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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Ruth Axtell Morren and


RUTH AXTELL MORREN has published 12 romances with Steeple Hill/Love Inspired Books. Her 13th, a Love Inspired Historical, Hometown Cinderella will be out February 2012. She will have a single title regency out in March 2013 for Revell Books, and another Downeast Maine-set historical tentatively titled Her Good Name with Moody Books. Her books have been translated into Dutch, Italian, Polish, Czech and Afrikaans. She was a Golden Heart finalist in 1994. Her second published book, Wild Rose, was a Booklist “Top Ten Christian Fiction” selection in 2005. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and RWA (Romance Writers of America). Ruth studied comparative literature at Smith College, and has lived in both Europe and the U.S. Shortly after college, she committed her life to Christ. Fourteen years later, she committed her writing to Him. Currently, Ruth lives in Maine with her three children and two cats.

by Ruth Axtell Morren
Published by Love Inspired Historical


I didn’t realize I had written a fairytale of my own until the editorial & marketing team at Love Inspired discovered it for me.

Small Town, Big Dreams

After years of traveling in Europe with her musician husband, all that widow Mara Hoffman wants is security for her son. A half-share in her father’s Maine farmhouse is the only refuge she has left, even if her resentful stepmother treats Mara as little more than a servant. But there is one bright spot: the unexpected kindness of neighbor Gideon Jakeman.

A widowed farmer with a teenage daughter, Gideon hardly pictures himself as anyone’s Prince Charming. Especially a woman of Mara’s refinement. Yet his quiet, rugged strength makes her feel as though she’s found her rightful place by his side, if they can find faith enough to forge their own happy ending.

Readers, buy your copy of HOMETOWN CINDERELLA today!


Finding—and Keeping—Your Voice

Stick around fiction writing any length of time and you are sure to hear about author’s “voice.” No one knows precisely how to define it, but we all know it when we hear it.

It’s what draws us to our favorite authors, whose books become keepers. It’s the distinct quality of that author’s writing that is hard to define but is clear as a clarion when reading his/her novels.

I’ve just discovered a new writer, Melanie Dickerson. She has two young adult fiction books out now with Zondervan Publishing. They are both retellings of fairytales. What an irresistible combination, right? The first, The Healer’s Apprentice is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty, and the one I just finished reading, The Merchant’s Daughter, on Beauty and the Beast. One of the things I like about them is that she takes liberties with the original tales so they are quite original. She also weaves the Scriptures very adroitly through the medieval stories. But what I love most about her stories is her voice. They are most distinctly Melanie Dickerson stories. I could probably identify them if I didn’t have the author’s name on the cover.

Well, for a while there, I had thought I had lost my voice—or at least compromised it to a large extent by trying to fit a publishing house’s guidelines and styles. Then, when a manuscript was turned down, I decided (on faith) to continuing writing it with no invisible editor hovering over my shoulder. I would just write the story I believed the Lord had given me and worry about whether it “worked” or not afterwards when it came time to edit and revise. It was a very liberating and at the same time scary experience, since I hadn’t done this kind of writing without a safety net since my pre-published days. But just this month, I not only sold this story to a new publisher, but I finished the first draft, and ta-da!, read it over and am really pleased with how it turned out. As I said at the outset, I feel as if I’ve rediscovered my voice. We tend to write what we like to read, and I feel I’m back to the kind of stories I best like to read: lots of interplay and emotional conflict between the hero & heroine, but also lots of spiritual growth in them as the story progresses.

I told my daughter when I finished the manuscript, “This is why writers write. To reach this adrenalin high when one has done it—finished the book, a euphoria that will pass when I buckle down to revise and polish. But for the moment, what a feeling!

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Thank you, Ruth, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: If you are a writer or love to write, do you feel you have discovered your voice in writing? When did you realize it? If you are a reader, have you ever loved a certain author's voice only to discover they change it with a new novel? How did you feel? Would you prefer an author maintain the same voice throughout books, or does it matter to you? Why or why not?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered. And if you don’t like to read teen science fiction, maybe there is a teen in your life who’d like the book.

The contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Welcome Jill Williamson and Replication


JILL WILLIAMSON  is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. Growing up in Alaska led to a love of books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. Visit her at, where adventure comes to life.

REPLICATION, the Jason Experiment
by Jill Williamson
Published by Zonderkidz


Abby Goyer is forced to move to rural Alaska when her father unexpectedly takes a job in a remote laboratory called Jason Farms. Suspicious of her father’s decisions, she investigates and finds more than what she was looking for when a strange boy shows up at her door. Martyr, one of fifty-five identical clones, escaped from the underground lab at the farm with one wish: to see the sky before he fulfills his purpose and “expires” on his eighteenth birthday. Abby tries to help Martyr see that God has a purpose for his life, one that is different from the one the scientists originally planned for him.

Readers, buy your copy of REPLICATION, the Jason Experiment today!


Getting to Know Your Readers
One of my favorite things to do is talk with my readers. I love speaking to teens because it gives me the perfect opportunity to meet my target audience. I have so much fun getting to know students after my presentation, taking pictures with them and asking them what they’re reading now, what their favorite books are, or what the story they are writing is about.

I also enjoy connecting with readers online or via snail mail, though that has a very different feel to it. I’ve had some great conversations through email, cried over letters from readers, and had many laughs on Facebook with people who know me through my books. Even though it’s time consuming, I respond to every message I receive.

My husband is a youth pastor, so this is another way that I get to hang out with my target audience every week. And I know most of these teens really well.

And I’m blessed to have a couple teenage critique partners.

I’ve found that success with my readers is all about building a relationship with them. That might start with my novel or it might start with a kind word in an unlikely place. I met a teenager once at the park when I took my kids swimming. This girl was there as a babysitter. While we watched our kids, I asked her what she was reading and we got to talking about books. Eventually it came out that I was a writer, and she was excited about meeting me.

The key is to start conversations with people, and for those conversations to be successful, you want to ask the other person about her life. If an opportunity arises to mention your book, go for it. If not, trust that loving on someone is all that’s necessary that day. It’s the Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, mindset. And it works. That shouldn’t be a surprise, though. After all, Jesus said it best: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If what we all want, deep down, is to be asked about what we are struggling with, how we are really doing, and what we do for a living, then, according to Jesus, those are the questions we need to be asking others.

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Thank you, Jill, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: How do you connect with your readers? Do you speak? Are you more of an online communicator? Or do you meet your readers elsewhere? As a reader, what do you like to see from authors whose books you read? If you were to get to know them, what would be your preferred method or sequence from introduction to relationship?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered. And if you don’t like to read teen science fiction, maybe there is a teen in your life who’d like the book.

The contest is open to US/Canada residents only.