Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wolves Among Us by Ginger Garrett

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wolves Among Us
David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2011)
Ginger Garrett


Ginger Garrett is the author of the Chronicles of the Scribes series (In the Shadow of Lions, In the Arms of Immortals, In the Eyes of Eternity), Dark Hour, and Beauty Secrets of the Bible. Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA.

Focusing on ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. A frequent media guest and television host, Ginger has been interviewed by Fox News, Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision, The Harvest Show, 104.7 The Fish Atlanta, and many other outlets.

A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in Theater, she is passionate about creating art from history. Ginger resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.


This richly imagined tale takes readers to a tiny German town in the time of “the burnings,” when pious and heretic alike became victims of witch-hunting zealots. When a double murder stirs up festering fears, the village priest sends for help. But the charismatic Inquisitor who answers the call brings a deadly mix of spiritual fervor and self-deceptive evil. Under his influence, village fear, guilt, and suspicion of women take a deadly turn. In the midst of this nightmare, a doubting priest and an unloved wife—a secret friend of the recently martyred William Tyndale—somehow manage to hear another Voice…and discover the power of love over fear.

Dinfoil, Germany, 1538. In a little town on the edge of the Black Forest, a double murder stirs up festering fears. A lonely woman despairs of pleasing her husband and wonders why other women shun her. An overworked sheriff struggles to hold the town—and himself—together. A priest begins to doubt the power of the words he shares daily with his flock. And the charismatic Inquisitor who arrives to help—with a filthy witch in a cage as an object lesson—brings his own mix of lofty ideals and treacherous evil. Under his influence, ordinary village fears and resentments take a deadly turn. Terror mounts. Dark deeds come to light. And men and women alike discover not only what they are capable of, but who they are…and what it means to grapple for grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wolves Among Us, go HERE

Monday, March 28, 2011

When Blogs Lose Readers' Interest

I follow nearly 100 different feeds with Google Reader, nearly all of them blogs. I love not missing a single post, and being able to catch up on my reading whenever I want. I'm pretty quick to add new blogs to my list, and it takes a lot for me to remove one. I just let the posts pile up for months until I'm pretty sure I won't be reading the blog again.

Then there are the feeds I click on as soon as I notice a new post. Some are friends' blogs, some are written by writing industry professionals, and one is my comic strip feeds (daily dose of Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and more). But even on some of these feeds, I've noticed myself skimming instead of reading, searching to find the nuggets of gold that made me put them on my list to begin with, and coming up empty.

One of the blogs that I increasingly skim is Michael Hyatt's blog. (I'm using his blog as an example because he seems very open to reader feedback, and because I'm surprised that a blog that's "doing everything right" isn't holding my interest anymore.) The reason I began follow Michael's blog is because he is the CEO of Thomas Nelson, one of my favorite publishers. I loved the "inside scoop" about the publishing industry, and learned from his posts about leadership and technology. I used to read his posts about fitness and public speaking, but I don't anymore.

Do I just have less time to spend on blog reading? Part of it, perhaps. I almost never watch the videos he posts, and I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it's that I expect to read on Google Reader. If I want to watch videos, I go to YouTube. Also, the intros to the videos (the words before the video embed) rarely compel me to watch the video. I might scan the rest of the post for more information, but I assume that it's supposed to be read after watching the video. It's gotten to the point where if I see a post having a video, I skip it completely, unless the title shouts that it's something interesting about the publishing industry.

Another reason I skim his posts is because so few of them are about the publishing industry anymore (probably less than 10%). A writer friend has started blogging more about organic foods and green living than writing, so I'm less likely to read her posts right away.

I guess what my observations boil down to is this. Dilute or change your original blog topic, and your original readers may start to lost interest in your blog (you may gain a bunch of new readers, though!). I'm not talking about occasional off-topic posts. But if you write 5 posts a week, and 2 of them focus on your original topic and 3 focus on your new topic, why not have a blog for each? Especially if the topics have little relation.

Any thoughts?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where I've Been Writing: Other Blogs

I have a bad habit of getting excited about a topic, creating a blog to write about it, and writing a grand total of about 3 posts. So over the years, I've accumulated quite a collection of abandoned blogs all over the internet. Even for this Blogger account, I have 11 blogs, and all but 2 have had no activity since 2008. There would be more, but I discovered WordPress, and I have a bunch on there as well.

I have written some content on these various blogs during the months I was all but ignoring this one, so I figure I would link to a few to conclude this "where I've been writing" series.

Cloak and Dagger Fiction - I won a free site design from Tekeme Studios, and this beautiful website is what they came up with. This may become my "main" site if I get a fantasy novel published first, but in the meantime, I just post mostly fantasy-related stuff on the site.

TV Breakroom - This is my newest site, but with all the recent TV shows I've fallen in love with, I'm hopeful it won't be as flash in the pan as my other blogs. Right now, I'm mostly writing about how I discovered various shows and how they connect to other shows, but once I've covered most of the ones I watch, I want to move on to reviewing individual episodes.

Promote Your Novel - I didn't intend to abandon this site, but I lost my password when my hard drive crashed, and I don't even remember what email address I signed up under. I'd love to continue my series on authors sharing their promotional tips.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heart Most Worthy
Bethany House (March 1, 2011)
Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

Her ninth novel, A Heart Most Worthy, follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), and She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010). She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.

Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Mitchell delivers the historical goods."


The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times.

Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client.

Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Heart Most Worthy, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Where I've Been Writing: NaNoWriMo

This past November was the first time I seriously attempted NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I didn't reach the 50,000 word goal, but I did manage to get more words done on a single manuscript than I ever have before in a month.

It was hard, especially since I tend to be a SOTP (seat-of-the-pants) writer. I usually write fiction in short bursts with days of thinking in between, at least until I get to the last quarter or so of a book. Since NaNoWriMo requires official participants to start with a new project, I didn't get as much thinking time as I wanted. Instead of mulling over options to find the best one, I had to pick one and go with it.

I tried to do some planning before NaNo started, but so many of my ideas emerge as I write that it ended up only consisting of rough ideas for the first few scenes and character details.

Toward the end of the month, I started to see the pitfalls of the special ability I'd given my main character. The ability made her too powerful. Now that she had figured out how to use it, there was nothing to stop her from jumping to the end of the story and saving the day - at least 40,000 words too soon. Any obstacle I threw at her would be flimsy and not able to hold up for the bulk of a novel. Even limiting the ability wouldn't help much, and would make for a decent amount of rewriting. And the resulting easily-overcome conflict would stunt her character growth.

So I have two options - ditch the story, or start over with only the first 2-3 scenes remaining mostly intact. I've left the story in limbo since I realized the story as is couldn't be salvaged, trying to think of a way to save the characters and place them in an altered framework. I like my characters, their back stories, and how they relate to each other. I've invested a lot of time into researching details to get them right. I also don't want to waste the huge amount of info on federal agents a friend in the profession gave me.

And now, after three months of hiding in the freezer (yeah, that far beyond being on the back burner), ideas are starting to connect again. The premise is thawing under the influence of a new twist, one that will provide conflict and creative problem-solving, plus - probably most importantly - give my hero and heroine time to connect longer than their "cute meet" at a wedding would normally entail.

This time, I'm going to give the story room to breathe. No rushing forward with the first idea that pops into my head. That means I probably won't be writing 50,000 or even 25,000 words a month, but it doesn't mean I'll let myself take years. I wrote my first novel, with plenty of time to research and contemplate, in just under a year - and it was 115,000 words.

Sorry, NaNoWriMo. I have to take substance over speed. My brain does not work best on your timetable.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Where I've Been Writing: FamilyFiction

The writing I've done for online venues over the past months hasn't been solely for revenue-sharing sites. In late June 2010, Chris Well contacted me about the new magazine Salem Publishing was starting: FamilyFiction. He asked if I'd like to be one of their writers. I jumped at the opportunity!

Since the magazine's premiere in September/October 2010, I've been the contributing editor for speculative and young adult fiction. Both genres are a perfect fit for my reading tastes (I've even judged book contests in both categories), and my younger siblings enjoy the books I pass along to them after I read them.

My favorite part of the job is definitely the author interviews. Even though I'm normally phone-phobic, I've learned to relax and let authors share their heart for story and for their readers. It's been awesome talking to authors I've loved for years, and sometimes getting to share what their books have meant to me.

In addition to the author profiles I write for each issue of FamilyFiction, I've also been collecting and sharing news from authors in my genres, which can often be a challenge to gather. (If you're reading this and you write speculative or young adult fiction for a Christian audience - I'm talking to you! Share your news, and I'll be happy to spread the word! Tell your fellow authors!)

Click through to read the first three issues of FamilyFiction, either through the online viewer or in a downloadable PDF. I've written profiles on Stephen Lawhead, Melody Carlson, Jonathan Rogers, and others! The fourth issue, March/April, is coming soon!