Saturday, November 29, 2008

Page 56 Tag

Cathy Bryant has tagged me to play this fun book meme.

The rules:
Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 56 and go to the fifth sentence, typing that sentence and a few others around it.

Well, books are never far from me, but they're not always right beside me as I type. Today we're in luck, however. Healing Promises by Amy Wallace is by my side.

Page 56, sentence 5:

"You know I will. Though I still think this whole thing's a bit sudden."

I now tag WordVixen, Darcie Gudger, Deena Peterson, Rel Mollet, and Robin Shope.

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ace Collins (Advice For Novelists, Part 81)

Here's another entry in my Advice for Novelists series in which editors, authors, agents and publicists answer the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Too many writers see editors in a negative way. Writing is a team project and editors are there to see the holes that we don’t see. They make our work better. Then you also need marketing and public relations, as well as the art department. To be a success you have to have all members of that team working. So even if my name is the only name on the cover a great book is not an “I” project, it is a “We” project. So my advice would be to be the best team member you can be and make sure everyone who is involved in each project knows they are appreciated.

--Ace Collins, author of the novel Farraday Road plus nonfiction hits like the Stories Behind series. Visit him at his website.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Operation First Novel News

For those who don't know, I entered my first novel Thicker Than Blood in the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.

I had entered a much earlier version of this novel in the Guild's first Operation First Novel contest in 2004, and it placed in the top 20 (though not the top 10).

Since I'd made many changes to the book (added 10K, edited dialogue, etc.) I wanted to see if it would place this year. Well, I just heard that it is one of four finalists in this year's contest! The winner will be selected by Tyndale and announced at the Guild's Writing for the Soul conference in February.

This news gives me the push I needed to keep trekking on and work hard on writing my third novel, which I just recently started. I've already written the sequel to Thicker Than Blood (working title is Innocent Blood), so I'm excited.

Here's my working summary of Thicker Than Blood:

Two sisters, estranged for 15 years. Their blood ties weren't enough. Only something stronger could bring them together again.

Christy Williams finally has her life on track. Her career as an antiquarian book buyer at the renowned used bookstore Dawson's Barn of Books is taking off. Hunter Dawson is teaching her the fine points of purchasing collectible books, and so far she's been able to keep her drinking problem from interfering. But when she discovers her ex-boyfriend, who also works at Dawsons, is stealing valuable books right off the store's shelves, she's unable to stop him for fear he'll expose the skeleton's in her closet.

Things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn't commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged family, especially her younger sister May, who she abandoned in their childhood after their parents' untimely deaths. Now the owner of a failing cattle ranch, May couldn't possibly want a relationship with her, the big sister who didn't even say goodbye all those years ago. Could she?

Soon Christy's fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could the Triple Cross ranch be the safe haven she's searching for, or will May's new-found faith give her sister even more reason to reject Christy? Will they realize before it's too late that each possesses what the other desperately needs?

Infidel by Ted Dekker Graphic Novel

It's the 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour! Every 21st, we will feature an author and his/her latest Teen fiction book's FIRST chapter.

This week we're featuring Ted Dekker and his book:

Infidel--Graphic Novel: The Lost Books Series

This was a fun, suspenseful graphic novel to read, and I finished it within an hour or two. You don't have to have read Chosen to enjoy this one since back story is sprinkled in throughout, but for ultimate enjoyment you'll want to pick it up.

I had the chance to interview Ted and talk to him a couple months ago about these graphic novels. Read that interview here.


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. To see a complete list of Dekker's work, visit The Works section of

Here are some of his latest titles:

Chosen (The Lost Books, Book 1)
Black: (The Circle Trilogy Graphic Novels, Book 1)

Product Details

List Price:$15.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 11, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595546049
ISBN-13: 978-1595546043


(Click Pictures to Zoom!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

William P. Young (Advice for Novelists, Part 80)

Next up in my Advice for Novelists series, in which I ask authors, editors, agents and publicists the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?" an author who's novel The Shack has made quite a stir in Christian publishing.

You know, it’s funny. I really don’t know what I’m doing, but I have two pieces of advice. One is: disconnect your identity from what you produce, and that’s a hard thing for us because we think of our significance, worth and value based on what we do instead of who we are. I’m finding with people who write that a lot of times to say anything about what they write is to say something about them. Because there own sense of worth and value is locked into words. For me to have written a story for my kids, I’m so glad that I disconnected like that. Second, when you get a chance, send your writing to people who don’t know you and see what their response is. We had a collaborative process in working through The Shack that really made it so much more beautiful. I appreciated that. Right there is all the depth of my knowledge about writing. (Chuckles.) And maybe the purpose of your writing is just for you. That’s a legitimate purpose.

--William P. Young, author of The Shack. Visit him online at his website.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Evolution Of A Novel

When I finished my second novel I knew I immediately wanted to start writing my third. Problem was, I didn't know what to write.

This series of blog posts will take you along on my journey to write that third book. Maybe it'll demystify some of the writer stereotypes, maybe it'll reinforce them! And who knows? You just might have the chance to influence the outcome of the novel or name a character!

If someone were to ask me, "How do you write a novel?" I don't know what I'd answer. I'm still discovering how it all works. But I hope this series will help me understand my process better, too.

Before we start, let me ask you: What would you like to see covered in this series?

We won't have posts every day, but as something new crops up, I'll blog about it. I already have some interesting tidbits to pass along. Stay tuned! The Evolution of a Novel begins...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Brandilyn Collins (Advice for Novelists, Part 79)

Here's another inspiring entry in our Advice for Novelists series. I've asked authors, agents, editors and publicists their response to the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Give your talent and work to God—completely. Work hard. Then watch what God does.

--Brandilyn Collins, bestselling author of Dark Pursuit, the Kanner Lake series, and much more. Visit her website and her blog, Forensics and Faith.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Win Over $335 worth of books, cds and dvds!

Welcome to the 1st ever Blog Tour!

This week we're chatting about:

The Fantastic Fall Giveaway Contest!

Just in time for the holidays, you could win over
$335 worth of books, cds and dvds!

Sponsored by our friends at:

The Grand Prize Winner will receive:


Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark
Rachel's Secret by BJ Hoff
Beach Dreams by Trish Perry
Playing God by Michelle McKinney Hammond
White Soul by Brandt Dodson
The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka
Finding Marie by Susan Paige Davis
The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Omartian
A Man After God's Own Heart by Jim George
Evidence for Faith 101 by Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz


Wake Up! Wake Up! by Everyday Sunday
Rock What You Got by Superchick
Sunday by Tree63
Houston We Are Go by Newsboys (Live CD/DVD)
Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney
I Am Free Worship Collection
Salvation Station by Newworldson
Not Without Love by Jimmy Needham
Pages by Shane & Shane
Colors and Sounds by Article One


Love's Unfolding Dream
The Ten Commandments Animated
Between the Walls

But that's not all!
We're giving away even more!

During this blog tour (November 10th - 16th) we'll be drawing 2 winners daily from the contest entries to win an additional free book or cd!

Visit the Contest page today to enter the contest and place yourself in the running to receive the Grand Prize, plus all the daily prizes! Deadline to enter is November 17th.

Founded in 2006 by Tracy & C.J. Darlington, is an interactive website spotlighting Christian books, music & movies. Updated weekly, we feature author and musician interviews, album and book reviews, music videos, movie reviews and interviews, book excerpts, surveys, polls, and fun contests. Learn more:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Robin Lee Hatcher (Advice for Novelists, Part 78)

Today lend you ear to the advice of multi-published author Robin Lee Hatcher and her Advice for Novelists response to the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Read widely and well. Be in the Word daily so that you have truth to tell. Read biographies and histories and craft books and fiction and current events. Read for fun and read for education and read for edification. And write every day (emails don't count but journal entries do). As for your novel, if you write one page per day, you'll have a 365 page manuscript at the end of a year. Being busy is no excuse. Write right now! You will learn far more from writing a novel (and then another and another) than you will ever learn from the latest how-to books.

-- Robin Lee Hatcher is the bestselling and award winning author of 60 novels, including Wagered Heart, When Love Blooms, and the upcoming Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series. Learn more at her web site ( and blog (

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

W. Dale Cramer (Advice for Novelists, Part 77)

It's a joy to continue this Advice for Novelists series. I've asked editors, authors, agents and publicists their response to the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

I once belonged to an online forum where Diana Gabaldon was a prominent member, and I'll never forget what she told an aspiring novelist. The young lady asked her, "What's the best way to get published?"

Diana replied, "Write a good book." That succinct piece of advice validated my own instincts, and has since helped me keep my priorities in order. It sounds simplistic, but these days it's too easy to get mired in all the networking and blogging and twittering, compiling lists of contacts and influencers, building a drop-dead one-sheet, branding, marketing, honing interview skills and refining a pitch for that elusive fifteen minutes of face time with an editor. Those are good things, I suppose, and some are even necessary, but they have a way of encroaching on the writing.

First, write a good book. Challenge your story and question your characters' motivations. Make your first novel a book that readers, including editors, can't resist. Go the extra mile. In the long run, it's a short cut.

--W. Dale Cramer, author of numerous novels including Summer of Light, Bad Ground, Levi's Will, among others.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mary DeMuth (Advice for Novelists, Part 76)

Here's another inspiring entry in our Advice for Novelists series. I've asked authors, agents, editors and publicists their response to the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Doubt yourself at first. Revel for a time in inferiority. That place of humility will place you directly under folks who can help you. Listen to critics. Take everything in. Read your work to friends and dare to hear their feedback. Humbly work through the notes they give you.

There will come a day, though, when that initial advice must be discarded for this: Rejoice in your voice. It'll come like a whisper. You're writing a poignant scene where you've successfully tapped into a deeper emotion, and you know. You KNOW. You know you've found your voice. From that point on, critics will offer their criticisms. Because, hopefully, you've cultivated humility, you'll listen kindly. But then you'll have the confidence you lacked before to discard anything that messes with your voice.

So start without confidence, working toward confidence, and throw a party when you've nailed your voice.

--Mary DeMuth is the author of two novels, with three more on the way. (Catch her next release, Daisy Chain, here). She's passionate about mentoring writers through her new endeavor, The Writing Spa (

Friday, November 07, 2008

Jenny B. Jones (Advice for Novelists, Part 75)

Welcome to another edition of my Advice for Novelists series in which editors, authors, agents and publicists answer the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

I think one of the things I wish I had known was that there are a lot of different ways to write a book. For YEARS I thought just because I didn't have a complete story mapped out in my head that I could never write a book and be a novelist. Turns out not everyone is wired that way. Just write what you have and every day build on that. To some God gives the entire story at once. To others, we get it pieces at a time (one tiny, frustrating, pound-my-head-on-the-keyboard moment at a time). Just be yourself and don't compare yourself to others and this idea of what a writer is or should be.

My next advice is to maybe consider an easier profession besides a writer. Like an astronaut. A Loche Ness monster hunter. A flamenco dancing tightrope walker. There are some days I think, "Maybe I should become a rock star instead."

--Jenny B. Jones, author of the Katie Parker Production series (In Between, On the Loose & The Big Picture) as well as the upcoming So Not Happening, Book #1 in her brand new series coming in 2009 from Thomas Nelson. Visit her website here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What's Your Idol?

I attended a conference this past weekend and was blessed to hear Jerry B. Jenkins speak. He talked about being a feeling writer and how we should make every effort to keep our hearts tender and able to respond to feelings. Sometimes it's easy in this writing journey to lose sight of that.

Being published has been a goal of mine for over a decade. I've worked toward it every year, and I've learned a lot. But through it all somehow my focus got skewed. I allowed myself to be consumed with all kinds of writerly things---research, blogging, connecting. They're all great and important. But they aren't going to do me any good if my heart grows hard, if I lose focus of what inspired me to start.

Jerry B. Jenkins is one of the most humble writers you could ever meet. You can just hear it in his voice, and see it in his writing. (Pick up a copy of Writing for the Soul for a taste of what I mean.) He's a hugely successful writer, but his heart is in the right place. I want to be like him. I want reaching people with the Good News, with hope, with stories of forgiveness and love to be what motivates me more than anything. I don't want to be ruined by being published.

When I pray about my writing, lots of times I'll pray about God opening doors, favor, and publishing opportunities. But maybe I'm praying the wrong thing. Maybe I should start praying, "Lord, prepare my heart to be a published novelist."

Something else to ponder. I came away from the conference realizing I've probably made getting published an idol in my life. Not a huge one, but an idol nonetheless. I'd lost a bit of the passion I had when I first started. I want that back. Lord, help me to focus on You above all.

What's your life's idol? I'd encourage you to recognize it and surrender it to God. He needs to be #1 in our lives, and I hope I remember that.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Forsaken by James David Jordan Book Excerpt

I gotta tell you, folks. I really, really enjoyed Forsaken. It's the type of novel I wish would just explode onto the Christian fiction marketplace. There's a lot of great suspense out there, but not so much that actually takes time to get to know the characters. Sometimes thrillers move so fast there's no time for any reflection.

Not so with Forsaken. Which isn't to say the novel moves slowly. Far from it. The very first line will pull you in and compel you to read further:

Even in high school I didn’t mind sleeping on the ground.

Read the first chapter for yourself and tell me what you think. I bet you'll want to go out and grab your own copy!

If you're interested in reading a terrific interview with the author, check out Rel Mollet's piece at here. She asked some great questions, and James gave great answers.

It is time for the FIRST Blog Tour! On the FIRST day of every month we feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

The featured author is:


James David Jordan is a business litigation attorney with the prominent Texas law firm of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. From 1998 through 2005, he served as the firm's Chairman and CEO. The Dallas Business Journal has named him one of the most influential leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth legal community and one of the top fifteen business defense attorneys in Dallas/Fort Worth. His peers have voted him one of the Best Lawyers in America in commercial litigation.

A minister's son who grew up in the Mississippi River town of Alton, Illinois, Jim has a law degree and MBA from the University of Illinois, and a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. He lives with his wife and two teenage children in the Dallas suburbs.

Jim grew up playing sports and loves athletics of all kinds. But he especially loves baseball, the sport that is a little bit closer to God than all the others.

His first novel was Something that Lasts . Forsaken is his second novel.


Even in high school I didn’t mind sleeping on the ground. When your father is a retired Special Forces officer, you pick up things that most girls don’t learn. As the years passed I slept in lots of places a good girl shouldn’t sleep. It’s a part of my past I don’t brag about, like ugly wallpaper that won’t come unstuck. No matter how hard I scrape, it just hangs on in big, obscene blotches. I’m twenty-nine years old now, and I’ve done my best to paint over it. But it’s still there under the surface, making everything rougher, less presentable than it should be. Though I want more than anything to be smooth and fresh and clean.

Sometimes I wonder what will happen if the paint begins to fade. Will the wallpaper show? I thought so for a long time. But I have hope now that it won’t. Simon Mason helped me find that hope. That’s why it’s important for me to tell our story. There must be others who need hope, too. There must be others who are afraid that their ugly wallpaper might bleed through.

What does sleeping on the ground have to do with a world-famous preacher like Simon Mason? The story begins twelve years ago—eleven years before I met Simon. My dad and I packed our camping gear and went fishing. It was mid-May, and the trip was a present for my seventeenth birthday. Not exactly every high school girl’s dream, but my dad wasn’t like most dads. He taught me to camp and fish and, particularly, to shoot. He had trained me in self-defense since I was nine, the year Mom fell apart and left for good. With my long legs, long arms, and Dad’s athletic genes, I could handle myself even back then. I suppose I wasn’t like most other girls.

After what happened on that fishing trip, I know I wasn’t.

Fishing with my dad didn’t mean renting a cane pole and buying bait pellets out of a dispenser at some catfish tank near an RV park. It generally meant tramping miles across a field to a glassy pond on some war buddy’s ranch, or winding through dense woods, pitching a tent, and fly fishing an icy stream far from the nearest telephone. The trips were rough, but they were the bright times of my life—and his, too. They let him forget the things that haunted him and remember how to be happy.

This particular outing was to a ranch in the Texas Panhandle, owned by a former Defense Department bigwig. The ranch bordered one of the few sizeable lakes in a corner of Texas that is brown and rocky and dry. We loaded Dad’s new Chevy pickup with cheese puffs and soft drinks—healthy eat­ing wouldn’t begin until the first fish hit the skillet—and left Dallas just before noon with the bass boat in tow. The drive was long, but we had leather interior, plenty of tunes, and time to talk. Dad and I could always talk.

The heat rose early that year, and the temperature hung in the nineties. Two hours after we left Dallas, the brand-new air conditioner in the brand-new truck rattled and clicked and dropped dead. We drove the rest of the way with the windows down while the high Texas sun tried to burn a hole through the roof.

Around five-thirty we stopped to use the bathroom at a rundown gas station somewhere southeast of Amarillo. The station was nothing but a twisted gray shack dropped in the middle of a hundred square miles of blistering hard pan. It hadn’t rained for a month in that part of Texas, and the place was so baked that even the brittle weeds rolled over on their bellies, as if preparing a last-ditch effort to drag themselves to shade.

The restroom door was on the outside of the station, iso­lated from the rest of the building. There was no hope of cool­ing off until I finished my business and got around to the little store in the front, where a rusty air conditioner chugged in the window. When I walked into the bathroom, I had to cover my nose and mouth with my hand. A mound of rotting trash leaned like a grimy snow drift against a metal garbage can in the corner. Thick, black flies zipped and bounced from floor to wall and ceiling to floor, occasionally smacking my arms and legs as if I were a bumper in a buzzing pinball machine. It was the filthiest place I’d ever been.

Looking back, it was an apt spot to begin the filthiest night of my life.

I had just leaned over the rust-ringed sink to inspect my teeth in the sole remaining corner of a shattered mirror when someone pounded on the door.

“Just a minute!” I turned on the faucet. A soupy liquid dribbled out, followed by the steamy smell of rotten eggs. I turned off the faucet, pulled my sport bottle from the holster on my hip, and squirted water on my face and in my mouth. I wiped my face on the sleeve of my T-shirt.

My blue-jean cutoffs were short and tight, and I pried free a tube of lotion that was wedged into my front pocket. I raised one foot at a time to the edge of the toilet seat and did my best to brush the dust from my legs. Then I spread the lotion over them. The ride may have turned me into a dust ball, but I was determined at least to be a soft dust ball with a coconut scent. Before leaving I took one last look in my little corner of mir­ror. The hair was auburn, the dust was beige. I gave the hair a shake, sending tiny flecks floating through a slash of light that cut the room diagonally from a hole in the roof. Someone pounded on the door again. I turned away from the mirror.

“Okay, okay, I’m coming!”

When I pulled open the door and stepped into the light, I shaded my eyes and blinked to clear away the spots. All that I could think about was the little air conditioner in the front window and how great it would feel when I got inside. That’s probably why I was completely unprepared when a man’s hand reached from beside the door and clamped hard onto my wrist.