Friday, March 27, 2009

Don Hoesel is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children. Elisha’s Bones is his first novel.

Time to crow: What new book or project do you have coming out?

Hunter’s Moon is scheduled to come out in Spring 2010. It’s about a writer living in the south who returns to his Upstate New York home for the first time in almost two decades, and who has to finally deal with the family’s dirty little secret.

How did you come up with this story? Was there a specific 'what if' moment?

I came up with the idea for Elisha’s Bones over dinner with a friend. We were actually discussing how writers come up with story ideas, and I’d made the comment that just about anything could be turned into a story. By way of illustration, I mentioned a recent Sunday school lesson about the passage in 2 Kings, where a man rises from the dead after touching Elisha’s bones. And once I said it, I realized I had my next story idea.

Every novelist has a journey. How long was your road to publication? How did you find out and what went through your mind?

I started writing my first novel in middle school and got about two hundred pages in before giving up. And then I really didn’t write much until a few years after college—1995. Even then, I didn’t try to pursue publication seriously. That didn’t happen until 2004. That’s when I signed with my agent, Les Stobbe. For the next few years, Les sent out manuscripts, and one finally stuck at Bethany House. So the approximate time between actively deciding to pursue publication and hearing that Bethany House had accepted Elisha’s Bones was a little over three years.

As far as hearing about the book’s acceptance—if I recall correctly, Les mentioned that BHP was interested in the manuscript but I may have actually received the official notice from Dave Long, acquisitions editor at BHP, via email. And I’m not entirely sure what went through my mind, except that I know it was some combination of relief and excitement. Because while I’d only spent about three years in active pursuit of publication, I’d been writing for a long time, so I guess it felt like a much longer process. And the next thing that went through my head was that I hoped the contract came before Dave changed his mind!

Did you ever bang your head against the wall from the dreaded writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?

I rarely get writer’s block, but I can spend a very long time working over a single paragragh because it just doesn’t sound right. When that happens, I can rewrite that paragraph thirty to forty times. I guess that may be a form of writer’s block, but at least it’s the kind in which I feel like I’m at least doing something, even if it’s just throwing words at the page to see what sticks.

On those few occasions when I do get real writer’s block, I either start work on something unrelated (like a short story) or take a break and read a book. The more you read, the more likely you are to find something to steal—er, I mean, pay homage to. What's the most difficult part of writing this story and how did you overcome?

I know this is a terrible answer, but I don’t think there was a hard part. I was pleased with the story, and happy with what BHP let me do with it.

Show us a picture of your writing space.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up at 5:30 AM and drive forty-plus miles to work. I manage the communications department for a Medicare contractor. After work, I drive the forty-plus miles home, then help with homework, ballet practice, baseball, dinner, and baths, etc. Once the rest of the family is asleep (9–10 PM) I write, usually calling it quits around 1 AM or so.

Briefly take us through your process of writing a novel—from conception to revision.

I start with either a character or an idea. Once I have that, I try to let the story build organically around them. It’s usually a pretty linear process in that the story unfolds itself for me. I self-edit a lot as I go, which means that by the time I’m done with my first draft, I feel pretty good about it. So when that draft is done, it’s rare that I’ll do a wholesale revision, although in the case of Elisha’s Bones, my editor suggested some changes that proved to be substantial.

In your opinion, what’s the best novel ever written?

I can’t narrow it down to one, so I’ll list a few that mean a lot to me:
The Sun Also Rises
Nobody’s Fool
The Risk Pool,
Father and Son
One Hundred Years of Solitude; the list could go on for a very long time.

What writing advice helped you the most?

The best advice I received was to read. Even if it’s only for ten minutes a day. You get to see how other people approach writing—and it’s just fun.

What advice hindered you the most?

Outlining. I know outlining works for some people, but I don’t much care for it. I prefer to start with a character or two, and a basic plot, and see what happens.

What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?

I wish I would have spent more time early on really studying the craft of writing. It would have saved me some of the trial and error—a lot of the stuff that was just too bad to ever show anyone. Although there’s probably something to be said for that process, too.

As far as publishing, I really don’t have any complaints. While it may feel as if it took a long time to get a book deal (three years) I’ve heard that’s actually pretty quick. I was lucky to sign with a great agent (I can’t overemphasive the value of a writers’ conference), and he just kept at it.

How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?

Since this is my first book, I’m still getting my feet wet in marketing. So far, what I think I’ve learned is to make use of your family, friends, and business contacts, etc, and not to be shy about letting people know you have a book out there. Then, try to do as many book signings as you can and take advantage of all interview requests, even if you don’t think you’d be good at them (I’m a perfect example of that!).

I think if you do the basics, you’ll be in a good position to think of more innovative ways to market. But I’m still looking for some of those, so let me know if you have any ideas!

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Go to a writers’ conference. In my opinion, it’s the single most important thing I did to get published. After that, get sleep wherever and whenever you can.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sorry, this was supposed to be annouced on Tuesday, but Nicole is last week's winner for a copy of Brandt Dodson's nove, Daniel's Den.

Nicole, you can e-mail me at:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Brandt Dodson was born and raised in Indianapolis and comes from a line of police officers spanning several generations. A writer and a board–certified podiatrist specializing in peripheral nerve surgery, Dr. Dodson, his wife, and their two sons live in Newburgh, Indiana, where he serves as an elder at the First Christian Church. Daniel's Den is his latest novel.

This past weekend I had my first signing for my newly released novel, Daniel’s Den. It was a local signing so I expected turnout to be good. It was. I signed for two and a half hours and had very little downtime. Dozens of books were moved and I got a chance to meet old friends and many new readers.

This, I thought, is what it’s all about.


During one of the few lulls of the afternoon, a very pleasant lady approached my table. I had noticed her earlier, buzzing about, eyes locked on me as she pretended to peruse the many overstocked shelves, so is was no surprise when she finally approached the table behind which I stood. This is not all that uncommon at a book signing as many people are either too shy or too reticent to approach an author.
She asked me how I got published. This is also a rather common question to hear during a book signing, or other author venue, and so I told her my own story and then proceeded to give her advice on how to break in. (Write the best book you can.)
She listened intently then asked me the mother of all questions; a question that no reader has ever asked.

“Do you believe that Evansville (Indiana – the location of the book signing) is a portal to another dimension?”

Unsure if I had heard her correctly, I asked her to repeat the question.

She did, confirming that my hearing was intact.

“No,” I said. “I don’t think so.”

She lowered her voice, leaned across the table and said, “Oh, I do. I think the muse is up there and just beams ideas into our minds.”

After a few more minutes of conversation – in which she told one reader to leave because I was talking to her – she smiled and moved on. When I told my wife about this later that evening, she asked if I wanted to watch “Misery”, the movie starring James Caan and based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. (If you’re a writer, you need to watch it. But read the book, too.)

But as bizarre as the lady’s question may seem, I had to ask myself, “Is Evansville the portal to another dimension?”

Absolutely! In a literary sense, that is.

Our writing – and I’m talking novels, now – should transport our readers to places and times they could not obtain on their own. We should take them to the rain-soaked, wind-swept cliffs of a Gothic romance, to the bowels of the jungle in a military thriller, or to an old man’s cabin by the sea, as Hemingway did in his award-winning classic.

The best novels I’ve read – and I dare say, that you’ve read – are those that take us out of our world and into another. That gives us the chance to live vicariously through characters that are as palpably real as those who share our lives; novels that show us a side of life – or of ourselves - we’ve never seen.

As a writer, that’s the challenge; the brass ring for any novelist.

It’s not about meeting old friends or new readers at a book signing. It’s about the craft. It’s about the writing.

Is Evansville the portal to another dimension?

You bet. And so is the town in which you live, if you’ll settle down, put words to paper, and make it so.

Win a copy of Daniel's Den by leaving a comment on this post. Winner will be chosen and announced on Tuesday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ah, love!

Even if you’re single this holiday, I'm pleased to announce that romance is alive and well in books, which leads us to this month's poll:

Did I miss the most romantic? Feel free to add them in the comment section.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

This week
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Harvest House 2007)
Chris Well


Chris Well is a fellow member of the CFBA and founder of its sister organization, FIRST. He is an acclaimed novelist and award–winning magazine editor and has previously written the “laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers” Deliver Us from Evelyn and Forgiving Solomon Long(one of Booklist’s Top 10 Christian Novels of 2005). He has also contributed to 7ball, Infuze, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Chris and his wife live in Tennessee, where he is hard at work on his next novel.



Mark Hogan has it all. The job. The family. A position on the board at church. All he’s missing is a boat. Not just any boat—a 2008 Bayliner 192.

When Reverend Daniel Glory announces that the Rapture is taking place on October 17 at 5:51am, Hogan realizes his boat–buying days are numbered. So he does what any man in his situation would do—he borrows a load of money from the mob.

Not that there’s any risk involved: After all, when the Rapture comes, Hogan will be long gone. The mob will never find him.

But when Jesus fails to come back on schedule, Mark Hogan finds the mob is in no mood to discuss the finer points of end–times theology...

Chris Well’s laugh–out–loud Christian thrillers appeal to the millions of readers who gobble up the rollicking crime fiction of Janet Evanovich and Elmore Leonard. TRIBULATION HOUSE does not disappoint!

Friday, March 30, 2007

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
( Tyndale Fiction, 2007)
Susan May Warren

Award winning author SUSAN MAY WARREN recently returned home to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods. Visit her Web site at www.susanmaywarren.com.

RECLAIMING NICK is the first of The Noble Legacy series. Book Two, Taming Rafe, will be available January 2008.,br>
A Modern Day Prodigal Comes Home...

But when his father dies and leaves half of Silver Buckle--the Noble family ranch--to Nick’s former best friend, he must return home to face his mistakes, and guarantee that the Silver Buckle stays in the Noble family.

Award-winning journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, and she’s determined to find justice. But following Nick to the Silver Buckle and posing as a ranch cook proves more challenging than she thinks. So does resisting his charming smile.
As Nick seeks to overturn his father’s will--and Piper digs for answers--family secrets surface that send Nick’s life into a tailspin. But there’s someone who’s out to take the Silver Buckle from the Noble family, and he’ll stop at nothing--even murder--to make it happen.

“Susan May Warren once again delivers that perfect combination of heart-pumping suspense and heart-warming romance.”--Tracey Bateman, author of the Claire Everett series

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This week, the

( Tyndale Fiction, 2007)
About the Authors:
GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the New York Times best seller The Five Love Languages and numerous othe rbooks. He's the director of Marriage & Family Life Consultants, Inc., and host of A Growing Marriage, a syndicated radio program heard on over 100 stations across North America. He and his wife, Karolyn, live in North Carolina.

CATHERINE PALMER is the Christy Award-winning, CBA best-selling author of more than forty novels--including The Bachelor's Bargain--which have more than 2 million copies in print. She lives in Missouri with her husband, Tim, and two sons.

IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING is the first of The Four Seasons fiction series, based on the ever-changing cycles of relationships detailed in Gary Chapman's nonfiction book The Four Seasons of Marriage. The novels will focus on four couples, each moving in and out of a different season.

Word travels fast at the Just As I Am beauty shop

So when a simple homeless man appears on Steve and Brenda Hansen's doorstep, the entire shop is set abuzz, especially when Brenda lets him sleep on their porch.

That's not all the neighbors are talking about. Spring may be blooming outdoors, but an icy chill has settled over the Hansens' marriage. Steve is keeping late hours with clients, and the usually upbeat Brenda is feeling the absence of her husband and her college-age kids.

Add to that the unsavory business moving in next to the beauty shop and the entire community gets turned upside down. Now Brenda's friends must unite to pull her out of her rut and keep the unwanted sotre out of town. But can Steve and Brenda learn to thaw their chilly marriage and enjoy the hope spring offers?