Sunday, July 27, 2008

Online Book Club Features Renovating Becky

The Christian Author's Network hosts a fiction book club, You've Got Books. You can read a first chapter for free - and get new samples every week.

Right now they are featuring Get Cosy, Josey by Susan May Warren. On July 31st, as part of their special summer line-up of previously released books that are still in print, they're featuring RENOVATING BECKY MILLER. This book was recently named as a finalist for the ACFW Book of the Year Award.

Please stop by for a taste of a the story about a family that needs an Extreme Makeover Home Edition visit . . . and some other makeovers as well.

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 finalist)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Coming Soon:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Sharon & Ted's Excellent Road Trip

Readers, writers, book-clubbers, church librarians, friends, and friends-to-be:

If you live in or near Madison, Wisconsin, or South Bend, Indiana, or points in between South Bend and Minneapolis, and would like to meet, please email me.

Ted and I will be taking a road trip next Thursday on our way to my scheduled television interview with "The Harvest Show" on Friday, August 1st. I'm looking forward to chatting about my upcoming novel, Stepping Into Sunlight, but also plan to drop in and thank stores along the way that carry my books.

If you email me through my website contact page and tell me where you live, I can let you know whether I'll be nearby, and at what time. I'd love to meet as many readers in person as I can!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Win the Entire Sword of Lyric Set!

The great folks at Suspense Zone are featuring all three books in the Sword of Lyric series: The Restorer, The Restorer's Son, and The Restorer's Journey, with in-depth reviews, an interview, and a great prize drawing.

While I normally think of the suspense genre as action thrillers in the espionage area, or crime dramas with a ticking clock, the Suspense Zone site features a great range of books by Christian authors that will raise your blood pressure and keep you turning pages. I'm delighted that they are highlighting these adventure/fantasy stories and hope that some new readers will discover the books. Be sure to stop by. The contest ends August 12!

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 finalist)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Coming Soon:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recognizing Variety

When I was working on my Master's thesis, I struggled to articulate a core belief that has shaped many of my life choices and my desire to work in the arts.

I believe that God is so awesome and multifaceted, that we need a variety of means to communicate with Him and about Him.

I love that He's given us a variety of art forms, music, drama, dance, poetry, sculpture, paintings etc., and even when we use them all, we only are able to convey tiny glimpses of His amazing love and glory. We constantly strive to utter the unutterable.

Within the art form of storytelling, I also believe we need variety. is highlighting the 2008 Book of the Year finalists, and as I browsed the collection of authors and titles, I thanked God for the wide range of genres and styles. Check it out! And consider trying a new author, or a new genre. You might see an new aspect of God's nature in a new way.

Book of the Year 2008 Finalists

Sharon Hinck

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Feature Interview

Symphony of Secrets is featured at Lena Nelson Dooley's site this week.

She asked me some great questions. Be sure to drop by and leave a comment! She's giving away a free copy, too.

Sharon Hinck

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Imaginative Mind of the Writer

While at ICRS, I was reminded that we writers inhabit a world of "normal" people, but we often view it from a slightly off-center location.

When my dear roommate and I went over to the convention center to pick up our badges the day before the event, we were dropped off at a back door. We walked into a deserted lobby and I said, "I wonder where we are in the convention center?"

Immediately a gentleman's voice from the ceiling answered, "You're in the west concourse."

Of course I looked skyward and called, "Thank you!"

Then he said, as we rode escalators up, "Welcome to the convention center. Remember you entered via the west entrance."

"Thanks, I will!"

By then my roomie was shaking her head at me. I later explained to her children that there was a very kind man in the ceiling who answered questions, and he was probably sad at how often he was ignored. I encouraged them to speak with him when they visited the next day.

Meanwhile, we reached a long corridor. There was a truly interesting sign over the entrance...worthy of a fantasy novel's "Beware ye who dare enter."

The fuzzy photo (I'm not great with my camera) shows what it said: "Stand clear. The door may roll down at any time."

Or course I made my roommate stand under it while I took a picture (that photo didn't turn out). I'm not sure why that sign struck me as funny. It was kind of the convention center to warn us that a door could randomly drop at any moment. But it made me feel like I was in some sort of Tron game.

Life is never dull when you have an over-active imagination.

It might be hard to find roommates to put up with you, though.

Sharon Hinck

Friday, July 18, 2008

ACFW Book of the Year Finalists

I'm so delighted to see my friends offered encouragement through this recognition, and also so grateful for the honor of seeing three of my books on the list. Do you like playing "Where's Waldo?" The three books of mine are somewhere below. :-)

ACFW's 2008 Book of the Year Finalists:

Debut Author

Bayou Justice (Robin Miller writing as Robin Caroll)
In Between (Jenny B. Jones)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
My Soul Cries Out (Sherri Lewis)
Petticoat Ranch (Mary Connealy)

Contemporary Novella (*six finalists due to a tie)

A Cloud Mountain Christmas (Robin Lee Hatcher)
Finally Home (Deb Raney in Missouri Memories anthology)
Mississippi Mud (DiAnn Mills in Sugar And Grits Anthology)
Moonlight & Mistletoe (Carrie Turansky in Big Apple Christmas anthology)
Remaking of Moe McKenna (Gloria Clover in the Race to the Altar anthology)
Sweet Dreams Drive (Robin Lee Hatcher)

Historical Novella

Beyond the Memories (DiAnn Mills in Mississippi Memories anthology)
Finishing Touches (Kelly Hake in Missouri Memories anthology)
Love Notes (Mary Davis in Love Letters anthology)
The Spinster & The Cowboy (Lena Nelson Dooley in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology)
The Spinster & The Tycoon (Vickie McDonough in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology)

Lits (*six finalists due to a tie)

Around the World in 80 Dates (Christa Banister)
One Little Secret (Bottke, Allison)
Renovating Becky Miller (Sharon Hinck)
Splitting Harriet (Tamara Leigh)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
The Book of Jane (Dayton/Vanderbilt)

Long contemporary

Autumn Blue (Karen Harter)
Like Always (Robert Elmer)
Taming Rafe (Susan May Warren)
When the Nile Runs Red (DiAnn Mills)
Within This Circle (Deb Raney)

Long Historical (*seven finalists due to TWO ties)

Courting Trouble (Deeanne Gist)
Fancy Pants (Cathy Hake)
Lady of Milkweed Manor (Julie Klassen)
Remember Me (Maureen Lang)
Then Came Hope (Louise Gouge)
Veil of Fire (Marlo Schalesky)
Where Willows Grow (Kim Vogel Sawyer)


Days And Hours (Susan Meissner)
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie (Sharon Dunn)
Gone With The Groom (Janice Thompson)
Sticks And Stones (Susan Meissner)
Your Chariot Awaits (Lorena McCourtney)

Short Contemporary

Heart of the Family (Margaret Daley)
The Heart of Grace (Linda Goodnight)
The Perfect Blend (Allie Pleiter)
Wedded Bliss (Kathleen Y’Barbo)
When Love Comes Home (Arlene James)

Short Contemporary Suspense (*six finalists due to a tie)

Caught Redhanded (Gayle Roper)
Her Christmas Protector (Terri Reed)
Nowhere to Hide (Debby Giusti)
Pursuit of Justice (Pamela Tracy)
See No Evil (Gayle Roper)
Vanished (Margaret Daley)

Short Historical (*six due to a tie)

A Time to Keep (Kelly Hake)
A Wealth Beyond Riches (Vickie McDonough)
Canteen Dreams (Cara Putman)
Corduroy Road to Love (Lynn Coleman)
Golden Days (Mary Connealy)
To Trust An Outlaw (Rhonda Gibson


Demon: A Memoir (Tosca Lee)
DragonFire (Donita Paul)
The Restorer (Sharon Hinck)
The Restorer’s Son (Sharon Hinck)
Isle of Swords (Wayne Thomas Batson)


Abomination (Colleen Coble)
Black Ice (Linda Hall)
Coral Moon (Brandilyn Collins)
Crimson Eve (Brandilyn Collins)
Ransomed Dreams (Amy Wallace)

Women’s Fiction

A Promise To Remember (Katie Cushman)
Bygones (Kim Sawyer)
Remember to Forget (Deb Raney)
The Oak Leaves (Maureen Lang)
Watercolored Pearls (Stacy Adams)

Young Adult

In Between (Jenny B. Jones)
On The Loose (Jenny B. Jones)
Sara Jane: Liberty’s Torch (Eleanor Clark
Sarah’s Long Ride (Susan P Davis)
Saving Sailor (Renee Riva)

CONGRATULATIONS to all the finalists, but also to all authors who are writing stories to glorify God. Your efforts matter.

Sharon Hinck

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Christy Awards

The photo shows me (on the left) with my remarkable Aussie friend Lisa McKay, in the interview room after the Christy dinner. It was a joy to reconnect with her. We met in Camy Tang's LONG book-signing line a year ago at ICRS.

Here's my impressions of my first experience at the Christy dinner.

I hadn't planned to attend ICRS this year, but when I received the delightful shock of learning The Restorer was named a Christy finalist, I wanted to show my respect for the honor by trying to get there. My agent also encouraged me to attend, and said it was a very special experience.

Then my church small-group all chipped in and gave me a check to send me. So I went with a sense of all of them experiencing this with me. They have believed in this book since the first manuscript and prayed over it for many years. So I enjoyed celebrating this for all of us.

The warm camaraderie in the room was energetic and sincere. Authors, editors, publishers, publicists and agents greeted each other and buzzed from table to table. I was delighted to get to meet my author relation's contact, Kris Wallen, in person for the first time.

I also enjoyed seeing familiar faces. Looking around the room, I felt surprised by how many people I've gotten to know in the last two years since my first book, The Secret Life of Becky Miller, released. I kept thanking God for the dear friends and acquaintances that have enriched my life.

All too soon, we had to take our seats. I wanted many more hours of chatting. :-)

Phyllis Tickle made a beautiful presentation of the Christy Legacy Award to honor Carol Johnson who has semi-retired from her position at Bethany House. It was a beautiful tribute and heart-warming to see the whole room give her a standing ovation for all she has contributed to Christian fiction in our lifetime.

Somewhere early on (it's a bit of a blur) all the nominees were asked to come stand by the side of the stage. Each was called on stage to receive the finalist medal. Amazing how gawky a person can feel standing in front of so many people in your field that you admire and respect. I loved how they made each of us as finalists feel special as we dipped our heads like Olympic athletes to receive the ribbon and medal.

The dinner was delicious, but each time I'd take a bite, someone new would come over to say hello, and I'd forget all about food in the joy of interacting. Someday I need to learn how to eat and fellowship at the same time.

Karen Ball, Carol Johnson, Dave Lambert, and Michelle Rapkin did a sort of panel discussion, answering questions about Christian fiction, about their own experiences (projects they passed on, some they fought for that didn't do well financially, but they were still proud of). It was a great behind-the-scenes peek into the Christian publishing industry. As they discussed the history of key events, authors, and books that have been significant, it was like a retrospective of my own life. When CBA stores had one shelf of fiction (Grace Livingston Hill, Eugenia Price, Catherine Marshall, and a few others) I read those books. Then Jeanette Oke, then Frank Perretti, Bodie Thoene, Jan Karon. And I felt incredibly grateful to be a very tiny piece of this ministry of stories.

They announced the top winners quickly, and speeches were brief and heartfelt. I had expected Stephen Lawhead to win in the Visionary category, and could only feel that it was appropriate when it was announced. He has been the inspiration to so many for decades. As my adult son said, "Mom, I'll always respect you for being on a list with Stephen Lawhead."

After a prayer, quick photos and chats with friends, the finalists were all directed upstairs to do a few media interviews. I was having so much fun, I once again forgot all about decorum and being concise. I babbled like the giddy person I was.

Altogether an uplifting and fun evening, including sitting in the hotel lobby chatting and giggling with a large group of writing friends afterwards. My tap shoes remained comfortable. (Those of you who read my blog know that since I haven't found any high-heel shoes that are comfortable except my tap shoes, he kindly removed the taps for me so I could wear them). I felt relaxed and at ease most of the time. (Thanks, I'm sure, to the prayers of my friends). And the evening was everything an awards event should be -- a celebration of God's goodness and hand in our lives, and the multiple and diverse talents He has given the Body of Christ.

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Few Highlights from ICRS

Honestly, the trade show for the Christian Booksellers is about retailers and publishers, not about the authors. And for authors, the experience can feel a bit squelching since topics of "bottom line" and sales numbers don't nestle comfortably next to our artistic vision and creative spirits.

This was the third time I attended, and I went knowing God would most likely use some difficult experiences to reveal aspects of my character in painful ways... a great opportunity for repentance and growth.

There were certainly some of those opportunities. There were also lots of fun moments.

Here are a few:

*Sharing a bus ride with a gentleman from New Zealand who had read my books.

*Meeting a store manager who had told one of my publishers how much my books had meant to him - so they contacted me and had me come over to meet him. What an encouragement!

*Listening to Robin Parrish try to convince me that his seven-month-old baby can speak full sentences. He pulled out a recording for me to listen to that he claimed was "I love you Dada."
For the record, I heard, "ah wa da da da da da da."

*Responding to the man in the ceiling when he answered my question about where I was in the convention center. (Okay, so my roommate claims it was a recorded greeting- but I choose to believe otherwise)

*The wonderful writer's retreat I was able to attend before ICRS.

*Hearing a recap of Christian fiction throughout my generation at the Christy dinner - and feeling such joy about how it has developed and deeply honored to be a tiny part of it.

*Talking Robin Lee Hatcher into doing a tour jete' in her Birkenstocks in the middle of the street.

*Cuddling Cara Putman's new baby. Ah, sweet soft baby head nuzzled under my chin.

*Giggling with my roommates.

*Multitudes of conversations with the delightful people that populate the writing world.

There were more special moments but those are a few that pop into my mind. I'll get some pictures up soon... laundry awaits.

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

White Water Rafting

One more picture from the family reunion in Colorado. My hubby,
two daughters and I are in the boat along with other relatives. I'm the one holding up a yellow paddle on the right side of the photo (wearing a baseball cap).

We did category three rapids - which I guess is fairly mild, but it was exciting enough for me. :-)

Now I'm off to a writing retreat in Orlando, the Christy Awards dinner, and the ICRS conference.

I'll blog about it all when I return home.

Sharon Hinck

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I've Been Kindled!

I'm so excited! The Restorer has been released in a digital download version for Kindle!

Yes, is this weird world we live in, with technology shifting so quickly, more and more books are available on this Star-Trek-like reading tablet. I'm delighted one of my books is joining in.

The audio book for Renovating Becky Miller is available as an audio digital download for iPod at my local library system, but this is the first of my books to go high-tech and have a Kindle version.

I also just found the audio version of Symphony of Secrets is now out with Recorded Books (which serves libraries, schools, etc.)

Back in the day, books were either hard-cover or paperback. Now they come in myriad forms...and I've decided I'll celebrate that today. :-)

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, Inspirational Fiction category)
The Restorer
(2008 Christy Award Finalist, Visionary category)
The Restorer's Son (Romantic Times 4.5 stars, Reviewer's Choice Award - Road to Romance reviewers)
New Releases:
The Restorer's Journey
Symphony of Secrets

Coming Soon:
Stepping Into Sunlight

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

You're Invited - July, August, September

In honor of the upcoming release of STEPPING INTO SUNLIGHT (a novel about a Navy chaplain's wife who does small acts of kindness as part of her journey toward healing) I've created a new blog.

I'm gathering friends for a fun cyber-event in September - to join Penny (the character) in her project. If you can participate by blogging about Penny's Project sometime in September and sharing some of your own ideas for small steps of kindness, I'd love to link to you on the new blog. My hope is that we'll rock our world with Jesus' love in new and creative ways. Just leave a comment at this link and I'll add you!

Even if you don't have a blog or website, you can participate by visiting Penny's Project during the next few months, sharing ideas and comments, and participating in the September steps of kindness project.

You can try Penny's challenge of one kind act a day for the whole month of September, or just try one kind act that month. You could blog about your experience and tell friends about Penny's Project. It's up to you!
Have a blessed day!

Sharon Hinck
...stories for the hero in all of us

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I'm blogging at Faithchicks today. Stop by and "say hey."


The Heartbreak of Saul

The last week or so I've been listening to the Old Testament book of I Samuel on my iPod Bible. I find the story of Saul to be heartbreaking.

This week I was particularly struck by Saul's bitter response to David's success.
The women sang "Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands."

The point of the song was that the common enemy had been defeated. Yet all Saul heard was the comparison. It burned him. The sour taste of coveting consumed him.

I'd like to think I know better. I'd like to think I can rejoice when God equips, blesses, elevates, or honors others.

But I took a moment to apply the story to my writing life.

Books are measured in numbers. Numbers printed, numbers sold. It wasn't a big reach to hear the voice of bystanders, "Sharon has sold her thousands, but Truly Favored Author has sold her ten thousands (or hundred thousands)."

Will my response be, "Hooray! We are all serving God's kingdom together, all fighting a common enemy. How wonderful to celebrate the God-given success of others." ?

Or will my sinful nature, like Saul's, twist and writhe and whisper, "I want a bigger part."

The story of poor, tormented Saul sent me scurrying to God in earnest prayer.

"Lord, change my heart to be more like Jesus. Fill me with gratitude for the small tasks you've granted me. Teach me to rejoice for the big accomplishments of others. Keep my eyes firmly focused on Your beauty, and keep me too busy worshiping You to have time to compare my journey to anyone else's."

Sharon Hinck