Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2014 Laurel Award Feature

On October 22, 2014, A Miracle of Hope won Clash of the Titles' Laurel Award. During a six-week period, the novel's first 3,500 words were read and judged by avid readers of Christian fiction who determined it to be the worthiest to receive the 2014 Laurel Award.

Clash of the Titles extends a heartfelt congratulations to author Ruth Reid for her commendable work. We wish God's abundant blessings on her future projects.

“A Miracle of Hope quickens a reader’s heart in hope that one child’s faith will be miracle enough.” –Alan Daugherty, News-Banner columnist

About A Miracle of Hope
Lindie Wyse thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve a future for herself and her unborn child. Josiah Plank is certain he’ll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his deaf eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined. After a short time, Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes the child’s special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building—and the love that is growing between them.

Will their marriage survive their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?

“A beautifully written love story, A Miracle of Hope is both heartwarming and heartbreaking and features believable, charming characters who are willing to do whatever it takes for love.” 4 stars, RT Book Reviews  


Listen to Cynthia L. Simmon'sHeart of the Matter" radio interview of Laurel Award Winner, Ruth Reid!

About Ruth:
Ruth is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth and Amish Wonders series. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Ruth resides in Florida with her husband and three children. 
She can be reached HERE.


“…Ruth’s descriptions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the winter are vivid and almost hauntingly beautiful—yet the hardship and “cabin fever” element are very real. But it’s character depth that is this story’s strength…” –Carole Jarvis, Amazon Review
Ruth's Upcoming Projects:
Her Christmas Pen Pal, a novella in An Amish Second Christmas collection released October 2014.
A Woodland Miracle will be released in January 2015
She is currently working on book three of the Amish Wonders Series (untitled at this time; release is planned for 2016). 

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OLYMPIA OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Authors, take note! 

Clash of the Titles has opened its doors for submissions to the 2015 Olympia.


The Olympia is COTT's yearly contest for unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by their audience—readers well versed in Christian fiction yet not associated with the CBA industry.
Authors write for readers, so why not have readers be the judges?
Finalists in the contest will also have their work read and judged by three industry professionals!

With a submission fee of only $15, easy electronic submission, a bevy of prizes, and judges devoted to Christian fiction and author encouragement, the Olympia is a contest like no other.

But once our doors are open, you'll need to act quick! Slots are limited. To avoid overburdening our volunteer judges, we are limited in the number of submissions we can accept.

Submissions:
Oct. 31, 2014-Dec 12, 2014 

For more details, please visit our site.

Stay tuned for updates by 

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Ane Mulligan's Fresh Taste of Small Town Life

Bestselling author Ane Mulligan is here tell us about her debut novel about best friends in small-town life. Heartwarming and humorous, Chapel Springs Revival is the perfect excuse to curl up by the fireplace and read.

Let's chat with main character Claire.

I’ve heard you are the one who spearheaded the reviving of Chapel Springs. Is that true?
Are you from the mayor’s office? If you are, it wasn’t my fault. Whatever it was. Felix Riley takes credit for everything that works and blames me if anything goes wrong.

Really? Did anything go wrong?
Of course not—unless you count the incident at Georgia Tech with the monkey.

Moving right along, I’ve heard of your Great Aunt Lola’s theatrical career. What was it like growing up with her?
I adored her. Patsy and I both did. The old gal would give us her cast-off gowns to play dress-up. But she retired from the screen when she was seventy-five, I think. She wanted to leave her fans wanting more. She was quite the flamboyant character. She tried to teach Patsy and me to flirt, but it didn’t take when we were eight years old. She died a couple of years later.

She had a bit of a racy past didn’t she?
You bet your booty patooty. Aunt Lola never took second place to anyone or anything. She lived the high life, all right. Presidents and princes wined and dined her, while all I got was a TV tray in front of a ball game. I miss her and her stories, not to mention her advice.

Great Aunt Lola knew men, that’s for sure. What with having seven husbands, she might have been able to tell me how to get my Joel to pay me more attention. Right. Like that would happen. I’d have to turn into a high definition television set or a fishing reel to get some attention paid to me.

I’ve heard that you…well aren’t the best cook in Chapel Springs. Any truth to that rumor?
Okay, I admit I failed home economics—twice. My culinary expertise maxed out at Jell-O jigglers. And coffee. I make a mean pot of coffee. Unfortunately, that lack got me into trouble with my firstborn’s future mother-in-law. But the woman coerced me.

How so? You’re no shy violet from what I’ve heard?
Who’ve you been talking to?

Let’s see, first there was Faye, oh and Gloria, then Bev and—

Uh-uh, that dog won’t hunt. They gossip. Besides, if you’d heard my son’s future mother-in-law talk, why she’s wound tighter than an eight-day clock. The woman never takes a breath. She could talk the hind legs off a donkey. It wasn’t until after she’d hung up that I heard the end of that particular conversation.

So, what did you do?
Oh, no you don’t. You’ll have to read the book like everyone else to find out.


Chapel Springs Revival
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.

With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.



About Ane: 
While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, bestselling novelist Ane Mulligan has worn many: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads,Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

September New Releases Clash Champion

And we have a champion! 


Congratulations to clash winner Sharyn Kopf and her book Spinstered: The Novel. A touching debut, Spinstered began as a nonfiction book idea and, through God's design, became a novel that will speak to many women. For those in the Cleveland area, Sharyn will be selling and signing her novel at the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Craft Fair in Cuyahoga Falls on Saturday, November 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and she'd love to meet you there!

Early reviewer Anne Lemon says this about Spinstered:"Spinstered is a poignant and realistic portrait of extended singleness. It offers comfort and hope to readers who have never married and are brokenhearted about it. It's also just a plain good read that single women will see themselves in, laugh, and maybe cry, too. ... In Kopf's novel, just like in real life, the gut-punches of our alone-ness don't always get resolved in a marital happy ending. But she offers the promise that we all can have the prize that Catie ultimately finds. For this message of hope, single readers will be grateful."


Spinstered, The Novel: 

Three friends. Three stories. Three women trying to figure out how they ended up over 40 and still single.

Committed to her job and pushing fifty, Catie Delaney has almost given up on her dream of love and marriage. Maybe, she tells herself, she’d be happier just embracing her singleness. Maybe that's been God’s will all along.

Catie's friends, Jolene and Uli, have their own struggles with men, careers, and family.

Then into this mix of feminine angst walks Brian Kemper—the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) to join their church’s singles group. But just as something seems about to happen between him and Catie, her world falls apart.

With their hearts on the line, these three friends search for hope ... and find it in unexpected places.

Purchase Spinstered, The Novel:





Pull up a chair now and join us for a look inside the creation of this book, and a glimpse of its author's heart.
Let’s start at the beginning—how long have you wanted to be a writer and what did you envision for your writing life?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I wrote my first poem at the age of 5. And, for the longest time, that dream meant being a romance novelist. In my 20s, I saw myself becoming the clean, Christian version of Kathleen Turner’s character in Romancing the Stone—enjoying a life of adventure and romance and lots of bestsellers.

So, what happened?
Well, things didn’t turn out the way I imagined. (Do they ever?) On October 15, I turned 51 and, though I suppose I’ve had a few mild adventures, I still dream of true love and being such a popular novelist that even people in the jungles of Columbia have heard of me.

Then, in my 40s, I realized I needed to write about my single heart and broken dreams. When I started working on Spinstered, it was a nonfiction book about grieving singleness. I took the seven stages of grief—denial, disbelief, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and hope—and applied them to what I was dealing with as a 40-something single woman.

A few years later, while at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, a friend encouraged me to focus on my fiction writing. As a result, Spinstered the Novel was born.

What are some of your strengths as a writer?
Years ago, I had the privilege to work for the in-house radio marketing department at Focus on the Family. I learned I not only love writing scripts and dialog but I’m pretty good at it. I even won a few awards while I was there.

I’m also passionately committed to making my manuscript as good as I can. Though that can also be a detriment because I’m a bit OCD about it, which means I have a hard time letting something I wrote go until it’s perfect. And it’s never perfect.

Continuing that thought, what are your weaknesses as a writer?
Well, to be honest, I don’t write as much as I should. I think it’s a mixture of fear and laziness. Fear that what I write won’t be any good. And the laziness that comes from letting other things distract me from what I know needs to be done. Like spending too much time on Facebook.

Why did you decide to self-publish Spinstered?
That’s a long, sad story but suffice it to say I went through a disappointing contract experience that did not end with a published book. In the meantime, numerous interactions with singles fed the urgency I felt to get this book to the audience I know is out there.

My choice was to start over with submitting to agents or editors—a process that can take years—or self-publish. Since the novel had already gone through several rounds of edits, I knew I could have it ready within a week or two. In fact, I was able to make my goal of taking copies to the Labor Day Singles Retreat at Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC. I sold several copies there and made some great connections. It also led to my first 5-star review!

What’s next?
First, I plan to finish and self-publish the nonfiction version—Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40—in the next few months. In addition, I wrote an unrelated novella titled Cold Read that I hope to have available soon. Finally, I have two sequels to Spinstered the Novel in the works. Book two will be titled Inconceived and I’ll probably name book 3 Altared. Of course, all of that could change. I’m open to whatever God wants to do!


About Sharyn:
Spinstered is Sharyn Kopf’s first novel. Over the years, her work has included co-authoring a book about traumatic brain injury, penning scripts for stage, and writing for newspaper as well as Focus on the Family radio.

Every Friday, Sharyn ponders the over-40 single life at www.girlsnightin40.com, the blog she shares with two other authors. For her day job(s), she works as a literary publicist for Route 1 Manuscripts and teaches high school English at a small Christian school.

She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world—her family. You can connect with Sharyn through her blog or on Facebook.

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