Friday, February 29, 2008

Symphony of Secrets Give-Away

The celebrating continues for the release of Symphony of Secrets.

Pop on by Cara Putman's blog for her thoughts on Symphony of Secrets and a chance to win a free copy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Symphony" Gala

Saturday's Book Launch for Symphony of Secrets was such a blessing.

(Photos show the musicians, the line to get books signed, and me laughing and chatting. If you look hard, you'll catch a glimpse of my satin tuxedo jacket with tails...a costume from tap dancing I did back in the late 1970s that worked well for the symphony theme - hee hee! )

The events manager, Bev, had created curtains for the stage to match the book cover, and created a beautiful display of books. My nephew Peter (an accomplished flutist) and friend Brian (amazing keyboardist) provided live classical music for the store full of people.

Book Buddy Janelle created amazing music candles for each guest and centerpieces of roses and candles for the tables. Book Buddy Joyce made miniature book cover art to wrap around candy bars for the guests. Others brought treats, handed out bookmarks, prayed for the event, and assisted guests in signing up for the door prizes.

I met a woman from Nigeria, and a woman from Afghanistan, as well as folks who drove a couple hours in for the event. My editor was there with her family. And a dear old friend I haven't seen in ages was there. As always, I longed for the ability to sit and have long, cozy one-on-one chats with each person, instead of just brief connections. But I enjoyed all the quick snatched bits of conversation.

Thank you to everyone who helped celebrate the new release - and to those who couldn't make it, I hope you'll pick up a copy and enjoy the Symphony of Secrets. :-)

Sharon's Books

Friday, February 22, 2008

Stepping Into Sunlight Cover!

My editor just sent me the cover for Stepping Into Sunlight - a new novel releasing in September, 2008. It's so perfect, it made me cry. The art work captures the character, the struggle, the hope - the type of journey in the story.

Although the story has quirky characters and dry humor in the first-person voice (like my other novels), this novel has a slightly more serious tone. Penny Sullivan witnesses a violent crime right before her husband leaves on his first deployment as a Navy chaplain. She battles post-traumatic stress, feels completely isolated and alone, and needs some tools on her journey toward healing.

She develops "Penny's Project" - and takes tiny steps forward as she tries to do a kind act for a different person each day. I love the theme of the way God uses wounded people to help and support each other. Like the widow's mite, this Penny doesn't come from a place of abundance or power. Yet God is able to make a difference in her and through her.

So, here's your sneak peek!

But in the meantime, Symphony of Secrets is out now (I'm going to be at the Maple Grove, MN Northwestern Bookstore for a launch party at 1pm Saturday, Feb. 23) and Restorer's Journey should be showing up in stores anytime now (please let me know when you spot it at your local store - if you don't find them, ask for them!)


Sharon's Books

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free Restorer's Journey

Enter a drawing for a free copy of the BRAND NEW Restorer's Journey - book three in the Sword of Lyric Series.

I did an interview with Jennifer Allee, and if you visit her blog and comment, you could win! Spread the word!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine Thoughts

Fourteen Christian authors (including me) share a few thoughts about Valentine's Day today at

Title Trakk

What are some of your favorite Valentine memories?

Love and conversation hearts,

Secrets of "Symphony" Interview

If you want to hear some of the secrets behind the new novel, Symphony of Secrets, pop over to hear my radio/podcast interview with Jill Hart. She'll be posting it sometime in the near future - but I thought I'd get the link up since I'll be away from my desk for a few days.

As usual, she asked great questions and we covered a wide range of topics.

Also, if you live in Minnesota, know anyone in Minnesota, or plan to be in Minnesota on February 23rd, please consider yourself invited to a

Symphony of Secrets Book Launch Gala Saturday February 23, 2008 1:00 p.m. Northwestern Bookstore - Maple Grove, MN

Plans include live music, free refreshments, a reading, author Q&A, book signing, tons of prizes AND a cool music-themed gift for each person who RSVPs.

So be sure to drop me an email to reserve your gift! One of my favorite things at past book launches has been the networking and fellowship that goes on. You'll meet some cool people as you mingle - writers, editors, avid readers, musicians, church workers, moms, dads, kids, librarians and more! I can't wait to see you there!


Sharon's Books

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I enjoy irony.

I've been having some trouble sleeping (middle-of-the-night insomnia) recently. So last night I set up my iPod on the station, cued to "Sleep Sound in Jesus" (a wonderful album by Michael Card) and at a gentle volume, ready to go if I woke up and needed some soothing music to help me back to sleep.

True to form, I woke up about 2:30, reached over to tap "play"...

and BLASTED my hubby and me a foot off the mattress.

Something had gotten messed up with the volume control, and believe me, no lullaby is soothing at full volume.

Then, of course, I couldn't find the button to turn it off or even down, and had to turn on the light to finally get it shut off, leaving me thoroughly awake.

Maybe I need to return to low-tech solutions like counting sheep.

A Visit from DiAnn Mills

Awaken My Heart by DiAnn Mills
tells the unlikely love story between 18-year-old Marianne, a wealthy rancher’s daughter, and the infamous Mexican rebel leader warring against her father.

Click HERE to learn more and to enter sweepstakes for free stay at a Bed & Breakfast of your choice!

About the book:

1803, The Colony of Texas

Journey back to the early days of southwest history when the Spanish ruled the vast territory of Texas and padres instructed the people in the ways of God. Step into the world of handsome vaqueros and brightly dressed dark-eyed maidens.

The time is 1803. This is the era of Marianne Phillips and Armando Garcia, two people separated by race and culture but destined for love. Marianne is the daughter of a wealthy American rancher, a man who will do anything to please the Spanish and secure his land. Armando is a Mexican peasant, a rebel according to the Spanish. He has committed his life to helping the poor rise from poverty and the oppression of the ruling Spanish. Armando and Marianne . . . Two unlikely people who have little in common. Or do they?

Q & A with the author - DiAnn Mills

1. You’ve been writing historical fiction for a long time. What interested you in the 1803 time period?

I love Texas history, and I have an appreciation for the courageous men and women who built this state. Early Texas is a mixture of Native American, Spanish, black, and various European descents. Each race offered us a rich cultural heritage, a heritage that we should be proud.

2. What is it the theme of Awaken My Heart?

The theme is courage: courage to stand up to political and social factions that vie against God and what He desires for His people.

3. Armando Garcia is a rebel type of character. Do you think this type of hero applauds rebellion?

Not at all. Armando had much to learn about the difference between his own desires and what God required of him. Once he realized his stand needed to embrace truth, he was on the right road.

4. Marianne Phillips has a streak of rebellion in her. How was it channeled?

Marianne kept much of her rebellion inside because she knew God expected her to honor her parents, and in many instances, her father’s wishes. Once she saw that she had to make a choice between obedience to her father and obedience to God, she found strength to do that which was right.

5. What do you want your readers to understand about Weston Phillips?

Weston Phillips had the potential to be a good and kind man. He had the intelligence to build a large ranch and the ability to accumulate wealth, but selfishness took the reins. Once the reader completes the novel, he/she will understand Phillips much better.

6. What is your biggest challenge in writing?

Always the characterization. I crave three dimensional characters that will experience growth. Understanding and acting upon their motivation takes time! Sometimes I simply have to “live” with them for awhile. ☺

7. How do you develop your characters?

Through time, patience, people-watching, viewing them through unusual situations, brainstorming, and consulting many books about the psychology of personalities. And that’s just the beginning!

Thanks for visiting, DiAnn! And blessings on your new book!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Paradox

Has this ever happened to you?

Yesterday I had a lovely time speaking for a local meeting of the National Church Library Association. I was delighted to share with the members why they are my heroes. You see, my own church library provided me with Christian authors who mentored me through their books when I was a teen - and changed my life and spiritual journey in profound ways.

I particularly shared how we may not always get to see the results - but as we are available for God to use, we can trust that He is sharing grace, encouragement, and blessing through our lives.

Yet today I was beating myself up for being a failure - because I wasn't seeing results I'd hoped for. And I was noticing many others with more skill and more measurable success (even though trying very hard NOT to notice). The performance trap had me in its toothy jaws again. I laughed when I realized I needed to listen to the talk I'd given twenty-four hours earlier.

That happens to me a lot.

I also notice it with my books. Themes develop from my life experience and from passions that God places on my heart. But I often grapple with the concepts in new ways as I edit the book, and again as the book releases.

I BLISSFULLY ripped open an envelop from my publisher yesterday to find my author copy of Restorer's Journey. How thrilling! And how deeply I needed to remember what I learned from the character who is ready to despair when the calling is much harder and much more unfair than he imagined. I signed copies of Symphony of Secrets yesterday, and thought about my lovely neurotic flutist character - and how her art had become her god. I've been wrestling a lot with laying my writing down at His feet (and not snatching it back up again or giving it idolatrous attention). God is teaching me these themes all over again.

I guess it makes sense that I speak and write about issues that I'm still struggling with. That way God gets to do double duty. Primarily, I hope my words bring others encouragement. But at the same time, God speaks the same themes to me and challenges me to grow.

Maybe it's not a paradox after all. Maybe it's another example of God being able to use flawed, chipped vessels. Isn't He great?