Friday, May 30, 2008

Bezos on the Kindle

From May 27-29 the Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference has been going on in Carlsbad, California. The industry’s top players were interviewed about the impact digital technology will have on our lives now and in the future. One of those interviewed was Amazon's Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos, regarding the Kindle.

It's an interesting interview about the product and where Amazon plans to go with it. As usual, Amazon was cagey about their numbers. Bezos wouldn't say how many Kindles have sold. He did say there were would be new, improved models, but not in the near future. Obviously the company is looking for digital book sales to continue to grow.

Bezos also talks about a new video-on-demand service which will be launching from Amazon in the next few weeks.

Here's a good rundown of what was said. To see videos of the interview, go here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ruby Among Us

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Ruby Among Us

(WaterBrook Press May 20, 2008)


Tina Ann Forkner

FIRST LINE: The first person to hold Ruby was the last person to let her go.

MY NOTES: This is Tina's first book. I'm very happy to see what she's accomplished. If you enjoy women's fiction relationship stories, give this book and new author a try. (Note her endorsement from last year's American Idol Jordin Sparks. That's kinda cool.)


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. Originally from Oklahoma, she graduated with honors in English from CSU Sacramento before ultimately settling in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming where she now resides with her husband and their three children. Tina serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors and enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors with her family, and works as a full-time writer.


Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else’s past...

Ruby Among Us, Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art─but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

“What an incredible story. As both mothers and daughters, Ruby Among Us struck a special cord in each of the four of us. Tina writes in a way that makes us feel like we’re there; from the first line, we were captivated and drawn into an intricate weaving of the precious and fragile relationships that define us.” ~Point of Grace
“Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling.”
~Jordin Sparks, 2007 winner of American Idol
“Highly recommended. If you’re a mother or daughter, you’re going to love Ruby Among Us. Forkner does an extraordinary job…. I look forward to more from this author.”
~Ane Mulligan, Novel Journey
“Don’t miss this one! Tina Ann Forkner is a strong new voice in fiction and Ruby Among Us is an amazing story of trials, regrets, and, ultimately, redemption. Lucy and her family history in the historic wine country of Sonoma bring to life the Scriptures about the Vine and His branches.”
~Kristin Billerbeck, author of The Trophy Wives Club

To read the first chapter go HERE.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Revision and Self-Editing

The follow-up to James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure is now available from Writer's Digest Books. Revision and Self-Editing focuses on "techniques for transforming your first draft into a finished novel." Lots of good stuff here, folks. Not that I'd expect any less from Jim.

Jim describes self-editing as "the ability to know what makes fiction work, so when you actually write (as in a first draft) you're crafting salable fiction." Revision, then, is "a systematic approach to the whole when you have a full manuscript and have to fix it."

Part I on self-editing includes chapters on the subjects of characters, plot and structure, point of view, scenes, dialogue, beginnings/middles/ends, show vs. tell, voice and style, setting and description, exposition, and theme. The chapters end with a Key Points list and numerous exercises. The plot and structure chapter is a streamlined version of his previous book on the subject, including the mythic and three-act structures, and Jim's own LOCK system.

Part II covers revision. Chapter 16 is particularly helpful, with "the ultimate revision checklist." This checklist takes a look at the subjects covered in self-editing with specific ideas for strengthening each aspect. I do like the fact that Jim takes chapters 13 through 15 to prepare the writer for revising. The revision process requires skill and knowledge of the craft, but it can also be quite a head trip to tear apart what you've already worked so hard to write. It requires, as Jim says, taking the "long view" that revision will enhance the story and ultimately make you a better writer.

Throughout this book Jim uses lots of examples from published novels. The book is easy to read, with lists and graphs, yet the concepts are not shallow. If I weren't on such a hard deadline right now I'd love to sit down with this book and slowly go through it, doing all the exercises. I know I'd learn a lot, and it would get my mind working on future ideas. As it is, I'll read through the book a little at a time. Or perhaps flip to a certain page that might help me get over a block in my current wip.

Revision and Self-editing--highly recommended.

Monday, May 26, 2008


According to Christian Retailing, the number of suppliers attending ICRS this July is up since last year. At the same time numerous vendors have downsized their exhibit space, so that overall the space is down. For example, Provident-Integrity has downsized from 10 booth spaces to one. Destiny Image has gone from eight in years past to four.

Of course there's also Thomas Nelson, who won't be there at all.

Stats: 300 returning exibitors in 922 booths. 17 new vendors in 27 booths. (These include gift vendors as well as publishers.)

I've not heard of any other large publishers saying they won't attend ICRS. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2009, with ECPA's first Christian Book Expo next March in Dallas. Many publishers are attending that reader-based event, including Nelson. If the Expo goes off as successfully as predicted, will publishers continue to attend both it in the spring and ICRS just a few months later? (Here's the blog from ECPA regarding the event.)

ECPA's Gold Medallion awards, formerly announced at ICRS, will move to the Expo next year. Makes sense, since the EXPO is ECPA's shindig. I am wondering about the Christy Awards. Will they end up switching?

As for me, I'll be attending ICRS and proudly seeing Zondervan's booth on the floor. I'll be signing copies of Amber Morn from 12 noon to 1:00 on Monday. I love the signings. It's a great opportunity to see the booksellers face to face. I may be paired with someone again this year. (I've heard rumors but no confirmation.) I hope so. Teaming up with another Z novelist is twice the fun. One year they had me sign with Jim Bell. I put up a large sign--"Please don't feed the lawyer." Last year I signed with Camy Tang--until I strangled her.

You'd think Z would learn.
Mid-day addendum to post: ECPA's Michael Covington, ever vigilant even on Memorial Day, left a comment that I don't want any reader to miss. (Michael, why aren't you out playing?) We have talked about the Book Expo before, and I think it's going to be a fabulous event. (I'm already planning to attend.) But for those of you who may have missed those posts (here and here), have a look at Michael's comment about the intent of that event:

Hi Brandilyn

Just wanted to remind everyone that the purpose of the Christian Book Expo is not to compete with any existing trade show, as it is NOT a trade show, it is a consumer-focused book fair.

However, many people involved with books, including authors, agents, writer's groups, subsidiary rights managers, and retailers (to name a few) will also be present. With more than 150 author workshops, readings, panel discussions, etc. as well as an exhibit floor with over 100k square feet this will be a unique opportunity for anyone involved in the book purchasing life cycle to engage with the brand - the author.

This event is also ALL ABOUT THE BOOK, no gifts, and the only music feature will be incorporated into the evening programing, but will have strong ties to books (i.e., artists who are also authors).

Finally, the Christian Book Awards (which you referred to as the Gold Medallion Awards), are being moved simply because the purpose of the awards is to raise awareness of the books which are judged worthy for excellence and quality in Christian literature. In the past, the awards ceremony has been attended by a diminishing group of publishers, authors and retailers - hardly an opportunity to raise awareness. With the new Christian Book Expo, the general reading public will be able to attend, and learn about, the best of the best books in Christian publishing, achieving the goal of the program.

Thanks for keeping an eye on things for everyone, hope to see you in Orlando!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Beware Kanner Lake!

I just returned from almost two weeks in our Idaho home. I was very busy writing. But as I gazed out my office window at Lake Coeur d'Alene, my mind kept pulling toward my friends in Kanner Lake.

This Memorial Day weekend will bring trauma and tragedy.

I wanted to run through the streets of Coeur d'Alene, shouting, "Don't go over to Kanner Lake this Saturday!"

If only my Java Joint pals knew what was coming. They're so excited right now. S-Man has finally sold his science fiction manuscript, Starfire, to a major publisher, plus a sequel. And the Scenes and Beans bloggers plan to celebrate with S-Man at Java Joint this Saturday, watching him put his John Doe on the contracts. Rumor is Bailey has said all coffee drinks are on the house. (Which has made Wilbur very happy.) The contracts are now sitting in S-Man's place, waiting for signature. Bailey and John have bought him a fancy pen to use for signing. Sarah is also bringing a writerly gift from her Simple Pleasures store. Leslie, Paige, Carla, Angie, Bev, Pastor Hank, and Jared will all be there, plus a couple other surprise faces from the past. They'll all be Java Joint at 8:00 a.m., sipping their coffee drinks, Wilbur on his stool.

But their celebration won't happen.

I want to go warn them. I want to scream for them all to stay home. If they only knew ...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Broken Angel

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Broken Angel

(WaterBrook Press (May 20, 2008)


Sigmund Brouwer

My notes:

For a very interesting interview with Sigmund about this book, visit this page on Broken Angel received an excellent review from Publishers Weekly: "...addictively readable ... the terrific pacing is surpassed only by the character development."


Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen best-selling novels for children and adults. His newest book is Fuse of Armageddon and his novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America. A champion of literacy, he teaches writing workshops for students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.


Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy.
Her destiny is beyond comprehension.
Her pursuers long to see her broken.
She fights to soar.

A father's love for his daughter…a decision that would change both their lives forever. But who is she really─and why must she now run for her life?

Caitlin's body has made her an outcast, a freak, and the target of vicious bounty hunters. As she begins a perilous journey, she is forced to seek answers for her father's betrayal in the only things she can carry with her─a letter he passes her before forcing her to run, and their shared memories together.

Being hunted forces Caitlyn to partner with two equally lonely companions, one longing to escape the horror of factory life in Appalachia and the others, an unexpected fugitive. Together the three will fight to reach a mysterious group that might be friend or foe, where Caitlyn hopes to uncover the secrets of her past...and the destiny she must fulfill.

In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn’s existence–and understand her father’s betrayal.

Prepare yourself to experience a chilling America of the very near future, as you discover the unforgettable secret of the
Broken Angel.

In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chapter A Week and Koontz

Two news tidbits for today:

1. Have you signed up with Chapter A Week? If you're on the list you'll receive the opening chapter to a novel each week, with a link to the author's website for more information. It's a great, free way to sample some of the latest fiction releases. Now CAW has added something new--book giveaways. About four times a year a ten-pound box of Christian novels will be sent to a randomly drawn winner. The first drawing will occur June 13th. To sign up for Chapter A Week, go here. Do it soon, as the sign-up time for this contest ends June 6th.

2. Last week I told you about Dean Koontz's marketing strategy for his new release, Odd Hours. Koontz and company have created a four-part web series, featuring his character Odd Thomas on a hair-raising adventure that takes place between book 3 and this latest one. Yesterday Koontz's email went out, announcing that Odd Hours just hit shelves, and that the final web series installment was now available online. Of course I watched the video. That clever Koontz. He wound up the web adventure by placing Odd at the beginning of the story that is told in Odd Hours. Quite the clever marketing, from beginning to end.

Can't talk anymore today. I'm on my way to buy Odd Hours.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bestseller Lists Compared

Here's a comparison of the current CBA and ECPA bestseller lists, both reflecting sales in the month of April. Those on one list and not on another are in color. The numbers after the author names on the CBA list shows the placement of that novel on the Top 50 list. It's great to see the #1 and 2 spots on the Top 50 list are fiction, and that of the top ten on that list, five are fiction. (If you missed my post explaining the birth of the new ECPA list and how its data are different from CBA's, read it here.)


The Shack, William Young (1)
The Forbidden, Beverly Lewis (2)
Dead Heat, Joel Rosenberg (4)
Dawn's Light, Terri Blackstock (6)
Adam, Ted Dekker (10)
Someday, Karen Kingsbury (31)
Dear to Me, Wanda Brunstetter (38)
The Last Jihad, Joel Rosenberg (41)
Redeeming Love. Francine Rivers
Blink of an Eye, Ted Dekker
Sabrina, Lori Wick
Between Sundays, Karen Kingsbury
Sunrise, Karen Kingsbury
Redemption, Karen Kingsbury
The Parting, Beverly Lewis
Remember, Karen Kingsbury
Blessings, Kim Sawyer
Summer. Karen Kingsbury
Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
Return, Karen Kingsbury


The Shack, William Young (1)
The Forbidden, Beverly Lewis (2)
Dead Heat, Joel Rosenberg (4)
Someday, Karen Kingsbury (31)
Dear to Me, Wanda Brunstetter (38)
Blink of an Eye, Ted Dekker
Dawn's Light, Terri Blackstock (6)
The Parting, Beverly Lewis
Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers

Facing the Giants, Eric Wilson
Healing Stones, Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn
A Time to Mend, Sally John and Gary Smalley
A Touch of Grace, Lauraine Snelling
Chasing Fireflies, Charles Martin
A Sister's Test, Wanda Brunstetter
Mountain Top, Robert Whitlow
The Last Jihad, Joel Rosenberg (41)

First the Dead, Tim Downs
Summer, Karen Kingsbury
Sunrise, Karen Kingsbury

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing
Embrace Me
(Thomas Nelson March 4, 2008)


Lisa Samson

My take:

Lisa has been writing wonderfully characterized books for some years now and is finally seeing some of the recognition she deserves. (I'm sure she'll see much more to come.) Reading Lisa's books is an escape into character. Sit back, let the worlds of her characters wash over you. This is not to say you'll relax. I don't find Lisa's novels easy reading, and I'll bet that's just the way she wants it. Reading Embrace Me, I at first didn't want to be in those characters' worlds at all. Their worlds were too grief-stricken, too raw. Too ugly. Yet I was drawn there anyway. The dichotomies of each character pulled me in. A freak show woman who defiantly displays her lizard face in shows, but won't go out in public without wearing a scarf over the disfigurement. A woman without arms and legs, yet so sweet and thoughtful of everyone. A man who could be a walking freak show of his own, with a heart of forgiveness for others. But what about for himself?

Lisa is up for two Christys this year--in the contemporary category for Quaker Summer and the young adult category for Hollywood Nobody.


Lisa Samson is a Christy Award-winning author of 19 books, including the Women of the Faith Novel of the Year, Quaker Summer. Lisa has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a talented novelist who isn't afraid to take risks."

Embrace Me, the latest novel by acclaimed author Lisa Samson, readers are privy to the realization that regardless of outward appearances…hideous, attractive, or even ordinary…persons are all looking for the same things: love, forgiveness, and redemption.

This story explores a world that is neither comfortable nor safe, a world that people like Valentine know all too well. Masterfully crafted by Samson and populated by her most compelling cast of characters yet. It is a tale of forgiveness that extends into all spheres of life: forgiving others, forgiving oneself, forgiving the past.

She lives in Lexinton, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids.


Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful...a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.

When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattooed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster...and improbably close to grace.

Valentine, due to her own drastic self-disfigurement, ahs very few friends in this world and, it appears as if she may be destined to spend the rest of her life practically alone. But life gives her one good friend, Lella, whose own handicap puts her in the same freakish category as Valentine. As part of Roland's Wayfaring Marvel and Oddities Show, a traveling band of misfits, they seem to have found their niches in an often curiously cruel world.

Residing in a world where masks are mandatory, Valentine has a hard time removing hers, because of her disfigured face but more so because of her damaged soul. It is much easier for her to listen endlessly to different versions of a favorite song, Embraceable You, and escape reality. Yet, life has more in store for her when she meets Augustine, replete with the tattoos, dreadlocks, and his own secrets. With his arrival, Valentine's soul takes a turn.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cultivate Faithfulness

Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3-4, NASB)

I've heard more than one sermon preached on Psalm 37:4--the verse isn't saying God will give his followers whatever they want. It's saying when you delight yourself in God, He will place within your heart the proper and right desires. An illuminating point.

But in my countless readings of the Psalms (I still use them daily in prayer), I am always more struck by the verse before it, 37:3. That phrase cultivate faithfulness. Whether we're talking about cultivating bacteria in a petri dish for research, or cultivating the soil for growing plants, the idea is the same. Cultivation means carefully tending. Providing the best environment. Removing anything harmful to what's being cultivated, and purposely adding in the good. It means cheerleading every bit of growth. It means constant vigilance, which requires planning your own schedule around this important work. For those who do this:

The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. (37:23-24)

A wonderful promise to God's followers. But first we need to cultivate faithfulness. We need to ask ourselves: what does cultivating faithfulness require in my own life?

Dean Koontz's Marketing

Before I get to Dean Koontz, a quick update on the Big Honkin' Chickens Club web page. I've now added html code for easy copy and paste of the logo into your own blog.

Now for the big DK. As someone who's always got an eye out for interesting marketing ideas, I think Koontz's email updates are very effective. (You can sign up for them here.) Koontz always displays his typical sense of humor as he tells about his upcoming book. Currently that would be Odd Hours, #4 about his popular Odd Thomas character, who sees dead people. Including some famous ones, such as Elvis. And just ordinary critters, such as a dog. (Although Koontz would surely contend with my calling any canine "ordinary.") Often Odd's dead people appear because they want some sort of justice.

Odd's a young, likable guy, quite self effacing. Carries deep pain of his own (the story in book #1.) Between book s3 and 4, Odd apparently had another adventure, one that his pal Koontz decided not to put into a book, but rather tell through a series of webisodes. Koontz's first e-newsletter about Odd Hours carried a link to the first webisode. Of course, it ends with a cliffhanger. The second was put up about a week later, noticed by a second email. Now there's a third. I'm waiting for the grand finale to go live.

Very cool marketing. An interesting tactic. Not even focusing on Odd Hours itself, but the character of Odd. The idiosyncrasies of that character are so compelling that it makes you excited for book 4.

You can view the webisodes here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

BHCC Members, Unite!

Finally, after many false starts, the Big Honkin' Chickens Club page on my new web site is up. For a little fun, visit the page. You can view all the BHCC products for sale. A magnet, keychain, tote bag, mouse pads, and a T-shirt--all with the google-headed BHCC chicken logo. Want one of them for free? Read the scoop on how to earn one. There's also a hyperlinked BHCC logo for you to use on your own sites. The guestbook is up and running. BHCC members, please do sign it. Those who aren't members--you can sign too. Tell those scaredy folks to find some courage. I've even made it easier for BHCC folks to choose one of my suspense novels to read. I've rated each book with one to three logos, three being the most scary. Those of you who've read the books, see if you agree with my ratings. Remember, the books are rated against each other, not against what any other author may write. Which means even those with only one logo may be too intense for the most chicken BHCC member. (Although you might want to check with Ane Mulligan, Deb Raney, and Robin Lee Hatcher, all of whom have read one of my novels and survived. Deb even read a three-logo book.)

BHCC members, tell your friends. It'll earn you some fun stuff. And bear your logo with pride!

Monday, May 12, 2008

By Reason of Insanity

I really enjoy
Randy Singer's novels. I've read every one of them. With his latest, By Reason of Insanity, Randy knocks it out of the park. I just finished it over the weekend. It's rare these days when I fall so deeply into a book. This one sure kept me going.

The story's about the insanity defense. One attorney and his case in Las Vegas, a second attorney and his case in Virginia Beach. A slew of characters wrapped up in the two plotlines. In time they come together. Randy ratchets up the tension again and again--then manages to ratchet it up even tighter. Personal stakes become higher. Losing a case means losing a whole lot more.

Interesting that this story uses visions in a courtroom drama. I did the same in Eyes of Elisha and Dread Champion, the sequel. The law relies on facts and evidence. What in the world will it do in the face of claimed supernatural knowledge?

Randy is an author and a practicing trial attorney. His legal thriller Directed Verdict won the Christy Award for suspense in 2003. He's also written three nonfiction books. As if writing and lawyering aren't enough to keep him busy, Randy also teaches at Regent Law School, serves on the Board of Legal Advisors for the American Center for Law and Justice, co-hosts a radio show on Sirius Channel 161, and serves as an interim preacher for two churches in Virginia Beach.

A lawyer and a preacher. Sounds like an oxymoron. Speaking of the attorney side, Randy's not above poking fun at the profession. You can read a few
lawyer jokes on his web site, and he invites you to submit your own for future posting.

Publishers Weekly has deemed Randy Singer the CBA John Grisham. They claim he's just as good. I agree. If you enjoy courtroom drama, don't miss By Reason of Insanity. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Jeremiah and Fruit

I'm currently reading in Jeremiah during my morning devotions. I love Jeremiah. A prophet of God who gets so down, he curses the day he was born, and even the man who announced his birth. Then he turns around and continues to do what God tells him to do.

It's wonderful how you can read the Bible again and again, and God will reveal something new each time. These verses from yesterday jumped out at me:

Jer. 15:19: ... if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become my spokesman.

Jer. 17:7-8: Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord ... For he will be like a tree planted by the water ... and will not be anxious in a year of drought, nor cease to yield fruit.

I like the promise that we can produce even in times of drought. That does include drought of the creative mind, does it not?

CFBA Tour--The Warriors

About the Author:

MARK ANDREW OLSEN, whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. His last novel was the supernatural thriller The Watchers. The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.

About the Book:

A failed recon mission deep in the tunnels of Afghanistan has provoked a demonic onslaught that had been brewing for centuries. The mission's sole survivor is reformed black ops assassin Dylan Hatfield, and he once again teams up with Abby Sherman, now at the helm of the Watchers, an ancient spiritual force. Uncovering and preventing a secret wave of death whispered across cyberspace and threatening to be unleash against civilization will require another level of spiritual power and expertise--the Warriors.

Journeying across the Alps of Europe through the multilayered history of warfare in the unseen world, Dylan and Abby uncover an age-old stone engraving that rouses the church's Warriors to action, placing them dead center in one of the fiercest spiritual battles of their time!

And once again they are reminded: This is all part of a vast and perpetual war, a war beyond all human conflicts, one that has engulfed heaven and earth since before the dawn of history....

Abby Sherman is headed back to Israel, where a Watcher, the Sentinel of Jerusalem, lies dying. In her last breaths the old woman tells Abby of an ancient document prophesying humanity's full-scale entry into the ongoing conflict between armies of heaven and fallen angels.

Dylan Hatfield has decided to answer a summons from his old boss and join a secret operation, its mission to reconnoiter the Afghani tunnel complex from which Osama bin Laden escaped in 2001. What he discovers sears his very soul and likely will end his life.

Abby learns of the peril facing Dylan, and she sends out a call for intercession on his behalf. Her frantic email message sets in motion a series of harrowing events, propelling the two on a new mission and quest--one where the stakes are the lives of millions!

The Warriors is packed with high-octane action, featuring exotic international locales, with characters in a clash against spiritual "principalities and powers" with eternal consequences,

Read the first chapter HERE.

"Olsen, one of the better writers in this subgenre, delivers powerful, action-packed plots that delve into mystical paranormal worlds." ~Library Journal,

"Olsen delivers an entertaining thriller likely to be enjoyed especially by fans of the spiritual warfare genre." ~Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Continue That Series!

Ah, what's a writer to do when a series ends? Here's a recent letter from a fan:

I am now reading Amber Morn, the fourth and final book in the Kanner Lake Series. I am having to take this one slowly, which is unlike me, but it is the last in a truly wonderful series. I began reading Crimson Eve at 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon and could not put it down – I had to stay up until 2:00 in the next morning to finish the book – there was just no way to put it down. At any rate, the characters in the series have become so familiar, and to think I will hear nothing of them in the future, is just, well unbearable! I’m sure you must have heard from many such people, and I am only wanting to add to what must be a barrage of requests that you continue with the Kanner Lake Series and keep those wonderful stories coming. Are you going to continue on with the Kanner Lake Blog?

Just to let you know, I have also read the Hidden Faces series as well, and I truly enjoyed them, and I must say, I certainly wouldn’t mind a continuation of those stories either.

Anyway, thank you for giving me such breathtaking reading memories…I look forward to many more. And, may the Lord continue to bless you with many more brilliant ideas.

I wrote this gal and had to say that the Kanner Lake series is done for now. (How much more havoc can I wreak in the poor town?) However, I have a philosophy. In my mind, every character I've written lives on. Chelsea Adams is still out there, no doubt having a vision or two now and then. Annie Kingston lives on, as does her bossy sister. (And yes, these two continue with their love interests.) The Kanner Lake folks? Their town will flourish without me around to shoot it up.

My first suspense series featured Chelsea Adams. Next series--Hidden Faces, with Annie Kingston. In the fourth book of that series, Web of Lies, Chelsea joins Annie in the solving of a crime. I picked up Chelsea's life a number of years since we'd last seen her in Dread Champion, with her kids aging the appropriate number of years and a change in her husband's life. Also appearing in Web of Lies was Milt Waking, a reporter in the Chelsea Adams stories. Then in Violet Dawn, first in the Kanner Lake series, one of my characters is seen reading the "true crime" book about the Web of Lies story, written by Milt.

See what I mean? All those characters--and their stories--live on.

Maybe crusty ol' Wilbur Hucks from Kanner Lake will show up in some future novel. (The link on his name leads to his blogger profile.) Maybe I'll bring Annie Kingston in for some forensic art work in some new story. My more recent readers will simply see these characters as someone new. But it's a nod to my old readers, who will understand the rich history of these characters and smile at seeing them return in a supporting role.

There's the real world. There's the Seatbelt Suspense world. Both continue to turn.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Shack

With all the buzz about The Shack, I figured it was time I read the book. I'm glad I did. I can see why this book has generated over half a million sales mostly by word of mouth. It's the kind of book that makes you want to say to someone else, "Have you read it?"

If you've been vacationing on a desert island and haven't heard about this book, here's the short scoop. It's a novel about Mack, a man carrying a terrible grief. Mack meets God in His Trinity. God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus--in forms you wouldn't expect--tell Mack a few things about God's love, evil in the world, and Mack's grief.

The Shack isn't a novel you pick up for the story, so much. It's not really about entertainment, as most novels are. It's a book you read because of its insights about God and His love. These insights are fresh and make you think. The Shack is a wonderful book for a discussion group.

The Shack was originally self-published by Windblown Media, which was formed to publish this book. According to The Shack website, as of April 8 the book had climbed to #33 on the USA Today Top 50 Books, and had risen as high as #7 at Amazon in all books and #6 at Barnes and Noble for instore sales. Discussions are now underway with "major New York publishing houses" to help "release this book to its widest possible audience." And the pre-production phase of transforming The Shack into a feature-length film has begun.

As I read I found myself soon looking for a pen to underline--something I rarely do in a novel. There are so many wonderful quotes from the Trinity to Mack. Here are a few of many that struck me. (I must add they are more hard-hitting within context.)

When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me.

Humans are not defined by their limitations, but by the intention I have for them.
Do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?

Lies are one of the easiest places for survivors to run. It gives you a sense of safety, a place where you only have to depend on yourself. But it's a dark place, isn't it?

(On the question of why God allows evil in the world.) Evil ... is the chaos of this age that you brought to me .... If I take away the consequences of people's choices, I destroy the possibility of love. Love that is forced is no love at all .... You demand your independence, but then complain that I actually love you enough to give it to you.

Mack to God: I just can't imagine any final outcome that would justify all [the pain in this world]. God's answer for the Trinity: We're not justifying it. We are redeeming it.

I highly recommend this book. It focuses on God's love, not His judgment. At the same time, it doesn't present God as some avuncular being who simply loves everyone and doesn't care how they live. At one point Mack asks Jesus if "all roads" lead to Him. "Not at all," Jesus replies. "Most roads don't lead anywhere. [But] I will travel any road to find you."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Next Cover

Here's the cover for my next book, Dark Pursuit. (The excerpt in the back of Amber Morn is under the title Vain Empires. That title has been changed to Dark Pursuit.)

I really like this cover. The photo here doesn't do justice to its intrigue. The graphic is cloth-- black silk with green stripes. It fades in and out of focus. Doesn't take long in reading the book to see why this cloth is on the cover. Lots of symbolism here.

Dark Pursuit, a stand-alone, releases November 7.