Monday, July 6, 2009

The Devil is a Lie by Reshonda Tate Billingsley

ReShonda Tate Billingsley is a national bestselling author of 17 books, all published by Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books. Her sophomore novel, Let the Church Say Amen, is being made into a movie and national touring stageplay of which she is Executive Producer and actress Regina King is the director. Five of her other books, have also been optioned for film by CodeBlack Entertainment.

ReShonda’s literary career is such a success that in 2007, she was able to leave her job as a reporter with Fox 26 News in Houston to pursue writing full time. ReShonda has appeared on the Essence Bestseller’s list more than 20 times, as well as The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News and Ebony Magazine Bestseller’s lists.

ReShonda has won numerous awards for her journalism, fiction and poetry writing skills. She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition. ReShonda’s upcoming projects include The Devil is a Lie (July 2009), Holy Rollers (2010) and two more teen novels. The Houston native and University of Texas at Austin graduate also serves as a freelance editorial and marketing consultant. She has ghostwritten four fiction projects and five non-fiction projects. She is married with three small children.



When Nina Lawson wins $16 million in the Texas Lottery, the real estate executive and her fiancĂ©, ecstatically begin planning their future — from paying off their credit card debt, to setting their wedding date, to a spontaneous, spare-no-expense island getaway.

But when Nina goes to claim her winnings, she gets an astounding twist of fate: her ex-husband, Todd Lawson, shows up to inform he he isn’t her ex —since the paperwork for their divorce was never officially filed. By Todd’s side, his money-hungry girlfriend, Pam – the woman he left Nina for.


Between her divorce drama, Nina also has to deal with relatives coming out of the woodwork to seek a payday for themselves. Before all is said and done, Nina must ask herself if scoring a fortune in cash comes with too high a price tag. With a little bit of luck, Nina will discern the real wealth in her heart, not just her bank account—or risk losing everything—to find out what matters the most.

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Reshonda Tate Billingsley knows how to tell a story. The Devil is a Lie is a dish of drama and hilarity, peppered with faith. Readers get an unexpected ending as the layers of drama unfold to produce the truth. A charming read.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Are you using protection?

I went to the zoo a few weeks ago. My children and I watched a turtle retreat into her shell and a lizard blend into his surroundings. Later, we learned about how an octopus, when under attack, sprays a cloud of black ink. This ink impairs the vision of it's predators and also temporarily paralyzes their sense of smell.

God provides His creations with defense mechanisms for their protection.

As humans, we'd like to think that we are a zillion times smarter than any turtle or lizard. But, the very brain that makes us different from them is typically the reason why we often find ourselves in so much trouble. For we have been given free will. Choice. When we don't make the choice to go to Jesus for our protection, we are easy prey.

Our defense mechanisms are found in the word of God. Are you using protection?

We all have different struggles with things that can keep us from being productive. Here are a few scriptures that I find useful.

1) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”
2 Timothy 1:7

Fear and nervousness, for me, can be paralyzing. But I'm learning to push forward through prayer and faith in God's power. Sometimes I really have to step out of myself.
Note: See first blog post. :)

2) "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4 6:7

Worry is another one...I've been known to rock back and forth, all day, fretting about one thing or another, as if my rocking could move mountains. I have a 'thankful list' that I keep on my wall. Each day, I thank God for what we have and look to Him for what we don't. Surely, He knows every one of our needs. He provides, and I learned that being still, and talking and listening to God brings about a beautiful peace and gets me much farther than rocking does.

3) "A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

I used to pride myself on being right and 'winning' an argument. Oh, I could shut somebody DOWN! But there are rarely winners when names are called and feelings are hurt over something that really could have been left alone. Holding my tongue has to be THE hardest thing. But my time is too precious to waste on foolishness. And, I've learned that when I don't entertain it, but hand it off to God, the drama goes away.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

The battle is spiritual. Wrap yourself in God's protection and get about His business!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Do you believe in magic?

For the past few weeks, I've been watching a magic show on Monday nights with my family. The 'masked magician' performs several magic tricks and reveals the secret to how each act was carried out. A woman was cut in half. A handcuffed magician escaped from a locked barrel. People disappeared and reappeared.

I explained to my children that what we were watching was an illusion. We were being led to believe that an event was taking place, when it really wasn't. Someone was behind the curtains, manipulating things because they wanted us to believe that what we were looking at was real.

Once we caught on to the secrets, the performances grew a little stale. The ladies twisted their bodies into one of the five zillion secret compartments. The magician was never really chained and the barrel wasn't locked either. Look-a-like assistants pulled off the disappearing/reappearing acts.

Don't get me wrong. It was still fun to watch. But our perspectives had changed. We knew the truth, so our reactions were different. Instead of being amazed by the illusion, we immediately searched for a loophole, trying to figure out the truth.

We live in a time where many of us are being deceived by the illusions of this world. We are hurting ourselves, and hurting each other. We look at our temporary circumstances and are tricked into believing that we have no hope, no self-worth, and no future.

Satan can definitely bring the drama, and it is intensified by our own self-doubt and fear. While unpleasant situations may get us a little rattled, we should seek Jesus and His truth about our next move. For He truly brings the magic.

No, the miracles.

Pray, have faith, and enjoy the show!

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. " John 10:10

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Love Affair Waiting to Happen

My five-year-old wants to be a dog doctor. A veterinarian, I tell her. "A dog doctor," she insists.

She will see puppies first and larger dogs later. The big dogs scare her. I learned that when we were playing 'dog doctor' and she lovingly took a look at her eleven-month-old sister turned puppy, but refused to examine her three-year-old brother, who was pretending to be a dog.

"I'm scared of big dogs," she said.

"You're a dog doctor!" I exclaimed when the "big" dog started to cry. "How can you not see him? He's a dog."

Grudgingly, she put her imaginary stethoscope to his chest and rolled her eyes as she listened.

I sighed and kept a close watch on them, making sure that the dog doctor gave this canine the same care that she had given the puppy. She did. And all was well.

Scenes like this are common in our household. Whenever one of the kids shows an interest in something, I try to encourage them to check it out. If they like it, we stick with it. If they don't, we move on.

I try not to pass judgment. I know that words can tear down, build up, or lead someone in the wrong direction.

When I was getting ready to head off to college, it was popular to major in business. That's where the money is, everyone would say. If I told them that I was going to school for English, they would look puzzled and say "Oh...what you gonna do with that?" I didn't know. Maybe teach. Maybe law school. I just knew that I'd always loved to read and write.

But what did love have to do with it?

I went to the University of Illinois in Chicago with a business major and dollar signs in my eyes. After a few semesters of failing the same algebra class over and over, and being bored to tears looking at stock quotes in my business classes, I realized that I was falling fast. I headed to see an advisor, changed my major to English, and have been on my feet ever since.

A relationship with the Dean's List followed. And then there was a love affair with the Writing Center. Now I'm married to my publishing company. And me and youth writing workshops have a little something happening on the side. Who says you can't work and enjoy it too?

Love has everything to do with it. I took a detour, but found purpose and joy where I started.

I try to keep this in the forefront of my mind when nurturing my children's interests, talents, and abilities. Rather than dictate what will work and what won't, I think it's important that we teach our children how to listen to their hearts, and seek God for themselves.

When figuring out how to use something, why not go to the one who created it? I'm certain you'll find that your true love was there all the time.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path." Proverbs 3:6

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hi, I'm Kimora Lee Simmons

Well...maybe not. I'm not Asian. I'm only 5'2'', and my fashion sense is...well, let's not go there. But that's beside the point.

My company is still an infant. A healthy infant, but a baby just the same. This is all fairly new to me. I mean, being the one to call the shots, and then having to make things happen. So, I've been into bios and success stories and stuff lately.

When I ran into a bit of a problem booking a place for a workshop that I'm hosting, I immediately thought of Kimora Lee Simmons' reality show and the cliffhanger scenes before the commercial break.

Her assistant looks around, worried. Kimora is on a rampage. The venues that they wanted are all sold out. They have just four days to find a place for their event and pull it all together. The end of the episode, of course, shows everything working out precisely in the nick of time.

Now, the show might've been tweaked for drama and effect. But the reality is that things do get pretty ugly behind the scenes. As spectators and consumers, we don't know everything that goes into a production.

Do our guests know, as they 'oooh', and 'aaah' over our sparkling home, that the vacuum went off just as they were pulling up? Does our audience know that the ideas for that great speech didn't really start flowing until the night before? Of course not. That doesn't matter.

What matters is that we reach our destination, not that we run into bumps and sometimes potholes and ditches along the way.

So, keep it moving. If you're feeling nervous, self-conscious, or otherwise 'green', get inspired. Learn from the entrepreneurs, writers, inventors, and visionaries who came before us.

Adopt a persona, if you must, until those qualities that you desire become a part of you.

I was fierce. Adrienne Fierce. I was confident. I didn't dwell on the 'no's, but quickly moved on to the next prospect. I found a place before the day was over.

That went well. Maybe I'll be her tomorrow. Hey, whatever works.