Welcome!

Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

COTT: Exciting December 2014 Releases


January 2015 Clash of the Titles

It's a New Year featuring some of the most romantic and intriguing releases from last month. Holiday, Western, Pirates!


Have some extra gift cash hot in your pocket? Try some of these.
In the meantime, vote for the one you’re most likely to read first.

She’s Mine: A Mystique of Naultag novel 
Tammy Doherty


Caitlin Harrington has a new job and a new life away from her menacing ex-boyfriend, Adam. Issues with her parents, losing her previous job and the death of her beloved grandmother leave her wondering if God has abandoned her. Two things she is sure of: she’s a lousy judge of character and men just can’t be trusted.


Plundered Christmas
Susan Lyttek


When compelled to spend Christmas on the private island of her father’s intended bride, Jeanine must cope with pirate legends, unexpected storms, and murder. Will she and her family discover the truth about Anne Bonny’s connection to the Banet family before someone else winds up dead?



Christmas Greetings
Pat Simmons


Saige Carter loves everything about Christmas: the shopping, the food, the lights, and of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without family and friends to share in the traditions they’ve created together Daniel Washington is no Scrooge, but he’d rather skip the holidays altogether than spend them with his estranged family. Once God reveals to them His purpose for their lives, they will have a reason to rejoice. 



Deep Freeze Christmas
Marian Merritt


Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook at a Colorado mountain lodge during the Christmas holiday. When she meets the son of a movie producer, she is taken by his striking good looks and warm personality. Trouble is, with glamorous actresses clamoring for his attention, why would he even notice Leona?


The Snowbound Bride
Davalynn Spencer


Can Arabella Taube find her way out of the physical and emotional storm of a Colorado winter before the handsome horseman who rescued her also steals her heart?

(Note: books made available the weekend of December 1 are included)

VOTE HERE THROUGH MIDNIGHT PST JAN 21
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent Begins!

Tonight my family lit our first Advent candle of 2014. I don't know if you follow the tradition, but in our household we only loosely follow the usual "model." I don't stick with the candles' meanings of hope, joy, etc. I instead choose four topics to lead us up to Christmas. In the past I've focused on prophecies of the Messiah for example.

This year I wanted to tell the whole story. After all, how can we expect our children to feel "a thrill of joy" about Christ's birth if they don't have an existing understanding of our desperate need for a Savior? So my plan is as follows.

Week 1: Creation and the Fall
Week 2: The Effects of Sin
Week 3: Signs of His Coming
Week 4: Birth of the Savior

I intend to make these very very simple so my five year old can understand. But I think in so doing, the rest of us are blessed as well. Below is the message I prepared and read at our candle lighting tonight and I thought I'd share. I hope it blesses you.

****

When God made the world, a long time ago, He made everything very GOOD. There was nothing to complain about or be afraid of. People could hang out with wild animals without danger. [What’s a wild animal you’d like to play with if it wasn’t dangerous? A lion? A crocodile?] And growing food was easy because there were NO WEEDS. The Bible says there were no thorns even! So the rose bushes would never be sharp. Also, nobody got stomach aches or sore throats because there were NO SICK GERMS.

It was wonderful. Totally amazing. Perfect. And it would have stayed that way forever if the first people had trusted God when He told them that one single tree in all the huge garden they lived in would ruin everything if they ate from it. In fact, if they ate from that tree, it would make them start to die. So God told them about that dangerous tree and not to eat it. But all the other trees were healthy and yummy and they could eat anything else they wanted.

But they didn’t believe God about the bad tree. Eve and Adam hung around that tree looking at it, wondering what it tasted like. Satan hung out there too, in the form of a serpent, and he convinced them God was lying. That the tree’s fruit would make THEM like God too. And instead of believing what God said about the tree, they believed Satan and so they ate the fruit. And from then on, everything changed.

Sickness, thorns, pain, embarrassment, and death entered the world. Wild animals became dangerous and might bite. Adam and Eve could no longer live in the perfect garden (of Eden), they had to leave that place. And in fact, they began to grow old and eventually die. Their children were born this way as well. Every baby ever born from then on—all the way down to you and me—would have the same problem. Things were not perfect any more.

God punished the serpent making him slither on his belly, and He also gave a prophecy for the future. God told Satan that one day a child would be born who would “stomp his head” and undo the damage caused by Satan’s trickery. That child would be the one to save the world from the death that came because of SIN.

****

Next week when we talk about the effects of sin, I plan to share some easy illustrations to help explain how we've ALL sinned and have no hope of saving ourselves. See you then--and have a wonderful first week of December!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

COTT's September 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.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

COTT'S September Releases Clash



Welcome to the September clash!!

Five new books for your bookshelf this month! From suspense to humor, these books are the newest addition to CBA. Which one lands at the top of your to-be-read pile? Based on what you see below, please choose the book that grabs you--the one you'd read first. Cast your vote below and help bring one book to the top of the pile!


Winner announced right here on Thursday, November 6!



A TIME TO DIE by Nadine Brandes

In a world where everyone has a Clock showing their day of death, Parvin Blackwater tries to find meaning in her last year alive by rescuing Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. When the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence.

Purchase A Time to Die





CHAPEL SPRINGS REVIVAL by Ane Mulligan

Best friends Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. But with a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Purchase Chapel Springs Revival





A PROMISE TO PROTECT by Patricia Bradley

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn’t mean he can get her—or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago—out of his head. In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman’s secret could change everything.

Purchase A Promise to Protect





KEPT by Sally Bradley

Thirty years into life, Miska Tomlinson is left with nothing but pain, loss, and a boyfriend who won’t leave his wife. But when Dillan Foster moves in next door, Miska realizes that she’s on a path of self-destruction and that there are honorable men—like Dillan who, now that he knows her past, wants nothing to do with her.

Purchase Kept




SPINSTERED THE NOVEL by Sharyn Kopf

Catie, Jolene and Uli aren't sure how they ended up over 40 and still single, but when a new GWP (Guy With Potential) enters her life, Catie begins to think there might be hope ... until her life falls apart. With their hearts on the line, these three friends search for love and find it in unexpected places.

Purchase Spinstered the Novel

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.