Friday, November 30, 2007

Musical Influencers Sought

It's time for me to turn in my influencer list to my publisher for Symphony of Secrets. Influencers are sent a free copy of the book and asked to spread the word about it through their sphere of influence.

Because the heroine is a professional flutist, I'd love to find some music teachers, musicians, conductors, church music directors, or arts aficionados who are also readers and are also good at spreading the word.

Do you know anyone musical whom you could recommend? Could you ask them if they are interested and email me their address if they are? You can contact me through the Contact Sharon page of my website. If you lead a musical organization or know someone who does, please email me soon, since I have a limited number of open slots for the free books. :-)

This was an EXTREMELY fun book to write. I fell in love with Amy, a cranky single mom who banters with her teen daughter, is convinced she is a brilliant armchair detective, and is wooed toward God by the beauty of music.

Here's a blurb:
"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 cheerleading 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?"

Thanks for helping me find musical influencers!
Sharon Hinck

Monday, November 26, 2007

Becky Miller in Indonesia

Today a package arrived with books that looked vaguely familiar. It took me a minute to figure out what they were: the Indonesian-language edition of The Secret Life of Becky Miller.

The cover is remarkably similar. Instead of brown hair, Becky has black hair with a white streak (hmmm, a forecast of gray hair ahead?) a gray skirt instead of khaki capris, and purple high-heeled boots instead of white tennis shoes. The child clinging to the cape has orange hair instead of blonde. The title "Kisah Rahasia Sang Supermom" sounds intriguing. The overall look is more angular than the English-language version.

I giggled like a three-year old. God is so full of surprises. Who would have imagined my middle-American mom-lit could travel in my stead far across the globe? I certainly never dreamed of this when I was writing the story. I pray the book will bring laughter, hope, and truth to everyone who finds it.

Also in the Becky Miller vein, did anyone else watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition last night? It was the 100th episode, and the home they built was here in Minnesota. I mention it because my hubby and I love the show. If you, or someone you love, enjoys Extreme Makeover, consider getting them Renovating Becky Miller for Christmas. It's a novel that plunks Becky Miller into an Extreme Makeover situation, complete with deadlines, disasters, and the heartwarming power of people coming together with love.

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, November 21, 2007


One of the joys of hiking is to reach an overlook. After a few hours of climbing, suddenly you break out into an open space where you can fully appreciate the beauty of the wilderness area through which you've tromped. It's a place to stop, breathe deeply, and let the eyes soak in the expanse. Something expands in my rib cage when I stand on a rocky outcropping looking over treetops, lakes, and distant hills.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful overlook time. A time to stand still and take it all in. To turn slowly and appreciate the view in all directions. To feel awe again.

Instead of standing on the point of an overlook celebrating the beauty around me, I spend far too much time overlooking my blessings - missing them in the mire of tromping through another day of brambles and switchbacks.

Lord, forgive me for overlooking the treasures you've hidden in my ordinary days.
Create a heart of deep gratitude in me. Amen.

I woke up this morning thankful for my warm cozy comforter, for piano duets with my son, for my husband's strong arms around me as we snuggle on the couch, for my daughter's giggle, for the scent of lavender, and for a life full of amazing experiences.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving? Are you making mashed potatoes? Here's a favorite prayer tip I discovered 28 years ago when we began hosting Thanksgiving for my family:

Potato Prayers

As I peel potatoes, I pray for each person who is coming to dinner. (Usually two potatoes-worth per person). I thank God for that person, and pray for specific blessings in their life. It makes the potato peeling time fun, and helps me remember how much I love each person who will be gathered around the table.

Blessed Thanksgiving!
Please leave a comment about a few things you are thankful for!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Visit from Robin Lee Hatcher

Steeple Hill, November 2007

Hearts Evergreen

Just in time for the holidays, Robin Lee Hatcher has released a new Christmas romance.

In A Cloud Mountain Christmas (Robin's story in Hearts Evergreen, a collection of two novellas from Steeple Hill), Maddie Scott, reeling from the news that her ex-husband has remarried and is expecting a child, heads to Idaho's Cloud Mountain Lodge to negotiate the sale of a valuable manuscript discovered there. But could the lodge's proprietor, Tony Anderson, a man she knew years before in college, be just what Maddie needs to have a merry Christmas after all?

About Hearts Evergreen, the Library Journal says: "Two holiday novellas by a Christy Award winner (Hatcher) and a rising author in the inspirational romance genre (Springer) offer romantic fare perfect for curling up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate."

To read an excerpt from A Cloud Mountain Christmas, visit Robin's web site:


The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal. She enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Treats

Last week I promised to share a few of the nourishment-bringing ravens in my life (ala Elijah at Cherith Brook).

Of course there are the deep, spiritual sources. I was recently invited to be part of a small group that gather early once a week for intensive, focused prayer. No chit-chat, no personal-issue prayer, just deep intercession. Quiet and powerful time.

I've also been savoring my iPod Bible. I'm not much of an audio learner, but when I listen WHILE also reading and underlining, I stay focused and it's been a blessing.

But that leads me on to the less sacred-sounding treats. ;-)

I adore iTunes. Recently friends have recommended songs that speak to struggles I've been having. With a few clicks, I find the song, hear a snippet, listen to ten versions by ten different artists, and then for ninety-nine cents, download my favorite. Nothing will ever replace the beauty of a real flesh-and-blood friend sitting on my living room couch, strumming a guitar, and sharing a new song. Or take the place of music celebrated in a live performance with full orchestra and a huge audience. But I have to admit, I'm enjoying the iPod world.

Along those lines, I've fallen in love with NetFlix. I joined because I was doing research for a novel coming out next year and wanted to experience how the system works (it matters to a character - heh heh). WOW! It opened a world of new video treats to me. My friend Kelli recommended the new BBC series Robin Hood and my daughter and I became instant fans. I also discovered Monarch of the Glen and thoroughly enjoyed the early seasons of the production (love those Scottish accents, kilts, and amazing scenery). I finally got to watch cable shows I'd heard about (FireFly! Wow! and Battlestar Galactica!)

Like my recent enjoyment of Plant Tycoon (and then Fish Tycoon) I know I need to pace myself. Too much electronic entertainment can be soul-numbing instead of healing. But in moderate doses, these have been true treats.

Another soul-restorative for me has been provided by Adagio Teas.
I love great quality loose tea, and I brew it in a coffee maker that is ONLY used for tea (no bitter flavor-stain from the machine). My favorite recently is Irish Breakfast.

And what goes better with hot tea than chocolate? My recent treat - Milky Way Midnight. Yum.

I've also been loving my Lands End corduroy pants. SO soft and cuddly and completely comfortable. (My number one criteria for clothing is comfort).

So many life experiences to savor and be grateful for.

Then there is crunching through piles of leaves on a walk through the neighborhood, soaking in an almost-too-hot bath after a chilly day, a leisurely phone conversation with a friend who "gets it," the feel of a wood floor under my feet as I give myself a ballet barre and free tight muscles. Ah, the soothing pattern of tendu en croix. The calming progression from plie, to tendu, to degage to ron de jamb. The expansive develope and fondu and arabesque.

Sorry, got distracted there for a minute.

I approach pleasure (especially SEEKING pleasure) with a little Puritanical suspicion. But as I've accepted treats from God's hand, it has brought a little refreshing to my spirit. And maybe it will expand my ability to appreciate the true pleasure - the eternal pleasure - of knowing Him.

Psalm 16: 11
"You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

So what are some of your favorite treats? Foods, music, movies? Let me know!


Sharon Hinck
(For recent interviews and reviews on The Restorer's Son, click here.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Restorer's Son Reviews

I was delighted to learn that one of the major trade journals, Library Journal, reviewed Restorer's Son in their November issue and called it a "nice blend of CF [Christian Fiction] and fantasy."

I also received a fun review at Books, Movies, and Chinese Food.
Be sure and stop by and leave Deb a comment.

A list of other interviews and reviews for Restorer's Son is filed here.

I'm still getting emails from readers wondering when Restorer's Son will release. You can help spread the word that it IS out. If you've read the book and want to recommend it, post a brief review at,,, and other online sites. You can recommend it at Shoutlife, Myspace, Facebook, and at book sites such as GoodReads and Shelfari.

I hugely appreciate all the word-of-mouth that has been circulating about these unique stories.

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)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Visit from Creston Mapes

I met Creston last summer at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta. His new novel,


released in September by Multnomah.

I invited Creston to stop by to talk about how the book came about:

The story behind NOBODY is pretty cool. I was with my late father,
Bernie, at a park in St. Augustine, FL, when we saw a homeless man
sitting on a park bench, clutching a loaf of bread, tearing off
pieces, eating some and throwing chunks to the dozens of black birds
all around him. My dad noted that "he" would be a good subject for a
book. Then, when my publisher suggested Las Vegas as a backdrop, and a
research visit to that city, I set up a day with Brian Brooks of the
Nevada Health Centers, who took me all over the Vegas homeless
community. We visited free clinics, talked to doctors and nurses, went
to the soup kitchens and encampments where they "live." I also met
with Jud Wilhite, pastor of Vegas's booming Central Christian Church
(10,000-12,000). Jud shared a moving poem with me called I Stand By
The Door, which amazingly aligned with my spiritual walk of getting
too steeped in the church, and not concerned enough about the people
outside the doors of it.

Since I was a reporter at one time, my main character, Hudson Ambrose,
is a reporter for the Las Vegas Review Journal, the city's real paper,
which I visited when in Las Vegas. The book begins when Hud hears a
pre-dawn call on the police scanner at the newspaper about an injured
person at a bus stop along The Strip. When he arrives, he finds a
murdered homeless man. Waiting around for the police, Hud knows the
case will get tied up in red tape when they do arrive. He wants to get
an ID on the guy before the police come. He can hear the sirens
bearing down. Quickly, he searches the mans pockets and is shocked to
find a bank book with close to a million dollars in it. A safe deposit
box key drops into the puddle of blood at the man's feet. Hud's got a
decision to make.

And off we go into NOBODY, and Hudson Ambrose's

breakneck investigation into the life of the homeless man, Chester
Holte. Why was a former rich Atlanta business mogul living homeless on
the streets of Las Vegas? What happened after his wife died in their
private plane crash. Who was the beautiful Holly Queens and what was
her relationship with Chester? And why does virtually everyone in the
Las Vegas homeless community believe Chester was an angel in disguise?

Thanks for telling us about your latest book, Creston!
You can learn more at Creston's website.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Free copy of Restorer's Son!

Lovely author Amy Wallace is offering a free copy of Restorer's Son at her blog.

Stop by and read her fun post and leave a comment, and you'll have a chance to win. :-)

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, November 04, 2007


Recently, work pressures have squeezed creative joy right out of me. Not external pressures. As a recovering workaholic, I create self-imposed expectations and pressures. And the recent plunge into being a published author has stirred those unhealthy compulsions to always do "more" and "better" to the point of getting out of balance.

I love books on margins, simplicity, priorities, and Sabbath rest. Time to dust off my copies and implement some of the tools I've learned over the years.

So I've scheduled intentional times of rest, extra prayer, and longer times of Bible study during the past few weeks.

I've also been looking for little treats to enjoy.

The trouble is, when I get really burned out, I can't remember what little things bring me joy because I forget what simple pleasures feel like.

It's taken me some time, but I'm beginning to identify some treats, and thought I'd share them in case they might serve as restorative joys for you, too. :-)

As I tried to think of what I find "fun," I remembered some story-type computer games I discovered decades ago. I fell in love with computer games back when I learned to program simple games in Basic on my Vic-20 and later on my Commodore 64. So I went hunting for modern-day similar games and stumbled across a gardening simulation computer game called Plant Tycoon. I can't begin to describe how much fun I've had with this game. I tried the free download and loved it so much I bought the full game. Every spare moment, I've been cross-breeding plants, selling them in my virtual nursery, and enjoying the color graphics and soothing music of the game.

Somehow I've got it in my head that God is supposed to refresh me only through spiritual-feeling activities like prayer and worship. Or maybe long walks in the woods and high art like classical music. What a surprise to discover that He has met me (and sparked my creative energy) through a fun computer game. I love when He turns my expectation upside down. He has reminded me that we often create a false dichotomy between ordinary and sacred.

A friend recently told me to "watch for the ravens." When Elijah was exhausted and resting by the Cherith brook, God sent food to Him through the unlikely source of ravens. In the coming days, I'll share some more of the restoration He is sending me - and the unusual ravens He is using. :-)

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)

Visit to Stewartville

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day in Minnesota. I'd been invited to speak at a library a few hours south of my home, and so my hubby and I made a day of it. Along the way, we stopped at the Barnes and Noble in Rochester. I was delighted to find The Restorer on the shelves, and I met some of the store staff and signed their copies, and gave them plenty of bookmarks.

Then we had lunch and continued our drive south. At the Stewartville Library, I enjoyed meeting the lovely women from the community. I spoke, answered questions, and signed books. It was great to hear their enthusiasm for Christian fiction, and just being with them lifted my spirits.

After our time there, we stopped at a large Christian bookstore in Rochester, Christian Book and Gift Shop. It's a beautiful store, and the staff were warm and enthusiastic. I was thrilled to discover that they had all four of my books in stock on their generous wall of Christian fiction titles. Again, I signed their stock, thanked the staff for all they do, and left some bookmarks. The store has enough Christian fiction to divide it by genre - so I had two titles in the contemporary fiction area and two in the fantasy/allegory area. Seeing their many categories really brought home to me how much terrific variety is now available in Christian fiction.

Writing is so often a solitary profession, so I'm grateful for these sorts of days. Nothing is quite as encouraging as meeting a reader face to face and hearing how much they enjoyed a book. It was also fun to hear them praise other Christian authors they've read recently. Many of those were friends of mine. That had me beaming!

I've been "nose to the grindstone" on some revisions recently, so this was a refreshing break.