Thursday, May 31, 2007

Christian mysteries -- a dead genre? (part 2)

Publisher's Weekly has part 2 of their article, "Can 'Whodunits' Still Do It?", up for your reading pleasure. Click here.

This time Dave Long (acquisitions editor at Bethany House) weighs in along with Dave Lambert (Howard), Sue Brower (Zondervan), and Rebekah Nesbitt (Tyndale).

Cozy mysteries are discussed towards the end.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another great writing blog to visit

Chip MacGregor is a veteran in the industry, and his blog offers "publishing tips, insights, and wisdom from a seasoned pro in the book business". Chip currently runs MacGregor Literary. His clients include Brandt Dodson, Susan Meissner, Will & Lisa Samson, Ann Tatlock, Chris Well, and many more.

Recent entries have covered contracts (in detail), agents (of course), bad poetry, and lots more. Check the blog out here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Night at the Museum review

My review of Night at the Museum is up at I knew I would probably enjoy this movie, and it was a safe assumption! This is one the whole family will appreciate.

Read my full review here.

"With perfect pacing and an all star cast, all the hype is justified....a film the whole family will want to pop into the DVD player more than once." review

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Christian mysteries -- a dead genre?

A fascinating piece in Publisher's Weekly Religion Bookline about Christian mystery novels. It seems they haven't taken off in the Christian publishing world ... and yet are very successful in the secular.

The article, "Can 'Whodunits" Still Do It? Part 1" addresses some of these issues, talking to insiders in Christian publishing. Includes Sue Brower (Zondervan), Dave Lambert (Howard), and Dudley Delffs (Waterbrook). Randy Alcorn's new novel Deception is mentioned.

Says Sue Brower: ""I'm not sure why the traditional mystery doesn't work in CBA. If you think about how successful thrillers are, it just doesn't make sense."

Read the full piece here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

F.P. Lione Interview

Infuze recently asked me to do an interview with novelist F.P. Lione (aka Frank & Pam Lione). It's up today on the site and can be viewed here.

I've enjoyed each one of the Lione's novels in the Midtown Blue series, and you can read my reviews of the books at Infuze as well (there are links at the top of the interview). They feature a NY cop and sometimes read more like a biography than a novel (which is a great thing if you like watching COPS, like I do).

The Lione's final thoughts in the interview were especially encouraging to writers:

"We hear from so many people telling us that God showed them to write a book, yet they still haven’t done it. Whether they’re intimidated, they don’t know how to go about it, or just lazy, the assignment from God is still there. When he impresses you to do something, he anoints you to do it. But you still have to research and learn as much as you can about what you feel you’re called to write. Then rely on Him. But you have to take the first step. And this isn’t just in writing, it applies to whatever you’re called to do. So get writing, or singing, or whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing."
--F.P. Lione

Friday, May 18, 2007

5 quick fixes for your manuscript

Author Deborah Raney has some great tips to share over at the Charis Connection blog today about editing our manuscripts. She calls it "Spit Polishing" and shares 5 quick fixes we can all use to make our stories shine. Check it out here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How the book acquisition process works

In a recent entry over at his blog From Where I Sit, Michael S. Hyatt (President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers) shares the ins and outs of the book acquisition process. It's an eye-opening piece detailing the 5 Hurdles every proposal faces.

Check it out here.

"My Mom's Best Advice"

My most recent piece for is a feature for Mother's Day (that can be read any day). 24 authors share the best advice their Mom's ever given them.

Included are quotes from (in no particular order) Jerry Jenkins, Sibella Giorello, Brandilyn Collins, Karen Ball, James Scott Bell, Jenny B. Jones, Deborah Raney, Melanie Wells, Sharon Hinck, Donna Fleisher, John Aubrey Anderson, Robert Liparulo, Rene Gutteridge, Kristin Billerbeck, Tricia Goyer, Amy Wallace, Roxanne Henke, Nancy Moser, Angela Hunt, Nikki Arana, Liz Curtis Higgs, Lorena McCourtney & Tamara Leigh.

Read the article here. And check out other author interviews here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tribulation House by Chris Well

Let me draw your attention to the release of Chris Well's third novel, Tribulation House. Book #3 in the unofficial Kansas City Blues series, Chris has created another quirky crime novel sure to win him many fans.

Read the review of the novel here by Narelle Mollet.

Read an interview I did with Chris a bit ago here.

Read my review of Chris' last book Deliver Us From Evelyn here.
Read the first chapter of
Tribulation House here.
Visit Chris' website here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Designing a book cover

Ever wondered what really goes into the design of a book's cover? Wonder no more. Over at Novel Journey, Kirk DouPounce of Dog Eared Design gives us the full scoop. Click here to read the article.

Dog Eared designed the cover for Jenny B. Jones' new novel In Between (at left), and he uses it as an example. If you haven't yet read this novel, may I offer my highest recommendation? It's Book #1 in the Katie Parker Production series for teens. But you don't have to be a teen to enjoy Jenny's wonderful humor and insights. She somehow manages to keep things fun without discounting the serious.


When your single greatest achievement to date is becoming a ward of an entire state, it's a little debilitating to a girl's confidence.

Katie Parker is a 16 year old girl who can't catch a break. With a mother in jail and a father unaccounted for, she finds herself in a mini-van bound for In Between, Texas, home of her new foster parents.

Katie must learn to adjust to life with the new family. When she finds herself in some deep trouble, everything unravels. Join Katie as she learns about family, love, and healing.

Hang on for the ride as dysfunction is brought center stage.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tim Downs Interview

I've been a fan of Tim's writing ever since his first novel Shoofly Pie. I had the chance to interview him recently for His clever sense of humor came through, and it was enjoyable to hear his answers.

"I've never taken a writing class, and my last English class was in high school."
--Tim Downs

Tim shares why he started writing fiction after penning a successful comic strip, the hardest part about writing his latest novel Head Game, plus he gives us the lowdown on his next Bugman novel.

Read the interview here.

You can also read my review of Tim's latest novel Head Game here.
My review of his previous novel Plaguemaker is here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tag ... I'm it!

I don't normally do these type of things on my blog, but Rel from Relz Reviewz tagged me. It seemed like a fun idea ... Here goes.

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

8 random facts/habits about me ...

1. I am a licensed amateur radio operator and received my license back before they got lenient on the requirements, so I know Morse Code. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a rig up for several years.

2. I have visited all but six US states. I still need to visit Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Hawaii.

3. With the money I received from the second short story I ever sold, I bought a fly fishing rod and taught myself how to fly fish. A great hobby that unfortunately I don’t get to indulge in that often. I once totally freaked myself out on the Truckee River in California. I didn't realize it would get dark so fast. I was standing in the middle of the river, water to my chest. It was almost completely dark. All of the sudden it hit me---one wrong step, and I could go under. I have to get to shore. Now. Needless to say, I bought a life jacket shortly thereafter. And wore it every fishing trip since.

4. I enjoy oil painting and pencil drawing, but alas, don’t have the time to pursue these hobbies much either. I also enjoy collecting art.

5. My family and I have 4 dogs (a lab, retriever/border collie mix, Whippet mix, and a Chihuahua mix) and 2 cats. We rescued two of the dogs through

6. I have been involved in the used & rare bookselling world for over ten years, and in fact use some of that experience in my first novel Thicker Than Blood. A first edition For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway plays an important part in the story.

7. My dream car is a 70's pickup truck. Probably a Dodge Ram.

8. I was homeschooled from 1st to 12th grade (one of the biggest blessings in my life).

I tag Darcie, Wordvixen, Heather Hunt, Katie Hart, Jenny B. Jones, Brandilyn Collins, Gina Holmes, and Tricia Goyer.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

An editor's life ...

Ever wondered what it's like being an editor? This interview clip with the editor of Bleak House Books will give you a little glimpse. Watch the whole thing because at the end you'll see the editor going through her submission stacks. I've always wondered what those looked like:

FIRST Blog Tour - The Heir by Paul Robertson

This month on the FIRST blog tour, we're featuring The Heir by Paul Robertson.

Paul is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and former independent bookstore owner in Blacksburg, Virginia. This is his first novel.

Is There Any Escape for The Heir?

All the money he could ever crave.

In the splintering crash of a car plunging through a railing, Jason Boyer's life is changed.

All the fame he could ever desire.

But the last thing he wanted was the throne of his father's corrupt business empire.

All the power he could ever wield.

The estate should have gone elsewhere, but the will was changed. And now everything is Jason's. But gaining the whole world just might cost him his life.

Read the first chapter here, at

Peretti's impact

A question recently came up on a writer's group to which I belong about what books have had the most influence on us as writers.

I had to think long and hard about this question because no one book immediately jumped into my mind. I've read so many books that have made impressions on me as a person, and as a writer. But really, when I got to thinking, I knew the answer.

The first book I remember giving me some sort of "aha" moment was Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. I was a teenager when I first read it, and this novel was my first introduction to Christian fiction. (I accidentally read it before This Present Darkness.) I was hooked.

The character Sally Beth Roe had the most impact. Especially her conversion. I don't remember if I consciously thought, "I want to write like that." But gradually I realized this as I began to pursue writing. I've always loved her character, and now as I think on what I want to include in my fiction, I remember how unashamed Frank Peretti was about including the gospel in his stories. A lot of authors water down the message of truth these days to make their novels more accessible to the masses. But Peretti reminds me that you can please the masses (can anyone say millions sold?), and speak the truth.