September 4, 2009
. . . Sharon Ball’s blog A Break from the Norm. Sharon’s a client who finaled in this year’s Genesis contest (Go, Sharon!), and she recently asked me some great questions about working with a freelance editor. If you’d like some professional help on your manuscript, I think you’ll enjoy the interview.
July 7, 2009
This week, the
Kregel Publications (March 5, 2009)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
He works full-time as a freelance writer and editor. A print journalism graduate of Bob Jones University (Greenville, SC), he served in editorial roles for fourteen years at Northland Baptist Bible College (Dunbar, WI) and Awana Clubs International Headquarters (Streamwood, IL).
He has published numerous short stories and articles. Fatal Illusions released by Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI) is his first novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
An amateur magician, an unassuming family . . . a fatal illusion Haydon Owens wants to be the next Houdini. He has been practicing his craft and has already made four women disappear. All it took was a bit of rope and his two bare hands.
The Thayer family has come to the north woods of Newberry, Michigan, looking for refuge, a peaceful sanctuary from a shattered past. But they are not alone. Little do they know that they are about to become part of Haydon’s next act. Time is running out and already the killer has spotted his next victim. Who will escape alive?
“Fatal Illusions is an engaging, fast-paced read with a captivating storyline that grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go. Highly recommended!”–Mark Mynheir, homicide detective and author of The Night Watchman
“An awesome ride!”–Rosey Dow, Christy Award winning author of Reaping the Whirlwind
“Adam Blumer tells a fast-paced story that weaves together a serial killer, a physically wounded pastor and his spiritually wounded wife. The twists and turns will keep readers guessing.”–Rick Acker, author of Blood Brothers
Sally Says: Fatal Illusions is one of those thick, meaty novels we don’t see a lot of anymore.
This first book from novelist and editor Adam Blumer was hard to put down. The plot lines and characters were well-developed and intriguing. As a pastor’s wife, I found Marc and Gillian very believable, even down to the struggles of pastoring in the Chicago area.
What I think I enjoyed the most were the different plot lines that linked together. Blumer did a good job of keeping them fast-paced and interesting, even before they merged into the main conflict. And what a conflict it was!
Fatal Illusions is an excellent first offering, and I hope there’ll be many more books coming from this new author.
March 2, 2009
It’s been quite a while since I did any serious blogging, despite my January goal to do more, but it’s not my fault. Really! My laptop betrayed me right after I listed my goals, and it limped along for almost two months before it finally died in February.
Insert moment of silence.
I had someone look at it to see if it was fixable, but, alas, it was not. I’m just relieved that I backed everything up two hours before the computer froze on me for the last time.
So I spent about two weeks running up to my husband’s office at church to do my editing on his computer. Needless to say, all other online stuff had to wait.
But we have a new laptop now so I’m back! And I thought I’d catch up on a few things that have been banging around in my head for the last month.
1. You all might want to thank my laptop for dying when it did – the day before the news about A-Rod’s flunked steroid test came out. I did several mental blog rants in my head since I couldn’t get to a computer. Lucky you. But I feel better now. And I caught a White Sox preseason game yesterday which they won in the ninth inning. Go Sox.
2. Shelf Life, the story that finaled in the ‘07 Genesis contest, has been simmering and deepening in my mind for the last couple of years. I’ve got a pretty thorough outline, but there was one important bit of info that I couldn’t figure out — why the heroine’s husband had failed as a major league closer. I didn’t want it to be the whole steroid issue (see #1), and I already knew how the book would end, but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what the guy’s problem was.
I figured it out! And in the weirdest place. My husband gets ESPN the magazine, and I skim through it for whatever looks interesting. There was an article in there about a month ago on fans heckling players, and bam — my answer was right there. What excited me the most was that what happened to one pro player was something I already had as a major issue in my story. So the answer fit perfectly into the story and deepened so much of the novel. I know that’s vague, but I’m pumped.
I really want to enter the Genesis contest again, but I think our two mortgages are going to prevent that. Which stinks because I’d love the feedback on Shelf Life and two other stories. But I’m getting okay with that.
Still . . . rats.
3. I’d love to hear what you all feel about novels that make you read the next book to find out what happens. On my last post, Tina Forkner, who’s a published novelist, left her thoughts on Daisy Chain and its ending. From the reviews I’ve seen, it almost seems like people who are more readers than writers don’t like to be left hanging while people who are writers are fine with it.
I know I’m a writer so I’m not even in line with what I think I’m seeing, but right now I’m looking at it as a reader. I want to get from beginning to end in that book I’m holding because I’m reading for fun. And getting to the end and not finding out what happened isn’t fun. I wonder if we writers sometimes get caught up in our work as art and forget that our readers are into it for fun, escape, relaxation, etc.
What do you think?
February 27, 2009
This week, the
Zondervan (March 1, 2009)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).
Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.
In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.
Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.
This is a hard review to write. In fact, I went to a number of other CFBA blogs to see what others thought about the book.
First, I loved Mary DeMuth’s debut series, Watching the Tree Limbs and Wishing on Dandelions. Mary’s a talented writer who doesn’t shy away from the painful parts of life but uses them to point the reader to hope.
And in Daisy Chain those painful bits of life are here again. Jed Pepper, the book’s hero, is the son of a pastor who is brutal to his children and wife. As I read, I found myself getting very angry with Jed’s dad and reading faster and faster, just waiting for someone to catch Hap in his violence and rescue his family. I found myself getting angry with his wife for letting it continue. And I found myself angry with the church members who fell for Hap’s hypocrisy.
And then of course there’s the question of what happened to Jed’s friend Daisy. Jed feels responsible for her disappearance since he didn’t see her safely home the evening she vanished.
What bothered me about the story was the way the book ended. I knew this was the first in a trilogy, but I didn’t expect to reach the end of the book without a single plot question answered. Not one! I actually went back and reread a few pages, thinking I’d read too fast and missed something.
That being said, Daisy Chain is still a great book. Mary has a melodic way with words. She knows how to create real people out of nothing more than letters, and I will be reading the second (and probably third) book to find out what happens.
But I do wish something had been resolved at the end of the book. I wish we hadn’t been left hanging as badly as we were.
So do I recommend you read Daisy Chain? I do. Just take a deep breath and be prepared to wait a few months to find out what comes next.
July 30, 2008
It’s always exciting when a friend gets that first contract. Georgiana Daniels is an online buddy I got to meet in person at last year’s ACFW conference. Her first book, Table for One, has just released in paperback, and I got a chance to read it.
Successful stockbroker Lucy Brocklehurst hasn’t had a date in four years. In a town where the ratio of single women to men is 7:1, she’s determined to wait on God for the perfect mate–as long as it’s the hot new youth pastor at her church.
Lucy will do anything to get his attention, including volunteering for the youth group. Through a series of misadventures on the teen outings, Lucy finds herself falling in love with a kindhearted chaperone named Edgar Flowers. But when their relationship grows serious, Lucy discovers the lengths his recently widowed mother will go to in order to keep them apart. What starts out as harmless interference turns into an all out tug of war, with Edgar as the prize!
Will Lucy crumble under the scrutiny of her would-be mother-in-law? Or can Lucy and Edgar’s budding romance survive the schemes of his meddling mom?
Georgiana Daniels is the wife of a super-generous husband, and the mother of a teen and two tots. After graduating with a degree in public relations, she spent several years in the business world, but now has the privilege of staying home and working on the stories she loves. Table for One is her first book. When not writing, she spends her time burning up miles on the treadmill, blogging, and participating in ACFW and RWA.
Sally Says: Table for One was a lot of fun with the right mix of humor and real-life drama. Lucy Brocklehurst, gotta love that name, is a lovable heroine who’s trying so hard to do what’s right — and find the right man at the same time. Throughout the book, she’s getting into embarrassing scrapes, but she’s a tough girl who’s smart enough to realize when she’s made the wrong choice. Poor thing–we just wish that sometimes she’d know the right way to make up for those wrongs!
There was a time or two when I thought another character was too hard on Lucy, but other than that the book is a great story about life as a single Christian female. Lucy’s a brave woman who takes on more than I probably would, and as I finished the book, I found myself hoping that everything would turn out just fine for her, almost as if she were real.
If you’re a fan of chick lit or romance, you’ll enjoy Table for One. Congrats on your first book, Georgiana, and may there be many more!
Click here or here if you’d like information on how to purchase the book. For any of you who like e-books, Table for One is available in that format. And check out Georgiana’s blog where she’s posting most days of the week.
January 11, 2008
I’m a fan of ABC’s Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. In case you’re not familiar with the show, Ty Pennington and a crew of designers surprise a family who needs some help, tear down their messed-up house, and build a new one and furnish it in seven days. It’s one of those feel-good shows where people who’ve gotten behind in life get a hand.
This week, the family on EMHE is a Christian family. In fact, the wife is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the writer group I’m a part of. And it’s been interesting hearing bits of behind-the-scenes workings of the show.
The most fascinating thing I learned is how that first morning of the show starts off. I’ve always wondered how the whole family just happened to be there at home and dressed when Ty and his crew show up. (I mean, if it were me, I was sure I wouldn’t have taken a shower yet, you know?)
But I’ve been told that, after a lengthy process and surviving a few rounds of elimination, there are five families who are all told to be home on a certain day. These are the final five families, and a producer is at the home with each family, waiting with them to see if the bus shows up. For one family, that bus pulls up, and they get Ty’s famous wake-up call.
For the other four, the bus never shows up.
I can’t imagine being one of the other four families, and I have to say that’s made that opening so much more emotional. You can understand why that family comes out ecstatic like that. They’ve been sitting on pins and needles for how longs, not knowing if it would happen for them.
If you watched last week’s show, you know that they did a house that had ghosts and had to ask the ghosts for permission to tear the house down. (Puhlease.) And now this week, it’s Christians who are going to be center stage.
So all that to say, watch this Sunday’s EMHE. The 7 pm central one is a rerun. The 8 pm EMHE is the one with the Woodhouse family.