Monday, May 28, 2007

Visit from Tamera Alexander

Today, I'd like to celebrate with a fellow Bethany House author as her new book releases.

Though loss is often marked in a single moment, letting go of someone you love can take a lifetime...
The threat of war—and a final request—send Véronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood—her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Véronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.
His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans... and his life.

A few questions:

Q: Hi, Tammy! Thanks for visiting today.
Do you consider writing a calling or more of a season of your life for right now?

A: I’ve have to say a bit of both. I’m certain God invited me to write fiction for now and yet I’m not certain how long he plans for me to do that. Right now I’m contracted for three more books with Bethany House (another historical series) but who knows beyond that. One thing I’ve learned in my walk with God is that there’s nothing better than being centered in the middle of his will for my life—whatever that brings—and nothing more miserable than being outside of it.

Q: What do you do when you find yourself overwhelmed with all the stuff that goes along with publishing?

A: I have a background in marketing and management so I actually love the business side of writing. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t get overwhelmed. I most certainly do at times. Learning to say no to ‘really good things’ has been freeing, although not without an occasional twinge guilt.

I’ve led women’s ministry for the past fifteen years but recently stepped down. My juggling skills just aren’t what they used to be and my writing time was suffering. My last book was turned in horribly late and that about killed me. It wounded my pride, which in the long run, was a very good thing personally (sure didn’t feel good though). I’ve always “prided myself” on being on time, on having everything organized and “slotted.” I don’t think God wants me to take pride in myself about anything, so that was a good lesson for me.

Writing this last book also came during a time when I had some personal challenges, and I hit the wall creatively speaking. Wasn’t pretty. But God brought me through it. His faithfulness constantly amazes me. He’s so lavish with his grace! My editors at Bethany were wonderful and understanding about the delay (and I kept them abreast of my progress each step of the way so that it wasn’t a surprise to them—HUGELY important to do if you’re ever going to be late).

Q: Do you have a life verse or a mission statement that guides your writing? If so, will you share it with us?

A: A verse that God is etching on my heart these days is found in II Corinthians 4:7 – But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

God has given us this treasure—a relationship with him, a promise of an eternity with him—in jars of clay, in broken, marred vessels in order to show that the transcendent power comes from him. It may flow through us, praise his name!, but it originates in the heart of the Giver. Not in the one gifted.

Our gifts, however imperfect and weak, are given to reflect his glory and are made “perfect” when we give ourselves and those gifts over to him. There’s no end to what God can do with someone who makes themselves totally available to him—something that’s easier written than done.

Sharon adds: I LOVE that verse. It's been my theme verse, as well. I do believe God calls us to be available and authentic (instead of shiny and perfect in our own strength or power). Thanks again for sharing, and blessings as your new book releases!

Author bio:
TAMERA ALEXANDER is the bestselling author of Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered, the three-part Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Rekindled, a CBA bestseller, has won critical acclaim and was chosen as one of Library Journal's Top 5 Picks for Christian Fiction 2006. Rekindled and Revealed triple-finaled in the 2007 RITA® Awards sponsored by Romance Writers of America-Rekindled and Revealed for Best Inspirational Novel, and Rekindled for Best First Novel.

Tamera frequently speaks to women's groups, sings on the praise team, enjoys mentoring other writers, and also served as the conference coordinator for the 2004 American Christian Romance Writers National Conference in Denver, Colorado. She and her husband, Joe Alexander, make their home in Colorado with their two college-age children, and a seven-pound Silky named Jack. Tamera is currently working on her fourth novel, part of another three-book historical series with Bethany House which is set in the Colorado Territory.
Visit Tamera’s website at
And her blog at

Friday, May 25, 2007

Uncle Roland

The photo shows Uncle Roland after he was the first to ride the zipline at the high-ropes course at a family reunion a few summers ago. In his eighties, he continued to scuba dive all over the world, including cave diving. A sparkle-eyed man of great spirit.

He went to heaven yesterday. A cousin said,"It was so
hard to watch, I can't begin to tell you. He fought so hard and so
long, but when he finally died I know he burst into heaven."

Oh, Lord, may we all burst into heaven when it is our time. May we charge forward to embrace you with joy and fulfillment.

And Lord, help me also burst into life each day with the same passion as Uncle Roland did.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Hebrews 12:1-2a

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

24: A Wedding. A Funeral. A Graduation.

Jack Bauer isn't the only one who has intense 24 hour days.

Saturday afternoon, one of my daughter's friends was married. I started crying even BEFORE the processional (my daughter was a bridesmaid). The couple had chosen an international theme, and the guests were dressed in costumes representing nations from around the world. They are Bible translators and plan to give their lives to service internationally, as well as in love to each other. Their service was a celebration of God's love to every nation.

Young cousins sang "In Christ Alone" - and the words vibrated in my bones. "No guilt in life, no fear in death--This is the power of Christ in me; From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny."

Especially poignant because my next stop was a funeral.

The news of this friend's death had been a surprise. She often came to my rubber-stamping workshops, and made oodles of handmade cards that blessed others. I had first met her at the young mom's Bible study at our church. Her laughter and warmth lifted me often. She had asked that instead of a funeral service, our church celebrate Jesus with a powerful time of worship. "Thy Strong Word Did Cleave the Darkness," we sang. And God met us in our sadness.

After quick hugs, we hit the road for the four-hour drive to Sioux Falls, checked in to a motel, and tumbled into bed. The next morning we joined hundreds of other families for the Baccalaureate Service of the Augustana College graduates (including our daughter). A wonderful sermon spoke of how we all live in the place between. The place of wanting to stay and wanting to go. (Although I think there should be a law against speakers at graduations talking about "only moments ago, you brought them to their first day of kindergarten." Yep. More tears. Ted just sighed and handed me more Kleenex from his jacket pocket).

Amazing how all those themes blended in my heart. Love and commitment. Going forth. Graduating to heaven. Graduating from college. The next step. And how all the steps are protected, nurtured, and accompanied by Christ Himself - because He loves us that much.

A short time ago, I blogged about how brief and fragile life is, in a post called Lilac Day. My 24 hours of commemorating milestones of all sorts reminded me that change is scary. A marriage commitment, the step from this world to the next, the launching into the world after college. Yet none of those changes needs to hold terror for us, since we aren't moving forward alone.

In the words of the hymn (by Suart Townend and Keith Getty, copyright 2001)

"In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all--
Here in the love of Christ I stand."

Sharon Hinck

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Visit from Marlo Schalesky

A Raging Firestorm . . .
A Light in the Hills . . .
And a Mystery Rises from the Ash.

In 1894, the worst firestorm in Minnesota history descends on the town of Hinckley. Heat, flame, and darkness sweep through the town, devouring lives, destroying hope. In the aftermath, the town rises from the ashes, its people determined to rebuild their lives.
But in the shadows, someone is watching. Someone is waiting. Someone who knows the secrets that can free them all. A rumor begins of a hermit in the hills - a person severely burned, disfigured beyond recognition. Doubts rise. Fear whispers. Is the hermit a monster or a memory? An enemy or a love once-lost?
Based on historical events, Veil of Fire beckons to a time when hope rose from the smoke of sacrifice, when trust hid behind a veil of fear, when dreams were robed in a mantle of fire . . .

Q: Marlo, I'm a native Minnesotan, so I've heard of the Hinckley fire. But where did you birth the idea for this book? When? How did it come about?

A: People often ask where I get my ideas for my books. My answer? You never know! For Veil of Fire, the idea was birthed at my favorite Mexican restaurant in the mission town of San Juan Bautista. There I was, sitting with my family, nibbling chips and salsa, when a wedding party came by. The bridesmaids were dressed in beautiful turn-of-the-century style gowns. As they passed, my mother-in-law began to tell me of the dresses that her great grandmother, who lived in Hinckley, used to sew for the rich ladies in Minneapolis and St. Paul. From there, came the story of the great Hinckley fire and the rebuilding that this woman, my husband’s great-great-grandmother, was a part of. And finally, I heard the tale of the mystery figure in the hills, a person burned beyond recognition. A person never identified, living as a hermit until one day he just disappeared.

At that moment, the first inklings of the story that would become Veil of Fire were born in my heart. Who was the hermit in the hills? What happened to him? And how would I solve the mystery if I could? As I pondered those questions, I knew that I had to write the hermit’s story. Had to explore what it would be like to lose everything, even your identity. Had to hear the hermit’s voice in my mind, and hear the story for myself.

So, the writing of the book became for me a process of discovery, as I hope it will be for my readers. I hope that as the mystery of the hermit drew me, so too it will draw others to this story of how fire can change you, take from you, and in the end, may just set you free.

What Others are Saying about Veil of Fire:
Reading Veil of Fire is like feasting on a banquet of rich words and vivid images.
─Tricia Goyer, award-winning author of five novels, including A Valley of Betrayal

Moving. Heartbreaking. Compelling. This beautiful, sensitive story of pain, loss, and, ultimately, healing touched the deepest parts of my heart.
─Laura Jensen Walker, author of Miss Invisible and Reconstructing Natalie

A truly gifted storyteller, Marlo Schalesky has woven a beautiful tale that confronts readers with truth and the character of God. Her lyrical style and deep characterization will transport you into a story populated with unforgettable characters.
─Judith Miller, author of the Bells of Lowell, Lights of Lowell, and Freedom’s Path series

Veil of Fire is a lovely, well-crafted story of love and loss, redemption and restoration. Marlo Schalesky has written an original, unpredictable story that will stay with me for a long, long time.
─Annette Smith, author of A Bigger Life

For more information, a preview of the entire first chapter, and discussion questions for groups, please visit

Veil of Fire may be purchased at amazon or at your local bookstore.

Thanks for stopping by, Marlo. Blessings on your new book!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

English Tea

A few weeks ago, I was bid on in a fund-raising auction. (An English Tea with an author). I expected the winning bid to be about twenty-seven cents, but instead went for a ridiculously high amount. I'm pretty sure the tea was the big draw. Not to mention the delectable scones, sandwiches, and other desserts (many baked by Emily - thank you!)

What an amazing evening! This lovely group of women do a Wednesday Bible study together, and also read and discuss a wide variety of books (from Bonhoeffer to Gilead to Left Behind to Blue Like Jazz). We met at the home of Sharolyn - who has a tremendous gift of hospitality AND a basement decorated as an English pub with authentic signs, bar, and wonderful art collected over many years. I could imagine Tolkien and Lewis meeting there for a pint and a chat.

Their warmth, intelligence, interest, terrific questions, and delicious laughter were a tremendous gift after many weeks of hard rewriting work alone in my office.
Thank you, dear ones! You blessed my socks off!


Monday, May 07, 2007

I'm Feeling Popular

Okay, I've been tagged to play "8 Random Things" by three friends in the last few days: My delightful Aussie friend Jane (aka Rel), the 251 year-old Heather (hey, that's what her blogger profile says!) and the sweet ex-Minnesotan, Sooz.

So I'm relenting and posting the 8 random things

First, these are the rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

My eight random facts:

I once rappelled down the outside of a five-story building.

I love listening to director’s commentaries on DVDs more than watching the actual movie.

I fell in love with my husband Ted when he threw seaweed at me during a class picnic when I was fourteen.

In sixth grade my career goal was to be a secret agent.

My favorite childhood television shows were Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission Impossible, and Mod Squad.

I once performed a tap-danced interpretation of the Carl Sandburg poem, “Lines Written for Gene Kelly to Dance To.”

While Ted and I were in grad school, our car was shot (we weren’t in it at the time).

During the rehearsal for an outdoor production of West Side Story that I was choreographing, the police barreled into the parking lot responding to a call from neighbors that gangs were fighting. I told the dancers to drop their chains and knives and start singing.

Now, whom to tag?
Chawna, Cheryl, April, Jill, Alison,Heather,Deena, and Julie. Come on everyone! Share those random facts. :-)

Bookmark Update - Please Read!

Last week I posted an offer for the beautiful art-cover bookmarks of The Restorer and asked you to email me through my website if you wanted some.

Well, there was an error at my website host, and NO emails that were sent through my contact page came through. My awesome web designer is on the case and redesigning my "contact sharon" page. But in the meantime, if you'd like bookmarks, please email me directly (inserting the email symbol)
sharon at

Let me know your snail mail address and how many bookmarks you'd like (from a dozen on up). :-)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Visit from Rachel Hauck

Today I'm welcoming Rachel to my blog to share about her latest novel. I've gotten to know her through blogging at Faithchicks, where her authentic and insightful posts have blessed me on many a tough day.

Here's info on Diva NashVegas:

For the past decade, Aubrey James has ruled the charts as the queen of country soul. She rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parent’s death – Gospel music pioneers Ray and Myra James. While her public life, high profile romances and fights with Music Row execs writes juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey’s is a media mystery.

When a close friend and former band member betrays Aubrey by selling an exclusive story about the Diva to a tabloid, Aubrey knows she must go public with her own story.

Inside NashVegas sports anchor, Scott Vaughn, is not prepared for the assignment of interviewing a country super star. Especially not one he dated, then abandoned. Yet, his boss leaves him no choice. His career and the future of Inside NashVegas depends on the success of this interview.

When Scott shows up at her home for the first session, Aubrey threatens to back out of the deal. But, it’s too late. Instead, she bravely opens her heart as Scott probes into her life and discovers a future of faith, hope and love by letting God heal her past.

Q: Rachel, what do you want readers to take away from the book?

A: First, a great read. I hope they can be transported into Aubrey James’s world. Next, a message that life isn’t always fair, but we have the power of choice in our response. God is always there for us, even when we don’t feel He is.

Diva NashVegas was difficult to write. I had a few crisis, but when I finally submitted it to my editor, I wrote in my email, “I love Aubrey James.” She really came to life for me in the end.

My editor loved her, too. I’m confident she’ll capture readers.

Q: What is your writing day like?

A: It varies, but I try to settle down from my morning routine by noon and focus on writing. Some days it’s earlier, and some later. If I’m approaching a deadline date, I completely clear my schedule and work twelve hours a day or more.

Email is my weakness. I’ve modified the Lord’s prayer some for writers: “give us this day, our daily word count, and delivers us from email.”

Seriously, I’m like an email junky. Half the time no one emails me, I just have to check and see. Secretly, I’m hoping a Broadway or Hollywood producer will email me wanting to make a movie or play out of one of my books.

About Rachel:

Rachel Hauck lives in sunny central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. They have two ornery pets. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and a huge Buckeyes football fan. Rachel serves the writing community as Past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Advisory Board. Visit her blog and web site at

Leave a comment on her blog and be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks or Barns & Noble. Two names will be drawn.

Rachel, thanks for stopping by!
I know my blog readers have enjoyed meeting you.
Sharon Hinck

Friday, May 04, 2007

My Visit to Deenas Books

I had the privilege of doing an interview with Deena at "A Peek At My Bookshelf," and she's featuring The Restorer over at her blog. Please stop by, and especially check out the very last endorsement she listed at the end of the article. :-) Made me giggle all night.
  • A Peek at My Bookshelf
  • Thursday, May 03, 2007


    In preparation for The Restorer's release, I decided I needed a bookmark that was more than just a bit of advertising, but was a true work of art, in keeping with the beautiful cover of the book. I hired
    Dineen Miller
    to design it using elements of the cover art.

    (She is amazing, by the way! If anyone needs design work done, be sure to contact her!)

    With the gracious permission of the artist who created the sword, the gifted cover designer, and the art team at my publishers, she put together an amazing design. (You can glimpse the front and back of the bookmark in the photo).

    Now here's the fun part.
    I'm happy to send you one of these gorgeous bookmarks. But I'm asking for a favor. If you email me with your address and request a bookmark, can I please send you a dozen of them? And would you agree to share them with folks who might enjoy this book? This may include fans of general contemporary fiction, Christian fiction, women's fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction, adults and even teens. It might be friends from church, book clubs, your local library, or your local bookstore. I think a humble grass-roots effort will do a lot to help people learn about this new novel.

    I need to save a certain number of the bookmarks for use at ICRS and on my east-coast tour with the Fantasy Four Fiction Authors in July, so this will be a first-come, first-served offer until I run out. :-)

    If you're interested, please email me through my website contact page (scroll down to the "leave Sharon a message box") and be sure to tell me your mailing address. If you'd like more than a dozen, just let me know that, as well! I'll get them out to you ASAP.

    Thanks so much for helping me get the word out about the first book in this exciting new series! Watch for my "The Hunt for the Restorer" contest which I'll post about at this blog on May 15th. :-)

    Sharon Hinck