Monday, August 27, 2007

A Visit from Susan Meissner


This morning I'm delighted to help spread the word about a new Susan Meissner book coming out next week.

Susie lived in Minnesota for many years, and so I consider her a writing cousin and neighbor (as well as dear friend). She has a passion for her art and an even bigger passion for Christ.

Here's info about her latest story, Days and Hours.

Readers of suspense fiction will once again be enthralled with the latest entry in the compelling series featuring attorney Rachael Flynn and her continuing cast of intriguing characters.

A newborn is found alive in a trash bin and a young, single mother insists her baby was abducted. While St. Paul police are skeptical, attorney Rachael Flynn’s strange dreams lead her to believe the mother is telling the truth. But who would steal a baby only to leave it for dead?

When the baby disappears again, Rachael agonizes over her decision to allow the baby to be returned to his mother. Did she make a terrible mistake? And where is that missing baby? Who would wish the child harm? Rachael races to see past the deception that threatens to send a young mother to prison and a newborn to a terrible fate.

Susie shares a little more about this book:

Days & Hours is the third installment of the Rachael Flynn mystery series. My heroine is a 30-year-old defense attorney-turned-prosecutor who works in the Ramsey County Attorneys office in St. Paul, MN. She lives in a loft apartment across the river in Minneapolis (and she used to travel that bridge that collapsed!!) with her artist husband, Trace. Trace has a circle of highly artistic friends, one in particular named Fig, who help her pick apart crime scenes by sketching possible scenarios. With their help and her gift-like insights into the human condition, Rachael assists St Paul homicide detective, Will Pendleton, solve tough cases.

When I was a guardian ad litem for the state of Minnesota, I was introduced to the world of the single mother who lives in poverty, dependent on the state, and often woefully unprepared for motherhood. I delved into that world in Days & Hours, paying particular attention to the stigma we place on the stuck-on-welfare mom. They are not a one-size fits all demographic. Some cannot find success no matter how hard they try. Some simply don’t try. Most love their children as best they can. Many know it takes more than love to raise a child, but they have no other resources at their disposal. I don’t pretend to offer answers, just raise awareness.


The other titles in this series are Widows & Orphans (2006) and Sticks & Stones (2007). Widows & Orphans is a current finalist for the ACFW Book of the Year.

You can learn more about Susan and all her books at her blog and website.

Sooz, thanks for stopping by, and blessings on your new release!
Sharon

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rockin' Blogger

Yesterday I was strolling with one of my daughters and mentioned something I wanted to put on my blog. She giggled and said it always sounds weird to her when I talk about blogging. Yes, I admit that when I was her age, I was programming little games in BASIC on a Commodore 64 and there was no internet, blogs, or email loops. But I've kept up marginally well for an old mom - even if I can't figure out how to answer my cell phone.

I can imagine how she'll laugh when she sees this award. My down-under friend Rel (aka Jane) named me for a "Rockin' Girl Blogger" award. The use of the word "Rockin" in the same sentence with me is another juxtaposition that will cause great hilarity among my children.

I want to bestow the award on a few friends, as well.

Rebecca at A Christian Worldview of Fiction - leading the way with consistently interesting discussions
Cheryl at Writing Remnants - a friend from grad school days, who is always funny and poignant
Kelli at On Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Publication - everything from deep to funny to thought-provoking

Of course that's only a few of the rockin' blogs I love to browse - so to all the friends I don't list this time - you all deserve awards!

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thirty Percent Savings


Gotta love a sale. :-)

I confess, when I walk into a store, my radar is up for those mark-down signs.

If you visit the NavPress website, you'll see that The Restorer is currently being featured as a new release at a super sale price. If you've wanted to get a copy for a friend, this is a great way to celebrate the second print run and order directly from the publisher. You can also post reviews there.

NavPress has recently done a redesign of their website, so be sure to check it out.

You'll find some amazing authors featured in their fiction section. Austin Boyd has a whole series of Mars techno-thriller books out. He won the "Pacesetter" award at Mount Hermon last spring and I had the pleasure of meeting him. He's such a great guy, with buckets of wisdom. Tosca Lee's new novel is getting rave reviews. I had the blessing of meeting her in Atlanta last month and she is incredibly gracious. Mary DeMuth has been a friend for several years and her "Watching the Tree Limbs" and "Wishing on Dandelions" are brilliant. And those are just a few of the amazing authors you'll discover.

Happy exploring!

Sharon

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Calling All Readers!


Bethany House Publishing is launching a great new resource for readers and book discussion groups.

Stop by their new An Open Book site and you can read a "Meet the Author" feature with interviews of Athol Dickson and myself. Be sure to let Carra know what you think of the site, and any ideas you have for future issues of their newsletter.

Speaking of Bethany House, although my focus this summer has been on getting word out about The Sword of Lyric Series, I've continued work on two stand-alone contemporary novels for Bethany House.

Here's a brief blurb for
Symphony of Secrets


Talented flutist Amy Johnson's dreams come true when she wins a spot with the Minneapolis Symphony. But this amateur sleuth has trouble concentrating on the notes as she begins to see devious motives behind her fellow musicians' many mishaps. Meanwhile, her musically talented daughter wants to give it all up for (gasp) the cheer leading squad! What's a musical mom to do? Can Amy fine-tune her investigation before the symphony is forced to close and she loses not only her dream job but her promising new relationship with its conductor?

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story - because Amy is an obsessed musician, which is not all that different from being a neurotic writer. Her general crankiness and her mistaken belief that she has detective skills made her a fun character to get to know. I also related to her love of the arts and her passion to pursue her dreams while still making her daughter a priority and sorting out her interpersonal relationships.


Symphony of Secrets

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fantasy Fans - a new Graphic Novel


Deb Raney (prolific and award winning CBA women's fiction author) recently emailed to let me know that her husband Ken (an artist) has produced an online graphic novel, The Forever Quest.

Check it out!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Visit from Elizabeth White


Off the Record by Elizabeth White

Ambition on a collision course with a secret from the past...

Judge Laurel Kincade, a rising political star, is announcing her candidacy for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Her aristocratic Old South family, led by her judge grandfather, beam as she takes the podium. Then her eyes light on a reporter in the crowd-and suddenly her past is on a collision course with the present.

Journalist Cole McGaughan, religion reporter for the New York Daily Journal, has received an intriguing call from an old friend. Private investigator Matt Hogan has come across a tip-that Laurel's impeccable reputation might be a fa├žade. Matt suggests that Cole dig up the dirt on the lovely judge in order to snag his dream job as one of the Journal's elite political reporters.

There's just one problem: Cole's history is entangled with Laurel's, and he must decide if the story that could make his career is worth the price he'd have to pay.

A sensational scoop becomes a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Can Laurel and Cole find forgiveness and turn their hidden past into a hopeful future-while keeping their feelings off the record?

ELIZABETH WHITE is the author of Fireworks and Fair Game as well as the critically acclaimed Texas Gatekeepers series from Love Inspired Suspense. She lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her minister husband. Visit her on the web at www.elizabethwhite.net

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sold Out!

My contact at NavPress let me know this week that The Restorer is going into its second print run already. It's not even three months old. I'm so grateful for this encouraging sign that people are finding the book and telling their friends!

I'm so delighted that God doesn't care about "odds" and "probabilities." That He can take an unusual story from a little-known author in a genre that hasn't been as sought after among CBA publishers - and still open doors for it. If you feel called to something and the barriers ahead seem impassable - take heart! Your adventure may require patience beyond what you think you have, and the fulfillment may look different than what you expect. But if God calls you to something, He will be with you each step of the way and accomplish His purposes.

I also just learned that a major review site gave The Restorer a
Reviewers Choice Award.

Road to Romance reviewer Maisha Walker said:

"...THE RESTORER, by SHARON HINCK is an action-packed, mind boggling, adventurous ride! Ms. Hinck grabs you from the first few pages and never lets you go! As a mom myself, I could relate to so many Susan’s thoughts, desires and prayers. I found myself laughing all throughout the book due to the down to earth personality of the heroine, Susan. If there was a grade above A plus, Ms. Hinck would have it!"

Stop by next week to learn about a great new resource for book groups from Bethany House Publishing, and for a sneak peek at "Symphony of Secrets" (releasing February, 2008)

Blessings and gratitude!
Sharon Hinck

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House, June, 2006)
Renovating Becky Miller (Bethany House, February, 2007)
The Restorer (NavPress, May 2007)
The Restorer's Son (NavPress, September 2007)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Interview and Review

Ruth Anderson (with me in this photo) recently posted an interview with me and review of The Restorer at "The Bridge: The Link Between Faith and Culture." I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth last month during the Fantasy Fiction Tour, while I was in Nashville.

If you have a moment, stop by and explore "The Bridge" and I'm sure she'd love comments, too!

And power was restored today (from the storm I wrote about in my last blog) so I'll be working on my monthly e-zine and will send that soon. If you don't already receive my monthly e-zine, you can go to my website and sign up to get it free in the right-hand column. In my next edition I'll be announcing a fun contest ONLY for those who get my Book Buddy e-zine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Powerless






Powerless

There are times when God reminds me how powerless I am.
Rather than making me feel weak and frightened, it can remind me to put my security in Him, not insubstantial things like my own prowess or cleverness.

Last week I got an object lesson in what it means to be powerless.

Friday night about 3:00 a.m. crashing and booming sounds woke me. Rain sheeted against the windows as if a giant were aiming a pressure hose at our house. Wind roared through the many trees in our neighborhood. Lightning flickered off-rhythm with the sharp cracks of thunder. Our power went out, and we peered through the rain-covered windows to see huge branches scattered through the yard.

Powerless, we eventually went back to sleep, waiting for the morning to reveal what the storm had left behind.

The view from our front door was heartbreaking. Three huge pine trees had snapped in half, while some limbs had been picked up by the storm and carried across the street into our yard. Our maple had dropped some significant limbs, too.

But the backyard was worse. Several huge, thick limbs from our neighbor's tree had broken and fallen over the fence into our yard, creating a sculpture that looked like a huge tree standing on its head. It crushed the corner of our garden fence, and blocked our access into the garden. No damage to our house, except that the fallen limbs are tangled in powerlines.

At first the power company was estimating power would be restored by Monday night. Then Tuesday. Today we've been told they are "hoping" to have "a majority" of power restored to homes by Thursday night. Yep. An entire week of no power.

Ninety degrees and humid with no air conditioning and not even a fan. No toaster. No microwave. No computer.

I'm at the library with my laptop - taking an opportunity to check on urgent emails - but unable to access my email addresses (I purposely don't keep anything on my laptop so I won't be distracting when working on a manuscript with my laptop).

My friend Camy is visiting, and we've been stamping (while the sun is up), talking shop, going for walks, and eating lots of peanutbutter sandwiches. It's amazing how many things I start to do--then remember I can't because we don't have power.

But even though it's inconvenient, being powerless has been good for my soul. A forced vacation. (I can't get to my manuscript on my main computer.) An exercise in adapting, in listening to whatever lessons God has for me in this experience. A chance to break some addictions (no watching NetFlix movies, no radio in the background).

We borrowed a generator, but even that is a lesson. Which few things will we plug in? We are using it to keep our fridge running, so we won't lose our food, and we ran a line to our neighbor's for their fridge.

Last night another storm moved through our area. We sat in the backyard and watched the lightshow as the storm approached. Striations of fierce light cut through the clouds. Some softer pulses of light glowed from behind the edges, silhouetting the curves of clouds for a second at a time.

I swatted at mosquitos, breathed the crackling air, and thought about how big God is. He created the world. Storms don't alarm Him. The Psalms talk about Him riding on the wind...about the earth being His footstool. My smallness was a comfort to me. There is One who is big, and holy, and loving who is above and in it all. One who is in control. I try to control so many things in my life - even the people around me. This week, as I wait for power to return to our house, I'm trying to embrace being...

...powerless.

Sharon Hinck

Friday, August 10, 2007

Clavo

I'm creating some cute little gift packets with a hand-stamped image of a mug, a Restorer postcard, and a pocket held together with brads. In the pocket I plan to put a clove-flavored tea and a cinnamon stick. On the tea mug I stamped the word "Clavo." If you've read The Restorer, you know that Susan was introduced to this drink in her visit to an alternate world.

As I was searching for options of clove-flavored tea, I found a brand that is made in Bolivia. Imagine my surprise when I saw that in Bolivia, this tea is called---you guessed it---clavo! Maybe someone from Bolivia has gone through a portal to visit Lyric?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

ACFW Book Club


Click here to learn more about the ACFW Book Club

Ever want to chat with others online about a book you're reading? This is a great group to join - and it's free! You can send a blank email to

acfwbookclub-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
to join.

A new book by a Christian fiction author is selected each month by the members.

I've been asked to help spread the word because the October genre of choice is fantasy/sci-fi.

Five books have been nominated as possibilities - and voting is going on today and tomorrow:

The Restorer by Sharon Hinck

Through Gates of Fire Volume II: Hovering Presence by Steve Bonenberger

Mason's Link by Bill Andrews

Light At The Edge Of Darkness by Daniel I. Weaver & Others (Anthology)

Hoven Quest by Michelle L. Levigne

The voting to select the book for October from this list is going on now at the Book Club yahoogroup - until August 10th. After you join, be sure to visit the October Poll to cast the vote for the book you'd like to see chosen for October.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why I Write

Snippets from a sampling of reader mail (from men, women, young and old) about The Restorer in the past few weeks:

"... it helped me battle the hopelessness, to know the source of the lies plaguing and strangling me. It was a reminder desperately needed."--R.K.

"… Thank you for making me more aware of the awesomeness of the One who loves us more than we realize and provides just what we need just when we need it." – D.W.

"... i luv the way u use susan to portray the way God takes care of + protects us...............The Restorer has really been kinda inspiring 2 me because i haven't been givin God much time lately + ur book is helpin me realize how much he cares." – H.W.

"Thank you so much for writing a book that is an encouragement and light in such a dark society." –R.P.

"I just finished your book, The Restorer, and want to thank you for the wonderful story. I’ve been drawn to Scriptures about God as the Restorer; and to think about the ministry of restoration as a result." -- M.B.

"How do you describe my life...to a Tee...when we've never even met?? LOL...with tears in my eyes...because what you write is so true right now..."--D.P.

"Oh, how I love this story! How wonderfully the characters draw me in to their world. I'm on page 85, where Susan feels lonely and not belonging and I'm having a wave of the same feeling sweep through me about my work. God is using your writing to speak to me about what is real and to make me think and see things differently." –C.B.

"… I'm bawling with empathy at the lies of the Rhusicans and Susan's aloneness. I'm in awe that God brought this book to me for this time. Thank you for writing this story. God is powerful in it and is using it in powerful ways!" --A.W.

"…What I really loved about the book was the familiarity of the book of Judges framed around the familiarity of today's world confronting an ordinary person's desires & fears. Even without that though, I would still have fallen in love with the characters." –E.R.

"... Most of all, I love how you used the verses to defeat the power of the Rhusican! Such a wonderful and vivid application in our own lives, and one that I will claim as the “poison” gets in my life. *g* I even used that example as a devotional last week." –S.W.

"You know how sometimes you just happen to come across one of those books where you find yourself as the character; you're speaking and maybe acting what you're reading in the book? Well, 'The Restorer' has got me doing that. It's come to me at the most opportune time in my life." - J.C.

======

Thank you to EVERYONE who has written to me in the past weeks. I cherish your words. They are precious gifts that encourage me when I'm disheartened. But they are also needed reminders to me that God is able to do beyond what we can imagine with our simple, flawed service. He is truly our One, our Strong Tower, and our Restorer.

Blessings and gratitude!
Sharon Hinck

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House, June, 2006)
Renovating Becky Miller (Bethany House, February, 2007)
The Restorer (NavPress, May 2007)
The Restorer's Son (NavPress, September 2007)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Becky Miller in the MOPS Shop!


My cousin wrote to tell me she saw the Becky Miller books at the Mothers of Preschoolers website. I'm delighted, because even though both men and women, and readers of many ages have enjoyed the books, I think young moms especially come away with the feeling, "someone GETS it!" and I have prayed for The Secret Life of Becky Miller and Renovating Becky Miller to be an encouragement for weary supermoms.

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House, June, 2006)
Renovating Becky Miller (Bethany House, February, 2007)
The Restorer (NavPress, May 2007)
The Restorer's Son (NavPress, September 2007)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

How Does My Garden Grow?

Author Deb Raney is featuring some of her writer friends with their gardens. You can see me in my vegetable patch at her cleverly-named blog, The Plot Thickens. Be sure to browse her site to see her other friends and their beautiful "plots."

Now I need to go tackle some weeding. And stem the tide of monster zucchini that are taking over. I may need to take my sword to them.

Happy weekend! Sharon Hinck

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House, June, 2006)
Renovating Becky Miller (Bethany House, February, 2007)
The Restorer (NavPress, May 2007)
The Restorer's Son (NavPress, September 2007)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

To all who have emailed or called -
my family and I are safe, and as far as I know so far, no close acquaintance was on the bridge.

But will you join me in praying for those injured, missing, and mourning?

Dear Lord,
Bring healing to those who were wounded and are in pain. Bring answers to those waiting for word. Comfort those who face the shock of sudden loss of a loved one. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy. Amen.

ACFW Book of the Year Finalist


Great news!
The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House, 2006) is a finalist in the "Lit" category for the American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year award. Placements will be announced at the annual conference in Dallas the end of September.

As academy nominees are fond of saying, "It's an honor to be nominated!" It truly is. This organization is an amazing collection of Christian fiction writers in all genres who are deeply committed to quality craft in writing. I'm so happy for this dear story, and red-caped Becky who is so special to me!

The Secret Life of Becky Miller

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fantasy Fiction Tour Day Ten (July 18, 2007)

I've visited New York a few times over the years, and always find rain on the city streets romantic. Walking from a neighborhood restaurant to the mission after breakfast, I was tempted to burst into a lamp-post leaping version of "Singin' in the Rain."

Christopher, Jennifer, and I thanked our terrific hosts and headed to Manhattan for our last book signing, where we'd meet up with Wayne and Bryan and their daughters.

My emotions were a piece of fabric stretched between eagerness to get home after two weeks away, and melancholy at the completion of what had been an amazing tour. A visit from an "uptown girl" who has read all my books kept me joyful, and the warm wonderful staff also filled me with gratitude. We had the added excitement of learning about Wayne's great coverage in the Washington Post, and his invitation to do a television interview. But in spite of the whirl of conversations and interactions, suddenly, the time was up. Friends of Bryan graciously offered to drive me to LaGuardia so he and his daughter could start on his long drive home. Wayne stayed in NY for his upcoming interview. Christopher and Jennifer headed home - their arms itching to hold their babies again. Our goodbye was a quick shuffle of rearranging suitcases in the parking lot near the store, amid the chaos of NY traffic and the sound of horns and sirens.

I had several hours at the airport to sip tea and jot down thoughts, then more time on the runway after they let us board the plane, but then pulled us over. Thunderstorms had caused plenty of delays. But finally, I was in the air, marveling at the adventure of the past weeks.

Each conversation was precious. Each new friendship was a treasure. I haven't blogged about some of those specifics out of respect for people's privacy, but those one-on-one encounters were the truest blessing of the trip.

We authors hoped to support our publishers, encourage book sellers, build our readerships, and draw attention to the genre of fantasy fiction written by Christian authors. But more than those goals, we wanted to serve Christ in any way we could along the road, and be open to any ways He might choose to use us. I pray that He continues to bring fruit from our tour, and also from each author's books. Thank you to EVERYONE who prayed, who came out to events, who followed the tour from a distance, and who cheered us on. Your support is a precious gift that has fueled all of us.