Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Love Book Clubs

Last night I had the privilege of joining the ladies from the North Metro First Baptist Ladies Book Club here in Atlanta for an evening of good food, good book discussion, and good fellowship.

Since this was my second time at this Club, we did something different. I gave a little background about myself and my first two novels, but then, as we went into the discussion about the book they just finished, my new one, Nobody, I told them all about my research trip to Las Vegas. I shared photographs I'd taken on the trip and a lot of notes I'd taken and research I'd gathered along the way. They seemed genuinely intrigued by how all the ideas and plot twists "were born." And I had a blast doing it. This approach took the pressure off of me to do something "formal," and just allowed me to be myself, talk with the group, and discuss the book in a very casual and open way.

Book clubs are fantastic because they give your novel widespread notoriety. If people in the club like/love the selection, they tell their friends, and even buy the book for certain, specific acquaintances. And there's usually great food. Like last night, we had an awesome cake (photo coming), all kinds of desserts, and my favorite, these addicting chocolate-covered almonds. Those and water and I was set.

If you're wondering what that guy on the left is doing in the photo, that's John. Believe me, he had to have some pretty tight connections to get into this meeting.

On other fronts, I'm going to be doing a live author chat to discuss NOBODY on Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. eastern time. This is something we're doing with the American Christian Fiction Writers, which, if you're an aspiring writer, is a great group with which to partner. My friend Dineen Miller did a really nice interview with me at this web site. For details on all this, click here.

Take care! cm

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Library News from Author Rachel Hauck

Let me introduce you to my friend and fellow Ohio State Buckeye fan, Rachel Hauck. Rachel is a multi-published author living in sunny central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. They have two ornery pets. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and, yes, a huge Buckeyes football fan. Rachel is also the past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves the organization as an Advisor. Visit her blog here.

I'm going to let Rachel tell you a bit about her new novel Sweet Caroline:

For most of her life, Caroline Sweeney put the needs of others before herself. When her friends went off to college and exotic European cities, she stayed home in Beaufort to look after her Dad and brother, and whoever else needed her help. At twenty-eight, she’s invited to embark on her own adventure when a friend offers Caroline an amazing job opportunity in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, her home town is calling her to stay. Unexpectedly, Caroline inherits the run-down, money-pit Frogmore Café.

Caroline must choose between a Beaufort treasure, the Frogmore Café, and the unusual Barcelona adventure. If that’s not enough, Caroline finds herself torn between two lovesæa very hunky deputy Sheriff and a returning hometown boy, a country music star.
In the midst of her trials, Caroline shares a lot of laughter with her friends and discovers the sweet fragrance of Jesus as He pursues her heart.

I hope you'll check out Rachel's latest novel, Sweet Caroline!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Library News from Author Susan Meissner

I'm amazed how busy some of my author friends have been, turning out new books left and right. Susan Meissner is one of those friends. Her new novel, Blue Heart Blessed, is about Daisy Murien, a wounded but hopeful romantic who was left standing at the altar. Daisy opens a secondhand wedding dress boutique, hoping to soothe her broken heart while giving doomed wedding dresses a second chance at love. Her predictable days take a sharp turn, though, when the retired Episcopal priest who blesses the tiny, blue satin heart she sews into each dress falls ill. When the priest’s brooding and recently divorced son arrives with plans to take his ailing father away, a contest of wills begins between two stubborn—and hurting—souls. While fighting to keep Father Laurent close by, Daisy finally begins to understand why she has routinely convinced potential buyers not to buy the one gown that started her business—her own: She doesn’t want to give up on the dream of a fairytale romance. This compelling story is about the magnificence of unconditional love and God’s impeccable timing in bringing it about.

Publisher’s Weekly said this about Blue Heart Blessed: “Meissner tells her story well, and her Christian themes are interwoven throughout with a deft touch. Readers will appreciate some fresh elements: an Ecuadorian couple that cooks for the apartment dwellers every Sunday, and the one gown in Daisy’s inventory she does not want to sell. The ending is well told if conventional, with all the loose ends neatly tied up, which should please fans of “happily ever after” romance novels.”

Romantic Times gave it 4½ stars and chose it for one of their Top Picks for February: “Meissner's unique story is a treat. It's filled with realistic, wounded characters who rely on God's grace and guidance to see them through. Themes of learning to trust God and waiting for His perfect timing exude warmth and love.”

Here's where you can get Blue Heart Blessed, and find out more about Susan's other books: right here!

Friday, January 4, 2008

This N That

Happy New Year.

Well, my lovely wife Patty and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary by slipping away to one of our favorite retreats, Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, GA. We had a romantic dinner at Cafe Elan, enjoyed a perfect evening and a terrace view of the North Georgia Mountains, and dined at the beautiful Versailles Room for breakfast.

I gained weight this holiday and have vowed myself to carrots, grain and water for 2008.

My second novel, FULL TILT, has been translated into Dutch! I received three copies in the mail recently. The translated words for FULL TILT (new title) is: HOOG-SPANNING. You can check it out here.

All six of us Mapes have been sick over the New Year Holiday, except one...stay healthy HKM!

It was our yellow lab, Jarod's, birthday Jan. 2nd. He turned 8. We celebrate by giving him a pig's ear. He tosses it in the air, runs about the yard with it, truly savoring the crunchy treat.

NOBODY was selected as the January Book of the Month over at the American Christian Fiction Writers. I'll be doing a live chat with that bunch on Feb. 4 at 8pm (Eastern) if you want to check it out. Drop by and say hello. Dineen Miller did a cool interview with me on that web site...give it a look here.

I am reading a remarkably intriguing book right now, Water for Elephants. Okay, it's got a few parts that are rated R, but the writing is incredible.....if only I could ever write like that. It's first-person, which I love. Two of my three books have been first-person, and I enjoy that style very much.

It got down to 15 degrees here in Atlanta yesterday. Cold and sunny. Beautiful....reminds me of good ole Akron, Ohio (it will always be 'home').

My agent is shopping a 4th novel.

It's hockey season and you can't beat that. Between the Thrashers and Gladiators, I'm lovin' it!

My son got a new Game Cube NHL hockey game for Christmas this year. I've been playing it more than he has. You choose the teams, the uni's, the venue. You check and poke, shoot wristers and slap shots...pretty awesome stuff. (After everyone went to bed the other night I ALMOST got on it.)

New revelation for 2008: Writing books ain't everything (as I thought it was).

My prayer request for 2008: Love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor like I want to be loved.

I should really be writing academic one-sheets for a college in LA right now, but I can't seem to get into it.

Happy New Year. cm