Open Discussion: Dealing with Haters

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Hey, friends! So lately I have found myself at odds on social media. My books deal with the topic of undocumented immigrants and about loving your neighbors, regardless of their status. I truly feel like through my books, God wants me to both challenge other white Christians’ negative stereotypes against immigrants and help them recognize that they too, are made in God’s image, and should be loved as anyone else, and I want to represent people of color as being the strong, amazing people they are and accurately depict their struggles and joys.

For this reason, I often share and comment on posts that deal with this subject, which, as you can imagine, have been numerous these days.

I feel so many emotions flow through me as I read posts and responses from friends and family and acquaintances: anger, disbelief, sadness, desperation, hurt, even helpless at times. To see the anger, the hate, pouring from the screen as they speak of my brothers and sisters in Christ, my husband and his family, my son, my friends, it is exhausting.

I’m not going to give up on writing my books, because I have prayed about it and God keeps giving me ideas. But, part of me wonders if it will make a difference, if people are too far gone…if hate has taken them over so deeply that they will be unable to recognize it in themselves and stop it in its path before its too late.

So, pardon my sad ramblings, but has anyone else ever felt this way while writing diverse Christian fiction or being a POC or just in general? And if so, how do you deal with the haters and take care of yourself?

Please let me know below!

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Author Interview with Alexis A. Goring

loveinpictures

Interview with Alexis A. Goring, author of Love in Pictures:

Allison: Alexis, I am so excited to interview you today! Please tell me a little about your background and what brought you to writing.

Alexis: Hi, Allison! I’m a writer and editor with a B.A. in Print Journalism, MFA in Creative Writing, and more than 10 years of work experience as a media professional. I’ve always loved the written word but it was my Mom who started me on this writing journey around the age of four when she required me to write in a journal everyday. My love of writing soon took flight! I pursued it throughout my school years and after graduation from college, started getting paid to write.

Allison: I just finished reading your latest book, Love in Pictures, and really enjoyed it. Can you tell us what inspired the story and what you hope readers will get from it?

Alexis: I am happy to hear that you enjoyed reading my book! A writing prompt inspired my story. I was given a challenge to share the first line of my latest work in progress, with fellow writers. Since I’m very protective of my stories that are not done yet, I didn’t want to share the first line of what I was working on but I did want to participate in the challenge. So I made up a sentence and submitted it to the writers’ e-mail loop. Within minutes, I made a new friend—Jessica Mae, a wedding photographer who loved the line and the fact that my story’s heroine was a wedding photographer. Jessica Mae offered to share her real-world expertise to help me perfect the photography-related scenes in my story and for that, I am grateful.

So that one sentence, turned into a paragraph and that paragraph, a page then a full scene, to full chapter and I continued writing until my story was completed nine months later.

 Allison: What surprised you when you wrote the book?

Alexis: How easily the story came to me once I got into the grove of writing it. There were challenges and I dealt with writer’s block but with the help of God and God-fearing friends who helped me by talking about tough points, the story flowed.

Allison: I especially enjoyed how you didn’t shy away from talking about race and racism in your story. Have any of your own personal experiences inspired these parts of the story?

Alexis: Yes, there were some personal experiences that I drew from as I wrote the story in terms of the struggle of realizing your true value in a world that can be hostile to people of color based on their skin color and other ethnic features.

 Allison: How does your culture influence your writing?

Alexis: This is the first time that I infused my own real-life culture into the story. Like Michelle (my story’s heroine), my Mom is Black American and my Dad is West Indian from Barbados. My personal real-world experiences regarding that culture are reflected in the Michelle’s story, mainly with references to the beautiful, clear-blue waters of the Caribbean and steel band music, which is very popular in Barbados.

 Allison: How does your faith influence your writing?

Alexis: My faith influences my writing in one main way and that is my mission to give people hope in the midst of various real-world situations that seem hopeless, and to warm their heart with God’s Love when they read my stories.

 Allison: What are some of your favorite diverse Christian reads?

Alexis: Oh dear. Too many to name! But to name a few: Reunited at Christmas by Belle Calhoune, The Bashful Bride by Vanessa Riley, Love’s Promise by Melissa Storm, Chances Are by Traci Hunter Abramson, The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon, A Rebel in Jericho by Mimi Milan, and Worth A Thousand Words by Stacy Hawkins Adams.

 Allison: What else have your written? And what’s next?

Alexis: I’ve written a lot of uncompleted stories! Lol. But next, I’m working on a fictional story about a five-star quality bakery in the heart of a very important city. The story focuses on the characters that love it (the bakery).

Allison: Finally, a fun question! 🙂 If you could interview any character out of a fiction novel, who would it be and why?

Alexis: I’d love to interview Celia Park from Becky Wade’s book, Meant to be Mine because she’s a lot like me and I adore how her love story unfolded.

 

~*~

About the Author

 alexis-a-goring-nov-2014, author foto

Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart who loves the arts and the color blue because of its serenity and soulful beauty.

She’s an established author, blogger, editor, writer, and photographer who enjoys exploring matters of the heart.

As a freelance writer, she covered President Barack Obama, wrote the “Growing Up” column for Collegiate Quarterly (CQ), which reached readers around the world, and served as the editor of a county newspaper.

Blogging is one of her favorite pastimes, and she founded the mission-focused blog “God is Love.”

Love in Pictures is her second book published by Forget Me Not Romances. Alexis hopes that her writing will connect readers with the forever love of Jesus Christ.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending quality time with loved ones, shopping, dining in her favorite restaurants, reading, listening to music, and baking for her church.

~*~

Book Blurb for Love in Pictures:

Wedding photographer Michelle Hadley has a passion for diversity and believes that love comes in all colors. So, she’s working hard to convince editors to feature her clients’ images on the covers of the mainstream bridal and wedding magazines.

Despite having a career that focuses on celebrating forever love, Michelle has never actually been in a romantic relationship, and she’s not looking for love, until she meets the one man she cannot forget.

Since his fiancée broke his heart, Logan Emerson’s focus has been on his career. He’s won awards for his work as a print journalist and dreams of greater success on television as a broadcast journalist. But his personal struggle presents many challenges that might prevent his dreams from coming true.

Michelle doesn’t date often, and since his heartbreak, Logan has shied away from the dating scene. But something about Michelle awakens Logan’s desire to love again.

 Get a copy of Love in Pictures exclusively on Amazon.com.

~*~

Follow Alexis on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexisAGoring/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PennedbyAlex

Website: https://alexisagoring.jimdo.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/capturingidea/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7260528.Alexis_A_Goring

“God is Love” blog: http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com

 

Interview with Marshalee Patterson

The first two people to comment on this blog post will get a free ebook version of The Path of the Chosen Warriors.

Marshalee, I am so excited to interview you today. I’ve really enjoyed what you’ve been doing with your blogPlease tell me a little about yourself and what made you start this awesome blog.

Well, I am a Christian author from Jamaica who has always loved reading since I could walk. I didn’t grow up with a television so books were a way to discover new things and new places for me. I grew up in a large family, which still surrounds me- was kind of a tomboy at one point too. I love learning about different cultures and got fascinated with the Spanish culture to the point where I can now dance salsa, merengue and cha-cha, very well. The language, however, has been my challenge- but I promised myself I will learn it. In regards to what made me start the blog, actually, it was some of the marketing tutorials I had been reading, which recommended I start one to build an audience. Most tell you to share whatever your good at, I wasn’t sure what that was for me, so I thought it was a great way to teach life lessons to readers through my books by using different characters and how they dealt with it. I find it also a great way to minister Christ beyond my books.

I’ve been reading your latest book, The Path of the Chosen Warriors, and really enjoy it. Can you tell us what inspired the story and what you hope readers will get from it?

That story idea came to me through a dream after I started learning how to pray spiritual warfare prayers. I wanted to grow more in that area so I don’t have to call my pastor to do for me when we are all called to be soldiers in God’s army. Since I began to pray and do a lot of midnight prayers, God has revealed to me so many things the devil had been doing against me and family. With those prayers, I saw how strong my spirit man became in fighting against the enemy in the spirit when I went to bed at night and dreamed. I realised that the Lord wanted me to get readers aware of how real the spiritual realm is and that what we see in dreams are important and also to show them how to pray and get deliverance. What I want readers to get is knowledge and to understand how to help themselves in similar situations as the characters. To be aware that the spiritual realm is more real than the one we see every day. Every prayer I used are real ones based on scriptures as I have been learning.

What surprised you when you wrote the book?

What surprised me was how God has been transforming me to be a better Christian by the way I saw the characters live. Joshua’s character got me realising the importance of starting my mornings with God, something I didn’t think was very important if I was already praying every day. Ruth made me desire to have more of God’s love in me so that I wouldn’t look upon the vilest of sinners through the eyes of the flesh and allow them to miss salvation if I was whom God wanted to use to reach out to that person. And then there’s Hannah who builds my faith level and also challenged my heart to stand in prayer for those who hurt you.

The Path of the Chosen Warriors is a Christian romantic thriller. Is that a genre you enjoy reading?

I haven’t read many in that genre, but I grew up loving mystery books and movies. I do enjoy thrillers though.

How does your Jamaican culture influence your writing?

My culture as a Jamaican hasn’t really influenced my writing so much except for the fact that I try to make one of my main characters a Jamaican, to represent and identify with my heritage. But I have included a dish we eat here in my first book and some places of interest to someone who would be interested in visiting.

How does your faith influence your writing?

My faith is the backbone of my writing, although the books entertain, they are first and foremost to minister to readers about God and their relationship with him. God has opened my eyes to see that even though I write fiction, it is the platform given to me to glorify him and help readers find healing, deliverance and salvation through the characters. I write as if I am someone who seeks God and this is the only place I would find him, as someone who wouldn’t go to a church because I would feel judged or rejected, as someone who needed to learn how to pray and how to do so through the word, and as someone who needed to learn how to stand and have faith in God while He works through our situations. I have learnt that I will be held accountable just as a pastor will be if not give the readers what God puts in me and study his word to be effective in doing so.

What are some of your favorite diverse Christian reads?

I have read Discovery of Hope by T.I Lowe, Waiting for Rachael by Kimberly Rae Jordon, Not by Sight by Kay Lyons Stockham and Street Preacher by Aaron Davis, which was a really good read too.

What else have your written? And what’s next?

I have another book out called Predestined Love; it’s an inspirational romance and another called A Shattered Life Restored that is now being edited. I also have two books to follow after A Shattered Life restored and I’ve already done the covers for them.

Finally, a fun question! 🙂 If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

First I must say, I love classic literature above all and I don’t know if I could pick just one of those books but if I had to, it would probably be Les Miserables. There is just so much to learn from that one book; from watching a man hardened by the governmental system getting transformed into a helpful and forgiving person from the act of kindness of an old priest. The lengths he went through to help a woman’s child trapped in the care of a greedy family and in return found love through that child when he himself didn’t have anyone to offer him any. It makes you want to cry in some parts, full of forgiveness to those who wronged you over and over and you see the Spirit of God at work.

Thank you, Marshalee. I’m really enjoying getting to know you!
Here is a little more information about Marshalee’s latest book, The Path of the Chosen Warriors, available now on Amazon.

 

A story of spiritual warfare: the perpetual fight of good over evil in a paranormal setting with demonic forces attempting to overcome the Christians in the community. This story draws you in and holds your attention as you want to know what the final outcome will be. Who will triumph? Will the evil forces of Abaddon defeat the Christians? Will Ruth and Joshua escape from Sodom Shadows and return to their home in Shiloh City? Suspense, action, intrigue and romance, in this story, which takes the reader to the realm where the struggle for supremacy takes place.”

Staring into the eyes of the man she loved, Ruth knew coming home was where she would make her fondest memories with her beloved Joshua. She was looking forward to their journey together as man and wife. All their plans were interrupted when they were caught up in a terrible storm, and their boat crashed in an unknown area. Although they were lost, it seemed as if destiny had brought them to this unfamiliar territory, and until they discovered what it was and fulfilled it, their future together would be put on hold.

Excerpt from The Path of the Chosen Warriors:

Abbadon was quick and Brad’s eyes widened when he felt Abbadon’s hand on his throat. Abbadon gritted his teeth and glared at him. Brad kicked his feet when he felt his body lifting off the ground. He tugged against the hand of the High Priest while gasping for air. With a loud growl Abbadon flung him into the direction of the crowd.

Abaddon walked towards the crowd with his grip firmly around Ruth’s neck. They stepped back, as the sight of him was nothing they had ever seen before. Even though they saw the blackness in his eyes and felt the evil within him, they remembered the God who had just saved them and they held their faith. Joshua and Brad joined with them.

“Abaddon, we are not afraid of you. Our God told us that we have power over all rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in the high places. Therefore, we command you to release her and be consumed by fire in the name of Jesus,” they shouted at him.

Marshalee author pic

Marshalee Patterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She has loved reading since she could walk. Growing up without a television sparked in her a love for reading and the world of imagination. Some of her favourite novels were written by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre and Victor Hugo, as she found she liked the true to life stories that we all can relate to. She wrote her first novella-Predestined Love after travelling to Italy and wanted to write a romance novel about it, only she didn’t know that God had plans for her and that story, when he change the direction of what she originally had in mind.

It was then that she knew she was called to write stories to uplift and inspire readers, showing them how to find God in their struggles and the faith to trust Him through it. She is a lover of nature and the tranquillity of it. She finds the outdoors refreshing and peaceful. Marshalee loves Spanish ballads and dances salsa very well.

Connect with Marshalee

Website: https://inspiringchristian.wixsite.com/marshaleepatterson

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nZqXa4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2GgF1Cw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormarshaleepatterson/

Blog: https://sharingthechristinme.blogspot.com/

Fear of Appropriation

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, folks! Today I’m going to share a little about what I’ve been going through with my writing, and I would love some ideas, support, feedback, etc. Whatever you have, throw it at me. I am happy to learn!

So, here is what has been going on. About a year ago, after I released my first book, I started hearing the word cultural appropriation thrown around in terms of artists, etc. While it wasn’t about me or my work, I began to wonder if publishing my book, Vivir el Dream, was cultural appropriation. For those who aren’t aware of cultural appropriation, here is an interesting Wikipedia page about it. The first sentence of the article gives a pretty good explanation of its meaning: “Cultural appropriation is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from equal cultural exchange due to the presence of a colonial element and imbalance of power.”

I am a member of the dominant culture writing about members of a minority culture in a country where there is an imbalance of power between dominant and minority cultures. And though I am married to someone from the culture I am writing about, have many friends and family from that culture, go to church almost exclusively with my brothers and sisters in Christ from that culture, work with people from that culture on a daily basis, am bilingual, and in my heart feel like that culture is part of me, I know that in the end, I am on the outside looking in. There are many things I can miss or won’t ever completely understand because I am not actually from that culture. Not to mention any unconscious bias that might be hiding inside me.

To complicate the matter, I was doing research for my current WIP by asking a friend about some cultural aspects of El Salvador that I was unfamiliar with: language and food questions, etc. During this conversation she wrote something along the lines of “Gringos, always trying to talk about things they don’t understand.” I got angry about it and then got worried about it and spoke with another friend who had been writing a lot about race and bias. Her reply, “Well, she’s not wrong.” This began a complete tailspin and an overwhelming fear of appropriation. I almost trashed my WIP and since have developed a giant case of writer’s block. It has shaken me to my core. Am I writing what God wants me to write? Should I be writing something completely different?

When I prayed about my WIP, God gave me more ideas to turn the book into a series. So I didn’t chuck it. Now even though I feel in my heart that God has led me to where I am with writing and I am writing what God wants me to write, fear is hindering me. I don’t want to appropriate culture. I don’t want to misrepresent. I just want to share God’s love and create understanding within our communities.

So, what’s a girl to do? Please comment below. Thoughts and advice appreciated!

Allison K. García

New Year’s Resolutions!

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Happy Saturday, friends!

It’s 2018 for nearly a week now, so my question to you is…what are your resolutions/goals for this year and how are they going so far? Also, if you have “reading more” as one of your goals for this year, why not consider adding more diverse literature to your palate! 🙂

Comment below!

Open Discussion: Getting More Diverse Books in Your Local Libraries (and other ideas)

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, folks!

In past posts, we’ve been talking about the importance of introducing more diverse fiction into Christian fiction, why we love reading diverse fiction, why it’s important, what some of the roadblocks have been, and sharing some of our own stories.

Today I’d like to focus on some things we can do to bring more diverse fiction to our own neighborhoods. Because there are many ways to give at Christmas time and sometimes that can be a few extra minutes of our time! So, here are some of the ways I thought of:

  1. Go to your local library once per month and request a new diverse book they don’t have yet.
  2. Go to your local (non-chain) bookstore and request a diverse book that you’ve read and loved but don’t see on their shelves.
  3. Have a church group or a book club? Invite your favorite author of diverse books to speak. You never know, they might say yes! It means more sales for them and more exposure, plus added knowledge for our churches and book clubs!
  4. Have connections at your local schools or universities? See about getting more diverse fiction on their shelves or about inviting your favorite author of diverse fiction for a speaking engagement.
  5. When you read diverse books, make sure to write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. This helps with sales and spreading the love!
  6. Consider writing diverse fiction, if you don’t already. Writing is sometimes as fun as reading (though it’s a bit more work). 🙂

What other ideas do you have about spreading the love of diverse fiction in your neck of the woods?

Comment below!

Diverse Holiday Books (and Movies!)

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Sunday, folks!

Thanksgiving and Christmas is upon us, and for me, I love, love, love watching holiday movies, whether it’s about Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, or a combo of the two. I know we usually focus on books, but movies are like books come to life (if they’re done well!).

As I was planning this blog in my mind, I was trying to think about what my favorite holiday movie and book that features diverse principal characters. And nothing came in my mind, except for the movie, “The Holiday” with Queen Latifah. So either I have a sheltered shelf of books and DVDs, or we need more diverse holiday books and movies out there in the world (or perhaps a bit of both).

My son does have a Spanish language book about too many tamales (¡Qué Montón de Tamales!), which talks about Christmas with a Mexican family and working together to make tamales. The premise is that a little girl helps her aunt make tamales but later realizes she has lost her mother’s ring inside the giant mountain of tamales, and she and her cousins have to eat them to find the ring. Pretty cute!

But, seriously, as I think about all the holiday books and movies I love: “A Christmas Carol,” “Home Alone,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Elf,” etc. there are almost zero people of color in those movies. I am literally realizing this as I am writing this. Wow, that is sad.

Please tell me good movies and books with diversity so I can expand my horizons and get in the holiday spirit! Thanks!!!

Open Discussion – Tell Us Your Story

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, everybody!!!

There was such an amazing response to Beth’s post last week. Everyone shared their experiences, and I thought we’d keep that going.

Please share a little about your culture: where you’re from, how were you raised, what special traditions did your family have, what is your heritage? What makes you you?

Thanks for sharing!

Open Discussion – NaNoWriMo

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, folks! We’ve had several discussions about our favorite diverse Christian reads and why it is so important to have more diverse Christian fiction out there. So, today’s blog is both a discussion and a call-to-action!

Are you tired of people writing characters from your culture the wrong way? Or not seeing anyone from your culture represented in Christian fiction? Well, there’s a sure-fire way to fix it. Write a book yourself!

November is National Novel Writing Month! It is where all over the world thousands (maybe millions) of people have taken up the torch to write a book in a month (50,000 words in 30 days). There are tons of supportive people out there to help you both online and in person. Find where your home region is on the NaNoWriMo website.

Personally, I have fallen in love with NaNo. Prior to NaNo, it took me 3+ years to write a book. Since starting NaNo 5 years ago, I have written 10 books. And my first published book, Vivir el Dream, was actually written during NaNo.

NaNo is just a big ball of awesomeness. There are so many people that have said, “Wow, you write books? I always wanted to do that.” If you’re one of those people, that could be the Holy Spirit nudging you. Does God want you to write a book? If so, don’t be like Jonah and go the other direction. Let NaNo swallow you up and bring you to authorship! (Okay, I had a bit of fun with that analogy).

Here’s the discussion part…Do you write books? Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Have you ever considered writing a book? Are you interested in trying out NaNo this year and want more info?

Remember: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. 🙂 Have a blessed Saturday!