What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year and Free Books!

For my last post of 2009, I want to share a few ideas with you fiction writers and a few ideas with you fiction readers. First, writers, if you haven't yet picked up a copy of The Art of War for Writers, I want to encourage you to do so.

I own (and love) both of James Scott Bell's How-To books, Plot & Structure, and Revision & Self-Editing. They're meaty, full of practical teaching and exercises for new and experienced novelists.

The Art of War for Writers is a different animal. While this book also teaches and includes a number of hands-on exercises, it's more like sitting down with a wise old man (not that Jim Bell is old, mind you) and soaking up his expertise. Again and again--because the book is set up in quick, pithy snippets that can be consumed in-between demands on your time. I found myself looking forward to sneaking away for a chapter or two between my own bouts of writing and errand running.

The inspirational quality of Bell's pointers will assure readers they can write their passion. But my favorite quality in this book reminded me of a scene in the movie Moonstruck, when Cher's character smacks Nicholas Cage's love-struck character in the face and yells, "Snap out of it!" Bell dispels a number of misconceptions about novel writing, encouraging new writers to face reality and pursue success anyway.

The book is visually attractive and would make a lovely gift book for any writer, novice or otherwise. If you're a writer or would like to be one, you'll want your very own copy, so you can mark it as you read. Why? Because the information Bell gives makes such perfect sense as you read it, you'll find yourself thinking, "Well, of course! I'm bound to remember that." But you won't. You'll want to come back to this little red gem time and again, to refresh, re-arm, and remember what makes a novel great. Highly recommended.

Another item for writers (and readers, actually) is a glimpse at how differently our creative juices flow. This month I asked my interviewees to complete this opening sentence:

Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but . . .

Take a look at the endings we got:

PhotobucketFrom Janice Thompson, who writes across genre lines but often incorporates humor in her novels: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but figured the dog would rat her out.

PhotobucketFrom suspense novelist Ramona Richards: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but the sharp tack of her conscious made her a lousy liar, even if the body at her feet hadn't been a dead giveaway to her recent whereabouts.

PhotobucketSusan Page Davis typically writes historical romance and romantic suspense. Her ending: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but she scrapped that plan when she realized she'd been followed.

PhotobucketHistorical romance writer Linore Rose Burkard.com wrote: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but during the long drive home she listened to a radio show on How to Be Authentic, and the show host actually talked her out of it! She used scripture quotes to back up her points, and in the end, Ella knew she could no longer lie to her room-mate. She'd have to tell the truth, come what may.

PhotobucketMystery/suspense writer Terry Brennan wrote: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but the last time she lied Christmas came a month late, her husband walked out of her life and into prison, and Ralph Henderson lay dead in her driveway.

Historical author Golden Keyes Parsons wrote: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but her scheming collapsed upon seeing the face of her distraught mother.

I'd love to hear your reactions to the above approaches to story beginnings. So I'm going to give away one of my books to someone who comments, below. Tell me which of the above openings clicked best for you--which story would you sit down and read? I'll draw a name from the commenters next Thursday, January 7, and that person can tell me which of my books she/he would like. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

And be sure to check out my interview of Golden Keyes Parsons and leave a comment below her interview for a chance to win a signed copy of her novel, A Prisoner of Versailles.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Speaking of giveaways, the person who won today's drawing for my copy of Syrie James's The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen is:

andrealschultz@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Finally, one last item of interest for readers:

Finding Christian fiction the easy way

ACFW launches new free online resource to search for titles

PALM BAY, Fla. -- With over 500,000 books published each year, it is harder than ever to find a new book that's just right. A simple Amazon search in the Christian literature and fiction category yields more than 17,000 results. Consumers wading through the exhaustive, seemingly endless list of choices now have a more manageable resource to help them purchase their next book.

American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the nation's leading Christian fiction writers' organization, is launching FictionFinder.com, a new free resource for retailers, readers, media and other Christian fiction fans to search for authors and books. The search engine allows users to sort by author, title, genre, topic, publication date, and target audience.

Cynthia Ruchti, president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), believes this trusted, easy-to-use resource is a significant development in the search for Christian fiction authors and new titles.

"The idea rose from a roundtable discussion between the ACFW leadership team and Christian booksellers looking for a better way to connect their customers with great Christian fiction," says Ruchti. "ACFW responded by rolling up our sleeves and creating a comprehensive database to serve readers, booksellers, publishers, authors, book club coordinators, librarians and others on the hunt for information and inspiration."

The site also allows readers to learn about the nature of the content of each book. Each title is rated for action, conflict, humor, mystery, romance, spirituality and suspense, in addition to more sensitive issues like language, sensuality and violence. Users can also post reviews to the site and learn more about soon-to-be-released titles.

The database is the first of its kind and is not limited to books written by ACFW members. The organization is also working with publishers to ensure Christian novels by other authors are incorporated as well.

ACFW's presence as the voice of Christian fiction and its industry prowess has long been recognized, and its authors are a mainstay on bestseller lists. FictionFinder.com is the organization's latest effort to make finding the best in Christian fiction as easy as possible for fans around the world.

Quick facts about fictionfinder.com:

* Book information pages include facts about the publisher, main themes, setting and the author's other titles.

* A special "similar books" section offers other titles the user may be interested in reading.

* Users can create an account with their preferences, making it easier to find new favorites.

With nearly 2,000 members and 19 chapters in 14 states nationwide, ACFW seeks to promote Christian Fiction through developing the skills of its authors, educating them in the market, and serving as an advocate in the industry. Founded in 2000 under the banner of American Christian Romance writers, in 2004 the organization was renamed American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) to reflect its dedication to Christian fiction writers of all genres.

ACFW is headquartered in Palm Bay, Florida. Their advisory and operating boards work to give writers the tools they need to develop their craft, grow ACFW's extensive publishing knowledge and secure relationships with industry professionals. To learn more about ACFW and their authors, please visit www.acfw.com.

God bless you all! Happy New Year, and I'll see you in 2010!


traveler said...

I would read the first one by Janice Thompson. This approach appeals to me greatly since it mentions how the dog influences the outcome. I think that dogs are extremely smart, sensitive and wonderful creatures who are attuned to humans in ways that most animals aren't.
Happy New Year and all the best for 2010. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Virginia C said...

Hi, Trish! Happy New Year! Thank you for this great, fun post!

The funniest answer came from Janice Thompson. The answer with the most bite, the one that would make me read further, came from Terry Brennan. All of the answers were interesting, and they uniquely reflected the persona of the author.

I am a subscriber. Please enter my name in the drawing.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Carrie Turansky said...

I like Terry's ending to that sentence. It would make me want to keep reading and see what was going to happen. : )

Happy New Year!
carrei (at) turansky (dot) com

Casey said...

I would say Terry Brennan's. It really makes you sit back and think and packs a TON of punch in just a few words. Give me more!

Happy New Year!!!!


Merry said...

I liked Golden Keyes Parson's sentence. I can see the mother's reaction and Ella's guilt in my mind's eye.
Happy 2010, Trish!


Sherry Kuhn said...

They all had great beginnings but I think for me Susan Page Davis caught my attention. Why was she followed?

What an interesting thing to see how differently everyone answered.

Happy New Year!

squiresj said...

I know several of these authors through their websites but theirs is not the one I would pick. I had to pick between one out of three that really struck me and grabbed my attention. Amazingly it is one author's who's books I have not read - Terry Brennan. It makes me want to read one of his books. I know Susan Page, Janice Thompson well. I have been to Golden Keyes Parson's website but it has been awhile. I liked them all.

bigguysmama said...

I think each response reflected the author's writing. I haven't read Terry Brennan before, but I liked his the most...not that there was a competition or anything! :) They were all fun to read. I hope you do this again through the next year!

Happy 2010!

~Mimi B
mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year...

I would enjoy reading all of the books...each book and author is unique in their writing style and storytelling.


Karin said...

I like Terry's---But several others were very appealing too.

karin56381 (at) gmail.com

Lucie said...

I liked how Terry Brennan ended the sentence! Wow, what an opening! A close second would be Susan Page Davis...really liked that one also!

Happy New Year!


lucieinca (at) yahoo (dot) com

Holly said...

I think Janice Thompson's ending is a favorite because of the humorous potential. I also like Susan Page Davis'.


kynomi said...

Janice Thompson--humor gets me every time!

Abi said...

Hard choice, but I think
Susan Page Davis typically writes historical romance and romantic suspense. Her ending: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but she scrapped that plan when she realized she'd been followed.
won my vote. Thanks. Interesting how each author answered.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Abi said...

I asked my teenage daughter that is a bookworm. She loves mysteries.

She chose
From suspense novelist Ramona Richards: Ella planned to lie about where she had been, but the sharp tack of her conscious made her a lousy liar, even if the body at her feet hadn't been a dead giveaway to her recent whereabouts.

destrella said...

I would pick Janice's because it looked like it would end up being a funny story. Makes me wonder what that dog was gonna do.... :O)



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