Keys from a Novel Journey

I’m pretty sure if you’ve dropped by Novel Journey in the past few months you know about Gina’s Crossing Oceans.

She’s shared all sorts of trials, struggles and an occasional triumph from her long, circuitous journey.

So. Now that she is able to hold this hard won baby book in her hands…and maybe able to breathe a little better now that the reviews are proving that she CAN indeed write with the best of them, I want to share some things I’ve learned from Gina’s journey. (Oh, here are some reviews of Crossing Oceans in case you haven’t read any.)

1. Perseverance is pretty much the key.

Gina honed her talent and shaped words over and over and over again. She worked. She struggled. She just did it. Rejections, change of genres, rewrites, wicked-mean critiques, comments and odd looks at writer’s conferences, oh well, she just powered through and kept on writing. Thank you for the example, Gina.

2. Generosity is the key ring.

Gina has shared all that she is with a whole lot of folks who have benefited. Without Gina’s curiosity and time we’d all be a little more ignorant. I have learned so much from Novel Journey guests and the folks who put their time into posting every day. Gina didn’t need to share her spotlight but she has. When I think of all the time Gina has invested in me, encouraging me in my own convoluted journey…really, there just aren’t the words to thank you, Gina.

3. The quirky little key chain oddity is a sense of humor.

When I get to enjoy face-to-faces with Gina I start laughing the minute I see her grin because I know something’s on it’s way. Dry, quick, razor-sharp and a little dark, oh there are few people as enjoyable as Gina. Gina laughs with and at herself and those lucky enough to be her friends. Thanks for the laughs, Gina.

Congratulations on a job well done and words well written, Gina. May this be only the beginning of a long string of awesome novel blessings.


Christy Nominations 2010

Congratulations to all of the nominees, but especially to Novel Journey’s latest team members, Athol Dickson and Mary DeMuth!

Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills • Tyndale House Publishers
How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus • Barbour Publishing

Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson • Thomas Nelson
The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth • Zondervan

June Bug by Chris Fabry • Tyndale House Publishers
The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson • Thomas Nelson
Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle • Tyndale House Publishers

The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry • Moody Publishers
Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent • Tyndale House Publishers
Scared by Tom Davis • David C. Cook

A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey • Revell Books: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander • Thomas Nelson
The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

Intervention by Terri Blackstock • Zondervan
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson • Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster
The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson • Marcher Lord Press
The Enclave by Karen Hancock • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik • Tyndale House Publishers

Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma • Thomas Nelson
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason • David C. Cook
North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

The Christy Awards are also online at:


Historical Romance includes four nominees due to a tie in scoring.

Throwing a Book Launch Party… Now THIS is how you do it!

Okay, before you think I’m getting full of myself, I didn’t throw the party. I am the WORST party planner/hostess you ever want to meet. So, no credit goes to me.

When Roanoke City Libraries offered to throw my book launch party, I said, um…let me think about it… I suppose I could let you have the honor. If you insist that is.

Anyway, it was the other night and it was AWESOME. I mean first class all the way. I was so nervous no one would show up but my husband’s family came from NC which filled a few seats, then my folks surprised me by showing up all the way from NJ, which made me cry.

We had a local teen singer who was like watching a young Carrie Underwood. She was beautiful, sweet, and oh so talented!
Then flocks and flocks of old friends, coworkers from days of yore, aspiring authors and maybe even a homeless person or two. More the merrier. (All in all, we had close to two hundred people show and I signed 110-ish books. Not too shabby!)

The turn out was amazing. It made me cry . . . again. Local actors acted out a scene from the book (script written by our very own, Ane Mulligan). Behind them was a beautiful, hand painted back drop by a local artist. I had a q and a session and one woman was quoting page number, paragraph number of her favorite passages. Ha!

The whole thing was surreal. I felt like a superstar and completely loved by those who showed up to support me. They’ll never know just how much it meant.
(The pic of me sitting on the porch with the trans-y is actually River Laker, the host. We did a parody video of a scene from the book and he played little Isabella. This guy’s hilarious!

I don’t think I’ll ever top this gathering . . . but one perfect night in a lifetime is more than most people get.

Fiction Anyone? by Miralee Ferrell

Miralee Ferrell is the acclaimed author of The Other Daughter, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California, and Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon.

Fiction Anyone … Christian or Not?
When speaking at womens groups I often ask how many read Christian fiction, and typically about 1/3 of the hands are raised, if that. There seems to be a common misunderstanding in both the church and the world about Christian fiction. Christians often believe it to be shallow stories with no take away applicable to their lives, and feel it’s a waste of their time. They’re committed to only reading what’s commonly called ‘Christian living’ books that speak to a specific area in need of change.
The world, on the other hand, perceives Christian fiction as just another opportunity to deliver a sermon. They don’t believe the religious community could deliver anything with enough depth to hold them, and don’t want anyone preaching at them.
So what is Christian fiction and where does it fit in the world of literature? Maybe I should start by asking, what should it NOT do? In the past, I’ve seen an occasional older CBA novel where the author apparently decided they needed a platform to preach the gospel. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for weaving salvation or other doctrinal principles into our stories, but I don’t believe our fiction should be preachy. Fiction needs to tell a good story, incorporate Godly values, strong family morals, and depict Jesus’ life and teaching, but what it should not do, in my humble opinion, is hit the reader over the head with the bible.
It’s all about your worldview. Have you read novels laced with New Age values, and they came through with no doubt as to where the author stood? Or maybe you’ve read books with a strong political story line that convinced you the author was an extreme liberal. I believe we need to be writing not so much Christian fiction, as GOOD fiction with our world view woven in so thoroughly that anyone from the world who reads it can’t help but see our values and beliefs.
Should we beat them over the head with a salvation message, and have a character getting saved in every book? I don’t think that’s necessary, although it’s perfectly acceptable if it works for the story line. But we should let the love, acceptance and life of Jesus Christ shine through our characters so the world can see what makes us, and our fiction, unique. And hopefully, they’ll be drawn to our Lord and Savior as a result.
So let’s see if instead of writing “Christian” fiction, we can produce strong, well-written stories that bring hope, joy, peace, faith, and love to our reader’s lives. If we do that, there will always be a take-away for the reader who’s looking for something deeper than just another light-weight, worldly romance, and our novels will have met a need. After all, isn’t that the goal of most Christian authors? I believe today’s Christian novelists are paving a new path in the world of fiction, and we’ll see more and more readers who only used to read “How to, Christian living” books, turning to the deep, lasting world of fiction.
releasing April 30th 
with Kregal Publications
New job. New townhouse, New car.
The perfect life…Right?
Jeena Gregory thought she’d made it. She has everything a woman could ask for and a budding career promised more. But when rumors around town cast her boss in a shady light, Jeena starts to question her employer’s integrity.
When the boss disappears, salaries go unpaid, and Jeena witnesses several hush-hush phone calls, she realizes her carefully crafted world is crumbling. Shaken to the core at the threat of losing everything, Jenna is suddenly confronted with her prejudices—and with a God she had long forgotten.
“A story of growth, realization, and learning lessons the hard way, Finding Jeena is a deep look into the heart of one woman who knows exactly what she wants . . . until it betrays her.”—Roseanna M. White, author of Stray Drop of Blood
“Powerfully written, this book pulls the reader deep inside Jeena’s life. The roller-coaster ride from the pinnacle to a very dark pit precedes her redemption.”—Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning author of numerous books including Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico
“Miralee Ferrell not only writes about issues and attitudes that are all too prevalent in our modern life, she skillfully presents the one true solution for all of the problems that plague us—a loving, caring God.”—Arlene James, author of numerous books including the Chatam House Series
“A flawless writing style and interesting characters makes Finding Jeena a joy to own and a joy to read. You won’t want to put down.”—Molly Noble Bull, author of numerous books including the award-winning Sanctuary