Monday, January 28, 2008

Restorer Book Club Kits Available!!!

The terrific folk at Christian Book Previews have put together a marvelous deluxe kit including party planner (recipes, party favor ideas, activities, decoration suggestions), in depth literary guide, DVD by the author (me!), and all kinds of other goodies for groups who want to read and discuss The Restorer.

You can find out more about it here.

This is available for only a very limited time, so even if you might not get around to inviting friends to participate for a while, you might want to grab a kit while it's available and save it for later use. :-)

I'm so excited that they chose The Restorer as the first book to offer in this kit format. If you are one of the readers who wrote to tell me how much you enjoyed the book, this is a great way to share it with your friends and enjoy it all over again.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Visit from Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck has a new novel releasing!

Sweet Caroline

For most of her life, Caroline Sweeney put the needs of others before herself. When her friends went off to college and exotic European cities, she stayed home in Beaufort to look after her Dad and brother, and whoever else needed her help.

At twenty-eight, she’s invited to embark on her own adventure when a friend offers Caroline an amazing job opportunity in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, her home town is calling her to stay. Unexpectedly, Caroline inherits the run-down, money-pit Frogmore Café.

Caroline must choose between a Beaufort treasure, the Frogmore Café, and the unusual Barcelona adventure. If that’s not enough, Caroline finds herself torn between two loves⎯a very hunky deputy Sheriff and a returning hometown boy, a country music star.
In the midst of her trials, Caroline shares a lot of laughter with her friends and discovers the sweet fragrance of Jesus as He pursues her heart.

So Rachel, where did this story idea come from?

Rachel shares: The final product is a long way from the original story idea. Several years ago I had a thought, “What if a girl ended up hosting a TV cooking show, but she couldn’t cook?” I had the title Sweet Caroline and knew I wanted to write a book set in the beautiful South Carolina lowcountry, so I tried to put my cooking show story in Beaufort.

But it didn’t work on a few levels, and I added the element of Caroline working at the Frogmore Café. In the end, I had to cut the cooking show story line to focus on Caroline’s life in Beaufort.

I also wanted to write about a woman who willingly set aside her life for others. Yes, she struggles with esteem and fears, but she is also confident enough to venture out if the right opportunity came along. But she’s content to stay home, meet the needs of others.

At the story opening, Caroline doesn’t know God or that He has a plan for her. Yet she’s spent a lot of time talking to “whoever’s up there, if anyone.”

One evening Jesus introduces Himself to her. While most of us meet Jesus through hearing and watching others, Jesus is able to touch our hearts in many non-traditional ways. I opted to show that with Caroline. It was fun.

Rachel Hauck is a multi-published author living 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 is past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves the organization as an Advisor. Visit her blog and web site here.

Order at Amazon

Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Starting Young

Blogger, pastor, and fantasy fan John Otte sent me this photo which totally made my day. I've gotten letters from readers of many ages, but sweet little Isaiah has to be the youngest yet. :-)

Blessings, and may your day be full of good books!
-- Sharon

Sharon's Books

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sneak Peeks

Last week I stopped by the Northwestern Bookstore in Burnsville to drop off some bookmarks, and they had just received Symphony of Secrets and were putting copies on the shelf. What a treat to see!

Please let me know if you spot the book! This was such a fun story to write, I giggle every time I think of Amy, the professional flutist who fancies herself an arm-chair detective. It's also a book I hope folks can give to their friends who are searching spiritually, because the heroine in this book is just beginning to confront a few questions many of us have asked about faith issues.

Also releasing next month - The Restorer's Journey. It was featured this week at the Christian Author's Network "You've Got Books" bookclub. You can read it here, and read an early review here.

Having two books releasing so close together is a LOT like having twins, so I appreciate your prayers for these babies as they launch into the world.

Since both books feature music (even young Jake is a bit of a "songkeeper" in Restorer's Journey, and Symphony is ALL about music) I have a little music-related prize. Leave a comment if you buy either book and tell me where you bought it, and you'll be entered in a drawing!

Sharon's Books Available Here

Blessings and gratitude!
Sharon Hinck

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Visit from Susan Meissner

Susie Meissner was one of my roommates last summer at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta. She also was a fellow Minnesotan for many years in a nearby small town. We've shared giggles and woes and stories of God at work in our lives. She writes so fast I haven't been able to keep up with all her books, but I've read most of them and loved them all.

I'm delighted to let folks know she has a new story out:

Blue Heart Blessed

Left standing at the altar, Daisy Murien, a wounded but hopeful romantic, opens a secondhand wedding dress boutique, hoping to soothe her broken heart while giving doomed wedding dresses a second chance at love. Her predictable days take a sharp turn, though, when the retired Episcopal priest who blesses the tiny, blue satin heart she sews into each dress falls ill. When the priest’s brooding and recently divorced son arrives with plans to take his ailing father away, a contest of wills begins between two stubborn—and hurting—souls. While fighting to keep Father Laurent close by, Daisy finally begins to understand why she has routinely convinced potential buyers not to buy the one gown that started her business—her own: She doesn’t want to give up on the dream of a fairytale romance. This compelling story is about the magnificence of unconditional love and God’s impeccable timing in bringing it about.

Where did this story idea come from?

I was on a long car ride with a friend one afternoon a couple years ago. She had just seen her roommate’s wedding dress and she was describing it to me. It sounded so beautiful. I said something like, “It’s kind of a shame such a lovely dress will only be worn once.” As soon as those words were out of my mouth, a story began to bloom in my head about a woman who opens a boutique and sells second-hand wedding dresses. I began to imagine what kind of woman would open a shop like that and by the time we got to our destination, I had a title for this book, my quirky character Daisy, and a reason why she can’t seem to sell the one dress that began it all. And I knew this would be a story about waiting on God for true love — that is, love that is true.

I’ve got a great blog started that will dovetail nicely with this book. The blog, called Blue Heart Blessed by the way, will feature stories, ideas, op-ed pieces, poems, jokes, lists, you name it, on quirky engagements, second chances at love, proposals, laughable wedding stories and the like. I’d love to hear from readers and writers alike, especially if they’ve a story to share.

Published by Harvest House, Blue Heart Blessed will release on February 1. You can order it here.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Looking Back

Yesterday, in a thoughtful end-of-the-year mood, I peeked at some old journal entry.

Have you ever sensed God nudging you a new direction, but couldn't quite make sense of it? Weren't sure if it was leading from God? Felt restless and eager to begin, but didn't know where to start? Well, this is what I found in my journal from early 2001. At that point, there were still nearly two years of wrestling ahead before I would begin writing my first novel.

"For several years, I’ve felt God nudging me to write. I want to be quickly obedient to God’s leading. But throughout my life I’ve found myself often confused about whether a prompting was actually from God, or pressure from others, or strange compulsions from my own mind.
Not that this excuses my lack of movement in this area.

When I was earnestly seeking God for a new direction...after time of healing and recovering from working for many years in dance ministry... all I heard was “write.” I guess I could have begun to write more regular journal entries.... or even gathered thoughts into articles to submit to magazines as I have in the past.

But as I thought about writing, I couldn’t see a picture of “how” and “when” and “which”...
Did God plan that I would write for Christian magazines, or was I meant to write a book? Fiction, non fiction?

So, paralyzed with very little information, I did nothing.

Well, that’s not quite true. I volunteered in various areas of ministry at my church and many of those areas were heavy, full of struggle and frustration... and little sense of fulfillment."

The entry went on to describe my floundering experiments with trying to discern what God was stirring me to write, while trying to find ways to serve in the meantime. What comforts me is seeing that back then in my cloud of confusion, God already knew. He already saw late 2002 where I would meet a wonderful group of Christian writers and where He would finally reveal a specific direction and throw open the starter gates and let me run. God also saw 2007, where the whisper-soft call to "write" that made no sense to me in 2001 would further unfold with the release of three new novels.

(I'll send the full "Highlights of 2007" list to my Book Buddies - so if you don't get my free Book Buddy ezine - you can read more if you sign up for it at my website.)

Remembering how lost and confused I felt during the years before I began writing, (and honestly, most of the time during the past five years of the writing life, too!) and then seeing what God was able to unfold, makes me want to wrap my arms around everyone who feels confused, yearning, and uncertain today.

Trust Him. He knows the end from the beginning.

I enter a New Year once again feeling befuddled, uncertain, and horribly inadequate. But that's okay. I'm just a servant in His vineyard, and all I need to do is show up each morning and serve in the corner of the field He sends me to. Whether He sends me to plant, or prune, or harvest, or compost--I pray I can obey with a heart of love. And I pray that for you, too.

In 2008, may God steer us (even when we feel we're only going in circles) and may He unfold plans of grace and blessings (even when nothing makes sense) and may He quicken joyful obedience in our hearts (even when we don't see results in our efforts).

Happy New Year!
Sharon Hinck