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?