
I hope that readers will have warm hearts and sweet smiles on their faces because they’ve read an example of how all things work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28) in the stories and that’s true to real-life.

3. Do you have a favorite (or two!) character? We promise not to tell the others.
I have a favorite character in each story! ☺ Esmeralda is my favorite in the first story, “Love Unexpected” because she’s beautiful, brilliant and a very good matchmaker for Chandra (the heroine). Eric Hazelton (Christina’s love interest) is my favorite character in “The Best Gift” because he’s swoon-worthy, smart and so kind to Christine (I adore how he woos her heart). Elle is my favorite character in “Peace and Love” because I relate to her plight as a “starving artist”.

4. What role does faith play in these stories?
Threads of faith in God are woven throughout each story and play a critical role in the outcome of each story. I think that my readers will appreciate and maybe relate to the journey that my characters go on with God.

5. What made you want to be an author? And more specifically, a Christian fiction author?
I wanted to be an author since age 9 because of my love for reading and writing. Also, that was when I wrote my first “book” and fell in love with the creative process. As an adult, I wanted to be an author of Christian fiction because I believe that our world needs stories of hope, love and faith in God. It’s important to share God’s love for humankind with the world in a way that brings them closer to His Heart and changes the world for the better. I believe that good Christian fiction is like a witnessing tool for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and encouraging people who need hope. It’s also refreshing to read books that make the reader feel good about life, books that make them want to know more about the real God that the fictional characters in these books pray to and believe in.

6. Who are some authors who have inspired you?
Becky Wade, Brandy Bruce and Mary Manners inspire my writer heart!

7. What is something about your life right now that you would never have imagined 5 years ago?
I never would have imagined that I’d be friends with my favorite authors! It is a blessing from God and I’m so grateful.

8. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Nothing because my journey got me where I am today.

9. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
When Cynthia Hickey offered me my first writing contract with her traditional publishing company, Forget Me Not Romances.

10. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
The Creator of the Universe loves you unconditionally! Seek Him because He has good plans for your life. Read John 3:16 and Jeremiah 29:11.

And now a couple for fun!
Yay!

Tea or Coffee?
Green tea from PANERA

Cats or dogs?
Adorable puppies

Beach or mountains?
The beaches in California and the Caribbean islands!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In Love Unexpected, a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, The Best Gift. Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In Peace and Love, three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

WHERE TO BUY: Amazon

Thanks so much for sharing Alexis and I hope y’all enjoyed getting to know more about Alexis and her writing!

Open Discussion: Reading in Color

letstalkI have had many conversations with my fellow believers about diversity in Christian fiction. I try to be open and honest in my conversations, but more than that, I make sure to listen.

I feel that changes in Christian fiction regarding diversity will originate with readers. I believe that once we the readers make our voice heard the industry will hear and respond. However, as I talk to Christian fiction readers, I am constantly trying to accesses what are the prevailing thoughts about diversity in Christian fiction.

In my listening, I found that reader’s responses fell into two camps. Of course, every person didn’t fall perfectly into one or the other. But for the most part, the response fell in or near two mindsets.

The first I call color-blind readers. Great writing and intriguing characters are enough to move them to by, but they might not buy because there are diverse characters in it. That alone is enough to motivate them to support diverse authors even if it wasn’t their initial intention.

The second are every nation, every tribe readers. They seek out books that feature diverse characters. Those characters are their driving motivation. These readers are most likely to note when diversity is missing from a novel.

Both camps have legitimate reasons why they approach diversity in Christian fiction the way they do. Which are you and why? Share your comments below.