Friday, December 30, 2005

THE MILLER SISTERS #61

ANOTHER DAY AT COLLEGE FOR A CHRISTIAN GIRL ... WITH SUPER POWERS ...

Today, my wife launches a new storyline in her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

RANDY SINGER, PT. 3

Concluding our three-part interview with novelist Randy Singer, author of The Judge Who Stole Christmas, Self Incrimination, Directed Verdict and many other popular legal thrillers. In addition to his duties as a novelist, Singer is also a trial attorney who serves as Chief Counsel for the North American Mission Board, as President of FamilyNet Television, and on the Board of Legal Advisors for the American Center for Law and Justice, a public service law firm that defends religious freedom both in the United States and abroad.

* * *

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

RS: Two things. First, write the story God has given you. Don't let others talk you out of it. If it burns inside you, write it down. I think aspiring writers often try to write a story that will satisfy others rather than writing the story God gave them.

Second, keep writing. When the rejections started coming for my first book, I started writing my second one. The God of the pen is also the God of the publisher. If it's His will, He will see to it that you get published in His timing and with the company of His choice. Your job is to keep writing.


Q: What is the one aspect of God you most hope your readers will take away after reading one of your books?

RS: I write legal thrillers and I want my readers to see Christ as our advocate. "But if anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense -- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:1-2.


Q: What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand?

How long it takes to write a good book. That way, I could avoid:

Q: "Great book, when's your next one coming out?"
A: "Next year."
Q: "Next year?!"

And then I get "the look," that says if I wasn't such a slacker I'd have another book ready next month.


Q: What one thing about writing do you wish other writers would understand?

RS: We don't have to blindly follow rules of convention. This is especially true for fiction writers. Creativity sometimes demands that we do things differently than other writers have done them in the past. Go for it.


Q: For the writer promoting his or her book, what do you consider the BEST thing he or she could do to promote it?

RS: Develop a message consistent with the book and then pursue every avenueto get that message heard. God has given you the gift of writing. With it comes the stewardship obligation to spread the message conveyed by the book. Don't be shy about speaking engagements that relate to your book. Get out among your readers. Personify the message at the heart of your book.

* * *

Many thanks to Mr. Singer. Visit him online at his official site. Purchase The Judge Who Stole Christmas or Self Incrimination at Amazon or at many other fine retailers.

Related links:
Randy Singer, Pt. 1
Randy Singer, Pt. 2

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

RANDY SINGER, PT. 2

Today, the second part of our Q&A with novelist Randy Singer, a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney.

* * *

Q: How many books do you read a month?

RS: Three or four, if you count audio books.


Q: How many emails do you answer a day?


RS: Too many. Dozens.


Q: What are your writing habits?


RS: I'm a writing nerd. I love to write and do it every spare second I can. On the airplane, in the hotel room, in church (oops), you name it. I like to get up early and write for an hour or two before anyone else wakes up. I will go for a long run or a long walk and think about a scene, then come back to the house and write it all down. If I like it, I'll ask my wife Rhonda to sit down and listen to it. I find that reading the scene out loud helps because writing needs to have a certain feel and tone to it. Plus, if Rhonda doesn't like it, she won't hesitate to let me know.


Q: Are you an "outline" writer or a "make it up as you go" writer?


RS: Both. I start with a very broad outline and a good idea about my ending. I will think a lot about my characters and crystallize their unique personalities, quirks, looks and habits before I begin the story. When I begin writing, I will follow the flow of the story as it progresses and not worry too much about my outline. I seldom end up where I thought I would. About one-third of the way through the story, I usually toss my outline since the story has veered off in a different direction.


Q: What is a favorite memory from your childhood?


RS: Birthday parties. My dad would organize all kinds of games for my friends and me to play -- the Birthday Olympics. If it was close, I would be declared the winner. After all, it was my birthday.


Q: Are you a full-time novelist?


RS: Only in my dreams.


Q: What is your day job?

RS: I work as General Counsel for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. I also serve as President of FamilyNet television, a cable channel owned and operated by Southern Baptists. I also teach one class per year at law school.

* * *

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of our Q&A. In the meantime, find Mr. Singer online at his official site. Purchase Self Incrimination at Amazon or at many other fine retailers.

Related links:
Randy Singer, Pt 1
Randy Singer, Pt 3

Monday, December 26, 2005

RANDY SINGER, PT. 1

Today, we begin a three-part interview with novelist Randy Singer, a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He presently serves as Chief Counsel for the North American Mission Board, as President of FamilyNet Television, and on the Board of Legal Advisors for the American Center for Law and Justice, a public service law firm that defends religious freedom both in the United States and abroad.

* * *

Q: What was your first job?

RS: My first real job was mowing lawns in a cemetery. I did that for about 4 summers, all told. Lots of time to think :) If a hearse arrived at the cemetery and needed an extra pallbearer or two, my buddies and I would wipe off our greasy hands, put our t-shirts on, and help out.


Q: What is the best advice anyone has given you?

RS: Find your passion in life -- what God created you to do -- then figure out a way to get paid for it.

Q: Are you an "entertainer" or a "minister"?

RS: Tough choice. Since "all of the above" is not an option, I probably would say more of an entertainer. If the books aren't compelling entertainment, nobody will read them and no ministry will take place.

Q: Do you hate it when people ask whether you are an "entertainer" or a "minister"?

RS: Yes. If this were a trial, I would have objected to the form of the question.

Q: Who are your literary influences?

RS: (a) Authors I love: Max Lucado, Richard North Patterson, John Grisham, Harper Lee, C.S. Lewis. (2) My wife, who teaches high school English and will be disappointed to know I don't have more classical authors on my list. (3) Palmer Rutherford, my mentor and senior partner at the law firm where I worked. His relentless and heartless edits to everything from legal briefs to form letters made me a better writer.

Q: Who are your spiritual influences?

RS: Bob Reccord, my friend and formerly my pastor. My kids, who have a passion and daring for the Lord that puts me to shame. My parents, who never lost faith or hope while raising me, and that's saying something. My wife, who personifies grace.

Q: What is the best thing anyone said about one of your books?

RS: It made them weep with a greater realization of God's love.

Q: What is the worst thing anyone said about one of your books?

RS: "Too unrealistic -- if I want a good fairy tale, I'll stick with the brothers Grimm!"

* * *

Come back tomorrow for part two of our Q&A. In the meantime, find Mr. Singer online at his official site. Purchase Self Incrimination at Amazon or at many other fine retailers.

Updated: Related links:
Randy Singer, Pt 2
Randy Singer, Pt 3

Friday, December 23, 2005

THE MILLER SISTERS #60

ANOTHER DAY AT COLLEGE FOR A CHRISTIAN GIRL ... WITH SUPER POWERS ...

And with Episode #60, we come to the conclusion of the second story in Erica Well's twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The story details the life of sisters Julia and Cassie. Big sis Julia is packing for college when her mother breaks the news: Julia is going to inherit super powers!

Younger sis Cassie is already jealous of all the normal things ... and now her big sister is going to be a superhero?

The next storyline begins Friday, Dec. 30.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR WRITERS

Novelist Joe Konrath has posted a list of Professional Writer Resolutions for the new year. Sounds like good advice ...

I will keep my website updated.

I will start a blog.

I will schedule bookstore signings, and while at the bookstore I'll meet and greet the customers rather than sit dejected in the corner.

I will send out a newsletter, emphasizing what I have to offer rather than what I have for sale, and I won't send out more than four a year.

I will learn to speak in public, even if I think I already know how.

I will make selling my books my responsibility, not my publisher's.

I will stay in touch with my fans.

I will contact local libraries, and tell them I'm available for speaking engagements.

I will attend as many writing conferences as I can afford.

I will spend a large portion of my advance on self-promotion.

I will help out other writers.

I will not get jealous, will never compare myself to my peers, and will cleanse my soul of envy.

I will be accessible, amiable, and enthusiastic.

I will do one thing every day to self-promote.

I will always remember where I came from.


Thanks to Lee Goldberg for linking to this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING SALES UP

The latest issue of Publisher Weekly newsletter Religion BookLine reports that ECPA sales are growing.

A recent sales report released by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, based on information provided by nearly 40% of its 65 voting members, portrays a “very healthy Christian publishing industry,” said Kelly Gallagher, v-p of business development for ECPA. “Our growth, as compared with other publishing segments, appears to be vital.”
See the whole story here.

WAKING LAZARUS ... EARLY

Come July 2006, Bethany House is publishing the debut thriller of our pal T.L. Hines, Waking Lazarus ...


Jude Allman is hiding. Hiding from the world and hiding from God. Because when you come back from the dead three times, the world wants a piece of you…and it becomes clear that God may have something in mind for you, too. When a terrible danger threatens the people that matter most to Jude, he realizes his days of hiding are over. Does he have enough faith in God's faith in him to truly risk living for the first time in years?

Right now, the author is offering a tremendous deal at his website, tlhines.com: Pre-order the book from him and he'll sign them and send a surprise gift along with the book.

Also, read an excerpt and sign up to become an Advanced Publicist for the book and you can see Lazarus Expanded (a 100 page e-book), Bonus and Alternate Scenes, an Interactive Tour, a sneak peak at his next book, and a chance to win unique prizes: a share of his first royalty check, an iPod Nano, and even a role in his next novel.

JAMES SCOTT BELL, PT. 3 (OF 3)


Today we conclude our Q&A with author James Scott Bell. His thrillers include Deadlock, Breach of Promise, Sins of the Fathers, Final Witness, Blind Justice and The Nephilim Seed. He is also the author of over 300 articles on trial law and a regular contributer to Writers Digest magazine.

In this final installment, Mr. Bell shares advice for aspiring writers, what he wishes non-writers would understand, and the best way to promote your book ...

* * *

Q: What one piece of advice do you have for aspiring writers?

JSB: Be a lifelong learner. I still read books on the craft of writing, and re-read my favorites, going over the highlighted portions. When I read a good novel I sit back and analyze why it worked. There are always going to be areas in your writing that you can improve. Find them, work on them, and you'll get better and better.

Q: What is the one aspect of God you most hope your readers will take away after reading one of your books?

JSB: His mercy. His net of grace is so wide and loving. I want readers to know that imperfect people, like the characters in my books and the author himself, cannot outrun God's love.

Q: What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand?

JSB: That when we don't talk to them, when we stare out into space thinking of a new character or plot point, it's not because we don't like them!

Q: What one thing about writing do you wish other writers would understand?

JSB: The professionals know that writing is hard work, and that it gets tougher the more success we have. Why? Because our standards are constantly being raised in our own eyes. And we don't want to wake up one day believing it's all been a fluke, that we were lucky up till now, and we really don't know anything.

For the young writers out there, the ones who are really serious about making it, I'd say don't ever fall into the trap of thinking that you have "made it." Once you do, you start to slip backward.

Q: For the writer promoting his or her book, what do you consider the BEST thing he or she could do to promote it?

JSB: I firmly believe that the best promotion is word of mouth, and that means making each book the best it can be. If it came down to a choice, I'd rather concentrate on my writing than on promotion. But, of course, I won't turn down an opportunity to talk about the work if something comes up. Like this interview, which I've enjoyed. Thanks very much!

* * *

Thanks to James Scott Bell! Find him at his official website (where he offers tips for writers). He also blogs regularly at his blog, Suspend Your Disbelief, as well as the tag-team author blog Charis Connection.

RELATED LINKS:
James Scott Bell, Pt. 1
James Scott Bell, Pt. 2

More Christian Suspense Novelists:
Q&A: CRESTON MAPES (Full Tilt)
Q&A: BRANDILYN COLLINS (Web of Lies)
Q&A: RANDY SINGER (Self Incrimination)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

JAMES SCOTT BELL, PT. 2 (OF 3)


Continuing our Q&A with novelist James Scott Bell. He is the author of several thrillers, as well as a columnist for Writer's Digest.

* * *


Q: How many books do you read a month?

JSB: Long ago I read that the famous Western writer Louis L'Amour educated himself by reading 100 books a year. I decided to do the same thing, and took a speed reading course to help me. I used to keep track, and for the last decade have come close to averaging 100 a year. I read fiction, of course, but also many non-fiction titles as well. And I regularly study the Bible, using my good old Thompson Chain Reference.

Q: How many emails do you answer a day?

JSB: Probably a dozen or so.

Q: What are your writing habits?

JSB: I have a weekly quota of words, and divide that up over six days. I usually take Sunday off for a real Sabbath rest. If I don't make my quota one day, I know I can make it up on other days. This is the most important lesson I learned about writing, and fortunately I learned it early. It's about producing words, not sitting in front of the screen for a certain period of time.

Q: Are you an “outline” writer or a “make it up as you go” writer?

JSB: I call these OPs (Outline People) and NOPs (No Outline People) in my book, Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure (Writers Digest Books, 2004). I've done it both ways, and in between. OPs can learn spontaneity from the NOPs; NOPs could benefit from a little of the OPs' discipline.

I tend to outline my first act pretty extensively, and map out the rest of my book. I will add to that map as I go along, but I want to give my story room to breathe as I go. Many of the best things in my books I couldn't have put in at the beginning; they arose naturally out of the writing.

Q: What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

JSB: I loved playing football in front of my house. Our two neighboring houses to the south had big lawns, too, and no fences. So we kids would play on this long, narrow span of grass. I was usually the quarterback, and would make up plays. One of the I called "the old give and go," and it is still whispered about to this day. (That's a little literary license there).

Q: Are you a full-time novelist?

JSB: I am a full-time writer. I write fiction, and I also write a couple of law books. I enjoy the law, so I keep doing that. My law book on California Search and Seizure law is used in courtrooms everyday, by judges, defense lawyers, prosecutors and even law enforcement.

Q: How many books did you have to write before you were able to go full-time? (When did you know you had “made it”?)

JSB: I could have gone to writing fiction alone, full-time, after about five years (My first novel was published in 1995). But I didn't want to give up the law books, so I continue to do both.

* * *

Come back tomorrow for the second part of our Q&A. In the meantime, you can keep up with Mr. Bell at his official website (where he offers tips for writers). He also blogs regularly at his blog, Suspend Your Disbelief, as well as the tag-team author blog Charis Connection.

RELATED LINKS:
James Scott Bell, Pt 1
James Scott Bell, Pt 3

More Christian Suspense Novelists:
Q&A: CRESTON MAPES (Full Tilt)
Q&A: BRANDILYN COLLINS (Web of Lies)
Q&A: RANDY SINGER (Self Incrimination)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

Monday, December 19, 2005

JAMES SCOTT BELL, PT. 1 (OF 3)


For the next three days, we'll be hearing from novelist James Scott Bell. He is the author of several thrillers, as well as a columnist for Writer's Digest.

* * *

Q: What was your first job?

JSB: Other than kid stuff, my first real job was an usher in a movie theater. Remember ushers? I got to use that big flashlight and everything, show people to seats. I miss that about movie theaters. Maybe that's why I prefer to rent DVDs these days.

Q: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

JSB: My grandfather used to recite me this poem:

A wise old owl sat in an oak.
The more he heard, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Now wasn't he a wise old bird?


I used to laugh, then I got old enough to realize the wisdom of it. When I seek first to understand, then to be understood, I find a lot more progress is made.

Q: Are you an "entertainer" or a "minister"?

JSB: Are those my only two options?

Q: Do you hate it when people ask whether you are an "entertainer" or a "minister"?

JSB: Not at all. But I don't think it's either/or. As a novelist, my first responsibility is to tell a ripping good story. That's entertainment. But I am not interested in stopping there. I want a spiritual theme to weave through the story, naturally and powerfully. In that sense, I see myself as bit of a teacher. When I can accomplish both things--great story, powerful message--then I'm close to what I want to be as a writer. But the one thing I never want to be is "preachy." A novelist tells stories. A preacher preaches.

Q: Who are your literary influences?

JSB: I've been influenced by so many writers. When I was in high school and college, I read a lot of Hemingway and William Saroyan. Later, when I started to write legal thrillers, Grisham and Steve Martini were influential. For pure writing ability, I often look to the old pulp and paperback writers, guys like John D. MacDonald, who could plot like the dickens but also had a bit of unobtrusive poetry in their prose.

Q: Who are your spiritual influences?

JSB: The names that keep coming up for me are C.S. Lewis, R. A. Torrey and A. W. Tozer. I guess I just like guys with initials for first names. But these three minister to me every time I read them. Lewis was the great intellect and apologist, and so much fun to read. Torrey was one of the great Bible teachers and defenders of orthodox Christianity. And Tozer always cut to the heart of the spiritual life. When I read Tozer, I'm inspired to seek a deeper walk with God.

Q: What is the best thing anyone has ever said about one of your books?

JSB: I had one reader tell me he had struggled with Christianity until he read some of my books. Soon after this he gave his life to Christ. I can't think of anything better than that.

The one comment I get more than any other is "I couldn't put your book down!" That pleases the writer in me, because that's the effect I'm going for. I want people up all night reading my books, and I get that comment too!

Q: What is the worst thing anyone has ever said about one of your books?

JSB: My novel The Darwin Conspiracy was once called "A well-written bunch of poop." I guess I can take half of that as a compliment.

* * *

Come back tomorrow for the second part of our Q&A. In the meantime, you can keep up with Mr. Bell at his official website (where he offers tips for writers). He also blogs regularly at his blog, Suspend Your Disbelief, as well as the tag-team author blog Charis Connection.

RELATED LINKS:
James Scott Bell, Pt 2
James Scott Bell, Pt 3

More Christian Suspense Novelists:
Q&A: CRESTON MAPES (Full Tilt)
Q&A: BRANDILYN COLLINS (Web of Lies)
Q&A: RANDY SINGER (Self Incrimination)

INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

Finding Obscure Literary Works

Associated Press reports on a Nashville-area man who has become a "literary prospector," digging for lost or forgotten works by literary circles.

Steve Hines spends hours camped out at the Nashville Public Library, poring through century-old reference books and magazines, looking for obscure works by famous authors.

He's motivated by more than just a love of literature.

Hines is hoping to find and publish stories by writers such as Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder - not the famous novels like "Little Women" or "Little House on the Prairie," but lesser-known work that still appeals to die-hard fans.

Copyright for most books and stories published in the United States before 1978 expires after 75 years, putting it in the public domain. That means anyone can republish the stories for profit.

Hines found a forgotten Alcott story titled "Patty's Place" while looking through a 1920 copy of St. Nicholas magazine for children in the Nashville library. He published that story as "The Quiet Little Woman," along with another story he found, "Kate's Choice," and sold about 350,000 copies.

"There are people out there who want to read Louisa May Alcott," said Hines. "That made me wonder if there was more material out there."



See the whole story here.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

REVISITING MARK

Over at her blog Mirathon, my new friend Mirtika posts a review of the graphic novel Marked (Church Publishing).

MARKED is clever. It's got attitude. It's got gentle moments of compassion. It's got strong visuals that mix a bag of emotions together and toss them at you. It's got humor. It captures the essence of what the evangelist wrote: a very active Son of God, a very troubled world, imperfect followers, even more imperfect antagonists, wisdom, courage, mercy, grace, death, and victory over death.


She also refers to this space as "Chris Well's Nifty Blog," which ain't a bad thing.

Related post: Marked

Friday, December 16, 2005

CLASSIC MYSTERY TV

According to MediaWeek Programming Insider, the Jan. 1 debut of new cable network Sleuth from NBC Universal Cable Entertainment will launch with the pilot episodes of The A-Team, Knight Rider, Simon & Simon, Karen Sisco, Homicide: Life on the Street and EZ Streets.

Dedicated to the crime, mystery and suspense genres, other shows airing on Sleuth will include Miami Vice (which will be featured in a seven-hour marathon on Jan. 3), Columbo, Magnum, P.I. and The Rockford Files.

THE MILLER SISTERS #58

ANOTHER DAY AT COLLEGE FOR A CHRISTIAN GIRL ... WITH SUPER POWERS ...

Episode #58 of my wife's twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The story details the life of sisters Julia and Cassie. Big sis Julia is packing for college when her mother breaks the news: Julia is going to inherit super powers!

Younger sis Cassie is already jealous of all the normal things ... and now her big sister is going to be a superhero?

(Updated every Tuesday and Friday.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

ALTERNATIVE PUBLISHING

In today's volatile publishing world, Lee Goldberg's blog A Writer's Life points readers to an intriguing approach, found at The Spriggan Mirror:

This page is the home of an experiment in alternative publishing.

I'm Lawrence Watt-Evans, author of some three dozen novels and hundreds of short stories, articles, etc. One of my best-known series has been the Legends of Ethshar, consisting (as of 2004) of eight novels originally published by Del Rey Books or Tor Books and seven short stories that appeared in various anthologies.

Alas, no major mainstream publisher is interested in continuing the Ethshar series at present. On the other hand, I had several readers saying they desperately want to see more. I decided to see whether enough of them were willing to put their money where their mouths are to finance more Ethshar stories -- and perhaps eventually continuations of other series that no longer have major publishers.

To my surprise, there were enough. My fans came through, and I have now written the ninth Ethshar novel, financed entirely by reader contributions rather than an advance from a publisher.


Click on over to The Spriggan Mirror for more info (and, until New Year's Eve, a free online novel) ...

MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE


For fans of the detective series Monk, there is an original novel coming out the first week of January. Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse (Signet) is the first of three original mystery novels starring Adrian Monk, "the brilliant investigator who always knows when something's out of place."

Monk's house is being fumigated and he has nowhere to go. Fortunately, his assistant, Natalie, and her daughter are kind enough to take him into their home. To no one's surprise, their home is not quite up to Monk's standards of cleanliness and order.

While Monk attempts to arrange his surroundings just so, he discovers something else that requires his special touch: the puzzling death of a dog at a local firehouse on the same night as a fatal house fire. Much to his horror, Monk is going to have to dig through a lot of dirt to solve this mystery.


TV writer and novelist Lee Goldberg, co-writer of the Monk episodes "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico" and "Mr. Monk Meets The Godfather," writes the novel from Natalie's perspective, giving readers a fresh view of the detective. Mr. Goldberg also writes the excellent Diagnosis Murder novels, so this should be pretty good.

The USA Network has launched a website devoted to the books, which includes an excerpt and a video interview with the author. (While there, you can also check out downloads and an exclusive Monk mini-webisode created exclusively for the Internet.)

Goldberg writes a daily blog, A Writer's Life. On a regular basis, he shares behind-the-scenes tales of working in television and as a novelist.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chris Well on BOOKLIST Top 10 Christian Novels

Some of you have heard this great news, but now there is an official press release!

Posted online at Harvest House and TrueTunes ...

* * *

Press Release
For Immediate Release: December 13, 2005
Contact: Dave Bartlett, Harvest House Publishers

-

AUTHORS MAKE TOP TEN LIST - WE CHECKED IT -- TWICE

Eugene, Oregon -- December 12, 2005 -- Two Harvest House authors not only made it onto Santa's "nice" list, they ended up on another -- Booklist's Top Ten Christian Novels of the Year.

A Window to the World by Susan Meissner and Forgiving Solomon Long by Chris Well, both made the Top Ten Christian Novels list from Booklist magazine, published by the American Library Association. The list was selected from all Christian novels released between October 2004 and October 2005, and the authors couldn't be happier over their early
Christmas presents.

"I am still in a fog about the whole thing; grateful to God, but so completely surprised," says Susan Meissner. "Being recognized by the American Library Association means a great deal to me." A Window to the World is a contemporary novel about two girls-inseparable until one is abducted as the other watches helplessly. Years later, the mystery is solved-and the truth confirmed that God works all things together for good.

Meissner's newest book, In All Deep Places (January, 2006), has mystery writer Luke Foxbourne happily writing and living in a century-old manor house in Connecticut. But when his father has a stroke, Luke returns to his hometown and soon longs to rewrite his own story.

Author Chris Well was equally thrilled over the list announcement. "It is certainly a shocking and wonderful piece of news," he says. "This year as a first-time novelist has already been such a whirlwind -- but to be included by Booklist among such distinguished names as Philip Gulley and Melody Carlson and W. Dale Cramer is a greater honor than I could ever have expected."

Well's Forgiving Solomon Long is a page-turning suspense novel that sizzles with action -- a locomotive crime thriller that crackles with wit and unexpected heart -- and with a powerful message of forgiveness.

His next book, Deliver Us from Evelyn (March, 2006), is about heartless media/publishing mogul Evelyn Blake, who is inconvenienced when her billionaire husband disappears. On the chase are Kansas City detectives, revenge-focused Russian mobsters, and an on-the-skids con man. The bizarre situation soon leaves many of the players begging, Deliver Us from Evelyn!

About the Publisher:
Harvest House Publishers is a family owned Christian publishing company and is among the top five Christian publishers. They publish more than 160 new books each year, and have a strong backlist offering more than 700 titles. Over 75 million Harvest House books have been sold worldwide in diverse distribution channels, and additional millions have sold worldwide in over 35 languages.

THE MILLER SISTERS #57

ANOTHER DAY AT COLLEGE FOR A CHRISTIAN GIRL ... WITH SUPER POWERS ...

Episode #57 of my wife's twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The story details the life of sisters Julia and Cassie. Big sis Julia is packing for college when her mother breaks the news: Julia is going to inherit super powers!

Younger sis Cassie is already jealous of all the normal things ... and now her big sister is going to be a superhero?

(Updated every Tuesday and Friday.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

ROBIN PARRISH: RELENTLESS

Your pal and mine, Robin Parrish (editor of the fabulous cultural touchstone Infuze Magazine ), has a novel coming out in stores in 2006—and preview info is now available online at his publisher, Bethany House.

Relentless

Author: Robin Parrish
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.99
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Number of Pages: 400
Series: Dominion Trilogy
Publication Date: Jul. 06

Status: Summer 2006

Description: Grant Borrows steps off the bus for an ordinary day of work, looks across the street, and sees…himself. In that single moment, the comfortable life he's known ends, and for reasons beyond his control and comprehension he's hurtled into a race--both for the truth of his identity and ultimately for the survival of the world he's known. Eventually finding himself among others like him who've lost their former lives, Grant must discern who, if anyone, he can trust and how he can hold on to that part of him that's never changed, that fragment of eternity he knows is called to stand strong against all odds. A knock-your-socks-off story with themes about remaining steadfast even when life is out of control.

Author Information: For years, debut novelist Robin Parrish has covered the world of Christian culture--music, books, film, comics, and more--as a journalist. Currently he serves as the founder and editor-in-chief of InFuze Magazine, a cutting-edge online magazine poised at the intersection of art, culture, and faith. Robin and his wife live in High Point, North Carolina.




We wish Robin all the best on this exciting new chapter in his career!

As the clock counts down to the book's release, keep track at Robin's blog, robinparrish.blogspot.com.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

SEND IN THE POEMS

As you may have heard, Infuze Magazine is publishing a collection of their Best Short Stories and Poems from 2005 -- and asking YOU to decide which stories and poems make it into the volume.

(Find the nominated short stories here.)

And now, the nominated poems (with handy links to read them online -- free registration required):

"Alone" by C.J. Adams
"An Exercise in the Kinesthetic" by Carissa Halton
"An Unkindness of Ravens" by Bill Smith
"Comfort Zones" by Stacey M. Gagne
"The Dance" by Jonathan Foiles
"Don't Go" by Katie Hart
"Early Delivery" by Gary Brown
"Emergence" by Kimberlee Edgecomb
"Flying Now" by Emily Sutherland
"Her Angels Pack Away Her Things" by Jeffrey Patrick Lemarr
"In Danger" by Bill Arrington
"Lost Letters" by Kendra Seignoret
"Remember" by Rebekah Lee
"Simile at Starbucks" by Marcia Lee Laycock
"Spirare" by Tim Sharp
"The Spirit Breath" by Charlynn Johns
"Till Something Good Screams Through" by Andrea Bass
"Waiting" by Jewel Gingerich
"Wounded Souls" by Jerry Lyn Luckie
"You Take In" by Brandon Smith

Cast your vote here.

Friday, December 09, 2005

THE MILLER SISTERS #56

ANOTHER DAY AT COLLEGE FOR A CHRISTIAN GIRL ... WITH SUPER POWERS ...

This morning, my wife has posted episode #56 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The story details the life of sisters Julia and Cassie. Big sis Julia is packing for college when her mother breaks the news: Julia is going to inherit super powers!

Younger sis Cassie is already jealous of all the normal things ... and now her big sister is going to be a superhero?

(Updated every Tuesday and Friday.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

YOU CAN'T MAKE STUFF LIKE THIS UP, PT. 2


If I put this in a book, no one would believe it ...

Woman Allegedly Hires Hit Man for Cheese

Tue Dec 6, 7:01 PM ET

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - In an unusual case of mistaken identity, a woman who thought a block of white cheese was cocaine is charged with trying to hire a hit man to rob and kill four men. The woman also was mistaken about the hit man. He turned out to be an undercover police officer.

[snip]

Booth told the officer that any children inside the house old enough to testify would have to be killed, police said.


Whole story available online here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

40 YEARS AND COUNTING ...

The perennial holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas -- in which Linus quotes a lengthy passage from the book of Luke about the birth of Christ -- celebrated its 40th Anniversary with 15.35 million viewers last night, winning its time slot.

Recent news stories report that the animated special "about love conquering materialism" now "fuels a $1.2-billion-a-year global publishing, merchandising and marketing machine."

www.latimes.com
www.usatoday.com

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: TOP 10 AT BOOKLIST!

I have just been informed that reviewer John Mort at Booklist (the official publication of the American Library Association) has named his picks for the Top 10 Christian Novels of 2005 -- and Forgiving Solomon Long is on the list! My debut crime thriller is nestled there among titles by such famed authors as Melody Carlson, W. Dale Cramer, Robert Elmer and Philip Gulley. (Pretty nifty!)

Mr. Mort says ...

Organized crime and Christian fiction hardly seem to mix, but that's why Well's novel is so intriguing. Using hip dialogue a la Pulp Fiction, he spins a yarn around hit-man Solomon Long, hired to wipe out ministers united against a Kansas City crime boss.

Here is the list (selected from titles reviewed between October 1, 2004 and September 15, 2005, in alphabetical order by author's last name):

Ann Burton, Women of the Bible: Abilgail's Story: A Novel (Signet)

Melody Carlson, Crystal Lies (WaterBrook Press)

W. Dale Cramer, Levi's Will (Bethany House)

James F. David, Judgment Day (Forge Books)

Robert Elmer, The Celebrity (WaterBrook Press)

Philip Gulley, A Change of Heart : A Harmony Novel (HarperSanFrancisco)

Randall Ingermanson, Double Vision (Bethany House)

Susan Meissner, A Window To The World (Harvest House)

Ruth Axtell Morren, Wild Rose (Steeple Hill)

Chris Well, Forgiving Solomon Long (Harvest House)

Congratulations to all the novelists on the list!

DELIVER US FROM EVELYN: RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES

Some more recent stories in the news that run a frightening parallel to my upcoming novel, Deliver Us From Evelyn (Harvest House Publishers) ...
CONRAD BLACK IN COURT (BBC)
The former Hollinger exec has appeared in a U.S. courtroom to answer charges of fraud totaling $84 million. Black was heard muttering about "character assassination" on his arrival at the Chicago courthouse. NYP: Black's courtroom manner was "sullen" and "glowering." Guardian: Black was "steely but subdued."
Chicago Reader: The 8th count is the juiciest.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4490492.stm
http://www.nypost.com/business/58749.htm
http://media.guardian.co.uk/presspublishing/story/0,7495,1656108,00.html
http://www.chicagoreader.com/hottype/2005/051202_1.html
SEE JANE SKEWERED (NYP)
The main character of a forthcoming novel about a magazine called "Jill" bears
an uncanny resemblance to former Jane founder and editor Jane Pratt, sparking
speculation that it may be an "unofficial" version of the split between
Fairchild and Pratt.
http://www.nypost.com/business/kelly.htm

(Of course, to tell you the truth, some of these "frightening parallels" are because they are ongoing stories that inspired the book in the first place. Hey, we novelists have to get our ideas somewhere.)

JUST AN HONOR TO BE NOMINATED

Infuze Magazine is publishing a collection of their best Short Stories and Poems from 2005 -- and asking readers to help decide which stories and poems make it into the volume. The nominated short stories were announced yesterday. This is a great time to catch up on any of the great stories you missed this year ...

The nominees (with handy links to the stories online -- free registration required):

"A Cure for Regret" by Christopher Fisher
"Choices" by William G. Jones
"The Cornflakes Submarine" by Ray Sikes
"Ellie" by Michele Archer
"Every Story Has a Moral" by Jeri Massi
"The Fear Effect" by Dana Lucas Timmerman
"The Interrogation" by John Green
"Little Country Church" by Chris Well
"Long Way Home" by Linda Gilmore
"My Name Is Russell Fink" by Michael Snyder
"The Nasya Diner" by Lynn Renee
"New York Moses" by Steve Sheppard
"Of Microbes & Men" by T.L. Hines
"Someone In the Circle" by Michael Duran
"Straddling the Fence" by Dee D. Stewart
"Two Places" by Brian Reaves
"The Trader" by Andrew Chamberlain
"The Vicious Circle" by Matt Bronleewe
"What the Preacher Found" by Calvin Moore

Cast your vote here.

(Eligible poems will be nominated later this week.)

THE MILLER SISTERS #55

ANOTHER DAY AT COLLEGE FOR A CHRISTIAN GIRL ... WITH SUPER POWERS ...

This morning, my wife has posted episode #55 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The story details the life of sisters Julia and Cassie. Big sis Julia is packing for college when her mother breaks the news: Julia is going to inherit super powers!

Younger sis Cassie is already jealous of all the normal things ... and now her big sister is going to be a superhero?

(Updated every Tuesday and Friday.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Q&A: NOVELIST TOM BUFORD

Today, we check in with novelist Tom Buford, author of Fires of Darkness.
Fires of Darkness is a tale of spiritual warfare in the small town of Cory, Nebraska. When something strange happens to Douglas and Amy Canton's farm house and rocks the community, they lean on a memorable cast of characters for support and encounter another world in their search for the meaning of this tragedy.
Here is a Q&A with the author himself.

**

Q: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

Tom: I read one time that a writer should not try to write about dining in a French bistro if he or she has never eaten in a French bistro. I have since heard writers come down on both sides of that issue. But for me, it was good advice. Everything I write has at least some part of me or my life hidden in it somewhere.

Q: Are you an "entertainer" or a "minister"?

Tom: I really don't consider myself an entertainer, although I hope my writing entertains. My desire is that lives will be touched and changed by something I write. I suppose that makes me more a minister.

Q: Who are your literary influences?

Tom: The first novel I ever read as an adult was This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. It had a tremendous impact on me. There are other writers whose work I enjoy, but Peretti has had a greater influence on me. I've tried to not allow the writing style of any one author color my own writing, but I think it is obvious that Peretti's influence was inescapable for me, at least in Fires of Darkness.

Q: Who are your spiritual influences?

Tom: My wife has been my greatest spiritual influence. Her ability to forgive and put the past behind her is something that I only wish more wives had. I have also been influenced in other ways by people whom I have met or worked with, such as Johnny Cash and Billy Graham.

Q: Are you an "outline" writer or a "make it up as you go" writer?

Tom: No outlines for me! Fires of Darkness was a "make it up as you go" book. My current projects are based on stories that I have more insight into, but there still is no outline.

Q: What is the one aspect of God you most hope your readers will take away after reading one of your books?

Tom: His ability to love them unconditionally. More than anything, I want my readers to get the message that God is still the healer of hearts and minds. I want them to know that He will go as far as He has to go to bring freedom into the life of a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to become the man that God created him to be.

**

Thanks to Mr. Buford for stopping by. Find him online at www.firesofdarkness.com or his blog, Thinking out loud ...

ROBIN IS ONLINE

Robin Parrish, editor of the highly fashionable Infuze Magazine, has launched a new blog to countdown to his debut novel. Relentless hits shelves summer 2006.

You can jump on the bandwagon here: Robin Parrish: Relentless is coming

Saturday, December 03, 2005

TAGGED!

Yesterday was crazy get-the-magazine-out-the-door day ... and amid all the last-minute proofing / speedchecking / updating madness, I discovered I was tagged by T.L. Hines to play "seven sevens," of which I am only vaguely familiar.

Normally I don't reply to these sorts of things ... it could damage some of my mystique. But since I've now been called out publicly ...

:)

Seven Things to Do Before I Die
1. Get a house.
2. Have kids.
3. Write a major project for Dark Horse Comics.
4. Write a major project for DC Comics.
5. Write a lot of comics.
6. Become a full-time novelist.
7. Stop being creeped out by these "things to do before I die" lists.

Seven Things I Cannot Do
1. Listen to painful "eye" stories.
2. Budget my time as efficiently as I would like.
3. Convince my wife of the importance of buying DVDs and DVD box sets the week they become available -- BECAUSE THEY MIGHT SELL OUT AND BE GONE FOREVER!!!
4. Stay organized.
5. Watch sad biographical movies (even the "inspirational" stories)
6. Eat weird meats.
7. Write a bad story. (Kidding -- HA!)

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Wife [husband, romantic interest, best friend, whomever]
1. She is a sweet, godly woman.
2. She is my best friend.
3. She is a beautiful woman.
4. She is an artistic soul.
5. She loves comic books as much as I do.
6. Before we were married, she worked in comics!
7. She puts up with me.

Seven Things I Say Most Often
1. "Honey, [latest DVD or DVD box set] is out now!"
2. "So, it's settled -- we're [doing whatever it is the person just said they don't want to do]."
3. "Hey, can we buy [latest DVD or DVD box set]?"
4. "Why I oughtta ..." (Thank you, Three Stooges.)
5. "When do you think we can swing by and get [latest DVD or DVD box set]?"
6. "That is AWESOME!"
7. "And now I'm off to FRANCE!" (Thank you, Jon Lovitz.)

Seven Books (or Series) I Love
1. Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
2. How Should We Then Live, Francis Schaeffer
3. Maximum Bob, Elmore Leonard
4. That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy), C.S. Lewis
5. Needful Things, Stephen King
6. The Jesus I Never Knew, Phillip Yancey
7. L.A. Confidential, James Ellroy

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again
1. Charade (actually, most Cary Grant movies)
2. The Fisher King
3. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
4. Get Shorty
5. Dracula (1931) (Bonus: Universal Monster Movies and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein)
6. Spirited Away (actually, anything directed by Hayao Miyazaki)
7. A Night At the Opera (Bonus: At The Circus)

Seven People I Want to Join in, Too
1. Kevin Hendricks
2. Dave Long
3. Jeremy Zehr
4. Katie Hart
5. Matt Bronleewe
6. Pat Loomis
7. Linda Gilmore

Friday, December 02, 2005

ANNE RICE: INTERVIEW WITH A PENITENT

Christianity Today has just posted an interview with Anne Rice, Interview with a Penitent: How Anne Rice moved from fascination with vampires to renewed faith in Christ. The article does a thorough job of exploring the author's body of work up to now -- from her vampire novels to her latest, Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt -- and gives some context for why the "queen of darkness" is now writing about the Light of the World.

"This book means more to me than anything I've ever done," Rice told Christianity Today from her home in La Jolla, California. "I'm not offering agnostic explanations. He is real. He worked miracles. He is the Son of God! And there is so much more to write."




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Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction

SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.