Saturday, December 17, 2011

Some More Christmas Updates

Christmas is just one week away now, but it almost feels like Christmas came early for me. Some wonderful things have been happening for my newest novel, Remembering Christmas.

It's been 2 weeks since my last blog update, mainly because I've been so busy. Besides, writing the book I'm working on now (the first one with Gary Smalley), I've been doing blog and radio interviews promoting Remembering Christmas, as well as a little traveling. I finished the final edits on The Discovery (the book coming out in April) and I'm almost done with the rewrites for The Reunion (the book that comes out next Sept).

After posting this update today, I'm taking the rest of the day off to take Cindi out, so we can finish our Christmas shopping. It will be our first Christmas buying gifts for our new grandson. We can't wait!

Here's what's been going on:

A Great Review on

Many of you would know about this site. It's the largest Christian website on the Internet. Hundreds of thousands of people visit or one of the many sister-sites connected to it. Which is why we were so thrilled to read the excellent review written by Susan Ellingburg, a contributing writer in their "Culture" department.

The review is too long to reproduce here, but here are a few excerpts. First, she does a really good job summarizing the story, without giving too much away. Then she adds her comments:

The author’s deceptively simple style allows events to unfold without forcing the characters into far-fetched situations or over-the-top emotions. The result is a story that’s completely believable, even (maybe especially) the truly poignant sections. All the characters (even the quirky ones) ring true and their actions are true to form.  Reading this book feels like listening to a friend give his testimony—assuming that friend is a gifted storyteller, of course.  

Dan Walsh also deserves high praise for perfectly capturing the eighties vibe. Everything from early stars of contemporary Christian music (Keith Green, the Pat Terry Group, and more) to TV shows (“Who shot JR?”) to the price of gasoline (over—gasp—$1 a gallon!) brings the Reagan era to life. So many authors skip over these things but it’s the little touches that make all the difference. This attention to detail spills over into every aspect of the story, making Remembering Christmas a tale that readers will enjoy any season of the year. 

To read the full review, Click Here.

An Amazing Giveaway Sponsored by Revell

Over the last 2 weeks, and running until Dec 21st (so there's still time to enter), my publisher, Revell, has been doing a wonderful giveaway to promote Remembering Christmas.

They are offering a $250 Visa gift card to the winner, PLUS an additional $250 gift card for the winner to give away to a caring friend (someone who reminds them of  Art and Leanne Bell, the owners of The Book Nook in Remembering Christmas). The 2nd Prize winner gets a beautiful Nativity set (like the one that keeps selling out at The Book Nook).

If you're reading this before Dec 21st and would like to enter, it's easy. Just Click Here. You don't even need to buy a copy of the book.

Still a Bestseller on Amazon!

I mentioned 2 weeks ago that Remembering Christmas had spent over a week at #1 on Amazon in 3 different categories. continued between #1 and #3 for the last 2 weeks in those same categories and, although it's dropped a little, it's still in the top 10 right now. My other 3 novels did well, but I've never seen numbers like these before. It's been pretty exciting.

And on top of this, there are now 65 customer reviews, averaging 4.5 Stars. Amazon now lists this as one of the 3 Top-rated Christmas books (right next to Glenn Beck's mega bestseller, The Snow Angel). I have to admit, reading what everyone is saying doesn't hurt. I remember back to the lonely hours, over weeks and months, writing this book, wondering about its future. So satisfying now to see how it's affecting readers.

Click Here if you'd like to view it on Amazon.

Local Success in My Hometown

I've also seen some encouraging things in Daytona Beach, where Cindi and I have lived since we were in grade school (both of us moved down here from up north when our fathers began working on the Apollo space program).

For two Sundays in a row, Remembering Christmas was featured in the Daytona Beach Sunday News Journal, and once in their "GO386" online entertainment guide.

Also, the Halifax Historical Museum, our local museum, bought 10 copies of Remembering Christmas to sell there. I got to know the staff a bit when I researched The Discovery, my next book. They gave me some excellent help turning up historical details for the book. Much of it is set in Daytona Beach during WW2.

If you're ever in town, watching a NASCAR race or enjoying the beach, make sure you take some time to tour the historic downtown area on Beach Street, right along the Halifax River. And stop in to visit the folks at the museum. It's housed in what used to be a very classy looking bank near the corner of Orange Ave. It's filled with wonderful exhibits about the history of the area. Here's a link to their website, Click Here.

Above is a picture Cindi took. I'm standing next to the rack in the museum holding copies of  Remembering Christmas. She took it last week when we attended there annual Christmas party.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fun December Updates - Remembering Christmas #1 on Amazon

This last week has been kind of a whirlwind of activity with my newest book Remembering Christmas. And all this coming on top of 3 writing assignments happening at the same time. First, my main task is writing the book I'm co-authoring with Gary Smalley (just finished chapter 13). Then my beloved editor, Andrea, sends me the edits for The Reunion, the book that comes out next Spring (the edits are due before Christmas). Then the copy editor, Kristin, sends me the final proofs for The Discovery, the book coming out in April (due in less than 2 weeks). Yikes.

But for a writer, these are good challenges. Great even. I remind myself of this when I'm tempted to complain. Here are some of the fun updates to share about my latest book, Remembering Christmas:

#1 on Amazon!

For pretty much all of last week, my new novel, Remembering Christmas, has been ranking at #1 or #2 on Amazon's bestsellers list in 3 categories: Christian Fiction, Christian Romance and Christmas books. It had been ranking between #10 and #15 before (and I was thrilled with that).

But it jumped right up there and stayed there a while. It was actually ahead of mega bestselling author Karen Kingsbury's new book, Longing. I couldn't believe it. And in the Christmas category, it pulled ahead of Glen Beck's huge bestseller, The Snow Angel.

Not sure how long the book will stay in this "zone," but it's a first for me to see these numbers. At one point, my third novel, The Deepest Waters, was ranking at #4 in Christian fiction. So for a few days, I had 2 books in the top 5.

At the moment, there are 55 customer reviews on Amazon for Remembering Christmas, 49 of them are either 4-5 Stars.

#10 on ECPA's Weekly Bestseller's List

Early last week someone sent me a link about an article written in Christian Retailing magazine. It talked about the impact Christmas novels were having on sales in bookstores nationwide. In fact, four of the top 10 bestsellers that week (the week before Thanksgiving) were Christmas novels. And my book, Remembering Christmas, was #10. Two fellow Revell authors' Christmas books were also in the top 10. Suzanne Woods Fisher's A Lancaster County Christmas, and Melody Carlson's Christmas Shoppe.

It was so encouraging to read this, because this list is a broader reflection of sales nationwide, since it includes the retail bookstores. To read the full article, Click Here.

On the Radio

I also had 3 radio interviews this past week. I've done radio interviews for my other books before but never 3 in one week.

The first was for ReachFM. We did some taped interviews with Anitra Parmele who has a daily radio show hosted from Calvary Chapel church in Fort Lauderdale (I'll actually be down there visiting Anitra and doing some special events this weekend in the area). The radio spots will be running all this week, and Revell has donated 10 of my books to give to listeners (5 each of The Unfinished Gift and Remembering Christmas).

Then I was interviewed by Andy Farmer on Author's Corner with KNEO radio, station in Neosho, Missouri. And finally on blog radio on the G Zone with host Giovanni Gelati. Giovanni had read the book, loved it, and we chatted for almost 45 minutes, not just about the new book but a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes things. You can hear this interview by clicking here.

Well, I better get back to my writing assignments, so I can keep my head above water. Thanks to all of you for buying and downloading copies of the book. Don't worry about me. I can handle the excitement.