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