Marji Laine: Faith~Driven Fiction

. . . Authentic and Intense


Winning Announcement!

The winner of the September New Releases Clash is…
The Road To Mercy by Kathy Harris Continue reading


Clash of the Titles Announces Judges

Clash of the Titles is proud to announce the round three judges for the Olympia Contest!
DEBORAH RANEY,award-winning author of over 30 books


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The Olympia Contest for Unpublished Writers!

Get Ready to Spar!

 

Clash of the Titles Unveils a NEW annual literary contest, 

THE OLYMPIA

and it’s strictly for unpublished writers!

Also, you will no longer need to be a previous Clash Champion in order to compete for the crown.
 
Submissions open September 14, 2012,
As always at COTT, the outcome of the contest is in the hands of readers, 

not industry professionals.

You’ve written the book of your dreams, now what do readers think? Enter the arena and find out.
Olympia 2013 Submission Rules
The OLYMPIA provides an opportunity for unpublished novelists to have the first two chapters (or 3,500 words) of their work judged and critiqued by readers that are well-versed in Christian fiction yet not a part of the CBA industry.
ELIGIBILITY: Any author whose novel-length work (30,000+ words) has not been previously published in ANY format is eligible for entry. That includes the manuscript being submitted as well as any other manuscript the submitting author has written. One entry per author. Co-authored entries accepted. The manuscript should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or other objectionable material. Clash of the Titles staff reserves the right to reject submissions not meeting this requirement.
FEE: $10 payable via Paypal
Paypal account: contactcott@gmail.com
If Paypal is not an option for you, please contact senior editor, April Gardner at contactcott@gmail.com.
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: All entries must include a single-spaced one page synopsis of the manuscript immediately followed by the first two chapters of the novel. Word count limit is 3,500. Prologues are accepted, so long as the word count limit is not exceeded.
FORMAT: Manuscripts must be in Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double-spaced with pages numbered. One inch margins in Ms Doc (not Docx) or Rich Text Format (RTF). Insert a header which includes the novel’s genre and title, and nothing more. Judging is anonymous. Do NOT include your name anywhere in the document or in the title the document is saved under.
Entries not following the submission and formatting specifications will be returned. Entries may be resubmitted prior to the deadline. Entry fees for returned entries will not be refunded after the contest entry deadline has passed.
JUDGING:
Round One begins November 02, 2012. Entries will first be judged by Clash of the Titles staff, which includes published authors and writers experienced in judging. During this round, COTT staff will be looking for those excerpts which do not meet content standards listed in “Eligibility” above. Because COTT wishes to send only the best quality of writing to its judges, in addition to content eligibility, they will be reading for a higher level of experience in the craft.
Round Two begins November 30, 2012. By this date all entrants will have received an email notifying them whether or not their manuscript has moved on to Round Two. Manuscripts making it to this round will be read by a group of judges who are comprised of your average reader of Christian fiction and that are in no way associated with the CBA industry. This includes agents, writers, avid reviewers, publicists, editors, etc. They are, in short, your audience.
Round Three begins January 21, 2013. By this date, all remaining entrants will be notified of whether or not their manuscript will be moving on. Only three manuscripts will be chosen for this round. Finalist will be announced January 18. Judges pending.
Authors will receive an anonymous digital copy of each of their judge’s scores and comments. Under no circumstance should comments given by a judge be used for publicity or promotional purposes without the express consent of the judge.
PRIZES: One first-place winner will be chosen. He/she will receive a special feature on Clash of the Titles’ blog. A tour through COTT’s Blog Alliance. A dedicated page on COTT’s site for a full year. A podcast interview with author and CAG board member, Cynthia L. Simmons. A beautiful plaque. Additional prizes pending.
DEADLINES: Submissions will open Friday, September 14, 2012. All contest entries and fees must be received no later than 8:00 PM EST Friday, November 02, 2012.
All entries will receive a confirmation e-mail. If this has not occurred by 8:00 PM EST November 03, 2012, the entrant should e-mail COTT senior editor, April Gardner at contactcott@gmail.com.
The winner will be announced Friday, March 01, 2013


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The Soul Saver – Author Interview and Guest Blog

*guest post by Michelle Massaro

At Clash of the Titles, we’re interested in the Christian Fiction that’s making a splash, flying onto the scene in a burst of attention-grabbing technicolor and gripping our imaginations. Every month we’re seeing batches of new stories hit the shelves and here’s one that has also hit our hearts.

Dineen Miller’s The Soul Saver recently competed on our website and garnered a lot of attention there. We just had to know more about this book and its author. Here’s what we discovered…

About Dineen Miller:

Dineen Miller readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. It’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories are of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.

Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

She is the co-author of Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and the author of The Soul Saver.

Links:

Websites:

http://www.dineenmiller.com

http://spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/DineenMiller.AuthorSpeaker https://www.facebook.com/SpirituallyUnequalMarriage

GoodReads author page:

http://www.goodreads.com/dineenmiller

The Soul Saver Booktrailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p07iTbP5SK8

Q & A with the Author

1. What inspired the story for The Soul Saver?

My own life. I wanted to write a fictionalized account of how God can work in amazing ways in our lives when we trust Him. The Soul Saver is that story—of how Lexie Baltimore desires to love her unbelieving husband in the way God is calling her to and the battles she faces with the enemy because she’s on the front lines praying for the salvation of her

husband. I wrote this book for all the Lexies out there, to encourage and remind them that we’re not alone. God is there working in ways we can’t even imagine!

2. A suspense novel in the Christian industry can often be difficult to write. What helped you overcome those obstacles?

Staying true to the message I felt God calling me to write. I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in 2008 and by the end of the week, I left with a clear understanding that God wanted me to write this book. I stayed faithful to that calling and trusted God to find a place for it. Some in the industry either had reservations with the issue of being spiritually mismatched or with Tobias, a demon, who is simply a tool I used to show the spiritual warfare that is common in spiritually mismatched marriages. At one point I wondered if I would have to take him out, but my amazing agent, Rachelle Gardner, encouraged me to hold true to my story and she was right. The right timing and publisher did come along. I will be forever grateful to Barbour Books for giving The Soul Saver a chance.

3. What made you want to write in this specific genre?

I love intricate stories and characters. Suspense wrapped with the supernatural is something I’ve always loved to read. The amazing thing is, we live in a world full of suspense and the supernatural every day. My favorite stories have and always will be of the miraculous, of how God has provided, made His presence known, saved a lost soul because that is what’s really happening around us if we just take the time to notice it. God loves to wow us. I hope I can do a little of that to my readers too. They deserve it.

4. Do you have any future projects going on?

I have a novella coming out in August, A Love Meant to Be, that’s part of a collection titled Rendezvous in Central Park. I have the distinct privilege and honor of writing with Ronie Kendig, MaryLu Tyndall, and Kim Vogel Sawyer, three seasoned and very talented authors. I love this story because it’s a tribute to my father, a Vietnam vet who passed away in 2010. These stories span from the Civil War to WWII to Vietnam to present day conflict in Afghanistan.

About The Soul Saver:

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out
On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope. But then came the tough missions—the ones that sent Lexie Baltimore into real battle. And she had a few battle scars to show for it.

Tormented that she can’t reach the one person she loves the most—staunch atheist and husband Hugh—Lexie finds her own hope waning when the battle comes to her doorstep in the shape of a pastor who represents everything she wants and everything her husband is not—a godly man.

Then false accusations and rumors spin her husband and family into a precarious position, and the only way out is to trust God. But how can she convince her husband when she’s struggling to trust God herself?

This time Lexie is the mission.

What others are saying:

“Deep, compelling, a beautifully written story of faith, hope, and the saving power of love. Dineen Miller hits home with this debut novel. The Soul Saver will stay with you for days after reading the last page.”

— Tosca Lee, NY Times bestselling author of Havah: The Story of Eve

“When you combine stellar writing, intriguing characters, and a fascinating plot the result is a story like The Soul Saver. It’s the kind of novel I wish I had written.”

— James L. Rubart, bestselling author of ROOMS, Book of Days, and The Chair

Links to purchase The Soul Saver:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1616265825/kittenscomefr-20

CBD.com:
http://www.christianbook.com/the-soul-saver-dineen-miller/9781616265823/pd/265823?product_redirect=1&Ntt=9781616265823&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCG

Barnes&Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soul-saver-dineen-miller/1104273979?ean=9781616265823&itm=2&usri=the+soul+saver

The Soul Saver Booktrailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p07iTbP5SK8

***********************
*Michelle Massaro is a 2012 Genesis Finalist and Assistant Editor with COTT. She loves to connect, so stop and see her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MichelleMassaroBooks


New Writing Contest Announced

Clash of the Titles’ monthly clashes 
have received a makeover! 

Our focus is now on novels new to bookstore shelves. COTT’s readers will always have the most up-to-date information on the best and newest Christian literature. 

Also…

Thanks to you, our faithful readers, Clash of the Titles’ new unpublished authors literary contest has been christened—

THE OLYMPIA

The path to publication in novel length is the most difficult a writer will embark on. For most, it’s a steep, uphill climb littered with deep crevices and seemingly insurmountable boulders. Often, it feels as though the summit of that mountain is on the move, keeping one toehold ahead of even the most relentless writer.

Ancient Olympia, Greece *Attribution

In classical times ancient Olympia was the site of the original Olympic Games. It sat at the foot of Mount Olympus, the tallest, most formidable mountain in Greece. The first Olympic Games were held in honor of Zeus, but at Clash of the Titles, we give all honor to the Most High God and wish every contestant His greatest blessing!

Authors, submissions for The Olympia pen October 29, 2012. For preliminary details, please visit The Olympia page.

If you would like more information on how to be a part of our monthly New Releases Clashes, 
please visit our Submissions page.

*Attribution: This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. United States Public Domain.


April New Releases Winner Announced!

The winner of our April New Releases Clash is:

The Restorer’s Son-Expanded Edition by Sharon Hinck

A hearty congratulations to Sharon!
And a special thank-you to the following authors for being part of this fun week:
Susan Page Davis, author of Cowgirl Trail
DiAnn Mills, author of The Chase
Kate Lloyd, author of Leaving Lancaster
Nancy Herriman, author of The Irish Healer

ABOUT The Restorer’s Son-Expanded Edition:

Book two in the groundbreaking Sword of Lyric series, The Restorer’s Son won a Carol Award for speculative fiction.

Plunged again into the gray world of Lyric and Hazor, Susan and Mark search frantically for their teenage son, Jake. All signs hint that a trusted ally has betrayed them and threatens their son. A target of assassins and more political intrigue, false leads and near misses beset their path, which leads them into the dark prisons of Hazor before the One’s purpose is revealed.

Cast out by those he trusts, the new reluctant Restorer prefers to cross swords with the One rather than submit to His will. Pursued by his calling, he journeys to Sidian, where he finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. As he embraces the tasks the One has set before him, this new Restorer learns that the One requires his all—perhaps even his life.

WHAT VOTERS HAD TO SAY ABOUT “The Restorer’s Son.”

*Have read the other books & the original editions & Sharon is a master story-teller…humorous, poignant, deep & lyrical! A must-read!

*I love and am impressed and inspired by everything you write, Sharon. God’s blessings daily.

* I LOVED The Restorer! One of my all-time favorite books because it made me love Jesus more.

*I love, love, love The Restorer’s Son. If you haven’t read it, you should. (Make sure to look for the Expanded Edition to get extras.)

*Sharon is a wonderful wordsmith whose creative writing is experience validated. Can’t wait to dig into this one.

*To be read? Maybe to be re-read… for the sixth time. I’m in love with The Sword of Lyric trilogy, and the extended releases are the perfect excuse to tell everyone I know about these books. The Restorer’s Son is one of the most powerful fiction titles I’ve ever read, and it will be on my to-(re)read list for many years to come.

ABOUT the author, Sharon Hinck:

Sharon writes “stories for the hero in all of
us,” about ordinary people experiencing God’s grace in unexpected ways. Known
for their authenticity, emotional range, and spiritual depth, her novels
include contemporary fiction such as The
Secret Life of Becky Miller
or Stepping into Sunlight and the
groundbreaking Sword of Lyric
fantasy series which includes The
Restorer’s Son–Expanded Edition
. She’s been a Christy
finalist and won three Carol awards.

Sharon’s undergrad degree is in education,
and she earned an M.A. in Communication. When she isn’t wrestling with words,
Sharon enjoys speaking to conferences, retreats, and church groups. She loves
interacting with visitors at her website and blog: sharonhinck.com.

*************
Q and A with SHARON: 

Q. Besides an entertaining read, what do you hope people experience in The Restorer’s Son-Expanded Edition?

A. My hope is that readers will catch glimpses of the way the One speaks to each of us in the language we understand, and that we can go to Him with our difficult questions. For those who are walking very painful roads, I hope the story will help them feel acknowledged. The journey is hard, heroic, and sometimes frightening. But we are never alone.

Q.What was it like developing new material for this new
edition?

A. Books are like children. I treasure each of them in
different ways, and among the novels I’ve written, I try not to have favorites.
However, I confess that The Restorer’s
Son
has an extra special place in my heart. Because of that, it was fun to
revisit the characters and world of this story. Kieran’s attitudes were loosely
inspired by a verse in Judges where Gideon is told God will use him to save his
people. Gideon’s response is basically, “If God is for us, why have all these
bad things happened to us?” It’s a question many can relate to, and part of the
reason that Kieran is such a beloved character.
The new devotion guide gives readers an opportunity to dig
deeper into the Biblical inspirations that helped inform the book, as well as
find personal application. About forty pages of new content, including bonus
scenes and a new song composed for the book, make this edition a new
experience.

Q. Where can we buy the book?

www.sharonhinck.com

http://sharonswriting.blogspot.com/

To order The Restorer’s Son-Expanded Edition:

http://urlcut.me/aM3

Kindle version:

http://urlcut.me/aM2


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Leading Ladies Winner at Clash of the Titles

 
**Guest post by Michelle Massaro
 
In the recent Leading Ladies Clash, Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux and High Desert Haven by Lynnette Bonner  went into the ring on Clash of the Titles. 

After the public vote, the winning title was….

 HIGH DESERT HAVEN by Lynnette Bonner!!  
 We’re happy to announce that High Desert Haven has been added to the list of COTT Champ titles! And we also want to extend our congratulations to the author. I’m sure we’re all eager to add this book to our summer to-be-read pile! 
 In response to her win, author Lynnette Bonner said:
It was an honor just to have been chosen as a clasher, in the first place, and then to have won… wow, I’m totally blessed by that. I’m still fairly new at this, and putting my stories out to the public is, to say the least, a daunting experience. So every little bit of encouragement and affirmation gets tucked away for days ahead when I will need to draw strength from them. I so appreciate COTT for giving me this opportunity to interact and connect with their readers.
Some of the comments left by readers were:
  • Great job!!
  • Both excerpts make me want to read the rest of the story. It was hard to choose!
  • I think they both did a good job of presenting their books.
  • Both leading ladies were believable and presented with skill.
  • Looks like a whole lotta fun!
  • I found it very hard to select only ONE excerpt. They were both great! Keep up the great work!
  • Both excerpts have great leads! Would like to read both books!

Curious to read the winning excerpt? You can both contenders’ entries here.
An interview with the winning author can be found here.  

Want to congratulate the author? Leave a message in the comments. Have a question about future Clashes on COTT? Email them at contactCOTT@gmail.com

Thank you! 

**Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor for Clash of the Titles, a mother of four, and a wife of nearly 17 years. She bakes, crochets, cross-stitches, sings, writes, and cries during movies. She champions for Biblical authority, leads a Jr. High girls’ Bible study, and plays a mean game of backgammon. She spends way too much time on the computer, but makes it up to her family (she hopes) with prayer coverings and chocolate chip cookies. The best place to connect with her is on Facebook, naturally.