Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Customer Review - 5 Stars

The Unfinished Gift has been out in most of the online stores for about a week but, so far, haven't seen any customer reviews.

Until last night. A young man from South Dakota, named Steve, gave my book its first customer rating (I'm assuming he's a young man because he called me Mr. Walsh). It was on

1 of 1 Reviews Showing: 5 out 5 stars

Reviewed by Steve (South Dakota), August 28, 2009

This book was an amazing read! I am a christian who enjoys reading christian fiction as well as secular fiction. Mr. Walsh does a fine job of re-creating 1940's Philadelphia! I myself am a World War 2 buff so this book was a wonderful, well written and albeit emotional journey! Don't let the Christmas theme throw you off its not an overpowering Christmas book! It is an inspirational and moving piece about a family coming back together. I would recommend this book to Men and Women of all ages :)

Thanks Steve, glad you enjoyed the book.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Very Encouraging Book Review - 4.5 Stars

Yesterday, a few author friends emailed me to let me know The Unfinished Gift had been reviewed by a major review magazine and had received their highest rating. The magazine is called RT Book Reviews and is said to have millions of subscribers and sits on most bookstore magazine racks.

This sounded encouraging, so I looked into it.

The review is in their October issue, which will hit the stands Sept 1st (not sure why mags are always a month back). Couldn't read the entire review, because it's only available to subscribers. But it was given 4.5 stars and listed as a Top Pick! in their Inspirational section (apparently, they only give out 5 stars to something akin to a classic, so this is, in effect, their highest rating). Here's a quote from the review:

"Walsh paints a wonderful picture of life in America during WW2. The characters are richly developed, and the story about love and forgiveness are not to be missed."

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Unfinished Gift is on Kindle

What's a Kindle and why is this news?

As you can see from the picture, a Kindle is a digital bookreader. It's made by Amazon. It's not cheap (on sale now for $299). Now, I won't buy one. I like the feel of real books with pages and don't see that changing. But people who buy the Kindle swear by it and most don't return to conventional books again if they can help it (like my wife).

Critics say this devotion is really because buyers feel like they have to justify all that upfront expense, not because they love it so much. That's not my wife's story. She loves it that much.

Here's some of the reasons my wife loves hers:
  • It feels like a book, sort of. Pages turn. Battery lasts a long time.
  • She can carry a whole bookshelf full of books in a device that weighs less than one book.
  • She can adjust the font size in a few clicks.
  • Even new releases only cost $10, older ones much less.
  • It stays hooked to Amazon's Kindle store by cell phone technology, she doesn't have to be hooked to a computer to order one (she just about has to make a wish and it magically appears).
Whatever the reason for this Kindle-devotion, the reason I'm glad my book is now on Kindle, is that now Kindle owners may actually buy my book too. I didn't stand a chance with them before.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My 2 Biggest Fans

The adventure of becoming published, of seeing a book I've written on bookstore shelves and on the internet, has been interesting and mostly enjoyable. But I'm totaly unaccustomed to the concept of "growing my fan base." I've got a Facebook fan site now. I'm reading articles that instruct me on how to get more of my fans to read my blog.

I've never considered such things important before.

I was reminded this morning of two fans whose support I can forever count on. They're loyalty is unwavering. It's as if their world revolves around me, as if their greatest delights are found in whatever interests me. They, literally, lay at my feet. If I simply get up to go to the bathroom, they will arise from a sound slumber to follow me down the hall. When I come out, they are waiting in the hall. If I go out to get the mail, they greet me with the same intensity as if I'd been gone for weeks.

And they can't even read.

What can I say? Bailey, Darcy...thanks (it doesn't seem near enough). I'm reminded of something a comedian once said: "My goal in life is to one day become half the man my dogs think I am."

Scheduled First Book Signing

We confirmed my first book signing for The Unfinished Gift, in our local Barnes & Noble in Daytona Beach. It's for Saturday, Nov 7th from 2-4pm. This is the same store where we first saw my book on the shelves (see 3 posts below). Usually an author will time book signings with a book's release date. But we thought since this is a Christmas story, it might make more sense to have them a little closer to the holiday, when decorations are hanging in the store.

Working on future dates for Orlando and Fort Worth, TX (traveling there in mid-Nov).

Monday, August 17, 2009

God's Amazing Mercy

With so many things happening with the book's early release, I haven't had too many entries lately on my other purpose for this draw attention to God's amazing love and mercy. I read this quote from Mr. Spurgeon today and instantly knew it must be shared.

"Meditate a little on this mercy of the Lord. It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, he heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of his mercy as in the matter of it.

"It is great mercy. There is nothing little in God; His mercy is like Himself--it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favors and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God.

"It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be...There was no right on the sinner’s part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly deserved the doom, and if delivered from wrath, Sovereign Love alone must be the cause.

"It is rich mercy. Some things are great, but are not very effective. But this mercy is an invigorating medicine for your drooping spirits; a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds; a heavenly bandage to your broken bones; a royal chariot for your weary feet; a harbor of love for your trembling heart.

"It is manifold mercy. As Bunyan says, 'All the flowers in God’s garden are double.' There is no single mercy. You may think you have but one mercy, but you shall find it to be a whole cluster of mercies.

"It is abounding mercy. Millions have received it, yet far from being exhausted, it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever.

"It is unfailing mercy. It will never leave you. If mercy is your friend, mercy will be with you in temptation to keep you from yielding; with you in trouble to prevent you from sinking; with you in life to be the light and life of your countenance; and with you in dying to be the joy of your soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast."

-- Charles Spurgeon

This mercy, and all that Spurgeon says about it, comes to those who are in Christ freely because of what Christ has done. And (this is so amazing) this mercy comes to us new as each morning dawns (Lam 3:22-23).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Southern Living Interview

Today I had an interview with an editor from Southern Living magazine (she had the most charming and refined southern accent). She'd read an earlier copy of The Unfinished Gift and really liked it. She wanted to include it in an article she's writing for the Christmas issue about authors in Florida, so she contacted my publisher to set it up. I was quite nervous beforehand (have never done anything like this). But it was a really enjoyable conversation, and she seems very excited about the book and the upcoming article.

Not something I do every day.

My Novel at local B&N in 3 Places

My wife and I went back with a camera to our local Barnes & Noble today. From 2 days ago, they've now added a 3rd location for the book, in the top slot of the endcap in the Religious Fiction section. It's also on the top shelf, face-out in the regular shelving area, then again, up-front on the New Arrival table mixed in with non-Christian new releases. They've done this all on their own. I think it may have to do with the incredible job my publisher did on the cover.

Friends and family have been emailing me from all over the country, reporting "sightings" of the book at their local store. It's not everywhere, but I'm surprised at how many places it's showing up (it's not even due for release for 2 more weeks).

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Books are Here!! More than sort of...

Monday is my day off. This afternoon I had three things on my checklist: 1) Try not to complain about my back pain, now on my 4th day, 2) Go to the chiropractor, and 3) Stop by Barnes & Noble to meet the manager, see if I could set up a book signing for September.

What I'm about to say next goes back to one of the lessons I'm finally getting a handle on as I age a bit (just a bit). My ways and God's ways are not the same, and He wants me to live one day at a time because the first part is true. Nothing ever goes according to my plans. I'm telling you, nothing. I watched this little girl last week on the beach making sand castles by the water. You know what happened. The thing is, she just kept relocating the project.

That's what my life is like. Every single day. Now I'm not complaining. I'm just saying that's what it's like. The good thing is, though my ways and God's ways aren't the same, His are WAY better, higher than the heavens are above the earth.

So here I set up my day off, just thankful I'm not laying on my back and I get to go to the chiropractor (a bit nervous about the book signing thing). And God set something else up. At B&N, Cindi walks over to the Christian fiction shelf, and THERE THEY ARE! My book is out already and on the shelf. Twelve copies, face out. We walked to the front of the store, and on the New Fiction table, THERE THEY ARE again, 8 copies, stacked, mingled with all the secular new releases. We drove over to the mall, to check our Books-A-Million. THERE THEY ARE, 8 more copies, face out.

I'm telling you, this day ended up way better than I planned. After all this, my daughter in Texas called. She stopped by her B&N, and THERE THEY ARE, way the heck over in Texas.

Hopefully, coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's Here!! Sort of...

Today I held in my hands the first copy of my book, The Unfinished Gift. It's not due on the shelves for a few weeks (Sept 1st), but it's already printed and they sent me the first copy. It looks just like the picture here, except in 3D.

It was very cool. No it was more than that. It was several notches above very cool. My wife, Cindi, cried. She's been with me every step of the way.

Every writer should have this moment.

It's not as big as the moment they put my daughter in my arms for the first time or, six years later, my son. But it's the writer's equivalent of that moment.

It was very cool, and then some.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Only God's Love Could Explain Our Salvation

I've decided to add an occasional feature to my blog. From time to time I'm just going to slip in some quotes and/or reflections on God's amazing love for those who are in Christ. To me it's not something of a different category. I view the opportunity I have to now write books and be published as yet one more expression of God's amazing love toward me in Christ. Consider today's offering, a marvelous collection of words about Christ's love:

“There existed no love but the love of Jesus equal to the work of salvation.

Love less divine, less strong, less gentle, could never have won your heart, uprooted your enmity, tore you from your idols; enthroning Christ, all of Christ, Christ only, Christ supremely, Christ forever!

Beloved, nothing shall take the love of Christ from you, or separate you from it. It does not ebb with the ebbing of your feelings; it does not chill with the chill of your affections; it does not change with the changing scenes and circumstances of your life.”

—Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878