Monday, March 24, 2008

Merry Easter

The view in Minnesota this Easter made me think of Christmas. But Isaiah summed up the power of the resurrection of Christ in his prophecy, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow."

So perhaps a snowstorm is a good way to remember how Christ's death and resurrection have overlaid my old nature with the beautiful purity of His redemption.

Maybe I'll go outside and make a few snow angels to commemorate the angels at the tomb and their joyful proclamation. :-)
His, Sharon

P.S. - Congratulations to Barbara H. who won the drawing for Camy's new book (see post below). And congratulations to me because I figured out how to use a random number generator instead of writing all the names on scraps of paper for the drawing. :-)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Worth Doing


Interview at TitleTrakk

"There is always the doubt that whispers, 'It's a waste of time.' But art is precious. Obedience is precious. When God calls you to do something it is worth doing."


The quote comes from an answer to some great questions I was asked in an interview at TitleTrakk. You can read more here - and be sure to explore the TitleTrakk site. It's packed with great info about books, music, and movies.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Visit from Camy Tang

Camy and I have been critique buddies and writing pals since we met at Mount Hermon long before either of us were published. This photo shows us celebrating at Camy's amazing book signing at ICRS in Atlanta. It's my pleasure to welcome her today as she celebrates the release of her latest novel, Only Uni. And be sure to read to the end for info on a free book!

Here's Camy:

"Some of you may be surprised to hear it, but I am not a very tractable person. I can be downright stubborn (gasp!) at times. Therefore, because I am an ornery old coot, God is always asking me to do what I don’t want to do, to force me to get over myself and obey Him. (And who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?)

This theme of daily surrender to God has permeated my life, so naturally it permeates my books, too. In SUSHI FOR ONE, Lex had to surrender her own plans for herself to God and accept His will for her. In ONLY UNI, Trish has to surrender all of herself—her faults, her mistakes—in order to fully walk with Christ. And maybe like herself a little better in the process.

Both are things I’ve struggled with in the past, and continue to struggle with. Trish has a really hard time accepting who she is, how God made her, and how to like herself. I’ve struggled with the same things.


Just this past weekend, I went to a family gathering where there were lots of skinny, petite Asian girls (and young, to boot!), and I had to once again war inside myself with my self-esteem.
I have such a hard time accepting myself for who God made me. I’m always comparing myself with others and wishing I were “better” or “different.”

Trish is a little different from me in that she has a better handle on who she is and accepting herself better than I do. But we both struggle with wondering if we need to do more, be more, in order for God to love us. The truth is that God loves us and is there for us no matter what we do. Even when we feel awful because we’ve done something to disappoint him, He still loves us. That’s the bottom line. Satan likes to make us forget that. So I hope you read Trish’s story and get a bit of encouragement and hope amidst all the funny stuff that happens to her. I think she’s a fun character, but she’s dear to my heart, too." --Camy Tang

Camy Tang is the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.

BONUS: Leave a comment about an area you are learning to surrender to God (with a working email where I can follow up) - and you will be entered in a drawing for a FREE COPY of ONLY UNI!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Audie Finalist - Listen to This!

Renovating Becky Miller (the audiobook) was just named a finalist in the Audie awards in the Inspirational/Faith-Based Fiction category! Woo hoo!

Other finalists include Ever After by Karen Kingsbury, Not Easily Broken by T.D. Jakes, The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford, and River Rising by fellow Bethany author Athol Dickson.

The Audies®
is sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA) and is the only awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audio books and spoken word entertainment. Through The Audies® awards competition, publishers are able to enter titles in various genres for recognition as the premier titles. Finalists are selected for each category and from each group of finalist one winner is awarded. Finalists are showcased to the industry-at-large on the APA website, press releases and in association materials.

You can listen to a sample of the Renovating Becky Miller audiobook here.

You'll get a good sense of the talented narrator. Your local library might carry the audiobook (or may order it, if you request it). It's a GREAT listen for carpooling moms. :-)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sample a Chapter - Symphony of Secrets

Just a quick note - Symphony of Secrets is being featured this week at "You've Got Books" - an online service sponsored by Christian Author's Network. You can sample the first chapter by clicking here.
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I love the weeks after a book releases when I begin to hear from people that identified with themes in the story. When I hear that something rang true, all the work feels that much more meaningful. Two of my Bethany House editors have said this is their favorite of all my books - but I wondered what other readers would think. You can click on any of the links below for some fun thoughts on the book.

Virginia Smith wrote, "Symphony of Secrets is a quick read, not because it’s light on content, but because the writing and the story pull you in so effectively you don’t want to put it down." For more of her thoughts visit Virginia Smith's Book Reviews.

Violet Nesdoly said, "In Symphony of Secrets Hinck is, as in earlier books, in fine and funny form. Full of clever comparisons and savvy humor, her writing is always a pleasure to read." Read her in-depth review Blog Critics.

Cara Putman shared, "This book is written with a light touch that often had me laughing out loud as I read it. Amy sees more what ifs in a situation than anybody I know!" in her review at The Law, Books, and Life.

At Radiant Lit, Jill Hart said, "Mom-lit and music lovers everywhere will want to make sure to grab a copy and prepare to be entertained."

BookHaunts Book Reviews has great feedback by Ane Mulligan who wrote, "I enjoyed every page of this book! Hinck employs wit and angst as you follow Amy, a musical geek trying to fulfill her dreams."

Number one Amazon Reviewer, Harriet Kausner said, "Combining music with an amateur sleuth investigation and a light welcoming inspirational religious touch, readers will want to attend the symphony."

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Visit from Robin Lee Hatcher

THE PERFECT LIFE
by Robin Lee Hatcher

Katherine Clarkson has the perfect life. Married to Brad, a loving and handsome man, respected in their church and the community. Two grown daughters on the verge of starting families of their own. A thriving ministry. Good friends. A comfortable life.

She has it all—until the day a reporter appears with shocking allegations. Splashed across the local news are accusations of Brad's financial impropriety at his foundation and worse, of an affair with a former employee. Without warning, Katherine's marriage is shattered and her family torn apart. The reassuring words she's spoken to many brokenhearted women over the years offer little comfort now.

Her world spinning, Katherine wonders if she can find the truth in the chaos that consumes her. How can she survive the loss of the perfect life?

**************

An interview with Robin

Question: Where do you get the ideas for your stories and what has been your greatest inspiration?

Answer: Ideas come from all kinds of places – from dreams, from bit of news on the television, from conversations overheard in restaurants. Sometimes I’m conscious of the exact moment an idea for a novel began. But for most my novels, the ideas seem to creep up on me. The Perfect Life was more the latter. One day I simply recognized I had the premise for a story rolling around in my head, then I began brainstorming the bigger picture and eventually the novel was born.

Some of my novels have come from deep personal experiences. Because God has walked me through dark places and brought me out on the other side, I want to share with others the grace He has shown me. Since I am a novelist, fiction is the main way I can do that. And naturally, the faith element of my novels comes out of my own faith experiences, from lessons God has taught me or is teaching me. Sometimes I’m looking for answers right along with the characters of my books, so writing is a form of discovery for me.

Question: How does it make you feel to see your books, not only in print but on the shelves of stores?

Answer: I can honestly say it was every bit as exciting when I held The Perfect Life, my 56th book, as it was when I held my very first novel (1984). Every novel is a story from my heart, and I pray that each one will bring readers both enjoyment and new understanding. To see it come to fruition is an amazing thing.

Question: Do you have a favorite of all the books you have written so far? Why is it your favorite?

Answer: I don’t have one favorite book, but some of my books are special to me for different reasons. For instance, I love Ribbon of Years because my protagonist, Miriam, is the kind of Christian I hope to be at the end of my life. I love The Shepherd’s Voice because God taught me that He can and will do amazing things with what I offer to Him, even when it is so imperfect. I love Beyond the Shadows because I long to let Christians who love alcoholics know that they are not alone and that there is always hope in Christ. I love Catching Katie because Katie was such a fun character and the research was fascinating. I love The Forgiving Hour because God poured that story into my heart and many of the scenes came straight out of my own life (albeit the experiences came more than 25 years before I wrote the book). I love The Perfect Life because I understand Katherine’s perfectionist tendencies and her need to control the chaos. And I always love the next book I plan to write because there is still hope that it will completely fulfill the vision I have for it.

**************************
About Robin

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 55 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What Can I Give?

If you subscribe to Christian Research Journal, be sure to read the News Watch section in this month's issue. In an interview with Douglas LeBlanc, The Restorer is discussed, and my thoughts on my readership, Christian fiction, and our art not needing to be reactive (either by riding on coattails of fads or by creating art in opposition to what others are doing). I remember feeling intimidated doing the interview, because it's been many years since grad school and I wondered if I had anything to add to the discussion with the intellectual level that the journal merits. But the reporter was very gracious in his choice of quotes so I don't sound as ditzy as I thought I did.

AND one more fun visit. My podcast interview with Jill Hart of Christian Work at Home Moms is now up. We had a chat full of giggles, insights, and fun, and you can hear all about the secrets behind the new release, Symphony of Secrets, if you stop by to listen.

Blessings!
Sharon

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Featured - Novel Inspirations & FIRST Day



I'm honored to be featured all March at the website, "Novel Inspirations."
Follow this link for an interview about The Restorer's Journey, a review, and a chance to win a free copy of the book. If you have time, be sure to explore the other pages of the Novel Inspirations website. I enjoyed reading the home page and what Lacy Williams shared about her first forays into "spec fic."



The Restorer's Journey is also being featured by the FIRST Day Blog Tour, and you can visit various bloggers who are posting the first chapter and highlighting the book. I'm so grateful they are helping spread the word about this new release. A great way to thank them for their volunteer efforts is to visit their blogs and leave a comment.

Happy March, everyone!
His,
Sharon

A Visit from Deb Raney

Leaving November is the second novel in the Clayburn Novels series from Howard/Simon & Schuster.

Daughter of the town drunk, Vienne Kenney has escaped Clayburn for law school in California. But after failing the bar exam—twice—she’s back home with her tail between her legs, managing Latte-dah, the Clayburn cafĂ© turned upscale coffee shop. Jackson Linder runs the art gallery across the street and Vienne has had her eye on him since she was a skinny seventh grader and he was the hunky high school lifeguard who didn’t know she existed. Now it’s his turn to fall for her and suddenly Clayburn seems like a pretty nice place to be...until Vienne discovers that Jack is fresh out of rehab and still struggling with the same addiction that ultimately killed her father.


DEBORAH RANEY is at work on her seventeenth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award and Silver Angel from Excellence in Media. Deborah's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Deb serves on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have four children and enjoy small-town life in Kansas. Visit Deb on the web at www.deborahraney.com.

Q&A

Q. What was your inspiration for Leaving November?

A. When I was writing the first book in the series, Remember to Forget, Jackson Linder, a secondary character in the book, really intrigued me. Jack has struggled with something that is my greatest fear: being responsible for the death of another person. I wanted to explore how someone in his shoes could find forgiveness, redemption, and even happiness.


Q. What are you working on now?

A. I've just finished the first draft for the third book in the Clayburn series, Yesterday’s Embers. I have a new contract for another three-book series, and a couple of stand-alone novels to write, but there are other characters from the Clayburn novels begging to have their stories told! I don’t know if I’ll get to write any more Clayburn books, but I’ve loved my time in this little fictional Kansas town!

Q. What do you enjoy most about writing? Least?

A. Most: Having written! Because that means I’m getting reader feedback on my novel—the reward for all the hours of solitude! I also love that I get to be at home and make my own hours.
Least: First-drafting! I love rewriting—taking my editors’ comments and applying them to make my book the best it can be. But the blank page terrifies me! For me, it’s far easier to fix a horrible manuscript than to try to come up with something out of thin air.


Q. What do you do when you're not reading or writing?

A. I love working in the beautiful garden my husband, Ken, designed in our back yard and I love decorating our home. It’s such fun to comb antique shops and flea markets for a great object from the past that I can use on my desk or in my kitchen, or a great piece of furniture to paint or refinish. I’m not much for pretty stuff just for the sake of having it on display, but I love “repurposing” antiques—like the old chamber pot I use for deadheading in the garden, or the antique bank mail sorter that serves as my filing “cabinet.”

As much as I enjoy my career, I’ve always believed that my most precious calling is wife to Ken, my husband of 33 years; mom to four great kids; and now mom-in-law, and “Mimi” to two darling little grandsons. In addition, I have some of the most amazing friends in the world, including a group of women who share my name. We affectionately call ourselves Club Deb. I think being in the solitary profession of writing helps you really appreciate the people you have eye-to-eye contact with!

Thanks for stopping by to tell us about your new book, Deb!