Monday, September 14, 2009

You are what you read.

Just like the food people eat has a long-term effect on their body’s physical health, the literature a person reads has a n effect on their state of mind. The thoughts and ideas in what people can read can influence them to act and behave in a positive or a negative way.

I’ve watched how literature has changed people’s view of the world. For some it has enabled them work towards making changes to improve their lives. For others it has made them see things from a very cold and cynical perspective. And for even more it has caused them to see everything in a negative light. Like the food readers, eat, literature has an effect on their long-term health. People are inspired by what they read and this can motivate them to take action in their lives for the better or for the worse.

The literature people read says a lot about them and the direction we want to go in their lives. Good books help expand a reader’s perspective of the world and expose them to different experiences that allow them to grow. Bad books like junk food are entertaining enough to make readers feel good but don’t give readers the information they need to move forward in their lives.

The results of this mental nutrition are:

A reader who reads a lot of good books will strong mind. They’ll be able to take the information they’ve read and apply it in their lives. These books are like health food, the effects strengthen the thinking process and make a person mentally sharp.

A reader who reads a lot of bad books will entertain but won’t get any information they can apply in their lives. These types of books are more like empty mental calories. This mental junk food slows down the thinking process and makes it harder for people to function.

Good and Bad books come in both fiction and Nonfiction, and are across the genres.

My advice to readers: Read a lot of good books, but use the bad ones sparingly. It’s okay to read every now and again, but please don’t make it a regular habit.

You are what you read. Food for thought.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You can check out the interview here.

Category: Writing and Poetry

We are Pouring Tea with The Cassandra Cookbook Author Shawn James and we are adding some lemon in this water for taste to get our members the answers they have been waiting for.

Yes, we have the juicy details right here on My Space just for our reader’s and fan’s. We ask this Author a lot of questions, by opening the doorway to this Author’s world we get your questions answered, so please join us! Sit down and pour yourself a cup of tea while TBGB’s Book Club welcomes you into the doorway of Mr. Shawn James.

TBGB: Tell us about Shawn James the Writer.

SJ: Shawn James is an easy going guy, who spends most of his time writing stories, novels and screenplays. He works seven hours a day, six days a week, with breaks scheduled in between; for errands, meals and sleep. When he has a day job, he works six hours a day, six days a week, after work on his writing. His mission over the past fifteen years is to create positive stories about the experiences of African-Americans; that will inspire readers to take action towards changing their lives for the better.

TBGB: Now, Tell us about Mr. James the Author.

SJ: Shawn James the author is a hardworking businessman; whom works tenaciously towards promoting his self- published books about the positive experiences of African-Americans. He networks with book clubs, book stores, bloggers and anyone who will read or buy his work.

TBGB: How did you become a Fiction Novelist?

SJ: I have been writing stories since I was nine years old. I started out wanting to copy the art in my brother's comic books. But I couldn't draw so well so I decided to use words and pictures. Professionally, I've been writing novels since I graduated college in 1994. It was a great way to relax.

TBGB: How has becoming a writer changed you if any in your life today?

SJ: I spend a lot more time in front of a computer than I should.

TBGB: What has inspired you to write The Cassandra Cookbook?

SJ: I wanted to create a positive story about the experiences of African-Americans in the workplace.

TBGB: What about the novel did you want the reader to identify with?

SJ: I want the reader to identify with the experiences the characters have in the story. It's easy for many of us to be like Simon and get so caught up with facts, figures, policies and procedures that we forget about the valuable people that give a company its true worth. It's also easy to be like Cassandra and be so wrapped up in their works that they lose their identity and sense of self worth that they sell all their talents and skills short.

TBGB: Is there anything about writing this book you didn't like?

SJ: I really enjoyed writing this book. In fact it was so much fun working on this book that I lost 30 pounds!

TBGB: Our member's had some interesting questions about the cover of this book, who is the Artist? And what made you decide on a drawing for the cover?

SJ: I'm the artist who drew the cover. Before I write, I sketch out what my characters look like so I can have a point of reference when I'm writing their descriptions. Since I couldn't afford a cover artist, I thought that sketch would best tell the story of the Cassandra cookbook.

TBGB: I believe the character on the cover is holding a bouquet of flowers and appear to be of masculine form and the book is about something totally different did you find it difficult to come up with a cover theme to match your story line?

SJ: Errr.... That's not a bouquet of flowers. That's supposed to be a chocolate muffin with a candle in it, and that masculine form is Ms. Cassandra Lee. From what you're telling me, I really stink as an artist. Really, really stink as an artist. I have got to get a pro for that next cover.

TBGB: Our bag.

TBGB: (Laughing our butts off.)

TBGB: I bet you get alot of questions concerning the cover of this book does any one question stick out the most as silly or ridiculous or is all of the questions about the same?

SJ: I don't get that many questions about the cover, because people are so excited about the plot and storyline that they pay very little attention to the cover. But I'm gonna have to revisit that cover and replace it one day.

TBGB: We really enjoyed reading this novel; please tell us about why you decided to put so many twist and turns in this storyline?

SJ: The twists and turns in the story came about organically. Some of them like the scandals and corporate backstabbing were inspired by things I saw transpire on many of the jobs I had in real life.

TBGB: This novel seems to have some bearings on today's economic situations how does this now play in advertising your book?

SJ: I wanted to detail the elements of success in the business world. While I was doing research on numerous corporations I quickly learned that many of them started as simple mom-and pop operations or small one-person businesses. Many were started during economic downturns. As I learned the secret ingredients these companies used to expand themselves, I began developing a promotional campaign detailing Cassandra's recipe for success. In Cassandra's story are tips and advice the reader can use to advance their own career.

TBGB: Wow, this IS awesome!

TBGB: How does your family and friends support you with your writing?

SJ: My family supports me 100% In fact; my brother and sister helped me with my table at the Harlem Book Fair this year. Monroe College published an article about my books in their Alumni newsletter.

TBGB: Please see further details relating on this newsletter by visiting Monroe College website to see if you can request an archive issue or back copy relating to Mr. James.

TBGB: Now, some of our member's want to know are you single?

SJ: I'm single and I'm available.

TBGB: Now I will pass this on to the 3 members’ who wanted to know. Smile.

TBGB: Where do you promote yourself the most in book stores or through book clubs?

SJ: I do most of my promotional work online. This is how I've contacted many of the Black Book Clubs and many Black Book Stores. I've also done some networking with book vendors on the street, but the web is the primary way I promote my work.

TBGB: Do you believe Authors have to promote themselves or do you believe the publishing company should do it?

SJ: Authors have to promote their own books; it’s the only way the public is going to know about them. At the publishing house, the advertising budget is small and the few promotional dollars are spent on the Best-Selling Authors. Everyone else, especially first time authors have to hustle to get the word out about their books.

TBGB: How is writing books for publishing companies different then musicians singing songs for record companies?

SJ: As far as I know in book publishing an author signs a contract giving the publisher permission to print the book in North America. They're paid an advance on the first print run of 5000-7000 copies. If those sell well, the author begins earning royalties of ten percent of the list price on sold copies. I don't really know how it works in the music industry but I think the songwriter gets paid royalties on songs they write and publish. This is why registering copyright is so important, as it on public record who owns the song.

TBGB: Wow, Readers please pay attention on how an Author gets paid. Book Clubs especially. We can help by advertising the feature Book-of-the-Month on our websites.

TBGB: If you were to give advice to a struggling Author what would you say?

SJ: Hang in there this is going to be a rough ride. Grow a very, very thick skin. Get used to hearing “No” more than “Yes”. Get used to hearing “No” than your “Own Name”. Listen to criticism, because it can only help your writing get better. Don't quit your day job! and save money. Save lots and lots of money.

TBGB: What are some of the new projects you are working on and what are some of the projects you have already out?

SJ: My first novel, Isis is available at online bookstores right now. It's an action packed fantasy story that utilizes Egyptian mythology and African-American history to tell the story of Isis, the daughter of the Egyptian god Osiris who after a horrible tragedy has to reconcile with her family.

In addition to Isis, I have two unpublished projects I'm planning on releasing.

All About Marilyn is an original screenplay about a typecast 1990's teen star that at the age of 34 must reinvent her so she can move forward in her personal and professional life. I was reading about the numerous struggles black actresses like Jurnee Smollett to Halle Berry have to face in trying to find work.

My next novel, The Temptation of John Haynes is a Christian, fantasy novel about a man whose soul Lucifer seeks to take by making him a CEO of a major corporation. If the beautiful she-demon he places there as John's assistant can get him to compromise his personal and spiritual beliefs he'll make her a member of his elite cadre of demons.

Both of these projects are on hold until I find another full-time job. I'm hoping I can find some work soon because I really want to share these stories with readers.

TBGB: Yeah and we would like to really read them!

TBGB: How do you feel about book clubs swapping online for books?

SJ: Not a fan of it. It takes royalties away from authors.

TBGB: I know a few of our member’s were guilty of doing this from websites like, etc. and they are STRONGLY advised not to do so, it violates our membership rules. We ARE here to support our Authors. Our President is very strict on this rule. (To any Authors who have dealt with this from our book club please bring to the Club President attention.) We know none of us is perfect but MISTAKES can be corrected to build a stronger bond with our supporting Authors.

TBGB: Do you think book clubs help Authors with sales and promoting?

SJ: Definitely. If it wasn't for book clubs like TB&GB no one would know about my books. Without Black Book Clubs there'd be no way for most authors to get the word out about our books.

TBGB: Well, thank you Mr. James for the compliment.

TBGB: What can we do to improve the relationship between Authors and Book Club?

SJ: You guys are great, some of the best communication, and support. Everyone is friendly courteous and professional. Other book clubs could learn a thing or two from you!

TBGB: Well, thank you again our Club President will appreciate that. We will pass it on to all our members.

TBGB: Is there anything you would like your fans to know?

SJ: In addition to writing novels, I'm writing screenplays. I've entered some screenplay contests, and I'm working developing scripts for a TV series.

TBGB: Well, we wish you all the luck on that we really do.

TBGB: Is there anything you could tell us exclusively?

SJ: Cassandra Lee's story is actually inspired by the story of the real life Sara Lee Bakery, which the owner named after his daughter. He later sold the bakery and the name went on to become an international brand that manufactures everything from cheesecake to handbags!

TBGB: Wow that is good to know.

TBGB: If you could change one thing about the book we just read what would it be and why? Or are you completely satisfied with The Cassandra Cookbook?

SJ: I would definitely correct all those typos I missed. I really would change the cover as well.

TBGB: Laughing, I think overall this is really a good book. We really enjoyed reading this book. It brought some good topics to the table. We will recommend reading this novel to everyone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thanking the members of The Tea Bags and Good Books Book club for supporting me and takinig the time to read my book. They're all great people.

Category: Writing and Poetry
Title of the Book: The Cassandra Cookbook by Shawn James

Publishing Company: Virtualbookworm

ISBN: 978 1602642294

Member Reviewer: Anicia Walker, Lisa Valadez and Chris Michael

Book Read: June Book Read

Book Rating: 3 Tea Bags and a enjoyable story

The Cassandra Cookbook is based on a character by the name of Cassadra Lee. She is a hard working individual with some big time goals of her own. She bakes up her own recipes for success. Wanting to own her parent's business located in downtown Brooklyn, she also is in the middle of planning on getting married with in days of taken over her dream job to the man of her dreams of course. She muli-tasks while keeping a level head, what else could she ask for?

She has worked very hard on her Culinary Degree to help with her parent's bakery that has been in the family ever since Cassandra was a baby. Now, that her parent's are looking to retire in the near future here is her chance to put her Degree to work, why else did she get it? Well is wasnt for to hang on the wall in a small cramp office for a home for dustmites that's for sure.

While Cassandra is called to the bakery which seem like a last minute business meeting a request by her parents. Cassandra is all to thrill, she assumes this is the big day. The day her parents will turn over the keys and she becomes the boss. She had several ideas on those new pasry donuts, the ones she dreamed of baking herself she had even included whip cream cheese as a filling. Hmmm, tasty.

However, her dreams turns into a nightmare as her parents expose the truth as to why they called Cassandra into this private family affair. She is given a hard cookie to swallow, she cant bare to hear that her parent's had plans and ideas of their own.

Who told them to start thinking about all these bigs ideas without including her! Her mother and father reveals plans on selling the bakery to a big corporate gaint once they become retire! What! She cant believe this, how did she miss this? Didnt her parents see how much she love the bakery as a child? Maybe they have been tasting to much sugar this morning!

Now devastated she goes home to find comfort in the arms of her fiance who is at home finding comfort in the arms of another man! Just days before the wedding could anything else go wrong?!

Cassandra finally is convinced life has sold her an uneven oven she can't bake in without getting lumps in the middle. What to do next? She must somehow try to get her life back on track but how?

Soon things start to turn around for Ms. Lee. She becomes the representative assigned to handle her family affairs and find some answers to her questions. She start dealings with a handsome stranger, named Simon.

Well how do Cassandra turn her apples into pies? You can find out more once you pick up this great fiction novel.

A very good book read for this group, we were not to thrill about the cover it almost turned us away from the read as well as the typo errors which made it difficult to get back on story line but when we got caught up with this tasty morsal it became a good book to eat oops I mean a good book to read.

We enjoyed Mr. James imagination into betrayal and Corporate giant power and as we continue to read, we wanted Ms. Lee to become a success in the end.

We found this novel both entertaining and enlightening we hope you can enjoy this book as well.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This short chapter was supposed to be in the back of The Cassandra Cookbook , but never made it to the published novel due to page count restrictions. For anyone who wants to know the reasons why I wrote the book, this final chapter would explain everything.


A pinch of hard work. A dash of determination. The recipe for this story is very simple: Shawn James tries to create a sweet commercial fiction novel infused with tasteful bits of dark comedy. The end result of the project came out far better than I expected.

I’m not a commercial fiction writer; I’m just a guy who uses African-American fiction to explore concepts and ideas African-Americans don’t usually read about in the hopes of opening up Black people to new ideas. In my first two books, The Changing Soul and Isis, I explored the psychological effects of the ghetto and Egyptian mythology as it related to the African-American family. Having completed both a contemporary African-American novel and a fantasy novel, I was looking for a new challenge. So I decided to write one of those entertaining commercial novels I often read between writing books. With my combined decade of writing experience and reading experience I felt I was ready to try creating a story in the genre.....

The movies Strictly Business, The Apartment, and Clockwatchers and the Simpsons episode “Homer’s Enemy” were major inspirations for this project. I loved the dark satirical comedy Clockwatchers used to make comments about the workplace and how human beings interacted within it. I always got a laugh out of the clever social comments early episodes of the Simpsons made about life in America. Strictly Business was a movie I simply enjoyed watching; the performances were good and its heart was in the right place. The Apartment was an old film that had a tremendous impact on my writing and the development of this novel. After watching Billy Wilder’s great film I realized the workplace had a tremendous impact on the human condition. Watching these movies gave me ideas for a humorous novel that made social comments on the African-American experience in the workplace.

I started writing up a draft of a book called Integrity Sucks. It was a simple straightforward story about the African-American workplace with lots of commercial appeal. I copied the storytelling model of all the movies I had watched to the letter. Following that storytelling formula was my biggest mistake. Most of those movies I watched often showed the workplace from a White perspective. The White view of the workplace was often jaded and cynical; the total opposite of the point of view I experienced in the African-American world of work.

I wanted my story to say something about the human condition within the African-American experience, not be a re-hash of white stories with black characters in it. So I started thinking about my own experiences in the world of work. From what I observed in the workplace, most African-Americans aren’t angry or a bitter about their jobs. African-Americans often see employment as an opportunity for growth and change. To blacks work is a place where poor men and women often oppressed by racism and discrimination have an opportunity to find their true value and actualize their untapped potential.

Focusing on the positive experiences of the African-American workplace I began re-writing Integrity Sucks into The Cassandra Cookbook. The new story I planned would be the recipe for Cassandra Lee’s success working on a licensing deal with ITC Foods. Basically a recipe is a process of combining raw ingredients together through a series of steps to get a certain finished result. Depending upon the experience of the person, combining these raw ingredients together causes them to change chemically, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. While Cassandra had experience in the area of baking and customer service, she was inexperienced in the area of licensing. She has to combine her experience with Simon who is inexperienced with people but experienced with the business of marketing. As these two raw talents work together, romantic chemistry swirls around them. This causes them to change, some sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. However, as she and Simon learn from each other’s experiences they achieve their goals. Simon is promoted to ITC’s baked goods Product Manager and Cassandra expands her business into the Cassandra Brand name.

On the surface of the book would be about a business deal to expand the business of two companies; however the deeper story would be about the personal growth of the people working on the deal. Throughout the story the main characters learn what people are worth. On the quest to preserve the integrity of her family’s business, Cassandra learns how valuable she is. Working towards his promotion, Simon learns what makes the products his company produces valuable are the people behind them. It’s only when he discovers Cassandra’s value as a person, is he able to complete the deal.

With my plot and theme in place, I researched successful business people and their companies so the fictional black owned businesses of ITC Foods and the Cassandra Bakery could be as realistic as possible to readers. ITC Foods was inspired by the Parks Sausage Company, one of the oldest black owned food distributors in the U.S. Established in the 1950s it makes all types of sausage and meat products. The story of the Sara Lee Bakery was the inspiration for the Cassandra Bakery. In the 1950’s the owner of the Sara Lee bakery actually named the store after his daughter and sold it to a corporation. If he only knew his daughter’s name would become synonymous with a worldwide conglomerate that produces everything from cheesecake to handbags!

With the ingredients for writing the cookbook in place I got to work developing Cassandra’s recipe for success. I had a lot of fun writing this story, more fun than I had working on any other novel in my fiction writing career. I looked forward to sitting in front of the computer every day during the two years it took to write Simon and Cassandra’s story. I hope you learned something from reading it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I attended the Harlem Book Fair yesterday to promote my books Isis and The Cassandra Cookbook. It was the biggest mistake of my writing career. Five months of planning and organizing for this event, Four Hundred Dollars spent on supplies and books and I only sold one book. Am I disappointed about the sales? Yeah I am. But I’m more disappointed about what the black community is calling literature now.

There was a Street lit table right next to mine. Those guys writing about gangstas, pimps, drug dealers hoes, hood rats and any other racist stereotype did brisk business with people snapping books up all day. I was deeply saddened; At the fair, it looks like black readers have come back to embrace the racist stereotypes so many fought and died for over a century to dispel with open arms. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Lorriane Hanesberry, Dorothy Dandridge, Thurgood Marshall and Michael Jackson are probably all looking down at the Black Masses in disgust and disappointment.

I spent six hours in the hot sun practically ignored by the black reading audience I’ve been wanting to write for since I was 16. My mission back then was to write positive stories about the Black experience. Stories about overcoming the odds, facing adversity and growing into a better person who improved the quality of life for their community. It seems no one wants to read those kinds of stories anymore. In the aftermath of the Harlem Book Fair I have to wonder if the community is committed to change or if its scared of it.

In the aftermath of Electing the First African-American President I wonder if there is any hope for the African-American reader. Instead of taking that step forward with Obama, most young brorhers and sisters on the streets are taking ten steps back when it comes to what they read. I have to wonder: Is the self-image of Black men so poor that all most think they can aspire to is drug dealing, pot smoking, pimping, and being a thug? When did Black women look in the mirror and start seeing a prostitute or a madam? Is the Black Community’s self-esteem so low that it doesn’t see itself as capable of anything but being a criminal?

A long time ago I came to the understanding that what one feeds the mind comes out of the body. As a person thinks, they will act. If the popular black literature is about drugs, crime and all sorts of debauchery today then I shudder to think what will come out of the Black Community in the next 20 years.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

You can meet Shawn James at:


SATURDAY July 18, 2009


FROM 11AM to 5.P.M.
I'll be autographing copies of his books THE CASSANDRA COOKBOOK and ISIS answering questions about writing, print-on-demand publishing and other writing related stuff. Check out sample chapters of his books at

Monday, June 01, 2009

I'm posting the first three Chapters of my first novel Isis, a fantasy story that combines Egyptian mythology, and African-American History into an action-packed adventure. I wrote this back in 1999; it was the second novel I completed and the first I self-published in 2002 . I wasn't the greatest editor back then, so if there are any grammatical mistakes, please be understanding about it. I'm posting these chapters so readers can compare and contrast my earlier writing style to that of my recent novel The Cassandra Cookbook
(c) 2002 Shawn James

The blue flames of the lake of fire light my way as I descend into the dark pit of Hell. The sweet smell of brimstone and the harmonic wails of tortured souls put a smile on my face. I miss this place. As a herald I spend most of my time on Earth collecting the souls of the damned and torturing the souls of the righteous. It's a job I enjoy and wish to return to. If I had to stay in that palace one more day I think I would have snapped. There's only so much torment a soul can take.
I cross the lake of fire walking across a bridge of dead men's bones. As I approach the cave of the crocodiles, the great serpent Lord Seth slithers out to greet me. He's anxious to hear what I have to tell him. Ever since the elder gods banished him here, I have been his eyes and ears to the outside world. Without me all he'd know is darkness. Lucky for him, a lot happened during my visit to Heliopolis. Disguised as a servant, I was able to acquire some
valuable information. This time we will finally destroy the gods.
It's been a long time since I've made someone suffer. I take a seat in his throne, cross my legs, and smile at him. He gets back at me by being polite. That's just cruel.
“Greetings E'steem. Have you brought me more souls to torment?”
“I have something better than souls master.”
“What could be better than a soul?”
“Information. I've been in the palace of the gods.”
“There's no way you can enter the palace of Heliopolis-”
“There are ways. Remember my father went into Heliopolis.”
“Your father was slain by Osiris.”
“Do you want to hear what I've learned or do you want to discuss ancient history?”
He scowls at me. “What have you learned?” He barks.
“There has been a trial among the gods. The daughter of Osiris has been banished to the Island of Solitude for crimes against the gods.”
“You lie, I have no niece. My brother's only children are his bastard sons.”
“Oh but you do have a niece. This is the child of Osiris and a Nubian slave whom he sired as concubine. Her name is Isis, the same as her stepmother.”
“I watched my brother for centuries. I would have known if had left Heliopolis.”
“Perhaps not. He might have disguised himself to elude you.”
“What were the charges against her?” Seth digresses.
“She let hatred enter her heart. She betrayed the gods and went to worship another god.”
“I'm sure she was cleared on the latter charge. Osiris would have to punish ten thousand generations of Egyptians for not worshipping the gods.”
“Osiris didn't judge his daughter. Ra and the elder gods passed judgment on her. Remember, Osiris can't try a member of his own family. And you know Ra' s sentences are always harsher than Osiris'.”
“Hold on. If she has let evil into her heart why isn't she here?”
“She hasn't embraced the evil inside her as part of herself as you did. There's still hope that she can be redeemed.”
“Just like the elder gods to show mercy on one of Osiris' bastards. If she were my child she'd be rotting here.”
“What you have told me is of no use to me.” Seth continues. “So my brother has another bastard. I cannot harm a hair on his head.”
“That's where you're wrong.”
“How? I can't leave this place to extract vengeance upon-”
“You can harm Osiris in a way far worse than slicing him to pieces. Now that Osiris is aware of his daughter he will surely want a relationship with the child.”
“True, nobility was always my brother's greatest flaw.”
“Think about it. There are two sides of her family she can embrace. She's halfway here.”
He thinks abut it. “Yes, you're right. Perhaps I can harm my brother this way.”
Seth smiles in anticipation of the execution of my scheme.
“Go ahead with your plan E'steem. Go ahead and bring me the soul of Isis.”
Chapter 2

I am a prisoner of the gods.

They say I have hatred in my heart. With all that's transpired in my life these past few years I'm inclined to agree with them. You can't experience what I've been through and even want good inside you. When everyone and everything you love and care about is destroyed all you have left is bitterness and anger.

It probably doesn't sound like much for someone to let hatred enter her heart, except I'm not an ordinary woman. I'm a goddess. We're held to a higher standard than humans; we're not supposed to give into our emotions the way humans do. My mistake was giving into my rage. I wanted to destroy a nation of people because they killed my family. I still do. So to save the world from me and me from myself, the elder gods stripped me of my powers and banished me to an uninhabited island to sort things out.

The elder gods don't call this island a prison. To them, this is an “island of solitude.” It's supposed to be a place where I can think about what I've done and why it was wrong. Personally, I’d rather be imprisoned in a traditional filthy rat-infested jail cell. At least I’d know what to expect. The first day I was here I ran right for the shore to swim off this rock. I wanted to spite the elder gods and show them they had no jurisdiction over me. I quickly learned not to challenge the power of the gods after experiencing their interpretation of iron bars. When I got close to the water, I couldn't see anything, but I felt like I slammed into a wall. A really hard wall. A really really hard wall. Strange thing is I skim rocks on the water all the time. I thought about it later on. It would be foolish to plan an escape by just swimming; where would I go? There's no land for miles. All I can see around me are the deep blue waters of the Pacific. That's when I realized I'm going to be here for a while and I better get used to it.

The elder gods say I won't be allowed to leave this island until I'm redeemed. That's not going to happen any time soon. I have a lot of unresolved affairs I have to take care of before I can even think about getting back in the elder gods good graces. Besides dealing with the death of my family, I just found out my father is Osiris, King of the gods of Heliopolis. King of the cowards is a better way to describe him. It makes me so angry to think about the way he treated me at the trial. He told me he wanted to start a relationship with me after I've been redeemed. I feel that's too little too late; I needed his help yesterday and he won't face me. If this is the way he parents his children I'm beginning to see why Egypt fell.

I'm mad at Osiris for abandoning me, but I don't hate him. He's not so bad; in his own way he
tried to help me before I was banished here. Along with that empty promise to see me, he gave me some parting gifts. The first was a pair of smooth gold gauntlet bracelets. They must be enchanted because I can't take them off no matter how hard I pull at them. They used to feel funny on my wrists, but now I'm getting used to them. He says they'll give me hope. He might be right, every time I look at my reflection in them I feel like I might have a chance of leaving this island.

The second gift was a journal and a pen. Osiris says writing will help me deal with my feelings. I don't know, seeing my emotions written down on paper scared me. I never realized how dangerous my anger was until I saw it staring me in the face. Looking back at what I wrote in my journal when I first came here I've cursed every Heliopolitan deity at least twice and called my mother a few names I wouldn't repeat in church. If I were to say the things I wrote to anyone, I'd regret it for the rest of my life.

Since I've worked through most of my anger and grief, I've been trying to make a life for myself on my new home these past few months. In the beginning it was hard living here; the gods didn't provide me with any amenities. I was banished to this island with the clothes on my back, a short white linen wrap kilt and a crop top. I had to find everything else I needed to survive on the island myself. After several days of exploring, I found food and water. On the fertile land in the center of the island, trees and bushes grow a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables. Oranges, bananas melons, that sort of thing. There's a spring on the South side of the island.

Now that I've been here awhile I've got a routine. Chores keep me busy from sunup to sundown. As soon as I get up, I say my prayers. I know it's strange for a goddess to serve God, but that's my religion. Osiris may be my father but he's not the almighty in my eyes. I've served God for over a thousand years now and I'm not about to stop now. I know he's with me and he'll help me out of this mess.

After I pray, I jot down a few thoughts in my journal. Nowadays I write about the experiences I have on the island. It's not much, just a few paragraphs about what I've done for the day. I usually spend my afternoons gathering fruit and vegetables for my meals and fresh leaves for my bed.

Around sundown I take a bath and try to rest for the next day. I don't get much sleep, most nights I just stare up at the night sky. I'm afraid to sleep because when I dream it's always a nightmare. I keep seeing what happened to my family over and over again. Those memories make me so upset; I'm afraid to face them. I know what I did; I just don't think it was the only reason why I got this evil inside me.
Chapter 3

I watch Isis from my window as she writes her thoughts in the journal Osiris gave her. I still have reservations about the judgment Ra passed on her. I always felt his sentence was too harsh. She has withdrawn so much in the time since she's been imprisoned. The hatred can only grow inside her if she's left to herself again.

We made a promise to Keer-Sheba an eon ago to look out for her daughter. We haven't kept our word. We left Isis to the reprobate ways of humanity while we gods went about our business. Osiris and the elder gods are foolish to believe that he can have a relationship with Isis after she leaves the island. She'll never leave the island without our guidance.

I leave my bedchamber and head for the hall of judgment. Osiris is there judging the endless stream of souls with the balance and feather of truth. They have waited a long time to be judged, they can wait awhile longer.

“Osiris, I must speak with you. It's important.”

“I am about my business. Can this wait until later?”

“No, this can't wait.”

He takes the feather of truth off the balances. “Isis, what is this about?”

“It's about our daughter. We can't leave her alone again.”

“Ra has passed judgment on her. When the hatred is purged from her soul we will-”

“I know what Ra said. But we can't wait until then. Our daughter has gone on too long without our guidance. She'll never be redeemed without our help.”

“Isis, we're not supposed to interfere. She has to find her own way and we're supposed to go about our business.”

“What's our business Osiris? To advise and protect man. Your daughter is of mortal flesh, worthy of our aid.”

“Those are no longer our duties. Long ago in Egypt yes, but not in these godless times.”

He reaches to put his feather on the balance. I snatch it away from him. He scowls at me. I'm not going to let him do this to our family.

“I never thought you'd be a hypocrite. Who needs more help than our daughter?”

“I'm being practical. There are-”

“You can try the hearts of men but you won't try to face your own child. What kind of judge doesn't obey his own laws?”

“A fair and righteous one.”

“No. A corrupt one, and I know you aren't corrupt. Do you want Isis to be one of these unworthy souls?”

He sighs. He always does when he knows I'm right.

“Send for Horus. Tell him he is to rule in my stead until this affair is taken care of.”