My Blessings to You in 2009

shelia-021Hello my dear friends, my sons, my grandsons, godchildren and loved ones! First, let me give thanks and praise to God for each of you, for your help, your support, your love, your concern, your prayers, thoughts and dedication to me. Many things I have taken on in 2008 would not and could not have been done without your help and commitment toward me, and your belief in the dreams and talents God has placed in my heart.

It is my prayer that as God leads us into a new beginning, with the first of many blessings, starting with President Barack Obama and the First family, that we will make many more strides, and the first steps that we take into the new year will lead to marvelous and great things. It is my earnest prayer that God’s blessings and His unmerited favor will overflow in our lives,in our careers, in the desires of our hearts, in the lives of our families and loved ones. I pray that those blessings will run us down and overtake us like a mighty rushing wind!

All that we have been through in 2008 has made us who we are today. I’m sure many of us didn’t think we’d even be here. I’m certain we each faced our own personal strugles, obstacles, trials, and storms of life. Some which seemed torn beyond repair – yet God is faithful. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. God’s word says in Isaiah 65:24 “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Just think about that and meditate on how powerful God’s words are.
In 2009, let us seek God first and set our sights on things above. Let us obey his commandments. If we fully obey what God directs us to do, He promises that we will be the head and not the tail, that we will be blessed going in and going out; that our offspring will be blessed. He says, that enemies which come at us one way, will depart from our presence in seven ways! God promises we will be above and not beneath; that we will be lenders and not borrowers…”

Let us move forward in 2009 with great expectancy. Let us declare life and not death; and most of all let us do all that will honour, glorify, magnify and praise God!

I love you all so much (But God really does love you more!)

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Writing for the World to Read – Forever!

Sinful revelations only a loving God can make right!

My Son's Wife -Sinful revelations only a loving God can make right!

The world of writing is opening doors that have never been opened.  I am one who has been blessed to walk through the literary door and claim my place on the podium alongside literary giants.  I see myself as a giant in a huge world where there are tens of thousands of people who wear the label ‘author.’  Yet, it is not a competitive spirit that I have when I hear this or read the statistics about new writers releasing books every day.  Instead, I know that no one can write quite like me.  Just as the word of God says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I am a unique creation and there is no one in all the rest of humanity that is like me.  Therefore, the words that God gives me to place from pen to paper are unique.  My story can only be written by me.  Knowing that I am one of a kind and uniquely created gives me a sebse of greatness and gratefulness. I am humble yet I boldly step forward with the best of the best and claim my space. A space in time that only God can give, and only God himself can ever take away. I am thankful by the very fact that God chose me to write and tell stories that pour out from Him, through my spirit and then the finished product is printed for all the world to read!  I sit among the best of the literary divas.  I fulfill a purpose that no one else can fulfill. I stand toe to toe with Morrison, Angelou, Sheldon and Cooper, MacMillan and Harris. I believe that there is a calling on my life to write, to speak, to share, to reach, to tell and to spread the words in the form of books.  A book never dies.  Though our human body decays, books, like our souls, live on. Somewhere, long after I have shed this earthly shell, my words will resonate in someone’s life. And even now, today, and on into our tomorrow, while I still wear this human shell, someone, somewhere will be moved, touched and enticed to read my books. I know it in my spirit. I have the calm assurance from the one and only one I believe is sovereign. Though bookstores and publishers say the shelf life of a new book is basically 3 months before it fades out and new  books take its place, I thank God that I have read books that are hundreds of years old.  One day, I believe that someone, somewhere will pick up one or more of my novels.  They will read stories perfectly written and executed about imperfect people like me and you, and you, and you.  They will find hope, acceptance, joy, peace.  They will find that God truly is love and that crooked paths can be made straight again.  One day, I believe that someone, somewhere will pick up a book by Shelia E. Lipsey and the answers to problems and situations in life will be answered.  One day the world will see and read.  New dimensions and being reached in the world of reading.  A new path is being paved.  A new road is being laid.  And I am totally grateful to God for choosing me as one of his servants to carry out His purpose.

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MY SON’S WIFE AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD – OCTOBER 1, 2008 (CLICK BOOK COVER TO PREORDER)

A Case for Assimilation or Separatism

Minority cultures often struggle between losing themselves in assimilation or alienating their communities with acts that suggest separatism. The majority of society assumes that their rituals, morals and traditions should predominate because in terms of sheer numbers they dominate.  As a result, we have a historical discourse that features people of color as a footnote to the generational advancements of this society.

 

While race relations have improved compared to the experiences of our ancestors, prejudice and intolerance is a rippling undercurrent that taints our relationships and our social interactions, regardless of ethnic background. This state of existence is felt and read about in every sector of life.. It is a source of entertainment, ridicule and violence.
Most recently, I find myself bombarded by this as I interact in my romantic literary circles. In April, I attended two writers’ conferences. At the first one, I was a minority face in the crowd. Many of the reactions I received in response to my multicultural/interracial platform were, “That’s actually cool,” and “That’s interesting.”  However, meeting an editor and a reader grateful for my platform made the time and money I spent worthwhile. The second conference I attended that month was Romance Slam Jam, an African American romance writer’s conference. I felt like one of the girls in this crowd. It was nice to meet others who wrote interracial and multicultural romance as well as many talented women who wrote strictly African American romantic fiction. It allowed me to enhance the relationships I had been forming with many of these women online.

 

The separatism and assimilation question came up when I got back from Slam Jam. When I went to my local Romance Writers of America meeting, I reconnected with a few women who had been absent from the most recent meetings. I reluctantly told them about Slam Jam. They had no idea what I was talking about. The women, one Caucasian and the other Hispanic, listened with mild interest.  The woman of Hispanic decent began to show a growing interest as she asked if you had to be Black to attend. To be honest the question took me off guard because it highlighted the reason for my reluctance to discuss it in the first place. Of course, you don’t have to be Black to attend, but it is a natural presumption that non-Blacks make. I’m not sure if it’s because they think we don’t want them involved or if it’s because they don’t really have an interest in being involved. Yet, it is expected that we want to be a part of whatever it is they are doing. In reality, we have fought long and hard to be included. However, the existence of separate but equal activities and organizations makes me wonder if our struggle has more to do with equal opportunity, respect for our culture and our existence as human beings rather than truly being involved in the activities of the majority. Many members of the majority say, “See, they are being separatist. They want us to include them but then they create their own organizations.” This was never been clearer to me than when I stumbled upon the debate over the Black National Anthem. African Americans on the blog condemned it for perpetuating separatism. Many Caucasian bloggers agreed, stating this is America and a Black National Anthem was disrespectful. So much for being a melting pot of ideas. Can we be a part of the majority and still claim some things as our very own?

 

This notion confronted me again when I picked up the latest RWA Romance Writers’ Report. In this issue, there was a quarter-page announcement for the recipients of the Emma Awards that took place at Romance Slam Jam. There was no information about the conference or the history behind the awards. The announcement also came three months after the awards ceremony, despite the fact that there were RWA representatives at the conference. Please note the Romance Writers’ Report, RWA’s industry member magazine, is published monthly. Hey, I guess better late than never, maybe they have really long lead times. There was also a very interesting interview about the experience of multicultural authors in the romance writing industry. It indirectly spoke to the idea of assimilation and separatism when famed author Beverly Jenkins spoke of the emergence of African American romance novels. It was clear that the publishing industry didn’t think black female dollars were significant enough to warrant a book line catering to the life and loves of African Americans. Nor did they think it was necessary, after all black women have been reading about white love stories for ages. Isn’t the point of these novels to provide fantasies and a glimpse into the lives we couldn’t possibly have the chance of living ourselves?

 

These occurrences have lead me to realize that my multicultural platform is more than about people of differing cultures and persuasions living, loving and interacting with one another. I don’t desire to create a fondue pot where the contents melt to create a blended product, but a crock-pot where all the ingredients of the stew are still distinct but the different textures compliment and coexist together.

A Different World

April was filled with a series of firsts in my writing career. It was the first time:

  •  I traveled to a new state alone without the intention of meeting family, friends or coworkers.
  • I attended an RWA sponsored writer’s conference.
  • I attended an African American writer’s conference.
  • I visited Chicago, Illinois.
  • I considered truly being self-employed without feeling a panic attack brewing in my chest.

 When I attended the RWA sponsored Desert Dreams conference in early April, I had every intention of comparing and contrasting that experience with my participation in the predominantly African American focused Romance Slam Jam set to take place later in the month.

 These two experiences really reflected the industry distinction between two groups who have the same appreciation  for love and romance but operate on different levels of support.

 At Desert Dreams, which was hosted by my local RWA chapter, I was the only African American author and the only author who wrote interracial romance.  Despite that fact, I felt the readers and writers in attendance really took an interest in my platform, because to them it was unique and different. One Caucasian woman took an extreme interest because her daughter was the product of an interracial relationship. Talking with an editor from St Martin’s Press only solidified my conclusions.

 While Desert Dreams was a great experience, one that I will repeat again in the future, I really felt at home at the Romance Slam Jam conference. There were a lot more readers in attendance who were hungry for great romantic stories and excited to meet the authors of those stories. Even though I was a newly published author, I was an important contributor to these attendees. It was nice to be around people who looked like me and appreciated what I was called to do. While I didn’t have any agent/editor appointments at this conference, I actually had one seek me out. She was an editor at Red Sage and she introduced herself to me because I seemed familiar to her. Upon hearing that I write interracial romance, she invited me to submit to her.

 The conference was nearly a week long and it was great to laugh, learn and party with my sisters and brothers. It was great to put names to faces and personalities. It felt like a reunion although all of those in attendance were virtually strangers to me. I was able to meet some of my virtual critique partners and it was like vacationing with sisters. I made so many contacts and so many new friends that there’s no doubt the next Slam Jam will be even better.

While Slam Jam didn’t have the exposure to the New York publishing market like Desert Dreams did, it is clear that we are garnering attention. Representatives from RWA were there as they were a low-key sponsor as well as Avon and a local Chicago book-club. It becomes obvious that we are growing in numbers and our economic power is being watched when those in mainstream start to take notice.

 On returning to the regular day to day, a raging fire was ignited in me. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Writing, reading and being around those that appreciate these endeavors is how I see my future and now I have the courage to pursue it with laser-like focus. Since arriving home, I have been up late every night writing and researching ways to freelance full time. It is still my primary desire to write novels, however, freelancing appeals to me as well. I am no longer satisfied being at the mercy of one company no matter the industry. Even in writing, I plan to write in multiple genres for various publishers and companies.

 I’ve search for many years for that one product I would market in order to stake my claim among the self employed, and these conferences have taught me to look within. The product I can promote the best is inside of me.

 As long as there are readers looking for stories that reflect their unique experiences in a world that is not just black or white, I will be striving to meet the demand.

 

 

 

 

 

Unsung heroes in our community

dorothygoinshdshot_023_edited.jpgI love Black History Month, although I am Black History three hundred and sixty five days each year. However, this is the one time we collectively learn together and share so much about our past, our history makers and who is doing what in our communities.

I took some time out to reflect and during this entire month I would like to portray each day going forward information on the unsung heroes who are positively changing our community. My interviews this month will expose to you change agents, advocates, mentors and authors making a difference. Through portraying these individuals I hope to give you inspiration through the greater efforts and accomplishments of our African American men and women who continue to strive for change through undying efforts. I hope to flicker a flame in those who are seeking ways to becoming more actively involved in their community. These unsung heroes are key leaders and they are leaving a mark whether you know it or not. Consequently, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, Sonya Sanchez, Maya Angelou and so many notable others have sparked and ignited in me the energy and the drive to rise up and be heard.

Meet Annette Owens-Johnson, a true and sincere advocate for change. She is the director of Women Against Abuse, Inc. transitional housing program “Sojourner House.” We met a year after I launched my campaign, “Speaking up against Domestic Violence.” After the brutal murder of my sister-in-law, who lost her life at the hands of her abuser, I reached out to Women Against Abuse, Inc. (WAA) and asked them to allow me to support their cause jointly through my novel, A Woman Scorn’d and through my campaigning numerous copies of A Woman Scorn’d have been donated to the Sojourner House program to assist with their cause. I continue to support them by assisting with developing fundraiser events and spreading awareness at my book signings through my speeches, the brochures WAA supplies to me and from passing out the crisis hotline numbers wherever I go.

DG: Annette, as an advocate and a change agent working in the profession of assisting women who are transitioning from a life of abuse to a life of completeness and total control of their situation, I felt the need to show others how affective your input has been. Help me and others who are reading this article for the first time, to understand the importance of what you do for our community. What has motivated you to become an advocate?

AJ: My motivation to become an advocate began when I was just a teenager, as I witnessed various social ills, such as an unjust criminal justice system, institutional racism, and violence, both domestic and abroad. I was a witness to these social ills all throughout my environment, including my own home. Being a witness to various social ills throughout my life has had a profound impact on how I choose to live my life to combat these ills.

DG: Can you describe for me a typical day in your profession?

AJ: Well, as a social worker, a typical day in my larger profession is all-encompassing, as social workers at large work in just about every field, from health care, to politics, to the justice system. As far as a typical day in my particular occupation, as the director of transitional housing for Women Against Abuse, Inc. (WAA), this entails the overall management of WAA’s transitional housing facility Sojourner House, and includes hiring, guiding and supervising Sojourner House staff- case managers, the Children’s Program, maintenance and housekeeping, and an MSW intern; ensuring that the program is in compliance and external requirements, including extensive completion of reports; exploring various resources, through staff trainings, and meetings, including the distribution of these resources; and providing guidance for the actual physical structure of the facility, i.e., managing inventory, repairs, renovations, etc.

DG: What are the rewards in doing what you do each and everyday?

AJ: As far as the rewards to what I do each and everyday, first let me just say that the social work profession tends to be an undervalued profession. Our overarching goal is to assist and partner with those who are in need, and we do this throughout every facet of life, with relatively little respect or recognition, in terms of compensation, etc., compared to other helping professions. It’s a good thing we’re not in it for the money. I do want to bring awareness to this issue, nevertheless, as this is one thing that I strive to do every day within my profession. Actually, the real rewards for me and my fellow social workers lie in the fact that we are truly helping vulnerable and oppressed populations, from the elderly lady in hospice care, to my clients, who are families who are surviving the tragedies of domestic violence. Every day that I go to work, no matter how demanding it gets, and trust me, it does get really demanding, I see the positive change that is being brought forth, by virtue of our clients, the people that we are serving. I see it in the expressions and interactions amongst both clients and staff. And I can honestly say that I love what I do. That’s priceless.

DG: If there was one thing you could change in the community what exactly would it be?

AJ: Wow, only one thing that I would change about the community? There are so many needs. Well, if I was able to change only one thing, it would have to be that people would focus their efforts on a collective cause to bring about peace. Certain societies today seem to be so individualized that instead of thinking of the various ways that we can help our fellow person, our thoughts focus on how we as individuals and sects can remain in power, by any means necessary, mainly through oppression, and particularly through violence (by cultivating both war in the home, as well as war abroad), while simultaneously distracting us from the real needs and issues at hand.

Again, through my experiences in working with WAA, and in general, I have seen how making a concerted effort towards positive change can actually bring that change about. And there are so many opportunities to do this, for one, through volunteering to assist in various causes, combating various social ills, but also in our everyday life. As stated by our Maintenance Technician at Sojourner House: if everybody in the world gave just a little bit more, just imagine what a better world it would be.

DG: Thanks, Annette. I would like to thank you for giving of your time unselfishly for the sole benefit of others and for allowing me the opportunity to show the community how devoted and dedicated you are to such a worthy cause. It’s people like you who truly make a difference!

AJ: And I want to thank you, Dorothy, for giving not just a little bit more, but a lot more, to the cause. Be Blessed.

DG: Let’s all make a difference. Stop the silence and speak up against Domestic Violence. Together our voices will be heard!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” _ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Task At Hand

My Son’s Wife by Shelia E. LipseySinsatiableInto Each lIFE
Hello All,
As most of you know who follow this column, I am a Christian fiction writer and author. I stated this because I wanted you to know being an author, a Christian fiction author at that, is my purpose in life as far as my gifts and talents. I believe I have been chosen, appointed and assigned to write and speak. It’s a joy to be able to do what you love and get paid for doing it. For this, I am truly thankful to God. This doesn’t mean that I don’t become exhausted at times or that I don’t frown at the word ‘deadline’ every now and again, because I do. It does mean however, that the task at hand is one that I do love. Like many, I would love to make lots and lots of money; I won’t lie about that. Yet, it also means that even if I don’t make lots and lots of money, I will still continue to do what God has called me to do – write and speak according to His will and in His way.

Many writers/authors, I’ve been fortunate to meet in person and online, are not concerned with whether or not they reap the financial benefits of their craft, especially the Christian writers I have spoken to. They are concerned with getting out the message that God has given them to depart. I too believe this and uphold this as well. But I also believe that God will greatly reward me financially here on earth for doing that which he has given me to do. After all, he owns the cattle on a thousand hills; all that is and ever was belongs to Him. I am His child, called according to His purpose, and not only that, I am an heir and a joint heir as well as adopted into His kingdom.

What person or parent do you know willfully withholds their wealth, good fortune and bounty of good from their children? There are some who do, I must admit, but it’s usually based on a world of greed, selfishness and sin. But the God I worship and adore is perfect and He loves me unconditionally, at least that’s what I believe. He is my Daddy, my Father, my God and my Lord. Therefore, I have no problem asking my ‘Daddy’ for the things I desire. I do desire wealth, great wealth. I do desire my books to be on the New York Times bestsellers’ list. I do desire to write life-altering books that bless people, both those of faith and those who do not believe what I believe. I do give my all to the ‘task at hand.’ I do want to be appreciated and recognized. That’s simply human nature. But my first priority is to do that, which I am supposed to be doing, and that’s why I strive and I work hard and I do my best to become the best.

I am to do me and you do you, but doing me means reaching, hoping, dreaming, looking, searching, expecting for the greater, finer things of life. I want to leave a legacy that will go through generations and that legacy includes the books I’ve written, the speeches I’ve spoken, and the money I’ve made for doing these things.
Now, before each of you, I stand on my faith and I ask God to enlarge my territory, to increase my wealth so much so that I will be able to do great and marvelous things for others and for my family, to bless each word that I write and speak, to bring my vision into being. I want to accomplish the task at hand and I do expect to be rewarded here on earth and in heaven.

Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!

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Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity

Book Review: Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity by Robert Scott, Sr.

Posted: 06 Apr 2008 02:56 PM CDT 

 

Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry For Purity
By Robert S. Scott, Sr.

Reviewed by Wanda B. Campbell
For The Culture Clique Book Club
Amazon rating: 5

Sound the Alarm!
Finally, there is a comprehensive book on sexual sin with real solutions.

 

In Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry For Purity, author Robert S. Scott, teams up with seven others to tackle and dispel societal myths and to proclaim the truth as presented in the Bible concerning sexual sin.

The targeted audience for this practical guide is African American Christian males, struggling with sexual perversions such as, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, and adultery. However, the
Biblical principles outlined are not limited to ethnicity, but to all who believe in the delivering power of Jesus Christ.

Where other books conclude with identifying the immorality plaguing our communities, Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry For Purity, takes the reader by the hand and walks him through the battlefield and into his deliverance.

This book is a must read for every Christian male!

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Lift Every Voice (May 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802485510
ISBN-13: 978-0802485519