April 2013 Posts

You Have to Let Them Drive Away – Author Susan May Warren on Family & Motherhood

Today we welcome author Susan May Warren back to the blog. As a mother herself, Susan explains how her experiences with motherhood have shaped her thinking for her new six-book series featuring the Christiansen family.


I admit I wasn’t quite ready for my daughter to leave the nest. It wasn’t like she gave me much warning—two days after graduation, she packed up her car and drove away to summer camp. I stood in the dirt driveway at 6 a.m., my cheeks wet, and thought, Wait . . . there’s still more I have to teach you. I’m not ready.

And was she? Had I built into her the character, the values, the decision-making skills she’d need in this next—so important—phase of life? Was she ready to say no to the wrong boy, yes to the right one? Was she ready to embrace the right opportunities and learn from her mistakes?

I hoped so. I prayed so. And, over the last two years, I’ve realized the answers. Yes to some, no to others, and most of all . . .

Just because she drove away didn’t mean my parenting was over.

My beautiful family!

As I embarked on this new series for Tyndale, I realized I wanted to build stories about a family facing the same struggles that I was facing, that my reader friends were facing. Some of my readers, yes, are falling in love, finding their footing in a new season of life. But others are in the season of letting go and trying to figure out how to parent adults wisely, sparingly . . . prayerfully. I crafted the Christiansen family to resemble my own—children who were raised with faith but now have to test it with life. And yes, sometimes they will get it wrong. They’ll make mistakes, behave badly, and even get into trouble.

And like real parents, my main characters, John and Ingrid, have to figure out how to best help their children grow up.

Every book starts with a letter from Ingrid to one of her adult children. It’s the cry of the heart of all mothers—hoping they’ve instilled the tenets of faith but knowing that their children must walk that path alone, must make their faith choices for themselves. We can’t drag our children to heaven, nor can we will them to make right decisions.

We have to let them drive away.

I hope you’ll join me as we follow the Christiansens through faith, family, and real life.

Thanks for sharing your story (and photo of your beautiful family!) with us on the blog today, Susan.

For more on Susan and her new novel, Take a Chance on Me, she can be found online:

At her website:


At her blog:


On Facebook: 


Or follow her on Twitter @SusanMayWarren



As a reader, what makes a fictional family “real” to you? What can the author do to engage you with the struggles and trials of their fictional world? And to save the best for last, who’s your favorite fictional family in literature and why?

Happy reading, all! Visit us on Twitter @Crazy4Fiction to chat!

The Hard Truth of Tragedy – by Author & Veteran Police Officer Janice Cantore (and giveaway!)

Let’s welcome veteran police officer and inspirational novelist Janice Cantore to today’s blog. Janice’s fiction is known for its engaging and realistic characterizations of police work along with action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Today Janice will share some experiences from her extensive police background and how these events have shaped her views on God, hope, and how to pen truly inspirational stories. (And don’t miss out on her great giveaway! More info below.)



Years ago, when I was working my way through college, I had a job as an athletic trainer in a health club. One day I was helping a woman with a machine. She wasn’t much older than me—I was in my twenties and she was maybe early thirties. I’m not certain how we got on the subject—maybe I told her I was thinking about a career in law enforcement—but however we got there, all of a sudden she blurted out, “My mother was raped and murdered in her home. I don’t understand it. She never hurt a soul in her life.” The expression on her face hit almost as hard as the words; it was a cross between trying to be unemotional while at the same time being torn apart by emotions.

I remember thinking to myself, How do you get over a tragedy like that?

Fast-forward a few years. I was working as a uniformed police officer, mostly on the graveyard shift (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.), when one night my partner and I were sent to investigate a no-detail traffic accident. That meant someone called 911 to say they’d heard a crash but hadn’t looked out the window to see what caused it. No-details could be nothing or huge messes. It was after midnight and the streets were quiet. We made it quickly to the intersection and found a single-car accident. It appeared as though the vehicle had veered out of the lane into the median and had struck a tree, hard. There were no skid marks and no indication of any other involved vehicles

We approached the car and found three occupants, all unconscious: a woman behind the steering wheel, a man in the backseat, and a baby in the passenger seat in a backward-facing car seat. There was nothing we could do—the impact had tweaked the frame and made it impossible to open the car doors. We relayed the information to the fire department and waited. The man began to moan, but what bothered me was the baby. He was quiet. Shouldn’t he be crying?

The fire department arrived in a few minutes and took out the tools necessary to get the doors open. They had the same concern about the baby I did and retrieved him first. By their faces I could tell it was bad. Paramedics took the kid while firefighters went to work trying to cut the woman out. Prying her from the car took about thirty minutes, and in that time the nine-month-old boy made it to the hospital and died.

Mom had fallen asleep at the wheel. How do you get over a tragedy like that?

I could write a book about the tragic events I saw while on the job. The vast majority of the time, I never saw the “after” picture—the picture taken after the parties involved recovered, moved on, healed. But for some reason, about a year later, I was reading the local paper. There was a religion column back then, and as I read it, I realized this was the “after” picture from that accident. The person being interviewed was the driver, the mom, who’d lost her firstborn son that night. She talked about the physical scars—her left leg had been hamburger; it was smashed into the door and frame of the car—and the emotional scars—she’d lost her baby son and nearly destroyed her marriage. Her husband was the man who had been in the backseat.

Through the hurt and the pain, the one thread that held her together and kept her marriage from exploding was her belief in a Savior and the promise that God works all things out for good for believers. The road to healing and peace was hard and long, but she could honestly say that she and her husband and their marriage were stronger now. Life is hard, but God is good.

That is a theme that sticks with me and something I want to come across in my books. This past weekend I took part in a panel on inspirational fiction, hope, and faith. All of the panelists agreed that writing inspirational stories means leaving the reader with hope. No matter what tragedy we endure in this life, there is a God who heals and restores. Whenever I remember the woman in the gym, I always pray that somehow she has found this hope.

Thanks, Janice, for sharing those incredibly moving stories with us. Though it may be hard to see at the time, God still remains, even through our darkest moments, and he often uses our suffering as a vehicle for magnificent things.

Interested in Janice’s novels? The last installment in her Pacific Coast Justice series, Avenged, is available now in bookstores and online.

And for a limited time, enter to win a chance at this great police themed giveaway. Prize includes: 

Accused (Book #1 in The Pacific Coast Justice series)

Abducted (Book #2 in The Pacific Coast Justice series)

DVD of Courageous

A CD by Chris Tomlin –  Burning Lights

LA County Coroner mug

A Trust in the Lord encouragement plaque

And some handy magnetic page markers


For more information on Janice and her writing, she can be found online:

At her website:


At her blog:


On Facebook:


Thanks for reading! 


Tyndale Fiction – What’s Happening Wednesday? April Edition

Hello, readers! It’s that time again for our new feature:
“What’s Happening Wednesday?”

As a reminder, on the last Wednesday of every month, the fiction team will be sharing an inside scoop on the projects each of our team members are working on. Find out what’s happening in fiction, and let us know what you think by answering the questions at the end of each team member’s thoughts.

KAREN- Associate Publisher

I am currently pondering a manuscript submission that I just can’t let go. Wish I could tell you the name, but it’s still too soon. It is the kind of story that I love . . . quirky characters, a romantic setting, delightful language that won’t let me go on autopilot, a unique concept, and love—lots of it. And it is about becoming a mother and the unexpected changes that come with adjusting to a new and unique little treasure in your life.

Made me think about another quirky story in one of my favorite Tyndale novels, The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers. The first day I read this story (and the five other times I’ve read it), all I could ever imagine was my grandmother as a little girl in the hills of Tennessee. Her name was Kathleen, but her friends called her Kat. That alone makes me smile. Well . . . that and the smell of Pond’s Cold Cream that she always used. I still believe this book could be Kat’s story. Cadi, the little hillbilly girl in Francine’s novel, will always have my granny’s voice.

Is there a book you love that reminds you of your mother or grandmother?

JAN- Senior Acquisitions Editor

This week I’m planning a workshop that I’ll be teaching on Saturday to a group of church librarians. They’ve arranged to have a bookstore selling product at the event with a focus on the titles I’ll be presenting. I’m looking forward to talking to them about our exciting fiction lineup. It’s always fun to talk with people who share your passion for seeing God move through story.

I’ve been asked to talk about the publishing process—from proposal to publication—with an emphasis on cover design and trends. I find that “trends” is a popular yet difficult topic to discuss, since a trend is best described after it has already happened. We’re often acquiring novels a year or more before publication, and it’s difficult to determine what people will be passionate about a year or more from now. That is why we try to publish a broad spectrum of genres and content with strong concepts that have unique, marketable hooks. The goal is to be on the front end of a trend, not copying it after it has already become successful.

What part of the publishing process interests you? Are there any fiction trends that you see coming to an end? Any trends you’d like to see in the future?

STEPHANIE- Senior Acquisitions Editor

Today I’m working on giving editorial feedback to several authors on their current works in progress. It’s hard, painstaking work—and requires a curious mix of encouragement and honest evaluation—but it’s always enjoyable to see a story develop and grow as authors absorb feedback and work it into the story. I’m constantly amazed at their creativity! I’m also reviewing proposals to determine whether or not they would be good fits for our fiction line. That can be trickier than you’d think. Though we have certain genres we’re more interested in at any given time, usually I’m looking for that indefinable quality that makes one proposal stick out over another. There are a variety of factors that come into play. Sometimes the author is someone I’ve wanted to work with for a while. If it’s a new author, sometimes it’s the writing—the author’s tone, voice, and style just pull me in and won’t let go. Other times the concept grabs me first—it has a hook that’s easy to articulate and is marketable and memorable.

What about you? When browsing through novels at a store or online, what most often pushes you to actually lay down money for a story? Is it familiarity with the author? A recommendation? Reviews? The back cover summary?

SHAINA- Acquisitions Assistant

Right now there’s a lot coming across my desk. Along with my daily responsibilities—looking through printed-out versions of manuscripts (known as galleys), updating and keeping track of social media, etc.—I have been preparing for the busy summer ahead. Besides signing up for conferences and giving advice to prospective authors, I have been working with a few others in our department to craft an engaging pitch for our June internship position and to review possible candidates. As I started at Tyndale as an intern a few summers ago, this project has been an interesting twist for me; quantifying what I’ve learned and which projects really helped me grow has been a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience.

If you were asked to list the most important skill you’ve learned on the job, what would it be?

CHERYL- Senior Marketing Manager

It’s a busy week as this is the time of year when you’re working on releasing titles and writing marketing plans for upcoming releases, so I am wearing several hats at the moment.

My main priority this week is working on getting several titles launched in May (which is only a week away), including Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer, Heaven Hears by Lindy Boone Michaelis, and Courageous Grace by Gayle Haggard. It’s been quite a challenge because the three books are so different and require a lot of creativity in writing copy, pitching media, and planning their social media campaigns. I’ll be spending the next few days finalizing ad copy and design for these titles in hopes of reaching our target market for each one.

When are you most likely to stop and look at an ad? Is there something that catches your attention, be it the artwork, layout, title treatment, or actual copy?


We’d love to hear from you. Fiction is one of our favorite topics, so let’s get the conversation started in the comments and our poll below!


What is your favorite genre of fiction?

Love all fiction
Not a fiction fan


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Nook Exclusive E-Book Deal Alert: Tangled Ashes

Michele Phoenix's Tangled Ashes

For one day only, you can get Michèle Phoenix’s Tangled Ashes for just $1.99 at Barnes & Noble. This offer ends today, so hurry!

What’s it about? Marshall Becker is sent to France to restore a Renaissance-era castle, he never dreams that he’ll uncover secrets hidden since the Nazi occupation.

Who should read it? People who like to explore old houses, people who dream about moving to France, people who like historical fiction with a twist

What should you read when you’re done? If you enjoyed the WWII plotline, check out Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot. If you’re looking for another modern story of healing, try Gina Holmes’ latest book Wings of Glass (which is, coincidentally, available as a free ebook download right now).

Avenged by Janice Cantore – Gift Basket Giveaway!

Fans of Janice Cantore’s previous novels Accused and Abducted are in for a thrill with the release of the third book in the Pacific Coast Justice Series, Avenged.



Description from Tyndale.com:

When Officer Carly Edwards finds three young gangbangers shot execution style, she and her husband, Sergeant Nick Anderson, head of the gang unit, fear Las Playas may be on the verge of a gang war. The Las Playas PD is put on high alert as tensions escalate between rival gangs, especially after Carly confiscates weapons from a gang leader and learns they were stolen from a military base along with explosive devices.

But something isn’t adding up, and Carly suspects there might be more going on. As she prepares to testify at a major trial, Carly’s reputation is shredded by a reporter apparently trying to discredit her professionally. Facing pressure on all fronts, Carly must rely on faith and trust God in a deeper way during one of the biggest struggles of her career.

To celebrate the release of Avenged, Janice is giving away a law enforcement themed gift basket. 

Here’s what you can win:



DVD of Courageous,

A CD by Chris Tomlin –  Burning Lights,

LA County Coroner mug

A Trust in the Lord encouragement plaque,

And some handy magnetic page markers.

Fill out the form below to enter – winner will be chosen on Sunday April, 28th.