Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cherry Street Books - Sharon on the Road

Saturday, December 13, 2008, I'll be at
Cherry Street Books
503 Broadway
Alexandria, MN
from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

I'll be doing a "book talk" at 11:00 a.m., sharing about the writing journey and doing Q&A, then visiting and signing books the rest of the time.

Please come on out! It's a GREAT time to do a little Christmas shopping.

Sharon Hinck

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Visit from Eric Reinhold

Each week since the Motiv8 tour in early October, I've been highlighting one of the Christian authors of fantasy fiction that I toured with.

This week it's Eric's turn. Here's a photo of Eric and I signing our books for the staff at the TBN studios in Seattle, right before the taping of an interview.

Eric is the father of three who took the bedtime stories he told his children and developed them into the imaginative book, Ryann Watters and the King's Sword.

Eric is the president of a financial planning firm, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and an all-around cool guy. He had non-stop energy, carting in and setting up signs, unpacking boxes of books, loading up the van, and helping in every way. Be sure to visit his website to read about his
first book as well as the soon-to-be-released second book. He has book videos to watch, artwork to enjoy, and plenty to read at his site. And if you are looking for a Christmas gift for the "Tweeners" on your list, be sure to order a copy of Ryann Watters and the King's Sword!

Sharon Hinck

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Visit from Donita K. Paul

Last September, I was part of a huge Christian fiction author's book signing at the Mall of America.

The photo shows my friend Vicki Tiedi (on the left) who hosted the panel discussions in the Bloomingdale Rotunda. On the right of the photo is Donita. She and I did a panel on the genre of fantasy, and took questions from the crowd. It was so fun to share the stage with her, and we knew we'd have a good time together on the Motiv8 Tour, as well.

On the tour, she kindly looked out for me when I was under the weather. It was fun watching throngs of children surround her at our events, bringing her pictures they'd drawn or sculptures of dragons they had made for her.

One day while riding in the car with a pile of stuffed animals for give-aways, her friend Penny said, "Donita, there are dragons blocking my line of vision." Not a sentence you hear in normal daily conversations. Just one example of the fun and adventure that is part of Donita's life.

Be sure to visit her website and learn about her books.

Now, in honor of Thanksgiving approaching, Donita shares ten things she's thankful for:

1.Jesus (of course!)
2.Family and Friends
4.Business Associates—the WaterBrook Staff, the Alive Communications staff, especially my editors and my agent
5.American Christian Fiction Writers
6.The Internet social networks—Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkdIn
7.The Internet Read groups—GoodReads and Shelfari (Anytime I think everyone is watching Netflix and playing video games, I visit these reader spots and breathe a sigh of relief)
8.Living in USA
9.Finding my niche, professionally
10.The knowledge God has provided and still encourages me to pursue

Thanks, Donita! And blessings on all your upcoming projects!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Little Too Busy

Saturday I did a book signing at the Twin Cities Christian Community Fair. I had a ball meeting people, chatting, talking about books. I helped one fellow with info on where to find armor when he saw my sword on the table next to the Restorer books. And I got to visit with Susie May Warren whom I admire and always learn from. And I met the owners of ShoutLife and have a great chat with all they are doing to build the Christian online community. It was a fun event at the end of a string of events that have been spooling out since . . . well, probably July.

Preparing for the release of Stepping Into Sunlight, I began doing more speaking events, more store visits, more interviews, more teaching . . . so many events I had no time to update the events page of my website or blog about them all.

For someone who is a blend of extrovert/introvert like me, years of writing alone in my office take a toll, and I truly treasure the opportunities to spend time with real people instead of fictional characters. On the other hand, I always underestimate how much energy and time each event takes to prepare for and recover from. And how difficult it is to get back into the fictional world and actually WRITE during these too-busy stretches.

This Thursday I'm doing a workshop at the Minnesota Library conference, but that is the last in my long string of events. (Well, except for a December signing, some radio and blog interviews, and writing retreats that I host at my home . . . but those are spread out with plenty of open days between). I'm determined to be better about keeping margins in my life. I loved the book of that title (Margins) and have a whole library of books on simplicity, balance, rest. Yet somehow I've just gone through several months that got a little too busy.

It sneaks up on me. What about you? Are you a little too busy? Besides the problem of exhaustion, when I'm too busy plowing through my "to do" list, it's harder for me to hear God's gentle prompts to serve in an unexpected way that wasn't on my list. I'm not as patient with people who need me. I don't have time to NOTICE the needs of others, much less meet them.

Lord, teach us to order our days. And thank you for today. If it's okay with You, I'll start my tasks--but I'm listening for You to steer me if there are new directions where You want me to go. Amen.


Monday, November 17, 2008

A Visit from Christopher Hopper

I've always loved books. Growing up, authors were mysterious and amazing gifts to my little world. So once I became a novelist, one of my favorite perks was the opportunity to get to know other authors and spend time with them.

Each week I'm sharing a little about one of the authors from the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour. I toured with these authors from October 3-12, 2008, all over the West Coast. You get to know a lot about an author when they get up at 4:00 a.m. to hit the road for another long day of events, or you see them sit beside a child in an oncology unit to share a book, or you teach an English class side-by-side with them. I hope whatever genres you read, you'll enjoy hearing about the HEART of each of these authors.

Today I'm giving a shout out to Christopher Hopper. I got to know him on the first tour, and marveled at his ability to meet new people in the aisles of stores and within minutes be sharing God's love with them. He has a passion for worship, for youth (he's a youth pastor) and for making his life count. When I was a teen, I was blessed by a radio ministry and Christian community in upstate New York who were excited about using all the arts in worship and outreach. We discovered that he grew up in that community--which made us feel like spiritual siblings (a generation apart) :-)

If you haven't yet discovered his books, be sure to look for his White Lion Chronicles. You can learn about that at his website.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christian Community Fair Signing

For anyone in the Twin Cities, MN area, I'll be at the Christian Community Fair
at RiverCentre in St. Paul on Saturday November 15th, 2008.
Sounds like a fun event, and admission is free!

I'll be signing books at the Northwestern Bookstore booth from 2-4 p.m.

Please stop by to chat! I'd love to see you!

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I own the music book from Bambi, which includes the song "Everything is Twitterpated in the Spring."

I'm humming it this morning, because I'm feeling twitterpated.

I follow quite a few blogs, especially those related to the Christian publishing industry, writing craft, or lives of friends. My hubby tends to avoid blogs. But there is one he really enjoys: Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

He'll often mention a topic that Michael blogged about.

So when my hubby said that Michael encouraged authors to Twitter, I finally stopped digging in my heels and signed up. I enjoy Facebook, and try to stop by ShoutLife from time to time. I've recently blogged about my decision to continue "half-baked blogging." So why yet another internet "connection tool"?

I'm not entirely sure. I like that I could connect my Twitter with my Facebook. (I also am figuring out how to upload my blog posts to Facebook.) And Twitter forces me to be brief (a useful skill I still haven't mastered). And PERHAPS Twitter will be a bit more immediate and helpful if I'm doing an event and want to let friends know about it, or if I plan to run a contest at my website. We'll see.

So, if you are also twitterpated, you are welcome to "follow" me . . . (my oh-so-creative code name at Twitter is SharonHinck) although I have no idea where I'm going. I may yet decide to swing back toward my Luddite tendencies and unplug everything. But for now, Twitter is another part of the world of cyber-connection I'm willing to explore. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sharon Hinck


As an author, I deeply appreciate sites that showcase art depicting themes of faith. Movies and music seem to get a lot of "air time" but when a site includes novels alongside other forms of art and entertainment, that site gets cyber-hugs from me!

TitleTrakk is a fun site that has posted reviews of several of my books, as well as an in-depth interview.

TitleTrakk also has frequent contests, fun features, and enough content to keep you happily exploring for hours.

They are currently running a terrific contest - so pop over there to enter!


Monday, November 10, 2008

A Special Visit with the Motiv8 Authors

This week, my cohorts from the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour (October 2008) are blogging about me. I hope you'll have time to visit their blogs and leave comments. It's great fun!

Bryan Davis
Donita K. Paul
Eric Reinhold

have their posts up already, (with some great questions or inside info you don't want to miss - hee hee!) and I'll let you know as others appear.

But Wayne Batson's blog is extra special.

He's featuring an in-depth discussion that we hope will offer help for the hurting. It's a lengthy post - and more about life than about our books. So pour a cup of tea, put your feet up, and click on over to Wayne's blog.

Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kind Words for Stepping Into Sunlight

I recently blogged about being okay with my half-baked blogging skills.

However, the casual approach doesn't extend to my work as a novelist. I've always had a passion for pursuing excellence in working at my art - whether that was in theatre, music, choreography, or writing.

Trying to capture an artistic vision sharpens the critical eye. That's good. It pushes me to keep working, honing, trying to get closer to conveying something with power and beauty.

The pursuit can also be discouraging, because I never quite reach it, and often grow hyper-critical and see my work falling far short of where I'd like it to be.

That's why I'm grateful when God sends encouraging words my way . . . when someone else applies their critical eye to the work and believes it captures something of value, and lets me know that. Today, a reviewer sent me this assessment of my new novel, Stepping Into Sunlight.

By the way, if you haven't yet picked up a copy, you can get one personalized and autographed by me at Signed by the Author.

Now, it's time for me to get back to work on studying, honing, reworking, doubting, and hoping.

Sharon Hinck

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Visit from L.B. Graham

I've always loved books. Growing up, authors were mysterious and amazing gifts to my little world. So once I became a novelist, one of my favorite perks was the opportunity to get to know other authors and spend time with them.

Each week for the next two months, I'll share a little about one of the authors from the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour. I toured with these authors from October 3-12, 2008, all over the West Coast. You get to know a lot about an author when they get up at 4:00 a.m. to hit the road for another long day of events, or you see them sit beside a child in an oncology unit to share a book, or you teach an English class side-by-side with them. I hope whatever genres you read, you'll enjoy hearing about the HEART of each of these authors.

As we prepared for the Motiv8 tour, I was delighted that L.B. Graham was joining the tour. His primary target readership (like mine) is adults. Critics have compared his epic five-book series to Tolkien - a true traditional high fantasy.

What impressed me about L.B. as I got to know him on the tour, was his humble brilliance. We co-taught a high-school class at one of the venues, and his ability to answer questions, draw in examples from classic literature, and EDUCATE blew me away. When he spoke at events, his love for Christ always shone. Yet he was also gracious about taking a back seat (literally - that van was crowded!), and serving in any way that was needed. He was particularly kind to me at one point on the tour that I was feeling pretty yucky physically - in reminding me that if I had to leave the tour and fly home, no one would think less of me. Those compassionate words made a huge difference to me on a rough day.

It was also fun to discover that L.B.'s wife is from Australia, since I was "visiting" an Australian book group on my return from the tour. His heritage of faith (and how it ties in with Australia and his books) is truly inspiring.

Visit his blog to learn more about him, and if you enjoy epic fantasy, grab the Binding of the Blade series. I have the first book on my To-Be-Read pile right now.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Care and Feeding of Blogs

I love to chat . . .
long rambling conversations on the phone with friends
brief exchanges in line at the store
heart-to-hearts over cups of tea

So when many authors started blogging a few years back, it felt like an easy addition to my list of "things authors do that support their readers and their books;" book launch parties, tours, signings, websites, newsletters, speaking engagements, teaching at conferences and . . .

. . . blogging.

I quickly learned from the collective wisdom of the sages that a good blog should have a theme, serve a unique felt need, be updated frequently, not focus on personal details that no one is interested in . . .

The list went on and on.

I also learned that it was important to build blog traffic, which meant lots of links, participating in blogrolls and events and blog tours, using various techniques to measure and build that traffic.


If I did everything the right way, my fun side venture would become a full-time job.

So I'm making a public confession. I'm a half-baked blogger. And I'm not going to change.

Sometimes I have included book reviews and "toured" new novels of my friends - although there are so many other blogs that do that (much better than I) that I'd rather not do that very much.

Sometimes I write heartfelt devotions - which I'd love to do more of (but often don't have time to do).

Sometimes I forget to post an upcoming event until the night before, and folks don't get the info in time (by the way, I'm going to be part of a multi-author signing this Friday, November 7th, at 7pm at the Northwestern Bookstore in Maple Grove, MN).

Sometimes I go for weeks without posting. Sometimes I post three in one day.

I've accepted that it's not my priority (or my calling) to build up a large blog following.
God has (for now) asked me to focus on writing novels. I get quite a few visitors here. Sometimes I get a lot of comments. Often I don't - and that's okay.

I like having some things in my life that I recognize I'm not doing the right way. I'm a sloppy tennis player. My guitar playing is basic and inexpert. I'm an improvisational, forgetful, and sometimes disastrous cook.

As much as I agree with the heart-cry to create work of excellence for God, I have too often been caught in the bondage of accomplishment and perfectionism. So maybe it's good for me to strive for excellence in a few things and let the rest be a little half-baked.

What do you think? Have you been trying to "get it all right" in EVERY area of life, and feeling exhausted and inadequate? Do you joyfully celebrate a few things that you don't do well?

Oh - and the photo is from the TBN studio in Seattle, right before shooting a brief T.V. interview about The Restorer books. It was part of the Motiv8 tour in October. I get a kick out of the combo of blue jeans with baldric, sword, and cloak. :-)

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm Coming to Alexandria, Minnesota!

Saturday, December 13, 2008, I'll be at

Cherry Street Books
503 Broadway
Alexandria, MN
from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

I think I'll be doing a "book talk" at 11:00 a.m., sharing about the writing journey and doing Q&A, then visiting and signing books the rest of the time.

Sharon Hinck

Please come on out! It's a GREAT time to do a little Christmas shopping.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Visit from Bryan Davis

I've always loved books. Growing up, authors were mysterious and amazing gifts to my little world. So once I became a novelist, one of my favorite perks was the opportunity to get to know other authors and spend time with them.

Each week for the next two months, I'll share a little about one of the authors from the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour. I toured with these authors from October 3-12, 2008, all over the West Coast. You get to know a lot about an author when they get up at 4:00 a.m. to hit the road for another long day of events, or you see them sit beside a child in an oncology unit to share a book, or you teach an English class side-by-side with them. I hope whatever genres you read, you'll enjoy hearing about the HEART of each of these authors.

This week I'm showcasing Bryan Davis.

Bryan is a prolific author with a testimony of incredible persistence. You can read all about his many books at his website, and interact with other readers at his forum.

But after touring with him twice, I can share that one of his special qualities is that he has a passionate father-heart that extends beyond his own family to all young people. Even with his busy writing schedule and huge commitments of writing, teaching, and traveling, he gives many hours of time each week to chatting with youth at his forum, mentoring young writers, and praying for young people seeking Christian truth in a difficult world.

On the recent tour, I got to hear amazing stories of risks he took in order to step out in faith and obey God, and about miraculous answered prayers. But what touched me the most was when he spoke at the Calvary Chapel service about his longing to provide stories that will help young people who have been tormented by the enemy. He is a man with a heartfelt calling and pushes himself beyond the limits to carry out that calling. I teased him that he's an android, because I've never known anyone who can function on so little sleep, work so tirelessly, and continue to write at such a pace.

While many different ages read and enjoy his books, his series are particularly geared toward teens. My teen daughter gobbles up his books, so I'm glad he writes as fast as he does!

Sharon Hinck

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sharon Visits Australia

Sort of...

My Aussie friend from Relz Reviews hosted a book club that read and discussed The Restorer.

I often visit book groups via speaker phone, (if you're part of a book group, feel free to email me and request a visit if you're discussing any one of my books!)

For my visit Down-Under, because of time differences, the women gave all their questions to Rel, who emailed them to me. She's posted my answers here - some fun inside scoop about The Restorer and about me.

They asked some unique questions...and I learned a lot, too.

Who knew that Aussies don't enjoy Chex snack mix? :-)

And who knew that women in another hemisphere would identify with the faith journey of a middle-American mom? Isn't it neat that way that God weaves us all together?

I hope you enjoy your "visit" with my Australian friends, too!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Having Then Gifts Differing

When I was in high school, I memorized Romans 12 in the King James Version.
In fact, I did a lot of memorizing in my childhood - all KJV. Now I use the NIV, so I get hopelessly muddled when I seek to call scripture to mind; but that's another story.

Some of the KJV wording just sticks.

One phrase that has been floating through my thoughts lately is "having then gifts differing . . . " It's a call to use the unique gifts God has given to serve the Body of Christ. If you have the gift of teaching, then teach, if the gift of service, then serve, etc.

As I've processed the Motiv8 tour, thinking back over the days on the road with seven other authors, I rejoice in the diverse gifts God gave even this band of writers. We traveled together because we have in common that we are Christians, that we have a passion for using the written word to communicate about our faith, that we all write fiction, and that we specifically write fantasy fiction. That's a lot to have in common.

Yet even among this homogenous group, the variety of callings, spiritual gifts, and artistic talents was immense. Several of the group are teachers, and their skill at speaking to grade-school or middle-school audiences was obvious. One of the group is a youth pastor, and his ability to grab the hearts of high-school students was tremendous.

Me? I generally speak to church women's groups, book clubs, writer's groups, and retreats, so as far as our programs, I appreciated the last evening's event where I could share a brief devotion with adults.

I took away a few thoughts about "having then gifts differing."

* Seeing the beautiful talents of others being used (music, acting, story-telling, writing for children, counseling youth) helped me appreciate that God is doing amazing things around the world through His people.

* Serving in ways that are not my calling is so good for creating humility. Too often, I embrace opportunties to use my gifts that allow me to shine. Doing work that I was clumsy at was a good reminder of how flat and lifeless my efforts are if they aren't anointed by Him.

* I have a new appreciation for the times that God matches up the gifts He's given me with an opportunity to serve. That's a privilege, not a right. I'm looking forward to upcoming speaking events with new enthusiasm.

* Frederick Buechner wrote, "The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet." I've always liked that explanation of vocation. But above and beyond that, I'm a servant. And sometimes God calls me to a place that isn't such a good fit - and then my job is to obey and lean on Him even more.

* The tender love of Christ was manifest to me in new ways by the other members of the tour - again through their different gifts: humor, prayers of faith, firm admonition to sit and rest, kind offers to help me with my suitcase, a quiet question about how I was doing. It was another example of how precious each member of the Body of Christ is, and how uniquely able to meet needs.

So let's face this new day ready to use the gifts God has given us, and even ready to serve in ways that we are NOT gifted, if that's what He asks.

Just by BEING the person He made you to be, you are bringing Him joy.

Sharon Hinck

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Quiet Moment from the Tour

One of the activities on the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction West Coast Tour was a community service event to support literacy. We donated books and spent time with children at a housing project.

The photo shows me chatting with one little girl. We shared a love for Dr. Seuss.

And yes, you can just make out that I'm wearing my baldric and sword. It's been odd since being home to get up in the morning and NOT strap on my sword.

I hope I can keep looking for the person sitting alone who needs someone to come sit beside her. I hope I can strap on the sword of the Spirit each day.
I hope today will provide a quiet moment of fellowship.

I pray your day will include a quiet moment, the blessing of a new friend, and the joy of shared interests.

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Winner - Starting From Scratch

I drew names from those who commented on the post about Starting From Scratch,
last week and the winner is Cheryl K.


The authors will be sending you an autographed copy of the book.
I've had an opportunity to read several of the true stories in the book (and know some of the women who shared their stories) and it is truly encouraging and inspiring.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reviews for Stepping Into Sunlight

I recently heard from my publisher that ForeWord journal will include a favorable review of Stepping Into Sunlight in their Nov/Dec issue.

In part, the reviewer wrote, ". . . At this moment, Penny’s long journey of healing begins. If this were all the book had to offer, the author’s language and pacing would be enough to carry it forward, but Penny confronts not only the fear prompted by her brush with death, she also discovers pockets of shameful judgments she holds about people."

I loved that the reviewer commented on some of the secondary character-growth themes that mattered to me in the story. I'm always tickled when someone catches what I'm going for in a story (besides my mom or my wonderful editors).

I've been so humbled and blessed by the positive reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, and other journals like ForeWord. You can read professional reviews and endorsements here.

But I'm also delighted when I hear from readers.

Here are a few thoughts from recent emails about Stepping Into Sunlight:

"Your writing reached so deep into the hurting places of my own life that I could only read a chapter or so at a time. I could so identify with Penny and her pain. Yet, hope shone through, too." -- Judy

"I have NEVER related so deeply with a fictional character before... that was so perfectly descriptive...I even had my husband read some of the passages because you were able to articulate things I have been unable to." -- Robin

"You gave voice to the broken and showed how beautiful we are in God's eyes." -- Amy

I treasure mail from readers and am in awe that God had a message of hope for various people who picked up the book with a variety of needs. He's amazing that way.

Sharon Hinck

Creative Writers at Crown College Rock!

Last night I had the privilege of hanging out with a college class and chatting about the writing journey, answering questions, etc. It was my first time visiting Crown College (St. Bonifacius, MN).

I had an incredibly uplifting and inspiring time.

The students were earnest, engaged, bright, fun, and asked terrific questions. Their faith and mission-minded hearts were obvious. They didn't only care about "How do I get published?" sorts of questions - but also the "How do I serve God as a writer? What does it mean to be a Christian who writes novels?" issues. I sensed that they really cared about communicating effectively for God's kingdom, and serving Him with excellence.

Their professor, Casie Szalapski, is a treasure, and I'm so grateful she invited me to visit.

If you are ever feeling a little blue about the world, find a Christian college's writing class to visit. You'll be smiling for days.

Sharon Hinck

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Visit from Wayne Batson

I've always loved books. Growing up, authors were mysterious and amazing gifts to my little world. So once I became a novelist, one of my favorite perks was the opportunity to get to know other authors and spend time with them.

Each week for the next two months, I'll share a little about one of the authors from the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour. I toured with these authors from October 3-12, 2008, all over the West Coast. You get to know a lot about an author when they get up at 4:00 a.m. to hit the road for another long day of events, or you see them sit beside a child in an oncology unit to share a book, or you teach an English class side-by-side with them. I hope whatever genres you read, you'll enjoy hearing about the HEART of each of these authors.

This week, I'm welcoming Wayne Batson. His website and blog do an excellent job informing about his books, so be sure to visit them. He's the author of the best selling Door Within series, and Isle of Swords books. He's been a middle school teacher for sixteen years, and although readers of many ages enjoy his books, he has a special appeal to the 10-12 year-old reader.

Anyone who has heard Wayne do a reading from his stories, complete with English accent, creepy voices, and dramatic pauses knows that he is a gifted actor and story-teller. And he and Christopher Hopper could do company clubs with their improvisational skits and comic sword fights.

But there is something that impresses me even more than his talent for writing and performing. After two tours with Wayne, and many conference calls and emails, I have deep admiration for his passion to give God his best every day, and his empathy for the hurting. When I've felt discouraged by a professional setback, he's been the first to email and agree that the road IS hard, but he also reminds me of God's love and purposes.

If you have children in your life who enjoy fantasy tales, or pirate adventures, (or you enjoy them, too!) they will be drawn closer to the heart of God by Wayne's stories.
I know that to be true, not only because I've seen hoards of kids mob him at book signings, but because he's talked to me about his walk with God, and I know his kind of faith will always bleed through the pages of a story and impact the reader.

Sharon Hinck

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Author of the Month

One of the highlights of the Fantasy Fiction Tour was getting to meet Deena. She's had a long-running blog that actively and fervently promotes Christian fiction, posts reviews, and supports Christian authors.

The photo shows our meeting in Sacramento.

Deena has begun a new feature on her blog - highlighting one author, in depth, each month. The month of October she's been posting about me - including a new interview, a review of Stepping Into Sunlight, and several contests. You can see the menu of features here.

Be sure to stop by and thank her for all she does to help get the word out about novels by Christian authors!

Sharon Hinck

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (2007 ACFW Book of the Year - 2nd place, Lit category)
Renovating Becky Miller
(2008 Audie Award Finalist, ACFW BOTY finalist)
The Restorer
(2008 Christy Award Finalist, ACFW BOTY finalist)
The Restorer's Son (ACFW Book of the Year Winner, Romantic Times 4.5 stars, Reviewer's Choice Award - Road to Romance)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Now Available:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Starting From Scratch

For several years, I've been a member of the Minnesota Christian Writer's Guild - and during many of those years, Sharon Knudson has led the group with grace and encouragement, and Mary Heitzman has also served as a board member and generously served other writers, and is now stepping into leadership.

One year, I had breakfast with them both at Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference. I shared some difficult challenges I was facing in the writing journey, and Sharon said, "Could I pray with you?"

She took my hand and poured blessings over me. Her words literally gave me strength that year.

I have also enjoyed speaking to the MCWG, and always felt tremendous support from Sharon and Mary. (Not to mention that great lunch at Cheesecake Factory!) ;-)

So it is no surprise to me that Sharon and Mary have created a touching and encouraging book for people facing difficult change--often unwanted and unexpected. You can learn more at their website.

Q: Mary, as you talked with women, what did you find helped them cope with their situation?

Mary: Many of the women we visited with often spoke of turning to Scripture. While some had a strong faith that allowed them to draw comfort from great passages in the Bible, others questioned God at first, or had feisty conversations with Him.

All were needy of, and appreciated, kind words and gestures from friends and family. But I was struck at how they all found comfort when their supporters were not available. Many of the women we visited with mentioned a devotional, a workbook, or some special story that encouraged them. Some started blogs or began a ministry. Many swallowed their pride and accepted help from others, including the government, recognizing that this was just for a season.

For most of these women, dependency on God Himself seemed to be the key ingredient when tragedy first struck. After that they allowed others to minister to them. And then eventually they took that one small step necessary to move forward and accept change.

Q: Sharon K., the first story in the book is from your personal experience and is titled, “Telling.” Why is talking to others—even friends—about your situation so hard?

Sharon Knudson: When I suddenly got divorced, no one knew what to think or say. It was a complete shock to everyone (including me), and it felt like a bomb had gone off in the night. People want an explanation, and if one is not readily apparent, they make their own guesses as to what probably happened. Some gossip and take sides. Some get very angry and feel betrayed: in a way, their own security is threatened and they wonder, “If that could happen to her, could it happen to me?”

“Telling”came right out of my journal. It was written as I grappled with how to tell people what had happened just a few months after the divorce. We have included this as a book excerpt on our blog.
Thanks so much, Sharon and Mary! I know many women will be blessed by these stories.

And I'm giving away a free copy - drawing from names of everyone who comments to this post and leaves a working email where I can contact them if they win.

Have you ever had to "start from scratch"?

Sharon Hinck

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday in San Diego

My last post was a week ago - hard to believe!
And it feels like that was a month ago. So much has happened on the road. But blogging didn't. In spite of my best intentions I didn't find many opportunities for internet access or time in our full days.

This morning I'm going to church with my friend Susie Meissner who opened her home for me to stay and then is taking me to the airport (in spite of the fact that she has a book launch today, for her wonderful new title, The Shape of Mercy).

When I get home, I'll have many days of catch-up. Catching up on family time, sleep, emails, laundry, all the revisions I wanted to work on while on the road. So blogging may continue to be sparse.

So I'm grabbing this moment to share a little about the tour.

God was present.

We had some convocations with hundreds of students and teachers and parents. We had some bookstore signings with huge turn-out, where I was chatting with people and signing non-stop. And we had other events with tiny groups and various unexpected challenges.

But each place, I met at least one person who had been a long-distance friend, or met a reader who had been blessed by one of my books, or heard stories of people's lives and was able to pray with them. Those encounters were a joy.

I also got to hear seven other amazing Christian authors share about their journey, their faith, their passion for the written word, and see their travel-weary silliness--a blessing that will live with me during my next year of solitary writing work.

I also have to share that I experienced a true, gentle miracle. The first couple days, I was so sick that friends and team-mates were giving me the option to fly home. I remember one teammate kindly saying, "no guilt. no one will think less of you." I knew I should be home. Yet I still felt that God wanted me on the tour and determined to try to make it one more day. And then one more.

I believe it was Portland where I hit my lowest physically and emotionally, and didn't know how to go on. I knew my friends at home were praying for my strength. I had prayed over and over for healing and grace for the work. Then one of the tour mates offered to pray with me and BOY HOWDY did he pray.

I dried my eyes, and got back in the van for the next drive, the next event...
no woosh of sudden peace or healing...
BUT over the course of the next few days I had more stretches of feeling "like me." I was getting LESS rest, working more and more, but God was strengthening me.

Friday night, we spoke at Calvary Chapel in Huntington Beach - and I got to share about the way God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. And my devotion had new resonance. I SO longed to go out in strength on this tour, sharing with energy and enthusiasm, engaging people, encouraging and speaking with lively faith. Instead God called me to go out in weakness and lean into Him. I confess I was often weak and whiney, fearful and frustrated.

Isn't it amazing that we serve a God who can use us even like that? And I continue to pray for His transforming power to reshape me. It's just a LOOOOOOONG process.

I'll try to blog about some of the highlights of the tour soon!
You can see video clips at
Blessed Sunday!
Sharon Hinck

Sunday, October 05, 2008

If It's Sunday, it must be Medford

I hesitate to blog after a few days of the West Coast Tour, and a head full of amazing and varied impressions. I can't imagine I'll get everything straight, or spell things correctly.

I do believe it's Sunday night, and I know we're in Medford.

So far we had a great time visiting classrooms to speak, conducting mentoring groups, and doing a program and then book signing for a middle-school in Abbotsford, Canada. Then we returned to our gathering point in Seattle and did a television interview for TBN, then an afternoon book signing at Harvest Logos bookstore in Seattle - they were able to borrow space from the ministry offices next to the bookstore and had a whole wonderful maze of author tables and enthusiastic readers who came out to meet us. We hurried from there to the Salt Shaker bookstore in Enumclaw for an evening event. They had decorated the walls with medieval castle backdrops, and Wayne and Christopher entertained with a sword fight, and several authors read scenes.

We hit the road early and made it to Portland by 11am to meet in an outdoor gazebo with readers (some of whom traveled four hours to meet a favorite author or two). After a long afternoon driving south, we reached Medford, where we were warmly welcomed to the Bridgeport Mall's Evangel bookstore - and were blessed by a huge group of readers who kept thanking us for the books we write and for coming to visit.

We have been humbled, honored, exhausted, delighted, and amazed at God's provision.

Those of you who've been praying for my health and strength on this tour . . . thank you. Tonight I felt close to normal after a couple days of really struggling. That was such a huge gift, I can hardly express it.

Now I'm off to grab a few hours of sleep. We hit the road early tomorrow.
I must at least mention that:

Jonathan Rogers has claimed ownership of the subgenre of swamp fiction within fantasy,

Amanda explained that she used kitten milk to feed baby squirrels and the guys asked, "How do you milk a kitten?"

The Miller brothers told me gullible isn't in the dictionary...and I believed them.

When crossing the border into Canada, Bryan handed the border guard all our USA passports and was asked where we were from. "All over the country," he answered.
"What country?" the guard asked.

Wayne said (about Seattle), "So this is where the sun goes down in the east." (Um, Wayne. The sun sets in the WEST).

The amazing writers on the tour are not only a bit silly... they are amazingly talented and unceasingly kind - which has helped carry me through feeling a bit weaker than I'd like to be while undertaking this adventure.

More soon!

His on the road,

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fantasy Tour Television - Streaming Live

During the Motiv8 West Coast Fantasy Fiction Tour, we'll be broadcasting live feed from our various events, answering text message questions via the cameras, and virtually inviting everyone along on the tour.

When we aren't live, we'll be playing videos from other events. Think of this as your "Fantasy Fiction Tour" channel, and stop by often!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two Tours

As I've shared recently, I'm preparing for a book tour of the west coast with seven other Christian authors. You can find out more about the Motiv8 tour here.

But I'm also releasing my new women's fiction novel in October, and various friends are blogging about it.

So I invite you to have fun following both tours - visiting blogs that are chatting about Stepping Into Sunlight, and watching live video feed from the in-person Motiv8 events in Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California where I'll be highlighting The Restorer books. Better yet, if you live near any of the cities I'm visiting - please come out and visit with me in person!

Amazing blogger Deena is featuring my books all of October on her site, with games, prizes, challenges, interviews, and loads of fun. Be sure to visit her site often.

The effervescent Jill Hart did a radio interview with me about the book that you can listen to here.

And I've already posted excerpts from the television interview on The Harvest Show on the media page of my website.

My Down-under buddy, Rel, posted here.

Dear friend Amy Wallace posted a review of Stepping Into Sunlight here.

My friend Susie Meissner is doing a give-away.

Camy Tang had an early post about the book here.

Katrina Wampler and several of her blogging friends are posting about the book, and sharing an ongoing interview with me.

Cara Putman posted about "Penny's Project" (the interactive way to get involved in the story) here.She'll be doing more posting soon, so stop back at her site.

My friend Jeanette Hanscome wrote about her adventures with "Penny's Project" at her blog.

Those are just a few of the corners of the cyberworld where you'll find me. There are other bloggers who've been participating in "Penny's Project" during September and you can see them all in my list of links there.

You can find all sorts of bonus goodies about Stepping Into Sunlight here.

Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Photos

Here are a few more fun moments from the ACFW conference in Minnesota last week.

Booksigning at Mall of America:

The jumbo-tron screen at the main rotunda - featuring my new release, Stepping Into Sunlight.

And then a fun moment - seen in the lobby of the hotel. Yes, that is "The Restorer" being read. :-)

And a friend caught a better picture of my thank you speech after The Restorer's Son won Book of the Year in Speculative Fiction.

Today I'm doing a lot of the Mary thing - "keeping all these things and pondering them in my heart." I met so many dear, gifted, amazing, precious people, had so many fantastic conversations, and absorbed so much, I think I'll be processing it for the next several months.

Monday, September 22, 2008

ACFW Book of the Year

Saturday night at the national American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference, my novel The Restorer's Son was honored with the award for Book of the Year in the Speculative Fiction category. I was so touched and honestly so bewildered as they read the opening line "Hills of Hazor take you . . . " that I don't remember much of walking up to the podium or what I said. Ted's photo didn't turn out well, but I decided to post it because it's a good representation of how surreal I felt. I'm so incredibly grateful that I got to spend time with the characters in this book, see the book in print, and get such great feedback about the story.

For a slightly more "in focus" photo, below I'm with my friends Amy Wallace, Vicki Tiede, and Ginny Smith.

The whole conference was a joy -- including the wonderful folks who took my class on the Healthy Habits of the Christian Writer (about spiritual, emotional, and professional health). I enjoyed seeing many old friends, and making new ones. The Mall of America booksigning was huge and exciting. I did hear from several friends who never found me (I was with a group tucked down by the Bloomingdale entrance), but I loved seeing those who came, especially for our panel discussion on the fantasy genre.

Sharon Hinck

The Secret Life of Becky Miller (2007 ACFW Book of the Year - 2nd place, Lit category)
Renovating Becky Miller
(2008 Audie Award Finalist, ACFW BOTY finalist)
The Restorer
(2008 Christy Award Finalist, ACFW BOTY finalist)
The Restorer's Son (Romantic Times 4.5 stars, Reviewer's Choice Award - Road to Romance, ACFW BOTY winner)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Brand New Release:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Schedule

Greetings dear blog readers!

I won't be posting much during the next month, so I wanted to leave a schedule of where I'll be. IF I did it correctly, my blog will post the live video feed once we start the Fantasy Fiction tour on October 3rd, and you can check in here to view our book signings and speaking events.

In the meantime, here's what I'm up to.

Sept. 13- speak to Southwest Christian Church of the Nazarene women's luncheon
Sept. 16 - 7-8 pm booksigning at Northwestern Bookstore, Edina, MN
Sept. 19 - teach ("Healthy Habits of the Writer - Spiritual/Emotional") at American Christian Fiction Conference, Bloomington, MN
Sept. 20 - teach ("Healthy Habits of the Writer - Professional") at ACFW
Sept. 20 - 1-3 pm multi-author book event at Mall of America & panel discussion on fantasy genre
Sept. 20 - 7:30 pm Book of the Year Awards (three of my titles are finalists)
Sept. 23 - speak at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Hopkins, MN
Oct. 3 - 1-3pm Mennonite Education Institute, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Oct. 3 - 4-6 Meet the author dinner, BC Canada
Oct. 3 6:30-8:30 - speaking event, BC Canada
Oct. 3 8:30-10 - book signing, BC Canada
Oct. 4 noon - TBN interview, Seattle Washington
Oct. 4 3-5 - Harvest Logos Bookstore, Seattle, WA
Oct. 4 6:30-8:30 - Salt Shaker bookstore, Enumclaw, WA
Oct. 5 - lunch with readers, Portland, OR
Oct. 5 - 6-8 pm Evangel Family Bookstore, Medford, OR
Oct. 6 - 1:30-2:30 Trinity Christian School, Sacramento, CA
Oct. 6 - 6pm-8pm Barnes and Noble, Sacramento, CA
Oct. 7 - 11am-noon - Children's Hospital, Madera, CA
Oct. 7 - 3-4 pm FresnoREAD charity event, Fresno, CA
Oct. 7 - 6-8pm Berean Christian Stores, Fresno, CA
Oct. 8 - 9am -3pm Reedley High School events, Reedley, CA
Oct. 8 - 6-8pm Cultural Arts Night, Reedley, CA
Oct. 9 - 9-11 am St. Genevieve High School, Panorama City, CA
Oct. 9 - 1-2:30 pm Bethany Christian School, Sierra Madre, CA
Oct. 9 - 5-7 pm Valley Book & Bible Bookstore, Van Nuys, CA
Oct. 10 - 8:50am-1pm Village Christian Schools, Sun Valley, CA
Oct. 10 - 2-4pm West Covina Christian School, West Covina, CA
Oct. 10 - 7-9pm Calvary Chapel Church, Huntington Beach, CA
Oct. 11 - 11am-1pm Library Event to be confirmed
Oct. 11 - 2-4 pm Barnes and Noble, San Diego, CA
Oct. 11 - evening event TBA, San Diego, CA
Oct. 20 - Crown College, St. Bonifacius, MN
Nov. 6 - CAN retreat, Bloomington, MN
Nov. 7 - 7pm Northwestern Bookstore Booksigning, Maple Grove, MN
Nov. 8 - 9am - Panel discussion, National Church Library Conference
Nov. 8 - 2:15 - Class on Book Groups for NCLA conference
Nov. 20 - MN Library Association - speaking on "Genres in Christian Fiction"

I hope to see many of you at these various events.

May I humbly ask for some prayer? This schedule would be tough on an Olympian, and I'm still recovering from some serious health issues. I KNOW it looks crazy. All I can say is that when we began planning this west coast book store, God continued to impress on my heart that I should be part of it again. So I know I can trust Him to protect me. But I do value your prayers!

Thank you so much!

Huge blessings to you, in the name of our Lord who is our Shepherd, our Healer, our Sustainer, and our mighty Deliverer!

His, Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Northwestern Bookstore Signings

In addition to the HUGE booksigning at the Mall of America on Saturday,
September 20, from 1-3 p.m. with 125 Christian novelists, there will be
multiple signings at the Northwestern Bookstores in that area next week.
Here are the details:

  • Judy Baer and Jill Elizabeth Nelson will sign books on Saturday,
    September 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Riverdale Crossing, 13040 Riverdale
    Dr., Coon Rapids, MN, and from 2:30-4 p.m. at Ridge Square North, 13029
    Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka

  • Cathy Marie Hake and Julie Klassen will sign on Monday, Sept. 15,
    from 3-5 p.m. at Valley Creek Mall, 1750 Weir Drive, Woodbury, MN; Tuesday
    Sept. 16 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Arbor Lakes Mall, 12985 Elm Creek
    Blvd., Maple Grove, MN; and from 6-8 p.m. at Cobblestone Court, 14150
    Nicollet Ave., S., Burnsville, MN 55337

  • Robin Caroll, Rachel Hauck, Cara Putman, and Susan May Warren will
    sign books Tuesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. at Arbor Lakes Mall, 12985 Elm
    Creek Blvd., Maple Grove, MN

  • Patti Hill and Sharon Hinck will sign
    books Tuesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. at Yorkdale Shoppes, 6819 York Ave.,
    South, Edina

  • Colleen Coble, Gail Gaymer Martin, and Deborah Raney,
    will sign books Wednesday, September 17 from 11 to noon at the Arbor Lakes
    Mall, 12985 Elm Creek Blvd., Maple Grove, MN and from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at
    Yorkdale Shoppes, 6819 York Ave., South, Edina

  • Elizabeth Musser will
    sign books and participate in a bookclub meeting Wednesday, September 17
    beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Arbor Lakes Mall, 12985 Elm Creek Blvd., Maple
    Grove, MN

  • Brandilyn Collins will sign books on Sunday, September 21,
    from 2-4 at Arbor Lakes Mall, 12985 Elm Creek Blvd., Maple Grove,
If you love Christian fiction, this is the week to be in
Minneapolis for booksignings!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Favorite Store

Today I visited several bookstores in the Twin Cities. I wanted to let them know about my new release, Stepping Into Sunlight, and also help spread the word about the HUGE Mall of America book signing with over 100 Christian fiction authors on Sept. 20, 1-3 p.m.

Some stores had a few of my books.

Some stores had none.

But one store had almost all of my titles, multiple copies, and the entire set of Sword of Lyric books!

On top of that, Margaret, the supervisor, was so warm and gracious, and the two young sales clerks who also chatted with me were delightful.

So if you are anywhere near Ridgedale, in the Twin Cities, please stop in at the Minnetonka Northwestern bookstore at Ridge Square North and do some shopping! And thank them for carrying a great selection of Christian fiction!

Sharon Hinck

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Books for a Penny!

There was a Gamble Folk song I loved in high school, based on the scripture, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing . . . "

I've been thinking lately about the way God values things differently than our society does. One lost sheep, tiny birds, lilies of the field -- they are offered as metaphors for things that sometimes are considered of little value, or not productive. And He reassures us that even when we feel of little value, He treasures us.

Lately I've noticed several of my books are selling for one penny at amazon.

Initially it can be demoralizing. Years of effort - long days of writing all day, then rewriting, studying the craft, traveling to writing conferences, critiquing other manuscripts for writers in trade as they critique mine, working with editors, honing again. Rewriting again. Weeks, months, years of saying "no" to other activities in order to dedicate full time effort to creating a book. Then comes the joy of holding it in published form and hoping people will find it, enjoy it, be blessed by it.

And in only a year, stores pull it off the shelves. It didn't become a best seller, so, like a sparrow, it's sold for a farthing.

At first, it's a depressing feeling. But I take to heart God's reassurance. "Not one falls to the ground without the Father knowing."

He knows where each copy of my books are. He can still steer them into the hands of those who might need a giggle, an encouragement, a bit of inspiration and courage.

So now I'm joyful and excited. I want to tell the world. Books for a penny!!! What a great deal!

Go to and type in Sharon Hinck. It will list all my books. Find some that are selling for a penny and buy a few. Use them as door prizes at church events. Get some for friends (if you want them autographed, just email me and I"ll mail you an autographed bookplate).

And if you feel like your efforts are valued at a penny's worth, celebrate the truth that in God's kingdom, you are priceless and treasured. It's the world that gets it upside down.

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sharon on The Harvest Show

My Book Buddies (who subscribe to my quarterly ezine) got the first opportunity to see this clip from my recent interview on The Harvest Show.

Remember, you can be on my Book Buddy list for exclusive info, contests, etc. by going to my webpage and signing up in the right-hand column.

Here is the interview . . . where I share my heart about Christian arts, Christian fiction, and the way God can bring healing through small kind acts....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Little Fun

Amazing blogger Becky Miller (no, not my character...the living breathing woman behind A Christian Worldview of Fiction) tagged me for a meme. I don't usually make time for them, but this one looked fun.

What is your favorite word?

compassion (I love the word "passion" and I love the tenderness of coming along someone else evoked in this word)

What is your least favorite word?

bitterness (scares me - one of my fears is letting hurts and wounds turn into this)

What inspires you (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

nature, music, dance, great conversations, praying with someone

What dampens your enthusiasm (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

sneering responses, apathy from others, loneliness (and ironically also too much interaction with others - I'm SO conflicted! LOL!)

What sound or noise do you love?

the near silent breath of a sleeping baby, my husband's heart beating beneath my ear, my children's laughter

What sound or noise do you hate?
certain kinds of angry-toned rap music full of harsh language

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Being a midwife

What profession would you not like to do?
Taxi-driver (I have no sense of direction and HATE driving)

What one book, other than the Bible, do you read again and again for inspiration?
I've re-read books by Philip Yancy, John Eldrege, C.S.Lewis, Madeline L'Engle, Calvin Miller, Richard name a few

What would you like to hear God say when you arrive in Heaven?
Welcome home, dear one.

Now I'm tagging some other friends to play:

Camy Tang, Jonathan Friesen, Amy Wallace

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fantasy Fiction Book Tour - 2008

I'm getting SO excited about hanging out with seven other wonderful Christian fantasy authors! October 3-12, we'll be traveling from Canada through Seattle, Portland, down the west coast to the L.A. area and finishing in San Diego.

Here's a taste of the fun we'll be having!

Hope to see you there!

Sharon Hinck
Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

If I Were In the Olympics

I love the Olympics.

I'm not a huge sports fan, but when the Olympics roll around, I'm riveted.

As a former choreographer, the gymnastics thrill me . . . and rhythmic gymnastics. Oh, and the diving and its artistry . . . and for that matter the grace of pole vaulting and the beautiful strides of the runners.

But I also have bitten down my fingernails in the past days of viewing. The tension drives me crazy. The years and years of sacrifice and training that come down to, in some cases, a few SECONDS of performance. The danger as athletes crash from the high bar or slip on the balance beam. The pressure.

Gets to me every time.

I decided that if I were ever an Olympian, I couldn't be in any sport where a hair-breadth mistake means ruin. The track and field dashes, the swimming sprints. I'd want to know that if I were a bit slow off the block, I could still make it up somehow.

I also couldn't work with props. No relay batons for me. Way too fickle. And apparatus like uneven bars or rings? Not for me. Hurdles? I just know they'd jump up and bite me.

Team sports have always been a problem for me, because I'm terrified of letting others down--which always tended to paralyze me when the kickball was heading my way in third grade recess.

Come to think of it, I'm not good with anything flying toward me - so that leaves out basketball, volleyball, soccer, even ping pong. I tend to duck and close my eyes.

Rowing looks tranquil in the midst of the grueling hard work - but I'd worry about tipping the boat over or dropping my scull.

I also wouldn't want my fate in the hands of subjective judging. Someone on a panel blinks while I'm sticking my landing after a tumbling pass, or doesn't notice my competitor's bent knee in her lay-out back handspring, and I miss the bronze by a tenth of a point. Too heartbreaking.

I suppose if I were in the Olympics, I'd want to run the marathon . . . just me and the road and plenty of time to overcome mistakes. But since I can barely jog around the block, it's not going to happen.

So instead, I'll say a thank you to the gifted men and women who give me a jolt of inspiration each time the Olympics roll around.

I'm in awe of all the athletes willing to take those risks and show us what dedication and sacrifice can bring to innate talent.

And I'll breathe in the lesson they teach me as I ponder Hebrews 12:1-2

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, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

If you were in the Olympics, what event would you compete in?

Sharon Hinck

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Book Cover Contest

I think that the cover for Stepping Into Sunlight is a great example of the amazing work by the artists and designers at Bethany House.

Right now, the cover of Stepping Into Sunlight is up at Stepping Stones Magazine which is running a contest for book covers.

Be sure to check it out, take time to look at ALL the beautiful entries - and you can vote for your favorite (the instructions are on the contest page.)

Also, please email me through my website if you would like some bookmarks for yourself and friends. They feature a design based on the cover and are also works of art. :-)


Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome for Book Groups reading The Restorer

If you are part of a discussion group who is reading The Restorer or any of The Sword of Lyric books, this is a personal greeting for your group, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Unprecedented Author Event !!!

Multi-author Book Signing - Mall of America

What: ACFW booksigning
Who: 127 Christian novelists
Where: Best Buy & Sears Rotundas and connecting hallway, Mall of America, Bloomington, MN
When: Saturday, September 20, 2008
1-3 p.m.
Why: To meet your favorite authors

This is an amazing gathering of some of the top fiction writers in our field, and a fun opportunity to meet the authors, bring your books to be autographed, and celebrate the wide array of genres represented. It's FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Here's a list of participating authors:

Tamera Alexander
Jennifer AlLee
A.K. Arenz
Diane Ashley
Karen Ball
Janet Lee Barton
James Scott Bell
Joseph Bentz
Terri Blackstock
Robin Caroll
Patricia PacJac Carroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Eleanor Clark
Debra Clopton
Gloria Clover
Brandilyn Collins
Mary Connealy
Lyn Cote
Kathryn Cushman
Margaret Daley
KM Daughters
Susan Page Davis
Mary Davis
Janet Dean
Megan DiMaria
Brandt Dodson
Lena Nelson Dooley
Cecelia Dowdy
Sharon Dunn
Wanda Dyson
Lynette Eason
Meredith Efken
Leanna Ellis
Sharon Ewell Foster
Miralee Ferrell
Tina Ann Forkner
Darlene Franklin
Jonathan Friesen
Rhonda Gibson
Terri Gillespie
Debby Giusti
Beth Goddard
Cathy Gohlke
Rene Gutteridge
Cathy Marie Hake
Kelly Eileen Hake
Karen Harter
Rachel Hauck
Roxanne Henke
Cynthia Hickey
Patti Hill
Sharon Hinck
Joan Hochstetler
Steven Hunt
Angela Hunt
Denise Hunter
Jennifer Johnson
Jenny B. Jones
Golden Keyes Parsons
Deb Kinnard
Julie Klassen
Kathleen Kovach
Harry Kraus
Patti Lacy
Maureen Lang
Jeanne Marie Leach
Tosca Lee
Julie Lessman
Michelle Levigne
Sherri L. Lewis
Elizabeth Ludwig
Christine Lynxwiler
Richard L. Mabry
Sharlene MacLaren
Gail Martin
Debby Mayne
Vickie McDonough
Andrew McGuire
Susan Meissner
Becky Melby
Dana Mentink
Amber Miller
Judith Miller
Sara Mills
Siri Mitchell
Nancy Moser
Janelle Mowery
Elizabeth Musser
Mark Mynheir
Jill Nelson
Mae Nunn
John Olson
Donita K. Paul
Trish Perry
Marta Perry
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Deborah Raney
Sandra Robbins
Paul Robertson
John Robinson
Martha Rogers
Cynthia Ruchti
Gail Sattler
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Shelley Shephard Gray
Virginia Smith
Lynette Sowell
Candice Speare
Kathryn Springer
Denice Stewart
Sarah Anne Sumpolec
Michelle Sutton
Camy Tang
Donn Taylor
Janice Thompson
Cindy Thomson
Missy Tippens
Carrie Turansky
ML Tyndall
Amy Wallace
Susan May Warren
Linda Wichman
Beth Wiseman
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y'Barbo


Please come out and find me! If you bring a copy of Stepping Into Sunlight to be autographed, I'll have an extra special gift for you (while supplies last). :-)


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Heartbeat of the Home

There is a woman whom I suspect is an angel in disguise.

Her name is Cynthia Ruchti.

Last fall, I met her as I was waiting for the shuttle to the airport in Dallas after a writer's conference. We talked about the writing journey and her eyes sparkled as I shyly told her a new concept that I was playing with for a novel. She instantly "got it" - and encouraged me in my unusual idea.

Then last winter, out of the blue, she emailed and said, "For some reason, God has put on my heart to pray for you today. You might think this sounds weird, and I don't know if anything is going on with you, but I wanted to let you know I'm praying for you."

Very kind; but hardly remarkable, right?

Wrong. That very morning as I read that email, I was about to go to the hospital for an angiogram--and based on my earlier tests, the surgeon was preparing us for the possibility of bypass surgery. I was trying to muster my very feeble courage and her email reminded me that God was very present. (By the way, when they roto-rootered my arteries, they didn't find the expected blockage - hooray!)

I heard from Cynthia again the day before I left for my road trip to South Bend a few weeks ago.
She had read an early galley of Stepping Into Sunlight and sent this email (snippet shared with permission):

“After finishing it, I wanted to press it into the hands of everyone I meet and say, ‘THIS! This is what my God is like! This is where you can find hope! This is what it means to live for Christ even when things are horrifically ugly around you. This is healing. This is what it looks like to hurt and to heal.’ No pious platitudes. Reality Faith.”

I printed out her email and brought it along to help bolster my courage for all the drop-in visits to stores, and the television interview. She didn't know how precious her timing was. She also didn't know that I'd been confronting some intense discouragement in recent days.

Then she did something even more remarkable.

She told me about the magazine her ministry puts out, and asked if she could feature info about Stepping Into Sunlight in the Fall/Winter edition, which will come out in October.


See what I mean about suspecting she's an angel constantly on call to jump in and bring encouragement?

Bethany house created a GORGEOUS page for the magazine.

I got a glimpse of the mock-up for the upcoming magazine, and it's jam-packed with articles and photography and scriptures of hope.

Please check out the website of Heartbeat of the Home. You can also find out if you are in the listening area for her radio program at that site. And you can learn more about the magazine and access back-issues. You can also read some of Cynthia's thoughts on her blog, Splashing in the Deep End.

In the novel Stepping Into Sunlight, Penny is led to do a small step of kindness for a new person each day--as part of her journey toward healing.

Cynthia reminded me again that when we take a risk and reach out to do something kind, God can use us to make a tremendous difference. Pain, discouragement, and suffering feel like overwhelming enemies sometimes, but
God's grace is ALWAYS bigger - and sometimes He lets us be part of offering that grace to others. I'm so grateful Cynthia was a conduit of God's grace in my life through her kindness.

Sharon Hinck

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Day of Vacation

After the busy couple of days of traveling to talk about Stepping Into Sunlight, Ted and I spent a day relaxing before heading home.

The first photo shows a ridge we climbed in a state park near Wisconsin Dells. It felt good to work our muscles a little after all the hours in the car, and the scenery fed our souls.

While up on the ridge, we watched some eagles, and captured this one rare shot from overhead. I think this is the first time I've gotten a picture of a soaring eagle while looking down from above.

We also found a monastery not far from the Dells that had the Stations of the Cross in a wooded setting. We found it and walked quietly along the path, pausing to read aloud the scripture verses and prayerful liturgy at each stop. With a backdrop of tall pines, lush ferns, nearby creek, and solitude, it was a very moving and strengthening experience.

As I pondered the cross that Jesus was willing to carry for me, I prayed for the courage to bear my own little crosses in life with more strength, submission, and gratitude.

Have you ever walked along a trail and felt like the journey was a time of prayer?

I'm so glad that God has put the beauty of mountains, oceans, trees, rivers, flowers and deserts into this world and continues to allow us to meet Him in all those places . . . as well as in cathedrals, churches . . . and our own living rooms.


P.S. - if you haven't found it yet, be sure to check out the Penny's Project blog, where you can join Penny Sullivan (the character in Stepping Into Sunlight) as she seeks to do a small step of kindness for a new person each day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stops #9 & #10 - Sharon and Ted's Excellent Adventure

One of the fun things about store visits, was that I spotted many of my friends. T.L. Higley was everywhere – several copies deep with her new book. Katie Cushman was on some key front tables, as was Robin Parrish. Sherri Sand had shelf space with her debut novel at almost every store. Donita K. Paul had long rows of all her dragon books, and Susan May Warren was prominently featured in most of the stores—often on the end of the row. Those are just a few of the examples that had me smiling.

After hours of traffic around Chicago, we stopped in Elgin for one of our last two store visits.

The manager, Kerrie Vujnovich, of the Family Christian in Elgin greeted us with a huge grin and thanked me for coming in. She shared her enthusiasm for the new store’s growth, in spite of challenges of the economy or competing stores. She described herself as an avid reader, and was delighted to get signed book-plates and bookmarks from me. She said there are some fiction readers on her staff who would be thrilled. I felt very blessed to be wrapping up my store visits with this extra-positive experience. Please stop in and visit her!

With one last bag of goodies to deliver, we stopped in at an independent bookstore in Janesville, WI, called BookWorld. A cozy seating area is surrounded by loads of shelves with an eclectic mix of genres. I found quite a bit of Christian fiction (Jan Karon, Bev Lewis, Jerry Jenkins) intermingled with all the other fiction. It was fun to see these voices side-by-side with various NYTime bestsellers. The young clerk told me how much she loves working among books. We both agreed that books are like friends—and spending time in a bookstore is a dream job.

Feeling like I’d done all I could to let a few more retailers know about my books, and happy that I’d offered a bit of gratitude and encouragement for all their efforts, Ted and I headed to KFC for a well-earned supper.

The next day we did a little hiking in Wisconsin. I'll share some photos from our downtime next.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Stops #7 & #8 - Sharon and Ted's Excellent Adventure

We stopped into the Mishawaka Borders store, and had a great talk with one of the managers. They had a healthy section of Christian fiction and he said it does very well for them. In fact, he said they are thinking they may need to begin to sub-categorize by genres within the Christian fiction section, because there are so many books now.

One thing he mentioned echoed something several other retailers had said. “It’s good you’re making visits to stores. You can’t rely on the industry to get your books on the shelves these days.”

I’d heard that message even before my first novel was contracted, and I understand the value of making connections with the folks who do the work of getting my books into the hands of readers. But it does raise the question for me—how do I balance speaking, media interviews, bookstore visits, and office work with my primary calling to write fiction?

Recently I was privileged to hear a top best-selling author speak about marketing. She said she spends about ten hours doing office/administrative/marketing work for each one hour she actually writes. It has clearly worked, and is the right balance for her. But if I did that, at my modest writing pace, it would take me the rest of my life to complete another novel. So I'm still chewing on how God is calling me to spend my hours.

One last stop in Mishawaka, at the Barnes and Noble. One of the staff at the information desk was happy to have me sign the books they had on the shelf. They had a huge section of Christian fiction, and I thanked them for carrying such a great variety.

Tomorrow - ending the road trip on a high note. :-)