Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life is Crazy

Okay, I admit it. This past year has really been tough. I know you BGs are used to me complaining about how hard writing is. As far as I'm concerned, I haven't complained enough about the last year. It's not the contracts I mind. It's the deadlines that come with 'em.

I used to write an adult suspense every seven months. That's comfortable for me and allows some breathing room in between for my pea brain. Plus it gives me adequate time to spend on marketing. However, since last year instead of writing two books in 14 months, I wrote four books in 12 months. That's because two young adult suspenses were stuck in between the adult novels. And I gotta tell ya, I'm exhausted.

You writers who churn out books this fast all the time--keep it to yourself. I don't want to hear how easy that is for you.

I finished that fourth book on July 3. By then I'd been working nine or so days straight--looong days. I jumped right into entertaining for the fourth (didn't even have time to go to the store until that morning). On Sunday we flew back to California for a hectic two days in my office there. Then it was up at 3:30 a.m. to catch the flight to Orlando for the ChiLibris retreat and ICRS. Got up at 3:30 a.m. the following Tuesday to return to California. Spent a whole 10 hours there, flying through my office to pay bills, unpacking and repacking for weeks. Then we flew to Tacoma for a night. Then on to our Idaho home. Where I had a few days to prepare for my writers' retreat, which ended Monday morning. I now face the following, all due soon:

Rewrite of Last Breath, the second YA
Proofing of galleys for Dark Pursuit, adult stand alone releasing in November
Rewrite of Exposure, my next adult stand-alone releasing in April 2009
Proofing of galleys for Always Watching, the first YA

Oh, and did I mention my Mom's still here and soon I'll be getting more company. Why? Because next week on August 9 my son is getting married in our home. The wedding will take place in the great room, with the procession coming down the staircase, then moving out to the gazebo and backyard overlooking the lake. There are probably a dozen things I need to do for this wedding that I haven't thought about yet. Like what to serve for the rehearsal dinner the night before--for about 25 people. I haven't even had time to think about it.

Sleep sounds good about now. Maybe a week or two of it--straight. But no. Not yet. After the wedding we need to fly to southern California to move our daughter into her apartment for college. And I'll still be doing a rewrite. Somewhere in there I have to figure out what to write for my next adult suspense. At the moment I have no clue.

Sleep? Maybe in September ...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Book Sale!

Okay BHCC members, you no longer have an excuse not to read a Brandilyn Collins novel. Did you know is offering great prices on my Bradleyville series (women's fiction, not suspense). You can buy all three books for only $17.99. That's an amazing price.

You can also buy the whole Hidden Faces series (four books) for $37.99 and the Kanner Lake four-book series for $36.99.

Individual books in these series are also available at low prices, starting at $4.99.
My books won't be the only ones on sale. Check out for other author's backlists to see what savings you might find.

The Falcon and the Sparrow

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Falcon And The Sparrow

(Barbour Publishing, Inc - August 1, 2008)


M. L. Tyndall


M. L. (MARYLU) TYNDALL grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

Her current releases in the Legacy of The Kings Pirates series include:
The Restitution, The Reliance, and The Redemption


When Mademoiselle Dominique Dawson sets foot on the soil of her beloved homeland, England, she feels neither the happiness nor the excitement she expected upon her return to the place of her birth. Alone for the first time in her life, without family, without friends, without protection, she now faces a far more frightening prospect, for she has come to the country she loves as an enemy-a spy for Napoleon.

Forced to betray England or never see her only brother alive again, Dominique has accepted a position as governess to the son of Admiral Chase Randal, a harsh man, still bitter over the loss of his wife. Will Dominique find the strength she needs through God to follow through with the plan to rescue her brother? Will Chase find comfort for his bitter heart in God's arms and be able to love again?

And what new deceptions will they both find in France when they arrive to carry out their plan?

If you would like to read an excerpt of
The Falcon And The Sparrow, go HERE.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Bestseller Lists

Here are the current lists from CBA and ECPA, both reflecting sales in the month of June. Books appearing on one list and not the other are highlighted. The numbers in parentheses in the CBA list refer to the book's placement on the Top Fifty list for the month, which includes fiction and nonfiction. It's great to see that 14 out of the 20 fiction bestsellers made that Top Fifty list, which tends to be heavily nonfiction.


1. The Shack, William Young. Windblown Media (1)
2. Dawn's Light, Terri Blackstock. Zondervan (15)

3. Dead Heat, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale (18)
4. The Forbidden, Beverly Lewis. Bethany (25)
5. Allison's Journey, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Barbour (26)
6. Adam, Ted Dekker. Thomas Nelson (tie) (31)
6. Sister's Hope, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Barbour (tie) (31)
8. Deep in the Heart of Trouble, Deeanne Gist. Bethany (35)
9. The List, Robert Whitlow. Thomas Nelson (39)
10. The Last Jihad, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale (41)
11. Even Now, Karen Kingsbury. Zondervan (43)
12. Ever After, Karen Kingsbury. Zondervan (44)
13. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers. Waterbrook/Multnomah (46)
14. Dear to Me, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Barbour (49)
15. Someday, Karen Kingsbury. Tyndale
16. Covenant Child, Terri Blackstock. Thomas Nelson
17. Deeper Water, Robert Whitlow. Thomas Nelson
18. The Last Days, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale
19. The Note, Angela Hunt. Thomas Nelson
20. Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis. Zondervan


1. The Shack, William Young. Windblown Media
2. The List, Robert Whitlow. Thomas Nelson
3. Dead Heat, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale
4. The Forbidden, Beverly Lewis. Bethany
5. The Last Jihad, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale
6. Allison's Journey, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Barbour
7. Adam, Ted Dekker. Thomas Nelson
8. Deep in the Heart of Trouble, Deeanne Gist. Bethany
9. Dawn's Light, Terri Blackstock. Zondervan
10. The Last Days, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale
11. The Ezekiel Option, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale
12. Covenant Child, Terri Blackstock. Thomas Nelson
13. The Copper Scroll, Joel C. Rosenberg. Tyndale
14. Deeper Water, Robert Whitlow. Thomas Nelson
15. Someday, Karen Kingsbury. Tyndale
16. Dear to Me, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Barbour
17. For Better or for Worse, Diann Hunt Thomas Nelson
18. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers. Waterbrook/Multnomah
19. Renegade, Ted Dekker. Thomas Nelson
20. From a Distance, Tamera Alexander. Bethany

Monday, July 28, 2008

Writers Retreat

My, the house is quiet. All the gals in our writers' retreat group are leaving this morning. Mom and I are left alone in the house, tired but happy. Over the four days we plotted books for each member, worshipped, ate a lot, played a lot, and laughed a lot. My poor husband put up with us all.

The first evening the group gave me an unexpected hostess present. What in the world was in the big box? Turned out to be a present fit for a suspense writer hostess. I thought it was terrific and had much fun putting the knife set together.

Some of you have asked how to start a similar group. If you want such a group, ask God to help you find the right members for it. I do believe if you pray for something like this, He'll lead you to the right people. You may want to start with a smaller group. Eleven people take a lot of beds and room. But five or six might be a great way to start. For six people, you could take two full days and perhaps an evening, plotting six books per day. If you're a member of a local chapter of ACFW, that would be a great way to put out the word to interested people. On the other hand, the members don't have to be geographically close. Our group is spread from Oregon to Kentucky.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Annual Writers' Retreat

The beds are all ready, the refrigerator is stocked, the house is clean, and my husband's enjoying his last few moments of quiet. In other words, the annual retreat at our Idaho home starts today.

This is our sixth year for gathering during the last weekend of July. We are a group of 11 novelists who pray, play and plot hard during the long weekend, going from Thursday to Monday morning. Each of the novelists within the group (two aren't writing), get an hour-and-fifteen-minute session for plotting her next book. When you get that many crazy fictional minds together, you can come up with a lot of ideas in that time.

In the later afternoons we hang out, go out on the boat, go into town, whatever. We've gotten almost everyone up in the parasail at one time or another. There are a few hold-outs. Perhaps this year ... (Hey, one of the retreaters is my mom, who plays mother to us all. She parasailed seven years ago at the age of 84, so the rest of the gals have no excuse.)

The weather's going to be sunny and beautiful all weekend. Did I say that we laugh a lot? Great friends, great fellowship and fun. And a book plot to boot. Can't beat that.

Painted Dresses

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Painted Dresses

(WaterBrook Press - July 15, 2008)


Patricia Hickman

Patricia Hickman is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, whose work has been praised by critics and readers alike.

Patricia Hickman began writing many years ago after an invitation to join a writer's critique group. It was headed up by best-selling author Dr. Gilbert Morris, a pioneer in Christian fiction who has written many best selling titles. The group eventually came to be called the "Nubbing Chits". All four members of the original "Chits" have gone on to become award-winning and best selling novelists (good fruit, Gil!).

Patty signed her first multi-book contract with Bethany House Publishers. After she wrote several novels "for the market", she assessed her writer's life and decided she would follow the leanings of her heart. She says, "It had to be God leading me into the next work which wound up being my first break-out book, Katrina's Wings. I had never read a southern mainstream novel, yet I knew that one lived in my head, begging to be brought out and developed." She wanted to create deeper stories that broke away from convention and formula. From her own journey in life, she created a world based upon her hometown in the 70's, including
Earthly Vows and Whisper Town from the Millwood Hollow Series.

Patty and her husband, Randy, have planted two churches in North Carolina. Her husband pastors Family Christian Center, located in Huntersville. The Hickmans have three children, two on earth and one in heaven. Their daughter, Jessi, was involved in a fatal automobile accident in 2001. Through her writing and speaking, Patty seeks to offer help, hope and encouragement to those who walk the daily road of loss and grief.


In this story of sisterhood and unexpected paths, Gaylen Syler-Boatwright flees her unraveling marriage to take refuge in a mountain cottage owned by her deceased aunt. Burdened with looking after her adult sister, Delia, she is shocked to find a trail of family secrets hidden within her aunt’s odd collection of framed, painted dresses. With Delia, who attracts trouble as a daily occupation, Gaylen embarks on a road trip that throws the unlikely pair together on a journey to painful understanding and delightful revelations.

Steeped in Hickman’s trademark humor, her spare writing voice, and the bittersweet pathos of the South, Painted Dresses powerfully captures a woman’s desperate longing to uncover a hidden, broken life and discover the liberty of living authentically, even when the things exposed are shrouded in shame.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

News Tidbits--Kindle and Fantasy Tour

Industry News from Christian Etailing, the free newsletter from Christian Retailing. Sign up for Christian Etailing here.

Christian publishers add titles for Amazon's Kindle has announced that a number of Christian publishers--Augsburg Fortress, Crossway Books & Bibles, David C. Cook, Gospel Light, Group Publishing, NavPress, Strang Communications, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale House Publishers, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and Zondervan--have committed to making the majority of their book catalogs available by the end of this year to owners of Kindle, Amazon's portable digital reader.

"Of the 135,000 books available on as a physical book and on Kindle, Kindle books already account for over 12% of units sold," said Ian Freed, vice president of Amazon Kindle. "We're pleased that so many publishers are seeing this success with their Kindle titles, and that more publishers like the Christian book publishers are getting on board."

"The response to our Kindle editions has been remarkable," said Alan Huizenga, director of digital publishing at Tyndale House Publishers. "We are excited to know that for readers who own a Kindle, they can download and begin reading best-selling Tyndale authors such as Joel Rosenberg, Tony Dungy, Francine Rivers and Tommy Newberry in under a minute."

"For years Eerdmans readers have enjoyed our extensive selection of titles from the scholarly to the popular," said Sam Eerdmans, vice president of sales and marketing for Eerdmans. "Now Eerdmans is excited to announce that many of our titles will be readily available on Kindle."
Amazon has increased the number of books available on Kindle from 90,000 to 135,000 since it was introduced last November, with more being added every day.

Journey begins for Christian fantasy authors

In a move somewhat paralleling familiar mythical tales, eight fantasy writers from different backgrounds and publishing houses will unite to embark on an epic journey, Oct. 4-11, for a common goal-to increase awareness of the Christian fantasy genre. Announced in a Tuesday press conference at the International Christian Retail Show, the tour will assemble eight fiction writers, each from a different publisher, including Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, NavPress, WaterBrook Press, B&H Publishing Group, Tsaba House and Creation House.
"Our belief is that fantasy opens up eyes to the spiritual world," said L.B. Graham, author of "The Binding of the Blade" series from P&R Publishing.

The authors will do book signings, visit book fairs and speak in homeschool meetings during the tour, raising awareness for a genre that is strong in the general market, but is underrepresented at Christian retail.

"It's a world (Christian retail) needs to be involved in," Graham said.

This year's tour features Graham along with Bryan Davis, Sharon Hinck, Eric Reinhold, Wayne Batson, Jonathan Rogers, Donita K. Paul and Christopher Hopper, and has doubled the number of participating authors from last year.

Several of the authors will contribute blogs, vodcasts and their itinerary on the tour's Web site,

While someone else was taking our picture, Christian Retailing snapped this photo of the Zondervan novelists with Mickey and Minnie at Epcot Center. From left to right: Nancy Rue, Mickey, Terri Blackstock, Robin Jones Gunn, Melody Carlson, Robin Lee Hatcher, Karen Kingsbury (unfortunately hidden), Robert Elmer, Brandilyn Collins, Minnie.

Try Darkness

This week, the

is introducing

(Center Street - July 30, 2008)



JAMES SCOTT BELL is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He has also been the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles. His first Buchanan thriller,
TRY DYING, was released to high critical praise, while his book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today.


Ty Buchanan is living on the peaceful grounds of St. Monica’s, far away from the glamorous life he led as a rising trial lawyer for a big L.A. firm. Recovering from the death of his fiancĂ©e and a false accusation of murder, Buchanan has found his previous ambitions unrewarding. Now he prefers offering legal services to the poor and the underrepresented from his “office” at local coffee bar The Freudian Sip. With his new friends, the philosophizing Father Bob and basketball-playing Sister Mary Veritas, Buchanan has found a new family of sorts.

One of his first clients is a mysterious woman who arrives with her six-year-old daughter. They are being illegally evicted from a downtown transient hotel, an interest that Ty soon discovers is represented by his old law firm and his former best friend, Al Bradshaw. Buchanan won’t back down. He’s going to fight for the woman’s rights.

But then she ends up dead, and the case moves from the courtroom to the streets. Determined to find the killer and protect the little girl, who has no last name and no other family, Buchanan finds he must depend on skills he never needed in the employ of a civil law firm.

The trail leads Buchanan through the sordid underbelly of the city and to the mansions and yachts of the rich and famous. No one is anxious to talk.

But somebody wants Buchanan to shut up. For good.

Now he must use every legal and physical edge he knows to keep himself and the girl alive.
Once again evoking the neo-noir setting of contemporary Los Angeles, Bell delivers another thriller where darkness falls and the suspense never rests.

If you would like to read chapters 1 & 2, go

“Bell has created in Buchanan an appealing and series-worthy protagonist, and the tale equally balances action and drama, motion and emotion. Readers who pride themselves on figuring out the answers before an author reveals them are in for a surprise, too: Bell is very good at keeping secrets. Fans of thrillers with lawyers as their central characters—Lescroart and Margolin, especially—will welcome this new addition to their must-read lists.”

“Engaging whodunit series kickoff . . . Readers will enjoy Bell's talent for description and character development.”
—Publishers Weekly

“James Scott Bell has written himself into a niche that traditionally has been reserved for the likes of Raymond Chandler.”
—Los Angeles Times

“A master of suspense.”
—Library Journal

“One of the best writers out there, bar none.”
—In the Library Review

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Zondervan's New Symtio

Last week at ICRS Zondervan unveiled its new Symtio digital initiative, a program that, according to president and CEO Moe Girkins, could do for books what ITunes has done for music. Retailers at the show were very positive.

Symtio cards are about the size of credit cards. They allow buyers to download an audio version of the book at home directly onto various media that will play it, such as a computer or an IPod. The consumer buys the card in a flat package, paying the same price as the printed version of the book. Those of you who've bought audio books know that the tapes/CDs generally run more expensive than the print version, so Symtio offers a savings for audio buyers. Each card package has the same design as the cover of the printed book, so the one you want is easy to spot. The packages are displayed face out in wooden cases with multiple tiers of narrow shelves. Retailers at ICRS who signed up for Symtio were given the display case free, a $300 value.

Moe Girkins said Symtio was "not about a new Zondervan product, this is about an industry movement." Baker Publishing Group has come on board with Zondervan to make its books available through Symtio. Discussions are being held regarding adding other publishers. Symtio is very appealing to battered Christian retailers. They only pay thirty-five cents for each card, thereby reaping a great profit from its sale.

Zondervan plans to offer many of its new books in this Symtio audio form. I just received the proofs for Dark Pursuit and saw in the front that it will be available in audio. I'm assuming this will be via Symtio card.

Take a minute and watch this video on UTube of how Symtio works. Very cool.

Monday, July 21, 2008

ICRS Events

Sorry my traveling last week prevented me from posting Thursday and Friday. In the course of two days I went from Orlando to California to Washington to Idaho. Now I'm settled for awhile.

Below are photos of my signing on the ICRS floor. I asked someone to take pictures with my camera and had no idea what he was taking. Unfortunately all you can see pics of me and the line. Michael Snyder signed with me, but he was cut out of all the photos! I think the photographer misunderstood that I wanted us both shown. Ah, well. Trust me, Michael was there and on his best behavior. The line came so steadily neither of us had time to tease each other or kill each other off or anything.

The last photo is of American Idol 2007 Top Ten Finalist Phil Stacey and me. Phil was a surprise singer at the fantastic party Zondervan hosted at Epcot Center to celebrate the 30th birthday of the NIV Bible. We heard some touching letters written by people whose lives have been changed by the NIV Bible, and Karen Kingsbury spoke briefly about what it has meant in her own life. Attendees were also treated to wonderful food, followed by VIP seating at Epcot Center's fireworks, followed by a dessert smorgasbord you wouldn't believe, followed by Phil Stacey performing. How way cool is that? Phil is singing both Christian music and country these days. I talked a little bit afterwards with Phil and his guitarist Rich. I'll be sending each of them and their wives some books. All in all it was a wonderful evening.

Following Phil Stacey, Mickey and Minnie Mouse came out to take photos with folks. The Zondervan novelists at the party all gathered around for a picture. We had Nancy Rue, Karen Kingsbury, Robin Lee Hatcher, me, and Terri Blackstock flanked by Mickey and Minnie. I suppose the photo will be sent to Zondervan. Hope to show it to you when I'm sent a copy.

Tomorrow and the next day I'll be posting some industry info. A note for those of you who read last week's post about Abingdon. About a day later editor Barbara Scott did leave a comment with a little more information. Please check that out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Fiction Line

During ICRS I had lunch with veteran editor and all-around wonderful gal Barbara Scott, who told me about the new fiction line at Abingdon Press. Abingdon was established in 1789 as an imprint of the United Methodist Church. They've done a lot of nonfiction, and now they're really geared up and excited to launch this fiction line.

Barbara Scott has been hired as Senior Acquisitions Editor for fiction. Barbara has been in publishing and writing for many years herself. She started out as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer. Later she served as acquisitions editor for Honor Books. In the mid 90s she co-wrote with Carrie Younce two Peretti-type thrillers published by Thomas Nelson--Sedona Storm and Secrets of the Gathering Darkness. She later moved to Zondervan to serve as acquisitions editor for Zonderkidz and the new young adult line.

Barbara says Abingdon has a "solid, realistic five-year plan" for developing their fiction line. They want to publish 18-20 fiction titles a year by the end of five years. Their first year, which launches with the first release in the fall of 2009, will see 4-5 titles published. Right now Barbara is looking for:

1. Contemporary women's fiction
2. Romance
3. Chick Lit
4. Suspense
5. Historical

For the first year launch she is not looking for adventure, sci-fi, fantasy or apocalyptic. This is a realistic plan to start a new line with the basic genres. "Depending on how things go," she says, they may publish the other genres in the future.

Barbara is an eclectic reader. She wants "to publish books I'd like to read and work with authors I enjoy." She's not interested in running after someone just because he/she is a "big name" in the industry. She is "excited about building new authors who have worked and worked on their craft but haven't yet been able to break in." She is looking for "honesty and authentic emotion" in her books. She doesn't want contemporary fiction that's "mostly depressing." She wants hope in the end. As to the spiritual thread, it needs to be "organic" to the story. It doesn't need to be overly strong. "Nobody has to get saved in the book."

Authors interested in submitting to Abingdon must have a finished manuscript to present if asked for it. Barbara will be going through the normal channels for submission--either meeting her at a writers conference or submitting through an agent. Or--readers of this blog can email Barbara directly, saying you read this post and would like to submit--even if you don't have an agent. If Barbara becomes too inundated and needs to pull back from this generous offer, I will amend this post with that news. Barbara's email address is her first name initial and full last name at

My personal advice if you choose to submit: Don't go for overly long books at this point. Although we didn't discuss length, I would suggest 80-100 thousand words. If Barbara wants to amend that, she'll leave a comment.

Sisterchicks Go Brit

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sisterchicks Go Brit

Multnomah Publishers (May 20, 2008)


Robin Jones Gunn


Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawaii.

Robin’s first novel was published in 1988, and she has continued to write between two to five books a year. Her 63 published books include 47 novels, all of which are still in print. Sales of her popular Christy Miller Series, Glenbrooke Series and Sisterchicks Series, including
Sisterchicks in Gondolas and the new Katie Weldon Series including Peculiar Treasures all of which are approaching four million copies sold, with translations in nine languages.

Robin’s passion for storytelling and travel are evident in all her books, especially the Sisterchicks novels, and she has received thousands of letters from readers around the world who have come to know Christ through her writing. She sees this as her dream come true. Her novels are traveling to foreign lands and her characters are doing what she always longed to do; telling people about God’s love.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.

SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.

Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to “meet” him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet.

Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.

A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren’t enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God’s gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts.

And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!

To read the first chapter, go

“Robin has done it again! You and your Sisterchicks will love taking this new adventure together!”
- Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Between Sundays and Ever After

“My only complaint about Robin’s latest is that now I want to hop a plane to England! But combine a cup of Earl Grey tea and this charming story and you’re halfway there. Another delightful tale about women helping women to live their lives to the fullest.”
- Melody Carlson, author of These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking and A Mile in My Flip-Flops

“Sisterchicks in Gondolas is a true delight. The characters shine, and evocative language will make any reader want to visit Venice. Biblical truths are portrayed simply, yet will touch hearts and lives with their realistic application.”
- Romantic Times magazine

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zondervan Fiction Writers Contest

Announced at the Christy banquet on Saturday night: Zondervan is sponsoring a contest for unpublished novelists. Full guidelines will soon be posted on the Z website. When they are, I'll let you know. For now, here are the basics.

Unpubbed fiction authors, start getting your manuscripts ready now. There will be three rounds of judging for the contest. In the first round each author will submit a proposal for a novel. These will be judged and winnowed down. Those who make it through the first round will be asked to submit the complete manuscript. These will go through a second round of judging and be narrowed down to finalists. (Not sure how many--the guidelines will say.) The finalists will be judged by selected Zondervan authors to determine the winner.

The winner will be announced at next year's Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference, held over Palm Sunday weekend. Winning prize: publication of the novel by Zondervan.

Start polishing those wips!

All dressed up for the Christy Banquet:

Left to right--Angie Hunt, Robin Lee Hatcher, Sunni Jeffers,

Terri Blackstock, Marlo Schalesky, Tracy Higley, Brandilyn Collins

Monday, July 14, 2008

ChiLibris Retreat/Christy Awards

In case you haven't heard yet, here are the winners of the 2008 Christy Awards:

Contemporary Stand Alone: Charles Martin, Chasing Firelies
Contemporary Series: Jan Karon, Home to Holly Springs
First Novel: Sibella Giorello, The Stones Cry Out
Historical: Lynn Austin, A Proper Pursuit
Lits: Shelly Beach, Hallie's Heart
Romance: Tamera Alexander, Remembered
Suspense: Athol Dickson, The Cure
Visionary: Stephen Lawhead, Scarlet
Young Adult: Lisa Samson, Hollywood Nobody

Today in Orlando ICRS, the International Christian Retail Show, begins. Since last Thursday I've been at a novelist's retreat, hanging out with some of the wonderful people who write fiction for the Christian market. We discuss the craft and the business, encourage each other and generally have a whole lot of fun. There were about 70 in attendance. Below are a few photos I was able to catch.

Tomorrow and the next day I'll be blogging about some news of the industry: (1) a brand new fiction line you'll want to hear about, and (2) a contest for unpublished authors with a wonderful grand prize.

Tom Morrisey, Christy Finalist

Sarah Sumpolec, Sharon Ewell Foster

Robin Lee Hatcher, Tammy Alexander (Christy winner)

Robin Jones Gunn

Randy Alcorn

Nancy Rue, Randy Singer

Nancy Moser, Creston Mapes

Karen Ball, Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury

James Scott Bell, Terri Blackstock

Rene Gutteridge, Denise Hunter,
Kristin Billerbeck (Christy finalist), Wanda Dyson

Gayle Roper, Brad Whittington

Dave and Neta Jackson

Robert Whitlow

Angela Hunt

Allie Pleiter, Lynn Austin (Christy winner)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Boston Concert

Today I'm off to Orlando. Got up at 3:45 a.m. to catch a 6:30 flight out of San Francisco. I'll blog from the retreat/convention as I can.

Tuesday night I got to rock out at a concert of one of my favorite bands from the 70s--Boston. I laid out the money for seats in the 3rd row, dead center. We were 10 feet from the stage. Awesome! My husband ended up having to travel for business that night, so I took my local author friend Dineen Miller along.

Sadly, two years ago the lead singer of Boston, Brad Delp, committed suicide. The band found their new lead singer through a MySpace page. Who's the new lucky guy? Tommy DeCarlo, an employee at Home Depot, who's always loved Boston. He sounds a lot like Delp, who had quite a vocal range. But DeCarlo kinda looks like a Home Depot guy. :) Definitely not the rocker image.