Is it better to love a reader?

256px-Photograph_of_a_man_and_a_woman_reading_a_bookThe other day while I was out with my daughter, my son-in-law texted her a link describing the many benefits of falling in love with a reader. As you might guess (or know if you’ve read past posts of mine) my daughter is the very definition of an avid reader. So after I sighed with delight over the sentiment expressed in the text itself, I listened with interest as she read the article aloud.

Basically it poses the idea that voracious readers experience life through “deep reading” – in other words, when we’re immersed in a story world we experience a wide spectrum of emotion, learning to see the world not just through our own eyes but through the eyes of a vast array of characters. We become them, and can often understand and then articulate multiple sides while still maintaining our own set of beliefs and values.

This is, of course, the goal of every writer: to create characters so real that when our heroine’s heart thuds at the sight of her hero, the reader’s heart pounds along too. As the first reader of whatever we’re writing, if we writers experience what the characters do, it’s a good bet the reader will go along for the ride. Books that create the ride are a success.

The article itself might be a little fanciful, giving too much credit exclusively to readers (after all, I believe non-readers can be objective, well-versed and empathetic, too). And the title is misleading; it’s not terribly scientific article despite a few links; it’s merely this writer’s opinion. I was, however, surprised at the variety of comments—many supportive, but at least half if not more were offended by the way the article was written. I found that interesting, that people would object to an article extolling the benefits of reading when nearly everyone agrees it’s a good thing. Perhaps the topic caught on among those “skimmers” the article laments are taking the place of deep readers. The original article that inspired this post was from a Time magazine article, and that one evoked only positive responses.

See for yourself! Click here to read the article.

True Character

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One of the things I do when writing a new novel is look for people who would make good, interesting, heroic characters in my books. That’s one of the most fun things to do, and I take them from real life. Here’s an example:

We have an office manager in our clinic, Bonnie, who hates germs. When she drew up the plans for the construction of the clinic and oversaw the work, she didn’t realize she’d soon be working there. She hates goo, she has a very weak stomach. When the rest of the staff starts talking shop, Bonnie gags, loses her appetite, covers her ears and gets away. She’s also shy. She sits in the back row at church. She’ll sneak over to an elderly neighbor’s house and shovel snow when they’re not looking, and get away before anyone knows. How she ended up in her position is a long story, but it wasn’t where she started. She wouldn’t have chosen to work in a doctor’s office, but due to a job switch, and the fact that I knew what a good employee she was, I kind of dragged her into it.

One evening last week I got a call from Bonnie. Her voice was shaking, but she had to tell someone. That evening, I believe Bonnie showed the world–and to her, it felt like the whole world–what she was made of. She was driving the company car behind an elderly man who was riding his small motorcycle slowly with his groceries behind him. Cars raced past him, honking their horns, yelling at him and harassing him to the point he wrecked his bike, tumbling over right there in the middle of the road, scraping blacktop as his groceries went flying.

No one stopped except our shy, germophobe office manager. Bonnie got out and ran into the middle of the road to find out if he was okay, and helped him to the side of the road, despite his protests about his eighteen broken eggs. He had an oxygen mask, and his arm was bleeding. Instead of throwing up, which she expected would happen, she ran to the back of the car and pulled out the medical kit, wrapped his bleeding arm, comforted him by sitting beside him and rubbing his back so he’d stop shaking. (She also stopped him from lighting a cigarette when she saw gasoline leaking from his motorcycle). Then she talked to him while he calmed down. She discovered he was a war veteran. Shy Bonnie tried to flag someone else down to help them because she couldn’t get the motorcycle out of the middle of the road, but no one would stop and help. All her patient was worried about was his eighteen broken eggs, but she knew there could be a worse accident if she didn’t do something.

She finally called 911. In minutes, an ambulance, firetrucks, highway patrol (which had sped past them earlier without stopping) came screaming toward her and this injured old man. I’m sure it was quite a spectacle, and poor Bonnie was just sitting there in the middle of it all, the center of attention with no place to retreat. Then, of course, proving her devotion to us, she pulled out a card for our clinic, and wrote her phone number on it in case the patient needed anything.

When it was all over and the road was cleared and the professionals took over, Bonnie drove to the nearest parking lot and had a mini-panic attack. She was on her way home when she passed a police car sitting beside the road. The policeman flashed his lights at her. She thought it was because he thought she was speeding, but he didn’t pull out and stop her. I think he was giving her a salute for caring enough to help when no one else would stop for an old man on a motorcycle.

Funny, Bonnie has this weird idea that she’s unworthy of attention. She won’t listen when I disagree. But next time she tells me what a mess-up she is, I’ll remind her of this day, and someday soon, she’s going to see her likeness in one of my heroines. It takes more strength to do something that terrifies you and hold it together, than it does if that’s your everyday job, and you’re just plain good at it.

I’m proud of Bonnie. She’s earned herself a place in a novel one day.

 

Calling All Librarian Stories!

I recently attended an international conference for Christian book buyers/sellers from around the world. Now I’m preparing to deliver a keynote speech at a national conference for book lenders—i.e., librarians. I’m excited about this opportunity because I’ve loved libraries since I was a kid. When many of my friends wanted to play outside, I preferred to be holed up in a library, discovering new stories and exciting adventures.
Something tells me many of you are the same way. People who grow up to be avid readers usually developed that passion while they were still children. True, parents are huge influencers when it comes to our love of reading (or lack thereof), but librarians played a large part in that for many of us as well.
If that’s you, please leave a brief story of how a librarian influenced or encouraged you in your younger days, will you? I am collecting these stories to share with the librarians at the conference next week, but also because I want to read them myself. So come on. Tell us your favorite library/librarian story!

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My Take on the Writers Life by Tara Randel

Writing, like any profession, is hard work. Like anything worth striving for, writers put their heart and soul, time and energy, into making each project their very best. I can’t tell you how many times people, when they learn I’m an author, tell me that they want to write their special story and get it published. As with every writer, they have all these ideas they want to share. The first thing I tell them is, sit down and write. Even if you have no idea what is involved in putting a book together, the first step is getting words on paper. Later, after time has passed and I see that friend who wants to write I ask, have you started writing? Making notes? Jotting down ideas? Most of the time the answer I receive is, well, I don’t have time… If you don’t make the time, you can’t expect to be an author.

As a professional who loves what I do, I’ve learned that I have to sit down each day for a certain amount of hours if I want to be successful. This is my job. I have deadlines, word counts I need to reach and certain commitments I make to a publisher. This requires a lot of discipline. I have a day planner beside my computer so I can keep up with the demands of the week or month. Don’t get me wrong, I get great enjoyment from what I do, but I’m not naive enough to think that I can sit down and in a few hours throw something together and expect it to be any good. Writers spend hours carefully choosing words, and on top of that, spend addition hours honing the craft. I still read craft books, still go to writing workshops. To be my best, I put forth the effort to keep my mind coming up with fresh ideas and then applying those ideas to create a book.

Writing has to be a passion. It requires a huge commitment. Waiting is also part of the writers experience. Trust me, this isn’t for the faint of heart, but we do it because we are compelled to write. We have to do this. To those who don’t write, this concept may seem a little nutty, but hey, it is the truth!

No matter what genre we write for, there is an expectation from the reader. Again, this is where I have to make sure I work extra hard at delivering. That means a first, second, third, and probably more, draft of my story. And still I’m not finished. Readers will pick up our books and expect a story that touches their hearts and emotions. Which means I have to nail that. So I plot and I plan, I create characters that I love first and hope the readers will also come to love later.

Did I mention that I LOVE what I do? Every day I am thankful that I get to sit down at my computer and live in a world that I’ve created and hang around with characters I’ve come to think of as friends. Anyone who wants to join the ranks of the author can do so, just be prepared to put in the time. Once you do, you’ll see that a writer’s life isn’t glamorous, but it is very satisfying.

 

Progress? Or Regress?

I had a lovely post planned for today on choices we make.  Then I got a call from the angels–my granddaughters, who wanted a day with Gran.  You know, of course, which won.  In life, things come up and happen, and we have to choose.  I chose to make memories.  Not being prone to an overinflated sense of what kids deem adults worth, I realize that there will come a time when they are too busy with friends to call Gran for a Girl’s Day In or Out.  So I seized the moment.

Still, I couldn’t enjoy it if I left you empty handed, and so here’s the encapsulated upshot of my post.  Odd, it truly says it all… :)

 

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Have you had a day where your plans turned on a dime due to outside influences?  Share it in the comments section!

Blessings,

Vicki

July Release by Tara Randel

I’m pleased to announce the release of my newest Harlequin Heartwarming book, Magnolia Bride.

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Married for a day, in love for life

Nealy Grainger knew that returning to Cypress Pointe meant an inevitable encounter with her teenage crush, and momentary husband, Dane Peterson. She could handle it. She wasn’t the wounded girl who’d left Cypress Pointe years ago, heartbroken and furious when Dane had annulled their marriage the day after they’d eloped.

Now one of L.A.’s most in-demand celebrity event planners, Nealy’s only come back for a vacation and to help with her sister’s wedding—not for a reunion with her long-lost love. But the more their paths cross, the more the sparks fly! Maybe their connection isn’t over just yet…

I had such a blast with this book. Watching Nealy and Dane get over the past and find the love they had once shared was a joy to write. I love wholesome books and if you haven’t given Heartwarming a try, check out the books.

If you read Orange Blossom Brides, come back to Cypress Point and catch up with old friends and make new friends. This book is a great summer read.

Visit Goodreads now and enter the giveaway for a copy of Magnolia Bride.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/98739-magnolia-bride

And It’s Official by Julie Arduini

I have a confession to make.

I’ve struggled as one of the bloggers here.

Not because I had an issue with anyone, quite the opposite, actually. As a reader, the other bloggers here at Christians Read are truly my favorite authors and have been. As a writer, they are my mentors.

But I felt like that Sesame Street sketch.

One of these things isn’t like the others.

Why?

Everyone was published but me. No one ever said a word about it as far as pressuring me to change the status. I was working quietly behind the scenes revising and taking my chapters through critique groups. But I let it get to me.

I even offered to step down.

And the gang lovingly said forget it.

They let me know it wasn’t a matter of if I’d be published.

It was a matter of when.

And I’m thrilled to say the time has come.

I signed two contracts recently that I’m really excited about.

The first is for an infertility devotional with Chalfont House Publishing. Heidi Glick, Elizabeth Maddrey, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery, Donna Winters and I share our experiences with transparency in a way none of us saw in books when we were going through our struggles. Yet, there is hope. Something women in this season are in desperate need of. It’s the first time my name will be on a cover. Yay!

The second is twenty years in the making. Write Integrity Press offered a contract for my Adirondack contemporary romances. Spectacular Falls is finished and I can’t wait for readers to meet Jenna Anderson and Ben Regan. She’s the new senior center director in Speculator Falls producing a lot of change for grocer Ben Regan. My hope is readers fall in love with the people and the area. I’ve said more than once if I could go anywhere in the world, I’d most likely choose the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY.

The real Charlie Johns store in Speculator, NY is the inspiration behind JB's the store in Spectacular Falls. Picture by Julie Arduini

The real Charlie Johns store in Speculator, NY is the inspiration behind JB’s, the store in Spectacular Falls. Picture by Julie Arduini

I don’t know why having a contract makes a difference. I told my mom the only thing I can figure out is perhaps deep down I believe it’s validation. That I AM meant to do this writing thing. That someone believes in me. That I don’t stink.

Whatever the case, I’m thankful for the Christians Read gang. They believed in me when I didn’t and never made me feel less than because I wasn’t published. Thank you, reader, for contacting me behind the scenes when you enjoyed a post and didn’t question my qualifications.

Here are one sentence hooks for the series:

Spectacular Falls:

A  city-girl plows into an Adirondack village and produces change for the grocer.

Untangled:

A single mom and former Adirondack sheriff enters beauty school but creates split ends for the men in her life.

To Be Determined:

Trish Maxwell returns to Speculator Falls with crushed dreams, egg on her face, and the chance to make a new start with the very people and places she used to make fun of.

I’ll keep you posted!

 

Laughing It up with a String-Story Slam!

I just returned from the annual ICRS (International Christian Retail Services) Convention in Atlanta, where I had a chance to see dear friends and colleagues I don’t run into any other time but at this once-a-year event. Besides presenting the annual Beyond Me Award to author Grace Fox at the Golden Scrolls Award Banquet and doing some TV and radio interviews (and lots and lots of eating!), I also had an opportunity to be part of a “string-story slam.”

Yeah, it was a first for me too—never heard of it before. But I must admit, it was a lot of fun, and the audience seemed to love it. Onstage with CAN president Angie Breidenbach, funny lady Twila Belk, and comedian-extraordinaire Torry Martin at the Change of Life Festival, we had them rolling in the aisles as we took turns reading from our individual books (i.e., third sentence on page 93, last line on page 132, etc.) to string together an absolutely hilarious and completely nonsensical story. Why am I telling you about this? Because after the event, several audience members came up to us and told us they planned to use it as an ice-breaker at parties and book-club meetings, or just at home with family and friends. Why not give it a try yourself? Have a few people bring their favorite book (novels work best), and then have someone else moderate by announcing which lines/pages to read from. It’s that simple. Then watch the fun begin! Will you give it a try? I’d love to hear about it.

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Do you have a sad-meter for your entertainment?

512px-Locomotive_speed_meters_1Sometimes when I’m home with my handicapped son—who requires just enough attention to make impossible doing anything that needs uninterrupted focus—I scan the free movies available from Amazon prime. Even earphones don’t blot out my son’s happy noises, and when I sit in the kitchen I’m right where he wants me most of the time, handily available near the food he likes.

So watching a movie or reading a book is something that can be interrupted without too much frustration. My Amazon search led me to a movie I hadn’t heard of before, The High Cost of Living. It sounded interesting while at the same time a buzz sounded in my head over one review, something like: “it’s a sad movie but I found myself still thinking of the characters the next day.” Usually when a movie or book makes enough of an impact to stay with an audience after the final credits or last page, that means it’s a success.

But that one word . . . sad . . . was the source of the alarm clanging in my head. I’m not sure if it was my mood or if I just generally don’t want to watch something sad (I tend to think it’s the latter) but it took me a while to decide giving the movie a try. I decided to watch it for ten or fifteen minutes and then if I didn’t like the characters enough to risk them tearing my heart to pieces, I’d go back to searching for something else.

I ended up watching the entire movie. And yes, it was sad. But it was compelling, too. At one point one of the characters wonders how it happens that a person can think of themselves in one way, as one sort of person, but because of decisions we’ve made along the way that person we think we are isn’t at all how the world views us. Maybe we’re not who we thought we were. I found that fascinating, and the character portraying this dilemma absolutely convincing.

And yet, once the final credits did roll, while I was glad to have seen the movie and agree that the characters were likely to ramble around in my head for a while, I have to add this movie to others I’ve seen that I’d rather not watch again. I can watch comedies, musicals, and romantic tales again and again, even to the point of knowing the next line. But sad movies go on a shelf somewhere, tucked away, not forgotten but having little hope of being visited again. I have a Pinterest page with such movies, and it’s one of my briefest I think because my sad-meter warns me away.

Do you have a sad-meter? Or perhaps a violence-meter, or some other aspect you’d rather not read or view?

Too Perfect by Hannah Alexander

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I’m here at ICRS enjoying old friends and meeting new ones. If you haven’t heard of ICRS, it’s an international Christian retailer’s convention. Today I slung on all the bling I could wear to garner attention, then took my place at a signing booth. I guess the bling worked. I had an honest to goodness line! That never happens when I’m at a book signing back home, but then, people come here from all over the world to get free books. Back at the bookstores at home people are expected to buy my books. Here, the stuff is given away. It’s a reader’s heaven.

The signing was fun, seeing all those people who wanted to read my novel, but a problem arose that I could do nothing about. They say horses sweat, men perspire and women glow. I’m apparently a racehorse. It was horribly humiliating to drip so badly in response to the humidity that followed me from home. The bling I was wearing attracted everyone walking into the convention center, but when they got close, there was no missing the droplets coursing down my face and dripping from my hair. My eyeglasses were even steaming. Ick. I guess looks didn’t matter to them. No one declined when my publicist told us to draw close for a photo shoot.

After the signing I remarked to my publicist how embarrassing it was to break into a drenching sweat in front of all those people. She said she once fell down three stair-steps of chairs in front of a huge audience. She posted online about it the next day. You know what? People like us to have flaws. Especially if we’re being honored publicly in some way, tripping over our own feet or smiling with spinach on our teeth or dripping sweat lets everyone know that, even though we might be selected for something special, we’re still human. It’s true. I feel more comfortable with people who are as imperfect as I am.

I have a good friend who has a PhD in theology. She takes classes online and learns new things every day. Last night she helped me develop a gorgeous cover for my next novel. But she’s not perfect. She doesn’t figure numbers in her head. I love that about her, because being around someone too perfect can make me feel a little too flawed. I know how flawed I am, but it isn’t fun to have it rubbed in. I like my friends with flaws. So maybe sometimes it’s our flaws who draw people to us. You think?

This armadillo in the picture might have a hard shell on top, but he has a furry, tender underbelly. We all have a weak spot somewhere. Sometimes it helps to show those weak places to others. Not always, but sometimes.

 

Blue Ridge NC “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat by Yvonne Lehman

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I want to make sure the readers of ChristiansRead know about the Novel Retreat scheduled annually in October. During this warm Summer weather is a good time to think about the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat held at Ridgecrest NC October 19-22.

 

Reminder of a deadline: The $50 tuition discount is available through July 1, 2014

 

Sad news: You’ve likely heard that Ron Benrey, who was scheduled to be a faculty member along with his wife Janet, died a few weeks ago. He will be missed.

 

Good news: Alton Gansky, award-winning novelist and director of the Blue Ridge Writers Conference held annually in May is joining our faculty line-up. Great addition!

 

If you have a novel in progress or an idea for one, whether you’re a beginner or published, we have a great line-up of workshops, not only about every aspect of novel writing but also social media and the changing publishing industry.

 

Although our focus is on the craft of writing, our faculty includes an agent and two editors who are eager to talk with you about your work. We also offer critiques and contests, including our highest award: the Golden Leaf Award.

 

Faculty includes:

Yvonne Lehman, director, over 50 romance & women’s fiction, Lighthouse editor

Lynette Eason, best-selling suspense writer, over 20 books

Ann Tatlock, award-winning novelist, two-time Christy winner, Lighthouse editor

Diana Flegal, Harline Literary Agent, workshop leader

Edie Melson, novelist, social media expert

Alton Gansky, novelist, director of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference

 

For additional information: http://ridgecrestconferencecenter.org/event/novelist or google Blue Ridge Novelist Retreat – You may contact Yvonne at: yvonnelehman3@gmail.com

 

Looking forward to seeing some of you in October!

 

Best wishes,

Yvonne

 

Posted on request by Vicki Hinze

Summer Reading by Tara Randel

Summer is here! The kids are out of school. Hectic schedules slow down. We might have a vacation thrown into the mix. All in all, a perfect time to catch up on our reading. If you are anything like me, you probably have a to To Be Read pile collecting dust beside your bed. Even with hopeful expectations to sit down with a good book, life usually gets in the way of well intentioned plans.

Celebrate June’s release by entering to win a summer camping kit (grill, tent, and camp chairs) from Quilts of Love.

http://prmo.me/XNubt7

My favorite memories of summer revolve around reading. As a child, I signed up for the summer reading program at the library. I checked out more books than I could carry, but had a blast. Worlds I had never imagined opened up to me. Characters made an impression that stay with me even today. The life-long reader in me was hooked.

Later, in high school, I had required reading during the summer. As much as I loved reading, I didn’t necessarily enjoy the book list. I must admit, I like to pick out my own reading choices. Still, I learned a thing or two from the books and got good grades on my reports. When my daughters had required reading in school, I encouraged them to keep up with the book list, but still brought them to the library or book store to select their own choices. I’m proud to say I have well read and intelligent daughters!

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As an adult, I still read frequently, but those long days of summer hold special memories. To this day I love camping out at the beach for the day, soaking up the sun, waves and words on the page of the book I’m reading.

I hope you have reading plans this summer. Drop me a line and let me know how you plan on spending your reading time this summer.

Rival Hearts-available now. Magnolia Bride- July 2014

True Love Takes Time by Hannah Alexander

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See this beautiful stream? It’s peaceful to me, even romantic. The small trickle of water has made a course down the easiest path, gently moving stones and earth, reeds and brush.

Flood it with too much water all at once, however, and instead of a peaceful work of natural art, you would see destruction, such as the tree that’s fallen over the stream–it probably happened when that same stream overflowed its banks following a storm. Had it been more destructive, a large tree might have blocked the stream altogether, destroying its beauty.

I’ve seen too many relationships and hearts broken–not just in romantic love, but in friendship–because those in the relationship made judgments based on immediate gratification, when the rush of emotion overflowed natural boundaries and the individuals placed too much trust too quickly in an unknown entity.

How do I know this? From far too much experience.

Have you met anyone online lately? Has someone contacted you on Facebook or Twitter because of something you said that resonated with them? Did  you quickly develop a mutual admiration for one another? In just a few weeks, or even less, did you decide you would be forever friends because of those experiences shared? I have. I’ve also seen it happen to others.

I’ve then seen too many of those relationships blow apart like a dirty bomb, damaging those who thought they’d formed a lifelong friendship, or maybe even a lifelong love. Why? Because it’s human nature to present your very best face to someone you think you might like. We hide our ugliness with sweet smiles and kind words. It’s especially easy to keep up a good front online. How many minutes a day do you spend sharing yourself with someone else via internet? All they see are your written words, nothing else. They don’t smell your morning breath or watch you eat or sleep or hear you complain when you drive in traffic.

People think they know me when they read a blog or a novel I’ve written. They don’t realize I’ve edited myself to death, and then have been edited again and again by a professional with my novels. They don’t realize I’ve deleted my first, second, third drafts, and worked hard to make my words pleasing. Some readers even think they know me through the characters in my novels. They don’t see the research that goes into developing each one. Those characters aren’t me. Sure, they might have parts of me, but my readers have no way of knowing which parts.

How many times have you watched a television show or movie and loved the actor because of the part they played? You might follow up on that actor and read more about him online and be extremely disappointed. It’s all fiction. Often, when we communicate online, it’s also fiction. We only allow our readers to see who we want them to, not who we really are.

That goes for physical, face-to-face interactions, as well. I put my best face forward when I’m in public because that’s what I’ve been taught to do.

When Mel and I went out on our first real, fourteen-hour date, sure, we got to know one another a little better, but it took many months of experiencing different situations together, difficult times, conflict, deep discussions, and meeting the families, relating with others, each seeing the other relate to mutual friends, before we truly had a concept about what to expect in a relationship of our own. If Mel had told me on our first date, or second, or third, that he loved me and wanted to marry me, or if I’d done the same to him, it would have made for a difficult relationship. It might even have destroyed what has become a beautiful marriage, not because we aren’t suited to one another, but because we needed that time of learning about one another, of gently growing closer with that slow trickle, instead of rushing forward with a torrent of premature passion. The torrent would have left our relationship damaged, possibly beyond repair. There’s a good reason the Bible tells us to delay physical gratification until after marriage.

All I’m saying is do what I have my heroes and heroines do in my novels; take your time in a new relationship of any kind. Get to know a person, allow him or her time to prove loyalty and constancy before giving them your complete faith. Once you feel you really know this person, continue to give it time. Don’t move too quickly or trust immediately. Whether we intend to or not, or realize it or not, we each wear a mask of some kind. Beware of the masks around you, and get to know the real people behind them before placing your trust there. Am I repeating myself? Yeah. And I’m not editing that out, because it needs repeating.

You can always trust God, but never take anyone else at face value. Time is your friend.

 

 

Quilts and Bonnets…or Human Suffering?

As a long-time writer who has tackled various subjects and genres, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that Christian readers prefer soft and gentle over hard-hitting, at least when it comes to fiction. My new Quilt Series has actually been selling quite well, even though it includes background stories about historical characters who suffered for various causes. In contrast, my Extreme Devotion Series (modern-day martyrs around the world) and Freedom Series (human trafficking), though winning countless awards and accolades for helping to expose horrific situations, have been tough sells.

I’ve come to the conclusion (though I’m open to other opinions) that many of us are so inundated and grieved by the worldwide suffering we see on a regular basis that we prefer novels with a “softer” touch, something with a “Calgon feel” that can take us away from all that for a time. That would certainly explain the popularity of Amish or “bonnet” fiction, as well as the current quilt fad. I personally enjoyed researching and writing the Quilt Series more than I did the Extreme Devotion or Freedom Series, simply because they weren’t as dark or difficult. But I believe the others were necessary, and I pray God will use them to help many who are trapped in such deplorable situations.

I would love to hear from other writers who may have had similar experiences, and also from readers. What are your thoughts on this? When it comes to fiction, do you prefer “quilts and bonnets” or human suffering as a topic? Thanks for your input!

New Release by Tara Randel

I’m excited for my new release, Rival Hearts, on June 17. I so enjoyed writing this book and working with Abingdon Press during the process. Here’s a overview of the book.

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They both want the promotion. But will they find out that it is worth the cost?

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then their publisher will decide the winner.

Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?

I’m delighted to be part of the Quilts of Love series. If you are available, we’ll be having a Quilting Bee-themed Facebook party on June 17, 8pm EST. Stop by and visit!

“>https://www.facebook.com/events/1421634858096062/

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