Sunday, December 14, 2008

Brandy Is Back!!!!

I used to watch Brandy on the shows "Thea" and "Moesha". I've always liked her. I have a few of her albums and I was so glad when I heard she had another one coming out. When I saw it available to pre-order on Amazon I did not hesitate to add it to my cart. But then not knowing how long I had to wait for it to arrive, I got another one on the day it dropped. This young lady is a gifted artist and I love to listen to her sing. I like every song on this album; especially Right Here (Departed), Human and A Capella (Something's Missing). I could hold onto both of the albums I bought (keep one in the house, one in the car) but I've decided to part with one so someone else can be blessed by the powerful lyrics Miss Brandy sings.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shia LaBeouf

I love to watch movies on dvd and I have a lot of them, which include Sidney Poitier, Henry Fonda and James Stewart collections. In my opinion, these men are Hollywood’s best actors of all time. I don't go to the movie theaters much, but I get there every now and then. Yesterday my husband and I went to see Eagle Eye. Today I have gathered my Shia LaBeouf movies to include them in my special collection. This fine young man is an extremely talented actor!
I remember when my son used to watch Even Stevens. Shia played Louis Stevens in that Disney Channel show years ago and won a Daytime Emmy Award for the role. Now he’s entertaining viewers on the big screen. Of course, I have no idea what’s going on with him personally, but from what I've seen he had no problem transitioning from television to film.
Holes, The Greatest Game Ever Played, I,Robot, Disturbia, Transformers, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Eagle Eye are the movies I’ve watched - Shia LaBeouf did a great job in every one of them!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Youngest Son Is Entering Adulthood

A couple days ago I made a choice that was extremely difficult for me. I chose to accept the fact that my youngest son no longer needs my permission for every little thing he wants to do. He probably felt I was treating him like a child when I wouldn’t allow him to do certain things (staying out as late as his friends were allowed to, for instance), but I only wanted to protect him. That’s what a loving Mom does.
My son is entering adulthood. He has graduated high school and is now a freshman in college so, as much as it pains me to admit it, it’s time to let go. I need to let him live his life and make his own choices. Since I raised him, I know he’s a responsible young man capable of making good choices, so I believe he’ll stay on a positive course. But we all make mistakes. I hope that when he makes his, he’ll learn from them.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying he’s on his own. No matter how old he is, as long as I’m in this world, he will have my love and support. What I’m saying is he now has the freedom he’s been wanting.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac

I turned on my computer today and found out that Bernie Mac is no longer with us. I am so saddened by this news. One of the greatest gifts I believe a person can have is to be able to make others laugh, and Bernie Mac certainly had that gift. I didn't watch his stand-up, but I have quite a few movies he plays in. My son and I watched Guess Who just a few days ago, and I thank Bernie so much for the laughter that filled my living room. I'm sure he has brought happiness to the lives of so many people and I am so sorry he is gone. He will truly be missed, and my prayers go out to his family and friends. May God bless them and keep them. May they feel His comforting presence during their time of sorrow.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Testimony

On August 3, 2007 I dragged myself out of bed in the afternoon, took a shower and got dressed so my husband could take me to the hospital. I had been sick for two weeks. My body hurt, I had a fever and I hadn’t kept anything down for an entire week. I remember looking in the mirror that day and thinking that I looked half dead. Little did I know -- I was.
I arrived at the hospital with so little energy that my husband had to take me into the emergency room in a wheelchair. I was told that my blood pressure was way too low. A blood pressure cuff was immediately placed around my upper arm so I could be monitored. I was also hooked up to a heart rate monitor and an IV so I could get the fluids needed to re-hydrate me and medication, and I was given oxygen. Different doctors came in and out, and then I was told that my kidneys were failing. That certainly wasn’t something I expected to hear!
I was immediately admitted to the ICU, and every single day blood was drawn so test after test after test after test could be done. It got to where the veins in my arms wouldn’t give the blood needed for any more tests, and the IV couldn’t be administered anymore after being changed three different times. Before my veins gave out I was told that my potassium and magnesium levels were all out of whack and I had a staph infection in my bloodstream. And by the time the IV could no longer be used my kidneys were functioning well again and the infection was gone, so I was able to take oral medication for my potassium and magnesium levels.
While I was at home sick in bed I kept claiming God’s Word, “By Jesus’ stripes I am healed… by Jesus’ stripes I am healed.” Then about two days before I finally let my husband take me to the hospital this thought came to me – ‘God can heal miraculously, but He also gave us doctors and hospitals’. I have never heard God’s voice audibly. I do believe there are those who do and I also believe that He’s never spoken to me in that way because He knows I’m not ready for all that. And, truth be told, I’m not sure I ever will be. Anyway, I know the heavenly Father was speaking to me that day. Still, I can’t stand hospitals, don’t like doctors probing and prodding, and needles certainly are no friends of mine. So I convinced myself that I might not be able to keep anything down, but that was just my body getting rid of toxins or whatever it was in me that shouldn’t have been there. And I kept trying to convince my husband, who was so concerned about me, that the sickness would pass. But I finally did listen to the voice of God and my husband and it’s a good thing I did. If I would have waited any longer to get to the hospital I probably wouldn’t be here today.
So here’s what I have to say one year later - “I testify to God's awesome goodness and healing power! To God be the glory for all the things He has done! I thank Him so very much for “keeping” me as I tried to convince myself I didn’t need to see a doctor. I thank Him for allowing me to remain here with my husband and two sons. I thank Him for doctors who know how to reverse the condition of failing kidneys. I thank Him for the doctor who seemed a bit baffled at first as to what was going on inside of my body with its high white blood cell count, but he kept asking me questions and did many different tests until he figured it out. I thank Him for physical therapists who accompanied me up and down the hospital corridor; it was like I had to learn to walk all over again. I thank Him for the nurses who washed me when I couldn’t wash myself, and helped me to the bathroom when I could barely walk. I thank Him for loving family & church members who believe in the power of prayer. I thank Him for life!
Obviously, my work here isn’t done, and that’s cool with me. Hopefully, I’ll get it right so when my heavenly Father does call me home, He will say, “Well done, my daughter. Well done.”

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Profanity in Young Adult Novels

There was a time when just about every novel I read had profanity; some books had quite a bit of it. So when I wrote the first draft of Choices, I set out to write like the authors whose books I read at that time, and included profanity. And I used a lot of it. After all, there are a lot of teens who use bad language, I told myself. And the novels I read were selling pretty good, so assuming there were a whole lot of readers out there who wanted profanity in the books they bought, that's what I tried to give them. However, through the years I changed, and as I changed the content in my manuscript changed. In other words, as I grew in the Lord it became more important to be true to myself and to honor God with the gift He has given me. I needed to put a novel out there I felt He'd be pleased with.

Even though the character, Randy, would have a mouth on him if I wrote him exactly how I pictured him (and I'm talkin' f*** this and f*** that and s*** all over the place), there is very little profanity in Choices. The more rewrites I did -and there were a lot of rewrites -the more I pictured teens reading the story, and, not that they haven't seen, heard, and maybe spoken them, I didn’t want to fill their minds with the obscene f***, s***, and a** words. However, the d*** word is mentioned, I believe twice, because, okay, I was thinking that even though Shauntice, LaKeeta, Bridgette and Hope are Christians, it wasn't really realistic that they never heard anyone else use bad language. And the b**** word is mentioned in "The Fight" chapter so a lesson about that word could be taught, and hopefully, learned.

When teens read Choices and notice that the characters they can relate to are engaging in conversations without lots of bad language, hopefully they'll begin to care more about what they allow to come out of their mouths. Even if the choice to not use lots of profanity in my story only affects a few, that's better than none.

As for my own choices today, whether I’m reading a book or watching a movie, I’d rather not be subjected to the most obscene f***, s*** and a** (if the donkey is being referred to, fine, but I still don't like the word) words. But when they pop up, I do my best to overlook them.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Simple Truth

I could be reading a novel or watching a television show and one person does something bad, and then another person makes a remark something like, “You’re going to hell for sure.” Or a person does something good and another person says something like, “That’ll get you into Heaven.”
I hear this and I think, “Oh my goodness, people please don’t be deceived.” Whether the words are spoken in jest or the person really believes what he/she is saying, these remarks are so far from the truth. God will not open the pearly gates of Heaven for you just because you’ve been “good” during your time on the earth. And you won’t go to Hell just because you’ve done things bad. If the latter were the case, nobody would go to Heaven, because even Christians don’t do good all of the time.
God gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, and if we believe in Him, we will not perish but will have everlasting life (John 3:16). In other words, anyone who receives Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will go to Heaven when their time here on earth is done.
Now, according God’s Word – the Bible, which is full of wisdom to help us to walk in His ways - to be saved is the only way to get to Heaven, and the only way to make sure we don’t end up in Hell.
Do good things for others; acts of kindness that can lift a person’s spirits or even make this world a better place in some way big or small? Yes, most definitely. What would the state of this world be if we didn’t have people who care? But please don’t do these good works because you think God is keeping score and if yours is high enough, then you’ll earn a place in Heaven, because the simple truth is it really doesn’t work that way.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Settling For Less, Young Ladies?

Choices is an entertaining, emotional read that will definitely get the reader thinking. In fact, I’ve been thinking about something lately… Out of all of the female characters in Choices, Angel is the one I created to make the biggest impact. I'm sure there are teenage girls who can relate to her and I'm hoping each of them will be touched so deeply by the story that a change for the better takes place in their lives.

Feisty Angel is my girl. She has a mouth on her and she can back it up. She’s strong. She’s confident. She says what she means, means what she says, and does not care what anybody thinks. Until it comes to Randy, that is. Although she wants to demand respect from him, the thought of being without a boyfriend stifles her efforts. In Randy’s presence, Angel’s strong personality fades away and it is replaced by pitiful indigence.

When I was younger there were people who made me feel like I wasn't okay because I didn't have a boyfriend. So there were times when I considered certain guys to be boyfriends, when I really didn't like them as much as I made myself believe. Today, I would like to say to the young ladies out there that each of you can make it just fine in this world without a boyfriend. Not that you shouldn't have one, but if your boyfriend isn't a guy who treats you with love and respect, then you are settling for less. Not sure if you're settling? Let me help you out, okay? If you answer “yes” to most of the questions below, you might want to give serious thought to what kind of relationship you and your boyfriend really have.

1. Does he come around only when he wants to have sex?
2. Are you having sex with him because you’re afraid he’ll leave you if you don’t?
3. Have you told him that you’re not ready to have sex, but he keeps pressuring you?
4. Does he talk down to you; belittle you with his words, insult you, call you names?
5. Has he raised a hand to you? Or worse, has he brought it back down, striking any part of your body?
6. Have other girls been in your face about him, or have you wanted to have the
‘he’s my man’ argument with another girl?
7. Have you seen with your own eyes that he spends time with another girl? Or maybe even more than one?
8. Does he make you feel like everything that matters to you doesn’t matter at all to him?

I hope your answer to every question was "no", but if there was even one "yes", you really do deserve better. And if you answered “yes” to the fifth question, I suggest that you make your parents or guardians aware of the situation. I also suggest that you distance yourself from your boyfriend; especially if it has happened more than once. If he tells you with utmost sincerity that he knows he has a problem and he wants help to control it, then good because he needs help, but still distance yourself. You are God’s unique creation, not someone’s punching bag.

It might not seem like it, but that one special guy the heavenly Father created just for you is out there. If you haven’t already met him, don’t be in a hurry. I know it can be difficult to wait; everyone needs attention and affection, but when the time is right the one you are meant to be with will find you. In the meantime, focus on improving yourself and reaching your goals.

God Bless :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Those Sneaky Little Typos

Lately I have read novels with quite a few typos. These good reads weren’t published by the authors, but by established publishing companies, so it wasn’t the authors fault that the typos weren’t caught; it was up to the proofreaders to catch them. Still, I wonder how the authors felt when they noticed these mistakes in their published works.
As the author/publisher/proofreader of Choices it was up to me to make sure there were no typos in my finished product. And I did my best to do just that. My book designer sent me the pdfs, and I read through them more than once. (I’m very happy with the story I wrote, but for a while there it was getting on my nerves. The proofreading process can be tedious.) I even found someone else to proofread the galleys the printer sent. But still, after all of that proofreading, my YA Novel went through the printing process with those sneaky little typos undetected. These minor flaws in Choices did a real good job hiding, and, let me tell you, it was like a smack in the face when I noticed them after the book was printed. I was so disappointed; my first published novel and it's not the flawless product I wanted it to be.
I know I don’t have to draw attention to these typos, but a book sale is a show of support that I appreciate very much, so I feel the need to confess that I messed up… just a little bit:
Typo #1 - One day I was working on my next novel, A Mom’s Life, where I include Roscoe’s last name. For those of you who haven't read Choices yet, Roscoe is Randy’s brother. Neither one of them knows how to treat a girl with even an ounce of respect. Randy is the boyfriend Angel puts up with until she comes to her senses, and Roscoe, well, he’s just not a likable guy. Their family life will be revealed in A Mom’s Life, so readers can fully understand why they behave the way they do. Anyway, I remembered mentioning Randy’s last name in Choices, but I didn't remember what it was. So I skimmed the pages of my first novel to find Randy’s last name. That is when I came to the conclusion that no matter how many times a story is proofread some small inconsistency can still be overlooked.
Not that this takes anything away from the story, but in Choices it seems Randy has two last names. On page 28 he’s Randy Morris, but on page 56 he’s Randy Brister. It’s been a while, but if I remember correctly, his last name was Brister when I first wrote the novel, but before it went to the printer I changed it to Morris on the page where he is first introduced –I don’t know what in the world I was thinking - but, in doing so, I forgot that I mentioned the last name Brister in chapter seven entitled “The Question”, so that didn’t get changed to Morris.
Typo #2 - And then, days later, I noticed that on page 60 I didn’t change ‘an hour and a half’ to ‘hours’ as I had intended. The first sentence in the chapter begins with ‘After church’, so most people would think it’s afternoon, but on page 61 I make it clear that it is evening when Shauntice gets home. I write –She put her keys into her pocketbook and made her way through the darkness of the kitchen and into the livingroom, where a lamp on the couch table lit her path.
So, to my readers – present and future - I’d like to apologize for the little inconsistencies in Choices.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Uplifted By The Sounds of Kirk Franklin

Today I put Kirk Franklin’s The Fight of My Life in the CD player. First I played track 16 repeatedly, reminding myself that as a child of God people should be able to see Jesus in me, and then I listened to the entire CD twice. You see, this morning I was a little down. Songs don’t always have to be performed by Christian artists for the lyrics to be uplifting and motivational, but when I’m feeling really low, hearing songs about Jesus is the only thing that can bring back the joy I seemed to have misplaced. I know there are many Christian artists out there who sing messages of hope and love that uplift, but I’d just like to take this moment to thank my favorite Christian artist, Kirk Franklin, for letting God use him to bless me and so many others.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Most Difficult Part To Write

Ever now and then I think about the rape that happens in Choices. I didn’t feel good about what I wrote (as my fingers moved on the keyboard and the heartbreaking scene appeared on the computer monitor, I was actually apologizing to the character who was raped). But there are so many different aspects of the teen sex issue – the girl or guy who are adamant about waiting until marriage, and no amount of peer pressure will change their minds; the girl or guy who wants to wait until marriage, but then begins to feel so strongly for a person that the waiting becomes difficult; the girl who has sex with different guys because she’s seeking affection & the love she isn’t getting at home; the girl who has sex not for the sex, but because she wants to get pregnant, etc. – and, sadly, rapes happen.
When I wrote the rape in this story, I thought, It could almost happen, and then the girl’s mother could walk in on it, and beat the boy out of the house and down the street with a broom. So that is what I planned to write. But I asked a young lady’s opinion, and she said, “Let it happen.” That was a while back, so I can’t remember the reasons for her response, but I do remember that she loved to read. So I took her advice. I let it happen. I could have left out the graphic details (believe me, they are less graphic then the first few drafts), but I didn’t for two reasons: #1 - I wanted every teenage girl who reads this story to learn from the mistake made by the character who is raped, and I didn't think anything would be learned unless the reader could really feel this character's pain. To feel her pain, the reader would have to know everything she went through. The character's mistake: She felt something was wrong. She felt she should ask the guy to leave her home, but she didn’t because she didn’t want to offend him. Girls, we are just too darn nice sometimes. We never want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Well, there’s a time to be quiet and there’s a time to speak up. Now, I’d like to mention something I believe is important: Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside of them and one aspect of His work is to guide. But when He speaks, for whatever reason, we don’t always hear Him. And when we do hear Him, we don’t always listen. And if you’re reading this, and you’re not a Christian, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love you enough to help you in times of trouble. For God so loved the world! He gave all of us an instinct for doing the right thing and an instinct to sense when something is wrong. Usually, when we feel like something isn't right, it isn't. But, again, we don’t always listen. This character didn’t listen, but hopefully readers will learn from that. #2 – I wanted to show how a guy could force a girl to have sex and then walk away from the act as if it wasn’t rape, but consensual. At first the girl who is raped hesitantly agreed to have sex with this guy, but then, coming to her senses and deciding to make the choice that was right for her, she changed her mind. She said, “No,” and no means NO!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Reasons Behind the Choices

When I wrote Choices, I thought about some of the different reasons girls have for making the choice to engage in premarital sex; the reasons I knew of, at least.
LaKeeta: The girl who isn't feeling loved, so she has sex with a guy not because she really wants to do it, but because she’s hoping she’ll get pregnant. Her thinking is that she can bring someone into her life who will love her.
Hope: The girl who needs to prove that she’s more mature than people give her credit for, and she thinks that having sex is the way to do that.
Angel: The girl who is searching for the affection and attention she’s not getting at home, so if she has to have sex with a guy to get him to give her the time of day, then that’s what she’ll do.
Shauntice: The girl who wants to remain a virgin until her wedding night, but then she begins to feel so strongly for a guy that it just isn’t as easy to abstain as she thought it would be.
Girl in the mall: The girl who just doesn’t know how to say, “no”, so she gives in to the pressure.
Now as for abstinence, the reason I used was God’s will. God would like us to wait until marriage to have sex, so Bridgette abstains from sex in obedience to God. Shauntice also chose abstinence to be obedient to God, but she got off track for a moment there. Bridgette is the one who never compromises her beliefs. She feels so strongly about abstinence that she breaks up with a guy she really likes when he tries to push her further than she wants to go.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that I should have had a character practicing abstinence not because God says it’s the right thing to do, but because she just wouldn’t want to be with any guy in that way unless she was married to him. Because I’m sure there are unmarried people who are choosing to abstain from sex without even thinking that it is God’s will. Not to say, I don’t care about God’s will, because I do, but Choices has non-Christian as well as Christian characters, so besides being entertaining, my stories must be real, and the reality is - not everyone in this world makes choices according to what God wants. That would be great, and I’m sure the world would be a much better place if everyone did, but that’s just not the case. In fact, even Christians – those of us who should be living each day according to God’s ways - don't always think of His will with every choice we make.
Thank God for His grace and mercy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jewelry That Means Something

A cross dangling from a chain: It was made to wear around a neck; to rest upon a chest in plain view. Is it just a piece of jewelry?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
First Jesus was whipped, skin ripping from his back and blood draining from His body. Then He was beaten severely by Roman soldiers. They pulled hairs from His beard and pierced His head with a crown of thorns. Then He had to carry a heavy cross a very long distance until He reached Golgotha (the place of a skull). Nails were hammered into His wrists and feet, and He suffered on the cross for hours and hours. To make it plain, Jesus was tortured. He was tortured for me, tortured for you, tortured for all mankind, because that’s how great His love was and still is for each person on this earth. We were all born sinners, and He died on the cross for our sins. He paid our sin debt in full.
The cross is a symbol like no other; a symbol of the great love, the agape love, God has for mankind. Jesus was God in the flesh. (John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us) He could have come down from that cross anytime He wanted to, but He stayed and suffered agonizing pain so that we would have a choice to not spend eternity in hell. Because God gave His only Son, we can choose to accept Jesus as our personal Savior. People know about God, and that’s cool. But just knowing about God isn't enough. His Son Jesus is the key to salvation. “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
So a cross dangling from a chain, cross earrings, cross charms, cross tie clips, cross toe rings – these are all way more than pieces of jewelry. I see a cross and my first thought is, Jesus. I see a person wearing a cross and I think, This person is representing Jesus or at least acknowledging Him and His crucifixion. So, I’m thinking people who wear a cross care enough to conduct themselves in a way that is pleasing to God. That isn’t always the case, though, and this saddens me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No More Regrets

Every now and then I wonder what I would be doing now if I would have gone on to get a college education after high school. Where would I be living? What profession would I be in? A degree in English would have been a likely choice, since I write. Or journalism? No, I don’t even like to read the paper or watch the news with so much bad stuff going on in the world. So, okay, I was pretty good in accounting in high school, so maybe I’d be an accountant right now. Or a financial advisor. For a long time I regretted not going to college, but even though I wonder occasionally how my life would be different if I did, there are no more regrets. I’ve been through a bit too much in my life to waste my energy dwelling on the past. And it's not like I couldn't still go, it just doesn't matter as much anymore.
It really does my heart good, though, that my oldest son, who’s been studious from day one, has earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree from the University of Maryland in College Park and is about to finish up his Master’s. And then he’ll be attending a Phd program. Let me tell you, this man loves to learn! And he speaks several different languages! God has a plan for his life, and he seems to be right on track. I am so proud of him and my youngest son, who graduates high school this year and wants to enroll in college as a pre-med student.
God has a plan for my life as well. I always knew that. I get in His way sometimes, and get off track every now and then, but He does have a plan. I know that so much more now, though, because I ended up in the hospital some months ago with failing kidneys and a staph infection in my bloodstream. I could have died, but I’m still here, and I’m still here for a reason. I’m thinking because my husband and sons need me. But I’m also thinking that the stories God put on my heart will have some significance in the lives of other people.
Last year I felt so strongly about publishing Choices, even though I wasn’t too sure what I was doing, and I certainly wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for it. But I checked out articles and books on publishing and went from there. I may not have a college degree and probably never will, but that’s okay because I do believe I am anointed to write. And when there’s an anointing, lack of a higher education cannot stand in the way. So write is what I will do, and I’m sure readers will enjoy my entertaining, thought-provoking stories, but, hopefully, they will also get something good from my work; something that changes their lives for the better.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Book Reviews

As the debut author of teen fiction, I look forward to book reviews. It’s always nice to find out what other people think of my writing, and how they feel about the characters I created. A couple reviews even motivated me to work on the next novel more than I had been before I read them. To Rosalind of RAWSISTZ Reviewers and Cheryl of APOOO Book Club I say, “Thanks so very much for the very positive feedback! Your support is greatly appreciated.”
I realize that a book review is the opinion of the reviewer, but there is one review I'd like to respond to. This particular reviewer of Choices seemed skeptical of the fact that a teenager would quote the Bible, chapter and verse.
When I attended church as a teenager, not every single service, but most of the time the preacher spoke loud and fast in a sing-song voice, and people in the congregation expressed ‘Amen’s’ and ‘Hallelujahs’ at certain points when I didn’t have a clue what it was they were agreeing with. What exactly was it the preacher said that resonated with them was a mystery to me, because I barely understood any of his words. No disrespect intended, but I must honestly describe a lot of sermons I heard back in the day as loud, emotional talk with no real message.
To be able to become more like Christ, which is what God wants for every born again Christian, I need a message I can understand. I don’t need to be spoken to loudly in a chastising tone, I need to be taught. And don’t just read a passage from the Bible and then move on. Interpret it. Explain it to me, so that I can understand its meaning. I need to know the truth according to God. I need to be Bible taught.
Not every teen in Choices knows what the Bible says about the situation being faced at the time, but the characters who do quote scripture on occasion are Bible taught. I didn’t get into all of this in the story, but: They don’t just read their Bibles; they study their Bibles and meditate on the verses. And they receive lessons from educated, spiritual teachers of the Word in Sunday school.
With fiction the story is made up, but in order to be an interesting, entertaining read, certain aspects must ring true, and the characters definitely must be believable. So, are there teenagers outside of the world of fiction who can quote the Bible, chapter and verse? Of course there are, so I guess I'm really writing this is their defense. And, since many teenagers seem to be more ‘radical for Christ’ these days, they probably know the Word better than a lot adult Christians.
There are so many churches in today’s world, with males and females standing behind the podiums. I’ll never find every person who teaches the Word in a way that makes God’s ways and what He expects from the followers of His Son, Jesus Christ, very clear, but if you’re looking for someone to teach you God’s Word, I’d like to recommend Dr. Charles Stanley (, Bishop George L. Davis ( ) and Bishop T.D. Jakes ( ).

Friday, May 2, 2008


There are teens today engaging in premarital sex. This is nothing new. Teens are making this choice now, they made it back when I was a teen, and even further back than that. But why do teens make this choice? Personally, I don't believe it's always about raging hormones, and I don't believe it's always just about the sex. There are so many different reasons, and that is why I wrote my first novel. Choices is a story about five teenage girls facing difficult decisions concerning premarital sex. There are Christian and non-Christian characters. But it seems some Christians have a problem with the content. I'm sure that's because of the whole premarital sex thing and because there's a pregnant Christian teen in the story. Like that never happens. Yes, there are teenage girls and boys who have given their lives to the Lord (praise God!), but are also engaging in premarital sex. Denying that fact isn't going to make it any less true. And avoiding fiction that shows this reality isn't going to make it all go away. Believe me, my YA novel doesn't touch on the half of what a lot of teenagers are doing sexually these days. So, here's the thing: I am the vessel God is using to confront this issue in a creative way; writing realistic, thought-provoking fiction that could have a life-changing effect.
And then there are people who believe my teen novel is moralistic fiction. Believe me, Choices is not a goody, goody preachy story with perfect characters who do no wrong. The Christian characters in this story mess up like anybody else. But, okay, maybe it is a bit morally instructive as far as virtue in sexual conduct. But, as I mentioned earlier, I am God's vessel. So, tell me - would He have it any other way?
All I can say is that I wrote the story in a realistic way, creating situations and characters young people can relate to. I show choices teens can make that turn out to be mistakes and also the mistakes parents can make, and I do my best to help everyone see a better way; to learn to make better "choices". I believe teen fiction that doesn't only entertain, but teaches important lessons is necessary in today's world. And if my stories can't make a difference in someone's life, young or adult, then I don't see the purpose in writing them.
Hopefully, Choices will not only lead teenagers who are having sex out of wedlock back to abstinence, but will give parents something to think about as well.