Thursday, July 28, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Lynne Gentry

by Lynne Gentry

Growing up on a Kansas dairy farm meant entertainment was hard to come by. Our black and white TV antenna only got two fuzzy channels . . . if the wind wasn’t blowing, which almost never happened on the bald prairie. Out of necessity, I learned to amuse myself. While my siblings constructed secret hideouts in the bales of hay stacked in the old barn, I jabbed a stick in the cracks of the railroad-tie loading dock and pretended I stood behind a microphone. Barnyard animals and even a few stray opossums applauded my story-telling skills. As my budding imagination searched for expanded avenues of expression, I tried my yarns on the family, and before long they declared me capable of selling wind in a bag, should the unlikely need ever arise on the windswept plains.

But the best laid plans of mice and country girls, are not always those of the Lord. When He called me from the makeshift stage, I never dreamed the stint would include marrying a good-looking preacher, raising two of the best kids in the world, and spending the next twenty-five years up to my elbows in church work.

So what’s a stage-deprived wife and mother to do?

Now, this is where the Lord’s sense of humor takes a dramatic turn (which suits me, when I think about it). Eight years ago, God called me to take another stab at story-telling. But this time the story is His and the lost world is my stage.

If the words I pen change your life, then I will bask in the applause of heaven.

by Lynne Gentry

Tyndale House Publishers, July 2011

Leona Harper loves being a pastor's wife. Her impressive resume touts thirty years of coaxing hot water from rusty parsonage plumbing, planning church potlucks, and standing beside her husband while members take potshots at his sermons. Except for the little tiff with her grown children, Leona feels her life is right on track with the wishes of the Almighty...until her husband drops dead in the pulpit.

When the church board decides to fill the Reverend's vacated position Leona is forced to find a paying job, mend her fractured family, and tackle her fears. With life spiraling out of control, Leona might find the church members antics comical if she weren't so completely panicked. Can the faith of an overwhelmed widow withstand the added heartache of two resentful children and several underhanded church members? If Leona can't trust God, how will she learn to trust herself?

This debut novel is one of four launching Tyndale's DIGITAL FIRST ebook line. All four DIGITAL FIRST novels may be purchased online at,, iTunes, and

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Dora Hiers

by Dora  Hiers

Have you ever thought about the roads you’ve traveled? Bumpy, windy roads. Roads filled with potholes, forks, and turns. Up mountains. Through valleys. Quiet, country roads and bustling, noisy intersections. Have you considered how few roads are actually smooth?

I’m not one of those writers who dreamed of putting words on paper from an early age. Writing wasn’t in my career path. If I had seen it coming, I probably would have made a u-turn and headed in the opposite direction. After all, I’d spent twelve years writing and editing audit reports. Painful, excruciatingly so. You see, I’m one of those perfectionists. You know the kind. I analyze every word I write. Delete. Retype.

But, I have always wanted to read, loved to read. Had to have a book in my hands. Don’t you feel lost if you don’t have four or five books lined up ready to read? Me? I have sixteen ~ shhh, don’t tell my husband.

After I dropped out of the workforce to taxi my two sons around (and to make sure one of them actually attended school, he had a slight problem with that!), God planted the “writing” seed in my heart. “Me? Write? No way,” I scoffed. I was convinced I was wrong. God didn’t want me to do something that I didn’t enjoy, did He? Surely, I was mistaken.

The writing seed dug in, took root around my heart with the idea for Journey’s End, which germinated from a newspaper article about a mobster, finally convicted for his crimes years later. God watered the seed until it grew into a manuscript, even fertilized it with a few rejection letters and average contest results. God helped me to focus on the positive comments. One manuscript grew into two. Then, three.

A dear friend from Carolina Christian Writers directed me to White Rose Publishing and on New Year’s Eve in 2010, five plus years after I started down this crazy writing road, White Rose Publishing offered me a contract for Journey’s End, my first heart-racing, God-gracing book in the Marshals of Journey Creek series. Can you think of a better way to end one year and to begin another? Who needs fireworks?

Wow! Thank you, God, for not giving up on me! For walking hand-in-hand with me on this crazy exciting journey and for filling my heart with joy!

What is your own journey like? Curvy? Full of potholes? Are you facing a mountain? Whatever road you’re on, my prayer is that God blesses your journey.

Marshals of Journey Creek Series
by Dora Hiers

White Rose Publishing, May 2011
232 pages

Devastated after the brutal murder of her husband, Chelsea Hammond vows never to love another lawman. Intent on rebuilding her shattered life, she turns her focus to helping troubled teens. But when an angry father bent on retaliation threatens her, Chelsea must turn to the one man she never thought to trust: Deputy U.S. Marshal Trey Colten.

Trey wants only to protect Chelsea, but she blames him for her husband’s death. Trey can relate. He blames himself, also. As danger lurks, Trey begs Chelsea to heed his warnings. He let down one Hammond. He won’t let down another—especially one who now holds his heart.

When Chelsea is snatched from her home, can she put aside her fear and trust Trey with her life? Can she forgive him for destroying her past and let him help to rebuild her future?

Where one journey ends, another begins…

After a successful auditing career, Dora Hiers left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. Eventually, needing something more to fill her days, she started writing heart-racing, God-gracing books. Dora belongs to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Carolina Christian Writers.

Dora and her husband make their home in Kannapolis, North Carolina. When she’s not writing, Dora enjoys spending time with her family, guzzling café con leche, kicking back in her recliner with a good book, teaching Sunday School, vacationing in the mountains, watching football, and walking her dog.
Facebook ~ Dora Hiers Author

Friday, July 22, 2011

WINTER eBook Winner

Congratulations to Shellie for winning an eBook copy of Keven Newsome's WINTER, compliments of Splashdown Books.

To claim your book, e-mail me at Brenda AT Brenda Anderson Books DOT com.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Meg Moseley

by Meg Moseley

Novels are fun and easy to read, so they must be fun and easy to write, too. Right?

Wrong. Sure, parts of the process are incredibly fun and sometimes it even feels easy—for a while—but novel-writing is hard work. Still, I wouldn’t trade this job for anything.

When I started writing, I was just a wee bit naïve. I thought it might take me six months or a year to write a novel and sell it. (Okay, stop laughing!)

Once I realized I didn’t know a thing about writing, I buckled down to learn the basics. I studied the rules and the market. I entered contests. I went to writers’ conferences and read how-to-write books. I absorbed so much advice that I didn’t have room for my instincts anymore. I lost my voice as a writer. Everything I wrote sounded like what everybody else was writing. I hated it.

So, I played Lone Ranger for a few years. I backed off from attending writers’ conferences, from reading how-to’s, and even from participating in a critique group. It was just me, my computer, and the Lord. (And the cat camping on the back of the chair.) But when I emerged from my self-imposed exile, I had a novel that I knew was better than the ones I’d written before. That novel helped me find a good agent, and it became my debut novel, When Sparrows Fall, from Multnomah Books.

Looking back, I’m glad for the time I spent learning and then un-learning the rules. Even when the hope of publication seemed to be on hold, I was growing and learning. I have more to bring to my fiction now, simply because I’ve lived a little longer. I’ve experienced more of life’s joys and sorrows, and they’ve changed me.

If you’re not published yet, you know the pre-publication wait can seem excruciatingly long, but it’s all part of the process. Living life prepares us to write about life. So, take heart—over and over—and take notes. That’s what writers do.

by Meg Moseley

Waterbrook Multnomah, May 2011
352 pages

A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling method of ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.

College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.

As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?

Meg Moseley is a Californian at heart although she’s lived more than half her life in other states. She formerly wrote human-interest columns for a suburban section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and home schooled for more than twenty years. Meg enjoys reading books, traveling, gardening, her three grown children, and motorcycle rides with her husband Jon. They make their home in northern Georgia.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Congratulations to Jessica Thomas for winning an eBook copy of Travis Perry's and Mike Lynch's THE CRYSTAL PORTAL, compliments of Splashdown Books.

To claim your book, e-mail me at Brenda AT Brenda Anderson Books DOT com.

Much Ado About ... Susannah

Christian fiction frequently comes under fire for its avoidance of (Dare I say it?) ... sex. Just Google the topic and you'll come up with pages of bloggers complaining that Christian authors are afraid to be real, and that readers don't want to go anywhere near the bedroom door even when it involves a married couple. Case in point, check out this recent blog post by Mike Duran and read through the discussion: Christian Fiction's "Non-Erogenous Zone".

Once upon a time, I'm certain peeking beyond the bedroom door was forbidden, but as a voracious reader of Christian fiction, in all genres, I find that's no longer true.

The book that precipated the discussion on Duran's blog, Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond, is a fair example. It's true, if you glance through the reviews on Amazon, you'll find a minority who are aghast at the sexual content of the book and claim teens shouldn't read it, nor should unmarried women. Wow. It obviously has some explicit passages, right?

Well, of course, I had to check it out for myself and purchased the book. (As an author, can you think of a better marketing tool than controversy?) I read through it in one day searching for what had these readers upset enough to encourage keeping the book away from teens and unwed women.

I failed to find anything.

Yes, the story told us that this newlywed couple had sex, quite frequently even. Richmond wrote about undoing buttons, and reading Song of Solomon, and the characters even talked about how they enjoyed sex, but explicit? Hardly. Keep it away from the kids or unmarried women? That's plain silly. Do these reviewers have any clue what their teens are required to read in high school? I read a few of the "racier" passages of Susannah to my unmarried 19 year old daughter, and she agreed that it's very mild.
Besides that, Spring for Susannah, which is written by a debut author, made July's Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's (ECPA) bestselling fiction list. Not an easy feat for any author, much less a debut author. On Amazon, of 106 customer reviews, 90 of them are 4 and 5 star. Hmm, it doesn't sound like the reading public is complaining. As a matter of fact, I think they're enjoying this book. They also enjoy other authors who like to bend the sexual boundaries: Julie Lessman, Deeanne Gist, and even Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury to name a few. Try Lisa Samson's The Passion of Mary-Margaret or Christa Parrish's Watch Over Me. No, we're not getting a bedroom play-by-play, not even close, but the authors don't shy away from it either.

The fact is, Christian writers are writing about sex, the public is buying the books and they're even enjoying them. Gasp!

So, my question is, why all the fuss? Yes, the majority of romances are sweet and very chaste, but to generalize and say Christian fiction is for prudes, misses the mark completely.

If you ask me, the controversy is much ado about nothing.

Questions for you: Do you think the controversy is warranted? What books/authors have you read in Christian fiction that push the boundaries?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Catherine Richmond

by Catherine Richmond

My publication journey involves an unexpected turn leading onto the scenic route. I was busy raising my family and working as an occupational therapist, when I heard a song about a mail order bride meeting her husband for the first time. Prairie grass waved dusty green in the wind. The hot sun released the smell of creosote from the railroad ties. A train whistle echoed in the distance. I knew these two people - where they’d come from, their hopes and dreams, and what happened next to them.

What I didn't know was how to write.

The newspaper said one of my neighbors had a novel out with Bantam Loveswept. So one afternoon, when everyone was out of the house, I called her. She recommended I join RWA. I took a non-credit class through the community college, then several on-line classes. I read the RWR and how-to books. I joined a Nebraska Novelists critique group. I wrote other stories. Rejection letters filled my mailbox. Contest judges slapped low scores on my entries.

I learned to revise. Again and again.

A year ago April, while vacationing in New York City, agent Sandra Bishop tracked me down. The manuscript had placed third in the Launching a Star contest, earning a read from a Thomas Nelson editor. Sandra said the publisher was interested if I could make a few changes. Being totally unprepared for this news, I did not have my laptop with me. So Sandra made the requested changes on her copy and sent the manuscript back. The next morning, I got The Call in Central Park, at John Lennon's memorial, a mosaic with the word "Imagine". Which shows God is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all we ask or think!

by Catherine Richmond

Thomas Nelson, May 2011
356 pages

With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Freemont agrees to go west to the Dakota territory to marry her minister's homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn't see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.

In spite of her petite size and the fact that Susannah doesn't look like she could survive on the prairie, Jesse quickly discovers that his new wife is a greater blessing than he even hoped for. The years she spent as her father's veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse's ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.

But Susannah's feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can't believe that Jesse's praise-or the tenderness and love he shows-could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie.

Catherine Richmond was busy raising a family, working as an occupational therapist, and trying to remember where she hid the chocolate, when a song sparked a story within her. The journey to publication was long, but full of blessings. She couldn't have done it without the ACFW, RWA, and FHL (the inspirational chapter of RWA) and lots of chocolate!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Keven Newsome

by Keven Newsome

It must have been fifth grade when I began my writing journey, but writing video game spec fic. And the best part was that all the characters spoke in King James English, because that’s what they did in the game. But it was my first attempt at writing, and that counts for something.

I didn’t write again for several years, focusing instead on music and art. In Junior High I started a series of sketches that had a story behind them. This germ of a story took root and ignited that fire of writing. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and those thousand words were screaming to be written down.

High School is when I really started writing. I did about four short stories, which I still have but haven’t read in years because I’m sure they really suck. I also hand wrote about 150 pages of a novel based on that story germ from Junior High. It was full of narrative summary, anachronistic dialogue, and teen angst, all wrapped in a medieval candy shell.

After graduating college in 2002, I began what I affectionately call My Practice Book. Its real name is Among Dragons. And it’s a prequel to that horrific attempt to write I made in High School. This book is on my list to be rewritten and reworked, because it’s actually a decent story even if the writing stinks. I had a copy printed, and it sits on my shelf as a reminder of how much I’ve learned.

My intention after completing this prequel was to go into the trilogy of books based on… you guessed it… that story I started in High School. I reworked it, reoutlined it, and made it into something exciting and worth writing. I wrote about fifty pages and then hit a block. But it wasn’t a writer’s block, per se. It was a block of distraction. You see, my creative mind was dwelling on something else that had recently come up.

On a Goth girl with the gift of prophecy.

So I began to write Winter’s story. December 2006, I finished the first draft. A second draft followed, then beta readers and a third draft. I tried my hand at submitting the third draft, but received nothing but no’s. I didn’t even get past the query letter stage.

In the fall of 2009, Winter was a finalist in the Marcher Lord Select Premise Contest. Little did I know this contest would be the pebble that begun the avalanche to being published. A year after entering that infamous contest, I received an email from one Kat Heckenbach. She had read my book and loved it. She passed it on to a friend of hers who was reading it and loving it. That would be Grace Bridges, owner of Splashdown Books.

Grace sent me a message. And while it was glowing and full of praise for the book, it contained one small sentence that almost made me want to throw out the computer. “For your own sake, I wish you would find a bigger publisher than me.”

Grace finally relented after I convinced her no one else would have me. I guess the whole premise of my book sounds a little too risky. We signed in December 2010, and Winter was released June 1, 2011 under a new paranormal imprint of Splashdown Books called Splashdown Darkwater.

Risky? Winter instantly became an in-house best seller for Splashdown Books. And I’m honored, and very thankful, that Grace didn’t see risk in my book…but potential.

by Keven Newsome

Splashdown Books, 2011

Winter Maessen didn't ask for the gift of prophecy. She's happy being a freak - but now everyone thinks she's crazy. Or evil.

Goths aren't all the same, you know. Some are Christians.

...Christians to whom God sends visions.

Students at her university are being attacked, and Winter knows there's more than flesh and blood at work.

Her gift means she's the only one who can stop it - but at what price?

Keven Newsome is a graduate student at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology specializing in Supernatural Theology. He writes stories that portray the supernatural and paranormal with a Biblical perspective. Winter is his first book. He currently lives in New Orleans, LA with his wife and their two children.
Keven also heads up the team at the New Authors' Fellowship collaborative blog.


Keven Newsome and Splashdown Books are giving away one e-book of
WINTER to one lucky commenter.

Contest Rules:
Comment on Keven Newsome's My Writing Journey by Thursday, July 21, 2011 and your name will go into a drawing for a free e-book of Winter in the e-book format of your choice. Contest closes Thursday, July 21, 2011 at midnight. The winner will be posted on Friday, July 22, 2011. Winner must provide an e-mail to Brenda AT Brenda Anderson Books DOT com. Don not post your mailing address anywhere on this blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Travis Perry

by Travis Perry

For me, the publication of my novel was surprisingly easy. The hard part was finishing the story in the first place.

I began writing The Crystal Portal in 2006. I had written short stories before and had a few published in small magazines, and one of my stories made it into a book anthology. But I had never written a novel and really didn't know anything about how to proceed with and finish a work of that length.

I wrote about a quarter of the the story (in a different order than it is now) and got stuck. Discouraged that my story would be of no interest to anyone, busy with ordinary life, and suffering from a serious case of writer's block, I only made marginal progress for the next several years.

I finally realized my problem was that I was only thinking of the story in terms of my main character and other point of view characters. I was not taking into account my villain's actions, which is why I was so stumped as to what should happen next in the tale. It may seem like a simple thing, but since I did not ask anyone for advice on the story or read anything about how to write a novel, it was a major realization for me.

After I completed the story in 2009, I read it over and felt something was missing. Other friends who read it didn't react to it the way I expected. I had done my own editing, but I knew I needed help.

On an online group of Christian speculative fiction authors (the Lost Genre Guild), I asked if anyone would be willing to help me edit and fix the story for the reward of having coauthor credit and a share of any profits that might ensue from publication. I had several people express interest, but Mike Lynch seemed to be the most interested and had the most experience in having other books published.

Mike and I worked together to edit the story. A number of parts were cut out, the order of a number of scenes changed, and we did a lot of other editing. Mike wrote one scene that hadn't been in the book before I started working with him.

After we had done our work together, Mike was looking for some objective readers for some good feedback on our work. One of the people he showed the story to was Grace Bridges, who is the owner of Splashdown Books. She loved the story and was immediately interested in publishing it.

Of course, she had interest in other edits and story changes, but with her help, the process of actually getting published was quick and mostly painless. So I was very blessed to have stumbled onto people willing to help me, and who saw something good in my story.

Now if only I get to generate some sales...

by Travis Perry and Mike Lynch

Splashdown Books, 2011

And Yeshua said, "His ears will be a sign to you."

A time-travelling warrior elf on a manhunt for an evil genius. A state-of-the-art robot from New Los Angeles. And a carpenter's son from first-century Israel. Entering the Portal, they join forces with a princess of the Sapphire Monarchy to defy their power-mad adversary.

Book Trailer:

Travis Perry was born and raised in the mountains of western Montana, where he learned to let his imagination soar. A one time-pastoral student and active church member, he has a keen interest in faraway places and has studied (attaining varying degrees of proficiency): Spanish, French, German, Biblical Greek and Hebrew, Arabic, Italian, and Dari (Farsi). Blending Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Biblical Historical Fiction, he created the worlds of his first novel, The Crystal Portal, co-authored with Mike Lynch. An Army Reserve officer recently serving in Afghanistan, he is currently on his way home to his wife and six children in Wichita Falls, Texas.


Travis Perry and Splashdown Books are giving away one e-book of
The Crystal Portal to one lucky commenter.

Contest Rules:
Comment on Travis Perry's The Easy Road to Publication by Tuesday, July 19, 2011 and your name will go into a drawing for a free e-book of The Crystal Portal in the e-book format of your choice. Contest closes Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at midnight. The winner will be posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Winner must provide an e-mail to Brenda AT BrendaAndersonBooks DOT com. Do not post your mailing address anywhere on this blog. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 Christy Award Winners Announced

The Christy Award winners were announced earlier this evening in Atlanta during the International Christian Retail Show. These awards are given annually in order to honor and promote excellence in Christian fiction.

I've read twelve of the finalists, and five of the winners and, while I might be a tad disappointed that my favorite (A Season of Miracles) didn't win, all the winners justly earned their victory.

Congratulations to the following finalists and *Winners:

Contemporary Romance
*SWORN TO PROTECT by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers)
Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris (Zondervan)
Indivisible by Kristin Heitzmann (WaterBrook Press)

Contemporary Series
*THE RELUCTANT PROPHET by Nancy Rue (David C. Cook)
The Thorn by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House Publishers)
The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell Books)

Contemporary Standalone
*ALMOST HEAVEN by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)
Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press)
A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)

First Novel
*HEARTLESS by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers)
Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House Publishers)
A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)

*WHILE WE'RE FAR APART by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers)
Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett (David C. Cook)
For Time & Eternity by Allison Pitman (Tyndale House Publishers)

Historical Romance
*THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers)
She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell (Bethany House Publishers)
Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers)

*THE BISHOP by Steven James (Revell Books)
The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker (Center Street)
Predator by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)

*TO DARKNESS FLED by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)
Konig's Fire by Marc Schooley (Marcher Lord Press)
The Last Christian by David Gregory (WaterBrook Press)

Young Adult
The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers (WaterBrook Press)
The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Roger Bruner

by Roger E. Bruner

When I wrote my first novel manuscript in 2004, I knew getting it published would be a lengthy and tedious procedure. So my wife and I decided to use Print on Demand (POD) and do it ourselves. It was a fun procedure, and I even designed the cover myself, using a picture of my cat appearing to read a book.

The published book looked great. I bought maybe 130 copies in all and sold them to everyone I knew. Turns out I didn’t know as many people as I thought I did, though, and those review copies I gave away were eating up what little profit I was making. I don’t know what happened to the consignment copies that went to bookstores that have since gone out of business. (Not due to my book, I hope.)

The worst problem was I couldn’t spend all of my free time writing and still do the marketing that any writer—but especially a self-publisher—must do. What writer wouldn’t prefer the writing without the marketing?

Then I went to my first Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and started learning what good writing really was. My first book not only didn’t qualify, I came to view it as an embarrassment—something I didn’t want people to associate with me. I pulled it from availability and advised people who had a copy to hold on to it; if I ever became well known, it might qualify as a collector’s item. As Al Gansky, one of my favorite suspense writers says, “An autograph will get you twenty-five cents extra at a yard sale.”

I kept on writing. And writing some more. I kept on going to writers conferences. Bought and digested enough writing books to have made me super-fat if they’d been food.

My third manuscript, Found in the Translation, won first place in the novel competition at the Blue Ridge Conference in 2006. “Ah!” I thought. “Now I’m getting somewhere.”

Wrong again. While that honor looked good on my proposal, nobody was beating down my door, and I was getting frustrated about my inability to hook an agent.

A publisher at a writer's conference invited me to submit sample pages—I’m not even sure which manuscript. Several months later, I received email from a different editor at that publishing house. She explained that they didn’t publish that genre of novel, but she loved my writing and felt confident my time would come.

We continued to correspond off and on, and she read samples and continued to encourage me. I still consider her one of my biggest fans.

Then I asked James Scott Bell to read the first page of Found in the Translation at a conference appointment. “Roger, you’re not even starting with a scene.”

Whoops! At first I balked (I didn’t tell him that, though), but finally saw the light. He was the expert. A multi-published expert. So I lopped off the first fifty pages—sob—and wrote a new beginning. Much better.

I asked my editor friend if she’d look at it. She asked for fifteen pages on Monday, the whole thing on Wednesday, and on Friday told me it was so good she’d lined up Terry Burns at Hartline Literary as my agent. She didn’t just tell me; she sent me the back-and-forth email leading up to that.

And to think Terry was one of the agents I’d requested an appointment with at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference I was getting ready to attend! If God wasn’t in charge of all that had happened so far. . .

Although Found in the Translation didn’t sell for a year, Barbour was wonderfully receptive when it landed at their doorstep. Even if they did ask to take “the” out of the title.

by Roger Bruner

Barbour Publishing, May 2011
368 pages

When Kim Hartlinger—eighteen and spoiled—arrives on a mission trip to Mexico and discovers, to her chagrin, that she’ll be doing construction in a remote village without plumbing and electricity, rather than evangelism in a medium-sized town with a fast food joint . . she has only two choices. “Rough it” (which isn’t exactly what Kim had in mind when she signed up for this trip) or turn around and head home.

Will Kim be able to touch the villagers’ hearts with the Gospel? Or will her time in Mexico be up before she gets the chance?

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church's choir, praise team, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Debut Authors Make Bestseller List

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) has recently released their Christian Fiction Bestellers through July 2011. You'll find the usual names there, Karen Kingsbury, Beverly Lewis, Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, etc, but what's exciting is finding three 2011 debut authors on the Top 20 list.

Congratulations to Ruth Reid (The Promise of an Angel), Joan Wolf (Reluctant Queen), and Catherine Richmond (Spring for Susannah). Your achievement is encouraging to everyone hoping to break in and succeed in this tough publishing business.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Debut Author Spotlight ... Dorothy Love

by Dorothy Love

My publishing journey began in 1989 when I left a job in college teaching to pursue writing full time. I wrote and submitted constantly for five years, publishing a number of magazine pieces along the way.

My first novel for young readers was published in 1995 and I went on to publish 13 other novels for preteens and young adults in the secular market before moving to the CBA to write historicals for adult readers.

I was born and reared in a small Southern town. I  love writing about the history of my native region and love encouraging readers to explore the wonderful stories from their own family histories.

Beyond All Measure, my adult fiction debut, is the first of the Hickory Ridge novels and is set in a fictional town in  my home state of Tennessee. Though I haven't lived there since I was a young girl, I have many relatives there and I get back there as often as I can.

I recently finished line edits on the second Hickory Ridge novel, Beauty for Ashes which will be out early next year, and I'm currently writing the third book, to be called Every Perfect Gift.
Hickory Ridge Series #1
by Dorothy Love

Thomas Nelson, May 2011
320 pages

Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady's companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.

Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolk: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada's friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a "colored" settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.

When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt's primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas. With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

Dorothy Love is the author of the Hickory Ridge series, historical novels set in the beautiful Smoky Mountains region of her native Tennessee. Her well-researched, heartwarming stories of small town Southern life, faith, friends, and family reflect the emotions, concerns, and values of women everywhere.

Growing up in McNairy County, Tennessee, Doro attended Bethel Springs Presbyterian Church and the local grade school where she spent every spare moment writing stories to share with her classmates. As a college student in Texas majoring in teaching and English literature, she co-edited her university newspaper. After earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D, she authored dozens of magazine articles before breaking into book publishing with a number of award-winning novels for preteens and young adults. The Hickory Ridge series marks her adult fiction debut.