Here are the Christy winners!

Happy Wednesday, readers. And yes, it’s still raining in Ohio. I’ve been watching the Weather Channel and it seems everywhere east of the Mississippi has been getting soaked for days, if not weeks. Can’t we shift the winds to blow all this into the Southwest? It’s always all or nothing when it comes to the weather these days. Keep your umbrella handy and your windshield wipers turned on high. Eventually the sun will be back.
Last week I listed the nominees for the prestigious Carol Awards, given by the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. Today I will list the winners of the Christy Awards. Too sets of awards? Yes, think of one as the Academy Awards and the other as the Emmys or Grammys of Christian fiction. I bet you’ll find some familiar names among the winners. Congratulations to all the winners!
Contemporary Romance:
The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heiztmann
Finalists: Lethal Legacy by Irene Hannon
Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert
Historical Romance:
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Finalists: Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof
Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz
Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas
You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren
Finalists: Two Destinies by Elizabeth Musser
Waiting for Sunrise by Eva Marie Everson
Rare Earth by Davis Bunn
Finalists: Downfall by Terri Blackstock
Submerged by Dani Pettrey
The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer
Contemporary Standalone:
Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry
Finalists: Borders of the Heart by Chris Fabry
The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish
Soul’s Gate by James Rubart
Finalists: Daughter of the Light by Morgan L. Busse
Star Flower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
First Novel:
Intro the Free by Julie Cantrell
Finalists: Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix
Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green
Young Adult:
Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank
Finalists: Failsgate by John W. Otte
Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words by Rachel Coker
Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot
Finalists: Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green
A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs
Curl up with a good book in the shade, and happy reading!    Mary

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Wednesday, Readers! Anyone looking for some great summer reading with the long holiday weekend upon us? Here are the finalists for the 2013 Carol Awards. These are the highest honors bestowed by the American Christian Fiction Writers.  I’ll bet you’ll recognize some familiar names on this list. I wish all of you a safe and happy Independence Day!

Category: Seaside Reunion by Irene Hannon (Love Inspired)

A Horseman’s Hope by Myra Johnson (Heartsong Presents)

Lost Legacy by Dana Mentink (Love Inspired)

Contemporary: Heart Echoes by Sally John (Tyndale House)

You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House)

Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane (Abingdon Press)

Debut Novel: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert (Waterbrook/Multnomah)

Proof by Jordyn Redwood (Kregel)

A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh (Guideposts Books)

Historical: Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick (Waterbrook/Multnomah)

At Every Turn by Anne Mateer (Bethany House)

The Discovery by Dan Walsh (Revell)

Historical Romance: To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander (Zondervan)

A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller (Revell)

Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House)

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: Downfall by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing)

The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller (Barbour Publishing)

Novella You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer (Barbour Publishing)

Impressed by Love by Lisa Karon Richardson (Barbour Publishing)

A Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson)

Romance: The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson)

Saving Gideon by Amy Lillard (B&H Publishing)

An Uncommon Grace by Serena B. Miller (Howard)

Romantic Suspense: Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson)

Saving Hope by Margaret Daley (Abingdon Press)

When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason (Revell)

Speculative: Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press)

Judge by R. J. Larson (Bethany House)

Daystar by Kathy Tyers (Marcher Lord Press)

Young Adult: Prophet by R.J. Larson (Bethany House)

Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley (Zondervan)

The New Recruit by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)

Congrats to all the finalists! The winners will be announced during the 2013 ACFW National Conference in Indianapolis on September 15, 2013.    Happy reading!  Mary

Welcome Sharon Srock to Home Thoughts – Win a free copy!

Good afteroon, readers. Please join me in welcoming author Sharon Srock to Home Thoughts. Sharon writes inspirational fiction, and I asked her to tell us about her latest release, Callie:  perf5.500x8.500.indd

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all. Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her. Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities. Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing.  And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family. For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

Tell us about yourself:  Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012. The second in the series, The Women of Valley View: Terri releases in April 2013. Sharon Srock

What are you working on now?  Book two of the Women of Valley View series, Terri will release on 12 April
2013. Book three, Pam is currently under review at the publisher. I am currently writing book four, Samantha.

Meet the Women of Valley View: FREE PDF
Find Sharon on line here:!/SharonSrock

Readers, would you like a chance to win a signed copy of Callie? Just post your answer to this question at the bottom of this interview. Here’s the question:  If you thought your interference had caused the death of a child, would you risk helping again, even if God told you to?

I hope you’ll all stay indoors if possible. It’s very cold here in the East and snowing in Ohio. A good time to curl up with a good book. Thanks for dropping by Home Thoughts.  Mary

At long last…pictures from BRMCWC

Hello readers,

I am home from my research trip to the Plain communities of KY! It’s good to be home. I finally have my photo taken last month at the writer’s conference in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mtns. of NC. The first is of my editor, Kim Moore, at Harvest House, yours truly on the left, and another lovely writer on the right, whose name escapes me at the moment! The second photo is of the ACFW Ohio chapter gang that all sat together at the final night banquet. I assure you…a good time was had by all and plenty of wonderful lessons learned at BRMCWC.  Have a super week, everyone!


Interview with Eddie Snipes, President of Christian Author’s Guild

Hello folks, today I am honored to host on my blog, Eddie Snipes, President of Christian Author’s Guild. His July release, I Called Him Dancer, has been receiving plenty of great reviews among book reviewers and readers alike. And for those of you on a budget, (which is all of us!) it’s available on eBook for only .99 cents.

Here’s what the story is about: For a moment, Michael danced on top of the world, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windshields for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her.  Angry at God and the world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life. When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless man who has given up on life.

Here’s a little bit about my guest: Eddie Snipes has been taking writing seriously for the last 15 years. His writing journey began when doing prison ministry and prisoners began asking for study material. He decided to write out each message and give it out at the end of service. When he began taking writing seriously, Eddie felt the need to connect with like-minded writers. Over the next few years, he joined the Christian Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Atlanta Writers Club. In 2011 he began serving as President of the Christian Authors Guild in Woodstock, GA. Over the last decade, Eddie has written thirty-thousand pages of Bible studies, three full length manuscripts, and won five writing contests. In 2011 he published his first book.

How has your life changed since publishing your first book? Other than the hordes of autograph seekers, my life hasn’t changed much. The biggest change has been my focus on marketing. I watch many books drift away into the graveyard of forgotten books, and I’m determined not to be one of them. I’m also determined not to be someone who bombards contacts with self-promotion. I’ve integrated marketing into my lifestyle by getting more involved in the writing community. I’ve put a lot of emphasis on blogging with articles that are helpful so that I’m giving to others. In return, I’ve had a constant stream of readers buying my book. It doesn’t make me rich, but it does keep my book in front of the reading world.

Is there anything you would have done differently? There isn’t a whole lot I would change about my writing and publishing experience. There are many things I will do differently on my next book, but many of the mistakes I made were unavoidable. It isn’t
until you begin to venture out that you discover where you need to focus. I wasted money on things that didn’t work, but there’s no way of knowing what works and what doesn’t until they are tried. Each author is different and each genre is different. What some authors said would work, didn’t. Some things that was supposed to be a waste of time, worked. One thing I could have done better was to build a solid readership on my blog before launching. Readers who like my blog also tend to like my voice in books.

How has your story impacted your life? I hit on this a little bit earlier. I’ve put marketing in the mix of my life and habits. I try to find ways to let people know about my book without hard selling. I’ve found that setting time aside to blog has
helped me grow as a person, and it has helped me connect with others – including readers. I learned that if I’m going to blog, it has to be done well. When I posted inconsistently, I peaked out at 30 monthly visitors. Since April when I focused on producing quality articles, it has steadily grown to over 2000 monthly readers. Writing is a lifestyle and integrating my writing life into lives of readers is both rewarding and challenging.

What are your writing plans for the future? I want to see if I can write a book without verbs. I have two other manuscripts written. One fiction, and one non-fiction. The non-fiction book is called Simple Faith, and is focused on discipleship and
growing in faith clear to the common layman. The fiction book is in rough draft stage and has been sitting for well over a year. I’m letting it ferment and hopefully it will edit itself.

Do you have any advice for writers trying to find a publisher or agent? Have a thick skin, and be persistent. A young
adult writer in the Christian Authors Guild, where I serve, queried 140 agencies before getting an acceptance. This is not unusual. Most successful authors have been rejected dozens of times before finding success. Independent publishing is an option – but it has to be for the right reasons. No author should self-publish because they gave up. If you have the vision for your book that you
are pursuing and believe in independent publishing, by all means do it. If you have a dream of becoming an agented author, don’t give up and take the easy way out. Reevaluate your work, query letters, and keep pressing. It only takes one door to open, but sometimes you have to knock on a lot of doors. And you have to have a professional sounding query.

How can readers find you on the internet?

My blog / website is I post weekly articles, author interviews, book reviews, and a little humor.

Facebook username: eddiesnipes

Twitter: @eddiesnipes

I’m also on Google+
Author of I Called Him Dancer  – On sale for .99 cent on eBook.

Interview with fellow Ohio author, Lillian Duncan

Fellow Ohio author, Lillian Duncan, has a new book out from White Rose Publishing called Persued.

Lillian lives in a small town in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Whether as a speech-language pathologist, an educator, or as a writer, she believes in the power of words to change lives, especially God’s Word. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Akron University in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a Master’s degree from Kent State in Deaf Education. Most of her career was spent as a Speech Pathologist in a large metropolitan school district, but she now works part-time in the district she graduated from many, many years ago. She enjoys a
variety of activities, including traveling, camping, and bowling. She is active in her church where she serves as a sign language interpreter and teaches sign language classes. Lillian believes books can be entertaining without being trashy. She writes the types
of books she loves to read, suspense with a touch of romance. Along with writing novels, she writes devotions for Previous novels include SHATTERED and IN A CORNER OF HER HEART.

  1. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START WRITING? I know this is going to sound a bit strange, but I’ve always “made up”
    stories in my head when I was bored. Very detailed stories with characters and problems and happy endings. After two very specific events, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Oh, these are the stories I should be writing down so
    I started writing that day and I haven’t stopped since.
  2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING AND DID YOU EVER FEEL LIKE GIVING UP? I started writing 16 years ago when I was 40. Yikes, that makes me so…never mind. And absolutely, I wanted to give up many, many times. And in fact, I did give up many times but I always started up again. I don’t know any writer who hasn’t felt that way. The uncertainty of becoming a published writer can be frustrating and overwhelming at times to say the least. But if being a writer is your  dream, you have to keep writing and waiting…and waiting…and…..
  3. HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? PURSUED is my fourth book to be published, but the first with White Rose Publishing.  But in many ways, I consider it to be my debut novel since it’s my first book with what is considered a
    “traditional” publisher.
  4. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR TITLE-PURSUED? The original title was Just An Old Country Boy but that didn’t sound very suspenseful so I changed it to Pursued. In the story, Reggie is being pursued by an unknown killer, by the hero, and by God, so it made sense to me as a title.
  5. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR HERO AND HEROINE?  My hero, Dylan, is a good old boy with a heart of gold who just wants to make life better for everyone around him. He’s sweet and kind, but in a very manly way!  Reggie can be a little difficult at times, but she has her reasons. You have to admire her for all she’s overcome in her life.
  6.  IS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR NOVEL? One of the messages I want people to get is to be open to learning from, developing relationships, and loving people who are different from ourselves. God made us different for a reason. And one of the reasons is it makes life a lot more interesting and fun! I am, of course, a bookworm and my husband is an outdoorsy sort of man who likes to fish and garden and do other things that gets his hands dirty. In many ways, we are very opposite of each other, but together we have a wonderful and fun marriage.
  7. WHAT IS YOUR NEXT PROJECT? I have another book coming out in the fall, DECEPTION. It’s full of intrique and
    action. Along with that I’m working on three other manuscripts in varying stages that will hopefully become books in the future including a sequel to PURSUED.
  8. THE HARDEST PART OF WRITING A BOOK?  I love writing and rewriting my book but…after about the eighth or ninth time, it’s gets a bit tiring.
  9. DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM WRITING THIS BOOK?  I actually learned a lot from this book. It was the
    first book I had critiqued with the large critique group from ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Critiquing is a very humbling process. In the beginning of the critiquing process, I thought the others didn’t know what they were talking about. By the middle, I thought I should give up writing forever. By the end, I knew I was a much better writer than I’d been at the beginning. And the proof is that this became my debut novel with a traditional publisher.
  10. HOW CAN READERS CONTACT YOU?  My website is:


An ACFW interview–quite an honor!

Good Wednesday morning, folks. This week I am the featured author at the ACWF website (American Christian Fiction Writers). This is quite an honor for me since this is a very well-respected organization. Heidi Main asked some rather bizarre questions, so this interview was great fun to participate in. If you have a chance, please drop by to read the interview and post a comment if you can. Enjoy the weather (those of you lucky enough to live where it isn’t raining cats-and-dogs.

Here’s the link: