November Book Giveaway!

November 1, 2008 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

For my monthly book giveaway, I thought I’d give commenters a question to answer.

I attended the ACFW conference last September, and I spoke with two editors regarding African American (AA) fiction. A few years ago, I blogged about how AA books are shelved here and about people reading AA authors here.

It appears that a lot of African Americans will only read books by AA authors. However, while I was growing up, there were practically no AA authors out there, so I read whatever I could get my hands on! I was joyous when the publishing scene exploded with lots of AA books (I was an adult by this time.)

My question to all of you is, if you are NOT African-American, do you mind reading African-American fiction? Do you feel that AA books are only written for other African Americans? If you go to a bookstore, and see the AA section, would you go to that section and browse, or do you feel that those books are only for AA readers?
And if you are AA, do you ONLY read books by AA authors, or do you read books by people of all races?

I’ll start by responding to my own question. If you visit my blog enough, and see the books I give away, you’ll probably already know my answer. I’ll read a novel as long as it’s well-written and enjoyable. I don’t care if the author or characters are AA or not, I’m gonna read the book regardless. If I don’t like it, I won’t finish reading it!

If you are NOT AA and enter a bookstore, and you usually skip the AA section, I’m letting you know it’s OKAY to go to that section and browse a bit! Pick up some of those fiction titles and give them a try! You might find that you enjoy them! However, the whole shelving issue comes into play here. Depending on the bookstore, the AA Christian fiction MIGHT NOT be shelved in the AA section. It might be in the Christian fiction section. So if you’re looking for Christian fiction titles and the author is AA, it’s a toss up about where you might find it.

When my Love Inspired novel First Mates came out, I visited some bookstores in my area and moved a few copies FROM the romance section TO the AA section, knowing that some would only purchase my novel if they found it in the AA section.

As usual, when you comment, please leave your email address so that I’ll have a way to contact you if you win! I’m giving away the following new/slightly used novels for the month of November:

John’s Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
Here is the book summary from Heartsong Presents website:
It’s amazing how quickly life can change. Overnight, Monica Crawford finds her neatly organized world turned upside down. Her sister abandons her blind son, Scotty, leaving him on Monica’s doorstep. Caring for a handicapped child brings unexpected conflict-but unexpected joy as well. When John French volunteers to tutor Scotty, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to Monica. But John and Monica are very different. She is a strong believer, determined to live her life for Christ. John is an agnostic who wants nothing to do with God.Will John see the light? Will Monica realize that sometimes letting go of a dream is the way to achieve it? Only in full surrender will either of them be happy- whether they end up together or alone.

A Time To Dance by Karen Kingsbury

Diamond Duo by Marcia Gruver – I have 2 copies of this novel to give away.

Dance Into Destiny by Sherri L. Lewis

The following cozy mysteries, published by Barbour Publishing, will be given away as a set:
1. The Wedding Caper by Janice A. Thompson
Murder In The Milk Case by Candice Speare When mommy and wife Trish Cunningham find the body of Jim Bob Jenkins behind the two-percent mil, she knows she’s having a bad day. Worse, she’s a suspect in the murder. Sleuthing to exonerate herself from criminal charges, she shakes up a murderer who has nothing to lose by killing anyone in the way–including Trish.

Band Room Bash by Candice Speare When Trish Cunningham and her oldest stepson, Tommy, find Georgia Winters, the English teacher at Four Oaks High School, dead in the band room, the suspect list is lengthy. The teacher had a number of enemies–including Tommy Cunningham.
Once again Trish pulls out her notebook to collect clues. Detective Eric Scott, suffering from unrequited love for Trish’s best friend, Abbie, pointedly asks Trish to butt out. But despite the detective’s warnings, she jumps in as usual and finds herself embroiled in a mystery that has its roots in thwarted love and revenge. The finale could be Trish’s swan song.

4. Baker’s Fatal Dozen by Lisa Harris

5. Drop Dead Diva by Christine Lynxwiler, Jan Reynolds, and Sandy Gaskin

I’m giving away these three Heartsong Presents romance titles as a set:
Sandhill Dreams by Cara C. Putman – from Heartsong Presents website:
Lainie has no dreams left. Lainie Gardner dreamed of becoming a nurse. Of serving her country. Of doing something important in the war. But rheumatic fever changed all that, and instead of running home, Lainie is determined to find a job at Fort Robinson in Nebraska’s sandhills. Tom Hamilton had dreams, too. Dreams of preparing the horses at Fort Robinson for duty on the warfront. Instead, he is assigned to train war dogs and their handlers, meaning that each day he must face the fear he’s had of dogs since he was bitten as a child. Lainie and Tom wonder why God seems to have denied them their dreams. But is it possible new dreams will bring them more joy than they ever imagined?
2. Better Than Gold by Laurie Alice Eakes
Reckless Rogue by Mary Davis – from Heartsong Presents website:
Lizzie Carter is no ordinary doll. Lieutenant Pete Garfield loves to flirt with the ladies-“dolls” as he calls them-in every town where he lands his Curtiss JN-4D biplane. There are always plenty in the crowds who gather to gape at his amazing aeroplane and pay him for a ride. But one special girl in Cashmere, Washington, captures his interest with her extraordinary knowledge of aeroplanes and her insistence on flying his! No one but Pete flies the Jenny, but he sure doesn’t mind giving pretty Lizzie some free rides. Lizzie Carter has always dreamed of flying, but she won’t be satisfied until she pilots an aeroplane herself. She sees Pete’s arrival in Cashmere as the perfect opportunity to make her dreams come true. But she didn’t expect this carefree aviator to capture her heart. Will Pete settle in one town long enough to fall in love with one special girl? Or will the past he’s been fleeing finally catch up with him?

I’m giving away these two sweet romances as a set – please note that these two books are NOT inspirational titles, but they are sweet.
1. For Her Child by Linda Goodnight
2. Rough Around The Edges by Marie Ferrarella

~Cecelia Dowdy~

40 Responses to November Book Giveaway!

  1. Becky C. says:

    All the Nov. book giveaway’s sound wonderful.

    Please enter me in the contest.

    Thank you,

    Becky C.

  2. Janna says:

    I have never browsed the AA section at a bookstore (I don’t think our Christian bookstore has an AA section – they are just mixed in) but some of my favorite books have been AA.

    Claudia Mair Burney’s Amanda Bell Brown series – is one of my all time favorites! Just the titles alone are fantastic, but the humor she weaves in their made me laugh out loud (literally)!

    Kimberly Cash Tate’s “Heavenly Places” I almost passed up reviewing and am so glad I didn’t. I have to admit that the fact that it is listed as AA did not entice me – I think listing it as Women’s Fiction would make it more universal. It is an excellent book – I had someone leave me a comment that based on my review they were pulling it out of their giveaway pile to read.

    I guess I’m not sure why some of these books are categorized as AA – my sister’s books are categorized as CA (Caucasian American) and I think that a lot of people miss out on some excellent fiction because categories are so defined… Just my 2 cents worth πŸ™‚


  3. Jessica says:

    Hey, what an awesome topic. I could care less what the characters’ skin colors are when I choose to read a book. As long as I’m pulled into the story they can be purple with horns.
    Before I became a writer and got on all these loops, I had no clue the AA section in a bookstore included fiction. I had no clue things would be shelved separately like that. I just thought genres were shelved differently, not races. So I’ve never been in that section. If I noticed it (which I can’t remember now if I did) I probably thought AA meant historical non-fiction or something. Usually I’d make a beeline to the Christian section.
    Great post, though. If I ever go into a bookstore again (LOL, two toddlers and a four year old) I’ll have to wander over and take a look at the AA fiction.
    I would love to win the barbour or heartsong books since I’m not a part of the club and can’t get them at Walmart.
    Thanks Cecelia!

    jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo DOT com

  4. smilinkyn says:

    It doesn’t matter to me, I love reading any kind of book! I do not avoid any book that has african americans in it. I love all characters, no matter what their outside is. Only the inside matters. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks & God Bless!

  5. Ausjenny says:

    the give away sounds good I am interested in the heartsong presents set as i am a member of the mystery club and just read diamond duo.
    Im an aussie and we dont have an AA section. Oh in Diamond duo my favourites were the Sarah and Henry.
    I dont think I have read alot of AA fiction but the ones I have or the books which include AA charactors I have enjoyed.
    Like Jessica said i dont care about the race or colour of skin if its a good book Infact I had to ask Camy Tang after reading Sushi for one what nationality Aiden was.
    I think its a good way to learn of different nationalities and people.
    ausjenny at gmail dot com

  6. windycindy says:

    I am trying to figure out why African American books are in a separate section. Why aren’t the books in genres?! I read books that appeal to me via the reviews that I have read and word of mouth. Please enter me in delightful book drawings. Many thanks, Cindi

  7. Hey, Cindy! Thanks for commenting. While at the conference, I was talking to editor Andy McGuire at breakfast one morning. We were talking about a recent article in Publishers Weekly about how AA books are shelved. The AA books are shelved this way because that’s how most African-Americans buy books! They buy only from AA section! When I was at Barnes and Noble in North Carolina last week, I did notice that the only books in their AA section were non-fiction, which led me to believe that this store shelved the AA fiction amongst the other titles.

    However, this shelving practice varies store by store. There is no standard on how books are shelved. For example, I was at Family Christian last Friday night and found the AA fiction titles shelved alphabetically with the other fiction titles. They had no separate section, but, then again, there were only about four or five AA fiction titles in the store, which would probably NOT justify having a separate section.

    I find the separate AA section is more common in secular bookstores more so than Christian bookstores.

    Tyora, I didn’t realize you’d written about this subject in the November issue of Christian Online Magazine. I’ll need to check it out!

  8. Pamela J says:

    I was shocked, to say the least, that there is such a thing as an AA section in some book stores! I must be sheltered here in our little town of just over 100 people in a remote mountain desert, or have my head stuck in the sand.

    My first thought, now that I know this section exists separate from the regular sections, is how intimidated “I” would feel if I sought out that part of a book store and was standing there looking at them when another of the AA type person “caught me there”. Let me explain:
    I have an inkling I have a sort of concept. I have a lady of different nationality than white (won’t mention which because it matters not, there are some people even among white that act like this)across the street from us and she watches diligently for any hint of accusation or action against her because of her nationality. My husband calls that reverse discrimination. To stand in the AA section of a book store (now that I know there is one to see sometimes) would make me feel intimidated, like someone of that ethnic group would come and criticize me for standing there because of the color of MY skin.

    So now to answer your question: NO, I DO NOT MIND READING AFRICAN AMERICAN FICTION. I read John’s Quest and thought it was great! That is the first AA book, if that is what it is considered, that I have read but I do NOT pick books according to that, I am open to them as much as any other.

    If the book stores have their AA section, I think they should have those same books in the regular section as well so people like me could make up our own mind what book to choose without the discrimination.

    Sheesh! Some people!

    Pam Williams

  9. Jo says:

    This is a very interesting topic. As far as I know I have seen a AA section at a bookstore. I usually look for my books in the Christian bookstore. I will read a book that is AA. It doesn’t matter to me whether it is or not if I am interested in the story. Even though my hubby and I are not AA, this nice Jewish couple was saved in a Black Baptist Church.


  10. squiresj says:

    second attempt. It seems everytime I try to blog – it messes up. Now it won’t even let me paste in what I wrote and copied myself.
    Lovely contest.
    I grew up in a mixed neighborhood and knew lots of African Americans – good friends. I know lots of beautiful Christians – color is not the issue. I am on several AA newsletters.
    I hope this goes through this time.
    jrs362 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  11. Hi there, great question. I’m from a small area with small bookbstores, so I’ve never seen a specific AA section. Personally, I don’t care if there’s a person on the front…whether it be AA, Asian, Native American or caucasion…if it looks like a good book with an interesting story line, and it’s Christian fiction, then I’m interested.

  12. Doreen says:

    Hi Cecelia! I’ve never browsed the AA section at a bookstore. I didn’t know that there was a section for AA specifically. I just browse the Christian section at a Bookstore and would think that Christian based AA books would be mixed in there. I have John’s Quest and that is on my reading list! πŸ™‚ I would love to win: A Time To Dance by Karen Kingsbury, those cozy mysteries sound awesome or the Heartsong Presents Romance books! purposedrivenlife4you (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. jess says:

    Hi Cecelia, I enjoy AA fiction and I always browse the AA section in WalMart. Marilynn Griffith is one of my fav writers–we used to be crit partners. I also like to buy AA greeting cards. Mahoghany–they’re wonderful and usually say EXACTLY what I want to say. πŸ™‚

    I missed ACFW conference this year. Thought about you and wondered if you were having a good time. πŸ™‚

  14. Abi says:

    I just finished Kimberly Tate’s book Heavenly Place. It was oooohhhh sooooo good. I had never read from AA genre before but I look forward to reading more from Tate and others if I can find some. thanks for the November Book Give away. All the books sound wonderful. Diamond Duo is the only one I have in my TBR pile. The others sound like wonderful reads to add to my TBR pile.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. tetewa says:

    I’m open to reading anything, even if it comes from the AA section! I’m always looking for new authors to read and thanks for the opportunity at all the books this month!

  16. Dee S. says:

    hey, ceceila. i’ve asked that question at Christian Fiction Blog for years. I love the responses that I see here.

  17. I have not read very many AA books, but the ones I did read I enjoyed. I also don’t see why they should be catergorized separately unless someone was only interested in AA books. I’m more interested in what the story’s about rather than what they look like, but I do enjoy a good description, so I can picture them.
    I’m interested in the cozy mysteries πŸ™‚

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is just not good. Now that I know there is an AA section and a CA or any other section I will have to look all over the store. It takes me forever to pick my books as it is. I would rather all Christian books be in 1 place. Knowing me I would not go to the other sections just because I wouldn’t want to take that much time. As to what color the author is….I couldn’t care less. I get a book by what is the story line and how the back pages read. I have never read any of your books Ceclia. I have read your posts on another list I am on. Thank you for offering this give away. This is the first time I have made in.
    PS I wish I could have posted this without having a google blogger account.

  19. Cherie J says:

    Doesn’t matter to me. Plot is what is important. I personally don’t think their should be an AA section. It sounds so divisive. Thanks for the contest! Thanks for the giveaway.


  20. Mary says:

    I enjoy Christian fiction and read any story that grips my heart and imagination. I mostly shop online so I’ve never really noticed how books are shelved. I would love to be put in the drawing for : John’s Quest, A Time to Dance,Diamond Duo, and the 3 Heartsong romance books.Thanks!


  21. Martha A. says:

    i was shocked to read that someone would even think of this! I judge a book by it’s content, not by the color of the author’s skin! I had no idea there was a sperate section at all sometimes!

    i love reading about all different cultures, styles of writing etc. but have never really even thought to check what the author looked like before i read it!


  22. Carole says:

    I agree with several other comments in that I read by description/review/genre rather than AA, etc. And the stores I shop at don’t have a separate AA section. I mean, a good book is a good book! One of my favorites this year is The Color of the Soul by Tracey Bateman.

    And thank you for a great contest, Cecelia! I would love to win Diamond Duo or any of the cozy mysteries.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  23. darbyscloset says:

    Great selection of books!! Please enter me!
    Now to answer your question…how’s this for an answer….I didn’t even know that there was an AA section! I read everyone and I usually shop by catagory, ie: romance, chistian, mystery. It does not matter to me the nationality of the author.
    Good pondering question!
    darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hi Cecelia,

    I don’t shop in bookstores much, as I buy mailorder, so I never knew they had an AA section. What a shame that some people are being deprived of good fiction just because these books are categorized. I read anything I think has a good story to it. It’s just like TV and movies to me. I watch reruns of Good Times, The Jeffersons, The Cosby Show, Family Matters, Sanford & Son, Fresh Prince, etc. Some of these I watched way back when they were first run. Now I watch Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and all of his movies. We have all of them on DVD, and his plays, too. Besides that, I include AA characters in my books.

    Anyway, any/all of the books you are giving away look fantastic. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

    Deborah Piccurelli

  25. This is such a good and timely post! I was so tickled to find John’s Quest at my library book sale the other day, because I loved First Mates. It’s near the top of my TBR pile! πŸ™‚

    I think I was surprised when I discovered that the AA books were segregated. It does seem separatist. I don’t think I’d have any trouble looking in that section, though! I often look for the Kimani books at Walmart…(only “bookstore” I’ve been to in a while)…hoping to find their new Inspirational line.

    Seems to me as though, if we’re all family in Christ, we’re all going to end up together, anyway! In the meantime, reading cross-culturally helps our understanding of each other. I love your books, and Marilyn Griffith’s and Claudia Mair Burney’s! I’m so blessed that the Lord has given us so many friends who don’t fall into the Caucasian category, from our year in Hawaii when I was a toddler through the present day! Mom and I had the privilege to be the musicians at our nearby city’s most prominent AA church, and we’re so thankful for our friends!

    Yes, please enter me in the drawing, too. (I almost forgot that part!)
    hope _ chastain [at] yahoo [dot]com (no spaces).

  26. Katie says:

    Please enter me in all your book giveaways here… Thanks.. And if it is a good book I really don’t care if it’s AA or not..

  27. Anonymous says:

    I have absolutely no preference to authors other than does their work of art touch me. Does it speak to me. Does it capture my heart and make it bigger for the reading. Do I learn from it and does it expand my mind. Books are the greatest gifts to receive; I have learned something from every book I have read be it perhaps just a new word. Authors are my heros… all saved my life as a child and have given direction, laughter, tears and adventure as an adult

    Funny, I never thought of this question in my 40+ years of reading.

    Gayla Collins in Wyoming

  28. Anonymous says:

    I am interested in your book giveaway. However first I wish to answer your question. I am not an African American. I am a Christian who just happens to be of another color. I do not care what the color of the author is as long as the book is good. As a Christian I believe that God uses each of us in a different way. I did a google search and clicked on this link. I hope that this has some how answered you question. Now one for you, are your books on Amazon? If they are have you considered putting them in Kindle format?
    In Christ

  29. I hope that this has some how answered you question. Now one for you, are your books on Amazon? If they are have you considered putting them in Kindle format?
    In Christ
    >>>Hi, TC.
    Thanks for commenting.
    A few things. Number one, if you’re interested in being entered for the book giveaway, then you’ll need to leave your email address in the post. Reason being, if I choose your name, then I’d need a way to contact you.

    Number two, you can order my current novel, John’s Quest, here:

    Number three, yes, the rest of my books are available on amazon. Visit my website to see the links to my books that are available here:

    Currently, my publisher owns the rights to my books. So, it’s their call if they want to make them into Kindle books. Since I do have a backlist, and some of my books are out of print, it would be great if they were available via Kindle, but again, it’s up to the publisher!

    Hope that helps, and please leave your email address so that you can be entered into the drawing!

  30. Donna Moore says:

    I know that when I was in college I took a multicultural literature class. Part of the assignments were to visit other cultural venues. In taking this class I went to an AA bookstore (selling only books written by AA). This is the only time I have ever noticed the literature seperated in that way. I haven’t noticed there being an AA section but like many of you have said I read books if they are well written and I can identify with the characters. SO often I have said we need fiction that reflects our faith. This is also true of our cultures. I also think we learn so much from literature about the world around us. It is easy to fall into the perception that the world is view by everyone else just as we see it. Novels give us a opprotunity to view the world as others do. Thank you for bringing up this topic for discussion.

  31. I love at everything in a bookstore. I rarely get into one. The nearest one is over an hour away.

  32. BousMama says:

    I am dangerous in a bookstore and actually prefer to do most of my book shopping on

    Thanks for allowing me a chance in the contest.

    sorgaards (at) gmail (dot) com

  33. Please put my name in for the Nov. Book give away. Thanks.

    I will read a book because it’s a good book and a good story not matter who writes it.

    Nora St. Laurent

  34. Mom2three says:

    Is it too late to enter? I love Christian fiction and I’m not sure that it really matters if the subject or the author are AA, as long as it is well written and interesting. I’ll turn a book back in or put in on the shelf if it doesn’t capture my attention.

  35. Mom2three says:

    Oops! I forgot to leave my email! daljhardwick[@]juno[.]com.

  36. rae says:

    I like a variety of books and I certainly on’t min if they are AA.
    Please enter me for any book.

  37. sarahw says:

    i don’t think that AA books are only for African Americans.
    i find the books really interesting and love to learn new things about AA. please enter my name in the draw. thanks,
    sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

  38. I grew up in Kenya reading great fiction novels by white authors such as Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele etc before I discovered Christian fiction. I didn’t read any AA novels until I got to the US and I was floored! Loved them and still do! When I walk into the local Christian bookstores here in Florida, I check out all sections. I don’t single out just the AA section. However, when I go to our local library, I do pick up Christian AA fiction that I never find in Family Christian stores. Great question, I hope to read your books sometime, I stumbled on your blog πŸ™‚

  39. Anonymous says:

    …please where can I buy a unicorn?

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