Monthly Archives: April 2014

New this Week in Christian Fiction (April 29, 2014)

I’ve been reading and writing a lot of romantic suspense lately, so the new releases coming out by Dee Henderson and Ronie Kendig have caught my attention.  Take a look at this great list of new releases and tell me, what looks good to you?  :)

Spotlight on…

Undetected by Dee Henderson

Description (From Publisher, Bethany House):

When asked what he does for a living . . .

Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: “I’m in the Navy.” But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping her crew trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and handles it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating around the Pacific Rim, the Navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, with a lovely smile, and very smart. She’s a civilian, yet she understands the U.S. Navy culture. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn’t see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best–ocean science research. She’s on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop’s perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she’s figured out is only the beginning. If she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter.

Amish / Mennonite

Plain and Fancy (Brides of Lancaster County, #3) by Wanda E Brunstetter

Biblical Fiction

The Sons of Isaac by Roberta Kells Dorr

The Advocate by Randy Singer

Contemporary Romance

Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker

Tumbleweed Weddings by Donna Robinson

Historical Romance

Mark of Distinction (Price of Privilege #2) by Jessica Dotta

Lost Loves of World War II Collection by Bruce Judisch and Sharon Bernash Smith

The Surrender to Destiny Trilogy by MaryLu Tyndall

Romantic Suspense

Undetected by Dee Henderson

Raptor 6 (Quiet Professionals #1) by Ronie Kendig

New this Week in Christian Fiction (April 22, 2014)

I’ve been really busy lately with writing to a deadline, and so I’ve had less time than I normally do for reading and writing reviews, but some of the titles releasing this week look outstanding.  I can’t wait to catch up on my reading!

Spotlight on…

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

Description (From Publisher Tyndale House):

To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.

To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

Want to learn more?  Check out the review from RT Book Reviews.

And More Good Choices…

A Lady’s Honor (Cliffs of Cornwall #1) by Laurie Alice Eakes

Moms’ Night Out by Tricia Goyer

A May Bride by Meg Moseley

New this Week in Christian Fiction (April 15, 2014)

It looks like there are some great new Christian fiction titles releasing this week!

I see one here that I’ll definitely be reading soon, and several others I’d love to try to sneak into the gaps in between writing chapters of my own novel in progress.

Do you see any on this list that look good to you?

Amish / Mennonite

Jedidiah’s Bride (Love Inspired) by Rebecca Kertz

Seasons of Tomorrow (Amish Vines and Orchards #4) by Cindy Woodsmall

Contemporary Romance

Forever Her Hero (Love Inspired) by Belle Calhoune

Her Unlikely Cowboy (Love Inspired) by Debra Clopton

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Loving the Lawman (Love Inspired) by Ruth Logan Herne

The Fireman Finds a Wife (Love Inspired) by Felicia Mason

North Country Mom (Love Inspired) by Lois Richer

Historical & Historical Romance

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

The Pelican Bride (Gulf Coast Chronicles #1) by Beth White

Some Thoughts on Writing My First Synopsis

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about entering Harlequin’s Killer Voices competition with the first page of a novel I’m working on.  Today, I’m happy to report that not only did I get selected to advance to the next round of the competition (Yay!), but I was also able to get a 3-5 page synopsis describing my plot and characters in to my editor on time (Whew!).

As an aside, I love the fact that entrants have each been assigned to a given editor’s “team.”  That means, besides having teammates to cheer on, I can refer to “my editor” in posts like this.  Technically, I suppose I can’t claim to have an editor since I don’t have a contract, but I prefer to overlook that technicality for the moment.  😉

Anyway, writing a synopsis of my novel in progress has been quite a learning experience for me, and I hope my readers don’t mind if I talk a little about that in this post.  (Sorry if you do mind.  For anyone experiencing book review withdrawal, allow me to direct your attention to Megan Besing’s review of The Pelican Bride by Beth White; it sounds fantastic!)

Okay, I promise, no more asides… I think.

Since writing a good synopsis has the reputation for being particularly challenging, the prospect of writing my first synopsis was a little, um, daunting at first.  I had a week in which to write it, and I spent the first half of that week researching what was expected in a synopsis and hammering out kinks in my plot.  My early attempts at synopsizing were thwarted by some remarkably convoluted explanations as to why particular details had to occur in a particular sequence.  Which stopped me cold.  Yuck!

I wanted to focus on action and emotion, not the nitty gritty details.  I realized I had to back up and allow myself to tell, rather than show.  Ground breaking, right?  It was for me.  I think “Show; don’t tell,” has got to be the most commonly offered bit of writing advice out there, or close to it, so telling felt a little unnatural.  But I told myself to get over it.   And when I gave myself permission to tell, the process got a whole lot easier.

I also realized that Act Two of my plot as I originally envisioned it really was a little convoluted, and if I couldn’t explain it succinctly, then maybe I should rethink that part.  I got out some three by five cards, wrote plot points out on them, spread them across the dining room table, and started rearranging.

That and beating my head on the table, but we won’t talk about that part.  😉

I thought long and hard about which plot points were essential, pivotal moments for the characters and their relationship, and which ones were moveable or expendable.  In the end, I removed one plot point that didn’t really make sense and moved two other plot points to different locations within the narrative.  With those minor changes, everything else fell naturally into place.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I ran to tell my husband that my plot wasn’t broken anymore, so he would no longer be asked to stare at a jumble of three by five cards with me.  (Have I mentioned he’s incredible?  He really is.  And back to the point….)

Once I had the sequence nailed down for my plot, I found to my delight that the synopsis flowed.  I wrote systematically from beginning to end, just telling the story, one step at a time, leaving out nonessential details.  And when I reached the end, and my synopsis was two pages too long, I went through again, looking at each sentence to see if it was really essential to understanding my story, or if it could be removed or shortened.  When I was done pruning, I set it aside for a day, read it through, and discovered that I liked it.  And breathed a big sigh of relief.

I’m glad to have that synopsis done, but I think I’m hooked.  Forcing myself to write a synopsis of my novel before writing it, really helped me distill the plot down to its bare essentials and get a better view of how the various pieces interact with each other.  As a result I think I have a much better understanding of my story, and it will be stronger in the end than it might have been otherwise.  Frustrating as the process was at times, I’m fairly certain I’ll be doing this again with future novels, whether I have to or not.

Does that mean I’m crazy?  😉

New this Week in Christian Fiction (April 1, 2014)

Spotlight on…

Scarlett Says by Julie L Cannon

This romantic comedy’s description caught my attention as I was browsing new releases, so I thought I’d feature it here along with a list of this week’s forty (yes 40!) new releases in Christian fiction.

Description (From Publisher, Abindon Press):

One woman’s love of literature inspires dreams she never knew she had.

For 30-year-old literature lover Joan Meeler, there is no heroine so admirable as Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. Joan, with her quiet nature and love of good food, falls shockingly short of Scarlett’s outspoken passion, strength, and 17-inch waist. Yet as the secret hostess of an advice blog called Scarlett Says, she discovers she’s quite adept at dispensing advice in Scarlett’s devil-may-care tone.

Joan is happy to live vicariously . . . until she meets Charles, a Christian and faithful Scarlett Says reader, who suddenly has Joan dreaming of something more. Since Scarlett has never let her down, Joan digs deeper and deeper into her heroine’s mind, searching for something to calm her rising insecurities. But her search falls short, and Joan realizes that she must look within herself—and to God—to uncover the inner confidence she never knew she possessed.

Amish & Mennonite Fiction

Looking For A Miracle (Brides of Lancaster County #2) by Wanda E Brunstetter

The Plain City Bridesmaids: Three Ohio Mennonite Romances by Dianne Christner

A Plain Man by Mary Ellis

The Kissing Bridge (Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors #3) by Tricia Goyer

The Last Bride (Home to Hickory Hollow #5) by Beverly Lewis

The Amish Groom (The Men of Lancaster County #1) by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner

The Wounded Heart (Amish Quilt #1) by Adina Senft

Contemporary Romance

The Mistaken Heiress (Heartsong Presents) by Shelba Shelton Nivens

Rodeo Song (Heartsong Presents) by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Historical Fiction

For Such a Time (Women of Valor #1) by Elyse Larson

What Follows After by Dan Walsh

Historical Romance

Rainy Day Dreams (Seattle Brides #2) by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

The Lone Star Romance Collection: Five Stories of Untamed Love in a Wild State by Cathy Marie Hake & Kimberley Comeaux

Plots and Pans by Kelly Eileen Hake

An Unconventional Lady (Heartsong Presents) by Cynthia Hickey

Caught in the Middle (Ladies of Caldwell County #3) by Regina Jennings

The Preacher’s Bride Claim (Love Inspired Historical) by Laurie Kingery

Sincerely Yours by Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey

Beloved Protector (Heartsong Presents) by Darlene Mindrup

Wyoming Promises (Love Inspired Historical) by Kerri Mountain

A Sensible Arrangement (Lone Star Brides #1) by Tracie Peterson

The Soldier’s Secrets (Love Inspired Historical) by Naomi Rawlings

The Husband Campaign (Love Inspired Historical) by Regina Scott

Willow Creek Brides: Three Loves Are Sweet Surprises in Historic Iowa (Romancing America) by Connie Stevens

Circle of Spies (The Culper Ring #3) by Roseanna M. White

Romantic Comedy

Scarlett Says by Julie L Cannon

Romantic Suspense

Top Secret Identity (Love Inspired Suspense) by Sharon Dunn

Perilous Waters (Love Inspired Suspense) by Sandra Orchard

Wrongly Accused (Love Inspired Suspense) by Laura Scott

Words of Conviction by Linda J White

Lancaster County Target (Love Inspired Suspense) by Kit Wilkinson

Speculative Fiction (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Apocalyptic)

The Turning by Davis Bunn

The Fearful Gates (Ancient Earth Trilogy #3) by Ross Lawhead

Women’s Fiction

For Such a Time as This (Women of Hope #1) by Ginny Aiken

The Road to Testament by Eva Marie Everson

Paige Turned (Paige Alder #3) by Erynn Mangum

The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine

Reunion by Lauraine Snelling

Stardust by Carla Stewart

A Promise in Pieces (Quilts of Love #17) by Emily T Wierenga