Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christy Awards: See Anything You Want to Read?


 Each year the Christy Award Nominees are announced and then later in the year there will be the announcement of the winners of each category. It is prestigious for Christian novelists to be nominated, let alone to win. I congratulate each nominee and look forward to seeing the winners on June 26.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Christy Advisory Board is pleased to announce nominees in nine categories for the 2010 Christy Awards honoring Christian fiction. The Christy Awards will be conferred in advance of the International Christian Retailing Show at a ceremony at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel, Sat., June 26, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. Author and entrepreneur Lisa Samson, a two-time Christy Award winner and seven-time nominee, will present the keynote address.

Tickets to the event are $30. For more information about the awards reception and to make reservations (beginning Apr. 30), visit the Christy Award website at

The 2010 Christy Award nominees are:

  • Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills • Tyndale House Publishers
  • How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
  • Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus • Barbour Publishing

  • Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson • Thomas Nelson
  • The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
  • Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth • Zondervan

  • June Bug by Chris Fabry • Tyndale House Publishers
  • The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson • Thomas Nelson
  • Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle • Tyndale House Publishers

  • The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry • Moody Publishers
  • Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent • Tyndale House Publishers
  • Scared by Tom Davis • David C. Cook

  • A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
  • Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
  • The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey • Revell Books: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

  • Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
  • A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
  • The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander • Thomas Nelson
  • The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

  • Intervention by Terri Blackstock • Zondervan
  • Lost Mission by Athol Dickson • Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster
  • The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

  • By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson • Marcher Lord Press
  • The Enclave by Karen Hancock • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
  • Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik • Tyndale House Publishers

  • Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma • Thomas Nelson
  • The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason • David C. Cook
  • North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

†Historical Fiction includes four nominees due to a tie in scoring.

View this press release as a PDF:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When I Was a Little Girl

I think my grandmother made this dress. Notice the rick-rack. I have always had trouble with my hair! I'm not sure, but I'm about 2 here, I think. It was taken in Tennessee. (Hohenwald--ever hear of it?? LOL) If nothing else, I look happy, despite everything.

My childhood was a little mixed up. When I was not even a year old, my mother went to stay for the next couple years in a TB hospital as she battled for her life. She ended up losing all but one lobe of one lung, but still managed to make it home and raise me. Since my dad was a long haul semi-truck driver, there really wasn't anyone to take care of me during the years she was in the hospital. So, my only living grandparents, Roy and Pauline, took me in, which was quite a job since they still had two tweens at home and worked full time. The good news for them was that they did desperately love me, and they had a lot of family close by.

My aunt ended up babysitting me quite a lot and I think my married Aunt Sue sometimes took me home with her to give them a break. My grandfather, who owned a logging business, took me with him to chop wood--he even carried my diapers and bottles with him! ( I survived probably by my own sick mother's prayers. She had lived with her in-laws for several years and also during the time my dad was in the military.) Everyone just did the best that they could and loved me just as I was.

Whatever our circumstances, all of that wadded up past comes with us when we grow up. I am independent and quite stubborn. There are stories galore from all sorts of people who came up against my strong will when I was small. Even my poor mother, still weak from her surgeries and getting over her illness, did not get a break from my willfulness when she first got me back. But what helped me most was my own mother's determination and strong will to live and endless prayers, as well as my own survival techniques I developed as someone so young without a solid home life. I was confused as to who my "mama and daddy" were because my grandparents had me call them mama and daddy. They really didn't expect my mother to live.

Anyway, this week as I am working on my core and finding the deep truths in my own writing, I think everyone needs to find time to dig out those truths buried in our pasts. I really love the When I Was Just a Kid interviews. What were you like as a child? How does that connect to the writer you are today? If anyone would like to do an interview on my When I Was Just a Kid blog, do leave a comment with your email for me to contact you. Even if you haven't published, it might help connect the dots for you as you discover your own writing voice.

Let's find the truths about our own writing together.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Results of "Openings" and What Do We Know?

I forgot to include Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith on the first lines vote yesterday:

"'Rumor has it David is in the area not far from here. If you but say the word, Father, we could leave Simon for good and join him. I hear he has women and children in his company now. Mother and Talya and Abigail would not be out of place.'"

Poll is over and Abigail and By Darkness Hid tied. I'm used to reading more than one book at a time. Right now I have a stack of books about the Amish on my desk and that is occupying my brain, too. Some days I think I'll just purge every book, every manuscript from my presence and give it all up. But then as I'm sorting through, I pick up a book I haven't read yet, read those first five pages and alas, I'm absorbed for awhile and forget what I intended to do.

Here is By Darkness Hid again:
By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson (Blood of Kings Book 1):
"Achan stumbled through the darkness toward the barn. The morning cold sent shivers through his threadbare orange tunic."

It depends on what genre you enjoy reading if you would pick either of these books, I realize. Any deciding votes between the two today? :)

I drew a name from the entries in the posts of this week's series. It was Susan do contact me, Susan, to give me your address. I know you have my email.

My oldest son is an artist and web designer. Some while back I asked him to design my web site and I was all ready to launch my manuscript, my web site, my new blog. Then, he questioned my passion for the direction I was going (he has been around me a long time...) and he said my story wasn't "me." My wheels fell off and I just sat in the middle of the road like a deer in the headlights (or maybe I'm a run-over groundhog...) His gift with his clients is finding the essence of the owner of the site. I was too scattered. Ok. He did make a comment that my blog is boring and too busy. Ouch. But I still haven't figured out what to do with it. Aren't people like this? Messes of arteries and veins and clumps of tissue and hair? We have to step away to see the whole picture.

I am scattered in my interests and even with what I read. (Obviously by looking at the books on the poll, you can see that.) I encourage everyone I can. So I went back to my manuscripts and tried sorting them out. I have a direction now, but I still would like to encourage writers--all levels, all genres. This particular blog will always be a "book"/author place.

As I regroup this week I'll be listening to what you all (the readers here) are interested in. My goal is to visit in some way each one of you. This blog isn't about me. It's about you.

See you in a few days! I'm finishing up some manuscript evaluations and will be back to tackle more stuff. Feel free to either email me your thoughts or post them here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tired of Rejection? Well, Here's a Start

Susan Reinhardt, a professional writer and novelist over at Christian Writer/Reader Connection, brought up a great point on one of the comments this week.

"One thing I noticed about some of your first line examples: adverbs and unusual dialogue tags. These are things I've been taught to avoid. If you have an opportunity, can you address this?

It's true! They tell us, don't use those adverbs/adjectives as that will get you rejected. What? So how do some of these published authors get away with THAT? Most of the examples we saw are from established authors. (Not debut authors.) There is always an exception to every rule.

Noah Lukeman has a whole chapter about adjectives/adverbs in his book, The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile.He talks about overuse and how you do not want to pepper your manuscript with them. He says just cut them. But he also says to replace common ones with unusual ones. Get ones that draw attention. Strengthen your nouns and verbs. Or substitute a comparison, analogy or metaphor.

Mary Connealy is one of my favorite authors and here are some openings of her books:

Montana Rose: "Cassie wanted to scream, Put down that shovel!"

Petticoat Ranch: "Sophie heard God in every explosion of thunder as she listened to the awesome power of the approaching storm."

Petticoat Ranch was one of her early books. Montana Rose is one of her recent releases. Can you see a difference in the openings?

This is from Gingham Mountain: "Martha had an iron rod where most people had a backbone."

She sure can tell a story and she pulls me in every time, even though I think Montana Rose is one of her finest (in my opinon,) I still love the early books, too. 

Not many people voted on my poll over to the right, so let's look at the openings to those books.Can you choose a book to read from these openings?

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson (Blood of Kings Book 1):
"Achan stumbled through the darkness toward the barn. The morning cold sent shivers through his threadbare orange tunic."

Missing Max by Karen Young:
" They say people have a premonition about calamity before it strikes. But Jane Madison felt only irritation when her cell phone rang as she waited in the Mardi Gras crowd to order shrimp po' boys."

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell:
"'Get dressed, Clara. In your visiting costume. We are going out.' My aunt's words were at once both commanding and precise--as precise as her posture: a series of ninety-degree angles, seated upon one of my bedroom chairs."

Almost Forever by Deborah Raney:
"Bryn drew the queen of diamonds from the stack of playing cards on the wobbly table between her and Charlie Branson. The grizzled Vietnam vet eyed her from his wheelchair as she discarded an ace."

A Woman Called Sage by DiAnn Mills:
"Life didn't get any better than having the love of a good man and his baby kicking against her ribs. Add a summer breeze to cool the heart of a southern Colorado sun and a bed of soft green grass tickling her feet, and Sage felt a slice of heaven had come to earth."

Lukeman points out these things that could draw a rejection:
1. A weak opening hook.
2. Overuse of adjectives and adverbs.
3. Flat or forced metaphors or similes.
4. Melodramatic, commonplace or confusing dialogue.
5. Uneven pacing and lack of progression.

So, Susan's question does deserve our attention. While openings are only one portion of the entire manuscript, you usually only get one shot at the first few pages to attract attention. Here's the another thing we didn't talk about--sometimes the opening which caught the agent/editor's eye to start will get changed before it's published. (Yeah, it happens.)

All this isn't written in stone, but seeing many openings of published books shows you how it has been done by those who are published. When you pick up a book in the bookstore, Steve Laube, a bookstore manager-turned-editor-turned agent, says you only have a scant few seconds to capture that reader before he puts down your book and picks up the next one. There is something to writing that opening paragraph. Once you've written your book, go back and look over your opening with fresh eyes before sending it out. Get Lukeman's book and work on his exercises. Run your opening past a few people who know nothing about your book to test it.

Are you trying to pick your next book to read? Throw out a few sentences to let us pick! Or if you want to entice us to read your favorite new release, throw us the opening sentence.

Tomorrow I'll draw a name from the commentators this week and buy that person a copy of The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile. And of course, I'll be wanting to know your opening line of your current WIP once you practice using it.

Thanks so much to everyone who commented this week. I really enjoyed reading those openings.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What the Wind Picked Up: Proof that a Single Idea Can Launch a Thousand Stories

This week on my own blog we've talked about openings to your novel and how even the first line can set tone, mood, hooking the reader into buying your book. Just go to and you can find books for sale there where they allow you to read the first chapter for free.(And sometimes authors themselves offer the free chapter on their websites and on guest blogs.) That's smart marketing.

If you fail to capture your reader in that first chapter, then no sale. Your first reader will be that editor (or his assistant,) so it better hook fast. All beginning and experienced authors understand this. And all fight to get that hooking first line into fertile waters for a big reel-in.

We could argue that many people so spend much time on the first three chapters, they then forget to polish up the rest of the story. True that. It happens. But unless your first lines hook, well, end of the story, anyway.

A few years ago a bunch of writers who call themselves Chi Libris decided to write a collection of stories to demonstrate how different writers can take a single idea and weave just as many unique stories. But they also show another concept in these stories and that is how they can take a single line, "The wind was picking up," and go from there hooking readers with their second line, and the first paragraph.

Here's a sampling from that book from authors you may be familiar with (and who invariably kept in their own brand and voice.)
(What the Wind Picked Up: Proof That a Single Idea Can Launch a Thousands Stories from the Novelists of ChiLibris, iUniverse, ISBN 0-595-34113-6. $13.95.)

Each story starts with the same line, "The wind was picking up."

1. "Dog huddled closer to the building, shivering, empty belly aching. The concrete surface offered little shelter from the biting wind." (Burl's Gift by Karen Ball.)

2. "Garth Himmelfarb headed right into it. This was his first night out on a new exercise regimen--brisk walk around the mall, then home--but he was already feeling fatigue." (Hero by James Scott Bell)

3. "We were in the mouth of the Severn River, sailing east toward the Chesapeake Bay at a frightening speed, tilted to the right at a twenty-degree angle. I loosened the the dinghy's mainsheet, but the little sailboat continued to dig its leeward rail into the water." (The Dubious Dinghy by Ron and Janet Benrey)

4. "Judge Hiram T. Young leaned toward the diminutive woman in the witness stand. 'You shot your husband because the wind was picking up?'" (Reinventing Love by Stephen Bly)

5. "Or so it seemed. Palms swayed gently in the virtual breeze. Simulated waves washed upon silicon sand, cut by Higgins' landing craft and the Japanese battleship Hiei. Overhead, Zeroes tangled with Corsairs, while 'Val' dive bombers rained 500-pound death on U.S. troops diving for dubious coved of the bamboo huts of Guadalcanal." (Cyberspace Savior by Jefferson Scott)

This is a great exercise. Choose one of the genres above (or your favorite genre) and craft an opening starting with "The wind was picking up." Note above how the author created mood, pace, even genre in just a line or two. Think about themes, and how each author expresses so much in just their first paragraph.

Don't be afraid to share your first lines here in this exercise. What would YOU do if you were given an assignment like this? These were short stories, but the same thing happens with a long story, too--even nonfiction pieces must have that lead, that hook, that opening line which pulls you to read the next paragraph, sink $15.00 into yet another book, turn the page even though you're supposed to be meeting with your honey at that restaurant.

At the end of this book the authors gave advice on maintaining a writing career and a valuable lesson learned. The price of the book is worth that. If you do pick up this book (and I think it's still for sale,) or you already have it, try jotting some notes on each story,  underlining elements of each story, circling genre word choices, and make note of the themes.

So is anyone willing to share how he would write an opening using the first sentence, "The wind was picking up," ??? I'd love to see what you'd do.

Bonus: What genre would you write it in?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Opening fast or slow? Mood?

More first lines today. First, choose a genre. Does that make a difference in cadence, mood? It should. Expectations come with genre and with individual established authors.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
    "At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through the cracks of  my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin." 

A Light in the Window by Jan Karon
      "Serious thinking and crossing the street, he once said, shouldn’t be attempted simultaneously."

Home to Harmony by Phillip Gulley
    "When I was in the second grade,my teacher, Miss Maxwell, read from the The Harmony Herald that one in every four children lived in China."

Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante by Sharon Dunn
    "Jesus, chocolate, and a mocha with the steam rising from it. Jesus, chocolate, and a mocha with the steam rising from it."

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
      "My mother did not tell me they were coming. "

Daughter of Prophecy by Miles Owens
    Prologue: "Now you can push, m'lady, Drysi the midwife announced in weary triumph."
    Chapter 1: "Her home was a ruin."

The Loop by Nicholas Evans
     "The scent of slaughter, some believe, can linger in a place for years."

Twin Targets by Marta Perry
(There's a prologue, but this is chapter one.)
    "The woman's body lay on the cold, dirty concrete floor of the garage, a few feet from her car."

Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl with April Henry
"'Come on, Jalapeno!' Katie Converse jerked the dog's leash."

In James Scott Bell's The Art of War for Writers, he says to give the action first and then the setting descriptions if you're going for page-turning "momentum." If you need to slow the pace, then open with the setting description.

This book does the second opening:
    "The spring of the year is always beautiful in the mountains of North Carolina, and I hated to think this would be my last to see the blooming of the dogwood trees and the greening of the slopes."
(Land Sakes by Margaret Graham)

What is the pace of your book? Genre? These things do make a difference. Also, whose POV do you open with? You may end up going back to write your opening AFTER you've written your book. Considering all the things that set the tone and get your reader into the book, you may want to consider how the book's first impression brings your reader to the story.

Assignment to share with us: Pick a genre (your favorite is nice) and look at the opening. (You can share it with us.) What is the pace? Fast or slow? Does it open with action or a description? Does this match the genre and the entire pace of the book? What is the mood?

(Yesterday's offer for those who comment still holds today. If you live outside the U.S., I'm sorry that I will have to only offer the free 5-page read. If you comment every day, that counts as extra entries!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

First Lines-First Five Pages Mania

 Are the first five pages, the prologue, the first sentence, really all that important?

I'm finishing up judging entries in a writing contest this week and it has become apparent to me just how important it is to hook your reader from the beginning. It's disturbing to me how many prologues there are in the entries I've received. By the way, even your prologue should hook the reader. That connection must be made between the prologue and the beginning of the story. When I'm more confused than settled into the story by a prologue--lose it. It better be a sterling prologue or forget it. My first clue is when I'm skimming the prologue to get to the story. Sigh.

I can't talk about first lines and the first five pages without mentioning Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection PileIt's a book to have in your writer's library so if you don't have it, get it. (Simon & Schuster/Fireside, $13.00 ISBN 0-684-85743-X) Weak openings can doom a writer from the git-go. This book includes exercises at the end of each chapter so you can even work on what he's saying about getting your hook established early on. His book doesn't just focus on fiction, but also nonfiction. He's talking about basic elements in good writing.

So, today I want you to dig out those novels or nonfiction books that just blew you away. What was the first line, the first paragraph? Make a file on your computer of your favorite books and their first lines. What hooks you, may not hook me, but at the very least we can see just what helps to grab us. If you're a book nut like me, you always have a book within reach of your computer. Grab one of those books right now. Open to the first page. What does it say? Ok, writer's dream now--did you keep reading for a few more pages and get distracted? If not, what do you think happened?

All week I want to concentrate on this topic. If you're really brave, give us the first paragraph or first line of your WIP. (Work-in-progress) Think about whether you want to disclose this (you may not want to right here, and that could be wise.) But I'd love to hear what your favorite books of all time are,and what you've read this year that captured you, and what books you just couldn't get into because you couldn't get past the first chapter. Did you ever read a book that you persisted in reading that didn't get you until later?

Ok, while I am not a fan of prologues, one really got me this year. I read The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-7642-0707-5) for Church Libraries magazine. (My review is not published yet so I can't share that here.)

Here's her first line from her prologue:

"For years, I could not recall the day without a smoldering coal of remorse burning within me."

Chapter One then starts 12 years later, so I have a frame of reference of how that prologue fits with the story. The prologue enhances the story and in fact grabs me, making me want to hear the rest of the story. The story didn't disappoint me, and I read, read, read. Chapter one starts like this:

"Heart pounding with fear and regret, Olivia Keene ran as though hellhounds were on her heels. As though her very life depended upon her escape."

This is a Regency Historical Romance set in 1815 England. Knowing the setting also helps in finding that reference for the reader to dig further. In some cases I do not have that option unless I've been provided this.The cover, the cover copy also helps to pull me to a story, so it's not always just the words that we have to depend upon with a book, but an editor or an agent have little else, so the words have to stand without all the "dressing."

Ok, today's assignment: Pick up a book on your desk and open to the first chapter. Give us the first sentence. Have you read this book yet? If so, did you like the book? Did the first page get you from the beginning? If you haven't read the book yet are you anxious to read further?

And to sweeten the pot, I'll give away a copy of Noah Lukeman's book on Saturday, chosen from those of you who comment all week. If you already have the book, I'll read your first five pages of your WIP and give you my judgment (which is actually worth more than the book because I charge more than the book is worth.) 

Leave your nameATispDOTcom so I can contact you if you're chosen.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Nicole O'Dell Cares about Tween Girls

Nicole O'Dell writes interactive books for tween girls with Barbour Publishing. Today, not only would I like to share her latest books released, but a little about Nicole, as well. She is an amazing person. If you have a tween girl or know one, do check out her books, web sites and connect with her blog.

Her books are written specifically for tween girls faced with difficult decisions and lots of peer pressure. Books three and four in the new Scenarios series, Magna and Making Waves by Nicole O’Dell, released in this month (April 2010.) Lessons of right and wrong are put to the test when readers use their own decision making abilities in an eye-opening but safe way. Each book follows a character up to the point where she has to make an important, life-changing decision—then it’s the reader’s turn to choose.

In Magna, Molly Jacobs isn’t sure what she should do: Should she follow through with stealing some clothes for her friends from Magna—the trendy girls’ clothing store where she works? Or should she do what she knows is right, even if it means losing her newfound popularly?

Making Waves finds Kate Walker on the swim team where she becomes obsessed with practice and the upcoming championship. What will Kate do when she’s faced with pressure from her teammates to take an illegal substance that will help her swim multiple events in their championship meet? Tween readers make the choices in these interactive stories and discover how the consequences change Molly’s and Kate’s lives. Both books include a contract and prayer at the end to remind the reader of the importance of making godly decisions.

Now let's learn about the author!

Nicole O'Dell

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I have six kids ranging in age from 18 all way down to my toddler triplets. I work from home with all of my kiddos underfoot, which presents challenges of its own but has also been a huge blessing. I’m also a returning college student and the youth leader at my church.

Q: When did you discover your love for writing?

A: When I was in fourth grade, I entered a district-wide literary contest. I had to take a blank, white, hardcover book and write a story with illustrations to fill it. My book, The Girl on the Runaway Pogo-Stick, took first place. It was printed and placed in the school libraries in my district. I was hooked from that moment.

I remember the process of writing that book. I was sitting on my bedroom floor (with green, shag carpeting, of course) leaning against the side of my bed. As I was writing about the girl bouncing her way through town, passing all of the businesses and waving hello to various townspeople, I realized that she'd need to pass them in reverse order on the way home. Something in me clicked, and I realized that things like that didn't just happen by accident in books; someone did it on purpose. Suddenly, I wanted to be that person—the one who made things happen and told the story.

Q: How did you break in to the publishing world?

A: It took me a long time to actually attempt any kind of formal publishing. I mainly took classes and wrote for myself through those many years. Finally, a few years ago, I dabbled with a few queries for some ideas that I now see were never going to work—and they didn't. But, once I had an idea that I couldn't let go of (Scenarios) and a far better understanding of how the industry works, I gave it a real try. I actually only sent out one query for the Scenarios series. That query eventually led to a two-book contract, and then another one…now we’re releasing books three and four, with five and six already written and slated for release Spring, 2011.

Q: What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?

A: Fear! Seriously.

When I was a young girl, my mom was my hero. I really believed that she could do anything and that she knew everything. Somehow, when I entered my early teen years, that all changed. I became angry and really gave her a hard time. I regret much of those years now that I see the truth of them. My mom is now my very best friend. I wish I had known then what I know now and had some kind of grasp on just how temporary all of that angst and confusion really was.

Ever since I had my daughters, I have feared those years. My parenting has really been shaped by my desire to avoid as much of that destruction as possible. My heart’s desire is to reach hormonal, confused, pre-teen girls, and to protect them from themselves, and their families from the confusion that can ensue as the girls face those life changes.

Q: Tell us a little about your novels.

A: In the Scenarios series, each main character is faced with many choices and moral dilemmas. Eventually, they find that their choices have led them into a situation that requires them to make a very difficult and potentially life-altering moral decision. When the story has fully unfolded, and the main character arrives at that moment of truth, the reader makes the big decision for her and then turns to the corresponding section in the book where the resulting circumstances unfold.

This format places the responsibility for those decisions squarely on the reader’s shoulders, in hopes that she will learn from her personal experience as she lives it through the eyes of the book's character. She will learn the importance of good decisions as well as the truth about forgiveness and grace. Even when poor choices are made, the redemptive power of Christ is evident as forgiveness is sought, offered and received.

A: How can we find you on the web?

A: and will both take you to my home base. There you’ll find info about my books, upcoming events, media options, book reviews, etc. You’ll also find a link to my blog where there’s something for everyone. I blog on a set schedule. Monday is always a message to parents. Tuesday is the Girl Talk advice column in which my two daughters and I answer a reader’s question or dilemma. Wednesday is always a post about writing or books. Thursday is a devotion or thought-provoking post of some kind, and Friday is for fun.

Check out the giveaways! I’ve always got books, gift cards and some kind of novelty item being offered.  You can enter by filling out the contact form on the website. Drawings are held at the end of each month.

Q: What are your goals for the future?

A: More than anything, I hope to grow this ministry for teen girls. I have a real passion for them and for the mother/daughter relationship as it approaches and weathers the teen years. I believe that our enemy seeks to destroy the family, and one of the ways he does that is by affecting teenagers through temptations and emotions that they aren’t ready to face. It seems that mothers and daughters often have the most difficult time during those years. On the horizon, I have speaking events and outreaches where I intend to bring a message of hope and promise to women and girls who are facing those difficult years.

Q: If someone would like to book you for an author event or a speaking engagement, how can they reach you?

A: They can contact me through my website: or email me directly at nicoleodellATgmailDOTcom. This is one of my great passions, so I truly do hope to hear from you!

Q: Lastly, how can we meet you? Where can we come see you?

A: You can find out all about my upcoming events at my Web site There is an upcoming events page that is updated daily, as needed.

I hope you do take the time to come on out and meet me at one of my events!

Nicole's latest books:
Magna by Nicole O’Dell. April 2010. $7.97. 192 pages.
ISBN 978-1-60260-844-3.
Find Magna online at NetGalley at this link: .

Making Waves by Nicole O’Dell. April 2010. $7.97. 192 pages.
ISBN 978-1-60260-845-0.
Find Making Waves online at NetGalley at this link: .